Do the Magic, Do the Magic

Warning

The following blog is not suitable for individuals who do not know how to have a good time, do not believe in magic, and are basically super boring not fun people.

Side effects to this blog might cause an increase desire to visit Central Florida.

If you are allergic to Pixie Dust or Fairytales please see your doctor immediately.

Viewer discretion is advised.

 

 

 

Well I bet you can guess what this blog is about….HARRY POTTER WORD!

 

KIDDING

 

DISNEY!

 

Now hold on ..hold on..I know what you are thinking..”The last thing I want to read about is a super expensive theme park in the middle of hell..I mean Florida..because last I checked I’m not seven years old.”

 

I’m gonna stop you rigghttt there.

Listen..

 

I have a couple of Disney pet peeves. People who think Mulan is a Disney Princess, people who think Universal Studios theme park is part of Disney, people who try to say “Toy Story is a Pixar movie, it isn’t Disney”, and people who believe Disney is only for children and parents with a ton of money and have a death wish.

This is simply not true.

Can you just sit back and give me 10 minutes to persuade you that going to Disney does not require you taking someone who can’t wipe their own butt??

Reason number one why Disney World isn’t just for children: Epcot

I personally believe Epcot is the most adult friendly park that Disney World currently has to offer. While there are a ton of different things that adults can enjoy in the other three parks, Epcot really stands out the most in my opinion.

Let’s quickly go over the three rides in Epcot that you probably won’t see a lot of kids on.

  1. Soar’n.

Soar’n is a really unique ride that gives you a bird’s eye view of several different places all around the globe. It’s a ride the does have a height requirement and parent’s won’t be taking their runny nose “LET IT GO” singing child on this ride if they are scared of heights.

  1. Test Track

It’s a coaster type ride (but not really) that also has a height requirement. Young kids who are fearful of coasters or don’t measure up, you won’t be smelling their diapers here.

  1. Mission: SPACE

Again another ride in Epcot that requires you to be a certain height to ride. It’s an intense ride that little ones with squeezy bellies or have issues being in confined spaces won’t be begging their parents to take them on.

 

And just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the other rides at Epcot that don’t have a height requirement. The Land is in the same building as Soar’n and honestly you don’t see too many kid’s lining up to going on a slow boat ride that takes passengers on a tour of Epcot’s green house and learning about the ecosystem.  Yea, “no telling how far they’ll go” to avoid this one and rush to get another Mickey ice cream.

 

Let’s jump over to my favorite part about Epcot. WORLD SHOWCASE.

If you’ve never been to Disney World or Epcot before you probably have no idea what World Showcase is all about. Imagine being able to visit Mexico, grab a beer in Norway, sit down to have a snack in China, eat pasta in Italy for lunch, shop in Canada, and have ice cream in France all within let’s say 4 hours. It’s all possible in World Showcase. 11 different countries, cultures, smells, art, style, architecture, music, and food are all within walking distance of each other for you to explore and enjoy. It’s an incredibly beautiful part in Epcot that allows you to really submerge yourself into countries that you might not ever get to visit outside of the park. You can shop authentic treasures and eat unique *delicious* dishes in each country you explore.  I remember being a kid and being in disbelief how it could feel like I was actually in China looking at Kimono robes  one minute and then eating fish and chips in the UK the next. Still to this day the details, food, and drinks leave me in awe.

World Showcase is also where popular and fun seasonal festivals set up. Food & Wine Festival, International Festival of Arts, Flower and Garden, and Festival of the Holidays all have a little something different to offer from food, drinks, music, sights, sounds, and shopping.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t name many 8 year olds getting all excited about some art galleries, hot sake, or food that isn’t shaped like Mickey Mouse—can you?

 

Reason Number TWO Disney is not just for kids: The Mountains

In Central Florida there are three famous mountains, and funny enough, all three mountains are located in the heart of Magic Kingdom.

SPACE MOUNTAIN, SPLASH MOUNTAIN, AND BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN.

These three mountains are probably three of Magic Kingdom’s most popular “adult” rides.

