Chase:Every:Second

Enjoying every second of life and running.


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Disney World Tips for Traveling with a Pre-Schooler and Toddler

There are MANY great blogs and YouTube videos available on tips for traveling to Disney World that I hesitated to even write about it. However, perhaps our family dynamic and preferences will be relatable to some and perhaps others can benefit from what we’ve learned. Some of these tips may be obvious to folks, but for us they just were not. I felt quite overwhelmed by the all the information and felt like I needed a degree in Disney. We did not use a travel agent and chose to manage the logistics ourselves. Travel agents can be super helpful getting everything organized and perhaps extra perks, so if you have that option definitely consider that as well.

We’ve now traveled to Disney World with our kids three times in a year, including flying commercial. While frequent to some, others are even more frequent visitors than us with more experiences to share. So three trips definitely doesn’t make us experts, each time we learn and see new things. I would love to learn from your tips and experiences, so please leave comments if you have other suggestions.

Dates / Hotels

Our trips were the following months and hotel locations:

  • September 2017 (post major hurricanes) – Polynesian Resort
  • February 2018 – Contemporary Resort
  • June 2018 – Polynesian Resort

There is information about the best times and the worst times to go to Disney World. We ended up seeing a variation of that because of the timing of our trips. September 2017 ended up being our hottest trip so far, February 2018 had the best weather, and June 2018 was our most crowded experience. However, each trip stands out with unique memories as each time we saw new things and tried new restaurants.

This will not be a recap of each entire trip, but a summary of the tips we have picked up along the way that are making each next visit that much more enjoyable.

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September 2017

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September 2017

So in no particular order, here are tips and tricks we’ve done in our Disney World travels:

Tip #1 – Know your family dynamic and preferences.

Our personal preference is to make the trip fit you and not the other way around. I know that’s hard to say based on the level of investment it takes to go to Disney World. Yes there are ways to make Disney World more affordable, but for the whole it can be a pricey experience. The money spent coupled with perfect photos on Instagram/FB can bring a pressure to maximize your experience to your own misery. It’s SO unfortunate that multiple times my husband and I walked around with grins on our faces and noticed how tired and unhappy the majority of the crowd was. Even if it’s Disney World, I desire it to feel like a vacation (even if there are times when it doesn’t). Therefore, we chose to honor some things about our family over the pressure to maximize the Disney experience.

The aspects we took into account were:

  • Our children are young (ages 2 and 4, eventually 5 on our last trip). Our kids need naps/bedtimes to function.
  • Our kids are snackers and our 2 year old will sit still for a meal for about 15 mins.
  • Our daughter prioritized meeting characters for our first trip.
  • I have little patience and my 2 year old has even less, which means not standing in line over 30 minutes, even if that means missing some cool rides or character visits.
  • We knew we needed to fly 2.5 hours vs. drive 16 hours, direct flight is best.
  • We likely won’t be in cute matchy-matchy outfits. As much I adore that in other people’s photos, it just wasn’t going to happen. It takes extra money, time, and stress to accomplish. It was less pressure to make sure we all had on the right clothes and kept them nice, especially since our son is a messy kiddo and it was super hot on 2 of our 3 trips.

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Our first time at Disney World – September 2017

Tip #2 – Bring more extra clothes than you think…add two extra outfits per child, at least

So if you have little ones I’m not telling you something you don’t already know, except above your normal “extra clothes” plan for a trip, add two more AT LEAST. And here’s why that was a lesson learned for our family:

On our first trip, I had an extra outfit for each day for our son, Nash. Little did I know how fast we would go through those extra outfits. He was extra messy eating new foods and playing around on various things. Before I knew it we were leaving for home with one spare outfit left, which felt like I just squeezed by until we ended up having a super long bus charter ride (Disney’s Magical Express) and a long wait to get through security to our gate that Nash had peed through his diaper and clothes. I took him to the bathroom to change into his very last clean outfit. He was so unhappy about this situation he refused to lie down for the changing so I had to change him while he was standing up. He then proceeded to pee when undressed and ruin his socks. So we end up with no socks, shoes, and his last outfit. Then the flight takes extra long landing as they are in the pattern for an extra 30 minutes, followed by a 30 minute taxi to our gate. I’m not able to get Nash changed and it turns out he has again peed through his diaper and pants. Due to our quick repacking of bags, all I have left is a pair of Chase’s PJ pants and a shirt. I have to change Nash in the seat right there and put him in his sisters clothes. He was so upset and kept pulling at the clothes in frustration because he knew he had on his sisters stuff. LOL We are the hot mess express! 🙂 So many lessons learned here. Triple the extra outfits, more ziplock baggies for change of clothes, and definitely more diaper changes when there is time on the plane because Nash drinks more fluids when on trips and he’s tired. 🙂 I can say that we haven’t had a situation this bad again so far. 🙂

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Our first Disney World Trip – September 2017

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Our second trip for Nash’s 2nd birthday.

