Emma Kate: Four Years Old

We have a four-year-old! Emma Kate had been asking and asking when her birthday was for the past three or four months, so you can imagine how pumped she was when it finally happened. Not to mention, she looks five and most people think she is five so it was nice for her to finally be four as to not confuse so many people!

We had a low key day since it was a Monday and I had to work, but we went to dinner that night with my parents to Applebees and then had cake, ice cream, and gifts at home. My mom made the cake and I decorated it, which is a feat considering I have terrible handwriting. She has been into Shimmer and Shine lately so that was our “theme.”

Let’s take a look at how our girl has changed since my last update 6 months ago. (I don’t have any official height and weight stats as we haven’t been to the doctor yet but will update when we do!)

Our girl is super silly and I think is going to be a class clown. She has a very strong will but is also very sensitive especially when it comes to injustice.

She says the funniest things and it’s hilarious and frightening to never know what is going to come out of her mouth.

Eating: She is a pretty good eater, but it takes her FOREVER to eat a meal which drives me crazy. I’m constantly saying “please eat another bite” or starting a timer telling her she only has five minutes left. She gets so distracted! She still loves to eat things like yogurt, fruit (grapes, apples, bananas), cheese, and of course candy. For meals, she will usually always try something one time even if she hasn’t had it before which I’m thankful for. She still drinks a ton of water and loves milk.

Sleeping: Emma Kate has done great in her big girl bed but started getting up a lot so we had to start trying different tactics to get her to stay in bed. I bought an ok to wake clock (this one, we love it!) and she knows she has to stay in bed until the light turns green. At night she was getting up a lot before she fell asleep, so we started telling her she could have 4 M&M’s in the morning if she didn’t get out of bed, but every time she did we would take one away, and for the most part, it has worked well. Naps don’t really happen a whole lot anymore, maybe twice a week. She isn’t tired until after 2:00 despite waking up at 6:15 most mornings, and if we let her sleep too late in the afternoon she won’t go to bed at night so that means she is super cranky in the evenings a lot of times.

Clothing: She is in 5T and 6, and wears a size 11 shoe. I have been buying things a size big so she can wear it longer (the outfit above is a shirt and short set but I bought it big so it’s like a dress) and this tactic has been working well for us. She still loves wearing bows and likes me to do her hair in an “Elsa braid” or “Anna braids” most days.

Potty: EK hasn’t had an accident at naptime in over a year, but still wears pull ups at night as she occasionally has a wet one and I’m not really to let go of it yet and have middle of the night bed changes haha.

She still loves to watch movies and the iPad, and she will watch one movie then want to watch it 100 times before she gets hooked on another one. Right now she is loving Land Before Time, Aladdin, and the Toy Story movies. 

She loves to go swimming and recently started swimming under water by herself. She got to go to the ebach a couple of times this summer and loved jumping in the waves and building sand castles.

She thankfully loves Disney like her parents and dressed up as Belle for Mickey’s not so scary Halloween party. She loves riding Dumbo, Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Alien Swirlinig Saucers, Toy Story Manina, and the Peoplemover. She loves meeting characters and and getting ehr picture taken with them. 

Emma Kate loves babies and puppies, and playing at the palyground.

She is the cutest little Saints and LSU fan, and will say “Go Tigers” and “Who Dat” on command (I’m so proud.)

She is really into watching other kids open toys on YouTube kids and was super happy to get her own blind bags for her birthday this year.

Some days we fight and struggle, but at the end of the day I love her tenacious spirit and know it will serve her well later in life. She is strong, brave, and independent. We love our sweet four year old and know this will be an awesome year!

You can see her other updates on this page.

PS: Emma Kate has her own Instagram account! Follow her here.

Real Life Tips for Disney’s Blizzard Beach

Disclosure: Disney provided me with park tickets and meal cards for the day, however, all opinions and tips for Disney’s Blizzard Beach are my own.

