Category: Life

Hershey Park with kids 5 and under

Family Travel Uncategorized

Hershey Park with kids 5 and under

 

Hershey Park. The Sweetest place on Earth (literally lol).

Let me first say that My husband and I are always impressed with just how clean the park is, and how friendly the staff is. It’s definitely one of our favorite places to visit.

The next thing we love, is that all the rides for smaller children are mostly toward the front of the park. Lucy and Reece are under 5, so this is so convenient. Anytime you don’t have to push a double stroller further than you have to=greatness!

 The last time we went to Hershey Lucy was a minitaure. She grew alot. This is how you measure to see what rides you can ride! ALl the rides are labeled so you know before you stand in line, if its something you can do!

 

Another thing they have there is zoo america. It is a little gem tucked away inside the park! The kids loved it. All the animals were out and about, and their habitats were very nicely kept. The kids loved watching the bears swim around in their pool. One swam right up to the window and was playing with a ball. It was really cool!

Hershey Lodge was amazing. To be honest we could have spent a day here lounging by the pool! Lucy loved Water works, which is an indoor water park at the lodge! Our room was very nice and the beds were pretty comfy. Not to mention that the chocolate in the room!! The arcade was also fun with a variety of games for all ages. The candy machine was Reece’s pick lol. I really liked the shuttle service they offered to the park. The wait time was not long!

 

hershey lodge

LUCY COULDN’T WAIT TO GO TO WATER WORKS! IT WAS HER FAVORITE AT THE LODGE.

 

Hershey factory really brought me back to when I was a kid. It was really cool to go back and see how much it has changed. I still love the ride that explains the history of Hershey and how each candy is made. It was a fun little ride that we all took together, and we all learned something to. Lucy was amazed at how much chocolate is made everyday!!

hershey factory hershey factory hershey factory

Hershey Garden was our last stop. I was personally amazed at the flower gardens. All different shades of roses and numerous other flowers. The kids really enjoyed the butterfly Atrium. This is a nice space where butterflys are free to fly around. one even landed on me and hung out for awhile! It was a neat experience.

hershey garden

hershey garden

hershey garden hershey garden hershey garden 1 hersey garden

I think Hershey is a magical place that’s suitable for any age. We stayed for 3 days and 2 nights. We are already thinking about our next trip! Not to mention the drive there is pretty to!!

what its like to get pictures with 2 kids. #fail.

SO, have you visited Hershey yet!?

Family Life

My Miscarriage Story

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“All life, No matter how brief, matters.”

I remember the day it happened like yesterday. It was your typical Thursday morning in October. Leaves were falling, and the sky was a grayish color, looking like it could rain. I was off that morning so I could take my daughter for her preschool pictures. I also had my routine visit with my OB doctor. I can recall everything from that day. What I was wearing, what the weather was like, what I had to eat.

My daughter was so eager to hear the baby’s heartbeat, so I let her tag along to my appointment.  She was so excited about becoming a big sister. I was 12 weeks.  Aside from some pressure I was feeling in my lower abdomen, and a slight tinge of nausea, I felt fine. After all the hello’s and the lollipop plea’s  we sat in our room, and patiently waited for the doctor. When the doc arrived, she picked up her machine to try to listen for the wonderful flutter that any mom loves to hear at their appointment. Only there was no heartbeat.  No flicker on the screen. Just nothing. I couldn’t even hear what the doctor was saying as I stared at the screen just hoping that it wasn’t real. But it was. For some reason I always thought that if you made it to the 12 week mark you were essentially out of the “danger” zone. Wrong.

Before this could even begin to sink in, there was something else- numerous cysts all over my ovaries, which were about 4x their normal size. It was there that I was branded “a rare case”.

In a world where one strive’s to be different, I only wanted to be like everyone else.

I didn’t want to be unusual; I just wanted to be normal. After multiple doctor visits with 4 different doctors, tests, and pathology reports  it was determined that I had a partial molar pregnancy, with signs and symptoms of a complete molar pregnancy.