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Our third trip we had a 2 hour rain delay, but luckily we were just held up in the terminal and not stuck on the plane.

Tip #3 – If you have a toddler, have an exit strategy for meals and experiences

Nash is a great eater and a great sleeper. However, he is not one for standing or sitting still. Our boy is always on the go. He will sit down for dinner, but after he’s eaten all of his food he’s ready to get down and go run. This doesn’t work well for table service meals and there were some character experiences we wanted to enjoy. Also, neither of our kids are very distracted by a tv show or game on our phone. We might be able to get 10-20 minutes, but they would rather go explore than be on a phone. Therefore we have implemented an ‘exit strategy’ plan. Basically if Nash gets too fussy and is disrupting other patrons I will take him to wash his hands or go for a walk outside. Either seems to help him reset and then come back to the table. However, sometimes the meals can take up to 45 minutes to an hour. Nash is off schedule for naps and overstimulated by all the new things going on so he gets fussy even easier on a trip like this. So without a big conversation, I will just leave with Nash and Rob knows if I don’t return to just box up our food, pay the bill, and then text us to see where we are. In some cases we’ve been able to walk around near a restaurant, in other cases we just head back to the hotel room.

Since we’ve finally seen many character meals on our last trip we spent dinners taking food back to our hotel room and it was the best decision ever. The kids were able to relax and focus on their meal.

 

Tip #4 – Don’t stress over experiences being on opposite ends of a park

When planning our first visit I was stressing over which rides to fast pass and should we see and do things in a certain order based where they are on the map. This turned out to be unnecessary. Fast pass have an hour long reservation and I think you can be 10 minutes early or 10 minutes past those set times. Plus the parks are all very walkable (well the ones we saw: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom). I felt like rides appeared to be further apart on the map for Magic Kingdom and then in reality it was a very easy walk to the opposite end of the park.

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Our third time at Disney World, but Nash’s first time riding the tea cups. – June 2017

Tip #5 – Research restaurants and balance scheduled meals with flexibility

Each trip we’ve had the Deluxe Meal Dining Plan, just so we wouldn’t have to think much about what and where to eat. I wouldn’t say this plan is necessary, especially if you are like us and don’t need to have a giant meal (appetizer, dinner, and dessert) at every meal or more than one snack a day. Now that we have a good idea of the restaurants we like, I would consider just paying for meals and see if the budgeting is better versus the meal plan or reduce our meal plan category. Here are some other things to think about:

  • Consider Character buffets to maximize seeing characters and getting a meal that works for everyone (note these types of dinners may require more points on your dining plan or separate payment). Not all character meals are the same. Our favorites are:
    • 1900 Park Fare at Grand Floridian Resort – You get to meet Cinderella, Prince Charming, the evil step mother, and both step sisters. They spend more time meeting your family and cracking jokes.
    • Chef Mickey’s at Contemporary – A character filled (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto) and large buffet that has food for everyone. The character visits move quickly (including a fun dance party) that keep things interesting.
    • Cinderella’s Table – The menu for breakfast and lunch are extensive and well done. You get to meet a lot of princesses and the ambiance of the castle is so nice.
  • Our least favorite character meals:
    • Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom (I know some hard core Disney folks may hate our assessment) – I found meeting Winnie the Pooh and friends a low priority, but also the food was sub-par, and the worst part is that the size of the facility is so large that the character greetings are spaced out far a part making the meal way longer than it needs to be.
    • Lilo and Stitch Breakfast at O’Hana (again I know others enjoy this one) – The best part for us was Mickey Mouse being there. The breakfast is okay and we are not a fan of the Hawaiian juice they offer here. I felt the service was slower and personally I haven’t enjoyed the sit down meals at the Polynesian. I feel the quick service meals are there better at the resort.
    • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at Epcot – The line just to wait for your reservation is very long and slow. The buffet is has smoked fish and other more unique items that personally I wasn’t interested in trying while being out in the blazing hot sun all day. While you get to see a lot of princesses, the service is slow. Between the long line, slow service, and an impatient toddler I just felt like it wasn’t worth it. I would have rather had a nice quick meal in the park somewhere instead.

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1900 Park Fare (on our first visit – September 2017) The step mother was so wonderfully in character and begrudgedly said “milk” instead of “cheese” since Nash was not interested in taking a photo. 🙂

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Chase asked the sisters to sing “sweet nightingale  which then they required her to sing it first and then then they joined in. 🙂

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Lunch at Cinderella’s Castle for Chase’s 5th Birthday – June 2018

 

 

 

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Chef Mickey’s – February 2018

We get so many photos at Chef Mickey’s every time we go. This one is a lot of food and character experience for your time.

