Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Disney with a Baby

We have lived on the east coast of Central Florida for five years now and this is our third year to have annual passes to Disney. We love going (obviously)!

When we first bought passes, our oldest daughter had just turned two. Disney with a two-year-old isn't that difficult. Take a sippy cup, a stroller, and plenty of pull-ups and wipes and you'll be fine.

The older she has gotten, the easier is has been. We have always taken the stroller with us because even now that she's four, she still won't walk the whole time. Heck, our nine year old nephew took advantage of the stroller. :)

We even went to Disney up until I was a good six months pregnant with our newest addition. Disney pregnant wasn't that difficult either. You just rest when you need to. I would often request going to one of the shows when I needed to sit for a bit and it was not uncommon for me to just sit down on the ground while in line for things.

I am sure there are people who go to Disney more than we do, but we feel like we've mastered the art of going to Disney World for a day or two.

In March, I delivered our second little girl and we waited until she was 8 weeks old before we attempted to go. We had a week long trip planned with Anthony's family a week later. We went to Magic Kingdom for her first trip and then a week later we went for the week.

Now we have always had a few things we always take with us: camera, stroller, small cooler/lunch box with drinks and snacks, Ansleigh's blanket she always wants when she gets sleepy, and her autograph book with a sharpie attached. You never know when you will see one of those rare characters :)

Taking a baby was a lot easier than I expected. Disney is very accommodating for anyone, especially someone with a baby. They have baby care centers at each park where you can nurse, use changing tables, etc.

Going just for the day, these are the extra things I took: diapers and wipes, 8 bottles pre-filled with the right amount of water, 8 travel packs of formula, baby sunscreen, double stroller, Moby wrap, cold compresses, clip on stroller fan, my Itzbeen baby timer (I don't leave home without it), a bib, gas drops, a thin blanket, and refillable water bottles.

  • Dipers--a given. I took 10-12 (just in case) and a travel pack of wipes
  • Pre-filled botles--I didn't want to have to look around Disney for water to fill the bottles, plus, I wanted them to be as ready to use as possible. We don't heat the bottles (You don't need to!!!!) so warm water was not an issue but you can ask any Cast Member where you can get warm water and they will find it for you. Your best bet is a restaurant, not the bathrooms. 
  • Travel formula packets--these take up WAY less space in the diaper bag than those bulky containers that hold enough formula for three bottles.
  • Baby sunscreen--she really didn't need it because she stayed covered up so much but I put it on her just in case
  • Double Stroller-we have two kiddos now so we need to be able to push both kids. We have the Baby Jogger City Mini double stroller and it is amazing. We have the stone color (khaki) one which I chose on purpose. I knew we'd mostly be using it for Disney and we didn't want a dark colored stroller to leave sitting out all day in the Central Florida heat.We also have two Mommy hooks on our stroller to hold the diaper bag and cooler/lunchbox.
  • Moby wrap-my sister gave me that thing and it was wonderful to have. I wrapped her up in that thing and could stand in lines without having the weight of holding her, plus I had both arms free to constantly germ-x my oldest child.
  • Cold Compresses--I used these in one of the layers of the Moby wrap (you could also do the same thing with a sling or baby carrier) to help keep Tiny Tot cool. It worked perfectly.
  • Clip on Stroller Fan--I knew it would be hot. This thing is awesome. We ended up getting two (one for each kid). The batteries lasted an entire week of being constantly used. I would even take it off the stroller and hold it blowing on the baby while we were in line. Several people stopped me and asked me where I got it-they were totally jealous. 
  • Itzbeen Baby Timer--when Ansleigh was a baby I wrote everything down in a log (when she ate, was changed, etc.). This little timer does all that for you. It also has a nightlight and all kinds of other amazing features. I have a hard time keeping track of time anyway at Disney so this timer was clutch for us because we could just glance at it to see when she needed to eat again. 
  • Bib--my sweet little love leaks out of the side of her mouth. I took this one and it was ADORABLE!  This lady also made one with Minnie Mouse on it for me :)
  • Gas Drops--we have the world's gassiest baby so I took those with us just in case we needed them
  • Thin Blanket--I used this to keep the sun off any parts not covered by the stroller or to put between my skin and her skin so she wouldn't stick to me. A think blanket will make them too hot but a thin one worked great. I used our Baby Biscotti blanket (it was the softest, thinest one we had) but since then I have gotten a pack of Aden & Anais muslin blankets and those would have been perfect too.
  • Refillable Water Bottles--These were for the other three of us, not baby. I recently found out that you can go to any quick service place at any Disney park and ask for a cup of ice water (or three in our case) and they'll just give it to you....for FREE and then you just pour it in your water bottle. Disney also has water fountains but they are mostly disgusting so go for the ice water. 

