Sun, Sand and… Surgery

It’s bye week for the Falcons! NFL wives pretty much live for this week. Our husbands work long hours seven days a week during the season and this is the one week out of a 22+ week season that the players have time off. For the last eight seasons we’ve traveled home to Kentucky for bye week. And even though I LOVE going home, we’ve always toyed with the idea of going to the beach during his week off.ja-pensacola-beach Well, this year Jacob finally took me to the beach for the bye! Can I tell you how incredibly WEIRD it felt wearing plaid at the beach? SOOO weird! Why I chose that shirt for our trip, is beyond me. I think it was the 4:15am wake-up call!

Unfortunately, we are not at the beach for vacation. We are here for Jacob to get season ending surgery on his shoulder. While this certainly isn’t what we had planned and dreamed of for this season, we know that God will use this season in our lives for good. And we are holding onto to that promise! Jacob has been SO blessed with his health through nine seasons in the league. To play nine NFL seasons without a single surgery is unheard of. He’s somewhat of a unicorn. Of course, he would die if called him unicorn, but I don’t really know any manly mythical characters, so unicorn it is.

aj-portofinoWe flew to Pensacola early Wednesday morning and it was fun to be heading back to our old stomping grounds. Pensacola Beach was our first big move after we were married. In January 2008, we packed our bags and headed south for Jacob to train for the NFL Combine. The condos I’m pointing to in the photo above is where we lived for two months. It was our first of many adventures and it was so fun to go back and see one of our old homes.

jake-in-recoveryThis morning, Dr. Andrews operated on Jacob’s shoulder and he is doing great! The surgery went well and he’s ready to recover, heal and rehab. We feel so fortunate to have Dr. Andrews and his team take such good care of Jacob. He is literally the BEST in ortho surgery and he was so kind, caring and humble. He put us at ease and we had such peace about the whole process. They even let me watch part of the surgery! I was not expecting to watch, but getting to see the inside of Jake’s shoulder was really neat and gave me a new understanding of what the surgery entailed.  I was SO happy to see his smiling face when I got back to recovery.

jacob-post-opHe was a pain free but hangry when we left the hospital.

jake-lunch-in-pensacolaNothing a little Panera couldn’t fix! We get to head home to Atlanta tomorrow. Please pray for complete healing for Jacob, that he will be a good patient and that I will be a good nurse!

nurse-alHere I am in all my nursing duties, also known as: personal driver, medicine distributor, ice pack changer and carrier of all things (since he is short one arm). Oh, and if someone wants to come to my house and cover that gray hair you can see in this pic, that would just be amazing!

Strawberry Pickin’

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Last week our little family took a trip to Washington Farms to pick strawberries. My kiddos eat them by the cartons on the daily and I knew this would be a fun (and useful) family outing they would enjoy. If you are in North East Georgia, Washington Farms is located near Athens and it is definitely worth a visit. We found this little gem last fall during a field trip with Luke’s preschool class. They went to pick pumpkins, but as soon as I saw their flier about strawberries, I wrote it on my mental to-do list to make sure we came back in the Spring.

IMG_3567The berries were $12 for a gallon bucket and let me tell you, they tasted NOTHING like the berries that you buy at the grocery. They were amazing! Of course, doesn’t everything taste better straight from the farm. You weren’t allowed to eat them while picking, but it was SO tempting! The kids had so much fun picking the berries and they each had their own strategy. Luke would search and search for the biggest ones and Lyla would pick all of them she could find, even the bright green itty bitty ones.

IMG_3596Washington Farms also grows blueberries and blackberries that will be ready for picking later this Spring and Summer. We can’t wait to go back for more!

IMG_3599This picture makes me laugh… I had Lyla Rae in her strawberry appliqued dress with her bonnet because that just seemed like perfectnstrawberry picking attire and Luke, well, he was wearing all black Nike dri-fit gear. Boys and their clothes. Oh well, thankful for my girl to dress up! People are always asking me how I get her to keep her bonnets on and she actually likes them. She asks for her “princess hat” when it’s sunny, but to get her to wear them all the time, I just give her the option. If she wants to be outside, she has to wear her bonnet. She always chooses to be outside and the battle is over. Not only do I ADORE the way it looks on her, it provides excellent sun protection for my blonde haired, blue eyed princess.

IMG_8721After we picked two gallon buckets full of berries, we treated ourselves to homemade strawberry ice cream at the farm. It.was.awesome. I mean, I’m sure I burned off plenty of calories chasing kiddos up and down the rows of berries, right?

