Easy Laundry (Room) Makeover

The family and I staycationed last week, in order to tackle building a new fence.  We figured the kids would benefit from a place where I could contain them or send them when they are a little too chaotic.  My husband headed up the fence building, recruited his buddies to help and I did my part of cheering him on from the back porch with my glass of wine.

my husband loves when I have an idea for a house projectA week at home with Pinterest and coffee usually turns into me starting a house project.  Husband was off limits and I was only working with the little ones nap time and after bed so I had to dream small. When I saw my husbands, kind but concerned look after I told him I was contemplating repainting the kitchen cabinets, I decided maybe I should bite off a smaller task. 

Small House Project Decision: Laundry Closet

Our Laundry “Room” is actually more like a closet, but it is attached to our main living room and usually the first thing people see when they walk into my house.  It’s NEVER closed, because when does laundry actually ever come to a complete stop? I decided that I could maybe perk up this space so that as my bra is hanging to dry for the world to see, it would at least have a cute backdrop.

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I started with an oops paint can I had grabbed from Lowes.  I did NOT like how the first pink turned out—it was definitely pepto bismol and my husband said it made our whole living room glow pink.  I happened to luck out again with a much more perfect peach/pink and love how it turned out.  But it needed a little more character. 

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I considered tiling but ended when I realized it involved a tile saw.  Then I stumbled upon these peel and stick subway tiles.  I was skeptical but considering the price decided it was worth the risk.   When they came in the mail I was pleased with how they looked and their 3-D structure make them look more realistic.  They were super easy to apply.

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Here’s how to apply them:

Use an exacto knife to cut a straight edge

Peel and apply to the wall at one corner

Peel the next tile and place over the “overlap” here space.

Trace and cut around outlets and then peel

A few tips: Use a level and if you misplace a tile you can quickly pull off (will take off dry wall if stuck too long).

 

my overall impression: I can tell that it’s not real tile when I get close to it, but I figured it would work for the mean time and my wallet was happy.  I probably wouldn’t put it in my kitchen but I liked that it would add a little something to this laundry room. 

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I threw a towel rack on the inside of the wall for drying things and I spray painted the door handles with some gold paint and VOILA! The whole thing took two afternoons and less than $50.  A brand new place for laundry do-ing.  I love it and it makes this mom life a little more fun!  (and I didn’t steal my husband from building the new fence.)

 

-Erin

how to make cold brew

I prefer to vibe in all possible ways.  For Mother’s Day, I asked for a little landscaping work in the backyard and a hammock to open things up and allow for proper summer vibing as I sip my drinks and water my flowers and listen to the kids argue and beg for me to get them snacks watch the kids play.

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(There used to be overgrown bushes where those cute little astilbes are now)

One of the beverages I’ll be sipping on this summer is cold brew.  Jeff and I ordered this cold brew maker from Amazon and it’s now a staple like milk or water.  Or wine.

All of the instructions came in a different language, so here’s a tutorial on how to make it.

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how to makecold brew

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I like to add some mocha creamer for an iced mocha feel, or just a splash of regular milk.  I love having a full pitcher of cold brew ready in the fridge.  It’s the perfect drink to relax and recharge with while chatting with a friend.  Maybe I should add a thermos of this cold brew to the list of pool bag essentials.

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-rach

Pool Bag Essentials

Summer is here, and I’m not going to lie, I basically live my life for it.  Give me all the hot days in the sunshine over snow and freezing cold any day. That probably comes from the many, many hours I lived in a pool growing up.   

5FC2B8BC-5A56-4F5A-A1EB-835A049CBA3FWhen I was little I was all about swim team and the thrill of being a part of the competition and the long meet days of braiding friendship bracelets while waiting for my race.  I also loved the middle school days of fun dips, tanning oil and boy crushes shared between friends on the plasticy lounge chairs.  High school summers I would spend lifeguarding, where I learned to love sitting in the sun for hours on end and just being present.  Even to this day, the smell of chlorine is one of my favorites because it brings with it a flood of memories: fitness, personal growth, chill time, friend time, and freedom of the structure of life to just practice being present.  It’s my oasis. 

We all have pool memories, and with the heat of this season we head to the pool for a little relief and hopefully a good time.  This summer I hope to make some new “pool” memories with my kids, with friends and maybe even just a little time by myself. 

Here are my beach/pool bag essentials this summer:

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Sunglasses – I’m into the Cat Eye frames trend right now. These UV protecting darling lenses were a Target find.  I like the gray tortoise shell coloring.  They bring an easy style upgrade to my pool-hair-don’t-care look.

