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Thursday, November 30, 2017

How I Discovered Babywise

Today is Babywise Friendly Blog Network Day and we're all talking on the topic of "How I Discovered Babywise."

I have been blogging since I found out I was pregnant with my first child...back in 2008! This blog has truly covered my entire parenting journey. From before I became a parent to now a parent of three (almost 4!). If you have followed from the start (which is probably like 3 people haha!) then you have seen me grow and change in my personal life but also in my parenting.

I know many people say that parenting comes naturally. I just had someone ask for parenting book recommendations on Facebook. I commented my two favorites (Babywise and Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems) and then noticed the other comments that said things like "you don't need a book on parenting, it will come naturally!"

I know people are just trying to be encouraging when they say things like that. And I'm sure that some women DO feel like parenting "just comes naturally" to them. But that wasn't me. I didn't give birth and then suddenly KNOW what to do. KNOW how to best care for my child. I also didn't have an example that I really wanted to follow. Many times women who say it comes "naturally" for them have a close relationship with their mother and lean on her for advice and wisdom. When you're parenting with the mindset of breaking cycles from the parenting you received, you don't want to base your parenting style on that of your parents or that in which you "know naturally."

Those first few weeks of parenting were hard for me. I struggled with breastfeeding. I felt very overwhelmed. I had very little confidence. I let anyone and everyone give me advice and I was more likely to follow whatever others told me to do rather than make decisions on my own on what was best for my baby. NOTHING felt natural to me. Not one single part of parenting seemed "to just come easily." It caused my self esteem to plummet. I felt like failure of a mother because I didn't "just know" what to do. I felt lost and like this role I'd always dreamed of wasn't what I thought it'd always be.

I am a rule follower. I like a recipe when I cook. In school I preferred to be given a topic for discussion over being asked open ended questions. I like instructions. I follow directions. I am a total school nerd teachers pet type-a person.

Parenting was too open-ended for me. I didn't have a recipe. A rule book. Instructions or directions.  I function best in structure and routine and just felt LOST without some sort of guidance.

Thankfully a friend of mine recommended that I read Babywise. I read the whole thing cover to cover in one sitting the day it arrived on my doorstep. Not that it was a holy experience in anyway but I do compare my finding of Babywise to my finding the Bible. When I was 19 I read the Bible for the first time (like really read it) and it just all CLICKED for me. It's a guidebook for life and I was probably the "easiest convert" ever because I read it and was like "yup, this makes sense" and boom I got baptized and became a Christian and haven't ever looked back.

Same with Babywise. The Bible is my guidebook for life, and Babywise is my guidebook for parenting. I felt this huge weight lift from my shoulders when I read it. Finally I had something to follow. A PLAN of action I could put into place!

Even though I knew it was "my thing" as soon as I read it, it still took me a good while to really put the plan fully into motion. The book alone just isn't enough info. Once I found Chronicles of a Babywise Mom though? It was a GAME CHANGER. Newer mamas are so blessed with even more Babywise resources now (my blog included... which I always find to be a HUGE compliment to hear moms say my blog has helped them!). But between Val's blog and the book itself I was able to undo a lot of the bad habits I'd already started with Kye and slowly became the "Hardcore Babywise Mom" I am today.

Not only did I see the benefits of Babywise very quickly for my baby (he slept through the night at 8 weeks old!) but I saw them in MYSELF. I truly give Babywise all the credit for the mother I am today. I am PROUD of the mother I am. I have confidence in my parenting abilities. I'm passionate about parenting and am just so, so thankful that I discovered Babywise. It's given me a confidence and a purpose I feared I'd never find during those early days of parenting. I simply cannot imagine my life without it!

I know it's not for everyone. I know some people are less hardcore. Some take bits and pieces from the books and that's it. And that's ok! We are all different people and different parents and have to find what works best for US. However I will continue to recommend Babywise as a must-read for every mother or mother-to-be. You can't know if something is right for you if you don't read it ;) I know I'm so thankful I did!

How did you discover Babywise?

Be sure to check in with all the Babywise Friendly Blog Network Bloggers today to learn their "how I discovered Babywise" stories:

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Epcot Morning

As I've mentioned a few times now this wasn't my ideally planned out Disney trip. We had to "make it work" in order to move the trip earlier for Britt's birthday celebration. It really all went SO GREAT though for being planned so last minute and during a less than ideal crowd level time. The kids knew going in that we weren't going to do every single thing on this trip. It actually was great to leave with a feeling of wanting more and we all made a list of the things we want to MAKE SURE we do next visit so it gave us a lot to look forward to :)

Zach also knew going in that it would be more crowded than ideal and that we would have a good bit of hustling to get everything in, especially on the mornings when we were at park opening. I knew going in that we wouldn't be able to do every item on the itinerary each day and I really have a  solid system down for planning. I left this trip feeling so proud of how well everything did go with all the elements stacked against me in my planning abilities ;)

Even though it was our third Disney Day, it was our first full park day. Day 1 we did MNSSHP and Day 2 was our "down day" (which was pretty busy with both Ohana and BBB). So Day 3 was a big day with Epcot AND MK!

