Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday No. 62

No. 1
Let's start off with something shallow. :) When I saw that Draper James was collaborating with Jack Rogers.. I about had a heart attack. I ordered the gingham pair about as quickly as I could. This collaboration continuing throughout the year is dangerous for me! I loved the "Hello Darlin" pair too.. but had to limit myself, haha! 

Speaking of Draper James.. I ordered their diaper bag during a flash sale (it was about half the cost of its current price) and am IN LOVE. I haven't been super happy with any diaper bag situation since Beau was born.. and this is a perfect fit for us. And it's adorable. In case you're wanting to splurge.. it can be found here.

No. 2
Today my bestie Meredith arrives to take Beau's one year photos.. our basket of props is all ready to go and I'm SO excited! 

No. 3


I've been posting SO MANY DISNEY pics.. can't stop won't stop. I started recapping our trip, here

No. 4
This might be a major TMI.. but I heard Third Love recommended on a podcast. You fill out a questionnaire about the things you're looking for in a bra and they tell you a certain type and then mail it to you and you have 30 days to try it out. I did it thinking it was worth a try and I've never loved a bra more!! I'd highly recommend trying it out!

Happy Weekend y'all!! 

All of my Friday posts can be found here.




Thursday, April 27, 2017

Disney World: Day One


Before I get into a more detailed breakdown... let me start with saying that Disney World exceeded our expectations. I knew it would be fun and magical, but I don't think I wrapped my head around quite how fun and magical. I would have enjoyed several more full days.. but our four day vacation felt fun, relaxing, and was a perfect retreat. If you're interested in Disney, I'd highly recommend reaching out to our Disney travel agent, Andrea. She was amazing and you can read more about why we worked with her here. You can also read about why we chose to take Beau to Disney World for his first birthday. I think I want this to be a family tradition now.. it was that good. 

We had a 7:40 am flight and Beau was asleep before takeoff.. we left the house at a little after 5 and the plan was for him to stay in jammies and stay asleep on the car ride. He woke up when we moved him and he was awake and alert until we were settled in our seats with our Dunkin Donuts. Side note: I love fast food breakfast with my whole heart and LOVE Dunkin Donuts Egg White Veggie Flatbreads. I'm ridiculous I know, but they are YUM! 

Before Beau's first flights (across the pond, too!) I wasn't at all intimidated or afraid. I was confident that a 2 month old would be sweet on a flight.. but almost one year old was another story! I didn't stress about it a ton because I knew we had backup having Ben's parents come with us, but I wasn't sure what to expect. Beau did great though! He ate breakfast on the plane, took a cat nap, and honestly just sat pretty still in our laps. He went to snuggle with his Pops for the last 30 minutes or so of the flight, and we took off his dirty pajamas and let him play! He loved it. I truly think that Beau picks up on social situations when he needs to be on his best behavior. At a coffee shop with me and close girlfriends? He's going to be a wiggle worm and grab for everything.. but an airplane or nice dinner? HE KNOWS. The first time we experienced this was at a silent meal in Lake Como, Italy.. we get such a kick out of it to this day! 

We stayed at the Cornado Springs Resort and LOVED it. Even up until we got to the resort, I wondered if I would regret us not staying on the monorail for convenience.. but the busses were honestly fine and I don't know that we wouldn't stay at the same place for all future trips. The resort was laid back, beautiful, and overall just a great fit for our family. When we arrived, Beau was greeted with a birthday button, and people (cast members and other guests) stopped to wish him a Happy Birthday often! It made it feel extra special. 

We settled in, changed into our swimsuits, and headed to the pool for Beau's first ever swim. One detail we LOVED about staying on property was the Magical Express and the luggage service. Our transportation to and from the airport was provided as part of our stay, and we checked the luggage in Dallas and it was delivered to our hotel mid afternoon. We had our swimsuits and another change of clothes in our hand luggage. We're pretty set on only wanting to stay on property for Disney trips. IT was amazing and all of the perks were very well worth it. 

Typing this out now I don't want to forget how wonderful these times were! The resort was perfect for this. We headed to the pool after we changed. 


Also notable is that we purchased the UppaBaby umbrella stroller before the trip. We LOVE our full size UppaBaby vista.. but we needed a nice umbrella stroller for around the resort. It's been amazing and already worth every penny! 

Beau's swimsuit found here


By the time we got to the pool, Beau was snoozing. We ate an easy lunch while he napped and then once he was awake we hopped in to let him see what he thought. 



I should note that Ben has become extra paranoid about protecting our skin from the sun, haha. :) 





Beau really enjoyed splashing around, and then we went to a quieter pool by our room to swim around for a bit before heading up to the room for nap and some quiet time. 

When Beau woke up, we changed into our dinner clothes and took the bus to Magic Kingdom, and then got on the monorail. We had dinner reservations in a few hours at Ohana at the Polynesian and I wanted to stop there for an afternoon dole whip and then go check out the Grand Floridian hotel too.





We walked around by the pool area and took a few photos and just enjoyed the beautiful weather, before hopping back on the monorail to go explore the Grand Floridian. 




