Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Creation of a Disney Baby

Before the birth of my son, my sister and 2 sisters-in-law decided to throw me a marvelous baby shower.  Knowing the name would be Noah, my sister suggested a Noah's Ark theme.  I declined and said "um, how about Mickey Mouse?"  Little did I know, this party would push the love up so many levels.  


so many hidden mickeys!
My sister and mom flew in from Florida, and my sister-in-law, Laura hosted at her house.  The decorations she made would impress Martha Stewart and she left no detail out.  The cakes were polka-dotted, mouse-style, and there were Mickeys and Minnies everywhere.  She made those Mickey cookies by hand and even had enough after her dog ate several..  The pretzels were chocolate dipped and covered in Mickey sprinkles.










Nothing was left uncovered.  The favors (m&ms) and game prizes were decked out Mickey style (below).  Even in gifts, we stocked up on Mickey clothes, toys, and blankets.  Thanks to Adam's parents, we even received the awesome Vintage Mickey bedding set that I had spotted.  Those Mickey and Minnie dolls (pictured right) are now favorite toys of Noah's and he sleeps with Minnie every night!
Almost on overload...

The party was fantastic and overwhelming all at the same time.  And, coming up on a year ago.  How is that possible?  And now, he's most definitely a Disney baby.  He's been sick today and what helped cheer him up?  The theme songs of his favorite shows (the shows don't actually interest him all that much): Little Einsteins, Jungle Junction, and of course, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  


If you're interested in seeing some more pictures from that baby shower, I'll add them on our facebook page.  Be sure to check us out!


Thanks for stopping by,
~Jenn

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Baby Wearing Wednesday- wearing on a budget

I'm not gonna lie - I'm starting to run out of ideas for baby-wearing!  Noah is not only teething this week, but has come down with a case of double pink-eye.  Poor baby.  But, definitely not the time to try out a new carry.   The best time to try out new carries is when you're both in a great mood.  First, make sure you know what you're doing, then incorporate the baby.  If you're wrapping, tie it a couple of times sans baby (or if you want to feel extra prepared, use a doll), then add the baby when you're comfortable.  


But the real point of my post.  A high school friend who is currently preggers with her 3rd daughter (3!? at 29?!  oy) asked me about carrying comfortably.  She currently has a Snugli, which I'm not familiar with aside from pictures.  It looks basically like a Bjorn, but made by a different company.  Any way you look at it, it doesn't look very comfortable!  She asked me about something quick and preferably something you can make. 


If you're crafty, you can make pretty much anything.  I, however, don't have a sewing machine (nor do I know how to use them), so making anything more than a wrap isn't going to happen in my house.  BUT, if you  or someone you know is crafty, I found the website for you!


Make Baby Stuff.com has patterns to make the carrier of your choice for minimal cost.  The wrap is the easiest - 5 yards of fabric.  Done.  But, here is the pattern to make a Mei (may) Tai, which is like a more structured carrier, but with ties instead of buckles.  Keep skipping through their pages, and you'll find patterns for ring slings (I want one!), pouch slings, as well as the carriers listed above.  


Anyone want to make me a ring sling?


I hope this has helped any of you crafty baby-wearers out there!
Thanks for stopping by,
~Jenn

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Travel-Tip Tuesdays- Meal Time

Concerned about meal time with an infant?  So was I before our trip!  With a 6 month old who hated the high chair, I wasn't sure how we were going to handle the mealtimes.  I figured out a few things that did and didn't work and hopefully these tips can help those in a similar situation!


If your child is old enough to comfortably sit in a high chair, than they're probably eating a lot of solids.  Or, enough to definitely need to plan ahead for that. If you're driving or renting a car, you can bring your own foods or stop at a Walmart (there's one right off the Osceola Parkway close to the Florida Turnpike) or grocery store. Another options are shipping a package of food to yourself if you're staying at a resort or to do grocery store delivery to your resort or hotel.  All of these are viable options for getting groceries - and even with the extra costs, this will be much less expensive than buying all your foods at the Baby Care Center.  The Baby Care Center does have pretty much anything you could think of, but at the standard Disney prices, so you'll definitely not want to depend on that!


With Noah, I tried to hold of on solids so that I wouldn't have to worry about it at all.  He was about a week past 6 months and I know several parents that have waited to start solids until around 7 months, but Noah wasn't waiting any more.  So, I did the next best thing - I started him on foods that were readily available and good without needing to be cooked.  I did cereal, as standard, but then mashed up bananas and avocados.  Both of these are easy to find in restaurants, and especially at Disney.  I brought my own spoons, but all I needed to do was to mash up a little extra and he was set to go.  Another food great for this is applesauce.  A daycare worker once recommended to take a bite of the banana, then mash up the banana right there in the peel.  Talk about a time-saver!


