Mama Said-Part 2

8/31/2012 07:22:00 PM Posted by mommy2twincesses

As I stated in the original “Mama Said” post, Proverbs has me thinking and appreciating the teachings of my parents. I journaled a pretty extensive list so to keep my hands from going numb, and you from falling asleep, I decided to break up these posts to help us all :o) You’re welcome! LOL
Proverbs 6:20 “My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”
Honestly, my mama did more teaching than daddy-his wonderful words of wisdom sometimes included the words “dingle berries”, so I think it’s best to stick to her guidance! Here are a few more of the things that my mama said:
·         Family and friends are everything; wealth is measured in love, not in dollars. Our home was a constant hub of activity. If we weren’t gathering the family for cook-outs, I had friends over to play and spend the night. I had about as many “family members” that were of no blood relation to us at all as I had real ones, and my mom was one of seven and my dad one of six-so there were a BUNCH of us! Josh Turner has a song out now that reminds me vividly of my childhood-“Time is Love”. I have vague memories of my favorite “things”, but extremely vivid ones of my favorite TIMES and PEOPLE <3
·         Give freely, even to strangers. We weren’t overflowing with monetary wealth and our home was no showplace, but I can’t count the times that we picked up hitchhikers, “loaned” (with full knowledge that it was never coming back) money, and opened our doors to those in need. This one was actually my dad’s specialty! I remember one instance when dad came home with an ENTIRE family in tow. I’m talking about a mother, grandmother, and at least 3 children whose vehicle had broken down during a road trip and they had no money, nowhere to go, and knew no one. They spent the entire weekend with us until their vehicle had been serviced or their family from out of state came to get them-I honestly can’t remember which. I recall negative talk around town for a while after that incident because they were a different race than us and in the deep-south where we’re from, let’s just say that was frowned upon. But, in our home-people were people no matter what color they were, and if we had it to give, we did.
·         Humor is the best medicine. Again, this was my dad’s forte! He was a straight up clown and kept me and my friends laughing all the time. From his silly made-up nicknames for people (and he had one for almost EVERYONE), to his silly dances and antics. Mom was no slacker in this department either though and she was blessed with a laugh that is insanely contagious! She’s a “snorter” so just imagine getting her tickled in a room full of people; doesn’t take long until everyone is in stitches :o)
·         Holidays and special occasions are worth celebrating-and in big ways! We weren’t put here to be somber; I truly believe that God wants us to be excited about our days and to enjoy our time here. The happier we are, the brighter our light shines! My mom went all out to make even the silliest holidays fun, exciting, and something to look forward to. From decorations and themed food, to small trinket type surprises, she put a love of life in my heart from her excitement to celebrate every time we had the chance! In all honestly, this is the sole thing that I have definitely carried on with my girls in full confidence! Party planner should be my middle name, as it brings me such joy to make others feel special and get them excited!
Whether we are conscience of it or not, we teach our children lessons every single day. Take some time to think about your normal routine, actions, and attitudes. Are you pleased with what you’re passing along? Would you like to see your children follow in the footsteps of your heart?

Homemade Fish Extender a Disney Cruise Must-Have

8/31/2012 11:01:00 AM Posted by mommy2twincesses

Since yesterday afternoon, when I discovered the whole “Fish Extender” program on Disney Cruises (check out that link to learn more about it!) I’ve been consumed with creating one for our family-because I’m way too cheap to pay $40 or more for the pre-made ones on eBay and Etsy.
I’m sewing challenged, so anything past basic hand stitching is out for me. Yes, I actually have a sewing machine but we don’t quite see eye to eye. I knew I had to figure something out that involved as little sewing (or none would be even better) as possible.
After browsing through others’ creations, I sucked it up and made a quick Wal-Mart run.
I was having a hard time deciding between using zippered pencil cases and an over the door shoe hanger. Because the pencil cases were already colored, already had grommets that I could use to connect them to each other, and finally because they seemed a little more roomy, they won. I grabbed 4 zippered pencil cases-one for each member of the family-and headed home to raid my craft closet and get busy decorating them!
I pulled out some ribbon, colored buttons, small wooden letters, paint for the letters, my trusty hot glue gun, some permanent no-sew seam adhesive, and a needle and thread (just in case).
I let my imagination run free and about two hours later (because I had NO idea what I wanted the finished product to look like)-here’s what I came up with:

