On Christmas morning, we woke up bright and early and headed into Disney!


The decision to spend the holiday at Disney was completely spontaneous – and totally fun.  We decided to go down, packed the car that night, and left the next day!  We “planned” the trip from our phones in the car.   


Henry has just started to get really into the Disney characters (he loves Mickey but adores Donald because MomHTP does an amazing Donald impression), and we knew he’d have a blast “meeting” everyone.


Claire spent 98% of the time in her stroller, tucked safely under a blanket, but I think she had fun, too… when she actually cracked her eyes open (which rarely happens). 


My advice for going to Disney? Seriously, you *must* download their app.  It has a GPS-enabled map and updates you on the wait times for the rides in real time.

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But the best feature is that you can use the app to book Fast Passes for rides.  You can do three Fast Passes per ticket and, truthfully, three rides per day was a perfect amount for a toddler.  We never waited more than 10 minutes for a ride, which was amazing because the park was otherwise packed.

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We did some rides as a family (It’s a Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean) because Claire could go on those in the Ergo.  But usually, we tag-teamed the rides so Henry could go twice; toddlers LOVE repetition so that worked out well.


I was very impressed that Henry actually went on a ROLLERCOASTER (the Barnstormer).  He cleared the height restriction by a hair (truly, I think his curly hair made him juuuust tall enough), and he absolutely LOVED the twists and turns.  I swear – he will grow up to be an adult who skydives and bungee jumps.


We stayed off-resort at the Caribe Royal, which is a suite-style hotel a few miles from the park.  A suite is absolutely clutch with two kids. 


(I remembered to pack Henry’s train tracks this trip – he was so much happier as a result.)


I would recommend this hotel to anyone!  It was really nice, relatively affordable, and close to the theme parks.  Plus, the pool was great.  There was a wading pool and a playground, too.

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See? Constantly sleeping!  Except at night, of course.  Hah.

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Good times.  <3  It was a wonderful family trip and exactly what we needed.  And it was pretty fun to do something so spur of the moment. 


My New Year’s Resolution


For the first time in a long time, I don’t have a fitness-related NYR!  Well – I certainly have health and fitness goals for 2015 – I’m signed up for a 5K in March and an Olympic triathlon in August (wahoo!).  But they’re not really “resolutions” per say.


My NYR is to read a book a week for the entire year – so 52 books! (I got this idea from the Happy Herbivore; here’s her post for 52 Books in 2014). I think this will be a challenge but not impossible (I’m a fast reader; it’s more about simply replacing mindless phone browsing or TV watching with reading).  I’m excited about this resolution because it will encourage me to use the library more, which I really want to do, not just for myself, but for my kids, too.  I used to be really great about reading every single day with Henry, but we’ve kind of fallen out of the habit. And of course, reading to Claire will be very important in just a few months.  So I hope that actually getting to the library for my own books will encourage me to check out books for the kiddos, too.


So – what books do you recommend that I read?  And what’s your resolution?



  • Jennifer December 28, 2014, 10:15 pm

    I also need incentive to use the library more…for myself and my kiddoes, so I think I will join you in this challenge. I hear The Outlander series is good, so I’ll probably give those a try. My first book will be The Art of Racing in the Rain, which has been on my bedside table for the past 2 years! Will look forward to your updates. Will you do them weekly?

    • Caitlin December 28, 2014, 10:35 pm

      I was thinking of monthly but maybe weekly would be more fun!

  • Lisa December 28, 2014, 10:16 pm

    As a speech pathologist I encourage you to read to Claire now! Reading from day 1 helps develop their language, and I know it seems like all she does is sleep, but read to her anyway. It can’t hurt! She’s a cutie BTW.

  • Erin @ Her Heartland Soul December 28, 2014, 10:20 pm

    I love your resolution to read a book a week! That’s something I would love to do as well!

  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine December 28, 2014, 11:54 pm

    Well that is super fun! Henry is a lucky little boy 😉
    I need to get more reading back in my life so I need to focus on amping up my reading this year too!