On the way home I researched how to make strawberry jam and we stopped by the grocery to grab the ingredients. The only thing I needed to buy was Sure-jell and sugar. My gracious, I didn’t know how much sugar was in jam. Guess that’s why it’s so yummy! I used the recipe right off the back of the yellow Sure-Jell Box and it worked perfectly on the first try. I don’t like “lumps” of berries in my jam, so I blended the berries to a puree to prep them and it worked great. Below are the results of my first shot at jam. Luke had one taste and proudly said, “Mom, it tastes just like the stuff you buy at the store!” Hah! Not exactly the response I was looking for, but I think he was amazed that I didn’t screw it up!

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Zoo Atlanta Trip + Free Zoo Passport Printable

Free Zoo Printable

Luke is currently obsessed with animals and we basically have the show Wild Kratts on a loop at our house. Our days consist of pretending that Lyla is a baby (insert animal of the day) and that Luke and I are Martin and Chris Kratts. If you have a preschooler in your house, I’m sure you feel my pain excitement. It’s actually a really great show that has taught Luke SO much about animals. Jake and I have learned a lot as well!

When we lived in Denver, we had an annual pass to the Denver Zoo and went several times per year. Since we’ve moved to Atlanta Luke has been begging to go to the zoo here and I obliged last week. I actually love the zoo too! It’s such an awesome teaching environment and a great way to enjoy a summer day.

To make our trip a little more exciting, I wanted Luke to have a scavenger hunt of sorts at the zoo to make sure we found all of his favorite animals. Of course, I searched on Pinterest and found several zoo scavenger hunts and zoo passports, but most of them involved coloring. My sweet Luke loves to draw, but coloring is just not his thing. After I exhausted my search, I knew I would just need to make our own. So I did!

I incorporated his love for Wild Kratts by including creature power discs for each of his favorite animals. Eric over at My Little Corner is crazy talented and created over 70 different creature power discs that are FREE to download. Free is a great price, so I immediately tweeted him to see if I could use them for a project. He agreed and Luke and I got started selecting 14 of his favorite discs to include in our zoo passport.

IMG_0852Here he is at the entrance to Zoo Atlanta with his Zoo Passport. He was proud as punch! I wish I would’ve punched a hole in the corner and clipped a lanyard to it so he I didn’t have to carry it around all day. There’s always next time!

IMG_0857He had so much fun finding all of his favorite animals and checking them off in his passport. I forgot to bring a crayon with us, so we ended up using a felt tip pen that was in the bottom of the diaper bag. We ALL ended up with ink on us! Next time, I think I will buy some stickers to place in the boxes instead.

IMG_0870Lyla enjoyed the zoo too! And no, she didn’t wear shoes. We lost one of her white sandals that night before and I was just too vain to put red sandals on her feet with this outfit. I would have NEVER let Luke go barefoot at the zoo at this age, but with the second kid, all care goes out the window and we just “make do”. She didn’t seem to care and she came home unscathed, so all is well. I have a new pair of sandals on their way to us from a BST Facebook page so she will only be barefoot for a few more days. Hah!

If you would like to make your own zoo passport like Luke’s please download the files below:

Zoo Passport Page 1
Zoo Passport Page 2
Zoo Passport Page 3
Zoo Passport Page 4

Print the four files on the front and back of two sheets of card stock. (You can use regular printer paper too.) Cut each page in half horizontally, then fold the pages in half. Place all of the folded “animal” pages inside the cover page and staple along the seam.

I hope you enjoy your Zoo Passport and please let me know if you use it on your next zoo visit!

On the Move

Well, we did it again. Jacob and I have been married just shy of eight years and we now have had seven addresses. Whew!
We found out that we were moving to Atlanta on March 18th while we were on vacation.
Then, we flew to Denver on the 25th to pack up and load all of our wordly possessions on a moving truck.

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Moving out of our Denver home in one day required large amounts of coffee!

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Jacob showing off that we did it! Every thing out of the house in ONE day!

Next, we drove to Atlanta to find a place to live on the 30th and moved in on April 9th. It has been a whirlwind to say the least.

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This kid had a rough first few days, but he has adjusted really well!

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This truck was realllly long… It had our stuff and two other families’ as well!

Everyone keeps asking, “Are you all settled in?” While I would love to say that yes, we are all settled in to our new home, that would just be a big fat lie! When we moved from Indy to Denver all of our boxes were properly labeled and color coded because, well, I love organization. However, with this move we didn’t exactly have time to be organized. We basically just started throwing things in boxes and labeled all of them “Misc.” So when it came time to unpack, it was basically one big scavenger hunt! Hah! We moved in on a Thursday and we didn’t find the sheets to our bed until Tuesday. Seriously. We were a mess!

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Told ya… a complete MESS! It looks a little better now, but not much! Hah!

We now have nearly all of the boxes unpacked, but there’s still a lot of work left to make this house our home. I feel like it takes a good three months to truly get settled in. I’m still opening the wrong cabinet to grab my coffee mug and I’m still opening the pantry door thinking it leads to the garage. We are so blessed to have a new home, but it’s going to take some getting used to!

