Social Media Madness

Hello Everyone,

So as a stay at home mom with a now four year old and an almost three year old…he’s counting down the days!  I know many of us single, married, parents, grandparents utilize social media in one way or another.  With all the options out there I’m not sure how any one keeps up unless status updating is their full time career!  I have friends and family that fall in to all categories from single with kids to married with a full house to grandparents of one to twenty-one!

Last October when we planned our original family trip that was post-poned my mom and I went to Wisconsin Dells for a few days with the kids.  While I was away I decided to follow through on something I put a lot of thought in to.  Ending my social media relationship with Facebook.  A social website that has over one billion daily users.  I thought about the relationship I had with this site as many of us have it status updating directly to our phones throughout the day pulling the Nosey Norene out of all of us weather peeking at our desks via our phone in our desk drawer to not be caught doing non work or for me it was stopping me from spending quality time with S and K.  I would find myself sucked in to the feed for roughly ten minutes to twenty as of course someone post something intriguing so you have to go on their page to hear/read more!  I did consider removing the app from my phone as to canceling my account but then I was checking out the feed etc. in the evening when Joe and I would be hanging out.  As I’ve mentioned before Joe works a lot so when he is here my focus shouldn’t be what others have going on in their lives it should be what’s going on in our lives.  I was also finding so many people were using facebook as grounds to vent about the good, the bad, and the ugly that is going on in their lives.  I found people reaching out to me that I hadn’t heard from in ages and some the last I was connected with them wasn’t on the best terms so why do they care to connect with me now?  Many probably have an opinion of this but mine is the Nosey Norene factor.

Everyday people compare themselves to the next person weather at the grocery store or PTA meeting.  When we graduate high school we start the journey of becoming adults starting families and sharing these times with those close to us.  Those people we have started to cultivate relationships with.  I founds myself getting sucked in to people’s lives drama that had nothing to do with me in fact they were people that I didn’t have an active relationship with.  Then I found at times those friendships I had planned to keep for years to come sharing fun times with they would post a faux perception of what their lives entailed.  Or others would in so many words bash others.  This is when I had to really determine if I needed this in my life.

The flip-side and part I love about social media is seeing those I care about keeping me in the loop on what is going on in their lives.  As busy as life is we don’t always get to connect with friends as much as we would like so getting to see friends kids birthday celebrations, or family vacations, or the sharing of exciting changes in their lives always makes me appreciate them that much more and happy great things are happening for them.  Also, via social media I was able to be a part of it.  But if I just picked up the phone I’m sure I could have found this out from them directly!

So on vacation I decided I would take the plunge to end my relationship with the social media outlet Facebook.  Now almost three months later I can honestly say I don’t miss it.  Of course my mother-in-law has asked when I’m coming back as this is many times how she see’s the kids as she is south.  But she also understands it can be many things and extra time is not what I have right now chasing these two crazy toddlers around!  I did start an instagram account I know another social media outlet. I feel like this outlet leaves the drama out.  It’s simply a place to appreciate those great moments going on in our friends and families lives via pictures!  For now I think this is the route that is best for me.  Plus my blog which I truly enjoy doing and hope you enjoy reading!

Well that’s my blurb on social media or more so Facebook for now!  Happy Monday and please check back soon!

Mickey, Minnie, Princesses & Prince’s OH MY!

Ok so we have returned from our long-awaited trip to Walt Disney World.  So bummed to return to a blizzard!  Literally, three hours after we arrived home my phone was providing blizzard warning alerts!  It came down for twenty-four hours straight!  Here is a picture I took to share with family in the south; I’m sure they were jealous…NOT!

