Mommy & Me: Special Time

Since Asher came six months ago, Jonah has needed some extra doses of special time with Mommy and Daddy. While he truly loves Asher, the process of becoming brothers has been hard. Finding our groove as a family of four hasn’t been easy. It isn’t something I have written much about, mainly because it has been really HARD on everyone involved…especially Mommy. And, we’re not even done looking for our new normal yet!

That first day home with Asher was an absolute nightmare. Jonah hadn’t ever been away from us for that long and was needing us. The problem was that there was this new little person that needed attention, too. Mommy was recovering from surgery and needed Daddy to help with getting in and out of the recliner, changing diapers, etc. and Jonah didn’t like it one bit. Going from being the center of attention to not being the center of attention is rough on a guy, ya know.

The jealousy was so thick you could slice it.

The tantrums were epic.

The tears…oh, how they fell!

I’m not proud of it, but I really struggled as I saw Jonah in a different light. Suddenly, he was bigger and louder. I found him annoying and whiny. Quite frankly, I cried myself to sleep that night wondering where my sweet boy had gone and asking God what He had done to my family. (Post-partum hormones were running rampant, people!)

It is right here that I will sing the praises of Mr. Happy Brown House. He’s a wise one. He knew that the thing that would help Jonah and Mommy the most was to have some special time together.

And he made it happen.

He took Asher while Mommy read books with Jonah. He sent Mommy and Jonah outside on the porch together. He took pictures while Mommy and Jonah made silly faces. And it helped…both of us.

When we headed to Florida to introduce Asher to family and were blessed with a free day at Disney, he made sure that I was the one making memories instead of watching with Asher on the sidelines. And somewhere between the Teacups and the Carousel, I healed a little. The laugh that had been squelched when colic and all of the shhhh-ing began started to rise and bubble over. I found me again, even if only for the day.

It was then that I realized the real goal of my “Mommy & Me” posts. Sure I like to post fun, educational things to do with your little ones, but ultimately, the real goal is about strengthening the bond between mother and child. You see, sometimes I get in my own way and lose sight of the real reason I do things here on this blog. Sometimes I get caught up in the business side of blogging, the prideful part of blogging, the part of me that wants you to like me because I have so much to offer. And when I can’t offer those things because my life “gets in the way” of my goals, I feel like I’ve let you down. When really, the whole point of my blogging is to document these precious years I have to live. And live them I must. Because what’s the point of blogging about a life that isn’t being truly lived?

So, today, there is no special activity.

No Pinterest-worthy picture.

No affiliate links to products for you to buy.

Just you.

You and that little one…together.

 

Your time and attention is better than anything I can write about today. Make it special. Turn on some music and dance in your kitchen. Have a pillow fight. Let them splash you during bath time. Cut out construction paper clown noses and wear them while you eat dinner. Laugh. Whatever it is, live first and write about it later.

Go. Live. Love. Then come back and tell me about it.

The Cutest Peter Pan You Ever Did See…

{This blog post has been in the works for a month~AN ENTIRE MONTH! Needless to say, it takes me longer to do EVERYTHING with two children, including blogging. Have you missed me? I sure have missed you, sweet readers! Oh, the stories I have of a colicky baby and our transition to two kids. So, while you’re recovering from Christmas shopping, allow me to reminisce about Halloween…}

Halloween. It brings up the “Super-Mommy” Complex in me. You know, the one where I refuse to just buy a costume because they are “poorly made and fall apart.”  So instead, I drag two children to Walmart in the rain after dinner to get the ONE missing supply in order to stay up late and whip out a homemade costume. Because in my mind, homemade costumes are way better. I know, it’s an illness I can’t  seem to find the cure for. It’s hereditary. {Hi Mom!}

And maybe, this costume complex just continues because they end up being so darn cute. Case in point: The cutest Peter Pan you ever did see…

Peter Pan Costme

See what I mean? This is really the first year that Jonah had a request. I’m so glad he came up with this one.

Here’s how I made it:

For the shirt, I just grabbed a green long-sleeved shirt that was too big. Cut the bottom and some of the sleeves to look tattered. Cut a “V” in the neck. (I actually messed up here and made it too large, so we put another shirt underneath.) We placed a belt around his waist.

For the pants, I grabbed an old green t-shirt from my closet and traced a pair of his pajama pants that were on the small side to make them look like Peter Pan tights. I used the bottom hem of the shirt to my advantage, so all I had to sew was the inseam and a waistband.