I see a lot of Disney tips posts floating around that have great information, but it’s either things that everyone already knows, or it’s not practical tips to help you make the best of your day at the water park. As a real-life mom with a very real life diva three-year-old, I need the “good stuff” when it comes to tips. With that being said, let’s get down to business:

Tips for Disney's Blizzard Beach

Tips for Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

1.) Wear water shoes: Florida is hot (and water is wet, I know I know). While Disney does an amazing (seriously, amazing) job of having water sprayers spraying down the sidewalks in a lot of places at the water park, it’s impractical for every square inch of the sidewalk to be wet. This creates very hot pavement for a large portion of the year. Solution: water shoes. Not only will you be thankful for them when you see others frantically running from wet spot to wet spot, but they really come in handy if you or your kids prefer to “walk” in the lazy river.

For instance, my darling three-year-old did not want an intertube in the giant river MADE FOR INTERTUBES, no no, she just wanted to wear her puddle jumper and run along the bottom. Even when her smart mommy told her that she was going to make her feet raw, darling daughter paid no mind and well, you can guess who was crying on the way home (ok, so maybe that was both of us, because her screaming plus traffic on I-4 tends to make me a bit teary.)

Real Life Tip: When you have a 3-year-old, the lazy river isn’t super relaxing, so set the bar low. It IS a ton of fun though, but relaxing…not so much.

2.) Tikes Peak for small kids = a parents dream: When you come into the main area of the park, be sure to hang a right and head into Tike’s Peak if you have a toddler or preschool-aged child. You will thank me later. This adorable area is a scaled-down version of Mt. Gushmore, and not only is this space mostly contained (re: once they go up the top of the “mountain” the only way down is the way they just came walking up, or to go down a slide), but it’s also super adorably themed and has PLENTY for the little Mouseketeers to do. We honestly could have stayed in this area the entire day and never gone to any other parts of the park and my child would have been happy.

Real life tip #2: Keep an eye out for photopass photographers in this area. They tend to hang out in the wading pool area and will snap pics of your kids for you. They can link to your magic band or give you a card to link later. There are usually a lot people vying for these action shot pics, so you may have to wait a minute to grab the photographers attention, but it’s well worth it!

3.) Check all the food options: It’s tempting to think that Blizzard Beach will have standard water park fare on the menu, and while you will find your favorite comfort foods, there is also plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. I had the hot dog with bacon and mac and cheese, and check out some of these other options in my photos below. Doesn’t exactly look like your typical quick service meal, right?

Tips for Disney's Blizzard Beach

Real Life Tip #3: There are several food locations scattered through the park so be sure to check out all the menus beforehand. The lines can get a little long at high noon so eat a little earlier or a later to avoid the rush.

4.) Refillable drinks: If you are familiar with Disney resorts, you may know about rapid refillable mugs. Blizzard Beach has their own version that is good for the entire day for $11.99 on sodas and the like. (Sadly no alcohol.) You can also hang on to it and bring it back another day for a discounted price on your next day of refills. If you plan to stay all day I think this is a great deal. Best to stay hydrated in the sun!

Tips for Disney's Blizzard Beach

Real life tip #4: For those that like adult beverages, there are plenty of places to get them. My favorite is the bar right in front of Melt Away Bay (the wave pool) because it’s a great spot for people watching and has a nice view.

Related: Beyond the Parks Part 1

5.) Arrive before park opening or mid-afternoon: I know I know, this sounds contradictory. Allow me to explain. If you plan to stay all day or prefer the morning hours like we do, arrive early. Every time we have gone we have been allowed in the gates before the advertised opening. While there are PLENTY of chairs at the park, some of the more coveted areas and areas in the shade go more quickly, especially areas along the wave pool and in Tike’s Peak.

Tips for Disney's Blizzard Beach

Real Life Tip #5: Tike’s Peak chairs go super quickly because all the parents want to lounge in them and sit fruity drinks while they “watch” their children play. Or maybe that’s just me? Either way, head there first to put down your stuff if you are wanting to have a seat.

A lot of people leave after lunch or in the early afternoon after there wee ones have had enough (hand raise) so this opens up chairs and spots in line for those willing to come in the afternoon after the initial crowd has gone home.

