We Rode Dropline! | Dollywood Vlog

Brooke’s girl scout troop sold enough cookies per girl to qualify for the VIP Experience. This year the VIP Experience was held at Dollywood! You know it was a no brainer that we would be there!!

Girl Scout VIP Sign

The weather was a little iffy so we went with open minds, acknowledging that we could very well turn around and head home after only a little time in the park.

Brooke in Showers

Luckily, besides one decent rain shower, the weather held out and we were able to spend the whole day there. The very first ride we headed to was Drop Line. This is a brand new ride to Dollywood this season and I’m not typically a huge fan of the drop-type rides. Brooke likes them though so I will suck it up and go with her.

Brooke Sarah Drop Line

To find out what we thought about the ride, you can watch our Dollywood Vlog below.

While Brooke and I rode a couple coasters with a Girl Scout friend, Keith took Leah on the new “kiddie coaster” at Dollywood this summer, Whistle Punk Chaser. It wasn’t terribly scary but Leah had absolutely no interest in doing another ride all day, except the Carousel. Typically she would spend all day in the Country Fair section of the park where the Busy Bees is her favorite ride.

Not this past trip, Miss Leah was all about shops & shows. So after I’d rode a couple rides with Brooke, Keith and I swapped kids and I spent the majority of the afternoon with Leah.

The first place she wanted to check out was the Hillside General Store. It has everything from candy to toys to salsas to soup to dishes and kitchenware. It was nice and air conditioned so I did not mind spending a good chunk of time there.

Hillside General Store Dollywood

Dolly Parton Dolls

General Store Dishes

Soon enough, Keith and Brooke caught up with us again. Brooke had gotten soaked on Daredevil Falls so she needed a quick break to go change into dry clothes. (So very glad we all brought extras!)

The girls played a quick game of checkers on the porch of the General Store before we walked down to the next destination.

Checker Outside General Store

I’d heard about the Cinnamon Bread at the Grist Mill the past couple times we’d been to Dollywood but had yet to go in and check it out. This was my only goal for the day. It did not disappoint. The girls each got one of the biggest cookies I’ve ever seen and we finally tried the famed cinnamon bread. It.was.AMAZING!!! I’m really bummed I forgot to get “real” picture of it and only grabbed a quick shot for my Insta-story.

Grist Mill Cinnamon Bread Dollywood

Leah and I were enjoying shopping and still wanted to catch a show so we waved to Keith and Brooke as they went off for more rides and headed to the back part of the park. We got to the Village just as the Dollywood Express was coming back to the station so we waved to all the passengers. Leah wanted to do more browsing through stores so we stopped at Temple’s Warehouse and Old Fashioned Candy Store.

Leah felt up to doing a ride after that so we went over to the Carousel. I never really realized how long you have to wait for that ride to get going and consequently how short it is. But Leah enjoyed it and that’s all that counts!

Leah on Village Carousel

After the Carousel, we were lured into a magic show which led to browsing through the Magic Shop. We caught up with Keith & Brooke to watch the Heartsong movie and then some hot dogs & amazing fries for dinner. We separated again so Leah could keep shopping & the big ones could do another ride or two. One shop later, we decided to catch one last show, “Country Crossroads”. Miss Leah had a blast clapping and swaying to the music.

All day long, Leah was very persistent in letting us know she wanted cotton candy. I’m not sure why – we don’t typically get it while at Dollywood but she’s 4 – nothing makes sense!! So after the show, we finally made the stop to get the cotton candy she’d been longing for all day. I think she was happy about it.

Leah Cotton Candy

One last stop at one of our favorites, the Smoky Mountain Christmas Cottage, to browse through the beautifully decorated Christmas trees, gorgeous ornaments and of course, get a picture with the wooden soldiers!!

Leah Christmas Cottage

Before we knew it, it was time for the day to end so everyone met at the Emporium so we could get on the trolley back to our car.

Goodbye Dollywood Sunset

That’s it for our Dollywood trip! Have you ever been?? What’s your favorite thing to do or eat?? Check our more from our day in the video below!!!

Her Classmates Called Me Fat

Her Classmates Called Me Fat
I love when I get a chance to volunteer at Brooke’s school. As a working mama, it can be tough but I’ve always done my best to schedule in the time for field trips and special events. One of my favorite events at which to lend a hand is Field Day. I like it so much because the kids get to have fun, be outside, run around, let off steam, get competitive at times and I’m always so impressed with the work the staff does to organize the event.

I was assigned to the inflatables field which is among my favorite areas. And I was super excited to have Brooke’s class in my line for the first rotation. It was a great start to the day and I was having a blast watching the kids race each other.

After a couple turns, Brooke walked up to where I was watching as pairs would race through the obstacle course inflatable, making sure one pair of kiddos had gotten through far enough before unleashing the next. She was clearly upset. There were no tears yet but they appeared to be just below the surface.