If you’re like me, you may have never heard of this before, and the cause is completely unknown.  I had an insane amount of HCG hormone in my blood and that’s what caused my ovaries to swell. Because of the type of work I do, the doctors had concern about ovarian torsion or even rupturing due to their hugely abnormal size. I was off of work for 3 months.

It’s hard because with my HCG levels being so high I still felt pregnant. I still felt everything; The nausea, the cravings, the emotions. It wasn’t until mid December that I actually felt myself again.

How do you mourn the loss of the baby when your worrying about your own health?

It causes severely conflicted emotions. Then the day finally came when it actually sunk in. I wasn’t having a baby anymore. When that sinks in, it hits you like a ton of bricks.

The worst thing I think someone said to me was, “well it wasn’t really a baby anyway”. I don’t blame them for this. I have a hard time of knowing what to say in sad situations. But in my mind, yes, it was a real baby. I saw a heartbeat. I couldn’t wait to smell that newborn smell. I envisioned the nursery. I envisioned my growing belly. I envisioned my new life, with 2 children. I envisioned coming home from the hospital and this time not being absolutely clueless. I envisioned the chaos. I envisioned the laughter, the crying, and yes the “blow outs” that everyone experiences with a newborn, at least once. I envisioned the tiny human laying on my husbands chest. So yes, to me It was real. and It was lovely.

Though I was a frequent flyer at the doctors offices, I got to spend so much time doing things that I wanted to do while I was off. I got to “clear”. Life is so busy, and fast. We get so caught up in the everyday grind. We often forget to take time to actually enjoy the little things. Before this happened, I couldn’t even tell you the last time I sat down and drank a full cup of coffee. I loved the time with my daughter and truth be told I really believe that is what saved me. The time off really made me appreciate life so much more.  I got to focus on my little family and not all the ugly stuff I was dealing with. I felt so full.

We have to wait just about a year  before we can try again. I still have to go to the doctors. I must have my blood drawn every few weeks for at least a year. I still need frequent sonograms. I will now be considered high risk with any future pregnancies. But I refuse to let this make me bitter. Even though there are days I am so overwhelmingly angry. And guess what that’s ok. The best advice I received was to just cry. Cry as much as you want, because one day you won’t want to. I truly believe when dealing with loss, whether it be a friend, a parent, a child, there is no time limit on the mourning process.

What people don’t tell you about is the fear.

Will this happen again?

Could this be a sign?

Could this lead to future problems? 

Welcome to my mind. After months of thinking about all of this, I finally decided not to let it be the center of attention. I can’t let those thoughts overwhelm me. Instead, I’ve decided to put my mind else where. Its life, and life is full of surprises. Sometimes life is scary. Sometimes life is beautiful. But most of all, Life is what you make of it. You cannot live your life based off of fear. That is what I whisper to myself when those negative thoughts try to creep back in.

Christmas night, my daughter put her hand on my belly, and asked if the baby was still in there. I said, “no honey, there’s not a baby in there anymore”, she laid her hand on my cheek and said “it’s ok mommy we will get another baby”

I just smiled at her sweet little face, and said “yes baby, we will”.

 

you can read more about my D&C experience over at Seeing Sunshine .

 

 

 

 

Life

5 reasons why you should keep a Journal

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I can honestly say that my journal is one of my best friends. It’s always there for me when I’ve had a bad day. It listens to me when I need to vent, or when I want to brag. It never judges me. Crazy right?  It’s actually been scientifically proven that Journaling has many health benefits which you can learn more about here .

I often compare Journaling to a map because there are so many directions to navigate  through life.

I highly recommend giving it a shot and here’s why:

1. Reflection. There’s something I just love about flipping back through old journals and reading. I love that I can time travel through my thoughts. For example, I can look back to when I was pregnant and tell you how excited I was one day, and how terrified I was the next. Now that my daughter is 3, my mind-set is much different. It’s really cool to see how far you have come in different situations. It’s a great way to self-improve. If you disagree, ask yourself this: Are you the same person you were 5 years ago? Chances are no. Everyday you grow, and its awesome to see it.

