Friday, August 1, 2014

Chef Mickeys!

We arrived to a huge Florida downpour but then we had stuff to take care of! Let me see how much I can confuse you!

Rob and I can purchase SIX military tickets (half price 4 day park hoppers) which covered us and my parents. Then I ordered my dad 2 extra tickets from UnderCover Tourist for my brother and his BFF (4 day park hoppers get a 5th day free). We knew we needed to go to Downtown Disney to get everyone's tickets activated and linked to our magic bands (you cannot do military tickets at your resort). So off we went to the bus stop. Where we waited. Then we realized that Juju forgot her ID in the room so she RAN back. Then I realized I forgot our magic bands in the room so ROB ran back. Then finally, a bus came. We had BAD bus luck all week long. I swear you either walk up to a bus EVERYTIME or you wait forever EVERY time. We had the latter.

***TIP--make sure you have all your stuff everytime you leave the room! Put your magic bands on when you get them and leave them on!

We made it to Downtown Disney and found the Guest Services building. It was packed with a line. Grandma JuJu and I took turns entertaining kids outside til we made it to the front of the line. We got allllll our tickets turned into the RFD cards and then had to go to the self service kiosk and put our cards onto our magic bands. All that..took awhile. I was so glad we went and did this first and got it out of the way, definitely not something you want to plan on doing before parks!

Finally we were ready for our dinner reservation at the Contemporary Resort, we took a bus from DTD straight there and had some time to kill :)

Chef Mickey's is a fun way to start your trip. It's a buffet with a wide although kinda boring selection of foods. It is also JAM packed and BUSY. We did not have to wait long but it seemed like we came at a poor time for characters. RIGHT when we got sat they were already on our side AND our kids were starving. It was a bit chaotic. Buffets are NOT my favorite with my kids just because they aren't big enough to get their own so I spend a lot of time getting them stuff and not able to sit and eat. It was a GREAT way to meet the main Fab Five though and the kids really liked it! Of course they had typical kid food, I remember having a plate of different cold salads and then a plate with some salmon, mashed potatoes, prime rib (which my girls completely stole and ate). Nothing stood out as super yummy but it was good and a decent character interaction. 

Overall----the kids love it and if they requested it we would return but if left up to me I am always up for trying something new :)

Presley only had eyes for Minnie! And loved their noses!

Max, 6 years old
Every kiddo loves an ice cream bar :)
Mostly my kids were ecstatic to see my cousins kiddos! They LOVE their cousins!

We also spent $150 before our trip on Memory Maker! This entitles you to ALL the pics taken on rides, at meals and anywhere in the park with a photopass photographer. Here is our pic from Chef Mickey's

I actually LOVE this picture of us, even though we had no time to change and had been running all day!

Next up, our first full day in a PARK! At Disney's Animal Kingdom!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Road Trippin It {WDW Post 2}

Oh airfare why must you be SO outrageous?

When planning our WDW trip we did take the time to price out airfare..its been exceptionally high lately and most round trip flights were between $400-$500 per person. $3000 in airfare on top of our Disney budget wasn't going to work so the plans to drive were made.

Yes driving. To Disney. From Oklahoma with 4 little kids. We are officially crazy, and well cheap :)

It's about 1300 miles EACH way. That's around 20 hours, without stops. And well you know how stopping is with kids.

We left our house on Friday July 18th and drove the 4ish hours to Ft. Worth where my parents live. This is a relatively easy drive for us and the kids generally get insane the last 45 minutes. We made sure to have the car completely cleaned out before we left and luggage out of the way.

We used a large Thirty-One thermal bag for snacks.
***TIP--Bring a roll of small ziploc bags in your snack bag!! Great for divvying up snacks, a sick bag if needed (thankfully not) trash, wet clothes, potty accident, the possibilities are endless!

***TIP---We also have a designated electronics bag (robs job) that houses all our chargers, ipad, kids tablet, extra batteries (a must) all the cords we need, an extension cord and a power strip. Yes, really. They were awesome to have!!

We also bring a small cooler with ice and drinks.

***TIP---Make sure to have pillows and blankets for a long ride! We had small Disney Fleece blankets that we have had forever and all the kids brought their pillow pets! Rob likes to freeze us out and everyone naps better with a pillow and blanket!

On the way to Texas the kid's watched 2 movies and we made 2 potty breaks. We made it to TX early evening on Friday where we stayed at my parents house. Grandma Juju and I hit up Dollar Tree to make sure we had extra snacks and PONCHOS!!

***TIP---Go find a Dollar store and buy $1 ponchos FOR SURE. No one wants to pay $20 a pop for ponchos and daily rain is pretty common in FL!