  • Meg @ Anderstons in the Andes December 29, 2014, 2:23 am

    My husband and I did the 52 book challenge when we lived in Peru. We chronicled the journey on our blog every once in a while, and kept a list there. Neither of us made it, as coming back to the US and entering grad school killed off any pleasure reading time, but it was fun and motivating. My favorite book I read during that year was “11/22/63” by Stephen King. Most recently my book club read “All the Light We Cannot See”, which was excellent. I also love everything that JoJo Moyes writes. Hope you’ll write about what you are reading and what you recommend at some point!

    • Annie December 29, 2014, 5:38 pm

      I LOVED 11/22/63!!! One of my top 10 ever!

  • Cat December 29, 2014, 4:01 am

    What a great resolution! I’ve started reading more over the last couple of years, but it used to be only when I commuted. When I started working from home, I noticed I wasn’t making the time to read! So, now I give myself 10-20 minutes every morning and evening to fit it in – it’s such a relaxing start and end to the day. Looking forward to seeing what you’re reading!

  • Lisa @ Life as Lisa Knows It December 29, 2014, 5:25 am

    A book that I recommend is That Night by Chevy Stevens – GREAT book!!!

  • meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles December 29, 2014, 6:17 am

    We were in Disney too,too bad we didn’t see you! Such a good time and the weather was great.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat December 29, 2014, 7:58 am

    That’s a great resolution for 2015 Caitlin! I have to admit I’m terrible at reading books (I’m more of a magazines type girl) but my big goal for 2015 is to do my first half Ironman tri…. I’m excited and terrified at the same time!

  • mary December 29, 2014, 8:29 am

    Just finished “A Dog’s Purpose” by W. Bruce Cameron. As a dog lover you will really love this book.

  • Melissa @battleofmarathonblog December 29, 2014, 8:34 am

    I always have a “reading-related” resolution! A book a week is an awesome goal…I only go for one a month. 9/12 months this year, which wasn’t bad for switching jobs and moving.

    This is the year I’m going to run a half for the first time!! So pumped.

  • Suzy December 29, 2014, 8:36 am

    Mecklenburg County Library has a great selection on their online library! I download books on the iPad all the time.

    One book I really want to read this year is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. I keep hearing about it and it sounds fun! I really admire the Japanese culture and lifestyle and I’m curious to see their view on decluttering.

    And my NYR is to really deepen my yoga practice, goal is start my training to become a yoga instructor.

    Happy New Year!!

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats December 29, 2014, 8:51 am

    Oh my gosh I love Disney so much. So, so much! I’m glad you all got to take Henry!

  • Sara December 29, 2014, 9:15 am

    Love Does by Bob Goff and Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker were fantastic books!

  • Jamie December 29, 2014, 10:00 am

    I recommend Defending Jacob and The Invention of Wings. Both were very good! 52 books in a year is a great resolution! My resolution from last year was 2 books per month which I easily did – your post is inspiring me to push a little further! 🙂

  • Amanda December 29, 2014, 10:12 am

    That is such a fun idea! I’ve always wanted to take a spur of the moment trip.

    I use to set yearly reading goals for myself but haven’t the last couple of years. I read half as much now as a used to, which makes me kinda sad. I’ll work on that this year.

  • SJ December 29, 2014, 10:30 am

    I’d like to echo Lisa’s reply as someone else in the education profession. It’s so, so important to read to children from birth, not just from when they seem interested. When they’re really little you can even read to them from your own chapter book.

    Also, having never been to Disney before, I have a question. Is it normal to go on so few rides regardless of the time of year? I always assumed it was like other theme parks and you’re on the rides all day. It doesn’t seem very fun to wait in line so much!

    • Caitlin December 29, 2014, 10:59 am

      We were probably at the park for six hours each day… We did some shows and some other activities in addition to the rides. Plus eating and watching parades. There’s a lot to do at disney besides rides! Plus you’re right – I’m not down for lots of waiting in line.

