Where to Take Pictures in Disneyland!

A few weeks ago my sister-in-law/BFF asked me where she should make sure her sweet little daughter had her pictures taken on their trip to Disneyland. I had a few quick answers for her, but then this really got me thinking. There are SO many good places for a photo op in DLR and I love like…all of them. Especially character pictures, but I’m leaving those out of this particular post. But maybe you don’t want to spend your whole day scouting the perfect picture area, you know? So I’ve made a small list of my top 10 places in both Disneyland and California Adventure to make sure you get your picture taken.

DISNEYLAND

10. In Front of the Balloons. You know the balloons. The ones being sold all over Disneyland? I love pictures with those behind you. You can also ask the Cast Member holding the balloons if you can hold them for a picture (you won’t be able to hold it all alone, the CM will still be holding them, just off camera). My personal favorite kind of balloon picture is one of a little one being held up in front of them so all you see are the balloons, the sky and your little one being hoisted up in dads arms. So cute.

9. The Teacup or Dumbo. Outside of these rides, they have a stationary teacup/Dumbo to sit in and take a few pictures in. You can’t miss out on these.

8. The Matterhorn. Theres just something extra Disney about this spot. Plus its a really cool area.

7. Main Street. I love Main Street. There is something extra magical about it, therefore the photo opportunities there are wonderful.

6. In front of the Partners statue. Thats the statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse holding hands in the Hub at Disneyland (just a ways in front of the castle). Its iconic. Its beautiful. I love seeing people copy the post of Walt and Mickey, especially.

5. On King Arthurs Carousel. This is one of the most Disney-esque pictures I could ever suggest. Some of my favorite pictures of my boys are ones of them on a horse, enjoying the carousel.

4. Snow Whites Wishing Well. Oh I love this area (just to the right of Sleeping Beauty Castle). Its quiet and hidden away and its magical and whimsical and the picture opportunities there are lovely.

3. In Front of the Train Station. You know, like right when you walk in after getting your ticket/pass scanned. Everyone takes there picture there, and for good reason!

2. The Pink Door by Alice in Wonderland. This is in Fantasyland. Its a tiny little door near Alice in Wonderland and Teacups. Its adorable and makes for fun pictures. Its especially fun if you can put your little ones in front of it!

  1. In Front of the Castle. Obviously this is my #1, because you just can’t go wrong with a castle picture. Want to mix your castle picture up? Don’t take it right in front of the castle. Move to the side. Take it from behind the castle, in Fantasyland! Go stand at the beginning of Main Street! There are so many ways to customize this picture to make it your own. Also, if you want something super cute – my very favorite castle pictures are little babies/toddlers sitting by themselves in front of the castle. Obviously you have to wait until there isn’t a crowd thats not paying attention that may trample your tiny precious cargo, but once you get that clear spot, go for it – because this will be one of the best Disney pictures you’ve ever taken.

CALIFORNIA ADVENTRURE

10. At Carthay Circle. Its a big, interesting backdrop to have, and depending on what season/celebration you’re there for, its typically decorated really well!

9. Anywhere around Soarin’. There is an airplane thats a great photo op, the building itself is pretty neat and there is beautiful scenery around it – all of which will give you a lovely picture.

8. The Walt Disney statue on Buena Vista Street. Another classic, much like the Partners Statue in Disneyland. Its supposed to be Walt as he would have been when he first arrived in California.

7. Grizzly Peak/the Surrounding Area. There are cool waterfalls, pretty rock formations and nice scenery/nature spots. You can’t miss these ones.

6. In Front of Monsters Inc. All the doors and bright colors – love. This is one of my very favorite places for a picture. Its just so cute and bright and happy.

5. The End of Hollywood Land. There is a big poster type wall – does that makes sense? Its a fun, iconic spot.

4. With the Red Trolley Car. You’ll see it. It drives around California Adventure all throughout the day and is an adorable spot for pictures.

