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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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!

Sunday Scripture + Weekend Wrap Up + Valentine’s Day Wish List

Follow me, Jesus said, and I will make you fishers of men. Matthew 4:19

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source: www.year27.com

Well, as I mentioned on Wednesday our little family has been on the go this week! We had quite a bit of downtime in January and now we are entering our “travel phase” of the off-season. We don’t get to travel much during the season, so we have to cram all of our travel into a two month span. I sometimes get overwhelmed with all of the planning, packing, calling, list making and organizing that comes with our trips, but I was reminded this week by a post by Lysa Terkeurst: I am managing blessings. Isn’t that so true? While I am a little overwhelmed with my lengthy to do list and quick turn around between trips and some days I feel like our house is more of a landing pad than our home, I wouldn’t change a bit of it. Everything that is overwhelming me right now is a blessing.

We started off our week with a long weekend trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to celebrate my parents turning 60. Their birthdays are a week apart in November, but this was the first chance that our whole family could get away to celebrate. The weather was just glorious – in the 60’s and sunny for the entire trip! We hiked, went snow tubing, rode go-karts, ate, shopped and laughed a lot. My parents are amazing and help us out SO much so we were so glad we got to celebrate their special days (even if it was three months late).

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The girls (minus Lucy) hiking in Gatlinburg in short sleeves in February… I’ll take it!

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Happy 60th Birthday to the two “Big Kids”!

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My parents may have turned 60 but they still know how to have fun – especially when the grandbabies are involved!

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On Tuesday, we had a Valentine’s Party at our house. Luke is a preschool drop out so I wanted him to get in on all the V-day fun too! Lyla had her 6 month check up Tuesday as well. She is a big, healthy girl! We delayed her shots until tomorrow because we were traveling. I am NOT looking forward to them. I know the whole vaccine debate is strong right now… we made a decision to vaccinate before Luke was born and we are sticking with it!

If you’ve seen my 30 in 30 list, you know that I hope to break ground on our new home soon. This house will be our “forever home” and will be built on a farm we bought last year. The land has been in the Tamme family since 1910 and we could not be more excited to carry on the tradition. Nearly two years ago we fell in love with a picture of a house online and after a little research, we found the architect that built the home. We had a few chats with the architect, Peter Archer, and soon after we knew he was the right person to design our forever home. We knew we were only going to build once and we want to make sure everything is just how we want it. I had NO idea that building a house was such an intense and time consuming job! Wow! But, again, while it can be somewhat stressful, its just managing blessings!

Our house is going to be in the style of an old Pennsylvania stone farm house and since we had never really seen one in person, we decided that we should probably see one with our own eyes before we break ground. So, last week we made the decision to make a last minute visit to West Chester, Pennsylvania to meet with Peter and his staff and see some of the homes that share similar characteristics to our future home. We are SO glad we went! We had NO clue how many different types of stone there are… can you say overwhelmed? We spent the day looking at homes and making revisions to our blueprints. It was a great, but long day!

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Peter and Jacob spent a LOT of time talking about proportions and lines on the homes. I think we wore Peter out with all of our questions, comments, critiques and ponderings. Hah! Jacob definitely wants to know all the details and I just kept saying… “Let’s build that one! I love it!” Hah! Brains vs. Emotion!

At the end of our quick 48 hour trip, we came home with lots of ideas, a new excitement for our home and a half ton of stone in the back of our pick-up truck. I had no idea so few stones could weigh SO much!

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So, as you know, yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Since we had been traveling, we didn’t really do gifts for each other, but we did get the kids a gift each. However, if we did get gifts, the picture below would be our wish list!