Something I've seen discussed in Disney groups is WHEN to bathe your kids while on a Disney trip. It's a legit struggle because there are so many early mornings and late nights and long days that it's hard to squeeze in baths. We tend to do them in the mornings. That way the kids can go straight to sleep on the late nights and Zach will bathe the girls while I'm getting everything ready the next morning!

I'm telling y'all, pens and notepads are so crucial for days at the parks! My kids are always happy and content when waiting, especially when we have to get to the gates SUPER early in order to mad dash to a ride at park opening ;) 

While waiting for Epcot to open the cast members put on a super fun show! We were allowed into the park but where blocked from going past Spaceship Earth. The drum show was great and a fabulous way to start the day!

Once allowed in we joined the masses making a mad dash to Frozen. Frozen is located in Norway in the World Showcase which is a SOLID walk. Whew. I'm tired just thinking about it. With my foot issues I can't hustle too hard because it's just not worth hurting the rest of the day. Zach though can beast mode it, especially with the double stroller haha. When we got there we only had a 10 min wait which was awesome and I enjoyed getting to walk through the regular line rather than the fastpass line so we could see all the details. 

Frozen is seriously my favorite ride. I love it! Even the "scary" part haha I hate that you can't see Britt and that Kye got mostly cut off but you can tell I still scream every time ;) 

After Frozen I took the girls to meet Elsa and Anna and Kye and Zach went to ride TestTrack. The girls and I had a PHENOMENAL experience. We waited less than 20 min to meet Elsa and Anna. It couldn't have been more perfect and both of the meet and greets were awesome. Last visit Tess was in a MOOD when we met Elsa and Anna so I was super thankful that both girls were in great spirits this time! Britt was so cute trying to explain our adoption to Anna ;)  

We had planned to meet the boys at Nemo once we were done and they were done but we were done QUICK and they were struggling with a rough wait situation for Test Track. They were almost at the front of the line when they were told the ride broke down. Thankfully Zach got a pass from the cast member to come back later in the day if it opened back up. But then they tried to go wait for Soarin' and the wait time posted was WAY off and they ended up leaving that line too. I felt so bad that their morning had such a rocky start. 

Us girls though were having a great time. I love moments where we aren't rushed and can just take it all in. Since we had plenty of time before meeting the boys we stopped to get pics together and I LOVE THESE! 

I've had TONS of questions about our outfits

The shirts are from Ali Express and there isn't a current link for them :(
And my shorts were a Goodwill find (whoop whoop!) but they are Disney brand and were exclusively sold at Kohls so they may be found on Ebay? 
I hate I don't have any helpful links! 

I'm bummed too b/c my shirt ended up getting ruined in the washer when we got home so I'd LOVE to order another...especially since they were only $3 each! 

Ready for Nemo!

We did the ride first and then went to walk around all the tanks to see the animals. Tess LOVES animals but no one else in the family really does so I try to soak up as much animal time as I can when I can with her ;) 

Manatees are my fav! Growing up there was a bridge in Satellite Beach where they'd all swim and we could feed them!

Daddy found us! We all rode Nemo again and then went to Turtle Talk with Crush

What crew members can fit in this door? So random?

Hidden Mickey ;)

We hit up the playground so we could take turns taking the kids for potty breaks. 

And then we headed to Club Cool! 

I've only popped into Club Cool once and it was on my solo day We aren't a big soda family but I KNEW the kids would LOVE trying all the drinks and I was excited to trick them about the Beverly haha!

If you don't already know about Beverly...I won't spoil the fun. Just try it. Kye did :) 

Great place for a break and so fun taste testing all the drinks! 

The boys had been continuously checking the Disney App to see if Test Track was back up and running and got lucky that it was while we were at Club Cool! So they headed over to do that and I just had to kill time with the girls. Our "kill time" tradition this trip turned into "kill time with snack time." Treats are fun and a good way to spend time when you don't have anything else to do. I walked over to the Pixar Movie area and a cast member said it's pretty lengthy so I didn't want to risk Zach and Kye finishing before us. Then I went to Figment and it's line was pretty long. So I figured snack it up ;) I bought my fav ice cream treat (Mickey Ice Cream Sandwich) and then realized once I got the girls all situated that the cast member had handed me the wrong treat. I cannot STAND the Mickey stick ice cream. I don't like that kind of chocolate and it's SO MESSY. So I had to race back and ask for my original order and they let me keep both. Kinda a win but also kinda a loss since it was a disaster zone of messiness haha

This kid was SO HAPPY to finally get to ride his favorite Epcot ride!

