Disneyland Recap: Our first trip (and going pregnant)


When we were in Disneyland I received a lot of messages from people wanting to hear any tips and tricks for going our first time...it's a little late, but here it is! I tried to make any tips BOLD so that they are easier to find if you want to just scroll through quickly. I know this post is long winded.

We went for Sloan's third birthday and at the time I think I was around 14 weeks pregnant...maybe earlier. Needless to say the below pictures show me looking beat, and it's not from Disney. Ha.

I think one of the hardest parts was not being able to carry Sloan as much, and I would get really intense almost like a contraction feeling when I pushed the heavy stroller for a long period of time. Chris ended up carrying Sloan a lot on the second day and pushing the stroller almost all day too! The second day was a long one for him.

Anyway, we knew Sloan would absolutely love it (what kid doesn't) because he was super into Halloween and obsessed with all things "Cars". I showed him several youtube videos of Cars Land at California Adventure so he was so pumped up.

Disneyland App:

First things first, before you even arrive to your hotel, download the Disneyland app. It doesn't cost anything yet it is very helpful. Here you can:
  • see wait times for rides - so important
  • see height requirements for rides - great when you have a toddler
  • see if a ride is ok for pregnancy 
  • book reservations for food
  • upload your tickets so you never have to search around for them
  • buy a fast pass ticket for $10.00 (so you don't have to wait in lines)
  • keep track of any photos you take in the park with a professional photographer
I'm a nerd when it comes to things like this. I prep before I even get to a place so I don't waste time while I'm there researching stuff. I knew using the app a week before which rides I could ride pregnant, and which rides Sloan could ride with his height. 

I also used the app all day. When we were in a line for a ride, I was on the app planning out the next ride. It made things go much smoother. I'll dive more into this below. 

What to pack (this isn't everything, just a few things that I was glad to have):
  • Layers for kids and parents (light sweatshirts and sweats {my favorite joggers for kids latelyfor the kids are perfect)
  • Extra set of clothes in your backpack (I love this backpack- it's light and cute- here is the link to the black one) for the kids - there are rides where you get wet and if you really needed to you could swap out their pants so they don't get cold, throw on that sweatshirt if you're staying late
  • Comfortable shoes (love these shoes for Sloan)
  • Bathing suit if you're going to the pool at your hotel
  • Snacks and Waters- the lines can be really long at Disneyland for food. Sloan went through his snacks and it was hard waiting for an hour for food.
  • STROLLER even if you don't use it a ton at home - Chris did not understand why we would be bringing our stroller into the park and then about an hour in he was saying, Thank God we brought this stroller :) and it honestly wasn't a pain to navigate or park. I heard horror stories around that and it was totally fine. Here is the stroller we used. 
  • Light blanket, swaddle blanket, etc. Sloan passed out in the stroller around lunch and we threw the blanket over the stroller and were able to have lunch while he napped
  • glow in the dark toys that are super expensive in the park, but cheap at Target- I bought a few Mickey glow in the dark headbands that were fun
What ticket to buy:

Again, after a lot of research I decided to go with a 2 day Hopper Pass

In hindsight, we probably didn't need a 2 day hopper. We could have gotten away with 1 full day at Disneyland, and 1 day hopper pass that allowed us to go to California Adventure and Disneyland. We spent a majority of time at Disneyland because California Adventure only has a few things for the little ones. After we made it over to California Adventure to Cars Land for Sloan (and the Monster Inc. ride), we didn't really need to be over there anymore. There wasn't much else for him to do. I know there is the famous "Frozen" show here so you would want to hit that up too if you're heading over there. 


Where to stay:

We wanted to stay in a Disney themed hotel, we just weren't sure which one. I researched all three Disney Resorts and decided on the Disneyland Hotel. The reason for this is because it was the most "Disney" hotel out of all three resorts. I watched a few youtube videos on all of them. It is not the cheapest option by a long shot. Other reasons we picked the hotel were it's proximity to the park since I was pregnant, and in case our family needed to go back to the room for a break. The Disneyland hotel was extremely close to the park and definitely worth it in our eyes. 

Right when we walked up there were several characters there to greet us. This was awesome because we immediately could check these characters off Sloan's list of a meet and greet. 

You also get "magic hour" with your stay which means at the Disneyland Park you can go in an hour earlier than the public. Great for skipping those longer lines.


We arrived a little early so our room wasn't quite ready yet, so we headed to the pool. The pool is massive with waterslides, etc. and so fun for the littles. 

Downtown Disney after dinner

Meals 

That night we did dinner in Downtown Disney (side note: Downton Disney is a secured area where you will need to be prepared to have all your bags checked, stroller checked, etc. to get in and out of) which was steps from our hotel. At this time I did not book a reservation which was a bad call. Had no idea how booked the restaurants got. We got lucky and walked up to Cafe Orleans and were able to sit at the bar. The food was great and everyone was happy. There is a kids meal offered at every one of these restaurants which is awesome. 

