Saturday, July 31, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
I decided it would be smart to make a CD of all the Playhouse Disney music from our iPods for Piper to listen to in the car when she got fussy. Little did I know that this was ALL she wanted to listen to, all of the time! Right now, the "Hibiscus Hula" is playing continuously in my head! She absolutely LOVES the CD. She dances, squeals with delight, and has a non-stop smile on her face every second each song plays. And when one song ends, she goes "Uh-oh" until the next one starts! It really is SO cute, but at night when I try and fall asleep, it's REALLY annoying to hear "Minnie's Bow-tique" in my head over and over!
My child has always been very musical, dancing to ANY type of music, but I find it fitting that her favorite is Disney music. It must be something about the characters' voices that makes her happy. I do love seeing that smiling, bow-head dancing in the rear view mirror. It's a good thing I love Disney as much as I do.
As I finish this blog, I am humming "My Friends Tigger and Pooh" which does have a nice key change in the middle-at least it's interesting :)
See ya real soon!
In hopes of making the trip better, Noah and I took a quick trip to the grocery store looking for the corn snacks (mum mums) he'd had and enjoyed before. The best part of these snacks - their size. He could hold onto the snack and feed himself, entertaining him (if nothing else) for a few minutes. But, of course, the store had none. So, I started reading all the Gerber labels - looking for the little crawler to see what little ones his age can snack on. I settled on 2 more treats, 1 more little puffs kind of treat and another teething biscuit. And, I was bad. The 4 day rule in my head applies to fruit and veg, but not to these weird snacks. Oh well.
Not enjoying the car ride to the store (5, maybe 10 minutes), I decided to try one of the biscuits for the ride home. SUCCESS!! Of course, this may not be replicated tomorrow, but Noah enjoyed the biscuit and it took him several minutes to eat. Hopefully we won't have to feed him for the entire trip tomorrow, but it may hold him off for a few minutes when he gets extra fussy.
And when all else fails, we have our safety net: the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse soundtrack.
if only I was joking..
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
For example - our current trip planning is for the Disney Half Marathon in January 2011. Our plan is to fly directly into Orlando (a first for me - we always fly in to see family first) and relax and unwind a few days before the race. After the race, we plan to only do 1 or 2 days at WDW, but we might also check out Sea World or Universal - hey, I may be a Disneyaphile (as a coworker called me), but I also love Harry Potter and really want to visit the Wizarding World.
If you're not completely familiar with Orlando, WDW, Universal, and Sea World are all relatively close. In between , there are thousands of restaurants, shops, and other small attractions like mini golf courses galore and Medieval Times. Universal and Sea World are closer to each other, around 5 miles apart, but about 20 minutes to WDW. Add in rush hour, and it's probably best to stay closer to the parks you plan to spend the most time. For us, that will most likely always be WDW.
However, seeing that we might go visit the other parks, do we really need to take advantage of the pluses to staying on Disney's property? Extra Magic Hours and park transportation aren't useful across town. This is what I started researching in the past month. Where to stay off property. I'll discuss those bonuses in a later post, btw.
That's when I realized - for less then staying at a hotel near the parks, there are rental homes ALL OVER. And please learn from my mistake and don't send a request for information form. I received around 40 emails the first day and several more for the following week. But, I'm learning what to look for. Another plus - the villas I'm currently looking at are in a neighborhood about 2 miles from WDW, but close to neighborhood restaurants and few miles from Celebration, which I personally want to explore. PLUS- they have individual pools! They're barely bigger than a hot tub, but a POOL! Hooray for privacy. And I bet that will feel amazing after those 13.1 miles are complete.
So, if you're planning to see the whole area, not just one place, I'd check into Orlando vacation homes. There are fantastic reviews all over the DisBoards, so I'm confident we'll be in a nice area. Maybe our next trip (Food and Wine half marathon 2012?) we'll do more WDW oriented traveling and stay in a resort again, but for now, off property it is!
Anyone else have any recommendations? Ever rent someone elses vacation home?
