DISNEY WORLD (with a toddler) 2016

HOWDY FOLKS!

 

I know it’s been like 6 months from my last blog update and I never really finished my last blog because it was part one and part two never appeared.

 

BUT when it comes to Disney..I’ll find the time!

I’m just gonna hit the highlights of our trip, the meh aspects of our trip, what surprised me, what I’d do differently, what I suggest you pack, and tips I’d tell other people about bringing a toddler to Disney.

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So first the facts of the trip: 

It was a FAMILY affair. My parents, Dustin’s parents, and Dustin, Lucy, and I all shared this vacation together.

Dustin, Lucy, and I drove down 12/1/2016 from our house to Lake Buena Vista and stayed at the Springhill Suites.

12/2/2016 we checked into ALL STAR MOVIES RESORT and visited Disney Springs.

12/3/2016 MAGIC KINGDOM DAY

12/4/2016 Pool Day + Chef Mickey’s

12/5/2016 Disney’s Animal Kingdom

12/6/2016 drive home…

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Highlights:

Seeing Lucy just in LOVE with the characters. It didn’t matter if she knew them or not, she LOVED THEM. It made the entire trip for me. She gave them the biggest hugs, kisses, high fives, etc. She was just the sweetest thing and in those sweet amazing moments the whole trip was worth every penny.

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Lucy loved the petting zoo at Animal Kingdom. She just loves animals.

She enjoyed the rides at Magic Kingdom. No real “ohh and ahhs” over them, but she seemed to be intrigued by all of them. I’m just proud we didn’t have to stop on any rides because she was throwing a fit..she behaved on them all and that is a win in my book.

I actually really enjoyed exploring our hotel and the other Disney hotels. It was really fun to see the different themes, pools, grounds, and of course how each hotel decorated for Christmas!

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Mehhhhhhh:

Animal Kingdom day was hot and I think she was already worn out by all of our adventures and festivities the past couple of days she just wasn’t feeling it that day.

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The food. Mehhh.

The new FastPass + system

 

What I was surprised by:

–The crowd. I know..I know..it’s Disney..there is obviously going to be crowds. When we went at the exact same time in 2012 we didn’t wait for anything. Even if we didn’t use our fast passes like we did, there was hardly a wait over 30 minutes for any ride or character meet up. When we went this year..wow..I mean sooo many people. You could barely find a ride that was under 30 minutes + all the fast passes were pretty much gone by lunch.

–How quick the buses came to the resorts and parks + how quickly they loaded. When Dustin and I stayed at Pop Century back in 2012 my only complaint from our entire trip was the Disney transportation system. It was slow. It took forever for the bus to show up at our hotel or at our pick up spot in the parks + you had to wait for all the scooter people to load WITH their massive families and by the time they all got on and settled the bus was full and you had to wait another 15-20 minutes for ANOTHER bus to come and HEAVEN FORBID more scooter people showed up then…ugh…BUT this trip the buses came to our hotel and our pick up spot so fast. We loaded quickly..I don’t know if there was less people in scooters at our resort or they didn’t allow all their family to load with them but I was pleasantly surprised by how efficient it was this year. I was super shocked as well because I had heard and read that the ALL STAR RESORTS all shared a bus. 3 hotels sharing a transportation bus..yikes..But we only shared with the hotels ONCE and it was from Animal Kingdom back to the hotel and even then, for us it was still pretty fast.

–I was surprised by the food. We raved about the quick service and the sit down restaurants back in 2012. Everything we ate was like heaven in your mouth. This trip…not so much. Mediocre at best. It’s disappointing especially when you pay $9-$13 for an entree alone at a quick service spot.

–I was honestly surprised by how well Lucy did on the trip as a whole. We certainly had moments each day (especially Animal Kingdom day), but overall she did really well. Maybe my expectations were super low, but I just think there were a lot of sweet, happy, precious moments that made it easier to let the less amazing moments go.

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–The child napped in her stroller. Y’all if that isn’t the most amazing/magical thing about the trip I don’t know what is..She doesn’t nap in her stroller….ever…she barely naps for me….ever…SHE NAPPED IN HER STROLLER. SHE NAPPPPPPEEDDDDDDDDD. Surprised? No…SHOCKED?..yes..yes we were.

–I was expecting to be super anal this trip. Dustin was probably the most nervous I was going to be a little too bossy, but I surprised myself and probably everyone else with how “not so bossy” I was the entire vacation. I went with the flow more than I expected to and even let other people make decisions for the group. Yup..it’s the truth..just ask Dustin. :-]

 

What I’d do differently:

There isn’t really anything I would do differently to be 100% honest. I think we planned everything really well. I think we had realistic expectations of what we could accomplish and what we couldn’t accomplish. I think everything that was in our control went just fine and I can’t think of anything other than..maybe bringing shorts for Lucy and I to Animal Kingdom that I would change.

 

What I suggest you pack for your toddler at Disney:

  1. a change of clothes for almost every day. That includes socks and shoes
  2. Disposable bibs
  3. sippy cup, but we used those Horizon Organic milk boxes when we were in the parks mostly.
  4. hand sanitizer and face wipes if you don’t want to use baby wipes.
  5. diapers, wipes, diaper cream
  6. a diaper changing mat. They have stations in all the restrooms but a mat might help you feel like you are being a little more sanitary.
  7. bathing suit or two. Pools were heated and it’s still HOT in the fall and earlier winter months. Don’t forget swim diapers and sun screen!
  8. Your phone charger so you can take lots of pictures!
  9. comfort items like their favorite stuffed animal, lovey, paci, etc.
  10. SNACKS. Snacks are so expensive in Disney so certainly bring a lot of snacks that you can whip out of your diaper bag when you are waiting in a long line. We brought the works. Raisins, animal crackers, veggie sticks, cheerios, fruit bars..
  11. light jacket (especially for those who are traveling in December or in the early spring). We never needed one surprisingly but you never know if it’s going to be cold in the morning or in the evening. It doesn’t take up much room so I say pack it just in case.
  12. baby medicine. never hurts to make sure you have that baby Motrin on hand.
  13. stroller! You can rent there, but they are plastic material and don’t seem very comfortable if you want your kid to take a nap at the park.
  14. We forgot a clip on fan, but that would be super helpful when it got really hot.
  15. Some sort of diaper bag (obviously).
  16. pack ‘n play. I believe Disney resorts can provide you with cribs, but I knew Lucy would sleep well in her own pack ‘n play and since we were driving down and had room..it wasn’t a big deal for it to come along with us.

