Thursday, May 17, 2018

Scars

Scars on your soul
Scars on your skin
Some on the outside
Some are within
Some have a story
Some are unwritten
Some you can see
But most are quite hidden.
-E.P.

I saw this in a stepmama group today. I do not frequent these "support groups" very often because I find that most online groups are just extensions of other sorts of drama. I have asked for advice and gotten answered kindly but also with a million questions or judgement that was clearly projected. I get it. We all get it. There is a lot of pressure on women today. Pinterest moms. Mommy bloggers. SAHMs with lots of extra money to throw around. Where my parents "parenting style" was to instill the idea that you can do and be anything with hard work, many Millennial parents have created a parenting style of entitlement rather than hard work. If you are trying to teach your kids to love themselves and the Earth, and their neighbors and to work hard for positive changes and work hard to make their dreams come true it can be heartbreaking in the world today. I get it. I really do. However, what this poem said to me in the moment I read it was simple: judgement has no place in this world today.

No one knows your story except you. No one can change you or heal you. All parts of the story come down to you, so why judge another person's story if all you will ever know of it is the cliffnotes version? You do you, I will do me, and the world will keep on turning.

Friday, May 4, 2018

May the 4th Be With You!





Just wanted to post a quick little snack-filled Star Wars Day post to share some snacks I made my kids and hubby today. I used the adorable free printables made by Sandy Toes & Popsicles in her Father's Day pack and made due with a little hand color pop since I had to print in black and white! 

Enjoy and May the Force be with you... Always...

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Cat Grass Grow Kit :)


I just had to share this adorable and easy to grow kit we came across on clearance at the Tractor Supply store nearby. We live in a rural area and get our hollistic pet food here so I spotted it right away. It has a soil pellet and some seeds and this grass grew so fast you could almost watch it grow! One morning we had little shoots and by the next day we had grass that was lifting the greenhouse lid! And our pretty kitty loves it! 

It was a triple win-- something healthy for our cat, a great deal, and my stepdaughters got to grow something for our pet and witness the success and love that gardening can bring! What a great treat and confidence boost! 

 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Taking a Spring Break


Some days are just perfect. Some days remind you that everything WILL be okay. 
This is one of those days for me and I got to see my family enjoy an old school diner and laugh together. It's nice to have reminders about how good life really is. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Slow it down...

Today I found myself muttering the words "I need a vacation". I immediately started wondering what that means. Does that mean I need a break from my life? Does that mean I am not appropriately handling my stress and my problems? At the end of the day does the need for an escape mean that I could be doing better?

 I don't have answers to any of those questions but I do know that I have suddenly, over the course of the last month, begun to feel like time is ticking by at rapid speed and I have moments only to try and right myself-- to take a break or take a breath or have a drink with my girls or even watch television. I try, I do, to take time for myself for my relationship with my husband, but I am just going 100 miles an hour at all times and it doesn't always feel good.

How is it April already? Why does it still feel like Christmastime and Easter has already gone by? Is this parenting? Is this being an adult?

How do I slow things down?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Lessons from a Lost Soul

This morning, I woke up before my alarm, too early to do much besides overthink and scroll around social media. I stumbled on a picture of Marilyn Monroe and one of her many quotes she is often credited for but certainly did not say. I got to reading up on celebrity misquotes and also some of her real quotables that we never seem to hear or see slapped on motivational instagram pictures ( "It's nice to be included in people's fantasies but you also like to be accepted for your own sake"). As I read Marilyn fan comments as well as those from haters, I saw just how easily it is for one person to think you are a "drug addicted whore who wouldn't be remembered if not for her suicide" and another to think you are a "shining star and forever symbol of old hollywood glamour and beauty". Not only are each of these human beings completely entitled to their feelings and opinions, but they are not really wrong.

Shes been long gone and also is long remembered for BOTH her roles as a celebrity movie star and her infamous affairs with other celebs and even presidents. While I don't think we need to really use words like "whore" no matter what our views of promiscuity is, I can see why someone is annoyed that she may be being given credit to profound and thought-provoking quotes. Above all else that the example of Marilyn implies, and above all the other implications of bringing up this topic, I could not help but project my own life and my own life experiences on this thought. And I really found myself contemplating this morning as I got up and got ready for work...

