We Survived Disney World

Well we did it. We survived Disney World with a toddler! At 22 months Lily did better than expected and Mike & I soaked up every one of her smiles and giggles. Did we have meltdowns….of course. Did she enjoy all the rides….nope. Did we get to ride a lot of rides….nope. Even with tears and hitting a small fraction of attractions we still had a blast.

We planned to attend the Magic Kingdom on Thursday and Friday. With a reservation for breakfast with the characters at 8 am on Thursday we drove up on Wednesday to make it easier for all of us. Tampa is around one hour and forty minutes away from the park. Add additional drive time for morning traffic and we would have to get up way too early for my liking. Plus I wanted Lily to be well rested for the day.

disneyshelovesmeOh the character breakfast was a hoot. Lily has a 50/50 split on freak outs while meeting “characters”. Santa was a nightmare (read about that here) and surprisingly the Easter bunny was cake. We went to Cape May Café at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. The park opened at 9 am so I made a 8am reservation and we had plenty of time to eat, take pictures and drive over to the Park. To make your life easier make a reservation. Disney makes it really simple by either calling (407)939-7211 or heading to their website (click here) to make your reservation. I used the online option because after inputting the day and number of guests I was given all available reservation times at all of the restaurants that offered character dining. Make sure you read all about the restaurant you chose regarding which characters might be present and food options (all of this can be found on their website!). Cape May Café had all of the characters Lily was familiar with. It was a buffet type breakfast and Minnie Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck showed up and Lily was so excited she could care less about the Mickey Mouse waffle in front of her. If your child is like mine make sure you pack a LOT of snacks because Lily was so excited about the characters that she barely ate her breakfast.

disneygoofeyAfter watching Goofy meet & greet six tables he finally approached her. No tears and no hesitation from her as she reached out to touch one of her favorites (I think it’s because his moves to the ‘Hot Dog Dance’ are her favorite!). Not only did he make her giggle, hug her, kiss her and pose for a picture…he made sure to shake Mike & I’s hands. Donald Duck was ambushed by a HUGE tour of foreigners, so we concentrated on meeting Minnie before leaving because after all Lily was wearing the cutest pillow case dress featuring a Minnie Mouse logo (the personalized dress is from Seams So Pretty on Etsy).

disneyminnieNot wanting Minnie to get swallowed by the huge touring group, we went to the front and waited for Minnie to finish taking pictures in a different room. Mike said I was more excited than Lily and that was probably true.

disneysmallworldAfter breakfast we continued on to the park for a few hours of magic, laughing, crying, dancing and sweating. We hit up It’s A Small World first when we saw it was only a 5 minute wait. Lily was mesmerized by all of the colors, moving people, flying monkeys and butterflies. It was our favorite ride with her. Peter Pan was next door so we got in line even though it said a 20-minute wait. The line seemed to be moving fast and she was still riding high from the last ride. When she started to get a little cranky I took out the iphone and played an episode of Mickey’s Clubhouse (of course!).  I was so hot that the phone stuck to my chest, which actually made it really convenient!

disneypeterpanPeter Pan was dark and way to scary….so Lily flipped out…BIG time. I mean at the end of the ride Captain Hook is being swallowed by a huge gator! Lily cried for 10 minutes straight. We tried to take her on the carrousel but the tears were still flowing that we took her of the horse before the ride started. To soothe her (and help with the heat) we grabbed a cup of chocolate ice cream. Scored points with this!

DisneyicecreamWith ice cream in hand we went to check out Dumbo since it was an outdoor ride and we knew it wasn’t going to be another dark ride. This ride was perfect for hot & tired parents because there’s an indoor area where kids play while you wait to ride.

disneydaisy disneyminnie2Next to Dumbo was character meet & greet with Minnie, Daisey, Goofey and Donald. With a small line, animals crackers and the iPhone got us through the 12 minute wait. You are allowed to take pictures with your own camera, but Disney also has their fabulous Photopass program. All over the park you will find professional photographers that will snap great photos of your family. After the pictures are taken the photographer will give you a Photopass card. Each time you have one of Disney’s photographers take a picture throughout your stay they will scan that card. To view your pictures you input your cards id number on their website and you can decide if you want to purchase them or not.

disneyparade disneydanceIt’s a Small World was our favorite ride, but the parades were amazing! Our favorite was the Shake It parade (there are several of these parades that happen all day and night!). We grabbed a great spot in front of Cinderella’s castle and watched all the floats and street dancers perform. There were even stilt walkers that Lily loved. There are several floats and on each on there are a few characters. We lucked out with our location because Mickey & Minnie were on the one in front of us. At the end of this parade the dancers bring kids and parents into the street to dance along with them. Mike and I had sweat pouring down our face and back but we kept moving and shaking along because we were making some great memories.  Lily hit her wall after the parade so we went back to the hotel for naptime. Since Disney World doesn’t serve alcohol at the park I brought a six-pack of Pacifico beer and had it chillin back at the hotel. It was exactly what Mike and I needed while we propped up our tired feet while Lily napped.

