Friday Finds: Summer Sandals

1. Black Cope Sandal | Zulily
2. Mahogany Leather Emboss Isabela Sandals | TOMS
3. Ankle-Wrap Sandals | Old Navy 
4. Lavinia Slide Sandals | Target 
5. FRANCE Sliders | Topshop
6. Shauna Huarache Sandals | Target 
7. BDG Rachel Sandal | Urban Outfitters 
8. Classic leather sandals | Gap 
9. Birkenstock Gizeh Sandals | Anthropologie

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Trading drywall dust for pixie dust

A couple weeks ago, we took the kids on a trip to Disney World to take part in the Disney Social Media Moms Conference. It’s a great experience that provides a conference for bloggers and several days of fun for our families. The last time we went was in 2013, and I was honored to be invited again . . . and also a little excited because two years really makes a difference. On our last trip the kids were 8, 6, 6, and 4, and I feel like their current ages mean that they will have better memories of the trip. It also meant fewer meltdowns. They are so much easier to travel with now. (Parents of small ones – take heart! It gets better.)

This trip ended up timed perfectly because we were right in the middle of our remodel and needed to be out of the house. A little intention family time was a welcome break from renovation hell as well. Even if we were on the phone with Home Deport right up until the plane took off.

We landed late at night and headed straight to our east coast indulgence: Waffle House. It’s the best worst place ever, and always the right call at 1am.

I don’t know what comes over me on Disney vacations. I never put my kids in matching clothes but this is the one time I become That Mom. I also packed their outfits in ziploc bags for each day. I don’t know who I am anymore.

It’s hard to really do justice to the highs and lows of a Disney vacation.  Our time in the parks was 20% weaving through crowds, 20% yelling at the kids to stop whining/fighting/roaming off, 15% finding a bathroom, and 45% PURE, SOUL-SOARING JOY.  It’s funny how it retrospect (and in photos) it’s the joy and the memories that remain.  If you asked me on our last day how the trip was going, I would have said that it was a lot of work and that we were all very tired. Ask me today, and this vacation was the most epic family time we’ve ever had.  Both statements are entirely true.

We stayed at the Yacht Club this year, which is a gorgeous hotel right next to Epcot. If you’re ever planning a Disney World vacation, it’s definitely worth it to stay in one of their hotels. The transportation between parks and the special park hours for hotel guests are such a great perk.

I have an old friend who is one of the Dapper Dans and he let my kids lead the flag salute one day.

Kembe also shone in his role as The Horse in Beauty and the Beast, proving once and for all that there are no small parts, only small actors.

Jafta enjoyed the culinary offerings at Disney World. He was a big fan of Epcot where you can try foods from all over the world. This dish was a little spicy.

I am a big fan of Epcot because they serve alcohol. Rum over Dole Whip, specifically.

 And also hard cider. And kale salad. And falafel on pita. So good.

It was a really great trip for all of us. Only minor meltdowns, and the kids were all tall enough to ride anything they wanted. Which, for my kids, meant lots and lots of rounds on Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain. India even rode the upside-down coaster for the first time.

And potty breaks. The horror.


It was just the together time we needed in the midst of this crazy season.

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What I want you to know about having Hypoplasia

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Anonymous.

When I was in 6th or 7th grade, I read The Body Book while at a friends house. You know, the American Girl book about your changing body. One of the topics was about your breasts and how it is common to have breasts that are different sizes. Well, once I finally started developing, mine seemed to be different shapes and sizes from each other. It wasn't that big of a deal for a while, I just wore padded bras. But once I got into my 20's and gained some weight, it became very noticeable. My right breast is a DD and "normal" looking while my left one is an A-B. It looks relatively normal on the top/above the nipple, but underneath there is hardly any tissue.

This was an annoying and embarrassing problem but not one I thought about that much until right before I gave birth to my son. A few weeks before, my midwife mentioned to me that she thought it looked like I had hypoplasia of the breast or insufficient glandular tissue. This means that instead of having mammary tissue in my breasts (used to produce breast milk) I just have fatty tissue. So not only do my breasts look weird, but they don't function normally either.

We didn't know what type of impact this would have on breastfeeding. Based on all the books I read on breast feeding and stories I have heard, I naively assumed that I would be able to breastfeed my son. Before and after he was born, I pumped and pumped hoping to get something. After about 4 days I got about 1/2 ounce of milk and was so excited. I kept pumping and breastfeeding him, because I was told that's what I should do to get my supply built up. However, he was not getting enough. It took way longer than it should have for me to realize that this was not the best thing for my son, because he wasn't being fed what he needed. We eventually started supplementing with formula and I kept pumping and nursing him too until he was 6 months old. Then I finally gave up and just gave him formula.

I'm pregnant with our second child now and want to go straight into giving him or her formula and not deal with the stress and feelings of failure that come from attempting to breast feed. I don't want to have another child in the hospital for 3 days with jaundice because they weren't getting enough to eat.