This is where the app comes in handy. You can book your dinner reservations at any of the Downton Disney restaurants ahead of time. 

The next day was Sloan's actual birthday so we splurged and took him to Goofy's Kitchen which had all the characters. Not only did he get to meet all the characters, but they also brought him out a cupcake and pin + sang Happy Birthday. 

There is also a large Starbucks on your way through Downtown Disney to get to the park. This is a great place to stop for an inexpensive-quick- breakfast before heading into the park. We did this the second day and it was great. 

There are of course places to eat outside of Downtown Disney, but we never went back to our car which was awesome. We just ate whatever they had around the hotel. 




Heading into the park:

From breakfast, we walked over to Downtown Disney and took the Monorail into the park. They check your ticket before you get onto the Monorail so you won't need to get it out again once in the park. It dropped us off right at the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. We immediately hopped on this ride since it was right in front of us. 

We did a ton of rides on that side of the park. The lines were still very short because it was early in the day. It wasn't bad at all. At that time I also was picking our next ride using the Disneyland app fast pass function. 

Note on the Fast Pass: 
  1. You can only book ONE ride at a time using the app so choose wisely :) It allows you to pick a time to come back to a ride from anywhere in the park - awesome. 
  2. There are not that many rides that take Fast Pass but it is still worth it. Some of the big ones for us were the Haunted Mansion - which I couldn't believe how well Sloan did with it. The line had to have been over an hour and a half and we walked right to the front using Fast Pass. That was pretty much worth the $10 right there!

The one mistake I think we made this day was meeting "Mickey" at Mickey's house. We waited for an hour to meet him. We did see Mickey only one or two more times in the 2 days that we were at Disney so perhaps it was a good call, but it still was a long wait for a meet/greet and photo. Sloan was pretty antsy in that line: 


The highlight of this day for Sloan was 100% seeing the Pixar Parade. I would highly suggest getting a good spot at least a half an hour- or more- before the parade starts! I'm so happy we did and that would be something I would do again. You see all the famous Pixar characters - which Sloan loves.


During the parade, I set us up using Fast Pass to ride Haunted Mansion right after. It was a breeze like I said earlier in the post, we just walked up and got onto the ride. This was a ride that is listed as "safe for pregnancy" but I will still a little bit worried to ride. Once I got on I realized it was fine...


After our day at Disneyland we headed over for the rest of the day to California Adventure Park. Sloan got to meet McQueen even though we waited in line to see Mater for a half an hour and they pulled Mater away right when we were heading up to take a pic :( 


At this point, everyone was BEAT. We only did Monsters Inc. ride because we knew we had a hopper and could come back the next day. We headed back towards our hotel and rested and then went to dinner at Tortilla Joe's in Downton Disney. 

We should have just turned in for the night after dinner. Everyone was tired after a long day, BUT, we knew Disneyland was closing at 7PM the next day for a special Mickey Halloween Party so if we wanted to see the big light show this was our moment. 

We packed up and headed to the show. 

Here is where we made the mistake:

If you want to see the Fantasmic Nighttime Show‎- make sure you get a fast pass hours before the show or you will not have any place to see it. The staff is not messing around on this. If you try and stop they will not let you watch the show. Get one earlier in the day at Frontier Land. This is not a Fast Pass you can get on your Disneyland app. 

Because we didn't have a fast pass we had no place to see the show. We found a super sketchy spot to stand and put Sloan on Chris' shoulders, but he still couldn't see much. We did not stay long and headed out. 

Second Day:

Our second day we walked to the front of the park and took the train. Sloan loves trains so we thought he would be really into that. It drops you off all over the park. I don't think we realized this until this moment. I highly recommend using the train if your family is tired from a day of walking. It's very convenient. Oh, don't leave your stroller so that you can get off the train in another area of the park. Pack it up with you onto the train. 

We hit up all the kids rides on this day at Disneyland - checked them all off the list. The famous kids rides do not have fast passes. Sloan was not into the long lines. Dumbo was a longer one and he had a hard time with it! 


This particular day we had lunch planned at Club 33. We came into a reservation through Chris' work so we took it. It was very kid friendly despite being an upscale lunch. The food was delicious. 


We were done with all the Disneyland rides, so we headed over to California Adventure Park. The rest of the day was spent in Cars Land (being pregnant - all of these rides worried me- most were fine but they were so jarring and jolty that I decided against them). Again we had a very hard time with the lines here. Each Cars Land line was an hour and it was so hard to keep Sloan put! He did get a new toy in Cars Land which did keep him busy for a bit. 