So, I want to move into this hotel. There were so many beautiful details around every corner. A live band in the lobby, wedding portraits going on, etc. Even the bathroom was beautiful! 




Outside the hotel was the perfect spot for some family photos, which we loved! 

My Earrings (under $15 as they are trendy and shouldn't be an investment at all, in my humble opinion!) 






After our little photo session, we monorailed back to the Polynesian to wait for our dinner reservation. Our hostess was an Aggie who was doing a Disney internship.. so that was fun! Beau took his bottle in the stroller and then fell asleep. We had an 8:15 reservation which was late, but allowed us to see the Magic Kingdom fireworks from our table since we were seated at the window. They even played the music that went along with it inside.



It was perfect! We had already had such a sweet day, and we hadn't even really ventured out too much yet! I would highly recommend Ohana as well.. everything we ate was SO good, and it was an all you can eat place. We were starving when we got there and we left happy and full! 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Working with a Disney Travel Agent

When beginning to plan our trip to see Mickey, one of my friends recommended working with Andrea, a "Mouse Counselor" to get the details worked out for our trip. I was initially really hesitant, despite the FREE price tag. I love planning all of our travel. For me, the planning is half of the fun. I can't tell you how much time I've poured into our trips over the years. A few summers ago when we decided last minute to go to Italy, I genuinely researched for 8 hour days for several days. Honestly, being a travel agent is a job that I would love.. so why would I hire one? Let me answer quickly that the reason is that Andrea was like our fairy godmother! She knows the ins and outs of the stuff that isn't fun to research. One great example is that the package we booked went on sale a few months after booking. Andrea took care of the price adjustment and saved us some serious $$.. something I would never in a million years have caught, let alone known how to handle. In this season of life, some things need outsourcing, and this was a perfect one to get help with. I've still been able to have a ton of fun prepping... talking restaurants and rides with close friends who go often (shoutout Davidson/Forney family!!), sourcing outfits for Beau online, etc. I haven't been this excited for a trip in a REALLY long time. I honestly have tears of joyful anticipation in my eyes as I type this. 

I'll have many more reflections once we're back from Florida, but I thought it might be fun to have Andrea answer a few questions about Disney World for y'all... I'd love nothing more than for her to be able to help some of y'all visit the mouse!! She's so incredibly fast at responding and made me feel like no question was too small!

Andrea and her sweet family at Disney World!
Of all the times you’ve been to Disney, what has been your favorite trip and why? 
Oh my, that's a hard question! This is going to sound cheesy, but I think all of my trips have been my favorite for one reason or another! Each visit I find something new that I never experienced before. Disney World in particular is a place where my family really connects which makes each visit fun and unique.

What made you fall in love with the magic of Disney? 
I grew up watching Disney shows and movies, it was a big part of my childhood. A family friend took my Mom and I to the parks when I was 8, it was so exciting, but I ended up being sick the majority of the time, which was a bummer. It was a dream of mine to visit again one day so my husband and I decided to visit Walt Disney World on our honeymoon. That trip really sparked a new affection for all things Disney so we went back for our 1st anniversary and of course several times after that :) 

What’s your #1 piece of advice for a Disney trip? 
Plan ahead as much as you can and then just relax and enjoy. There is so much to see and do, you won't get to do it all, but pick some things that are important to you and make dining reservations and fast passes for those things. Don't be stressed about getting to everything else! A lot of the fun is found in the details, you never know what you might find so take in your surroundings and see what Disney brings out in your family. 

What are your favorite attractions at Disney World? 
There are so many!! It's a Small World, Peter Pan's Flight, Pirates of the Caribbean, Toy Story Mania, Soarin', Frozen Ever After, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safari, The Lion King Show, Beauty and the Beat Live and all of the nighttime entertainment!

What is your favorite park at Disney World? 
Magic Kingdom! I love the nostalgia. I could stay there for days! 

What are your favorite foods at Disney World? 
Also, so many! There are so many great restaurants, our list of must have meals keeps getting longer. My favorite restaurant in the world is at Disney World...it's called Yachtsman's Steakhouse and it's at the Yacht Club Resort.  Epcot has the best food and we're still trying all the restaurants in world showcase. My husband always has to get popcorn, coconut candy and mickey bars. I always have to get cream cheese danishes. We all love Dole Whip Floats.

What is your favorite age for a child to visit Disney World?
I get this question a lot and my answer is always any age! The first time my daughter went she was 10 months old and it was as fun then as it is now that she's 6. Each year she's into different things so it never gets old. She has grown up at Walt Disney World, she learned how to clap there, she's learned new words, she's learned about other cultures, she's gotten to experience so many new things and we find new wonders together each time we visit. Our whole family loves it and that's one thing that makes it so special.

How can people get in touch with you? 
I love Disney so much I decided to become a travel agent that specializes in Disney vacations! I can help you with planning for Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney and other Disney resorts like Aulani in Hawaii, and Disney's Hilton Head and Vero Beach Resorts. I would love to help anybody plan their own magical vacation! You can email me at andrea@mousecounselors.com anytime for more information. 

