What I Hope My Kids Learn from Disney

Dear Kids,

You come from a family of Disney obsessed people. Your great grandpa started this journey, passed it to Grammy, she passed it to her kids (one of those is me) and now I’m doing my part to make sure you guys all have a special place in your heart for Disney and all its magic and wonder. I don’t know how the Disney-love will translate in your own lives as you grow up. I don’t know if you’ll find yourself saving your money to take another trip to the park or if you’ll be to every Disney movie on opening day, if you’ll have Disney decor throughout your home or if you’ll be more of a quiet and reserved fan. I’m aware of the possibility that you may not all be as Disney-crazed as some of the rest of this family, but as I said before, I just hope there is always a special spot inside of you that respects Disney and is able to identify the magic it brings into our lives.

Because Disney magic is raising you. You’re being built by Disney Magic. When I think of all the ways I want you to grow up and all the ways I want to be a good mom to you all, I find myself thinking of things I’ve learned from Disney. As silly as it sounds, its 1000% true.

Disney can teach you to dream. Disney can give you hope. Disney can remind you that there is good in the world and that most people are good. Disney can help you find joy. It can help you cope when you’re sad. It can teach you lifelong lessons and it can implant song lyrics into your mind that you’ll never forget. It can be a source of happiness. It can be a safe place you run to, to get away from reality. Disney can be a refuge. It can help you feel carefree when you are feeling weighted down. It can create magic in a regular day and a regular moment. Disney can help you embrace who you are and the unique, special individual you’re meant to be. Disney can help you change your point of view and look on the bright side. You’ll find things and characters you relate to. You’ll have moments in Disney Parks you reflect on for years and years.

Disney is a part of your childhood, I pray you always think of that with a smile on your face and are thankful for your Disney roots.

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Love, mom

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E’s Birth Story

*E turned one yesterday, so I figured I better finally share his birth story!

On November 10th, 2017 I woke up to find my baby was sideways in my belly. This wasn’t abnormal though. He hardly ever was head down like he should have been and was changing positions almost daily, even though he was big and we were super close to his due date. We referred to him as a ninja a lot. Wild Man predicted he’d be stubborn. I texted Wild Man and told him the baby was definitely sideways. I could feel his head on my right side and his bum on my left. He responded by telling me not to worry yet, “not like the baby is going to come today.

Later that day we were invited to eat dinner at Craig’s parents house with his parents and brother. We went over around 6 and sat down to eat around 6:30. We hadn’t been sitting down for five minutes when all the sudden, I kid you not, the lights flickered and all the sudden I felt a strange, very wet sensation take over the lower half of me. I looked up (and locked in eye contact with my brother-in-law haha) and said, “I think my water just broke!” Except I’m not sure why I said ‘I think’, because there was no denying that was what this was. Baby time. We left H at my in-laws (ugh, I hate leaving my babies) and went to our house to grab our hospital bags and I changed my clothes.

When we got to the hospital they did that test to make sure your water really broke (it did) and I was admitted. My nurse checked me and said, “you’re dilated, but I don’t feel a head,” to which I told her he was definitely sideways. By this time my contractions were coming on top of each other. Ouch. They called for an ultrasound to check my babies positioning. Sure enough, he was sideways. Then my doctor came in to look at the ultrasound and he briefly considered moving him in my stomach (he’d done this a couple weeks earlier and it HURT), but decided that with the positioning of the umbilical cord, it wasn’t safe. I remember him checking me and saying he could see my babies bottom. He looked up at us and said, “I think the safest option is a c-section.” Without hesitation we agreed to it. Whatever is best for baby, you know?

Since E was essentially on his way out bum first, we were deemed an emergency c-section and immediately people were preparing for surgery. I was taken quickly into the OR where I got all prepped and got my spinal tap (which was amazing! haha). I was a little nervous, ok, very nervous, but getting relief from pain definitely helped me relax. Then we were ready to have this baby!

Everything was routine until the very end. My doctors told me later they almost never see this, but as they were removing E, his body was outside of me and his little head got caught in a contraction basically. By this time they’d brought a mirror to me to watch him be born, and I just remember being so happy to see him, but I was also scared. Why was my baby stuck? Also his body was gray. It was a lot of emotions.

