Disneyland 2017

Clint and I have always said that we aren’t “Disney people” but in late January I decided we needed to get out of KC for a quick getaway.  I wanted to take the kids somewhere fun, but also wanted to stay away from anywhere that may put us at risk for Zika… so naturally I started looking to California/Arizona. At first Clint wasn’t sold on Disneyland but the more I looked into it the more convenient it appeared!  We could go for 3 nights/4 days, no need to rent a car, and the weather looked gorgeous but even if it wasn’t in the 70-80s we’d still be able to have lots of fun (I was worried about booking a beach vacation and having 60s the whole time).  There was a pool for swimming and obviously the two parks to spend time in. So after a lot of talking and researching I booked the trip and it worked out that we’d be headed to Cali on Augusts 4th birthday!

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The pilots on our first flight were SO nice!
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Cutest little mini-mes
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Sharing headphones
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He KILLED me with his rolling suitcase

We took the first flight out of KC which put us in California by 10:30 local time.  We got round trip passes for the Disneyland resort shuttle which was extremely convenient.  Since we booked the trip so last minute we didn’t have a ton of choices on hotels but ended up being very pleased.  We booked the Paradise Pier Hotel and had a room with “concierge service” which basically was just a room with drinks/snacks all day and a decent continental breakfast in the morning.  This worked out great for us because it gave us a easy place to sit and have breakfast and to grab snacks throughout the day when we were at our hotel.  Our room wasn’t ready right away so we went to the concierge room and thats where they told us they had upgraded us to a 2 bedroom suite!!  I had only booked a 1 bedroom to save money but the 2 bedrooms was SO SO nice for our family of 5!

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Waiting to board the shuttle

We spent some time that first day checking out the hotel, swimming in the pool (although it was a bit chilly!), and spent lots of time on the water slide which was a huge hit with the kids.  On the first night, August’s birthday, I booked dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen which was recommended when we booked the trip.  It was a good way to see a lot of characters, but honestly our kids aren’t that into characters and the food was just ok… in the end I’m glad we did it just to get in the Disney spirit but I’m not sure we’d do that if we ever went back (more on that later 😉 ).  **Side note: Emmett was with us in Disney but would not go near any characters so he isn’t in many photos!

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Killing time with Legos at the Lego Store
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Ready for Goofy’s Kitchen 😉
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Minnie!
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Chip… or Dale?? No clue
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Loved dancing with Goofy

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Our first full day was spent in Disneyland and holy cow it was BUSY!  I thought when we booked the trip that we were going to have relatively slow days because we would be doing the parks on Thursday/Friday before Spring breaks but I couldn’t have been more wrong.  We were overwhelmed from the second we walked into the park and probably did it all completely wrong- I just couldn’t believe how quickly the lines became ridiculously long.  We hit several of the main rides- Tea cups, Small world, meeting Mickey at his house, Buzz Lightyear, Big Thunder mountain (a fave!),etc.  I packed a ton of snacks into lunch boxes which saved us lots of money in the park.  We did splurge and bought 3 Dole Whips to share and they were definitely worth the money- YUMM! At about 3PM after 6 hours in the park Clint ran to Splash Mountain to grab fast passes and we hopped in line to meet some princesses, and even though Shae had a major meltdown in line she loved meeting the princesses.  The fast passes were for 7:30PM so we decided to take a break from the park and come back later.  After a pretty terrible dinner at a Mexican Restaurant in Downtown Disney we headed back into the park to ride a few more rides, and caught just a glimpse of the Electrical Parade from the Astro Orbiters ride.  I just couldn’t believe how early people lined up on Main Street for the parade and my kids were definitely not patient enough to do that just for a parade.  Clint, Shae and August did Splash Mountain and we basically ran home after that because we just couldn’t handle any more crowds!

