Tuesday, February 28, 2012

DaY 2, oPerATion Legoland


We were a bit down on LEGOLAND.

I know some people love this place, it’s just that to us, it seemed overpriced and overpopulated.  And not being Disneyland, it did not handle the crowds well. 

Therefore, we spent over an hour waiting in line for rides that felt like cheap knockoffs of the rides at Lagoon.

It was also the coldest day of our trip, and the day that E began acting sick.  Again.  His nose was disgusting!


There were some redeeming characteristics of this place that were relatively cool, however.

For instance, we spent over an hour viewing all the mini lands formed out of Legos, with too many cool features to even begin to photograph.  Pictures just wouldn’t have done it justice.

It was just dang amazing!



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But my little boy wanted try his hand at photography, so I handed my phone over to him.

He actually came out with a few good ones of one particular area; I believe it was a replica of New York.

These pictures aren’t even the tip of the iceberg of how impressive all the lands were.

Many of them even had moveable parts.

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And as you can see, though we had wrapped up Christmas as a family before we left, we were surrounded by the ongoing holiday celebrations, both in Disneyland and again at LEGOLAND.

We decided to embrace it and relished in enjoying the season just a little longer, even though I am generally the –take-tree-down-Christmas-night-  type.

Right by this Christmas tree was a little land where they had created a fake winter wonderland for kids to play in, complete with fake snow.

We sat back and observed as kids who probably rarely saw snow sledded up and down fake slopes.

We felt we get our fair share of that stuff at home, and possessed no desire to partake of this activity.

But good for those who did!


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On the way home we picked ourselves up a feast from Pizza Hut and enjoyed it at the hotel.

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Day 1 Operation D-laNd

When we arrived at The Residence Inn by Marriott, we fell in love immediately.

Call me an old fogey, but it seems to me that these days very few things are complimentary.

That was not the case with our hotel!

Each morning, they offered an extensive free breakfast for all guests and Monday-Thursday, a free dinner complete with a soda fountain.

The lobby had free hot chocolate 24 hours.

We enjoyed a luxurious 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom suite with a full kitchen and two dining tables.

The children’s room had bunk beds, dressers, chairs and a TV- adding to the other 2 TV’s  located throughout our temporary home.

Every day we came home to newly made beds, fresh towels and clean dishes.

We partook of their cheap parking and rode their shuttle to and from the park.  Other than that, we did very little driving since the hotel was surrounded by all of our favorite restaurants and a few stores.  We even did a little shopping at their souvenir store!

Although we avoided the chilly looking pools, Danny and the kids did brave the big hot tub one night.

Apparently, I should write a travel brochure for this place!  But I’m serious, when it comes to traveling with a family, I cannot say enough about how much we appreciated the countless amenities we were offered by this place! 



Right after we arrived, we got checked in for a nap and then took a walk down to Red Robin since we figured our picky children would not enjoy the potato bar offered by the hotel.  Then we headed to the hot tub and then bed to catch a few short hours of rest before we attempted our “Magic Morning.”

Baby E slept amazingly well and after a breathing treatment, so did the princess.

It was the eldest who came barreling down the hallway and jumped in bed with us after having a nightmare that disrupted our sleep this night.  Aye yigh yigh!



We had an amazingly smooth morning, even though we got there much later than we’d hoped. 

By about 10:00 in the AM we had actually achieved most of the important attractions, including Peter Pan, Indiana Jones, Tarzan’s Tree, Pirates of the Caribbean, Winnie the Pooh, Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion and Tiki Room.  We had also run into Jasmine and Aladdin and Tigger and Eeyore.

So we stopped to enjoy overpriced cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate that Daddy did not even like!



I posted Splash Mountain pics first so that I can account for the flat, nasty hairdo in the subsequent photos.  And no, I was not wet from the big drop, rather from the annoying teen girls who got in a water fight on the ride and soaked me in the process.  Kids these days  . .

(You can’t see M cuz he slid down and bonked his face on the seat.  Bad Mom!!)

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These kids were so good.

Poor E was still a bit lethargic still from his lingering illness and after his first experience on a dark ride with loud noises and flashing lights, he clammed right up.

He put his head on our shoulder and muttered “bye-bye” and “all done” until each ride was over.

I’ve yet to have a brave toddler who loves Disneyland!

He was also quite frightened of the characters until about the 3rd or 4th ones when he learned they were there for hugging.

Then he began running up to them with his arms outstretched.  So cute!


For lunch we headed to our fav- Café Orleans for some Pomes Frites (parmesan fries) and a couple Monte Cristos (fried grilled ham and cheese dusted with powdered sugar and dipped in jelly)

Health nuts, yes we are!



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We tried to leave right after lunch, but as per usual, got held up by the parade.

Little E perked up a little to see some of his favorite characters in it- though you can’t exactly derive this from the pictures!

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I love this picture of her waving to her idol!


My husband was a little snap happy-which is way weird for him


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Paused on the way out for some pics in front of Mickey, wearing our Mickey garb Daddy bought us for Christmas.

Don’t worry, we were ambitious the first day, but took way less pics the following days!

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After a 4 hour slumber and free BBQ at the hotel, we dressed up warmly for a night of fun in the park.

Good thing the kids had these hats for the cold nights in Cali since they pretty much have not worn them since with our strangely mild winter back home!

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That night we took no camera, but our phones

And, of course, we ran into the big man himself.

Don’t mind our creepy eyes!


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Big M: Loved Pirates, Hated Indiana, and was thrilled to get autographs.

