Babywise Friendly Blog Network Trip 2019

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Babywise Friendly Blog Network Trip 2019

When I first became a mom I struggled with the whole parenting thing until I found Babywise and it totally changed the motherhood game for me.

A big part of finding my passion and place in parenting was not only finding the book but also finding Val’s blog (Chronicles of a Babywise Mom).

I really look up to Val and consider her my #goalmom.

I was SO honored when she invited me to join her group – The Babywise Friendly Blog Network which she founded as a group of bloggers who all use Babywise and speak positively of their experiences on their blogs.

Over the years people have come and gone from the group and we’ve always collaborated and helped each other and worked together via online.

Then a few years ago one of the group members suggested starting to use the Marco Polo app (a video chat app) to connect with each other.

It’s been a game changer for our group. We started working together more closely, learning more about blogging together, and became friends beyond just collaborators.

We have talked about having a meet up for a couple years now and when we decided to plan the trip it made sense to meet at my Disney Rental House since there would be enough space for us all and it’d be an affordable option to stay.

Originally a group of 5 of us confirmed attending the trip but last minute a couple of people couldn’t make it happen so it ended up being just three of us.

It made me thankful we had decided to use the house for our trip since the changing plans didn’t really affect anyone’s out of pocket cost since the stay was “free!”

I went straight from Disney Springs with the MNSSHP crew to the airport to pick up the first BFBN arrival!

Caitlin (from Twin Mom and More) and I have had a very natural friendship from the start of our Marco Poloing. We are a LOT alike and I was so excited to meet her in person for the first time!

I got to the airport super early so I ended up parking and going in to surprise her at baggage claim.

It was so funny b/c I totally recognized her from the back of her head which I’ve never actually seen.

Seeing each other in person for the first time after talking DAILY on video chat was SO WEIRD.

I expected it to be super natural but it totally wasn’t at first. We both agreed that we looked different AND sounded different which surprised us!

And it was so hilarious to me that we’re totally the same height…I’m typically the shortest among my friends πŸ™‚

So not only are we personality twins but appearance twins too πŸ˜‰

Caitlin arrived Wednesday and Val arrived Thur night (originally the other two friends were going to arrive Thur and Fri so everyone was kinda spread out in their arrival plans!).

Caitlin and I hit up Bonefish Grill for dinner and just talked and talked and talked.

Isn’t it funny how you can literally talk to some people non-stop all the time yet STILL never run out of things to talk about?

Caitlin is totally that kind of friend and we got zero sleep that night because we just couldn’t go to bed without talking more πŸ˜‰

She’s in her second trimester of pregnancy with her fourth baby and I was exhausted from all the go-go-go of the week so we both slept in the next day and just took our time enjoying the pool and getting to spend time together in PERSON!

It was so weird to get to hang out after talking for so long to each other and I wish so much that she lived closer (or actually that I lived closer to her…she lives in GORGEOUS Rhode Island!).

Everyone in our group is a mom blogger but everyone also has different areas in which they focus outside of blogging and Caitlin and I were the first ones to really focus more on Instagram – it’d be SO awesome if we lived close and could take each other’s IG pics for our feeds and do stories and fun things together all the time!

Duh IG Moms had to get on the unicorn for some pics…and I love that neither of us had any shame in setting up a tripod to get the pictures.

It was HILARIOUS because we are both too short to be able to control the float much! We laughed and laughed (I think we spent the whole day laughing actually)

We went to get pedicures and hit up Target for a second time in 24 hours πŸ˜‰ then headed to the airport to get Val!!!

Val lives in Utah so she had quite a longer flight as well as a time change.

It was less awkward meeting her because I’ve met her before (at Sea World in June!) and because Caitlin and I had more realistic expectations FOR it to be weird.

Val figured the reason we all think we look different in person than on Marco Polo…because the video chat is a mirrored image of us! Makes sense!

We did all wonder how it would be hanging out in person vs talking on Marco Polo.

Caitlin and I basically talk non-stop and interrupt each other, Val is way more polite and she struggled to get a word in and we basically had to coach her up on how to just butt in and interrupt us haha!

