Thursday, September 23, 2010

73 Days!

For any of you that know me, you will know exactly what 73 days is referring to....our next trip to Disney World of course!! Since we started our coutdown at 108 days, 73 seems like it's getting pretty close!  We have our countdown on Olivia's door and each night she pulls one of the Mickey heads off the door.

As most of you know, this trip is to celebrate our princesses 3rd birthday! This trip is a bit of a splurge trip for us, but we wanted to make an extra week for Olivia.  Here is a quick recap for those of your just joining this journey:

Who: Myself (Erin), my wonderful hubby (Toby) and our princess Olivia
What: Olivia's 3rd Birthday trip!
When: December 5-10
Where: Disney's Pop Century Resort
Why: To celebrate of course!!

We have some amazing thing planned for this trip that I am beyond excited about:
*We are doing the Deluxe Dining Plan for the first time this trip! Disney has some wonderful restaurants to splurge on and enjoy! Here are our selections:
          ~Yak & Yeti (Lunch)
          ~California Grill (dinner)
          ~Kona Cafe (Tonga Toast here we come)
          ~Crystal Palace (lunch)
          ~1900 Park Fare (dinner with Cinderella!)
          ~Hollywood & Vine (lunch)
          ~Garden Grill (dinner)
          ~Cape May Cafe (breakfast)
          ~LeCellier (lunch-I'm dying to try the cheddar cheese soup & pretzel bread!)
          ~Ohana (dinner)
          ~Ohana (breakfast)
          ~Teppan Edo (dinner)
          ~Chef Mickey's (we love this place!)
          ~Planet Hollywood (I can't stand it, but it is Toby's only request)

*We are also taking Olivia to the Bibbiddi Bobbiddi Boutique!!! She is super excited about this and I simply cannot wait to see her face after her transformation into Cinderella!!! 

*I am over the moon excited to be able to spend some time in the World during the holidays! I love Christmas and everything that goes with it! I made sure to schedule lots of meals in the resorts so we can experience all of their amazing holiday decor!

There you have it. A quick recap of what our upcoming trip has in store for us! I will be sure to add more details in as we get closer to our departure date, but if you want to read the nitty gritty, feel free to join in my PTR (pre trip report) over on the DIS! 

So, who else has a magical vacation in the works?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Got the Monday blues? We don't!

Well, once again, it's Monday. The most dreaded day of the week for most people. In our house Monday is actually a great day! With my husbands work schedule, his days off are Sunday and Monday. Sunday is beyond busy for us. I work in our church nursery from about 8:30-1:00. After church we head to my sister-in-laws in-laws (confusing I know) for brunch which is absolutely delicious! Once we have stuffed our bellies beyond full, we head home so Olivia can get in an afternoon nap, before she and I head back to the church nursery from about 5:30-8:30 for evening service. Whew, I'm exhausted just typing that!

So, on to Monday. They are the total opposite from Sunday! As I type, Olivia and Toby are in our bedroom watching the Lion King together and I am watching the noon news in the living room. Our plans for the day include a whole lot of nothing! No running around. No work to head to. No nothing! I might sneak in a load of laundry and I know I will have to clean up the kitchen, but other than that, we just enjoy our Monday's as it's our only day that we have to ourselves!

I think this post has been long enough! I'm off to make some lunch and then enjoy a movie with my hubby while Olivia naps!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

In Mickey's Hands

I did it. I submitted my application to the Moms Panel yesterday afternoon and now there is nothing I can do but wait and hope I have advanced to the second round.

This year the questions were pretty much the polar opposite of those asked last year. To me, they were much more fact-based and it was more difficult to show creativity. Of course the 100 word limit was pretty tough for a talked like me! Here are the questions:

1.) A) When was your last vacation to Walt Disney World® with your family? B) Do you work in an industry that is in competition, would benefit from being associated with the Walt Disney World® Moms Panel or be in conflict with Disney’s family friendly brand? If yes, please explain. C) True or False - World Showcase is a collection of pavilions representing 14 countries that border the 5 miles surrounding World Showcase Lagoon.

2.)In 100 words or less, explain when and how you helped a non-family member plan their first trip toWalt Disney World® Resort.