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Chef Mickey’s – June 2018

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Be Our Guest – Magic Kingdom – June 2018

Tip #6 – Never pay for a bottle of water (if you can help it)

So this was a rookie mistake the first time we went. We had our refillable cups from the Disney Dining Plan, but we weren’t noticing the water fountains. We were so thirsty that we kept buying bottled water and not once did an employee tell us we could have a cup of ice water for free instead. I wouldn’t have thought to ask for this, but I found out from a youtube channel that had Disney tips that every snack and quick service spot will provide you free ice water upon request. Don’t make the mistake we did and pay for water if you can help it! 🙂

Tip #7 – Memory maker is worth it

I would say the memory maker is worth the money. You can get professional photos from photographers throughout the park. They sync with your magic band and become available quickly in the Disney World App for download. It was just one last thing to think about that we had photos of our vacation quickly and easily, including photos from some of the rides.

Also we got beautiful photos as a part of the Bippity Boppity Boutique package we purchased.

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Our first trip Chase chose to be Princess Belle from Bippity Boppity Boutique – September 2017

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Our third visit was to celebrate Chase’s 5th birthday. She chose Princess Elena from Bippity Boppity Boutique

Tip #8 – Download the Disney World App and consider other apps to enhance your experience

The Disney World App is a must have. You can manage your fast passes, view line waits, monitor your Disney dining plan, see photos, and more. Plus also research grocery delivery apps and consider adding Lyft as an option in case you need to get quicker transport to/from locations.

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Animal Kingdom – February 2018

 

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Magic Kingdom – September 2017

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Tip #9 – Find ways to chill out for your little one (or for the whole gang)

We spend most of our time in the Magic Kingdom and we’ve come to love the train rides as a way to relax and enjoy the breeze for a good 20 minutes. We also found the Casey Jr Splash and Soak Station in Fantasy Land to be a hit. Nash could splash around on a hot day while Chase and Rob would ride rides. I would do this before a diaper change and then just fully change his clothes as well so he was good to go to the next spot afterward. We also found a playground area at the exit of Splash Mountain that is fully shaded. Nash also enjoys looking at the birds and fish in the lagoon in Frontier land. Also, the baby center behind Crystal Palace is a large, well air conditioned area to get a little one’s diaper changed, fed, etc. before heading back out to the park.

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Tip #10 – Park extra events may sound like a good idea, but don’t forget the dynamic of your family

This was a complete gamble, but we have purchased the extra tickets for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and for the Fireworks and Dessert in Magic Kingdom and neither worked out for us. Chase isn’t into scary things so despite the fun decorations and truck loads of candy, she was ready to leave early because she said “I think we should go before I get too scared.” 🙂 Another time then. 🙂 For our June 2018 trip we had tickets to the dessert and fireworks event. You get all you can eat treats and drinks and special park seating for the fireworks. Despite a good nap our kiddos were too tired and fussy to enjoy this. It was just too much too soon. Also, another time. 🙂

To wrap up this post (because I could go on forever about things we seen and enjoyed in Disney), make sure to also consider the following when planning your trip:

  • Bringing a stroller versus renting versus other options
    • Bringing your own stroller allows you to use it during your entire trip even outside the parks and can be an economical option. However, you have to be willing to lug it on and off gate check of airplanes if you fly commercial.
    • You can search and rent strollers delivered and picked up right from your hotel.
    • You can also rent a stroller inside a park, but you are not able to take it out of the park to use as you travel to other locations.
    • Some people purchase an inexpensive umbrella stroller via Amazon, have it delivered to their hotel, held in their name and then leave it or give it someone else.
  • Selecting your parks and park hopping or not
    • As I’ve stated before our family is young and requires a lot of breaks. Therefore we never park hopped and we also never spent open (“rope drop”) to close in a park. We even took time to enjoy the hotel pools and play areas to help the kids unwind for naps and bedtime.

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Aloha Disney – Leaving the Polynesian Resort after our first visit – September 2017

I hope this was helpful in some way, or at least entertaining. I will finish the post with a bunch of character photos. 🙂

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Chase’s 4 Year Birthday Party – June 2017

Catching up on posts and wanted to share photos of Chase’s 4th birthday party from June 2017, which was mermaid themed.

We started her birthday morning with a spa day of nails and hair. Chase’s first salon manicure and pedicure.

 

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Cake and Cakepops by Sugarmama Bakery of Normal, IL

Cake Topper by Etsy Store: PattiAntiePrettys

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Fondant Seashells from Etsy Store: anafeke

I used brown sugar in the food display to look like sand. For the table cloth my husband and I took brown paper and created a treasure map and burnt the edges and holes in it.

