Friday, December 23, 2016

Five on Friday

This is my first time linking up for Five on Friday and something that I have been meaning to do for so long!  Back when I was blogging on a pretty consistent basis, I loved participating in weekly link-ups as a way to discover new blogs and connect with other bloggers.  So, we will see how this goes—hopefully, I can manage to keep it up and link up each week!  (Is it too early to start committing to New Years’ resolutions?!)


I am having a hard time believing that Christmas is on Sunday!  I have loved having our house decorated for the holidays and really don’t want to start thinking about having to take down and pack up the decorations already.  We are actually traveling to see my family after the holidays, so the decorations may very well stay up until after the first of the year which I am okay with!

We went with a pre-lit tree this year that I picked up for a steal last year after Christmas.  There were a few dead lights on the tree which was a little frustrating, but they don’t stand out and I love the colored lights this year.

Since we don’t have a fireplace, I have been putting our stockings up on our banister with battery powered lights strung around.  I love turning all the lights on!

We bought this battery operated wreath last year at Lowe’s before Christmas and it is one of my favorite decorations! I love that you can set it on a timer and I come home to pretty Christmas lights on my front door!

Other decorations that are not just Christmas specific is my snowman collection.  What started out as just one snowman, has quickly turned into quite a large collection.  I leave these out throughout the winter season and love that I can leave some decorations out after the holidays.

Tom and I are staying local for Christmas weekend this year and traveling to see my family after the holiday.  We feel very strongly that once baby is here, we are in our house for Christmas so that he can enjoy the morning without having to rush somewhere or not be in his own house {plus it will be easier on us not having to transport gifts, etc}.  We are lucky that Tom’s parents and brother live in our same town so we plan to go see them on Christmas Day after we have had breakfast and opened our gifts to each other. 

I decided I want to start my own tradition this year, so I’m going to have his family over for Christmas Eve dinner.  Growing up, we would always go to my great grandmother’s house for Christmas Eve and I remember looking forward to that every year.  I just love extending the holiday and celebrating with loved ones for as long as possible!

I am planning on cooking Lemon Chicken, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and Broccoli for the main course.  I couldn’t think of a dessert that I really wanted to tackle {I’m in charge of dessert for Christmas Day}.  Instead of cooking something elaborate, I’m going to put out cookies.  I am planning on making many, many batches of cookies for friends and family so there will be plenty to share on Christmas Eve!  My go-to cookies are Chocolate Chip Pecan and Oatmeal Raisin {Dad wants me to experiment with his and substitute Butterscotch chips for the chocolate chips and see how they turn out}.


I have a few questions for all the mamas out there…

1.  Did y’all go through child birth classes before your baby was born?  I’m planning on doing some serious reading on the topic, but wasn’t sure if going to a multi-week, multi-hour class was absolutely essential.

2.   How long did baby sleep in the same room with you, if they did at all?  The baby’s room is right across the hall from ours and we were planning on having a pack and play set up in our room for the first little bit, but don’t know how long that should be.


I am the first to admit that I have a makeup buying problem.  I have tried to curb that habit and push that money towards buying things for little man.  Of course, both Sephora and Ulta lured me in with their VIB Sale and 20% off coupons and I had to pick up a few things.  Some were necessities that I wanted to stock up on and some were fun products that I wanted to try out.  

Here are a few things that I have tried recently and am currently loving:

{all pictures from}

1. Bite Beauty Lush Lip Tint in Lychee -- This is a very natural color that leaves your lips very moisturized!  I have actually used this instead of chapstick some mornings!

2. Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo --  This has been an absolute game changer for me.  I typically had to wash my hair every day in order for it to feel clean.  This is the first and only dry shampoo I have ever used that makes it so I can go up to three days without washing my hair but it doesn't feel dirty.  The price tag is a bit high, but it is so worth it!

3. Burberry Eye Colour in Pale Barley --  This was definitely a splurge and not something I needed, but it is such a pretty color!  I had heard about this eyeshadow for years but never once thought to pick it up.  Well I must have gotten a wild hair because it ended up in my shopping cart and I am seriously loving it!  It gives the perfect wash of color, subtle shimmer, and looks really good whether you want a casual or dressed up look.

4. Buxom Full-On Lip Polish in Dolly -- I am such a fan of lip gloss lately--this color is perfect!  It is just slightly darker than my natural lip color and I love the subtle shimmer in the gloss.

5. Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Terre Nueve -- I was a bit skeptical to order this.  I had tried a sample in store, but the shade they gave me was too dark.  I ordered this in the very lightest shade and it is perfect!  It leaves my skin moisturized and gives a very subtle glow that is very welcome to my dry skin!