Finally, he was freed! But he was gray and not making a sound. As quickly as I could lay eyes on him, he was gone to another room. They took him and my husband and left me alone in the operating room with a team of doctors. I hated it. Oh, I hated it. I wanted to see my baby! But most of all, I knew he was in the room next door and I wanted to hear him cry. I needed to know he was ok. My doctors were trying to keep my mind off of it, I could tell. I kind of remember them telling me I lost a little more blood than usual but I’d be fine. I don’t remember anything else they said. I was just listening for my baby, sad I hadn’t touched him yet.

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It felt like forever, but finally from the room next door where he was being worked on by a NICU team, I heard him scream. And scream. And scream. Hallelujah! I was still being stitched up when Wild Man came in holding our little 8.5 pound bundle. He laid him on my chest/neck and E nestled his little face into my cheek. I could hear his little snorts and grunts right in my ear. Though I couldn’t really see him, I was so happy to have him with me. Touching me. Right where he needed to be. We snuggled there for a while and then they took him and Wild Man to the nursery to do all the little tests and what not, I remember they said they’d do extra tests on his lungs and breathing, since he wasn’t breathing at birth (all came back fine – he’s been totally fine and healthy since!) and I was still getting put back together. I was sad I couldn’t go to the nursery with them, because with H, I was able to.

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Once I was all finished, I was wheeled back to the delivery room, handed my phone and given some water. Then I just sat there. No baby to hold. It was a crappy feeling, but I was happy to know he was ok. Now I just wanted to hold him! I was so shaky and a little dizzy, but I started texting my mom since I had no baby to love on yet.

Finally, about 2 hours after having him, Wild Man and E came into our room and I got to hold that sweet, sweet boy. Its been heaven ever since. He immediately nursed like a champ, he was go-with-the-flow and happy, but made hilarious grumpy faces. He fit perfectly into our family and has given us so much joy and happiness since.

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Sleep Saga part 1

I’m not gonna lie, I’m hoping that in the future this saga will have a happy ending. I don’t care how many ‘parts’ there have to be to this, but I am determined that sometime soon (oh i hope, i hope, i hope) I will no longer have to be worrying about this so much. What is this you ask?

SLEEP TRAINING MY (ALMOST) 1 YEAR OLD

I have been scouring the internet for success stories, amazing advice and tips and tricks and I’ve found quite a bit. I’m ready to start. I’m ready to share my story step by step in hopes that maybe somewhere along the day I sleep deprived mom can find my blog and learn something from my experience and feel motivated and pumped up to get her baby to sleep better at night.

CURRENTLY

So where are we right now on day one of this? We are in a very frustrating, overwhelming and sleepless spot, thats where. My dearest, darlingest little E is a wonderful tiny human, but a terrible, awful sleeper. Right now he wakes up 10-15 times a night – maybe more. Sometimes he falls back asleep quickly, but sometimes he doesn’t. 99.9% of the time he has to nurse to fall back asleep. Because of the frequent middle-of-the-night-wakes, he sleeps in between Wild Man and I in our bed (don’t shame co-sleeping here, parent-shaming is a no-no on this page) which has been just fine for months and months, but lately…its time for a change. He’ll be one in a couple of weeks. Its time he learns how to sleep in his own room, in his own crib and its time he learns that he doesn’t have to nurse all night long (seriously, thats what he wants – the second my boobs gone, he’s livid).

What I don’t need is any comments telling me that I’ve brought this upon myself and created this little non-sleeping monster. This is exactly what I did with H and he’s an amazing sleeper. But clearly, every child is different. With H, around 8/9 months old I got him totally comfortable and happy in his crib/bed. I’ve tried with E – its just not working. He’s stubborn and persistent. He will scream all night long until someone holds him. Until he’s nursing. Because I’m so tired at night, its easier not to fight it and just let him sleep in our bed all night – nursing what feels like every 30 minutes. But I just can’t do it anymore. I need my bed back. I need to not be nursing all night. I need to have my baby sleep in his own bed and sleep all through the night, which is something he has never ever done in his life, just so you know. I am ready. I’ve been patient for nearly a year but that hasn’t worked. Its time to buckle down. I’m going to be persistent. I’m motivated. I’m going to get E crib/sleep trained. Boo-ya!

