Disneyland for Our Daughter’s 13th Birthday

Having a Blast on California Adventure's Tower of Terror

Having a Blast on California Adventure’s Tower of Terror

Going to Disneyland for our Daughter’s 13th birthday was a great idea!  We had a blast!

We stayed at the Grand Californian which was quite expensive, but we were able to get into California Adventure at 7:00 am with hardly any other people, and we were able to ride 15 rides before 11:00!

Because our family likes Disney for the rides, we find it worth the extra money of staying at the Grand Californian for the perks: 2 days “Extra Magic Hours” even with only 1 night booked, IN California Adventure & Downtown Disney, you can see the Disneyland Entrance from the hotel.  If you don’s use the perks, I’m not sure it’s worth it.

Splash MountainBesides being an incredible 5 star hotel with very comfortable beds, soft sheets, many pillows, great service,  fun pools, good restaurants, etc, we like how close it is to California Adventure and Disneyland and the “Extra Magic Hours” the most.  This is worth the $450 per night price tag for our family. If you can’t get to the early hour…don’t stay here.

There are other hotels close by, like our other favorite, Park Vue Inn, which is right across the street, about a 5 minute walk.  This hotel usually runs $190 per night, includes a light breakfast, and if you buy a 3 day Disneyland pass, you can go into the park for 1-2 mornings on the “Extra Magic Hour”.  The difference in these “Extra Magic Hours” is that the entire crowd of all the other hotels goes into either Disneyland or California Adventure and ONLY the Grand Californian guests go into the OTHER.  It changes daily.

For example:  Sunday, Monday, Wednesday & Friday are California Adventure, and the other days are Disneyland early entry for Grand Californian guests.  These days change randomly, so make sure to check when you are booking to see which park is on

We LOVE California Screamin' in Disney's California Adventure! Our Favorite ALL TIME ride!

We LOVE California Screamin’ in Disney’s California Adventure! Our Favorite ALL TIME ride!

which day.  All the “neighbor” hotels get in only 2-3 days per week early, and the number of people with this option from the “neighbor” hotels is many compared with the handful of Grand Californian guests going in the OTHER park on the same day.

So, for us, by lunchtime, we have finished one park.  We eat lunch at the Big Thunder Mountain Ranch BBQ, take a nap at our AWESOME hotel, and then we are back at it until Midnight.  If you EVER have Disney questions, PLEASE email me!  I would love to give you any tips I can!

Happy Birthday our gorgeous, brilliant, courageous, funny, obnoxious, playful, happy, kind, daughter!  We love you!  I’m so thankful that you are in our lives.  You rock.

Love, Mom & Dad

 

“Want Happy Kids? Love Each Other”

That’s what a Catholic Priest told us as he was blessing my pregnant stomach during FamilyPica fund raiser.  The priest held his hand on my stomach & our little baby underneath, and gave a wonderful prayer/blessing. That was 12 years ago, and what I remember most are the words he said,

“If you want happy kids, you will need to love each other.”

It’s always stuck with me.

He was right.  Our kids watch us:  how we talk to each other, how we resolve conflicts or arguments,  how we solve problems that are outside of our family.   They watch much more than that!!  They watch how we walk and they mimic our movements.  They watch how we breath and they breath the same way.

If you throw a ball really far, efficiently and effortlessly, your kids–boys AND girls–will too.  If you roll your neck forward, drag one of your feet, respond with yelling, pout when you lose, blame other, pray out loud each day, get up late, get up early, enjoy life, complain about life… one thing is clear if you are a parent:  your kids will mimic you.

Our kids watch how we brush our teeth, what we eat in the morning or before bed.  They mimic how we nod to strangers.  My daughter clears her throat just like I do.  I see my kids wipe their fingers on their pants like their Dad…

It’s cool and eerie at the same time.  Lots of responsibility…but a big reminder that partenthood/marriage is important.  It’s not easy.  It takes work, but the rewards are countless.

I feel so lucky to have kids and a great husband… at least right now with everyone quiet–not asking me for food or clean clothes or a ride.