 I spent around $45 on extra snacks, glow sticks, glow wands, Disney coloring books, Disney stamp sets, Disney lanyards with character keychains for all 4 kids and 6 ponchos. Many of these would prove great buys later!

Saturday morning we got up bright and early and left my parents house at 6:30AM. Google again would like to tell you that's 17 hours...Google clearly doesn't have 4 kids, 3 of whom are potty trainers. Ok, Stella has been potty trained forever but she tends to freak out if she HAS TO GO!!

Along this stretch of drive, we stopped for breakfast which took an hour, several potty breaks, a couple gas stops, a fun stop in Monroe, LA to see the Duck Dynasty HQ, a snack, more gas, more potty and finally around Pensacola FL dinner at a McD's as we attempted to find a hotel for the night. Well, Pensacola in the summer has no hotels we pushed through to Tallahassee for the night in a $75 room right off the highway. We were in the car from 6:30A-12:30AM, and we still weren't at WDW yet! That's traveling with kiddos.
***TIP---pre-book your hotels for travel along the way. We have gone with the flow and pre-booked and I highly recommend pre-booking!

Along the way we watched movies on the DVD players, took turns with electronics, had small toys and colors/coloring books for the little ones.

***TIP---use an oldschool CD case for movies, so much easier than messing with cases!

About halfway through the day I pulled out the new Disney coloring books. After dinner in Pensacola we gave everyone melatonin and they conked out (after barely napping in the car ALL day) and we pushed through the last few hours of driving.

Our hotel had a free breakfast on Sunday so after that and gas we were on the road again! We were just about 4.5 hours from Disney at that point. As we got closer, and Rob nearly killed us taking a breakneck turn for a rest area my dad (who is a truck driver by the way) told us to take the lead. Famous last words...

Actually my phone took us the shortest way but it brought us in the back of the resort and straight to Riverside. It MAY have caused my slightly OCD Dad a near panic attack with him thinking I had us lost and we were NEVER gonna get there but it took us right there! Love you Dad! :) We made it! It wasn't too hot but the humidity was THICK and as soon as we were checked into our rooms and had picked up our rental stroller and rental ECV for my Dad. Like open up the heavens POURED down rain. Welcome to Disney :)

Next up, dinner at Chef Mickey's and our first trip to Downtown Disney!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Walt Disney World {Pre-Planning}

For those of you who are big Disney nerds like me I thought I would blog about our recent trip to WDW with 4 little kids, a longgggggg road trip and a group of 14 aging from 3-50+


There are a MILLION sites to help you plan your Disney vacation! I really enjoy Disboards and Walt Disney World Prep School.

My dad first asked us about a Disney vacation this summer around Christmas. Rob and I talked about it and knew that my Dad and Stepmom would be great help with the kids and we had already postponed a trip last year to attend family kamp instead. We decided to go for it and my Disney obsession began!

Some things I wanted to pre-plan that are important to us...
Staying onsite
Dinner Reservations
Fun outfits for the kids
Military Tickets
Having a Flexible plan for a family with little kids in the Florida HEAT

We like staying onsite, so the first thing I did was research what hotel we wanted to stay in for this trip. I have been lucky to stay in various moderates and values at WDW. Unfortunately having a family of 6 can really limit your options! We ended up looking at the Family Suites at Art of Animation OR Port Orleans Riverside in Alligator Bayou with a fold down murphy bed (moderate). Riverside being a moderate there was much less walking (we paid about $150 more for a priority room to be close to the front of the resort) better food court, pool etc AND the biggest thing, it was CHEAPER. It worked great and we LOVED our room but I can definitely see how we will need more space as our kids get bigger! Two value rooms or renting a DVC option may be better in the future. We were fortunate to get 35% off our room rate AND we were able to book that rate for 3 rooms. So we booked Riverside for our family, my Dad, Stepmom, brother and BFF and my cousin, her husband and 2 kids as well. We opted to add the dining plan as we like having most of our vacation PRE-PAID for and not having to nickel and dime food costs on vacation.

{Magic Bands}
Staying onsite meant we would be using Magic Bands for EVERYTHING! Fastpass+, Dinner reservations, charging things to our room, park tickets, were all linked! You definitely want to get on My Disney Experience ahead of time and personalize your bands. We had 3 pinks for us girls, Red for Rob, Orange for Max and Blue for Jackson. The kids loved them and they stayed on well. Occasionally the littles wanted theirs off and Rob kept them in his pocket.