Line tips:
  • Snacks
  • Pack a small bag of toys, book, anything they may distract them and keep them busy
  • If the kids are a little bit older, we saw people playing "Heads Up" on their cell phones which seemed to keep the kids busy
  • We did see some parents splitting up and taking a kid out of line and then meeting the other parent at the front of the line. That didn't always look convenient because you had to sometimes have staff let you in at the front. 
  • We saw people bring their strollers in the line so the kid could at least sit the entire line. Once they got to the front they passed their stroller to the staff. I don't know how many rides allow this though...



That night we got rained out and ended up going back to the hotel early. 

We had no idea it was going to rain but it wasn't that big of a deal because we were (semi) close to the hotel. We grabbed cheap/fast food at a Earl of Sandwich on our way back through Downtown Disney. It did the trick. 

That's it! Recap of our two days at Disney. All in all we had a GREAT time and we are so happy we did it. Sloan had the best birthday there!

Please let me know if you have any questions that I can answer. Like I said, I did a lot of research before this trip!


House Progress: Entry & Living Room

Happy New Year! I'm back sharing a few more photos of our house progress. This past weekend my cousin hosted a baby shower for baby girl at our house. She lives a bit further away, so we decided this would be closer for the guests. It was a nice push to put a few more things together around the house...especially since baby is coming in around 8 weeks!

Also, the nesting is definitely kicking in here and there these days, so it was nice to put the energy to good use. We are not doing a nursery for now since we know baby will sleep by us for a long time, so I'm organizing and decorating other areas of the house.

First up was the entry. The entry still needs a rug and lighting, but it's nice to have a mirror up and a little console. This desk was my great grandmothers that she passed to me years ago and was sitting at my dads house. I decide to strip, sand, and paint it for this space.

The little bench was an antique Japanese chair that had an extremely high back. I found it at a thrift store for about $5. We removed the back and covered it in a stripe fabric.

Oh, and if you need lemons, come on by! We have about two buckets worth :)



Here is the before: 




In the living room (which was clean for the shower!), I finally put something up on the walls and got a mirror for over the fireplace. I've collected prints over the years from different antique shops, the Alameda Flea Market, and most recently I shopped Chloe Warner of Redmond Aldrich Design sale where I was able to grab a few more. I also picked up the mirror from her sale. 




I mentioned this in the last post, but we are still working with all our previous homes furniture other than the coffee table. This window area drives me nuts right now, but it'll get done eventually! And I just noticed our coffee table is too far over, we probably moved it for the shower :) 


I'll continue to share more photos as we make progress. I might take photos of where we are at in the bathrooms, kitchen, and living spaces as well. Although not all shots will be pretty, the blog is a nice place for our family to have a little journal of progress!

House Progress: Living Room


Sources: RugStockings

I'm trying to hold myself accountable to sharing more pics of the house since moving in! Here is a shot of the living room. I wish I would have taken these the day after Thanksgiving when our tree and wreath were still alive...that's the downfall of rushing out to get your Christmas tree, but I love to extend this time of year as long as possible ;)

We haven't done much other than: 
  • Paint the walls and fireplace
  • Remove the drapery rod
  • Change the flooring
  • Replace the baseboards
  • Replace the outlets (this makes a HUGE difference in a house and I highly recommend)
All the furniture is from our previous place (including throw pillows which we really need to upgrade) in Tiburon other than the coffee table that we found at an antique store in Sebastopol. Chris actually saw it first and I kinda passed it by but I quickly came back around! I love it. 

Sources: Rug, Stockings


Long term would be drapery, new seating, fix the fireplace, and a few other things (the biggest of them being behind this photo is a wall that we will take down opening up to the kitchen). What we have will work for now, we definitely need some art on the walls. And if you're wondering how we keep it white (most people do), we have slipcovered seating, and as far as this rug goes, it definitely gets dirty. Santa is bringing a spot cleaner machine which I'm excited about :)

Here's a quick reminder of where we started: 


It's always amazing what paint can do to a space. I think the fireplace being white opens up this space a ton. Our TV is where the lamp is in this photo if you're wondering where it's hiding.



Here is looking towards the Dining Room which is just to the right of the windows. 


Before shots of that wall and the dining area, shared in this post


I'll try and share more again soon. I love having this diary of what we've gotten done over the months. Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 




EXTRA SPECIAL HOLIDAY CARD!

cards by minted

This year we sent out extra special Christmas cards! We can't wait to meet baby GIRL this Spring! Our family is feeling very grateful this season. We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!

PEPPERMINT BARK BROWNIE COOKIES



One of my favorites, Liz Adams, made these cookies last week and I couldn't resist! I love trying new Christmas cookie recipes, so knowing we had a Christmas party coming up, I decided it was the perfect excuse to make a batch (not that you need one!).

