Monday, May 22, 2017

Ouch all over!

Today I was going to share our adventures at Disneyland, but I'm having a little bit of trouble with my Photopass pictures! I don't want to share without them because it has our princess and character pictures. Those are kind of a big deal to me, so Disney will have to wait. Instead I'm going complain. Yup, you read that right. I'm complaining today.

I hurt all over.

I actually can't think of a body part that doesn't hurt! Here's why...

On Friday I took my first tumbling class in years. I hadn't done a back handspring since before I got pregnant with Chloe. That was 3 years ago! The class was amazing and I can't wait to go back again this Friday. Not only did I do a back handspring, but I can still do a standing back flip and a round off back handspring back. This is kind of a big deal for this almost 30 year old! I didn't know I had it in me. In fact, I was scared to do anything at first. After my first spot, I was hooked and I knew I could do it. I went to class with my friend Macey who I actually started cheering with when I was 10 and in 6th grade. We cheered together and were best friends through high school. 

Me on the fast left and Macey is right next to me!

When we went to different colleges, we just completely drifted apart. It's kind of sad actually! Luckily, Macey reached out to me while we were both pregnant with our girls and we've gotten closer ever since. It's actually really cool and I'm so thankful for the friendship that we've rekindled. Starting this tumbling class together has been great and I seriously can't wait to go back. It brings me so much joy! I'm hoping to get a few pictures or videos to show y'all soon!

Okay, so the tumbling wasn't just it. Not only did I tumble on Friday, but Saturday I competed in my first Spartan race. I fully intend to recap the whole race later. Today I'm simply complaining about how my body hurts everywhere. 

The last obstacle course race I did was before I got pregnant with Chloe. Do you see a common thread here? Two incredibly physically taxing events back to back. Yeah, I hurt all over. I'm not as young as I once was, but I'm still young enough to do it and conquer it! Let's just say this, the race was amazing and I feel super accomplished for finishing. I didn't complete every obstacle, but I did all my burpees to make up for it!

Of course I'm not hooked again, and despite the fact that my body hurts more than it has possibly ever, I want to do more! The whole tumbling then racing back to back was probably not the smartest idea I've ever had, but I wouldn't do it differently. I'm so excited to see what is next for both!

A big thanks to all of these guys for helping me through the obstacles, pushing me over walls, holding me up, catching me and even sharing some of my burpees! Y'all are rockstars and a great support!

Now today I get to go to work. I'm hoping my cycle class helps me to loosen up a bit! Happy Monday y'all!

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Breakfast with Minnie and Friends!

Our first morning at Disneyland we had a big surprise for Chloe, breakfast with Minnie and friends! Our reservation was at 8:50am and the park didn't open until 9:00am, so we were able to get in for extra magic hours with the hotel guests! How cool is that? We slipped in at 8:15 and were able to snap some pictures and jump on a couple of rides before going to breakfast. I'll catch y'all up on that when I recap our day at Disneyland. today we're just going to look back at our time with Minnie and her friends!

When we first checked in, we were able to meet Minnie right away! Chloe was really excited, but also sort of scared and VERY hungry. Girlfriend just wanted to eat. Because she is a lot like her mom and gets the hangries pretty bad, her visit with Minnie wasn't quite like we expected. {Spoiler Alert: We met Minnie again later in the day and it was amazing!}

Instead of lingering and trying to get this girl to smile, we decided to get her some Mickey waffles and other delicious carbs! Getting food in her little belly was the best decision. She was much happier, but still kind of scared of the characters. Can you blame her? They're kind of a lot bigger than expected. Don't worry, this momma wasn't scared and I soaked up every minute with all of my Disney buddies.

After we started eating, the characters started coming to visit! First up, Eeyore! As you can see below, it didn't go well. She was terrified of Eeyore and I think it hurt his feelings a little bit! JP was off getting us some coffee, so I didn't get a picture with him, but I did manage to catch this gem of Chloe attempting to escape.

 We still got his autograph! I bought Chloe a special autograph book before we got to Disney for all of her signatures. I hope to keep it through the years and label which parks and what years she got the signatures! I hope to tape a few pictures in there too!

Speaking of signatures, here's a look at Capitan Hook using me as a table to sign Chloe's book!

Chloe was fearing for my life while I hung out with Hook. She was so concerned, but I can't blame her because let's be real, he's kind of terrifying. I gave him a hug to show Chloe that he was okay and then we got our awesome Hook pic.

