Tuesday, July 14, 2015

disney daydream #3: small world edition

I am 67 days from our next trip to my favorite place, Walt Disney World. That means hubster has to endure 67 more days of me barely able to hold it together as I spend virtually every spare minute planning, re-planning, researching, and oozing with perhaps highly annoying excitement.

He is one patient man.

So today I'm doing my best to get my Disney fix via my blog so hubster doesn't have to listen to//watch more Disney podcasts and YouTube videos later.


When most people are asked about their favorite ride at Disney, you here the "normal", socially acceptable responses... Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Tower of Terror, Mount Everest, etc. These are great rides and are at the top of my list at well. However, they are joined by a ride that many adults find extremely obnoxious, repetitive, and booooooring. Usually when I say that this is one of my favorites, I get a look of complete confusion mixed with a little repulsiveness.

I'm talking about "It's a Small World".

Yes, that ride with all the little dolls from each country dancing and singing the same song over, and over, and over, and over, although in different languages.

A little explanation....

Most of my reasons for enjoying this ride are sentimental, although I think the colors and design, contributed largely from Mary Blair, are superb and timeless. When I was a child, I was absolutely fascinated by this ride. I loved the dolls, of course, and the music. As a kid, I was mesmerized by all the little details from country to country and the "white room" was as close to heaven on earth as I could find, in my 7 year old opinion.

Fast forward through many trips, and I am on my honeymoon. Allow me to set the scene... We have just driven 18 hours total, on our first full day of marriage, simultaneously testing our vows as hubster was trapped in a little Honda Civic with yours truly and no way out. It's 10:00 in the evening, we're driving into Disney World, I'm babbling nonsensically, and there are fireworks going off over Magic Kingdom as we drive to the Grand Floridian {which thanks to the economy at the time, we could afford}. Hubster is doing his best not to wreck the car while being distracted by the fireworks, reading the road signs, and making sure his wife doesn't jump out of the vehicle.

We check in, take our luggage to our room, and of course are way too amped up to go to sleep. So we head to the Magic Kingdom, which was just a monorail ride away, to enjoy extra magic hours lasting to the wee hours of the morning. We have no agenda. No rides in mind. We are just excited, blissfully happy, and hubster has never been so thankful to see so many people that aren't trapped in a Honda Civic with him.

Lots of rides had long waits {it was late June}, so we walked past the castle and of course are coincidentally lead right to my favorite musical boat ride. Hubster had not been to Disney World in over 20 years and the first ride his new bride takes him to is designed for 5 year old children. At this point, I reminded him again, as I had about 28 times in the car, that he has no way out. He picked me, married me, and now is stuck with me.

While we were standing in line, the clock struck 12:00 a.m. I had never seen the clock do the little show it did then. Stuff was popping out of clocks everywhere, there was music, and it was the coolest clock presentation {is that a thing?} we had ever seen. From that point on, I looked less crazy as hubster was hooked as well.

Fast forward 3 years, and we are driving the trek yet again, this time with my parents and a 17 month old child with us. No... we were not in our Honda Civic. This time we arrived at Disney mid-afternoon, staying at the Swan. What did hubster want to do first? That's right... go find the little dolls and repetitive song. 

My son was, and still is, very apprehensive of loud noises and the dark. This ride was perfect. His eyes were huge as we floated from room to room, and I loved watching him try to take it all in. Needless to say, we rode that ride many times on that trip.

In September, we are making the 18 hour drive again, this time in a van. Once again my parents, a.k.a the free baby-sitters, are coming along, with my now 4 year old and my daughter, who will be 22 months. I have been endlessly planning {mostly for my own, weird enjoyment} as much as you can plan for two little kids, who most likely will not follow the plans.

One thing is certain... I know what our first ride will be.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015


I think Keurigs were invented for the sole purpose of invoking thoughts in my scattered//ADD-prone brain. It seems like every time I hear the sound of an airplane taking off {or my Keurig making a cup of coffee//tea}, my brain starts contemplating everything from my daughter's gap in her teeth to God Himself.

Hubster may in fact be overcome with remorse for buying me that wretched, thought-spiraling-machine.

