Planning for the Holidays at Disney (AND a Giveaway!)

I have a lot of goals in life. Hit the best-sellers list, raise decent humans, visit every Disney Park in the world. Some of those more doable than others, some of those are works in progress- but the most doable at the moment of my many, many goals, is to visit the Disney parks here in the states during all of the holidays. What could be better than holidays at the most magical places on earth?

I’ve been to WDW during Easter. The weather was quite lovely but the crowds were intense, because spring break (something I didn’t take into account before my kids were in school).

The next holiday we marked from the list was Halloween- which I absolutely want to do again. Halloween is my all-time favorite holiday, so of course it was going to be the one we made sure to do first (Easter was by accident)- and I feel like I missed out on SO much because I didn’t know there was so much to plan for. Disney really goes all out, and it’s important to make the most of your time while in the parks.

And if we were going to do Halloween, we were gonna go all-out. Disney throws a Halloween bash on select days from late August – Halloween called Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and it is honestly… well, it’s the most fun I’ve ever had. I got to dress up as Rapunzel and live out my Disney DREAMS, all while trick or treating in the park, meeting our favorite villains, and more. But it could have been more fun with more planning.

I consider myself a Disney planning expert at this point. People come to me for advice when they’re planning their own trips. But for something as big as a holiday at Disney, enlisting help is never a bad thing. When a holiday is involved, reservations and fast-passes are even harder to come by, so it takes twice as much planning, re-arranging, etc. There were restaurants we really wanted to go to that I had to log back on every day and keep checking to get near a time we wanted. I spent so much time doing this (which was totally worth it, but time consuming) that I didn’t think to plan to make the most of The NSSHP (which is a ticketed event after normal hours at The Magic Kingdom).

Our park days may have been planned perfectly, but when it came to the part, we missed seeing the fireworks from the front of the park, and almost missed the Sanderson Sisters.

Next on my list is CHRISTMAS, and I already know it’s going to be crazy.

I’m not going in blind, unprepared, or without help. I plan to enlist the assistance of EzDis – a FREE concierge Disney travel planning company. They make it all easy, removing the stress, and letting you enjoy your vacation the way you truly should–without ANY work. From planning your dining reservations, to making your Fast Passes for you, to booking your rooms and even just giving you advice on what to do, where to stay, and how to make the most of your visit- they can and will do it all. Book your next Disney vacation (All Disney Parks, Cruises, Adventures & Aulani!) with EzDis using the code HH18, sit back, and count the seconds (like I do) until it’s time for your next dream vacation! It’s never too early, or too late.

While we’re at it, let’s celebrate Christmas a little early with some DISNEY GIFTS! EzDis & I are giving are TWO pairs of Lula Roe Disney leggings! They’re soft, and the prints are fantastic. One pair is “onesize” and the other is “Tall & Curvy”- so there’s something for everyone! Each will be given away using the Rafflecopter widget below. Giveaway entry period starts NOW (8:30pm EST) and ends on Friday August 24th at 8:30pm EST. Please let me know in your entry which pair you would like.
Good luck! And happy booking!


(On the left is the One size, and the right are the Tall & Curvy)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted on August 20, 2018 by Holdin' Holden 1 Comment

And now for another Insightful Edition of: Yes I AM “that kind” of Mom

I thought I was long since past the times where I’d take a look at my life, and my children, what they were doing, and think “I’ll never be THAT kind of mom”- but it appears I just was not willing to see the possibilities of how far I would go. What are the lowest depths of motherhood? The ultimate “oh you’re that kind of mom, huh?”
Eight or nine years ago, I might be offended. Now? I revel in it. Why yes, Susan, I AM that kind of mom. The kind of mom who values sanity. The kind of mom when, the kids refer to me as “mean mommy”, I take as a challenge. I’m the kind of mom who values sanity over cleanliness every now and then.

Some days I’m one “that kind of mom” and some days I’m the other “that kind of mom”

Some days I’m the kind of mom who will let a granola bar wrapper sit on the counter all day until my kid wisens up and cleans it up himself (of course, after nagging multiple times) and some days I’ll just clean it up myself because there are taller hills to die on.

Some days I’m going to make a from-scratch dinner, and some days I’m gonna be that mom who pulls out a take out menu and say “pick something.” SOME days I might just tell them to fend for themselves.

Some days I make the kids do chores to earn screen time, and sometimes I’m like… fuck it. Play the games. Just leave me alone.

Some days I’m that mom who’s all EDUCATION AND VEGGIES! And other days I plop on the couch and announce it’s all BINGE WATCHING AND POPCORN!

Some days, I’m a mix of each kind of mom.

What I’ve realized is that no matter what THAT KIND of mom I am that kind of day, there’s always going to be THAT KIND of person who’s going to judge, and I’m always going to be the kind of person who doesn’t care.


Posted on August 14, 2018 by Holdin' Holden 0 Comment

“Well, then I guess you’re not eating today.” – a Battle won for ALL PARENTS.

Lessons are being learned today. Difficult, whiny, annoying lessons- but it’s time.