 

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Personal Advise I’d give to someone who is bringing a young toddler to Disney:

  1. Plan. Plan. Plan

Read blogs about Disney with a toddler, ask advise from people who have been, research popular rides and their typical wait times, look up YOUTUBE videos, go ahead and think about where you want to eat for lunch and dinner, think about what you might have to do if your toddler starts throwing a fit in line, get acquainted to the map of the parks, figure out what rides you know your little one is going to really enjoy. Just read, plan, ask for help planning. It’s not going to hurt anything to do some research or…ASK ME. :] :]

2. Plan buttttt be prepared to go with the flow

Life with kids is unpredictable. I know that and I’m just (almost) 18 months in. One minute they are happy and the next a siren is going off in your ear. That’s life. You’re plan of events for the day might not happen. You might be jumping out of line to find the nearest restroom to change that explosive poopy diaper after waiting for 45 minutes..You don’t know what is going to happen when you bring a toddler along, but come up with a plan of how you want to tackle each day, but definitely leave yourself some room for an unexpected surprise or two.

3. Plan a down day.

Our trip was pretty short in comparison to our last Disney trip. We only planned for two park days, but I’m so happy we took a day in between the two to relax. If you are doing more than two parks I beg you to please schedule a hotel day or even two. There is so much going on in the parks and even if your toddler is in the stroller the majority of the time that’s still a lot of stimulation they are taking in. It’s good to recharge and have a day just to recover and give them a break from all the noise, colors, excitement, etc…AND it gives your legs a break from all that running you’ve been doing.

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4. Download the My Disney Experience App!

You can view your Fast passes, add new fast passes, check out the park map, edit your reservations, check wait times, etc all on this app. Get it. It’s awesome and free.

5. Use your FastPass + wisely for Magic Kingdom

If you’re going at a busy time of year or any weekend, my bet is that you’ll probably only get to use your first three FastPass + options and maybe one or two more if you’re lucky. We only were able to snag 2 extra FastPass + times during our Magic Kingdom day and they were pretty spaced out times. We had finished our first three by 11:10 and you can sign up for ONE additional pass at a time after you use your initial three. Our next Fastpass time we were able to grab was for Pirates of the Caribbean at 1:20 and then we couldn’t get another one until 7:10 and that was for Buzz. Pretty much everything else was gone by noon or the next available Fastpass time wasn’t until 9:00PM. So research the most popular rides or the rides you really really want to do and grab those passes first! I suggest doing all three of your passes in the morning that way you can quickly get your next pass ASAP. The more thrilling rides usually are the first to go along with Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh. With a toddler, I suggest you select Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh for your first two passes and then it’s up to you on your third. We chose to do Under the Sea Journey of The Little Mermaid as our third pass option and I think it was a wise choice for our family.

6. Take it all in.

Who knows how often you’ll get a chance to take your kid(s) to Disney World. It isn’t the cheapest vacation so for most of us we probably won’t get to go every 6 months, so take in every minute you can. I read somewhere before that some of the most magical moments happen at the most unpredictable times and places at Disney World, so keep your eyes open and remember they will never experience Disney like this ever again. The next time you come they’ll be older. Whether that’s just 4 months older or 4 years older they’ll never have this exact experience ever again. That’s important to remember.

 

 

So yeah..if you are wondering if I’d do it again the answer is YES. I certainly would. However, it’s probably going to be a few more years before we make another trip down to hangout with Mickey and the gang. I’m really glad we got to take Lucy this year and I do look forward to our next trip let’s say….2019? :-]

 

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365 days (PART ONE)

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Babies change a lot in their first year of life. They go from growing inside your body to walking talking little people. Looking at parenting from the outside that might seem not at all interesting just plainly obvious, but I think as parents we really appreciate and are really mesmerized by how quickly these humans grow and learn in what seems to be such a short period of time. Reflecting on this last year I just feel like my eyes have been opened to all the possibilities, surprises, and growth that can happen in only 365 days.

When we brought Lucy home from the hospital we were clueless. There were days, weeks, months where I was treading water just to survive.  Fast forward to today and we are still very clueless, but our days and nights are so much more enjoyable. We are no longer just surviving, we are thriving.

Lucy isn’t the only one changing around here. I’ve spent some time thinking about how I’ve evolved over the past year. I’ve surprised myself a lot in how I view being a mother, how I view other moms, and how I view myself now.

When I first learned I was pregnant it was the start to my metamorphosis. Almost instantly it became less about me and more about my child. Everything I put in my body, everything I read about, every decision I made was no longer about what I wanted, but what was best for my unborn child. I’m not the most selfless person so to make changes in my life almost instantly for someone I never met before is pretty dramatic for someone like me, but most of the time it was never a thought it was automatic.

When Lucy was born there was a period of time where I thought I somehow broke that motherly instinct I once had. I was confused, lost, frustrated, angry, all these feelings that I didn’t believe mothers should feel when they first bring their beautiful healthy baby home from the hospital. It took me almost 5 months to admit my struggle, and once I did it was like the light clicked back on. The feelings I had in the beginning didn’t make me a bad mom, it just made me a normal mom. My motherly instincts never went away, they were just hidden in the fog of doubt in my mind.

The first six months of being a mother was the roughest crash course of my life. I believe in the midst of most of our adversity is when we discover the most about ourselves though. I realized that even I have a breaking point. I realized that asking for help can be healthy. I realized that there might not be such a thing as the perfect parent. I realized that being a mom doesn’t give you unlimited super powers. Moms are allowed to feel exhausted. Moms are allowed to feel overwhelmed. Moms sometimes feel like they aren’t doing anything right. Moms can feel scared. Moms can feel all of these things and ADMIT OPENLY that they feel this way and it doesn’t make them a bad parent. It just simply makes them a parent. Maybe even a better parent than they were yesterday.

