Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Travel Tips Tuesday

Time for more travel tips!  Today's tips are all about travelling by car.  I learned pretty quickly that a baby doesn't keep a pacifier in very long.  It seemed like every time I put the pacifier back in, Piper would spit it out.  Usually when we travelled, I would have someone else in the car who could retrieve it, but sometimes it was just me.  I learned that those pacifier clips came in VERY handy!  I would clip it to her carseat straps, and I could always find it (even when she was in her rear-facing seat) when she spit it out!  Yes! Score one for Mommy!

Now I travel with a 15 month old.  Boy, is that different!  This summer, we took some day trips with her,  the longest being 3 hours, and we all learned a little something about this age.  She LOVES her music.  I've talked about this before.  Now, she asks for it by name.  She yells out, "Minnie!" and I know she wants to hear Minnie sing.  I try to make sure that we have her music with us at all times, and with the technological age we live in, I also have episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on our phones in case of emergencies.  Also, we never go ANYWHERE without her blanket.  This way, she can always sleep comfortably when we are gone.  We also have multiple snacks on hand, as well as juice and milk in her insulated cups.  We keep juice in one type of cup and milk in the other, so she knows the difference.  She will ask for the one she wants by name.  It's pretty cute!

See ya real soon!
~Mellie

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bedtime Routines

Part of our bedtime ritual (and my personal favorite) is Noah sitting with Adam while I play piano for them.  The standards are Mozart and Beethoven Sonatas or Scenes from Childhood by Schumann, but I do vary on occasion depending on the mood.  One evening after eating dinner in a local restaurant, Noah and I wandered the neighboring stores and stepped into a music store.  


Walking in, the store was small and cluttered, but I looked at the shelf immediately on the right of the door to see the absolute best thing to show a fussy Noah - Mickey Mouse!  They had a collection of music from Disneyland and Walt Disney World!  I didn't even have to look - I immediately bought it!  


Much of the music is dated from rides that either no longer exist or have a different sponsor or theme than they did when this book was made, it has some cute songs - now I know the words to the songs from Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion!  The best piece to play is a medley from the original Main Street Electrical Parade - it's cute and has a hoe-down version of A Small World (at least something recognizable as opposed to the majority of the book).


Though I don't play from the book too often, having Mickey on my piano shelf keeps Noah showing interest - he's constantly grabbing at the book and when I open it, he looks at it like he can read the music.  It's absolutely adorable. Maybe one of these days I can find an updated version.  I love bringing WDW home!


What are your favorite bedtime routines?  Do they involve the Mouse?
Thanks for stopping by!
~Jenn

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The little things

I love seeing people representing all things Mickey.  Driving around, I love seeing cars that have the Mickey's on their antennas or even the license plate frames.  We're still representing our colleges with our license plate frames, I do think it's about time to find one of those Mickey heads.  We passed one today, and as simple and silly as it may be, it made me smile.  I've also noticed several designer Mickey handbags around the grocery stores and shops over the past few weeks.  While I don't see myself shelling out the money for one Disney Parks official collection of Dooney and Bourkes, I don't think I would be opposed to it if I had $200 laying around.

The little things aren't lost on Noah (who, by the way stood up on his own today for several seconds while reaching for food) either.  Checking out at Wegmans this afternoon (the best grocery e-v-e-r, in case you aren't fortunate enough to have them near you), Noah spotted a Mickey Mouse birthday balloon.  Not only did the gigantic balloon have Mickey on it, but it had a button that had Mickey sing a version of "Happy Birthday" that isn't copyrighted by the Jackson family.  Later than we wanted to be out and invading on his nap time, Noah was becoming quite fussy, but that balloon brought a huge smile to his adorable little face.

Hopefully I can find that same balloon for his actual birthday in December.

Thanks for stopping by!
~Jenn

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Minnie-love!

One of the newest words in our house is "Minnie!"  It's so cute to hear Piper's gleeful yell when she sees her.  She started saying Minnie's name as "Mih-mee" but just this week she got it right.  Now, each time she sees Minnie (on TV, her poster, her doll, her toy, her forks, spoons, bowls or anywhere) she says her name over and over. 

The only problem, when she sees Mickey, she says, "Minnie" also.  Hmm, maybe she thinks all cartoon life-size mice are named Minnie.  We've been trying to get her to say "Mickey", but no luck so far.  I'm sure she'll get it eventually. 

I really am raising a Disney loving baby!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Baby Wearing Wednesday!

On Monday, I was grocery shopping at our favorite Wegmans (not only do we have the best grocery store ever, but we have 2 within 10 miles) with my little man when, as his custom, he became fussy and obviously didn't want to be seated in the cart.  I was having a conversation with a random young grandmother missing her 2 grandkids out in California when I decided it was time for: The Wrap!  Standing in the middle of the meat section, I quickly went to my favorite stand by - the basic pop-in-and-out carry with a long woven wrap, the Front Wrap Cross Carry.  

This carry is also awesome because the babies can face in OR out.  At 9 months, Noah still likes facing in when he's sleepy so he can rest his head on me (and I love it, too!).

Not only was the grandmother impressed, but a store worker and new mom immediately came to ask me how and what I just did.  She said she watched me do that so quickly and easily and absolutely needed something for her 4 month old that always wants to be held.  