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Teacups with my Princess!
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Shae said Its a Small World was her favorite ride!
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Pretending that he loves Disney!
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Dole Whip
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Shae loved meeting the Princesses

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Mickey at his house

The next day we were feeling pretty defeated because of the crazy crowds at Disneyland but at California Adventure we had a much better experience!  We did the magic hour here too (if you stay at a Disney resort you get in an hour early), and it was actually beneficial this day- we didn’t think that extra hour did us much good at Disneyland.  We were much smarter about our time and fast passes and were able to ride a lot more rides in a shorter time at California Adventure (we went the opposite way of the crowds- away from Radiator Springs and just got a fast pass for that ride).  Around 2PM the kids said they’d rather go to the pool then spend any more time in the park so we headed back to the hotel and Clint and E took a nap while I took the big kids to the pool which was crazy crowded (it had been pretty empty two days before when we had gone).  After swimming and showering we headed back to California Adventure because Mickey’s Fun wheel (Ferris wheel) had opened back up- we could see the Wheel from our room but we thought it would be closed our entire trip so the kids were excited to ride it!  Clint and I both rode California Screamin’ which I loved (I seriously still love roller coasters!), and we had a crazy expensive dinner of corndogs in the park! We rode the Little Mermaid ride and grabbed cotton candy for the walk home (E hated it of course…).  One random thing- finding alcohol was not easy!!  We thought there would be beer at all of the concessions but was definitely much harder to find than that!  Clint found a restaurant that would sell us beer in solo cups so luckily  we could have a couple beers in the park- a necessity for us 😉

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Toy Story ride- it was a good one and we didn’t have to wait at all (later the wait was 1 hour+)
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Radiator Springs Racers- one of my favorites!
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Anna and Elsa- neither boy was interested this time
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Clint/Emmett nap time!
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They love the pool!
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Mickeys Fun Wheel
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View from Mickeys Fun Wheel
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8PM cotton candy is always a good idea at Disney 😉

Our last day was a bit of a waste.  We had to check out by 11 so we did breakfast and packed up and then left our bags at the bell hop and basically walked around for a few hours… by this point we were kind of just ready to get home so looking back I may have booked an earlier flight out but it all worked out fine.  My favorite thing about those few hours was sipping Starbucks with Clint while the kids played forever with the legos outside the Lego store.  Oh and the sandwiches at Earl of Sandwich were delicious!  Probably my favorite thing I ate the whole trip.

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Outside the Lego store- one of our favorite places!
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Saying goodbye to Minnie
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Characters in the lobby our hotel- was the perfect send-off
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This kid was sooo tired
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So was he…
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And clearly Shae needs more sleep too!

So all in all the trip was wonderful!  We made so many memories with the kids and thats what its all about.  We also decided that we likely won’t return to Disney any time soon.  I would like to take the kids to Disney World in a few (5) years possibly but I’m not sure I’ll be able to convince Clint so I may have to recruit family members for that trip 😉 .

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  This week has been a little crazier than anticipated- Clint had a last minute work trip come up, and when I say last minute I mean he booked the flights at 8am Wednesday and flew out of MCI at 2:45pm Wednesday… that would stress me out!

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Funny side story- I asked August to get me a beer on Wednesday (single parenting is rough) and he came up with 2 and said “Here’s 2, one for now and one for after dinner”- good call son!

Here are 5 things for this week:

1)  We started demo on our Master bathroom last week so it was a busy weekend full of tiling and we’ve continued to make some progress this week.  Hoping to knock out the shower tile this weekend so we can get measured for the glass doors… I’m ready to have my own shower back!

2)  I was randomly looking at the blog last week and remembered that I made 1 year videos for Shae and August so the kids and I watched them one afternoon.  August was literally in tears watching his and then Emmett said “now my turn!”… uh oh.  So I had the worst Mom guilt and after watching Shae and August’s I knew I wanted to make E one too.  It took about 4 hours total time to make but I’m SOOO glad I did it… I doubt I will make these for any year after their 1st, but maybe I should make a family one for each year?! We will see how that turns out (don’t hold your breath).

