If you can’t tell, we had a BLAST with my sister, brother-in-law and baby Milly (or as Leah affectionately calls her, “baby Meme”). Besides cheering me on in Miami during my half marathon, we enjoyed some water play in the driveway, visits to the local farmers market, the playground, Jaxson’s Ice Cream and the beach and we had some great conversations around the dining room table. It’s so tough when family lives far away (in their case, Vermont) and I love, love, love every second we can spend together, although it’s never enough. It was also so much fun to see Leah and Milly interact with each other. The last time we visited, Milly was only a few days old and spent most of her days sleeping. Now, at 10 weeks, she was awake and alert and was so interested in watching Leah talk and play. Leah was extremely affectionate with Milly and I almost melted when I witnessed her cupping Milly’s cheeks with both hands before kissing her on the mouth. She was just so incredibly sweet and gentle with her and it made me proud to see how much of a big girl she is now! I think someone is ready to be a big sister!! I’m so thankful that they made the trek down to south FL for a few days and we can’t wait until we get to see them again! (Although, I think it would be easier if they just moved to FL already!) We miss you baby Meme!!
So, I did it!! This past weekend I ran my first ever half marathon! I love running, but I’ve never really considered myself a “true runner.” I run all the time for enjoyment (slow and steady), but I’ve never before run a race longer than a 5k. So it kind of shocked me when I actually decided that I was going to do this. Backing up a little, 2 years ago my good friend convinced me and 2 other friends to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon together. We all thought it would be a blast, but then a few months into our training I found out I was preggers. I attempted to continue training, but my heaving in everyone’s bushes got in the way, and in the end, I decided to drop out and just go as a spectator. So, since then, I’ve felt like this half marathon deal has been unfinished business. Something I still needed to check off my bucket list. And with our hope to one day soon add a second kiddo to the family, I figured now was the time! So with that in mind, I decided to (somewhat impulsively) sign up for a half marathon in Miami Beach. Lucky for me, my father-in-law was sweet enough to sign up with me so I would have a running buddy the entire way.
To say I was nervous before hand would be an understatement. Saturday I was such a bundle of nerves, snapping at everyone and trying to eat without throwing up. And then Sunday morning, while me and my father-in-law made the 4 am trek down to South Miami, I had pretty much convinced myself that I had forgotten how to run and that I hadn’t actually trained at all for this race. If you can’t tell, I don’t handle stress very well. My sweet and amazingly gifted running sister flew down with her husband and new 10 week old baby and I all but demanded that she find a way to meet me at mile 7 so she could run 4-5 miles of the race with me. And even though mile 7 basically sat in the ghetto of South Beach, there was my sister, ready and waiting to jump in and keep me motivated during the hardest part of my run.
^^Apparently I have HORRENDOUS running posture! Just look at that lovely slouch!
For the most part, this course was AMAZING! Starting and finishing in downtown South Beach, the course took us over gorgeous waterways, past cruise ships and along the beach. Yes it was hot, and yes those bridges were a heck of a lot hillier than I expected, but there was always something to look at and enjoy. My father-in-law was a lifesaver, handing me Gatorade and water the entire time and keeping the pace. And my sister? Well, let’s just say that the whole first half I kept repeating “just get to mile 7, get to mile 7″ because I knew that’s where she would jump in with us. Having someone jump in and run with you for a few miles, half way through the race, is seriously a great energy booster. I was so excited to see her and have her join us that the next few miles sailed by. She didn’t even mind when I listened to my audio book instead of talking to her the entire way. (Does anyone else listen to audio books while running or am I the only one?? I seriously love listening to books way more than music while running. I’m weird like that).
My best friend Katie totally surprised me at mile 11 and it was such an awesome feeling to see her jump out from the sidelines and run with us for a little bit. It was funny because I knew I would see Brett and Leah around mile 12, and when I saw them, running towards me with huge smiles on both of their faces, I completely lost it and started to ugly cry all over the place while still running. Have you ever cried while running? It’s not pretty. I was doing this horrible gasp wheeze, trying to catch my breath while still keeping the pace and it was a hot mess. I gave myself a stern “pull yourself together girl!!” before kissing Leah and Brett and finishing my run toward the finish line.
^^My amazing sister who ran over 5 miles of the race with me (while texting updates to the family and taking photos, so you can see how strenuous this run was for her. Ha!) and my gorgeous 10 week old niece, Amelia Lynne.
After the race was over, we did what any smart person would do, head to Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor and indulge in a huge banana split sundae.