About 2 weeks past our trip, Noah finally got comfortable in a high chair.  And, with the help of Baby Mum Mums, puffs, and cheerios, Noah became easy at meals.  At 9 months, he's good at meals as long as there is a constant flow of food.  Of course, at 9 months, he's having a bit more table food, so if I order appropriately, I can just give him some of my food.  


2 important take-alongs (or mail/buy to Orlando) are plastic table covers and disposable bibs.  Tape down a table cover, toss some Cheerios on the table, and enjoy your meal!


Okay, okay, what about those little ones that aren't quite high chair ready?  Well, if your baby is really little when you go and they're they stereotype that likes to be in their car seat, you can keep the car seat with you in the parks.  Noah never liked his car seat, so this was never an option for us.  But, for some of you, that's definitely a viable options.  And, that might also help with naps (again - your child has to really like that car seat).


If your child is a good sitter, but still a little too small for the high chairs, there are chair-tie high chairs.  There are several brands, so google it. The reviews I read said 6 months and older loved this, but I have no personal experience with them.  Doing it over again, I would splurge in hopes that it would work.  If you've tried one of these, I'd love to hear about your experiences!


For quick-service meals, we left Noah happily and content (words that first appeared at Disney) in his stroller.  We fed him in his stroller and he played peacefully (again - this started at Disney).  At our sit-down meals, we would start off in the high chair, but he didn't last.  That's where baby-wearing comes to play.  As my guest blogger, Kecia, mentioned, she would use her sling to wear her son on her hip during meal time.  My option was to simply wrap and get Noah to sleep.  He was pretty much ready to sleep at every meal, so this took care of both his naps and my eating.  


I'll just say this - this definitely wasn't easy, but it wasn't nearly as hard as I had thought it might be.  Don't let this little fear set you back.  Hopefully this has helped.  Enjoy your trip!


Thanks for stopping by!
~Jenn

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Park Across the Country

If you've been reading my blog, you've probably noticed that all my posts relate to the Walt Disney World Resort - Orlando.  I've never said anything about Disneyland for one simple reason: I've never been.  My numerous Disney trips were always quite convenient.  Between living in Florida and having grandparents there to visit, visiting WDW was never out of the way.  


My only trip to California was for a layover to and from Australia with my high school youth orchestra in 1997.  Our return trip had a 24 hour layover and with a family connection from a parent, we ended up at Universal Studios for 3 hours - long enough to ride 1 ride (Jurassic Park) and grab a bit to eat before returning to LAX.  We've had a few missed opportunities to fly out west, but so far, nothing has worked.


Then the other day, Adam was looking at RunDisney when he noticed a fancy medal - a medal that has Walt and Mickey surrounded by the words Disneyland and Walt Disney World.  Adam had discovered the Coast to Coast challenge.   Completing both the Walt Disney World Marathon or half marathon and the Disneyland Half Marathon in the same calender year, you receive that fancy medal.  I bet that would go nicely on the shelf next to our Donald medals from January's race.  


Adam has said so many times that he will do the 1 half marathon, then stick to 5Ks, but he actually seemed interested in this race.  We won't know until we finish our first race.  We've got to get through 1 half before we choose to do another, but if we like running around Epcot and the Magic Kingdom, you may be reading about us training to run around Disneyland next September.


I still say, if you've got to run distance, Disney is the way to go!
Thanks for stopping by,
~Jenn

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Disney "update"

Well, we're no longer Celebrating Every Day.  I hope they'll still have our buttons..


Disney has just made a big announcement:  the new campaign called "Let the Memories Begin."  They are setting up a hub online to upload family videos and photographs of your Disney vacations to be part of advertising.  Now, you and your family can be a part of the Disney commercials.  Not only will they be in commercials, but they'll be displayed at the Small World Ride - Disneyland  AND on the Cinderella Castle at WDW.  That's pretty cool.  


It also sounds like if you're using the Disney Photo Pass (castmember photographers), your pictures could be displayed as well.
Publish Post
Okay, but in all reality, I've watched a 30+ minute "announcement" about the Disney Parks that ended up with the announcement of a new campaign?  Kind of silly if you ask me, but I guess the idea is pretty cool. 


