We Took our ONE year old to Disney World


We broke down and took our one year old to Disney World. I was sure that I would never take her until she was at least three which is when I thought she would best appreciate it, but when an impromptu trip to Orlando came up, we figured why not?! The problem is, I had never been to Disney World myself - not since I was about 7 years old (maybe?) I truly do not remember how old I was - and then I went once again in high school when we used to Dance for Disney Music Days. Either who, I had no references on how to prepare to take my child to Disney World and ensure that we wouldn't be just pushing her around LOOKING at rides. I didn't even know if SHE liked rides. 

This was going to be an adventure for sure!

I of course took to google to see if anyone had at least written something that I could garner some tips but what I did find helpful is Disney's Mom Panel. There were some really great tips on there as well. 

However, let me give you a bit of my own advice. 

Tip #1: DON'T WAIT UNTIL YOU HAVE TO PAY TO SEE IF YOUR CHILD LIKE DISNEY... take them as early as you can. Let them get used to the idea of Disney World while it's not costing you and then take them back again when you have to pay for them and pay for the memories. Disney World doesn't charge for anyone under 3 years old. 

Tip #3: PLAN AS MUCH OF YOUR TRIP AHEAD AS POSSIBLE. I will elaborate on how to further do this, but it is crucial! If you want to beat lines and have on-going fun get familiar with the websites and what they offer and make sure you plan an itinerary EVEN IF you are a go with the flow kind of person. Trust me on this one.

Tip #3: DRESS THEM IN THE CUTEST DISNEY THEMED GEAR YOU CAN FIND! It's all a part of the experience. 
(Yes, I have on a Frozen T-Shirt and yup Gracie got more than a few things from Disney even though I told myself she was only allowed to have ONE souvenir).
My husband and I consider ourselves to be "Travel with Children" masters. We have been traveling with Gracie on airplanes since she was 3 months old and not once was she a bad traveler. We pick times for flights that coordinate with nap times and skip the rush of the frequent travelers. After all, when you are traveling for fun - there is NO RUSH! 

We get so excited especially when we Master the Art of wearing our Toddler out before we get too tired to enjoy ourselves on our trips! We used to burn ourselves out with lugging all of her strollers (yup the big boy britax and the umbrella stroller) and the car seat, etc... and decided let's just see what its like to rent a car seat with our car rental and found that it was so much easier on my anxiety to worry about one less thing. Especially since on this trip I was hand patted down because I was carrying baby food and eczema lotion by an aggressive TSA woman who was blamed for letting something pass. Either who... usually, we are all smiles. And we were the MOST excited for this new experience.

Now, to the planning ahead piece. Get a Fast Pass+ from Disney!!! Do IT~
Here is why.
You can select up to three rides for free that you know you want to beat the line for and they automatically draw up an itinerary for you to make sure that you are able to get to your ride. During that time slot that you select, you are able to ride the ride as many times as you want within that hour. My advice to you, pick the rides that have the longest wait times then wait for the others.

We went to the Magic Kingdom on a Sunday. I am not sure what the crowds are like on any other day, but that day worked best for us. We were able to get in the park with little wait time. We went to Magic Kingdom first and then went to Disney's Hollywood Studios second. The later you enter the park, the closer your parking space will be.
I linked our park tickets and our ride itinerary to our Fast Pass+ bracelets so that when we arrived, all we had to do was go directly to the gate and wave our wrist in front of the reader. There was no need to go to will call or anything. 
We brought our stroller with no issues because there were stroller parking at each ride and had no issues fearing leaving our baby bag or anything as there were attendants who would come from time to time to rearrange the parking situation.

Gracia's first ride ever was the Buzz Lightyear's Space Rangers Spin. It had great reviews by the Mom's Panel. It was a bit of a risk because there was no description of the ride but now that I know what it is, I am not sure if I would've taken her based on the description: Its a ride where you get in a moving cart, in the dark and shoot glow in the dark aliens with a ray gun for points. For a one year old? YUP!

She loved it! She loved moving the cart from one side to the other, she loved shooting the aliens in the dark. She loved it so much we went on more than once. Thanks to the Fast Pass it was doable without taking up too much of our time.. and did you know that you can link your credit card to it as well so that all you had to do was wave your arm at concessions versus bringing in your card with the chance of losing it. You can also link all of your photo ops as well and download it for later! (no this isn't a sponsored post - I was just so hype! that they made it so easy)


WHICH BRINGS ME TO WHY I LOVE DISNEY! My husband and I were both able to fit in all the rides, together - AND we are not short people nor are we skinny people. Gracia was able to sit between us or on our lap. Disney is made for Families! When we went to Universal Studios, it was not the case at all. 

When the lines were long at Winnie the Pooh, they had things for the kids to keep busy with so they don't just fall out screaming and crying because the wait was too long. 

