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M-I-C.K-E-Y. Y? Should You Have To Worry About Food?

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Me & Frank @ EPCOT

Over Spring Break, my family packed our bags and headed off for our big vacation!  Usually our trips consist of the beach or the mountains.  Hey, I’m from North Carolina, those are your only options.  We finally decided to go as big as possible and head to meet “The Mouse in Chief” at Walt Disney World.

*Commence motherly freak out*  Why the major panic attack?…

When my four year old Frank was sixteen months old, he was diagnosed with a rare gastrointestinal disease called Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EOE).  It is an autoimmune disease where the white blood cells attack the esophagus when certain food proteins enter the body.  The only treatments available as of now are steroids, formulas, or food eliminations.  Some children, and adults as well, are allergic to so many foods that the only solution for them is placement of a gastrointestinal feeding tube.  For Frank, we chose a combination of food elimination and steroids.  He also has environmental induced EOE along with 10+ food allergies.

For the first time, I was taking my son to a place I had absolutely no clue about, especially in regards to where and what to eat!  I was freaking out!  How would he eat safely?  Our hotel doesn’t have a kitchen in the room.  What am I going to do?

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Disney Jr. Play n’ Dine Breakfast

I started my research and came across an online group just for food allergies at Disney World.  Amazing, right?!  It surely was.  I mean, these people really seemed to know what they were talking about.  We even received chef cards with Franks’ picture and a list of his allergens to give to each chef, right before our trip.  So helpful!

As I made my reservations, I noticed allergy notes and boxes to check, letting them know ahead of time that someone had an allergy or allergies.  When we arrived to each restaurant, it was like I had stepped out of my own “allergy mom” dream.  Real life is totally better!  There it was, every time…ALLERGY… stamped in bright red ink across our ticket.  I’m pretty sure my face looked like Goofy at this point.

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“The Look of Skepticism” He wasn’t sure they were safe for him.

I’ve never met so many chefs in Franks’ entire little life!  I was blown away at how safe they were making him.  They each came out to talk to me and they walked me through buffets.  They brought out huge plates from the kitchen.  All prepared safely and piled high with all of his favorite things.  They even brought out cupcakes!  What four year old doesn’t love cupcakes?  I have never felt so comfortable and safe about food.  Frank was normal.  For once, he was just a regular boy, eating regular food.  For once, his meals didn’t look any different from his brothers’ or his cousins’.

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Best. Cookie. EVER.

When we returned home, I asked him what was his favorite part of the trip.  I couldn’t believe the answer he gave me!  It wasn’t “meeting Mickey” or “going on safari to see the animals,” he responded with “the big chocolate cookie!”  Let me just take the time to say that I am not gluten free, soy free, nor vegan, even though I probably should be…BUT… Erin McKennas’ Bakery is amazing!  One of the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever tasted and I like to consider myself a “Cookie Connoisseur.”  Erin McKennas is a completely soy free, gluten free, vegan bakery located at Disney Springs.  Here’s another tid bit of magic for you…They ship!  If you order a birthday cake, they will get it to you overnight.  Just give them at least 48 hours notice.  They’re not fairy godmothers; although, from what I experienced there, I could be very wrong about that!

If you’re still nervous about it or on the fence about this trip, I 100% recommend Walt Disney World if you or your children have food allergies.  We had a magical time.  Now I know not everyone is the same or can eat the same so remember to always ask if you’re not sure and ALWAYS read your labels!

Disney World '16 (339)_editedLike this sign at the bakery states… “We Can Not Please Everyone. But We Try.”  They do indeed.

I have so much more to share with ya’ll.  Stay tuned… The Adventures of Frank & Murph: “At the House of Mouse” is coming soon! 🙂

-If you would like any information regarding something I’ve mentioned here, please feel free to contact me!  Comment. E-mail.  If you’re curious to know more about EOE and other eosinophilic related diseases, you can visit apfed.org.-

*Opinions and experiences are strictly my own and not affiliated with brand.*

How Can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away?

Does anyone else get super excited when their husbands go back to work?  After a long vacation, are you just glad to see him go?  I am not afraid to admit that I am!

