Asher Wade at Four(!!!) Years Old

O.M.Geee. I absolutely cannot believe I have a 4 year old. Like, cannot believe it. These four years have absolutely flown by, and while they certainly haven’t always been easy, they have been wonderful and full of so much laughter and fun. And love. So.much.love. Lately I have really been reflecting on how much is about to change when Baby Boy #2 arrives, and I’m not going to lie, it’s been emotional for me. I just think about how for four years now it’s been just the three of us…the three musketeers. Mine and Matt’s world is about to be rocked for sure, but I don’t think it will be rocked as much as Asher Wade’s. Our family dynamic is about to experience a huge shift, and while this new baby boy is such an incredible blessing and addition to our family, and I know God’s timing is ALWAYS perfect, I can’t help but feel a little sad for what we are going to lose, or what I feel like Asher Wade is going to lose. I hope that doesn’t sound terrible, and bear with me as I’m sure I’m riding a hormonal and emotional roller coaster right now thanks to pregnancy and my first born turning another year older. I guess I’m just mourning the impending loss of my first “baby” in more ways than one. Anywho. That’s probably another hormonal post for another day; one that I’m sure I will write as we get even closer to BB2’s arrival. Right now it’s all about our big 4 year old!

Asher Wade, at 4 years old, here’s what’s going on with you…

 I’ve been saying this since the day you were born, but lawd you are still ALL BOY. You never slow down and I’m convinced you’d survive off 6 hours of sleep, although we do our best to make you get 10’ish. Like your mama, you are NOT a morning person and are very crabby until you have fully woken up and had your milk. You like to just chill and watch TV and not talk to anyone for at least 15 minutes. Once you fully wake-up though, you are going 90 miles per minute, all day long. You love to climb and jump and are quite the daredevil. You aren’t scared of much other than bugs. You are completely terrified of all creepy crawlers. Otherwise you love pretty much all animals. Cody gets on your nerves and we are constantly separating the two of you. He just loves you so much and always wants to play, but you are generally annoyed by him. You like Maddux since he pretty much just lays in his bed all day. You love Annie as well, and I swear she is the most patient cat on the planet considering how she lets you carry her around, often upside down or by the neck. I’m glad you have a soft spot for animals because you will likely always have them around you.

You can be somewhat of a homebody and you love to play with your toys up in your room. You love all of your toys, especially your Roadster Racer Mickey, Paw Patrol Mission RV and Patroller and Blaze Monster Truck. You’ve gotten into board games lately like Chutes and Ladders (although you do not like it when you don’t win), and you still love to read books. You love to play hide n’ seek and tag. Your favorite color is still blue. Favorite TV shows are Mickey and the Roadster Racers (this is the kind of birthday cake you requested this year), The Lion Guard, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Paw Patrol and Bubble Guppies. You loves movies, and lately it has been Toy Story (all of them) and Moana. Oh, and you will ALWAYS watch Cars given the opportunity. You cannot WAIT for Cars 3 to come out this summer. You also love to be outside, much like your mama. Whenever it’s raining you look forlornly out the window and comment how sad you are that you won’t be able to play outside today. You love to ride your bike and scooter, or just investigate around the yard. You like to dig in the dirt, jump in puddles and get muddy. I hate when it rains because I know you will inevitably come home with muddy shoes and pants. You love to go to the playground or any sort of park. You are so inquisitive and you love to investigate. Lately you are really into “fixing things” and “working” as you call it. You use your little tool box and tools that PawPaw got you for Christmas and “fix” your bike and your toys. You always want to help, which I have to remember to be patient about.

Your favorite foods are hot dogs, mac n’ cheese, yogurt, Clif Bars (the kid sized versions), string cheese, grilled cheese, bagels with cream cheese, Chikfila, fruit, pretzels, scrambled eggs, waffles and PB&J. For treats you like marshmallows, popsicles, pieces of chocolate and vanilla ice cream with M&M’s. You pretty much just drink milk and water, and the occasional apple juice or Sprite if we’re at a restaurant. You’re still pretty picky, although it has gotten better. Basically we make you sit at the table until you finish, and at least try new foods. You have slimmed down so much and hardly have any of that cute baby fat anymore. You used to always wear a full size up in clothing, but now you are right on par. For the most part you are in a size 4t, with some 5t’s mixed in. You weigh around 45 pounds and are about 3-1/2 feet tall. You are still incredibly healthy and it is very unusual for you to get sick. You actually came down with some nasty croup like symptoms over the weekend and had to miss school yesterday, I honestly think that is the first day you have missed due to sickness this entire school year. Even if you come down with a cold, you get over it really fast. I am so thankful you are so healthy, especially considering how much I stress about you not eating enough veggies or getting enough vitamins.

You can be a little shy at first, but you warm up within minutes. You aren’t crazy about grown-ups, but you adore your little friends. You say your best friends from school are Scout and Porter (although you guys fight like cats and dogs sometimes) and your best friends at church are Heidi, Harlow and Hudson. You love to have friends over and Thursday night small group is one of the highlights of your week since some of your friends come over to play while the grown-ups do their lesson. You are constantly asking if your teacher, Mrs. Dunmore, can come over to play;) You like to pray for your friends and teachers every night, and usually you throw in one other random request. Last night you wanted to pray that your birthday cake arrived safely from Kentucky, lol! Daddy or I usually help you say your prayers, but lately you have done it all by yourself a couple of times and I always have to hold back tears as I listen to your heartfelt requests. You have such a sweet and genuine heart, and that is a trait I am so proud of and hope you never lose. You are still very loving and will regularly bury your head in my chest and say “I love you SO MUCH mommy.” You like for me to tell you that “you’re my favorite little boy.” Not sure how I am going to handle this when your baby brother gets here;) Overall, you seem excited about getting a baby brother. You are always patting my belly and asking me if I feel OK. Your buddies are fascinated by my big belly and you proudly inform them that your baby brother is in there, getting big and strong, and he’s going to pop out real soon:-)

Some of your biggest strengths are your intelligence, your leadership, your athleticism, your desire to help others (especially kids that are smaller than you), your empathy, your persistency, your energy and your excitement about life in general. Your teachers are always commenting how you have so much passion and just generally love really big. They also comment on your intelligence a lot. You’re the type that completely surprises us with what you know and recall. You’ll do things out of nowhere that we didn’t even know you could do. You have a crazy good memory and don’t forget anything. Some of the struggles we have with you are also related to your persistency, high energy and leadership. You don’t like to sit still, ever, which is obviously problematic when you’re in situations where you have to sit still, like preschool or Sunday school. Your persistency means you are often hard headed and defiant when you don’t get your way. You don’t give in easily. Your leadership means you are very competitive and you want to be in charge, or as you call it, be the “leader.” You always want to win and get pretty upset when you don’t. Your competitiveness has gotten you in trouble a few times at school. Just last week you punched a kid after he told you that you weren’t as fast as him. Aye aye aye. A common goal of mine and your dad’s is to reign in some of those qualities without squashing them, since we know they can have some benefits, especially as you get older. You have a little bit of a temper, and while you don’t have a lot of temper tantrums per se, you get really upset if you don’t get your way, or if things don’t go how you had planned. We are working on how to get you to control your emotions and not act out. We haven’t quite figured out the best discipline for you yet, but it seems to be taking things away, like favorite toys, or removing you from situations. You don’t like to miss out on fun things. Usually a threat to call Daddy works too;) For rewards you LOVE to go to Target and pick out a toy. We have a “good behavior sticker chart” on the fridge and whenever the chart is filled, you get to pick out a new toy. Before the first sticker even goes on the chart you’ve already decided what you want, and it’s all you talk about until your chart is filled and you get your prize.