My youngest is almost nine years old. He grabs his own breakfast in the morning, but when it comes to lunch- it’s whine-central. There’s a reason we refer to him as “Picky Parker”- but he’s not a baby anymore. He’s grown out of a lot of the issues with textures and smells he had as a toddler. Now he just clings on to his pickiness to be bratty. I know plenty of kids are picky because they really DO have issues with different things–but trust me when I talk about my kid, it’s because he is growing through an ultra-bratty, ultra-defiant, ultra-NO stage.

He never wants what I’m making. He complains about everything.

When I send him off to school, I don’t have to hear the complaints, but at home, I am the sounding board for everything he doesn’t like.

Not THAT kind of cheese, it tastes weird. NEVER raw cheese, it has to be melted- but again, not that kind of cheese. It’s still weird. Not THAT kind of bread, it’s too tough, it’s a weird color. It’s too spicy. It’s too cold. The lettuce keeps falling off so obviously I can’t eat it.

Today is August 10th, and I’ve had enough.
I don’t run a restaurant. This isn’t Burger King, and you can no longer have it your way.

You might be wondering why I lasted this long. Why didn’t I break sooner? The easiest answer is convenience. It’s just convenient for me to make everyone’s lunches when I’m making my own. It’s quick, it’s easy, and I know shit will get cleaned up. I can’t stand when lunch is a two-hour ordeal. Summer days are long, but they aren’t THAT long.

That’s all changing.

You see, I have TMJ. If you don’t know what that is, just imagine extreme jaw pain. Sometimes it shows up in the form of shooting pains through my jaw during breakfast, but gets better during the day. Not this time. This time it’s been horrible. So horrible that I can only eat soft food. No summer lunch fallback- a good ol’ sandwich. Soft foods ONLY. Which means there are other options in the house. Options you’d think kids would be thankful for, because it’s different than a sandwich.

I made soup for myself. Too much soup for myself, actually, so I offered to share. Actually, I offered the soup OR two different kinds of sandwiches. Holden jumped at the offer of soup. Parker?

“I don’t WANT a sandwich!”

“Okay, I’m making soup”

“I don’t WANT soup”

We’ve been here before. Generally if he knows he won’t be getting anything else, he folds.

“You do realize that I’m not making you anything else? It’s soup, or sandwich.”

“Well I don’t want them.” – he’s now standing at the top of the stairs, with no pants, and arms across his chest in his typical defiant fashion. We were at a crossroads. I could fold, and offer him something else. Or I could stand my ground. My jaw clenched, sending pain into the back of my skull. No. He doesn’t get to win.

“Okay. Then you don’t get anything. If you want something, you will be making it yourself.”

I think he thought I was bluffing. He throws his hands up and walks into his room. Me and Holden sit down at the kitchen table and eat soup together. Parker still hasn’t come down from upstairs when we finish, so both me and the older child retreat to the living room to relax. It didn’t take long before I heard the familiar footsteps following by pantry rustling from my small, picky child. He walks into the living room with a bag of Welch’s fruit snacks.

More decision time. I could let him have snacks in place of lunch, it isn’t like he’d be starving, and technically I still didn’t cave- or I could push this a little further.
I’d come this far, why stop now?

“That’s not an adequate lunch, you know.”

He stops mid steps, jaw dropped in that sassy little “wtf?” face.

“So you’re just going to tell me I can’t have anything?”

I blink a few times. “You can have a sandwich. And you’re going to make it yourself.”

Jaw drops further. “But I don’t know HOW to make a sandwich!”

“You could ask for help.”

“NO!” he stomps off into the kitchen, followed by the sounds of the fridge and cabinets being opened in between “I don’t know how to do this!” sobs.

I call to the other room again, reminding him that he could ask for help. Much like he refused my lunch offerings, he refused assistance. Five minutes pass, the sobbing has ceased, and I decided to go take a look at the damage.
Wouldn’t you know it? There was none. What we had was a kid who had made himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich all on his own, with a plate and everything.


We’ve made progress today. Not only does my kid now realize I WILL IN FACT LEAVE HIM TO HIS OWN DEVICES IF HE COMPLAINS ABOUT MY FOOD, but I know he can make his own food– so if he starts crying to me about not wanting what I’m making, I don’t have to feel guilty about not making him a damn thing.
I’m proud of him, he learned he was capable of something he didn’t think he could do, but I’m also really happy for me, not just because I stood my ground, but because of how lazy I can be now.

Posted on August 10, 2018 by Holdin' Holden 0 Comment

I’ve been Unfaithful……….. to my Diet.

One year ago, I had a six pack. Not one of those crazy ones you could bounce quarters off of, or anything, but it was nothing to sneeze at. I was impressed with myself. I felt strong, and accomplished. I was working out 5 days a week, paid attention to my FitBit to make sure I got in 10,000 (or more) steps per day, did yoga on the weekends. I made sure to sustain my body with healthy foods. I was doing everything “right” , my chronic pain was at an all-time low, and I’d never been stronger.