We took advantage of the resort’s pool after her nap. Our feet told us to stay and relax. With Lily still being so young she wouldn’t be able to stay up to watch the nightly fireworks so we ordered room service and had a family picnic in our hotel room.

disneyaladinOn Friday we hit up It’s a Small World again and then went to the Winnie the Pooh ride. That ride was scarier than Peter Pan!! At one point you are riding in a dark forest and Tiger jumps out of the bushes and behind trees. There was another dark room where the forest is being flooded and it appeared all the characters were struggling to stay afloat….scary I tell you. Lily flipped out. I was afraid her screams would start to scare the little girl that was sitting with her parents behind us, but she was a trooper. After that we decided to stay off any rides that were inside. We floated on Aladin’s magic carpet ride after (just like Dumbo) and thought we would visit the Tiki Room for their 9 minute musical show. We made it less than a minute. The lights went out and a mechanical bird lit up and started talking…it was 30 seconds of pure fear and we had to get up in the middle of the show (in the front row) and exit.

disneylastThis time we calmed her with some buttered pop corn. We toured Tom Sawyer’s Island, had lunch and ran to Cinderella’s castle to dance in the street with Mickey at the parade. The heat was brutal and combine that with dancing with a toddler on your hip and I was wiping away cups of sweat from my forehead. We were all exhausted and decided to head home after. Disney was a great time. Lily most likely won’t remember it but Mike and I will. Lily gets into the Magic Kingdom for FREE until the age of three…so I see future visits to take advantage of that great deal! Stay tuned for a future post with all the tips and ideas on how to survive Disney World with a toddler! (check that post out here)disneysleep


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  1. By Lily & Bliss | And It Happened Again on May 1, 2013 at 1:52 am

    […] today there was no continuing post from Disney World because we had yet another trip to the ER last night for Lily! I wasn’t kidding when I told you […]

  2. By Lily & Bliss | Favorites Lately: vol. 1 on May 10, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    […] our trip to Disney World and Mother’s Day this weekend I have been treating myself to a few shopping trips and have fallen […]

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5 year marker

weddingbeachkissI feel like I just came home from the hospital with Lily yesterday. Celebrating five years of marriage??? Really? It feels more like ten…but that’s a good thing!

Mike is my best friend, a loving husband and the best father. THE BEST. He still gets excited to get her up in the morning and after naps when he’s home. He’s not afraid to be a daddy to a little girl, twirling like a ballerina, playing with dolls and “creating” pretty ponytails finished with bows.

I’m a lucky gal.

Five years ago Friday I was a nervous wreck. Not that I wasn’t ready or that Mike wasn’t ‘the one’. He was and is. All that planning and then the day finally arrived. We would be standing in front of all of our family and close friends (and all the resort on lookers) and that was scary. I’m not a big fan of being the center of attention. I was so worried that something was going to go wrong. Things did. Lots of things. But by the time I finally got down that isle and said I do…I just didn’t care as much.

weddingbeachlaughWhenever a friend or a stranger gets hitched I have two big pieces of advice. The first is to expect that something will go wrong. That way when something does, you will be ready and focused on what really matters…marrying your love and future father of your unborn children. Brides can loose focus on what the wedding is really about. They get all wrapped up in the production and lose sight of the actual significance of why there’s a party.

At my wedding the mishaps started while we were getting ready. A little over an hour before the wedding our wedding suite was getting a bit too warm. The room faced Clearwater beach with stunning views from the rows of windows wrapping around the suite. By the time I was standing in front of those windows getting shots of the gown and veil I was a sweaty ball of nerves. We later found out that the AC would only turn on if the sliding glass doors to the balconies were locked. We all kept going outside to enjoy the sunshine and views, so we didn’t think we needed to lock it to turn on the AC….pretty fancy technology that we were unaware of. Actually there was a sticker on the glass door with instructions but it was overlooked by my nerves and five glasses of champagne.