Asher Wade, I am so proud to be your mama. I thank God everyday for entrusting your daddy and I with you, and I only hope we help shape you into the person God has designed you to be. You are an amazing little boy, and you can go on to do amazing things. You just have to trust God, listen closely and walk the path that He has laid out for you. I want you to know God, trust God, and love Him with all your heart. If you do those three things, you will always be fulfilled, and I will consider my job as a parent successful. I know how much you like to lead and win, but remember, following God is how you will ultimately win. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Motivation Monday

Looking back I see that this was a pretty heavy week of exercise, although it didn’t really feel like it. Four OTF classes in one week is kind of unusual for me, but I try to take advantage of it when I’m able to go, since that’s not always the case due to scheduling conflicts and sometimes lack of energy. Pregnancy, and all the not-so-fun side effects that often come along with it, can make it so easy to slack off on the exercise. I did not sleep well this week and subsequently had very low energy and would have preferred to go lie down on a park bench during my lunch break. However, I know that 99% of the time I will feel better and more energized if I go exercise. Even if that just means heading outside for a walk. When I was pregnant with Asher Wade, all I really did was walk and do the elliptical, which is still great and definitely better than not doing anything at all, but this time I am doing OTF and a lot more weight training, and running of course. After I had AW I found that I had lost a lot of muscle tone because I basically didn’t lift any weights during my pregnancy. I don’t want that to happen again. Between OTF and regular strength training, I am probably the strongest I have ever been and I am absolutely not going to let all the hard work go to waste. With my first pregnancy I was more concerned with gaining too much weight, and I thought cardio was the best way to avoid that. This time I am more concerned with holding on to my muscle, and I’m putting more focus on strength training, but still doing a decent amount of cardio. I guess it’s kind of an experiment to see which route will ultimately yield the best results, so the jury is still out on that one.

Stats from this past week:

Monday: 15 minutes on the treadmill (5.5 mph) and a 45 minute Sports Drill class (alternating cardio intervals and strength training intervals)

Tuesday: 60 minute Orangetheory Fitness class

Wednesday: 60 minute Orangetheory Fitness class

Thursday: Was really not feeling it today and basically just walked down to the gym on auto pilot and told myself I would change and at least walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes. I ended up running into my friend in the locker room and she was struggling with the same lack of motivation so we decided to head outside for a walk and it ended up being so nice and just what I needed! Exercise buddies are the BEST.

Friday: 15 minutes on the treadmill (5.0 mph) followed by a 45 minute Sports Drill class (alternating between cardio and strength intervals)

Saturday: 60 minute Orangetheory Fitness class

Sunday: Full disclosure…I had planned to make today a total rest day, but after a few hours of dealing with a VERY ornery almost 4 year old, I decided I needed to escape and de-stress and went to a 60 minute Orangetheory Fitness class.

On another note, I am technically supposed to be running/walking a half marathon this coming Sunday. Asher Wade and I are flying to Sarasota for a few days while he’s on spring break and there’s a half going on while we are there. I committed to doing it awhile back, knowing the route would be beautiful and the weather likely nice, as is the usual in Sarasota in March, but now I’m totally psyching myself out. I haven’t done any long runs since my last half in November. I couldn’t find any training buddies this go around (other than 4-5 mile runs, which I have done a lot of) and I absolutely cannot stand running by myself. SO BORING. So basically I am going into this completely unprepared. I know I can do a combination of jogging and walking, and honestly, I don’t know that I should be running 13.1 miles at 5 months pregnant anyways, so a jogging/walking combo is probably better anyways. Not to mention I’ll be stopping at every single porta-potty along the route;) Wish me luck!

I just had to post this picture because it kind of cracks me up. 

It snowed in the early hours of Sunday so while Matt headed to church, I decided to keep AW home. He’s had a little cold and between that and the new sleeping arrangements, his sleep hasn’t been the greatest this week, and he’s been rather grumpy and ornery. At some point that morning he was literally losing his mind over I don’t even know what, and I snapped this, sent to Matt and texted, “S.O.S., I will meet you at OTF at 12:30 and hand him off to you. May the force be with you.” Matt met me there and took Mr. Grumpy Pants to lunch and then promptly met me back at OTF an hour later and gave back Mr. (still) Grumpy Pants so he could do the 2:00 class. Parenting ain’t nothing without teamwork.

The Second Child Conundrum {or, that time I got really hormonal on my blog}

{Warning…total random and personal post about to follow}

The second child conundrum.  Let me tell you – it is a conundrum.  I have some serious baby fever right now.  In fact, if I catch a glimpse of a sweet, little, bald headed ball of squishy I kind of go in to this trance where I can’t stop staring and imagining what it would be like if I had that little squishy in my own arms.  My mind immediately starts to wander to the possibility of adding to our family.  These little phases of longing used to pass pretty quickly, but lately I’ve realized I’m in this constant state of baby fever (except when Asher Wade is having one his “moments”…then I head to the CVS and get a 12 month supply of my birth control).  It’s constantly on my mind.  Matt and I have discussed it (very high level, and it usually just involves me bringing it up and him sort of Mmmm, hmmm’ing along – not agreeing, but not disagreeing, just acknowledging), and while I think it’s more on my radar than his, he hasn’t shot me down yet.  I think I’d ultimately have to be the one to make the executive decision though.  Matt could probably go either way, but I know he ultimately wants me to be happy, and I know he’d be overjoyed if I got pregnant.  I also know he’d be completely satisfied and content if we remained a family of three.

So here we are, trying to decide when the “right” time is, or if there is ever going to be a right time, or if we’re going to have to take a leap of faith and trust in God’s plan.  My heart (and my uterus) are constantly like, “Yes, yes, yes…we NEED a baby stat.”  Then my brain is like “Umm, can we afford this?  Do we have the time?  Do we have the patience?  Do we have the energy?  Are we too selfish?”  I feel like those are the main deterrents right now, and I’m trying to work through each one to see if I’m totally making mountains out of molehills.  I mean, most people have more than one kid, right?  So obviously if they can handle it, so can we, right??

*Patience.  Now granted, my patience has gotten so much better over the last few years.  In fact, dare I say that I would now classify myself as a patient person?  I feel like this is a personality trait I could add to my personality resume, when a few years ago I would not have been able to claim that.  However, I am doing ok as a mom of ONE.  I may have become more patient as far as raising one little human, but I question how my patience would fair with another one.  Here’s the thing, it took me some time to get to where I am now.  It was definitely an adjustment learning how to control my emotions and develop some patience.  The first couple of years were a little touch and go and I definitely had my share of pull my hair out, grind my teeth and cry melt-downs.  I have had to put a lot of conscious effort in to developing patience and learning to let things slide.  I’ve had to learn to pick my battles and just let some behaviors and actions go.  I’ve come a long way, and I’m a little nervous about starting all over again with the addition of one more patience tester.