Can we really ever control other people's perceptions of us? 

I have struggled with not just my ex husband but also with my husband's ex wife, who both fixate on caring more about how they are perceived than how they act. They put so much weight in that and so much stock in the idea that if people THINK they are good they don't actually have to be good people. On the flip side of that, I have often been bad-mouthed and scapegoated by BOTH of these individuals and have worried about how the misinformation they were feeding people to villainze me would create a false perception of who I truly am to the people they choose to talk to.

After thinking about the idea of Marilyn as America's Drug-Addicted Sweetheart who may have used her body to reach fame, I wondered if any of it mattered. Was my friend Amanda correct when she told me "Anyone who will believe that bull shit isn't worth your time. Plus, trust me, people know [her] and they can tell you are a good person even if they humor [her]" ? I think she is right but I often find myself needing reminders of it. I think that the real truth of life is this:

You cannot control the character you play in someone else's narrative. You can only make sure your story is a good one.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Petunia Pickle Bottom + Disney = a Parent's Dream Come True!


Late this winter I reached out to Shop Disney in hopes of getting to try out one of the many new amazing luggage and bag collaborations that they have right now. I knew I needed a bag that could meet my family's needs this summer but I was not sure what to specifically request and after I got speaking with my wonderful contact there she said "I know just the thing!" and a few days later, wrapped in magical tissue paper my Petunia Pickle Bottom backpack arrived.

 
 This beauty features adorable whimsical sketches of Winnie the Pooh & Friends and immediately wowed me! I have never considered using a diaper bag for my summer adventures with my "big kids" but just as easily as I opened the bag up did I see how useful the sections were! The side bottle pouch fits a bottle of sunscreen PERFECTLY and the included changing pad and wipe containers were great for us because I still pack wipes and the changing pad is great for the kids to have to sit on when we are on a law that is wet or dirty! By far, however, our favorite feature is the insulated bottom!!! 


We tested this beaut out on a day trip to the Bronx Zoo. We are NY Wildlife Conservation Society Members and are going to spend a lot of time enjoying the parks this summer. We were able to pack lunch, snacks, and drinks for 4 children, 3 adults, and a toddler in this great cooler section! It was a HUGE hit for all of us. My husband actually told me that he was "excited to use this bag in Disney World" this July! 


Look out for more of our adventures with Pooh & Friends and Petunia Pickle Bottom this summer! And be sure to check out their Mickey & Minnie collection as well! 





Friday, April 6, 2018

Disneyland Post-Wedding Adventure Part 3!


After a wonderful couple days touring the Disneyland parks, my new Mr and I decided to get up and grab some food in the hotel and then head out to the pool. The slide was lovely but the sun was better. There is nothing sweeter than sunshine by the water when at home winter is rearing its frigid head. We didn't expect such a warm snap in November in California but we welcomed it with wide open arms. After some relaxation we decided to head out to both parks for a greatest hits round! We started out in Disneyland and were delighted to find that OVERNIGHT the entire park had been transformed for Christmas! We hit our favorites for another round (Haunted Mansion Holiday, Winnie the Pooh, Matterhorn, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain) enjoyed the scenery and each other (and were back to being mostly unplugged.






We decided to start our Cali Adventure Park greatest hits by heading back to Pacific Wharf for some drinks and late lunch. We took some pictures here and then made a nice round around this park hitting all of our faves (Toy Story, Little Mermaid, Mission Breakout, Radiator Springs Racers, Soarin') and then hopping on lines for whatever tickled our fancy as we toured the park until World of Color. We headed back to our hotel and decided to take some time in Downtown Disney the next morning shopping and enjoying the sunshine before grabbing our flight home.




We were up early and grabbed a reservation in our hotel and were gifted the digital download thanks to some Disney magic from our server. We shopped a bit, smooched a bit, held each other's hands and prayed the sunshine followed us home until our next adventure!


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Disneyland Post-Wedding Adventure: Part 2!