3.)In 100 words or less, tell us about what resources you use to find and share interesting park facts and vacation planning tips with others.

I feel pretty confident in my answers, but who knows? There are literally thousands of hopefuls just as qualified as myself, who want this amazing opportunity just as much as I do. For right now, all we can do is wait and hope for lots of Pixie Dust!

Good luck to all of my fellow applicants, I wish there were enough spaces for all of us!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The yuck is here...

Ughh, I guess it must be September, the yuck has returned to our house. Yep the visitor we seem to have every September made it's unwelcome appearance early last week and has very much overstayed it's (un)welcome. What is the yuck I speak of? It is the sinus, upper respiratory, throat junk that feels as though it deserves a Florida vacation every September.

It all started last Tuesday. The day seemed to begin normal, but when Olivia woke up from her nap she had a fever, chesty cough and a charming snot covered face. Ughh. I went in action right away. Give Olivia Tylenol. Check Slather her in Vicks rub. Check. Clean/scrape crusty snot off Livy's poor face. Check. Tuck her in on the couch with a Disney movie of her choosing (Mulan). Check. Over the next few days we repeated this routine multiple times a day, all with hopes of have my princess c0ugh and snot free by Saturday since we had ticket to go see Disney on Ice. By Friday night my little lady was back to her old, happy, snot free self!! Yeah! Victory for mom! Yuck has been defeated!

Saturday morning. Victory for yuck, mom defeated. What you may be asking? Olivia was fine Friday night, what could have happened? No worries, Olivia was still happy and snot free. Apparently, yuck felt as though I was left out. Now to be clear, I was not feeling upset at all by being "left out" of the sickness all week. The complete opposite was true as a matter of fact! I was miserable!! I felt like an elephant was sitting on my face. My sinuses were horribly stuffy and I was totally unable to breath out of my nose.

We were supposed to leave at 5:00 to head for the show. That meant I had about 10 hours to make a miraculous recovery. Yeah right. I did my very best. I took cold medicine, slathered myself in Vicks, relaxed on the couch, and even managed to nap a bit. 5:00 rolled around and I was feeling a little bit better, not bad enough to miss the show. Maybe I was trying to prove a point to yuck that I couldn't keep me down.

We ended up going and having a great time even though I felt like my head was in a vice the whole time. I came right home, took some lovely meds and went off to dreamland.

Today is a new day and I am feeling marginally better, still no where near perfect, but better. I think when the yuck has really left us, I will be posting no trespassing signs and writing a strongly worded letter to whom it may concern about yuck and it's belief that it must return every September.

Friday, September 3, 2010

It's Mom's Panel time again!

To most people the beginning of September means the start of another school year, or the coming of fall. To myself, and thousands of other moms and dads, it means that it is almost time for the search for the new group of panelists for the Disney World Mom's Panel. That day this year is Monday September 13th.

What is the Mom's Panel you ask? It is an online forum on the Disney World website that allows guests to ask any question they have about the WDW resort. Not sure which deluxe resort to choose? Ask the Mom's Panel. Which character meal is the best for a Goofy lover? Ask the Mom's Panel. Not sure when you can catch a performance of Fantasmic! during your trip? Ask the Mom's Panel.

Who are these Mom's? Well, let me first say that the name "Mom's Panel" is a bit misleading. There are in fact Dad's on the panel! In addition to the Dad's, there are even grandmothers! Each and every one of them was selected based on their love and knowledge of all things Disney.

How are the lucky folks selected you ask? Each September for the past 3 years, Disney has held an online application process. The first phase is 3 essay questions that let the selection committee know who you are, why you love Disney and why you think you would be an essential member of the panel. If you are lucky enough to pass this phase, you get to answer another set of essay questions that are a bit more in depth and (from what I understand) focus more on your specialties and other characteristics of why you would be an awesome panelist. The third and final round is the ever so daunting phone interview! Yep, the people who you have been writing to actually exist! A week or two after the phone interviews (in October or November) the lucky new Mom's and Dad's are informed of their selection and they are in heaven (or at least I am assuming they are)!!

