Our Disneyland Spring Break Vacation

We had the time of our lives on a three-day vacation to Disneyland! Last Sunday, we told the kids that we were going to a very early church service and as they were about to jump into the car we told them we were going to Disneyland instead. You should have seen their faces!

Along with my parents we arrived at the airport at 7am for an early flight to Orange County. It was Nolan’s first plane ride and besides being way too large to be a lap child, he was perfect! I’m telling you, this kid makes life with three so much fun (and actually not too difficult). When we landed, we persuaded my parents to give Uber a try for the first-time. It took a bit of convincing since my mom is certain that everyone is “out to steal her credit card” and Uber is no exception but after one ride, they are now believers.

We arrived at the hotel, dropped off our bags and boarded a shuttle to Disneyland! We were inside the Disneyland Park gates just in time to eat lunch with Darth Vader. Perfect timing! Below are some photos and stories from our Disneyland vacation. I had a hard time narrowing down photos for this post, so apologies for the photo overload.

 

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As I was waiting for Ryan and the kids to finish up a ride, Nolan and I were walking up and down Main Street. I was people watching and he was chasing anyone who had a balloon. About five minutes later, he decided to sit in the MIDDLE of Main Street. I apologized to about 50 people who had to walk around him, but then noticed that everyone smiled the minute they saw him. There is something about a cute pudgy baby that no one can resist.

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Our favorite California residents Aunt Lauren and Uncle Brian drove down from Los Angeles to meet us for dinner. About seven minutes into this plate of spaghetti I realized that I forgot to pack two important things: Nolan’s bib and my makeup bag. Looking back on this photo, the bib was missed the most.

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It took this picture just as we arrived at California Adventure Park. Since Kelsey “remembers more” from the last time she was here, she took Colton’s finger and started pointing at all of the sights – explaining to him, “this is this and that is that” – it was so incredibly cute! And, believe it or not, these two got along the ENTIRE trip. Not one fight between them. If you have two kids close in age you know how miraculous this is!

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*Colton is pointing to Cross street. 🙂

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Nolan woke up from his nap, jumped out of his stroller and strutted around Cars Land. This was the cutest moment … he looks like such a man on a mission.

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Talk about the thrill of the ride, these kids were obsessed with all of the exhilarating rides like Thunder Mountain. Which was so interesting to me because the last time we went to Disneyworld (seen here) they were more into the characters than the rides. It’s funny how quickly their interests change.

Ryan and I were riding Thunder Mountain with Kelsey and Colton – if you have been on this ride, then you know it’s a jerky rollercoaster with a lot of turns and dips – and, I don’t love rollercoasters, in fact, I’m pretty terrified of heights so I’m not the best one to partner up with. Anyway, as we were on our second dip my eyes began to water. This is new, I thought. Must be something that happens when you get old (ha!) but then Kelsey turned to me and I noticed her eyes were watering too. She and I busted out laughing and the boys just looked at us like we were insane. Guess that’s a genetic thing we do … we cry on rides.

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I love this photo. Colton’s face is so sweet, innocent and filled with joy. Ryan’s got our 18 month old on his own horse. And, if you look closely, you’ll noticed Ryan is strapped in. Yep. He is THE ONLY adult in history that uses a seatbelt on a merry-go-round horse. That’s my husband, folks. Mr. Safety First.

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I tried so hard to stay away from desserts on this trip, but when your son hands you his incredibly messy and melting Mickey Mouse ice cream and says he “is done” you kind of just devour the rest of it without thinking. And the churros … don’t even get me started on the churros.

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*That moment you realize you’re on a baby ride.

Bug’s Land was a trip. The kids loved the bumper cars but after Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain, the Bug’s Land “rollercoaster” just didn’t cut it. However, if you get the chance, do the Bug’s Life 3D movie. It was incredible and the kids enjoyed every second of it.

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*Spring was in full bloom at the park.