In the last half hour I have successfully rapidly contemplated:
  • what FastPasses to reserve for my next Disney Vacation 
  • who came up with the name "Doc McStuffins" and why
  • my clear need for more exercise
  • how to get the nose pads back on my glasses
  • the grace of God {which is clearly needed for my glasses problem}
  • whether or not I should watch the same Hallmark movie for the third consecutive night
  • the small business I co-own
  • why certain songs make me cry in the shower
  • who I can blame for Clarabelle Cow's voice on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse


And those are the only topics my short-term-memory-challenged brain can recall. Believe me, there were more.

After reading this, I'm not sure if you're more concerned for me or horrified for hubster.

Perhaps I'm a walking advertisement for Adderall... or perhaps I can blame it on being cooped up with my children. After all, the only adult interaction I get on days like today is my Disney-planning podcasts or reading.

Sometimes my brain goes from 0 to 60 in 1.3 seconds. Complete overdrive. For a while in my life, this often lead to panic attacks complete with nausea, heart palpitations, cold sweats, and terrible thoughts.

Now it leads to something completely different.. 

The best part of these sanity-testing//nonsensical thought progressions is that after my tea {perhaps enjoyed on the patio}, after I've turned on some music, after I've had a chance for a few minutes of peace and quiet, there's calm.

There's joy as I realize that the 274 unrelated topics that just flew through my brain at warp speed are a direct result of a blessing God has graciously given me {most undeservedly}: children, friends, hobbies, vacations to my favorite destination, a God who loves me day in and day out {in spite of my brain}, and a movie channel designed for emotional women who do not care about quality acting or scripts. There's also confidence. I used to wonder why in the world God made my brain function this way. Now I feel the strength I have gained through enduring times of crippling, all-doubting anxiety.

I've grown.

{Sidebar: I do not, in any way, believe you can outgrow mental illness. It is treated in a variety of ways, because it is not simple, it is not an easy fix, and it is unpredictable. It is extremely hard to diagnose, because it is so different from person to person, year to year, day to day.}

I guess this is my roundabout way of reminding everyone that you were all created in God's image, whether you know Him or not. In a world where we are constantly expressing hate and intolerance, judgment and fear, remember that you were designed to be you. What you may view currently as a weakness may lead to you discovering your greatest strengths. Hang in there... put one foot in front of the other... and remember that when your brain finally takes a brief pause, He is there, patiently waiting and ready to guide you onward.

When I started this blog post, my brain had no idea where it would lead.
But He did.

one of my current post-rapid-brain favorites
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Monday, June 15, 2015

you're welcome world #5: social media rant

Hello again... It's been awhile. I've severely neglected my dear little blog. It happens.

This week, I'm bringing back my advice segment that I know everyone in the world reads while changing their lives completely to follow my instructions.

is this how you're supposed to do a selfie? probably not...

This week's edition is solely focused on one thing: social media etiquette {or lack thereof}.

I understand that I am not required to use social media. However, it does allow me to interact with people I otherwise would not have the opportunity to, keep up with family//friends who live far away, and find lots of information. 

Lately, I have found myself becoming extremely annoyed with others' use of social media. Annoyed to the point that I am fighting the urge to post extremely sarcastic comments that would not be becoming of me. 

Listen up folks. 

Dear Selfie-Obsessors {in my opinions you qualify as one of these if you take at least one selfie per day and post it on social media},
       Just stop. For the love of Pete, I do not need to see your face all over my news feed every single day. Here's a newsflash for you: my world will go on without having to see your pouty face//smiley face//perfectly done hair 15 times a week. There is a word for this: narcissism. Unfortunately social media has become a way for you to constantly fish for compliments and feed your insecurities about the way you look. It is clear that your priorities involve vanity, vanity, and more vanity. I don't care what outfit you just spent wads of money on. I don't care what color your hair is now. I don't care about what your post-baby body looks like. I don't care that you and perfectly groomed hubby are enjoying your third 'date night' of the week or grocery store outing. I have no problem with an occasional selfie; I've taken them myself. But stop finding every moment in the day to pose in front of a building, window, car, tractor, flower, animal, store etc. in order to give us another picture of your unparalleled beauty so that we can instantly and obviously be insanely jealous. My suggestion would be to buy this new, earth-shattering invention called a camera, push the button, and take a picture that you can have at home. Feel free to decorate your house with all the selfies you want.