So there we have it, my first ever half marathon. Did it make me want to run another? Maybe, maybe not (although there was a moment, around mile 9 or so, where I found myself thinking, “Why the HECK did I think this would be a fun idea?!”) but in the end, it was such a blast, and I am so happy that I can now check this life goal off of my bucket list!
Congratulations, Shelby! I’ll be contacting you via email for your address and your beautiful blanket and lovey will be shipped out soon!
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When GooseWaddle contacted me and asked if I wanted to do a review and giveaway of their gorgeous baby blankets, I jumped at the opportunity. Leah loves “blankies” and she is in a phase where her favorite game right now is “na-night!” (An exciting game that entails lying down on her most cozy blanket and saying “na-night!” over and over and over again. It really is quite thrilling) so getting to test out a new plush blanket sounded like a great idea to me! When the blankets arrived I was immediately impressed with the adorable packaging.
In the gift set you receive a full size blanket, a little blankie and a plush goose (which Leah has enthusiastically named “Duck!”) Plus! GooseWaddle has a “Buy 1 Give 1″ campaign where, for every blanket bought, one is given to a child in need (think TOMS shoes). If I could describe these blankets in one word it would be luxurious. They are incredibly thick and soft and plush and I love the satin edging. And, when I read a few reviews, mommies swore that the blankets get even SOFTER the more you wash them, although I’m not really sure how that’s possible since they are incredibly soft to begin with…Plus the little “lovey” that comes in the set is PERFECT for both on the go comfort and for putting baby dolls and Elmos na-night as well. I joked with Brett multiple times that I was going to contact GooseWaddle and tell them that they need to make these blankets in adult size because I want one of my own. I’m just saying…otherwise Leah might find that hers has mysteriously gone missing.. ;)
You can also buy just the full size blanket, the mini blankie (“lovey”), the 2 blankets together, or just the plush goose/”duck!” Honestly, I would probably never buy the full gift set for my own child, however, it would seriously make the most perfect baby shower gift. It comes in pink, blue and white so it’s easy to either customize for a specific gender, or go neutral for the friend who is leaving the gender a surprise. I would, however, buy the blanket for my own baby because I can honestly say that out of ALL the blankets we have either bought Leah or have gotten as gifts, this one is by far the softest and coziest. So, my overall review? The blankets are 100% worth the price. And if you want to splurge a little on a perfect baby shower gift for a friend or loved one, the gift set is perfect. So go check out their website here for more info!
Now the fun part! GooseWaddle is generously giving a blanket/”lovey” gift set (a $90 value) to one of my readers in the color of their choice. Entering is easy! Just leave a comment telling me what color you love best (either for your own little one or for a friend’s!) To gain extra entries…..
*Follow along on Instagram (@clbecks)
*Blog/tweet/Facebook/share giveaway somehow, with someone.
*Follow Tales of Life, Love and Ice Cream (either via bloglovin’, or subscribe to posts by email)
**Please leave separate comments for each entry and be sure to leave your email address so I know how to contact you if you’re the lucky winner!
Winner will be announced (by random) on Wednesday the 26th.
*This post is sponsored by GooseWaddle, but all opinions are 100% my own.*
When my parents first told me that they would be in Orlando for a few days and would love to meet at Disney World, my husband was unconvinced. Living in Florida, we totally planned on taking Leah (and any future children) to Disney, but we always expected that it would be a little later in life. Obviously Disney is very expensive and it was hard to justify spending all that money to take a 1 1/2 year old to Magic Kingdom. (Leah’s ticket was free but 2 adult 1 day tickets are about $200 total). I, however, was totally on board the moment my parents suggested the idea. I grew up spending many weeks at Disney World and the times I spent there are some of my favorite vacation memories to this day. I could not WAIT to start the fun with Leah and I jumped at the chance to get to spend Leah’s first Disney trip with her grandparents; the very two people who made all my Disney dreams come true growing up. So, after much convincing, Brett got on board and we headed off to a fun-filled weekend at the happiest place on earth. Of course, the day we left I started noticing a slight rash on Leah, one that got worse throughout the weekend (you’ll be able to see it on her face in some pictures) due to a nasty virus, but I was seriously impressed with this kid. Not only did she rally, spending a near 11 hour day at Magic Kingdom on Saturday, but she also stayed in a great mood the entire weekend and had a blast! This kid already knows that an illness cannot hold you back from experiencing the thrill of Disney!
We stayed at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Pros of this resort include it’s location to Magic Kingdom (it is the only Disney resort within walking distance to Magic Kingdom as it is literally across the street). We thought this would be convenient if we wanted to go back and forth from the park to the hotel if Leah was in desperate need of a nap. We never needed to, however, because my kid went and went until she dropped, falling asleep in her stroller for a brief nap, before waking up and being ready to go once again!
