Someone’s Happiest Place on Earth

Peter and I have been kicking around the idea of a trip to Disneyland since Baylor realized it was an actual place. Niether of us are big Disneyland people and anything that involves a line or crowd, we’re out. And not to mention the planning that goes into a trip – holy moly. That part alone made me want a nap. But after deciding that Auggie was going to sit this trip out, it became a little more manageable. And after surveying Facebook friends (hello 31 detailed comments) and the Disney Expert, Stephanie C at Many Hats Of a Mom,  I had a plan.

I’m going to give a lot of credit for our trip to PW. He came with his game face on – and by that I mean he was relaxed, easy going and up for anything. Which made me feel the same way. Long lines didn’t make us groan, prices didn’t make us cry and vacation rules were in full effect. The only negative thing I heard the whole weekend was when he was taking a work call standing in line at the Matterhorn, and really it was hilarious when he said “well, I’m standing in someone’s idea of the happiest place on earth”.

So. I’m here to pass along the favor and offer up my Disneyland trip tips – enjoy!


1. Ask your friends

FaceBook comments after asking for recommendations for Disneyland told me just about everything I needed to know. I was overwhelmed by the options available so asking for the do’s and don’ts from friends was a life saver!

2. Plan just a bit

I created a spreadsheet of all the recommendations and was trying to figure out how to fit everything into our two day trip. Instead, I decided to scale back. This was not going to be our last trip to Disney so fitting in every option wasn’t necessary. We decided to buy a one park pass (you can go to either Disneyland or California adventure, just not on the same day), book breakfast with the characters and the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique. The rest we would leave to chance and book something spur of the moment if we wanted to.

2. Adopt Vacation Rules

Let it ride. Ice cream for breakfast? Sure! Skip a nap? Absolutely. Letting go of the day to day rules makes the trip more fun and a lot more relaxed.

4. Do the free stuff

It’s easy to forget how fun the free stuff can be. We stayed for the parade and it was great. It was a good excuse to sit down in the shade and eat ice cream to save our seats. We didn’t make it to the fireworks, but I’m sure the same rules apply.

5. Go to the pool

When Peter told me to pack a suit, I almost ignored him. I thought there would be no way we’d have enough time to go to the pool. But we did and B was thrilled. Plus there was a great bar making the most delicious boat drinks. We also met our Canadian counterparts. They had kids almost the same age as us and they were having some work done to their house as well while on vacation. We talked Restoration Hardware over margaritas and swapped Disneyland tips.

6. Bring a stroller

Baylor never rides the jogger so I wasn’t sure it was going to be necessary. But thank heavens we brought it. It made cross park treks so much easier and no one had to carry her along.

7. Pinterest

Because you needed another reason to waste a nap time on Pinterest, right? We were behind a little girl in line and she had a few board books of her favorite characters. She explained that she took them with her to meet the Disney Princesses and had them sign each book for her. Such a cute idea! I’m sure it could go to crazy town real quick, but it might be cute for some memory making ideas.

Not One More

Listening to Richard Martinez speak after his son was killed in the Santa Barbara shootings gave me chills. And not the good kind. When he asked when does the madness end?? When do we decide that we don’t have to live this way?!  – the words echoed in my head.

Why do we think we need to live this way? Why does sending our kids to college, high school even preschool have to be tainted with the fear that someone may make a horrible decision and our kids would be sacrificed? And for what?

Now before you get up on the second amendment horse, you should know that we are gun owners. I grew up in a house with guns and I have shot guns of all kinds since I was a child. I was taught that they were not only dangerous, they are capable of complete destruction and that they should always be treated with caution and respect. Peter has been through the training to obtain a concealed weapon permit and is an avid hunter. So,we get it.

This is a call to a conversation from both sides to figure out what we can do to prevent further shootings. And honestly, not limiting ownership can’t be a solution. Some people should not have guns. Period. And just because people could steal guns is not a reason not to have some controls in place. You have to have a license to have a car. You have to have that car registered. Yes that car may be stolen, but if we didn’t have laws against stealing cars, how would we prosecute a thief? No action is not a solution. Something has to be done. We don’t have to live this way and more importantly, we shouldn’t live this way.

I signed a post card on asking our law makers to do something. Gabby Gifford’s Americans for Responsible Solutions is working to tighten criminal background checks and stop gun trafficking. We have to start somewhere. Our politicians need to know that Peter and I who are registered voters, gun owners and parents want change. We want a safer place for our kids and that they can’t let people like Joe the Plumber talking about how dead children don’t trump his right to own a gun scare them into not acting.

Do something. Say something. Not One More.

She’s One of Us

Baylor’s end of the year packet from school contained a self portrait she created in January. There was a note from her teachers on it – apparently she drew her picture from the feet up. They said all the years they’ve been teaching, they’ve never seen a kid start at the bottom.

PW and I didn’t know what to make of the comment – does that mean she’s creative? Thinks outside the box? Or is she destined to be a crazy cat lady?

Leave it to Noni to put it into perspective. When I showed my mom, her response was “She’s clearly one of us – her heart is in her stomach!”

So from the feet up to the head, down – at least her heart is in the right place 🙂

b self portrait

She’s One of Us

Baylor’s end of the year packet from school contained a self portrait she created in January. There was a note from her teachers on it – apparently she drew her picture from the feet up. They said all the years they’ve been teaching, they’ve never seen a kid start at the bottom.

PW and I didn’t know what to make of the comment – does that mean she’s creative? Thinks outside the box? Or is she destined to be a crazy cat lady?

Leave it to Noni to put it into perspective. When I showed my mom, her response was “She’s clearly one of us – her heart is in her stomach!”