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Ok now to the topic at hand!  Our trip was originally to take place in October but due to Joe’s hectic work schedule we had to post-pone it to January.  I strongly recommend flying southwest airlines as they charged no cancellation fee we had one year to re-book which for us wasn’t an issue.  They also don’t charge for up to two bags weighing under fifty pounds per guest.  Lastly, they had great flight options for us a direct flight was a must and nothing too early or too late…I know I’m asking a lot but traveling with a two and three-year old can be trying enough so taking steps to make it smooth is definitely necessary.  Last year we went to San Diego and had a stop both ways and the time was earlier in the day.  K was a mess both there and home!  I felt terrible for the business travelers around us but there wasn’t anything I could do but learn from it.  We are the type of people who when we travel we again know the flying or driving is going to be stressful enough so renting everything to be there when we arrive is and has been the best decision we have made now two years in a row!  So literally all we bring to the airport is our luggage and carry on bags.  Each kid had their own suitcase they were responsible for which they did great and loved having something to be in charge of!  Joe and I carried their carry on bag which I included the necessary items!  DVD player, iPad, Leap Pad Ultra, crayons, coloring book.  I also remember when I was a kid and how bad my ears would be during flight so I try to bring items to help out with this.  I usually stash the safe-t-pops that we get at the bank, juice boxes, water bottle and various fun snacks.  The suckers and drinks are great to give when a melt down is occurring as it’s usually when their ears are starting to bother them but of course don’t know what’s wrong.  The fun snacks are when the entertainment/excitement of the trip is boring them.  What kid doesn’t love those snacks that they only get on special occasions!  The other big part of flying is when your little ones are required to be in a child seat or if you have a lap age child but as we did last year felt K having his own seat was necessary.  This is the second year I have worked with a lady on eBay and rented CARES Harnesses for the kids.  These harnesses are a five point FAA approved harness.  They come in a small carrying bag with instructions.  They rent for $25 each and she sends them to you with enough time to be ready for your flight and then asks that you send them back one week upon returning.  This year I rented the harnesses as everything I read said they were required to be in a child safety seat but upon getting on the plane noticed many kids around the same age and not in a seat or harness.  I asked the attendant and found out once they are two they are not required they can use the lap belt.  So yes I was bummed that I spent the money but I would rather be safe than sorry.  One item I can check off my needed rentals for next years trip!  But if you do have a little one I completely recommend this product!

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Upon arrival we worked with a local company in Orlando that met us at the rental car pick up and put our car seats in for us.  Last year we rented car seats from the rental company.  Honestly I was frightened to put my kids in them without wiping them down and covering they were disgusting!  This company was so great to work with and their price was very reasonable.  Again, next year S and K will be in booster seats so we won’t need to rent.  But for the past two years not lugging large awkward car seats through the airport then to the rental car location and getting them in with two toddlers that are over the vacation before it has even started has been fantastic.  Lastly we rented a double jogging stroller and a set of bed rails from a third company.  The jogging stroller was the same one we had at home and the bed rails were your standard ones which K has one on his bed at home so I was trying to make sleeping as similar to home as possible.  I highly recommend renting a stroller.  The parks do rent strollers which I am not sure of the price but I believe we paid $70 for the week.  The ones at the park look like the kids are sitting on small rocks.  So uncomfortable and K still takes naps and every day he took a snooze at some point in the stroller.  Which I couldn’t imagine him even being able to do in the park option stroller.  I would likely pass on the bed rails in the future as they were fine in the beds without as we put our luggage on the sides of the beds by the wall which worked.  One thing I always pack is our sound machine as S has used since she was a baby.  K isn’t a fan but it helps tune out the living space sounds to help them go to sleep after a long, busy day!

I know you are probably thinking are we ever going to talk about the trip!  Well thanks for sticking with me as now its time to talk about the place that as you enter the arch that reads “Walt Disney World” “Where Dreams Come True”.  S as we entered saw the metal characters that lined the drive and the bright colors and said to us “I guess dreams come true here!”  The whole car laughed as I’m not sure where or whose conversation she eves dropped on and heard this but it was so sweet and appropriate!  We decided to go to Magic Kingdom on day one!  This park is just as fantastic as I remember it from growing up and visiting!  Of course there are a ton of added attractions but also the old ones that when I got on brought me back to being a kid.  From it’s a small world to driving the race cars.  Magic Kingdom is 100% the best property for toddlers!

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One side of Disney that is drastically different then when I was a kid is the fast pass.  As a planner I felt a bit frustrated that I didn’t research better or wasn’t advised by any of the reservationist I had spoken to about this.  We unfortunately didn’t get to meet Ana and Elsa from Frozen which truly was all S was about prior to arrival.  But the benefit of her not being able to read allowed us to not deal with too much dramatics at the fact that we would not wait ninety minutes to meet them.  They met so many other characters it worked out.  The fast pass would have allowed us to meet these and other characters that had long waits and go on certain rides with a wait time of half of this if not less.  You can set up your fast passes when you get in town but by this time those planners that knew about it took advantage of the month out booking of these activities and they were not even available upon arriving in Florida.  Overall, this didn’t ruin our trip or make us feel like we missed out on anything it just would have been nice to know and set up before we arrived.

