Author: tubie36(page 1 of 8)

How running helps me be a better mom

It’s my alone time. My me time.

My sanctuary. My therapy.

When I can think without being interrupted. Or not think at all.

It’s when I feel most myself.

I’ve laughed on runs. I’ve cried.

I’ve picked up leaves or acorns for my kids.

I’ve thought about my grandfather who passed when I was 15. I felt like he was running with me. Like he would be proud of me.

It’s when I get to take care of me. So I can be healthier. And live longer.

It’s when I get to be in nature. See the animals.

Peace.

It’s when I get to listen to what I want.

And the endorphins. Runners high is no joke.

I’m calmer after a run, especially with my kids.

Running makes me a better mom.

A better person.

A better me.

Disney Cruise

I’ve been getting lots of messages about our Disney cruise so I decided to make a post.

This was our first Disney cruise and it was a 3-night Bahamian cruise that left out of Port Canaveral. It was about a 2 hour drive from our house in Plant City and about an hour from Walt Disney World.

We booked our cruise back in April or May of 2017 and had until August to pay it off. This particular cruise was approximately $3,000 for 3 nights. We were not on a Halloween on the High Seas or a Very Merrytime cruise.

We also had just applied for a Disney credit card and got $200 back for booking the cruise on it.

Some of the things that are included with the cost of the cruise that are different than other cruise lines:

  • SODA – you can get a Coke at dinner fo’ free
  • A bandana for Pirates Night
  • Childcare
  • lunch on Castaway Cay

Speaking of childcare, the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab are the “kids clubs” available on the ship. This was one of our biggest selling points for the cruise. We wanted some alone grow up time.

I’m not going to sugar coat it. We didn’t get that much. We’ve come to the realization that we are never going to have those kids who go to the kids club all day.

But we did get 20 minutes after dinner the first night. In between the Princess Meet and Greet and the Frozen Meet and Greet and Emma went once by herself for 2 hours while Addie was napping.

It was definitely better than the last cruise we went on when Emma cried until she threw up and Addie never went. And I think it will get better each time we go and the older they get.

Seasickness
I usually get sea sick and know it so I always pack a prescription of Mecalizine for myself and Children’s Dramamine for the kids (these are just chewable tablets that taste like grape) so we don’t have an issue.

We all take our meds about an hour before the ship starts moving and seem to be OK.

One of the things I did notice was that we never saw a Casino on the ship, but that was OK with me because I hate the smell of cigarette smoke and we don’t gamble.

There is still alcohol!!!! Just because it’s a Disney cruise doesn’t mean there’s no liquor. We had rum punches, wine, martinis and, of course, the guys drank their weight in beer.

Pirates Night 

This was probably our favorite part of the cruise. Everyone gets a bandana delivered to their room with pirate Mickey on it and Pirates of the Caribbean on it. We had packed our own costumes and wore our bandanas and eye patches. There was a Pirate deck show before our dinner (at 5:45 p.m.), then we went to dinner dressed as pirates, then after dinner, there was a Pirate IN the Caribbean show on deck at around 10:30, followed by fireworks at sea! DCL is the ONLY cruise line with fireworks at sea.

Fish Extenders 

The Fish Extender is basically a gift exchange with other families on the ship. We participated and I basically packed one whole suitcase for our stuff. I used a diaper organizer I bought on Amazon here. Then I bought fabric from Joann’s and covered each of our pockets.

My gifts included:

Cabin Gift: a Mickey picture Frame I painted with a picture of Mickey & the gang on Castaway Cay, a magnet with all the ports of call from our cruise on it and a coaster

For the Moms: a bath bomb (I purchased them here),

For the Dads: Pirates Booty, a pirate shot glass and gold chocolate coins

For the kids:

0-3: Sand toys

4-6: Glow sticks, Lego sets, Pez Dispensers, pirate accessories, lanyards and pins (for pin trading)

11-13: lip balm, nail polish

Teens: Pop sockets, ear buds and candy

Door Magnets

This is another thing that I’ve only seen on a Disney cruise- people decorate their doors! The doors on the ship are magnetic so I printed, laminated and hot glued magnets to the back of ours. I also made some for some of our friends who went.

Castaway Cay 

First of all, it’s pronounced Castaway KEY and I have no idea why lol

The island is Disney’s private island, but is Disney actually rents is from the Bahamas. It was IMMACULATE. My husband even said the mens restroom was clean and we all know that NEVER happens.

I ran a 5K on Castaway in the morning and joined the rest of my family on the beach afterwards. The island drink is the Konk Kooler- GET ONE. There is a family beach, an adult beach, Scuttle’s Cove, which is the kids club ON the island. It has a splash pad and they serve lunch and they did a whale dig (I think- my kids did not go).

Lunch on the island is FREE! Because it’s technically part of the ship.

Rentals are available for snorkeling, jet skis, etc.

We did the family beach, which has Pelican Plunge (waterslides) in the ocean.