Just like advised to me, I tell curious moms to check out The Baby Wearer, which is the go-to for all advise baby-wearing.  But, then I usually give my 2 cents: go woven, not stretchy!  Again, I owe my coworkers Beth and Andrea for introducing me to this world!

Facing out in the Front Pocket Wrap Carry 
There are almost too many kinds of carriers to go in blind - luckily, my coworker, Andrea, offered me her Moby-like strechy wrap from Etsy to try when Noah was very little.  She showed me the most basic carry right at her desk how to tie it (sans wrap):
1. start holding the absolute middle of the wrap (everyone I have seen has a tag or something to show you the center) on your stomach.
2. Take the ends behind you, cross them over the opposite shoulders
3. Tuck them in the pocket you created with step 1
4. Cross them again and bring them to the back and tie.

That's it.  And it REALLY is that easy. She loaned me her wrap and it saved us for 2 nights of Noah wanting to be held to sleep, I wrapped him and we slept in our recliner - no worries about letting go!

At first, I thought the only options of these wraps were in what color - then I realized it's all about the fabric.  There are stretchy and woven.  The cost jumps with the woven, but in my opinion, it's worth it.  The stretchy wraps are just that - stretchy.  They will need to be retied after a shorter period of time and are not good for carrying heavier babies.  My woven wrap stretched out, but after about 4 hours of carrying Noah and taking him in and out several times.  A standard trip anywhere, my wrap stays nice and snug.

The next thing to think about with fabric is climate - I searched and searched for the best fabrics, carriers, carries, etc... knowing we would be going to Disney in June.  That's how I found my Gypsy Mama Bali Breeze by Wrapsody (no, they have NO idea I'm writing this - this is not a paid review, just one from Mom to Mom).  These are considered some of the lightest gauze, yet still woven and not stretchy.  They have many styles, even some waterproof and with SPF.  My other coworker, Beth, introduced me to a beautiful and now incredibly overpriced expensive German wrap - I don't think that would stretch out holding a 45 lb child, but it's also WAY to warm for a summer carrier.  

Wearing the Didymos Carrier.  Pretty and sturdy!

In my research and price comparison, I googled on over to Carry Me Away, a wonderful site with incredibly helpful and responsive owners who often do comparisons of carries and they have helped me a lot as well.  Plus, they had the best price of the carrier I wanted.  Win - win.  Since, I've emailed for questions about different carries with my current wrap and opinions of new a carrier.  Every time, they respond quickly and are very helpful and I plan to use them again if/when I purchase my next carrier (saving up!) to use for our January trip.  Even though my wrap is pretty much an all-in-one, I want something with buckles for easy on and off - and to figure out which has the least impact for my back in the days prior to the half-marathon.  

From personal experience, I will say one more thing - I was lucky enough to have been given a Baby Bjorn.  Noah HATED it.  And he LOVES his wrap (and even the Ergo carrier we borrowed once).  It wasn't comfortable for either of us - but for some reason, it's the most popular name.  Don't be afraid of the wrap.  It's easy, awesome, and comfortable!

Happy Baby Wearing!
~Jenn

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Travel Tips Tuesday

A month or so ago, I posted about our plans of getting Noah's first haircut at the barber shop on Main Street, the Harmony Barber Shop.  I submitted the blog to the DisMarks Blog Carnival and it appeared a last week (hooray!).  I'm not sure how many people hopped on over to ready our fun little blog, but we had at least one very helpful reader!

And now, I'm using this tip to pass along to everyone else:

The Harmony Barber Shop is now taking Advanced Reservations!!!!  I called the same hot line as when making our dinner reservations at Le Cellier - 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463) and tell them you need to book an appointment.  Supposedly, this is so new (I found it first reported last week and was able to name our time) that not all the Cast Members will know about this, but the cast member I talked to knew exactly what I needed and helped me make reservations for Noah in under 10 minutes!  Now, we don't have to worry about running from the rope drop to the barbershop - instead, we can run to Fantasyland again and hop onto Peter Pan before it's too crowded!

The Harmony Barber Shop isn't for the people like me that love being pampered with a shampoo and all - there are no sinks in the HBS, but it's perfect for boys of all ages and especially for first haircuts.  

Hope this can help plan for someone specials next haircut!
Thanks for stopping by, 
~Jenn

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A little MAGIC goes a long way!







I was reminiscing about our awesome trip in June, and I remembered a bit of "Disney-magic" that thrilled my daughter beyond belief. My hubby, Piper, and I were hanging out in the lobby of the Caribbean Beach Resort 30 minutes before our Magical Express was to arrive to take us back to the airport to go home. It had been a long but fun week, and Piper was used to being stimulated with rides and sights of the different parks. This was the first day in almost a week that wasn't full of excitement: we were going home :( Needless to say, she was BORED! I was letting her walk all over the lobby, she was touching things trying to find a way to amuse herself. I had pulled out some things to entertain her, but she was not interested.

All of a sudden, a cast member, who had been watching me try and corral her, asked me if she could have a balloon. I was shocked, but said, "Sure!" He went through a door and reappeared a few moments later with a Minnie-balloon (her fave!) because she was dressed like Minnie! She squealed with delight, and she sat for the rest of the time and played with it! She was in heaven!!!