They did not disappoint! Even Chris, who does not like peppermint...was into them. They truly are the perfect Christmas cookie.

The recipe is here. I didn't top with any extra peppermint which would have made them look much more festive, but I really like how the peppermint flavor turned out, not too overwhelming!

Here is a link to the peppermint bark I used, I did not use an actual bar.

Hope you like them as much as we do...I just had one for breakfast ;)


House Progress: Dining Room


Sunshine! We haven’t seen you in a while. Love how this room gets the morning light. Also, I know I shared lots of before pics of the house but never any since we’ve moved in. Honestly, we haven’t done too much so there isn’t a ton to share, but I’m going to start posting a few pics of before and after thus far! See this room before below. Nothing new here but paint, floors, and we removed the doors separating this room from the living. All of the furniture, etc. is from our old place. Someday we’ll install lighting so our guests don’t have to eat in the dark ;)


Nordstrom Anniversary Sale


Have you heard? There is a Nordstrom Anniversary Sale going on. Kidding! I know most of you are probably sick of hearing about it...but here I am! 

Also, more importantly, do you watch Schitt's Creek? It has to be one of my favorite shows that's come around in a really long time. Home Edit posted a few clips a while back in their insta stories and I was hooked in that moment. It's hilarious. Eugene Levy and son Daniel Levy nailed it. 

I watched all seasons within a week and let me tell you it was dark days when it was over. I can't wait for the next season and I definitely revisit the past seasons regularly. 

Why am I talking about it during the Anniversary sale? Daniel Levy (above) was a part of some of the advertising you've seen around - so it was necessary.  Last thing, if you don't follow Daniel Levy and costar Annie Murphy on social media, you are missing out!

Put on your Sonoma Lavender Neck Wrap and let's get started! If you don't have one of these I highly recommend. I have several items from the Sonoma Lavender line from Nordstrom and they are amazing. They smell delicious. Some lavenders don't smell good to me, but this lavender is unique...it's more organic smelling. Is that a thing? Organic smelling? It smells like an actual lavender field. It soothes your tired neck and shoulders. Perfect for a fall or winter night in. 


Now that you're relaxed, let's throw on a mask. This is not part of the Anniversary Sale, but, they do have a gift with purchase right now and I'm hearing the Beauty sample bags coming through with Beauty purchases are unreal. I am a die hard Fresh Cosmetics gal. Have been since I lived in Boston and we had a shop on Newbury Street. My go-to mask is their Rose. It's like a mini trip to the Spa. The sugar face polish has the same spa effect on me. It smells unreal and leaves your face silky smooth. I also use their moisturizer and serum



Lighting a candle while you're sitting there with your neck wrap and face mask really sets the mood. Every year I like to pick up this candle set from Voluspa. You can break up the package and use it as a stocking stuffer, too. 



After all that relaxing, it's time to hit the gym. Who I am kidding, it's time to put on my leggings with no intention to work out for the day. Zella is a brand that I picked up 2 Nordstrom Anniversary sales ago that was a very smart move. Normally $54, right now $35. The crop are also my go-to's. 


If you are over the basic black but like black leggings (so slimming) I recommend these



While on the topic of Leggings, last year I got two pairs of Spanx leggings while they were on sale (here and here) and it was a huge score. I noticed this year they didn't add the velvet back but they still have a few sizes in the leather. Both pairs are slimming, but comfortable which is very very very important to me. 


Speaking of leather, this time not faux :(, this is a great time to grab the leather jacket you've been eyeing. Such a staple in my wardrobe, I picked mine up a few years back during the sale. I think this is almost a replica of the one I grabbed. Normally $299, on sale for $199. This one is similar and also very cute ($249 sale, $450 after the sale)!




Last but not least, I love grabbing a sweater, flats, or boots to wear all winter long. These booties have had my name on them since the start of the early access sale and I might have to pull the trigger. The problem is I have like 2 other pairs that are very similar. Also can't decide on a color! They're all so different!




I don't wear high boots that often anymore, but if I were picking up a pair I might grab these over the knees. Feeling these with a flowy dress or flowy top. 


Almost done! But I can't forget the babies and kiddos. I saw a few deals that I have to share. 

First up is the Nuna stroller. We love our Nuna. We beat our stroller/carseat up over and over (lots of travel) and it still performed well for us. The Nuna Mixx is currently on sale and it comes with the carseat and stroller. 


The Dockatot is also on sale. I never had one of these but I know everyone always raves about them. 



We bought so many of these Halo sleepsacks for Sloan. They are currently on sale for $25 instead of $39. 


We invested in a Patagonia Down Sweater last year for Sloan and I think he wore it every single day of the winter/cold spring days. Best investment ever. 


I've always loved these Vans for Sloan. He has a few pairs and they always last us long enough to pass down to my nephew!