So there you go. Sounds easy right? NOT! This will be my second year applying and I have not yet made it past the first round. Last year when I answered, I took forever and really thought about it and probably totally over analyzed each little word. After talking to some current and past panel members, I think this year I am just going to write from the heart and really be myself, after all, that is what they are looking for.

I should also say that I have made some great online friends throughout this whole process! These are people who are now my friends on Facebook and Twitter as well as buddies on the DIS boards! I have also gotten to meet some of them in person recently at the Mickey Mom's Club Illuminations party held at Epcot a few weeks ago! *The Mickey Mom's Club-MMC is sort of like a consolation prize for not making the actual Mom's Panel. If you apply to the panel and don't make it, you are automatically part of the MMC. There is a special newsletter, and many different opportunities throughout the year.

I cannot say enough how much I would love to be a part of this amazing panel! I have loved all things Disney since my first visit when I was 4 years old and my grandparents took me. I started converting my husband to a Disney lover when we took our first trip together when I was 4 months pregnant with Olivia. Although he says he is not a fan, his eyes light up as soon as we get there and he is just as sad as me when we leave. Olivia has had no choice but to be a Disney lover, she was born into it! From her first visit at the age of 15 months to the most recent trip a couple of weeks ago she has loved every single second. I start planning our next trip to the World even before our current one has finished and get great joy from helping others plan theirs! Making this panel would be an incredible honor and I would be so proud to say that I am a member of the Walt Disney World Mom's Panel!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hooray for Poop!

Yep, I said it. Hooray for poop! I'm sure any mom of a potty training toddler will totally understand my excitement over poop. I have my fingers crossed, I'm knocking on wood, I'm hoping and praying as I type this; but I think Olivia may FINALLY be totally potty trained!!!!

Let me go back in time for a little while...

I bought a very nondescript white potty seat when Olivia was about 18 months old, in May of 2009. She had been showing an interest in sitting on the potty, and I was trying to understand what was so great about not being able to poop or pee whenever and wherever you wanted. I didn't want to push the potty training issue right away and end up burning her out before she had ever pushed something out! She would voluntarily sit on and and pretty much just hang out for a few minutes at a time. At this time I was secretly hoping she would be a potty trained prodigy and overnight be done with diapers and doing all her business on the potty. Well, needless to say, those dreams quickly went out the door!

Over the next 6 months or so, I just let her go sit on the potty when she needed, made sure she saw that the other little girls at church used the potty, and that Mommy made good use of the lovely porcelain chair in the bathroom. Flash forward to November 2009. Olivia was now 2 years old and I thought it was time to get serious with the potty training. Well, Mommy failed with this one. With the crazy time of year and millions of places to go and things to do, it was just too hard to devote at least one whole week at home to focus solely on potty training.

February 2010. No more excuses. Potty training WAS going to happen in our house! I won't lie. The first week was rough. Olivia really didn't want to give up the pure joy of peeing at will. I was getting frustrated that she was being stubborn. Not a happy week. Zero peeing on the potty occurred. Poop. That's a topic I don't even want to discuss (but lucky [or unlucky] for you, I a bit). I will not give up. I will not give up. I will not give up. Week 2. I am thinking that there was some sort of divine intervention going on while Olivia slept that Sunday night. She woke up Monday morning and I asked the ritual question of the past week, "Do you want to go potty?". To my shock and amazement, her response was YES! I could have rivaled any professional sprinter on that short trip to the bathroom. I fumbled to pull off Olivia's jammies and diaper, sat her on the potty.......and she went!!!! WOO HOO! She had used the toilet for something other than a reading chair! I was ecstatic. I hugged and kissed her, danced around the bathroom like a fool, fed her about 10 M&Ms at 7:30am and pretty much acted like a big dork. Olivia was loving the attention (or was it the candy?) and wanted to call anyone her little brain knew. You may not believe it (actually, I still don't know if I do), but that was it! She went potty all day (as long I reminded her about every 30 minutes) and had NO accidents!!!! I guess what they say is true: when a child is ready to be potty trained, they will be. I couldn't believe just how lucky we were.

Over the next few months things were breezing along. By May, Olivia was in panties full time (except for nap and night time) and we were having limited accidents. Outings in public. No problem. Day trip to Disney World, not even a little dribble. Notice anything missing? Come can do it. Yep, poop.