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Cookies from Etsy Store: SugarHeartsBakery

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For decorations, I reused vases that I had, filled them with play sand, seashells and white candles. I used existing storage boxes that I had of different types. Our professional photographer didn’t get photos of all of the food items. We had:

  • Pirate Popcorn
  • ‘Fish & Chips’ – goldfish crackers and apple chips
  • Crab Dip
  • ‘Seaweed Dip’ – Spinach Artichoke Dip
  • ‘Rafts’ – Tortilla Rounds
  • ‘Drift Wood’ – Pita Chips
  • ‘Floats’ – Root Beer Floats with Ice Cream in Mason Jars and Root Beer Bottles
  • Sea Water – Fruit Punch
  • Lagoon Water – Gatorade
  • Snowcones

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I didn’t love the Etsy Store that did the birthday banner so I won’t leave the store name here.

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We hung a net for a nautical effect. Balloons from Party City.

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Treasure Chest from Etsy Store: OldArtView

We filled the treasure chest with necklaces and chocolate coins from Party City.

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Nash’s shirt from Etsy Store: pinkboxstudio

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Chase loved the day, and we enjoyed the time catching up with friends.


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I might have an addiction to Stitch Fix

I think I’m about 7 orders into Stitch Fix and felt compelled to share my thoughts on this company and service.

For those not familiar with Stitch Fix, it’s a personalized online clothing shopping experience.

  • You fill out a personal profile sharing your style preferences and schedule an order (a ‘fix’) either ad hoc or on a recurring basis (2 weeks, 3 weeks, monthly) for $20 per fix.
  • Then a stylist selects 5 items based on your profile and preferences (clothing, shoes, and/or jewelry). You can exclude categories and styles from selection. For example, I have excluded shoes, jewelry, and certain types of clothing from my orders.
  • You set the price point range on each category (tops, pants, accessories, etc.). Also, you can be even more specific on price points in your scheduled request.
  • The items are delivered via USPS to your door.
  • You have 3 days to determine what you would like to keep or return. Returns are free and you are provided a return USPS bag that you can drop in the mail or schedule for pickup.
  • You receive a styling inspiration card that shows you two options for how to wear the item. I keep these cards in my closet drawer for general styling inspiration and reference.
  • You are charged only for the items you keep. The $20 styling fee is applied to anything you keep. If you keep all 5 items, you receive a 25% discount.
  • You provide feedback on anything you keep or return. This becomes more data for your personal profile and additional data for future data analysis for other consumers. I love the data science aspects applied at their company. If you want to learn more about how Stitch Fix applied big data analytics, check this out here.

To make sure you have the latest information just check out their FAQs.

Also, Stitch Fix now offers service for Maternity and Men as well!

What appeals to me about this service:

  • Convenience – Being a working mom with two kids, time is the commodity that value has skyrocketed. I don’t enjoy shopping in the same ways as I did. Even if I had the actual free time, I get anxiety browsing around hoping to find an item and see IF they have my size, etc. All I feel is the opportunity cost of that time lost that could be doing something more productive. Only if I were shopping with a friend would I find that activity enjoyable, just because it’s time with someone I care about.
  • Selection – I live in the midwest with access to Chicago, if I want to spend the day fighting traffic. I love Chicago, but I would rather be there for an event than just to get clothing. Stitch Fix (or another clothing service) allows me access to brands and styles I don’t have close by.
  • The element of surprise. It’s almost like getting a present. That’s a mental trick in the mix. I am paying for the items. The packaging and presentation of the items gives off a gift vibe. PS – there is a way to peek at your fix while it’s in transit and I have to look every time. Still it’s a surprise to see the items in person. 🙂
  • This has introduced me to other brands that I can sometimes purchase through other stores. Stitch Fix continues to grow exclusive designs and relationships with companies, so not all items are available. It’s a rare occurrence, but it has opened my eyes to other brands/styles that may work for me in general.

Some tips that have helped me make the most of my orders. Also, check out the website for additional tips.

  • I created a Pinterest board of my style tailored specifically towards my next fix desires. Meaning, if I’m wanting a dress or two I would put more pins of dresses as examples.
    • I try to make comments on those pins (when time allows) to further help describe what I like about that item.
    • I’m careful to pin an item that accurately depicts what I want. Meaning if the picture shows a woman’s outfit that includes pants I don’t like. I will likely not pin the item or update the description accordingly.
  • In my order request I describe my desires for that fix. For example, I will say “1-2 blazer/cardigans for work that I can layer with 3-4 tops that can be worn for work or casual. I would like to see an item like the <insert name of item here> pinned on my Pinterest board.”
  • I provide very constructive feedback on both items I keep and items I do not keep. As detailed as the 250 characters allow. I quickly state if I love or dislike an item and describe why by hitting on points about the color/pattern, fit/feel/weight, functional to my current wardrobe, and any other aspects (age appropriateness, event, etc.)
  • Try ALL items on even if they are unexpected. Also, I try them on more than once and sometimes with other items in my closet. I have been pleasantly surprised by items that grew on me. However, if the item doesn’t look right at all then I send it back.