*Y’all.  Energy.  I feel like I’ve been lacking energy for almost 3.5 years now, and Lord knows I am lacking in the sleep department.  Raising a child is hard work and it saps the energy right out of you.  I know I say this all the time, but I seriously feel like we hit the ground running at 6:30 every morning and we do not stop until our heads hit our pillows around 9:30 each night.  Even then, my brain is still going for at least another hour as I mentally check off what needs to be done tomorrow.  I sleep for 7’ish hours (often not soundly because my brain won’t turn off, or Asher Wade wakes up, or the cat attacks my foot, or I need a potty break).  It’s an exhausting life we lead right now.  Yet would I give up even more sleep for another squishy in my arms?  You better believe it.  Would I be able to function with even less sleep and energy?  I’m not so sure, although I assume we’d make it work.  Again, people do this every day, right??  I do feel like we’d have to make some changes to our schedules and back off on some of our other commitments.

*Time.  Again, people have multiple kids every day.  Lots of these people also have full time careers like us.  They are also involved at church, in their kid’s school and extracurricular activities and in various other committees and social groups.  They also lead small groups.  They also go to book club.  They also work-out and have to shop for groceries and stop and get gas in the mornings and feed their pets.  They all have STUFF.  I get it that we are no different from millions of other people, but I struggle to understand how these millions of other people make time for all these things AND have more than one kid.  The times of the day I worry the most about are the mornings, when we are all trying to get ready and out the door on time, and then the evenings, when we’re trying to get dinner on the table, get stuff ready for the next day and get in bed at a decent hour.  We are so consumed with Asher Wade related responsibilities in the evenings and sometimes it seems so overwhelming.

*Money.  Yikes.  Kids are dang expensive!  If I do the math, we are spending well over $1,000 on kid related expenses (tuition, clothes, food, activities, etc.) per month.  That’s $1,000 more per month than what we were spending pre-AW.  What in the world did we spend that money on before we had him?!  It seems like that would have been a huge change in our financial situation back then, but I honestly can’t even remember.  It just fell in to place and worked.  This obviously goes to show that you make adjustments and it isn’t a big deal, so it probably wouldn’t be a big deal to add the expense of another child.  Like everyone always says, you just make it work.  It seems awfully daunting though looking at it in true numbers.  I feel like we would have to pull money from somewhere, and I’m not sure where that would be.  I also assume it means we would have to cut back in other areas, but again, not sure where that would be.  If I’m being honest, the real underlying issue is that I don’t want to have to cut back in other areas.  Which leads me to my last point…

*Selfishness.  I like where we are right now.  We do a lot of stuff.  We go a lot of places.  We have A LOT of fun.  It’s relatively easy to haul around one kid to various things, and we definitely do some hauling.  Asher Wade has been on the go pretty much his whole life.  I mean, I had the kid at Starbucks and in Target when we he was 4 days old;)  We went on a week-long beach trip when he was 10 weeks old.  He flew on a plane at 3 months old, and has flown countless times since.  We’ve done lots of trips and weekend getaways and even did the Disney Cruise for his third birthday and we recently booked a Disney Alaskan cruise.  Then there’s the local things.  We love to try out different restaurants and visit various events and things around town.  We are just an on-the-go family.  We are an involved family too.  Participate, attend and lead are actions that come to mind when I think of our involvement in various groups and events.  Matt and I enjoy our date nights and the one-on-one time we are able to have right now.

The bottom line, I know we’d have to give some things up if we had another baby.  We’d have to sacrifice things we love in order to create more time, money, energy, and even patience to make room for a second kid.  It’s just a somewhat daunting reality.  Does it completely deter me from wanting another baby?  Nope.  It just makes me a little scared.  Is it normal to feel this way and question these things?  Or is this some sort of “sign” that maybe we aren’t ready.  Do other moms feel this way before they decide to have another?  I imagine they don’t think about it quite as much as I do, or maybe they do and just don’t talk about it.  Am I totally over-analyzing this?  Somebody make me feel better about myself!

Signed,

Befuddled in Chattanooga

P.S. If possible, future Baby McWilliams is reading this one day, please know you are loved and cherished, and your mom is just a little bit crazy.  It’s going to be OK.

Toddler Tuesday {Toddler Bowling}

We made plans with some friends to go bowling after church on Sunday. I honestly went along thinking we’d go to lunch with everyone and then maybe hang out at the bowling alley for 10 minutes or so and then scoot, assuming Asher Wade would not be in to, or really understand, the concept of bowling.  I really should just stop having any sort of preconceived notions when it comes to this kid because I always assume the exact opposite.  Needless to say, he loved bowling, and was actually pretty good at it.  Granted there were bumpers and that little ramp thing that the kiddos can use to push their ball down the lane, but still, he totally got the concept and would get very excited when those pins fell down.

 Bowling is one of those things that I always forget how much I enjoy.  I’m not really any good (although I did roll a few strikes!), but it’s fun and active, and it’s always a good time when you are with friends.  We laughed and laughed, at each other and at our gaggle of kids.  And come one, toddlers in bowling shoes?  Cutest thing ever:-)

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Also, we bowled right through nap time, but when we got home and started watching The Good Dinosaur (for 1,247th time), this happened. He rarely falls asleep in my lap anymore, and although I had to pee something fierce, I couldn’t help but stay put for a little bit. My sweet baby…

 

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Gone.


When I finally did slide myself out from under him so I could head out for a walk, Matt went in to check on him 10 minutes later and found this…

 

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 Toddler Tuesday {Asher Wade Update at 3 Years, 3 Months}

Haven’t done a #toddlerAW update in awhile, so figured it was high time. I’m not sure I can call him a “toddler” anymore.  When exactly does that end?  He definitely seems more like a little boy now.  This age has had some challenges, but it’s oh so fun.  I don’t know what people are talking about when they say “Terrible Two’s” because I thought two was a walk in the park.  Three has been more challenging in my opinion.  It’s like Asher Wade has realized he has a voice, and opinions and emotions (oh lawd, the emotions…) and he likes to express all of them on a regular basis.  For the most part it’s pretty manageable, and honestly, if you know Matt and me, we tend to find humor in things and we aren’t afraid to just sit back and laugh about it when little man is in the corner having a come apart.  I find that just staying out of the way, giving him space and letting him have his moment is the quickest way to getting past a tantrum.  Once he calms down, we talk it out, kiss and make-up and move along with our day.  It happens.  We are finding that time-out’s aren’t really effective anymore, and we prefer not to spank, so lately it’s been taking away toys and privileges, which works pretty well.  He does test my patience regularly, but 90% of the time he’s a ball of fun and sweetness, so I can’t complain.