There is a charming beauty in Disneyland and while many Disney World travelers will point out that Disneyland is far smaller, and some of the rides need updating compared to their Florida counterparts, I think there is a different kind of magic out in California. We chose Disneyland because we had wanted to explore southern Cali a little but when things got too overwhelming and I first suggested that rather than rush to come up with an itinerary and the money to back it up for car rentals and tours, we just add a day to our Disneyland tickets, I was confident we would still have an amazing trip. And being this "Part 2" post encompasses a huge and wonderful "Day 2" of our trip you will see that it was amazing. Part 1 chronicled our start and the history behind the trip and Part 3 is going to be 1 post with 2 days of trip. Here is where our memories are.

The ease of us deciding to go to a character meal the morning we wanted to eat is unfathomable in Disney World, but when we both woke up still on New York time we were able to book a reservation at the Grand Californian's Chip & Dale breakfast without trouble. We decided to head over to California Adventure's early hours to hit up Mission Breakout again as well as try to see what else we could ride. We ended up flying through rides! We were able to get some Photopass pics today and stop for our free Disney Visa Cardmember pictures, and snap some pictures we hadn't had the time, energy, or patience for our first day (we went pretty unplugged our first night).


Since a picture is worth a thousand words... here are some from our morning in Cali Adventure Park! We had conquered Paradise Pier and Grizzly Peak our first day, and in just a few hours had managed to make our way through Buena Vista Street, Condor Flats, Hollywoodland, and Bug's Land.






I was thrilled to get to take my new hubby over to an Animation Academy as it has always been a favorite of mine and has been closed for the last couple years in Disney World to make room for the Star Wars Launch Bay and Toy Story Land. We headed over to the park that started it all for a whirlwind afternoon into late night enjoying all the park has to offer!

We were engaged in this exact spot in Disney World
When coming to the parks with the kids we always have a plan of action. In Disney World you have to book FastPasses before your trip and you have to kind of figure out which park you are hitting each day to accommodate for your dining and pass choices. At Disneyland they still use the FastPass machines, where you put your park ticket into the machine, and it spits out your ticket with a return time so you can "skip the line". We had been utilizing our FastPasses for big stuff in Cali Adventure (Mission Breakout and Soarin) but Disneyland today was far more crowded than its counterpart because it was Dapper Day (more on this later) and it made made us relinquish our fly by the seat of our pants plans and stick to an area. We chose Fantasyland, but enjoyed our stroll up Main Street USA but first I brought the hubs to two very important Disneyland landmarks: the bench and the firehouse.

This is the bench that Walt Disney sat on watching his girls on the carousel (pictured above) at a park and came up with the idea for Disneyland. He wanted to build a place for entire families to go together and have the kind of fun that is magic.

The Firehouse on Main Street USA in Disneyland housed Walt's office. If Walt was upstairs working in his office the light in the center window would be on. In his honor and memory the light is kept on each day.

After a few moments of history and some pictures we headed over to New Orleans Square, FastPassed Haunted Mansion Holiday, and headed through the castle to Fantasyland. We grab some lunch at a cute Beauty and the Beast theme quick service that was called Village Haus or Fairy Haus or something that lent to its slightly Bavarian theme. Then we partied like rockstars, we hit Matterhorn and Alice (both Wonderland rides) and Mr. Toad and Peter Pan and Snow White and Pinnochio and grabbed some Churros as we visited Toontown to tour all of the houses and take a crazy taxi ride with Roger Rabbit!


 We had the BEST afternoon! We shopped for souvenirs for the kids and laughed for what felt like hours!


As if we weren't smitten enough with each other, with Disneyland, with our lives, with everything.. then came time for our Haunted Mansion Holiday FastPasses. Who knew that a ride that has long been one of my favorites could slap on a Nightmare Before Christmas skin and become a game changer! I want to post the million pictures I took later that day because we immediately FastPassed it again, but I will just leave one of the mansion facade here because I don't want to spoil anything!