What do you think?
~Jenn

A Running Must Have

When Adam and I went to the local running store to stuck up on running supplies (new shoes, socks, bras, goos, etc...), I found something.   Actually, I was staring off into space when the woman checking us out said "those are amazing.  I use mine every single time I run."  I looked into the direction when I say these cute little headbands.  They had a small selection, pink camo, pink plaid (mine!), and a few others.  The price was under $15, which seems ridiculous, but after everything else we'd splurged on, I decided to go ahead and toss one on the pile.


I didn't believe it until my first run.  My sticky band didn't move.  At all.  Over the years, I've tried several different versions of the standard headbands, but those don't even stay put while washing my face.  I was hoping to get a custom one for the Disney Half Marathon, but I just read the custom bands can only be made in orders of 200 or more... Maybe if enough of us request them, they'll make some Disney-related head bands.


Basically, they're simply headbands made with special materials so they do not move at all.  And, they're really cute.  Don't you think?
Pre-5k wearing my Sweaty Band
At the end of the run, I was tired, thirsty, and hungry, but my Sweaty Band hadn't budged.  I'm absolutely hooked and you should be, too!  

Aside from running, these head bands are adorable and are great for basically anyone with hair.  I plan to invest in a few more - they will definitely be with me in January, for the race and for our days in the Parks!

**I'm planning to do a Sweaty Band giveaway here pretty soon, but I want to reach at least 25 followers first.  So, follow us here, on facebook, and on Twitter (if we ever figure it out) to know when the giveaway will start.  You'll have to be a follower to be eligible, so sign up now!

Thanks for stopping by,
~Jenn

**This is an honest testimonial.  I found them and since contacted Sweaty Bands to profess my love.**

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Baby Wearing Wednesday - 100th post - baby wearing in review

This post marks our 100th post.  Hooray!  In elementary school, the 100th day is a huge deal, often celebrated with treats, and special arts and crafts projects.  On Disney Babies Blog, our 100th post is going to be celebrated by 2 things: 
1st - a 'special' Baby - Wearing Wednesday, reviewing the thought behind baby wearing and my personal favorite carries..
and...

2nd.. *dun dun dun* a Twitter account!!  Our twitter name is DisneyBabiesBLG (that 1 'o' was 1 too many letters.  sad, right?).  Be patient while we get a hang of the whole twitter thing, but follow us and stay 'updated' or whatever :)

The idea of baby-wearing came to me even before I gave birth.  Visiting the parks 6 months pregnant, I saw babies everywhere.  I noticed when people looked tired carrying their babies while waiting in line, other pregnant women sitting out of all the "good" rides, and then all these people wearing their children with no effort at all.  I'm not into baby-wearing because I'm strictly into "attachment parenting" or any labels, solely because it's helpful, convenient, and we love it.

That's when it all started.  Well, that and a coworker who had a picture of her with her baby in a pouch sling. I got back from our trip to Disney and started doing what I always do with something new: research!  I thought I wanted a sling.  I looked into pouch slings - they looked simple and easy, plus they're pretty darn cheap.  That's where my first sling came from - It cost $20 and it's adorable, don't you think?

Peanut Shell pouch sling

I loved my sling for maybe 6 weeks.  I only liked this carry - the other ones all seemed a little less secure, and even though it can be worn for 5 different carries, I retired that bad boy pretty quickly.  


Next, I tried the Baby Bjorn.  I was given 2 as hand me downs.  Aren't people so nice?  I think so.  :)  Well, I tried the Bjorn.  I should mention that both of them seemed relatively new.  Noah hated being in the bjorn.  Without him in it, the carrier simply felt like a back pack, but even around 10 lbs, it wasn't comfortable for either of us. I tried putting him in the bjorn only a couple of times, but with only screams in return, I put it back in the closet where it came from.


My next try - the Moby.  And not the brand Moby, but Moby has become the generic term for any jersey-material, stretchy wrap.  The one I tried was a coworkers - she purchased it on Etsy and it was adorable.  I loved it, Noah loved it, and we were ready to go - ready to go until I was told about the woven version (if you're read all this before, sorry, but thanks for reading!).  Another coworker loaned me hers which I adored, but refused to spend close to $200 for a wrap.
Oh, Didymos, why must you be so pricey?!
After decided I couldn't/wouldn't spend that much on something I didn't know I could commit to, I researched more and more and decided on the Gypsy Mama Bali Breeze, for reasons of both fabric (breathable and good for the summer), pattern (good for a boy, but still pretty), and price (affordable!!).
He has my ears, don't you think?  Poor kid!
That wrap has done me very well, but my husband won't wear it..  Plus, I wanted something quick and easy.  That's when my newest carrier came in to the picture.  I haven't worn it much yet, and so far, I find my wrap more comfortable... but, now Noah can be carried by Adam sometimes, too.