Space Mountain is probably one of my absolute favorite in all four parks. It’s a fully indoor coaster in almost complete darkness. The sounds of tomorrow and screams are all you hear as you pray to God your head does not get shopped off by another coaster racing by.

Big Thunder Mountain has you believing you are on a runaway train zooming through the old frontier.

Splash Mountain is the best of both worlds. Taking you through colorful scenes of the classic Song of the South to suddenly dropping you down to the brier patch and getting soaking wet.

*Honorable mention although not a Mountain: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Magic Kingdom’s newest coaster.

 

Coasters aren’t your thing?

Guess you’ve never heard of Pirates of the Caribbean where you can find treasures and rum with Captain Jack, or perhaps exploring a Haunted Mansion where only the bravest get to take home a spooky ghost hitchhiker.

Also while the Buzz Lightyear ride and Jungle cruise might not scream 50 shades of I’m a Big Girl Now, they are still really enjoyable rides for the young and old.

 

 

Reason Number Three Disney World is not just for kids: The magic of nostalgia

Okay let’s be real. If you are between the ages of 25 and 35 I feel like I can make a pretty solid assumption that you grew up watching Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast, and Toy Story. Please don’t pretend that you can’t break it down to “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” or that you didn’t have a crush on Aladdin, or that you didn’t dress up as Ariel, or that you didn’t get your soul crushed by Fox and the Hound. Come on! Disney is our childhood people! I don’t care if you’ve got to wait in line for 30 minutes to fly on Dumbo, I don’t care if you feel slightly silly bouncing along with Tigger, I don’t care if you cry watching the fireworks—Disney raised you! Be a little silly, pretend like you’re 9 again, laugh a little too loud. When vacation is over you’ve got to go back to paying bills, writing reports, and washing dishes. This is your chance to go back to when times were simpler, when everything had a little bit of magic and wonder to it.

 

Need more convincing check this out:

 

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Out of control

We should pretend March didn’t happen in the blog world since I obviously skipped that month documenting my random thoughts.

 

Let’s jump right on into the April blog.

 

I was convicted yesterday about how I have been living my life or more specifically how I handle many of the situations that are put in front of me. One sentence I randomly ran across online and I was forced to sit back and think about my behavior and my thoughts that have affected my life and my family’s life.

Here is the sentence that had me really spinning yesterday:

oo

I’ve made the mistake of thinking life is like a math problem.

If I make this correct choice (+) this smart decision () staying away from this certain situation (X) giving this much extra effort ( = ) exact expectation & end goal that I had in mind.

I am sure it does not take any of us very long to realize that life often does not work out that way.

I’ve said too many times recently, “I just don’t understand, they had the perfect life. They ate well, they were in great shape, they were kind to everyone they met, they were successful, they were loved, they worshiped Jesus…..So how could this person die of cancer? How could this person take their own life? How could this person walk away from their entire family? How could this person neglect their baby?”

 It just doesn’t add up. Life isn’t fair and it doesn’t always conform to our expectations. However,  I’m incredibly guilty of weighing my entire happiness on my expectations and whether or not they are met.

Perfect example:

 

Just to lay it all out there, I desperately struggle with how other people perceive my family, how people perceive my child and me as a mother.

My happiness is almost dependent on how certain situations meet my expectations, and that often correlates to how I feel like my family “performs” in front of other people.

I expect (more like I desperately hope) each time Lucy is around family or other children that she shows everyone how sweet, smart, and quick-witted she can be. If she is being really shy, or extremely silly, or even a total DIVA –it’s sad to say, but it just wrecks my whole day. I feel like people are going to have the wrong impression of her or maybe it’s just the impression I don’t want them to have of her. When my day is ruined, then of course that bad mood or depressed mood I get in obviously carries over to Dustin’s and Lucy’s day as well.

I don’t spare myself or Dustin from that same unattainable perfectionism either, and it all has to do with parenting.  I could write a book of all the ways I beat myself up or worry myself to the point of being physically sick because I don’t feel like I’m measuring up to the type of mom I want to be or try desperately to show people I can be.