I set myself a reading goal for this year of 25 books.  Currently, I am on book 22 and am hoping to reach my goal of 25 by the end of the year.  Normally, I could easily knock out 25 books in one year, but between being so busy in the Spring and being so exhausted early in my pregnancy reading took a serious backseat.

I think for next year, I am going to leave my goal at 25 books for the year.  I am almost done with the serious that I have been reading—do y’all have any suggestions for what I should add to my reading list?  I love mysteries and really enjoy finding a series with several titles that I can read through quickly.

I hope that everyone has a safe and happy holiday!  Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Baby Waterman: Week 25

How Far Along? 25 weeks

Size of the Baby: Cauliflower (13.5 inches, 1.46 pounds according to The Bump app)

Gender: BOY!

Weight Gain: +13 pounds for the pregnancy

Maternity Clothes: Yes!  Maternity clothes are absolutely essential now with this growing belly.

Nursery: Not much more progress on the nursery this week—I’m slowly starting to sort through all of the stuff that we have stored in that room since we moved in.  I want to take the time to go through everything now and not just end up finding another place to dump it all.  I anticipate a lot of trips to Goodwill in our future.

Movement: Still lots and lots of movement.  Tom even laid his head on my belly the other night and he got punched/kicked right on the cheek—which was pretty funny!

Symptoms: Oh man, I made the mistake this week of eating Baked Spaghetti for dinner Friday night.  I had had homemade beef and vegetable stew and didn’t have any bad side effects so I thought I was safe to keep eating red meat.  Big mistake!  I was up all night with terrible acid reflux and got hardly any sleep which was bad since I had to work early Saturday morning.

Sleep:  Besides Friday night, sleep has been pretty decent.  I’ve fallen into somewhat of a routine where I will fall asleep on my side with my pregnancy pillow, sleep until about 3 or 4 in the morning—somehow in that time ending up on my back, waking up and going to the restroom, and then crawling back into bed, repositioning myself, and falling back asleep for another hour or two.

Craving/Aversions:  I am still craving Mexican food and milk (although not at the same time—Ew!).  Aversions are still red meat, much to my disappointment.

What I Miss: Nothing!

Best Moment of the Week: I have loved that his movements are starting to be more pronounced and more frequent.  It is seriously the coolest feeling ever!

Looking Forward To:  I cannot wait for Christmas!  It is so hard to believe that it is our last Christmas just Tom, Elli, and me!  I want to soak everything in, take time to enjoy the little moments, and spend lots of time with family!

Baby Waterman: Week 24

How Far Along? 24 weeks

Size of the Baby: Cantaloupe (11.8 inches, 1.30 pounds according to The Bump app)

Gender: BOY!

Weight Gain: Ugh, +13 pounds for the entire pregnancy at our 24 week appointment.  I partly attribute this to all of the yummy food that we’ve had for the holidays and the growing baby, but I also think that my last weigh-in at the 20 week  appointment wasn’t accurate.

Maternity Clothes: Yes!  Maternity clothes are absolutely essential now with this growing belly.

Nursery: Tom and I put together the glider and crib over the weekend (12/11/2016).  We picked up the glider and couldn’t get it through the front door in the box since it was such an odd shape.  So, we stood on the front porch and unpackaged the chair and then were (thankfully) able to fit it through the front door!  The baby’s room now has a trundle bed that will serve as a space for guests to sleep and as a changing area for him.  We’ve also got the crib and glider set up.  There is still some miscellaneous furniture that needs to be donated/stored, but we have plans to get that taken care of when Tom’s brother is home from school and can provide some manual labor (don’t worry—I’ll feed him in exchange!).

Movement: He is moving and grooving up a storm!  I love his constant motion and occasional jabs.  I did have some discomfort up around my ribs this week, but I’m not sure if that was from a kick or just from my stomach stretching.

Symptoms: My biggest “symptoms” of pregnancy are self-inflicted to be honest.  I forget that I have limitations on how much I can do and tend to overdo it on the weekends when I have so many errands to run and things to accomplish.

Sleep:  Sleep this week has actually been pretty good!  Knock on wood, but I’m only having to get up once a night to go to the bathroom and only occasionally wake up to reposition myself.

Craving/Aversions:  The baby is seriously making me crave Mexican food!  After I eat even just chips and salsa, baby will start doing some serious somersaults in my belly!  Red meat still makes me feel really rotten—I think I’m going to just have to give it up for the rest of my pregnancy.

What I Miss: Nothing!