We got dinner at On the Border and then hit up TARGET. 3rd time for Caitlin and I haha!

Our original plans for Friday was to hit the BEACH. But the weather didn’t look so great and none of us really felt like driving an hour there to just be chilly and then drive back.

Especially with just being three of us we had more options of things to do!

We spent our time hanging out in the morning and (shocker) talking some more…even after staying up past 1 am talking haha!

We decided to book a private Escape Room experience and were SO impressed!

I’ve done two Escape Rooms. One here in Valdosta and one in Williamsburg with Zach. Both were about the same price as this one and didn’t even come CLOSE to being as cool as an experience!

If you’re in the Orlando area I can’t recommend Escapology enough!

It was Val’s and Caitlin’s first time doing an escape room and let’s just say Caitlin and I lucked out that Val was with us b/c without her puzzle skills we for SURE wouldn’t have escaped. Even with the skills we still only made it out with 16 seconds to spare and def used every hint haha!

The escape room happened to be RIGHT by a Chicken Salad Chick!

Another first for both Caitlin and Val and, no surprise, they loved it πŸ™‚

That evening we did fun girly sleepover things – like more talking and face masks πŸ™‚

It was one of my favorite things about our time together.

I’ve just always wanted to have a super girly sleepover as an adult and do facials and such and it was so super fun just laughing and hanging out in our PJs!

Saturday was our Disney Day!

We had decided as an entire group to do Epcot together for the Food and Wine Festival (minus the wine!).

I’ve never done Food and Wine before but know that all the Epcot festivals are so fun! Katie and I had a BLAST at Flower and Garden last year so I knew it’d be a fun girls trip thing to do together πŸ™‚

We woke up to mega rain and a forecast that included tornado warnings and more rain.

We debated not going but I’m so glad we still went!

We decided to pay to upgrade to premium parking (a new tip I learned is that with an annual pass you only pay the difference in regular parking fee to the premium) which was SO worth it!

We parked right up front and didn’t get NEARLY as drenched as we would have if we’d had to park in regular parking.

We managed to stay decently dry and the weather really turned around for us.

A perk of rain? Low. Crowds.

Even on a Saturday! Even during Food and Wine!

We walked right onto Soarin’ 35 minutes after opening which never happens and walked right up to two princesses throughout the day with only a couple people in front of us too πŸ™‚

We had great timing with shows started right as we entered and the day just flowed so well!

We were able to see every country before closing time and got to have a great spot to watch Epcot Forever (which was pretty MEH to in my opinion)

We ate a TON (and those “cheap bites” add up yall!) and also just took our time resting too!

Caitlin had packed shoes that weren’t going to be so great for rain at the park so she borrowed a pair of mine that were 2 sizes smaller than her regular size PLUS she’s pregnant. She was a TROOPER.

She never complained once and Val and I were perfectly happy to hang out and take lots of breaks too!

It was also fun being there with people who value pictures as much as I do. It was weird not to be the one always suggesting photos or the one always taking them πŸ™‚

We were gifted our matching shirts and you can find them here!

Epcot is under a TON of construction but Disney (per usual) did a great job making it still look great and it didn’t take away from the fun!

We rode Soarin’, Frozen, Figment, Nemo, Living with the Land, and Spaceship Earth as well as watched The Jammitors, several shows throughout World Showcase (my first time watching Reflections of China!) as well as finishing the night with Epcot Forever.

We ate ALL THE THINGS!

So many yummy food options but my hand down favorite was the cheese soup and pretzel roll from Canada πŸ™‚

I love how the pregnant girl is the one holding the food in pics haha!

We met both Mulan and Aurora!

Mulan was CRAZY tall and she said she gets it from her father πŸ˜‰

My favorite picture of the day is our last group pic with Aurora…you can tell I’m just SUPER INTO IT and that Val is pretty into it and that Caitlin is zero percent into it. ha!

Aurora said she was so glad I chose her to dress like for MNSSHP and that I had her same hair πŸ˜‰

We stopped at every PhotoPass photographer and were bummed that there weren’t more out and about.

It was VERY patchy weather. Sometimes it was downpour. Sometimes it was clear blue skies. Sometimes it was a gorgeous wind. Sometimes it was hot.