It seems like such a small thing, but for a mom who was running out of tricks, it came at the perfect time! Thanks to that cast member for sharing a little "Disney-magic" with Piper that day. This really showed me that Disney goes out of it's way to make people's vacations special. It was a perfect end to a perfect trip!

See ya real soon!
~Mellie


This post is part of the href="http://dismarks.com/blog/disney-blog-carnival-8">Disney Blog Carnival.  Head over there to see more great Disney-related posts and articles.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Harmony Barber Shop, a Cut Above the Rest for Walt Disney World Resort Guests | Chip and Co.

So excited!! I know what I'm doing first thing tomorrow!
Harmony Barber Shop, a Cut Above the Rest for Walt Disney World Resort Guests | Chip and Co.

Customer Service

Driving home from our picnic yesterday, I heard people talking and mostly complaining about customer service. A caller phoned in complaining about terrible service she received at 2 places: The Waldorf Astoria (is that possible?) and our favorite, Walt Disney World. They were saying customer service was dead because of experiences they had a Starbucks. Starbucks isn't my favorite, but how can that be compared to WDW?!

Maybe it's because of the nice and friendly help I had just received from On Star, but I had a had a hard time believing that! For the past 2 years, I have celebrated my birthday at WDW and LOVED having what seemed like hundreds of cast members wish me a happy birthday. This past summer, so many cast members commented on the babies and were so friendly. Actually, I started pin-trading and *almost* everyone was so friendly, joking around, and hoping I would trade with them. Though Lisa over at Babes in Disneyland (look for her button!) did say it wasn't quite the same way at Disneyland, I can't imagine complaining about the folks at The World.

When I enlisted, I went to talk to Customer Service about my annual pass - I think I was walking around Epcot when I thought about - and explained to them my situation. I was enlisting and headed off to basic training from January to March, obviously unable to take advantage of my annual pass. Was there anything I could do to extend it? Right there, on the spot, without any sort of paperwork or proof of anything, they extended my pass 3 months and most likely ended the conversation with "Thank you for serving." I mean, that was AWESOME and incredibly unexpected. NY and Co asks to see i.d. every time I ask for the 10% discount, but at Disney, nothing. I would say, that's amazing customer service (though not the most business savvy).

What are your experiences with customer service at WDW? Please leave your comments below or on the facebook page for Disney Babies Blog!

~Jenn

Friday, August 20, 2010

One step closer...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I want to retire to Disney World. There are so many different magical places I would love to work, such as the Philharmagic, Peter Pan, etc.. but I've always said that I wanted to work in a candy shop (I usually make a stop at the Frontierland General Store for some yummy fudge) or a bakery. And, after seeing the many delicious desserts made at the various bakeries, thanks to the Disney Food Blog (read and become an addict), I've said that working at one of the bakeries would be amazing.

Though I don't do it often, I really enjoy baking. I'm not sure why! Somehow tuning into the Food Network on such a regular occasion has helped me find an interest in cooking and baking. Since Noah came around, I don't do much of either, but I a few months ago, I discovered an incredible recipe: Mascarpone Chocolate Toffee Bars.

Sounds complicated, doesn't it? NOPE. Simple.

And, when the flyer for our work's annual family picnic came around, calling for baked goods for a bake off, I decided to enter my bars. And by "my," I really mean Giada De Laurentiis. Most of the recipes I follow come from Giada's shows and cookbooks; they're so simple, delicious, and many healthy. This one was definitely the first two...

I unfortunately had to wake Noah up from his nap and rush him out of the house to get to the picnic in time to submit the bars. Both the picnic start and the dessert submit time was 11 am and we lived over 40 miles away from the park. We made it with just a few minutes to spare and I rushed Noah and the bars over to the judging table.

An hour or so later when we sat down to eat lunch, they started announcing the winners. The first category: pie. And, the same coworker who won every category last year won his first award. Next, cookies and bars and I hear the word "mascarpone." I WON!!! I'm not gonna lie, those bars are absolutely incredible. I can't really take the credit, I just discovered an amazing recipe. Find the recipe here, if you're curious.

But, this shows me that I could easily work at the Main Street Bakery after all. Just show me the recipe, and I'll make you a delicious dessert! Now to get cracking for next years bake-off.. I wonder if I could find the recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes from the Starring Roles Cafe at Disney Hollywood Studios...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Disney at Home

On our trip to Walt Disney World in June of 2009, Adam and I went with a hotel reservation at the Contemporary Resort for 2 nights and multi-day passes from the Armed Forces Salute (more on this on another day). We knew we wouldn't use the passes to their fullest and park hop for 5 days, but we planned on spending 3 days in the parks and driving back to my parents house after the 3rd day.

We enjoyed feeling luxurious in this world class resort with an amazing view of the Magic Kingdom. While we had never splurged at Disney before, we figured that me being 16 weeks pregnant, I'd need to get out of the Florida sun and spend some time in the pool which was even extra incentive to stay at a prime location (read: monorail resort).

During our two days, we park hopped through the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios, took pool breaks in the afternoon, and saw all the attractions we planned to see. We did all the rides that we could ride,thanks to those silly "don't ride if you're pregnant" safety warnings, which included pretty much everything at Animal Kingdom, which we skipped entirely so I didn't hop onto something that I knew I shouldn't.