His language skills have just shot off. We have full on conversations now and he can easily express what he wants (or doesn’t want).  After worrying so much about his speech development, it’s clear that all the advice I received about not worrying about it was spot on.  It did eventually happen, like everyone said it would, and it does almost feel like it exploded out of nowhere.  The only problem now is that we have to be SO CAREFUL about what we say.  Not that we go around dropping F-bombs or anything, but I certainly drop a “crap” or a “boob” or a “for the love of…” on a regular basis.  Lately he’s been saying everything is “cray cray” after he heard me call someone that.  Hopefully he doesn’t tell on me.  We get a lot of “Fine!” and “Whatever!”  No doubt he picked that up from me as well.  He can recite 4 bible verses and countless songs and little rhymes, including his ABC’s, and so far I’ve heard him count to 20, but he may be able to go further.  Lately he’s really into gender and likes to point out who’s a girl and who’s a boy.  He does this for people, animals, toys and other random inanimate objects.  If I ask him how he knows whether something is a girl or a boy (other than actual people) he’ll say it’s a girl because it looks pretty or it’s a boy because it looks strong.  My feminist streak tends to come out and I have to explain that girls are strong too.  Pretty sure I went off on some tangent about how girls are not just defined by how pretty they are, after which he promptly looked at me and said, “But you’re so pretty mommy!”  The other night we were driving home at sunset and he mentioned how it was so pretty outside.  After I agreed he looked at me and said, “But you are even more pretty mommy.”

He’s potty trained! We pretty much backed off in May and then in June he suddenly became way more interested and motivated.  We still didn’t push too much and let him take the lead.  By early July he was having very few accidents and now it’s unusual for him to have one.  He uses the big potty and he prefers to stand.  This can be a little messy, but if that’s all I have to worry about I can deal.  If you ever come to our house now you’ll know why we have anti-bacterial wipes next to every toilet.  He does need help when he has to get up there and sit for #2, and he likes to have the door shut for privacy.  As soon as we help him up he promptly tells us to leave and “please close the door.”  About 15 seconds later he calls us back in there to look at it…”Mommy, I have something to show you.”  I’m kind of over looking at his turds…#momlife  (On that note, he’s really in to surprising us with things in general.  He’s constantly coming up to us with something behind his back saying “I have something to show you.”  It’s a crapshoot as to what it’s going to be, but so far, thankfully, he hasn’t taken his turds out of the toilet to “surprise” us).  He’s still in a diaper at night, and it’s pretty heavy in the mornings, so I’m not sure how night-time training will go, but we’re fine with how things are going for now.  I can certainly deal with one diaper per day.

You guys, this kid is so loving. I know I always say that, but it’s so true.  I’ve never seen a 3 year old say “I love you” so much, and unprompted.  He’s always telling us that, and giving us hugs and kisses.  He loves to snuggle and be close.  Sensitive as always and gets his feelings hurt easily.  He can run into a brick wall (just like he did a few weeks ago) and not shed a tear, but if you hurt his feelings or get mad at him, cue the waterworks.  Even with that sensitive streak, he’s incredibly adaptable, brave and fearless and will try just about anything.  He loves the water and is really close to swimming unassisted.  He tends to hold his breath underwater for too long when going from point A to point B, so we’re not entirely comfortable letting him swim without us being within arm’s reach, but I think he’ll have it down pat by the end of the summer.  We went on a friend’s boat this past weekend and he would jump from the boat into the river without a second thought.  He would have stayed in there all day.  After watching me water-ski he was begging to try that.  He literally wants to try everything.  He still loves to ride his bike and scooter.  It’s been so daggone hot, so we don’t spend a ton of time outdoors, unless it’s in the morning or evening, and that seems to suit him just fine.  The few times we’ve gone to the park in the middle of the day he’s played for 10 minutes and then looked at me, soaked with sweat and with bright red cheeks, and said we “needed to go home and cool down now.”  I feel ya buddy.

He starts legit school in a couple of weeks. The school we were planning to send him to for Kindergarten through 12th grade recently implemented a Pre-K program, so we decided to go ahead and enroll him.  It’s crazy to think this is the school where he’ll ultimately graduate high school (hold me…) and it makes me realize just how fast he’s growing and how fast time is going.  This is going to be a huge transition for him.  Pretty sure it isn’t going to be like daycare where they basically play all day.  He’ll have a desk and a schedule and extracurricular activities and assignments and we have a school supply list that we have to shop for, and it all just seems very big boy, which is making mama a big baby.  I’m nervous how the transition will go, but I’m excited for him and I know it will be a really great environment.  Plus, he will be challenged, which is always a good thing in my opinion.  We actually attended a class picnic last night and were able to meet his teacher and classmates and their parents, which was really fun.  I pray that these other kids become his close friends over the coming year and that we are able to build relationships with the parents.

He went to the pediatrician for his required school physical, so I have some recent stats, at least as of a few weeks ago. He’s 3 feet and 4 inches tall (89th percentile) and weighs 40 lbs (96th percentile).  He’s wearing a size 9.5/10 in shoes and size 4t in clothes.  We recently bought a new car seat to better accommodate his ever growing body.  (SN: It’s a Diono Radian RXT and we love it and wish we had been using that all along).  He’s moved up to fluoride toothpaste and does really well spitting it out (albeit in the toilet).  He’s getting better about undressing himself, but still needs assistance getting dressed.  He sleeps pretty well and stays in his bed all night for the most part.  We start his bedtime routine around 8/8:15 (bath, jammies, brush teeth and hair, books, prayers), and he’s usually down around 9, but he would definitely stay up later if we let him.  He gets up around 7 most mornings, although a lot of the time we have to go in and wake him up.  His memory is crazy good and he’ll remember something we said or saw weeks ago.  If we go somewhere even just one time, he’ll remember it and point it out next time we get close.  He’s good at directions and can tell us how to get home (where to turn, etc.) and he knows the way to school, church, Target and Starbucks, lol.  The kid loves Target (thanks to the Dollar Bin, where we let him pick out something) and Starbucks (thanks to cake pops) and asks to go often.  He also loves to look for fire trucks when we are driving around in the car and will keep count of how many he sees.

He loves Paw Patrol, dinosaurs, Lightning McQueen from Cars, Spider Man and Super Man, sharks, planes and helicopters, all those little Matchbox cars, diggers, monster trucks, fire trucks, trains, Blaze and the Monster Machines, PJ Masks, The Lion Guard, any sort of ball or sport, books, and Finding Dory and Finding Nemo.  He loves to get new clothes and especially new shoes and will tell everyone he comes into contact with about his new shoes, even if they are technically a month old.  After Matt gets him dressed in the morning he can’t wait to come show me his outfit.  He loves getting stuff in the mail and knows all about online shopping;)  He loves his playroom and would be perfectly content in there all day.  He’s definitely a homebody, but he always has fun once we get out.  He loves animals and claims that dogs and giraffes are his favorite.  He loves when we pass farms and he sees cows and horses.  Favorite foods are bagels with cream cheese, mac n’ cheese (he asks for it every night), grilled cheese, biscuits, most fruit, peas, broccoli with cheese, string cheese, fruity popsicles, strawberry “milkshakes” (really just strawberries and vanilla yogurt in the blender), fries, turkey dogs and hot dogs, cheeseburgers, those kid sized Clif bars, yogurt, pretzels and tortilla chips, peanut butter sandwiches, quesadillas, and his hands down favorite treat is vanilla ice cream with M&M’s.  He prefers to drink milk, water and iced tea, and still loves his morning “white moo-moo/cha moo-moo” (white milk with a little chocolate syrup mixed in).  His favorite morning ritual is sitting on the counter while I make it so he can watch the white milk magically turn into chocolate milk:-)

He’s a mess of a little boy and we love hanging out with him. Every day is equal parts exhausting and rewarding.  In other words, it’s parenthood.