Hand Embroidered State Pillows

Pillows from www.uncommongoods.com

How cute are these hand embroidered pillows? My parents started gifting us these pillows to commemorate all of our moves and I’m so excited to be adding another to our collection! I’m also really excited to be back in the South! It just feels like home!

Aloha! – Our Hawaiian Vacation in Review

Last October, Jacob was nominated as the NFL Players Association representative for the Denver Broncos. Right after he was nominated, they informed him that he would need to attend their annual meeting… in Maui! They also let him know that he could bring his family with him! Vacation in Hawaii? Yes, please! Get ready for a picture overload from our trip! I’m happy to share all the adventures we take with you, but really, I love having a place where I can record this part of our lives. I know when I’m 80 I will want to read and remember everything we did .

So… fast forward five months and our family of four plus Jacob’s parents jetted off to Maui for work and play. The meetings were held at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua and we stayed there for the first five nights of our trip. Well, technically Jacob didn’t, but more on that in a minute! The resort was absolutely breathtaking! It was situated on a little bay and had a fabulous pool surrounded by cabanas that were perfect for my babies to take their afternoon naps!

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View from the lobby of the Ritz Carlton Kapalua in Maui

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Our family with Jacob’s parents at the welcome luau

    After 12 hours of flying, a two hour lay over in Los Angeles and a debacle at Dollar Rent a Car, we finally made it to our hotel. It was only 4pm local time, but to our East coast bodies, it was 10pm! As soon as we arrived Jacob headed off to his meetings and we met him that night at a luau for the player reps and their families. We were greeted with leis and enjoyed a traditional luau meal. They even had a kids buffet and a fun craft station to keep the little ones busy.

The next day was our first full day in Hawaii and Jacob had meetings from 7am until 7pm. I was shocked to learn the the player’s wives also had meetings! Say, what? I thought I was on vacay? I was relieved to find out that the “meetings” were actually fun activities for the wives to do while the players were working. [Jacob’s note: My meetings were real meetings.] About 35 NFL wives participated in the painting class that was held oceanside. We also had a private hula lesson afterwards. So fun! I was happy to find out a fellow NFL wife and Kentuckian was there as well. I got to sit with Amanda Masthay, wife of Tim Masthay, former UK and current Green Bay Packers Punter, and her darling son while we painted. We had a blast! It’s always great to get to know other ladies that are in the same phase as life. We mostly talk about people and former teams that we have in common, moving tips, and our kids! I’m sure you’ve seen those “Housewives” shows, but I’ll assure you the ladies were so kind and sweet!

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Our oceanside painting class. My painting is the one in front of the empty chair!

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Amanda Masthay and I with our masterpieces!

Due to the 6 hour time difference, we were usually awake each day around 4am, which honestly, isn’t too much different from my normal wake up time these days. On Monday morning, the 16th, we were all wide awake when Jacob got a text from his agent, Bill, saying that he needed to call him back. Of course, we were all excited because Jacob was a free agent and we knew it meant one thing – a team had interest in Jacob. That team happened to be the Atlanta Falcons! We soon found out that Jacob would need to leave Maui and fly to Atlanta to meet with the Falcons coaches. His flight was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon and he would return to Hawaii on Thursday! Wow – talk about racking up frequent flier miles! Good grief! I was sad for him to leave us on our trip, but I was also SO excited for the opportunity for him in Atlanta. We spent the rest of Monday on cloud 9, talking about all the “what ifs” while lounging around the pool and beach.

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Lyla’s first time in the pool! Bathing suit: Zulily, Headwrap: Ruby Blue

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Bathing suit: Janie and Jack, Hat: my niece’s hand me down from Gap

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Luke, our little goofball! Swim trunks: Old Navy

Monday night, we drove to Paia for Jacob’s 30th birthday dinner at Mama’s Fish House. It was recommended to us by several people and it did not disappoint! The open air dining room was very quaint and the food was phenomenal. All the fish was caught locally and the name of the fisherman who caught it was written on the menu. Very neat!

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Before Jacob left for Atlanta, we hiked to the Nakalele Blowhole. I found this blowhole in a tour book I borrowed from my sister. In the book it said that the trail was not clearly marked, but that it was manageable. I thought everyone was going to kill me when we pulled off the side of the road at mile marker 8, just as the book explained, and saw that there literally wasn’t a trail. Whoops! I was determined to see the blow hole, so off we went! We walked on a trampled grass path for several hundred yards and then we came to a steep rocky decline. We weren’t even sure if we were supposed to go down the cliff, so my father-in-law went down first to check it out. He waved us on so down we went, with an almost four year old and a six month old! Smart? No! Worth it? Definitely! The picture below shows the cliff we went down. Can’t you clearly see the marked trail? Hah!