“Sweetie, what’s wrong?”

“Mom, the other kids said you’re fat. They think you’re pregnant.”

Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting that. I instantly realized though that my response here was going to be important. In recent weeks, my sweet 8-year-old has started making more comments about her body – even calling herself fat. I had to establish a good foundation.

Brooke & I taking a popsicle break at Field Day!
Brooke & I taking a popsicle break at Field Day!

Fortunately, I have found the Healthy Habits Happy Moms Facebook group and joined their Balance 365 program. Through that program, among other things, I have started what they refer to as “Diet Deprogramming” in which you abandon the idea that your worth as a person has anything to do with the number on the scale or the waistband of your jeans. That it’s okay to be okay with your body and it’s also okay to want to make changes to it at the same time. That crash diets and excessive exercise are not sustainable but creating habits slowly, at your own pace and one at a time is how you make an everlasting change.

It’s also where I learned to change how I view the word “fat”. It’s no longer an insult to me. I do not equate that word with “bad”, “undesirable”, “failure” – all words that were synonymous to fat when I applied them to the person I saw in the mirror. The word “fat” is an adjective – the same as “tall”, “smart” or “yellow”.
So when I heard that a group of 8-year-olds had decided to tell my sweet Brooke that I was fat, I wasn’t hurt. I felt horrible for Brooke because I could tell she didn’t like the idea of anyone talking about her momma that way. I’ve had comments directed at me before that have completely crushed my spirit. But in this instance, I was almost thankful. Crazy, right?

I was thankful because it gave me an opportunity to approach this issue head-on with Brooke right then and there.

“Well, honey, I am fat. My body is bigger. But that doesn’t change who I am. I’m still a good person. It’s okay, sweetie. Fat isn’t a bad word. It doesn’t bother me so don’t let it bother you”

Honestly and unfortunately, I don’t remember how the conversation ended. I was still doing my best to monitor the kids on the inflatables and make sure no one collided or cut in line. But I remember giving her a hug and telling her one more time “It’s okay, go have fun”. And she did and so did I. The day went on and that’s was it.

Ending a fun day with a snow cone!!
Ending a fun day with a snow cone!!

The best part of that situation was being proud of the response I showed to my daughter in that situation. The second best part was knowing that I really believe it.

Ultimate Homemaking Bundle 2017 for Working Moms

Generally speaking, I find very little difference in the lives of working moms versus stay-at-home moms. We have to feed kids, provide clean clothes, be sure they are at all the activities, try to have the house in order and maybe sometimes even clean, etc.

That being said, there are challenges unique to moms who work outside the home. And I’m afraid when some working mamas see a product called the “Ultimate Homemaking Bundle” they’ll assume that it’s not made for them. That it was created only for stay-at-home moms. So I scrolled through the Product List of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle 2017 and highlighted a few of the eBooks, eCourses, workbooks & printables that I thought spoke to the struggles of homemaking as a working mama.

The first and probably most obvious is the course, “Stretched Too Thin: 10 Days to Overcoming the Hustle and Thriving as a Working Mom” by Jessica Turner of The Mom Creative. This course (valued at $39.00) includes 10 videos, one per day, that addresses topics such “Establishing Work Boundaries”, “Loving Your Spouse Intentionally” and “Practicing Self-Care”. One awesome perk I didn’t realize came with this course is an additional set of bonuses including 3 more eBooks and a make-ahead lunch meal plan. I’m eager to get started on this course as soon as tomorrow!

Additional resources I thought could be especially helpful for working moms:

21 Days to a More Disciplined Life by Crystal Paine
Your Morning Manual: A Guide & Workbook for Resetting & Maximizing Your Mornings by Emily Bredeson
What’s 4 Dinner Challenge Meal Planning eCourse by Erin Odom and Holly Dvorak
Making Big Life Changes Together: Pursuing Your Dreams as a Couple by Haley Stewart
Boundaries and Margins Webinar by Saren Loosli
Command Center 101: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Command Center that WORKS for Your Family by Meredith LeRoy
The Paperless Home: How to Use Evernote to Organize Your Life by Abby Lawson
Busy Mom’s Make-Ahead Breakfast Cookbook by Carrie Willard
Delicious Dinners in Under an Hour by Mique Provost
30 Days, 30 Ways for Mothers to Take Care of Themselves by Angela Henderson
Mama’s Best Self: Where Frazzled Mamas Find Peace by Amanda Rueter

and any of resources in the Work+Life Balance category:

And I’ll be honest, I highlighted a bunch more but scaled back so the list wouldn’t be overwhelming!

So to my working mama friends, don’t feel like there’s nothing for you in this Ultimate Homemaking Bundle – they’ve got you covered!!

But don’t wait – the clock is ticking and it won’t be available much longer!!
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