Toddler Tuesday

We’ve started summer early around here, although I tend to think of Memorial Day has the official kick-off of the summer season anyways. Our neighborhood pool is officially open for business and we have been spending a lot of evenings there. We are so lucky because we just walk out our back door, through our yard and out the back gate, and we’re at the pool. This was a huge selling point of our lot and home. Basically we have a pool in our backyard, without the responsibility of having a pool in our back yard, ha!

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This little boy would stay outside all day if he could


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They see me rollin’…


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Love these sweet, fleeting moments

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Pizza at the pool!


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Some serious bed head


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Three generations of McWilliams guys:)


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So, we are in the midst of potty training. I use this term very loosely because like most aspects of our parenting style, we go with the flow and aren’t exactly hard nosed rule followers. We’re just kind of following his lead, which often means he’s peeing in the front yard;)


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I was going through pics from this past weekend and couldn’t believe how old he looks in this one. I swear he’s just growing and changing right before my eyes…


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Checking out the boats on the river


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Love these boys:-)

Disney Cruise {Tips, Tricks and Hacks you NEED to Know!}

Oh man, not even sure where to begin with this post, so I guess I’ll just start typing and see where it goes. It’s going to be a long one, but hopefully an informative one. I did a little research before we left and we have several friends that had previously done a Disney cruise and/or visited Disney World with kids in tow, so thankfully we had some insight and knew a lot of the tips, tricks and hacks prior to getting there, but we definitely learned even more during our actual trip. So here goes….my version of Disney Cruise tips, tricks and hacks that you should know, in no particular order.

Check-in. You can complete your online check-in for the cruise starting 75 days before your cruise. This is when you choose you port arrival time, and you’ll want to choose the earliest time available (see more about this below). This is when you can start booking excursions, spa treatments, special activities and reservations. Some things sell out fast, so I recommend booking as soon as available. This is also when you can register your kids for the kid’s clubs. Keep in mind though that if you plan to use the nursery (ages 3 and under), you cannot make reservations yet. You do this once you board the ship. As soon as you board, go visit the nursery (it was called It’s a Small World Nursery on our ship) and make your reservations.

Packing. You will not need as many clothes as you think you will, so keep that in mind when packing. I thought I packed light by bringing one casual outfit and one dinner outfit for each day (plus workout clothes), but I ended up not needing any of the casual outfits because I was either in workout clothes or a swimsuit and cover-up all day, only changing into regular clothes at night for dinner. It just makes more sense to stay in a swimsuit so you’re always ready for the pool. If anything, bring extra swimsuit cover-ups.

Drinks. Pack your own insulated cups. While fountain drinks are free on board, the cups are small, and you’ll find yourself constantly going back for a refill. We brought our YETI cups and were so happy we did. Also, they only have Coke products, so if you prefer other sodas, bring your own.

Alcohol. Alcoholic drinks are not free on the ship. You can also bring your own alcohol onboard (must be in your carry on). I believe you can bring 2 bottles of wine, or 6 beers, per person. We brought a few bottles of wine and would fix a glass to take with us when we headed out for the pool or dinner or whatever. Just don’t forget a bottle opener. While you can always request one from room service, it may take awhile for them to bring it to you. Oh, and unfortunately there’s a corking fee at the restaurants if you bring your own bottle to dinner. It was something ridiculous too…I want to say $25. However, they will let you split a bottle with your tablemates. We made friends with ours the first night, and started ordering a bottle of wine to share, and then just had the server split the cost between us.

Room service. If you want to avoid the restaurant one night and have your meal in your room, room service is always free, although some things do have a cost (like candy, popcorn and obviously alcohol). You can also request these ice cream Mickey bars that were awesome! They aren’t on the menu, but just ask. It’s is customary to tip the staff a few dollars like in most hotels.

Extras. Speaking of candy and “snacky foods” that you may want for the movies and whatnot…bring it from home. Candy, popcorn and packaged snacks are really over priced onboard, but since everyone wants candy and popcorn for the movies, people buy it. Save some money and bring it from home.

Port of embarkation. Get to the port city the night before. It makes the morning of embarkation much less stressful when you are already in the vicinity. Plus, with the uncertainty of traffic and flight delays, I wouldn’t want to risk missing the cruise! If you happen to leave from Port Canaveral, I recommend the Radisson. It’s 5 minutes from the port and they offer a shuttle service. You can also leave your car at the hotel for a much cheaper fee than what you’d pay to park at the port. Hotel has an awesome pool as well and a couple decent restaurants. Rooms were spacious and nice. We actually would have enjoyed staying a few days.

Free character call. You can request a call from Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, etc. before you leave for your cruise. Basically you make the request (through your online account on the cruise line website) and it will spit out a phone number. You call the number, hand the phone to your kid, and there will be a personal recording from their favorite character welcoming them to the cruise ship. Really cute way to start off the trip.

Boarding. Try and get an early boarding time so you can get on the ship as soon as possible. This is prime time for hitting up the pool and other popular areas before all the other cruise goers get on the ship. Remember that as the morning goes by, more and more people board the ship. Might as well take advantage of fewer crowds if you can. Even if you were unable to get the early boarding time, you can arrive earlier than your scheduled boarding time and they will likely let you on. Because we booked our cruise relatively last minute, the earliest boarding time I could get was 1:30 pm. However, we went ahead and got there at 12 and they let us on, no questions asked.

Carry on bag. Pack a backpack or carry on with swimsuits, sunscreen, and anything else you may want for the pool. When you board, they take your luggage from you, but it doesn’t arrive to your room until hours later. We boarded at 12, but our room wasn’t available until 1:30 and our luggage wasn’t delivered until close to 5. Thankfully, we had packed stuff for the pool, so as soon as we boarded, we checked out the ship a little and then hit the pool.

Lanyards and “Key to the World Card”. Bring a lanyard for each family member (those things that hang around your neck and hold a card). You will get a “Key to the World” card (each family member) and you basically have to have this on you at all times. You use it to access your room and turn the power on in your room (in order to turn the lights on, you have to have a card in the slot right inside your door), and you use it to pay for anything and everything (our wallets never left the safe). You also need it to get on and off the ship at ports. You literally need it at all times. So unless you want to carry around a wallet or purse, a lanyard is the best bet. We didn’t know to buy them ahead of time, so we bought them in the gift shop on board, but of course they were totally over priced. Another tip – after you’ve cruised once, Disney gives you a free lanyard for any subsequent cruises.

