Monday, August 7, 2017

Eleven Months of Brynn

This month we felt like you went from baby to big girl and here's why...



You now can identify and call us by "Mama" and "Dada".

You now understand how to be gentle while petting your dogs.

Vanilla and blueberry puffs are your favorite snack.

You can play a mean game of "Where's Brynn?" also known as peek-a-boo and...

YOU STARTED WALKING ON YOUR OWN!

With that being said things are definitely more eventful around the house especially for your Mim who watches you. While your walking steadily is still a work in progress you are a super fast crawler and can make it to your favorite toy, the dog's water bowl, before any of us can jump up and grab you.

This month also brings a very big change for our family because we are moving from Atlanta, GA to Orlando, FL. I, Momma, make the move down first and at the end of July right before your first birthday you and Mim will move down. At the time being Daddy is staying in GA for the fall semester and he will be very missed but hopefully he will be able to make visits often and we will all be together before we know it.



We honestly can't believe that almost a year has gone by since you came into our lives. We love seeing you grow and are so proud to be your parents. We love you Mouse!


Ten Months of Brynn

So many fun things this month so let's jump right in!

You are using anything and everything as a "walker" and on the move! You are so quick and brave. When you fall down you get right back up and keep going...which all of us could learn from. We finally ditched our big coffee table and traded it in for a tuffed storage ottoman for your safety and our sanity.





You and I went to Missouri to see your Aunt Riss graduate from college and had a great time. A few days later you and Daddy went up to Cleveland to visit Grandma Lo, Poppa B, and Uncle Jay for a few days. You were a huge fan of their new golf cart and Poppa B took you out on it quite a few times. When you were in Ohio you said "Dada" and "Papa" for the first time and melted the hearts of Brian Sr. and Jr.





You have learned to clap and I have to say i think it's the cutest thing you do. All of Mim's hard {patty cake} work paid off and we love to see you clap. the only thing that may be cuter is you shaking your head when we say, "no no no." You're squatting and standing back up which the doctor said is very good and advanced for your age. You can stand by yourself for a long time and I just know that someday soon you're going to take off running. You are so over baby food and want the real thing and we are doing our best to ease you into real food as safely as possible.

We traveled down to Orlando for the long Memorial Day weekend to see our friends and to have an early birthday celebration with your bestie, Stella. We took you girls to Epcot and you met your first character which was Daisy Duck! The weekend could not have gone better and we had so much fun!

No time to slow down...we're on to the next month! We love you so much Mouse!

This month's favorites: zebra walker // stacking rings // old navy bubble rompers

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

WDW Tips and Tricks: Common Questions Round 1

I get asked questions about WDW all the time so I started to keep track of them and want to answer some of them every so often here on the blog so here goes round one!

Baby Minnie Ears and Adult Ballcap made by yours truly available at Brave Bow Co

Where can I get cheap tickets to Disney?

There's honestly no such thing as cheap Disney tickets. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Don't ruin your vacation by purchasing illegally resold tickets that won't work for you and your family when you get to the gate. Instead opt for booking a vacation package where your tickets are included or buy {lightly} discounted tickets from AAA if you have a membership with them. Disney offers ticket specials throughout the year to FL residents and active/retired military so make sure to keep a watch out for those. 

Should we stay at a Disney hotel or off property?

This completely depends on what you want out of your trip. I personally LOVE staying in Disney hotels. It makes everything so convenient. Being able to bundle your hotel, dining, and tickets it great and not having to worry about airport transportation is wonderful. You might think that staying off property is cheaper but we found out the hard way that once they add the daily resort fee and parking charge it's not much cheaper and then you have to pay to park at the theme parks as well, when you stay at Disney you get a parking pass included in your stay. So in my opinion if you are staying for more than a couple days and really want to experience Disney go with a Disney resort.

Do you think we should do one park per day or park hop?

If you would have asked me this question two years ago I would have said park hop for sure! Now that I have to tote a stroller, baby, diaper bag, and everything else I say if you have kids in strollers do one park per day. If your kids will be walking park hop away! I want my days in the park to be as relaxed as possible and for me personally that means not having to take everything out of the stroller, fold it up for the car or bus, and then have to unpack everything again. Nope, not feeling that. 

The food there is so expensive...any tips on how to save some cash while eating in the parks?

If you want/need to be mindful of your food budget and are using the dining plan quick service options are your best option. The entrees can be ordered a la carte so you don't have to purchase the side item if you don't want to. Opt for a large cup of ice water instead of soda because it free and because FL is hot. Bring some snacks with you that won't melt in the hot FL sun to tide you over between meals along with a bottles water that you can refill throughout the day. If you still want to enjoy some treats and snacks in the park share it with someone so you have to buy one. 