You may be wondering WHY at 9 months would I spend the cash on yet another carrier.  Well, it's simple.  I wanted one.  Noah still LOVES being carried and he's HEAVY.  He's only 18 lbs (25%-30%), but for more than a few minutes, that's a lot.  When we're at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Family Expo for the Disney Half-Marathon and Kids Fest in January, we can't bring a stroller.  But, we can't leave Noah at home.  Especially since he's registered for the Diaper Dash (more on that one later).  He'll probably be able to walk pretty well by then, since he's already taking a few steps, but not enough in such huge crowds.  So, we need a carrier!  Good enough for me.

As you might have read, I emailed with the 'sling lady' at Carry Me Away, and she recommended my newest carrier, to which we're still adjusting.  She's another great resource if you have questions - talk about a pro!  

Plus, in the name of research for the blog, I felt obligated to test out at least one more carrier.  For you, the reader, that is.  

I hope this has helped!  Please feel free to leave any comments or questions here or on facebook.
And follow us on twitter!!

Thanks for stopping by,
~Jenn

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Travel Tips Tuesday - Celebrations

Walt Disney World is an awesome place to Celebrate.  If you are celebrating any occasion, be it a birthday, anniversary, honeymoon, first visit, family reunion, engagement, or just celebrating anything, they help you enjoy it.  They have special buttons commemorating the occasions and the best part: they're completely FREE!  All you need to do is go up to a cast member in the lobby of your hotel or at Customer Service in the parks, and tell them what you are celebrating and they will give you a button with one of many phrases on them (I'm Celebrating! Just Married! Just Engaged! Happy Birthday! Happy Anniversary! Family Reunion! My Magical Triumph! Happily Ever After! etc)

It's a pretty magical detail that they make you feel so special for celebrating so many things.  If you are lucky enough to celebrate your birthday there, they go out of their way to celebrate.  While wearing my happy birthday button, I was sung to in the Ice Cream Shop on Main Street, Goofy sang to me over the phone in the American Adventure Pavillion in EPCOT, and Jenn, Piper, and I even got cupcakes at our birthday dinner at the 50's Prime Time Cafe Hollywood Studios. 

Celebrating in WDW rocks!  David and I have celebrated anniversaries there. We had our "Magical Memories" button on for our anniversary, and they made a heart of "pixie dust" on our table!  Whatever you are celebrating, they help to make your celebration even more magical.  Happy Celebrating!

See ya real soon!
~Mellie

Our "pixie dust" heart!
We had our "Honorary Citizen" buttons on!
"Magical Memories"

Closeup of the heart (made out of Mickeys)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pin trading: our new favorite souvenir

Before we left in June, I started researching pin trading.  For years, I'd seen the stands, but thought nothing of it.  I figured the pins were just another way for the Disney Co. to make more money.  Which it is.  But, that didn't stop us from starting a collection. 

For those who don't know, for around 10 years now, Disney has made pins for sale and trade.  They have basic pins, documenting almost any character you could think of - though after searching and asking every cast member I saw, I couldn't find a Thumper.  There is actually official etiquette you can read to see all of the "rules," though they are quite simple: Start off with your own pins, find cast members with other pins, ask for a trade!

Pretty much every cast member is supposed to wear pins daily.  They are supplied by the parks, so don't feel bad about trading a cheap pin for a nicer pin.  That's what you're supposed to do!  I have to admit, in June, I didn't see any cast members with any fancy pins - no spinners or dangles, but I did find a few that were great to me.  And, that really is the entire point of trading.

As soon as we reached our resort, we went to the small store there and bought a lanyard and starter kit - 5 or 6 small, generic pins.  Ours had an assortment - Peter Pan, the Genie from Aladdin, and several others I can''t remember, because we traded them ALL.  We bought a few to commemorate the trip including a "My First Trip" for Noah.  

The best place to find pins is at Downtown Disney.  There is a shop that sells only pins and they have the best collection.  However, there are smaller kiosks in all of the parks and all of the gift shops have a few.  But, the most fun is trading with cast members.  Sometimes, they even make it a game and try to compete with each other to get you to trade with them.  If you see a cast member with a green lanyard, he will only trade with young children, so adults can look but can't trade.  I love that they even make the game special for kids.  Another little hint of magic in the details.  