Now on to my experience. I’m currently scheduling my ‘fix’es ad hoc.

Stitch Fix #1 – July – 2016

My first fix was post second baby (Feb 2016), so I was excited to be done with maternity ware and get some new items for going back to work, but I was not excited about shopping for my post-baby body. I’m rocking a mom-bod and hey it is what it is. I’m working out when I can and not stressing about it.

I was pleasantly surprised that my first fix was a 4/5 in my book. I wasn’t in love with the dress. I ended up keeping it because the 25% discount made it less expensive to just keep all five than send the dress back. I can see how this business model could keep me taking something I’m iffy about just for the discount, dangerous territory.

Here’s where I learn that there are actually groups on Facebook, eBay stores, and probably other locations where you can sell/trade Stitch Fix items that you are on the fence about to supplement keeping an item to protect the discount. For me personally, that’s meta work that I won’t do. I either will keep it AND wear it, or don’t buy it at all. If I had the cycles to post, follow up, and mail items to other people for money, then I might as well be out and about shopping for myself (which I don’t enjoy these days).

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It’s hard to see it on this item but the black print is tiny hearts. At first I thought it was too sweet looking, but I tried it on more than once and fell in love with it. The fit of the item was perfect and it was easy to layer with cardigans for work. I wore the heck out of this shirt. It felt the demise of getting laundered in the wrong load and was gone before I would have expected, but that’s my bad. I haven’t had nicer made clothing items in awhile and I recognize that I need to be more careful with laundry going forward to take care of the investment.

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I wasn’t familiar with Daniel Rainn until Stitch Fix and this is brand that you can find items in other stores too. I get compliments on this top every time I wear it. It’s so versatile to wear alone or with a blazer/cardigan/jean jacket. And it coordinates with a lot of different colored cardigans, which switches up the look.

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At first glance, I was like okay…but I could just buy a green cardigan. I’m glad I kept this item because Market and Spruce is a high quality feeling product. It’s holding up well and the shade of green goes with both tops above and others in my closet.

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Okay this is the magic of Stitch Fix. I’ve later learned from reading other people’s posts that Stitch Fix is known for their ability to fit someone in pants. How did they fit me (in my mom-bod) in dress pants that are able to even be dressed down in one try?! I couldn’t do that. This is the value add for me.

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And the dress I didn’t know I needed. This was the item I liked least, so much so I rated it as “Hate it” and put comments that I was only keeping the item for the discount on all 5 items. However, since I’m not interested in selling items I finally had to reach for it one day and actually it worked well. 🙂 I’m glad I’ve kept the item. While it’s not my favorite dress. It’s functional and professional for work.

Stitch Fix #2 – October 2016

So keeping all items last fix and using them all, let’s just say my expectations where set. This is where I learn that I could have paid attention to the stylist assigned to me and specifically requested her again. Whoops. The next fix was a BUST pretty much. Everything but the scarf I’m wearing below was not only a return, but with very strong feedback that it seemed that not only did no one care to look at my style that they sent me things hoping I would just take them (because they were so ugly…I didn’t say that at least, my point was made). At the time I didn’t know I would be posting about Stitch Fix so I didn’t keep pictures of the hideousness sent to me. Instead I keep the scarf (~$30) and I’m happy I did. I love it and receive compliments on it.

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Stitch Fix #3 – October 2016

I was clear in my feedback that I was not looking forward to a future Stitch Fix and really was ready to put them out of my mind. I think they sent me an offer to get a free fix and wave the styling fee, so I went ahead and scheduled another.

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Again with the perfectly fitting jeans, impressive!

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This is the right fit and color. The weight of the material is a little heavier than I would want, but I kept it and use this dress.

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I like the rushed sleeves and the length of this blazer. It’s a bit heavier of a material, so more ideal for colder temps. I wish the sleeves cuffed to show the striped lining, but that’s ok.

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NOOOOOOO!!!!! NEVER!!!!! Everything about this is a NO.

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Return – Sizing was too large and the print wasn’t what I was looking for.

Stitch Fix #4 – May 2017

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Return – This item has a work vibe of a past era too much. The print, sleeves, and neck tie are too much for me.

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Keep – not my favorite top, but meeting my needs that it pairs well with cardigans and blazers. I was in desperate need of new tops so I felt inclined to make this item work.

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At first glance I was like “umm…I’m a mom, I can’t have white items”. So I have to be EXTRA careful, but I’m clumsy even before kids. This top has been a surprise gem that pairs well with so many blazers and cardigans. I love this top.

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Return – The texture of this blazer was too much, very crinkly. This appears to influence a future fix.