Day two we took S to the Bippity Boppity Boutique at Downtown Disney for her princess makeover!  S loved this experience but as I have mentioned before she loves to go to the salon for hair and nails to be done so this didn’t surprise me!  The fairy godmothers were wonderful making the little girls feel so special as they pick out their dress, wand, hairstyle, and nail polish color!  As in Disney fashion you definitely pay for this experience.  We had S do the entire experience as it was her birthday week and we were not doing a party for her once we arrived home.  She also got a cute backpack with additional make up, nail polish and glitter face art to take home!  Can hardly wait to re-live these details!  They did have the option for little boys to get made up like pirates but we opted for Joe, K and my dad to go play at the dinosaur dig and Lego build locations which I think was a better option.  After the boutique we headed back to the Magic Kingdom.  On day two we saw more characters as I put reminders in to my app where they would be so we were at these locations early.  K was in LOVE with Jasmine I mean she was beautiful!  I told her he loved her and just wanted to hug her.  It was very sweet…S reminded them both they needed to get pictures taken!

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Day three we spent at the resorts and shopping at the local markets!

Day four we went to MGM which was a great visit.  S and K did great as this property has a lot of shows and less rides.  We started the day with the Frozen sing along show so we took care of our Ana and Elsa fix and it truly was a great show!  Muppet 3D was just as funny as I remember when I was a kid!  The Ariel show was another hit with S singing along with Ariel!  They had a Disney Junior show that K loved as he was able to sing and dance with the characters!  One area that was a good break for this property was the Bug’s Life play area.  We let the kids play here for a bit before we had our character lunch!  The lunch was great but way over priced.  I would have hoped for a few more characters and not sure I will do this again.  But S & K loved it but ate maybe a bite of food.  But this seemed to be the trend and became the ongoing joke.  We took to go boxes home every day it seemed at the off property locations.  Really just to appease ourselves as we all knew they would end up in the garbage!  Oh well what can you do!

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Day five was a hang out day.  Mom, Joe and I got massages and did some shopping.  Dad and the kids spent some time being silly! The kids were also able to play with their new stuff and just relax before our last day of parks before returning home.  Being in a unit with washers and dryers is always a plus for me as I hate to bring a ton of dirty laundry home.  So yes that was what I worked on as I had to figure out how we were going to pack the new toys the kids had been purchasing up!  I don’t think I mentioned but we also packed a smaller suitcase full of snacks so we would have a bag for the flight home for souvenirs!

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Day six we changed our plans a bit as it was S’s 4th birthday and due to renovations at the Magic Kingdom castle we could only get lunch reservations in Norway at Epcot but other than that Epcot didn’t seem like it would be the best place with two toddlers from what I could remember.  S and K love animals so we ended up going to the Animal Kingdom which I’m so glad we did.  Having her birthday lunch at the Rainforest Cafe and meeting my second favorite character of the trip…Pocahontas.  The shows and rides were great!  S was picked to help at the beginning of the Lion King show which was very exciting for her and in my opinion made her day that much more special!  When S met Pocahontas she shared some really sweet things with S and after I asked what she said to S and she was telling me and the last thing she said was to follow her heart.  So in typically S fashion what does she say to me “mom, you know what my heart is telling me? I’M HUNGRY!” Lol this girl cracks me up!  The last ride was the Dinosaur ride and I’m so glad we made it before the park closed as K was too small and sleeping so he and I stayed back.  She absolutely loved this ride it was scary, fast and exciting!  If there can’t be glitter, sparkle and shine than scary, fast and exciting will do for S!  The only bummer for me is that even being a Friday this park closed at 5 p.m. so we didn’t get to take advantage of their play area as we did at MGM which having two toddlers would have been great but overall it was a great decision to do Animal Kingdom over Epcot in my opinion!

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Now we are back and the weather is terrible it has been -30 with wind chill making it difficult to do anything fun!  But we always seem to figure something out!  Plus now I have to get going on K’s 3rd birthday celebration for next month!  Can’t wait to share we are doing a John Deere theme!  Have a great day and check back soon!