The newest Disney addiction is Vinylmation.  Something new to collect.  But, they kind of freak me out, so I'm not sure I'll ever fall into that addiction, but if you're into Japanese anime, those little guys are for you.  

My favorite pin of the trip I traded an upper level cast member at Epcot, while we were waiting for our photo op with Minnie and Goofy (Disney Visa Cardholder Experience) is a reminder of so many Disney trips in college:
Please keep your hands and arms inside the vehicle at all times!

Have you ever tried pin trading or collecting Vinylmation?  Do you think this habit is as silly as I do?  Silly, but fun :)
Thanks for stopping by!
~Jenn

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Trivia

I just learned some things about Mickey Mouse Clubhouse that I wanted to share.  First of all, the main characters are voiced by people who have exclusively done them for at least 20 years.  Wayne Allwine, the voice of Mickey Mouse, is only the third person to ever voice Mickey.  The first person was Walt Disney himself!  However, they are in need of a new Mickey because, sadly, Allwine died last year. 

Tony Anselmo plays Donald.  He's only the second person to voice Donald Duck. 

The coolest fact I learned is that Allwine (Mickey) and Russi Taylor (Minnie) are married!  They met during a taping of a Minnie cartoon!  How cute is that?  Mickey and Minnie were married in real life.  I just think that it's adorable! 
Anyway, I'm a sucker for trivia, especially Disney trivia!

See ya real soon!
~Mellie

Friday, September 17, 2010

5 reasons Disney is a good vacation for babies

"They won't remember it"


How many times have I heard that?  Usually, that is followed by "We're going to wait until they're maybe 3 or 4."  Well, I have to say, I don't remember much of anything from when I was 4 or 5, do you?


Well, I can think of several reasons to bring babies and young children to Disney!  So, it may be an expensive vacation, but it only gets more expensive as they get older!


First: Children under 3 are FREE!
Tickets, room, even FOOD is free.  Dining plan or not, you'll have enough food at each meal to feed most children from a single adult meal.  And, if you are eating at a buffet, a child under 3 can eat from an adults place at no cost. 


Second: Flying with children 2 and under can be free!
If you're worried about flying with children, we've done it twice so far with a baby that rarely slept.  And both trips, he slept long enough and barely fussed at all.  Obviously, all children are different, but make sure to have bottles (or if you're nursing, throw on a cover and go!), pacifiers, toys, etc...  But, if you let them sit in your lap, there is NO charge.  The other option would be to buy a 3rd seat to install a car seat, but we're planning to keep Noah as a lap baby for as long as we can!


Third: As new parents, you'll most likely want and need a vacation.  If you can, bring family or friends with you so you get a little break, but even if you're alone, you'll be at Disney World and not much is better than that!  Also, Disney does have a babysitting service called Kid's Nite Out for guests staying in a WDW resort.  They can also help you in the parks, if you're wanting some extra help with your little ones!


Fourth:  Constant entertainment.  It's my belief that it is impossible for babies to become bored on this vacation.  Whether walking around Downtown Disney, taking the monorail, or walking around the resorts, there is so much to do and see.  Before we went to Orlando, we stayed for a few days at my parents.  Noah was teething, bored, and fussy, which worried us.  As soon as we reached the resort, Noah became a different baby.  He rarely fussed and enjoyed taking in everything, all rare for Noah at 6 months.
With Jessie and Woody in Frontierland


Fifth: Getting your picture taken with Mickey Mouse without feeling silly!  I hadn't had my picture taken with any of the characters in years (probably since childhood), but with Noah in my arms, we waited in line to meet Woody and Jessie from Toy Story, met Pluto and Goofy in Tomorrowland, and met up with Goofy and Minnie Mouse at Epcot for another picture.  This young, they (Noah and Piper) are fearless and had no hesitations meeting the characters (or putting their whiskers in their mouths, like Noah did to Goofy).  Children often become afraid of the giant costumed characters, but at 6 months and 1 year, they were as happy as could be to have meet the characters they've seen on tv.  
Both families!

Do you have any other pros for vacationing with the babies? How about any other hesitations?  Please comment here or on our facebook page!
Thanks for stopping by!
~Jenn


This post is part of the Disney Blog Carnival.  Head over there to see more great Disney-related posts and articles.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Another housing option

A few months ago, I did a guest blog over at Babes in Disneyland about some of the many lodging options at WDW - trying to give those Californians somewhere to start when thinking about checking out the World instead of the Land, which they are most likely more familiar with.  I've mentioned this before, but now that it's a done deal, I wanted to write a little more about our upcoming trip.  We have officially booked where we are planning to stay for our January trip!


