My Little California Girl

california trip

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.

California

California

California

California 4

California Trip with Kelsey

California trip

Mom and daughter on beach

Seashells

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.

California 5

California vacation with kids

boo stuffed animal at the beach

newport beach

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.

newport beach

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.

California with kids

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

newport beach vacation

The Travel Hat: Disneyland Photos

I love fall. I love Disneyland. It was like the stars aligned for this trip. Two weeks ago we went to Disneyland with Kelsey. I was there for a work trip so we decided to make the most of it.

Ryan flew out with Kelsey and away we went. We bought a three-day pass and used every minute of it. And even more exciting is seeing the Park from your child’s eyes.

We went on the Ariel ride (about 5 times) and just before our first ride, Kelsey would turn to us and say, “When we see Ursula, we have to cover our mouth so she won’t take our voice!” See what I mean. Just too cute for words.

disneyland at halloween time

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big thunder ranch barbecue

We went to Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue for dinner on our first night. It’s family style barbecue food (and oh-so good!). They had great country singers, we sat outdoors and there were pumpkins all around. Kelsey’s favorite part were the tongs on the table. Go figure.

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disneyland with kidsdisneyland with kidsClick on this picture to enlarge it. There’s something so nostalgic about it. Maybe it’s the guy in stripes. Maybe it’s the bouquet of balloons. Or, maybe it’s the castle in the background. Whatever it was, I really liked this moment and had to snap a photo.

disneyland with kids

disneyland with kidsKelsey’s two heroes: Dad and Peter Pan. I’m pretty sure my daughter was the only girl in the Park carrying around Peter Pan. Two years ago, all she wanted was Mickey. This year, it is all about Peter Pan and the Princesses.

disneyland with kids disneyland with kidsdisneyland with kidsThere is something about heights and going round and round in a circle that doesn’t do it for me. But, Kelsey’s G-ma told her that she had to ride Dumbo and the Tea Cups so away we went.

For the record, I stayed on the ground and Ryan took one for the team on Dumbo. It’s a classic. You can’t come to Disneyland without riding the elephant.

disneyland with kids

After day one, we had been on Dumbo, Tea Cups, Alice & Wonderland, met some characters, visited Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue and the nearby Halloween Fall Carnival.  And to think our day started at 2pm.

We went to Cars Land too. We had no idea who the Cars were, but the rides were so much fun. We at ice cream at “Cozy Cone Motel”. It’s this super cute outdoor eating area where the buildings are orange traffic cones. The cones light up at night and it makes for a great spot to end the day with dessert.

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disneyland shirt

There came a point during our trip, when Kelsey wore a Snow White costume and I was purchased a Dumbo tee-shirt. When in Rome, right?

disneyland with kids

disneyland with kidsdisneyland with kids

disneyland with kids

disneyland with kids

Meeting Tinkerbell was one of the highlights. But, not to be outdone by the new Starbucks that opened on Main Street the very day that we were there. They even have their own Disney cups. Let’s just say we were a bit excited.

disneyland with kids disneyland with kids disneyland with kids disneyland with kidsThe castle! Where do I even start? Kelsey loved seeing a real Princess castle up close and personal. She even threw a Princess-sized tantrum right outside of the gates. What’s that saying? Ah yes, If the shoe fits.

disneyland with kids

disneyland with kids

cars land at disneylanddisneyland with kidsdisneyland with kids We convinced Lauren to visit us on Friday. And then a few hours later she and her brother convinced me to try the world’s best sandwich, the Monte Cristo sandwich at the Blue Bayou Restaurant. Wowza. This thing was loaded  deep-fried goodness and I think I’m still working off the calories of that lunch. You can read about the Monte Cristo here.

goofydisneyland with kids   disneyland with kids

disnyand with kids disnyand with kids OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen, we waited in line for Goofy, Minnie, Mickey … the works. The button that she is wearing is from lunch at Ariel’s Grotto. If you’re going to Disneyland, I recommend the Grotto for lunch.

I’ll be honest, we spent way too much on lunch ($115 for three) but it was worth it to see her face light up as each Princess visited our table. And she met Ariel, her favorite.

All in all, Disneyland was worth every penny, every tantrum, every early morning. We just loved experiencing the “Happiest Place on Earth” through a child’s eyes. We’ll be back … next time, we’ll take baby Colton with us.

The Friendship Hat: Morning with Carly

There’s something about good friends … they always bring out the best in you. Yesterday morning, Carly paid us a visit. Carly and I go waaaay back. Back to the days of 2002 when we were both editorial interns for 944 magazine. Oh, the stories we could tell.

Today, we’re just two girls who still adore each other more than anything. She got a peek into my world yesterday. She came over with gifts (caffeine!) and we just loved on little Kelsey and Colton. It was just like the old days again. Only this time, with kids.

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The Mommy Hat: She’s the Belle of them All

Yep. It’s official. Dressing up like Belle while playing outside is just as fun as it sounds. While Daddy got ready to plant some flowers, we marched around in our Disney Princess clothes. And when I say ‘we’ I really mean Kelsey and her dolls. I took a back seat. That’s not to say that if I found a Disney outfit in my size, I wouldn’t try it on.

dress up

dress up

dress updres up dressup 

The Mommy Hat: I have a three year old

three

She’s been 3 for two days now and I still can’t believe it. This time, three years ago, we were recovering in a hospital bed. Now, we’re playing (and having conversations!). It’s all going by so fast. Slow down, miss thing. I need to catch my breath!