Thursday, March 30, 2017

Maxi Cosi Pria 85 - Two Years Later

Most people review products as soon as they get them.  I prefer to see those reviews where the product has been tested through time.  Here's one of those!

I was in the market for a convertible car seat and had no idea where to start. My baby was outgrowing his Chicco Keyfit 30 infant car seat, and I needed to find a great alternative that also appealed to my aesthetic nature.  I looked at several different brands, from Chicco to Britax to Evenflo.  I had it narrowed down between the Chicco NextFit and the MaxiCosi Pria 85, and ultimately went with the latter because it looked relatively easy to install in the car. Below are a few things I liked and disliked about it.

The Pros:

  • The Color choices. They have Black, Pink and Blue. I immediately liked that the black color I chose worked well with the dรฉcor of my car interior.

  • Material. The fabric was firmly pulled around the frame of the carseat to allow for easy vacuuming without parts of the fabric being sucked into the vacuum. With some other brands, you'd have to take it out of the car to dry clean. The material also keeps your child from overheating too much- they call  the technology used for the fabric and the padding CosiComfort, which can be removed for spot cleaning as well.

  • It's Safety. I'd read many reviews before I decided to purchase, and even more recently, people are expressing how the seat kept their little ones safe through an accident.  I myself can vouch for it as well - being in a side impact car accident where my son had not even one complaint of whiplash.  The doctors looked over him for good measure and gave the green light. They have AirProtect, the technology used in the side head structures, that protected my son's head and neck during the impact. If you have no other reason to purchase this car seat, this would be enough.

  • It's weight range. There are other car seats out there that offer a true convertible experience, transitioning from convertible stage to the booster seat stage.  But with this seat, you need not worry about losing or damaging pieces that allow for the transformation from one car seat type to the other. Instead, you can have a baby 15 pounds all the way up to 85 pounds in this seat without needing to make any additional changes. There are not too many convertible seats that allow for such a high max weight. You can get your money's worth before you child outgrows it.
  •  Sturdiness. The build of it withstands when my son is a bit rambunctious and decides to use it as a jungle gym when he's not riding.
  • Removable Material.  This is vital if you wish to keep your little one's chair clean.  Mine gets everything known to man in the chair: popcorn kernels, cookie and bread crumbs, as well as a few "unknown" substances, most likely jelly.  I simply take the cover off- the first time was the hardest to do - and wash. 

Weight. When you do need to transfer the seat to maybe another car, it's quite heavy. But I'm okay to sacrifice it being lightweight if I can get stability and sturdiness.

 Few colors.
 While some like they have Black, Blue, and Pink, I'd like to have seen a few more options, like chocolate or beige, so that it can match the interior of other cars.

After two years, I still don't see many negatives to owning this type of car seat.  It's relatively easy to install, and quite safe.  If you are still on the fence, read the reviews from other parents and decide for yourself!
The "dirty" truth of this carseat!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

More magic to the WDW trasportation experience

There's always room for more magic, right?

With my upcoming trip quickly approaching, I encountered a couple of things that would have made my planning process even more magical.  Maybe you've experienced the same frustration??

So when you arrive at the Orlando International airport, Tinkerbell is already at work, making sure that your bags "magically" get from your airplane to your resort hotel room without you lifting a finger.  But alas, there is apparently no more pixie dust available to transfer your luggage to your room after 10pm.  While you can still ride on the Magical Express (the transportation coach that takes you to your Walt Disney World resort) after this time, you must lug your own bags from place to place.  This bothers me most when we plan last minute trips, and can't find reasonable flights arriving before ten pm. Arriving at 11 or even midnight means that your family is sleepy - and would most likely appreciate that "magical' service even more than if you came 12 hours earlier. A sleepy toddler or infant can add to the drama.  You then find yourself planning naps throughout the day to help mitigate a tantrum or two that could ensue.  Having my bags taken care of lightens that burden a bit so you can focus on your family.  EXTEND THOSE HOURS, DISNEY TRANSPORTATION!!  I'm just saying...