Best Moment of the Week: Definitely getting more accomplished in the baby’s room.  It is starting to look more and more like a nursery and I catch myself glancing in there in disbelief that in just a few months there will be a baby in there!  Our 24 week appointment was pretty uneventful, I passed the glucose test with flying colors, but they did find out that I’m slightly anemic so I have to add Iron supplements to my daily routine.  It was wonderful to hear the baby’s heartbeat again—151 bpm this time!

Looking Forward To: I am hoping to get more accomplished on baby boy’s room this week—we have 3+ years of stuff that has been stored in our guest room that needs to be sorted through and we either need to get rid of it or find a new home somewhere else in our house for it.  It will definitely be a multi-week task, but I have to start soon!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Baby Waterman: Week 23

How Far Along? 23 weeks

Size of the Baby: Grapefruit {11.3 inches and 1.10 pounds according to The Bump app}

Gender: BOY!! 

Weight Gain: At my last visit, I have gained a total of 4 pounds.  After all of the good food I've eaten the past two weeks with family in town, I am very scared to step on the scale at my next doctor's visit!

Maternity Clothes: Without a doubt, I am in maternity clothes.  I am still able to mix in a few non-maternity sweaters, but bring on the elastic waistband!!

Nursery: When Dad was in town this past weekend, he helped us move out the four poster bed from the guest room to exchange for the trundle bed we had in storage at Tom's parents's house.  Tom and I put that together in the baby's room last night (with just a little blood shed on  my part) and we are looking forward to more cleaning and purging to get the room ready for little man.

Movement: Yes! I was actually able to see a few of his kicks and punches through my shirt on Saturday!  Tom and my mom are still the only people that have been able to feel baby.  It's actually pretty funny but every time we go to Tom's parents', it's like the baby is asleep and his mom is dying to feel him move!  I just keep telling her that before long, he'll be moving all over the place.

Symptoms: I am still pretty tired most days and am still having pretty significant right hip pain.  I keep forgetting that I'm pregnant and still trying to operate at my normal activity level of go go go, and really need to learn to do things in moderation!  Still just taking it all in stride and overall enjoying pregnancy!

Sleep: Sleep this week hasn't been quite as bad as last week--I'm still waking up finding myself tangled in my Snoogle and on my back.  Any hints on staying asleep on your side?!  Also not quite so glamorous, but I finally got my night guard fixed at the dentist this week which will help with my teeth clinching and grinding at night.

Cravings/Aversions: Milk!  I have never ever been a milk drinker my entire life, but I have been craving a glass with breakfast everyday.

What I Miss: There is nothing that I miss too much--just blue cheese and sushi!  But I will give up anything to keep Baby Boy healthy!

Best Moment This Week: The best moment of the week was getting to spend so much time with my family.  My mom and sister came up over Thanksgiving and my dad came up this past weekend.  This is such a special time in our lives and I am so thankful for family making the time to come see us and share in the excitement!

Looking Forward To: We have our 24 week appointment on Monday {also the glucose test} and I'm just excited to hear little man's heartbeat again!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Baby Waterman: Week 22

How Far Along? 22 weeks

Size of the Baby: Coconut {10.9 inches and 15.1 ounces according to The Bump app}

Gender: BOY!! We waited until Thanksgiving to open up the envelope from our anatomy scan and we are so excited to welcome a Baby Boy into our family!!

Weight Gain: At my last visit, I have gained a total of 4 pounds.

Maternity Clothes: Yes!  I hope that I'm all set with buying maternity clothes for the rest of my pregnancy--I may have to buy some bigger sizes in shirts closer to the end.  Mom, Mattie, and I went up to the outlets on Black Friday and I got a maternity winter jacket to keep us nice and toasty when it gets cold!

Nursery: We have a crib ordered!  Baby Boy was spoiled on Black Friday and we are starting to get all things baby in the house.  Now to get Tom moving on emptying out the guest room so we have somewhere to store everything.

Movement: Yes! Baby's flips, turns, and kicks have become increasingly stronger this week.  Tom was able to feel him move right when I turned 22 weeks and Mom was able to feel him move on Thanksgiving.

Symptoms: I am still pretty tired most days {especially after an action packed weekend} and am still having pretty significant right hip pain.  Still just taking it all in stride and overall enjoying pregnancy!

Sleep: Sleep has been pretty hit or miss for me lately.  I use my Snoogle at night, but I end up on my back and then can't get up when I need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  Tom is going to be so happy when I can sleep through the night again {so I won't have to wake him up to help me out of bed}.

Cravings/Aversions: Still no true cravings, just the same aversions to red meat and coffee.