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Round towel – Everyone needs a pool/beach towel, why not have a little fun with it and make it a round one?  This tropical one is fun but still simple.  This one is microfiber and will absorb water more quickly.  I really like the tassel fringe edges.

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Headphones – I don’t always get to pool time by myself, but when I do I’m all about the podcasts or a good spotify playlist.  

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Book – My summer reading list is growing quickly, which may be a little too zealous.  This “Where’d You Go Bernadette” one has been on my list since this spring.  I hear it is being made into a movie starring Cate Blanchette.   

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Water Bottle – A year ago I got hooked on this water bottle that my sister recommended to me.  I have since bought another. Let’s be honest, I don’t drink near as much water as my mama told me, but this helps.  I love having a straw, for some reason I’m more likely to drink more water if it feels like a to-go cup.  The best part about this water bottle is when  you remove the straw it seals shut, so I can throw it in my purse without any leakage.  It is a must have for me.

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La Croix – These have become my go-to drink.  I am usually a fan of the coconut flavor, but this Kiwi Watermelon makes me feel like I’m summer vibe-ing.  And it goes great in my fancy water bottle.

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Sunscreen – I’m working on being a more responsible individual, and with that comes things like taking care of yourself and avoiding sun damage.  I like that it’s not super oily and I can apply it under my makeup.  Lavender makes me happy.

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Instax Poloroid Camera – My husband gave this to me as a Christmas gift and I have loved taking it for little keepsake photos to hang on the fridge or keep in my wallet.  It makes that little moment with friends or my kids that much more special and memorable.  We like to always take two pics: one to keep and one to give.

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Turban – I wasn’t kidding about my pool hair.  I resemble something somewhere between a wet rat and a drippy mop.  This turban not only covers the hot mess that I am, its super cute and I always get compliments on it. We make these here in our shop and have them in all the colors and many fun, bright prints.  My summer go to is this bright coral twist turban, especially for its full coverage.

I hope your summer pool time is calling.  Grab your favorite goodies and bring on the slower and memorable days of summer!

-Erin

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How to Wear Gingham

One of my favorite trends is gingham.  I’m not sure if it’s the Southern girl in me or not, but I just find it super classy, and I love all the ways people are mixing it up.  I’m seeing gingham skirts with graphic tees, gingham tanks and distressed jeans, and classy gingham high waisted shorts with a white tee.  Here’s a round up of my current favorite gingham pieces.

 

dear to shop these favs, click the links below:

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I recently purchased this dress from Target and have been in love.  It’s structured in the right places and super breezy and comfortable.

The fun sandals don’t hurt either.  The dress can be found here.

-rach

 

making summer count

I’ve never been good at time management. The people in my life would probably describe me as a free bird, but with lots of fails I’ve learned to thrive in structure. Carving out time for the things that are important actually creates more freedom for those impromptu and spontaneous moments.

if we fight to own our time, then we will have the freedom to give it away when it matters

Lately I feel like I’ve been flailing. I should be excited that summer is coming and I will be getting more time in with my children but instead I’ve felt an anxiousness. I realized it’s because it’s time to figure out a new schedule and how I hope to manage my time.

My number one goal this summer is slow. I want to be intentional. I want to carve out time to love people well. I feel like time is kind of like money. The way we spend it shows where our heart lies. We spend some, we give some and we save some.

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These neutral Essie polishes: lady likehaute in the heat are perfect for bare toes this summer!

Spend some: Just like finances, we have to be responsible individuals and do things like pay bills. I feel like “spending time” includes things like jobs, responsibilities, tasks and duties. This is the biggest portion of time in my life –and one I have to be the most structured with.  Just like a budget, I am practicing staying focused at work and giving my best when I’m there. I’m also working on not putting unrealistic expectations on myself when it comes to duties like house chores, meal prep and ALL the Mom things. I feel like if I can set these up in a reasonable space and give myself some grace on not being perfect, it will open up more of the “saving” and “giving” time slots—which I think is where the best of life happens.

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This new jumper I got from Old Navy is so easy to wear and livable.  It’s fun dressed up with these heels or for an everyday mom style with sandals and a turban.

Save some: I think this is where we put priorities: your people.  It’s an investment.  The time I pour into my children or intentionally with just a few people will grow deep rooted relationships. I hope to be purposeful in carving out time to be together, for my husband and kids and my friends. I also think it is so important to make time to recharge.  I hope to do this with by trying to be in the moment, to turn off my phone more, by having quiet porch times journaling and praying, by sipping coffee in the mornings and by taking a few naps.

