Thursday, March 31, 2016

Dancing at Disneyland

I cannot believe we actually did it! In early March, we actually drove for 16 hours to Disneyland! Yes, this sounds horrible with a seven year old, four year old, and six month old. Let's get started!
The whole reason for taking this venture was because Reina's dance troupe performs at Disneyland every three years and this was the year. I was not planning on her dancing because you are supposed to fly down as a team and stay together as a team. How was I supposed to send her alone at seven? Nope. How was I gonna take her and Rowen by myself as she rides the rides alone? Nope. This meant the only possibility was if we all went. We got "permission" to make it a family vacation as long as Reina was there for all dress rehearsals, practices and such. Okay, will do!
The morning upon leaving to drive halfway (eight hours), Baelor decides to get sick and just minutes before heading out he throws up on his breakfast. No point in whining about it because we were going anyway so we made the best of it by putting an apron on him and we had bags ready for up-chucking. That first day, not once did he have any incident. He wasn't much for eating at Dairy Queen when we stopped or hardly any snacks besides "sick crackers" (as we call saltines). The drive was pleasant all around with the weather, the kids got along, and Rowen didn't cry hardly at all! They only watched one movie on the way down and I don't recall repeated questioning of when we'd get there! One of our go-to trip games is to choose a topic or theme and go around and each person has to come up with something that fits in that theme for their letter of the alphabet. A simple one with kids is Animals (antelope, bear, cat, etc) Tip: lots of snacks that are new to them, sing-along music or stories, and actually not too much "screen time" as it makes them more irritable. We also brought along our flashcards with each state/capitol/ and facts about that state. I never learned my capitols and finally memorized them! Paul now is beyond me and knows more facts about each state since he is a Mr. Smartypants and already knew his capitols. Reina learned some new states. The first hotel night was a bit rough. Baelor was so excited and apparently felt better that he WOULD NOT SETTLE DOWN for sleep. Finally when he did, he threw up on the bed. Rowen wanted to nurse all night which put Paul on the floor because the "queen" bed was a stretch. I'm thinking it was more like a double. What a nice dad! The second day went even better than the first because Baelor felt better and we got to sleep in separate rooms when we got to my sister's home in Simi Valley.
 Our first full day was Disneyland! Baelor lit up upon arrival and it really was magical. He was especially looking forward to seeing Mickey Mouse and Goofy. Rowen LOVED the characters and wanted to snuggle, eat, and be entertained by them. We were a bit sad that even with Baelor's extra tall shoes, he was just a finger's-width too short for some of the big rides like Splash Mountain and The Matterhorn. Good thing it's Disneyland and there were plenty of other rides. Baelor's favorite was apparently Dumbo as he kept asking all day to go on the "Bimbo" ride. Reina's favorite was Splash Mountain. She has already been on this many times, but still loves it! She is a thrill-seeker and is not afraid of any rides that her height will allow.
 I don't know how it happened but the very first ride that we went on was the haunted house. I can't believe we took Baelor to Disneyland then took him to the scariest ride there! Thank goodness he wasn't terrified after that! Disneyland was just about perfect, even with a 6 month old.
In lieu of stress and possibly missing Reina's early morning rehearsal, we decided to stay at the hotel with the rest of the dance troupe. SO glad we did! It was just a short walk to the Disney Parks and we even got to play in the pool that evening. We were also lucky enough to get the Frozen room.
Reina performed the next day at California Adventure. We will be receiving some action shots and group photos from the Disney photographers but haven't come yet...hoping they got a cute shot of her because I didn't take any pictures of her dancing, only a video. She did great as always, definitely a performer. Sometimes it's hard for me to realize I have a child old enough to be on a "team". Crazy! Very proud of her, as any parent would be.