Tips for Disney's Blizzard Beach

Tips for Disney’s Blizzard Beach

Blizzard Beach is an amazing place to visit while at the Walt Disney World resort. The lines are usually never super long, it boasts an almost mile long lazy river, and most of the slides are family friendly. In fact, only 3 slides have height requirements! Whether you are a local coming in for the day or in the middle of a week-long vacation, be sure not to skip out on this fun opportunity to make some “real life” memories with your family. Be sure to check out my recap video below of our fun-filled day in our happy place and thanks for reading my tips for Disney’s Blizzard Beach.

Cool Down This Summer at Adventure Island

Disclosure: I was provided free tickets to Adventure Island and Busch Gardens as well as attendance at a VIP party, however all opinions are my own.

Recently Bobby and I attended a special VIP party at Tampa’s Adventure Island water park. We had never been to the water park before, so were super excited to check it out before we bring Emma Kate on her first visit.

There were storm clouds all around, and it did pour on and off, but we still had a blast and got to see some of the awesome attractions and even make a few animal friends.

Did I mention they had delicious cocktails served out of pineapples? I may have had more than one, and was able to cross off a bucket list item!

As we were walking to our destination I immediately saw this fun kids area and can’t wait to bring EK back here. There is another splash area as well but we didn’t get to visit that part of the park.

Hello lazy river! This is where I will be spending my time friends.

We did get to see some awesome, tall, cool looking slides including the park’s newest attraction, Vanish Point. It is a drop straight down, yes the floor literally falls out from under your feet!

adventure island

Say hello to my friends that came to greet us. The flamingos were just walking around saying hey to everyone.

There was music and delicious island fare, and everyone was so nice and friendly. I give the food and drinks two thumbs up!

I had no idea you could rent cabanas here. This looks so relaxing and nice on a hot summer day. Rental is for the whole day and includes four lounge chairs, a mini fridge with water, meal vouchers, and all day locker rental.

Another shot of these awesome slides. We got to see someone go down the big yellow and green one in a family sized raft and it looked awesome. There is plenty to do here, and tons of dining options!

There are so many other slides, pools, and activities to explore at Adventure Island, and for a limited time, buy a Busch Gardens Fun Card and get an Adventure Island Fun Card for FREE*. Hurry! Offer ends on July 1.

adventure island

Be sure to Follow Adventure Island on Twitter and Facebook.

Emma Kate: 3.5 Years

Well we now have a child halfway to four years old, which blows my mind! on March 24th, Emma Kate turned three and a half and we baked a cake to celebrate and she LOVED it. I just wanted to take a moment to catch you up on our little girl.

Eating: Girlfriend LOVES to eat. She can still be pretty picky, but she loves large quantities of food, and I have grown to hate the word “snack”. She loves fruit like peaches and blueberries and strawberries, and also is a big yogurt fan. She even likes broccoli which is shocking to me. She eats a lot of turkey and chicken, and tries to get us to let her have candy whenever she can (all these holidays are killing me.) She still drinks a lot of water, and isn’t a huge fan of ice cream/cold stuff, but LOVES cupcakes!

Sleeping: We moved her to her “big girl bed” a couple weeks ago and she has been doing great and she loves it. She sleeps great and hasn’t fallen out (yet) and stays in her bed until we come get her in the mornings. Nap is hit or miss, if I let her sleep too long in the morning she won’t nap at school, but I would venture to say she sleeps for an hour 3-4 days a week at school and 85% of the time on the weekends. She goes to bed at 7:45 and usually lays there until about 8:00, and is up anywhere between 6-7 in the morning, but on school days I make sure she’s up at 6:30 so she will nap!

Clothing: She wears 4T and 5T now exclusively, and is quickly outgrowing several 4T things, which makes me so sad. She’s in a size 9 shoe but I feel that will be changing very soon as well.

Potty: She hasn’t had an accident in FOREVER, and has been dry for a week straight at night, and is always dry after nap. I think we are super close to not needing a pull up at night. She is doing awesome in this category!

Emma Kate says the funniest things and cracks us up on a daily basis. She loves to sing and dance, and has been watching movies like Aladdin, Trolls, Moana, The Incredibles, and Monsters Inc. She still loves big bows and lets me pick out her clothes most of the time (thankfully!)