Give some: With our money, sometimes I will intentionally donate to a cause and other times it’s more impromptu and I come across a homeless man on the corner needing a little help. Whether its committing to serve somewhere long term or an impromptu chance to make a friend a warm meal or lend a stranger your listening ear, I think with time, if I am careful with my “spending” I will create more opportunities to give away to others.

The crazy thing about time is that we all only get 24 hours in a day. No one gets any more or any less. We have to choose how we spend it, I want to be purposeful. The kids and I sat down and wrote out a “Summer Bucket List” in hopes to be purposeful in making memorable moments.

-Erin

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P.S. These are my new favorite sunglasses and I love these modern statement hoop earrings.

how to make a wreath

Our days are saturated with the thoughts and opinions of other sources telling us how we should dress, eat, exercise, raise our children, treat our spouses, and decorate our homes.  I get caught in that trap.  Scrolling through Instagram, staring at all the rooms with the perfect light and the clean floors and the beautiful couch/rug/light fixture/fiddle leaf fig/pillows, etc.  and my  knee jerk reaction is to think if that’s what pretty is, I need to do that.  So I look up from that tiny yet powerful rectangle held in my hand and see dust, toys, a granola bar wrapper, and my less than perfect everything.  It doesn’t look like what I just saw in those squares.  I’ll just have to make it look like that, I think.  But then I quickly realize I don’t have the time or resources to get there.  Thankfully.  Because there is not where I am.  There is there and here is here and I’m HERE.  And what I have is my own little space that isn’t defined by a square found on a rectangle.   It’s defined by me and mine.  When I realize that, I’m free to make it mine.  Which, for me, means thrift stores and garage sales and family heirlooms and things I make.  And it means it might be perfect today but next Tuesday I will probably want to move some things around and then it’ll be perfect again.  I’m constantly thinking about what spaces the kids gravitate towards and why and where we as a family spend our time and how to make those spaces work better for us.

Here’s what else being okay with being here and not there does for me and you.  It makes us more confident to invite people in.  To invite people here.  To throw some meat, cheese, and nuts on a platter, open a bottle of wine, turn some music on, and be with others.   But when we compare to those squares on that rectangle, when we try to define ourselves by a digital framework that came long after what truly defines us entered this world, we want to wait until everything looks like that.  When I finish this project, I’ll have people over.  When I get a bigger table, we can have people over for dinner.  When I paint this room, I can have guests here.  I love a pretty picture as much as the next person.  I love rooms with clean floors and perfect couches and new pillows.  But, that ain’t always real life, friends.  Real life is what I have to work with and I’m not going to wait for square on a rectangle perfect to live it.

One of the simplest and most fun places for me to decorate is my front door.  A cute door mat and a wreath go a long way.  Here is a cute little tutorial to make a wreath for your door.

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I arranged my flowers several different ways until I decided.  Then I glued them on the wreath, then I attached greenery wherever worked.  I thought it looked best to add greenery to each end of the floral design and then a little throughout to finish it off.  Add a ribbon to attach to the hook and you’re done!  The whole thing takes less than thirty minutes!

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I hope if you find time to do this, you are able to let your mind reflect on how you use your home and what you hope for it.

 

-racheal

ways to practice being mindful — as a mom


I always hear “live in the moment” but lately I have been really chewing on that thought over and over in my head. The word that comes to me now is being “mind-full”. I left feeling like I need to keep my mind “full” of the present—not looking forward or backward, and just focusing on what’s happening right in front of me. Often we spend half our time feeling bad about the past, or the other half of the time worrying about the future. No wonder we have no time left over to live in the now. No wonder at the end of the day I feel a hollowness.

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Being a mom can be such a hard and self-destructive job.  Some days I feel like I am “nailing” this mom thing.  Others (actually most), I go to bed replaying all the things I wish I could have done differently. Things I wish I would have said. Moments where I wish I would’ve been more patient.  Words I wish I wouldn’t have yelled. The time I wasted caring about messes and loud noises. 

What if the best gift we can give to our kids and to ourselves is to be mindful?  What if we stopped feeling bad for missing field trips or forgetting to have them brush their teeth?  What if we didn’t wish away the “witching hour” or tune out that question they’ve already asked 1000 times?  What if we stopped trying so hard to be the mom we always thought we ought to be and we embraced the mom that we can be?  What if we focused on the now; the reality, what’s true.