Speaking of waterslides, ride the AquaDuck! I only got to do it once, but it was SO FUN! I went with my 5-year-old and screamed the whole way while she told me, “OK, mom this is going up, watch this.” LOL

Your children have to be 42″ to ride, however, if they are not tall enough (they will make them take off their shoes), there is also a Mickey slide that my 3-year-old loved.

There is also a Finding Nemo splash pad on our ship.

Dining

One of the cool things I liked about this ship was that we dined in a different room every night. But your wait staff travels with you!

The first night we went to Animator’s Palate, which is similar to Art of Animation in my opinion. With sketches on the walls, etc. The table centerpieces were paintbrushes, pencils, etc. and Crush from Finding Nemo was on the TVs around the restaurant for an interactive show. The wait staff even gave my kids ketchup in the shape of a Mickey head!

 

The second night we dined in Enchanted Garden for Pirates Night and our waiter even brought the kids Mickey ice cream bars with sprinkles for dessert!

The third night was our “optional formal” night and we dined in the Royal Palace. The bread baskets looked like Cinderella’s Carriage! My husband got a cappuccino (extra) that night with a Mickey on it!

We also liked eating lunch at Flo’s Cafe (from Cars), which was hamburgers, hot dogs, etc.

We took the girls to Vanellope’s Sweet & Treats on the last night (this is a candy and ice cream shop on the ship and costs extra)

Shows!!!

So, we got an extra special treat on got a SOFT OPENING of Beauty and the Beast!!!!!!

And it was Ah-mazing

We also saw Believe and The Golden Mickeys, both of which encouraged singing along, so double bonus points for me!

 

Letters to Emma: Year 5

I’ve been writing letters to my daughter for 5 years and haven’t saved them anywhere. So, I figured I’d post them here to save them for her.

Here we go again. Another year, another letter.

Happy birthday, Emma Jayne. 5. FIVE.

I can not believe I’ve been a mommy for five years. So much has happened and so much has changed. Yet so much is still the same.

You’ve blossomed and matured so much this past year. You’re learning how to read and write. Maybe next year, you’ll be able to read this letter.

You’re making friends. You’re still the best big sister. You’re excelling at school and learning so much! You love to learn.

You still love dance. You are developing a little sense of humor and it cracks me up when you say, “I’m just joking you!”

You are still so kind and sweet- my little lover. You love to hold hands and cuddle.

You’ve discovered your own fashion- complete with accessories!

You love animals- which is why it’s no surprise that you want to be a veterinarian when you grow up.

I still love you. More than ever.

I have a feeling 5 is going to be the best year ever!

Letters to Emma: Year 4

A day late (and a dollar short) but here goes my yearly letter to Emma:

You are already so much of what I wish I was.

You are brave and courageous.

I love that we have so much in common. It makes it easy to parent you. You love the things that I love, like crafting and baking. But I also can’t wait to see what makes you YOU. Unique. The things you like. What interests YOU.

I love that we are giving you things I never had or did. Like dance, karate, soccer- even Disney.

I want to give you everything. But I also want you to be grateful, thankful and humble.

You are so sweet and kind and compassionate.

You are confident and beautiful and I love that about you and I am trying to relish it because I know that one day you will doubt it. The world will make you think you aren’t.

But just remember, to me, you are and will always be.

Everything I do, I do it for you.

You are my whole world. Every decision I make, I think of you. How it will affect you. If this is the right choice.

You have my whole heart for my whole life.

Four years ago, I became a mom for the first time. I was terrified. I cried – a lot. I questioned if everything I was doing was going to screw you up for life.

Four years later, I am a little more confident in my abilities as a mom. I still cry- a lot. I still question everything.

But I laugh a lot more. We talk. We have adventures. I get to experience the world all over again through your eyes. Experience magic.

And sometimes I look at you and get weepy. Because I can’t believe you’re mine. I made you. You were once so tiny- not even 6 pounds.

And how your dad and I ooh and ahh at how “big” you are now- all 30 pounds of you! But next to all the other 4-year-olds, you’re still tiny.

Four years ago, your dad and I were carving pumpkins when my water broke.

You’re still my little pumpkin. My little peanut.

For now and forever.

I love you, Emma Jayne.

Letters to Emma: Year 3

Three years ago, at 4:23 a.m. A little girl named Emma came into this world screaming her lungs out. Lol. I guess she was making her grand entrance. The nurses called her “angry baby” and everyone always told us what a set of lungs she had.

She was tiny at 5 pounds, 15 ounces. The smallest baby I’d ever seen. She’s still tiny at 26 pounds at 3 years old. She embodies the Shakespeare quote, “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” to a tee.

She lights up a room when she walks into and commands attention in a way I never could, with her saying things like, “I’m a princess” and fully believing it.

She is so very sweet and loves to hug and hold hands with friends and her baby sister.