For the week, there were a few other things that I made sure I had with us.
  • Nursery Water--we use this anyway for our bottles but I didn't want to use the tap water at the hotel.
  • Bottle Drying Rack--I knew I was going to need to wash bottles and this just makes it easier, especially with all the parts that go with our Dr. Brown's bottles
  • Bottle Brush and sponge--to wash the bottles
  • Dish Soap--I found a small bottle of Palmolive baby dish soap so I took that with me
  • Pack n Play-- Disney will provide one for you free of charge but since we're only an hour and a half away and I had a newborn, I wanted my own. Plus, sometimes those things frustrate me and I was scared I might break the Disney one. 
  • Bibs--I packed every cute bib we own, just in case
  • Boppy--I always use this to feed her (not at the parks, of course) but she was still taking several bottles during the night and I knew I'd be so tired so having something I could rest her on helped a lot. 
Other tips:
  • I packed using a lot of ziplock bags. I put the bottle brush in a ziplock bag, the soap in a bag, the sponge in a bag, and then put all those in one bag together. I also used these for hairbows, underwear for Ansleigh, socks for both girls, to keep all the travel formula packs together, etc.
  • I found out quickly that the hotel sink isn't really intended for washing bottles. I ended up washing the bottles and all their parts in the bathtub and that worked much better.
  • Even at the "Value" resorts, they have a fridge in every room. We brought canned drinks, bottled waters, juice boxes, etc. to keep in there and then we'd load up the cooler each morning before we went to the park. We also took Uncrustable sandwiches with us and threw them in the cooler each morning along with a lunch pack of chips and our drinks. This kept us from spending money on Disney food for lunch. 
  • If you need a microwave or need to sterilize bottles, some resorts have them in the rooms and some don't. Our resort did not but they did have one I could use at the cafeteria. I didn't sterilize the bottles while I was there but wanted to know just in case. 
  • To prevent over-packing, I packed our clothes by outfits. I did this for my husband, both girls, and myself. The girls were wearing matching outfits each day (I mean...I am breathing so that is a given!) so I packed their outfits from the bottom up, meaning the last day's clothes were on the bottom, Friday's on top of that, Thursday's on top of that, etc. I did pack extra clothes for the girls but just two outfits for Ansleigh and three for Addisyn (the baby). 
  • When you are going during warm weather (here that's March-November), I recommend wearing comfortable clothes. I wore running shorts and a tshirt or dry-fit shirt almost every day. I wasn't there to impress anyone. Plus, you have the advantage of all your sweat not being AS noticeable, and the added bonus of drying off more quickly when you get off Splash Mountain where your butt WILL be soaked. Promise. 
  • Anthony carried a backpack with him the whole time. This is the first time he's done this and he says he is a fan. He kept the camera, snacks, ponchos, etc. in his handy dandy backpack. He also had a few extra ziplock bags in there in case it rained or to put his phone in while riding Splash Mountain.
  • Be prepared to spend a few minutes going through Security at each park although if you are prepared and ready, it will go much quicker. We had our bags out and unzipped when we stepped up. The security people seemed to appreciate that. 
  • When you go through the ticket gate, have one adult (usually hubs) have all the tickets and the other person push the stroller through the gate. We always put Ansleigh's ticket in first (no finger print scanning for her), then mine, and then while I'm going through, Anthony puts his ticket in and walks through. 
  • Most rides you can take infants on. The only ones you cannot do that with are ones that have a height requirement (Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Railroad, Tower of Terror, Rockin Rollercoaster, Everest, Soarin,  Mission Space, Test Track, etc.). You can do Peter Pan with a baby, Winnie the Pooh, Teacups (although I don't recommend it), It's a Small World, Buzz Lightyear, Nemo, pretty much everything. For those rides that you can't take Tiny Tot on and you REALLY want to ride, Disney offers rider swap. You go through the line together and then one parent gets on the ride and one parent stays with the kid(s). When parent #1 gets off, parent #2 gets to ride. You won't get to ride together but at least you'll get to ride. 