It’s not so bad! Actually, I’m pretty darn pleased with it! (Especially since it basically cost me $4 and a random assortment of things already taking up space in my craft closet!) I envision adding a little something to it each time we use it-yeah, that will be fun! Seeing what the girls choose to add to it as they get older and watching it transform over the years……..SQUEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love it!
So, what do you think?! Let me know in the comments below :o)

To Expectant Dads of Daughters

8/30/2012 07:48:00 AM Posted by mommy2twincesses

Let me begin with a huge “congratulations!” Yes, a little bundle of pink may not have been what your pre-daddy dreams were made of, but let me assure you that every dream you have from now on WILL revolve around the perfect angel that’s being delivered to you soon.
How could I, as a mother, possibly know this? Funny you should ask. But, believe it or not, I once rooted for “Team Blue” too. My husband farms, loves sports, and hunting, and I thought a boy would be just what we needed.
I saw him silently wishing for a little boy to throw a ball with, take fishing, teach all about farming, and all those other “guy things”. His longing became my longing, and we went to incredibly stupid lengths to try to increase our odds of having a boy. All I can say is thank God for unanswered prayers!
We were blessed with not just one baby girl, but two-yes, at the same time, and I am here to tell you that there is absolutely nothing more special in the entire world than holding your brand new, pink cheeked, pouty lipped baby girl.
Trust me on this one boys-I’ve seen it first-hand.
That super hero cape you’ve always imagined having? You actually have it now; in her eyes anyway. You will be her first love, her constant protector, and quite frankly-her dream guy! She is and will forever more be the perfect girl for you-your damsel in distress, your very own princess, your wild-thing, but most importantly of all-the new holder of your heart.
And as if all of that isn’t enough, let me fill you in on one more little secret………she can and will love to do all of those things you dreamed of doing with a son. Yep, she’ll love the mud, learning to fix things, wrestling, shouting at the TV cheering on your favorite team-absolutely anything you choose to do with her-because you’re HER guy!
She’ll reveal secrets about the female species that you’ve always wondered about, giving you a whole new perspective on the world. You’ll discover gross things like, girls really do fart, burp, pick their noses, and all the other gross things you guys do on a regular basis. (But hopefully her mama will teach her to hide it well ;)
Get ready to have your world turned upside-down, but in the best way imaginable. From the moment your eyes meet upon her birth, you are no longer your own-you’ll belong to her, and will be happy to do so.
She will probably paint your finger nails at some point, fix your hair, and even cover you in make-up, and while that may sound repulsive right now-it won’t for long. You’ll find yourself doing all sorts of things you never dreamed you were capable of, all just to see a smile on her face or even better-a giggle erupt from her gorgeous little mouth.
Yes, congratulations to you Mr.! You’ve suddenly been catapulted to new heights. Among your long list of current titles you can now officially add: Super Hero, Prince Charming, and a proud member of the Daddies with Daughters Club.
Enjoy her! Soak up every moment, every smile, every gaze, every giggle-because far more soon than you’ll like, she’ll grow up and a new and much younger model will swoop in to steal your Cinderella.
If you’re a daddy of a daughter, leave your thoughts! How has she changed your world for the better?