I’ve also surprised myself with how much I’ve come to observe my surrounds when I’m with my baby. Let me explain. You can shave your hair off, color your scalp purple, change your skin tone, grow 10 inches, speak in a foreign accent, and be wearing a clown suit and I probably wouldn’t notice. Seriously. I’m that unobservant of my surroundings. Yet when I’m in mommy mode—I can spot a choking hazard from 632 miles away. I have laughed at myself on numerous occasions when my automatic mommy instincts just come out. It’s even funnier to me that I have a better sense of danger or change in Lucy’s behavior, eating habits, or whatever than my husband does. He’s usually the more logic thinker, he notices things way before I do, and to be frank-he uses his God given common sense, while I……I’m lucky I haven’t burnt a house down yet. However when it comes to Lucy, it’s like our personalities have somehow switched. I’m always thinking through each scenario, planning ahead, spotting potential dangers, reading labels, doing research, paying an extra extra EXTRA close eye when I’m with Lucy.  I just never in my life thought I’d be capable of being so adult like. 😉

 

Before I became a mom I always had the attitude that I didn’t care what anyone thought about me. I didn’t care how people judged my behavior, my clothes, my hair, I couldn’t care less about other people’s opinions of me. That’s changed a good bit now. I don’t care how people see me personally. I embarrass myself too often to even try to pretend to be cool. I do care however, how people see me as a mom. I might care a little too much about that.

Friends would make jokes all the time about what I’d be like as a mom. They’d say that I’d be that mom that accidently leaves her baby at the grocery store. They’d joke and say that Dustin would probably end up taking on most of the responsibility with raising the baby. I think a lot of people didn’t really expect me to really grow up and do what is expected when becoming a parent. These jokes never really bothered me, most of the time I was laughing right along with them. I can admit that I’m very forgetful and clumsy. I have a tendency to be lazy and airheaded. I also can act really immature and don’t always make the best choices. I know this about myself and Lord help me I can rarely hide these not so flattering attributes, but I try not to carry those personality traits to how I am as a mother.

I try very hard to be the most responsible parent I can be. I try to keep an extra close eye on Lucy at all times, feed her the best food possible, play and help her learn every moment I can, and make all the best choices I can for her. I do all this because I love her so very much. I only want what is absolutely best for her. With social media though, it’s ridiculous how judgmental other people can be. You really can’t win. Social media can get me so paranoid. I’ll spend hours thinking of all the ways someone can call me a bad mom because of a picture or status I want to post about Lucy.  If I post a picture of the cauliflower nuggets I made her for dinner is someone going to think I’m being too strict about her diet? If I post a status about her diaper rash are other people going to think I’m being inappropriate or a bad mom because I didn’t change her diaper fast enough? If I post a picture with her having a cut on her nose are people going to think I’m being too careless with her? If I post a picture of her playing in her walker are they going to point out that uncovered outlet? If her grandma posts too many pictures watching her while I work are they going to assume that I am never with my child and she’s being raised by her grandparents? If I post a status about how I’m having a date night and drinks with my husband are people going to think we are alcohols and unfit to be parents?  —-This is about half of the questions that run through my mind in the first hour before I post anything on social media. I seriously just looked at a picture I posted of Lucy yesterday and it sort of looks like she has a runny nose and I kid you not I just thought, “Oh man I hope people don’t think I let her get sick all the time.” LIKE THAT IS SOMETHING COMPLETELY IN MY CONTROL!? It’s sickening. Before I became a mom you could make all the assumptions you wanted to about me. Now, whew…caring about what other people think is draining…

 

 

REAL HONEST TALK RIGHT NOW:

Before I became a mom I was the harshest critic of what other mothers would post on social media. I didn’t have a clue what it was like to raise a baby, but I was so judgmental of what other moms were feeding their kids, what they were letting their kids crawl into, what they posted about their children, etc.  I don’t really like to admit that because I don’t really consider myself a judgmental person, but yet I’d always say to myself “Oh I’m NEVER going to do that when I have a baby!” “I’m NEVER going to allow my child to eat that!” “I’m NEVER going to post about my child like they do!”

I thought I’d be “better” than some other mothers I saw on social media. I had a vision in my mind about how I was going to be as a mom. I thought I’d breastfeed for the first year, make my own organic baby food, no sugar EVER, environmentally friendly baby wipes, no television EVER, basically I was going to be the definition of a Pinterest mom.

That perfect mommy dream didn’t really work out for me though. I had to give up breastfeeding at around 4 ½ months, I didn’t make my own baby puree once, my child has had ice-cream WITH sugar in it, her first birthday party is themed around a television show, and we rarely buy environmentally friendly wipes.  I have never left Lucy at Target though, so I DO have that going for me lol..My Pinterest mommy goal was a bust.

Now that I am a mom…boy do I think twice before I judge how another mom gets through the day. I’ve read too many new stories about horrible horrible horrible parents here lately. No, not about parents who don’t feed their babies an organic diet, but stories about how they sell their children for drugs, leave their child on the side of the road as punishment, beat their children, etc. Just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to pass such harsh judgement on a mom that gives her child juice when there are such disgusting unfit parents out in the world.

With social media it’s so easy to compare our lives to other people. Sometimes it feels like being a mom in the social media world is a game of comparison, competition, and judgement. The saddest part is we are playing these games with other moms the people who should be understanding, sympathetic, and on our team. We should really be in this together. It takes a village.

 

I’ll do a part two in a few days…maybe….maybe by the end of the month.

Happy Hump Day!

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First comes love, second comes marriage, then comes…

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Lucy is coming up on her first birthday.

Believe it or not, my little fire cracker princess will be 1 in June!

With this upcoming milestone, seems like one certain question keeps popping up more and more.