  3) After I snapped about August crying during his video (the sweetest thing ever!) I had several friends ask how I made the videos so I did a quick tutorial on Snapchat.  I uploaded the tutorial here too- not very fancy but hopefully it will teach someone how to do this because I promise the videos are worth the time! Let me know if you’re making one and have questions (I may or may not be able to help!?).

4)  Skinnytaste. How did I never hear about this wonderful resource before a month ago?! I bought the cookbook off Amazon after tons of my favorite bloggers mentioned it and it is amazing. I actually really love to cook but I don’t like getting too fancy and I won’t cook separate meals for my kids so this has been a great cookbook for me! So far I’ve made the chicken enchiladas, the oven fried chicken, and the turkey stuffed peppers.  I have a list of the next things I want to try (including the shrimp and grits, buffalo melts, and all the salads- yumm!)

5) Since last weeks post I officially booked our trip to Disneyland!  This is such a random thing for us but I am SO SO excited.  We haven’t told the kids yet, but I’m thinking of doing something fun for Valentines Day and telling them then.  We leave the morning of August’s 4th birthday so it is surely going to be a special trip for all.  Send any favorite rides or must-dos my way! (I’m not usually one to buy Disney gear but I think Shae has to have this)

 

 

 

 

Resurrecting the blog

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I decided that I need some motivation to keep this blog going for these 3 and their memories since there is no possibility of baby books for any of them… so I’m going to attempt to post 1x/week and just keep it simple. I always love reading “5 on Friday” posts that just have 5 random things so I’m going to just try to start there… wish me luck!

1. My Mom randomly bought me a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas and I think it is easily one of my favorite gifts EVER… I think I’ve read 7 books in the last month which means I’ve put off a lot of my adulting responsibilities and stayed up far too late too many nights. My favorite book so far though is definitely November 9 by Colleen Hoover… I read it in under 24 hours because I just couldn’t put it down. I may try to do a book review post if I keep up the reading- but for now if you’re looking for a good book start with November 9- you won’t regret it!

2. Bar Method. It has truly changed my life. I struggled with back pain since my pregnancy with Shae and I always struggle with committing to a workout plan. I’ve been going to Bar Method consistently for over a year and I am addicted (in the best kind of way). Bar allows me a safe way to increase my core strength which helps to protect my back as well as providing a whole body workout creating long and lean muscles.  Its not a workout where I need to run and jump in the shower after so I can easily run errands once I leave, and I rarely ever dread going which his huge for me! I really can’t say enough good things about Bar Method so if you have one in your area I would definitely recommend trying it out. And if you’re in KC I have some free passes and would love for you to join me!

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Pretending to be a real life ballerina- although I am FAR from it considering I can’t even bend over touch my toes 😉

3.  We are gutting our master bathroom- finally!!  We’ve been our house almost 4 years and the master bath has needed an update the whole time so I’m so excited that we are finally able to get it done!  My brother and his guys are helping us, but we are also going to try to do a good amount of it by ourselves to save money.  Will hopefully be able to do a whole post on it sooner than later… but for now heres a before and a pic of the marble/tile we are going to use!

4. Has anyone ever been to Disneyland?!  We are thinking of a last minute “pre-Spring Break” trip and want to steer clear of Zika so we are thinking of California… any suggestions?!  I’ve never been one that is dying to go to Disney, but maybe we should do it?! Would love any insight- especially specific to DisneyLAND! The kids are 5,4, and 2.5 so I’m nervous that its going to just be too overwhelming and I definitely don’t want to spend a bunch of money and have it be a bust…

5. I took Shae to Nordstrom a couple of weeks ago for their shoe tying class.  I felt like she was getting close to being ready to learn how to tie her shoes and I’d heard great things about the class.  It was really informative and gave a good starting point but I think she was one of the youngest at not quite 5.5 and she didn’t pick it up as well as some of the older kids.  Also, she’s a lefty so I honestly had a hard time trying to teach her!  They do use this nifty little thing which I think helps at first, but only until they figure out the”loops”.

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Fingers crossed I’ll be back with another post next week- and maybe it will be more exciting… maybe!