amanda kate
You're welcome world.
Dear Drama Queens//Kings,
       I am sorry that something in your life is not going well. I truly am. I know how stressful life can be due to the thoughtlessness of others. However, wisdom tells me that posting 5 paragraphs about your family fights or the way your BFF gossiped about you is not the classy way nor the most productive way to go about solving your problem. Call me old fashioned but it might be better to just talk to the person directly, pray about it, and move on versus letting the whole world share in your drama. It doesn't reflect well on you or whoever you're ranting about.


amanda kate

You're welcome world.
Dear Mr.//Mrs. Perfect,
       I love that your life is perfect in every way possible. I love that you have it so together that we get to see every perfect thing you do every perfect day of your perfect life. Your perfect outfit//hair//make-up. Your perfect spouse who just did the most perfect thing for you. Your perfect salary that allowed you to build your perfect home and buy your perfect vehicle. Your perfect family with perfectly dressed children posing for perfect photo ops. Your perfect craft time followed by your perfectly cooked dinner and perfectly clean house. Is there nothing normal that ever happens in your life? Perhaps I'm being Negative Nelly here, but if I took constant photos of my daily life it would most likely include food on the floor, meltdowns, undressed children, fast food, piles of laundry, and rooms in my house that are unrecognizable due to the mess. Apparently I just need to get it together. Would it kill you to post one thing that isn't perfect? Like ever? Just be normal please. When you present a life that seems so utterly perfect, it makes me wonder what's really going on. We all fail. Don't be afraid to show the world your humanity.


amanda kate

You're welcome world.
Dear Compliment Seekers,
      You implement either one of two strategies: Tell the world all the wonderful things I accomplished today that everyone cares about {i.e. laundry, cooking, teaching my 2 year old to read novels} or tell the world what a failure I am so that everyone responds with a compliment so I can feel better about myself. Neither of these strategies is one you should be using.  

Snaps for Sally! She cleaned her house, took her children to the park, dressed them perfectly, taught them Latin, learned to knit, and cooked a four course meal all in one day. You must be exhausted... and inhuman. I'm not going to give you a pat on the back for bragging about all you do so that the rest of us can feel inferior. I live in the real world of motherhood where a shower and a load of laundry is a huge accomplishment on most days. 

On the other hand of the spectrum, we have poor Debbie. Dear, sweet Debbie is just not a good mom or not pretty enough or not a good cook or a terrible wife or has been hurt so many times by people or is just too exhausted from giving herself to everybody and everything. If you are that insecure that you incessantly post on social media to receive compliments, than I truly feel bad for you. Be proud of who you are. Be okay with your imperfections. Be willing to improve in certain areas. But please, oh please... don't be so needy. God loves you, your family loves you, and hopefully your annoying posts haven't chased all your friends away.


amanda kate

You're welcome world.
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Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday motivation

I used to hate Mondays. I cursed them, loathed them, and wondered why God created them in the first place. They were a terrible reminder that the work week was beginning, and although I loved the kids I worked with, I was about to be bombarded with exhaustion, stress, and politics.

Now, I've come to enjoy Mondays. It's actually a slower pace than our typical weekend and reminds me that I have a fresh start to each week. A chance to be with my kids, a little bit of time for myself each day, and a reminder of how blessed I am.

This is not a post that is meant to be 'braggy'. Nor is it a post advocating for everyone to quit their jobs.

It is a reminder that change isn't always terrible. A reminder that your life may be entirely different and wonderful and surprisingly rewarding even though it is the exact thing you never said you would do//be. A reminder that what works for someone, doesn't work for another. A reminder that God knows what's best. 

My current life can be described as a stay-at-home-mom-shop-co-owner-part-time-waitress. Clear enough for you?? For me, it is the perfect balance of time with kids, time for myself with two dear friends of mine, and time to make a little extra cash//get out of the house.

I used to say, "I could never be a stay at home mom." Ha. Scoff.

Here I am with absolutely zero desire to go back.

My Mondays used to be filled with dread, frustration, and a sense of un-satisfaction. I knew something wasn't right. I knew it wasn't working for me. I knew something had to change.