Disney Cruise Insider Exclusive! Fish Extenders

8/29/2012 11:35:00 AM Posted by mommy2twincesses

Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly be more excited or learn anything new about our upcoming Disney Cruise, I find something else extraordinary to add to my list of “I can’t wait for........”!
Have you ever heard of a “fish extender” or just “FE” for short? Didn’t think so. But, no worries, neither had I until this morning. I’ll fill you in on everything you need to know!
On there are discussion forums filled with endless nuggets of treasured veteran cruiser information. While browsing through the various topics I noticed a couple about “fish extenders” or with the letters “FE” in them. So, if you know me at all, you know that I can’t stand not to know something so I had no choice but to check it out and see what on earth these people were talking about!
Turns out that once you’re registered for your Disney Cruise, you can go online and “meet” other passengers that will be on your ship, all on the Disboards. A perk of joining this online group is having the option to participate in the “fish extender” program!
Basically, it’s just a big “Secret Santa” type thing, where everyone who is participating hangs a pocketed “fish extender” outside their room and at random times other participants will drop off goodies and surprises during your cruise! And of course, you will reciprocate by also dropping a little surprise off in their “fish extenders” too!
There is no minimum or maximum as to what is acceptable in the “fish extender” game, and I’ve been searching for ideas and it seems that every single thing I thought of has already been done. But, I figure something is better than nothing, and any extra “pixie dust” sprinkled on our trip will be worth it!
There are adorable examples of “fish extenders” on Etsy. This is my favorite one so far, but I’m too crafty to pay for it when I can figure out a way to make one myself! Actually, I didn’t even have to put much thought into how to make one myself since I can’t sew, as PumpkinKate came up with this completely functional and no-sew option. Thanks for the idea Kate-but I’m also too crafty to just brainlessly steal someone else’s thunder……….I’ll be pondering this one for who knows how long! LOL
Anyway, when I figure out exactly how I’m going to go about this whole “fish extender” thing, I’ll let you know-and post pics too! I have officially added us to the FE roll, so I’ve got to get busy :o)
While you’re here, check out my other post for more Disney Cruise insider tips and secrets!
If you’ve been on a Disney Cruise and participated in the FE exchange, share some details! What did you give, what did you get, and what did you use as your actual fish extender?!

Mama Said There’d Be Days

8/26/2012 07:30:00 AM Posted by mommy2twincesses

If I’m truly honest, I don’t actually recall my own dear mother using those exact words, but she did teach me lots of life’s lessons, whether she meant to or not.
In my Bible study this morning Proverbs kept reiterating the importance of remembering the teachings of our parents. This led to a journal entry of some of the things that I recall learning directly from my parents, whether they were intentional lessons or not. And even further than that, leaves me pondering what lessons I’m passing along to my children…….deep stuff!
But, first things first: a look at the lessons I distinctly recall from my own parents.
(In no particular order, just as they came to mind while journaling.)
1.    Put God first. Yes, as long as I can remember I was taken to church every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evenings, as well as any other time the Southern Baptist Church’s doors were open. My mom taught my very first Sunday School class, and she continued to teach that class until there were no longer kids young enough for her “Beginners” class. And my grandmother-who was a very present and active member in my upbringing-kept books for the church, as well as served on several committees, and even cleaned the church every week. (Okay, SHE got a minimal payment for cleaning, but me and mom were always there helping!) I even remember reading the Bible, instead of other children’s books, before bed almost every night.
2.    Choose happiness. Things weren’t always perfect in our little world. In fact, there are stories I could tell that you would probably assume I made up because they’re so “out there”, but we remained happy. Memories of my mother are full of singing, laughter, and light heartedness. She had plenty to be unhappy about, but she chose happiness, therefore taught me that happiness was the only way.
3.    Never give up on love. I’m not sure whether or not mom’s decision to always stand by dad came from her strong Christian beliefs or her pure determination to “love him through good or bad”, but her will to make marriage last made a huge impression on me. My dad, though overall a good man, did plenty to constitute her divorcing him. And sadly enough, I even recall wishing for it at times. But mom persevered. She trudged through and never gave up hope on their love. And though I do remember seeing them have a few spats (even a couple of REALLY ugly ones), they normally made sure I had somewhere to spend the night (which felt like a treat at the time) before having “knock down drag outs”.
4.    Forgive easily and quickly. This was clearly witnessed through their marriage, but there are countless other times I recall different instances that could have very easily driven permanent wedges between my mom and others, but no matter what, no matter how bad, she always chose to forgive-and quite quickly. Sometimes I’ve wondered if she has some “forgiveness gene” that she passed on to me, because I just don’t have it in me to stay upset at anyone-for anything. The greatest example of her unending forgiveness was toward my paternal grandfather, who accidently ran over and killed my sister, mother’s first born daughter at just 18 months old. I’m not sure I could ever forgive someone who took the life of one of my children-even accidently, but she did. I never saw her harbor hard feelings toward him and amazingly to me-not even toward God. She was heartbroken, and still is to this day on some level, but not angry. She chose to forgive.
There are lots more where this came from; however, my explanations are a little more windy than I planned. So, lucky you-I’ll take a break and come back later with more “Mama Said” lessons!
What do remember your “mama saying”? Are those lessons you plan on teaching to your own children or are you doing things differently?