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* What happens when Grandpa is in charge of getting breakfast

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The kids wanted to go on Space Mountain (whose kids are these?) and Ryan snapped this photo just before we boarded the ride. Colton’s face symbolizes how he felt going in … and coming out. He wasn’t a fan but Kelsey took about 30 seconds to regroup and then asked if she could ride it again. Little thrill seekers, I tell you.

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My dad bought the kids these Mickey bubble wands. They light up at night and put out a gazillion bubbles. It added to the magic. Thank you, dad. And thank you for buying three of these things (Colton lost his first one on our last evening so Grandpa replaced it).

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I have so many great memories from this trip, but the Electric Light Parade was particularly special. I remember seeing this same parade with parents when I was little, and here I am watching it with them and my husband and three children.

I twisted my ankle during a workout the day before we left for Disneyland (good timing, I know) and about 45 minutes before the parade started my ankle gave out on me. I told Ryan I would just sit alongside the street with Nolan to save our seats while he rode some rides with the kids. For awhile it was just Nolan and I in the center of Main Street watching the sun set over the Park. It was a special moment because Nolan just lit up my heart with his giggles as he danced in the middle of the street to the music. Moments later Ryan arrived with a churro in hand (he loves me so!) and we bundled up to watch the parade.

Disneyland has given me so many magical memories over my lifetime and this is another one I won’t forget.

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*No more pictures, mom!

There is something about Disneyland that gives parents freedom from judgement. Am I right? It’s like, if your child is throwing a tantrum or screaming in the middle of the restaurant … it doesn’t matter because everyone around you is in the same boat. At Disneyland, it’s like you’re in a safe zone because everyone around you “gets it”. I wish the world was more like that, don’t you? No judgement for parents. Just everyone living for the moment.

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I snapped this photo on our last night from the top of Tarzan’s tree house. We were climbing up the treehouse when I happened to glance back and see this gorgeous sight and it’s one I will never forget.

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And that’s a wrap! The kids (and my mom) have already started to plan for Disneyworld 2019. We have plans to go back to Florida with my brothers and sister-in-law. Maybe for Ryan’s 40th birthday? He wants to go to Europe, but maybe we’ll end up at Epcot instead. Or, maybe I can convince him to invest in both. Wish me luck on that!

Our New Family Travel Tradition

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It’s no surprise to anyone that I love taking photos. But, what I haven’t been good at is printing these photos. Especially after a family vacation. I usually have hundreds of pictures that I don’t really know what to do with. Pair that with the fact that I love going over to my mom’s house and flipping through shelves upon shelves of our (printed) family photo albums.

Rewind to a few months ago when I discovered Artifact Uprising – an online company specializing in photo books, prints and photo gifts. It was like I found my soul mate. I found a company who also loves the tangible and actually inspires people to get photos off of their phones and into print.

I’m nearly a year late to the game, but I recently took our Disneyworld family vacation photos (from December 2014!!) off of my computer and into a coffee table book. The book just arrived and I’m overwhelmed with how great it turned out. The quality is amazing. It’s 50 pages of memories that I will cherish, forever.

In fact, it made me start a new tradition: Every time we travel as a family, I’m going to make a new coffee table book. My goal is to have my kids look back years later and see an entire bookshelf filled with memories of the places we’ve ventured to. I would encourage your family to do the same. It’s easy and fun to create.

Here are some of my favorite pages! 

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I love this photo of Kelsey riding the monorail. She was looking at the Park with such wonder.

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Colton threw a tantrum (top left photo) but the minute he saw Snow White, it was like nothing else mattered.

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Hands down, my favorite two photos of the entire book. We were window shopping on Main Street and the entire street was lit up for the holidays. It was magic.

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Thank you, Artifact Uprising, for making this process so incredibly easy. And for having instagram-friendly books too for those times I don’t bring my DSLR along for the ride. I can’t wait for our next family adventure!