What I Miss: There is nothing that I miss too much--just blue cheese and sushi!  But I will give up anything to keep Baby Boy healthy!

Best Moment This Week: Without a doubt, the best moment of the week was finding out that the baby is a BOY!  We are over the moon to know what we are having and are so excited to start planning.  Tom was absolutely convinced that the baby was a girl and he was in pure shock that he is going to have a boy.

Looking Forward To: Starting to get everything BABY!  We have started assembling the things we got on Black Friday and I just cannot believe that a baby will be in our house in March!  We cannot wait!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Baby Waterman: Week 21

How Far Along? 21 weeks...I cannot believe how fast this pregnancy is flying by!

Size of the Baby: Endive {10.5 inches and 12.7 ounces according to The Bump app}

Gender: We had our anatomy scan on 11/9/16 and have been holding on to the envelope since then with the gender--we are staying strong on waiting until Thanksgiving to open!

Weight Gain: At my last visit, I have gained a total of 4 pounds.

Maternity Clothes: Without a doubt!  I felt like as soon as I found out I was pregnant that my stomach starting being extremely bloated and normal clothes were extremely uncomfortable.  I was able to get by up until Week 20 with the side panel pants, but now I am much more comfortable in full panel!

Nursery: We haven't even started converting our guest room to the nursery.  We have plans to move the full size double bed out of that room and replace it with a trundle bed {that way we still have places for family to sleep when they visit}.  We are definitely still in the planning phase!!

Movement: Yes! I started feeling consistent movement at Week 20.  I was starting to get really worried that I hadn't felt anything yet {especially when at Week 12 the nurse asked if I had felt anything!}.  At our anatomy scan, Baby was doing somersaults in my belly and it was absolutely amazing to watch!

Symptoms: I am still super tired, especially at the end of a long day.  My right hip has been bothering me since about Week 15--I know this is not something that is going to go away until Baby is here so I'm just trying to stretch, stay as active as possible, using heat, and getting prenatal massages.

Sleep: I have been having very vivid dreams, including some terrible nightmares.  This week has been a little bit better, but still waking up several times during the night to go to the bathroom or just to get more comfortable.

Cravings/Aversions: I have not had any real cravings yet, but am having some terrible aversions to foods.  I cannot eat red meat without feeling terrible and getting sick, pork is starting to have the same effect on me, and I am about sick of chicken!

What I Miss: My doctor laughed at me when I told her that I miss blue cheese and sushi the most since finding out I was pregnant.  She said most people said wine, but to each their own!  Honestly though, I am so happy about Baby that I will take not having something for 40 weeks to make sure they are happy and healthy!

Best Moment This Week: The best moment of the week was our anatomy scan {technically Week 20, but still within the same week as this update}.  It was hands down the most amazing experience of either Tom or my lives.  I cannot explain how unbelievable cool it was to see Baby moving all around and have the tech reassure us that everything is growing the way it should!

The second best moment of the week was ordering our cupcakes for our gender reveal on Thanksgiving.  I am so glad that Tom went with me to order them...I was so excited about ordering the right flavor cupcakes and handing them the gender envelope that I forgot to tell them to actually pipe in the coordinating color for the gender into the cupcakes!  Tom said "Aren't you forgetting the most important part??"  Ugh, pregnancy brain is real!  As a side note, one of the weird dreams I've had since becoming pregnant was that the bakery piped in yellow icing and didn't give us the envelope back so we had no way of knowing what the gender was!  So at our appointment, I had them write out TWO envelopes with the gender inside just in case!

Looking Forward To: We are looking forward to finding out if Baby Waterman is a girl or boy.  Everyone keeps asking if we have a preference to a gender and we honestly do not care if Baby is a boy or girl.  We just want them to be healthy!  However, we are so excited to find out the gender because that will just make this so REAL!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Baby Waterman: Pregnancy So Far

This may turn out to be a very lengthy post, but I want to write as much as I can about my pregnancy so far--I don't want to have five or six posts getting up to date all the way to Week 20.  So sit back, this could be a long read!

How We Found Out

Tom and I had been trying for Baby since I got back from running at Disney.  We had a trip planned for the beach with my mom and even though it was a few days early, I wanted to go ahead and take a test before we left the morning of July 15.  The test quickly came back negative, I chucked it in the trash, and tried not to think about it anymore while we were at the beach.  I had been following Weight Watchers since March and had lost 25 pounds before the beach trip.  Up until probably the week before the beach, I had felt so good and not bloated at all!  However, the day we left, I started feeling gross and bloated--not what I wanted when I had felt so good about my progress!  I attributed it to being that time of the month and just tried to get through the week.  I was absolutely exhausted and there was even one day that I had to take a three hour nap!  Again, I just thought that I was just not feeling well and was just thankful that I was on vacation and able to take it easy.