Be honest... y'all want to go to Disney World now, right? :) I'll be posting about 10 photos a day over on instagram, so keep up with us!
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Friday, April 21, 2017

To Disney World We Go!


In the few months before Beau was born, I told Ben that I wanted to take him to Disney World for his first birthday. Ben laughed it off and said that probably wasn't going to happen. :) I just told him that forever reason, it was in my mind as a really sweet milestone marker for God's faithfulness in Beau's life during his first year. Again, he laughed off my bringing of God into it.. haha! I really just had it in my mind as a sweet celebration of that first birthday. But I didn't think much of it, although we did tell several people of my ruse to convince Ben. :)

We had no idea the journey ahead of us in the months that followed. You can read about that here, but the end of my pregnancy and the beginning of Beau's life wasn't what I had planned. But He is faithful, and we are so grateful to God for planning each day of Beau's life in His sovereignty. Beau's first night in the NICU was one of the hardest of my whole life. I had bonded so much with him in our first two days and now he was in a little bed by himself, hooked up to machines. Every baby in the NICU had a little sign with their name and birth stats on it. Most of them were animals, a few flowers, butterflies, etc. No characters. But that first morning that we woke up and went to feed Beau at about 5am.. the nurses had put up Beau's sign. As you can see above, we were greeted that morning by none other than Mickey Mouse. It seems so silly, but that was the encouragement I needed in a really dark time. I KNEW we would get through it. That little Mickey helped me cling to my faith. Everyone agreed this was a huge encouragement, and I told Ben I wouldn't bully him into taking us, but he said he already knew he was on the hook. :)

So as you read this, we're either on a plane to Orlando, or settling into our resort at Disney World. I am going to absolutely loose it when I see my boy meet Mickey Mouse. I want to take this opportunity to thank y'all so much for how well you have loved me in my first year of motherhood. I've received so much encouragement and even prayer. Every comment on Beau means the world to me and makes me so proud. I'm so grateful for this blog and the sweet connections that it has provided.

If you're interested in what we're doing.. you can anticipate no less than 4 instagrams each day of our trip. Haha!! I wish I was joking. Follow along @victoriastrader. XO

"Little Boys should never be sent to bed. They always wake up a day older." - Peter Pan 
Never grow up, my sweetest heart! 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Beau's 1st Birthday Wishlist


I've had a few people asking about birthday present ideas for Beau.. and honestly coming up with ideas is kind of hard! Here are a few things that I thought might be sweet, but I'd love to hear recommendations on sweet gifts for a one year old! :)

Activity Cube- I feel like I should have honestly already ordered this for Beau.. he would love it so much and needs something to keep him entertained when he's on the floor. He has a similar concept at Ben's parents and he loves it!

3 in One Book- I read this to my friend's daughter the other night and loved it.. The book is essentially explaining the trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) to kids using an apple as the metaphor. So good!

Stuffed Lamb- This is a pricey stuffed animal.. but the purchase provides 10 meals for a hungry child. I love the look of this sweet little fella, and also the heart behind it! I've had to really hold in not ordering this myself, haha!

Counting Blocks- I thought these were extra sweet, and not too hard on the eyes 

And of course, we always love anything from Cecil & Lou or The Beaufort Bonnet Company!
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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Baby Beau: 11 Months


Weight:
20.3 pounds

Height:
Didn't measure this month :)

Clothes:
Filling out his 12-18 month clothes.. I feel like we kind of skipped 9-12! My big sweet boy!

Sleep:
Sleeping well.. two good naps during the day and 12 hours at night. We've been so blessed by our sleeping boy.

Schedule:
We switched down to two bottles a day instead of four (which seemed like a crazy jump!) but Beau is loving much more "real" food.. everything else is pretty much the same, he's just having snacks and meals instead of bottles!

Health:
When cutting three new teeth over the course of a few days, Beau had a high fever.. but other than that it's been smooth sailing this month. :)

Crying:
Teething caused more crying than normal.. 

Likes:
Reading books 
bathtime, specifically laying in the water.. this little boy is going to LOVE the pool
going for walks 
trying new foods 
standing up 
bouncing 
practicing "walking" holding our hands 
giving sugars 
giving high fives

Dislikes:
not getting mama and daddy's attention for too long :) 

Milestones:
This month Beau cut three teeth, and has started standing up on his own when leaning on things. He's getting stronger and stronger every day! At this point, I think he's going to skip crawling. It's been several months of getting so frustrated in crawl position and now he's trying to push himself up into standing position from crawling position. Ben and his two brothers, and our niece did this, so I guess it's the Strader way! Beau's also been giving high fives.. the sweetest thing ever. 

Places You’ve Gone:
  • Cousin Meg's Big Sister Party 
  • to meet your new friend Walker Hardwick
  • to gender reveals for your sweet friends Ella and Laurel, we can't wait to meet them in August! 
  • the salon for your 10th haircut (yep!) 
  • Big Granny's for a Spring Break Playday
  • back to Texas Tulips for one last time with Nolan and Harper 
  • your first wedding, visitation, and funeral 
  • your first ever egg hunt, with home group friends at Granny and Pops

























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