How NOT to Visit Boston with Family

Boston rocks.  There is so much to see and do, it should be fun & exciting…if you have planned your visit.

I have to chalk this trip up to “How NOT to visit BOSTON”.  A wonderful opportunity to experience lack of planning in action.  A solid list of Don’t’s.  The CARDINAL SINS OF TRAVELING…all in ONE trip!

DON’T:

  • Pack for the entire family the night before without checking the weather  (this paved the way for the other disasters)
  • Check to see if lodging is comfortable (and quiet…but HOW do you check that??)
  • Have a lodging back up plan in place
  • Study the subway lines to know where to go
  • Make a list of the “Don’t Miss These” places, and make them a priority
  • Have sanity, confidence, & rational thinking

This trip was a great example of how lack of planning can create “I wish we were home” type statements…which for me is like a traveling death sentence.

Why was this trip was not our favorite?  Partly because of the cold April weather and mostly because this was the least prepared I have ever been for travel in my life.

I was off my game.

It may have been because of last year’s bombing at the Boston Marathon, or maybe the unexpected cold weather in Spring…I’m not sure, but I was in SLOW MOTION!    It was weird.

First of all, I rolled the dice to save money with lodging, using Airbnb.com for the first time, and choosing a small condo outside of Boston Proper, in Jamaica Plain. I booked months ahead of time.   The condo was charming and a great choice to save money by taking the “T” (subway) into town instead of dealing with pricey parking and LOTS of traffic.  All that was true and money saving.

But…it was loud for our family.  It was ON a main street with traffic noise 24/7,  we didn’t sleep much.  By the 2nd day (out of 8 nights), it was like pulling teeth just to get out of bed…much less go walking for 15+ miles each day in the freezing cold to see Boston.  At 2 AM I was surfing the net to find a different place to stay…but everything was $500+ per night because of the Boston Marathon.  Lesson Learned.

Add 35-45 degree weather with freezing winds…and our family dressed for 65 degree weather (MY FAULT-I KNOOWW) then looking for/at those brass signs “of historical importance” becomes not so important.

Hot chocolate, warm feet and pasta become important.

DSCN1107So, we got to see many Italian restaurants in North End, which we could find, instead of the site of the Boston Tea Party or the Tour of Fenway Park.  We DID get to Fenway park, where we bought $35/each hats because of freezing weather for which we were under-dressed, (And a whopping $150 off budget with one purchase). But, we didn’t get to go on the tour because it was sold out.  This describes our typical luck of this trip:

  • Get up tired from nooo sleep, dreaming of getting hit by the numerous busses that pass by each hour
  • Dress the kids with pants on pants, shirts on shirts, while they grumble, tired & hungry
  • Eat out because our “budget condo” has a vegetarian kitchen…
  • Walk to the “T”, trying to find Fenway Park
  • Get lost.  Ask for directions, get lost. Walk all the way around Fenway Park to find the “tour gate”, which, btw, was RIGHT next to the “T” doors.
  • Miss our chance to go on the Fenway Park tour because of for said “Walk AROUND the OUTSIDE of Fenway Park”
  • Take the wrong “T” train, get lost, ask for directions, realize the directions are wrong
  • Have Pasta, Thank Goodness we could find THAT!
  • Get home, exhausted, to another night of no sleep.  “Yay.” whispers my daughter…

    Boston Subway... Jake dropped his new hat... it was gone in a flash. :(

    Boston Subway… Jake dropped his new hat… it was gone in a flash. 😦

For the Fenway Park Tours, fyi, noon is a popular time, so try for 11 or 1:00.  They leave on the hour, so plan for that.

Just to keep the positive of Boston positive, I separated what worked during our trip to a different post in this post 3 Days in Boston with Family.

If you have any questions about this trip, let me know.  🙂

Today is My Daughter’s 12th Birthday!

Happy 12th Birthday, Elizabeth!  You are an amazing young woman!

A shout out to our daughter, Elizabeth, who turns 12 today, May 24.

Happy Birthday!