What is your best Disney advice?

I get this one all the time and here is what my answer ALWAYS is...when something goes, wrong be nice to the person who is helping you. I can't stress this enough. There's a strong possibility that something will go wrong during your vacation. I know you've spent a lot of money on this trip. I know you've spent a lot of time planning this trip. I know you have high exceptions for The Most Magical Place on Earth but please so kindness and patience to the person helping to fix your issue. It's like my grandma always told me...you get more flies with honey than vinegar. 

Have other questions you'd love to have answered? Comment below and you might see it on round 2!



Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Nine Months of Brynn

You are officially "out" longer than you were "in' and we can't believe it. This month was filled with so much fun and new things for you so let's get right into it.

 Your "9" is made from golf balls since you made it through your first school year as a coach's kid

This month the night before we traveled the Nashville you said your first word which was...MAMA! I was so excited and daddy was only mildly jealous. You love to gab all day with your Mim and you like to "sing" songs from The Little Mermaid with her. You absolutely LOVE music! Your favorite songs are "The Hot Dog Dance" from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and the "I'm a Little Teapot" that's on a commercial...you will stop whatever you're doing to watch that commercial. Sometimes you try to "tip" over during it or once the song is done. This month brought your first tooth completely popping through. It's on the bottom in the front and now the tooth right next to it is making it's way up. That one little tooth has brought a love for food including hummus, mashed potatoes, peas, beans, and organic puff snacks...which you can feed to yourself!


You will not sit still for anything. You want to move, move, move and we love it! You are a super fast crawler, even though you always keep your left leg popped up with your knee to the sky. You can pull yourself up on anything and can even stand a few seconds by yourself. You've learned how to open drawers and cabinets so it's time to baby proof everything because you will be walking before we know it. This month you went to your first class at The Little Gym and had so fun! We are planing on signing you up for the summer session. Your doctor said you're growing exactly how you should be and that you are in the gifted bracket when it comes to motor skills and development. She thinks you might be walking in the next month which is absolutely crazy!


It's hard to believe that the planning for your first birthday is already underway. You have your joint early birthday party next month with Stella and then we will travel up to Cleveland to celebrate your actual birthday with our family there. We love seeing you grow and become a strong and independent little girl but we wouldn't mind it if you slowed down just a little. We love you so much Mouse!

This month's top items: Baby Pool // Minnie Mouse Walker // Alphabet Puzzle Floor Mat


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?!



You read that right people. This girl is registered for her first ever half marathon! I am a complete mix of nerves, excitement, and fear but I love it. I had always heard that you change so much when you become a parent and now that I've gone through it myself I have to agree. So many people (myself included) think that your life is "over" once you have children but I have to say I completely disagree. I've become a better wife, daughter, sister, friend, and person since becoming a mom and deciding to do this half marathon proves it. I want to teach Brynn that you should do things that are out of your comfort zone and that you don't think you can do. I want her to have a healthy relationship with food and exercise in a way that I never did. I'm finally ready to take the step towards a healthier life and am starting a program (today is my first session) with a health coach who has the most amazing mindset on healthful living that I can't wait to learn from. Wish me luck y'all!

I have been to dozens of Run Disney events as a working cast member (directing runners, getting them checked in, handing out medals, cheering them on, and unfortunately picking runners up who weren't keeping pace) but have only ran in one event myself. The Princess 5K back in 2013 with my friends Alexis, Billye (Alexis' mom), and Kacie. We all are running the half marathon together and adding my sister, bestie Natalie, and my health coach/Natalie's sister Diana to our running pack. Here are some pics from the 5K all those years ago. I can't wait to see the pictures we will get from the half!



Post Race Pics from 2013

Let the training begin y'all! Do you have any advice for me? Have you ever ran a ha;f marathon or race at Disney? Comment below!

Friday, April 21, 2017

WDW Tips & Tricks: Let Me Upgrade Your Souvenir Game

Trust me...I once to was the big eyed Disney fan buying up all the t-shirts, character plush animals, and random knickknacks in the parks but now I'm older and wiser to the Disney game. Today I want to share with you my favorite Disney souvenirs that are anything but basic...


Guided Tours 

I'll go ahead and admit that I'm totally biased when it comes to this one because I was a tour guide at Walt Disney World but I promise you'll love this alternative souvenir. Clearly you're a fan of Disney otherwise you wouldn't be spending your hard earned money on a trip there so why not ditch the $80 sweatshirt and coffee mug in The Emporium for a behind the scenes look at a place you love.