The next hiccup was when I walked down the isle. I told my dad right before the doors opened that I was going to barf. That faded when I heard the singer’s voice crack (twice) and all I could think of was how bad it sounded. Not at all what I had dreamed of. BUT my cake….was totally dreamy….a dreamy pink beach sand castle!

weddingcakeWe had requested pink margaritas to be served. Nothing. The band looked like they rolled out of bed. I didn’t request uniforms, but a raggedy t-shirt and baggy cargo shorts? There were no candles even though each table was to be covered in them. And the lights stayed on, instead of dimmed, a majority of the evening. The wedding coordinator was sick and insisted she make the wedding announcements instead of letting her assistant help. Imagine a raspy  voice with laryngitis trying to announce ….”Now put your hands together for Mr. & Mrs. Michael Romano….”….Oh Mike and I crack up about it now.

weddingcrystalOh the linens were my favorite slip up. We were supposed to have this light organza laying on the tables and the chairs were suppose to be a simple white cover. When Mike and I made our entrance to the ballroom I was mortified. Bright dark pink sashes were tied around every single chair. Pretty sure the reception could have passed for an event for Pepto-Bismol. Again, I made a few comments to Mike and friends but I didn’t let the screw ups ruin the day. I had too much fun laughing at one of the groomsmen while he created as many looks as he could with the vibrant chair sash. When he used it as a shoe rag and proceeded to polish the camera man’s feet I giggled so hard I almost peed my gown.

weddingfirstlookisleBesides prepping yourself for the inevitable wedding hiccup my other advice is the most important. When you get to the isle and you see your fiancé, lock eyes and don’t look away. Whether you have a long way or a short distance, that moment was my absolute favorite. It was Mike’s first glance and the waterworks immediately started. He will tell you wind blew sand into both of his eyes…but we all know the truth! I lost track of the off key wedding singer when I finally saw Mike waiting for me next to our pastor.

weddingvowsNow what’s my advice for marriage? Ha I would like to know the answer if anyone has it please. Marriage is just like motherhood…you learn along the way. Five years later and I’m still learning…

*Cake created by the talented Kim from Chocolate Pi in Tampa, FL. and pictures taken by Jeff from Ortiz-Sellers Photography.

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  1. Angela Yates commented:
    April 24, 2013 Reply

    Happy 5Year Anniversary Amy and Mike!!! As I sit here and read this…. I don’t recall any of those things you mentioned!!!! You all had an AMAZING wedding!!!! It was so beautiful, classy, and FUN!!!!!
    The cake was dreamy… And tasted great!!! I still put it down as the best wedding Ive attended!!! And…better then some of those shows on TV!!!!! 😀

    • Amy Romano commented:
      April 25, 2013 Reply

      Thank you so much Angela- you made me blush!

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Tips To Making Hotels Visits Easier & Safer With A Toddler

How these every day items make staying at a hotel easier & safer with a toddler. Use the hair clips to secure the drapes together so no light gets in and wakes up your sleeping toddler during naps and in the am! Use painters tape to cover any electrical outlets. Bring trash bags to store all worn and dirty clothes...when you get home just take the trash bag directly to the laundry room to make the unpacking process less painful. Always have Ziploc bags to store wet items like bathing suits or dirty baby bottles or feeding utensils. Simple objects that make staying in a hotel much easier for us mommas!I’m all sorts of giddy and anxious because we are going to attempt Disney World with a 22 month old toddler. I’m sure I will have a plethora of information on what worked and what definitely didn’t. So look for that post next week!

We have traveled a lot already with Lily so I am very comfortable with items I need for hotels and tips/tricks to make vacations go as smoothly as possible. Today I bring you three tips to making hotel visits easier and safer for your family.

1. We bring trash bags and Ziplock bags on every trip even if it’s just for one night. We place all of our dirty clothes in the trash bags and wet bathing suits in Ziplock bags. When we get home having that trash bag ready for the laundry room makes it so much easier to unpack and stay organized. We are “over packers”, so it’s nice to keep the clean spare outfits from mixing with the dirty clothes. Ziplocks were also key when I had to bring rice cereal, baby food jars, bowls and spoons. I brought a small dish scrubber and travel size dish soap (that’s another tip in itself), but even if they were clean it was nice to keep all of those items sealed and segregated from clothes.

2. Hair clips are a lifesaver for moms. Dirty hair and don’t have time for a shower???? Throw it up in a bun and secure it with a clip. Besides using them for your hair they can be a lifesaver in a hotel room. Lily is a vampire when she sleeps and any light that seeps into the hotel room can ruin a nap leading to a toddler tantrum later on. Most hotels have heavy blackout curtains, but they never fully close. There always seems to be a beam of light that shines right between that tiny opening between the curtains. I overlap the curtains and use my handy hair clip to secure them together so no light creeps in and disturb my sleeping beauty. I will do anything to get a full rested toddler!

3. My other tip for a hotel stay with a toddler regards making the room safe for your kid. At home we go to great lengths to make sure each room is safe, so while we are away we attempt the same wherever we stay. Outlet covers were made for a reason, and sometimes I feel Lily is the poster child for why those little plastic caps are important. Like a moth to a flame she finds outlets and if there’s an uncovered outlet under the couch on the floor…somehow she will find it. To keep Lily save I bring painter’s tape and cover the outlet with it. Yes the color might attract her, but by the time she gets the chance to start picking away a corner of the tape I can stop her. We all know it only takes a moment for a kid to get hurt and that applies to outlets. If I’m staying in a condo or in a hotel for a longer stay I will actually bring a small Ziplock bag with outlets covers from home.