3. In Front of Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! Its just an iconic one and the exterior of that ride (well, the whole entire ride, actually) is amazing)!

2. In Front of Pixar Pier. There are a number of spots you can stand to get an amazing Pixar Pier shot and I recommend all of them. I think my favorite is either on the bridge on your way to Pixar Pier or in the World of Color viewing area.

1. Anywhere in Cars Land. You can’t pick a bad spot here. The theming in Cars Land, as I and so many others say all the time, is incredible. You truly feel like you are in the movie when you’re here. So seriously, every single spot is a great place for a snapshot.

 

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Valentines

Oh, Valentines Day!

Tomorrow is the big, romantic holiday and…am I a Valentine’s Day Grinch if I say that I am not super in love with this holiday (pun, intended)? Don’t get me wrong, I love love. I’ve got to be one of the cheesiest, hopeless-romantics on earth. Wild Man can attest to how ooey-gooey I can be and how love stuff sucks me in. But I have this problem with thinking this day needs to be special for love. I guess I’m in the group of people that think, shouldn’t we celebrate love like this every day?? However, if you are one of those people who are crazy about Valentine’s Day, then go you! If I’m being honest, I think I’d like to be a Valentine’s Day crazy person. I admire those people. Maybe someday. But not in 2019, at least.

Know what I do love, though? My husband. Since this is the day of love I just feel like I need to say

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY WILD MAN!

He’s great. I’m glad he is my forever Valentine. Even though we keep our Valentine’s Days super low-key and uneventful, he still makes them special for me. I am a lucky lady to have him. Now, in an awkward attempt to wrap up this dull-feeling blog post (does it feel that way to anyone else? yeah, probably), here are some old pictures of the two of us. One from our wedding and two engagements. P.S. I kind of miss my blonde hair.

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Have a happy, happy Valentine’s Day tomorrow – no matter how you celebrate it!

My Hulk Boy

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Three is a funny age. You always hear about ‘terrible twos’ but I dare say that whoever coined that phrase hadn’t parented a three year old, yet. H is hilariously unpredictable. Most of the time he is our happy, enthusiastic, curious, adventurous, rambunctious little boy. He enjoys doing good, he follows rules and he is kind.

But every once in a awhile lately he turns.

He goes from that sweet boy explained above, to a little Hulk. (fitting thats his favorite Avenger right now) He explodes with rage. He screams and starts kicking and punching. He gets mean and mad and there is no calming him down.

I’m truly at a loss right now to know how to control these outbursts, while still allowing him to be himself and let him know its ok to feel things and express how he feels. You know? But at the same time, its not ok for him to kick and punch me all the time, right? Oh, the joys of motherhood. As frustrating as it can be I honestly wouldn’t trade it for the world.

He is a great boy who I feel very lucky to be able to witness grow up and learn more about each day. This is fun. It really is.

Hello February!!

After what felt like an eternal January, I am sooooooo excited for a fresh new month! Happy February, everyone!

This month I am planning on really focusing on me and my families health. Last month was rough on our health and this month I am really hoping to heal, sanitize the heck out of my house (for the millionth time this year) and make up for all the time we spent laying on the couch. We don’t have any real big plans, but I hope to fill the days with fun little activities and moments spent with family. I’m open to new plans and chances to take. I’m feeling optimistic about this new month. What are you planning for this month??

January in Review

Ok let’s talk about January. It was 31 days, right? Then why did it feel like 301? Why were me and my sons sick every single one of those days? How come my mental health was spiraling this month? Why was it so long and exhausting? I mean don’t get me wrong, there was good stuff in January too (thank goodness), but it was really an off month for us.