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When we arrived at the blowhole it was breathtaking! We sat on the rocks and watched it spout for nearly an hour. Sometimes it would just gurgle and sometimes it would spout 50 feet in the air! In the background, humpback whales breeched in the ocean. It was truly amazing to experience this hidden gem of God’s creation!

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The mist from the Nakalele Blowhole was refreshing after our long, hot hike! Lyla was a trooper and didn’t make a sound the entire time!

On Tuesday, Jacob made the long flight to Atlanta and we patiently waited to see if he would be offered a contract with the Falcons. It felt like weeks passed by (it was really only half a day) before he called to let us know that they did indeed make an offer and that they had agreed to terms! Aka: The Tammes are moving to Atlanta! Woohoo! It was nearly bedtime when we found out the news and it was great to be able to sleep on the fact that Jacob would be joining the Falcons!

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Jacob and Bill finalizing his contract with the Atlanta Falcons!

The next day, we went whale watching in Lahaina on one of the Pacific Whale Foundation’s charters. I was so disappointed that Jacob had to miss it, because it was incredible. We had been whale watching pre-kids in the Caribbean, but only saw the fluke (tail) of one whale. We just so happened to be in Maui during prime whale season and we were sure to see several whales… and boy we did! Within fifteen minutes of leaving the dock, a mom and her baby were spotted. The baby whale, seen below, was breeching and playing in the water, while the mom followed close behind. We saw lots of other whales as well! If you are planning a trip to Hawaii, make sure you go during whale season! Luke learned SO much about nature and science from experiencing it!

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A baby humpback whale breaching in the Pacific Ocean.

Luke was very timid about going up on the top deck of the catamaran, but by the end of the two hour sail, he was brave enough to sit out on the mesh at the front of the sailboat with me. My in-laws had Lyla in the cabin of the boat and I soaked up my one on one time with my little man as the sun set over Maui. I will never forget his sweet face when he overcame his fear and stepped out on the mesh.
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On Thursday, we flew to Honolulu where we met Jacob at the airport to finish out the last three days of our trip. At this point he had flown nearly 36 hours in last five days… whoa! Which explains why he fell asleep in the hotel lobby one afternoon! Hah!

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Jacob and his dad, Theo, with Mr. Sterling Cale, a Pearl Harbor survivor.

While most of our time in Maui was spent at the pool and beach, most of our time in Oahu was spent site seeing! Our first stop was Pearl Harbor. We got there early in the morning, as they only allow 2,000 visitors per day and we didn’t want to have a long wait. We prepped Luke about our visit to Pearl Harbor by explaining to him (in kid terms) what happened there and that we needed to be somber and respectful while we were there. To our surprise, he actually was… except when we met Mr. Sterling Cale, SGM. Mr. Cale was in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Before we met him, we explained to Luke that he was a survivor and to shake his hand and tell him thank you. Well, Luke walked right up to him and shook his hand then turned to me and screamed, “Mama, he’s on Survivor!” I tried to hold it together and not laugh, but I just couldn’t do it. Thankfully, Mr. Cale is well in his nineties and couldn’t hear what Luke said and was distracted by conversation with Jacob and his dad. We got to spend a few minutes talking with Mr. Cale and he told us about that dreaded day. He worked as a pharmacist for the military and was at the dispensary when the Japanese attacked. He ran from there to the harbor where he dove in the water, under the burning oil, and pulled people (and bodies) on to shore. He explained how he wasn’t able to surface because oil was on fire across the surface of the water. He told how he and others spent the next six hours trying to save as many people as possible. Wow. This man was a true American hero. He is one of the reasons why WE are able to live freely. It was truly overwhelming to shake his hand and speak with him.

IMG_7605Lyla slept during our entire tour and woke up just before we left, so this is the only picture we have of here there. See the bright blue sky and palm trees? It’s hard to imagine that this was once a war zone. So.very.humbling.

If anyone is still reading this ridiculously long post, thank you! Hah! Stick with me, I’m almost finished!

On Saturday morning, we hiked to the top of Diamond Head! I wore Lyla in the ergo and Jacob was prepared to have to carry Luke piggy back style most of the way up. However, to our surprise, Luke hiked the entire way up and down by himself! We were so surprised, we bought him one of those super tacky shirts that said, “I hiked Diamond Head!” Hah! Diamond Head is actually part of an extinct volcano crater. Here’s an aerial photo of Diamond Head that I took from the plane as we flew home.
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Our last dinner in Honolulu! Can you tell that both babies were over taking pictures?