THE PLAN

Last night I ordered a sound machine off Amazon. It should be here tomorrow or the next day. So much of what I’ve read has said that a sound machine is a must. I’m banking on this to help us greatly. I’m debating if I should start the sleep training tonight or if I should wait a day or two until the machine comes. Either way, I’m excited and hopeful for this.

I’ve read a lot of ideas and I’ve literally made pros and cons lists of all these different techniques I’ve found. Here is what I, as of now, have planned to do.

Bedtime is at 8:30/9. Before bed we’ll have a bath, then a snack/small meal to ensure his tummy is full, then we will read books, read scriptures and say a prayer (with an emphasis on E’s sleep schedule) and then I’ll sit in the chair in his room and nurse him until he’s either almost asleep or fully asleep. *I’m not sure if I should make him be all the way asleep when I lay him down – I’ve read that its good to put them in their crib awake, but drowsy so they learn to self-soothe, which totally makes sense. We’ll see what I end up doing. I’ll keep you posted. Then I will lay him in his crib, tell him that I love him and goodnight, make sure the nightlight is on and leave the room and shut the door.

I am 100% sure he’ll scream and cry. At 5 minutes I will go in and comfort him. I won’t pick him up, but I’ll lay him back down, pat his back, sing to him, whatever. Then I’ll leave again. I can go back in every 10 minutes as needed for the remainder of the night.

I’m anticipating not sleeping at all the first few nights because if I know my son (and I do), he’s not going to fall asleep without a feisty fight. But everyone who has tried this has said to stay strong and not cave and all the sudden it will click and your baby will figure it out. I’m banking on that.

MY PREDICTION

Full disclosure, I’m not sure how I’ll do the first night. I’m going to feel guilty and sad. I’m going to feel terrible for E while he cries alone in his room. But I’m also going to feel good, because I know its time. Its past time.

I think he’s going to fight it hard core. I’m not sure if he’ll really sleep at all those first nights. Its going to be a struggle. Its going to be hard. But I am wanting to put in the work.

However, if we start this and it just feels wrong and uncomfortable I am allowing myself the freedom to quit. Its possible this isn’t the right technique for us. If I feel that way, then we’ll start back at square one and find a different way to sleep and crib train. In the end, its whatever is best, safest and ok-est for E.

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Wish us luck as we start this journey! I’m nervous, sleepy and excited! I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes! Stay tuned for the Sleep Saga part 2!

10 Months Postpartum

Before I had kids I knew that the first few weeks after having a baby would be unpredictable with postpartum stuff. But I foolishly also believed that once my child was like 2-3 months old I’d be in the clear. Silly me. I was so wrong. In my case, my postpartum anxiety gets really bad and scary right around 2/3 months, so I was definitely  wrong in assuming I knew how life after baby would be.

A couple days ago I hit 10 months postpartum with my second child. I am still deep in all that postpartum craziness. Some days are awesome and some days are not. Some things are going pretty well and others aren’t. These things all swap places, moods and feelings fluctuate and its really hard to tell what day will be a good one and which will be harder.

I like to look back on my life and reflect on things. This is the post to someday remind me what 10 months postpartum with E (and 34 months postpartum with H – haha) looks like:

  • Postpartum Anxiety is still real. I had a few good months where I felt like I had a handle on it, but the last two months haven’t been as lucky. There are so, so many scary thoughts floating around my head that I have to work hard at battling every day. Sometimes I can combat the fear and anxiety easier than other days. I never know what to expect.
  • My body isn’t going back to my pre-body as quickly as it did with H. Granted, I’m aware I’ll never have that pre-baby body fully back, because I’ve now had two babies. I am poochy and soft in some places, but honestly I don’t mind too much. I’m feeling quite confident in my mom bod. I exercise daily, I eat good (ish) and I know that my body is what gave me these sweet boys of mine. So right now, I can’t complain.
  • More of a Mama Bear is emerging from me. I’m very much a person who hides away from confrontation, but lately I’m a lot better and puffing my chest up and standing up for my kids benefit. Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to do that for myself haha.
  • I know I’ve said this before, but I feel like I fully mean it this time – I’m getting my groove back. I’ve finally figured out how to manage keeping the household under control and (basically) tidy, while taking care of two little boys. I’ve still got a lot to work on and learn, but I’m getting the hang of it and feeling confident about it, so I’m proud of myself.