GOOD

  • Despite feeling like garbage every day, I stuck to my exercise goals pretty well this month. I didn’t really do a lot of resolutions this year and I’m determined to be easier on myself and show myself more love and kindness.. So yeah, I missed several days of exercise and I only stuck to my goal of no-more-caffeine for two days, but I’m still doing awesome when it comes to my health. I’m eating things that are good for me, but I’m also eating food that makes me happy. I’m drinking so much more water, but I’m also drinking a lot of Dr Pepper. I’m exercising most days of the week, but I’m not holding myself to any unachievable fitness goals. I feel good about this.
  • E got tubes in his ears. This also was really sad because your 14 month old getting surgery is not super fun, but it’s good because now hopefully the constant ear pain and chronic ear infections will stop. It’s amazing, only a few hours after getting his tubes, he was already a happier kid. Being free from pain has made him so cheerful (even though he was pretty dang happy anyway) and I’m so grateful for it. Also, he’s totally a better walker now – isn’t that funny? I guess the ear pain was throwing his equilibrium off, so once it was gone, walking became so much easier to him!
  • I don’t know what happened or how long it’ll last, but I have this new found motivation to organize every inch of my house. I love it and how fulfilling and gratifying it is.
  • Snuggles. All the sickness has meant so. much. snuggling. and I am here for it. My boys are usually so wiggly and active, so I’ll take in all the cuddles I can get.
  • Modern medicine is amazing, isn’t it? I’m so thankful for it. I’m also so thankful for doctors.
  • H started Sunbeams! While I’m still in denial he’s three, it’s been so much fun to witness. The first week he was pretty devastated that he couldn’t go to Nursery, but now he’s cool with it. He loves his teacher (I do, too), he says his class has lots of friends and every single week after church he’s come up to me and told me that he loves Jesus and Jesus loves him. So it’s amazing.

BAD

  • Did I mention we’ve been sick all month? Wild Man somehow got lucky and only just barely got sick, but me and the boys have been sick since Christmas and I’m over it. We’ve had bronchitis, pink eye, sinus infections, colds, sinus colds, double ear infections, terrible chronic coughs, ear surgery, a dislocated shoulder and have pretty much single handedly been keeping Kleenex in business.
  • I was blind for a good portion of the month. My glasses mysteriously broke into 3 pieces at the same time I had pink eye. I couldn’t get new glasses because I didn’t have a current glasses prescription and I couldn’t go to the eye doctor because I had pink eye. I also couldn’t wear contacts because of pink eye. I wore Wild Mans glasses for a while but it made me feel dizzy and sick. Then a dear friend let me borrow her glasses that were a little bit of an improvement. A few days ago I finally got my new prescription and my new glasses will be ready soon! But just in case you didn’t know, being blind, especially when you’re a pretty blind human, is miserable.
  • I’ve never really had winter blues. That is until this month happened. I’ve never felt so eager for summer before! I am a person who claims winter is my favorite month, so it’s a very alien feeling.
  • December brought in a lot of family from out of state, and December brought their departures. Why do some family members have to live far away? Why can’t we snap our fingers and pop in to see them?
  • H turned 3 in November. I keep hearing the term ‘threenager’ and haven’t understood. Until a couple weeks ago. Ohhhh my gosh. Whoever complains about ‘terrible twos’ have clearly not had a three year old yet. H has always been an easy kid, but now all the sudden he tests me every day. He has so much more attitude, he knows how capable he is of being independent and he looooves to hit *please picture my massive eye roll. I’m exhausted. He’s exhausting. Good thing he’s cute and can be a big sweetie, because there are some moments where I just want to hide.
  • Come Follow Me (The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints new at home study material) is amazing and I am so on board with this. I love it and the concept of making home study so much more of a priority is incredible. So why the heck am I allowing myself to slack off a bit? Not a good way to start the year off. I’m still doing it and keeping up with the weekly materials, I just know I could be doing it so much more in depth.

