Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Santa's Not Real - And I'm Telling My Kids!

RJ and I do not encourage belief in Santa Claus. Let me explain exactly what that means before you tell me I am ruining my children’s fun, or that I’m a bad parent.

Santa does not exist. He is not real. I want my children to think critically. Encouraging them to believe in a fat man who delivers presents to all the good children in the world, on one night, does not teach critical thinking (or a good understanding of physics).

This does not mean we do not talk about Santa. We got family photos taken with Santa for our holiday cards this year. Rose knows who Santa is and that he brings presents. But she will know her presents on Christmas actually come from me and RJ.

Pictures with Santa at Hollywood Studios at Disney World
this past November. 
Santa is not real, Rose thinks about him the same way she thinks about Elsa, Tinkerbell, Cinderella, or Shrek. They are all imaginary characters and they all have a part in her imagination. I encourage her to use her imagination. The other day her blanket was laid out on the floor in the shape of a triangle. She sat down on it and asked me to come ride on the “dragon” with her. I did and pretended to fly around with her for a little. It was a lot of fun I love seeing her little imagination hard at work.

Letting children think of Santa like they think of their favorite Disney character will prolong the fun. There will not be a day when Rose no longer “believes” in Santa. There will not be a day she feels hurt and let down because she discovers Santa isn’t real. He never was real, and never will be, just like any other imaginary character.

Santa is fun, it is how we celebrate Christmas as atheists. We celebrate a time of selflessness, empathy, and love for everyone no matter their color, sexual orientation, or religion. Everyone deserves to feel loved and cared for around this time of year no matter what you celebrate or don’t celebrate.

I do not rely on Santa to get good behavior out of my children. I want my children to be good people because it’s the right thing to do. I do not want them to be good just so they don’t get coal in their stockings.

I don’t remember believing in Santa Claus. My Grandpa on my Dad’s side dressed up as Santa every year, from what I can remember he was the only Santa we saw and got photos with when we were kids. Young children are really good at seeing/feeling/smelling people they know. I don’t think my parents actively lied to me and told me that, that was “Santa” and not Grandpa. I am glad my parents did not insist on convincing us Santa was real.

I do not want to lie to my children. I do not want them to lie to me. I think creating a false reality by lying to them daily during the holiday’s is not going to make the best relationship.  I want my children to trust me and lying to them from day one, trying to convince them Santa is real will not create a trusting relationship. I think trust is much more important, rather than them believing a silly children's story is real.

I hope this got you thinking. I think the holiday season might be a lot better if it wasn’t about anything except loving and accepting each other.

I hope this makes sense, and it didn’t sound like my inner dialogue running away with itself to much. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Legging Army Review

My cousin Sue has started selling leggings through Legging Army. She recently asked if I would would write a review about them on my blog in exchange for a free pair. I have been in the market for a good pair of leggings. So I said yes! I picked out a pair online, and they showed up in the mail on Thursday. I thought would give them a few days before jumping in and reviewing them. So far they are pretty amazing.

There are a few things I look for when buying a pair of leggings.

  1. They must be Opaque
My leggings, and a basic v-neck from
Wet Seal. 
I typically wear leggings as pants, I do have a few tunics but mostly I just wear them with slightly longer t-shirts. So leggings I buy must not be see through.

Legging Army leggings are very Opaque. RJ could not see my underwear through them at all. I was pleasantly surprised by this because the material felt somewhat thin.

  1. Comfort
If they are too tight anywhere, I hate them. I have bought far too many leggings that are tight around the waist and it ruins the idea of being comfy and wearing some thing cozy and stretchy all day.

These leggings are very comfortable. I wore them all evening Thursday, and all day Friday. Not once did they pinch or get uncomfortable. We are a no pants house. And by that I mean usually the second anyone gets home the jeans/sweats come off. But I didn’t want to take my leggings off.

I do feel the need to add, I got the “plus size” I am typically a size 14 or 16 which did put me in the “one size fits all plus size” according to their size chart. I wish the world wouldn’t use labels like “plus size” because I do not feel plus size, but there is no way the smaller size would have fit me.

  1. Flattering
It is very hard for me to find leggings that are flattering. They are either too tight around the waist showing off too much mommy tummy, give me camel toe, or look like a second skin, and if I chose the right color I would look naked and could double as a manikin. Or leggings can be too loose and don’t hold enough in.

Their leggings were perfectly flattering. They come up high and make my mommy tummy just a bit smaller without making me feel claustrophobic. They make my legs and butt look great too, but are not so tight it looks like they are painted on. They are perfect.
  1. Soft
I love soft leggings. Most leggings are soft.

The material that these leggings are made out of is so soft it’s unreal. I find myself rubbing my hands across my thighs all day because the fabric is sooo nice to touch.