So from the feet up to the head, down – at least her heart is in the right place 🙂

b self portrait

Last Day

This year’s last day of school kind of snuck up on me. Really, we’ve been running hard the last few weeks with school activities…this year feels a little more like crossing the finish line of a marathon – it’s relief rather than saddness!

It’s been a tough year. It was our first experience with “life’s tough, get a helmet” type teachers. It was not the greatest experience – but – it was a great lesson in how to get along and make the best of a less than perfect situation. And really, I’d rather do that now in 3 day a week preschool than when it really matters.

In looking back over teh year, I realized how much B has learned. At the beginning of the year, she could spell her name, but not identify it. Now she can read it, write it and write any word you spell for her. I was in awe as I dictated a thank you note to her and she not only wanted to write it, but could write it! Her hand writting has become legible, her drawings more precise and her vocabulary is a crack up. I’m a little worried about her use of the word lure…as in “I’m going to lure Auggie in here with some crackers”.

Watching her imagination, comprehension and verbal skills grow is amazing and so fun to watch. Although the days of not being able to spell the words I don’t want her to hear is rapidly approaching. I think PW and I should probably look into developing our own language.

Wow. It’s not until you look at August v May that I can see how much she’s grown!

(Also, it’s pajama day at school. The Uggs were a fight I could not win. Yes it is going to be 95 degrees today.)

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This picture sums up our whole trip. We were in line at the gates when the park opened Friday morning and were on the first ride of the day on the Astro Blaster. And this was our girl’s face waiting in line. It was all I needed to know that she was over the moon that we were finally in Disneyland!


Man. Not sure if my look could scream “I’m a MOM ON VACATION!!” any louder. Oh wait, I was carrying the camera that Peter was using…


If Autopia is any representation of how Baylor will drive at 16, we are in serious, serious trouble.

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Brave B rode the Matterhorn and then we ventured to Pixie Hollow for some face painting


Since the day Baylor was born, all Mamie could talk about was taking her to ride the Tea Cups. So we saved a seat for her.


On a recommendation, we hit the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique. Thankfully part of the recommendation was to bring our own dress. She came in looking like Baylor and went out looking like Cinderella!



 And After!

IMG_6453How cute are the clips?



So the thing I didn’t know about Disneyland is that the characters don’t really walk around any more. You have to go to them and visit. Which is guess is nice because you know you’ll get to see them…but the fact you wait in line for an hour+ is not so fun.


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Finally, Minnie herself!

(Side note – B is a little bit terrified of the characters with costume heads. Good to know when you’ve just paid several hundred dollars to see CHARACTERS WITH COSTUME HEADS)


And because we couldn’t get enough waiting in line, we saw Mickey too


Thankfully the wait to see Tinkerbell was much shorter. And honestly more fun because Tinkerbell talks unlike Mickey and Minnie. Which was Baylor’s immediate response after meeting Minnie. We were really dumb kids and that thought never really occured to me. PW and I were tap dancing for answers…we landed on the fact that she’s a cartoon and can only talk on TV. The look on her face said she wasn’t buying it, but she stopped asking – phew.

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She is so our daughter. 10 seconds after these two girls sat down, she was in the middle of them introducing herself. IMG_6475 IMG_6480

By dumb luck, we caught Cinderella walking towards her castle!

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The new and improved Mickey Mouse Ears.

Until next time Disneyland! And by next time I mean like 3+ years from now!

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Brilliantly Stupid

A few weeks ago, we (ok, that’s a royal we. It’s more like decided and then wore PW down until he finally agreed surrendered) that it was time to paint our house.  Like the whole house. Our paint had been battered, bruised, slapped with pureed spinach, scraped, sunburned and whatever else happens to a house with a collective 3 dogs, two kids and countless shin digs over the last 7 years. The breaking point was when I went to hang our new Jake Early  pictures, only to discover that the prints that were already on the wall had left discolored squares behind them.

But how? When? I had a vision of Auggie and Mac walking through a paint tray and then finally getting some actual progress made during nap time only to realize it was time to pack up and go get Baylor from preschool. PW acknowledged the only way to do it was to either hammer it out over a few free weekends (which we don’t have) or hire someone.

But how to organize a full house painting, drywall touch ups around nap time, lunch time, dinner time, play time? And then it hit me – Disneyland. We had our trip to Disney planned a few weeks out and the painter agreed he could get it all done (and then did, which is amazing in itself). The plan was both brilliant and insane because on top of planning and packing for our trip, we were literally moving out of our house. Everything off the walls and that was near a wall that could be lifted went out the door to the garage. You never know how much crap you really have…

Long story short – neither the painting nor the trip could have gone better! Peter said a few times “man, your planning has totally paid off!” which is the best complement from mister “we’ll figure it out”.  House pictures to follow when someone finishes my mirror…get that PW?

But first – Disneyland!



Some day it will be a common diagnosis. Someday it will be recognized as a real disease. Someday there will be a support group where individuals declare that they too, fell prey to an episode about re-tiling a bathroom and they now have to bathe in the kitchen sink because they only have concrete board on their shower walls.

That illness? That problem? It’s called HGTV. It’s a dangerous drug that sucks unsuspecting and often crafty but mostly completely unskilled people in. It convinces them that they too can redecorate their living room in an hour and for $10. They CAN lay a new tile floor. They WILL repaint their house in a day and that full scale remodels happen in a weekend.

And I’m here today, standing among my peers to tell you that I too have HGTVaTosis. I drank the Kool Aid. I took the bait…and while my results were good, I’m afraid it’s a gateway drug. Because now that the living room is done, I want to paint the  kitchen cabinets. And the sideboard. And make a headboard. And add on a room to our house. And and and…

Pictures to follow once we move back into our house.  Because when the painting gets tough, the tough go to Disneyland.

That will make sense too, promise.