Christmas 2016

This year we started celebrating Christmas as soon as we got back to KC from Evansville! Ok, actually we started before, because I had most of my decorating before we left home for Thanksgiving… I loved coming home to a decorated house and we even picked up our tree on our drive in (literally straight from Indiana to the Christmas tree lot near our house).

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The big kids had their Christmas program the first week of December and it couldn’t have been more adorable! Last year only Shae was able to participate in the Christmas program for preschool so it was great getting to see both kiddos up there performing- and oh boy did August perform 😉

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Clints Christmas party was a big celebration this year because the current CEO is retiring so the company threw a huge party… I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many engineers in one room.

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We stayed home this year for Christmas so we were able to go to Christmas Eve Mass at St. Michaels which is so special to us now that it has become our second home!  We had my parents over for dinner that evening and made sure to get to bed on time so Santa could come!

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Christmas Day the kids were up and at ’em and we had a great relaxing day at home complete with monkey bread, PJs all day, and lots of quality family time.

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Here are the other random “Christmas time pics”

Shae- 5 years

(I’m about 4 months late here but I swear this was written about 3 months ago- making the blog a higher priority in the coming year 😉 )

5 years ago we were just beginning this amazing journey with our sweet 5 lb baby girl, and what a whirlwind of a journey it has been.  I could have never predicted where we would be 5 years after the birth of our sweet Shae Mary, and I could have never dreamed for anything more. Its hard to even remember back to Shae’s newborn days because they truly feel like a lifetime ago.

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Shae is the sweetest gift and she has challenged me to become a better version of myself since the day she was born.  She is a teacher, a listener, and a rule follower.  She adores playing with her brothers- as long as they play exactly what she wants and how she wants, of course.  She loves school and learning, and can’t wait for the day when she will finally get to go to school all day every day.  She has a quiet and reserved personality, especially when I see her interact with her peers in a school or play setting.  But at home, oh my, this girl has a big personality at home.  She is stubborn and opinionated, strong-willed in the truest sense of the word.  Some days I’m just not sure how we are going to survive her, and the next moment I just want to eat her up!

For Shae’s 5th birthday she was fortunate enough to be a flower girl in my best friend’s wedding- and what a blessed day that was.  Kara was the friend that introduced Clint and I, the one who quite literally forced us together, and I will be forever grateful to her for that.  To have Shae as a part of Kara’s special day was an amazing thing, and to celebrate the gift of Shae’s life 5 years ago on the same day was truly special, and a day I will never ever forget.

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I wanted to start including Shae more in the writing of this blog, as I’ve always wanted the blog to be full of memories for our family to share for years to come (not to mention I’ve had MAJOR writers block every time I’ve sat down to write lately). So here are Shae’s answers to a few questions at 5 years old:

Favorite food? Black olives, pasta

Favorite thing to do? Art, go to gymnastics

Favorite color? Pink and Purple and Red and Blue

Favorite outfit? Flower girl dress

Best part about school? Craft Time

Shae Mary-

I love you more than you will ever know. Every day I want you to know how treasured you are, but I also want you to never take anything God gave you for granted.  Always remain respectful of others and never forget to have fun in life too!  One of our favorite songs right now is titled “Humble and Kind” and those two words carry so much responsibility.  Don’t ever forget that Mommy and Daddy are here for you, even when you feel like we aren’t on the same team- I promise we will always be your biggest supporters and truest fans.  Dream big baby girl, you can do anything or be anything that you chose.  Work hard and never ever give up! Lots of love,

Mommy

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PS I came across Shae’s 1 year video… so so glad I made these!

 

Thanksgiving 2016

Thanksgiving has come and gone, which means Christmas is right around the corner!  WE traveled to Indiana again this year for Thanksgiving and as always we had a great time catching up with family and friends.