As you probably know, J has been out of work for quite some time with his knee injury.  The doctor suggested he stay out until he was seen by a specialist.  He said “Injured or not, sitting around doesn’t pay the bills,” so yesterday he decided to give it a shot and get back to work.  Bless his heart.  He’s so hard headed but…

HALLELUYER!

Now don’t get me wrong.  I love that man more than anything but he sure knows how to drive a woman crazy!  Being a stay at home mom, I often find myself needing someone to talk to.  I am totally good for another 5 years!

I’m probably gonna get some crap about “there are women who go a very long time without seeing their husbands and they’d be lucky to have him home for a longer period of time.”  I most certainly would be missing him like crazy if we were in that situation.  Every family is different and every marriage doesn’t work the same way.  Be glad of that.  That would be weird.

J’s job allows him to be home with me during the colder months 3-4 days every week.  I love our time together and I do miss him when he’s back at work.  I rarely see him during the summer due to his schedule so I try to take advantage of the time we have together.

Not a month though.  Never a month ever again.

Dating: “aww. i love you. i can’t wait until we are able to spend every hour of every day together.”

Marriage: “were we high the entire time we were dating?”

This is my marriage.  All out honesty.  We are crazy about each other and we make each other crazy.  We wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Life Brothers

Sometimes you find a friend that sticks around for 5 minutes.  Sometimes you find a friend that will tell you they have your back until you realize they’re the one that stabbed you.  Not often enough in life we find that one friend.  That one that no matter how much time or distance life has put between the two of you, they still manage to be there when you need them the most.

The words United States Marine has entirely different meaning to actual Marines.  We don’t see them like they see each other.  We don’t even understand them.  They are brothers.  Life through some pretty great things at them and then it decided to throw some pretty shitty things at them but no matter the time, place, or distance that band of brothers are there.

My husband and his best friend are those “life brothers”.  Ya know, the kind of brother that your parents didn’t give you but your life did.

A few weeks ago, my husband injured his knee.  It put him out of work and on crutches.  There wasn’t much he could do other than sit around and put a butt dent in my couch.  He sat there forEVER!  As the days went on, he got angry.  Then sad.  Then angry, again.  I was at a loss.  The longer he sits around the quicker the memories take hold of him.  The PTSD was raging a war with my love again and I couldn’t watch it anymore.  I had to do something.

I knew just what to do.  It was spare of the moment but I reached out to his friends wife and she suggested trying to convince him to take a trip to visit them.  It was definitely a doable trip, but getting the husband off the couch was going to be the hard part.

As soon as I mentioned his name, He was ready to go.  That trip was the answer to my prayers.  It was like they hadn’t gone a day without seeing one another.  It actually had been nearly four years.  My husband needed that.  He needed the friend that knew what he was going through.  The one who had been standing beside him during those shitty times.

We are back at home and it is like he’s a new man.  The battery is fully charged again.  He’s happy.  I cannot thank those two enough for inviting us into their home and being there when he was needing them.  You may not think you’ve done anything but this isn’t the first time you’ve saved him.

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“USMC Veterans Day” by PraetoriusLexicus @ DeviantArt

It’s March

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minus Queen Miranda because let’s face it… she’s perfect.

Hey ya’ll!  For the next few weeks I’m going to take a little break from the whole step mother and depressing topics.  I kinda bummed myself out a little.  I’ve got to throw some excitement in here every once in  awhile!

March is probably the best month there is!  What normal person has a favorite month?  Well everyone if they choose their birth month.  March just happens to be my birth month.  Along with my mother’s as well.  I think that’s the reason we don’t see eye to eye on most things.  Like…ever.  She’s my bestfriend though what ya gonna do?  Aside from the birthdays, there is St. Paddy’s Day.  Yes, Paddy!  Not Patty!  That ridiculous holiday where we Americans dress in green and get hammered.  Being Irish, I do not need an excuse for either of those things.  I’m kidding, I need an excuse to wear green.  It’s not my color.  The month of March is going to be much more epic in 2016.  Why?  Because…

I’m going to Disney World!

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artwork by DisneyClips.com

This may not be as exciting news to the rest of you but when you are just one year shy of 30 and you haven’t met the head mouse, you’re suddenly 3 again.  This is the trip I have wanted to take since I was a little girl singing “Part of Your World” at the top of my lungs.  I finally get to check something off of my bucket list but I get to do it with my entire family!  My husband and boys, my brother, sister in law, niece, nephew, and even my parents!  Our magic bands came on Monday, ya know the little wristbands and that keep track of everything.  That’s awesome and slightly scary at the same time.  I am 100% certain I am more excited than the four kids.  It’s hard not to be when you’ve seen every Disney movie in the history of ever and finally make it to the “happiest place on earth”.