For the hat, I used some felt from my stash and got creative. I didn’t have a pattern and had never made a hat before. I was totally winging it. (I was inspired by Ashley at Make It and Love It, but wound up with a slightly different hat.) I ended up making two triangular-ish shapes (with the point rounded off and closer to the back). Then, I realized it wouldn’t quite be big enough for his head. So, I added a strip in between the triangle pieces. I pinched it together in the front and trimmed the excess. I added a cuff at the bottom and a red feather on the side.

I also made a dagger out of felt that we attached to his belt. This was, by far, his favorite part. Case in point…

dagger

Peter Pan had a pretty cute L’il Pumpkin, too, if I do say so myself. I mean, I am slightly biased.

Asher pumpkin 2011

Just slightly :)

Toy Story: Jesse Cowgirl Outfit

My niece’s birthday was last weekend. She’s a huge fan of Jesse from Toy Story and I was inspired to make her an outfit. Since I don’t have a girl of my own yet, I loved getting the chance to sew something extra girly for her present….I live vicariously through the little girls in my life.

http://www.happybrownhouse.comI embroidered the shirt using the Cowboy Applique Alphabet from Planet Applique. The skirt is a a three-tiered twirl skirt. I also made ribbon ruffle socks. The cowboy hat was a lucky find at the Dollar Tree! I used my hole punch to poke holes in the edge of the hat and added some white cording to mimic Jesse’s hat. I can’t wait to see her in her outfit!

*Tutorial for Ruffle Socks and a Three-tiered Twirl Skirt coming soon! (Taking pictures for tutorials is a lot of work!) Make sure to subscribe so you won’t miss these adorable tutorials!

Linking up to:

A Crafty Soiree @ Katie’s Nesting Spot, Feature Yourself Friday, Just Something I Whipped Up @The Girl Creative

10 Favorite Disney Moments

**I’ve tried to get this to post for over a week. I was having trouble uploading the video clip. **

I take WAY too many pictures with my digital camera. I thought I would try to limit it to sharing my “Top Ten” List of Favorite Disney Moments.

The giraffes standing in the trail during our “Safari” at the Animal Kingdom. We were held up for close to 20 minutes watching them and waiting for them to move. It was so fun and amazing to watch!

Watching Jonah “meet” Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater. His favorites!

The Lego Store at Downtown Disney. So much fun!

Seeing the Mice, of course!

Jonah squirting himself and everyone around with the spray bottle fan. We were soaked, but it gave such relief from the heat! He even tried to spray characters at the parade.

We love the “Celebrate” Parade!

I love the Spectromagic/Electric Light Parade even more!

France in Epcot–One of these days I hope to stand in front of the real Eiffel Tower.

The view when you enter the Magic Kingdom always takes my breath away!
I love Cinderella’s castle!




I saved the best for last. Prepare for a giggle….
(A little background: We found out about a “Dance Party” at Hollywood Studios during Magic hours. It was awesome. Jonah’s dancing was even better. He really let loose!)
Please forgive the video quality…I was using a new to me camera and it was dark.

Disney World on a Budget

I received an email from April and thought I would include my answer on the blog for anyone else who might be wondering the same thing.

April wrote:
I was just reading your vacation blog and wondered, how do you budget a trip for WDW and not miss anything??? Help me out, would ya. Thanks.

The BUDGET….sigh. Trust me, it can be done! Here are just a few of my frugal Disney vacation ideas…

Planning:
I used Mousesavers alot! They have lots of info on the website so be prepared to read. They also have a section of free/cheap things to do at Disney. I think we could have done more from this list and still been happy. Then again, we have an almost 3 year old that is pretty easy to entertain.

We borrowed a book from a friend to help us plan some things out (The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World) It is a huge book with tons of info and I got a little overwhelmed by it all. It covers everything you could ever think of asking about Disney trips. From a comprehensive description of every ride to tips from readers, this book has it all. I loved reading up on the rides to see which ones would be appropriate for Jonah’s age. It also pointed out any potentially scary things for Jonah.

Another website to check out is WDWinfo. Once again, this website has tons of information on planning. I liked reading the message boards on this site to glean from the “pros”.

Food:
If you’ve been reading the blog for very long, you know that I “coupon”. We took food from our cabinets for breakfast and lunch. All we had to get were refrigerated things (milk, lunch meat, fruit, etc). The great thing about Jonah right now is that he prefers Peanut Butter & Jelly over most things so his lunch was easy! We packed our lunches and drinks in a soft sided cooler I found at Walmart for $30 and stuck it under the stroller. I packed snacks in our backpack that I wore. We didn’t buy anything in the park. We had already decided this long before leaving and had it set in our minds. (I think this is hardest part of budgeting–the mental battle!)