Seems like I’m wasting a lot of time trying to control things I have no power over. I can’t control other people’s opinions of my family and I can’t control how my toddler acts all the time either.

I think the worst part of all is that I’ve been putting so much importance on attempting to control certain situations and getting so discouraged when I don’t get my way, that I’ve lost sight of what really matters.

Actually my husband just pointed something out as I’m getting his opinion on this, he said, “maybe it’s not that you’ve lost sight of what really matters, just that you’re focused on what doesn’t matter.”

Which is perfect, because he’s right (no surprise there) I haven’t lost sight of what matters. Our family’s health, happiness, safety, and feeling loved has always been my focus, and it always will be. I’ve just been beating myself up about things that are trivial and out of my control.

I think rather than trying to control every situation that might not be perfect, I’m going to start appreciating that I even get to be a mom, and a wife, and have an amazing life that even the most imperfect, unplanned, and uncontrollable situations helped build.

I don’t know if you have a struggle today with trying to make it seem like you have it all together. Maybe you don’t feel like you’ve been dealt a fair hand. Maybe things aren’t going the way you expected them to. First, you’re so not alone & second, I think we could both find a good bit of comfort in the fact we have a good God that has a plan. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”  This life is so very temporary and I don’t think God intended for us to spend a lot of time worrying about situations that are beyond our control. That’s a tough one for me to swallow, but maybe with a little help I’ll stand firm in that comfort as well.

The Fever

Let’s talk about “The Fever”.

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I feel like the fever comes on slow and steady. You don’t really even realize it’s starting to take you over until one day you’re in a dry sweat, heart pumping, fuzzy daze and then you’re forced to recognize you’ve got it bad—real bad. To be certain we are on the same page, I’m not taking about the awful flu that has been going around for months, I’m talking about something perhaps more dangerous* —BABY FEVER! DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!

*Baby fever is actually NOT more dangerous because I know people have died from the flu this year so I’m not trying to lessen how awful it has been for some families. Please don’t take anything I say to heart..ever….

 

Baby fever man, one day you’re selling or giving away all your kid’s old baby toys and the next you’re on Pinterest searching for cute new nursery ideas.

You tell yourself,

“It’s not a big deal. I’m mindlessly scrolling through Pinterest”

“I didn’t sniff that baby’s head 30 times. It was only 20 and that’s perfectly acceptable.”

“I’m only looking up baby names for like maybe 10 years down the road. Who cares? I’m fine. I’ve got this under control.”

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But you don’t have it under control. You don’t and that’s okay. It’s only natural. It’s not even technically your fault. If it were not for everyone else posting newborn pictures, baby bumps, gender reveals, or running into an old friend with their SUPER SQUISHY ADORABLE BABY this wouldn’t be a problem. But just like any other fever, once you’ve subjected yourself to it, it’s only a matter of time before it gets you too.

Lucy’s whole class at school ended up passing around Flu A, but before it got to Lucy I tried all the preventive measures I could to make sure it wouldn’t catch up to our family. Vitamin C, elderberry, essential oils, 9lbs of hand sanitizer, you name it, but still the Flu caught up with us. Same with baby fever..it will find youuuuu.

Every time I get on social media or go somewhere and run into the CHUNKIEST most EDIBLE baby in the world, I have to remind myself it’s just the fever talking. Teething is the worst. No– gassy babies are the worst! I have a completely new appreciation for sleep now; I cannot go messing up that relationship. Oh and my daycare bill is enough to make a grown man cry—ask my husband. Oh and let’s not forget the anxiety I now have to deal with every single day and I want to multiple it by 2?! Obviously I’ve lost my dang mind.

I have long periods of lucidness. There are hours, days, and weeks now when I’m not affected by the fever and I remember how satisfied I am with a family of 3. Sometimes I hear parenting stories and I am reminded how fortunate I am to have survived that phase and how I’m grateful that chapter of my parenting book is closed, but boy those times when the fever spikes..it’s something else.