On Sunday, we drove to Aulani, the Disney resort on Oahu. I really wanted to take Luke to see Mickey for an early birthday present. Ok, I really wanted to go see the resort and I thought Luke would enjoy it too! Hah! We ate at Makahiki for Aunty’s Breakfast Celebration. It was a character breakfast in an open air restaurant and the food was divine! I highly recommend it! Luke was turning four two days after we left Hawaii, so we celebrated his birthday here too! Remember when we also celebrated at Disney World in February? Yeah, I love birthdays:)

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Meeting Mickey at Aulani

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We had a wonderful trip with Jacob’s parents to Hawaii! We were SO blessed to get to travel with the NFLPA even though Jacob missed half the meetings due to his impromptu trip to Atlanta! We came home with lots of memories and a new job!

And just to keep it real… this is what our hotel room looked like after living out of a suitcase in three different hotels in ten days… wow.
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Sunday Scriptures + Jacob’s 30th birthday

ABC Scriptures J

The uncertainty of each day can be overwhelming. Nothing in this world stays the same. Nothing. But, the Bible tells us that Jesus does. How amazing is that promise? That no matter what life throws at us, no matter how big we mess up, no matter how much money we make, no matter what is happening in the world around us, Jesus is always the same. Always. Wow!

Today, Jacob finally catches up with me and joins the 30 club! He is spending his birthday hard at work at the annual NFLPA meetings, so we will be celebrating his big day tomorrow. Luckily, this year the meetings are being held in Maui – what a way to celebrate! If you’ve been to Maui and have any “must do’s”, please leave a comment or e-mail me. This is our first trip so we could use any suggestions!

This Is How We Do It: Visiting Walt Disney World

Since our recent trip to Disney World, I’ve had several people contact me with questions about our trip and asking for tips when planning. I’m definitely not a Disney guru, but I do have a few tips that I’ve learned for our Disney travels, that I do find helpful! I’m still learning and below I’ll share a tip that I saw on our last trip (but haven’t used yet) and it is genius!

Tip #1: Use a Disney Travel Agent
I can’t stress how important it is to use a travel agent, especially if it’s your first Disney trip. Our Disney travel agent is Magical Vacations by Holly and she is awesome! You can find her on Facebook if you want to book a trip. She is free to use and is oh so helpful! Jacob isn’t a fan of big crowds and she always helps us pick a week to visit when crowds are at a minimum (well, a minimum for Disney). She also give suggestions on where to stay and what promotions are available. Even after your trip is booked, if a new promotion becomes available, she’ll add it to your reservation. It’s always exciting to book the trip and then pay less than what was expected!

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Want a crowd free castle photo? Read below to find out how!

Tip #2: Enter the Magic Kingdom before it opens
The one question I kept getting over and over after I posted the picture above on instagram was: Were you the only people at Disney World? How did you get a picture in front of the castle without the massive swarm of people? Well, the answer is simple: We went in the park before it opened. There are two ways to enter the Magic Kingdom before it opens: get reservations for breakfast at The Crystal Palace or have an appointment at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Since Luke isn’t exactly in the market for a glittery updo and Lyla is still bald, we opted for breakfast. Make sure you get a reservation that is prior to the park’s opening time. You can make reservations for Disney Dining 180 days in advance so be prepared to plan ahead if possible. Once you arrive at the Magic Kingdom gates, head to the far left entrance and they will let you sneak in. Well, you aren’t technically sneaking in, since your name is on a list, but it sure feels like you’re sneaking in when you get to skirt past the hundreds of people waiting to enter. The only downside to entering the park early are the dirty looks that will be directed toward you as you pass by the long line of people that have been patiently waiting to get inside. It truly is magical to walk to Main Street USA when your family is the ONLY family there. For those few minutes, it feels as if you have Disney all to yourself!

Tip #3: Use Disney’s Photographers
On our first trip to Disney, I was worried that we wouldn’t have any family photos. Either I would be taking the picture of Luke and Jacob or Jacob would be taking one of Luke and I. However, we ended up with LOTS of pictures of all three of use because Disney’s professional photographers will take pictures of your group with YOUR camera. Yes, they will take a picture with their camera first in hopes that you will later purchase them, but if you ask, they will take one with your camera as well. How awesome is that? So, don’t be shy. If you see a cast member with camera, ask them for a group photo, they will take it with a smile.

Tip #4: Get the My Disney Experience App
Be sure to download the app before leaving for your trip because you will be using it constantly while you’re on Disney property. You can log in to your My Disney Experience account and it will sync all of your dining reservations and fast passes on the app. This app will also serve as your park map and allow you to view the current wait times for the rides. The app also allows you to make changes to your Fast Passes throughout the day and has menus available for each restaurant.

After several Disney trips, I learned that there are a few unexpected items that you will need during your stay. Below are my must haves for any Disney vacation:

– Snacks and Water. You can bring snacks and bottled water in to the park. And, if it’s allowed, why wouldn’t you? A bottle of water can cost $3.50 inside the park. That can really add up over the course of a long day. We bring lots of snacks because Luke and Jacob are bottomless pits and it would cost a fortune to buy them snacks every hour.