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Return – The intent was good, but the blazer felt like a t-shirt. Too comfy because it had little structure.

Stitch Fix #5 – July 2017

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Return – The intent was good, but it just wasn’t me. Too presidential….if that’s a way to describe it.

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Keep – A staple item that fits so many outfits. I would take this in multiple colors.

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Keep – Keep forever!!! Argh their ability to fit pants. How can work pants be so comfortable?!

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Return – Priced too high for an item that has little structure and t-shirt style. The shoulder pads protrude when worn because the material is too soft.

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Keep – LOOOOVE this item! I get a lot of compliments on it. The buttons are like little pyramid studs. This is the hidden gem items that keep me interested.

Stitch Fix #6 – July 2017

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Return – Reluctantly return because the buttons are scuffed and I don’t feel like I should pay for something that looks worn. If it were in the store I would be searching for another or leaving it there, so I returned it with comments. It’s a shame though. I liked this item and will try to request it.

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Return – Felt this item was too mature for me. Cozy, but not the look I was going for.

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Return – Damaged item! There was a large hole in the seam of one of the sleeves. I was very disappointed and turned off by the whole fix at this point.

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Return – Again too mature for my taste and the flower pattern too soft/delicate.

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Return – I like the pants, but returning the damaged items I don’t have a use for this pant color at this time.

Stitch Fix #7 – August 2017

Stitch Fix heard my feedback and offered me a free styling so I scheduled a new fix and we have a winner!! The stylist hit all of my preferences and even took time to consider how to mix and match with my other kept items from previous fixes.

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Keep – This was directly linked on my Pinterest board and works with various items in my wardrobe.

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Keep – Similar to a blazer in a previous fix, but without the strange texture. It’s lightweight and good for layering in warm temps.

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Keep – Love the color and the scallop edge detail.

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Keep – LOVE!!!!! Omg so comfortable! And the raw edge detail gives it some interest, without making it look too worn. Love the wash too!

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Keep – Love the color and the detail! This top goes with so many blazers and cardigans.

 

And that’s my Stitch Fix experience thus far. Hopefully some of this information was helpful in your consideration of this service or one like it. Let me know if you have any questions and I can update the post accordingly. Thanks!

 

If you want to try Stitch Fix out, you can use my referral link.

 

 


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Nash’s 1st Birthday

We celebrated Nash’s 1st birthday with a party in early March. We got very lucky with the weather that Saturday and the kids were able to enjoy some time in a bounce house. Nash’s party was baseball, Cubs theme.

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Baseball wreath from Etsy – SarahBerryDesigns

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Birthday banners from Etsy – SparklingConfetti

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Moss table runner – Amazon

“N” flag cake and baseball cake pops from Sugarmama Bakery in Normal, IL

Cookies from Etsy – TheTreatsbyTrishShop

Extra snacks: Cracker Jack, Beer Nuts, Pretzels, and Baseball chocolates

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Cotton Candy from Etsy – SweetopiaCottonCandy

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Custom Baseball Shirts – Etsy – PurpleElephantSTL

 


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Chase’s 3 Year Old Birthday Party – June 2016

So I have a bit of catching up to do on blog posts. I wanted to still do a quick write up of Chase’s 3rd birthday party (June 2016) that was pink and gold, ballet themed. At the time Nash was only 3 months old and I remember purposely picking items that would be very easy to put out and take little assembly or arranging.

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This time instead of having a giant cake we went with a bunch of cupcakes shaped into a “3” and then did a whole cake the next day with family.

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Glitter 3 from Etsy

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Cupcakes and Custom Ballet Slipper Cake Pops from Sugarmama Bakery in Normal, IL

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Cotton Candy from Easy

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Birthday Banner from Etsy

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I had a clothes line that was just brown cord and clothespins hanging pink tutus in various sizes that we then gave to the girls that attended.

Tutus from Target

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Ballerina Straws from Etsy

Face painting fun

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Bounce Castle with Slide – All About Fun Inflatables in Illinois

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Cake for the following day with family

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Our First Year with Nash

I did not get monthly (or even quarterly) posts of Nash’s first year (like I did with Chase). Really after having Nash and going back to work the blog just became a low (or no) priority. I’m still deciding if and how much time I will have for blog posts now a days.

So to catch up on the amazing-ness of being a family of four and having Nash bless our lives here’s a recap of our first year with Nash Feb 29, 2016 to is first birthday. 🙂

Nash was delivered via c-section because he was breech the entire pregnancy. Rob picked Leap Day for his birthday because we just thought it was fitting for a boy who was trying to enter the world bottom first. 🙂 Turns out we ended up knowing two others in our town who also had Leap Day babies (not their plan), which with our town’s population I thought was pretty amazing. Here’s my post about Nash’s delivery.

