Pixie Dust

When you’re vacationing in the “Disney bubble”, magic is all around…But even more magical is “Pixie Dust” – Lucky guests may receive pixie dust in the form of an upgraded room, an extra fast pass, or can even pop into various locations in Magic Kingdom to be sprinkled with real Disney “pixie dust”. This mama was sprinkled with some during my daughters’ appointment when Abby’s “fairy godmother in training” asked if I wanted pixie dust sprinkled in my hair – out came the wand and I got to make a magical wish. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – Disney Springs

But on our last night, we experienced a rare magic that was utterly unexpected.

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“Life is a Wonderful Mess” Sibling Loss & Explaining Death to your Children

A personal story on sibling loss and explaining death to your children.

Sibling loss

 December 12, March 14, July 25, October 16

  1. The date of my brother’s birthday
  2. The date my brother became a father.
  3. The date I became a Mom.
  4. The date of my brother’s death.
Sibling loss
The Last Picture of Steven. Four Days Before He Was Gone.

Since the death of my brother Steven, I’ve become a student on surviving loss and trying to deal with the loss of a sibling. I have an ongoing lesson on how to explain death to my daughters. Each year as the girls get older, their questions about Uncle Steven get harder and harder to answer. Parker wants to know “exactly how he died.” Peyton has asked, will she get to meet him one day when she goes to Heaven? And with each question and with every answer, no matter how many years have gone by, no matter how much I have tried to learn and understand, I am paralyzed and unprepared for their innocent questions. I will never get over the shock and loss of Steven, but through my children and my niece, I have learned to heal my heart, to seek out my own answers, and to take another step forward, while clinging to memories and a powerful part of my own childhood.

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This is TEN

If anyone knows me, they know how much I adore my niece, Abby. My sweet Abby turns TEN today! Double digits. She is so special to me, and this blog post is so special to me too – We love you Abby. Have the best birthday ever!

A Letter to my Niece on her 10th birthday

A letter to my niece

To my brilliant and fearless niece on your 10th birthday,

On the day you were born, I had no way of knowing just how much your sassy and strong presence would impact our lives. It felt like eternity waiting for your arrival. But in true Abby fashion, you were born when you were good and ready, and on your own terms. I couldn’t wait to see you…to hold you. Jokingly, I kept asking your mommy and daddy when I could paint your nails. Now, ten years later, it’s one of our favorite things to do together. This is ten. 

A Letter to My Niece

You were complete perfection wrapped in a blanket with an adorable pink hat on –  I wanted to hold you- Like. All. The. Time. – I even took off work after your mommy got home from the hospital. I sat on the couch holding you and staring at you for hours. Mommy and Daddy said I could lay you in the pack n play, but I wasn’t giving you up. This was my day to snuggle you. All your aunts took off a day of work to help out mommy and daddy. Daddy was probably so sick of us being there all the time, but we wanted as much time with you as possible.

had no idea I could love anything so much. I may have my own girls now, but you will always be a very special fourth daughter -and I know your other aunts feel the exact same way.

My Abby girl, you have been a gift to everyone since the day you were born, but we had no idea just how much of a gift you were until 7-months later.  You became the core of this family. You became the light that kept us going. You made us smile and you made us laugh on our hardest days. I would have loved you with my whole being, even if your daddy didn’t go to Heaven, but now I get to love you extra for your daddy too.

Your life has been a series of beautiful, BLUE, dragonfly signs. When you were a baby, the wallpaper and decor in your room were dragonflies, the hooks for your dogs’ leashes were dragonflies, and at Mom Mom and Pop Pop’s house, you would stare at a fan with dragonfly lights and giggle and smile. It confirmed what we knew all along, that your daddy is always with you.

A Letter to My NieceAt the age of ten, you are the oldest of ten cousins and your brothers who look up to you. You are a role model for the younger girls, Peyton, Parker, Piper, Kami, Lexi, and Jordyn. And you are a leader among the boys in the family, PJ, Brayden, Zach, and Jaxon.

In honor of your milestone 10th birthday. Here are just a few of the reasons why I love you so incredibly much.

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Disney Dads

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Real Dads Rock Pink Backpacks

Guest Writer: Prince Charming (Kevin Daniel)

Disclaimer: My wife made me sound like an actual writer in this article. I want to thank her for her talent, patience, and laughter while we wrote this together. And a very special thank you to my brother-in-law, Chad, for the inspiration behind this post.

I’m not like a regular dad…I’m a Disney Dad.

Before my wife and I started writing this blog post, we did a quick search to see how many articles have been published from a Disney Dad’s perspective. Instead of finding articles about Walt Disney World, we found the real definition of a Disney Dad.