We went to the Hungry Bear restaurant for an early dinner and rode Winnie the Pooh twice in a row as we waited for the passes to come through. We then made our way through Frontierland and doubled back in hopes to ride Pirates of the Caribbean, which had been temporarily down. We were going at a nice easy pace even though we were hopping on everything like we had some magical FastPass! 


Spending today in Disneyland had always been our plan. It was one of the parks Dapper Days where people come dressed to the nines in old school charm and beauty. I had wanted to pack our wedding gear and take some Disneyland wedding pictures in our Dapper Day best. It was juts too much for me to plan out. We don't have a garment bag and my husband got chocolate gelato on his tie at the wedding and we had to coordinate childcare and petcare and things that had this not been planned around our wedding that we were planning, coordinating, and paying for ourselves maybe would have worked out. Having chosen to rock yoga pants and a tshirt made Dapper Day a spectacular day in the parks! We ended up getting to take advantage of seeing lots of beautiful people (including my friend Jess) and ride everything in sight while they were all snapping pics. 
We stumbled on the parade as we made our way out of Tomorrowland and watched the sunset and castle begin to glow before taking in the beauty of Disneyland fireworks (that Baby Mine part gets me every time). 





Sunday, April 1, 2018

LeSportSac and Expedition Roasters GIVEAWAY!


As we kick off a cool post-wedding pre-honeymoon Disneyland trip report I am so super stoked for our first contest with some awesome sponsors who were willing to send me some great items that are both on my personal "favorite things" lists AND awesome for Spring Break adventuring or planning your summer vacay! I am working with one of my favorite bloggers, Melissa from Rolling with the Magic!


The contest is open to residents in the continental United States ONLY and features the following prize pack (a $110 value!!!):



Enter Here:

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Our Pre-Honeymoon Post-Wedding Disneyland Adventure!



When it came to honeymoon planning, things got complicated for us. I am a schoolteacher so I can't take substantial time off until the summer and our children, who are with us the majority of the week, spend a week at the beach each summer thanks to their maternal grandmother. We decided that would be the best time to take our honeymoon. Only problem was... that was not until July. So we decided to take a weekend away in California. This was my 3rd time hitting the west coast but my husband's first and I originally wanted to make it a super awesome long weekend where we see all the southern Californian sites. This was not the case as the wedding approached and we got closer and closer without any plans we just ended up planning our trip to be in Disneyland the entire long weekend. Not that I am complaining, but I am 3 trips in and still haven't dipped my toes in the Pacific Ocean.

We got into Cali in no time (as always from East to West coast) and headed for the parks by way of Downtown Disney. We tried to grab up some lunch but from being over-caffeinated and under-nourished for the day I had high anxiety and we decided to walk it off and head right for California Adventure. We walked our way through the park, deciding to head to Paradise Pier, which is being reimagined soon but also one of my FAVORITE places in Disney Parks (I have been to Disney World 12 times and Disneyland 3). My new hubby loved it as much as I did. We had to meander back and forth to be able to ride California Screamin' because it was going in and out of commission but we got to snack and buy some adorable ears while we made our way around the pier.



We were particularly smitten with the ride I was honestly most certain that I was not going to like! The Hollywood Tower of Terror has ALWAYS been a favorite of mine and I didn't get to actually ride it until probably my 4th trip to Disney World so I have always felt like I was making up for lost time with this one. There was a lot of controversy, and a lot of Disney fan hate when they announced that they were going to re-fit the ride with a Guardians of the Galaxy theme. Although I love that franchise, I did not think I would love the ride. Suffice it to say, I could not have been more wrong on this one! Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout is HANDS DOWN my favorite memory of this trip. I will be an old lady gray and wrinkly, senile and forgetting where I put my dentures, but I will remember my husband's laughter and the shine in his eyes when I turned to look at him during this ride.

We ended up park hopping each day for the rest of the weekend just to share some laughs, smiles, and fun on this ride again. We walked back to our hotel, and were happy to pass a Sanuk store on the way because my flip flops had flipped their last flop on the way out of the park. We headed back to Paradise Pier hotel to find our room ready and waiting with a lovely view out of our window. And some art work that made these Beemans smile. :)






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