I Went To Disney With Small Kids, Here’s What I Learned…

Last week, Huff the Hubs, the kids, and my in-laws went to Disney World. It was a magical (and exhausting) time! I tried to prepare for the trip as best I could, knowing that I’d basically have to bring our entire house with us and somehow make it fit onto a stroller while we walked around the parks.

A lot of knowledge gained through a Disney vacation is acquired through trial and error. So I’m going to share my accomplishments and failures so you can have the best Disney vacay ever!

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Make “Park Bags” In Advance

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Listen to me: you are going to want to fall into bed AS SOON as you get back to the hotel. You are not going to want to reorganize a diaper bag/backpack when your back is aching and you have the stench of sweat and sunblock. Plan ahead! I got 2-gallon zip top bags and filled them with what I thought we would need while we were at the park: diapers, baby wipes, a change of clothes for each kid, medications (like Tylenol, Benadryl etc.), and whatever else you think you may need.

 

Buy “Souvenirs” For The Kids Before You Leave

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to buy a “Walt Disney World” magnet before you go. What I’m saying is, your kids will ask for everything–and I mean eeeeeverything–in sight while you’re at the parks to the point where you will start trying to hide their eyes from the souvenir peddlers on the street because they will be like flies on honey with that stuff. My advice is: go to Dollar Tree and buy a few little figures of Mickey and pals to hand to your little ones when they want something. Its cheaper, its faster, and they have something in their hands to keep them busy during those long waits in ride lines. Also, if you plan on staying until the fireworks show, grab a bunch of glow sticks while you’re at DT! They even have Disney-themed ones! Such a money-saver (the glow stuff at DW was like $12 and up!) and you can splurge on something else later!

 

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

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I didn’t really drink water while we were there (unless I got it at the resort because, filtered water). Huff the Hubs had a Camelbak, but he used tap water and it was just too funky-tasting for me. Plus, I needed caffeine because I was sooooo sleep-deprived. But, I should’ve just sucked it up and drank the funk water. Or bought a 24-pack of water bottles and taken those to the park. I ended up get a heat rash because I was under hydrated. Its the worst. Don’t be like me. Just drink some water every hour to avoid dehydration and all the crappy symptoms.

 

Plan Rest Days

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If I could do it over again, I would’ve planned two extra days just so we’d have time to rest at the hotel in between going to the parks. We should’ve done a rest day every other day, but we only had a limited time and limited budget. Next time, though, we’re splurging for more days so we can rest and not be so crabby/sleep-deprived.

 

Pack Snacks 

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Even if you’re doing the Disney Dining Plan, you’re going to want to pack snacks for your kids. You’re not going to want to spend your precious snack credits on a Danimals yogurt you could get at home–you’re going to want to use those for a Mickey-shaped cake pop, yo! Go Go Squeeze applesauce pouches, Goldfish crackers (they even have Mickey Mouse-shaped ones!), and peanut butter crackers were our saving graces during this trip.

 

DO NOT JUST “WING IT”

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Before we left, I kept seeing all these posts about planning your Disney World day. I was like, “I’m not going to plan out every second of our day! I just want it to be a leisurely thing.”

That was the dumbest decision I have ever made, second only to the time I decided to have my baby shower TWO days after giving birth.

You NEED a plan. You need to know who wants to ride what, which characters are where, and how you’re going to execute all of it. I though it would take the fun out of it, but as it turns out, having a plan makes things run so much smoother and you’ll be a lot less stressed if you do.

 

Have you ever been to Disney World/Disneyland with little ones? What advice would you add to the list? Share in the comments below!

Mommy Monday

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Hey y’all! Halloween is officially over so we can now start focusing on Christmas!

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Oh wait. We still have to do Thanksgiving. My bad.

Don’t get me wrong, Thanksgiving is an okay holiday…but its not my favorite. Honestly, I just see the third Thursday in November as a hurdle to Christmas. But, I DO like how I can weave in little lessons here and there during the Thanksgiving season to help my kiddos (and myself) grasp the concept of thankfulness and having a grateful heart. Need some help in how you can teach your kiddos thankfulness this season? I gotchu, girl. Or should I say, Pinterest has you, girl.

 

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Coffee Cups and Crayons has a great printable you can download to have your older kids (and you and your hubby!) fill out every day in November to help you remember that even the simplest of things can be appreciated! By day ten, you typically have to start really looking at the little things in your life that you can be grateful for!

 

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Not Consumed Ministries has compiled a list of children’s books that help teach thankfulness! You can see the list here!

 

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The Fervent Mama offers a printable pack full of thankfulness activities for kids including memory verses about gratitude!

 

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Another site full of book recommendations about gratitude is Babies to Bookworms!

 

What is one of your family’s favorite thankfulness activities? How do you teach gratefulness to your children? Share in the comments below!

Mommy Monday

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Halloween is in two days, witches! Are you ready? Got your kids’ costumes all done? Ready to pilfer through their treats to find the stuff YOU want?

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Some people may think that taking candy from your kids’ Halloween bucket is wrong. I think its a great way to teach your kids about LIFE. The folks over at The Holderness Family Vlog feel me!