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Transitioning from one kid to two brought a lot of changes. I think Rob and I were much more ready on what to expect and handled all the baby things that come up well. The biggest adjustment was that we couldn’t tag team getting Chase ready in the morning, and bath and bed at night. Instead we were divided up man on man for those logistical moments. How people manage more than two I can’t even imagine. Hats off to you if you wrangle more than two kiddos. 🙂 While it takes more time in those more task oriented moments, the pay off is seeing the love between Chase and Nash. It’s so awesome seeing how much Chase smothers her brother in love. And it’s so fun to have dinner together at home and have two kids with dirty faces cracking each other up with their little games and sounds. It gives us a glimpse that this is just the beginning to their antics. 🙂

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Nash has been nothing but the opposite of his sister, which is cool. He’s his own dude and all boy. He goes to sleep easily most days, eats very well, and is very chill about day to day things. His smile is just so big and warm. He lights up the room with this giant smile when he’s a happy dude. However, when he is hungry, sleepy, or told ‘no’ he can’t stand it. His flare ups are epic and very physical, throwing his body weight around.

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Nash does not like to sit and read books on end like his sister Chase. Instead he loves to throw and destroy things around the house. He is very interested in how things work and attempts to take things apart often. He’s always trying to pry open doors or cabinets, even with repeated ‘no’. Chase on the other hand only had to hear ‘no’ once or twice and never challenged what not to do. Nash LOVES sports. At this very early age he was very quick to learn to throw and catch a ball. It was amazing the first two times we took him swimming to splash around a bit. He leaned forward and started moving his arms, head, and feet just like a swimmer! We will be looking into swim teams in the future.

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Nash is just the perfect ‘little’ man in our family. He was an infant for like a week and then turned into a giant over night. 🙂 He has our hearts forever, we love him so much. 🙂

 


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Hiatus

Well it’s been a little while since I’ve posted on this site. 🙂 Suffice it to say there are only 24 hours in a day and with a full time job, two young children, and a home to take care of any remaining time left has been used for exercise (on occasion) or sleep. 🙂

It feels like we might be hitting a groove so I hope to catch up some posts and capture some moments: celebrations, running, travel, and projects. If you are reading this I hope you check back as I hope to be posting again soon. 🙂


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Nash: Months 1 and 2

I want to capture a bit of Nash’s growth through the first year and how things are going with us as a family of four. This being our second child we knew what to expect regarding the basics. Really we just needed to learn Nash’s preferences and how to coordinate managing as a family with an infant and toddler (knowing that there will be adjustments through many milestones).

The first thing that stood out what Nash’s sleeping habits were much different than Chase. Nash can nap with noise around him (thank goodness since that will be a given in many situations). Nash would nap 1-3 hrs at a time right off the bat. He still prefers to cuddle versus sleep in a bassinet/swing/crib, but he will for some of his naps. He LOVES sleeping in his carseat. At two months we started small ventures out and walk/runs and he just snoozes comfortably.

He is NOT a fan of being swaddled so we put all the swaddle blankets away pretty early on. He is also not a fan of a pacifier. He would use one a limited amount in the early days but he quickly realized it’s not the real deal and has no interest in it.

Nash is a great eater, just like his sister was. I’m so glad that breastfeeding worked out for a second time. I plan to keep it up as long as my body will allow. I know my supply will take a hit when I go back to work and pump, but any day I can still breastfeed is a blessing.

Nash is hitting all the development milestones so I won’t list them all here. It’s fun to watch his smiles and coos and he tries to talk to us. 😀

He’s wearing size 1 diapers and 0-3 month clothing is snug in some brands. It may be time to bust out full-fledged 3 month clothing.

He was hating his baths, but recently he started enjoying them. One of his favorite things is enjoying music time of John Mayer and Jack Johnson. He gets so calm and focused when we play their music and sometimes even seems to bop in time to the music.

Nash is a very calm and easy-going baby. However, it’s funny though that when he doesn’t like something he goes from completely calm to instant very loud shrill scream. There is rarely a build up of crying, just a big scream that gets our attention immediately.

A few photos 😀

1 Month Old – Rocking the baby acne

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Month 2

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Arrival of Nash – Our Delivery Story

Before jumping into the delivery of our son Nash, let me wrap up the pregnancy with the final bump photos.

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Nash was ‘frank breech’ (meaning presenting bottom first and feet up in his face) the entire pregnancy. It made things very uncomfortable from about week 20 on and affected my ability to workout or even walk beyond 1 mile. We had many ultra sounds to see if he would flip around to a head down position, but he never did so we were scheduled for a c-section. This would be my first experience with a c-section and I was anxious about the procedure and feelings of the baby being removed. We work for a large company so it was easy to find many women who’ve had c-sections and could help ease some of my fears that their procedures all went well. Still it’s the not knowing that remained with me and was my only apprehension to the whole process.