So, instead of going back in for a 3rd day of not riding all of the favorites, we spent some quality time in the gift shop at the hotel. The Contemporary gift shops are pretty standard, but that's where we (and by we, I'm totally placing the blame for all of this on my hubby) fell for the a Chef Mickey collection for our kitchen.

We spent about the same amount of money we would have spent in the parks on food and drinks during the day on a clock, pot holders, spoon holders, kitchen towels, salt and pepper shakers. And the best part is that it all matches our kitchen perfectly, light blue/greys with accents of red and yellow. Eventually I'll upload a picture, but I'm pretty sure that won't happen today.

And, while I would always love to actually be at the Magic Kingdom, now I get to enjoy a little bit of magic at home.

Next time I'll have to share pictures of Noah's nursery (oy with the Mickeys already...)

Thanks for stopping by!
~Jenn

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Baby Wearing Wednesday - Guest Blog

The following blog is a guest blog, thanks to an old high school friend of Jenn's. Hopefully, her baby-wearing experiences can be useful to other parents out there! Please feel free to leave comments!! Thanks, Kecia!

Hello patrons of this wonderful site! I come to you as a fellow reader. I have followed this site, not so much for the great knowledge it provides on Disney World, but more so for the trial and tribulations of mommy- hood that the bloggers provide. The reason that I am so interested in these trials, is that my son is close in age to Jenn's son, Noah. I went to high school with Jenn and had lost touch until the greatness of Facebook brought us together. We were both pregnant at the same time, with Jenn due in November (I think) and myself due in January. Well with an interesting turn of events, Jenn being significantly overdue (I'm sure Jenn didn't find this so interesting more so annoying) and my water breaking early, we both have sons born in December. I was actually due January 15th and my son Barrett was born on Dec. 24th. {Editors note: Jenn's due date was November 28th, but after a long induction, Noah was born on December 6th}

With Barrett being born 3 weeks (and a day) before my due date, we had all the essentials but not the "extras" that I thought we may want, like a sling or a carrier (an Ergo is the one most highly recommended on Baby Bargains- if you don't know about this book and are expecting-- check it out). Anyway, when Barrett or The Bear as we call him, was about 2 weeks old, I posted on The Bump (if you are looking for something time sucking and you haven't been sucked dry by Facebook, try The Bump) to get some recommendations. I posted if anyone had any good swing, sling, or other carrier recommendations. Although The Bear was born at 5lbs 14oz., he still felt heavy after carrying him for hours and I needed some type of relief in the form of a swing or a sling or just something-- ANYTHING.

One response that I received said that the Peanut Shell sling website was having a super sale. If you didn't mind a grab bag-- you could get a sling for 10 dollars-- plus shipping of 10 dollars. I thought, "what the heck I'll give it a try." My pink flowered sling came in the mail. My sling didn't come with an instructional DVD, but I have purchased others that include them. You can go online to the website or YouTube to get information about how to do the carries. I tried the cradle carry with the Bear, but he didn't particularly like it. I didn't use the sling for a while. Then I checked out the other carries. At probably a month old, I tried the tummy-to-tummy carry. The Bear really liked. In fact, there would be periods of the day when he would become really fussy and I would say, "must be sling time." I used the tummy-to-tummy (with legs out) carry for shopping if it was quick trips or in the house to have hands free.

At about 4 months The Bear wanted to see everything. This is when I switched to the Kangaroo carry. The next picture is him in the kangaroo carry at a friend's bonfire. He really enjoyed this carry, though it took me awhile not to be nervous about him facing out. Also, it's important for the baby to be big enough when carrying in this position.

I started using the hip carry around 5 months when I was sitting down. I ran into the problem of The Bear not wanting to chill in his car seat while we went out to eat, but not being able to sit up independently in a high chair. I would wear him in the sling on my left hip, freeing my right hand to eat with. This works fine as long as you don't have a two-handed meal like a taco. Note-- the kangaroo carry doesn't work because you won't fit in a booth and you'll be dropping food on your child's head.

Barrett outgrew the Kangaroo carry around 6 months: he was sticking his feet out of the top, so we moved to the hip carry. One of the things you should know about the hip carry is that if you do a "shoulder flip" to bring the baby in closer. I have a reversible sling so if you notice in my pics, you see the light pink fabric that's the "shoulder flip." I use the sling almost every day. It seems I always need a free hand. For instance when going to the gym and taking Barrett to the playroom, I need to bring in from the car; my gym bag, Barrett's diaper bag, my yoga mat, and water bottle. I feel like this would be impossible for me without the sling.

Though I haven't been to Disney with a baby, I recently took The Bear to NYC and the sling came in very handy when riding the subway. We had an umbrella stroller, but it was impossible to use inside the station thanks to the stairwells. So, I would put Barrett in the sling and keep him in the sling during the ride. When we were in the Museum of Natural History, The Bear started fussing in his stroller and wanted to be at a level where he could see more, so I used the sling for probably about 1 1/2 hours there. I alternated between the hip carry and tummy-to- tummy carry (with his legs out). Now at the end of this time, my neck and shoulders did hurt a bit so, I would say that this is the max. length you would want to use a sling.

I know this blog is getting too long. So, I just want to say that the sling is an easy thing to bring with you because it can easily fold small enough to put in a diaper bag. I have also used it as a nursing cover, eliminating the need to bring a blanket or some other cover.