 

Hashtag Mommy Tax All Day.

 

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As moms, we sacrifice a lot. We go without so our children can have and sometimes its hard to see the things we gain because we’re so focused on what we’ve lost. I saw a video the other day that really hit home and helped me examine my heart and priorities. Take a watch, Mommas, and remember that you’ve gained SO. VERY. MUCH.

 

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Its October, y’all! I freaking LOVE fall. I love the cooler temps, the festive food, college football, and the fact that I can wear a hoodie without a bra and no one would know!

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But, along with fall comes something I detest.

Halloween.

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Okay, before you freak out, let me explain. I absolutely LOVE dressing up and the glorious candy-splosion that happens on October 31st. What I can’t stand are Halloween decorations.

But Jessica! That’s part of the fun. 

Not if you’re a parent its not.

Why? Because going to the store to pick up milk or toilet paper, or cereal isn’t an easy(ish) task anymore when its fall and you have kids. The geniuses at Walmart and Target and pretty much every other store think it is a smart move to put crap like this throughout their stores:

 

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And what happens when a child and toddler sees these hideous balloons that are not only terrifying but also make a loud noise due to the fan that keeps them inflated?

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Then, instead of going about our merry way and getting what we came for, I have to spend the next twenty minutes calming down two frantic kids who are acting like they are undergoing an exorcism.

Why don’t you just go a different route to get the things you need? 

I do.

But again, the folks who have set up these things so intelligently placed them IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FREAKING STORE.

So while most of the world sees Halloween decor and celebrates…

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…I brace myself for the oncoming storm.

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Mommy Monday

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Right now, we’re in a lovely phase of parenting Huff the Babe. Wait, I mean we’re in a loathsome phase of parenting: the two year old stage.

Its less than pleasant.

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And its not just because its the “terrible twos”, so much. Its because, this time around, its “the-terrible-BOY-twos”.

But Jessica, you say, surely its the same as it was with Huff the Tot. 

To which I reply:

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The Boy Twos are infinitely different than The Girl Twos.

With The Girl Twos, there’s a lot of crying. Emotions are constantly on high and frustrations are endless. When you’ve got a girl going through the two year old phase, she wants to choose her own clothes, she wants to dance constantly, and she cries at the drop of the hat.

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That, I totally get. After all, I’m a woman. I get that estrogen is basically like an amphetamine that can make you crazy and cry about weird stuff like I did when Cassini made its grand finale.

 

The Boy Twos however are nothing but running, screaming, throwing, hitting, flailing on the floor, and destruction.

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The Boys Twos are all about fighting anything and everything.

Mommy wants to change your diaper? DO NOT LET HER. Its clearly a trap to suck out your soul. Run, hide, twist and turn as she uses baby wipes on you. Whatever you do, RESIST! 

You need to put your shoes on? Shoes? You mean death shackles?! Hurry, throw them under the dryer so your parents have to waste thirty minutes moving everything out of the laundry room to grab one flip flop. 

The chocolate milk you demanded was served in a blue cup instead of a green one?! INSUBORDINATION! Throw the cup on the ground so it cracks and spills chocolate milk everywhere! 

The Boy Twos leave you physically exhausted. They make every muscle in your body sore because you’ve spent the day wrestling with something the size of a puppy that has the strength of a silver-back gorilla. The Boy Twos leave you counting down the hours until bedtime. Not bath time, mind you, because THAT is a whole other beast of its own in which you will be soaked as well as tired.

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But…The Boy Twos are also unexpected cuddles. They are “I wuv eww”s as you hand over their favorite truck while tucking them in at night. The Boy Twos are “I want Momma”s and holding sweet, dirt-covered hands. The Boy Twos are cars and trains and dinosaurs. The Boy Twos are hard. But The Boy Twos are also precious.

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Mommy Monday

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The other day, I felt like a chicken with my head cut off. I had so many errands to run, places to go, and things to get accomplished. The kids and I will soon be back at our church’s Mother’s Day Out program and Huff the Tot’s birthday party is next weekend so there’s been a lot to prep.

After a whirlwind day of shopping, organizing, writing, cutting out lamination, and wrapping gifts and goody bags, I collapsed on my bed at 10:00 p.m. I almost immediately  sat back up.

Did the kids get at least two servings of fruit today? 

Did I give them enough attention? 

Was I too short-tempered? 

Did I give them enough hugs? Kisses? 

Should I have read one more book at bedtime? 

This is almost a daily ritual with me. Its like I can’t go to sleep until I’ve listed all the things I’ve done wrong as a mom and vowed to make the next day better.

As I wrestled with myself about how much of a terrible mother I was, I started mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. Then, I came across a video a friend had posted. (I’m not entirely sure who Rachel Hollis is, but I’m glad she made this video!) It was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. In the short video, she says God made you and your child a perfect match. She elaborates by telling the worn-out, worried mom:

“You can’t fail at a job you were created to do.” 

WOW.

That got me. I started crying and told myself that I know for a fact my children went to bed that night knowing that I love them. And THAT was proof I wasn’t failing.

Here’s the video in case you need to hear her words of wisdom too, Momma. You’re doing great.