Disney Dad (paraphrased in our words): A subpar dad that showers his kids with gifts and toys to compensate for poor parenting and guilt over divorce – Also, dad who attempts to look like the better parent by purchasing excessive and expensive gifts.

Uhhh yeah — Not exactly the direction we were going…and a little sad too!

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Know Before You Go: Tips and Tricks from a Disney Mom! Part II

Disney Tips and Tricks from a Disney Mom.

Disney Mom Know Before You Go: Tips and Tricks from a Disney Mom Part II

Read Part I here: Know Before You Go! Part I

Still thinking about that fabulous vacay to Florida?  To ensure an enchanting vacation is to seek a travel agent who specializes in Disney Vacations, and I’m not just saying this because I am one. I wish I had used someone on my early trips. We are trained and experienced in how best to schedule your precious holiday family time. We consider your interests and ages of family members and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo… we are wizards and fairy godmothers who can get those impossible reservations that fulfill all your wishes! Here are some more tips I wish I knew on my early trips!

Disney Mom
Peyton and Belle in Epcot on our first Disney trip.

#5: Don’t let your kids fly off to Neverland:  Be sure to have the “what to do if you can’t find mommy and daddy” chat. Nobody wants to think about this, butbe sure to have a plan if your child is distracted and loses you for a bit. It happens to the best parents. Disney has amazing protocols in place for this, but YOU should also make sure your kids know what to do and say. TIP:  Write your name and cell phone number in Sharpie and cover with clear nail polish on the inside of their magic band. There are also Etsy shops that sell safety ID stickers.  Getting lost can be a bit terrifying and your child may not remember the carefully practiced and memorized phone number.

#4: Better than a magic wand to make the perfect attire appear:  Don’t forget to coordinate and pack those cute matching Disney shirts — and pack smart! A packing tip I swear by, is inserting one outfit a day for each kid in a large zip-lock bag — Underwear, shirt, shorts —label and squeeze out the air. I also have extra zip locks with spare outfits in case of accidents, ice cream spills, and more.  This trick also helps you keep clean and used clothing separate.

#3: Just whistle while you work and use My Disney Experience: Get familiar with My Disney Experience before you leave for your vacay. Download the app and learn how to navigate the various tools and resources. My Disney Experience enables you to manage your dining reservations, change around FastPasses, check wait times for attractions and shows, and gives you the ability to download your Memory Maker pictures right to your phone. Ask your travel agent to help you with this before you go!

Disney Mom

#2: Don’t get lost heading to the ball: Have a dining reservation in a park, or at another resort? This is where you need to do planning. Dining reservations are made 180 days out — especially to secure those coveted ones such as, Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Round Table.  You should also know how to get to your dining reservations. You cannot take transportation from resort to resort —  Know what to do to get there, so you don’t miss that sought-after reservation. Rule of thumb is to schedule in at least two hours travel time — especially during peak weeks like Spring Break or Christmas.

#1:  The sky’s awake, so I’m awake: Hit the parks early and enjoy the pool in the afternoon or better yet, plan a pool day. Parks are most crowded during the hottest part of the day — and that’s when toddlers are exhausted and parents go into full melt down mode. If you’re staying on site at a Disney Resort, be sure to check for Extra Magic Hours for each respective park — Remember it’s your R&R too and so it’s important to have fun, relax, and take a break. Disney really is brilliant at accommodating the needs of  adults, such as a Baby Care centers, spas, and drinks at the pool — Adult time is non-negotiable. Take advantage of Disney babysitting services… cause you know they have the perfect nannies! Work this into your trip — and follow through. You can always head back to the parks for fireworks.

BONUS TIP: Even Jack Sparrow needed a map: As a Disney planner, I tend to plan my client’s vacation better than my own.  Because we have been to Disney multiple times, we have learned to acclimate to high crowd times. Every time I’m there, I look around and see anxious parents diligently reading itineraries and micro-managing their day. “We have to get to the next FastPass NOW!” Those are not the Disney vacation memories you want to bring home. Cast members are everywhere and are more than willing to help.  The most important message is Hakuna Matata…You MUST enjoy the time as much as your children!

Check out my website:My3peasinapod.com for more Disney tips and articles, as well as other articles and content on parenting and life.

Here are links to some of my favorite shops to order those adorable matching Disney shirts!

Kingstone Printing

Little Miss Petals

Welcome to Wonderland

My Sports Decals

 Check out Kingdom Strollers- they are my GO TO stroller rental place for MY trips and my Client: Kingdom Strollers

Some shirts for our next trip! Click on link to check them out! You can find them on Amazon and they don’t break the bank!

Making Magic Happen

Mickey Sleeveless shirt

Disclaimer: These are all my personal pictures and my personal experiences. You are entitled to disagree and quite frankly, it doesn’t bother me one Disney bit!