Sometimes I’ll convince myself that two babies actually wouldn’t be any different than having one because Lucy would be like a full blown preschooler by the time the baby is born and she’d be so self-sufficient and helpful that it’d be like having free help. I’ll also tell myself that the next time I have a baby I’ll be less stressed about every.little.thing. Baby doesn’t want to eat for the third night in a row? NO PROBLEM. It’ll live. The baby has been screaming for 2 hours straight now? NO PROBLEM. I’m now a proud owner of ear plugs. Baby isn’t performing open-heart surgery and doing long division by 11 months? NO PROBLEM. I don’t think you need a PhD to run Splash Mountain at Disney World and get the rest of the family in for free.

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Yea I don’t know guys. I guess what I’m trying to confess is that I occasionally get a low grade baby fever from time to time. It’s not so bad that you need to be staring at my stomach trying to figure out if my shirt is just too tight or if it’s a baby bump, but you might want to keep your newborns away from me or I’ll snatch them and eat them right on up.

So there. You win universe. The baby fever has infected my house. Excuse me while I go remind myself that still even last night my 2 ½ year old decided she didn’t want to sleep in her bed anymore at 3AM….

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Creatures of Comfort

I am going to use my Psychology degree for the first time since college on y’all, so give me two minutes and I promise I’ll make my point..maybe..possibly..let’s see how many cups of coffee I can finish first….

 

I think most of us have heard briefly in school the psychological term Stockholm Syndrome, but it’s certainly not a term that we use in our daily lives. So to help polish your memory, here is a brief history lesson and definition:

In 1973 in Stockholm, Sweden there was a bank robbery in which four people were taken hostage. The hostage situation lasted 6 days and in that time, the hostages were locked inside a bank vault, had ropes tired around their neck, and their lives were threatened with guns.  Sounds pretty awful right, but it’s about to get ridiculous. Even though the hostages were held against their will, were used, and harassed, those hostages started to feel sympathetic, safe, and comfortable towards the people who were keeping them captive.

The term Stockholm syndrome was created from that incident. It’s defined as psychological response in which the captured/abused develop a bond, empathy, or warm feelings towards their captor/abuser.

No this is not a confession that I’m holding Dustin against his will and his apparent love for me is all due to Stockholm syndrome (well that could be a valid reason, but I’m not going to confess to that in writing..ya crazies)

No this all about comfort zones, and how we are prisoners of them yet we do nothing to break free.

Yes, I’m going to attempt to relate Stockholm syndrome with comfort zones. Might just be a bunch of ramble jamble. 1 coffee down 4 more to go.

My comfort zone has two rulers. These rulers seem harmless and practical at first. They disguise themselves as safe, dependable, and responsible. In a life that can be so chaotic, a “promise” of solid ground sounds so comforting. However, over a period of time, those rulers become chains, growing tighter and becoming shorter until there is no place to move other than where I stand. Those rulers in my comfort zone are Money and Familiarity.

Money tells me that as long as it plays an important role in my life, if I hoard it away, and become stingy that it will always be here for me. If something awful happens in my life as long as I have done what money has told me to do, it’ll be there to protect me.

This is lie.

Money doesn’t protect. Money leaves just as fast as it came. Money doesn’t bring happiness and it doesn’t cure illness. It’s never ever enough.

Familiarity provides me with predictability and consistency. There are no surprises. There are no awkward conversations, let downs, uncharted waters, possibilities of failure. As long as I stick to what I know and who I know there is nothing to fear.

This is also a lie.

There is no growth with familiarity. Familiarity is stagnant with no real promise of a future. Familiarity clouds purpose. Familiarity is being chained to a situation, a person, a job, etc where there is no breath of life, just mere existence.

Or lazy? Or Scared? Or weak? I always wonder why people stay at shitty jobs or put up with shitty spouses

 

The hostages at the bank were far from safe, and they were anything but free. If they were safe they certainly wouldn’t have been threatened with guns, and if they were free they wouldn’t have spent 6 days away from their home and family inside of a bank vault. So how in the world can one of the hostages from inside the bank tell law enforcement to not interfere and that they were all safe and in no real danger?