{Dinner Reservations}
One of the biggies you can book ahead are dinner reservations! After working with my cousin we ended up with the following
-Chef Mickeys (Contemporary Resort)
-O'Hana (Polynesian Resort)
-Mama Melroses Fantasmic Package (Hollywood Studios)
-Cinderella Dinner at 1900 Park Fare (Grand Floridian)
-Teppan Edo (Epcot)

{Fun Outfits for the kids}
Something I started planning well in advance that got LOTS of comments on Facebook were my kids clothes~! Yes they pretty much had Disney clothes for the whole trip! Here is how I did it...I started scoping out Walmart, Target, Kohls early. I also asked on a Facebook trade group and had several friends lend us shirts for Jackson or hand down items for my girls! Thanks Sarah! Our sweet Aunt Tabbi also had adorable shirts made for the kids from Generations Stitching on Facebook!

The boys had 1st Disney Trip shirts and the girls had Princess shirts. My dad even got a special Papa Lloyd shirt! Thank you Tabbi! You made our trip even more special!

I stuck with t-shirts and shorts for the boys because I knew it was going to be HOT!
The girls had shirts and shorts most days and character dresses one day (walmart) and Minnie rompers for dinner one night (walmart embellished by me). I am CHEAP CHEAP when it comes to buying clothes for my kids but I didn't spend a lot of money to have them in cute themed outfits through the week :)

My cousin, Stephanie who came with us made the above Mickey and Minnie shirts for our entire group of 14!! She used her craft machine to cut the shapes out and then had someone stitch them onto our shirts. They were a huge hit with the cast members and other guests. It also made it easy to spot our kids and group! 

{Military Tickets}
In addition to getting a great room rate we are also able to buy military tickets through our local base. This saved us a HUGE amount of money off our tickets....we got SIX 4 day park hoppers at $169 each (close to half price) My cousin had good luck purchasing her tickets on and I got 2 additional tickets for my brother and his friend from there too! They actually give you 5 day park hoppers for the same price as a 4 day so thats a nice deal. I even made a mistake in ordering and called and they fixed me right up. We highly recommend if you don't have military ticket option. 

Neither of us made Fastpass+ in advance since we waited to buy our tickets til closer to our trip. Once we had them activated at DTD and linked to our magic bands we all uploaded the My Disney Experience app on our phones and made FP+ for the week! I will talk more later about a large group and FP+ but overall we got great FP+ even doing them the week we were there!

Next time... I will talk about the road trip there and traveling 22 hours with 4 kids 6 and under :)


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Putting on my Posh hat...

You know I am a mom, wife, Christian, MOST of you know about my Posh hat too.

I work from home running a pampering business with Perfectly Posh. Perfectly Posh offers FUN, naturally based, spa quality pampering products for an affordable price. We want to pamper you. My job, aside from selling pampering products and offering spa nights for ladies in my community is to lead my team, {Dream PINK} I have been incredibly blessed with a team of close to 200 women all over the nation. They are FAN-TAST-IC, I could not be more humbled and proud to lead them in some small way as they work their own Posh businesses on their terms.

So, this is for them.

Last night I had a party scheduled with my FAVORITE host. She is just one of those amazingly kind, fun, people who have a lot of friends and knows how to party. I have been so busy lately that I didn't do the best job host coaching but I did touch base with her a few times and she had a good host kit. I ASSUMED that we were good to go early this week when I touched in with her one more time. What I FAILED to do was ask how many people were going to be there.

I ran around all day, deliveries, working at the dance studio, picking up my kids, packing and before I knew it, party time. It was COLD and raining and I was super tired. But I packed up my bags and got on the road for the 45 minute drive to her house. I arrived and she was rushing around getting ready, had just got off work and the first thing she said to me was, "I hope we have people show up" Uh-Oh. This was my host last year who had 10ish women at her party and $800 in sales. Something was off.

I set up and we chatted and I reassured her that it was fine. 7:00pm start time comes...7:05, one was there. This is not the typical party for this host. Her house is usually bustling and her door bell is ringing. Guests are there when I get there! 7:30pm. No one is coming.

Ladies, this is the moment when you find out what your business is made of. Yes, this was my first EVER party where it was just me and the host. I have had my fair share of 2-3 people parties but me and hostess was a new one. How would you handle it if not ONE person showed up?

I felt bad for her. I KNOW she felt terrible for me. You just NEVER know how parties are going to turn out. I FAILED in my job of host coaching as well as I could have. I should have asked her on Weds (for a Friday party) How many people do you have CONFIRMED as attending? I ASSUMED we were good and it fell apart. I failed my host.