Flirty, 30, and Fabulous!

8/24/2012 10:35:00 AM Posted by mommy2twincesses

I have arrived! At 30 years YOUNG, that is. Yes, the big day has come and gone. I survived to tell about it, did not shed a tear, and am not depressed. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised!
Since our big day (I say our, because DH and I share a birthday-he’s just one year older than me) fell on a Monday and he would be working, we decided to celebrate Sunday.
At church they sang us “Happy Birthday”, my favorite aunt cooked us lunch with white chocolate macadamia nut cookies for dessert, and MIL volunteered for the girls to spend the afternoon and night with them.
DH, being the last minute (or should I say NO) planner that he is (God love him), took me to the mall and to a very nice dinner.
The mall was……ummmmm……….interesting to say the very least! All I wanted to do was run in the Disney Store to see if they had any summer stuff on clearance yet-to put away for our upcoming Disney Cruise. They did not, so we found ourselves with time to kill.
DH recently went to witness a friend of the family be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and while there he and a buddy had “massages” in the mall. He decides that we could pass time with a similar thing here in the mall. *insert eye roll*
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a “pamper me” type girl and I usually LOVE having a massage, but in the MALL?! You’ve got to be kidding me! Massages happen in a spa-NOT the mall.
But, despite my better judgment screaming, “NO!”, I agree anyway.
We stroll into the “Relaxation Station” and I’m immediately skeeved out. I told DH that I felt like I was in one of those cheap “sex for hire” parlors :/ They had hot pink and lime green lighting and asked us to wait on a yucky old couch. (I really wish you could see the disdain on my face!)
We sat there, nervously waiting. Sounds of human flesh being slapped kept radiating through to us and DH said, in one of his dry comedy voices, “sounds like whoop ya!” I couldn’t help it, I burst out laughing! All of my nerves had to escape somehow and laughing was better than crying-which is what I seriously wanted to do.
No sooner than I had my giggles contained, a middle aged Japanese lady comes forward and calls me back for my turn. Oh boy.
She asked me to remove my shoes and lie face down on the massage table. There are just thin metal looking partitions between each of the tables and the chick beside me was currently getting her “whooping”.
Fighting the urge to run, I laid down. The torture began. I thought several times that a camera crew was sure to emerge and announce I was being featured on a show about how long customers would endure crazy situations without blowing their gaskets. This was the most fierce, brutal, and painful “massage” I’ve ever experienced. Seriously, a gift certificate to the “Relaxation Station” is now my revenge plot of choice.
After grinding my back with her elbows, karate chopping, and (for lack of a better term) bitch slapping the entire length of my body, my 30 minutes in Hell were over.
As I walked back to the front of the torture chamber I realized DH was still sitting on the crummy couch, in the exact same spot I had left him! He chickened out! ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?! He literally hooted with laughter when he saw me! The audacity!
I scooted out of there as quickly as I could while he paid and literally doubled over in hysterics! He came out and asked what was so funny and I couldn’t even answer. He laughed and made comments about how rough I looked and all the strange sounds that kept drifting up front. When I got in the car and finally got a glimpse of myself in a mirror, I was convulsing-you know-mouth open, hands clapping like a seal, but no noise coming out! It was absolutely THAT bad!
My hair was all a mess, my eye lashes were stuck to my eyelids, and there were tiny diamond shapes imprinted all over my face from the paper towel covering the face hole of the table. Hot. Mess.
I finally got calmed down and put back together. Dinner was fabulous. And because the girls weren’t home, I got to sleep in on my actual birthday morning. YES!
I woke up sore, like I had been in a cat fight, with actual bruises, from my “massage”-but the day was wonderful and filled with texts, calls, Facebook wishes, cards, visitors, gifts, and cupcakes. DH even snuck a birthday cake in right before dinner! (Yes, my name is spelled wrong on the cake, BUT, is WAS chocolate-my favorite!)
30 was fun. I’ll never forget it! And to be honest, I don’t feel any different now than when I was 29. In fact, I’m kind of loving it-Flirty 30! The pressures of a 20-something are gone!
Tell me some great things about your 30’s! What fabulousness waits in store?!