– Bright Ribbon. Disney has large stroller parking areas throughout the park where you will leave your stroller while you wait for rides. There are literally thousands of strollers in the park and chances are there will be several that look just like yours. Disney cast members often move the strollers around in the parking areas to help the flow of traffic, so your stroller will most likely not be in the exact same place you left it. I always bring brightly colored ribbon, preferably neon yellow, and tie a big bow on the stroller handle. It makes it easy to spot in the sea of strollers and we don’t have to waste time searching for ours.

– Gum. Walt Disney was a bit of a clean freak and one of his main concerns was keeping Disney clean. With that in mind, gum is not sold on Disney property. So, if you like to chew gum, be sure to bring your own.

– Wipes. Spills will happen, so be sure to bring wipes even if your kids aren’t in diapers. They are also great for cleaning off tables at quick service restaurants! Also, the first thing I do when I board a plane is wipe down my seat and tray table. I’m not a germaphobe, but I’ve been on enough planes to know that they are cess pools for germs.

– Disposable ponchos. Although Disney World is in the Sunshine State, chances are you will experience an afternoon rain shower on your trip. You can purchase ponchos at the Dollar Tree for a buck, so be sure to bring at least one per person. After the rain is over, you can toss them and not have to worry about keeping up with an expensive and soaking wet poncho. They are also great to wear on Splash Mountain if you don’t want to get soaked.

– Glow Sticks. When the sun goes down on the Magic Kingdom, the street peddlers come alive with all of their glow in the dark and light up gizmos for kids. Instead of paying $15 for a Buzz Lightyear spinning flashlight, I buy glow sticks at the Dollar Tree before we leave. Luke is always so excited when I pull them out of our bag at night and he’s so happy with his glow sticks that he doesn’t even think to ask about the dozens of items they are selling.

– A Cheap Shower Curtain and Towel Clips. This is the tip that I just saw on our last trip and I will be using in the future. I purchased a large non-disposable poncho to cover our stroller in case of a rain shower. I’ve never really been pleased with it because it doesn’t cover the whole stroller and the arm and neck holes often leak water into stroller seats. Well, some genius mom (or dad) came up with the best solution. They had a cheap shower curtain draped over their stroller and they used beach towel clips to clip it on the stroller. It kind of makes me mad that I didn’t think of it, but I’m sure glad someone did!

I hope these tips are helpful when planning your next Disney vacay and I would love to hear your Disney tips and tricks as well!

 

 

I’m not trying to make memories…

We’ve had several people make comments about why we shouldn’t take our very young children to Disney World and “waste all that money on something they won’t remember.” One lady even told Jacob on our first night at Disney, that Lyla doesn’t even know where she is. Well, she was right. She doesn’t know where she is and she won’t remember a single thing about our trip last week. But, we didn’t take our kids to Disney in the hopes that they would reminisce about the trip when they are 30 years old. We took them so they would enjoy it and for them to experience the magic. I could care less if they have memories of our trip; I simply wanted them to have fun! We aren’t in the business of making memories we are in the business of creating experiences. If they remember them, great! If not, that’s ok too.

There’s a big debate on the internet about what the best age is to take a child to Disney. I think the best age to take them is whenever the parents want! Hah! In all seriousness, I think that you should at least consider taking your child to Disney before their magic runs out. Right now, Luke thinks that Mickey is really Mickey. And when he met Anna from Frozen, he really thought that she had just travelled from Arendale. That is magic. Because for me, I knew that Anna was just a college chick from Kissimmee that needed a part time job. There’s no magic in that! But, oh, it was magical for me to see Luke’s face when he met her!

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See his little face? So animated! He asked her all about Olaf and Sven!

Some friends of ours asked us this weekend how we knew we were ready to have kids. We responded with, “We weren’t.” Hah! I’m not sure anyone is ever ready to raise a new, little human, but what a joy it is to have that privilege. I feel the same way about Disney World. If you wait until your kids are potty trained or wait until they can walk the whole time or wait until they remember it, they will soon be grown and not want to go at all. And when you, as parents, finally feel like you’re ready to take your kids it will be too late.

So, now that you know how I feel on that subject… on to our trip recap!

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This was our third trip to Disney with Luke, but our first time to take him to EPCOT. I was a little worried that he wouldn’t enjoy it as much as the other parks, but boy was I wrong! There was SO much for him to do. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Spaceship Earth looks like a giant golf ball, which is right up Luke’s (and Jacob’s) alley!

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My parents with Luke at the aquarium

Unbeknownst to me, there is an excellent aquarium in EPCOT. We spent nearly an hour looking at the dolphins, sharks, stingrays and fish. We didn’t see everything the park had to offer because we took our time letting Luke play and just enjoy!