The Walt Disney World Resort is a HUGE campus, according to Wiki, it's around 47 square miles.  GOOD GRIEF! There are 24 resorts on property, costing more because of the extra magic that they really do offer (extra magic hours, transportation, Mickey Mouse wake up calls, Magical Express), but those details may not always be worth it.


In January, we've planned a week long trip with only a couple of days planned in the parks.  We don't want to be exhausted and walking miles and miles in the parks the days before running 13.1 miles, and most likely won't want to really do the parks after running 13.1 miles, so I looked for another option: a villa. 


I'd originally tried to find a place to rent in Celebration, because I have ALWAYS been curious about the town.  Even though it is no longer owned by Disney, I still think it would be a great place to retire...  Anyways, Celebration has resorts, but I wanted something more.  Then, I came across the Windsor Hills Villas.  


Windsor Hills Villas are located "5 minutes" from the main gate, this is a community very highly recommended on the Disney bulletin boards by many previous guests (and probably some owners).  As far as I can tell, they're all individually owned homes generally used as rentals.  I can't imagine anyone living there full time, but they might.  Heck, I would if I could!  These are gorgeous condos, townhouses, and villas, that can sleep many different people, depending on how much you pay.


Don't be fooled like I was - I stupidly signed up for a  "send me information" button and received about 50 emails within 48 hours (most within an hour) from different owners.  Of course, I guess this is the easiest way to see your options.  I looked around at the different options and found what we wanted: our own 3 bedroom villa.


Doesn't that sound magical?  3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms AND a private splash (read: super small) pool with a full kitchen all to ourselves.  We don't have to think about eating out every single meal, or trying to store milk and everything in a little mini-fridge.  We will have a full kitchen.  My parents will be driving up from Ft. Lauderdale to watch Noah while we run, and now they'll have their own bed and bathrooms!  Now, the question is how to choose these 50,000 villas apart.  Our biggest turn?  Tvs.  If they didn't have nice tvs, I ruled them out.  Silly, I know.  But, it's the first thing my husband notices when he walks into a house and he sure doesn't want to be stuck with something old and crappy for a week!  So, fulfilling our requirement of nice tvs, I found a beautiful villa that fit my style and perfectly into our budget.


The best part - we're staying for 7 nights and it costs about $100 more than our 5 night stay at the Caribbean (and you all know how I felt about that one.. and if you don't, you can find my review here).   I don't want to say the name of the actual villa, in case I end up not liking it, I don't want to lead anyone in the wrong direction.  However, I will happily post the name if the trip is successful (so in January)!


The living room of "our" villa
Getting excited!  Now, to get running...


Thanks for stopping by!
~Jenn

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Baby Wearing Wednesday - New Carrier!

I'm warning you just as I was warned - baby wearing can be addicting.  And expensive.  We revisited the cost of baby wearing last week. 


I love my wrap and still use it regularly, but I decided it was time to have some help from Adam - and time to have something that I can put on quickly.   I can wrap pretty quickly now, but I wanted something with buckles and snaps - completely mindless wearing.  


As I posted last week, I had been in contact with a few different websites, asking questions and opinions, and also checking out the babywearer.com again - looking for opinions.  I thought I had my mind set on a carrier, until one final pull tugged me into the direction of one of the most common (and arguably the best) carriers there is.  I'll post pictures, but I don't to give too much free advertising for those I just shelled out over $100 for, I'll only tell you the brand name if you send me an email/facebook me.  Or, if you've seen as many as I have, you can probably guess which I'm now wearing.


The carrier came in the mail 3 days after I ordered with free shipping (rock on, carry me away!) and unfortunately, it was the day before my 5k, so I didn't want to do too much testing.  But, over the weekend, I used it a bit more.  I put it on and popped the baby in using the standard front carry for silly things, like walking to and from the car.  Hey, we both have to get used to it, right?
Basic front carry
I think I'm still partial to my wrap, but I'm definitely planning to get my money's worth out of this one.  Front carry is SIMPLE.  Snap around your waste, have one shoulder on, pop the baby in, get the other shoulder up, snap in the back.  And, assuming the back snap is in the right place, it's almost too easy!  Plus, it's a pretty blue, don't you think?
Now, doesn't that back look more supportive than the Bjorn?


The trick with making this carrier comfortable is finding the perfect width for the back buckle.. I had it too tight at first and it did not feel good, but adjusting it made it much better.  