My Little California Girl

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We recently visited my soon-to-be sister in law in Newport Beach to celebrate her bridal shower (pics here) and while we were there, Kelsey and my mom visited the beach, naturally.

It was cold, but that made it even better because we had the beach to ourselves. It was Kelsey’s first time at the beach (since she was old enough to remember it) and it truly was a memorable day.

We splashed. We ran. We dipped our toes in. And this mom freaked out when I realized that five-year olds have no fear and just run straight for the water. Kelsey’s newest stuffed animal ,”Elsa” came along too. Here are some pictures from our day at Newport Beach.

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See all the seashells? She was on her hands and knees picking up every. single. shell that she could find. Thank you to The St. Regis Monarch Beach for gifting us this adorable sand bucket and shovel. It helped us pick “a thousand” seashells. And the gold nail polish? Her polish of choice at the salon earlier that day. I actually loved it on her, great taste this one has.

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We were on our way back to the car when we spotted this amazing brownie in the window of the Stuft Surfer Cafe. We had to go in and check it out. It kind of had our name written all over it.

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As we were walking out we ran into a couple who had a real life Elsa Boo dog! Kelsey introduced her dog to this one, named Nola. It was so cute! Thanks to this couple for letting us have five minutes with your dog.

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What a great day this was with my favorite girls! Until we meet again, California. It’s been real!

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The Travel Hat: Park City Window Shopping

Take me back to Park City, Utah! Where the weather was much, much, much cooler! Where I could walk around outside in (gasp) the summer. And where my kids and I weren’t over heating from the moment that we stepped out of the car.

Park City was much prettier than I remember it to be. It felt like there was history on every corner. I loved the bright-colored buildings, all the window shopping and our little pit stop in The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

During our vacation we had lunch in this little cute town. But (after the fact) I was told Java Cow Coffee & Ice Cream was THE place to be. Guess we’ll try it next time.

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Look at my man’s sleepy eyes in this photo. As you can guess, the minute we got back to the car he fell asleep. I got to carry him all the way to his room as he cuddled on my shoulder.

All of the resort guests “oohed” and “awed” when we walked by. And I just held him tighter and kept whispering in his ear how much I love him. *Insert very happy mommy moment.

The Foodie Hat: Dairy Keen in Heber City

If you are ever in Park City – spend an extra 20 minutes and drive to Heber City. Park your car. Get out and run into line at Dairy Keen. Order yourself a burger, German Chocolate shake, onion rings, French fries with “Utah fry sauce”.

Then, find a spot outside (either outside on the patio or in one of the train cars) and remind yourself to not “count” today’s meal. That would just ruin the fun. It’s seriously the best burgers I have had in a long time. Colton loved all of the attention and Kelsey and I loved all of the food.

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The Family Hat: Where We’ve Been

We’ve spent the last 4 days relaxing in Deer Valley, Utah. It’s beautiful there. We spent our days mountainside, poolside, fireside and cocktailside (?).

Once I get my bags unpacked, I’ll post some of my pictures and stories. I’m a little bummed that we have to come back to reality. Vacation withdrawl is an actual thing, right?

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The Family Hat: Disneyland Secret Spot

While in Disneyland, Ryan and I stumbled upon an amazing spot for toddlers. It’s a spot near Frontierland (Santa’s playground during the holidays). There are reindeer there, Pluto is there, but most importantly, there is a quiet resting spot for the kids.

There are picnic tables a plenty with coloring books and crayons. Why so excited you ask? Because it was a quiet little spot to escape the chaos, the crowd and the noise for just a few moments and rest. And besides, being our first day at Disneyland, these first-time parent feet welcomed a little R&R.

You can read more here.

I love the photo above because she could careless that Pluto is just steps away. In fact, Pluto came up to her many times throughout the trip and every time she would look and him, look at me and then scrunch up her nose and say, “I don’t like it.” I would look at her and say, “Honey, you don’t like Pluto?” to which she would reply, “no” followed by, “mommy, find Mickey.”