We had a little lul for a bit which gave us some time to eat and enjoy the day. I mean, look at this view! What a gorgeous morning it was!

A little bit later, Pooh came to see us! For the first time, Chloe wasn't scared. In fact, she was interested in him. She kept saying, a bear, a bear! She has seen bears at the zoo, so maybe she knows that bears are supposed to be big? Either way, she liked Pooh a lot. She was petting him and gave him high fives! We even got a "cheese" out of her!

Next up was Pinocchio. Since he looks slightly more human, Chloe was okay with him. She was at least willing to snuggle mommy while saying hello!

Then she warmed up some more and gave him a high five! Fun fact: When I was little, I loved Pinocchio! I couldn't say his name though, so I called him Pochanoia. At least that's how I would spell it based on my pronunciation!

Rafiki came by next and Chloe was all about him. I think that's kind of hilarious since he's kind of terrifying! I guess after meeting several characters, they became less scary. She handed Rafiki her book all by herself! Then she even took a picture next to him. I guess Rafiki really does have a thing with little ones. He did show baby Simba off to the Pridelands after all!

Our last friend to stop by was Dale! No chip though, just Dale hanging out without his brother. Chloe knows of Chip and Dale from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and I'm pretty sure he was much bigger than she expected! She couldn't stop staring at him though.

Overall, I'm so glad that we were able to do the character breakfast! It was a great start to our morning and it introduced Chloe to all the characters early on. Later when we met some of her favorites, she was excited instead of scared.

The food was pretty good! I'm a sucker for Mickey waffles and all sorts of carbs for breakfast. The character breakfast is a buffet with all sorts of foods: waffles, various fresh fruit, eggs, sausage, bacon, pastries and even an omelet station! We all got more than enough to eat and we were able to fill up Chloe's snack cup with some Fruit Loops as a special treat for later.

I highly recommend spending a little extra for the character meals. Breakfast is definitely my favorite time, but I've done lunch meets as well which were just at special!

Next week I plan on sharing the rest of our trip and a recap of my race! I hope y'all have a magical weekend. Happy Friday y'all!

Have you done a character meal at Disney?
Who is your favorite Disney character to meet? Mine is totally Rapunzel!

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Back from Disneyland!

It's me! I'm back and alive and well! We survived our whirlwind weekend at Disneyland, and I'm crazy enough to want to go back and do it all over again. We had a great experience and we're completely exhausted. In fact, Chloe slept in until 11:15am yesterday morning! I mean, she went to bed after 10pm Monday night, but that baby can sleep.

This little girl did such a great job considering just how out of her element she was all weekend. Our flight to Anaheim was great! Chloe watched Frozen, colored in her new color wonder book, read her Mickey's Road Trip book, ate lots of ice and snuggled. She slept for about 30 minutes on the plane, not a ton, but honestly, more than I expected!

We flew into John Wayne airport which was WAYYY better than flying into LAX. It's a much smaller airport, our bags came out instantly, and it was only a 20 minute Uber ride to our hotel.

After getting settled at the hotel, we hopped on the ART {Anaheim Resort Transit} bus to head to Downtown Disney! Since I was running the Tinkerbell half, transportation was free for the weekend. That saved us $15 per person! Not a ton, but ever dollar saved counts if you ask me. We were able to use the bus very easily all weekend. The only time we decided to walk {we were just over a mile away from the parks} was the morning after the race because traffic was terrible because of road closures from the race!

We walked through Downtown Disney and headed straight to the Disneyland Hotel to visit the race expo. I'm glad the expo was there because I wouldn't have gotten to see the hotel if it wasn't! Walking by the pool was awesome {It's monorail themed with half a dozen separate smaller pools. Super cool!} and we got to stop by Trader Sam's Tiki Bar. The actual expo itself was in the basement and the ballroom. It was definitely smaller than the expo at Disney World, but still bigger than I expected!

We picked up my bib and race packet, snapped some pictures, walked around browsing the shops and picking up freebies. Chloe started getting fussy and tired, so we decided to head back out to Downtown Disney hoping that she may fall asleep in her stroller. It didn't happen. Of course it didn't happen.

Instead we had to just keep that little girl going and entertained to get through the rest of the day! We played in the World of Disney Store where Chloe found lots of things to love! She was obsessed with the Tigger and Dumbo stuffed animals which is hilarious because she doesn't really know who they are! Well, she knows Tigger some from Disney Junior and Dumbo from the ride. Pretty much she just loves animals so much. We were able to escape without buying one because this momma had a trick up her sleeve! I bought a brand new, tags still on Minnie Mouse from a resale shop for only $10 that I was able to give to her when we got there. Minnie is one of her favorites, so I knew it would be a hit.