2. Get it all out. GET IT ALL OUT. I consider myself a stuffer. What I mean by that is I usually “stuff” things away until one day it all comes out. Writing in my journal has really helped me not look like a crazy psycho when that day comes. I’ll write it out and instantly feel better.  When you’re able to get it all out sometimes you realize things aren’t as bad as you think. Journaling helps you put everything in perspective.

3. An imaginary friend. Yes its true. With every journal entry I always write dear diary. I ask my journal questions about anything and everything. I write my theories on life. I share dreams I have. I write how thankful I am for certain things. Or how pissed I am about something else. It’s my friend that has open arms and ears no matter what I say. It’s my safe zone.

4. Idea catcher. I’ll often jot little notes down in my journal. It helps me stay organized in my mind (even if the pages look a hot mess). I write out goals . In school I’m sure you remember brain storming charts. Some of my pages look just like that.

5. Remembrance. So this is the morbid mindset I have. Seeing as my daughter is only 3, I can’t help but to wonder; what if something were to happen to me? Sadly at her young age she wouldn’t remember me. Inside my journal I have little notes to her so she will at least get to know a little part of me. But it doesn’t have to just apply to your kids. I’m sure it would be a comfort to my husband, friends, or even my parents to read (even if some of the pages are about them). It’s almost like having pictures, but a bit more. When I’m missing my Aunt I read notes or letters that she had tucked away in her jewelry box.

You don’t have to write in your journal everyday. Hell sometimes, with my crazy life I only pick up my pen once every couple of weeks. I have found that when I do write  in my journal it’s a major stress relief. My journal is my blank canvas, just waiting for what’s next.

What types of things do you write about in your journal?

Clothing Fashion Life Style

Stitch Fix Review

A few months ago while browsing through my News feed on Facebook, I saw a friend post about a service called Stitch fix. Seeing as I love clothes, I curiously clicked on the link.clothes-922988_640

As I began to read about the service,  I thought “How easy and convenient.”

When I read the average price of an item, I’ll admit I was a little hesitant. As I’m getting older, I don’t mind investing in clothing, I just don’t want to break the bank while doing it.  I must say I am SO glad that did not detour me from signing up. Once I clicked on the link I was prompted to fill out my “style profile”. Here, you can select what price range is acceptable for the items you receive. Naturally,  I selected the option “the cheaper the  better”. So the average price of items in my fix is $30-$40, which for me is a bit more reasonable.

You are able to customize the frequency of your fixes. So if one month I decide I don’t want it I can reschedule it to any month I choose. Or if I decide I want another fix sooner than later I can schedule that as well. Seeing as I don’t have a lot of time to shop, it’s the best thing I’ve done for myself in a while.

I also always have to try items on.  In one style of clothing I may need a small, but in another I may need a large. It just depends on the cut. For those of you who have busy toddlers, you know trying items on at a store is next to impossible.  Stitch fix allows you to try the items on in the convenience of your own home.  You can also try the clothing on with other items from your wardrobe which is great. In the Stitch fix box, is a card from your stylist with a note about the items you received. There’s also a styling card which gives you tips on how to wear the items.

I also love that you can ask your stylist to send you certain things. Lately I haven’t been asking for anything because I just love the surprise! I recently received a sweater that I never would have picked up in the store. When I tried it on, I seriously did not want to take it off. It’s now my go to sweater! I think my favorite part about the service is the fact that your stylist sends you items that may be a little out of your comfort zone. There is usually one item in every fix that I am unsure about. But I always try every item on, and that’s usually the item I almost always keep. You can also start a Pinterest Board, where the stylist will check the pins you save. I received a shirt similar to one that I had pinned to my board in my last fix. (Genius!)