ON MY BRAIN

  • I need Disney in my life. Thank heavens we have trips right around the corner. Thank heavens for Disney, am I right?
  • I’ve been serving in my wards Primary presidency for about a month now, and it’s been really incredible. It’s amazing to me how once you are sustained into a calling and you allow yourself to, you feel so connected to that position. My calling is fairly busy and I’m still figuring a lot of things out, but I’m really, really loving it. I serve with a group of amazing women and I’m confident this is where I’m supposed to be in the church right now.
  • Have you ever thought about how weird pets are? No really. This has been on my mind so much lately. They’re just this animals we allow into our homes to stay, eat, sleep and play at for free. We don’t speak the same language and sometimes we bug the heck out of each other. I’ve spent a few late nights up by myself with Penny (our lab) and couldn’t stop thinking about how funny pets are. Does this make me sound crazy?
  • I’m going to be a fun mom in February. No doubt about it, I was a lame mom this month. I already have our February bucket list in a prominent place and I’m ready to crush it.

E’s Ears

I’m not sure if you know this or not, but my sweet baby E has had a rough go when it comes to his little ears. In his fourteen months of life, he has had twelve ear infections, most of those happening since August/September-ish, and most of them being double ear infections. We also found our pretty recently that for a while now, both of his ear drums have been ruptured. Isn’t that awful? You’d be floored to hear this if you know him or have seen him recently though, because he’s just so happy still. But it definitely now makes sense why when he was ticked, he was ticked. The pain tolerance his little body has is absolutely incredible. During a recent discussion with E’s ENT (ear nose and throat doctor), he told me that the pain he must have been feeling was so excruciating it would send a grown man to the Emergency Room. That shattered my mom heart. I had no idea. I mean, I knew it hurt, but I had no idea it hurt that badly.

We finally got him into the ENT a little while ago where they told us E needed tubes (no shock – thats why we were there). Thats also where we learned about the double rupture. Poor baby. So earlier last week, he finally got his tubes put in, along with a small exploratory surgery just to check out his ears and make sure there isn’t anything else to be concerned with. Good news, everything looks great. I’m so grateful for modern medicine and for doctors. I’m especially for doctors who make your children feel special. I was so impressed with all the doctors and nurses we talked to on E’s day of surgery. They all got down on his level and talked to him – something that social little boy really loved. It made me feel even more comfortable and confident.

Recovery has been pretty good, all things considered. The first few days involved a lot of blood and a lot of ooze, but thats all stopped now. He hates the ear drops we have to put in multiple times a day with a passion, but those are almost over with. We are so excited for a pain-free baby who hopefully hopefully hopefully won’t have to deal with anymore painful infections anymore.

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My Potty Training Tips + Tricks

*Disclaimer: I’m not an expert at this. I made the discouraging discovery just yesterday that we’ve been trying to get H potty trained for a whole year now. This is just what worked – and didn’t work – for us.

Potty Training isn’t fun. I’ll just say that up front. But, once you figure out how to make it work for you and more importantly, your little one, it gets a lot better.

I always heard not to push potty training on your toddler, and truthfully I didn’t want to because potty training sounded awful to me. So last year (ugh how has it been that long?) when H would try to climb up on the toilet and pull his pants off, I took that as the sign that he was ready for it. So we bought some underwear, I read some articles, got advice from trusted friends and family, bought some potty treats and decided to go for it. It started off ok-ish, but he never told me when he needed to go and there were so. many. messes. So I kind of lost steam, then we had a family vacation and I put him back in diapers because I didn’t want to deal with it. Then I decided to wait a while before we’d start again.

This happened a few times. We’d get into the groove, but then something would come up where it was just easier to put him in diapers or pull ups and forget about it. Also, he’d just never tell me when he needed to go. I mean, maybe a couple times a week he would, but I got exhausted trying to remind him every half hour or so that we needed to go. To make it worse, he got to the point that every time I’d bring it up he’d scream, “no!” and run away from me. Didn’t seem like he was ready, right? So again, I’d kind of give up on it. We’d have random days/weeks where we’d put him in underwear and he’d do ok. But mostly it ended in lots of gross laundry for me and an un-potty-trained toddler.