Disney Cruise Insider Tips and Secrets

8/12/2012 01:17:00 PM Posted by mommy2twincesses

Since deciding that a Disney Cruise was the perfect vacation for our family and getting everything “set on go”, I’ve spent an absurd amount of time online scouring and searching for anything and everything we NEED to know.
I’ve found tons of useful information from Squidoo and AllEars, but the majority of my time has been spent reading through the Moms’ Panel on Disney’s own site.
Here are things that I’ve made note of and found most interesting and helpful so far:
·         Upon the reservation being paid in full, you may make online reservations 75 days before the sail date (this window extends the more you sail with Disney so you get first dibs at the goodies!). Slots fill extremely quickly, so I’ll be sure to enroll the girls in the Oceaneers Club, make a reservation for an adult only anniversary dinner at Palo, book our desired shore excursions, and even “check-in” ASAP.
·         Because we are leaving the country, I thought that I would need to get the girls a passport, but I’ve since learned that the only time a passport is necessary is for air travel. Since we’ll be arriving and leaving the foreign places by ship, all they’ll need is their birth certificates! Whew! That’s a time, head ache, and money saver!
·         A day or so before we leave, I will call our bank to notify them that we will be traveling. I actually already knew to do this because I used to work at a bank, but it’s a tip worth mentioning since I can’t imagine anything much worse than getting on vacation and having your bank account frozen for fraud alert!
·         Another great precaution to take against fraud, theft, or loss of property while you travel is to make photocopies of the front and backs of all your important things. Passports, driver’s licenses, credit/debit cards, travel documents, insurance cards, etc. Leave one copy at home and make sure someone you trust knows where to find it and also take one copy with you to lock in the safe in your cabin. If something tragic were to happen, you’d have everything you need to call, notify, and/or cancel anything of importance!
·         In making preparations to leave, emptying my camera’s memory card will be on the “to-do” list, as will be charging the battery.
·         With just a quick visit or call to Guest Services on board the ship, you are welcome to request extra copies of the “Daily Navigator”-agendas that are delivered to each stateroom daily that outline the day’s activities-to keep for souvenirs. And in conjunction with this thought, I’ll be taking along a medium size mailing tube to keep papers safe and wrinkle free.
·         There are no irons aboard the ship for fire safety purposes. Good. To. Know. I’ll either have to figure out how to pack better than I normally do to avoid wrinkles or, if necessary send dressier items to the laundry service on the ship. It’s only about $1 per shirt, so that’s not so bad!
·         If you give items to Guest Services on the first night of the trip, they’ll have all of the characters onboard sign it and it will be ready to pick up by the last day. I plan on taking a frame, possibly like this one! However, there is a limit of two items per stateroom.
·         You don’t have to worry about buying individual photographs and/or photo packages too early, because as long as you have your receipt, you are welcome to exchange, upgrade, downgrade, or whatever you like, and they will sign over copyrights so you are free to reproduce their images.
·         Temperature differences inside and outside the ship vary greatly, so to avoid a foggy camera lens you should set your camera on your verandah, if you have one, for at least 30 minutes to defog before you head out.
·         Room service is available for FREE 24 hours a day! I plan on taking full advantage of this posh perk ;) If you’d like to be one of the first passengers off the ship on shore excursion days (I’ve read that this is highly important at Castaway Cay because the number of chairs, umbrellas, and such are limited) you can order breakfast to your room to beat the crowd! And, you’re also welcome to order a lunch to pack and take on shore with you to save on food costs (which doesn't apply at Castaway Cay since it is an extension of Disney, so all your food and drinks are covered there)!
·         According to all my sources, dinner is absolutely fantastic-no matter which restaurant you’re in-and usually more than you can eat. If you’re too full to stomach dessert right away simply ask your server to box it for you! They’ll be happy to do so and it will keep just fine in the mini-fridge in your stateroom. (Mid-night snack anyone?!) AND, as if that wasn't cool enough, you're also welcome to order AS MUCH as you want, so feel free to try different things!
·         Sodas are only free when you serve them yourself. Note taken. I’ll be taking reusable cups/bottles with lids so we can serve ourselves soda whenever we like.
·         Stateroom doors are metal and I’ve heard through the grapevine that lots of passengers decorate them! This kind of throws me into cheerleading camp flashbacks, but I’m glad I know beforehand just in case, on some wild whim, I decide to decorate ours too. Disney has recently requested that door decor be kept to magnetic items only to preserve the appearance of the paint!
So far these are my favorite Disney Cruise insider tips and secrets! I’ll be on the lookout for more from now until we leave though :o)
If you’ve been on a Disney Cruise and have anything you think new cruisers should know, please share!