I want you to know that I would love more than anything to be able to breast feed my children. I feel like a failure as a mom and like less of a woman for not having "good boobs" and not being able to breastfeed. I want you to know that your well meaning words of advice ("increase your frequency of nursing," or "pump every hour for 30 minutes" etc) are more hurtful than helpful. If something worked to allow me to breastfeed, I would. I want you to know that just because a mom is giving her baby formula doesn't mean she wants to. It might be her only choice and is the best way for her to care for her child. Please don't judge a mom who is taking care of her baby - whether she is breastfeeding in public or giving him a bottle in public. We need to support and affirm each other.

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Dad privilege

I teach a class on diversity and pyschotherapy, and we explore the impact of privilege. We talk about inherent privilege based on race, gender, sexual orientation, and lack of disability. But yesterday, I was reminded of another one.

I call it dad privilege.

Dad privilege is when you have a repairman in your home all day, watching you interact with your kids, cook dinner, do laundry, empty lunchboxes, etc. And then your husband comes home in the evening and you leave for an appointment, and the repairman observes your husband interact with the kids for an hour.  And then the next morning, the repairman enthusiastically labels your husband his hero, because of the way he took care of four kids by himself . . . going on and on about how he is a hero of a dad.  I mean, really!  It was amazing how he did that!  Wrangling four kids FOR AN HOUR until they went to bed.  Yes.  Clearly Mark is a hero for caring for his own children briefly while I go to Target.

(And really, my husband is amazing.  But I kinda wanted to punch this repairman for reminding me that our world still has such defined gender roles because SERIOUSLY?  He observed me do the same thing Mark did for a better portion of the day while Mark was at work).

Or there is the disparate experiences my husband and I have when we talk the kids out to eat. The few times I've attempted this, I've been stressed the whole time trying to keep the kids quiet to avoid the inevitable side-eye of those around me. But when Mark shows up to our local taco joint with all four kids in tow they roll out the red carpet for the Dad Who Takes His Kids Out.  I'm seen as the mother who couldn't be bothered to cook. He's the hero who takes the kids out for fun. The waitresses shower him with attention. They're making a mess? Pssshhht. We'll get that for you!

Dad privilege is when I go out of town for business and everyone asks who will be watching the kids.

And don't get me started on how society reinforces it. Room moms? Snack moms? Because a dad can't possibly do those roles? Only a mother would have the time, energy, and skill set for that?

Come on, mamas.  I know you see it. How have you seen Dad Privilege at work?

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On being (literally) directionless

This post was sponsored by TomTom.

I have struggled with direction my whole life.

Not the existential kind of direction (although that's true, too) but the practical kind. I am constantly lost.

I have no internal compass whatsoever. When you're about to hit a pinata with a blindfold on, and someone spins you around to disorient you first? That's my baseline. I've been this way my entire life and have tried a myriad of strategies to fix it, but there is just something broken. It's like a special learning disabilities related to directions.

(in happier times, when Mark is driving)

I can't count the amount of times someone has told me "It's super simple. I'll just give you the directions!" And as they talk, simple concepts like right and left and east and west just float out of my brain. I have no retention for it. "Turn left, then your next left, then the 2nd right" is a thing my brain cannot hold.

Being bad with directions is a funny quirk until it's not. There are plenty of stories that we look back and laugh on. The time that I got lost coming home from a Blockbuster that is right by my house. The fact that I have to use GPS to get to my friend's house who lives in the same town, whose home I've visited at last 50 times. The times I've had to set my car's alarm off remotely in order to find it in a parking lot.

But then there are the not-so-funny times. The time I spent an hour and a half canvassing the Disney parking lot with four tired kids in tow because I forgot where I parked my car. The many times, before modern GPS technology, that I stared at a Thomas Guide in tears trying to figure out where I was. The frantic calls to Mark because a freeway had shut down and my phone wouldn't give me a detour option. The sheer terror I feel when I have to rent a car in a new city and drive myself somewhere I've never been.

I've tried to mitigate this issue by being prepared. I used to print maps out before I went anywhere, but GPS technology has been a game-changer for me. Truly, it's hard to imagine how I lived without it, and how frustrating it would be to try to navigate life as a mom without it. I recently got to try TomTom's GO 500/600 and it is such an incredible tool. TomTom has a new MyDrive cloud tool that lets you plan your route before you leave the house and send it directly to your device so you can pop in the car and hit the road without having to stop and log in directions. It syncs with your phone and also gives live traffic updates. A feature I really love: if there is a freeway closure, you can direct it to divert you to another route. And the real-time traffic reports are such a help with the traffic we deal with every day. It maps out the fastest route and saves time by diverting me from traffic.

Any other directionless folks out there? TomTom is offering my readers a giveway of one of their GO 500/600 devices. To enter to win, leave a comment about what you would do with the extra time you would save on the road if you could navigate around traffic to get to your destinations faster. 

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