So what do you do? You make the best of it. You put on your big girl panties and you act like a pro. We sat and chatted, we laughed. We furthered our RELATIONSHIP, our friendship and I reassured her it was NO BIG DEAL and we made jokes, ate her snacks she had hastily prepared and we went through the catalog. I told her the products we still had that she loved. I remembered that she loves coconut and introduced her to Lemon Rice. We talked about anti-aging and how I know she would love the Sweet Young Thing serum. We planned out some fun gifts for her friends and family. We made the best of an awkward situation and we both left smiling and laughing.

Now, the party is going to a facebook party live tomorrow! I left her fully prepared to collect orders. Life happened, she got busy, I got busy and we both tried to throw together a party. We both assumed. You know what they say about "Assume"

I packed up in the freezing rain and called Rob. Of course for 10 minutes I was sad that a really good party turned into a big 0. I was embarassed to share with YOU that I had NOT ONE SINGLE GUEST show up. But then I got off the phone and I took Rob's words to heart. This is the work of the enemy. SOOO many good things and blessings come from my Posh business. What if I quit when things got hard? What if I gave up because I had one stinky party? That's exactly what the enemy wants. That is the WALL we hit in direct sales. We are chugging along and things are awesome and then BAM, we run smack dab into a big ugly wall.

An empty calendar.
An awesome new team member who fizzles out.
An Unhappy customer.
The lady who has a reaction to her $100 order.
A bad vendor event.
A month with no sales.
Health issues, the loss of a family member, getting laid off from your full time job.
A month where you hear NO 100 times and you never find a Yes.
Getting lost for an hour on a delivery run.
Failed expectations.

It happens to every single one of us.

So what makes YOU different? Are you going to give up when the going gets tough? Are you going to miss out on the AMAZING things happening when you focus on the bad? Are you going to QUIT right before the doors burst open and the blessings come?

Direct sales is not easy. SALES is not easy! The difference between the most successful salesperson out there and the person who never sells a thing is quitting. Stop trying and it's over. The biggest thing that keeps people from success in direct sales is themselves. A lack of confidence and a lack of determination.

Our team is on the verge of a HUGE promotion. I have had a FANTASTIC month in sales already. I have hostesses coming up and a huge fundraiser for an amazing cause next week. What would I be missing out on if I gave up because of one stinky party?

Just keep swimming,

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dear Max.

Dear Max,

You are SIX! I can't believe it's been a blink since you went from this
to this
I know you and I see you. I know you love your family more than anything else in the world. Even new toys. You whispered it to me last night when I was talking about what was said Family is First. And you were right. I see you when you try so hard to do the right things. I know sometimes your 6 year old impulses take over and you do the wrong thing. But you know what? We love you anyways. Yes, sometimes it is hard to be your Mommy and Daddy. You are stubborn, hard headed and you JUST HAVE to get the last word in. But the things that drive us batty are characteristics that God himself put in your little body. We don't ever want to crush your spirit but we do want to mold you into the man you are called to be. 

You are a mama's boy through and through. We can thank the Army for that, leaving us alone for the first year of your life will do that to a mom and son. Last night when you couldn't sleep all you wanted was to lay in bed and talk to me. And when you wrapped your arm around my neck and whispered, "I love you more than anything, you're the best mom I ever had" it made everything better. I know you and Daddy butt heads but I know someday you are going to give me a "mommmmmmmmmmmmm" and choose your Daddy over me and that's ok. He has been waiting 6 years for his turn to be your favorite and I think he has another 10 to wait.

You are created PERFECTLY in His image. Do you know how much you are loved? Immensely. More than. Perfectly. As much as we try to love you in our human mommy and daddy ways your Heavenly Father does a much better job than us. He simply uses us as a conduit of His love and sometimes we fail in that. But we will never stop trying to do better for you. You are worth it. You deserve it.

We are so proud of you. Everyday. We love watching you play, learn, imagine, help your brothers and sisters, play with Jack, hug Presley and sooth Stella. We love watching you learn, read, do your homework, play t-ball, focus at MMA, build lego creations, make new friends, help in the kitchen, make us laugh, dance, sing, laugh and pray. We love you.

I can't believe you are SIX. I know in just another blink you will be sixteen even though you laughed at me when I said that.  You are my favorite Maximus. You are the best Max I ever had.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

I love my church.

Who else is obsessed with this song?

Church was so good this morning. Awesome worship. Having my mom and stepdad there beside us. Kiddos tucked safely in rooms playing, singing and learning about Jesus. My sweet nephew visiting with us.

