Remington’s Winnie the Pooh photo shoot

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I just can’t help myself when it comes to silly styled photo shoots including a disney element and my cute babies. And with the inclusion of Winnie the Pooh into the mix, I just couldn’t say no. This little shoot is the product of a lazy afternoon. It required quick costume changes and keeping Evelyn occupied so she didn’t see that her brother was playing with her Pooh toys.

I bought Remi’s Tigger outfit for our trip to Disneyland and then opened a suitcase to pack for the trip and found this Pooh costume. Seriously. I just found it. Like what is that? Full disclosure, I knew it existed..my sister bought it for Evelyn and then lost it and I just happened upon it in a suitcase in my attic. So with two outfits from Winnie the Pooh for the same little boy, I had to work in a faux twin photo. Am I cray or what?

Anyways, scroll down for some amateur shots of my cute little nugget and all his Winnie the Pooh pals.

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Making Costumes for the Tinkerbell Half

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When running a race at Disneyland, you must have costumes. Not only to make you feel happy while you run, but also because the other runners enjoy the parade of costumes to entertain them as they run 13.1 miles.

Darla and I knew right away that we wanted tutus and a cute shirt and it wasn’t that hard to make it happen. I designed the shirts (with the help of google and picmonkey) and tried to order them on Zazzle but Zazzle was like, “Hey this is probably a copyright issue, so we can’t make this for you. Sorry man.” And I’ve had some bad luck with iron-on shirts in the past so I sent the images to Darla and she bought some cute tanks from Victoria’s Secret and ironed them on for us.

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I played my part by making our tutus. It’s super easy, just a little tedious. So if you’re going to make two adult tutus, I’d recommend setting up a binge-watching sesh on Netflix to keep you entertained.

To make the tutus I bought:

  • 4-5 yards of tulle per tutu
  • One package of elastic

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First things first, I cut all the tulle into strips that were more or less the same length. You want the strip twice as long, since you’ll fold it in half when you tie it to the elastic. I’d recommend keeping the strips a tad longer than you think you want them. It’s easier to trim a tutu than it is to add fabric (actually that’s pretty impossible).

Next you’ll want to measure your waist and sew the elastic accordingly. When measuring your waist pull the elastic just a tad to make sure it actually stays on when you’re running (or whatever other activity you’ll be performing while wearing le tutu). I like to have about a 1.5-2 inch overlap when I sew it.

Last thing to do is tie on the strips of tulle. Just fold the tulle in half and put the tail in through the top loop around the elastic. The closer you put the tulle and more tulle you use, the fluffier it will be.

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We ended up trimming our tutus to stick straight out more than lay down. But all in all we looked fab!

What costumes do you wear when running races at Disney or anywhere else?

Disneyland for two

IMG_9702 copyJPGI have been to Disneyland and Disney World my fair share of times. They are my second home. My mom grew up in California so we went there for a long time until we moved to Georgia and Disney World was a short 10 hour drive away. Then I got an internship at Disney World right after Chris and I got married. The Disney parks hold a special place in my heart and are full of fun memories.

However, this past trip was unlike any I’ve taken, in the very best way. My Aunt Darla and I have been close pretty much my whole life. She’s always treated me like a friend first and a niece never. I even lived with her for a year during my most very awkward of phases. Nonetheless, and despite our cross country distance, we’ve remained close friends. That made this trip to Disneyland incredible!

The occasion, of course, was the Tinkerbell half marathon. But we decided to take advantage of being there and spend a few days in the park. With her military discount we scored 3-day park hopper passes for $150!! At first we were just going to do one day, but a one day ticket is $105+tax. So for $45 extra dollars we could add two more days and a park hopper. It was a no brainer really.

It was about a 9 hour drive from Utah to Anaheim but the drive really wasn’t bad. We left at like 6am and took 2 hour turns so neither of us got too bored with driving.

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^^Lunch on the road at Wienerscnitzel

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Darla was all too happy to point out that there had been shift in our relationship. Where I was once the cool, young, hip teenager, I was now the mother of toddlers and was not in-the-know on anything cool or hip. She, however, as the mother of 2 teenage girls was. As evidenced by the fact that she had to teach me how to use snapchat. #imsoold

We had a ridiculously fun time. We let ourselves enjoy sitting down for a nice meal (Scroll down for all my favorite places we ate!) instead of feeling stressed to rush and ride everything. We sat and chatted (and were interrupted by Oswald). We moseyed around and rode what we wanted, when we wanted, without having to make a whole gaggle of people happy. We even took a break for like an hour and bought some souvenirs from Sephora in Downtown Disney. That would have never happened if my husband was with us.