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
It's common on Adam's side of the family to have an aversion to sand. He hates the sand (in fact, while honeymooning in St. Lucia, we rarely went onto the beach and spent the majority of the trip by the pool) and so do his dad, brothers, and nephews and nieces. My family, however, is full of Florida beach-goers. We grew up visiting the beach annually if not more and love it, most of them live very close to the beach. And Noah is a beach lover! For a boy that looks so much like his father, it's nice to find some similarity to me. He enjoyed relaxing on the towels while I lathered him up with sunscreen, then he loved crawling around (while we chased after him trying to keep him from eating the sand).
For more fun, we brought him down to the water. The original goal was to trade the sand on his hands for salt water, but then Adam decided to see if he would like the water. By the way- the ocean is COLD up here. Okay, maybe not COLD but cold. I just checked - 73 degrees. Can't say I was expected that after the last week pushing 100 degrees every day. But, Noah loved watching the water. He was so peaceful (and adorable) watching.... until Adam sat him down in the water's edge, hoping to get him to splash like he does in the tub. Pretty much the beginning of the end of our beach trip right there, but overall, it was a great experience!
Hopefully when he's older, we can take him to the beach and build sand castles, bury him in the sand, and play in the water. For now, we'll stick with a 30 minute trip. 30 minutes, well worth it! All while wearing an adorable Mickey Mouse bathing suit - pictures to follow. I swear sometimes that child looks like a walking Disney billboard...
Monday, July 26, 2010
I've heard stories that some babies love riding in the car. Tales of cars calming fussy babies to sleep and others of babies sleeping for long car trips. These are myths in our household. It's hard to imagine a baby falling asleep that easily. Easy is most definitely not an adjective ever used to describe Noah. Cute, sweet, lovable, cuddly- sure. But easy? No chance.
The first 30 minutes of the drive were fantastic and featured a happy baby who had just woken up from a nice nap and had a full belly. Then reality set in.
That's when I started trying everything. Lots of
toys first. Maybe a minute per toy. Then he got fussy because his car seat was loaded with toys and stuffed animals. After several toys, I tried giving him a snack which just made him even fussier. Next, I pulled out the portable dvd player (can't wait for him to grow enough to turn around and face not only us but the built-in dvd player) and we tried Baby Einstein. That was a no-go. After that I tried Finding Nemo and his plush Nemo. That actually lasted a few minutes longer than everything else AND when he got fussy again, I pulled out another snack which kept him peaceful for a few minutes longer.
Luckily, we were near one of the big Maryland rest stops and took a food break (for all of us). Once we got back on the road, it only took a few minutes for Noah to fall asleep. It only took a couple of hours, but it gave us a nice peaceful stretch of drive. The cutest part- he fell asleep holding on to Thumper. So very cute!
any tricks of the trade to share for our ride home?
Starting off happy
Getting a little louder..
Giving us about 30 minutes of peacefulness
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
In the last month, we introduced apple juice (Piper calls it "doo"). We cut it with water so she get half juice/half water. My child drinks the ENTIRE glass in one sitting, resulting in MANY diaperchanges daily. One thing I was not told is that juice is a diuretic. Oh my, we have hadmore blowouts in the past week than I can believe! I am SO glad that didn't happen on our Disney trip!
See ya real soon!
Monday, July 19, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
In our hotel (Caribbean Beach Resort), they provided us with many things for our 1 year old. They had a pack-n-play crib for her to sleep in (with sheets and a blanket), a fridge in the room to keep her milk cold, a baby water play area for her to play in without being in a pool, and they even had kid-friendly snacks like pudding, fruit cups, and fresh fruit.
We found that when she was trying to sleep (she puts herself to sleep), we needed to block her view of the room so she wouldn't be distracted by it. I draped a thin blanket over the mesh side of the pack-n-play. This worked like a charm! She slept so well in the hotel, and we breathed a sigh of relief!
The only problem we had with the hotel was the cabinet that hides the fridge. For some reason, Piper was drawn to this cabinet. Probably because we have all cabinets locked in our home, and she loves opening doors. She smashed her hand 3 or 4 times while playing with it.
We had a great time at our hotel, and I love that it is not only kid-friendly, but also baby-friendly.
See ya real soon!
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
This week of temperatures 90 and above (Tuesday and Wednesday reached 100+) could go away. Move South. Stay closer to the Caribbean where at least it's beautiful. We actually just had our lawn landscaped and I felt terrible for those workers stuck outside all day. They did a fantastic job, but how horrible! As for me, I've tried to avoid going outdoors, minus Monday's 2.5+ mile parade in Rhode Island (still 90) and a job tomorrow afternoon outside.