Me and health were in a very committed relationship. It’s not to say I never strayed (I’ve learned the hard way not to deprive myself of things I want permanently). But that was our understanding. We had an open, yet very serious partnership.

I was proud of myself. I’d pushed my body farther than I thought it could go. I’d achieved goals I didn’t think I could. I’d given my body what it needed and it responded. I coujld beat someone’s ass if I needed to. Chase and catch my children with ease. I was Jean Claude Van Mom.

That all changed in a matter of moments. I woke up one morning, and my entire neck pinched out. I was immobile for days, injured for weeks. I felt betrayed. I took so much time, put so much thought into caring for my body only for it to betray me. I watched my progress melt away. I watched the person I’d worked so hard to become melt away. I’ve struggled to get back to how strong I felt last summer this entire time.

Once the injury healed, I always tried to push myself back to where I was last summer, and always ended up setting myself right back. It didn’t make sense because I was just trying to give my body what it needed, but instead of responding by becoming stronger, I only seemed to get weaker, feel more pain. Naturally, I got angry. Frustrated. Sad. Hopeless. A mixed bag of shitty emotions that shook up any time I tried to do something I used to be able to and couldn’t. Any time I looked in the mirror and saw a different body than I used to. All because of something I couldn’t control. Even though I was doing everything right.

Just as I was getting back on track, noticing positive changes, beginning to feel good, the third reinjury happened. This one worse than the last two. I should have been surprised, but I wasn’t. There had been signs it was going to happen again, and I’d ignored them.
Reality hit me like a ton of bricks… or a pinch in the neck (honestly I think the pinch is worse). What my body needed then is not what my body needs now. I’m not as young as I once was. I don’t bounce right back like I used to. Injuries aren’t anything to laugh off, and I can’t always push myself just because I want to. I wasn’t listening to my body. It was yelling at me to stop and I was so focused on getting back to where I was that I didn’t want to wait for it to be ready.

Our bodies change, sometimes in the blink of an eye. Working out 5 days a week, being super focused on gains was what it needed a year ago, but what it needs today is different. Health isn’t always low carb, high intensity workouts, and washboard abs. Sometimes health is realizing you need to take it easy and rest, even if you don’t want to– even if it means your goals get pushed a little further away.

I may be cheating on my diet, but I’m cheating on it with my health. The two things don’t always move parallel. This has been a lesson for me in a lot of ways, not only in what my body can handle, but my mind. It’s definitely taught me that I can’t be so focused on the goal that I ignore the hurdles during the journey to get there. Taking care of yourself–doing the best for your body, isn’t always rigorous workouts. It’s sometimes letting yourself relax for a day. Taking a staycation. Letting go of hostility. Cutting off a toxic friendship. Taking a break from working out. Letting the laundry go.

I wasn’t listening then, but I am now.

Posted on August 8, 2018 by Holdin' Holden 0 Comment

It’s Back to School Time and I’m…. sad? WTF?

I’m not sure who made up the saying “having kids keeps you young” but I’m pretty sure they never

A) got trapped inside the house with their kids on summer break for weeks

B) Sat on the floor to play with them

If you’ve ever been trapped with your kids, you know they suck the life force from you. If you’ve sat on the floor to play with them for a few minutes, you KNOW you’ve probably never been closer to death.

I’ve now been trapped with the kids in this house for 3 weeks. I’ve been out beyond my front yard a total of twice in this time. In between the heat and the incessant rain, I messed up my neck- so mobility has been a real issue, and I feel like I’ve aged about 15 years. Why such a specific number? Lemme break it down.

4 years for each of the monster turds I’ve had to unclog from the toilet, because hooray for growing boys with abnormal shit cycles!

1 year for my 10 year old who came stomping into the room while I was live streaming and announced VERY LOUDLY that he couldn’t possibly pee upstairs because his brother was in the middle of a angry spell of diarrhea. “IT SMELLS LIKE SOMEONE DIED!”

3 years for the neck pain

5 years for the Minecraft tantrums I’ve had to endure during these rainy days because there’s nothing else to do and I’M NOT SITTING ON THE FLOOR AND PLAYING MONOPOLY HOW MANY MORE TIMES CAN I SAY IT?

2 years for the 2 days it got so bad I had to ban my children from actually speaking to each other.

That’s 15 years in 3 weeks. And there’s still another month to go. I may or may not have calculated the actual hours, minutes, and seconds left until the start of the school year, so WHY IS IT that when I saw the first back to school ad, I got angry. It felt like- “No, how dare you- it’s still summer!”
And now they’ve completely taken over the airwaves, with tax-free weekend upon us, and I’m not ready!

How is it I’m so ready to get the kids the hell out of this house, but not ready to send them away?
Is it holding on to the last bits of summer because I hate the cold?
Is it not being ready to send my oldest to his first year of middle school and accepting that I have a middle schooler?
Is it that I’m just not prepared to start waking up before 7am again?
Or is it just plain insanity?

I’m honestly not sure at this point. My aged brain can’t figure it out. All I’m sure of is that another game of Monopoly on the floor is not the answer.


Posted on August 3, 2018 by Holdin' Holden 0 Comment