Once we finished our treats we went in through the exit of Figment and just played on all the stations they have in that area. The girls had fun and burned off some energy!

Then we saw a photo area and decided to let Britt get a photo made. We let Kye do a Star Wars themed one for his  birthday so, duh, I had to be fair and let Britt do it too. She was SO SWEET and asked if Tess could be in the photo with her. I ADORE how their picture turned out and it was a fun experience that they both appreciated so much!

With the Disney Visa you can get a special character meet and greet at both HS and Epcot. This is another thing that used to be a "secret" and is now so well known that it's a long line. Zach and Kye got done before we were finished with the photos so they went ahead and got in the line. Which was formed a good 15 min before the doors opened for the experience for the day!!! C-Razy. We were among the first couple of groups to get to meet the characters and this time it was Minnie and Pluto! Tess wasn't in the mood about it which bummed me out b/c she LOVES the classic characters. The benefit of three kids though is that if one is upset, there is always at least another one who is in a great mood so I can focus on that kid ;) Kye was adorable dancing with Pluto and hugging on Minnie! Proof that older kids love characters too!

A lot of people commented to me on several of my stories during our trip asking where Tess was in photos. She's at an age where she's not always so great with taking pics. During those moments I have the option to either have her in the photo and have her look grumpy or just not have her in it. I feel badly not having her in them but it also ruins what would be an otherwise great photo of the rest of us! So I try to do a combo of her just not in the them and of her in them and least this way when she's older and is like "Mom why wasn't I in these pictures?" I can show her the grumpy ones haha!

Had to get our matching outfit pic with Minnie!!!

After the meet and greet we headed over to World Showcase. It was INSANELY crowded. It was a Saturday and I believe Food and Wine was going on? It was NUTS. We had to go to Italy which was about halfway around the circle so we opted to sit and wait on the ferry boat. I didn't want to fight the crowds...especially the drunk ones. Obviously we don't drink at all. We're not bothered by or offended by people choosing to drink, it's totally a personal decision but what we don't appreciate is the sloppy drunk acting people in a family friendly environment. No thanks. We're good.

We were both so glad we made the call to wait on the ferry! Better to wait and have a positive experience than walk and be miserable!

Whoop whoop! I was SO PUMPED for our first time reservation at Via Napoli

I had heard that it's fabulous and it did not disappoint. First of all it's a VERY cost friendly option for a family. We ordered a pizza and bread and didn't spend much more than we would at a normal night out at home. Second it was great service (with an adorable waiter) and third it was FABULOUS. Zach said it's the best pizza he's ever had other than in actual Italy. SO. GOOD. It's now a must-eat for us at Epcot from now on and totally worth the effort to get there!

Hot Mess Tess was in full swing. Omg y'all the parm cheese on her face and the weird looks she was giving were cracking us UP. 

All of us were in such great moods and I loved seeing the kids coloring and laughing and just having so much fun! We didn't feel the least bit rushed and could really relax and enjoy the meal. 

Britt was hilarious when they sang happy birthday to her in Italian haha she was so confused and she totally has my face where we give away every single thought through our expressions haha!

Zach's new fav Disney restaurant!

Ferry ride back around the lake!

Kye's shirt was SO perfect for our day. It was funny on our mad dash at park opening to go to Frozen because people kept laughing and talking about his shirt as we were all literally racing to get there! 

We hopped from Epcot over to MK which is SUCH a great experience now that they moved security at MK to the parking area. We were able to leave Epcot and enter MK without having to go back through security. It was smooth and easy and I'd totally recommend it to anyone wanting to visit both MK and Epcot in a single day. GREAT experience and super quick! 

None of my kids have ever been sleep-on-the-go type kids until Tess. She'll STILL fall asleep in the car and will fall asleep in our laps and such when we're out and about. It's pretty awesome and I'm hopeful Tab will be the same way. She got a great power nap on the monorail and then was GOLDEN for the rest of our day. 

Daddy always loves the nap snuggles :) 

The Test Track/Soarin' issue was really our only BIG problem on the entire trip. I hate that Kye and Zach spent almost 2 hours waiting in lines to not ending up riding anything but I'm so thankful Zach was quick thinking and asked for the return pass for Test Track. It was SO good that they WERE able to ride it! Other than that hiccup it was really a flawless morning for us all and we were excited to hit up MK! 
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