I'm not sure how I would have managed to take the Bear to NYC without the sling or nursing in public (NIP). But hey, NIP is a whole different conversation.

Please feel free to leave comments for me if you have any questions about my sling experiences. Again, my experience is limited to about 7 months and can only comment on what "The Bear" enjoyed.

Happy Slinging to all!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Travel Tips Tuesday

Here are a few helpful travel tip for travelling with babies!

Instead of bringing a regular diaper bag, pack a book sack or back pack-type diaper bag. They have much more space for storing small items and allow for carrying more snacks and other accessories needed for park-packed days.

When traveling, keep any medications for baby with you, not in your checked luggage. Check out my previous post, Packing Lists, for a checklist of what we packed in our book sack to help you with your packing. The book sack never left our side for the entire trip, so everything that we needed was there.

Another helpful hint is to bring a few empty plastic zipper bags with you. They are great for soiled clothes, dirty diapers, eating utensils, and anything else that may smell or make a mess. This way, when you get back to your room (or to your destination if you're traveling), you'll have a contained mess that will be much easier to clean. Something that came in handy on our last trip was packing a small travel size bottle of laundry detergent in your luggage. All Walt Disney World resorts have laundry facilities for their guests to use - luckily, at the Caribbean Resort where we stayed in June, the facility was in the building next to ours, so we gladly took advantage on one of our afternoons in the room. Even if you stay somewhere where laundry machines are not available on site, you can always use the detergent to clean a soiled outfit the old-fashioned way, in the sink!

See ya real soon!
~Mellie

Disney Blog Carnival!

To prove that we're not the only Disney-crazed ones out there, check out the Disney Blog Carnival #8 over at DisMarks. There is a ton of cool information from a lot of great bloggers and we're excited to be a part of our first Carnival!


Monday, August 16, 2010

'Jenn-Official' Title WDW NCOIC

Back from work after a long weekend and it's time to catch up blogs while the little one naps (or cries during his nap time as the case seems to be today).

The first thing I read in my blog reader: It's almost time for the 2011 Moms panel search! A few years ago, I passed a minivan driving around Ashburn (my home turf) with a WDW license plate and a magnet saying "WDW MOM." I thought "oooh I want to be a WDW mom one day!" I didn't even know what that meant at the time, but I liked the idea of being a Mom that loves Disney. Though I'm the self-appointed WDW NCOIC (for those of you not familiar with all of our acronyms, that's the Walt Disney World Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge) at work and really enjoy blogging, I love the idea of being "official."

Now, after much research and time spent online, I've learned that the Moms Panel is a hand selected group of people with a ridiculous amount of knowledge about Walt Disney World. Everyone has their own niche, some know more about fine dining, while others will know about the resorts. I'm not quite sure where my niche would be - probably somewhere along the lines of Disney with a baby? Hey, I've only been once with the baby, but I feel like a pro! Or, I have much knowledge about doing the parks in a day. I've "done" the parks dozens of times in a day. Somehow, with the help of friends, I've conquered all the big rides and pretty much everything else easily in jam-packed and fun-filled days.

I definitely think that Moms Panel needs more info about doing the parks with babies. Before our trip, I researched everywhere and even the Moms Panel didn't have much information about taking babies. There were lots of questions and answers about babies tagging along with the older siblings, but so little to encourage parents of infants.

That's where we will come in. Take your babies! It's free for them and as a parent of an infant, we need some fun and relaxation and there is almost nothing better for that than a good WDW vacation. Think that's a good motto?

Well, I've got some time to work on it.
Let me know what you think!
~Jenn

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Star Tours, What is it Good For?

In the past week or so, just about every Disney-related blog that I read (and there are several of them these days) has talked about the upcoming changes to Disney Hollywood Studios' Ride,Star Tours. For those of you that aren't as obsessive about keeping up-to-Disney-date as I am, the current "ride", Star Tours is being shut down and revamped. Apparently, the last ride to Endor will soon ride to somewhere else in the Star Wars Galaxy.

Apparently, this is exciting for Star Wars people. Having never actually watched all of the movies, I'm not one of those people. When we were there in June, Melissa and I happily sat out with the babes and wandered the gift shop.

My question about the update hasn't been addressed anywhere - will the ride still be as nauseating as before? I have NEVER been a fan of simulations; I'm not on the list of people wanting to bring Body Wars (barf) back to Epcot. Good riddance. Between our cruise (stabilizer not in the best working condition.. chandeliers swaying) in December of '08 and my pregnancy, I've had enough nausea for a lifetime. I personally prefer the Mad Tea Party Tea Cups to those simulators. Actually, I think I can still feel my stomach churning from the one and only time I rode Mission: Space.

I'm not alone in this, am I? Maybe the new version will be really cool with new, up-to-date special effects and I'll be talked into riding it. Or, maybe Noah and I will hang out with Yoda again in the gift shop...

I guess only time will tell..
~Jenn


Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday night extra.

During the last few months of my pregnancy, Adam and I had a standard Friday night date: dinner and a trip to Babies 'R Us. Exciting, huh? Well, as a very pregnant woman, I enjoyed wandering around the store, picking up odds and ends, and loved telling people "Oh, I was due yesterday."