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here’s just a few items I recently received. Shoes not included

I must say that Stitch fix is just over all a fun service. When I see the package sitting on my back steps I get so excited! It comes wrapped in tissue paper just like a little gift. I’ve received clothing, jewelry and  hand bags!FullSizeRender (31)

If you are interested in receiving your own fix click here I hope it’s as much fun for you as it is for me!


 

all opinions expressed here are my own, and based on my personal experience.
Annapolis Adventure

Life Style Travel

Annapolis Adventure

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Being a Maryland girl, its only natural that Annapolis be one of my favorite places to visit. Whether it’s for brunch, shopping, or a night out, Down town Annapolis has it all. Every time I visit, I always manage to find something new that I hadn’t seen before.

 

I have many fond memories of Annapolis. One in particular involves my favorite shop to visit, Hats on the Belfry.   One of the last Christmas season’s before my Aunt passed, we went to Annapolis to see all the sites decked out in their holiday bests. We came across this shop and tried on all the crazy looking hats and just laughed away. I always try to visit this shop when I go since it brings back such a good memory.

Recently my good friend and I had a day of exploring. When she had told me a few days prior that she had never been to down town Annapolis my jaw fell to the floor. (ok so not my jaw, but my phone totally did; I have another crack across the screen to prove it). Thus we chose to end the day of exploration in Down Town Annapolis.

As we walked we decided to grab a bite to eat. Lunch was delicious at Castlebay Irish Pub. If I hadn’t been so starving when we arrived, I would have taken a picture of my full plate. Never before had I tasted such a delicious, creamy tomato soup and grilled ham and cheese sandwich.  It sounds so simple, but it was delightful. And what better way to finish lunch at the Irish Pub then with their signature Irish Coffee.

Images taken by Grace Images

We made our way up and down Main street, and headed back to where we parked off of West street. When I visited Annapolis a few weeks prior,  I noticed these pictures that were almost tucked away in a small parking lot. It was really rainy that particular day so I didn’t have a chance to really check them out. So this was on my list of places to see.  I’m a huge fan of anything “retro” and I just fell in love with this space. The walls made it very unique.

It really was the perfect girls day out of wandering. It’s nice living not so far from such a fascinating place. What’s your favorite spot to explore in Annapolis?

Beauty Life Makeup Style

Ipsy Glam Bag

Every month, around the 10th, I check my mail with anticipation for my Ipsy bag. You cant miss the bright pink bubble wrapped package it arrives in. The Ipsy Glam Bag is a nice treat to yourself. It supplies you with all kinds of little goodies based onIpsy Package a profile that you fill out. The profile asks you about your hair color, complexion and eye color. It also asks about the kinds of products you use, and what style of makeup you like. Since over time that may change, your profile can always be updated.

Inside the bright pink package, is  a different little bag each month. They are so cute and fun! I can say the bags have come in so handy especially having a daughter in dance. I use them to carry her hair clips, combs and hair ties. I also have used the bags numerous times when taking trips to the park, or on vacation. They are the perfect go to bags for all the smaller necessities!ipsy bag

I always enjoy trying every product they send, and for the most part the products have all worked well for me. If you fall in love with one of the products and want to purchase it, you simply go to your Ipsy account and it will provide a link for you. The sizes of the products are usually travel sizes, but I actually haven’t had to buy facial cleanser or moisturizer in a few months since I get them so consistently. I enjoy the variety of products that come. Variety is also good for your skin and hair. Its good to mix up your products, just as long as you don’t overload on them. Based on my profile I usually receive lip, skin, nail, and hair products. But I also have received makeup brushes, fake eyelashes, and eyelash curlers.

I absolutely loved everything in my December Glam bag. I instantly was drawn to the bag, because it was bright red, my favorite color!