Let's go back in time again. Olivia has never, and I mean NEVER had a normal poop in her life. When she was in the NICU, they found a problem with her intestines. She had an air bubble that caused some issues, including her not being able to eat for over a week, while they let her intestines rest. That problem cleared up and was in the past. Fast forward to November of 2008, right around Olivia's first birthday. We discovered she was lactose intolerant. She had become TERRIBLY constipated and miserable. We put her on lactose free milk and avoided dairy products like the plague. Have you ever tried to cut dairy totally out of a 1 year old's diet? No macaroni and cheese. No yogurt. No nothing. I should also mention that lactose free milk runs about $3.75 a half gallon around here. Our pediatrician wanted to cut all dairy out for 6 months and they slowly try and reintroduce it. Soon enough the 6 months was up and we began to slowly add dairy back in. I noticed right away that the constipation came back and Olivia was in tears every time she needed to poop. We cut the dairy back out. Happy Olivia returned! We tried again to add dairy back in a few months after Olivia turned 2-during potty training. She seemed to handle it OK for a little while, but then our arch enemy constipation returned. At this point our pediatrician recommended that we start Olivia on some fiber gummies and 1/2 tsp of MiraLax daily. This combination was our miracle cure! Olivia was eating dairy, although it was semi limited quantities, and pooping DAILY, albeit in a diaper that I put on at nap time each day. Olivia broke into tears at the mere mention of pooping on the potty. Ughh.

Last week I decided that I would give her no choice but to use the toilet. After a weekend at Disney (and no afternoon naps, which meant no pooping), we were forced to give her a laxative enema so she could go. I was mean, horrible, terrible mommy and held her little body on the potty until she pooped. The event was filled with screaming, and tears (from Olivia, not me). As soon as she went, I danced around the bathroom, hugged and kissed Olivia and pretty much told her that she could have whatever she wanted since she had gone on the potty. What did she want? She wanted to watch the Incredibles. Move on to Wednesday. We were at church where I work in the nursery on Sunday's and Wednesday nights and she started the dance I was all too familiar with: the stick the hiney up and out poop prance. I calmly put her on the potty and went back to feeding the baby. After about five minutes the tears started. I went to check on her, and to my surprise, she had pooped!!!! WOO HOO! Maybe we were there?

Saturday August 28, 2010. This day will go down in history. I knew Olivia had to poop. She was doing the "Poop Prance" again. I sat her on the potty at 9:10am. At 1:00pm she pooped!!! yep, nearly 4 hours on the potty! I couldn't believe just how stubborn she was being. My mom had come over and tried to talk her into pooping. Nope, Gumma, it's not going to happen. Nice try though. I knew we had made progress with the two previous poops, so I was willing to be mean mommy because I knew it was for her own good. After those 4 hours of teary, whiney torture, Olivia was SO proud of herself! She happily flushed the toilet and said "Bye, bye poopies!".

Sunday. The war had begun again. It was about 8:00 when I knew she had to go. To the potty we went......for an hour and a half. No poop was to happen this night. 9:30 is bedtime, so this round was won by poop. Monday. Rise and shine, not let's poop! I think by this time both Olivia and her poop knew that mean mommy would win the battle so they gave in. Today it only took about 30 minutes!!!! There were only a couple of tears shed! Once again, Olivia was beyond excited and bid her "poops" farewell. So, are we there yet (in potty terms of course)? I don't know, but something in my head says we are. After nap today when I suggested pooping she skipped to the bathroom, hopped up and within 2 minutes, and zero tears she had gone!

Sorry, for the incredibly L O N G post, but I had to share my excitement with someone!

Now the score in our house definitely has Olivia in the lead and I will do everything in my power to keep her there!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I know, I know....I'm the worst blogger EVER!

Why does it seem that every single post is me apologizing for not blogging? This time I have hit an all time's been 4 months! So what is my excuse this time....Disney....I will admit it, I am OBSESSED with all things Disney! Even though our trip is still 4 months away,I have been obsessively planning every aspect since I booked the trip in March. Here are the basics for you:

*We are staying at the Pop Century resort from Sunday December 5-Friday December 10. We were planning on staying a day or two longer, but Olivia has a ballet recital on the 11th, and that is also when the big Christmas show starts at church.