Unique Countdown to Disney

8/10/2012 10:35:00 AM Posted by mommy2twincesses

As if going on a Disney Cruise weren’t exciting enough in itself, I’m going to spice it up even more by building sweet anticipation from the time of the big reveal on Christmas morning to departure day with a unique countdown!
I can’t take full credit for the whole countdown idea, because I’ve checked out several very cool blogs, including “How Does She?”,  with similar ideas and taken bits and pieces from here and there and then threw in my own flare to create a countdown that’s perfect for us!
So, without further delay, here is “The Plan”!
Christmas morning will be the kicker, with Santa leaving the tickets! I’ll create some sort of display-probably just paper Mickey heads with the countdown numbers on them as a visual reminder of how many days we have to wait. It will probably look something like this adorable, yet simple, version I found on Pinterest. (All we’ll have is 11 days, thank goodness!)
Day 11: We’ll make Disney themed paper ornaments to decorate our “all holiday tree”. (FYI-the “all holiday tree” is a tree that stays up in our breakfast nook year round that we decorate for each month and/or holiday/celebration.) I figure this will probably consist of Disney images printed from the computer or even pages from coloring books. Nothing fancy, just simple fun!
Day 10: Bake Disney treats! Quite a while back I found both Mickey and Princess pans with reusable plastic decorations on clearance at Wal-Mart for $2 each! We could bake cakes in those, or perhaps make Mickey cupcakes like these Pinterest inspired ones.
Day 9: Leave out a cruising necessity gift, like new swim gear (think cheap-goggles and snorkel purchased when all the summer stuff goes on clearance!) sprinkled with “Pixie Dust” (aka glitter). I’ll explain and probably leave a little note that tells of the cool pools on board the ship and the ocean that we’ll be dipping in.
Day 8: Make “See Ya Real Soon”, Mickey’s famous saying, cards to take to close family members that we’ll want to visit before we leave. Again, these will be really simple construction paper cards with computer printed images glued to them. The girls have Minnie ears, so we may take a snapshot of them wearing these and attach to the cards as well. I figure that this will be more fun and cheaper than mailing postcards from the ship!
Day 7: After church we’ll go visit the family members we made cards for and deliver them! It’s kind of a Sunday ritual to “make the rounds” after church to visit the grandparents that live here in town (3 sets), so we’ll stick with that and bring them a surprise too :o)
Day 6: Officially start packing and let them help. I already have a list made out of things we’ll need, but I want the girls to feel included in every part of this trip. Nothing makes them more happy than packing a bag! LOL, up to this point it’s been no more than a night at Nana’s, but still, they enjoy packing and I enjoy letting them help.
Day 5: Toy airplanes! If we fly, this will be the girls’ first time, so I want to introduce the concept and begin going over rules and things to expect. We’ll talk about it and practice until the actual day of the flight!
Day 4: “Pixie Dust” covered “Doodle Bears” for collecting autographs from the characters onboard! We’ll take permanent markers for autographs, but I think that signed stuffed animals will be more fun for them to have autographed than the standard book or tee shirt. I will be taking my autograph book from my first trip to Disney, but I think the bears will be more fun for them. Also, they’ll look darling being displayed in their room when we get home!
Day 3: Pirate party wear! On day 3 of the cruise, after an amazing day at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, there is pirate themed deck party onboard after dinner! Cruisers are encouraged to dress up as pirates, or in pirate wear of their choice. I found these super cute pirate costumes for the girls at a consignment sale two nights ago and plan on “blinging” them up a bit with rhinestones or sequins because my girls are ALL girl! As for DH and I, I plan on finding us cute pirate themed tee shirts to don with the signature Disney pirate bandana that is given to all cruise passengers at dinner the evening before the party.
Day 2: Call from Mickey Mouse! After booking our cruise, I ran across the option to schedule a call from either Mickey or Goofy, and decided that this would thrill them to bits. (This can only be done after your reservations have been officially made.)
Day 1: Backpacks filled with goodies to keep them entertained on the plane! Of course I’ll sprinkle more “Pixie Dust” and leave a note from the characters saying how they can’t wait to meet them, and off we’ll go!