You know the question.

“When are you having another one?!”

 

It’s not like I’m just recently getting these questions. It cooled down for a little bit, but boy is it picking back up again!

BELIEVE IT OR NOT before Lucy was EVEN BORN people asked me when I was going to have another baby!

The peak of that question being asked was probably about the time we took her home from the hospital.

So while I’m changing my own diaper along with someone else’s, still sore from pushing out another life, and figuring out this whole being a parent thing, people wanna know when I’m going to do it ALLLL over again….

The question comes in all shape and forms,

The original, “When are you going to have another one?”

The #2 combo, “When are you going to give Lucy a little brother or sister?” (seriously my dad asks me this EVERY TIME I SEE HIM!)

The #3 with a twist, “It’s getting close to time to start on the second one right?”

And my personal favorite-the very DIRECT not at all subtle Big Mac, “Are you pregnant?!”

By no means am I offended when people ask me these questions. Well except maybe the whole, “Are you pregnant?!” question. Like can a girl not order a double cheese burger with double fries without all the questions? Dayum.

Lucy is so stinking cute I understand why people are in such a hurry for me to make another one.

In all seriousness though, I get it.

First comes love.

Second comes marriage

Then comes a baby in a baby carriage.

Then comes another baby in your double stroller, sipping wine like it’s juice (you, not the baby), unsure if that’s pee or sweat that’s soaked your shirt, while clipping coupons like a boss.

It’s the song we’ve sang since we were little.

No one means to offend anyone, but it’s been what we’ve all considered “normal” or “typical” for years. Jones party of 4, 5, 6, 10..whatever. Mommy + Daddy + babiesssssssssssssssssssss.

 

And while the main question “when are you going to have another one” doesn’t ever bother me, it’s the responses I tend to get that can throw me..

Here are a few examples of how my typical—“When are you going to have another one?” conversations goes….

 

Person: “So when are you going to have another baby?”

Me: “I dunno.. I might not want another baby.”

Person: “Oh you’ll change your mind!”

What I’m thinking: *Maybe. Maybe I’ll change my mind. Maybe in a few years I will want another one, but maybe..maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll continue to be very happy and satisfied as a family of three. Maybe I’ll get my baby fix from cuddling with nieces and nephews or my friends babies. Maybe this is God’s plan for my life. So maybe I’ll change my mind, but maybe I won’t.*

My actual response: “Yea, maybe.”

 

 

Person: “So when are you going to have another one?”

Me: “Oh I don’t think I want any more kids.”

Person: “You don’t want Lucy to be an only child! You know how those type of kids are!”

What I’m thinking: *Yea, I’ve heard the rumors about “only child syndrome”. Rumor is, kids that are raised as an only child are selfish, bratty, and entitled.  I only have a small handful of friends that either don’t have any siblings or were not raised with their siblings, and I have to say they are no more screwed up than the rest of us. So far none of my “only child” friends has become a serial killer, so I guess they’re parents didn’t screw them up too much by not giving them a younger brother or sister.  So I’m hoping if Dustin and I are good parents and raise Lucy the right way, we would never have to worry about her suffering from “only child syndrome.”

My actual response: “Yea..well…I dunno…….”

 

Person: “So when is the next one comin along?”

Me: “Um..Well I’m not 100% sure there is going to be a next one.”

Person: “Didn’t you enjoy growing up with siblings?! Don’t you want Lucy to have a built in playmate?!”

What I’m thinking: *Yes! I loved growing up with a younger brother and sister. I couldn’t imagine holidays, vacations, any family gathering without them. I especially loved being an older sister. I really think it taught me a lot about myself and shaped who I am, and I would love for Lucy to have those same experiences and type of memories like I had. I would love nothing more than for Lucy to get to experience all the joys of getting to be a big sister, and already at 10 months old she’d kick butt at being a big sister. However, I’d be having another baby 100% just for Lucy. Even though in writing that doesn’t sound like a bad thing, I don’t think that should be the only reason to bring another life into this world. I want to have another baby for Lucy, but also because Dustin and I BOTH want to have another one. Here is the honest truth people, I’m freaking terrified of having another baby. I’ve been honest about the struggle I went through when Lucy was younger, and y’all..It could have been a lot worse…I just don’t want to hold any resentment towards Lucy because my only reason for having another baby is 100% for her. That’s my fear.

My response: Being a big sister is one of the best things that could have ever happened to me, and I’d love for Lucy to have that special relationship with someone. That’s why I’m not 100% against having another baby…Just not right now….

 

Person: “When are you and Dustin going to have another baby?”

Me: “Oh I don’t know. At least not for another 4 years. Maybe 7. Who knows?”

Person: “You don’t want them that far apart. You need them closer together! You know so they can get along better and so they can really grow up together!”

What’ I’m thinking: *7 years apart is not like 100 years apart. My sister and I are 6 ½ years apart and I’m 98.3% sure we “grew up together”. Honestly, I can’t think of one time we actually had a fight. You’re probably going to say, “Well that is because y’all were not close!” Which I’d have to disagree with. No we were not BEST FRIENDS, but we played Barbie’s together, played school together, and board games together growing up. We enjoyed each other’s company and I don’t think our age difference hindered our relationship at all. My brother and I are about two years apart and that didn’t make us the best of friends either. We were closer in age so I have a few more memories with my brother than I do with my sister, but I don’t think my brother and I being two years apart created a stronger bond between us.

What I actually say: Listen, I need Lucy to be old enough to babysit right off the bat. When Dustin goes back to work after the new baby is born, I need Lucy to be making dinner! It takes a village people!

 

I could really do this all day, but I won’t.

 

I’m sure newlyweds can probably relate with the “when are you going to have a baby?” questions. They don’t mean anything by it kids, just smile and say…”Gonna work on it right now if you’ll stop asking me questions!!” That’ll show em. 😉

Happy Thursday everyone!

*several slideshows of pictures below.

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Be a Cheeto or anything but a Cheerio

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So I guess it’s finally time to really accept some things about myself.