This song relates to me so well right now. Things feel very uncertain financially. It's tough not really knowing if/when we will be getting a paycheck. And as two fiercely independent people who have worked since we were teens and rarely rarely have had to ask for help, it's a learning curve we aren't used to. But that's the glory of our Savior. He knows. He sees. He has it completely taken care of. After an awesome worship set the speaker was Robert Morris from Gateway Church speaking about Multiply...last week was about giving God the FIRST 10%. The FIRST.

This week was about how God MULTIPLIES our finances. Rob and I have seen our finances added many many times. There are past blog entries about checks in the mail, gifts, surprises and unexpected finances coming through at just the right time. That comes from faith and tithing. That's been hard this year. Money has been tight and the pinch has been tighter. But God knows. He sees. He has it completely taken care of. Pastor Robert spoke about in order for God to MULTIPLY our finances we have to give above and beyond our tithe. And just like that a $ amount entered my head and my heart.  I am grateful that today we were obedient. It feels right.

The 2nd principle of Multiply is being a GENEROUS giver. Be a radically generous giver. I can honestly say that is my hearts desire. We can give now but I KNOW that there is a day coming where we will be able to give RADICALLY and I can't wait. Pretty interesting coming from the family with 1 income thanks to the government shutdown. All I do is shut up and listen when God speaks. Something big is happening. Something is stretching us. We are learning, growing and being molded for something bigger. I can't wait.

Tonight will you join me in praying for our President and our elected officials? Lord, break their hearts for the people they signed up to serve. Help them fix this, listen, compromise, learn from each other, think beyond their borders, themselves and their agendas. God, change them.

God is Good All the Time,

Part 1 of Multiply
when Part 2 is up I will link it here.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Love a Mompreneur!

Have you heard that phrase yet? I keep seeing it pop up over and over again and I love it.

Mompreneur. A Mom. Running her own business is a Mompreneur.

Here is the deal. Mom's balance a LOT. No matter what. I am thankful I have a unique perspective as a mom who has been a full time working mom who worked outside the home 40+ hours a week AND as a Work at Home Mom. When Max was a baby I worked full time as an event coordinator and he went to daycare. The first 18 months we did pretty well, I love working. I loved Max. I loved his daycare. Eventually I stopped loving my job and God started changing my heart. My business at the time allowed me to jump back to a part time job and work part time from home. 4 years later I am still doing that. So like I said, we Mom's certainly know how to juggle. So mom's who juggle their own businesses on top of everything else, schools, kids, house cleaning, cooking, meal planning, doctors appointments, schedules, pets, travel, sick babies, church, friends, family, volunteering, well those Mom's rock.

What if this holiday season you supported another Mom and her business? Instead of browsing Wal-mart or Target or the mall (ugh who wants to go to the mall?) you looked around and supported a Mompreneur that you know? Your business MATTERS to us. You aren't just another customer to us, you are THE customer. Your business isn't a drop  in a giant bucket. Your business matters here.

Being a Mompreneur isn't easy but it's so worth it! So this year, look around and support your favorite Mompreneurs! I promise they appreciate you and your money isn't going into a corporate black hole. It's going to a family, christmas presents, new shoes, dinner on a table, piano lessons, dance shoes or a tank of gas. Go love a Mompreneur this year.

Here are some of my favorites :)
Adorable organizing supplies and planners

Stacey Sprague-Scentsy Consultant
Love their warmers and of course their Wax! Scentsy buddies make great gifts too!

Angi Fox-Martin-Grace Adele Consultant
I love their scarves. They are affordable and super cute! Packaged beautifully for gifts!

Tabetha Hulon-Thirty-One Gifts

Angela Allen-Origami Owl
Love their lockets, charms and coming soon, bracelets!

House of M
ADORABLE hats, bracelets, jewelry and more!

Stella and Dot
Amy Harkreader

Hand Stamped by Lorelei
Beautiful hand stamped keychains, jewelry, serving ware and ornaments!

Erryn's Little Bow-Tique
Too Cute hand made bows, tutus, tees!

Stampin Up with Andi
Stamps, Stationary and Scrapbooking!

Opal Alley Boutique
Adorable Trendy clothes for every mom!

Usbourne Books-Joie Linser
Amazing books for all ages of kiddos! GREAT gifts!

Pink Zebra-Amber Foote
Yummy sprinkles and more...

Print the Party
Custom plates, lunchboxes and party supplies!

Material Girl Designs
Handmade aprons, pillows, keychains, lanyards and more!

Sew Simple
Cutest pillows around! Love the boot forms!

Green Bambino
All your eco friendly baby and mommy needs here...

Modern Whimsy
Kellie now has accessories available at the Broadway Antique Market in downtown Edmond and I can't wait to see it!

Awesomely I probably left out a million people! But go Love a Mompreneur this year by supporting her business. I promise, it matters!