Ipsy glam bag ipsy

Some of the products in my December bag included:

Pacifica Power Of Love Natural Lipsticklip stick
in Nudie Red

I instantly feel in love with the color as soon as I applied it to my lips! Nudie Red has the perfect blend of natural tones so it wasn’t to overbearing.  It was long lasting and very moisturizing. It’s made with coconut oil, shea butter, and vitamin E. It’s also 100% Vegan & Cruelty-Free.

Where to buy: pacificabeauty.com- $10.00

BeFine Exfoliating Cleanser (with Brown Sugar)exfoiliating cleanser

This was my favorite product from the bag. It was a very gentle exfoliation. I have extremely sensitive skin and it wasn’t irritating at all. It made my skin feel great.

Where to buy: befine.com- $24.00

Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Eye Shadow Primereye primer

This eye primer was very lightweight, and long lasting. If I wear eye shadow, its usually a more neutral shade, but this primer made my eye shadow pop! It definitely helps illuminate the color.

Where to buy: Elizabethmott.com-$20.00

RickyCare by Ricky’s NYC Classic 3D Blenderblender

I usually like to apply my makeup with a brush, but I really liked this blender. It is great for applying foundation, and contouring. It shapes to your face which makes application that much easier. Another perk is that it can be used wet or dry.

Where to Buy: rickysnyc.com-$10.00

FORMULA X Nail Polish in Revved Upnail polish

This was a fun nail polish. The gold-ish color was very pretty and sparkly. Gold shades are perfect right now especially with New Years Eve just a couple days away. I noticed that the wear was better than that of your normal nail polish. I wash my hands a lot and normal polish chips only after a couple days, where this lasted longer. I also like that its free of Parabens, Sulfates, Phthalates

Where to Buy: Sephora-$10.50

 

Want to join Ipsy to?

Each month receive a fun bag, and great products for you to try! Who knows what you will discover and fall in love with! Its a nice, inexpensive treat for yourself. Enjoy!

Get Creative Life

Fun Activities to do on Christmas Eve

It happens every year. Before you know it, It’s The Night Before Christmas and you find yourself trying to keep the kiddos entertained.cookies It’s always good to have some fun activities planned for Christmas Eve. Here are some simple ideas for you to try-

Writing a thank you note for Santa is such a sweet sentiment. Decorate the paper with glitter, stickers, or just use a plain pad of paper. Even if its pretend, its still something to hold on to. In a few years, when the kids are older it will be fun to pull them out and re read them.  It teaches your children to always be thankful and that’s so important now a days.

Reindeer food. Last year My daughter brought “Reindeer food” home from daycare. It was such a cute idea. Now that’s she’s a little older and understands more, I cant wait to do this with her. Just fill a bowl with some ground up Chex-mix and glitter, Then go outside and sprinkle in the yard. The sparkle from the glitter helps the reindeer find their way!

Baking cookies is probably one of the most popular holiday traditions. The fun thing about doing it Christmas Eve is that you can make the “Santa” cookies. Tell your little one you have to make some cookies for Santa and they will surely be into it.

Christmas Eve Box’s. This is a tradition I am planning to start this Christmas with my daughter. I went to Michaels and got a cute basket, one that I know I will use to store toys. The first item I put in the box was the book “Twas the Night before Christmas”.  This is a book that we already own. A client of mine had given me the book as a gift when I was pregnant with my daughter. She wrote in the book to read it every Christmas Eve, that was a tradition she had with her kids. So for the past 2 years I have! Then I put some pajamas, some slippers, and an Itty Bitty. (Itty Bittys are sold exclusively by Hall Mark and there are many characters available. My daughter loves them!)   But you can create a Christmas Eve box with whatever you choose.  I talked about this in an earlier post, you can check it out here

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Instead of doing a box, just a Movie night and Popcorn would be fun. Classics like Charlie Brown and The Grinch are great family movies.Christmas movies

Making Hot Cocoa. I loved making hot chocolate as a child. I always use the Hershey Recipe. Its easy and delicious. Make it fun by doing a Hot cocoa bar. Use some peppermint sticks, and some other yummy toppings such as marshmallows, or caramels.