Do you have any easy tips for staying in a hotel with a kid? I’m always looking for ideas!

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Monthly Gift Subscriptions For the Mommas

In three weeks mother’s will be pampered or given a brief window of the day to relax, kick up their tired toes and enjoy breakfast in bed or enjoy whatever the husband and kids have planned. Personally I feel that there should be a day every month where moms get pampered and showered with appreciation. But obviously our homes, work and world would go haywire if moms had a mandatory mother’s day 12 days out of the year. Sigh.

Well while we wait for the special day us mommas can have a monthly delivery just for us to make us feel warm and fuzzy….we deserve it right? I brought you a long list of monthly gift subscriptions for the kiddos and today I bring you a fun list of monthly deliveries just for the mommas!

This is a popular subscription (only $10/month) for ladies who adore grooming, beauty & lifestyle products. This is a great way to discover new products and if you love them the company sells favorites in their shop!

Their monthly maven box that delivers trend setting nail colors and the latest beauty products. Take their free style quiz that helps Julep send fabulous polish colors and products that fit your style profile. ($19.99 subscription delivers access to $40 worth of products).

For $10 a month you will receive 4-5 deluxe samples and full-sized beauty products that have been hand picked by Ipsy stylists.

A box of 5-6 luxury-sized beauty and wellness samples are mailed to you each month depending on your subscription plan (starting at $21/month).

Beautybox 5
$12/month brings you 4-5 favorite beauty brands right to your door.

Into healthy dinning? Have kids or pets? Skincare? Depending on your needs, interests and activities Cravebox creates a delivery catered to your needs and interests for $12-$18.

This is a new company that celebrates motherhood by bringing you lifestyle, beauty, wellness and educational products perfect for the every day mom. Their 2013 seasonal themed boxes are listed on their site and a one time delivery is $20 or a four season subscription is $15 per season.

Love reading the POPSUGAR website? Well the editors created their must have box subscription where for $35/month (there are other subscriptions) you will be delivered full-size products in beauty, fashion, home, fitness and food!

Celebrity Brooke Burke is the creative director and has created luxurious and fabulous lingerie, sleepwear and loungewear personalized to fit your style. Pricing starts at $19.99 for members.

Hammock Pack
Each month receive a surprise pack that is created to help you relax for $25 a month.

jewelrysubscriptionsLover of jewelry??  The following subscriptions are a bit different then the deliveries above. Basically you sign up for a membership/subscription and each month you have access to pick a piece(s) of fabulous jewelry at a small cost compared to  major stores.

Let the Mynt fashionistas know if you are a boho or luxe lover, or maybe a mix of both and they will send you their picks on trendy jewelry that fits your style. Depending on your membership and which style you choose you will get 3 to 5 items delivered from $30-40. They also have a fabulous program where for only $20 you get two pieces of jewelry. This is perfect for people trying to stay on trend but just don’t know where to start!

And for another option there is RocksBox. The twist is you “try” designer pieces for $19/month and you can keep the pieces for 60 days. Once you send them back you will receive new pieces. If you want to keep the jewelry as a member you get great discounts.

Another similar jewelry site is JewelMint where all pieces are only $29.99.

shoesubscriptionsLover of shoes?? Well the following subscriptions allow you to receive a new pair of kicks each month for a fraction of the cost at department stores.




ecofriendlysubscriptionsThe Honest Company
If you value safe and eco-friendly products for you and your kids then The Honest Company is perfect for you. Their Essentials Bundle is $35.95 a month and you can pick which products you receive each month from lip balm and detergent to their amazing baby shampoo that smells amazing! I’m obsessed with their conditioning mist! They also have subscriptions for their diapers to!

Bulu box
This subscription is perfect for those that are into vitamins, supplements and general health. Each monthly delivery with contain 4 to 5 premium samples from top brands in a variety of categories like sports nutrition, weight loss, protein and natural remedies. There are different types of memberships but month to month only costs $10.

Blissmo Box
Eco-friendly products from healthy snack options to personal care products for $19.95/month.

For $26/box receive organic, natural products to get your zen on.

This is another company that delivers monthly subscriptions that cater to people who are environmentally conscious. You will receive 3-5 luxurious full size products for your home, body and spirit that tailor to the season.

Conscious Box
Another subscription for those that are fans of natural & eco-friendly products.


Love With Food
If you consider yourself a foodie then this subscription is for you! For $12(including shipping) a month have samples of the best gourmet foods delivered to your door.

Another food subscription is The Goodies Company.