We had similar heat like this (plus more humidity) on our June trip to WDW, though. While it was miserably hot, we were enjoying the most magical place on earth so we made it work. How do you do that with babies? We had a few simple tricks that kept us going.
Before we arrived, Mellie and I purchased clip on fans for our strollers. Not quite sure how effective they really were, but they definitely gave the babies a little breeze. Melissa also "invested" in those nice $2 hand fans for all of the adults. Surprisingly, they really helped. Though I don't plan to visit again during the hottest months (until I forget), I'll be investing in a few more of these to keep us cool.
Adam and I are snobs - we like our water nice and cold. Instead of bringing a lot of water in the parks with us, we usually started the outings with a bottle each and then bought cold water while we were there. Maybe that's not worth $3.50, but in scorching heat, we'll bite. I personally love drinking soda to quench my thirst, but Adam kept me in line and I only had soda when we were back at the resort using our refillable mugs (purchased at the resort cafeteria.. it's a souvenier and is also used for as much soda one can consume during the stay). That helped us stay hydrated. We also brought a sippy cup for Noah and let him have water sporatically in between feedings. And, to our surprise, he never really complained about being hot or tired on the trip (unusual for Noah), so maybe all of our tricks worked.
Our second plan to stay cool was a nice afternoon nap. I really like having Noah on a nap schedule, and while daycare doesn't always allow it to be as routine as I'd prefer, we even tried during our vacation to let him have at least one good nap per day. Usually, right after an early lunch, we would head back to our hotels for family nap time. This way, we all avoided the hottest part of the day, the most dangerous sun rays, and relaxed. Also, it helped us avoid the absurd daily thunderstorms. I know Florida's daily shower. This was definitely not it.
Even for our future trips (next one in January), we will probably try to continue the afternoon nap-in-bed. We all could use it to keep us going strong!
Stay cool :)
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Now that I'm home, I've spent a lot of the day checking out well established Disney blog sites. My favorite, the food blog, always leads me to other sites and today, I found one dedicated to EPCOT. I love Epcot. I've discovered new foods and drinks all around the world and enjoy the slower pace of the park. More interestingly, I found a site dedicated to what EPCOT was supposed to be, including a 24 minute video that Walt Disney himself made only 1 month before his death.
Watching all this made me realize just how innoventive Walt Disney was and how much more the park could/should have been. In part, it makes me wonder if Celebration (a suburb of Orlando created by the Disney Co. to be an ideal living community, though sadly is no longer connected with WDW), was intended to be more like the original vision of EPCOT. I highly recommended any other Disney-phile to check out the video if you haven't seen it - just imagine - commuting from work to school on the WED-way (people movers, TTA). I'm in!
One comment I've always heard from people traveling to WDW is that they're going to skip EPCOT because it's not for kids. While I understand this thought, I whole-heartedly disagree! Though many of the rides and "educational" areas are in desparate need of updating, there are several attractions for the whole family to enjoy.
1. Soarin' - one of my favorite rides in the whole resort. It's a must see, but also a fast pass-must. The lines are still, several years later, consistently around an hour or more. Our plan is to either ride it first or get a fast pass for later. This year, we let Mellie watch Noah - that's when he met Mickey - and we ran and made it on the second "flight" of the day. You're basically parasailing across California and it's simply stunning.
2. Test Track/Mission Space - both good once, but I will never ride Mission Space again (woah with the motion sickness) and Test Track could use a good Cars themed update.
3. Turtle Talk with Crush - This amazing attraction actually lets children talk to Crush, the sea turtle from Nemo. After the last show, I heard a girl telling her mom "Crush talked to me! I couldn't believe he didn't know what a hospital was!" Very, very cute. I'm looking forward to our first trip when Noah can sit on the floor with the older kids and ask Crush a question.
Noah (and Piper) enjoyed watching Nemo and friends in the Nemo ride and dancing along with Figment.
They now have a Kim Possible (is that still on?) themed scavenger hunt around the parks for the kids probably 8 and up. I've seen a few kids running around with cell phones having fun while looking for clues.