I completed the online check in process, and later got the lovely email saying I won't have to visit the front desk of my resort. Instead, I'd receive a text from the front desk indicating my room number and when I can enter said room with my Magic Band.  Yay!  Except for the fact that while speaking with a castmember, they informed us that because this year we are pass holders, and received a passholder rate, we'd need to visit the front desk nonetheless to present our cards to show that we indeed are passholders.  Wouldn't it be grand if this was somehow validated via the My Disney Experience
online?  Our passes are attached there onto our account along with our reservations and preferences. We had to have our passes synced to our account in order to book the reservations, so why have us lose some of the check-in magic just for being passholders?  I am secretly hoping this was actually incorrect information provided by the castmember.  **fingers crossed for a few days until we go.

Don't get me wrong.  I love knowing that all we have to do really is just take our magic bands with us to while within the resort boundaries once there, but these things would help in the process leading up to the visit. Maybe one day Disney will notice and integrate them into their processes??

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Why is my Little One Saying, "What the Hxxx??"

In these days of the Hell Challenge, I started wondering where kids learn it from

When I was in first grade, I remember quite vividly being outside during morning recess with my "boyfriend" (yes, kids are talking about these things at this age) running around and enjoying life.  I remember someone coming up to us and asking what I thought was a ridiculous question.  My reply was "Hell naw!"  And boy, virtually everyone on the nearby monkey bars within listening range took over from there…."Awwwwwwwwww!  She said a curse word!"  Of course some practically fell over themselves trying to get to the nearest teacher.  And of course, my freedom was taken from me- or at least my recess freedom.  I had to stand on the wall for the remaining recess periods the duration of the day.  I remember how puzzled I felt.  My parents, who both had leadership roles at our church, had told me that hell was where you were going if you were not saved. I'd heard my mom say the phrase many times before so I figured there should be no problem in saying it.  So why was I missing my recess? Were these people such heathens that they couldn't stand to even hear the word describing where they might be going?  These thoughts swirled around my mind all day until the teacher told me that I could participate in the final free-time activity if I'd apologized.  I stood and gave a very enthusiastic answer:  NO.  I felt I was indeed the victim.  The teacher, sensing that I was not feeling apologetic about the matter decided to call my mother.  "I guess I'll be letting your mom know then," she said confidently.  My mom was very active in the school PTA group so the teacher knew I'd change my act once my mom got involved. Surely, she'd knock some sense into me.  Imagine her mouth dropping when my mom said "We don't believe, or teach her that hell is a curse word. It is simply where the unsaved is going."  The teacher gathered her jaw from the floor and tried to regain composure and control, "Well, we do not approve of that phrase in school."  

My mom told me just not to say it around school anymore.  I always had better sense than to say, What the Hell around my mom, so I never had an issue with that.  I understand that the phrase might have a different connotation, so I didn't dare use it until I became an adult.  But my 3 year old son has decided that saying, 'what the hell' is his new choice phrase. Where he learned it from? I cannot pinpoint a direct source. But since he's started using it, my ears have been sensitized, and I now notice that so many places use variations of the phrase. Some had me a bit surprised.

  • Grandparents - this one isn't surprising.  My parents have always said it.  I've asked them to refrain until my son matures, but understandingly it's been rough for them to reverse 40-50 years of saying a phrase. 
  • Disney - Now this was surprising.  While watching his favorite movies, Cars 2 and Toy Story 3, I heard the phrase, "What the…?" multiple times.  I believe Mater says it multiple times, but I know he says it when the computer is changing his disguise to a 'monster' truck, and on Toy Story 3, the janitor of Sunnyside says it while in the bathroom cleaning.  Immediately, my son repeats it.  They seem to like phrases that express emotions at this age, and oftentimes learn those words or phrases first.  I've even heard the phrase used during a Disney Jr. cartoon. 
  • Other kids at daycare or school - As kids learn from adults, they widely use what they've learned with or against their peers in this setting.  Chances are that your child will pick up one or more of those bad habits.
  • Your daily news channel - While watching the latest "Breaking News" an analyst used the full-out phrase, What the hell.  And who was right there with me to instantly repeat it?? Yep, my son. What the hell?!  

What do we do now?  Well I spend a good 1-2 minutes directly after hearing my son repeat the phrase trying to explain that it's not what we should say.  Although sometimes he still says it, he remembers quickly after that it shouldn't be said, "Oh, sorry mommy."  At other times when he's more alert, he will scold whomever said it in the same fashion I use with him:  "No Mater, No Grandma, we don't say, 'what the'…You can say, What?! Instead. " It works for now.  It's hard trying to tell your 2-3 year of child that using the word hell isn't appropriate for some people, when it's widely used around you.  

