My Sisters Birthday

Earlier this week my sister had her 20th birthday. My other sister and I have sort of made it our tradition that on her birthday we dress like she does. The girl likes her color black and she has a specific niche when it comes to her t-shirts. We always feel so clever copying her style – and one of these days I’ll remember to wear my glasses instead of my contacts on her birthday so we can match even more. I feel like we did an awesome job this year once again. I even got H in on the action and he wore his little Adidas joggers – so cute!

We had a fun day celebrating her. She is one of a kind and had a very one of a kind day that greatly revolved around animals, which couldn’t be more perfect for her. The girl loves animals and wants them all. Unfortunately for her, our other sister and my dad are both allergic to fur so she can’t have all the furry animals she wishes for (they do have two hypoallergenic dogs at least). She has a (very spoiled) beta fish and had a crawfish that recently died (RIP little buddy) and she was very much wanting to grow her creepy-crawly collection. So we helped her out this year for her birthday. For a while now she’s been telling us the only thing she wants for her birthday is a Crested Gecko and as luck would have it, I got a new client who happened to breed and sell Crested Gecko’s! It was perfect. So we arranged to pick her new little pet up on the afternoon of her birthday. She had her little gecko she’d been dreaming about and her birthday was complete. But she’s turning 20. Thats a big deal. We decided to add a little more fun. My sister gave her another crawfish and me and my family gave her two hermit crabs. Of course she still has big plans for several other reptiles, etc to add, but we got her a good place to start.

I love this girl and I’m glad she’s my sister! My wish for her this year is lots of happiness and a few more critters — just please no snakes or spiders.

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..the actual birthday girl is in the middle..

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The Halloween Time @ DLR Pump Up Post

Just in case you needed it, here is a post to get you pumped up for Halloween Time starting at Disneyland Resort! (disclaimer: a good chunk of these pictures are from Cars Land because I still can’t get over how awesome the overlay is there)

Halloween Season officially begins in Disneyland Resort today, September 7th, though decor, etc has been popping up for the last couple weeks. How excited are you? On a scale from 1-10, I’m definitely at a solid 100. I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again, Halloween Time at Disneyland Resort is the very best time to go to that magical park. I promise.

I’ve gathered several of my favorite Halloween Disneyland pictures for this post to get you all excited for your upcoming trip, or give you some motivation to get there. Or, if you can’t make it, then hopefully this can help fill that Disney void for you!

*Most of these are taken by my dad – he does such a good job.

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A Bugs Land

You guys, I’m just sad about this. Today, A Bugs Land in California Adventure closes down for good to make way for a new, Marvel-themed area. Don’t get me wrong, I am really excited to see what this ‘Marvel Land’ (thats not what it will be named) will look like and entail, but I’m pretty devastated that it comes with such a high cost. A Bugs Land is adorable. The theming in that area is some of Disney’s best, if you ask me. Its such a great place to take kids as well. With this gone, I feel like options for little kids in California Adventure are so much smaller. Its a bummer.

A Bugs Land opened in California Adventure on October 7th, 2002 and consists of several child friendly rides which are, Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train, Fliks Flyers, Francis’ Ladybug Boogie and Tuck’n’Rolls Drive ‘Em Buggies. There is also Princess Dot’s Puddle Park (a splash pad, essentially) and the best a 3D show called, Its Tough to be a Bug.

I’m going to miss A Bugs Land. I really am. I have some awesome memories there. H’s very first ride in a Disney Park was in A Bugs Land (Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train). We would always laugh when we rode Ladybug Boogie because it seemed to spin just a little too fast and would whip us around. I’ve never felt fully prepared for the part in Its Tough to be a Bug when the bugs leave the theater under your seat or when you get stung in the back (if you’ve been you know what I’m talking about). We have a really funny story with Wild Man’s family on the Drive ‘Em Buggies. The shade there is unbeatable. I know I’ve already said this, but the theming is spectacular. The popsicle stick benches, the huge 3 (and 4)  leaf clovers  up above you and the fact that when you enter Bugs Land you really do feel as if you’ve shrunken down to the size of a little bug. I can’t say enough just how cool it felt to be there. It was certainly overlooked by many people who entered California Adventure, but it wasn’t by me or my family. We love it and we’ll miss it.

bye. A Bugs Land! Thanks for the memories.