She has been doing this thing where she doesn’t like when Bobby and I talk to each other so she will interrupt us and then she has nothing to say. it’s pretty annoying, any tips for breaking this habit?

She loves to have us sing with her at night int he rocking chair and she says her own little prayers which is so cute.

I don’t have an official height and weight but I’m thinking close to 40 pounds and 39 inches tall? I will have to measure her later!

We had our first trip to the ER on Easter Sunday, she jumped off the bed at Grammy and Papa’s house and hit her head on the rocking chair corner and there was blood everywhere and she had a deep gash, so she ended up with three staples. I nearly had a heart attack. She is fearless and independent and brave.

We switched schools at the end of 2017 and she is doing SO well at the new school because they have a pretty strict curriculum and I feel like she is learning so much. She recognizes most letters, counts to 20 something, and is writing with her little left hand.

She loves her “sister” Bella, wrestling with daddy, and putting together puzzles (shes REALLY good at puzzles!) We love you sweet bug and this has been such a fun half year!

Mary Poppins Returns and Christopher Robin Teasers

There is some exciting stuff coming out this year my friends! I have two things to tell you about. First of all, there is a new teaser trailer and poster our for Christopher Robin! I grew up on Winnie the Pooh so I am loving this:

“In the heartwarming live action adventure, the young boy who embarked on countless adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood with his band of spirited and lovable stuffed animals, has grown up and lost his way. Now it is up to his childhood friends to venture into our world and help Christopher Robin remember the loving and playful boy who is still inside.”

Be sure to follow Christopher Robin on Facebook.

This movie in theatres everywhere on August 3, 2018!

Also…

I am so pumped for this one guys. Mary Poppins Returns is in theaters on Christmas Day, 2018, and there is a new teaser trailer available (at the end of this post if you are in a hurry.)

 

 

mary poppins

be sure to follow Mary Poppins Returns on Facebook!

Christmas Recap 2017

Happy January guys! I can’t believe it’s now 2018. How many of you are still forgetting and writing 2017 on everything? Hand raise! We had a great Christmas, but just like every year it flew by so fast and I want it back! Here are a few of my favorites photos and things we did.

The Friday before, Emma Kate had PJ day at school and obviously had to show them off.

Saturday we made reindeer food and fudge.

Christmas eve we went to church along with my mom and dad. 

Love singing Silent Night with just out voices and the candles. So beautiful. 

After church, we hit up PDQ. I know it’s not very traditional, but we knew we were going to be cooking all the things that night and the next day so I was not up for cooking again for lunch.

Bobby cooked pork chops for dinner and mom was in charge of bread, which is terrifying because she always burns it. So she sat in front of my oven to make sure she didn’t. Bless it. 

We made cookies for Santa and left them by the tree with some milk. 

We read the Christmas story from the Bible and the Night Before Christmas. My sister’s plane arrived just in time for her to get to join in and tell Emma Kate good night.

My mom, dad, and sister left to go to their house, then Santa came!

On Christmas morning, I made EK sit at the top of the stairs and wait just like I used to do. She was a trooper even though she didn’t really understand ha.

She ran downstairs to see that Santa came, and was so excited! She even had gifts in her stocking.

This is my FAVORITE Christmas photo from the day. Sums it all up perfectly. 

Happy girl loved her “doctor things”

Self timer for the win!

We got ready then drove down to my parents new house for the day. It was my first time seeing it with furniture and I love it!

Emma Kate even has her own room.

Also, Santa made a visit to Grammy and Papa’s house, too.

Bobby also got in on the gift action. (and he got me a laptop!)

Maybe a future career?

The weather was in the low 70’s and perfect.

We had our big meal at lunch, and it was delicious.

Santa even left Emma Kate a cupcake.

Self timer again! 

Lunch goodness.

Christmas day is also my moms birthday so we had a cake, of course!

Emma Kate learned how to “drive” papa’s golf cart.

The sign of a good day, asleep int he car by 7:30. We drove home and were so sad it was all over, but thankful for the great memories!

I hope you had a great Christmas with your loved ones. I’m already looking forward to next year.