It was a true Florida weather kinda day!

It was a park open to park close kinda day and we all had a great time!

It flowed really great that we were able to just SIT and chill in Mexico and watch the fireworks from some seats rather than a massive crowd of people and then were able to scoot out of the area ahead of the masses.

We hit up Mouse Gears on our way out and got matching ornaments to remember our trip by and I was able to grab BOTH of the annual pass holder magnets on our way out!

The premium parking was a big win for the walk back to the car…poor Caitlin may not have made it to the back of the parking lot.

I seriously can’t get over what a trooper she was! I’ve done the parks pregnant and it’s EXHAUSTING.

I’m thankful we had such a chill day and that we were able to sit a lot and that we all had FUN!

We took allllll the pictures which yall know I’m ALL about!

I loved getting to experience the park with two of my favorite friends and am glad we did a fun activity together that we’ll all remember.

Sure, we could have easily sat and just talked all weekend and been just as happy together but having a shared memory is so special πŸ™‚

Our big plans for Sunday were to CHILL.

I knew a full day at the park would mean we’d all be exhausted…we got back to the house around 11ish and then…stayed up until almost 2 am talking and laughing and snacking more haha!

We spent Sunday laying out a bit and getting ready.

Val is talented in many areas and hair is def one of them so it was fun to have her do our hair for us πŸ˜‰

We did one last stop at Target and this time picked up some gift cards to give away on our Instagram accounts!

We went to Disney Springs and I got Val and Caitlin in on the friendship shoes Katie and I had purchased together too!

Then we had reservations at Ragland Road.

It was a first time experience for me but I’ve heard great things from my fellow Disney loving friend Rachael C. (who I’m totally hitting up Disney with some time in 2020! It’s gonna HAPPEN!) and it did NOT disappoint!

It was right up Val’s ally with the fun Irish dancing and the food was AMAZING. I had an awesome burger and we all loved what we ordered!

I know my girls would LOVE the show and I def wanna take them back!

Val had a super early morning flight out and I felt a LOT of guilt that I couldn’t take her to the airport that early. We all said our goodbyes that night (after more talking!).

Caitlin and I got up the next morning and packed up to head out!

I dropped her at the airport on my way home…she just hung out there for a few hours and I did the drive back.

Not gonna front…I got pretty emotional dropping her off.

I’m blessed with many friends. Friendships are so valuable to me and having a tribe is something I cherish.

Friendships have seasons and over the years some friends I thought I’d have forever have turned out to be for a season instead.

That can cause a lot of heartbreak. When you think you have that super tight never gonna break bond and it ends up that you don’t.

I wish my BFBN girls lived closer to me and that we could see each other more often! Our connections are so important to me and in my life.

I am so thankful for the timing of these friendships and I’m still totally pinching myself that I am REAL LIFE FRIENDS with THE Babywise Mom haha!

I’m so glad we were able to make the trip happen! We missed those who couldn’t make it and am so glad to be part of a community that values each other and builds each other up!

We all agreed that while it was WONDERFUL being together it was also super hard being away from our kids.

All of us have left our kids many times for travel…but we’re usually away with our husbands.

It was hard for my kids to be at home in their regular routine without me there. Britt and Tess both struggled and it was hard on my mama heart too.

I def had a LOT of Mommy Guilt for being away for a FULL week but that time away was so valuable for many of my friendships and allowed my cup to be filled so full!

It also allowed the kids to appreciate me more and to build excitement for when I got home.

Zach managed home life like a boss. I came home to a spotless house and even clean laundry – and of course he had to be silly and make a pillow reminder of me to bring a smile to my face πŸ˜‰

A video of our trip should auto play in this post πŸ™‚

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Emily Parker

Hey Y’all, I’m Emily! I’m a stay at home mom and consider parenting to be my passion. Disney is my happiest place and I love making memories as a family together. I’m a big believer in transparency and share all of my real-life moments as a mother of four.

My work has been featured on Today Parenting and Babywise.Life. I’m also honored to be a member of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network.

You can read more about our family on my About Me page. Also be sure to follow along with me on Instagram, FacebookΒ and Pinterest!

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

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