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Dad

I’m so grateful for my sweet dad. If you know him, you love him. He is friendly, happy and such a humble, generous person. He has a unique and hilarious sense of humor that he’s passed on to me and my sisters. He has great dad jokes. He is an encourager and will back his family up on their dreams and helps make them come true in any way he can. He is concerned about the happiness of those around him. He is a hard worker and successful businessman. He is kind and dedicated. He listens well. He has a laugh that is the funniest sound and without a doubt makes the rest of our family laugh along with him.

He loves baseball, like a lot. He loves Disney and especially the family time that happens there. He loves donuts. He loves watching comedians and videos/memes of people getting hurt in comical ways. He has an amazing collection of Disney button-up shirts and wears them proudly. He loves his grandsons tremendously. He loves babies and they love him right back. He is a believer in naps. He loves taking pictures. He loves the gospel and his daily life is proof of that. He likes to read and I swear he knows a little something about everything (don’t even try to challenge this man in any kind of trivia game, trust me).

Most girls claim they have the best dad ever, and I believe that for me, he is the best dad ever. He’s involved, supportive, understanding, patient and caring. He is one of my dearest friends and I love him very much.

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Happy Fathers Day, dad!!

Lately

How are there people out there who blog daily while being a mom/wife? Share your secret because I quite obviously don’t know how to!

Lately we have really just been focusing on family. Since February there haven’t been any big trips or huge noteworthy things we have done. Our family of four have gone on several fun outings to different museums and now that the weather is finally getting warmer we are really enjoying daily walks and time outside all together. Life is good. My heart is full and I am grateful.

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I Never Had to Split My Heart in Half

When I got pregnant with E, I was ecstatic. But almost as soon as I saw that positive sign, another weird, unexpected feeling rushed over me along with the joy. That was guilt. It instantly hit me that H would no longer be an only child and his world of near constant attention and having his parents all to himself would be over in several months. I knew having more than one kid was absolutely right for me. I knew I was going to have more than two kids even. But I never knew how part of me would feel guilty for growing our family. I never thought about that when I was younger and to be honest I never really thought about it much until I learned I was pregnant with my second child.

The feeling of joy was a million times stronger than the guilty and sad feeling. But when I let myself really dwell on those two words, it got worse and worse. I knew how much I loved H. SO MUCH. So how on earth could I possibly love another human as much? Was my heart even capable of somehow dividing such a strong, powerful, fierce love to two kids? How would H not just always be my favorite because I’d had him and known him the longest? Would my second child feel neglected? Would he see that I had a ‘better’ relationship with his big brother? Fear and worry would creep over me easier each time I allowed myself to think on these scary thoughts.

I did my best to ignore them. People add children into their families every day and guess what? The other kids are ok. The new babies are ok. The family is ok. The mom…I hope she is ok. I would switch my focus back to joy. Adding this new little brother to our family was perfect. He was going to be so sweet and handsome and I couldn’t even handle the thoughts of how cute his relationship would be with his brother. Having two sons was absolutely going to be the best thing ever. It was right. It was good. It was perfect. I was going to figure out how to split my love.

Split my love. I hated that phrase, but I thought it all the time. Somehow I’d have to figure out how to take half the love I had for H and give it to his brother. Thats where the real guilt came in. Would H notice I had to share my love? Would he feel like he was less loved and less important? Sure he wasn’t even two yet – but even toddlers notice change. Was he going to be sad? Was he going to be mad at me? Was he going to resent his brother for this big life change?

I never told anyone these fears. No one. I was worried saying I was worried I couldn’t love them both as powerfully, equally and strongly made me a weak mom. I thought it would make me a bad mom. I kept it to myself and I tried not to worry and focus on the joy. I prayed a lot. I tried to have as much faith in myself as a mother as I could.

Then the day came. November 10th happened and I had my second son that night!

I learned something incredible. The second my c-section started I started praying in my head. I prayed that the operation would go well and that my new baby would be safe and healthy. I prayed I would be healthy. I prayed that H was happy back home with his grandparents.

I prayed that my heart could figure out how to be a mom of two.

Something pretty cool happened then. E’s delivery was a little bit scary. As soon as he was out, he was taken immediately to a NICU team in the next room and my husband went with him. I was alone on the operating table with medical people around me. They were talking to me, trying to distract me from the scary thing that had just happened. They were trying to distract me so I wouldn’t dwell on the fact that my new baby still hadn’t screamed or cried or taken a very good breath. I was terrified. Their distractions didn’t work. All I knew is I had only seen my sweet son for a split second and he was gray and silent. I just wanted to hear him cry. I needed to know he was ok. Nothing else in the world mattered in those unknown moments.