We had dinner at Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria which was delicious! We started with the fried calamari and then shared a pizza. They let you split the pizza with two different toppings which is perfect for JP and me because we like totally different things. We had a really awesome waiter that played with Chloe, gave her stickers and tried to tell her jokes even though she's too young for them.

It was an overwhelming, but fun first day in California. The time change definitely rocked our world a little bit, so we decided to call it a day kind of early. We were all in bed by about 8:30, which was 10:30pm at our defense! Plus we had an early morning Saturday. We were starting Chloe's Disney adventure off right by having breakfast with Minnie and friends!

Stick around for more of our Disneyland adventures! Next up is our full, fun day at Disneyland Park!

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Monday, May 8, 2017

It's Disney Week!

Y'all it's Disney week and I'm so stinking excited! Only 4 more sleeps until we hop on a plane to California for a family weekend at Disneyland! I've only been to Disneyland twice in my life. Once was for cheerleading nationals in 9th grade. Since most of the weekend was spent at the convention center, we only got one day at Disneyland. Plus I was 14 and that was kind of a long time ago.

The second time was in November 2014 for Ali's 30th birthday celebration! It was just the 4 of us and it was awesome! You can check out all of our adventures at Disneyland Park and California Adventure.

This trip will be my first Disney trip with just our family and I'm really excited about it. Don't get me wrong, Disney with my girls is totally my dream trip. I look forward going to Disney with the girls annually. No offense to our men and babies, but I really would rather be there with just the girls! However, this trip is special and I'm looking forward to spending family time at Disney.

I have so much to do this week to get ready! I started laying out our clothes, but I still have a load of Chloe's laundry to do, a couple of shirts to make, a little bit of shopping, a craft or two and a list of other things! Good thing I only have work today and then I can get to it!

I'm beyond excited about going to Disneyland, but I don't know Land like I know World. Anybody know more about Disneyland? I want to know the BEST things to do, the BEST places to meet characters, the BEST places to eat! Please share all of your Disneyland knowledge with me!

Do you prefer Disney with family or friends?
What are your favorite things to do at Disneyland?

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Core Burning Pyramid Workout

I work up this morning planning on prepping my blog for tomorrow, but instead I'm sitting outside on my patio, drinking my iced coffee, watching my dogs wrestle, waiting for little Chlo to wake up and putting together a workout for today. Well if I'm thinking about a workout I plan on doing later, why not just share it today right? So instead of being ahead of myself, here I am in the here and now writing. I have a habit of doing that. I think I write better and enjoy blogging more in the here and now. I don't have my posts perfectly scheduled. I don't always think of what to write about ahead of time. I just seem to go with the flow. And today's flow is a workout. It is workout Wednesday afterall!

Today I have a great core workout for y'all! Working your core is so important, but there are TONS of misconceptions about building your core and core exercises.

  1. You have to be doing specifically ab work to work your core. WRONG! If you want a solid core workout, it helps to include your whole body. Sit ups and leg raises are great for defining your abs, but if you're looking to burn fat and tone, strength training plays an important role in calorie burning. 
  2. You should work your abs everyday to see progress. WRONG! Abs are the same as any other muscle in your body. Working them out everyday doesn't allow time for your body to repair the damage done to muscles after each workout. Remember that muscle soreness is a sign that your muscles aren't full recovered yet.
  3. You can reduce ab fat by specifically working your ab muscles. WRONG! This is called spot reducing and it isn't possible. As much as we want to work a specific spot in our body to make that extra fat go away, it just won't work. You body decides where to put the fat and then where to burn the fat when it's in a calorie deficit. 
  4. Your nutrition doesn't play a role in muscle definition. WRONG! Have you ever heard the expression, "Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym"? Nutrition plays a huge role in ab definition. Genetics generally decides where your body is going to store fat, and for the majority of us, that is in your midsection. This makes it so much harder to see ab definition when a layer of fat is over the top. In order to get rid of the fat, you have to work on your nutrition. Eating the right foods and bringing your body to a calorie deficit are the keys to burning off fat. {There is so much more I could add to this, but I don't want to get on a soap box. Let me know if y'all are interested in learning more about nutrition and fat loss!}
Now that I have that out of the way, here is what I have for y'all today! All you need is some space, a mat and a set of weights. 