To me, the bank is like my comfort zone, after a couple days of the routine and nothing completely unexpected happening the bank feels a tad less scary. A few more days go by and we settle in just a little more. No one is really getting hurt we are promised that we’ll stay safe as long as we do what we are told and what’s expected of us. As long as we never try to get out– everything is going to be okay. We start to believe this lie. We are promised safety by the same people who couldn’t care less about our safety. We put our faith in promises from people or things that have no authority to give out those promises.

When the hostages were able to speak with law enforcement they pushed them away, refused to help get themselves out of their prison, and made excuses for the people who wouldn’t let them leave. For the hostages perhaps the idea of accepting help from the outside world didn’t seem like the safest bet. The officers could not promise them everything was going to be okay if they put their trust in them. The plan for escape could be difficult, it could be a failure, and it could them seriously hurt. So instead they made a “safe” choice, a choice that for at least the time being wasn’t hurting anyone and was simple enough. They would rather choose to stay put in their captivity than take a chance on freedom.

To me the choice that those hostages made reminds me a lot of the choices I make several times a day—every..single..day. Rather than act on opportunities that could lead to something amazing, the fear that it isn’t going to work out, that my money could be at risk, that I might have to start a conversation with a stranger is enough to throw away an amazing chance at something great. I make excuses like “it’s the responsible choice” or “the risk isn’t really worth the possible pay off”. Neither excuse is true, because in reality my only reason for not taking a chance and staying in my comfort zone is 100% due to fear.

It’s baffling though isn’t it? That a fear of something that would cause us a tiny bit of discomfort is enough to completely disregard blessings that are waiting for us?

Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

There is a promise out there that we can put our full faith in. A promise made to us by someone who has all the authority to make big promises.

In Jeremiah 29: 11-13 it states, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

I have a choice and I’ll have to fight my flesh every hour of the day to make it, but I can choose to put faith in my comfort zone or in our God. By nature, I know there will be times where I think I’m safer sticking to a group of people or a certain life style simply because it seems like the easiest or most predictable option. My goal is to castaway those false sense of security and rely on the only one who can truly bring me peace.

 

Also for the record I finished this after two cups of coffee and a hot cup of tea. ;–]

 

5 Simple Steps to Overcoming Fear + Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone | www.dreamsforbreakfast.com

Let’s do this again

I have always enjoyed writing. I have never been, in any universe, a Shakespeare or a Jane Austen of the modern age, but that has not stopped my passion for writing.

So here I am. I am going to do my best to start writing again. It is something I really do enjoy and I refuse to let lack of time or my insecurities stop me this year. My goal is to post a blog once a month, so together let’s see if I’m up to the challenge.

 

My previous blog posts have taken friends, family, and strangers through all different seasons of our life. I first started this blog in 2014 when Dustin and I had not been married for more than 5 months, we still lived in an apartment, & we certainly were not thinking about staring a family. This year Dustin and I will celebrate our 5-year wedding anniversary, we’ve been through the housing buying process twice, and we obviously have the most beautiful toddler in the world. We have come a long way since my first post and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to share with you all whatever new adventures, realizations, and curve balls life throws our way.

 

So here is what you can expect if you want to follow along with us in 2018:

  1. My blogs will not always be A+ English perfect. Unfortunately, there will be comma placement errors, a few run on sentences, and a couple unforgivable grammatical atrocities here and there in this blog. I apologize in advance, and can assure you I have no intention of writing for a living ever in my lifetime.
  2. The tone of this blog will vary from mediocrely funny to deeply personal. On occasion, it will be as insightful as I could possibly be and then there will be times where you might not relate to me at all. Basically it will be all over the place, but hopefully in a good way. It is going to be an interesting ride I hope for everyone.
  3. I just felt like there needed to be three things so I guess this is where it ends..

 

 

I hope to have my first real blog post for the year by January 31st, but if not I’m just going to say this was my blog post for January and kick start February the right way. We will see how it goes..

Until then, thanks for reading and I hope you come back again soon!

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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