Maybe I’ll ask Lady Tremaine how she managed to get Cinderella to be her maid.  Ya know, for future [stepmother] references.

I can’t wait to tell you all about Frank and Murph’s (and my) awesome time!

What’s your favorite thing to do/eat/see at Walt Disney World?

Liar, Liar Pants On Fire

I’m just going to be honest.  When I was younger, I lied.  Like… a lot.  I would make up stories to tell my parents just to see if they would believe me.  They did.  Then they didn’t.

I lied just for the fun of it.  Once, in high school, I went to the movies with some friends.  The whole way home I was going over the next bullshit story I was gonna tell.  I even had my friends helping me with the details.  We pulled in the driveway and I just knew I was off the hook with this tale.  Mind you, I had asked if I could go a few hours earlier and was met with a very stern No!

Mom:  Hey, Where you been?

Me:  Well, “so n so’s” mom kept talking to everyone up at school… yada yada… big line of crap… yada yada. And then I came home.

(About now is when my brother starts giggling because he knew I was in deep.  He found it hilarious when I got in trouble, as most big brothers do.)

Dad:  Nope!

Mom:  Try Again.

–Dang it.  Busted.  Why do I do this to myself?  Now I’m not going anywhere for weeks!  Just be honest now, Mindy.  They know.  Maybe you won’t get in as much trouble.–

My head drops…

Me:  I went to the movies.

Mom:  We know.  We went by the school and guess what?… It was dark.

Called that punishment too.  Grounded for quite a while.  So not worth it!

Lesson One, Kids:  Tell the flippin’ truth!  Lesson Two:  Don’t include school in your lie if you live 3 minutes away.  Lesson Three:  Your parents are smarter than you.

Now… with all that being sad, I’m gonna say this.

Don’t lie to me.  Now that I am an adult with children I don’t even understand the concept!  What could be so bad that you have to feed me some off the wall nonsense that I’m not even going to believe anyway?  Save your breath.  Your life will be a lot less complicated if you’re not busy trying to remember what you said in your story.  Remembering the truth is a lot easier!

My children seem to understand the concept better than my husband at times.  I will never be mad if you’re telling the truth.

Never make your kids feel like they can’t come to you.  Don’t make them feel like they can’t tell you the truth.  Even if it’s the worst thing that could happen.  I can guarantee you that they feel worse about having the need to be dishonest with you.

 

Dear Hannah

Dear Hannah,

I haven’t known you long and your story is short.  The Lord led me to the book of your son when I needed you most.  There were so many times where I was down about certain things in my life.  Things people were saying to me.  I couldn’t handle.  I couldn’t be graceful and set things aside.  Then I stumbled upon your story.  Your short, simple, sweet prayer.

As I read, I imagine you as this kind, gracious, and extremely beautiful woman.  Although, you would never know your own beauty.  I don’t know whether Elkanah loved you first but I know that he loved you most.

Your husband gave you more and comforted you when you were to angry to speak.  While you were being beaten down by the mother of your husbands’ children, he was asking “am I not better than ten sons?”  Ofcourse that’s not the same!  How did that not make you even more angry!?

I needed to say thank you.  Thank you for showing me that even when we are being tormented by the words of another, we should still handle ourselves with grace.  Like you, when we are feeling inferior to the birth mother, there are many things we can offer.

In your case, Peninnah showed her jealousy with the way that she treated you.  She hurt you until you could not eat.  Did you lash out at her?  Did you take your anger towards her out on your husband?  No, you didn’t.  You went off alone.  You wiped away your tears and you prayed.  Yes, you were angry.  You had every right to be.  I needed the simple reminder that the Lord can heal.  You went to him calmly and he remembered you and gave to you your Samuel.

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Samuel and his mother, Hannah. (1 Samuel 1-2)

Thank you, Hannah.  Thank you for showing a step mother that no matter what others say about her that sometimes she should swallow her pride and remain silent.  Thank you for showing me grace.