Bring extra clothes for the kiddies. It rained on us and so she was in hot, wet clothes... so after a quick change she was ready to go enjoy more of the park. 

The ONLY thing I wanted to do was to take her to the live Frozen show, which was AMAZING!
Imagine every little girl who knows all the words, singing Karaoke to the most popular songs in the movie along with seeing the characters live on stage. It felt like church in there during "Let it Go!" 
Gracie had such a great time she was singing GOOOOO GOOOOO for a while after we left Disney.

We were also there during the launch of the Star Wars Weekend. There were so many Star Wars specific things and items for purchase... this may be blasphemous to some, but I am just not a huge Star Wars fan, so the light show and the party at the end of the night at Hollywood Studios allowed extra time for us to get into the studio shows with no lines.

Of course when we took Gracie to the Disney Junior section she did not want to leave. Her favorite is Sophia the First. It's why she had a Sophia the First birthday theme party for her 1st Birthday. I let her play in all the scenes. I think a little too long because she didn't want to leave.

All in all, my one year old had a GREAT time at Disney and so did we. We made great memories and although she may not remember. She will know that we took her through stories and pictures and of course we will do it again.

She picked out this Minnie Back Pack and would not let anyone touch it or take it from her for WEEKS!

So never fear, Disney Magic is real.. even for younger kids.

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How one dress changed my LIFE!

You would think that I would be talking about this dress that I wore August 7, 2010.. but NOPE. 
Ironically,  I am talking about another white dress. 
A White Dress that I purchased to celebrate my 5th year Wedding Anniversary on August 7, 2015. 

I was out shopping with my mom and we went through the dress section. After getting married and gaining love weight and then baby weight, I reminisced on a time in which it wasn't so hard to find something off the rack that I wanted to wear and wasn't bound to perhaps two stores. 
When I got married, I got down through bridal bootcamps to a size 10. I ordered my wedding dress in a 12 and was determined NOT to pay extra for plus sizes. 

I saw this dress ...

and tried it on and saw my fluffy gut and how the dress rose above my thighs because it just was not fitting right. I thought it was too pretty and used it as motivation to get myself back together! I had been on supplements and felt better than ever, but beyond getting out of my bed to go to work and walking to get lunch, I was not doing a single fitness anything.
SO... What did I do? I purchased the dress anyway and made it my mission (and the mission of my household) to go on a diet!
I decided I needed someone to tell me what to eat and when to eat it in order to meet my goal. I am not too disciplined in the area of making up a meal plan. 
The one that I found to be the best was Dr. Ian Smith's Shred Diet Plan. 
It was super simple and I liked the promise of losing 2 sizes in 6 weeks because thats exactly what I needed to do in order to look decent in that dress. 
I felt like I had done a decent job of getting baby weight off but I wasn't consistently getting anything off or keeping it off... lets face it - I love food. I am a self proclaimed foodie. 
I took a picture of where I started and went from there. 

I was off to a good start  - then about day 3 or 4 where I had to get creative with the two vegetables that I was allowed to have with my protein, I got bored. 

 I started making stuff like Jalapeño Sweet Potatoes and sautéed Kale. 
Amos was about threw with me and this diet probably after week one, but he stuck it out with me. 

I had to start looking for things on the menu that I could eat that would fit within my diet. 
I fell in love with this Ahi Tuna salad at Matchbox Restaurant.

I had to pick a cardio that I was supposed to do at least 5 times a week. 
I decided that my cardio would be 250 reps on a weighted jumprope and a youtube fitness instructor led class. I wanted to eliminate the excuse of not being able to go to a gym.

What didn't help is that I had to host two Ice Cream Socials for Probation and Parole Week --  

I HAD to cheat... I admit I have zero will power, but I made it up for it with an equally bland and super low calorie dinner. 

I leaned to my friends for encouragement and motivation and would send them pictures of my food to hold me accountable... except they would send me pics like this back. 

I signed up for every exercise opportunity that they offered at work. 

Even tried some kind of cardio square kickboxing thing... 


But after 6 weeks - I GOT IN MY DRESS!!!!

Have you ever tried a diet program or set a fitness goal that kicked your butt?! 

Needless to say, I will try this again.... much later on. 
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Easing Hair Maintenance with Nuby Tear-Free Rinse Pail

My child is one of those that has had a lot of hair since birth. The length is relative however, she has always had a full head of hair. It can grow and shrink based on the humidity. It also sheds and changes texture as well. It cooperates when it wants to and as you can imagine, my child does not LOVE to get her hair done. She tolerates mommy running my fingers through her hair but the sitting down to do something with it requires time, patience and the occasional snack, toys and bottle.

Gracia has had hair that grew in length at the same time changed from straight to extremely coily.
One thing that I have learned in trying to figure out what texture my daughter's hair will be is that in order to best care for her hair, it has to be consistently moisturized. The best moisture for her hair which is coarse and absorbent is water or water based products. 