Didn’t realize there were so many, huh? Well Sign up and give yourself a mother’s day gift. With some of the subscriptions at only $10 you won’t feel guilty for treating yourself. Note that some of these companies you have to sign up and wait for them to invite you to participate in their program. Hey good be a good idea for grandmas too!

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  1. By Lily & Bliss | Let’s Hear It For The Boy… on May 28, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    […] With Father’s Day coming (June 16th) I decided to gather a list (surprised?) of all the monthly subscriptions that are just for the guys. Remember to check out the lists for gift subscriptions for kids here and for the mommas here. […]

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Splurge or Save: Outdoor Drapes

splurge vs save (and a middle of the road option) for outdoor drapes. Get your patios ready for the summer!Oh the stomach bug has been circulating and it finally hit our home me. I’m so lucky that my mom lives so close because she was able to drop everything and come over to watch Lily for the day. A HUGE thank you to my momma!!!

So on to the post…the warm weather is upon us and for Floridians we won’t have a cold day for a loooooong time. Having a comfortable backyard is pretty important since we will be spending a majority of our summer out there.

Table and chairs…check. Sandbox & water play area for the toddler…check. Flowers and herbs planted…check. Pool gate…check. Pool noodles and other toddler toys for the water…check.

We have already starting taking advantage of the 80 degree weather with evening family pool time. The pool is still a bit chilly, but with the humidity it’s very refreshing. Monday evening when the stomach bug hit me the last thing I wanted was to be out in the heat. Lily was going to enter a full out tantrum if I didn’t go out, so I dipped my toes and just cradled my head in my arms while Mike took her swimming. One of my favorite items in my backyard are the long white grommet drapes that give us some privacy from our neighbor. I found some cheap ones from JCPenny, but with the rain and humidity mold got on the drapes and I could not get it out. Sadly those drapes were discontinued and after web searching I found ones at West Elm that were pretty cheap for a 108″ drape.

Today I bring you a splurge vs save for any of y’all thinking of putting up drapes to spruce up the patio or create some privacy for the summer time! Splurge is Pottery Barn and the save option hails from World Market. I’ve included links to West Elm for a in between option and because I love mine so much!

Slurge: Pottery Barn’s Outdoor Grommet Drape
50” x 84” $59
50” x 96” $69
50” x  108” $79

Save: World Market’s White Escape Grommet Top Curtain
50” x 84” $29.99
50” x 96” $34.99
50” x 108” $39.99

Middle: West Elm Solid Outdoor Drape in white
48” x 84” $49 (on sale now for $39)
48” x 96” $54 (on sale now for $43)
48” x 108” $59 (on sale now for $47)

splurge vs save outdoor drapes in stripeAnd in case you like the popular stripe, both stores have options for you!

Splurge: Pottery Barn’s Classic Stripe grommet drape in tumbleweed  50”x90” $99.

Save: World Market’s Khaki Striped Escape Grommet Top Curtain  50” x 90” $39.99

So Splurge or Save or the middle option!?!

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Other Great Uses For Dryer Sheets

Great pin to save! Great ideas on how to use dryer sheets for other uses. Use it as a sachet, freshen your gym shoes, help remove stubborn dish grime and other great ideas!I’m not a total coupon freak, I don’t go out of my way to search and buy the non-brand equivalent to my favorite name brand foods and products. I do pre-plan our meals in an effort to save money on wasted groceries. Don’t you hate it when you spend $100 or more and when you get home you have no idea what to cook??? Pre-planning the meals has become a huge way I help contribute to saving $$. I also like finding multiple uses for objects I already own in lieu of going to a store and shelling out more money. And dryer sheets are one of those objects that have multiple uses other than for your laundry!

1. Don’t have a sachet to keep your lingerie smelling clean? Toss a dryer sheet in your drawer to keep your lingerie or even your pajamas smelling fresh.

2. Gym shoes are just disgusting. In between the times you clean those sweat filled shoes place a dryer sheet (cut one in two for each shoe) in them to help with the smell. Have a gym bag??? Place a dyer sheet in there too!

3. You can save those used dryer sheets and re-use them to help dust your house! I use mine and dust my blinds.

4. A dryer sheet can help with funky car smell as well! There is a Greek restaurant that my husband loves and when we get take out the smell lingers in my car. It makes me gag when I attempt to run my errands the next day. To quickly lessen the gyro and red onion smell I fold a dyer sheet and wedge it in between the air vents. I turn the air on full blast and the car immediately begins to smell fresh. During the heat of the summer your car can just get a stale smell, so I always leave a dyer sheet beneath the passenger seat.

5. For the best way to clean nasty caked on food from pans, plates or pans remember this tip with a dyer sheet??? It’s a game changer!