  1. Coffee on an empty stomach WILL make me feel sick.
  2. Doesn’t matter how many times I lose my phone, I’m never going to take it off silent.
  3. The baby kangaroo pouch some people might call a lower stomach isn’t going to magically disappear next month.
  4. I’m no longer 18. It’s now going to take at least 3 Redbulls to help me stay up until 10:00PM.

 

 

And Number 5—–

 

I’m [a little] Different

 

Yeah I guess it’s time to face the facts. I’m different. Which might not come as a shock to the people who have spent more than 10 minutes in a room with me, but here I am 26 years later ready to admit to myself and others that I, Karen Jones, march to the beat of my own drummer. Actually better yet, dance to the beat of my own piccolo.

So0o0o0ooo—- I don’t know much about fashion, I am beginning to see that more clearly now. I’m going to have an honest moment with you all….my socks hardly ever match. Most days you’ll find me with a bright pink sock on one foot and a fuzzy Christmas one on the other. Shoot, I’ve gone out with one holey sock on before and nothing on my other foot. I’ve left the house more times already this year in my husband’s button ups and sweat pants than a dress or heels. My style is a mix of homeless man, hippy, and seven-year-old all mixed together. Most of my female compadres wouldn’t go out in public looking like I do every day, but I do.

It’s also been brought to my attention that I’m not a very “neat” individual. Some people call it messy, some people call it lazy, I’ve had a few people just shake their head in disbelief. I prefer to think of myself as someone who embraces organized chaos, but not everyone aggress with me.

I’ve found myself being surrounded by Type A friends. With them, everything has its own individual spot and there is a serious purpose to why it is that certain spot not three inches over. It has a place and it cannot be out of its place for more than a few minutes. Everything is picked up and everything is organized. Almost everything has a label, a lid to match the bottom, a cap to match the top, and so forth.

With me, I leave cabinet doors opened, I leave dishes a little longer in the sink, and pens laying all around my desk. I’m 94.8% sure most of my Tupperware does not have a lid, I think 50% of my pens are missing their caps, and there is a candy wrapper to the side of my keyboard right now that would probably drive someone nuts that I haven’t thrown away yet.

Now, I don’t live in a disaster zone. I can only let things get to a certain point of messy, but I can go days before I get there.

 

The thing is, it doesn’t bother me.

It doesn’t bother me that some girls can walk out of their closet looking like Pinterest threw up on them, while I walk out with a brand new stain on my shirt.

I can spend all morning criticizing how certain clothes fit around my postpartum body or I can look in the mirror and be content and happy with who I am as an individual.

Millions of women and men are walking around living their life to try to fit into a standard mold. They go about their day doing what they think will make them admired, loved, and accepted rather than embracing who they really are.

It’s astounding the amount of energy you have to put into caring about what others think. That amount of time you waste on trying to make other people happy is just depressing.

I’m different in that I learned early on that I can’t fake being anyone else other than me. It’s not that I haven’t tried. I mean, I’m human and I lived through the Myspace duck face years, I obviously tried to fit in to what a young, southern, white girl is supposed to act like and dress like. Even when I tried my hardest to fit in and act “normal” it just wasn’t believable.

It was a damned if you do damned if you don’t kind of deal. So rather than continuing this poor performance I was putting on for people I didn’t even really like anyway, I stopped and started being myself.

Once I stopped looking for my self-worth in how my hair looked or what other people thought of me, I found I was less stressed and much happier.  The people that were in my life were the people who not only accepted my flaws but also liked them.

I asked Dustin not too long ago, “Do you think I’m weird? Like I know I’m weird, but do you think I’m like, REALLLY WEIRD?”

He asked, “Why do you say that?”

I responded, “I’m just starting to realize I’m really not like everyone else. I don’t really care about the same things a lot of girls do..”

He said THE MOST PERFECT THING BACK.

He said, “One of the many reasons why I fell in love with you is that you don’t care what people think. I wish I was more like that.”

 

**heart melt**

I want Lucy to be proud of who she is.

I want her to be different.

I don’t want her to look in the mirror like tons of little girls do and pick apart her body piece by piece dwelling on any flaws she might have. I want her to be different and proud of her body and know that it is beautiful no matter what shape it comes in. I want her to be confident in how she looks and demand respect no matter what type of clothes she is wearing.

I want Lucy to be different on how she picks her friends. I don’t want her to pick the group she thinks is the most popular, but the ones that encourage her, accept her, and are loyal to her.

I want Lucy to be different on how she views her future. I don’t want her to go to college, getting married, and start a family because that is what everyone else is doing or she thinks that’s just what grownups do. I want her to follow her dreams no matter where they take her. If getting married and having children is that dream—GREAT. But if going to Egypt or working at McDonalds and having 6 cats is her dream that’s great too! I want her to follow her happiness.

 

The world will tell her money and power is the key to happiness—I want her to be different and know that loving others is the key to happiness.

The world will tell her because she is a woman that she is less than a man—I want her to be different and know her voice is just as important.

The world will tell her she is entitled to everything she has and more—I want her to be different and be grateful and appreciative for what she has in life. She is entitled to nothing, and everything is a blessing.

The world will tell her everything on social media is real–I want her to be different and know that there is more to the story than what social media shows.

The world will tell her faith is childish—I want her to be different and know her faith in Jesus will be rewarded.

Being different isn’t bad. Being different is good.

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The world is filled with cheerios. I want her to be a cheeto.

 

 

Or do they say fruitloop?!?

 

Whatever.. lol

 

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My unpopular opinion.

My unpopular opinion.

It’s no secret that if you have any sort of opinion in this day in age you are going to offend someone. Which sucks. Doesn’t matter if 9 out of 10 people agree with you, ONE PERSON is going to pout and fuss because you don’t share the same opinion as them. We can’t just accept that someone sees the world differently and agree to disagree..NOOOOOO we’ve got to get our panties all up in a wad and moan about it.