Since we were having a scheduled c-section, we got to pick the delivery date that week and Rob chose Leap Day. 😀 He thought it would be cool and since this baby was a boy I figured maybe he would agree with his Dad. People asked us how we plan to celebrate his birthday on non-Leap Years. I think we will celebrate on the last day of February so that we stick with the birth month (which will then work for school when they acknowledge the birth month of the students, it would be Feb).

Our c-section was scheduled for 7:15am and I had to get checked in 2 hours ahead. I was surprised to find out that between questions, monitoring, IVs, etc. that the entire 2 hours is needed and filled with activity.

They had us ready to go and things moved really fast from there.

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They had me walk down to the operating room. I said to the nurse, “it’s funny we are going to a room that is basically like your office everyday and for me it’s a very intimidating scene”. The room was bright with two very large surgical lights over the bed and there were a lot of surgical tools on tables on one side. I made sure not to look, but I did catch a glimpse of one of the spreader type tools that would help open me up – yuck! That stuff freaks me out and I can’t even watch it on tv, let alone see it in person.

They sat me on the table and proceeded with the epidural. It was different getting it this time without the contractions. The pain of contractions over played my nerves about the pain of receiving an epidural last time. This time I just had to psych up for it and let it happen. It wasn’t the worst pain the world and it takes affect so quickly. My legs became warm dead weights and the staff picked them up and positioned me on the table.

We brought in our own music for the surgery including music from Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson, and Christina Perri. I’m so glad we had the music so I could focus on it and and Rob. I avoided looking straight up into the two large lights because you could see a reflection of the surgery in the glass.

I had heard people describe pulling and shifting of your insides. A couple of statements made by the staff was “your stomach was distorted by his position in the womb”, which matched my feelings carrying him and not being able to comfortably work out the final trimester. And they also mentioned “there is no way he would have flipped on his own with how he was folded up in there” and “wow he’s big”. What I was not prepared for was the popping feeling up near my ribs that felt like a rib bone being popped out of my body. And with that final feeling he was here! It was amazing that by 7:00am I was getting my epidural and by 7:30am our little man had arrived. It all happened so fast! I was happy that we were still able to have delayed cord clamping and skin on skin right away. I was able to hold him right then and there, it was perfect!

Baby Nash – 8 lbs 5 oz, 21.5 inches long

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While the deliver was fast the recovery not so much. I felt great afterward, but in the matter of an hour the drugs that were in my system started giving me side effects. I was quite ill feeling for a few hours and got sick a couple of times which is painful with an incision in you abdomen. I couldn’t cough or sneeze without terrible pain either. Eventually I was allowed to walk to the bathroom and finally eat food later that afternoon. I had forgotten how busy the whole process is of having a baby too. Nurses in doctors are in the room constantly checking on the baby and me. Needless to say I was ready to go home as soon as possible. We were able to be discharged after 48 hrs.

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I know each child is different about meeting a sibling. In Chase’s case it was completely smooth because she wanted a sibling from the beginning. She had been anticipating her brother’s arrival for so long and she is completely in love with him. We had them exchange gifts since we knew others that had done that, but she didn’t need that at all, it was just a bonus. Chase gushes on Nash every chance she sees him, it’s so wonderful to watch. 🙂

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Hanging out with Daddy

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Heading Home 😀

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I’ll post more about Nash and his development in an upcoming post. Now back to baby snuggle time for me. 🙂


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3rd Trimester and Nursery Update

The first two months of 2016 have been a whirlwind between work, Rob’s jury duty, illnesses, birthday celebrations, gymnastics, swim lessons, and outings, our calendar hasn’t let up yet.

Here are the bump progress photos 31 – 36 weeks.

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We finally got the nursery completed! I still have some items to add to the shelves on the walls and organizing the closet, but everything has come together. 🙂

Entering the nursery

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Rug – Wayfair, paint color Bher “Grey Area”, Rob added crown molding to the room

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Bookcase – IKEA

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Metal Magnet Display Board – Restoration Hardware

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Ceiling Fixture – Restoration Hardware

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Changing Table – Pottery Barn, Pillow – Easy, Basket – Meijer, Kendall Crib – Pottery Barn, Print – Easy, Picture Frame – IKEA, Propeller – A Simpler Time

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Mobile and Crib Sheet – Restoration Hardware, Canvas Print – Etsy

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Wood Shelves – West Elm, Table Lamp – Pottery Barn, End Table – IKEA

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Lucca Glider – Monte, Floor Lamp – Target, Pillow – Etsy

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Canvas Print – Easy, Blackout Drapes and Drapery Rod – Pottery Barn

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Closet Organization System – Container Store (I haven’t organized the closet, that’s the next step), Hamper – Pottery Barn, Hangers – Bed, Bath, and Beyond

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Just a few more weeks and our baby will be here!!!