Have you ever tried the structured carriers?  Feel free to comment here or on facebook to ask questions or comments!
Thanks for stopping by,
~Jenn

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Travel Tips Tuesday-Disney's Magical Express

Today's Tuesday Travel Tip is about Disney's Magical Express.  Our family has used Disney's Magical Express twice now, and both times we had very positive experiences.  The Magical Express is a shuttle bus that comes to the airport and picks up passengers to take them to one of the Disney resorts or to Port Canaveral for the Disney Cruise Line.  The first time we used the service was on our Honeymoon aboard the Disney Cruise Line 5 years ago.

Planning for the Magic Express Experience is incredibly simple, just make sure to register for the service before the trip.  After you register, they mail luggage tags with your name, resort name, or cabin number if you're going on a cruise.  We received one tag for each of us, but you can easily request more if you need them.  When you arrive at the airport, cast members pull your luggage at baggage claim, put it on their bus, and deliver it to you room.  This service really came in handy when traveling with the baby.  We checked our luggage at the New Orleans airport, and didn't see it again until it was delivered to our room.  The only downside is that you might not get your luggage until 3 hours after you check in.  Knowing that it would arrive after us, we made sure to have what we needed for that day in our carry on luggage, such as extra diapers, food, and swimsuits.  Our bags arrived at our room 1 1/2 hours after we checked in, so we really didn't have a problem.

When we boarded the bus after our flight, we took a short trip (35 min) and dropped off some people at the Pop Century Resort.  We arrived at our resort, The Caribbean Beach Resort, shortly thereafter.  It was nice not to have to worry about a rental car or paying a taxi.  This service is ABSOLUTELY free.  Plus, it saved us from having to travel with Piper's car seat.  When we used the Magical Express to go home, the bellman arrived at our room at 8:00 am (we had an 8:30 bus ticket), put our luggage in his van, and drove us to the lobby.  From the lobby, we loaded the bus and headed to the airport.  They also continue the magical experience both ways, showing cute videos all about Disney World. 

If you fly to Orlando, I highly recommend Disney's Magical Express Service.  It was awesome for us!

See ya real soon!
~Mellie


This is a picture of the Disney Wonder Cruise Ship from the front window of the Magical Express.




Newlyweds on the Magical Express.  See the Hidden Mickey over my shoulder?

Monday, September 13, 2010

pic


Moms Panel

The application process is now open!! I spent much of the morning (okay, the past hour between dropping Noah off at daycare and getting ready for work) writing and revising my answers.  The application is really only 3 essay questions - and by essay, I mean 100 words or less.  And, if you've been reading my blogs for a while, you know I tend to ramble and write a lot, so this took some time!


If you're curious or want to apply, check out the Moms Panel recruiting site to learn more.  I'm not too confident about my answers this time around, but now I know what to expect for next year, right?


One of the questions asked how I've helped a non-family member plan their first trip.  I talked about how I helped Melissa think about using a baby carrier (moby) to carry Piper around the parks.  Though it wasn't Melissa's first trip, I'd like to think that moby really didn't help her for Piper's first trip!


Have we here with the Disney Babies blog helped you with your trip planning?  Do you have any questions we can answer for future trips?


Thanks for stopping by!
~Jenn

Alice in Wonderland

Adam and I have always enjoyed watching movies together.  Once the little one came around, going to the theater became nearly impossible and watching at home wasn't as easy as before, if for no better reason than sheer exhaustion. We have made several date plans, some successful (Toy Story 3) and others that fell through, either for illness or for whatever reason, and now we're very behind on our Netflix queue.

Illness hit us hard the weekend we made plans to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D.  We talked about going again, but like other movies before it (Avatar for one), it fell by the wayside and we never saw it.  Until now.  Sunday night - after making Noah's baby food and throwing together a fruit salad - lets us relax and unwind together before the work week starts.  

Watching this makes we wonder a couple of things: 

First - what kind of drugs does/did Tim Burton use?  Quite strange (still watching as I type this, so I have yet to decide good or bad)

Second - has there been a movie filmed with British actors that didn't have any actors from Harry Potter?  On my count, we're at 3: Alan Rickman (Professor Snape/Blue Caterpillar), Helena Bonham Carter (Belatrix Lestrange/Red Queen), and Timothy Spall (Peter Pettigrew/Bayard).... but I wouldn't be surprised if there were more..

This is a Disney movie, but does it seem very un-Disney to anyone else?  I think I prefer the standard style - I LOVED The Princess and the Frog, even though that apparently didn't do well (sad!) monetarily.