Well, the whole way back the following Friday {July 22}, I thought that I needed to take another test when we got home even though it would be taken in the late afternoon and not first thing in the morning like recommended.  Tom finally just told me to do it as soon as we got back to ease my mind.  As soon as we unloaded the car, I went upstairs to take the test.  I left it on the bathroom counter and came back downstairs.  I told Tom that I was going to check the mail and that I had left the test on the counter that he could go check it if he wanted to while I was gone.  The entire walk to the mailbox and back to the house I told myself that the test was going to be negative, but that was okay because it would give us another month to save money and get better prepared for starting our family.  As soon as I walked in the door with the mail, Tom had a giant smile on his face and said "Congratulations baby..."  I pretty much blanked out everything after that because I just couldn't believe that we were pregnant.  It is finally our turn to be parents!

We had to still go over to his parents house to pick up Elli.  We talked briefly about telling them, but decided we wanted it to be our secret for a little bit before we told anyone.

Telling Our Families

We told my mom first.  I showed her a picture on my phone of the positive pregnancy test, telling her it was my favorite picture from the beach trip.  She just looked at me and then said that she couldn't read it without her glasses!  Don't worry--as long as she knew what the picture was of, she was very excited!!  We spent the rest of the weekend talking about Baby and already planning on when she can come up to be with me when Tom is traveling for work near my due date!

We then told Tom's parents.  We joke that the New York Giants always have good seasons and win the Super Bowl when Tom and I have big life changing events.  For example, they won the Super Bowl the first year we were dating and then they won the year we got married.  So, Tom started talking to his parents just like normal and said "Well, I think that the Giants are going to have a good season...".  At this point, I could tell that his mom had stopped listening because she assumed it was going to be a long-winded sports talk between Tom and his dad.  However, Tom continued "...because you are going to be grandparents."  You should have seen her jump up out of her seat and start jumping up and down and screaming.  {We definitely learned our lesson about showing our parents a tiny picture on our phone...especially when they don't have their glasses handy!}

I next told my dad about Baby.  I called him on my way home from work one evening and was so excited to tell him that he was going to be a grandfather.  I think I totally caught him off guard, but he was very happy to hear the news.  He even managed to keep it a secret until we were ready to tell the rest of the extended family!

Tom and I decided that we wanted to wait to tell our extended family until after our 12 Week appointment.  We just wanted to make sure that everything was okay and that Baby was growing the way they should be.  I was also scared to make a big giant announcement and then have to back track if something were to have happened {can you tell that I have been extremely anxious during this pregnancy?!}.  After our 12 Week appointment, I called my grandmother to tell her that she was going to be a great grandmother.  Again, I think I caught her off guard, but she was so happy!  I'm glad that we have some good news to share and brighten everyone's day!  My grandmother told my grandfather and he called me and we had a long talk about Baby and I could tell how happy the news had made him.  Tom called his grandmother when he got home from work and I could hear her yelling through the phone from the other end of the house!  For the rest of the family, we decided to make announcements to mail out.  We made them with a picture of Elli and it said "I'm going to be a Big Sister!"  Elli is such a big part of our lives and we wanted to make sure to include her in the announcement.

Bump Photos

I started taking weekly bump pictures at Week 10.  Looking back at these, I really wish I would have worn the same shirt throughout all the pictures so that you can really see the growth since some shirts are looser than others!

But here we go...Week 10 through Week 20 in Bump Photos

Alright, I think that is enough for one post.  I am planning on getting a post together on First Trimester must-haves, maternity clothes run through, and a first look at what we are thinking about registering for Baby!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Coming Soon: Baby Waterman!

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen our exciting news...we are expecting!  We are so beyond amazed and thankful that Baby Waterman will be joining our family in March 2017.

This pregnancy has knocked me off of my game--I have, thankfully, not had any morning sickness but I have been insanely tired and nauseous throughout my entire first trimester.  I am happy to report that the nausea has almost subsided {I am just left with extreme food aversions}, but I am still extremely tired.  I have had one trip to the ER for dizziness which was a result of low blood pressure and dehydration.  I had wanted to start documenting my pregnancy on my blog {and return to blogging more frequently}, but I have just now started to feel like I can adequately compose my feelings/thoughts {I have been very anxious and nervous to start sharing information too early in the pregnancy} and am just now starting to feel like a human again.