6. Having crazy static in your dress or skirt and have no time to fluff it in the dryer? Take a dryer sheet and rub it all around the inside of your dress or skirt to make the embarrassing cling go away.

7. Have tough water stains in your toilet? In Florida our water can leave stubborn hard watermarks in our shower and toilets. We got a soft water system installed, but we had to break up the stains from the previous owners. Toss in two dryer sheets in your toilet and let it sit. Use your toilet brush after to scrub the stains away!

8. If you have a small load of laundry cut your dryer sheet in half to save money!

9. I enjoy cooking fish, but it can leave your kitchen smelling pretty bad especially if you’re frying them. Of course you can open some windows and light a strong smelling candle…but to help speed up the process you can place a dryer sheet (or two!) in your air vents! Last summer my family and I rented a condo in Hilton Head for a family reunion. The previous renter had to be a fisherman, or had a fish fry for six days straight, or someone was playing a cruel joke and hid a fish somewhere inside the unit because the condo smelled horrible. It was almost unbearable. We ran to Piggly Wiggly for some Glade candles, room spray and some dryer sheets. The rental company had someone come out to clean the carpets and “defog” our room, but nothing really helped. We stuck dryer sheets in the vents and just laughed about it as we didn’t want it to ruin our vacation! So if you ever find yourself in a smelly room try sticking some dryer sheets in the air vents!

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Somewhere In Between Pushups and Squats

proposalpicThis picture is on the day Mike proposed and boy is there a great story behind our engagement. We are coming up on our five year anniversary and I’m feeling a little sentimental…

A time held tradition is that the bride’s father is asked permission before the engagement and kept secret until the groom pops the question. At the time my parents had not yet moved to Tampa, so my father would stay with me during work trips. One night my friend, Alisha (dear friend I co-hosted a baby shower for) and I were working out with a trainer in my living room while our boyfriends (now husbands) were having some beers in the back yard with my dad. Somewhere in between pushups and squats my father and Alisha’s boyfriend, Adam, came in to replenish their supply.

(Extremely excited, like a 10 year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert) My dad: “Um Amy, Mike might have just asked me for your hand in marriage….” (yes dad you were that excited!)

(Shocked with BIG wide eyes) Adam (Alisha’s now husband): “Um…Bill…I don’t think you were supposed to say anything….”

(Shocked & confused) Me: “Wait, what???? Did I just hear you right?……Is he about to ask me now?? Wait? He said WHAT??

Mike was sitting out by the pool in pure joy as he had gained clearance to propose while completely oblivious to the reality unfolding inside. He came in after a few minutes when the guys didn’t come back with more refreshments and quickly found out the beans had been spilled. But in typical Mike fashion he didn’t care and played it off as if it was part of his master plan.

Mike didn’t pop the desired question for a LONG time.  It almost became a game for Mike. Because my dad had let me know way in advance, every dinner or date we went on I was expecting to come home with a sparkly diamond and that soon-to-be-bride glow. Boy was I let down MULTIPLE times. I finally gave up assuming Mike needed more time re-thinking if his Yankee-Brady-Brunch-esque family had room for my southern-conservative-yet-liberal-Californian-esque family.

My questions and prayers were answered with a very surprising proposal a few months later. I was coming home from a long day of work. It was a very hot, humid and sticky Florida summer day. I ran to Target for a few things and of course came home with ten bags of “necessary” purchases. I knew Mike would be there when I got home so I sent a text asking him to help with the bags…he said okay. Tired, sweaty and in dire need of a shower I started to moan when Mike didn’t come out to help. I had beads of sweat on my face and I’m pretty sure my swamp back had seeped through my red cotton dress.

As I came in from the garage the laundry room door was closed. Trying to save time I had carried in all the bags (that were now cutting the circulation on my wrists) and I called out to Mike to help with the door. After the second yell for assistance I’m pretty sure I had steam exiting my ears and nostrils.  Using the last bit of energy I lifted my arm (now I was experiencing buyer’s remorse from these “necessary” purchases weighing a ton) and used my pinky finger to pull down on the door handle and pull the door forward.

Then my mouth drooped and I felt like the biggest a$$hole on the planet. Red rose petals and tiny tea light candles made a path to Mike who was on bended knee. As I dropped the bags he leaned over and pressed play on his laptop and Brad Paisley’s “She’s Everything” started to play. Tears and sweat poured down my cheeks as I slowly started to make my way to Mike.

Mike used red tea light candles and in true Amy fashion I stopped and gasped when I noticed that Mike had spilled red wax all over the carpet. Wanting to immediately clean it up, Mike shook the tiny jewelry box to gain my attention back and said, “come here please.”