I realize that not everyone has the luxury to make a big 'change' in their lives. There are bills to pay and responsibilities to carry out. But my guess is, if you really prayed, brainstormed, and listened to yourself, you might be surprised at a solution that all of a sudden rears its scary head, with neon signs flashing and arrows pointing.

Hubster and I moved from a dream home to a smaller home, which most people do not do. We bought our first 'newer' vehicle together after being married for 4 years. I don't go shopping very often anymore, but believe me, I do not lack in any department {just glance at my closet}. We don't vacation every year. We generally do not have the latest and greatest technologies.

These are all things that were so easy for me to give up in order to feel at peace. My goals changed.

Again, I recognize that not everyone has the opportunity to quit their job and still be able to make their house payment or pay off loans. Nor does everyone want to quit working. Some people juggle everything seamlessly and do an outstanding job at it.  

But if you're struggling today, don't give up. Don't shut the door on other possibilities before the door even opens. Make it work. Find something that works for your life right now. You won't get these years back.

Maybe you need a career change. Maybe you are a stay-at-home-mom who desperately needs to go back to work. Maybe you need a relationship change. Maybe you need to give up some luxuries in order to obtain financial peace. Maybe you need a spiritual change//commitment.

Whatever it is, find it. Take that cliche 'leap of faith' and make it your reality. It's not as far away as you think.

My days are rarely easy... but they bring me peace at night and peace in the morning, which for me, is priceless.


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Thursday, February 5, 2015

morning survival guide

Ask my father, mother, hubster, or anyone that has had contact with me before 10 a.m.

Mornings and I do not mix. Not even close. In fact, I'd say we despise each other.

Whether I'm a working mom or stay at home mom, it doesn't matter... I wake up not wanting to get out of bed, get dressed, or communicate with another human being. Throw in Old Man Winter and you have a perfect storm of disgust, cabin fever, and sleepiness.

Honesty, people.

With two toddler-aged children, my loathing of mornings will simply not do. Waking up to a screaming//crying one year old, who has the same morning capabilities as her mother, demanding food, cuddles, and entertainment {simultaneously of course} does not help my state of mind. Throw in a son begging for a cookie and torturing the family pet, and morning has shown her true colors in all her glory.

If you are one of those annoying morning people who dares to talk to me, gets up extra early, and moves about at a pace faster than a tortoise, just stop reading. And for the sake of our friendship, don't comment on this post.

For those of you who share my distaste of the A.M., have no fear.... I have created a survival guide just for you. Do these things and I promise, mornings will move from 'wretched' to 'somewhat tolerable' on the scale of repulsiveness. If you have a sick kid, are sick yourself, or heaven forbid, have a morning appointment of some sort, then unfortunately your morning is a crapshoot and this guide will do you no good.

The Best Motherhood Survival Guide: Guaranteed to Punch Mornings in the Face
{non-violent I promise}