Its so crazy to think that in two months E will be ONE and H will be THREE. What? Where does time go? All I can say is I hope the next two months are kind to me and that I’m kind to me as I continue to be in this postpartum ‘fun’.

The Great Disney Stroller Debate

A lot of the time when people are asking me about advice on their upcoming Disney trip, they ask me what kind of stroller they should bring. Do you bring your big one you use at home that is significantly bigger? Or do you bring an umbrella stroller thats much smaller?

My vote?

The big stroller.

And heres my top five reasons why:

  • You really won’t move through crowds that much faster if you have a small stroller such as an umbrella stroller. I hate to break it to you, but if you have a stroller (of any size), you’re just not going to be zipping through the park as quickly as you would sans stroller. IMG_5508
  • The storage is beautiful. Our stroller has a big pouch in the bottom and we utilize that space so dang much on our Disney vacations. We stick our sweatshirts down there, souvenirs, bags, blankets, leftover food, water bottles, etc. You don’t get that luxury with a teeny stroller. IMG_1274.jpg
  • Your little one is more comfortable in a big stroller. I love that when my boys fall asleep, I can recline them a bit, or know they have a little more wiggle room so their sleep is a little deeper (and heavens knows that little ones need those naps while in Disneyland!). IMG_8596.jpg
  • The cupholder/top storage. Ok, this is just assuming your big stroller has a cupholder and a little extra space to store things up top. I’d lose my mind without that. Thats where we keep drinks (obvs), Fast Passes (when you still needed the paper ticket), easy-to-reach snacks, pins, cel phones, sunglasses, etc. Half the time what I wear to the parks don’t have pockets, so this is something especially important to me. IMG_5162.jpg
  • A bigger stroller often times can also become a double + stroller. Its so nice to have it all just in one spot. When everyones loaded, its great to have everything we need (mainly our children) right there in one stroller – one spot. I especially love our stroller because we have a little connector piece that we bought that a third child can stand on called a glider board! (H loves to switch from his seat to the glider).

I don’t know guys. If you ask me, you just can’t go wrong with a big ol’ stroller. You know what the say – go big or go home!

Also, if you’re interested in the stroller we have, you can find it here. I LOVE it. Yes, its a pretty penny, but its absolutely worth it.

You Will Never Regret Being Kind

A couple of days ago I ran to the grocery stores with my boys for a just a few items I needed. We live pretty darn close to a grocery store so I decided to load the boys up in the stroller and walk over. In my mind it was going to be the perfect, quick activity. My boys love being outside, the weather was beautiful and the grocery store would be a fun little change of scenery. I was so, so wrong. So wrong. E started crying hysterically only seconds into our walk and H started crying hysterically once we got to the store and I wouldn’t let him out of the stroller. Before I knew it they were both fully tandem tantrums of the highest caliber – which is weird because I’m actually very lucky and my boys are usually very well tempered. I figured since I only had a couple of items to grab I could hurry and it wouldn’t get too bad. Again, so wrong. It quickly went from bad to worse. The boys were just hard, getting louder and I was getting overwhelmed. Its not the first time I’ve felt stressed out in a store before, but it was already kind of one of those days and then I met eyes with a older man who was glaring at me! A full on angry, annoyed stare. It tipped me over the edge and I’m embarrassed to admit it, but my eyes started welling up with tears and when the man saw this, he rolled his eyes and walked the other direction. I was embarrassed. My feelings were hurt. I felt defeated and very, very frustrated and just sad. I know I shouldn’t feel that way, its part of motherhood and I have a toddler and a baby! Of course they throw fits, its what they’re supposed to do from time to time. But this man just got to me. I wanted to sprint out of there with my wailing children and scream and cry in my room. But I was almost done with my list so I decided to toughen up and finish, even if I was apparently ticking some people off.

Some people suck. Some people are impatient and inconsiderate. Its incredible how a rude comment or look can send someone spiraling.

The only reason I didn’t leave the grocery store with tears flooding down my face and leaving all my groceries behind was because of the wonderful, kind people that I thankfully also encountered.

No one did anything huge or went really out of their way, but they still saved me mentally and emotionally. I received a lot of sympathetic smiles. I saw a lot of women who just gave me that look like, ‘I’ve been there, so sorry!’ I even encountered a sweet woman who left her cart, approached me and squeezed both of my shoulders and said, “you go girl!” They were small, simple things but in that moment of stress, frustration and embarrassment it was 100% what I so desperately needed.