Since the little guy has been around, our trips to the store have been far and few between and we've become huge supporters of Amazon, prime shipping and all. It's rare that we get a date night, but we do typically eat dinner alone at night (with Noah's current bedtime between 5:30 and 6:00, it's just easier to wait) and then relax together.

Tonight, however, we decided to be productive. We removed our coffee table with storage ottomans from our main living room and put them in our basement. The seemingly nice toy bin we had up here became a wobbly climbing toy for Noah, so that had to go, too. Again, in the basement. Then, we started organizing what once was my gym, complete with an elliptical a friend 'loaned' me that never worked, a couple of kicking bags, and a ballet barre for an exercise video I've gone in and out of habit with. The goal of this room is to eventually be a play room, so tonight we packed up the bouncers, strollers, play mats, and other things that we've already stopped using and tried our best to declutter and organize.

Then, I saw a small, unopened box, just waiting for our attention: a rocking moose. Passed down (like so much of our baby stuff) from our sister-in-law, I didn't want that poor, lonely Ikea moose to spend even more time in it's box! So, I opened the box, organized the pieces, and got to work. We had the whole thing completely assembled when we realized: the rocker was upside down!

Every time I can remember building something with Adam, we have always had at least one piece wrong. Upside, backwards, however, but it rarely matters. Unfortunately with a rocker, the piece that makes a difference can not be wrong! I'm not sure I've laughed that hard in a while, but we took it apart and redid it!

Now to introduce Noah to his new toy. Okay, he isn't close to being big enough, but at least he has more room to crawl in our newly decluttered house!

Hope that gives someone else a good laugh!
~Jenn

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back to School

This week, we went back to school, which means Piper is back with her babysitters. She has 2, one who comes to our house 3 days a week, and she goes to the other sitter's house for the other days and is there with 2 other babies. I thought this transition would be easy considering she did this same routine last year. Boy, was I WRONG! She's been having a little seperation anxiety (and I am too, but I don't let her see that) so I make sure goodbyes are short and sweet. She was sad I was leaving the first day, but did ok because she was still at our house, sleeping in her bed, and it was familiar.

It never occurred to me that babies have no memory! Today was the first day at the other sitter's house. She fussed and cried to fall asleep because she didn't remember ever sleeping there. She was sleeping in a place she hadn't seen in 2 months, and she was not having it. She finally napped, but it was a battle both times today for the sitter.

I loved Jenn's last post about the binky (noonie in our house). Piper only takes one to fall asleep. I have been wanting to get rid of it for the past month, and I've put it off. Well, I had decided this morning that it was going away during Labor Day weekend. Then, I hear about her trouble falling asleep. I don't want to traumatize her, but I want the noonie gone! I'm still going to see how she does in the next few weeks, then I think the noonie will go away. Maybe I'll tie them to balloons and let them go. She would like that. She loves balloons!

See ya real soon!
~Mellie

Bye, bye, binky!

Every book we read said to get rid of the pacifier somewhere between four and six months. "But we'll be traveling right after 6.. we'll want that pacifier on the plane." And now, two months later, we finally said no more!

Night after night, Noah would stand up after we put him to bed, throw his pacifier out of his crib, and then scream until one of us went upstairs and gave it back to him. We haven't played the pacifier game since we did away with the swaddle several months ago. The other night, he was falling asleep on us and obviously very tired at his bedtime, but he still refused to sleep and threw his pacifier on the ground one last time. That was it.

We (at daycare and at home) have been leaving the pacifier behind for playtime and using it for extra fussiness and sleep, but now we are done. Last night went as expected (or better) - he cried for 30 minutes straight and I went in to try to console and comfort him, tried soothing him with his wonderful Mickey Mouse lovey (matching one we gave to Piper on our visit in March), rubbed his back, then had to leave. Within 10 minutes, he was asleep! AMAZING! Well, not amazing, but seriously way better than I expected.

The sad part came at 5:15 when he woke up and started looking around his crib for the missing pacifier. Instead, he simply cried and woke me up earlier than I like! We normal follow the rules set out by Dr. Weissbluth in his book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and try to let him wait until 6 am so that he knows when he should be awake. But, I decided to pick my battles and this one was enough.

Day 1 - No pacifier:
Apparently at day care, he kept trying to steal the other babies pacifiers. Oops. That may be the funniest thing I've heard of him doing, though I'm sure he stressed out the 'teachers.' We've been working really hard to get him on a good nap routine, and coordinating with workers taking care of several other children can be rough, but lately things had been going fairly well. Today, however, they were very apologetic saying he wouldn't nap. I walked in much earlier than usual, around noon, in hopes that I could get him home for a nap, and saw him nursing a bottle and falling asleep. I think the teachers would have been okay with him falling asleep with a bottle - I, however, don't want that AT ALL. That's just another habit to have to break. No more! Okay, okay, we'll probably have to break the blanket/lovey habit one day, but that seems less awful than the pacifier.

I brought him home, gave him a few good hugs, then set him down in his crib. In under 10 minutes of fussing, he fell sound asleep for about an hour and a half (anything over 45 minutes is a good nap in our eyes) while I relaxed, ate lunch, and watched Grey's Anatomy reruns on Lifetime.