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My favorite part of the trip was probably Sunday night. We were both so silly slap-happy after having been awake for so many hours. We were hobbling around with sore knees and giggling at everything. It was fun that Darla brought herself down to my immaturity level for a night.

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On Monday, we had planned to go to Disneyland in the morning and leave by noon for the 10 hour drive back. Well, we were both so tired that we didn’t even end up getting to the park until noon. And we didn’t really care. There was no one to tell us one way or the other.

We started at Matterhorn which was an annoyingly long line but we both really wanted to ride it. We got up to the part of the queue where it was weaving back and forth. We were close to entrance of the ride but there were still probably 30 people ahead of us. But the guy running the ride saw us, pulled us out of line and let us walk right on. I guess were were looking pretty fly.

We got through most of the ride before it stopped. Shut down. We were sitting there for a while but it was actually really peaceful. We were in the sun, right next to a waterfall. Darla and I were just playing on our phones. By the time they got us off the ride, they gave us a fastpass for the ride of our choosing (except Hyperspace Mountain) for our trouble. #worthit.

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We headed over to Star Tours since we hadn’t been on that one yet. The fastpass line was stupid long which got us both annoyed because we had limited time in the park. But when it got to the point to give up our magical fastpass ticket the guy looked at us, and then gave it back. “I didn’t do that,” he said. We must have been lookin’ super fly!

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So we walked right onto Indiana Jones. For the third time this trip. Then a quick corndog lunch (yum!) and we rushed right over to California Adventure since we still hadn’t ridden Tower of Terror. But I checked the wait time on my app as we walked in and noticed that California Screamin was a 10 minute wait. So instead, we rode that twice, wrapped it up with The Little Mermaid, grabbed some ice cream from Ghiradelli and headed home.

By this time it was about 5pm. I drove us out of the city and as we were reaching our 2 hour switch point we spotted an outlet mall. Something you should know…Darla and I are both avid shoppers. (I blame her for my addiction). So we spent like 30 min to an hour in Old Navy and then got back on the road.

Darla drove for almost two hours and I took us the rest of the way home so she could sleep. But the only way I could manage that was by chugging two Rockstar energy drinks back to back. By the time we did get home at 5am, I had a hard time falling asleep cause I was still a little buzzed on caffeine.

It was the most amazing weekend. Neither of us wanted to leave but were still excited to see our families. It was so wonderful, we plan to make a habit of this whole Disney running thing. So stay tuned for more Disney runs! I’m thinking the next one will be Feb 2017.

Favorite Places to Eat at Disneyland and California Adventure:

Jazz Kitchen

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Located in Downtown Disney, the Jazz kitchen offers cajun-creole food. It’s on the pricier side but if you have the money to spend, it’s well worth it. I just wish I had saved more room for dessert because we saw and smelled them making Bananas Foster at the table next to us and it looked mouth wateringly delicious.

Flo’s Cafe

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Flo’s is in the heart of Radiator Springs at California adventure and is the perfect stop for breakfast after getting your fast pass for Radiator Springs Racers (you have to do that first because they run out). The brioche french toast is incredible and it is a big piece. But if you’re anything like me, you might need something savory in addition to a sweet piece of french toast. If you are there with another person, one of you order the french toast, and the other person order the breakfast platter with eggs, hashbrowns, a biscuit and bacon and then split it! It’s more than enough food for two people.

Cozy Cone Motel

I wish I had been hungrier when we walked through the Cozy Cone Motel but I just wanted a a quick snack and popcorn hit the spot perfectly. I opted for regular butter, but the offer all kinds of flavored popcorn if you’re feeling adventurous. The other cones have sweet and savory snacks and some that could even serve as a meal. You can read more on this post (scroll about halfway down).

Little Red Wagon

When I did research for our last trip to Disneyland I read about these corndogs and wanted one SO BAD. But it just never happened. So for this trip I was determined to get one! This was my first meal after our half marathon and it hit the spot perfectly. These are unlike any corndogs you’ve had. They’re huge and hand dipped and delightful. They are located right at the end of Main Street and corndogs are the only thing they serve (with chips and a drink if you want). But everyone seems to know how amazing these corndogs are and the line is always crazy long. So if you’re looking to save some time and have a place to sit, head on over to the next restaurant, The Stage Door Cafe.

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Located in Frontierland at Disneyland, this cafe serves the very same hand-dipped corndogs you can get at Little Red Wagon, without the long wait and with other food options if you’re dining with people who may not be in the mood for a corndog (is there such a person?!)