Christmas Caroling. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I think it would be so fun with a group of people. If you live in a neighborhood its perfect. Even if your not the best singer it would surely be entertaining to anyone that opened their door.

Going to look at Christmas lights. As  a child, this is something my family always did. It was fun to ride around and listen to Christmas music and enjoy all the beautiful lights.

I’ve been reading about Santa footprints, which is a cool idea for mom and dad! I found awesome step by step instructions here.

Take out night. Its only fair if your doing all the cooking the next day to get take out the night before!

No matter what you decide to do on Christmas Eve, just have fun. Hope everyone has a blessed Holiday Season. Enjoy your families!

 

x,

Michelle

 

Get Creative Life

Different Christmas Traditions

The other day I had an interesting conversation with a lady while we were waiting for our beloved beverage at our local Starbucks. We were talking about Different Christmas Traditions.christmas decor In her family, they do the “25 days of Christmas”. Instead of waiting until December 25th,  they decide to spread holiday cheer starting December 1st with small gifts or nice sentiments.  Then on Christmas day they have one “big” gift that they all exchange. I had never heard of this tradition before, and instantly I was intrigued. I’m a sucker for family traditions.  I had to find out more!

So I did some digging and here are the Different Christmas Traditions that I learned about:

Santa brings the whole shebang- I thought this was such a cool idea, but it sounds exhausting. This tradition is where Santa brings everything. The tree, the gifts, and for some the lights outside. It would be awesome to see your little ones face when they  wake up to a fully decorated house.

The Delivery- You find out  a place that’s open on Christmas day and take a plate of food or a gift to the worker(s).  I actually witnessed someone doing this on Thanksgiving and I thought it was such a wonderful thing to do.

Christmas Eve Exchange-This was a Christmas tradition that my family adopted when my siblings and I got a little bit older. Once the cat was out of the bag about Santa, we liked to exchange our gifts the night before. That way the next day we could sleep in and focus on the big feast!

Christmas Eve boxes– On Christmas Eve when the kids start to get antsy this is a perfect distraction. Fill the box with some pajamas, a favorite snack and a movie! You have a whole night planned in one box. Customize it the way you want.

The Not so Traditional Dinner-Turkey and ham? No way! Not with this Christmas tradition! Were talking Pizza, Lasagna and I even heard Tacos! Such a different twist to your normal holiday meal.

Stockings for days- Growing up we never had a fireplace, so stockings were never really a thing. But with hooks and a higher space you can hang those suckers anywhere! This is a tradition that I have adopted as I have gotten older. Its a great place to put candy or something sentimental.

The Christmas Drink- This is another Christmas Tradition that my family has. Even if your not much of a drinker its a great way to honor a loved one that’s passed or just to talk about what your grateful for. It also makes it interesting when sitting around and listening to one of those “Crazy Uncle John” stories to. Every family has a “Crazy Uncle John”, whether its a Grandparent, Parent, or even a Sibling.

Making Christmas Ornaments/Wreaths-Crafting together is always fun and a great way to let your inner creativeness shine! Ornaments also make a great keepsake.

Cookie Exchanges- This is a tradition I’ve been wanting to start with my girlfriends. Everyone brings their own homemade cookies, and a bottle of wine(optional). You chat, exchange the recipe for the cookies and take a variety home for your family.

Secret Santa- This is great for people with a lot of extended family. Instead of buying for everyone you simply draw a name and give to that person only.

White elephant gift exchange- This is also fun for larger families. Everyone brings a wrapped gift, number the gifts and pick a number. It makes it fun because you can steal the gift to! Its your exchange so you can really set the rules how you want.

Ugly sweater Parties– This has definitely become a popular trend.  Its fun to see what people wear, and of course to party!

Now that I have my own family I want to start our own traditions that my daughter will hopefully carry on. What are some of your favorite Christmas Traditions? I’d love to know!