Still no pacifier all afternoon, though he found anything he could to gnaw on: phones, remotes, toys, puzzle pieces, etc... Of course, I remember reading/hearing somewhere that for the first few years, babies experience the world through their mouths. I guess I'll just need to take stock in 7th Generation natural cleaning supplies...

As for bedtime tonight, we went through our regular bedtime routine, gave him lots of love, then Adam read him Goodnight Moon and said goodnight (I ran to the gym to avoid the inevitable crying) and after a little fussing and no major wailing for about 20 minutes, he fell asleep! Wayyyy better than expected.

Here's to hoping he sleeps (or lets me sleep) until at least 6 am tomorrow...

Thanks for stopping by!
~Jenn

Bringing Home Disney

During our last visit to WDW, Adam turned to me and said something along the lines of "I could visit the Magic Kingdom every day." He didn't say this in reference to our 4 days in the parks during that trip, he said that about life.

Of course, we can't be at the parks all the time, so now we get to find ways to bring the Magic home. One of our favorite treats that we always look forward to in the Parks has always been frozen Chocolate Covered Bananas. No, not the standard Mickey bars (though those are amazing). Adam looks forward to his frozen banana when we're planning our trips. Then one day, I saw something starting at me in the freezer section of the commissary - FROZEN CHOCOLATE COVERED BANANAS!!! It's only one small thing, but it made us happy. And they're delicious!

I've often joked that I want to retire to Celebration, FL and work at the Magic Kingdom. While we were at the parks, I often made conversation with the adult cast members; finding out if they like their jobs and liked working for Disney. They all sincerely that they loved working for Disney. One woman joked she was very happy to not work with some of her friends over at Universal Studios - but I think that's only because we were at WDW when the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened up across the way.

Even if we end up in Central Florida for our retirement, we are many years away from that. So for now, we'll continue to find ways to bring the magic into our home.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Exciting!

I'm officially a guest blogger! Lisa over at Babes in Disneyland has published a blog I wrote about resort staying at WDW. Stop on over to see it!
~Jenn

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Baby Wearing Wednesday!

When I was pregnant, I somehow became fascinated by baby wearing.

I always noticed people carrying their children in slings and other devices and started my research while pregnant. To this day, there are still too many options to choose just one. I've spent many hours on The Baby Wearer and have found that the only option is to have options!

Different stages in the child's life require different carriers, as do the purpose of wearing. Are you nursing? Are you simply running in and out of the grocery store? How about a long day at Walt Disney World during the summer?

Well, I'm here to help with what I've found so far!

Today, I'll start with a simple sling and a simple carry:

This is the most simple and probably the least expensive of all carriers- a pouch sling. I believe this one cost about $20. Why did I pick this one? Because I liked the pattern. And from what I've learned so far, it's all about the fabric. This particular sling has a pocket on the outside and a padded shelf for the baby's head.

With a baby that didn't like to be in a car seat or stroller for an extended period of time, I often wore him in this sling until he weighed maybe 12 or 13 pounds. This picture, taken at his 1st party, was a prime example - snug like a bug and sound asleep! I also used this sling many times while pushing my stroller that only had my purse on it.

**Please know that this sling is not the same type of "sling" that was recently recalled. This is completely different and much safer**

There are several other carries possible with a standard pouch sling, but I gave up on it for the most part after he became to heavy for the baby kangaroo carry.

Pros:
- Great for newborns
- Simple - almost no learning curve for basic carries
- Fast in and out
- Inexpensive

Cons:
- Not good for long periods of time with heavier babies
- I never felt comfortable trying a hip carry with this one - I never felt the pouch was very secure, BUT I will explain that more in a following BWW.
- All weight is on 1 shoulder
- Without a ring, the size can not be varied

I did see a mother carrying a baby around Epcot using this carry and was STUNNED. I had Noah wrapped up for so much of the trip, but even to me, that seemed so uncomfortable! I had to stop myself from suggesting she try something else..

Does anyone else have experience with a pouch sling?
~Jenn

Travel Tips Tuesday

So, here starts Travel Tips Tuesday! I am excited to share the many travel tips I have learned with my 1 year old and her 2 trips to Disney. Today's trip will be about travelling by airplane.

I learned to pack a carry on bag full of things to do. We had books, toys, stickers, snacks, drink, a pen, and writing pad. Pack things that are "new" to the baby. We were luck because Piper had her first birthday 2 weeks before our trip, so I took some of her new gifts and put them straight into the bag. She didn't get to see them until the trip so they were new and held her attention. An inexpensive way to do this if you don't have a b-day around the trip time is to go to a dollar store in your area and buy 4 or 5 small toys. They LOVE new things, but their attention span is very short, so change constantly. She LOVED her new phone toy, and "called" all the family back home in the plane (see video below). Sometimes, my girl was more interested in the plane safety instruction pamphlet or the Sky Mall magazine than anything I brought her!

Also, make sure that you do have a familiar blanket and/or lovey as well as a pacifier, if your child takes one. She got tired halfway through the 1 1/2 hour flight, and wanted them to fall asleep on my shoulder. It helped her feel comfortable in a strange place.