Thats when it all dawned on me. I loved him with my whole heart. I loved him just as powerfully, equally and strongly as I loved H. But it wasn’t because my heart split in half. It was because my heart doubled in size in a way only the heart of a mother can do. My love didn’t change, it didn’t shrink or alter for H. It stayed big and the same – maybe it even grew. My love for my new son matched the love I had for H perfectly. I just knew all those worries and fears I’d had most of my pregnancy were all a thing of the past now. I knew that both of my sons had equal, huge love from me. It was such a calming, overwhelming feeling. I was so gracious.

It felt like forever, but not too much longer there were finally some loud and glorious screams from the room next door. My doctors all sighed with relief saying, “there he is!” or smiling really big at me. My anesthesiologist energetically patted my shoulder. My nurses cheered. He was ok. So was I. I loved that little boy I hadn’t really seen so, so much.

He was finally brought out to me where we had our little post c-section face snuggles. It was so spiritual and perfect. He was snorting in my ear and seemed to be telling me he loved me and he was comfortable and happy to be back with me. It was perfect. I told him I loved him and I felt that. I truly, truly meant it.

My heart never had to change its love for H. It knew what it was doing. Maybe all the while my belly was growing, preparing to deliver a child, my heart, too, was growing – preparing to love another sweet little baby.

10 of My Favorite Pictures From Our Latest Disneyland Trip

Catchy title, huh?

This was originally supposed to be ‘My Top 10 Favorite Pictures from our Latest Disneyland Trip,’ in an attempt not to post the trillions of pictures we took, but I learned it is far too difficult of a task to narrow all the pictures down to my favorite ten. So instead, these are just some of my favorites. Please know there are many, many more favorites – and that the ones I chose are in no particular order.

#1: Wild Man and I overlooking Rivers of America. My dad was sitting on top of this bridge with sleeping E and it was a perfect photo op. He also took some of me and my sisters up here. I love how they turned out. Its also nice documentation of how empty the park was.

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#2: Entering the park our first morning there – first time as a family of four. (don’t let H’s face fool you – he was stoked!) My dad ran through the turnstiles before us so he could capture us all walking through the gates for E’s first time. Maybe I shouldn’t have smiled so it could have been a little more candid 😉

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#3: Brother love. We had come out of Pirates of the Caribbean and H felt the need to love on his brother. Once again my dad whipped his camera out and got the sweetest picture. …imagine how many great photos we would have missed if my dad wasn’t so on his picture taking game!

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#4: Lunch on day 1. We ate at Rancho del Zocalo (one of my faves) and we got our first picture together of the whole crew. Honestly one of my favorite parts of any Disney vacation is the food.

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#5: A sight any parent loves. During the day we miraculously got both boys to nap at the same time. I was more than happy to skip out on a few things to live up this moment and to do all in my power to make it last as long as possible.

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#6: H loves carousels. King Arthurs Carousel is hands down his favorite ride in DLR. If he had his way we would have rode this all day, all four days there. Nothing makes him happier than saddling up and holding onto the gold pole and smiling for the camera. Its the sweetest thing and ends up always being one of my favorite Disney memories. It also makes me tear up…still.

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#7: Family photo in front of Big Thunder Mountain. The last few times we were in Disneyland I had to skip out on this ride because I was pregnant with E. I was so happy to bet back on it this time. I love this ride. Its one of my favorites and I love the scenery.

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#8: Maters Junkyard Jamboree with Wild Man and The Captain. H on this ride and Luigi’s was…oh my gosh. Just the cutest. He is Cars obsessed, so being able to ride on them was amazing for him. All of Cars Land was extra exciting to him.

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#9: Wild Man, my sister and I on Matterhorn. Wild Man and I decided something.. Matterhorn, though rough, is one of our favorite rides. Sure, every time I rode it this trip I smacked my head either on the seat in front of me or the headrest behind me (I’m going to blame the fact that I’ve semi recently had a child and my stomach muscles are still less than stellar) but it is so much fun!

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#10: Our first castle picture as a family of four. Castle pictures always tend to be my favorite, but this…this is my #1 of the whole trip and my favorite castle picture we have ever done together.

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