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A truth I can stand on right now is that this very moment is enough.  I got the morning with my two littles.  There were some fights and there were some smiles.  We sang with the windows down and I also fought with my kid as he kept trying to slide across the grocery store floor. This very minute I am breathing (which in itself is a miracle), there are clouds coming in after the rain; the sun is starting to shine through the room; I have a cup of coffee and while the smallest one sleeps; I’m trying to get work done but I’m also listening to my 4 year old convince me that magic is real.

Being mindful to me means taking the good with the hard. Accepting it for what it is. This moment is real and true and pure and beautiful.

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sit – just be.  close your eyes or pick something to focus on.  breathe in some deep breaths and pay attention to the sounds and smells around you.

create – when your hands move your mind slows down.  let your own expressions out as you make and busy your hands.  be aware of the colors, the textures, the mediums. enjoy your work

get outside – nature is so healing.  even when my babies were fussy, i could get them to calm down when we went outside.  take a walk and look for beauty and surprises in the world out there.

gratitude journal – this is my favorite. when i feel life getting to me, i come back to this tool all the time.  I write down a bulleted list of the things that i was thankful for that day or recently.  It usually involves the simple things like a cute thing said by my kids or a text from a friend or a quote in a book or that extra help i didn’t expect.  when i get into the pattern of writing these small things down, i start looking for more moments in the everyday.

-Erin

spring fever and porch decorating

I officially have spring fever.  I have diagnosed myself.  I don’t even need a search on the google machine and I don’t need WebMD.   Symptoms include: heart swelling at the sound of birds chirping, not being able to leave a store without a plant purchase, countless hours spent in Target outdoor section,  excessive planting of herbs and flowers, not being able to sit indoors,  incessant talking about grass, trees, and landscaping, purchasing of new garden gloves and cute watering cans, and only able to eat foods made on an outdoor grill or foods that yell “IT’S SPRING EAT ME!”

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So, obviously, I have a wish list.  Here’s what I’m wanting to put on my porch and my deck this year.

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links: hammockwreathlanternplanterpillowstoolbench, rug, string lights

This past winter was a long one.  I was honestly unsure if it was going to end.  When I finally saw Spring coming, I began to catch all the feels.  I woke up and it was sunny and 60 degrees and my entire inside world began to change with the outside.   I began to feel hopeful and more energetic.  And then, the next day, it rained.  And I wasn’t mad at the rain like I usually am because I am a grown person and I have things to do and rain makes those things harder and less fun.  Instead, I began thinking about the rhythm of the cold and the warmth and rain and dryness.  It’s all part of this plan that is so much bigger than our plans.  This death and life cycle is necessary and out of our hands.  Certain parts of the cycle are easier to enjoy and bring so much hope to our souls.  I am working out in my brain the parts of the cycle that are hard to enjoy… the purpose of them.  While I am not resting until I feel like I’ve bottled every ounce of sunshine I can,  I’m processing the winter that comes every year.  I think Spring is meant to be enjoyed.  It’s a time for planting and nurturing, for playing and watching.  I am wondering about the hard parts.  The parts that are maybe not meant to be enjoyed, but maybe they’re the path to get to the ones we enjoy.  I didn’t do winter very well.  I met my “limit” or my “capacity” for it and was DONE.   And now that the easy part is here, the part where everyday looks like a painting and a gift,  I’m thinking about how we all made it through the hard part and now we are on the other side.  And maybe HOW we make it through the hard part is the purpose of the winter and spring is the gift.

if we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.

love,

racheal

how to grow a wildflower garden

I am beyond excited about spring and the fact that it is time to get some plants in the yard and on porches and back decks and all over the place.

I have a square foot garden that has officially been unsuccessful for 6 years now.  Mainly because of my lack of watering skills, or I should say “remembering to water” skills.  I just decided this year it is time for a change.  I am going to embrace my abilities and inabilities and I am going to fill my square foot gardens with wildflowers.  Flowers are more up my alley than vegetables anyways.

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I plan to cut some weekly, maybe even daily, to line our kitchen table.  More than that I plan to give them away. Flowers are meant to be enjoyed and shared.  The beauty of wildflowers are they’re free to just be.  They exist in the full beauty of how they were created.

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I don’t always feel free to be me or appreciate that I am made the way I am for a reason. For a purpose. A lot of times I just feel like a hot mess.