I told Clint that this year was the first time since before Shae was born that I remember traveling to Indiana and not being completely overwhelmed and sleep deprived.  The first time we traveled to Indiana with kids was when Shae was 6 weeks old, and I literally remember bringing every piece of baby equipment that we owned…. our car was completely packed down and I was beyond sleep deprived.  This time we packed some clothes in bags for about 45 minutes the night before we left and off we went!  Life with kids truly did get easier as time went on and I started to get the hang of things (and once I stopped worrying soooo much about the small stuff!)

We drove in Wednesday leaving around 7:45am (after a quick stop at Starbucks of course!) and made it to Evansville in about 6 hours without stops…. Stopping just seems like way more work than its worth and the kids are kind of used to just driving straight through so its the way to go for us!  Wednesday we just hung out with family, and enjoyed our favorite pizza- Turonis!

Thursday was another relaxing day (for me).  My mother in law outdoes herself every year and did a lot of the cooking/prep work ahead of time and put in a ton more effort on Thanksgiving Day to make a delicious Thanksgiving feast! Always one of my favorite meals of the year 😉 Pops and Clint took the kids for the annual rocket launch.  Apparently it was successful but I decided to sit this year out and stayed home to enjoy some quiet time to myself!

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The best family shot we could get
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Selfie with my girl

Clint, Shawn and August went musky fishing on Friday and August “helped” Pops catch a musky- August’s first!  And by help I mean he sat in the boat and ate snacks and drank (spilled) hot chocolate.  I think all 3 boys had the best day ever

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Friday night Clint and I enjoyed a great night out with old friends.  Its always so nice to get back to Indiana and catch up with all of Clints high school friends.  After all these years they feel like family to me too

Saturday was another low key day. We visited the Rudolphs and let the kids play in their backyard and rested up for the drive home Sunday!

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Amazing the difference 5 years makes!

Sunday we had another uneventful drive home, and then straight back to the grind! We stopped a mile from our house to pick up our Christmas tree, got it set up and (mostly) decorated, and then Clint flew out for a work trip Monday!  Nothing like chaos to keep us finding a way to win.

Go Chiefs!

There is really only one Kansas City team that I am a life-long fan of… the Chiefs.  They have never been a fantastic team, but through good and bad I’ve always loved them.  I remember going to college and bringing my Chiefs jersey and watching games with Bengals fans (yuck) as we got killed and still being so proud to be a Chiefs fan. When Clint and I started dating I quickly realized that he didn’t have a NFL team (he grew up more of a college football fain- Boiler up!).  I quickly converted him to a Chiefs fan and I don’t think he ever looked back.

I’m thrilled that our kids are getting to grow up being Chiefs fans too!  They are just starting to understand the differences between football and baseball so I know their love of the Chiefs is only just beginning.

This year we have been lucky enough to take both Shae and August to a game at Arrowhead, and they both loved every minute.  Being at Arrowhead is truly an amazing experience and one that I hope they both love and appreciate as they grow up!

 

Royals Game 2016

Tickets were harder to come by this year as the Royals were the World Series Champs!  So we waited until the very end of the season and were given some free tickets to Kauffman.  It was a blast as always and the kids did amazing.  I hope we can continue to make this a yearly family tradition!

OH! And Shae made it on the Jumbotron while she was dancing in the aisles and none of us saw it!! I was too busy taking a video of Shae- we never would have known if the ladies behind us didn’t start screaming that she was up there… so typical!

 

Gallagher Family Vacation 2016

I’m jumping back in time to document a few things for our own memories…. I couldn’t decide if this was really necessary or not but in the end decided I at least needed to write a few things down!

First off, Florida with the Gallaghers! This is the second time we’ve been fortunate enough to spend a week in Destin with the Gallagher family, and oh my did we have a blast! For me, this trip was a bit more exciting because I wasn’t 32 weeks pregnant this time. We spent an entire week swimming in the pool, drinking on the beach, and playing lots and lots of “heads up”!

The kids had a blast, and are still talking about “Gigis beach house” 7 months later (it was a rental but the kids are still convinced that its actually Gigis house 😉 )

Here are a few favorite pics from the trip!