*We are splurging for the trip and are doing the Deluxe Dining Plan! We have some amazing restaurants booked and most of them are new ones that we have been wanting to try!

*Olivia is going to be a Princess!!!! She has an appointment booked at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique!!! I think this is what I am most looking forward to! Olivia knows she is going here and EVERY SINGLE day she jumps up and down telling me she is SO EXCITED to be a princess like Cinderella!

So what else have we been up to? We took our first family trip to Sea World! Toby had never been to Sea World so that is what Olivia got him for Father's Day! It was a fantastic day, although it was pretty darn hot! As we were leaving, Olivia asked if we could go to Disney too and asked daddy "pretty please"! Of course, he caved and we went to Downtown Disney for dinner and some shopping! We had a great day and can't wait to go back to Sea World(but not until the temperature is down quite a bit)! Other than that,we have just been enjoying our summer!

Sorry for the short update. I'm trying to finish the laundry, clean the house and make dinner before Olivia wakes up from her nap! I promise I'll be back soon though!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Wow...It's been 2 months!!!

Holy Cow! I cannot believe that it has been a little over 2 months since I have posted anything! That is just pathetic!! In my defense, part of my problem was that we didn't have a working computer in the house! Thankfully that issue has been fixed and I am the proud owner of an amazing eMachines computer with a huge screen that works like a charm, as well as my new baby, an iPod Touch that my awesome hubby gave me for Valentines Day! Now that I am totally back in the online universe I can get back in my blog that I have missed lately!

So, what has been going on with us?
  • My best friend and her family have moved back here to Florida from Georgia! She has a daughter who is 2 years older than Olivia and, thankfully they get along very well, so we have been spending LOTS of time together lately!
  • We took another trip to Disney a few weeks ago (yes ANOTHER one)! It was just a quick trip, we left on Saturday and came back home Monday night, but it was once again amazing! I love getting to go and see new things through Olivia's eyes. She is enjoying each trip more and more as well. Hands down, my favorite part of this trip was that Olivia is now FINALLY tall enough to ride Goofy's Barnstormer!!! Olivia loved it, but daddy was not a fan! Another first this trip was that we finally took her on the Teacups. This ride is by far my least favorite! I cannot do spinning rides anymore! Olivia wasn't too sure about this one either-she didn't cry, but she also did not want to ride it again!
  • We booked Olivia's birthday trip!!!! I am SO excited about this one! We will be going for a full week for this trip! I decided to stay at Pop because Olivia really liked it for our mini trip last month and that way there is more money to spend on fun the Boutique and breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table!!! I will post more details about this trip as it gets closer (we are not leaving until December 5th).
  • Olivia has started ballet classes and swimming lessons without me in the water with her! She is in love with ballet (and looks pretty darn cute in her leotard and tutu if I do say so myself) and dances around the house constantly! Swimming on the other hand is not on the top of her list! We did the Mommy and Me swimming lessons for about a year, so I think she is mad that I am not in the water with her, so sometimes she gets pretty upset! We are making progress though, and I am hopeful she will be a full fledged fish soon!
  • We had a wonderful Easter weekend. Saturday was the egg hunt at church. Sunday the Easter Bunny came for Olivia and left a ridiculous basket FULL and hid lots of eggs, I made brunch for everyone then we went to my mom's for dinner. Let's just say that by the end of the day I never wanted to eat again!
  • I have also become a HUGE coupon fan!! It was starting to get a bit harder to get all the bills paid and still have enough of a cushion, so I threw myself into the coupon world. It has amazed me just how much I can save on items I would normally buy! We now have HUGE stockpiles of almost everything you can imagine, the cabinets are begging forgiveness, and we almost have to tape the freezer closed! On a recent trip, I spent $59.00 and saved $175.00!!! I have also brought our monthly grocery bill for the 3 of us down to about $150 (including diapers and personal items)! It does take a bit of time to clip the coupons (I buy multiple papers, and print tons from various online sites), and longer trips to the store, but it is SO worth it in the end!