Feel free to challenge yourself to using your more! You can hold them at your shoulders or by your sides while doing the high knees or squat front kicks. You can also change up the standing side crunch to be a side crunch, opposite side dip holding a weight in one hand.

Alright, there you have it, the tools you need to get a workout it today! You know that some part of you wants to give it a try! If you're a beginner and think these numbers may be too much for you, knock them down. Feel free to cut the numbers in half or do a modified version of the exercises. (ex. alternating lunges instead of jumping.) There's always something you can do to make it happen! Feel free to comment here or e-mail me if you have any questions!

Happy Workout Wednesday y'all!
Do you have any questions about working your core, building your ab muscles, or other common core misconceptions?

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

March for Babies

This past Saturday I was able to participate in my second March for Babies walk! My mom is a NICU nurse and lactation consultant at Houston Methodist Hospital, and her colleagues at the hospital set up a team to participate! Last year was my first year to participate and we walked in the Houston march. This year was the inaugural event for Sugar Land which was great because we didn't have to drive into downtown. Now that we live in the burbs, that's a plus.

The Fort Bend event was hosted at the Sugar Land Skeeters stadium! There was plenty of space to run around plus tons of activities for adults and the kiddos before and after the event.

We got there early, so we had plenty of time to explore all the different tents people had set up! First stop was the Police Force to check out the S.W.A.T. vehicles and police gear! Chloe got to climb around in the back of the S.W.A.T. truck. She thought it was hilarious and kept wanting to jump out to us then climb back in.

Some other tents that were set up were for other hospitals, large teams, HEB, a reason why tent and the official March for Babies tent. I decided to get Chloe a cape for $1 at the March merchandise tent. It was hard to pass up for just a dollar! I figured it could be added to her dress up collection when she gets older since she didn't really care about wearing it yet. At least she got to be a super hero with her daddy for a little bit before ripping it off and insisting that mommy wear it for the walk!

The actual walk started at 9:00am. It was 3.2 miles on a miserably humid and windy morning. It was about 80 degrees, but 100% humidity making it feel much hotter than it was. Plus the wind wasn't a lovely cool breeze. It was more like 15-25 mph warm winds that whipped around like crazy.

The walk itself wasn't that bad though. The course was a beautiful one around a lake in the nearby neighborhood. Luckily the winds would come and go instead of a constant battle with each step. JP was a rockstar hubby and pushed the jogging stroller the whole way. Usually I'm the one that pushes her, but he decided to take it on and battle the winds. Along the course, they had several little stops with drinks and freebies! One stop about halfway through even had mimosas! It was pretty legit. They people manning the station had to keep telling kids that they weren't allowed to have that kind of orange juice!

Once we finished the walk and were back inside the stadium, there was more fun to be had! The stadium has tons of kid activities around the outfield. A splash pad, different playgrounds for different age groups, a carousel and a pool! They had the splash pad and carousel on for the kids to play after the walk. Chloe loved riding on the neighhhhs. After meeting Kristin's horse Slider the weekend before, she's kind of obsessed with horses and it's adorable. She probably could have ridden it over and over again, but we pried her off. Luckily she was able to play on the slide to distract her from the horses.

The inaugural Fort Bend walk went off with a bang and was a great success! I was really pleased with the way the event was run and can't wait to participate again next year.

If you feel compelled to donate to March of Dimes, you can do so on my campaign page here! I was fortunate enough to not have my baby in the NICU, but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen in the future. Plus many of my closest friends have had babies spend time in the NICU. Every baby deserves a fighting chance and every baby matters!

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Flying with a Lap Toddler

The countdown is on, just two weeks, only 14 days until we take a family trip to Disneyland!!! Just the three of us and I can't wait. You know what that means? Another flight with little Chloe! Let's just say that at this point, Chloe is a pretty excellent flier. She's been on six round trip flights, five of which she rode on my lap and one we flew across the Atlantic. Not every experience has been great, but for the most part she's a champion. This trip to Anaheim is going to be her last flight as a lap child! All under two children can fly for free as a lap child which is great, but the older and bigger they get, the harder it is! Since I've had a bit of experience, I thought I'd share some of my tips and tricks to flying with a lap toddler.