My "official" due date is March 29, 2017.  At our ultrasounds, baby is measuring two days behind that, but they said unless it was more than a week they are not going to change the due date.  My "flip day" when I switch to my next week is Wednesday--this Wednesday I will be 21 weeks pregnant.  I have been taking weekly bump photos since Week 10--I chose this week because it was {1} after our first visit with our OB and {2} I thought it was a good number to start with.

Honestly, I don't think it has quite sunken in with either Tom or myself that we are pregnant.  We are so incredibly excited to meet Baby in just a few months, but it just doesn't seem real or that it is really our turn to be parents!  We are finding out the gender on Thanksgiving so I bet that will make it start seeming REAL!  Plus, Baby has starting moving and shaking in my belly and I just love those sweet movements--I cannot wait until Tom can feel them too!

Hopefully this will not be my last post for six months {as my current track record dictates}.  I really want to come back to my little space and start documenting our lives, as mundane as it can be sometimes!  I love that I can go back through my archives and follow our journey from graduating college to finding jobs to getting married to moving into our first home.

I will be back with a look back my bump photos for weeks 10 through 20, as well as how we found out that we were expecting, how we told our families, and a few milestones that happened during those weeks.  Then, I will start on Wednesday with weekly bump updates!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Disney Day 5: Universal Studios

It may seem weird to title the post "Disney Day 5: Universal Studios, but that's what all the other posts are titled and I wanted to keep everything the same for documentation sake!

On our last full day in Orlando, we ventured over to Universal Studios.  I had been to Universal Studios back in the summer with Tom and his family, but this was my mom and sister’s first time visiting since the addition of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Basically, we viewed the trip to the park as going to “Harry Potter Land” and the other parts were just bonus!

We got to the park and bought tickets shortly after opening.  We decided since we only had one day at this park, as opposed to multiple days at Disney, to go ahead and get the Express Pass added to our tickets so that we could skip the regular lines.  Unfortunately, most of the Harry Potter rides don’t accept this, but it was great for the other rides that we were doing outside of the Harry Potter part.

Our first ride was Minion Mayhem.  When I was there back in the summer, the wait was constantly over two hours for this!  Needless to say, we didn’t ride it then.  However, since it was still early and February, the wait time in the regular line wasn’t that bad and with the express pass, we basically walked right on!  This was a cute, 4-D type ride…definitely not worth two hours or more of wait, but definitely fun to ride!

Mattie and me in line for Minion Mayhem
 The next ride we went on was Revenge of the Mummy.  Outside of the Harry Potter rides, this is my favorite ride at Universal!  When I was there with Tom, we rode it over and over again!  This time we settled for once, but it was great!

After this, we made our way into Diagon Alley.  I made sure to guide my mom and sister to the side that makes the sound of bricks being moved out of the way leading them in to the magical world.  Honestly, the first view when you emerge around the brick wall is just mesmerizing.  You are greeted with all of the wizarding shops and at the end of the alley, you see Gringotts Bank with the escaped dragon on top that breathes fire!

 We walked around to several shops and just tried to take in everything.  We decided to go ahead and get in line for Escape from Gringotts, and once again I was shocked that the wait time wasn’t bad.  A lot like Disney, they put so much into the details that when you are waiting in line, you just want to look at everything!

After going on the ride, we decided to grab an early lunch at the Leaky Cauldron.  Oh wow, the food was fantastic!  I had the fish and chips and my mouth is watering just thinking about it!  My sister and I both had a frozen butterbeer and my mom had a real beer (ha!).  Man, I wish I could go have another frozen butterbeer—soooo good!

Mattie and me at lunch
We got on the Hogwarts Express (which has a different storyline both ways) and rode over to Hogsmeade.  I love riding the Hogwarts Express and I know it is just a mode of transportation between the two parks, but I view it as it's own ride!!

Hogsmeade is absolutely adorable!  It looks JUST like it does in the movies.  I love all the little shops and especially Honeydukes candy shop.  Also to note, if you buy one of the interactive wands, there are places around both areas of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter that you can "cast spells."  I had bought one last summer with Tom and took it back for this trip.  We had so much fun passing it around and pretending to be witches!

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is the ride that is inside Hogwarts.  This is probably my favorite ride of the entire park!  Be careful though, don't ride it too many times in a row.  You can get really disoriented and feel like you have vertigo--at least Tom and I did when we rode it three times in a row!

Mattie and I both rode Dueling Dragons and we ended up in the front of the coaster.  It scared me half to death!

We walked around the rest of Islands of Adventure and then headed back to Hogsmeade to take the Hogwarts Express back to Diagon Alley.  After another walk around and another round of frozen Butterbeer, we headed out of the park.