  1. Durability
In the past when I have purchased leggings around the 20 dollar range, they did not last long. They got holes, or snags very quickly. It’s difficult to get great leggings that cost less than 40 dollars.

Legging Army fabric quality feels great. The wedding ring I have easily snags things, and I have not snagged these yet and I don’t think I will (at least not with my ring). I think they will wear well and I will do an update about durability later on.

I know it is hard to see, it was impossible to get a good
picture. The annoying crooked seam, and one of the few
loose threads. 
I only have a few negative notes, but really I’m just being picky. There were a few loose threads which drove me nuts till I trimmed them. There is one seam that is quite crooked. It doesn’t affect the functionality of the leggings. But it is right inside the front of the waistband so every time I have to pee it stares me in the eye.

My only other complaint is, they do not have very many colors/patterns in my size. I am not a huge fan of the bright crazy patterns. I have only seen solid black in stock, in my size, once. I would have already bought a pair in black if they had been in stock…. It drives me nuts how many colors are in stock in the smaller size compared to the “plus size” it’s just a little unfair.

Overall I really like Legging Army and will be buying more from them. I still cannot get over how soft they are. I love them.

The leggings at Legging Army cost around 16-26 dollars based on size, color, fleece lined or not etc. Shipping is free.

If you are interested in getting some of these awesome leggings make sure you contact my cousin Sue. Here is a link to her Legging Army Facebook page Sue's Sassy Pants

Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Walt Disney World November 2016 Family Trip

We recently spent an entire week at Walt Disney World. It was my first trip, and the girls first trip as well. RJ had been many times before, but it had been at least five years since his last visit. It was really fun to explore and experience such a awesome place with RJ and our daughters.

Heather being adorable on Main Street in Disney, in front
of Cinderella's Castle.
The drive took us seven to eight hours. The girls did amazingly well, and we only had to stop once. We had lunch and got gas right after we entered Florida. After that we made it pretty quickly to our condo in Orlando.

Disney has a big shopping area called Disney Springs. After we dumped all our stuff at the condo, we made our way over there to visit guest services so we could get our tickets, magicbands, and have some dinner.

As a cast member (Disney employee) finished up sorting out our tickets, Rose, in the sweetest voice, very politely asked, “Sticker please?” The cast member seemed quite impressed Rose asked for a sticker so nicely. The thought that they would have stickers didn’t even cross my mind, but Rose knew. The lady helping us went and got both Rose and Heather multiple stickers, and brought them both pins. It was awesome.

Little things like that happened the entire trip. There was always a cast member somewhere with a pocket full of stickers or something cool. Rose loved it.

Heather and RJ being more adorable. 
I have a few friends who knew very little about Disney World so I will give you a quick run down. Disney World has four main parks. The Magic Kingdom, which has the Cinderella castle. Epcot which has the large geodisic sphere which contains the ride Spaceship Earth. Epcot’s World Showcase (the back half of the park) has shops, food, and rides from countries all of the world, including the new Frozen ride (it’s my favorite park). Disney’s Hollywood Studios has the Hollywood Tower of Terror, Star Wars rides, a awesome Toy Story ride and lots others. Last is Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which is pretty self explanatory. Lots of animals, a fun safari ride, Bugs Life and Lion King attractions, and a good roller coaster. It’s a really fun park, and it’s very different from the others in the best way.

I could write a chapter book about our week at Disney but I won’t (at least not right now) so here are the highlights. We took it pretty easy most days, we did not want to overstimulate Rose and Heather too much.

Heather's cheesy grin is too cute.
Our first day was Sunday, we went to The Magic Kingdom. We got some absolutely adorable pictures of Heather in front of Cinderella's castle. Rose tripped just as we were starting to take the photos so she was a little grumpy during that photo session. We rode Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin that morning, it was Rose’s first ride ever. She was a little nervous but by the end she was having a good time. Heather was a tiny bit nervous at the beginning but then she wanted to see everything and I swear her eyeballs almost fell out (this became a regular occurrence throughout the trip). We went home relatively early that day.

The following day, Monday, we went to Epcot. We rode a few rides near the front of the park then made our way to the back of the park where our lunch reservation was. We had lunch in Germany at a restaurant called Biergarten. The food was great, and so was the entertainment. There was an oompah band playing. It was so much fun. Rose and Heather loved the music, and the cookies. Epcot was by far my favorite park we went there 3 other times throughout the week.

The big dinosaur dig in Animal Kingdom. Both the girls
had so much fun. 
Tuesday we had plans to go back to The Magic Kingdom. We abandoned those ideas and decided to go to The Animal Kingdom. We had a really good time there. Animal Kingdom is my second favorite park. Epcot is very adult and Animal Kingdom has a lot for kids. There is a GIANT playground with a big dinosaur dig that the girls spent an hour in. The best part of the whole day was the safari ride. We saw a ton of animals, and Heather loved it. Heather squealed and pointed at every animal. I do not think she has ever been so excited in her life!