Merry Christmas 2017

From my family to yours, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas with those you love.

Luke 2 New International Version (NIV)

The Birth of Jesus

 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

 

Thanksgiving 2017

This year, I hosted Thanksgiving at my house. It was just us and my parents, but we ended up with enough food to feed a small army, and ate leftovers all weekend. It was nice and relaxing, and I’m glad I got to spend time with my family.

Thursday morning I started cooking and getting ready, and soon my parents arrived with the turkey, an it was time for the parade.

It was also time for mimosas!

Bella is one smart cookie. She knows when the turkey is being cut, every year!

After we ate, everyone but me napped (what’s new) and we watched football.

The next day Emma Kate and I went shopping with my parents while Bobby was at work.

Is it just me or does she look way too grown in that picture?!? Anyway, Saturday we went to the playground, and found a turtle (we are VERY exciting people).

That night we met one of EK’s friends from school at our local outdoor mall for the dancing lights and a kids sing along show.

She has a BLAST and we were all worn out after. On Sunday, Emma Kate and I went for a stroller run to the playground while Bobby was at work, and then we met up with my parents at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, but more on that in another post. Anyone recognize that office from a certain movie about a dolphin?

We had a great holiday, and I hope you did, too! Now, on to my favorite…Christmas!

 

Emma Kate: Three Years Old

As I sat down to write this post, I just stared at the screen for a little while, because I honestly had no idea where to start. Trying to sum up six months into one post is difficult, especially since a lot has happened in those six months, but I will do my best.

(ppsssttt, you can find Emma Kate’s other recaps here.)

Here are her official stats: 39 inches tall (86%) and she weighs 35 pounds (83%)She’s really tall and really heavy (either that or I am getting weaker by the day!) I will say that she is in size 4T and 5T clothes, but can still wear 3T in some dresses and some shorts. She is in between an 8 and a 9 shoe.

First haircut April 2017

The biggest news I would say in the past few months is that Emma Kate is officially potty trained! *Insert spastic happy dance here.* I was so dreading this part, but once she got it, it happened fast. Where we stalled was with the pull ups. We started using them and she would tell me *after* she pottied that she had just gone. This led to LOTS of frustration. Finally one day after the prompting of a friend, we just sent her to school in big girl underwear (with lots of changes of clothes). She had 3 accidents, but we kept at it, and by the end of the week she was only needing a diaper for nap and only had an occasional accident (maybe once or twice a week after that first week). I was pumped! She still refused to poop on the potty so we bribed her with cookies, and that did the trick! She hasn’t had an accident since the very beginning of July, and doesn’t even wear diapers for nap anymore, just bedtime (and 3-4 times a week those are dry, too!) As a parent this was a huge hurdle and sigh of relief. For awhile there I was convinced she was going to go to Kindergarten in diapers.

First kids race WDW April 2017

Emma Kate talks non stop, and she mispronounces several words, but I would never correct her because it’s so adorable. A few of my favorites:

White = “wipe”

Panties = “candies”

Backpack = “pack pack”

Cheers = “deers”

She cracks me up especially when she repeats phrases that I say all the time, it makes you realize how often you say certain things! If I say “stupid” she tells me that’s bad and I need to go to time out. Quite the tattle tail.

She is super independent and wants to do everything herself. She can put on her socks and shoes by herself, get in her car seat, open the door and garage door, walk the dog, feed the dog, and the list goes on. It’s great, but sometimes annoying because let’s say I turn the light on and SHE wanted to do it, she will turn it off then back on again. The only time I can get her to hold my hand is to cross the street, and she likes her bows to match her clothes (I wonder where she gets that from? haha).

Emma Kate moved up to the 3 year old room a couple months ago because she was getting bored in the 2 year old room. She had a little bit of an issue transitioning (not wanting to nap, not listening) but is doing much better. Speaking of nap, she is still not great at them, and only naps for an hour, and some days not at all. We have to REALLY wear her out on the weekend to get her to nap so we go to the pool or playground in the mornings. We still put her to bed at 7:45 at night, but she usually doesn’t fall asleep until 8 or 8:15, and wakes up anywhere from 6:15-7:00, depending. She still tells us “I took a good nap/I had good dreams!” when she wakes up in the morning.