And I'm going to keep my eyes open for clearance Disney party plates and napkins so the girls can enjoy meals with their favorite characters while we wait!
There it is! That is my magical countdown to Disney plan! I’ll add pictures as I can :o)
Have you done a countdown to Disney? Am I forgetting anything to awesome to pass up? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Revealing the News-We’re going on a Disney Cruise!

8/10/2012 09:00:00 AM Posted by mommy2twincesses

In case you haven’t heard me shouting from the roof tops-WE’RE GOING ON A DISNEY CRUISE! Whew, I feel better now! I just HAD to tell someone since I can’t tell my girls until Christmas!
Yes, I’m forcing myself-and everyone else-to keep this monumental surprise so that the fat man himself can “bring the tickets” for Christmas morning!
My friend has a giant blow up Mickey Mouse that I plan to set in front of the tree and have him “holding” a poster with pictures describing all the fun that is to come! I’m doing pictures instead of something rhyming (which I’ll still probably do anyway because I’m a dork like that) to help it sink in for my 3 year olds what is going to happen.
They’ll probably initially think that the Mickey itself is the gift and my brain can NOT process the madness that will ensue when we get them to understand that we are actually going on a huge ship, to the beach, to meet all the Disney characters! My mind is blown already!
Okay, so how will we survive the 11 days from Christmas morning to trip day? Easy! A “Countdown to Disney” celebration of course!
If you’re family has been to Disney how have you shared the news with your kiddos? I’d LOVE to see pictures and can’t wait to be able to add my own!

A Disney Cruise is Perfect for Us

8/09/2012 12:38:00 PM Posted by mommy2twincesses

After much thought and consideration to different vacation options, we’ve decided 100% that a Disney Cruise is perfect for our family of 4! If you’re considering vacation options and want the low-down on a Disney Cruise, read on, because I’m sharing all I know!
We mulled over vacation options for what felt like forever before actually booking our Disney Cruise. I always get nervous when making a big decision, but this time, I’m 100% we’ve made the right choice!
The booking process was really simple and only took a few short minutes by phone. (Yes, I could have done it alone online, but I had several questions I wanted clarified, so I decided to call.)
Our first and most important reason for choosing a Disney Cruise is of course, our 3 year old identical twin girls! They are in the age of princesses and fairies and never miss an opportunity to ask when we can “go to Disneyland”. Although we’ve decided against the actual theme park, for now, I’m certain they won’t be disappointed ;)
To date, they’ve still not been to the ocean/beach so that was also a big factor in choosing the perfect vacation spot. On a Disney Cruise we’ll get to experience the characters and wonder of the traditional Disney experience AND get to spend time on amazing beaches! (Nassau, Bahamas and Castaway Cay-Disney’s private island-to be exact) 2 birds killed with one stone as the old saying goes.
Also, at 3 years old, the girls aren’t tall enough for most of the rides, are honestly too impatient to stand in all those lines, and just not up to all the walking. If given the choice of hours in the sand with Mickey and friends playing around you or standing in line just waiting to “meet” a character or ride a ride, I’m positive most would choose the option A!
For one very reasonable price we are visiting 2 different islands, eating until our hearts (and stomachs) are content, meeting and hanging out with some of our favorite characters, seeing countless onboard shows, enjoying all the fun activities and deck parties on the ship, and so much more!
One of the things that I’m most excited about is the Oceaneers Club! At first the thought of dropping my kids off with total strangers on a cruise ship scared the bejeebers out of me, but after doing my homework, I’m ecstatic.
The children enrolled in the Oceaneers Club (which is free BTW) are all fitted with “Mickey Bands”, which are identification bracelets complete with GPS tracking devices. My kids will be blips on a screen somewhere AT ALL TIMES, whether they’re actually with us or not! The staff that entertains the children while in the lab are highly trained, well ratioed, and simply pros at what they do. The club is open from around 9am-midnight and your kids are free to come and go as they please, so long as they’re with a parent with a matching bracelet AND can supply their own secret password. Do you know what this screams to me?! ADULT ONLY ANNIVERSARY DINNER!!!!!!!!!!!!! (without hiring a sitter or paying for a nanny to tag along on the trip!!!!!!!!!!!!) Woo to the HOO! Oh, and one more perk of a Disney Cruise that you can’t get with any other line……’re welcome to BYOB! (“A glass of wine with your dinner ‘me lady?” “Yes, please!”-since it’s not going to cost me a small fortune)
I’ve talked to several different families of different sizes and with children of different ages and I’ve not heard a single negative comment yet!
Have you been on Disney Cruise? If so, please tell me about it!