That evening RJ and I had tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party. It was a lot of fun and we got to ride some fun rides we wouldn’t have if we had been there with the girls.

Wednesday plans got completely ruined. That day my miscarriage symptoms was the worst and I didn’t feel up to going to a park (I wrote all about my miscarriage in my previous post). We ended up just getting some lunch. Heather, our family friend and I all stayed at the condo. RJ took Rose to Epcot alone. Rose had an absolute blast. She kept saying things like, “Daddy, Rose go Disney World again, no Mommy, no Heather… no Mommy, no Heather, no Heather!” Apparently Rose really liked the flexibility of going to the park alone with Daddy. I ended up going to the Epcot with our family friend that evening. I was slightly disappointed we missed out on your plans that day but I am glad I didn’t push it because the rest of the week I felt fine because I took a day off.

Rose's face our first day at Disney the first time she saw
Cinderella's Castle 
Thursday morning we had breakfast at Hollywood Vine, which is located just inside Hollywood studios. It is geared for children. Characters walk around while you are eating. Heather got really excited by them and could not contain herself. Rose was a little more skeptical but still hugged everyone. Doc McStuffins, Jake from the Neverland Pirates, Handy Manny, and Sophia the First were there. It was great food, and so entertaining for the girls. I highly recommend having breakfast there if you bring little ones to Disney.  

We had fast passes for Hollywood’s Tower of Terror which we had a lot of fun riding. RJ and I rode together twice. We also had a fastpass for The Toy Story Ride. While we waited for our fastpass time to come around we got pictures with Santa. A Disney World employed Santa is not your normal Santa. Their training includes extensive research and knowledge of The United States. Santa asked where we lived, and he knew exactly where Canton is. I was quite impressed. The pictures turned out great and we used them for our holiday cards.

Hollywood Studios is the smallest park, and it shows. After just those two rides we were all overstimulated because of the crowds we decided to go home.

Rose and RJ, the afternoon they went
to Epcot alone together. 
That evening RJ and I had a date night planned. We had a reservation at Marrakesh in Epcot. We caught an Uber there and the driver was awful. It was the scariest ride we went on the entire trip! It was like being in a horrible cab. It smelled funny. The driver took the longest slowest route possible. He drove very erratically and scared the shit out of us. Luckily Uber refunded us for the ride and we made it to our dinner reservation in time. The food was really good. After dinner we rode a few rides then caught Disney transportation to Disney Springs. We walked around and did a bit of shopping. Then we settled at a bar and had a few drinks then headed home. It was a great evening. It was so much fun.

Friday was Rose and Mickey’s birthdays. At the gates of the parks they were handing out “Happy Birthday Mickey” pins. We also got a happy birthday pin for Rose. We started the day at The Magic Kingdom. We rode a few rides, got lunch at Cosmic Rays then made our way over to Epcot on the monorail to ride a few rides we missed out on. We also waited to see Minnie, Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. I really wanted to get pictures of Rose with Mickey on their birthdays. I am so glad we were able to do it. The wait was minimal and the pictures turned out great. Heather literally ran around Rose and hugged the characters. Apparently that’s pretty uncommon for one year olds. It was adorable.

Rose holding the "Happy Birthday Mickey" pins, she
thought of that pose all by herself. It was so fun to be
there on his birthday, and so cool that Rose shares it. 
That evening we opened a few presents with Rose and had cupcakes. It was so fun to celebrate Rose’s third birthday at Disney world. I hope we can do it again in the near future.

Saturday morning we checked out of our condo. We had a breakfast reservation with the princesses at Akershus in Epcot. Breakfast with the them was a lot of fun. They parade around the room with all the little girls every half hour or so. Cinderella tried to get Rose to walk around with her but Rose didn’t want to. Rose reached for my hand, let go of Cinderella’s and waved goodbye, it was pretty funny. The food at Akershus was Norwegian themed, it was delicious. It was one of RJ’s favorite meals on the trip.

Friday night RJ got really lucky and found fastpasses for the new Frozen ride (the wait is always at least 60 minutes usually over 75). If you go to Disney make sure you use all your fast passes. I will be writing a how to get the most out of disney with little ones post in the near future. The Frozen ride was a lot of fun. It is a short boat ride. The animation/puppetry is amazing. At the end of the ride Heather attempted to climb out of the boat to see/hug Olaf. On the way out of the park I ended up buying her a stuffed Olaf, it made great entertainment on the way home.
Our last day at Disney, just before we had breakfast. It was
an amazing trip!

We had a wonderful trip. We made so many awesome memories. I highly recommend going. It was a lot of fun. We made sure we didn’t do so much we killed ourselves. And by the end I only sortof felt like I needed a vacation from our vacation.   

I know I haven’t been the best at posting frequently but I promise to do better! Thanks for reading!