Then something clicked, and I think this is why people tell you to wait until your toddler is ready. Like really ready. I thought he was ready all those times before, but I guess he wasn’t. Because about a month ago he brought me underwear and then a few minutes later he told me he needed to go potty! Then throughout the day he just kept telling me he needed to go! Yes, I’d still remind him here and there and pooping is always an adventure, but it was like all the sudden he just got it! So we excitedly started rolling with it and its been a dream! Well, as much as potty training a toddler can be a dream.

After a lot of hit and misses when it comes to getting your kid ok with using the restroom, here are my list of do’s and don’ts. Oh also.. Apparently its common for some kids to be afraid of the toilet or going on it. H never was, he actually thought it was cool, so I don’t have any advice as far as making the toilet not scary. We just got lucky this time.

DO

  • Find some kind of award system that works for your little buddy. Treats always were a big motivator for H. We had small candies in our cupboard and if H went potty on the toilet he got two, if he pooped on the toilet he got four and if he told us he needed to go he got a bonus one. We also had a little bit of a sticker reward system going from time to time, as well. I had a small book that we titled, “H’s Potty Book” and when he went potty he got one sticker in his book, when he pooped he got two. We had a certain amount of stickers for each page (it was quite a few) and when a page was filled he had a reward we’d predetermined that he’d get to cash in on. Sometimes it was going to a certain place, sometimes it was a toy, sometimes it was a big treat, etc.
  • Celebrate potty and poop! Such a mom thing to say, but I’m serious! Make your kid feel like a million bucks when they go on the toilet – especially when they are the ones who initiate it! Sometimes H would get so pumped up and proud of himself he’d ‘have to’ go like two or three times in a row! Toddlers respond well to excitement and praise. Remember that.
  • Also hand-wash-train them. Keep in mind that after you use the restroom, you wash your hands! Get them in the habit. You use the toilet. You wash your hands. Always. Know what makes this easier? Fun soap. For example, H loves foamy soap.
  • Buy fun underwear. Kids (mine at least) are so much more motivated to not make a mess in their underwear if its exciting!

DON’T

  • Don’t make them feel bad if they have an accident. A few times I am sad to admit I told H I was mad at him for pooping in his underwear. Whenever that happened I saw that he was extra upset when it came time to go potty again. It just made there be a yucky, heavy feeling over potty training and no one needed that – especially H.
  • Don’t make the whole process this big ordeal. When we first started, I had this big system that I thought would be awesome. It was long and complicated and there were far too many steps. It was unattainable and ended up making me frustrated.
  • Don’t let other peoples opinions change your mind. I can’t tell you how many times I heard ‘is he too young for this?’ ‘is he ready for this?’ ‘you should try this instead’ etc, etc. Stick to your mom/dad gut. Do what feels right for you. Know who knows your kid the best? You. Obviously if sometimes has some awesome advice or a suggestion you totally think will work, implement it. But don’t let peoples judgements or unsolicited advice change your coarse.

WHAT I USE FOR ‘MESSES’

Laundry

  • Fels-Naptha Bar. This is what I use to initially scrub poop out of clothing. This little bar is a game changer and I absolutely swear by it. Its cheap and totally works. Highly recommend.
  • Oxi Clean. After scrubbing the clothes, if there is still some work to be done on the clothes, I soak them in Oxi Clean. Its a powder you mix in with water (i’m pretty sure you can put it in the washer too?) and it works wonders.

Carpet/Floor

  • Folex. This is all I use to get urine and poop out of the carpet. Fun Fact: it also works great for pet accidents. This stuff is insanely effective.
  • Max Odor Eliminator. I got this for our dog when we first had her as a puppy. It somehow magically takes odor right out of the carpet. Its this stay foam stuff that just absorbs into the carpet and you don’t need to vacuum it up. Its very cool.

 

Happy Potty Training!