This morning, we cuddled in bed for almost an hour and I laid there trying to take it all in. Her little profile. The moment. The way she told me she loved me. I wanted to freeze time. But I know I can’t. It breaks my heart.

I know one day she will grow up but I already have the confidence that she will be a wonderful human being because of who she is now. So caring. So loving. She loves being outside. Playing. She has a full heart. She’s kind and generous.

I love her so much it’s probably not normal.

Happy 3rd birthday to the princess who made me a mommy.

Letters to Emma: Year 2

Happy birthday to the most beautiful thing I have ever done with my life. You are so smart, funny and full of life. You make me smile every day.

I can say now, looking back, that your first year was hard on all of us. But this 2nd year, you learned how to walk, got 12 teeth in 12 months, learned how to swim, became a big sister, took dance class. You have truly blossomed over the last 12 months into this amazing little person and I couldn’t be more proud of what you’ve already overcome.

I can’t believe it’s been two years since I first met you. It feels like you’ve been a part of my life since the very beginning. Looking at you is like looking in a mirror 27 years ago.

You are still my little peanut at 22 pounds and 33 3/4 inches (you’re sister is catching up quick!) but every inch of you is perfect.

I love you more now than I did yesterday, the day before, last year and the day I met you. You are my favorite person in the whole world and I can’t wait for the next year together (forget what they say about the terrible twos- ours are going to be the terrific twos 😉)

Letters to Emma: Year 1

I cannot believe that year ago today, my life changed forever and in ways I never even imagined when a tiny baby girl was placed into my arms for the first time.

Your first year of your life has been the best year of my life.

Parenting has by far been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I told a friend this year that parenting has felt like being a fish out of water desperately gasping for air and all the other fish are all like, it’s cool, you’ll figure out how to breathe again.

This year has most certainly had its ups and downs. But watching you learn to roll over, sit up, crawl and seeing the world all over through your eyes- your excitement at the ducks in the lake or the fish at the aquarium or even a tree as it sways in the wind- have been the most exciting and rewarding experiences of my life.

I love you so entirely and so completely that I can’t even imagine loving another baby as much as I love you, but I know in January when your little sister arrives, my heart will simply grow like the Grinch’s and there will be enough room for two.

At each new milestone you reach, I get this mix of feelings of both pride and sadness. Pride in the fact that you have now accomplished something and sadness in the fact that it’s one more thing you do not need me for anymore. I suppose it will always be this way. When you start kindergarten, when you ride a bike for the first time, when you graduate high school and when you get married, I will be there smiling for you, but teary eyed for me.

The day you were born was the day I first became a mother. Your Mama. It will be a day I always remember because you changed my life that day. You are my greatest accomplishment and I can’t wait to see what life holds for you in the future.

I love you with everything that I am, with every fiber of my being.

Happy birthday, baby girl.

6 Fall & Halloween Themed Lunch Boxes

1. Fall Leaves themed lunch

PB&J cut into leaf shapes, Maple Leaf cookies from Aldi, apple slices, and yogurt with fall sprinkles.

2. Mummy hot dogs 

Mummy hot dogs, pumpkin spice Cheerios, Halloween Oreos, Halloween pretzels, mandarin oranges and Danimals smoothies (orange creamsicle flavor)

3. English muffin pizzas

And just to show you that not everything goes as planned, here are the lunches my children refused to eat. English muffin pizzas (one with an olive and bacon spider), vampire teeth apple slices, and oranges and tootsie rolls to make pumpkins with an eyeball chocolate.

4. Pumpkin themed lunch boxes 

Ham & Cheese sandwiches cut out with a pumpkin cookies cutter (purchased on Amazon here), Babybel Halloween cheese, pumpkin patch dirt cups, Halloween pretzels and one with raisins and one with pumpkin spice Cheerios.

5. Spookley the Square pumpkin snacks

Graham crackers, green M&Ms, candy eyeballs, and black icing. I made orange icing with vanilla frosting and food coloring.

6. Spider lunch boxes

PB&J with pretzel stick legs, candy eyeballs, Veggie Chips, cheese stick/ Halloween Babybel cheese + grapes and spider rings (purchased at the Dollar Tree)

 

FYI* These lunch boxes are Bentgo lunch boxes and I got them on Groupon!

Pumpkins!!

We took a break from our Letters of the Week and did pumpkins for Halloween!

I made a pumpkin Play-Doh from iheartcraftythings which is still being played with!

 

I also made a sensory bin (these are really popular with my 3-year-old!) with black beans for 5 Little Pumpkins. I bought the pumpkin containers from Amazon.

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Letter of the Week: C

Here we go again: Letters of the Week! We’re just now on letter C.

Can I call it Letters of the Week if it’s really more like Letters of the Month?! Anywho…..

I have started asking the girls what they want to make for the wall and this time Emma chose Cat and Addie chose Caterpillar. I’m still trying to figure out how to laminate the caterpillar.

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