Yours truly giving the UnDiscovered Future World Tour

If you're a big Magic Kingdom fan and have always dreamed about walking through those famous Disney tunnels Disney's Keys to the Kingdom  is the tour for you...find more details on it HERE.

If Epcot is your park of choice I highly suggest The UnDiscovered Future World Tour because it was my favorite tour to give. You learn about the history of why Epcot is designed the way it is and why if Walt didn't have the dream of Epcot the Walt Disney World you know and love today might not exist....you can find more details on it HERE.

Caring for Giants is a great option for families (with kids age 4 and over) over at Disney's Animal Kingdom and you can get all the details HERE because who doesn't want a behind the scenes look at the amazing animals.

I had the pleasure of experiencing the fun and interactive Disney's Family Magic Tour a few years ago with my younger cousin, Will, and my mom. All the kids on the tour had a blast and us adults didn't stop laughing...mostly at each other acting like kids. You can get more information about that tour HERE.

Throwback to Segway tours at Epcot that I also gave that unfortunately are no longer offered at Epcot

Silhouettes

This is something I only started doing once I had my daughter but it's quickly become a must-do for us every visit. At various locations around The Walt Disney World Resort you can have an incredibly talented artist cut a silhouette for you. The fee is practically free compared to how much hand cut silhouettes are anywhere else in the world. So here are the details on the prices...a single is $12, for two people it's $20, for three people it's $24, and for a group of four it's $27. You get two "copies" of each silhouette done (oh hey gifts for grandparents) and you can purchase a frame for a mere $8.95 so you don't have to hunt down one at your local Hobby Lobby. If you have children GET THIS DONE EACH TRIP and I promise you'll love seeing how much they change.



Locations:

Magic Kingdom- Outside the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Liberty Square by the bridge

Epcot- The French Pavilion in World Showcase across from Chefs de France (i.e. the pics above)

Disney Springs- A small kiosk by the carousel near Earl of Sandwich and Once Upon a Toy


Our framed silhouette of Brynn (4 months old)

Professional Photo Session 

You are spending a small fortune on a trip to WDW so why not have some amazing tangible memories captured of you and your crew.

A few years ago (2011) I booked a session with Disney Fine Art Photography for my mom and I for Mother's Day and they were good but the quality has come a long way since then. I'm such a picture person that I want professional photos taken as much as I can. I love having a beautiful memory captured with EVERYONE in the photo.


My favorite "Disney Family" The Brankamps (I met them when I was working at Disney and we have stayed in touch for several years) had a session taken by them during their stay last year and even got a few senior shots for their oldest, Meg.



If you want more custom tailored family portraits check out Faison Anne Photography for an amazing session! I recently stumbled across this central Florida local on IG (you can follow her HERE) and she knows the parks well and is able to capture the most beautiful "in park" photos I have ever seen. She's a mom who takes her adorable son to the parks often so she understands more than anyone on how to capture the magic children have while at Disney. Her sessions provide way more options as far as location and style than the DFAP and you're supporting a small business! To be honest I'm surprised someone from the WDW Media team hasn't snatched her up for some campaign shoots. I for one can't wait for my personal session with her and when you book your session tell her I sent ya! Here are some of my favorite shots of her photography.




So there are my two cents on my favorite Disney souvenirs. Have you done any of these? What are your favorite Disney souvenirs? Comment below! 






Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Let's Get Real...

If we were having drinks together here is what I would be gabbing to you about...



It's SUPER DIFFICULT to make friends as an adult. The struggle is real y'all. This summer will be three years we have been in here GA and I have as many friends as Erika Jayne has f*cks given...that's right...none, not one, zero, zero, zero, done! My biggest fear is that will trickle down and affect Brynn's ability to make friends. I have always been so lucky to have amazing friendships just fall in my lap so this is crippling for me. I've gone so far as to join the Peanut app which is pretty much Tinder for moms to find mom friends but it's too weird for my liking. I've joined the Atlanta Social Club and have my first event next week so I'm hoping for the best.

Social Media and Blogging sometimes makes communicating awkward. Don't get me wrong I love them both so much but sometimes I wonder when I reach out to other bloggers and instagramer is it creepy. Do they realize that I simply admire them and their voice or do they think I'm a complete weirdo. I mean if you're putting your life out on a blog to share with others I hope you aren't startled when people reach out but I don't know. I've gone back and forth on whether or not to send a Mother's Day card to one of my blogging "friends" because I truly feel that she has made my transition to motherhood so much easier but I don't want her to think I'm a stalker lol.