Amazing Family Vacation in the Works

8/09/2012 10:19:00 AM Posted by mommy2twincesses

Nothing excites me more than seeing new places, especially when I get the chance to see them through my children’s eyes, so of course, I can hardly stand myself now that we’ve booked an amazing family vacation!
In exactly 149 days (yes, I’m counting already), we set sail on our first Disney Cruise on a ship named “Dream”! Our sailing vessel is so aptly named, as a Disney Cruise has been a long time dream of mine! And now that it’s becoming a reality…….well, just assume you’ve never seen an adult more excited ;)
I have become completely consumed with planning every single detail of how this will (hopefully) all play out and have decided that in case there is some other crazy lady out there like me, I’d save her some planning time, because so far I’ve just not found a plan that’s up to par! And because my level of dorkdom runs as deep as it does, I’ll share my “grand scheme” with you!
First for an overview-then details later :o)
We booked directly through Disney, though I’m waiting to hear back from a travel agent to ensure that there are no special deals available, a 4 night Bahamian cruise in early January, leaving from Port Canaveral, Florida.
Just FYI, if you book through Disney-which I would suggest you do as early as possible to ensure the room category you want, as not only do ships fill quickly, the price also rises the closer you get to sail date (what we booked went up $100 from ONE day to the next because the ship was almost full)-you have until 75 days prior to sail to pay the balance in full. And, as long as you have an outstanding balance, your trip may be transferred to a travel agent who can sometimes give special offers, discounts, and on-board credits-so it’s definitely worth at least checking into! (Psssstttt…….travel agents are free!)
After looking into what dates would work best for us and comparing the different room types, I was ready to make this happen! We decided on a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah, but when I called the booking specialist offered to upgrade us to a Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah for less than $100 total, so I took her up on it. The “Family” option is slightly bigger and since DH and I have cruised once before and know firsthand how cramped living quarters are, I thought it sounded like a good deal. (I’ll let you know afterward if it was money well spent or not!)
We’ll stop in Nassau, Bahamas-where DH and I were married (we’ll be celebrating our 8th anniversary during the trip)-Castaway Cay, Disney’s privately owned island, and spend one “fun day” at sea. I’m STOKED!
But, we’ve agreed to keep this trip a secret until Christmas and let “Santa” bring the tickets! *wink wink* Keeping this a secret is going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done! I’m dying to tell them, but at the same time, planning for this amazing surprise sure is fun!
We’re being secretive mainly because at 3 years old, our twin girls still don’t have a good grasp of time and if they knew about it, they’d be asking about it-and disappointed daily. So, we figure that the 11 days between Christmas morning and the day we leave is the perfect amount of time to spring the news and build the anticipation!
I’m FREAKING OUT and have been constantly planning and researching, so stay tuned for more on our upcoming amazing family vacation!