After some sweet words…a yes…hugs and kisses…I turned and started to sweep up the petals and tackle the now dyed red carpet from the spilled wax. My tired sweaty temper and crazy organized OCD almost ruined my engagement. It’s a good story that I will enjoy telling my kids and grandchildren…but it will only be a story because my OCD kept me from taking a picture of all Mike’s sweet hard work. We did however get the picture above. We drove over to my parent’s house to share the good news and my mom snapped this priceless memento.

After five years of marriage nothing has changed. I still sweat and lose patience (quickly) and Mike thoroughly enjoys making me wait and pushing my small buttons.

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Getting Dirty


As a first time mom it took some time to get comfortable with the mess of having a child…and I’m still adjusting to it. I set up rules in my head, prior to birth, that because I like to stay clean I won’t have any problems keeping my kid clean too. My diaper bag would stay organized. My car would not turn into those mom cars with smashed food in the carpet. My kid’s appearance would be tidy. And my house would remain clean and organized.

But then I had that epiphany that setting rules for myself was the greatest parenting advice I never received. And this rule about keeping my diaper bag, car, house and my kid clean 24/7 is just plain silly.

First the diaper bag…HA HA HA. Once your kid hits the stage of puffs and cheerios you will have crushed “snacks” in every nook & cranny of that diaper bag. I have lost track of the amount of times I’ve had to remove everything and just dump my bag over the kitchen sink while pieces of Goldfish, Cheerios and graham crackers poured out. Reminder: make sure you take out everything and look in those side pockets…my keys fell out into the cereal bowl once. Awesome. And if you think that’s bad….well say toot-a-loo to that clean car…or at least the back seat!

kidsdirtyThe house….let the laughs continue. With a newborn it was just the regular house cleaning that would fall to the wayside once in a while. This momma took a snooze with the baby, so cleaning during naptime just didn’t happen. Baby toys start appearing, then books and more and more continue to just appear as your child grows. I found some pretty cool baskets to hold those toys, but it still looks (and still does!) like organized chaos. Then there are the toddler toys. I have a flipping trampoline in my living room at the moment….talk about an eyesore. But I don’t care…it keeps her busy and tires her out for bedtime.

Of course I try and stay on top of keeping my house, diaper bag and that backseat. I might get two great days of a clean house….but then snack time rolls around and the smashed Goldfish crackers seem to be everywhere. On pillows, the rug, couch, trampoline, her toddler chair and somehow the dog will have some on his back.

kidsdirty2With a kid comes a mess. But what a beautiful mess. Some of my most favorite memories have been letting Lily loose to get as dirty as it is humanly possible. The smiles are so worth it….and a bath (maybe even two) will get your kid back to being clean. I’ve learned to not fight the mess. Let it happen and just enjoy the messy moments.

kidsgettingdirtyLike in my backyard. All Lily wanted to do was dig in my herbs and flower pots, leaving a trail of black soil all over the pavers. While she would scoop and pour the dirt I would be busy cleaning up the last mess she made. She would move on to her sandbox and I would start to sweep up the soil, only to have her come back five minutes later to scoop and pour the soil again. So I gave up, pulled up a chair, grabbed my camera and started to enjoy the moment instead of freaking over the mess. There are bigger problems to worry about then your kid’s dress getting filthy. As your can tell from the picture above and below, Lily’s friends Gryphon & Piper enjoy getting dirty too!

piperdirtySo my advice….just let your kid have fun and get dirty!

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Tip: Wipe Case

Cheap wipe case tip that was a game changer for me. Purchase the Babies R Us wipe case and fill it with whatever brand you like. The BRU case is more durable than the pampers case and has a larger opening for you to reach in for those last two wipes. A little tip that will keep your sanity during diaper changes (especially with a toddler!). Pampers or Huggies or Cloth diapers? Some people swear by one brand over another. I have tried all kinds of diapers and wipes and I have liked several kinds of diapers. But when it comes to the wipes I’m a Pampers Sensitive fan. Today’s post is not about which diapers or wipes are better than the other…that is really a trial by error thing that moms have to figure out what works best for them and their baby’s bum.

No today’s post is all about the wipe case and how this tip will make your life as a mom much easier. Sometimes it’s the little things that will make you go crazy as a mom. For me it was the case that my Pamper’s Sensitive wipes came in. After a few weeks the button that keeps the lid closed broke off. Then it started to drive me crazy that the hole for the wipes to exit was tiny making it near impossible to get the wipes when your almost out.

Some reading this will think who cares, just fill it up with more wipes so you can reach new ones.  But when you have a toddler trying to do the alligator roll while you attempt to use your middle and pointer fingers to clamp the last two wipes in a hurry so the roll doesn’t smear feces on the table or on your arm…then you would also get annoyed at the miniature opening.