one. Pack your carry on properly. Here's what you need:
  • SNACKS! Pack all the snacks. Seriously, if you think you have enough, go ahead and pack some more. You can't have enough. See first picture in this post. Toddler in the aisle eating snacks before the flight even takes off. It's true. 
  • Snack cup with lid. It helps keep the snacks contained and your risk of having snacks all over the place is slightly smaller.
  • Books. Pack a book or two in your bag. I recommend grabbing one of your toddler's favorites and a brand new one. The old fave will be one that you know can entertain them for a few minutes. The new one is well, new! Something new always helps to keep their attention for a little bit longer.
  • An extra activity. Coloring book, wipe dry board, magic ink book and pen, something that can keep their little hands busy. If there are two of you with your toddler, one person can hold your toddler and the other can let down their table tray for activities. 
  • Extra diapers and wipes. You never know what will happen. Once Chloe had a poop before the plane AND a poosplosion on the plane! It was messy. Very messy. Extra wipes and diapers were so helpful to have on hand. Another situation to think about is there's always a possibility of having your flight delayed. You never know what could happen!
  • Extra clothes. Be sure to pack a full outfit for your toddler. Spills, diaper leaks, poosplosions (see above), so many things can make a mess in a toddler's hands. Also pack extra clothes for you! Even if it's just a shirt. You never know if you're going to get puked on, spilled on, etc. I was so glad to have an extra shirt when Chloe poosploded everywhere!
  • A lovie. Don't forget your toddlers lovie, baby or stuffed animal. Something that comforts them when they're tired or frustrated. If you're lucky, maybe they'll snuggle you and nap on the flight...I did say if you're lucky, not that it was likely to happen :)
  • Tablet. See below for more info on this one!

two. If you can, take advantage of a lounge before flights.
Now I realize that this one is challenging and you can't always make it happen, but if you have the opportunity take advantage! {If you have an airlines credit card, they usually give you a couple of lounge passes per year!} Being in a lounge space allows your little one to have more space to roam preflight and it gives you a little more piece of mind. I always know that if Chloe is walking around in the lounge that she can't go far, and I can see her most of the time! If we're together, JP and I will take turns following her wherever she wants to go while the other relaxes and has a glass of wine. Another benefit of the lounge are all of the snacks! Snacks + Toddlers = Sanity. Always grab a little cupful of whichever one your toddler likes best to go!

three. Load up your tablet with toddler friendly fun!
Don't hesitate to go against what you would normally do at home to keep your toddler entertained. Load up your tablet with movies, shows and apps that you think will hold your toddler's attention while on the flight. Make sure you have options because if one doesn't work, you can move on to the next show or play with another app. Here are some of our go tos and new apps I've downloaded for this trip!
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode
  • Lion Guard episode 
  • Frozen
  • Peek-a-Zoo
  • Sound Touch
  • Eric Carle's My Very First App
  • Drawing Pad

four. Plan your flight in 10-15 minute slots.
Don't assume that since your flight is during naptime that your toddler will sleep. The craziness and excitement of travel will likely keeps them awake even though you're dying for them to just pass out. If they do sleep, you rock and your flight should be awesome! Since they probably won't, plan out your flight in 10-15 minute intervals. 10 minutes to read books, 15 minutes to watch a show, 10 minutes to color, 10 minutes to read another book, 15 minutes of a movie, 10 minutes on an app, 10 minutes for stickers, so on and so forth. You obviously aren't trying to schedule out the flight, but instead you're planning out the right amount of things to bring and/or download.

five. If everything starts to go wrong, don't give up.
Not every flight is a good one. Even if you have a toddler that has been flying since they were born, you're bound to have a flight or even part of a flight that just sucks. If you're lucky, a kind stranger nearby will help you out by holding something or playing peekaboo. If you're not lucky, you'll get ugly death stares and rude comments. I've dealt with both situations. When you're in the throws of the on flight tantrums, everything feels horrible and like it will never end. Trust me when I say that it will be okay. You know your toddler the best. Continue doing what you think will make things better for them. One thing to remember is that they don't know how to handle the pressure in their little ears, so if everything is failing, try a sucker!

Just remember that you are your toddler's favorite person or at least one of them! Pack things you think will keep them happy. Don't forget to add a few new surprises, presents are the best after all. If you're toddler just can't stay in place, let them walk up and down the aisles. Only if the pilot has okayed being out of your seatbelt of course! Do what you think is best and you'll make it through!

Now I'm just counting down until we get to board our flight to take us on our Disneyland family vacation! Until then, I'm going to enjoy the weekend. Happy Friday y'all!

Do you have any other tips to traveling with little people?
What are your favorite apps for toddlers?

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