River Belle Terrace

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Also located in Frontierland with a great view of the Mark Twain Riverboat, River Belle Terrace is a nice sit down restaurant to rest your tired feet for dinner after a long day at the park. Or if you ran a half marathon 20 hours prior. I had the ribs which were finger lickin’ good. The price is worth it for the food. We didn’t make a reservation but we didn’t have to wait long for a table.

Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill

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Located at the Pacific Wharf in California Adventure. Yummy yummy Mexican food and the price is right! My aunt and I both got a burrito plate that came with beans and rice and was plenty to fill our bellies. Plus the time of day we were there wasn’t too crowded so we could pleasantly chat under the shade without distraction.

Ghiradelli’s

And right down the way from the Mexican Grill is Ghiradelli’s! Head over for a delicious ice cream dessert. I’d highly recommend splitting it with a friend though. Neither of us could finish our Sundays. And every time you enter the store you get a free chocolate. We happened to go in three times and decided not to get ice cream until the 4th time. But we got three free chocolates (say that 10 times fast).

 

Mickey and Minnie photo shoot

 

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Remi’s 8 month photo shoot just so happened to be right before our trip to Disneyland. I took advantage of the fact that I had gotten costumes for the kids for the trip and decided to get a few Mickey and Minnie shots while I had a talented photographer there (Malae Talley Photo).

I’m kind of a Disney fanatic so these pictures make me obsessively happy. Like I kind of can’t even handle it. These are perfect.

Remington likes Evelyn significantly more than she likes him. Which is unfortunate and makes it hard to take photos of the two of them. They turned out pretty cute nonetheless.

Take a look for yourself:

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Disneyland with a Toddler

Remember back when I went to Disney World when Evelyn was a baby and I said, “Taking babies to Disney World sucks, don’t do it”? Well…Oops, I did it again. And boy did I learn a lot.

This time we went to Disneyland instead of Disney World, so smaller area to cover, less overwhelming right? Wrong. The toddler was a lot more work than the baby on this vacation.

Evelyn is almost 3 and Remington is 9 months. Why was she harder? She doesn’t take naps in the stroller. She wants to run around. She can voice her opinions. Rem will just sleep. Which is awesome.

We bought a three day ticket, non park hopper. My plan of attack was to get to Disneyland when it opens to beat the bulk of the crowd and it worked really well. The first day we were there from about 8:30am to 8pm. Both kids were SO ready for bed by the time we made it back to our hotel. However, in trying to replicate the “get there early” plan for day 2, there was a lot of crying and whining and general tantrums. We had to actually wake Evelyn up to go to the park and she was really enjoying her sleep. We left the park early on day 2, around 4 pm and figured day 3 would be even shorter and more low key. I think we spent a grand total of 3 hours in the park on day 3. Totally worth the hundreds of dollars we spent on the tickets. And I didn’t even get a corn dog. But I digress.

In retrospect, these are my tips for planning a Disney trip with a toddler:

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Plan Ahead!

I genuinely enjoy planning Disney trips. I like to pick out the restaurants I want to go to and figure out where we’ll need fastpasses and decide what part of the park we’ll start at and where we’ll end up. This is really helpful to make the most of your time there. It will keep you from going back and forth all over the park all day. A little research on the best restaurants in each area of the park will help you decide where to eat whenever hunger hits you.

If there are characters your kids want to meet, it’s definitely easiest when you are one of the first in line and you don’t have to wait forever. Look up the schedules online and plan around that.

Buy Souvenirs Beforehand

A couple of weeks before our trip, I hit up Target, Walmart and even Dollar Tree, to stock up on souvenirs for the trip. It worked out so perfectly! They were great bribery (Don’t cry, have a toy) I wasn’t sad when they got lost (That Elsa keychain only cost a dollar, so no big deal that you dropped it within seconds of me handing it to you.) And when she did decide to wander through one of the shops and found a stuffed Elsa she just had to have, I coerced her back to the stroller and handed her one from the backpack that I picked up at the Disney Store on sale before the trip.

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We also brought her princess dresses along with us and she had the option of changing outfits whenever she wanted throughout the day. Especially since we could put everything in the stroller and didn’t actually have to carry anything.

Get there Early/Leave Early

One of the best things we did was get to the park around opening. Most people on vacation want to sleep in (believe me, we did too) but by getting there early, we got to grab fast passes for the faster roller coasters for later in the day and hit a bunch of the little kid rides while they still had short lines.

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We were like 5th in line to see Elsa, 2nd in line to meet Aurora, and 2nd in line to meet Minnie Those line went much more smoothly than the 45 minutes we waited to see Snow White, Cinderella, and Ariel, or even Mickey (even though the Mickey line is pretty fun).

The only thing we should have done differently is not stayed so late. If we had shorter days, I’m sure the subsequent days wouldn’t have been so bad.