I have heard from friends that they love getting the meal plan. One friend even told me that part of the “magic” of Disney was eating in the restaurants. While this may be true, we knew that we could do it for cheaper and still have full tummies. This is really a personal choice for individual families.

We used a gift card to eat at Chili’s one night….Definitely not our first choice for Disney ambience, but the cheapest choice for us. We only had to pay a difference of $8. I’ll take those savings! The Chili’s was very close to Disney & our hotel. They had a balloon animal guy working for tips and he entertained us. So in the end, we had a great dinner! No complaints here!

You could always use Restaurant.com (get on their email list and wait to buy until they are 80% off–gift certificates are good for a year) I wasn’t really familiar with Downtown Disney restaurants before hand, but found out that some of the restaurants take Restaurant.com certificates! (Don’t forget to read the fine print on what you have to order at the restaurant)

Souvenirs:
I found some “glow sticks/bracelets” in the Target Dollar Spot and bought them. I took them in my bag for the Spectro-Magic/Electric Light Parade at the Magic Kingdom. Jonah had light-up bracelets, but I didn’t have to pay the park price. I even shared with some of the people around us that we made friends with while waiting on the parade to start. Considering there were atleast 15 in the pack for $1…I think this was a fantastic way to save!

We took tons of pictures! I will use the photo deals I find out about in the near future to print out pictures of our trip and place them in a book for Jonah to look through.

There are shopping outlets close to Disney. There is a store with Disney CLEARANCE items from the park! The outlet store’s name is Disney Character Premiere. Be forewarned this is just like any other clearance rack….it will be “hit or miss” on the items you find. We found a Toy Story shirt for Jonah for $6. Much better than the original price!

There is a place in Downtown Disney by Winnie the Pooh Corner and Rainforest Cafe that you can find cheaper souvenirs. It is basically an alley and everything is under $10.

My thoughts on souvenirs….
Will it be worn? Will it be used? Will I be disappointed if I get home and don’t have this? Then it might be a good choice for you…

Will it end up in the back of a closet? Will it end up in the donation/yard sale pile? Will this be gone after eating? Is it useful or is it just another tchotchke? Then it probably isn’t a good choice….

I hope that helps everyone! Let me know if you have any other questions and I’ll try to answer! Feel free to add your tips in the comments to help April!

P.S.–As far as lodging while at Disney, I can’t really help you out. My dad is a Disney Vacation Club member and used some of his points for us. We (and our tight budget) were SO blessed by this! Thank you so much Dad!

10 Random Thoughts on Vacation

  1. What’s the point of cleaning before you leave? As soon as you return and the suitcase explodes, you’re back at square one.
  2. It is always 10 degrees hotter inside Disney World. The minute we stepped out of the park the temperature dropped atleast 10 degrees.
  3. I think I sweat more than the average woman. Seriously. It’s gross.
  4. It never failed. Jonah fell asleep on the ride to the hotel and woke up wide awake as I tried to put him in bed for a nap.
  5. Going to Disney World with an active, independent toddler can be interesting, challenging, frustrating, and then some.
  6. One of these days, Ray and I will go and ride the adult rides and skip the carousel.
  7. It CAN be done on a budget without feeling like you missed out on things! Woohoo!
  8. Sometimes you just have to break the “rules” and let your toddler go swimming after getting back from fireworks for 10 minutes to keep the peace. Besides, at the point, does it really matter anymore?
  9. It takes MUCH longer to get back to your hotel room from the park than you thought it would.
  10. Sleeping in my own bed rocks!

A Day Trip to Disney World

My dad lives a short 90 minute drive away from Disney World. We obviously had to take advantage of that on our trip!

073

065

238

Jonah loved the parade! The chipmunks gave him high-fives and he thought he was hot stuff. He got to see some of his favorite characters, including Woody from Toy Story.

315

We rode the teacups 3 times…and he still wanted to go back for more! He was so funny!

393

Jonah earned his “Mouse Ears” and we had his name embroidered for a keepsake. We also got Jonah’s silhouette made. Both of these are family traditions for your first trip to Disney. It was Ray’s first trip too, but he declined both keepsakes.

412

Jonah did great with a long, fun-filled day at Disney. He rode in the stroller when asked without getting upset (he’s so independent these days!) and walked through the lines without too much trouble. I had him in a harness/leash so he could walk independently without getting lost in the crowd even though I always swore I wouldn’t use one before I was a mother. Every time we got off a ride Jonah would ask, “What’s next?” The only melt down was in the car after we left the park…as a result of being utterly exhausted.

178

We can’t wait to go back this summer and visit again for our “big” family trip. Jonah’s already asked us over and over about seeing Mickey Mouse. I have a feeling it will be a long wait until June!