Childcare. You have two options depending on the ages of your kids. There’s a nursery and a couple different kids’ clubs. The nursery is for kids 3 and under. The kids’ clubs are for 3 and up, but they also must be potty trained to go to the kids’ clubs. AW was 3 (literally to the day) when we cruised, so according to his age, he could have gone to either, but since he wasn’t potty trained, we stuck with the nursery for the most part. We let him play in the kids’ club a little bit during their open house times, but we were with him. He loved the nursery (literally begged to go), but the kids’ clubs were so awesome. They have open house the day of embarkation, so definitely go check them out and make reservations to bring your kids.

Gratuities. This is an important one! They will automatically add a 15% gratuity to all bar and alcoholic drink purchases. They will also automatically add an 18% gratuity to all spa services. Check.your.bill. We did not realize and were adding an additional 20% gratuity when we signed the receipt, which means we were paying double gratuity. This isn’t a huge deal, BUT we got massages at the spa one day, which were not cheap to begin with. When we signed the receipt, I failed to notice the gratuity already on there, and I filled in an additional 20%. An additional 20% on a pretty hefty bill was quite a bit. No wonder those ladies acted so appreciative when we left;) As for gratuities for other service providers during your cruise (your dining room server, assistant server, stateroom host, etc.) you will have the opportunity to give them a gratuity of your choosing at the end of the trip. Little envelopes will be left in your room the day before you return to port and you can simply state that you want it charged to your onboard account, or pay the gratuity in cash by visiting Guest Services onboard (I don’t think they like you to stick cash in the envelopes, probably because of currency issues). You can go with their suggested rates (also available on the website) or choose your own. I looked at the suggested gratuities for the main service providers and upped them a little, because the service truly was exceptional, especially in the dining room. I understand you can also “pre-pay” your gratuities before leaving on the cruise. Just contact Disney Cruise Lines at least 3 days before embarking.

Storage. Store suitcases under the bed in your room to give you more walking space. There is enough space to allow you to slide most suitcases under there.

Refrigerators. Our boat (Disney Dream) had refrigerators in each stateroom, but I’ve heard that’s not the case on the Magic and Wonder ships, so you have to request one if you are on either ship. This may not be the case now, but it’s just what I’ve heard from others, so I’d double check, especially if you know you will need a mini fridge in your room.

Sail Away Party. Best viewing for the Sail Away Party is the deck above the actual party (Deck 12 on the Dream). Not so crowded, but still a great view to see all the action going on below. Also, staff will walk around offering the “drink of the day” – these are not free! However, if buy one, save your reusable cup because you will get a discount if you order another drink and ask them to use that same cup. Many people discard those reuseable cup…collect them, wash them out in your room and then use them to get the discount.

Navigator app. The Navigator app for your phone is a must! Download it before leaving and then follow instructions for connecting once you board the ship. This is how you know everything that is going on around the ship, all day, every day. All on-board activities, shows, special events, character appearances, the weather, port activities, literally everything cruise related. We referred to this throughout the day.

Dinner seating. Don’t worry if you were only able to get the late dinner seating (8:15). That’s all that was available when we booked, but it honestly worked out for the better, and we’ll do it like that next time as well. It’s less crowded and the youth counselors will come in at 9 and take any bored kids over the age of 3 back to the kid’s club so you can finish your dinner in peace. I was worried the late dining would interfere with bedtime, but go ahead and throw any bedtime schedules out the window right now. We are pretty adamant about bedtime when we are home, but AW was up till midnight most nights during this trip. There’s way too much fun stuff going on! Plus, with the later seating you don’t feel so rushed trying to get to dinner for 6:30. We’d swim and play and do whatever until 7 and then get ready for dinner.

Rotational dining. You will be assigned to a specific restaurant each night, and although your restaurant changes each night, your waitstaff and tablemates stay the same, so you dine with the same people every night, and have the same staff. This is awesome because you get to know your tablemates (they try to match you based on the ages of your children, or so I’ve heard) and your servers know your preferences. For example, our favorite drinks were always waiting for us upon arrival, and they knew we liked to eat and run because we often had some sort of activity to get to. They were awesome with AW and basically bent over backwards to appease him. We loved every single restaurant. On our ship there were three main restaurants, and since we were on a 4-night cruise, we ultimately would have visited one restaurant twice, but that’s the night we got room service anyways.

Food options at dinner. You can order whatever you want at dinner, a/k/a 3 appetizers, 2 entrees, only dessert, you get the drift. They had several healthy and vegetarian options. They’ll basically customize anything to meet your request or dietary restrictions. AW wanted applesauce one night, even though we didn’t see it anywhere on the menu or kid’s menu, and no joke, our waiter went to the kitchen and had some apples peeled and processed for him. Homemade applesauce!

On Demand movies. You’ll have “on demand” Disney movies in your room all day, every day. So awesome. It sounds silly, but one of my favorite parts of the cruise was climbing in bed at night with Matt and AW and picking out a movie to watch before drifting off to sleep. We introduced AW to a few of our favorites from when we were kids/teenagers, and he loved them. He also loved those old school Mickey cartoons, which was fun.

Pool shoes. The pool deck is slippery. Have sandals with good traction, especially for young kids that are more apt to fall. AW wears those Native shoes, and they were perfect.

Coffee. While there is 24/7 free coffee at the soda machines, the Cove Café has the best coffee bar and it’s in the “adults only” area. These coffee drinks are not free, but it’s really good and you can get your fancy coffee drinks. There are snacks under the glass that are free. Just ask for them if they aren’t easily accessible.

Professional photography a/k/a Shutters. There is a Disney photographer at every turn while you are on the cruise, and then you can visit the photo shop (called Shutters) and browse all of your pics. Basically they use face recognition (kind of creepy, huh?) so all of your family pictures will be automatically stored together in a hard copy and electronic photo book (gotta love that Disney magic).  You can choose to purchase as many or as few of the pictures as you want, but I’ll go ahead and throw this out there…it’s not cheap. I ended up going with the package of 10 prints and it cost me $150.

Adult pools, restaurant, etc. We never visited the fancy adults-only restaurants because we were content with the regular, family-friendly restaurants. Plus, they consist of those 5-course dinners, and we just don’t like eating that heavy. We did enjoy the adults-only pool on a few occasions. The gym/spa was right above it, so we liked working out and then hanging by the pool for a coupe hours while AW was in the nursery. They had a nice bar there too, right next to the pool. The pool was small, but still, the peace and quiet was a nice reprise every now and then.

Other pools. For that matter, the one thing I was disappointed in were the sizes of the pools. Even the main pool was surprisingly small. The deck area is huge and there’s no shortage of lounge chairs, which was nice, but I think they could expand the pools a little. It gets super crowded, especially on the Day at Sea.

Port day. When in port, stay on ship. If you don’t particularly care about the port, I advise you stay on the ship and enjoy the minimal crowds. We didn’t care about seeing Nassau, so we spent the day at the pool. There was hardly anyone there. The restaurants were less crowded too, and it was generally just easier to get around and do things.