You guys. It is not hard to be kind. It will cost you nothing. It will make someones day. You will feel good about yourself. You will help the world be a little bit brighter, happier and kinder. Unfortunately sometimes the mean things stand out more than the kind things, but the good news is that there is usually more kind in your life if you look for it. I’m encouraging you to do your part to make sure there is kindness in the world though! Just smile! Don’t glare at a stressed out mom! Compliment someone! Offer simple favors! Send a nice text message! Write something nice on someones instagram post! Say hi! Just be kind, however that may look or sound.

This has been your public service announcement from a frazzled mom who was pretty shaken up by some grouchy man in the grocery store but is very grateful for nice people with nice smiles and simple words of encouragement.

xo

Speech Update and Q&A

I am so proud of H. He has been in Speech Therapy for a few months now and he is doing so, so well! I have seen so much progress and in the last couple of weeks he has just turned another big corner. My heart could burst! When we began this journey with our sweet Speech Pathologist I really had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know if change would happen quickly or if it would require a lot of patience. For us, it is definitely taking time and patience, but changes are happening! H is talking with an open mouth (he used to mainly ‘talk’ through closed lips), he is trying new sounds, will mimic words and is even using very simple 2 (sometimes 3) word sentences! We still have a ways to go and more goals to accomplish, but little by little my awesome, smart H is reaching those goals and making his mom beam with pride.

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H working with his sensory box – one of the several activities we have to help him use words and grow his vocabulary.

I know a while ago I said I was planning on making a video and posting it about our journey and giving advice and answering questions. Well, I still haven’t done that, though I still plan on doing so. Just bear with me – sometimes I’m a procrastinator. But for now I thought I’d answer a few of the questions I’ve got from several people. If you have more questions let me know what they are – I am happy to answer them in the best way I know how. Keep in mind, I am not a professional. I’m not a Speech Therapist or Pathologist, I’m not kind of medical professional and don’t even entirely know what I’m doing. I’m just a mom with a two year old with a speech delay and this is all based off of our personal experience.

How do you tell your child has a speech problem? It all started when I realized there were toddlers much younger than H that could speak a lot more. At first I chalked it up to knowing everyone develops at different speeds, etc. But it just became more and more relevant as time went on. I read stuff online about speech delays and realized he had a lot of the qualities as children with speech delays. I never really was 100% sure if he did have a delay though because you always hear about those late-talkers or those kids that just wake up one day and are able to speak so well. I just kept waiting for that magical day where he’d wake up and call me mom. But it wasn’t happening, so I finally talked to my husband about my concerns and together we went to our pediatrician to discuss our worries and the options.

What are some ways you’re helping H speak? I make sure he is hearing language all the time. I am constantly talking to him. I’m repeating words he is working on. He has a sensory box that encourages tons of language, we name colors, shapes, animals, people, etc all day long. He has game called ‘Pow’ (i’ll cover this in more depth in a video someday) that has really helped him. I encourage mimicking of my actions and words and he picks up on that really well. I praise him when he tries new words and sounds. And I pray. A lot.

How did you go about get H screened? It started with our pediatrician. We scheduled an appointment with him to talk about our concerns about H’s speaking – or lack there of. He referred us to a local company that screens kids under three for developmental delays. They came to our home and did the screening and decided he could benefit from speech therapy. If you are wanting to get your child screened – talk to your pediatrician!

Whats your main piece of advice for parents of a child with a speech delay? Be patient. Your little one is going to figure this out, but its a lot and isn’t going to change overnight. Be patient and encouraging – trust the process.

Did H being a binky baby have anything to do with this delay? According to our Speech Pathologist, no. So I also say no. Think of all the kids who took binks when they were younger and speak just fine…

Is H frustrated he isn’t speaking at the same rate as kids his age? I’ve never been able to recognize that he is frustrated. He may not speak great yet, but he communicates really well so I don’t think he’s ever really felt like he’s not being understood. However I do know that some kids do get very frustrated when no one can understand their own little language and their body language (because our speech pathologist told me).

Like I said, if you have any more questions let me know! But thats the scoop as of now. H is awesome. He’s doing so well and has come so far!

Theres nothing this little guy can’t do.