So my tip. Get the Babies R Us brand wipe case! I took the wipes out and placed them in a Ziplock bag. The wipes are very rough, so I save them for emergency cleanups in the car. I purchase my Pampers wipes in bulk and keep refill packs in the top drawer of Lily’s changing table. In the BRU’s wipe case I just place a Pampers refill pack inside. So why is the BRU brand wipe case better???? The top has a regular lid that pops open and closes with ease. The Pampers case has a button you press to pop the lid open. The problem is that button breaks very easily and then you can’t keep the lid closed!


The other winning attribute was the very wide opening for the wipes. When Lily tries to her gator roll or uses her left leg and push the changing cushion away from the wall, having that extra wide opening to grab the last wipes comes in handy!!

Great wipe case tip. Purchase the Babies R Us brand wipe case and put whatever wipes you like. The BRU brand wipe case is durable and has large openings to grab the last wipes!

By the way when did changing diapers become so scary!!!!???? Babies might cry and kick their legs, but you can still hold on and control the legs. It’s a full on wrestling match with a toddler. I’m going to have to move diaper changes to the ground pretty soon! So moms go out and get the Babies R Us brand wipe case and fill it with whatever wipes you use. It’s a game changer…well it was for me when I discovered it!

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Easy Journals For Parents

With little time as parents these easy journals make is so simple to record your child's first foods or words, funny sayings and sweet memories. These would make the best keepsakes to give your kids when they grow up and become parents!My sweet Lily is will be two years in June and it blows my mind. Yes time flies, we all hear that. But to look at your child and glance through pictures it is truly God’s work at how much your child grows in the first two years.

While I’m doing laundry I often stop and stare in awe at the little notches on the DIY growing ruler. Lily is a tall toddler and is always mistaken for a 3 year old (once for a 4 year old!). So with her height there are so many incredible gaps where you can see miraculous growth spurts.

With height there are so many firsts and sweet memories, that as parents you want to cling to so you don’t forget. And let me tell you that that forgetful pregnancy brain thing…..it doesn’t fade after you give birth. And when my fellow momma friends and I try to think about the early months of motherhood we are stumped.

I have a baby book for Lily that I have been terrible at filling out. It is going to take me forever to fill that thing out. Good thing is that I have this blog as a wonderful way to preserve memories. I saved the calendar from the first year where I penciled in when she crawled, first haircut and what were the first foods she tried. It is so important to hold write down those moments because pregnancy motherhood brain will get cloudy and you will forget.

A few weeks ago I picked up a sweet little book from Barnes & Noble called The Modern Mom’s Memory Journal. It’s a daily journal that asks you questions like “What did your kid smell like today”, “What was something your child did today that will embarrass him/her as a teenager” and “What was your good/bad mom moment”. Every day has different questions and an extra section for additional info from that day’s events. This will be something really fun for Lily to read when she is struggling as a first time mom.

Creating some blog posts can be therapeutic and if you don’t have a blog, just write your thoughts down. Sometimes as I’m rambling through my fingers in a Word document I find clarity….peace. So to help you moms or soon-to-be-moms here are some other easy journals to help you keep track of all those restless nights, the sweet smell of vanilla in their hair after a bath (I LOVE the Honest Company’s shampoo), those category 4 tantrums or those touching moments where you child grabs your hand at the mall and smiles.

1. The Modern Mom’s Memory Journal  $10.69 (usually $14.95) Amazon

2. Mom’s One Line A Day $14.36 (usually around $17) Amazon
This is a five year journal where you only need to take a few minutes to capture your favorite memory of the day or something funny your kid said. Just one line…pretty easy!

3. Mom’s Five-Second Memory Journal $7.50 Walmart
The hardest part of being a parent is finding time to devote to “me time”. This journal is perfect because each entry only takes a few seconds to complete. From simple questions like what are the 5 books you love reading to your kids at the moment or (my favorite) is ranking objects of importance at the moment….Spanx to perfume.

4. My Quotable Kid $14.95 Target
A parent’s journal of unforgettable quotes. I also purchased this book because kids say the most comical things all the time. Each page gives you plenty of space to record your child’s hilarious, intelligent or sweet words. It also includes an area for you to document your child’s name (in case you have more than one kid), their age, when & where. There is no stress in filling this out daily and you can continue to use this for as long as there are pages! Silly sayings as a two year toddler ranging until those rebellious words at sixteen!

5. The Mommy Journal $13.31 Amazon
Another great option for the moms with little time (well I think that’s all of us!). It’s not pre-dated for you so there is no guilt if you miss a day or even a month! Each entry is short and simple. There is a place to record the date and a blank section for you to record anything from your favorite week’s activities or the day your child lost his or her first tooth.

6. Q & A For a Day For Kids $11.37 (usually around $16.95) Walmart
This is a 3-year journal that parents can fill out with their kids (ages 4-10) with their thoughts and dreams. This could also be perfect for a starter journal just for kids that would make the best keepsake!

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