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Luke is currently transitioning out of a nap (which makes me sad on so many levels) but apparently EPCOT wore him out! He fell asleep on top of Jacob’s shoulders while waiting to ride Soarin’. I was in the lobby area waiting with Lyla, so I didn’t see this happen in person, but the picture completely cracks me up!

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In our opinion, one of the best upgrades to the Disney Parks in the last few years has been the addition of Starbucks! Can you see the excitement in Jacob’s face? Hah! Only two of those drinks are his… he said he needed an afternoon pick-me-up!

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I got a few looks when I was walking around EPCOT like this. But, hey, when baby girl needs to eat and your son really wants to meet Duffy the Disney bear, you just got to make it work! We were all laughing about the situation and so my dad dared Jacob to see if he could feed her and walk at the same time. Of course, Jake accepted the challenge…

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Right now, our favorite park is the Magic Kingdom, so we spent two of our three park days there. Luke was finally tall enough to ride the “big kid” rides and boy was he excited! He loved the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Splash Mountain. We felt like it was sort of a rite of passage when he rode Splash Mountain… our sweet baby is now a big kid!

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We celebrated Luke’s 4th birthday one month early! I love parties, so we celebrate multiple times!

We celebrated Luke’s 4th birthday Disney style with dinner at Be Our Guest. We had them bring out a small cake and I brought a “4” candle from Walmart to stick in it! Disney’s personalized cakes can get really expensive, but they allow you to bring in anything you like to decorate their plain celebration cakes!

I’m not going to lie, I absolutely love Disney World! Jacob doesn’t share the same sentiment, but he doesn’t hate it and he really loves seeing Luke and Lyla enjoy the magic. We spent four nights at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and I really wish we would’ve spent one more night. Of course, I probably could’ve stayed a week and had the same thought when I left!

Luke was a little sad to leave, but I reminded him as we left the hotel – “It’s not goodbye. It’s see ya later!”

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Well folks, I did it. It didn’t go exactly how I had imagined it, but I finished! And, with that said, I get to cross one more item off my 30 in 30 list.

30 in 30 3:2:15

We had originally planned to fly to Disney out of Nashville. However, the day before we were supposed to fly, flights were getting cancelled like crazy because of snow and ice. Instead of risking our flight getting cancelled and me missing my race, we cancelled our own flights and hopped in the car to drive the 13 hours to Disney. CRAZY, I tell ya! It wouldn’t be a trip with the Tamme fam if it wasn’t crazy!

When we arrived at Walt Disney World, we went straight to get my race packet at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. I had no clue how big this event was until we arrived. I’ve been to several BIG sporting events, but I certainly had never been a participant, so needless to say, I was a little overwhelmed.

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I was giddy with excitement when they handed me my race bib!

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Disney leaves no detail untouched! How cute were the race bibs? They had each lady’s name preceded by “Princess” at the bottom of the bib. I tried to get Jacob to refer to me as Princess Allison all week, but he wasn’t buying it!

My wake-up call on the morning of the race was at 2:25am… ouch! They were not kidding about an early start! Thankfully, I had lots of excitement mixed with anxiousness so I wasn’t tired at all.

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Disney Princess Half Marathon Race Retreat

If you ever run in a runDisney event, I would highly suggest getting access to the Race Retreat. It is an extra fee on top of the entry fee, but it is worth every penny. Being in the Race Retreat tent allowed me to have a place to hang out from the time I arrived at the race area until the race started. Otherwise, I would’ve been outside standing for 1.5 hours. They had bagels, bananas and coffee for the runners and Belle was there for photos ops. I met several nice ladies in the tent while we ate our pre-race breakfast. I’m not even sure you call it breakfast if you eat at 3am… pretty sure that is still just a mid-night snack!

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There were SO many cute costumes at the race! There were 27,000 runners and nearly every runner had on some sort of costume! I walked past this guy on my way to the start line and his outfit was hilarious! You see, this race is supposed to be for women, but men are allowed to run. Well, this very smart bachelor dressed as Prince Charming and put his own want ad on the back of his shirt. He also carried a big red, velvet, tufted pillow with a silver New Balance shoe on top. I’m not sure if he ran the whole race carrying it, but he definitely started off with it. It was so cute and I’m hoping he found a princess!

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The first several miles felt really great! There were fireworks, marching bands, and Disney characters all along the course. I was so torn as to whether I should stop for great photo ops or keep running. I decided to keep running and only stop for a photo in front of the castle. It really was magical to run through the Magic Kingdom and to top it off, my family was on Main Street cheering for me! Bless their hearts, they had a super early wake-up call too, but I was so thankful they were there cheering me on!

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I was dying to stop for a photo with Snow White since I was dressed like her, but the line was ridiculously long, so I just took a selfie as I ran past her. I must say, I’ve made fun of people using the selfie stick in the past, but after this race, I’ve decided that it’s going on my wish list.