As for the babies, well, they're sort of just along for the ride, so what better place than traveling the world by stroller. We didn't do much shopping, but we had fun checking out all the different restaurants and drinks. I think we'll eventually drink/eat in every country - this last trip we added Germany to our list - in January we'll add Canada (Le Cellier is calling my name).
I'm not sure I said much, but I hope this encourages more to check out Epcot. Or maybe not.. I like not having to fight such bad crowds!
Have a magical day :)
Monday, July 5, 2010
The first test was "The Princess and the Frog", which I love, btw. It's so fun and vibrant, the songs are awesome, and the New Orleans flair is EVERYWHERE!!! It's so familiar and fun that I knew she would love it, and she did! She sat and watched 20-30 minutes of the movie at a time, mesmerized at parts, and laughing and clapping at others! Then she would get up and play, but she came back 4 or 5 times to sit and watch again! Amazing!
Then we tried "Finding Nemo". This one REALLY held her attention. It's so much to look at that she loves it! She sat for about 40 minutes of this movie without moving! It's probably not good for her to watch so much TV, but she never watches TV except for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and the occasional episode of Special Agent OSO, so I wasn't too concerned. She loves Nemo so much, that she picked out the DVD from the hundreds that I have in our DVD case!!!
Needless to say, I won't be trying the theater anytime soon because it's loud, unfamiliar, expensive, and she would interrupt someone elses movie if she fussed, but it's good to know that there is hope one day!
See ya real soon!
Saturday, July 3, 2010
We're here performing for the 4th of July. We have concerts tonight, tomorrow night, and a parade Monday morning before we head back on the C130. Though I hate being away from my hubby and baby, it did allow me the guilty pleasure of seeing Eclipse from the Twilight Saga last night. The last time I made it to a movie was around 39 weeks pregnant to see the 2nd movie of the series - New Moon. This one has definitely taken another step in the direction of Good Movie - I think anyone into the series should enjoy the movie.
Of course, being away from my baby for a couple of days does leave me stranded with my evil friend, Medela (most new moms and dads will know what I'm talking about) several times a day, but at least that gives me computer time, right? Optimism...
Well, at least it leaves me time to blog. Thanks to a question I recieved on facebook, I think I'll go into greater detail with Rider Swap.
Rider Swap is yet another genius idea from the folks at Disney. Obviously, many people with little ones simply skip the parks when they have little ones, but they created a way to make the trip more fun and doable for those of us that want to travel with our babies. Child Swap is Disney's program to let families and groups with children ride all the rides even when the babies are too small. We found out the hard way how this works.
Both adults and the baby must be presented to the Cast Member at the entrance to the ride. Tell them that you would like to child swap for that particular ride. From there, they give the adult staying with the little one a ticket that allows up to three people skip the line when the first person gets back to take over. We tried being smart a few times that backfired, though. Hopefully we can save you the trouble!
The first mistake: not showing the baby.
Our morning in Magic Kingdom, we were walking in Frontierland and saw Woody and Jessie from Toy Story taking pictures. With a short enough line, Adam and I offered to take Piper for a picture while Mell and David headed to Big Thunder Mountain to start the child swap process. That's when they were sent away - no baby, no pass. We took our pictures with the characters and went back to try again.
Mistake #2: not showing the other adult.
While we were waiting for Melissa and David with the babies, I took Noah to the entrance of Splash Mountain thinking - 'hey, I can get a pass for the next ride now.' To this I was told "Sorry, you must have the other person in your party watching the baby." Oops. It makes sense - they don't want people breaking the rules and individuals coming to get these tickets and not ride correctly. But I just wanted our ticket so we could go on later!! Geez. Of course, it all worked out when Mellie and I walked up together with both babies. (Aren't they cute?)
Some rides, such as Test Track and Everest have single rider lines - these are potentially faster and even easier, but if you're with a party and would like to sit together, these won't work. We will be using these lines in January!
Secret weapon: Fast Pass.
While I'm not going to give away our exact tricks of the trade, let me just put this out there: If you can individually plan your fast passes accordingly, you can work magic and barely wait in any lines at all. Words of wisdom from Jenn.
Hope this helps!
Happy *almost* 4th!