Valentine's Day Family Wish List
Jacob is in desperate need of new sunglasses since he left his in Denver. Luke is getting a new movie to watch on our flight to Orlando on Saturday and The 101 Dalmations was just released from the Disney vault, so it was a natural choice for him. Lyla got a Bennet’s Bonnet from Beaufort Bonnets. It is sold out now, but all the proceeds from them went to a sweet little girl who has cancer. As for my wish list – how perfect is this sweatshirt for me? I say “Bless your heart” ALL the time and would love to wear this around. And, since it’s my blog, I can put two items on my wish list – I would LOVE to have a Dyson Slim so I can get rid of the mountain of crumbs that live under my kitchen table.
What did you get for Valentine’s Day or what did you wish you had gotten?

Half Marathon Prep

Last June, I went in to labor at 30 weeks and was put on bed rest for 8 weeks. It.was.miserable. Since all I could do was lay on the couch all day, the logical thing for me to do was to sign up for a half marathon. I knew exactly which race I wanted to run in and I signed up in mid-July for the Walt Disney World Princess Half Marathon that will be run February 22, 2015. What was I thinking? I was nearly 9 months pregnant, had been on bed rest for six weeks and I signed up for a half marathon?!? I still laugh at the screen that popped up during the registration that asked what my current mile splits were for a 10k or longer. Ummm… Let’s just say I left that question blank.

A few days after Lyla was born I knew I needed to start training as much as I could with the obvious restrictions from my doctor, so I began walking every day. I had a c-section so I wasn’t cleared to run for six weeks and to be honest, I didn’t want to run until then anyway. I found a great training plan online that runDisney encourages their runners to use. You can find it here if you’re interested. I followed it closely for five weeks and then my leg started hurting. I was stubborn and didn’t let it rest and ended up with pretty severe posterior shin splints. Thankfully, we know a few people who dabble in sports medicine and I was able to get back to running after a few weeks off.

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Andrea and I at the finish of the Pumpkin Pie 10k with our medals and slices of pie!

On November 15th, my sister, Andrea, and I ran in the Pumpkin Pie 10k in Denver so that I could fill in that blank question on my registration. I signed up for this particular 10k because it was touted to be the flatest 10k course in Colorado. Well, it was flat, but it was also 14 degrees and the course was covered in four inches snow and ice that day. To say it was an adventure was an understatement! Andrea and I were chatting away on mile 4 and I turned to look at her and the next thing I knew, my head was slamming into the ice. It was painful! I hopped right up not wanting to slow my pace time and I couldn’t see a thing! At first I thought that I had a concussion, but it turns out my contact was just covered in snow. Andrea tried to get me to stop and walk, but I refused and we finished the race. It was the farthest I had ever run in my life – I was ecstatic! However, my leg was hurting so bad after the race that I had to take 4 weeks off from running again. At this point, I knew running a half marathon was on my 30 in 30 list and I was terrified that my shin splints were going to keep me from my goal.

I stopped running for five weeks and just began running again the day after Christmas with a new, shortened running half marathon training plan. You can find my new plan here. Running is definitely a challenge for me because I am not a typical “runner”. However, it gives me time to myself and allows me to exercise while pushing myself farther than I ever thought possible. Last Saturday I ran seven (7!!) miles with my father-in-law and I’ve never felt better. Yes, my leg still hurts, but by gosh, I’m determined to train and run my race in February! I’ll deal my leg after I cross that finish line.

Princess Half start line

Can’t wait to be at this starting line in 31 days! Photo: www.rundisney.com

I have a lot of “runner” friends and to them a half marathon is a warm-up.  However, to me it is a BIG deal! Each week that I train, I run farther than before and I am so excited to join 27,000 other women in this race. Did I mention, that costumes are encouraged and that I’ll be running as Snow White?!? I’ll keep you posted on my progress as the race gets closer – I can’t wait!

This is How We Do it: Car Travel

The blog has taken a back seat recently as we moved from Denver back to Kentucky. It’s kind of crazy to live in two places because we are *always* needing something that is at our other home. Jacob is a minimalist (except for his golf gear) and I over pack. Always. I must bring all the things everywhere we go! Hah! I’m the anti-hoarder, but I like to have options, so I cart most of my clothes back and forth depending on where we are living. Jacob on the other hand, has half his wardrobe in each place and just makes do with what he’s got. Opposites attract, I guess!  So when it came time to pack up for the off-season, I took the reins. We ended up with a 5’x8′ U-haul trailer packed to the gills and a loaded down SUV for our 22 hour (counting stops) car ride back to Kentucky. Thankfully, after I packed everything we could still fit our children in the car – but barely!