So what I’m going to write from this point forward is my OPINION. Please do not think I’m trying to force you to believe what I believe. I know that you might feel very differently than me, and I’m okay with that. I think I’m entitled to my opinion and if this offends you…I’m sorry?? I guess…but I think we can try to be adults and move on from this and continue our beautiful Facebook/Instagram/Blog relationship where you like every other picture I post of Lucy and I’ll like every other picture you post of whatever is going on in your life okay?

 

So here it goes….

If I’m going to have the honor of being nominated for an award as prestigious as an Oscar, call me crazzzzyyyyyyyyy, but I want to be nominated because of the work I put into a film. If I’m going to be nominated alongside other actors who have spent hours of their lives studying and digging into a role to be a completely different person on film, I want to know that I earned the right to sit next to these talented individuals. I want to know that when I’m nominated for an award, it’s because an organization or select individuals recognize my talent, my dedication, my passion, my skills, and my excellence. If I were to be so lucky to WIN that award, I want to know that I earned it. I would never ever ever ever want to be nominated for an award just because I’m a female or just because I’m white. Let’s say John Smith (I just made him up) kicked a$$ in the movie “Karen’s World”, and I had a great performance in the movie, “Lucy’s World”, but it wasn’t as good as John’s performance, should I be nominated for an Oscar over him because I’m a female. Okay, so the other 5 nominees are males, is it fair to John Smith that I get nominated over him to add diversity? His performance in his movie was better than mine, but I got nominated instead because I’m a girl. I mean, I thought this was the Oscars where you get nominated and awarded because of your talent, not because of your physical appearance? Not only does it stink for John Smith if I were to get nominated over him, but what does that do for me? To know in the back of my mind that I was chosen not because of my work, but purely based on my gender… Maybe it is just me, but why would I want to win something or be nominated for something when I didn’t earn it?

Equality is the state of being equal. How does giving special privileges or in the example I used above, nominations, because of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background, etc. promote equality? If you win an award, can it not be purely based on merit?
I understand that we still live in a world where discrimination exists.

I’m just saying is it not equally wrong to not include someone because of their skin color as it is to only include someone just because of their skin color?

All I really wanted to say is for equality, we must demand to be treated as equals. To be held to the same standard as everyone else regardless of race, gender, religion, etc. It is also important for equality that we stop over analyzing  whether or not we have enough diversity in the mix. If everyone has equal opportunity to achieve an award or recognition, we don’t need to make special allowances for those who don’t deserve it just because they are a male, Hispanic, Catholic, bisexual, democrat, etc. We must accept that sometimes we aren’t going to make the team and we aren’t going to win every award, and it doesn’t always have to do with or physical appearance or our beliefs. If there is equal opportunity for achievement, can we maybe stop pulling the race card, the gender card, whatever stupid card you can pull from your back pocket?
Live and let live .

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That escalated quickly…..

We are less than three weeks into 2016 and we’ve already experienced some big changes and made some big decisions! If 2016 continues this way I don’t really know what to expect by December!!

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  1. We up and decided to move (again…..)

We literally walked into this neighborhood, did a walk through of this beautiful home, and put down a earnest money check as we walked out the door. I’m not over exaggerating either! We went into the neighborhood just to talk to someone about prices, plans, and to check out the area..Nothing serious, just wanted an idea for when we did decide to move in a few years ..But before we know it  we were falling in love with this beautiful two story house that no one had ever lived in with a price that was perfect for our budget. The neighborhood is fantastic, the location is great, and we even have more room to grow there.

2. We put our house on the market

Well we didn’t win the lottery so we couldn’t afford two mortgages so if we were going to buy a new home we needed to sell out current house. When we signed the contract or agreement on the new home it was contingent on us selling our current home in 90 DAYS! That’s right. We had 90 days to sell our house! No stress?! We got in touch with the realtor the new neighborhood suggested and in just a matter of days we cleaned and organized our house, had a ” FOR SALE” sign in our yard, professional pictures taken of the inside and outside, & had it listed for sale on all the major home finder sites. The first day we had 2 people tour our house, and our FIRST OFFER. I got a text from Dustin after our house had only been on the market for roughly 12 hours saying our realtor told him someone wanted to buy it!!  After we discussed the offer, we decided we weren’t going to answer yet until the 5 OTHER PEOPLE came to tour our house the next day. We then got another offer from the same people who put in the original offer that included they pay closing costs. After discussing it again with our realtor and going over the possible final numbers……WE ACCEPTED! So less than I think 3-4 days officially on the market and we are UNDER CONTRACT. Inspection of our current home will be done tomorrow so we are praying that goes well. Once they do that, have the appraisal, and get their loan complete squared away I think we are set for a closing date in late February.

 

 3. We got a new boss

Yea so the end of 2015 got a little crazy at work. It was a bit hectic and there were a few questions floating around, but we survived. Now we are working under someone new and figuring out our new normal, but it’s been a smooth change so that we are thankful for.

4. The family is GROWINNGGGG

We are still waiting on the arrival of our 1st niece. We celebrated her and her mommy not too long ago at her last baby shower at my in-laws home. I can’t contain my excitement when friends and family get pregnant now. It’s a mommy cult I just want to initiate everyone into so we can all go through the emotions (both happy and freaking insane) together. Thanksgiving will be extra fun this year with Dustin’s family because not only will Lucy have baby Charlotte to play with, but Dustin’s cousin’s wife will be having a baby BOY in June!

 

 

We’ve got a lot to look forward to as the year goes on. My sister-in-law will be getting married in August, Lucy will be turning 1 in June, My dad will be turning 50 in March, Dustin will be 30 in December, Lucy will be going to Disney for her first time in December, and I’m sure there are a few things I’m forgetting about and things I don’t even know are going to happen yet.

 

I just hope everything continues to go this smoothly. We are blessed beyond measure. I can’t wait for what is up ahead!

(pics in the slideshows are from Christmas, Birthday parties, Office Christmas party, cruise, other Christmas crafts/activities, New Years Eve, New Years Day, Baby shower, and just random pictures of the love bug)

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I had a secret (Part TWOOO)

 

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A few days went by after I told Dustin my secret. We decided that pumping was causing me way too much stress and since I wasn’t producing nearly enough anyway it was time to stop. Even though telling Dustin my worries and having Lucy on formula made me feel a little better, I was still plagued by my anxiety.