It really was fairly easy to have a newborn at Disney. I fed her while my husband and daughter were on a ride I didn't want to do, or during a show, or even walking through the park while Hubs pushed the stroller with Ansleigh in it. I changed her diaper when I went to the bathroom or more often in the stroller. I tried to be discreet about it but I really suck at stuff like that and I didn't really care if someone saw me changing her diaper. I'd rather get a nasty look from someone than have to stand in line behind five people who need to change their children's diapers. I pulled the hood down super far and put the stroller where most people couldn't see and did what I had to do.  I don't nurse my daughter but I know a lot of people do. If you have a nursing cape, you could do this anywhere at the park. If you have a MobyWrap, you can nurse with that too, or you can always use the Baby Care Centers.

Are there other things you want to know about? Have you been with a baby and have a suggestion? Let me know!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Mother

I have the most amazing mother. No seriously, I do. I know a lot of you are thinking that you have the most amazing mother too, but you don't unless you are my sister.

Not only is my mom super smart (she was salutatorian of her graduating class), but she is beautiful (and looks like she's 35!), and she is talented (she cooks, bakes, paints, sews, creates). Any of those things would make someone special, but the most special thing about my mother isn't any of those qualities; the most special thing about my mother is that she is selfless.

I didn't realize how much my mother did for me until I was a mother myself. When I was growing up, my mother (and father) worked herself to the bone to be able to put us in tap, ballet, jazz, and gymnastics. She was the adviser/sponsor of my little league cheer team so we would have someone to coach us. When I was in high school, my mother would take her lunch break during 7th period so she could come to ALL our pep rallys and watch us cheer. She spent her weekends all over the state of Alabama braiding the hair of my softball team at various tournaments and keeping the book for our team. She sat in snow and sleet and even extreme heat just to watch me, even if I was only riding the bench.

When I was a senior in high school I was accepted to the only school I wanted to go to, Auburn. A few months later I was accepted and received a full scholarship to the local university. I told my parents I'd go to the local school because it was free. My mom knew I didn't want to go there, and if it hadn't been for her and the many conversations she had with me about it, I never would have gone to Auburn. If I had not gone to Auburn, I would not be the person I am today and I would have never met my husband.

The summer after I graduated high school, my mother and sister spent the summer finding things to stock my apartment. My mother even searched high and low to find me the exact same bedding that I had in my room at home so I'd feel more comfortable. My parents moved me in and then my mother stocked my fridge and cabinets. When finals came around my first semester, my mother took off work and came and stayed with me to cook me good meals and clean my apartment so I could spend my time studying. When I started dating Anthony, she immediately took him in as if he was her own. My sophomore year of college I started having some health issues and she got me in with various doctors and then even came to stay with me when I was having some tests done. When I got engaged, she helped me plan an amazing wedding all while planning my sister's amazing (and completely different) wedding. She even made Anthony a cake shaped like Jordan-Hare Stadium.

When I told her I wanted to have a baby, she took me to Walmart and bought pregnancy tests and ovulation kits for me. When we moved, she came and helped me set up my first house. When I went into labor a month early with Ansleigh, she killed herself to get here and then stayed with me for a little over two weeks to help me recover and to cook and clean for me and learn how to be a mother. She even missed spending Christmas with my dad and sister and all the rest of our family because I needed her.

All of Ansleigh's life she has loved on her more than I thought any person possibly could. She makes sure she has the best of everything. She has been here for her for all the major things in her life and made sure she had the cutest clothes on while those things happened.

When I was pregnant with Addisyn, my mom came and helped me throw Ansleigh an amazing birthday party. Then, when I was put on bedrest, she called and checked on me everyday. She made my dad drive her down here one weekend to turn a guest room into a nursery for the baby. When Addisyn was born, she jumped in the car and got here as soon as she could and then took care of Ansleigh while I was in the hospital. When we came home from the hospital, she stayed with me for a week, cooking, cleaning, and entertaining Ansleigh while I recovered and spent time with my new baby. She even repaired one of Ansleigh's stuffed animals.

My mom does anything and everything for me and never tells me no and never ever tells Ansleigh no.

In fact, my mom overnighted a box of clothes to Ansleigh and Addisyn for us to take on our Disney trip.

No one has a mom as amazing as my mom. I didn't appreciate her when I was a teenager, but she means the world to me now and if I could live next door to her, I totally would. If I can be even 1/4 the mother she was/is to my girls, they will be blessed beyond measure. I hope I can be that kind of a mother to my girls and that they will grow up knowing just how much they are loved, the way I always have.