Saturday, September 30, 2017

Disneyland 2017

We were so happy and lucky to spend 4 days at Disneyland and California Adventure (the first and last days were half-days) this year. When I was in the depths of my very consuming project for work, all I could think about was how I wanted to take the kids to Disneyland once it was all over. I couldn't wait to see it through their eyes, to witness Bennett's first real visit. We invited the family to join us, and Judy and my brother's family were able to join!

I've never seen Disneyland all decorated for Halloween so it was so fun to see all the pumpkins and fall decor! The weather hadn't gotten the fall memo, however, and it was very warm in the parks on the days we were there!

Bennett got his wish and was able to ride the carousel for his first ride! Not only that, but he rode on the bench of the carousel! He is so funny - he just loves the bench/sleigh!

I loved these pictures from the Autopia ride, where Bennett could hardly see over the steering wheel!

This was the Buzz Lightyear ride where you shoot lasers at targets and bad guys. This is the one that June got scared in when she first came to Disney, so I was a little hesitant. She ran off to ride with Kai and had a blast. I had warned Bennett about the ride and showed him a video of it on YouTube, and he did great too. He shot his laser gun and shouted and laughed and was so fun in it!

We rode the Jungle Cruise a couple times - it's just so pleasant and fun!

I loved getting to see the whole park through the eyes of the kids. They LOVED having their cousin Kai there. These two would argue over who got to sit next to Kai on just about every ride.

Kai was so sweet with Bennett, too. He kept picking him up and holding him, and I was impressed because Bennett is a full half of Kai's weight!

We ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant outside under some twinkle lights. It was so pleasant and beautiful, and I was just so happy to be there with the family!

One day the kids wore their Star Wars costumes and Michael and I wore our Start Wars shirts. Kai happened to wear his Star Wars shirt that day too!

That was the day we went to California Adventure.

We managed to sneak Bennett onto the Cars Land ride! He hadn't passed the 40" marker for a different ride, but he wanted to go on this ride so bad! So we might have added some *supplements* to his sneakers to get him that extra boost and he passed his way onto the ride! :)

One of my favorite rides was Grizzly River Run, which was like a white water rapids type ride. Bennett was too little to go on it, so he went with Michael and Alison while the rest of us took to the rapids. We all agreed that it might be nice to get a little wet on that hot day, but Judy said she just didn't want her pants to be fully wet. Well we got on our little boat and on the first big dip and poor Judy just got soaked. And then again, and then again. And - I couldn't help it - I was almost in tears laughing at just the terrible luck of poor Judy, and how JP and I just kept yelling "NO GRAMMY NO" each time she got soaked. But I got my comeuppance from laughing so hard because my hat flew off my head at the last big drop and it was lost to the rapids! So long, wide brimmed hat! I hope you enjoy your freedom in the rapids.

We split up for a little bit after that. JP's family went on some bigger rides while we took our little kids to the Disney Jr. dance party. We wanted to get out of the sun for a bit. June was decidedly NOT happy to be leaving Kai and didn't want to go to the show, but even she couldn't resist the beats of the dance party. We picked up some ice cream and hung out in the Animation Studio to watch the videos about animation on all the big screens.

June's first ever roller coaster was Big Thunder Mountain. Poor Bennett didn't make it past the height requirement, so Grammy took him on the Mark Twain river boat. June was so excited, but nervous in the moment we stepped on the ride. I love this picture of her giving the thumbs up because we didn't prompt her to do it, and the expression on her face is like the opposite of a thumbs up.

But as soon as we got off the ride, she asked if we could ride it again. JP, Kai and Alison walked up right as it happened, so we all rode it again! While we were on it, June was shouting "I LOVE THIS RIDE" and she ultimately said it was her favorite of the trip.

 We got Dole Whips! My first one ever!

The other ride we were able to get Bennett onto even though he might not have passed the height requirement under natural circumstances was Splash Mountain. It was so fun because, with two people sitting together in the back, the seven of us on the ride were able to fit on one log plume together!

As you can see, June was very excited! But as we got closer to the big drop, she got pretty nervous. She asked me to hold her, but it was a little hard since I was already holding onto Bennett. So this picture shows all three of us back there. June looks terrified but I assure you that she enjoyed it, laughed with us about getting sprayed and said she'd ride it again. JP is a downright professional at posing for this pictures. 

 JP and Bennett in line for Pirates of the Caribbean, which we rode a couple of times.

On the last day we only had a few hours in the park, so we were really chill about getting in a few last rides. JP, Alison and Kai broke off to ride the Haunted Mansion (too spooky for the kids) so we went back over to California Adventure so June could ride the swings, which she had her heart set on.

I was really proud of June. She rode on everything (except for some that I didn't think she should - a la Haunted Mansion). Last time we went she had gotten scared on some rides, but this time she conquered all her fears. I heard her whisper to Bennett - but maybe more to herself - on Pirates that, "They aren't real. They're just statues that have batteries."

There were definitely challenging moments! The first two days were pretty crowded, and definitely warmer that I would have preferred. We didn't take Bennett back to the hotel for naps (he wouldn't have gone without June) so the evenings tended to get a little testy. It was mostly dinner time where he would get really squirrely and be set off at the slightest provocation. He was so tired by the end of the trip that he fell asleep on the plane - I couldn't believe it.

But we got some real treasured memories. I'm so glad we could go on this trip with JP's family and Judy. My mouth is watering thinking of all those churros, ice creams, beignets, Dole Whips and other treats we had. I loved this trip and love this family of mine!

Friday, September 29, 2017

San Diego Fall Vacation

We didn't have a chance to take a big summer vacation this year. Michael had a lot going on for work, and I had a huge project that was being implemented in July. So we held off and instead scheduled two vacations for September - family camp and a trip to southern California.

The first few days we spent with some great friends - Russell, Alexa and Rowan. We spent one day at the San Diego Zoo, but most of the time we spent hanging out at their house, playing with toys and catching up over drinks, dinner and a little fire in the fire pit.

We had a great time and loved getting to spend time with our friends!

Photo by June! :)

Friday, September 15, 2017

School Activities

We are lucky with the schools that we have the kids in. Lucky to have a really great elementary school for June, and lucky to just even get a spot in an after school program and daycare for Bennett.

One of Bennett's favorite things is to play music with various instruments, especially guitars. So since he found out on day one that his daycare has a full size guitar that he can use, drop-offs were never an issue. I would often come to pick him up and find him playing the guitar. Sometimes he would have talked another kid into being his audience. Sometimes he'd be playing all alone. He is so sweet.

June's Star Wars themed Bingo night...

June's Jog-a-Thon...

June's after school program's Spring Concert...

Love getting to see the kids with all their friends!