We revisited the idea of getting on medication. I was still very unsure about the idea, but if it was going to help and make me the best mother I could be to my child I needed to give it a try. I had already scheduled an appointment at my OB/GYN office to have an IUD so I was planning on mentioning it to my doctor then. Dustin came with me to my appointment (I don’t think he trusted me to say something to my doctor), and we talked to my doctor about how I had been feeling over the past month or so. She told me it was very common for mothers to feel exactly how I felt after they had a baby, especially first time moms. She mentioned that a midwife at the office had to go on medication for a little while after having her baby and it was nothing to be ashamed of. After talking it over with Dustin and the doctor, we decided that going on a low dose of medication for my anxiety would be the best course of action.

 

That was sometime in October and it was the best decision we could have made.

 

It wasn’t an overnight change, but since then I’ve been able to enjoy this beautiful blessing God has given our family so much more. I don’t look at my baby as a problem, but as the miracle I’ve prayed about since we found out she would be joining our lives. She really does make me so happy and I feel so lucky to have such a beautiful little girl.

Coincidently, Lucy has been so much more content over the past month and a half as well. She spends more time smiling and laughing than she does fussing or crying. Once you figure out what she wants she’s very content and a joy to be around. I know she’s not going to be happy all the time, she is a baby after all, but I don’t worry about how she is when family is watching her as much.

 

So life is better. It’s much much much better.

I wanted to share this because I know how difficult it can be to feel like you are the only one who feels the way you feel. I know what it is like to have a secret you feel ashamed to admit to anyone, including yourself that you are dealing with. I couldn’t even begin to count all of my Facebook friends who have had a baby in 2015 or have announced a pregnancy this year, and I just hope that if any one of them felt in the tiniest bit like I did, they could come across my blog and know they are not alone. You are not a bad parent for having these feelings. Medication might not be for you. I didn’t think it was for me, but if you are feeling overwhelmed and you don’t know if you can keep living your life this way, I’d say the most important thing is to talk to someone you trust. All my problems were not fixed once I told Dustin how I felt, but it did feel good to finally come clean about my issues. Again, medication might not be for you, but there is always that option, or going to see a therapist, or maybe just a long Bora Bora vacation…I really just want to stress that you don’t have to live your life afraid if you don’t want to. I would love to talk to any mom about their anxiety If they needed someone to talk to.

It’s hard! It is so hard, especially if your baby isn’t the most cooperative. I want to let new moms know that it gets better. Lucy and I had it rough especially the first three months, but she is doing so so so much better now. It’s like I have a completely different baby. I’m a completely different mom than I was three months ago too.

You are doing a great job. Remember God doesn’t give you more than you can handle. He picked that baby just for you. Keep believing in his plan, and if you need any extra help don’t be afraid to ask.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

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I had a secret.

This might be one of the most personal blog entries I’ve shared yet. I’ve been putting off writing it for a while. I didn’t write a blog at all in November because I wasn’t ready to share my story yet, and I wanted to try to get the words just right. This still might come off wrong, but I think I’ve been putting it off for far too long now that I just need to get it all out there. What I’m going to share, some people might not understand. If I wouldn’t have gone through it, I know I wouldn’t… Some people might even pass judgement. I’m not writing this to cause an argument or for attention in anyway. I’ve decided to share this with you all because it would have been helpful to read SOMETHING like this when I was struggling to know that I wasn’t alone and I wasn’t crazy.

So just to start out, since about September when I started back at work, I have been dealing with postpartum anxiety.

It’s not something I was ready to admit to myself I was struggling with and for the longest time I was not ready to admit to anyone else either.

 

 

It all started around the time I went back to work. I took 12 weeks of maternity leave to bond and care for Lucy. Those twelve weeks were not easy, but I’m glad I took that time off to spend quality time with her. We had a little routine going and things were going okay for a while.

 

But once I started back at work, something was different. I don’t know what happened, I don’t know if it was overnight or if it was a gradual thing, but something changed. Something wasn’t quite right..

 

Everything about me felt a little different. I didn’t really see it right away, or maybe I didn’t want to see it, but it was like a different person was living my life. A different person was thinking these irrational, unhealthy, unloving thoughts. This different person was physically exhausted from what felt like an elephant sitting on her chest making it hard to breath. This different person was not the wife or mother that I thought I knew just a few weeks ago.

 

Physically I was exhausted, and not because I was up all night with her, but I was just tired and worn out. I would get a good night sleep and wake up not wanting to get out of the bed. When I was at work it would sometimes feel like it was a struggle to breathe and my heart would be racing. Pumping was not going well once I started work either. Lucy stopped latching once she was mostly given the bottle and my supply could not keep up with how much she was eating.

 

Mentally my mind could not focus on work. I would be consumed with thoughts about Lucy. Not about her safety or how much I missed her like most mothers would do. No. I would be stressing if she was being too fussy, if she was being too hard to handle, if her family members would still want to watch her or even love her if all she did was scream all day. I worried that people would think she was an awful child or that I was an awful mom because I could not get her to be happy for anyone or anything. I worried that everyone would stop loving her and stop loving us, that we would drive everyone away. I would spend hours thinking of all the ways I could increase my milk supply, because if I stopped nursing before 6 months wouldn’t that make me an awful mother? A failure? I used to count down the seconds until 5 o’clock, but I started to dread going home. The minutes leading up to 5 were the worst. I would spend the last few minutes of the work day mentally preparing myself for the night ahead. I didn’t want to go home and spend hours bouncing her around the house all the while pretending that I was enjoying every second of it.  I remember when she was having an episode and I was working from home I just held her and cried with her. I didn’t know what to do to make her happy. Sometimes all I could do was sit her down in her vibration seat and stare at her helplessly praying Dustin would come home early.