Castaway Cay. A few things on this: 1) Get off the ship early so you can save chairs close to the water; 2) Grab several towels as you exit the ship; 3) Once you grab your towels you will get on a shuttle that takes you to the beach area. Get off the shuttle on the 2nd stop so you’ll be close to the slides and snorkeling; 4) Bring your own beach and sand toys. They sell some on the island, but again, over-priced. I didn’t know to bring our own, so I ended up letting AW pick out a few things; 5) Bring LOTS of sunscreen. That Caribbean sun is no joke; 6) We found it hard to find readily available water for drinking, so bring a few bottles, or fill your insulated cups before exiting the ship; 7) The food is barbeque, so not my cup of tea, but they had tons of fresh fruit, and another soft serve ice cream machine;); 8) Don’t be afraid to spend the first part of the day on the island with your kids, then bring them to the nursery/kids club for a few hours so you can have some alone time. Matt and I brought AW back to the ship and then headed back to the island for a few hours. We enjoyed some cocktails at this neat tiki bar area and just wandered around, enjoying the sights.

Pirate Night…costumes. People go all out. I’m talking full-on, Jack Sparrow outfits, make-up, hair, the works. In fact, you will be in the minority if you don’t dress up. I previously told the story of the epic failure that was AW’s costume and the meltdown that ensued when we took him for his appointment at the Pirate’s League, but that’s just a toddler for you. I had a shirt made for myself, and they do give you bandanas, but I was very underdressed compared to others. Next time I’ll be more prepared, and hopefully AW will be a better sport;)

Breakfast. The buffet breakfast is the bomb. Like seriously, best breakfast buffet ever. There was everything you could ever imagine or want, including tons of healthy options. Definitely just plan to eat here each morning. Our buffet style restaurant was called Cabanas, and while I think the name is different on each ship, they all have a buffet style restaurant. Also, before you leave the buffet in the morning, grab a couple boxes of cereal, yogurt, cartons of milk, or anything you think you may want as a snack later. To avoid purchasing snack type foods in the various shops, we’d eat things we snagged from the buffet earlier that morning. Plus, milk is hard to come by other than at breakfast, and AW drinks a lot of it, so I always grabbed extras and kept them in our fridge.

The peel n’ eat shrimp. Oh my word. The raw bar at Cabanas was the highlight of my lunch every day. The shrimp were huge and delicious. They also had stone crab claws. There was a ton of other lunch options available at Cabanas, but I mainly just ate the shrimp and crab, and maybe fixed a salad or something. Matt tried several other items and said they were all delicious. I’m normally not a fan of buffets, but the one on the ship was amazing. There’s also a decent grill and grab n’ go station near the pool area, where we would get things like hot dogs and hamburgers for AW, and tons of fresh fruit.

The soft serve ice cream station. Soft serve 24/7. They always have the standard chocolate and vanilla, but they also have a flavor of the day. We frequented this often. It’s just the perfect treat while laying at the pool.

Eating lunch by the pool. You can visit the Cabanas restaurant (or whatever buffet style restaurant you have on your ship in particular), fix a plate, and then bring it to your lounge chairs on the pool deck (just no food/drink IN the pool). We did this most days and would eat while watching a movie on the big projection screen.

Meeting characters. There is no shortage of opportunities to meet all of your favorite characters and it starts as soon as you arrive at the port. It’s so much easier to meet everyone on the ship than say at a park. All character appearance times and locations are available on your Navigator app, so you know where you need to be and what time you need to be there by. The meet and greet period is usually 15 or 30 minutes (it will tell you on the app), and as long as you are in line during that window, you will get to meet them. So for example, if the app says Mickey will be on Deck 4 Midship from 10-10:30, you must get in line at some point during that 30 minute window. There is always a crew member there keeping things organized and if you arrive after the designated window, they’ll kindly tell you that you can’t get in line. My suggestion is to get there 15 minutes before the actual window opens so you can get towards the front of the line, especially for the more popular characters. You can also get tickets ahead of time for some of the more popular characters. Just go to Guest Services as soon as you board, because I’ve heard they sell out quickly.

Room service and turn-down service. It’s everyday and every night. Your stateroom host/hostess will come in at some point late morning to tidy up your room, make your beds, fold up the trundle bed, etc. Then, during dinner, they will come back and get your beds ready for sleep (including pulling the trundle back out for the kiddos), tidy up, leave chocolates and a cute “towel creature.” This was really nice and it kept our stateroom organized and tidy. Plus, those chocolates were delicious:-)

The gym. The gym is really nice and I visited it everyday. The cardio machines and weight areas are new and in great condition. I loved running on the treadmill looking out the floor to ceiling windows at the turquoise water. I also took a spin class one morning, which was free, although some of the group exercise classes have a fee, so you have to check on that. There are sign-up sheets in the gym for the various classes, so if this is something you’d be interested in, I recommend visiting the gym each day to see what is being offered the following day so you can sign-up.

The spa. It’s nice, and they offer a ton of great services, but it’s pricey! Like I mentioned above, we got massages one day, which was definitely a treat for us and not something we would normally do, and don’t get me wrong, they were amazing, but I probably wouldn’t spend the money next time. Plus, they try to sell you all kinds of things. It was a little over the top. As soon as we finished our massages, the ladies came in with all kinds of products, telling you what you needed and why you needed it, blah, blah, blah. I somehow ended up walking away with $60 bath wash, lol!

Wake-up calls. If you request a wake up call, it’s Mickey that calls you!

Souvenirs. Before you leave, buy and inexpensive 11×14 frame mat (white, or another light color), bring it with you on board and take it to Guest Services when you first arrive on the ship. They will get it signed by all the characters during your cruise and deliver it back to your room before you disembark. When you get home, print off a picture from the cruise and stick it in the frame, with the signed mat around it. It makes a great souvenir. There are also several great souvenir shops on the ship, and they have one-of-a-kind items that you can’t get at the parks or at a Disney store.

Special requests. Don’t be afraid to ask! The staff will totally got out of their way to do anything and everything for you, within reason of course. I forgot to bring a picture mat with us (to do what I mentioned above with the signatures), but upon our arrival that first day we had received a large Disney picture frame for AW’s birthday (part of that room decorating package I purchased ahead of time). One night while we were waiting in line to meet Mickey, Matt mentioned to a staff member that we had this frame and were wondering if it would be possible to get it signed by some characters. She told Matt to run upstairs to our room and grab the frame. He brought it down and gave it to her, and then no joke, when we got back to our room that night, it was sitting there with all of the characters’ signatures around the matting!

Booking your next cruise while onboard. I think I mentioned in a previous post that we went ahead and booked a subsequent cruise while we were on board this one. Besides the fact that we loved it so much and definitely knew we wanted to go again soon, there is a pretty good benefit to booking while onboard. You only have to put 10% down (as compared to 20%), you get extra onboard credit, AND you get 10% off the entire cruise itself. You simply pick a “dummy date” and even if it turns out that you can’t go on that date, you keep moving it back until you find a date/destination that works. You just have to sail within 18 months of booking.

Preparing for your return. You will have to leave your suitcases outside your room the night before you return home. Make sure you set aside clothes for the next day and pack a bag with everything you will need in the morning, or at least until you can get your luggage back at the port in customs.