I think that catches us up for now! I can't wait to keep the updates coming now that I am back in the world of technology!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sometimes life gets in the way...In a good way!

Well, I have already broke my New Years resolution of updating my blog at least 3 times a week...What can I say, sometimes life gets in the way!

Things have been pretty good here! We took an amazing (but freezing) trip to Disney for Toby's birthday. This has honestly been one of my favorite trips! Olivia loved every minute of it as usual, but this time she really knew who all the characters were and was a total ham with them! I think in general the cold/rainy weather kept people away, which was totally fine with us! I am of course now starting to plan our "big" trip for the year for Olivia's birthday! This year she will be 3, so I am definitely planning on taking her to the Boutique for a princess makeover!

We have started potty training full time now! I am so excited and will be jumping for joy when we are finally done buying diapers!

One of my other new obsessions is saving money and couponing and rebating! It is SO addictive! My goal on each shopping trip is to save more money than I spend. I usually do this, unless it is a trip that I need to buy diapers or other necessary, but expensive items. We are saving so much money doing this, that it really does make it easier for me to continue to stay home with Olivia, which is important to all of us. It does take more time and planning to shop, but it honestly is worth it! My sister-in-law and I often shop together and make a bit of a game about it as well as calling each other multiple times a day to update good deals or coupons we find online.

Other than that, there really isn't too much going on around here, we are just enjoying our time together and watching Olivia grow up before our eyes!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy Birthday to my let's go see Mickey!

Just wanted to get a quick post up before we leave this afternoon....for DISNEY!!! Today is my hubby's birthday (the big 24) and his request (though he will never admit it) was to go to Disney for a long weekend! I was of course more than happy to oblige! Our plan for this trip, is pretty much not to have one (totally opposite of my usual, super planned trips I know). All that we know is that we will be at MK Saturday night for Spectromagic and Wishes, and at DHS on Sunday night for Fantasmic. We are also going to try and so some new things and tour a few resorts so we can plan future trips. I am so excited for this trip, just some nice (cold-did I mention the highs are in the 30s and 40s?) family time!

I'm off to finish cleaning the house and packing!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

From the mouth's of Babes....

Since we have another upcoming Disney trip (we leave on Friday actually!!!!), Olivia and I were sitting down discussing all of the characters we would see. We had gone through her favorites (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto and Chip). Since she is now more into the princess' we moved on to naming them. This is how the rest of the conversation went:

Me: "Cinderella"
Olivia: "Rella"

Me: "Belle"
Olivia: "Beww"

Me: "Aurora"
Olivia: "Rora"

Me: "Snow White"
Olivia: "Ho White"

Yep, she called a beautiful princess Ho White! After telling this story to a few friends, one of them said "well, she did live with 7 guys"!

Sometimes when Olivia is making me go crazy I just have to sit back and think of the things she does that make me crack up, and now this is definitely one of those things!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!

Well, I know I haven't been on in a while (I could blame it on a myriad of things, but let's just say that my blog got pushed to the back burner for a while).

One of my resolutions this year is to really keep up with this blog and update at least 3 times week (as long as my computer is working [I will be getting a new one next month!]).
A quick bit of updating:
  • It's been so long since I updated that I now have a 2 year old!!! Olivia had a great birthday in a Minnie theme of course (complete with an AMAZING cake made by my mom).
  • Our holiday season was quite nice. It was pretty low key. Olivia was in her first Christmas show this year! She sang in the pre-k choir to open the Living Christmas Tree show at church, as well as being in the first 3 scenes with her "stage parents". I was a bit nervous how she would act during it all, but she was great (and the cutest kid in the show in my opinion)!
  • I have become addicted to couponing websites and saving as much money as I can! Toby is even impressed that most of our grocery store trips result in saving more than spending! It is my goal this year to save more than spend on at least 75% of shopping trips...we'll see how it goes!
  • Toby's birthday is on Friday and he decided (much to my amazement and excitement) to go to Disney World for the weekend so that has been consuming much of my time this past week.

I think that sums up (quite quickly) the past few months! I am looking forward to this new year and everything it has to bring!