Friday, July 2, 2010
After we rode Test Track, we rode Nemo, did Turtle Talk with Crush (both babies slept), rode Living with the Land (Piper woke up and started waving at the plants!), had lunch in the Land (YUMMY), and Imagination with Figment. Then we went to the Club Cool where you can sample cokes from all over the world. Jenn & Adam tried "Beverly" from Italy. If anyone ever goes to EPCOT, don't miss this! :)
Then we went to our private Meet & Greet with Minnie and Goofy. Noah was so funny! He chewed on Goofy's whiskers!!! Then we went back to the room for a nap, where I learned it isn't nice to wake a sleeping baby. We had dinner reservations at Kouzzina on the Boardwalk (so yummy!), and headed home. On the bus, it started POURING so this wonderful lady gave us Mommies ponchos to keep us and the babies dry! It was so nice!
The next day, we boarded Disney's Magical Express back to the airport. Piper was awesome for the flight home and slept in the car. We had such a magical time with our friends! We will be back to Disney in 3 or 4 years! We need a break! :)
I am so excited about Noah's latest accomplishments! Yay for crawling and pulling up!
See ya real soon!
Thursday, July 1, 2010
One of our favorite bedtime rituals is all of us upstairs by his room letting him play on the ground while I play piano for him. I just happened to look back and see him actually crawl, not just scoot, a few steps away. I think I teared up a little. Noah has wanted to crawl for MONTHS. We've watched him try and fall, getting frustrated on the way and crying or trying again. I expected that my traveling away from him for a few days would bring upon all sorts of new tricks. Luckily, he decided to show off while I'm still here. Not only did he crawl, but he pulled himself to standing in his crib. I immediately called Adam up, not only to show him Noah's latest accomplishment, but because I needed help lowering the mattress all the way! Our little boy is growing up! Okay, I won't go that far. But, he'll be 7 months next week and he's mobile now, so watch out world!
I've thought about the next Disney baby topic I wanted to mention and I decided it would be on nursing/feeding. Bringing a baby under 1 year (the recommended goal for nursing by most Drs and my personal goal) to the park meant I wouldn't have the comfort and privacy of my couch for a good period of time. Though I have nursed in public (fully covered!) a couple of times, I have never quite felt comfortable about feeding wherever and whenever and have always tried to plan my days around his meal times. Luckily, Noah is like clockwork and wants to eat every 3 hours, so he is farely easy to plan around. While Disney does have their amazing Baby Care Centers in every park, I knew that wouldn't be practical for the big parks. Especially at Magic Kingdom where the center is by the Crystal Palace restaurant near the front of the park.
Our first night at Downtown Disney, we were so excited and carried away I didn't realize that we sat down for dinner at almost exactly his dinner time. So, I did what I had to do - get over it. That became my philosophy for the trip. Except for the one trip to the baby care center at Animal Kingdom (hey, that park is pretty small, so why not), I nursed him all over those parks. Hall of Presidents, Tomorrowland Transit Authority, Spaceship Earth, Carousel of Progress, Philharmagic and several restaurants - pretty much anywhere we sat for more than 5 minutes. Actually, when I fed him on TTA, we had to exit the ride before he finished eating, so I just picked him up still connected, prayed that I was covered, and walked down the ramp to find a bench to finish.
I have to say, it was much less of an issue than I originally thought it would be. Though it never seemed like it would be easy at the beginning, by 6 months, we've pretty much got the drill down to a routine. And, the only thing I needed for a feeding was my cover - we didn't even bring bottles on our trip.
We started Noah on solids about a month prior to our trip - after a lot of resistance on my part due to the hassle of bringing foods to Disney. But actually, we used foods to keep him calm while we ate our meals. Plus, he's still not all that interested. He likes eating, but we skip days now and then (our Doc said nursing is his nutrition, food is just for fun.. even at 7 months), so we missed a couple days on vacation. He didn't seem to mind and obviously we didn't. And, of course, when we head back in January this will ALL be different. But, I won't be nursing him and he'll be able to eat food from plates.
My point is - nursing originally seemed like a scary thing to do in the parks, but it was SO much easier than I could have imagined. Now, if only my lack of shyness while nursing will continue now that we're back to normal..... probably not. :)
Good night and happy 4th!