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Share your Universal Studios Orlando Tips!

18 Apr

You guys, I am totally counting down the days until our next vacation, which is coming up in May. Travis and I went to Universal Studios Orlando back in 2010, but this time will be even more awesome…

This time we are bringing our own 5 year old ‘thing 1’ with us, Jack! Also, when we last visited there was only one side to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and now there is EVEN MORE to see! So much excitement! So many exclamation points!

We’ve been preparing Jack by watching Harry Potter movies, in addition to familiarizing him with other characters that he will see at the parks. We can’t wait to see Spiderman, the Hulk, the Minions, Transformers, Curious George, Shrek and more. We already know that Jack is a rollercoaster fiend, just like his momma, so really it is up to Travis to be able to keep up with us!

We are staying right on property at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort, so we will be able to walk over to the parks each day and we also got those ‘Universal Express’ unlimited ride passes so we can skip waiting in lines.

So, here’s where I’d love your help! Is there anything you think we absolutely shouldn’t miss? Do you have a restaurant or snack recommendation that we should be sure to add to our list? Anything you think we should know? Feel free to fill up my comments section with your tips!

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The Day I Forgot Jack’s Coat

13 Apr

A couple weeks ago, before the weather turned warm, Jack and I were doing our typical frantic rush off to school/work routine and I forgot his coat. I should say that WE forgot his coat, because neither of us grabbed it on the way out the door. But he’s 5, so I’ll take the blame for it this time.

It’s a 20 minute ride to school and when I go to unload Jack, I realize that there is no coat. It’s bright red, so it’s kind of hard to miss. However, I look all over the inside of the SUV as if the coat somehow balled itself up and shoved itself under a seat.

It’s cold. I mean, it’s not snowing or anything. But it is definitely cold enough that a kid needs his coat.

And here is where you can see what kind of mom I am.
I dropped him off at school without his coat.

Sure, I could have rearranged my entire morning so that I could drive back home for 20 minutes, drive 20 more minutes BACK to school to drop off the coat and then continue on my way to work.

I could do that.
Plenty of moms would have done that.
I mean, it’s my baby boy. I love him and want him to be warm and happy, right?

Just look at that adorable face!

I didn’t though. Because I think it is important for Jack to know that mommy has stuff to do. Mommy can’t drop everything because we forgot his coat. MOMMY is important too and her entire life doesn’t revolve around Jack and his needs.

So, Jack went to school without a coat. And I knew that they’d either give him a spare coat to wear or he’d just stay inside during outside play time.

And that’s okay too. Because maybe the next time we are running out of the house, Jack will be the one who grabs his coat.

Because as much as I love that cute little face, mommy has shit to do.

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Jack Turns 5 & a Mini Gift Guide

20 Feb

You guys… my baby boy is FIVE YEARS OLD!

Geez, when people say time flies they are not kidding. Somehow the last five years have flown by and suddenly I have this full-grown five year old little boy. He’s funny and so sweet and one of my favorite people in the entire world.

And he’s FIVE.

And poof, I have a 5 year old! Happy Birthday Jack! ❤

A post shared by pocketfulofjoules (@pocketfulofjoules) on

Our first celebration was at Jack’s school on his actual birthday (February 15th). I ordered some cupcakes from the local grocery store and topped them with rings that Jack picked out. We went with rainbow rings and snowflake rings.

We got Jack a few tiny gifts to open, but his big birthday gift this year was another family trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA. We had so much fun last year (see it here) that we decided to forgo the stress of having a kid party and/or a family party and decided to go back again this year.

Mini Gift Guide
I feel like we did super well with gifts this year, so if you are looking for some 5-year-old approved gifts in the less than $20 range, you might want to check these out:

Gift #1: Gold Dig-it and Diamond Dig-it (find it here)
I found a Gold Dig-it and a Diamond Dig-it at Target and they were only $3 each. Basically it is a block of hard sand and there is a treasure inside. After pounding the heck out of the first one and taking forever, we decided to put it in a bowl of water and it melted right away so that we could get to the stone. And yes, I know this is cheating. However, I don’t even care because Jack then played with the sand/water combo for a good three nights before I finally got rid of it!

Gift #2: Tonka Tiny vehicles in Blind Garages (find it here)
Jack has a million cars, but recently asked for some “tiny” cars. I have no idea what that means, but I did find these Tonka Tiny’s while I was at Target. Each car comes inside a little garage, so it’s a surprise which one you get. I bought four ($2.50 each) and the garages all snap together to make a super-sized garage. Jack LOVED these!

Gift #3: Russel Stover Valentine’s Day Mini Heart
Day three was Valentine’s Day, so Jack’s gift was a little Snoopy Valentine’s heart with three little chocolates inside. Yeah, they were gone pretty much immediately.

Gift #4: WowWee Mini Remote Control Robot (find it here)
I really like the WowWee robots, but the regular sized version is $50. Considering that I don’t know if Jack would even be into it for more than 10 minutes… it just seemed silly to buy the expensive version. This little version does less, but it’s also only $20. Jack loves it, but Ollie is not a fan…

 

Disclosure: Pocketful of Joules is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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Nap Time is My Favorite

13 Feb

I can’t believe that Jack is turning 5 this week. The last 5 years have been some of the best of my life and I can hardly imagine life before Jack. I mean, what did I DO with all that extra time?! Really, someone remind me…

When we approach milestones like birthdays, I always like to get super sentimental and look though old pictures and read old posts about when Jack was just a little potato laying in the middle of the living room and doing literally NOTHING while making my heart go pitter-patter.

I also like to think about all the ‘advice’ I’ve gotten over the years by people who don’t even know my kid. Like that he will turn into a total asshole the second he hits 2 (he didn’t), that potty training is  super easy to do in 3 days (it wasn’t), that once we have a kid we will never go out to dinner again (we do), or that I’m stupid to think my kid will continue to nap (he does).

Which brings us to one of my favorite things ever: naps. Or more specifically, napping with Jack on the weekends.

I was never really much of a napper myself before I had a kid. Or really even after I had him. I remember people telling me to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ and I thought that was kind of stupid because when else am I going to get a handle on the laundry? Also, whenever I’d take a nap I’d wake up all confused and angry for no reason. So, no naps for me.

But then, maybe a couple years ago our family naps started. I’d go to put Jack down for an afternoon nap and he’d look at me with his big eyes and chubby cheeks and ask to sleep in my bed with me. How can you say no to that?

Somehow the tradition started that once a weekend Jack and I would curl up in my bed and nap together. Travis would usually take that time to go play in his garage, so it was just me and my little guy. Oh, and Ollie. Ollie is a big fan of naps.

Jack and I would get all snuggled up under the covers. Sometimes he wants a billion kisses. Other times, he says semi-creepy/cute stuff like “make sure to face me so that I can stare at you while I sleep.” Usually he wants to hold my hand. Always, he tells me how much he loves me. It’s magical. Our own little snuggly island in a week that is typically full of tasks, school, work and running from place to place.

For a couple hours on a weekend day, it’s just Jack and me and our nap time.

And that is my favorite thing. Ever.

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