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


2013 Summer Bucket List

SumThe kids and I came up with the activities we wanted to add to this summer’s list of how to spend our time…besides relaxing, reading & traveling to Alaska.  We also try to add daily flashcards and writing.  The school work is good to keep track of with stickers for each completion to earn some “Toy store money”.

Since there were so many activities, we made a schedule of events and then invited some friends to have a itty bitty summer camp of fun. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  • Zoo
  • Aquarium
  • Explora
  • Natural History Museum (and Dynamax movies)
  • Romero’s Street Cafe
  • Gravity Park (Trampoline Park)
  • Stone Age Climbing Gym
  • Swimming
  • Xtreme Hangtime (Trampoline Park)
  • A day in the Jemez Mountains
  • Take the Rail Runner to Santa Fe
  • Putt-Putt Golf
  • Hinkle Family Fun Center
  • Cliffs Amusement Park
  • Isotopes Baseball Game
  • Sandia Tram Ride & Picnic
  • Radisson Water Park
  • Make Flubber
  • Gardening at Los Polanos Organic Farm
  • Archery
  • Hiking
  • Roller Skating
  • Ice Skating
  • Bowling
  • Movies
  • Water Fights
  • Water Balloon Tosses
  • Cooking Contests
  • Make Father’s Day gifts
  • Make Silly Putty
  • Have a Backyard Movie
  • Make our own Putt Putt course
  • Make an igloo out of milk cartons
  • Have a “Christmas Week” in July
  • Make tents, forts and swings
  • Plant an Herb Garden
  • Tea Parties outside
  • Learn to make smoothies
  • Learn to make healthy snacks
  • Make homemade “passports” or scrapbooks of the summer
  • Go to some Aquarium Concerts

Phew!  Let’s see if we can include all of these activities in our summer plans for 2013.  I’ll give you weekly updates on the progress. :))

What are you doing for the summer?

Remember the Crossing Guards

Redesigned logo used from 2011-present.

Redesigned logo used from 2011-present. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we prepare for the end of yet another school year, I give money to each child’s Room Mom to collectively buy a gift for the teachers.

Sometimes I add to the “main gift” and sometimes I find something to give separately.  A Massage gift certificate is not always a good choice, I found out, depending on whether the teacher likes or has ever tried massage.  Teachers are also TERRIBLE at finding time for themselves, so they may not use a massage GC, or just give it to their spouse.

I have assumed (wrongly) that teachers like chocolate and/or Starbucks gift certificates …because that’s usually a safe bet and “there are 15 Starbucks fairly close to me” according to Siri on my iPhone.  But, again, a tad bit of communication with the teacher proves helpful.

At our school we can volunteer quite a bit and I do.  I love this year’s teachers and yet have not slipped the “what would you like” conversation between the “how’s my kid doing in class” conversations.

Though there is a “my favorites” list passed out at the beginning of the year for each teacher to answer such questions, I tend to like to get a unique gift that they will forever cherish….which is not at all on this list…a gift which I can figure out with my mind reading powers.

Here we are, at the last few days of school, which are jammed packed with massage appointments as I realize that my “open” schedule is about to go away for the summer months.  As you can imagine, this leaves me oodles of extra time to find an amazingly meaningful remembrance of our family to these wonderful Role Models.

I think we are also trying to savor the last bit of teacherly influence as the hours of belonging in their classrooms disappear.  Time marches on, and another set of students will take this classes place.  Maybe the gift I find can remind the teachers of the wonderful impact they had on my kids so they can continue their patience on a hard day with new students.

It turns out that the love-filled trips I’ve taken to the Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival with my Mom have landed the perfect gift ideas, especially from a glass art maker, Brian Vaughn from Tortolita Creations.

As I get out of my car with gift bags a-plenty, holding some with my teeth, closing the car door with my glorious backside, I look up with strings and tags in my mouth, only to notice the always-there, always-helpful crossing guard is smiling, keeping us all safe as we are oblivious to moving cars with texting parents inside…oblivious because our awesome crossing guard is doing his job keeping those dangers at bay. Oops. Forgot him again.

Back to Starbucks I go.

Mom is Recovering Nicely From Wrist Surgery

Thank you for all the prayers and well wishes!

Mom is home, recovering. The surgery with Dr. Jeff Rocca went well. It was a bit longer than anticipated, but all is fixed.

She has a metal plate and some other artificial structures to replace those bones that were crushed.

So far, so good with the recovery. She is resting in bed with her arm raised high on a plastic tupperware storage box. My Dad is taking good care of her.

We brought her a treat from Baskin Robbins, which is always fun for someone homebound.

Pray for My Momma, She Fell and Shattered Her Wrist

Mom's wrist after she fell roller skating

Mom’s wrist after she fell roller skating

My awesome, fun, crafty and faithful Momma fell yesterday and shattered her left wrist. She is 70. We were roller skating. With her grandchildren, my kids. For the first time since she was 13. 🙂

Yes, I know…what were we thinking, roller skating, for the first time since she was 13, without anyone holding her up. It was an interesting, yet very bold and courageous (she says stupid) activity to attempt.

We can’t change it now.

She fell down, putting her left arm back to break her fall, which it did in 4 places.

The “Health & Wellness Tip” from our experience would be NOT to roller skate at 70 years old…maybe at all, but especially without someone strong, without skates on, holding you up. And maybe plenty of padding strapped to your body and armor strapped to you wrists…

Mom and I broke out in a nervous laughter as the EMT explained to the hospital who was in the ambulance:

“We have a 70 year old female who fell roller skating and possibly broke her wrist….No, a 70 year old female, not a 7 year old female. Yes, 70.”

The EMT couldn’t hear the hospitals response from our laughter.

She was in lots of pain and couldn’t have pain killers for whatever reason, so we were trying to find other things to think about.

My poor Mom!

She has surgery this Monday…prayers are always welcomed!