We stopped at Bubba Gumps on the way out for dinner and then headed back to the resort.  We were absolutely exhausted after so many days of going, going, going and needed to get packed up for the drive home.

The trip to Disney with my mom and sister is a trip that I am never going to forget and always treasure.  Now that Mattie and I are grown and moved out of my mom's house, I feel like the times we get to spend together like we used to are extremely limited.  It was so much fun to get to do something so unique together (running a race which we had never done before) in the most magical place!  We started trying to convince mom to start planning the next trip to Disney...but this time to include the guys!

If you have any questions about runDisney and our experience, please let me know!  If I don't know the answer (specifically for running the half marathon), I will ask my sister and let you know!

Previous Disney Recaps: Day 1Day 2Day 3—Part 1Day 3—Part2Day 4—Part 1, Day 4—Part 2

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Disney Day 4--Part 2: Hollywood Studios

It is a toss-up between Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios as to which park is my favorite.  Seriously, ask me on any given day and I could tell you either one—I love them both equally!  Well it just so happens that the day that we had ear-marked for Hollywood Studios turned out to be the day that our resort was having Magic Hours for there—which means it opened early for us!

Mattie in her super cute "Minnie" outfit and Glass Slipper Challenge medal!
After we rode the bus back to our room from Mattie’s half marathon, we all quickly changed into more park appropriate attire and drove over to Hollywood Studios.  Mattie and I literally RAN into the park and over to get a Fast Pass for Tower of Terror and then WALKED ON to Aerosmith’s Rockin’ Roller Coaster which NEVER happens.  After we got off of that ride, we used our fast pass for Tower of Terror and then rode Aerosmith again with our Fast Pass that we had pre-booked.

Wow, neither one of these are super flattering pictures of me, but I had to include them!

I have said it before and I will say it again, having the Photopass is great for when you want good group pictures.  Not only could we scan our wristbands on rides to get the pictures, we could also get any photographer in the park to take our pictures.

After those rides, we went to have breakfast at Hollywood and Vine—which turned out to be a character breakfast for younger children with all of the Disney Junior characters.  We had no idea that we were ending up there!  To be honest, the only reason I knew who any of the characters were was because I work at a pediatrician’s office and they are on the stickers we have.  Needless to say, the food was great {very similar to Chef Mickey’s—buffet style with the signature Mickey waffles} but we bypassed the characters so that all of the toddlers could enjoy the meet and greet time!

After breakfast, we walked around the park to let our food digest and saw a few shows {Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast—both wonderful!}.  We also rode The Great Movie Ride which is actually one of my favorites—probably because I LOVE old movies!  After that, Mattie and I used our Fast Pass for Tower of Terror and loved every second of getting to ride it twice!

Later in the day, we grabbed some snacks and then walked over to The Muppets in 3D.  The last time I was at Hollywood Studios this was closed, so it was so much fun getting to do it again!

For dinner, we ate at 50’s Prime Time Diner.  This was probably my second favorite dinner we had while at Disney World {only second behind our meal at Magic Kingdom purely because we were in Cinderella’s Castle!}.  Their food is comfort food to the extreme and I loved every single bite!

As soon as we walked out of dinner, the fireworks began!  Now, the fireworks at Magic Kingdom are classic and wonderful, but the fireworks at Hollywood Studios are set to Star Wars!  I think there was some kind of show going on to coordinate with the fireworks {???} but we were too far away to see if there was.  But—the fireworks were mesmerizing!  They were perfectly timed to coordinate with the music and truly magical!  I was so glad we left dinner when we did so that we didn’t miss them!

As sad as I was to leave the park, we had such a full wonderful day there!  I have to say, the few rides that are there are wonderful but the shows are out of this world great!  We could have easily spent another day at Disney parks and maybe done a half day at Hollywood Studios and half day at Magic Kingdom just to hit the rides we love a second or third time!

Up Next: Universal Studios

Previous Disney Recaps: Day 1Day 2Day 3—Part 1Day 3—Part2, Day 4—Part 1

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Disney Day 4--Part 1: runDisney Half Marathon {Spectator's POV}

Just like the previous day, we woke up extra early {3:45!!} to get ready and out the door to catch the bus over to Epcot to drop Mattie off to line up for the half marathon.  Mattie wore her new Sparkleskirt that was red with white polka dots so she looked like Minnie Mouse!