  • Have some breakfast options that the little ones can feed themselves. It can be healthy or unhealthy, I certainly will not judge. Some successful ones in my household are yogurt, bananas, apples, non-organic pop-tarts, and fruit bars. My children love a chance to be independent and I love a chance to scarf down some food of my own before their demands set in. Warning: allowing a one year old to feed themselves will give you a 100% chance of a mess to clean up.
  • 5 minutes in the bathroom. This does not include actually going to the bathroom. While my children are inhaling their breakfast and little miss throws half of her's on the floor, I take 5 minutes to do a very brief 'pamper' in the restroom {with the door closed}. This includes some face-washing, and if I'm feeling extra ambitious, a little foundation. I slap up the hair, put on some deodorant, throw on my workout clothes, and I feel ready to face the day. {I would like to clarify that I typically shower at night, before bed.}
  • Coffee {non-decaf}. Enough said.
  • My daily Bible reading is done on my phone. I know some people would frown upon this heathen use of technology, but it's what works for my life right now. In the morning, I like to take a quick look at a verse for the day. Sometimes it's random... sometimes I look for one that I have labeled such as 'wisdom' {for how to attempt to parent}, 'peace' {when there is little tranquility in the household}, or 'hope' {usually involving a prayer that nap time will occur that day}. I do not do a devotion in the morning, because my brain simply does not function at that time of day.
  • If you are extra lucky, and your kids are occupied {see the next bullet point}, I try to squeeze in a very quick 'workout'. I'm talking 10 minutes max... just a little something to get your blood pumping and your aging metabolism going. I also have learned that I do not have the willpower to get up extra early {unimaginable} and do a full workout in the morning. Therefore, I do a few quick exercises in the morning, and hit the gym sometime in the afternoon, thanks to my baby-sitting father. 
  • Here's where my Mom of the Year award comes in... Find some educational, developmentally appropriate TV shows//videos for your children to watch. My children's favorites {largely influenced by their mother} include: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Baby Einstein DVDs, Curious George, and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. My pediatrician would protest if she read this post, but luckily, my blog is well beneath her intelligence and doesn't register on her daily to-do list. I have no problem letting my kids watch these shows. My 4-year-old has a strong vocabulary, in my opinion, and much of it is due to things he's learned from the television. I am not advocating for sitting your child in front of the TV all day. I am advocating for strategic use of educational programming so that you can reach your peak sanity before the day begins. 
  • Turn on some music. Depending on my mood, I either go for the record player, Pandora, or my favorite iTunes playlist. Not only is it a mood booster, it also has the additional effect of drowning out any whines, arguments, and//or toy-throwing. 
I do not usually have time for all of the above every morning. But I try to incorporate as many as humanly possible. Today, God smiled upon me and granted me a morning napper {little miss} so I have accomplished everything plus a blogging session.

I now must go unplug the pot thanks to junior, his bathroom abilities, and his use of an entire roll of toilet paper.

Eat that winter mornings.

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

mama's day in

Nothing says Merry Christmas to a mom like a kid-less day.

That's right. I said it. I had to take care of a total of zero kids today and it was glorious.

What did I do with my time?


There was some reality TV watching.

There was some sleeping.

There was some Christmas movie action.

There was this video that I watched multiple times {again} and laughed... out loud.

There was some de-cluttering of the house. I found several treausres: my blood type card, cash, and sonogram photos of my now 13 month old child.

There was a long shower. There was also the cleaning of my son's training potty in said shower which was utterly disgusting.

There was the reorganization of my craft room. There was some picture frame filling {is that a thing?}.

There was Christmas present wrapping, quickly & sloppily thanks to my children who don't know any better {hallelujah}. And of course Christmas music.

There was a visit to my favorite local restaurant to place a carryout order 2 minutes before closing time {whoops}. It included caramel choco-latte ice cream.

There was some reading.

There was some closet reorganization. 

And now... there is some blogging.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

H & H: weekly challenge #2

Well look at me. I did something for an entire week! Excuse me while I pat my fully-committed-for-a-whole-week-self on the back.


Last Sunday, I restarted my series on Health and Happiness. I decided to do a weekly challenge that focuses on one SIMPLE goal for mental, physical, and spiritual health.


My goals last week were very simple. Drinking 64 ounces of water a day was not as difficult as I thought it would be, provided I remembered to fill my water bottle. If you struggle with remembering to drink water {or remembering anything at all, like myself}, buy the biggest water bottle you can find. I have to just fill mine twice to get my daily allotment of water.

I will admit that getting up 15 minutes early for devotions//prayer was the biggest challenge for me this week. Isn't that sad? I am not a morning person, which is a lame excuse, so my 15 minutes ended up surfacing mid-afternoon or in the evening.

Listening to more music was an enjoyable piece of cake. In fact, I'm listening right now. Pandora is a wonderful invention and satisfies my extreme spectrum of musical tastes.

So bring on week 2.

Week 2

Physical: Use more natural//healthy food in daily meals. I already have a head start on this goal by visiting the grocery store this morning.

Mental: Blog more. If you don't have a blog, then just write. Or type. Or talk to yourself.

Spiritual: List one "small thing" to thank God for each day on my chalkboard {I choose not to use paper for this goal due to my problems with clutter and losing things}. By "small things" I mean not the easy, obvious ones {i.e. kids, hubster, food, etc...}.

Happy Monday!

Current music: "Each Coming Night" by Iron & Wine

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