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Relationship Misconceptions

Shedding 4 common misconceptions for improved marriage and familial relationships

                One of our basic needs as humans is to be loved.  Here’s just a few things that can cause difficulties in meeting that need because we choose to believe in the illusion.

You can change people.
                This is a big misconception with a lot of people, especially with women in dating.  We see a guy and notice a few things that we definitely don’t like about them.  We decide to stick it out, however, and “mold” him into the guy we think he should be.
                When a man changes, it is because he himself wanted that change, which is in fact the only thing we can influence: that desire to change.  If he is stubborn and feels who he is just fine, you’ll never be able to spark that desire for change. Then you’ll need to decide whether you can live with whatever behavior or attributes they possess that you find disturbing.

Age is nothing but a number. 
                Where there is some truth to this clichรฉ, we also know that age brings about wisdom through life experiences. With each passing year, we discover new lessons to life; some of which cannot be taught otherwise.  We have to recognize that our parents, spouses, and/or other older family members have learned valuable lessons along the way that we can benefit from if we respect the hardships they had to endure to learn those lessons, and the fact that their love for us was great enough to impart this wisdom to us so that we can avoid falling into those same pitfalls.  At times, my parents voiced their opinions on the choices I made- Even though I respected them and their opinions, I would choose to not heed their advice.  Sometimes this worked in my favor, and sometimes it didn't.  Ultimately, although we make our own choices, the key is to respectfully decline without belittling your loved ones or sounding condescending. 
Respect also goes both ways. When you, as the older one, demonstrate to your loved one that their feelings and views are appreciated, it allows for more peaceful, adult conversations. Both parties need to acknowledge the contributions the other brings to the table so that no one feels small or marginalized. 

“You First!”
                I think this is one of the hardest things for a lot of us to work past.  Issues such as communication can be cyclical, and isn’t really dependent upon one person or one specific action. When my husband shuts down in his anger; refusing to respond to me or even communicate at all- it serves as the catalyst that ignites my own shortcomings; like raising my voice. My raised voice irks my husband, and thus he expands his “shut down” behavior.  We go in circles until one of us decides to take a different method.

“I’m not convinced.”

                When you have an argument with a loved one, and they finally apologize to you, are you guilty of making them apologize until either 1. You feel that they truly have learned their lesson, or 2. Until you feel better?  If so, this can be widening the divide between the two of you.  It already is a hit to their pride to apologize, even if they deserve to, but you rubbing their faces in it doesn’t improve matters.  Pretending they didn’t really apologize because you didn’t feel they were truly contrite can bring about feelings of resentment from your loved one.  Depending upon their feelings, you may even find that you all are right back to square 1 again - and arguing or not talking- with the addition of this new issue looming over you. It’s important that we understand our loved ones are also adults, and that you have not been appointed to enforce punishment upon them. If they have apologized, show them that you TRUST that they are contrite by not trying to further control the situation. Do not attempt to have them suffer until you feel better. Forgive and move on.  This doesn’t mean you cannot step back for a while, but let it be because you need to collect yourself, not because you want to punish them.  

Until next time...

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Toddler's 1st Visit to Disney World

What's it like?
A guest post from one of our moms sharing her experience

(Trying to Decide where to stay in DisneyWorld?  Read a RESORT REVIEW to help)

As we are planning our upcoming trip to Disney, I thought it would be great to share our son's first trip to Walt Disney World with Ele Millenia's readers.  We absolutely love Disney.  It brings to life the characters of the cartoons, movies, and shows that we've watched.  Imagine having your favorite movie, and then somehow being able to immerse yourself in that environment, effectively becoming a part of the movie yourself- or at least having that feeling. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ Usually, I'm not the extrovert, and prefer to be behind the scenes showcasing someone else, but here I can feel like I'm also a star of the show.  I grew up during the era of powerhouse Disney movie releases like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid, so of course being able to share those memories with my children is something I'd look forward to.