See ya real soon!
~Mellie
video

Monday, August 9, 2010

Every day Disney life

Before I started this blog, I never realized how much apart of our daily life that Disney has become. At work (I'm a musician), we're currently playing a Disney Medley which reminds me of Mickey's Philharmagic. Donald's band is playing this time instead of an orchestra, but we're playing music from Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Little Mermaid, and Aladdin. Everyone around me knows that I love the movies and I've been enjoying singing along. Hopefully the audience likes it just as much (or more!). Wouldn't you? If only we had smell-o-vision...

Tonight at dinner, Adam picked up his water glass and noticed the condensation - it formed a Mickey! I can't imagine many people noticing that - I was very proud of my husband.

More importantly is how Disney has helped effected our afternoon routine with Noah. On days in which Noah didn't get a good afternoon nap, keeping him up to 5:30 is rough. Days like today, for example. Noah had a fantastic morning nap at daycare, but they didn't think to put him back down. By the time I picked him up, he was exhausted and almost fell asleep in the car but refused to sleep in his crib when we got home. Being completely exhausted and cranky, the only thing that helped him stay peaceful? The intro's to Little Einsteins and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He shows little to no interest in the actual shows, but those intros. Wow. Even in the car - when he's fussing, we'll play 3 songs - MMC theme song, Mouse-ka Tools, and the Hot Dog Song. Especially the hot dog song. It's magical! Thank goodness for that soundtrack.

Tomorrow, we're starting Tot Travel Tip Tuesdays! Hopefully we can come up with some great tips for traveling! Then Wednesday, I'll start Baby Wearing Wednesday. I'm excited to start these and hope they help!

~Jenn

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I am Mommy

I wrote something today, and I thought I'd share it with all the other Mommies out there. Enjoy!

I am Mommy.

I can vacuum, do laundry, load a dishwasher, or brush my teeth all with a baby on my hip.
I can find a pacifier, put on a shoe, retrieve a missing toy, or give a snack/drink while driving.
I can heal a hurt, calm a fear, or ease a pain with just a kiss.
I can change a diaper or an outfit in the dark.
I can understand the language of my toddler, even when no one else can.
I love that face, even when it's messy, crying, guilty, or angry.
I can hear the faintest sound on a baby monitor.
I thank God each day for my precious child.

And I do it all on 4 hours of sleep.

I am Mommy...hear me snore!

See ya real soon!
~Mellie

On a happier note..

After my last rant, I thought I would come back with something a bit more positive...

Following the lines of so many other blogs, we're going to try to have a couple of themes to go with. Starting next week, we're going to have Tots Travel Tip Tuesdays and Baby Wearing Wednesdays. Since Melissa and I have both traveled to WDW with our babes at different ages, we're going to try to give 1 helpful tip each week, for the flights, car rides, etc.. Hopefully these tips will help everyone else along with their Disney visits (assuming, people shell out the crazy cash for park visits after the new hikes.. check my last post).

Wednesdays will be devoted to Baby Wearing, which I'm a huge fan. Of course, I've only tried a few different carries, so I'll be expanding my repertoire with my current carriers (for now), but hopefully we can all learn something from this!

Thanks for stopping by!
~Jenn

As seen on CNN

They're raising their prices again!? Seriously? It seems like every year (or maybe more) Disney raises their prices. A visit to the parks is astronomical! Then, to make it seem like a deal, they'll offer Free Dining! but only if you stay in their resorts with no other discounts.. I've never really done that math, but it seems like even if you plan to stay on property, a resort discount and buying food as you go (or even stocking up for your room) would make a lot more financial sense!

Lets think about this.
A moderate resort costs around $179 a night.
5 nights is $895

With that, you get free dining?
That's 1 snack, 1 quick service, and 1 table service a day.
So (approximately):
$5, $15, $40 ($60)

That's an estimated $300 for 5 days.

Well, so yes, for $900 in resort, you're saving $300 in food. And you're getting a lot of food. Dessert at every meal. I don't know about you, but I sure don't need (nor should I eat) dessert at every meal. Plus, that takes away the fun of eating a Mickey bar or Frozen Banana!

And, if they simply offered 40% off resorts, you'd pay around $540. And I know I sure didn't eat $60 of food every day.

I sure hope they keep up their military and/or Florida resident discounts. Sure glad I'm both!
Sorry everyone else...

It's August 4th. According to my husband, that's just the standard day for bad news!

Hopefully tomorrow will lead to bigger and brighter (and happier) things!

Thanks for stopping by!

this rant written by Jenn. please come back for more uplifting and happy thoughts

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A blog by any other name..

When I had the idea to start a blog, I was reacting to the lack of information I could find online about taking babies to Disney. I found a lot of information about older children - height requirements and entertainment ideas are readily available. But what about the infants? So, I talked to Mellie and now a few months later, here we are. Disney Babies Blog. We originally entitled the blog "Growing up a Disney Baby." But, since we started, I landed upon the blog "Growing up Disney."

That's a little too close for comfort.

Now we're in search for a new title. We could just as easily stick with Disney Babies Blog, but I've decided to open the title search up to our readers (there are a few of you out there, right? if you're reading this, "follow" us or leave a message so we know you're here!). Please leave any suggestions you have. We'll be happy to consider them and if we get a few, we may even create a poll to get a public vote.

Thanks and have a magical day :)
~Jenn

oh - and thinking about Mellie's last post - I always have "Daisy Bo-Peep" from the MMC cd stuck in my head.. Goofy, Minnie, and Mickey singing together.. Enough said.