I know what you’re probably thinking – 22 hours in a car with two small children is crazy! And, you’re right, it is! We’ve all heard it said that “It’s not the destination, but the journey that counts.” Well, friends, that is all a LIE! At least it is when it comes to traveling in a car with a preschooler and an infant! Let me be the first to tell you the destination is what counts! Sure, the trip along the way can be enjoyable, but getting home is what really matters!

We’ve done our fair share of car travel and after making the 22 hour trip between Danville and Denver eight times, I have learned a thing or two about what makes for a great long distance drive. Here are my top 5 tips and tricks for making a long car ride enjoyable (or at least tolerable)!

1. Bring snacks! – The only thing worse than a tired three year old is a hungry three year old. This adage can usually be applied to husbands as well! We like to bring most of our snacks with us because they are healthier and much cheaper than the usual gas station cuisine. Some of our favorites are carrot sticks, mixed nuts, raisins, string cheese and apples. Of course, near the end of the trip we all need a pick-me-up so we usually treat Luke (and ourselves) to ice cream.

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Luke’s 1st Blizzard – August 2013! This was near the Kansas/Colorado border, also known as: the middle of no where! Thankfully, there was a Dairy Queen, because we all needed a treat!

2. One word – iPad. Honestly, I’m not sure how people survived long car rides with out them. While we discourage excessive screen time at home, we encourage it on the road. We let Luke watch movies and play games as much as he wants and we just pray that the screen doesn’t burn a hole through his retina. We even let Lyla, our 5 month old, watch a few episodes of Mickey when she got restless. Please don’t call CPS on us… everyone can use a little Disney magic to get them through a long trip.

3. Plan your stops. This one can get tricky. Infants can have unexpected diaper blow outs and newly potty trained toddlers can demand sudden stops for potty breaks. We once had to take an exit in Kansas to make a pit stop for a freshly potty trained Luke. It was not a planned stop and the only thing on this exit was a dirt road, corn fields and an abandoned gas station. Needless to say, it was not our most productive stop. The photo below is of another unplanned stop on our first drive to Colorado. Yes, that is Jacob changing Luke’s diaper at the entrance to someone’s cattle ranch. On a long drive, you just gotta make do with what you have and sometimes that includes a make-shift changing table on the side of the road. Also, notice how blue the sky is – Kentucky has blue grass, but Colorado has *the* bluest skies you’ve ever seen!

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Roadside diaper change – expect the unexpected on car rides with children!

4. Let the kids play. This one seems frustrating at times because it feels like you are wasting time, but allowing the kids to move and stretch is well worth it. When pulling the u-haul we often stop at a truck stop and Jacob and Luke have foot races to burn off some energy (somewhere far away from the 18 wheelers, of course).  We usually try to eat at a Chick-fil-A with an indoor playground. We eat while Luke plays and then we order his food to go. He can then be occupied with his food in the car. On our last trip, I purchased a lap desk at Hobby Lobby for him. It worked great as a meal tray and even had spots for a drink and extra snacks. I would highly recommend getting one, but be sure to check and make sure that it will fit over your child’s car seat. You can see it in action in the photo below.

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This was our first trip with TWO children! Lyla was only three weeks old!

5. Bring nap time items. The ideal situation for car travel is for your kids to sleep as much as possible. To make this happen, we like to make their car seats as much like their crib/bed as possible. We always bring Luke’s stuffed horse named Boss Cat and his blanket and we usually start the trip off with him wearing pajamas. I would also highly recommend getting a sun shade, but a blanket stuffed in the car window will work in a pinch to block the light for ideal napping conditions.

I hope these tips help you as much as they help us. What tips and tricks do you have for your long drives?