 

Emotionally I was on the verge of tears at all times. I was always on edge or irritable. Even when Lucy was in a great mood I would be on the edge of my seat waiting for the next episode. I wouldn’t let Dustin take over when she was fussing, because what if she drove him away too? If I could calm her down, then maybe he wouldn’t regret having a child? Maybe he wouldn’t leave me to do this all by myself?! My biggest fear was that Lucy was going to be too much and he would just leave. I knew deep deep down that Dustin would never do that to us, and that he loves Lucy and I more than anything in the world, but at that time in my life—I couldn’t help but be paralyzed by the fear that we would drive him away…so I sucked it up and carried on.

 

The hardest part of all was the shame I felt for feeling this way towards this little miracle and about my own life. I was ashamed that I wasn’t over the moon happy and giddy like all the other new moms would post about. How could I feel so scared and anxious around such a precious little human I carried inside of me for 40 weeks?! Was I not cut out to be a parent? How could I survive the next 18+ years of her life feeling this way? I felt like a horrible person, and because of my shame and guilt I tried to hide my feelings from everyone.

There was no way I could admit this secret to anyone. I could barely admit it to myself. No one needed to know how I didn’t think I was a capable and loving mother. I bottled up my feelings for weeks while praying and praying that God would make this easier and to give me the love I needed to be the mother Lucy deserved.

 

But I finally had my breaking point. After about a month of struggling with the crippling anxiety, and struggling to allow anyone to babysit her for even an hour without having a panic attack, all while trying to put on a brave face in front of my husband, family, and in the mirror, I lost it one afternoon.

 

After a rough morning and Lucy being in one of her moods, I was having a hard time keeping it together. My parents had been insisting for a few days to watch Lucy, but I kept telling them that we were fine and I didn’t want them to watch her. After we had lunch with my parents, they insisted once again for them to take her home with them so Dustin and I could go out by ourselves just for a few hours. I again told them I didn’t want them to, but they wouldn’t take no for an answer. We left without Lucy and headed off to get a margarita. When Dustin and I pulled into the parking lot he could tell something was wrong. I sat quietly for a while as he persisted to get what was wrong out of me. After about 10 minutes of his badgering I started to sob. I don’t know what it was about that day or what Dustin was saying, but I started to tell him how I had been feeling and how awful I felt for having those feelings.

 

He was obviously concerned. He had no clue that I had been feeling miserable for weeks, and he knows me better than anyone. First he wanted to make sure that I was safe to be around Lucy, and I assured him I never in my wildest dreams imagined hurting her or myself.

 

From there we started talking about what we should do next. We agreed that having these feelings was not healthy and I needed to start being more honest about when I was feeling overwhelmed. We also discussed the idea that I stop pumping and that there was nothing wrong with having her on formula. He then wanted to discuss asking the doctor for medication. I was opposed to it. It was hard enough for me to admit to my own husband that I was having these awful feelings, I couldn’t imagine telling anyone else. I also didn’t like the idea of being on antidepressants or on anxiety medication. I’ve always considered myself to be a very happy and go with the flow person I never thought I would ever need medication to make me feel better.

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To be continued……………

 

 

 

 

 

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Monday Dustin and I will celebrate two years of marriage!!

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I couldn’t be more thankful to be married to the most selfless man on the planet.

We’ve gone through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in the history of our relationship. It’s been a tough, but blessed year.

I think our relationship has grown more over the past year than the past six and a half. Pregnancy was a real eye opening experience on the importance of having a kind, thoughtful, and supportive partner. There is no one else I would have wanted to experience the highs and lows of pregnancy with. It really made us so much closer, talking about our future as a family, how we wanted to raise our baby, and what our hopes and dreams were for Lucy. We realized how important it is to continue to work together to make the best life possible for our daughter. I started to realize as we talked about the kind of person we wanted Lucy to grow up to be, that I wanted our relationship to be a model relationship for her. If Lucy wants to get married and have a family of her own one day, she needs a good example of what that relationship should be like. Dustin and I have made a commitment together to always show each other respect and kindness so Lucy knows how to treat her partner and what to expect from them to have a healthy and happy relationship.

We also had to experience some pretty scary moments together. When they were worried about Lucy’s growth, I really had to lean on him more than ever before. I cried more times in those nine months than I did our entire relationship before then. He’s had to talk me off the cliff several times. Constantly reassuring me that everything was going to be okay, and no matter what we would work through it all together. That’s the most important thing he kept telling me, “We’re in this together.” To know that I wasn’t alone in this crazy experience and to have someone as calm and reassuring as Dustin made me feel a million times better. He will constantly tell me, “We’re a team.” That’s what marriage is supposed to be right? A team. All the uncertainties, all the possibilities, all the unknowns, we can take on whatever as long as we are together.

Parenthood has strengthened our relationship like nothing else before. I can honestly say I could NOT do this without him. I couldn’t. There would be no way. No no no way. This is nothing like I have ever experienced before. It’s a two person gig this parenthood thing. Those moms and dads that do it alone are amazing, because there is noooo way I could. It’s not just the help with the diapers and bottles that I appreciate about Dustin, it’s mostly his emotional support. The daily, “you’re doing a great job,” “you’re an excellent mom,” and “I appreciate you” have been a continuous encouragement to me. There are moments when I just feel like I can’t do anything right and I’m worn down, and just a few minutes where he takes Lucy and bounces her around, reassures me that I’m doing a good job, and insists on me taking a few minutes all to myself mean the world to me. I love that he is an involved dad. He wants to really be involved in all the parenting responsibilities and doesn’t leave me to do all the work. Sometimes it feels like he does way more than me, yet he never complains.

So I guess in this past year, I’ve learned how important it is to show how much you appreciate your significant other. I try to tell Dustin everyday how much I appreciate him and it means so much to me when he acknowledges and appreciates what I do too. Big things and small things. But the most important thing I’ve learned is, being married means you don’t have to face your fears alone. You can confide in each other and depend on one another. It’s okay to ask for help when you need it. It doesn’t make you weak or needy. I’m grateful we can depend on one another. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

 

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