Customs. Tie a colorful ribbon or tag on your luggage to easily spot it when you get to customs upon returning. It’s pretty chaotic in there. Also, there will be workers that will offer to help you with your bags. This was extremely helpful. You do need to tip them generously, but seriously, with how chaotic it was in there, trying to keep tabs on AW, it was a Godsend to have this gentleman handle our luggage and I was happy to hand over some cash for this service.

Final tip. Let it go! Forget eating/naptime/bedtime schedules and trying to keep your kid calm and under control at all times. Seriously. Let it go. Relax and just go with the care-free, cruise attitude. Your kids are going to be up late. They are going to eat at all different times of the day. They may not nap (although, amazingly, AW took a nap each day). They are going to be ridiculously excited and probably a little obnoxious. No one cares. I’m not saying you should let your kid run around like a banshee, but seriously, pick your battles and know that everyone is dealing with the same thing. Disney makes kids (and some adults) a little cray-cray. Disney on a boat? Yeah, that’s a whole other level. Just go with it. As long as your kid doesn’t fall overboard (I was seriously terrified of this), call it a win and move on.

OK, pretty sure that was the longest post I’ve ever written, but I hope it was helpful! Feel free to message me if you have any other specific questions. It was seriously the best trip…I can’t recommend it enough. We cannot wait to go back!

Toddler Tuesday and Weekend Shenanigans

Well, I often brag about how we seem to have bypassed the so called “terrible two’s” and I just assumed we got lucky with a little boy that doesn’t throw tantrums and is generally pretty even keel.  Now I am here to tell you the very hard and often undisclosed truth…it’s really the “terrible three’s” you should be wary of.  Case in point…

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This was at Panera the other day. Matt was attending a parent seminar at AW’s new school and I walked AW to Panera while we waited for Matt to join us. I literally had to text Matt with SOS and ask him to come rescue me ASAP. Asher Wade turned three and apparently this is when toddlers start to experience what I can only assume is some sort of bipolar, PMS, Tourette’s combination. Basically you cry for no reason, are extremely sensitive, act a fool and have random outbursts at very inopportune times, in the presence of the general public, and usually at times when I’m already on the verge of losing it as it is. This has happened almost daily for the last week.  It’s like a switch just flips and BAM, mind lost.

Then you have sweet moments like these..

I guess I’m just calling this a phase and moving along.

We also did some serious flower planting over the weekend.

I’m pretty proud of our pretty flowers.  I’m keeping watch over them as though they were newborn puppies and so paranoid something is going to happen and they will die.  I mean, I don’t exactly have a green thumb – I’ve never planted anything in my life – but I’m hopeful they will last.  Our front porch looks so pretty!

guacamole, Oscar, Lululemon panties, 7 mile walks and a good dinosaur, or, weekend shenanigans

We had such a fabulous weekend and I was so sad to see it come to an end when the alarm went off bright and early Monday morning, particularly since the night before was a late one due to the Oscar’s (and stupid Eastern standard time and the late air times, which I swear I will never be a fan of).  We started our Oscar “pre-party” (snacks, snacks and more snacks, and the red carpet pre-show of course) several hours before the main event even started, and I hate to say that I fell asleep around 11, so basically right before the “big” awards were announced.  Matt and I did a little bet and each picked who we thought would win the main categories, but then fell asleep before they announced the last big ones.  Whoops.  We checked our phones in the morning though and I was happy to see that I came out on top this year!  The prize for the winning party was a new pair of Lululemon underwear, because we are nothing if not practical.  (Seriously though, best underwear EVER.)  I agreed with a lot of the winners, but I can’t say anything about Mad Max or The Revenant, which both took home a several statues.  Mad Max looks a little too weird for me and The Revenant a little too bloody (not to mention that the previews ruined it for me when I saw that horse go over the cliff), but I’ve been a fan of the other nominated movies we have seen thus far.  We actually watched Room this past weekend, although I read the book several years ago and knew the storyline, and I thought Brie Larson was amazing and totally deserving of her award.  Jacob Tremblay is ridiculously adorable (as is his family…go follow him on Instagram now for some serious #familygoals).  I’m happy Leo finally got a win and I enjoyed his speech (the morning after…).  Of course, regarding what I really cared about, the dresses were just so-so this year.  Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon, Brie Larson, Margot Robbie, Priyanka Chopra and Olivia Wild were my favorites, but no one wowed me like in years past.  Charlize was probably the closest…I have an affinity for a red dress.  I asked Asher Wade which one was his favorite and he said none of them because he “likes Mickey Mouse dresses.”  Well, ok then.  Someone needs to wear a red and black dress next year.  With yellow shoes.

We fixed a couple appetizers before dinner to snack on.  Matt came across this edamame guacamole in my US Weekly and then we fixed a bruschetta that I’ve made many times before.  I’ve included the recipes below the pictures.  Both are super easy to throw together and so tasty.  We opened a bottle of pinot and wined and dined in the playroom, because that’s just how we do it these days.  I consider it a win though because Asher Wade was entertained and didn’t once ask to watch Disney Jr.  He did have Girl Scout cookies and string cheese for dinner, so you win some you lose some.

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Edamame guac: In a blender, pulse 1 cup shelled edamame, 3 Tbsp. light sour cream or Greek yogurt, juice of 1 lime, 1 Tbsp. olive oil and salt/pepper for taste. To that mixture add 2 ripe avocados and pulse until desired consistency. Serve with chips or crackers. Bruschetta: Slice a baguette, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Stick in the oven and turn the broiler on. Broil until toasted, keeping a close eye on it! While that’s toasting, finely chop 4 plum tomatoes (I like to remove the pulpy center and just use the firmer part). To that add 2 cloves of finely diced garlic, thin slices of fresh basil leaves, salt and pepper. Drizzle in a little balsamic and toss everything to coat. Remove toasts from the oven and pile high with the tomato mixture.

Backing up to Saturday, we went to breakfast that morning, took Asher Wade for a botch job haircut (seriously, why can NO ONE cut his hair properly??), ran errands to Target, Lowes and Ulta, played soccer in the backyard, followed AW around the neighborhood on his scooter, and then had a family date night at Bonefish and followed it up with family movie night watching The Good Dinosaur.  This was the first time we rented a movie for AW to watch and I couldn’t believe he lasted through it.  It was really adorable.  Matt and I liked it just as much.  Matt and I were actually supposed to have a date night ourselves, but our sitter was sick and had to cancel.  It worked out just fine though and was really nice to have a little family night instead.  After church on Sunday morning we headed to the River Park for a long walk/run.  I pushed all 50 pounds of toddler and stroller for 7 miles and my legs are feeling it today!  We also had fun exploring along the river and playing on the playground.  After a trip to Starbucks, we came home and got ready for the aforementioned Oscar party.  The weather this past weekend was absolutely amazing.  I wish it would stay like this for a few months.  It’s so nice to go outside and not be freezing, but then not sweaty either.  Chattanooga is so scenic as well and it was just so nice to be outside.

So enough rambling.  I will end with some pictures taken throughout the weekend.  Hope yours was lovely as well!

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Family Date Night at Bonefish! I can only assume they are studying the beer list:-)

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Intently watching The Good Dinosaur

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“Mama! Take my peektuure with Eenie the Catty!”

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Miss Annie is getting so big!

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