The only downside to that means that Gracia would need to have her hair washed fairly frequently and for a child who has chronic double ear infections, water is not our friend.
I had to find a way to wash the hair of a toddler who constantly moves and flinches without getting a drop of water into her ears - and of course keeping the soap out of her eyes.

Then I was given the chance to review Nuby's Tear Free Rinse Pail. It seemed like the best thing to try in order to solve the issue of washing hair, especially since Gracia had surgery on her ears earlier this year.

Nuby sent me this Pink and Purple one to try with Gracia to see if it would suit my needs.


One thing for certain, if you know an almost two year old, you know that they are entering the phase of "I want to do it myself!" Gracia thought it was a bucket for her. I let her believe that for the moment because I didn't even want her to think that she is about to get her hair washed to avoid tears.

We have had the chance to use it for months and it is a staple at bath time. 
Whether I am co-washing her hair or using shampoo, it actually solved the issue of avoiding the water from running down her face and into her ears. 

For best use, I simply tilt her head back into my hands. I don't fill the bucket to the top but to a level in which I can easily control the pour and place the silicone base along her forehead and let the water drip down.
She loves it and so do I. 

If you have a child that is not loving the head over the sink experience and gets flustered with the soap and water running into the eyes, mouth, nose and ears... I really would recommend this product for wash day AND it appears to be Gracia's favorite toy to capture her foam letters in - so I consider that a WIN WIN for bath time!

Wanna get one?
Here's the Deets:

The Tear-Free Rinse Pail is another great Nûby™ product designed to make bath time easier and more enjoyable for you and your little one. It features a comfortable grip for mom, a deep, slender base for easy filling in shallow water and a unique tear-free edge. The tear-free edge is soft and contoured so it can be gently placed against your baby's skin to help prevent water from running into your baby's eyes while rinsing their hair.

*Just so you know, I was only given the product to review, and no further compensation was given.
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My Life. My Blog

Ahem, is this thing on? As many mommy bloggers can attest to, life gets so in the way of sitting down and being able to truly capture what you would like to capture before you have to peel your toddler off the floor or prevent him or her from harming themselves. Moments of peace are rare and by the time you settle yourself before a computer to kind of recap your day, you would rather sit like a zombie and do nothing.
That has been my life lately. 
I have been so busy living life that it appears as if I have taken a hiatus but I haven't. If you have been following me on Instagram, then you know that there is SO much that I have to capture.
Finally, as Gracia is 22 months old now and a bit more independent and love independent play, there are moments where I am able to share with you what has been going on.

Prepare your hearts and minds because I do have posts scheduled to catch you up...

Until then, what have been up to?

I am still fighting these mean streets of crime - not really - but yes, I am still in law enforcement and love serving the people that I help turn their lives around.

I have finished my first draft of my book. I am very excited about the content however, I am going BACK to the drawing board on presenting the information. So I have a rewrite on deck.

Sunday Brunch has become a staple in my life and its my child-free, husband-free down time. Everyone has there thing. Some have spa days, I have brunch with my girlfriends.

I have been a supportive musician's wife as my husband has had some awesome gigs at Ebenezers Coffeehouse. I once got a comment on my Instagram that I make being a musician's wife look easy - because of reputations that they have etc. However, its by the Grace of God. What it truly means to be a Musicians' wife? that's a whole other post and yes, I will share what that looks like.

I have survived being directly effected by the riots in Baltimore.

I have expanded my passion for Natural hair care into a business and have opened an in-home Salon.

I was able to take Gracia on her first Disney Orlando trip and was able to experience the Magic of Disney, which by the way is AMAZING! So tips for traveling to Disney with children under 2? I got you!

I have been in awe of Gracia's milestones and so I must update you since she is turning two years old at the end of the year and give you my thoughts on baby number two.

I was able to attend the National Convention for Delta Sigma Theta and was able to bring my legacy with me for the very first time.

I was able to take a vacation - for the first time in forever (sung like I am in the movie Frozen) to Dallas, Texas so that I could celebrate 5 wonderful years of marriage to that awesome guy named Amos.

I have picked up a new love for Golf... Top Golf that is.

My cousin has given birth to her first born and has expanded the cuteness in our family.

I have become another year older.

My sister has signed her book deal and her book, The Engagement Game will be coming out.

and lastly, for my sisters 30th Birthday - we traveled from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon and spent Columbus Day kickin it with the Navajo Nation. 

See, I told you that I have been doing so much - and then some because I am sure there are just some other things that I want to share with you ... so prepare yourself. As I write them, I will come and link back to them. But yep, Jasmine is bizzack! Whew... guess that means Summer is officially over.


Well, if you made it this far. I love you lots for still rocking with me.
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