She is still obsessed with the iPad and YouTube kids, but has recently taken a real liking to drawing/coloring so we have been doing a lot of that lately. We still watch a lot of movies (current favorites are Moana, Monsters Inc., and the Toy Story movies.

One of my least favorite words is now “snack”. She will eat only a few bites of dinner then immediately ask for a snack. We have started making her eat more before she gets them, but it amazes me how much she can eat! She is pretty picky and likes the standard chicken nuggets, turkey, mac and cheese, etc. But also really loves fruit like grapes, blueberries, strawberries, apples, and peaches. Lately she has also been all about popsicles and since we went to Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party, she now always wants candy (which we rarely give her). She still drinks a ton of water, but we have started limiting it in the evenings and at night due to potty training and not wanting her to wake up a ton at night needing to go to the bathroom.

She still loves Disney World and going to “the castle” and meeting characters. she isn’t shy around them at all which I love. She is really into Paw Patrol and Moana toys as well. She likes to ride her tricycle in the evenings when we go on walks, and we got her a scooter for her birthday so we will see how that goes.

Emma Kate is very strong willed and can throw a tantrum with the best of them. She easily gets frustrated when she can’t do something or we tell her no, and obviously doesn’t like time out (who does?) She is sassy which I think will serve her well later in life but it is currently taking years off my life. She says “I do it” to everything, and tries to tell me no and tells me not to talk, etc. which I’m of course not a fan of. Bobby handles her fits better than I do if I’m being honest, as he has much more patience than me.

She tells us to come “sit by me!” on the couch and still likes to be held. She gives good hugs and kisses, and loves to read in the rocking chair and say prayers before bed. Her favorite songs to sing are Let it Go, Jesus Loves me, the Itsy Bitsy Spider, and Wheels on the Bus. She loves all things pink, and has to have a bow before we leave the house. She has the BEST memory, which is a blessing and a curse. She loves her mommy and daddy and “her dog” Bella.

There is so much more I could say, but I will stop there for your benefit. We love our sweet Emma Kate, and can’t wait to see how her spunky personality develops more into a little girl.

 

Painting With a Twist (of fun!)


Last weekend, my mom and I had the unique opportunity to attend a class at my local Painting with a Twist. I have done a similar class before, but it has been many many years. My mom had never done anything like this before, so I knew it was going to be fun for a mother daughter night away.

We easily signed up online after finding the nearest location (ten minutes from my house!) and were sent a conformation and some instructions. I was excited to see we were allowed to bring wine/beer and snacks, and was hopeful it would make my painting skills better? Ok so maybe not!

We arrived a few minutes early to get our aprons on and get set up at our table. The instructor had already placed our names in front of our canvas and poured our paint. Meanwhile, I poured us some wine and we chatted with our classmates before we got started.

The instructor was so nice and had a very relaxing voice. She went over the rules and calmed everyone’s fears. She wanted to make sure we had FUN no matter what, and really took the pressure off. She explained that she would be painting along with us and helping us as we went. She had on a microphone so it was easy to hear her, and she was up on a stage. I like that they also had a completed painting next to her so we knew what the finished product would look (or should, ha) look like.

She was sure to explain the steps several times, telling us what colors to use, how to do our brush strokes, etc. Slowly but surely, my painting came to life. After about an hour we took a 15 minute break to stretch, walk around, and let the first part dry (and of course take a few sips of wine).

Then, it was back to it and we finished everything up in two hours. I was skeptical, but can’t believe I did the whole thing so quickly! Now, I’m no artist, but I had a really good time and I think my painting turned out pretty good.

Painting with a twist

I would definitely do this again. I think it would be super fun for a girls night, date night birthday party, or family event. You can even do private parties! I’m so glad I got to have a stress free, phone free, couple of hours and experience this with my mom. Now I have a painting at home so I will always remember it.

Be sure to check out their website to find a location near you. What I love is that you can check their calendar and see what paintings they will be doing on each day, so you can pick your favorite and sign up on that day!