Use Rider Swap

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Oh my goodness, rider swap. Such a magical way to work the system without actually working the system. The idea of rider swap is that for any ride with a height requirement, one parent can wait in line, get a rider swap pass which they can give to the other parent which allows them (and up to 2 guests) to go to the fast pass line.

Now for the best way to use it to your advantage: It’s really best if you have a third adult with you who can help watch the kids, and therefore 3 tickets to use to get fast passes. You really only need one fast pass for each ride since your rider swap pass can get three people into the fast pass line. SO get one fast pass ticket and that person rides alone and gets a rider swap pass. Then, they give the pass to the other two people who head straight through the fast pass line. You can have three fast passes  for three different rides at the same time. Get it? It’s so great! We hardly had to wait it any lines.

It works really well in California adventure where some of the adult rides and kid rides are intertwined. So whoever is watching kids can take them on some rides or to see a character while the other people are on an adult ride. And the best part of rider swap, no expiration time.

Have a Rest Day

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^^ So done right now

Evelyn was so tired on day two, I really wish we had just spent that day hanging around the hotel, watching TV and playing in the pool and then gone back to the park on the third day. It would have given us all time to rest and recoup from walking around the park all day and Evelyn would have gotten some much needed sleep.

Keep the trip short

For a toddler, something like Disneyland is SO overwhelming! It’s like too much to handle all at once. Three days was just too many in the park. Two days would have given us plenty of time to do everything. And a rest day in between would have insured minimal tantrums from sleep deprivation.

Take advantage of Play Grounds

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When you have a toddler stuck in a stroller most of the day, the second you let them out, they are ready to RUN. I think Evelyn’s favorite part of the trip was the adventure trail in California Adventure. It was just a big playground with slides and tunnels and she didn’t have to wait in line for anything. Plus we could let Remi crawl around and get some energy out too.

 

Sidenote: It would also help if you go during a non-peak time. We didn’t really have a choice in our instance, but if you can manage it, it would make for much less lining waiting and much happier kids.

 

Going to Disney any time soon?? What are you doing to plan? What are you excited for?

Been with toddlers? What’s your advice??

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Vacation part 2: Disneyland

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I can’t even tell you how I giddy I was about going to Disneyland. Like seriously giddy. Disneyland and Disney World even more so, are like a second home to me and I love the magic atmosphere of it all. I couldn’t wait to share it with Evelyn. She was only 10 months old on our first trip so all the magic kind of went over her head. But this time at 2 and a half she would be the perfect age to experience the magic in full effect.

As it turns out, Disneyland can still be quite overwhelming for a two and a half year old. If you ask her she’ll tell you all about the scary pirate ride (Pirates of the Caribbean), the scary house ride (the haunted mansion), the scary car ride (Mr Toad’s Wild Ride), if you ask how she liked the Winnie the Pooh or Ariel rides she’ll tell you, “Yeah, but they were a little bit scary.”

But her favorite ride by far was “the horses” AKA The carousel. Yes that’s right, a ride that you can find in most malls, was my daughter’s favorite at Disneyland.

Anywho, these pictures will tell the story of our trip much better than I ever could, Enjoy!

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^^Kisses for Minnie

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^^Showin’ off her shoes

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^^Hanging out in Mickey’s house

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^^Costume change number 1

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^^All the Pooh characters were just enamored by Evelyn. They each walked her from one character to the next and Rabbit just refused to let her go.

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^^She sang Pooh ‘Little Black Raincloud, and he even shared some honey with her.

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^^Costume change #3

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^^So excited to ride the horsies!!

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^^Homemade t shirts

Day 2:

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Belated Hawaii Honeymoon in Ko’Olina

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Chris and I never went on a real honeymoon. After we got married (almost 3 years ago!) I had to take a couple finals and then we drove directly from Utah out to Florida for my internship at DisneyWorld. In our entire marriage we have stayed in a hotel 3 times. Once on our wedding night, once for a brief stop in Tennessee on our way to Florida, and once in Savannah, Ga on a trip with my family. Never has it been a real vacation just the two of us.

Up until this point, we never really had the time or money to have an awesome honeymoon. But now we’re living in Hawaii and were presented with the perfect opportunity for a tropical paradise honeymoon for a fraction of what it cost other people.

So we headed about an hour West and stayed in the beautiful Marriott Vacation Club in Ko’olina

Along the beach are four man-made lagoons each one serves as the backyard to four resorts, one of which is Disney’s Aulani Resort. Our resort had three pools, and four hot tubs that kept us good, busy and relaxed.

So let me take you through our trip day by day.

Day one.

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