      • Grace December 29, 2014, 12:07 pm

        I’m also surprised that Henry was content with only three rides. We always take our daughter to a local amusement park on the way to see family every summer (season passes make it cheap and affordable) and she’ll ride 8-12 rides in three hours! She’s a total daredevil and is slready begging to go on the “big kid” rides, ha.
        Now that it you’ve gone, would you recommend taking a two and a half year old to Disney? Our daughter is three and we’re still holding off; she’s not that into Disney (she knows the characters but she’s never seen a show or movie) and we’re thinking that we want to wait to spend all that money for when she’ll be old enough to actually remember it. But I can see the benefit of bringing Claire when she’s so tiny; that’s the best part about traveling with babies, with breastfeeding the only supplies you need are a few diapers and some wipes! 🙂

    • Laura December 29, 2014, 4:30 pm

      I went to Universal to go to both Harry Potter World’s the day after Christmas and we only rode about 6 rides (including the train between the 2 parks) in an 11 hour day. It wasn’t what I was imagining and wouldn’t have gone had I known.

  • Jenny December 29, 2014, 11:00 am

    Two good books I recently read are The Rosie Project and I am Malala.
    I used to love to read while I nursed my babies! One suggestion is to maybe get an e-reader. My library has e books and I love that I can get a new book without leaving the house and there are never late fines! I still go to the library with my kiddos but I mostly get books for them

  • Alex @ get big, go to work December 29, 2014, 11:03 am

    I love your resolution! I too can waste time in front of the TV or other little mindless things, so I love the idea of using that time to read and catch up. I really want to read “Woman Code” by Vitti. I haven’t given too much thought to my resolutions for next year yet. I guess I better get on that!

  • Beks December 29, 2014, 11:10 am

    I love Disney. I wish I lived close enough to drive! My teenage cousin is there right now with her high school marching band (they’re performing in the NY’s parade), and I’m insanely jealous of her.
    I’m hoping to read more this year. I’ve got this thing going on my primary blog called “The Jane Austen Book Club.” I started in October, with Northanger Abbey, but never continued. I started reading Sense & Sensibility, so I hope I can read every spare chance I get.

  • Abby December 29, 2014, 11:45 am

    I love that you and your family are adventurous! I am a strong believer in traveling and giving kiddos no matter what age experiences! Nice work!
    I want to read more too but find myself doing more of the “mindless” reading on the Internet. Think I will try for a book a month. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  • Courtney December 29, 2014, 11:58 am

    I just finished reading a book called The Expats by Chris Pavone and I really liked it! I’m planning on reading his newest book, The Accident this week.

  • Kaella (KaellaOnTheRun) December 29, 2014, 12:09 pm

    Wow, what an awesome NY Resolution! I have lots of health and fitness related goals and some family related ones as well (I want to plan a monthly “date” with my toddler.)

    Have you read Amanda Lindhout’s “A House In The Sky?” I highly recommend it!

    Glad you had such a wonderful Christmas! I can’t wait to take my little guy to disney some day!

  • Courtney! December 29, 2014, 1:21 pm

    Disney at Christmas is the absolute best place on earth!
    I love to read and usually have a goal to read 52 books a year, but the last couple of years I’ve failed at that. Trying to get back into it this year!
    I really really recommend A House in the Sky (memoir) and A Tale for the Time Being (fiction).

  • Marie December 29, 2014, 1:48 pm

    How super fun…what a great Christmas memory! And you look great!!

  • Diane December 29, 2014, 2:11 pm

    U R 2 BOLD parents! What a great idea to spontaneously take off. So neat!!

  • Jamie Hower December 29, 2014, 4:44 pm

    Good luck, and happy reading! I just posted my 2014 book list today…sharing the book love! https://www.facebook.com/notes/jamie-beason-hower/book-list-2014/10150453649409990

  • Annie December 29, 2014, 5:37 pm

    Hi Caitlin!
    I am a voracious reader! I read probably 75 books a year… but my “kids” are 23 and 21! They grew up watching Mom read and after a few years of teenage “I don’t like to read”, they are both big readers. I love historical fiction and HIGHLY recommend these three books lately: The Miniaturist, My Notorious Life and The Invention of Wings. Since you just gave birth, My Notorious Life might be a fun choice. (Midwifery related). Happy Reading!

  • Jen December 29, 2014, 7:06 pm

    Looks like so much fun in Disney!
    I have read some great books for my book club. Last month was “The Art of Hearing Heartbeats'” (doesn’t it seem like every book these days starts with “the art of….”?). Now we are reading Calling Me Home. Both are fantastic. Looking forward to hearing about your books!