We have started looking at houses here in Atlanta. I know this should be exciting but it's very bittersweet for us. I know we both have always thought we would raise our children are family and friends so the thought of truly planting roots here is a mix of emotions.

This is the craziest "season" of life. My best friend Katie and I were talking about how people always say that you find yourself and become "you" during your college years but Katie is calling bs on that. We both agreed that you become "you" in your mid-twenties to mid thirties. You're trying so hard to hold on to your old life and self while welcoming the person you've become. This is the time people are forming lasting romantic relationships, making homes, starting families, and trying our best to get our shit together once and for all. All the while we are trying to maintain and keep up with everyone in our social media circle. It's so exhausting and I for one am tired of the picture perfect lives everyone is trying to pretend they have. Life is messy and things rarely goes as planned and i think that is far more beautiful than a perfectly cropped and edited post on Instagram.

Hopefully I'm not alone in these feelings but even if I am it feels so much better to get them out. 



Friday, April 14, 2017

Eight Months of Brynn

I know I say it every time but I can't believe how fast time is flying! This month feels like the most you've grown and here's why...


You've gone from kind of crawling to full blown crawling like a champ
You are far too active for your swing and it has officially been retired
You are pulling yourself up to stand every chance you get
You love jumping in your JOEY JUMPER and now ever know what the word jump means
Your teeth are finally popping through your little gums
You love eating baby food and can hold your spoon (and bottle) all by yourself
You recognize the "Hot Dog Song" from MMCH and start dancing when it comes on

and my favorite...

You are so close to saying your first word which sounds a whole lot like "Momma"




Even though you have some amazing toys you prefer playing with the baby wipe box, tv remote, and "petting" your dogs. We got you your own BABY PHONE but you would rather play with the real phones. You celebrated your first St. Patrick's Day and I think you're going to be the life of the party because we tried to put you down for bed at your normal bedtime and you wanted to stay up and play.

Your "8" is made from bows made by momma. This month we opened our shop TheBraveBow Company and if it wasn't for you there would be no shop! You are becoming such a big girl and I can't believe we're already starting to make celebration plans for your first birthday! I can't wait to see what new things you learn to do next month. We love you so much Mouse!

Happy Easter Weekend!

Can you believe this Sunday is Easter?! This year is flying buy and I feel like I'll blink and it will be time to order Christmas cards. Nevertheless here are my top five things from the week...

{1} We started our week out in Nashville to visit with our bestie, Erika. She is the friend that set Brian and I up. She was there for work and since it's such a short drive from Atlanta we took a very quick trip up.


The street beside of Draper James is an Instagramer's dream with the blue stripe wall and the "I believe in Nashville" mural!

{2} I have been blessed with a husband that is amazing at picking out hotels and his Nashville pick did not disappoint. We were right across the street from The Grand Ole Opry House. 


{3} Brynn met the Easter Bunny for the first time and absolutely loved him!!!



{4} Brynn has taken a liking to tv remotes so THIS BABY REMOTE is going in her Easter basket in hopes that it becomes her new favorite toy.

{5} Last but not least we get to celebrate Brynn's First Easter this weekend! Brunch is on the books for Saturday and my mom is cooking Easter dinner on Sunday so it's sure to be a great weekend!



HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!

Linking up for FIVE on FRIDAY & Oh, Hey Friday 



Friday, April 7, 2017

Five on Friday

Today I'm linking up for Five on Friday so here are five things that stood out this week!

I sent out the first orders of bows from my shop The Brave Bow Company! It was such an exciting feeling and I'm completely overwhelmed by all the love and support for my small business.


Brynn is totally over sitting and is standing up every chance she gets so we're finally having to buckle her in every single thing.


I started planning an early joint birthday party with my bestie Natalie for our little Disney divas and it's taking over my life in the best way possible.

Here's a little sneak peak at the back of the invitation

My birthday gift to myself these Kendra Scott Elle Earrings arrived in the mail thanks to the awesome sales associate named Kelsey. If you haven't heard we had a major bypass/bridge here in Atlanta collapse so traffic is worse than usual and getting over to the Kendra Scott store in Buckhead would have taken me hours. I decided to give it a shot and call the store to see if I could use my birthday discount with a phone order and they said yes! My earrings arrived beautifully packaged with a birthday card!

When I get home today I've got to pack some overnight bags for us because we're spending the weekend in Nashville! I've been so many times because my aunt and uncle used to live there but this will be Brynn's first trip. Hopefully she cooperates with all the pictures I want to take!