Mattie before her race
We got to the parking lot of Epcot a little around 4:30 and hung out with Mattie until it was time for her to line up at her corral.  Around that time, the monorail was opening for service to the Magic Kingdom.  Mom and I were kind of flying blind on how to best see Mattie and we decided a few months before the race to register for the chEAR squad to get reserved viewing areas around the race course.  I knew the one place that I wanted to see her on the course was when she came running through Cinderella’s Castle.  So after sending Mattie off to her corral, we hopped on the monorail and set off for the Magic Kingdom.

Mattie and Me before her race
From the monorail, we could already see the runners starting off and knew we had to be super quick in getting to our destination because Mattie was in one of the first corrals.  We were one of the first people to arrive in that area {I guess most went to a different viewing area first} and we grabbed coffees {which Disney has down to a science for the race—they were already pre-poured in souvenir mugs} and settled in to wait for Mattie.  One of my biggest recommendations if you are a spectator is to register for the live race updates.  We knew what mile marker the castle was at and we could guess based on Mattie’s first mile time and 5k time, around when to start looking for her, because after you see 12 Minnie Mouses run past you, they all look alike!

How pretty is the castle lit up for the race?!  We were so stinking close and there was hardly anyone there yet, so it was like we had the park to ourselves!
After we caught her big smile as she ran through the castle and past us, we high-tailed it back to the monorail to get to the grandstand at the finish line.  It was really neat because as soon as we got off of the monorail, the first place women’s finisher was crossing the finish line.  We settled into seats and waited for Mattie to run past us.  It was fun to watch all of the runners run past and celebrate with the Disney characters.

Photographer Fail: Mattie running through the castle.  I totally forgot to put my camera in action mode and this is all I got!
We cheered and screamed when Mattie ran past and quickly scrambled out of our seats to find her at the finishers’ area.  After she received her medals {two since she completed the Glass Slipper Challenge—running the 10k and the half marathon} and her swag bags, we headed over to the buses to take us back to our resort.  It was time to get ready to head to Hollywood Studios!!

Getting closer to the finish line!
Mattie crossing the finish line!
Mattie with her medals--minus the 10k one back in the room!

Up next: Hollywood Studios

Previous Disney Recaps: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3—Part 1, Day 3—Part2

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Disney Day 3--Part 2: Epcot Recap

After finishing the Disney Enchanted 10k, we headed back to the hotel to have breakfast, shower, and got ready to head over to Epcot {read the Disney Enchanted 10k Recap HERE}.  On the way to Epcot, we stopped at the runDisney Expo again.  After the success mom had with her Sparkle Skirt, we wanted to look at them again.  I couldn’t decide on what pattern I liked, but Mattie bought one that was red with white polka dots to wear for the Half Marathon the next day. 

When we got to Epcot, we made the executive decision to go at our own pace.  We had reserved a few Fast Passes, but ended up not using any.  We decided that we wanted a low-key day in the park and not to have to go by any set schedule besides our dinner reservations.

{The only picture we managed to get at Epcot--oops!}
We walked around the park {after I stopped at the Starbucks to get the Epcot Starbucks mug} to get a lay of the land and decide where we wanted to go.  There is not much “to do” at Epcot in comparison to Magic Kingdom.  We walked all throughout the World Showcase and stopped to browse the stores, look at restaurant menus, grab a gelato from Italy, and go on the ride in Mexico {which is super cute and has the same characters as the Three Cabelleros if you have seen that Disney movie.}

To be perfectly honest, I was a bit disillusioned in Epcot by the masses of adults that were there drinking through the countries.  They all were talking about placing bets on who could drink the most and who would get sick first that it just really made me antsy and upset that people would be doing that at Disney around a bunch of kids.  Plus, we were all absolutely exhausted which probably made us more sensitive to everything.

After seeing all that we could see in the park, we headed over for our reservations in Italy.  Dinner was nice since we got to sit “outside” in a little sunroom.  I wasn’t blown away by our meal, but again compared to our dinner the night before in Cinderella’s castle, nothing comes close to that!

We left the park and drove over to Downtown Disney.  Boy did we pick the wrong day to go over there!  With the runDisney races, there were tons of discounts and promotions for the runners to take advantage of at Downtown Disney.  They definitely were taking advantage of them, too!  It was jam packed full.  We were all so tired from our early morning and wearily looking forward to the early morning the next day, so we only spent a little time here.  We grabbed some ice cream from Ghirardelli, window shopped through some of the stores, and I hit up Basin to grab some bath bombs and body lotion {which are all amazing, by the way!}.  We headed back to the resort to try to grab some sleep while we could!

Up next: runDisney Half Marathon Recap—Spectator’s Point of View

Previous Disney Recaps: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3—Part 1

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