Now onto working on the WDW Mom's Panel application!  Applications open up today and are due by Friday!  Anyone else applying?  I'm very excited to apply! If you're not familiar with the Moms Panel and are ever planning a trip, check out the Moms if you have questions on just about anything!  

Thanks for stopping by,
~Jenn

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Running update!

Training for a half-marathon seems insane, right?  I have a lot of coworkers who are regulars at marathons, triathlons, heck, 'even a few iron-man regulars (insane).  But to me, those 13.1 miles seem incredibly daunting.  Adam and I registered for this not exactly on a whim, but without having run in AGES.  I'm not even sure if I had started working out post-delivery when we registered for the January race. 

Well, we decided shortly after our first registration that maybe we should test the waters: run a 5k prior to January's race.  And today, we completed our first 5k.  We both set individual goals (Adam to take a few minutes off of his normal pace where as mine was to simply finish in a decent time) and did a pretty good job fulfilling those goals.  The course, however, was not a nice beginner course.  We started in front of a Chik-Fil-A, which does not smell good at 8 am when trying to run, and continued on around streets filled with businesses, hotels, and hills.  Who thought that was a good idea, huh!?  Neither one of us has done much hill training recently, so the course was much harder to run than our standard runs.  Plus, there were 2 turn arounds - a pretty boring run.

But, we both finished.  Adam finished about 2 minutes before me, and I had about as good a time as I possibly could have without any real speed or interval training in several years.  I used my phone's gps to track and my average miles were around 10:30, but my 1st mile was 10:05.. including the shuffling to actually start, so I'm awaiting my "official" time- but the clock read 32:11 when I crossed that finish line.  Definitely not great, but it gives me somewhere to start.  My next 5k goal (who knows when that will be) is to finish under 30.  I think that should be doable!

5k aside, the only race we have on the schedule is that pesky half marathon.  I'd do anything for a trip to WDW, wouldn't I?  oy vey...

Thanks for stopping by!
~Jenn


***Update: Official run time (chip time) 31:53.. I'll take it!***

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fun while waiting!

There were lots of times on our Disney trip that the babies just hung out and waited.  The good thing about bringing children at this age (ours were 6 months and 12 months) is that they have no idea that they are waiting around for Mommy or Daddy to ride a ride.  Usually, one or two of us had the kids while the others rode.  The kids had so much fun together!  They entertained themselves so much that the adults were able to ride everything we wanted to!  Piper was extremely entertaining to Noah, and they both loved looking at new things!  Not once did they complain about not getting to ride their favorite ride or see Fantasmic again.  They went with the flow because that's what babies do! 

Enjoy these precious pictures of our most precious kids!

See ya real soon
~Mellie





Good morning!

A week or so ago, I blogged about our bedtime routine and how we incorporate the magic at home on otherwise normal nights.  Now it's time to fill you in our our mornings!


Growing up, my mother always walked around in the morning singing "Good morning, to you!"  I believe this to be a well-known song, though I have absolutely no idea where this came from, if anywhere.  Since Noah started sleeping in his own room and actually sleeping through the night, I've found myself singing to him many mornings.  I continued singing this little tune that I only know from my mother singing to me.  


That is, until we watched the Magic Kingdom rope drop ceremony.  
Waiting for the train to arrive for the rope drop ceremony!
If you've never witnessed the Magic Kingdom (or any park) rope drop, you're absolutely missing out.  Every morning, each park has their own morning show, welcoming the guests to the park.  It is a wonderful way to start the day, especially with little ones that are morning people (like mine sure is!).  


At the Magic Kingdom, you pass through security and ticket turnstiles then wait in front of the train station where there are hula hoops set out to keep the older kids entertained.  As the story of every day of our trip, we arrived very early to find the "perfect" place to wait for the rope drop.  All 6 of us (Melissa, David, Piper, Adam, Noah, and I) found a cement wall to wait and relax, waiting for the show to start.  
Adam and Noah waiting!
About 15 minutes before the parks open, the show begins.  The fire chief comes out to welcome everyone to the park as we all await the train, which is carrying Mickey, Minnie, and friends.  Once the train arrives, they all dance off the train and start singing and dancing "Good Morning" from both Babes in Arms (1939) and Singin' in the Rain (1952).  Until that ceremony, I had never even heard the song.  Now, the song is sung almost daily in our house.  Though I don't know the correct lyrics by heart, I sing the melody and "good morning, good morning" and then personalize it, all the while knowing that we all first heard the song at the rope drop.  


Just another way we have a little magic every day!


Thanks for stopping by,
~Jenn