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I really could’ve used that selfie stick when I stopped to take a photo with the Fairy Godmother, which I’m pretty sure was just Paula Deen in a big costume. Don’t they look just alike?!? The Fairy Godmother was the announcer for the race and she was so funny! She was located at mile 12 and was encouraging the runners as they passed by. You can see her mic in the photo. At this point in the race, I was walking a tenth of a mile (or more) at each mile marker, so it was the perfect opportunity to stop for a picture. She wasn’t an “official” photo op on the course, but I ran past the orange cones and asked her if we could take a photo. She obliged and thankfully I didn’t get in trouble for going off the course.

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Finisher! Can you see the pixie dust they sprinkled on my hair after the finish? I loved all the little Disney touches on the race!

Finisher! Thank goodness! As I approached the finish line,  I heard the announcer say, “And here comes Allison Tam.” Hah! I started laughing as I was running because no one can ever pronounce my last name correctly. When I crossed the finish line, I felt such a sense of accomplishment. Six months ago when I signed up for this race, I was 32 weeks pregnant and on bed rest. At the time this race felt like a dream, but it finally became a reality!

I could feel my ankle and arch hurting during the run, but it wasn’t until I stopped running that the pain really set it. I couldn’t put weight on my left foot without a sharp pain, so I shuffled my way through the crowd to find Jacob, who then led me to the tent where the rest of my family was waiting.

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My little fam after the race! Can you tell they had to wake up before the sun? They all have sleepy faces!

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What would I do without my parents? This trip was supposed to be a “thank you” to them for spending two weeks at the hospital with Lyla and I last summer. But, they ended up having to drive all the way to Orlando, waking up at the crack of dawn and helping us with the kiddos all day! I’m not sure it was much of a vacation for them, but we sure enjoyed getting to spend time with them!

I REALLY wanted to run the entire 13.1 miles; however, finishing was my ultimate goal. My other goal was to finish under 2:30:00, I didn’t achieve that goal either. I probably would have if I didn’t stop for pictures at the castle, but I wanted to enjoy the experience while I was there. I have never really pushed my body physically until the point of exhaustion… and you know what? It felt pretty awesome! The entire race was extremely humbling. There were women of all ages and sizes participating and let me tell you, there is nothing quite like the feeling of getting passed by a 70 year old during a race. Hah! I hope to be like those older women one day still out there exercising and having fun! It was also inspiring to hear about all of the weight loss stories. I met two ladies that lost over 100 pounds in the past year. Wow! I thought I was doing great just to have lost my baby weight… again, so humbling.

My cousin texted me after the race, “don’t wait too long before you sign up for your next race.” I’m not sure I’m signing up anytime soon. I’m going to give my leg a rest and see if it will heal, but I’m definitely planning on running a half marathon again.

Snowpocalypse + Disney Outfit Prep

We have been snowed in for most of the week as the winter storm Octavia hit Kentucky. The local weathermen hyped this storm up so much that everyone in the state flocked to the nearest grocery before it hit and bought enough food to survive until Spring!  Kentucky rarely gets more than a couple inches of snow and when we do, the ENTIRE state shuts down… literally! Schools, restaurants, banks, even the local courthouse has been closed all week. The snow did not disappoint and we ended up with about 13″ in our yard. Wow! Our driveway is a tenth of a mile long and it would’ve taken Jake ALL week to scrape it with a shovel. Thankfully, we have the most amazing neighbors. You can’t imagine the surprise and joy we felt when we saw our neighbor plowing our driveway in his big John Deere tractor. Luke and I watched through the window and it was the highlight of his week!


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We waited until the sun came out on Tuesday to get out and play. Luke insisted that we take his trucks out to play in the snow. There are currently 5 trucks that are MIA and buried in the frozen tundra that is our back yard. We’re hoping to see them sometime soon, but with the looks of the long range forecast, it isn’t looking hopeful.

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I was somewhat thankful that we were stuck inside all week because it allowed me to finally sew a few things for our trip to Disney this weekend. On Monday, I finished my Snow White running costume and on Tuesday I made the kids an outfit each to wear to the Magic Kingdom. Every time I sew an outfit with ruffles, I swear that I’ll never do it again… yet here is another ruffled frock! They are just so stinkin’ cute, I can’t quit making them even though they give me fits!

We are currently sorting out flights and travel plans because there is another winter storm hitting this weekend right when we are supposed to fly to Disney. I’m blaming all of this on Elsa! I will certainly let her know how disgusted Kentuckians are with this eternal winter when we meet her on Sunday and I better get an apology. Hah! I’ll be posting the Sunday Scripture and will have a full wrap up of our trip when we return! Until then, stay warm and safe, Kentucky friends!