  • Melissa December 29, 2014, 7:35 pm

    A Prayer for Owen Meany and The Book Thief! I love Disney and am so impressed you loaded up 2 kids and headed out. My daughter doesn’t even like a 3 hour trip for her 3 year old.

  • Jamie December 29, 2014, 8:13 pm

    I love the goal! One of my resolutions this year was to read 40 books in 2014 and I am half way through #33…not quite there but close. And I totally agree with you…I spend too much time watching reruns of Sex and the City and playing on the internet. I really enjoy reading and think it is much healthier for my brain. Good luck with 52!

  • Autumn December 29, 2014, 8:41 pm

    I love reading and I spend a lot of the time at the library. My little guy likes to sleep on me when he breastfeeds so I always have a book close by. Here are some good ones I have read recently. Orange is the New Black, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant (it is a comic book style book but not a comic book, very funny), My Accidental Jihad, Beyond Belief (a girl who breaks out of Scientology), The Sqwaking Chicken (seriously funny). I love reading memoirs. I hope you find some good ones. I take pictures of all the books I read just so I remember. And I like to see how many I have read over time.

  • Mandy B December 29, 2014, 8:47 pm

    I am just so impressed by your spontaneity as parents of a toddler AND newborn. As my first (and only) child nears age one, it’s good to see other parents get out and live life amidst all the schedules, etc. I think one of my resolutions will be to do more as a family and try to become more flexible. I think it will get easier as I gain confidence as a mother – at least I hope it does!

  • Luv What You Do December 29, 2014, 9:57 pm

    I just posted about some great books. I highly recommend Sharp Objects, Reconstructing Amelia, WILD, The Kitchen House…if you haven’t already. Good luck! Can’t wait to see what you read.

  • Laura T. December 29, 2014, 10:40 pm

    Looks like fun!
    Book recommendations: The Goldfinch, Americanah, Wild, Zeitoun, Let the Great World Spin.

    • Neeltje December 30, 2014, 1:19 pm

      Agree with Wild! My absolute favorite of 2014: Life after Life by Kate Atkinson. It reminds me of the oldie but goodie Atonement by Ian McEwan.

  • Amy @ Army Amy December 30, 2014, 12:03 am

    Great goal! My goal this year was to read 60 books. I just finished #58. I might try to squeeze in one more, but I’m running out of time! Things that have helped me: Goodreads, getting suggestions from people with similar taste in books, quitting books that I’m not enjoying, always taking my current book with me when I’m out and about (little pockets of reading time add up!). Good luck and happy reading!

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed December 30, 2014, 9:32 am

    That is so awesome that you planned a last minute spontaneous trip! Disney is so fun and that app was super helpful when I was there in the beginning of December! Of course when I was there we weren’t doing any swimming since it was only in the 60s during the day (and the 40s at night, yikes)!

    One of my resolutions is to read a book a month. And that will be A LOT for me haha. My list starts with The Help and Orange is the New Black.

  • alan December 30, 2014, 11:38 am

    Sounds like a great trip. Congrats on being able to do it, and surprising Mr. Henry. And I would love to add (without sounding all creepy) how amazing and healthy you look. We men would never be able to be pregnant in the first place (too much complaining), let alone take care of a kid or two, bounce around, and have our bodies return to “normal”. I have been trying for “normal” for years LOL.

    I hope you feel as healthy and happy as you look. Thanks for sharing the pictures and memories with your virtual family here. Happy NY.

  • Krista December 30, 2014, 11:47 am

    My NYR for 2014 was to read 26 books….so 2 a month. I really wanted to focus on less screen time over the year. And it worked! I’m just on the last pages of book 28. 🙂

  • Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork December 30, 2014, 2:26 pm

    That’s so crazy you just got in the car and went to Disney for Christmas! Such a foreign idea for someone who lives so far away as Disney requires all kinds of planning. Looks like it was a great way to spend the day and I’m sure it’s a Christmas that Henry will never forget.
    I would suggest Unbroken (though I’m not seeing the movie-doesn’t look like it has the same tone or mood at all!), Gone Girl, the Game of Thrones series (though each book is incredibly long and will likely take you more than a week each), The Red Tent, Freakonomics, Cutting for Stone, Cold Mountain, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series, Middlesex, She’s Come Undone, White Oleander, Empire Falls, The Cider House Rules…I could go on and on! Can’t wait to see what you end up reading!