Here's a throwback from 4 years ago...before I even knew Brian and well before Brynn

 Thanks for stopping by everyone and have a great weekend!


Friday, March 31, 2017

HBD to Me! Brave Bow Co is OPEN!

What better way to ring in the last year of my twenties than officially opening my bow shop! Head over to TheBraveBowCompany on etsy and start shopping! Thank you so much for your support!




Thursday, March 30, 2017

30 before 30 check in

Last year on my birthday I made a list of 30 things I wanted to do by the time I turn 30. Considering my 29th birthday is tomorrow I wanted to check in and see how I'm doing so here it goes...


1. Go on a dream vacation to Europe. Itching to go back!



2. Give birth...there's no turning back now lol! 07.30.16 <3


3. Move from Atlanta. We've been here nearly two years and it just doesn't feel like home. We need to take the plunge and work towards making this a reality.

4. Go to Disneyland in California!

5. Run a half marathon. I've had so many friends accomplish this and I want to give it a shot.

6. Learn to cook some of our favorite German food.

7. Attend a Steelers game at Heinz Field with my husband and my brother-in-law.

8. Meet my Dominican cousins that found my sister and I.

9. Visit the Dominican Republic with my sister and the cousins mentioned above. Well kinda, I finally visited the DR but it was just my husband and I.


10. Grow my own hydrangeas.

11. Take our baby to Walt Disney World with our parents. Halfway done, she;s been to WDW but not with the grandparents.

12. Pet a baby elephant, tiger, or lion.

13. Treat my mom to something super special for her 50th birthday next year.

14. Go to Vegas! I've never been and my husband loves it there and is dying to take me.

15. Write more on this little ole blog. I think I've done a pretty good job :)

16. Host Easter dinner at our house.

17. Do something that scares me like zip lining or whitewater rafting.

18. Surprise my husband. We are both terrible at keeping secrets form each other but he has managed to surprise me a few times. I want to give him a surprise that he will love.

19. Swim in Lake Erie.

20. See Niagara Falls. Check!


21. Play a full game of golf with my husband. I'm a bit ashamed of this one considering I'm married to a college golf coach.

22. Go camping with my in-laws. Glamping is the only way to go.

23. Drink around the world at Epcot with my finally legal sister, Larissa. The first of many!

24. Make a new family tradition. Cutting down our own Christmas tree.


25. Forgive someone who doesn't deserve it. I've done this a couple times and not holding grudges feels so much better.

26. See a live taping of a tv show...whether it's JeopardyThe Price Is RightJimmy Fallon or SNL, this needs to happen.

27. Learn calligraphy...luckily my mother-in-law can teach me. I bought a course, just need to do it.

28. Do a keg stand. Even though I went to a top 3 party school I have never did this!

29. Visit a state I've never been to before.

30. Make sure to embrace the people who love me and let them know I love them too! Still doing this everyday.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Farmhouse Hack: Wooden Pillar Holder

A couple years ago my mom kept raving about some show on HGTV and told me I needed to watch it but I never got around to it. Then one weekend I binge watched Fixer Upper and completely fell head over heels in love with the simplistic and classic farmhouse style. I love everything about what Joanna does...except for the prices. So here is the first of many Former Kennedy Farmhouse Hacks!


Here is the inspiration for this hack...pillar holders from The Magnolia Market.

{image via Magnolia Market}

The prices are $35 for a small, $45 for a medium, and $55 for a large. If I bought the four that I'm hacking my total would be $200. You can buy them here if you're a Rockefeller. I'm going to show you how to make them for $25 with all supplies from Home Depot!

What you will need for 4 pillar holders:

  • Foam paint brush
  • Clear epoxy Gorilla Glue
  • Paint - I used a paint sample size of Glidden in Parchment White (but you can use any color)
  • 8 Small terra cotta pot saucers
  • Pliers 
  • 4 Pre-spun wooden table legs
First you need to remove the screws from the table legs with the pliers.

Next you will follow the directions on the Gorilla Glue to mix it and spread the glue on the end of the table leg that the screw was in then place the saucer upside and place the glue covered side on it.


Then spread glue on the top of the leg and place the saucer, normal side up so a candle can sit in it, on the glue covered top. Let the glue dry for 20 minutes as stated on the glue instructions.


Paint the first coat of paint and let dry.


Paint the second coat and let it dry and you'll have a beautiful set of farmhouse style pillar holders for less than the cost of one {small} Magnolia Market pillar holder!







This is not a sponsored post.