We spent some extra time at Disneyland while Reina was practicing and doing a workshop for some rides just for Baelor. It was actually much easier with just the boys! After her performance we spent the rest of the time at California Adventure. This was all of our first time at this park. I took Rowen and Baelor on some of the smaller rides while Paul and Reina went on the big kids rides, and then we'd switch. She was not scared by "Tower of Terror" which drops you from an elevator. It was a thrill for sure! The bigger the better!
We watched a mid-day parade while the kids ate cotton candy and I nursed. It was quite perfect timing as we didn't even plan on watching the parade! Super cute with all the Pixar characters. We finished our time at California Adventure watching the "light show" that creates scenes through light on the water front. Very cool show!
We ended our stay in California hanging out with cousins Reagan, Kamryn and Ethan, their pet turtles and Eleanor, the bunny. All the kids (including the biggest kid, Paul) enjoyed playing video games. I enjoyed chatting with my sister instead.

Our final day there we went to a beach in Ventura. It was pleasant enough to splash in the water, and play in the sand with minimal layers. We are used to the Oregon coast which very few weeks can you wear less than a wind-breaker and pants! The kids had fun making "science projects" with random beach finds and running from the sneaky tides. It was actually the last five minutes before leaving that Rowen started screaming uncontrollably and didn't stop the whole drive back to my sister's house. This is when his tooth broke through, just a couple days late of his six-month birthday! He fussed a bit more on our drive home, but if you asked if I'd do it again, yes. The memories were well worth any imperfections that come with a traveling family.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Now that we have a new addition to our family, we have every bedroom in use in our home. Cough, cough...almost (since Rowen doesn't sleep regularly in his own room). Reina still has the biggest of the kids' bedrooms but we finally got rid of the twin size brass bed that was mine when I was a little girl and decided to put the queen size bed from the guest bedroom in her room and turn the guest room into Baelor's room. This freed up Baelor's old bedroom which is now Rowen's room. Before I decorated Rowen's room, the empty bedroom had become a dumping ground for random junk and holding the unused crib and matching dresser that both Reina and Baelor had. The funny thing is that last January I was tired of looking in that room and seeing a crib not being used so I decided to sell it since I was not pregnant. Right after selling it for about what we paid for it (score!) I found out I was eight weeks pregnant! Of course AFTER getting rid of it is when I find out I'm pregnant. It's okay though, I was done with the black.

Sold the bed, bedding, sheets, rug and curtains to a grandma for when her granddaughter came to visit. Also sold the white dresser that I had DIY'd already.

The first of the kids' rooms to be redone was Reina's. She still wanted pink, but we went a bit lighter. It started with the comforter I found for a STEAL. I've seen these kinds of comforters for well into the hundreds for a queen size bed and happened to find this one brand-new for $20. It was labeled "as is". I opened up the box and could not find what was wrong with it. After months I finally pulled it out and noticed a huge magenta stain on it. Oh, now I get "as is". Well, I couldn't return it so I did some hands-on mommy stain remover tricks and luckily it came out! I've always wanted to try stripes on a wall and figured her room was the best way to try them out. I get the most compliments on these stripes in her room. Most everything is either DIY'd, super-duper-clearanced, or second-hand.

 I wanted something special for Reina's room so I got this dress artwork done by Grandma Guinn. She was a professional costume designer and I knew her sketches would be perfect for the wall over Reina's bed.

Reina has this queen bed in her room now. When guests come, she gets the boot! Guest bedroom is now Baelor's fishing theme room.
Guest bedroom bedding sold for what we paid. Gave the rest to charity.

Rowen's bedroom was Baelor's old bedroom when he had the black crib set, but it had become the dumping ground for random storage.

Matching curtains and rug for a total of about $50 with some added fabric at the bottom. I bought them at separate times brand-new Target brand from Goodwill. Score!
You can't tell from the photo but this was a green chair which I painted gray! Yep, paint. With some sanding and fabric medium is not so bad to sit in!
The retro dresser was $20 from Goodwill as well as the mirror, which I painted white.

Our bedroom is almost the same except we finally got a bed frame and changed the picture to real deer antlers from a relative. I've always wanted real antlers!

The bedframe was a craigslist find that we painted black/brown but surprisingly looks deep gray. I want a tufted nailhead headboard but this one was only $80 for a king size frame. Muuuuch better deal!