  • Eva @ All Books Considered December 30, 2014, 3:03 pm

    I have a book blog so this question is right up my alley!

    Here are my top adult books of 2014 and my top YA/NA books of 2014.

    I highly recommend using Goodreads to track your books — then you will have a counter for every book you read and can make any notes about whether you liked the book or not to reflect at the end of the year!

    Good luck!!

  • Rebecca December 30, 2014, 3:55 pm

    I just read Quiet by Susan Cain (twice) and really appreciated some of the history she includes in the book along with research into introversion. I’m thinking about reading the Maze Runner series, and maybe Ender’s Game. I saw the movie, but the books tend to be more interesting to me, lol.

    My parents read me the same book so many times when I was little that I knew what words were on which pages before I could actually read by myself. I think it helped spark my love of books, even though I don’t read as many as I used to. Hopefully I can change that in 2015. I found a challenge that suggests you read a different kind of book (like one set in your hometown, etc) in a year. I’ll probably have some trouble with a couple of them, but it’ll be interesting to see if I can read some of them, and how many I can read in 2015.

  • Jen December 30, 2014, 4:43 pm

    Ooh, fun resolution! I recommend Landline by Rainbow..,I can’t remember her last name! A fun read, though, and it involves love and family and a magic phone. Have you read anything by Barbara O’neal? All You Can Dream Buffet is about bloggers! And I really liked The Rosie Project and love everything by Elizabeth Berg. I’m done now, ha!

  • char eats greens December 30, 2014, 4:57 pm

    We did the parade the week before Christmas and my in-laws treat us to it every year! I love it, especially now that my daughter is two and really loves it (umm, Mickey is her soulmate haha). We did a lot of the same rides as you too!! I didn’t get use out of the app this year, but I’ll definitely have it up and going next year!!

  • Samantha December 30, 2014, 5:35 pm

    On book two of the Outlander series and love them! Difficult to follow along with the history as I’m not a big history buff but definitely takes me to another world!

  • Bobbie December 31, 2014, 8:30 am

    If you haven’t already read it I recommend The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. It is an important read for any woman. It teaches you to use your intuition.

  • Aerevyn December 31, 2014, 11:42 am

    Book I just found about weeding out what doesn’t work, so you can make room for what gives you joy:

    The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

  • Aimee @ Aim for Healthy Bites January 1, 2015, 4:43 pm

    Such an awesome resolution. I am such a slow reader so I could never pull that off. I don’t think I have read a book for me that wasn’t some sort of parenting book or cookbook in the last two years. Someday I will read again..someday. Until then, we enjoy about a million childrens books a day at our house. My son absolutely loves reading so we read before and after every nap and bedtime. The library has been essential for keeping our material new and interesting.

  • Reshma January 2, 2015, 10:53 am

    Some of my quick(er) reads that I’d recommend:
    My Beloved World (autobiography of Sonia Sotomayor)
    The Moth
    Gang Leader for a Day
    Working in the Shadows
    I am Malala
    Checklist Manifesto
    A Long Way Gone
    Game Change
    Behind the Beautiful Forevers

    Fiction – YA:
    A Prayer for Owen Meany
    From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E…
    Boy in the Striped Pajamas

    Cutting for Stone
    Ender’s Game
    We Need to talk about Kevin
    Defending Jacob
    The Submission
    The Round House
    Americanah (or any of Adichie’s books really)
    The Lowland (again, any of Lahiri’s books)
    We Need New Names

  • Trinda January 2, 2015, 2:34 pm

    My New Years Resolutions are: To limit procrastination and to make more of an effort to keep in touch with friends who live away. Nothing fitness related either!

  • Marta January 7, 2015, 8:17 am

    If you’re looking for a great new dystopian novel with some zombie action – “Panther in the Hive” by Olivia A Cole is great, a young new author. I just started it 48 hours ago and couldn’t put it down!!

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