I am so glad you are my daughter! We are so proud of you!  It’s been so fun, an honor and a daily blessing to be a part of you  growing up.

I can’t believe it’s already been 12 years since our first child was born! Poof, she’s a young adult, one year from a teenager.

On the last day of school, and the day before she turned 12, Elizabeth was awarded the “Most Considerate” award in her 6th grade class ceremony, a typing award and a Spanish award, but the award she is most proud of is the “I almost Beat My Coach In Pickle ball and Badminton” award from her P.E. teacher, Brian Stinnett. I think the end score was 21-19, but Elizabeth was sure he forgot to count a point and it ended 20-20.  Hee hee.

Our Beautiful Little Girl

CZ-63-Edit-8x10Not only is Elizabeth an awesome athlete, she’s an excellent student, a self-motivated studier, very kind & compassionate, a great cook & very creative at arts and crafts.  Actually, she knits beautiful winter hats and sells them for $10 if you are interested!  I’ll add a picture if I can find one…

I know the next 12 years will go just as fast as these first 12 have, and I’m going to enjoy each moment!

Happy Birthday!  We are very proud of you!

And yes, you can have a foot massage again tonight! 🙂

 

 

 

We love Daddy!

DaddyBest Daddy Award wasn’t supposed to leave Denver until later this afternoon, but he hates it when one of his family is feeling sick. So, he left this morning after his first appointment and should be home by 4 or so today. Jake had a headache and a 101.1 fever last night which got much worse by 3 A.M. and by 9 A.M. he was throwing up and had a 102.7 fever. I canceled my personal training and massage clients, by Jake’s request, to snuggle with him and be there to support him through his illness. But, even with my constant companionship for him, he asks for his Daddy.

Everything is better when Daddy is home, especially when you are feeling sick. He seems to help everything get better and calm down. Everything is taken care of when he’s here. He is the best caregiver of ALL TIME. Even when we try our best to take care of each other as he cares for us, it is impossible. I think it’s partly his huge “Papa Bear” arms and barrel chest which hug us so completely that makes him irreplaceable. He also is very aware of medications needed, when they were given, when they should be given and so on. We can truly relax and heal when Daddy is here.

Daddy makes everything better. Even when he’s not home, but in town, he makes things better. We know everything will be ok when he is aware of our needs. I don’t think the kids really grasp the completeness that is their Daddy’s care is for them. They won’t understand how comforting and complete it is until someone else tries to care for them and they will be shocked at some other people’s attempts at caregiving.

Not only care giving, but just caring, loving, noticing, supporting & involving himself is unequaled to their Daddy. It will be hard to find a good match for them, since they have been so well cared for by their Daddy. He smiles at them, looks them in the eye, notices their moods, questions, homework, hunger, sadness and a general need for a hug. He goes to games, concerts, church, skating, playdates, shopping, golfing, swimming, walking, all to be with them.

And not only to support his kids, but to just BE with them, calmly, lovingly, being content with simplicity.

What a great teacher he is, loving his wife, honest about who he is and who his kids can count on. He is leading by example, loving, generous, thoughtful, aware, forgiving, and wise.

He is the man…and he also happens to be…my man. 🙂

Valentine’s Massage Specials for 2014

Choose from 3 specials for your valentine

Choose from 3 specials for your valentine

Spoil your Valentine with one of these great gift ideas:

  • $240   3-hours Pack of Therapeutic Massages with a Valentines Gift Basket (while supplies last)
  • $95     Valentine’s Choice, any 1-hour massage style with 2 extra added goodies of your choice: aromatherapy, hot towels, facial massage, a take-home skin brush, and several other choices
  • $75     A 1-hour Relaxation Massage with Valentine’s choice of a handmade gift: handmade soap, spritzes, aromatherapy oil

Buy Valentine’s Specials here, if you have any questions, call 505-332-9292.

On Valentines Night, for a unique alternative to dinner and movie traditions, learn to give your Valentine a massage at home and come to our Valentines Couples Massage Class on Friday night, 6:00-9:00.  Call us, for more information.