My husband is not a big fan of amusement parks (we're trying to wear him down), so for most of our trips, I'd have to go without him.  For my son's first trip, though we all went with my parents since they were excited to go themselves to see my son's first reaction---well, at least my mom was excited.  My dad feels like my husband on the matter.  He and my husband spent a lot of time at the resort while us women took our children out to the theme parks, and we'd meet back at the resort for lunch and dinner.
The boys in our family were 1 & 2 at the time we visited for Christmas, and I appeared to be more excited than my son, but I expected it because he was always quite reserved.  As we drove through the gate of Disney World, he showed signs of excitement, and then became more alive as we got settled into the resort and interacted-alongside other families-with the snow generated from the machines in the lobby.  He was happily jumping around the lobby and having a blast.  This carried over to Disney Springs, where we ate dinner and bought a few Disney products.  He happily ate his food and had smiles on his face the whole time.  By the time we saw the new Star Wars movie at the AMC Theatre within the Springs, we was fast asleep.  TIP: I recommend having a travel stroller with you on the trip so you can tuck your toddler in for sleeping while you walk. You can rent one from the parks, but it's based upon availability.  If you flew, chances are that you'd benefit from a stroller while in the airport as well, so you might was well save money by bringing your own.  Your toddler will appreciate having something recognizable during a period of heightened stimulation due to all the new experiences.

The next day we visited Magic Kingdom. Without the men.  But who knew we'd forget they weren't there?  TIP: If you're a single mom or your husband refuses to go, find a girlfriend, or family member and go!  It will be just as fun. I am actually even thinking of going alone with my son once he gets
older.  Again, I advise you bring your stroller, as my son was got a little scared of the sheer number of people at first, and used the stroller as his safety zone; refusing to leave it until we saw Mickey & friends at Cinderella's castle during the park welcoming show.  He then was more than willing to get out when we headed over to Fantasyland to ride on the Winnie the Pooh attraction.  Although he was too small for the Seven Dwarf's Mine train ride, we rode many other rides without him refusing:  It's a Small World, the little Mermaid, the Barnstormer, and the steam boat ride, which put us at Liberty Square  just in time for the Very Merry Christmas parade. By this time it was time for lunch and my son was starting to revert back to his stroller.  I knew that was a signal that he was tired.  TIP: when you see signs of your child getting tired, that's the best time to leave the park and head to the resort for a nap.  We left to find the rest of our party, ate, walked about the resort grounds for a spell, and then went inside to sleep.   I find that planning to leave at lunch and return to the park after dinner works best for our family.  We went during the busy season, and the parks stay open until 11pm (or later during extra magic hours), so returning at 6pm was okay for us if the parks didn't close until 1am. Once we return to the park, we're refreshed and ready to re-commence.  We did this for the rest of our time there- and limited our total stay to just 4 days to avoid burn out from either the adults or the children.  I would recommend that you not visit the park each day of your visit unless your situation calls for it.  The extra day or two of down time allows you to experience Disney Springs and the amenities the resort you're staying at offers, like pools, cycling, arcades, golf, spas, etc.

Characters: My son was amazed when he saw the characters, but as they approached, he retreated!  He would run the other way with sheer terror on his face... I mean, who KNEW Doc McStuffins and Mickey would be SO BIG?!  He preferred to sit down and just watch the characters from afar, and I was fine with waiting until he felt more comfortable. As he became more familiar, I would remain quite close to him as we approached a character, informing them that it was his first time and he was shy so that they weren't too assertive.  It worked out well, and soon he was on his way to initiating contact with them.  I wouldn't worry if it takes a few visits for your child to become comfortable.

Dining? Easy breezy.  Staying on property provides you with so many options you won't need to leave Disney World at all.  And that is their plan.  Their quick service is similar to a fast food or casual restaurant and allows for families to eat and get back to their fun. The table service options were great ways to see characters while you dined, and choose from plated or buffet styles.  With children under 3, they are allowed to eat off of your plate to save you some extra money.  If they require special plates of their own, ask the server to simply bring out a separate plate that you can use to share your food and also be able to give them their independence. At this age, they get pleasure from being able to do things on their own. TIP:  Bring their sippy cup if they have not yet mastered the use of straws or drinking.

One thing to remember is that while we adults may seem more excited to get to Disney World the first time, your child most likely will be the one most excited for subsequent visits.  They have to have time as little ones to digest what they are experiencing and fully decide if they enjoyed it.  Once they become more comfortable with the excitement, they will display their feelings more. This is speaking for your first child.  Your 2nd and third has the preceding children's emotions to use as a reference for how they should feel/behave.


Mrs. Katsande