This week I was able to be honest about my downfalls as a mama, especially when it comes to routine.  We really struggle with getting out the door on time (well I do) and I finally reached my tipping point when I not only was late dropping off my oldest to school, but I had to walk him inside and sign him in because it was well past the bell.  I usually tend to try to fix it on my own, but I had reached my wits end. So, I decided to ask for help.  The response was amazing.  I had so many mamas who excel in this area reach out to me with tips and tricks.  More than that, I had so many mamas who encouraged me and cheered me on.  I could have let my weaknesses tap into my insecurities of not being a great mom, instead I let their help become an opportunity to grow.  It was very freeing. 

I only hope to get to do the same for others one day.  We aren’t all great at everything.  We are all made to be great at some things and to share those gifts. 

Instead of focusing on what we can’t do or where we fall short, what if we leaned into someone with that strength and they carried us?  And what if they did the same?  What if we were made with strengths and weakness so that we could not do it on our own.  What if we were meant to find freedom in holding each other up? 

As I try a new approach to my square foot gardens this summer, I hope that the flowers on my table and the flowers I share, only remind me of the beauty of choosing to just be who I was created to be.  Thank goodness, I go better with others.

-Erin

1. choose your seeds (1)

  1. Choose your seeds.  I chose a standard mix.  I love bright colors so I made sure my mix included zinnias, which I know I have successfully grown before. 
  2. Choose your location.  Check the back of your seed packet for information on if the plants will need mostly sun or part shade.  The square foot gardens at our house are shaded in the morning but have full afternoon sun so I got the full sun mix.
  3. Ready the soil.  I use this soil which I have found in the past is great for seed starting.  Use a rake to break apart any clumps in the soil and smooth out the surface.
  4. Spread the seeds. I sprinkle in one direction and try to scatter them smoothly from my hand.  Try to get them evenly dispersed throughout the flower bed.  Some will take and some will not.
  5. Spread the soil around with your hand or walk over them to pat them down from the wind.  You won’t want to plant them too deep or they won’t grow, but you do want to make sure they are slightly covered by soil.
  6. Water.  Occasionally–thats the best part to me.  The soil just needs to stay moist.  They may need more water in the hotter months of summer but don’t over water them.  Sprouting should occur in about 2 weeks.
  7. Love them.  Place them in mason jars on your tables and window sills.  Put them in your hair, but most of all give them to your people, your neighbors or anyone needing a little more love in their life.

“Like wildflowers; You must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would.

Our Trip to Disney

Today is my first day back at work since we left for vacation.  Coming back to real life is rough, amiright?  Especially coming back from a place where literally everything is focused on you forgetting about the actual world you live in so that you focus on all the entertainment in front of you.  Not gonna lie, I love it.

I also love the first day of vacation.  I love taking in all the smells and sights. I love thinking about how we have the next several days to just be together and away from reality.  The second we got to the hotel, we threw our swimsuits on and jumped in the pool.  After the kids got their pajamas on, my parents volunteered to watch them while we went on a double date with my sister and her husband.  Beer and so. many. sweets in Disney Springs.

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The next day,  we hit up Magic Kingdom.  That’s kind of a must for us to do first.  Allll the character meet and greets.  And more sweets.  That evening we headed to my favorite park for sushi in Japan – Epcot.   I love Epcot.  I love getting to walk around the World Showcase and smell the different foods coming from all the different countries.  They do such a good job of letting you feel the vibes of each country.

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The next day was my favorite day this trip – Animal Kingdom.  It started with Mickey Mouse waffles and included spiked chai, a safari, an impromptu dance party in the street, popcorn, rides, and Rainforest Cafe. And, you guessed it, more sweets and character meet and greets.  I started to sort of be over waiting in the lines to meet the characters.  But then I see this face and it’s worth it.

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On the third day, we went to Epcot.  This day was also Nora’s birthday.  We went to a Princess breakfast and strolled around the World Showcase.

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We asked her what she wanted for dinner for her birthday and she said “I want a cheeseburger in Magic Kingdom because it’s magical there.”  Off we went back to Magic Kingdom for a magical cheeseburger (she changed her mind last minute and got magical mac and cheese instead), more sweets, and a firework show.

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Our last day was spent at Hollywood Studios.  It started raining around lunch, so we went back to the hotel, but not before we met Olaf, Princess Sofia and Jeff rode Rockin’ Roller Coaster.

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Disney is one of those trips you have to go into knowing that some parts of it will be stressful.  And we did have some of those moments.  Waiting in lines is hard, crowds are hard, spending $10 on a kids meal is hard.   Other than those things, though, it’s almost magical.   So many memories.  I will be treasuring them and living off of them for a while.

 

-rach