Princess C: Braver than M.  Doesn’t love drops on Caribbean though.  Specializes in the “Disneyland” song and dance.

Baby E: Disliked most of the rides but made a big breakthrough when he hugged Mickey.   

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

oLd, NeW, yotta yotta


Traditions Old:

(anyone else disgusted I’m still posting about Christmas??!!)

Family togetherness and love

Wii entertainment

Winger’s for Christmas Eve dinner: Yum yum

Christmas jammies and other goodies from Nana (this time, monogrammed fleece blankets- big hit with this girl I know who loves all things soft)

Christmas games and chimes

Reindeer food and cookies with eggnog for Santa

“Night before Christmas”

Late, late night for mom and dad (like 3:30!)

Caramel rolls for breakfast

Yummy Christmas day dinner

Bad, bad photography skills as the result of many factors, one being my stinking new lens


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(Look at those 2 cuties)


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Traditions New:

Santa hat?  I know- goofball, right?

Singing toothbrushes and Charlie Brown Christmas recording book to remind us of our Nana always

Pizza Perfect and drive through Christmas light park night before Christmas Eve

Staying up late with grandma and grandpa great Christmas Eve and giggling at their stories of setting up Christmas back in their day

Christmas at our house!!!!!!  (what?? and only 8 years later!)  We had so much fun hosting everyone this year, having Santa come to us, and opening presents around our own tree!

(-)2 sisters this year (Boo!!  The first time in our lives not spending Christmas all together.  Boo to growing up and moving away, that’s what I say!)

Skyping Tennessee and Washington 

Baby boy reciting “Santa, Ho ho ho- merry Christmas” every time he spies the jolly old man. Or just a bearded man. Or just someone in red. (He did this for months after Christmas, as well as singing “all the way” (jingle bells))  And the reindeer??  Goggies of course!

And jewelry for my my big Christmas gift- I like this new traditionSmile  I think he’s trying to tell me things are getting serious!


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(yes, he came)

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(very bright day- people not bright enough to move to shade)


Traditions borrowed:

Secret Santa (sooo fun and a very close call) Borrowed from our Fondue side

A Disneyland trip (and memorabilia) for Christmas/anniversary/30th birthday present (Not a residual tradition, mind u)  My parents did this for us one year and I never forgot it!!!

Completely overdoing it (some things will never change) Also inherited from my side

Church for Christmas- I remember being so bugged as a kid whenever this happened, until my mom explained to me how much she loved it.  Now as an adult, I completely understand, and I do believe I’ve inherited her same sentiment!!  So glad I can teach my kids how lucky we are when this does happen.


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And . . . The flu

About 30 minutes after the Christmas church pictures were taken, Big M began throwing up on the couch and continued doing so throughout the rest of the house, creating a path to the bathroom and thereby solving the mystery of whether he truly was feeling sick to his stomach, or just wanted to stay home from church and play his DS.

He proceeded to throw up a couple more times that Christmas day, and spent the whole evening laying on the floor.  Poor tyke.

He did feel a lot better by about bed time, but E did not sleep well at all. 

The next morning, we said farewell to our wonderful company and also to any improvement we had seen over little E.

I started feeling a little queasy myself, but tried to ignore it because I had a lot of packing to do and Christmas décor to put away.

I took a gigantic nap that afternoon and woke up feeling worse.

Then the barfing began.

But someone had to pack the whole family for Disneyland, so I spent the afternoon/evening (of my actual anniversary) packing with a bowl beside me as my family watched me take occasional breaks to throw up.

So much for cleaning up Christmas- I barely got a few outfits packed for us all!

Princess C then had a small bout of diarrhea, but seemed to overcome it quickly.

That night, we obtained no sleep between E’s skyrocketing fever and cough, C’s newly obtained cough (none of us were shocked that she’d finally caught E’s respiratory illness) and my own lingering sickness.

Can someone say “uncle?!!”

Daddy D took the babe to the doc bright and early the next morning, who loaded us up with albuterol and more steroid and promised we should soon see the end of these fevers and sleepless nights.

When D returned, I still felt sick and devoid of energy, and big M seemed to have caught the princess’ diarrhea bug.

Yet several hours later we had the car loaded complete with humidifiers, the nebulizer, all of our household cleaners and every drug known to man as we set off on our 4 hour car drive.

As we got ready for bed, we gave the younger two breathing treatments (Baby E said “E’s tuun” right after finishing C’s treatment, and then hopped up on the bed he was so used to the routine by then).

We then hit the sack super early, hoping for a decent night’s sleep.

No such luck.

Although baby E slept without budging for the first time in weeks, Princess C coughed her head off all. night. long.

Sometime in the middle of the night, we got up and took her into the bathroom for another breathing treatment, this time with something stronger than albuterol.

(You can stop reading now- this next part is despicable)

We then made her a big, comfy, plush bed on the bathroom floor.  (awful I know)

But although she coughed for a short while after (we could still hear through the walls), she actually improved significantly and we got a few substantial hours of snoozing in.

Well, I did at least.

Daddy D had now caught the diarrhea bug and spent the remainder of the night in the hotel lobby’s restroom.

Then the poor sap had to help load the car and drive us another six hours to Cali.  (FYI I did try to drive for him but he insisted he start off and then after taking some drugs he felt less achy and preferred to drive.  Weirdo, I know)

If it’s any consolation, I did not sleep a wink the entire road trip cuz I was miserable and uncomfortable.

And that, my friends, is how we said “farewell” to the Christmas flu and kicked off our family vacation to the happiest place on earth.

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(WHAT!?  Are you doing??)

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