The hotel was also beautiful and had great food. We ate dinner one night in their casual buffet style restaurant and it was delicious. The Disney monorail also went right into the hotel and could be taken (for free) to the park and two other Disney resorts (The Polynesian and the Grand Floridian). The cons include the price ($$$) and the fact that it doesn’t really have a good Disney FEEL to it. Besides the cute Mickey Mouse pillows on the bed, the place had more of a fancy hotel/convention center feel rather than a Disney resort.
The biggest perk of the resort, however, was that the close location enabled us to buy our tickets at the resort and then head over to the park right at opening time (8 am) where we headed straight back to Fantasy Land. Word to the wise, if you go to Magic Kingdom, immediately head straight to Fantasy Land, which is located at the back of the park. Most people come in and stay around Main Street and then head to the closest “section” so the back of the park remains almost empty first thing in the morning. Fantasy Land is where all the princesses and characters/rides such as Winnie the Pooh, Ariel, Beauty and the Beast, It’s a Small World, etc, are located anyways (which are the best rides/shows for little ones!) so that’s where I most wanted to take Leah anyways. We sailed through Fantasy Land, going on every ride, seeing every show, and meeting every princess, and we never waited for ANYTHING for more than 5-10 minutes!
Leah wasn’t too sure about the princesses, although she would say “Hi” and “I love you” to all the characters we met as long as she was safely nestled in mommy’s arms. I was honestly the most worried about how she would react to the rides. Some of the more low-key rides (such as It’s a Small World) allow little ones to sit on an adult’s lap, but most of the rides that have a lap safety bar (which is most of them, including Winnie the Pooh) require a child Leah’s age to sit on their own. I was worried that she would be scared or would cry if I tried to sit her by herself and that would greatly affect what rides we would be able to take her on. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Leah LOVED the independence that came with sitting on her own. On every ride she would either sit between me and Brett or grandma and grandpa and she would look as pleased as punch with herself and would immediately hold onto the safety bar when it came down over her lap. Even rides that are a little scarier or intense (like The Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean) did not phase her in the least bit and she was as happy as can be on every single ride. Her favorite rides were definitely It’s a Small World (because of all the “babies”) and the spinning tea cups. That one surprised me! My mom and I took her on, thinking that we would just ride without spinning because we didn’t want to make her dizzy. Well, Leah had a different idea and as soon as we sat down, she immediately grabbed the center wheel and spun and spun and spun the whole time!
My dad had an app on his phone that told the current ride wait times (I think the app is called “Disney World InPark Assistant”) so we went ahead and immediately got fast passes for the two “big kid” rides we wanted to go on, Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain. Disney does allow “parent exchanges” where you can both wait in line with the baby and then take turns riding once you get through the line, but I married a man who hates all roller coasters (even “baby” Disney coasters) so he stayed with Leah while me and my parents used our fast passes to run through the lines and ride the 2 coasters. Honestly, between good planning and using fast passes we barely waited in line for ANYTHING all day long.
My sweet parents had gotten reservations at The Crystal Palace for a late lunch/early dinner. The Crystal Palace is a sit down buffet style restaurant right in Magic Kingdom where Winnie the Pooh and friends come around and visit while you eat. The food was yummy and we loved seeing the characters! Leah pointed and yelled “Pooh!” as he walked around, but was less enthused when it came time to take pictures with them. She wouldn’t let them touch her one bit, not even for a high-5, but she never cried and was definitely interested in visiting with them from afar!
^^birthday cupcake to celebrate my 28th bday!!
More pics from our afternoon/evening at Magic Kingdom…..
^^Someone couldn’t make it through the last line of the night, waiting to ride the Pirates of the Caribbean. Luckily, she woke up right before we boarded our boat and made it through her last ride of the day awake!
Sunday we relaxed and took the monorail over to the Grand Floridian for a brunch. Now that is a gorgeous resort! We enjoyed a yummy meal at the cafe and then walked around, exploring the pools and hotel grounds. This was the day that I started to see that the virus was starting to get to Leah. The resort had an awesome splash pad that, on any normal day, Leah would have LOVED, and yet then I stuck her toes in the warm water and asked if she wanted to play she looked at me with her sad eyes and said “No, mama.” That’s when I know my kid is not feeling well!
After a relaxing stroll through the resorts we packed up and headed home! The weekend was over way too quickly, but we sure did have a blast. The trip also proved that you CAN do Magic Kingdom with a toddler and still have a blast! We are so, so thankful to my wonderful parents and the magical weekend we were able to experience with them!