The Beauty of Belle – Disney, Universal & Make a Wish

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Our whole trip to Disney and Universal was a magical experience. There wasn’t one minute the whole week that we weren’t in awe, happier than ever, and closer than ever. We have so many tales of the fabulous magic that occurred that week. From our first day, and first stop, at Ollivander’s wand shop. There Kennedy (and her sister) were both chosen by Ollivander himself and received wands selected just for them. Kennedy wanted to ride every ride, and proved herself a little daredevil. We covered a lot of Universal that day, and rode everything in sight. Kennedy and her sister got pictures with all of their favorite superheros. Of course, at the Magic Kingdom there was even more magic to be had. We stopped for every photo opportunity, and the manipulations the Disney photographers manage was stellar. We started our day at the Magic Kingdom with Space Mountain and the rest of the day was just as exciting. There are so many moments we could talk about. So many ways the trip was made magical for us. There were so many things everyone did, from Make-A-Wish, to Give Kids the World, to Universal, and Disney, that have us still talking about our trip. Moments that brought all of us so much joy. There is one story in our week of magic that stands out above the rest. One twenty minute span of time that will be held up as the most magical and endearing of them all. When we went to Epcot we mistakenly didn’t expect to see any princesses. Call us naïve on the behavior of all the characters that roam all of the parks. Halfway through our day we stumbled upon the beautiful Aurora. While the girls were meeting with her, the photographer let us know about all the other princesses and when they’d show up. The photographer clued us in on an unscheduled appearance of Belle in her town clothes right outside of France. We killed some time, got some delicious French pastries (that our teen is still asking for to this day), and headed toward where Belle was said to appear. Before Belle arrived, her photographer did. The kind lady spoke to our girls for a while, and suggested that Kennedy ask a few questions of Belle. Namely: a) What is your favorite dessert? And b) What is your favorite book? Moments later Belle emerged from behind a building. The beautiful princess made a beeline for my princesses. In a gesture we hadn’t seen even through all the magic of our days, she took Kennedy by the hand and kept her close as they chatted. When Kennedy asked Belle’s favorite book, Belle leaned in and whispered in her ear. To this day, we still don’t know the answer ourselves—that is a secret held just between Kennedy and her new favorite Disney princess. After that, Belle continued holding Kennedy’s hand, and the stories became more animated. As she dove into Kennedy’s question about her favorite snack, Belle talked about a trick Mrs. Potts once played on Lumiere, all the while still holding Kennedy’s hand. For a good solid twenty minutes (give or take five minutes), Belle spoke with my girls. Her attention never wavering, and her hugs nice and tight. Somehow she even got our picture shy teenager in as their very own “Beast” for a few photographs. We saw many princesses, and some comic book heroes, but no other moment in time has stood out as much as this one. A moment in time that lingers with us, and most importantly, with Kennedy.   Read more »


by Sarah Cass

Multi-published author. Mom of 3 special needs kids. Wife to 1 good man.
Redefining Perfect every day.


The Question of Technology and Kids

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The Question of Tech

In our house the debate started years ago. When Denver was young as we neared Christmas, Erik suggested getting him a Nintendo DS. My first reaction? An immediate, resounding, “NO.” After much debate, discussion, and a little cajoling, I gave in. The first child device entered our home. From there it expanded. A Playstation, an iPod, a Wii, a tablet. We thought our established rules were enough. No accounts I did not know about. NO accounts I did not know about. I am to have access to ALL passwords, all accounts, all the time. The devices did not stay in the bedroom. I could take the devices and nose around at any time. Did I mention – no accounts I didn’t know about? I tried parental controls, but they were minimal on the early devices. I tried communication (*side note: have you ever tried talking to a brick wall? It’s beyond fun, I promise. No, really. Come talk to my teen, you’ll love it. </end sarcasm>) I tried prying and sneaking. Once it was known I was looking, sneak accounts were made. When I discovered the sneak accounts, more were made. The past couple of years have been a nightmare that dissolved into all devices (including the school issued iPad) were taken away. The teen is now device-less save for a cell phone that is a flip phone–as dumb as they come. So when the time came earlier this year to figure out a birthday present for the girls, you can imagine my immense trepidation when the husband yet again suggested, “What about tablets?” Again the debate raged. “Look what happened when we started down this road last time.” “But we learned so much. We know now what not to do.” “I know – but look what happened when we started down this road last time.” “They won’t have internet access. We’ll have parental controls.” “But…I won’t lose them to the devices like I did him.” “We learned a lot.” In the end, yes…we got tablets for the girls for their birthdays. I made sure, despite the girls age of 9 & 10, that they had the best kid-friendly devices. I downloaded acceptable apps, I blocked internet access and everything BUT the acceptable apps (thanks to a kid-zone sort of app). So they can’t play with settings, or shop for more apps, they can’t see anything but the apps I chose for them. They aren’t allowed to play on it EVERY day, and they aren’t allowed to play for them for hours on end. Plus, their time on the device is tracked (I can set limits, but have not yet). I have learned from my mistakes, and while I’m still not entirely comfortable with the girls having devices, I’m much more comfortable with how we’re handling things this time. Trust is earned, not freely given. My noose might be tighter this time around, but experience taught me some painful lessons these past few years. What about you? Do your kids have devices? What sort of restrictions do you place on them?   Read more »


by Sarah Cass

Multi-published author. Mom of 3 special needs kids. Wife to 1 good man.
Redefining Perfect every day.


Wordy Wednesday – The World of Harry Potter with my Youngest

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THE NEW YOU

In case you missed the flashing neon news flash, we went to Disney World last year. The trip included two days at Universal. The absolute best part about that addition? My youngest, Kennedy, had just discovered the Harry Potter movies and absolutely LOVED them. So around the time she made her wish it wasn’t just about Disney, it was about “seeing Harry Potter,” too. Her excitement was palpable the whole few months leading up to the trip. She could hardly contain herself. To help pass the time, I made a crazy suggestion. Why not read the books? And so the journey started. Together. We’ve had some spurts where we don’t read, but usually it’s Kennedy and me, snuggled together, getting lost in the world of Hogwarts. It’s certainly not my usual rapid pace for reading. It’s definitely different reading aloud. But I wouldn’t give it up for anything. Seeing the excitement in my baby girls eyes whenever I take out one of the books. For Christmas she got my old Harry Potter complete set (as it was already worn and some spine breaking was all right), while I got a new set (isn’t it pretty?). She pores over them when I’m not around (she thinks I don’t know), looking for her favorite parts. Ron is her book boyfriend. Hermione is her hero. And there is nothing I love better than sharing my love of Harry Potter with her. Everything is wrapped in the pure joy, excitement, and hope that there is a world of magic out there that she could take part in, even through the page of a book. Read more »


by Sarah Cass

Multi-published author. Mom of 3 special needs kids. Wife to 1 good man.
Redefining Perfect every day.