California Dreamin': Day 2...

We woke up bright and early on Sunday morning to get to California Adventure by 8am! And can I just say that the minute we pulled into the parking structure we felt it. You know that Disney magic that everyone talks about. It's real. 197% real. 

It's so real that I could spend 1000 words of your time just telling you about it. About the smile that just appears on your face. About the lightness in your step. The wonder in your heart. The happiness that fills your soul as you sit watching your kids feel the same things. 


We snapped a few pis once we made it in the park... 

and we were ready for a "SUPER" Sunday at California Adventure!

And I was super excited to spend time with this guy.

Then we were off and on our way...

And who was the first person we ran into? 


I don't care how old you are, when you meet Mickey Mouse, you are giddy.

And the day just kept getting better. 

California Adventure has been working on Cars Land since before my last visit in 2009. We were all so excited to visit Radiator Springs.


You feel like you are walking in the movie. You are IN Radiator Springs. This was my favorite part of the park - it's so incredible. 

Flo's V8 Cafe is an actual diner, the Curiosity Shop has tons of fun knick knacks, and the Cozy Cone had a special guest that was checking out... 


Lightening McQueen!!!

(Emmy was not a fan of the fact that he decided to rev his engine as we were snapping pictures. Radley, on the other hand, clearly thought it was hilarious. Such sibling love.)

I really can't do anything but repeat myself.
Experiencing all of this by simply watching your child, is a gift. 
An undeserving, unexpected, unmatched beautiful gift. 

We made our way through town, stopping to just soak it all in.

And when I looked up to see my kids holding these hands that live 1000s of miles away, my eyes glistened with joy. This is how it should be all the time. 

As we rounded the last corner of the strip, we had made it to the main attraction... the Cars Ride. 

55 minutes later and we finally made it and the wait was absolutely worth it.

We could not get over this ride - you were taken directly into the movie and got to "meet" and talk with all the characters. One by one until the end when Lightening and Mater wished you luck on your big race - and we WON!

And all too quickly, we had to gather our things...

and wave goodbye to our new friends.

But that was okay, because one more walk around the bend and we found new ones!

We rode an applesauce swing...

spun in circles with ladybugs, and bumped each other in doodle bugs.

Then it was time for a quick break for lunch, a run through the sprinklers and a dance party with Pops. 


Then it was time for Radley and Owen to earn some amusement park stripes. Radley was too excited to be scared and poor Owen was smart enough to know that it may be a little scary. Both of them did great - although at one point I looked over at Radley and was frightened that his lunch would be making a second appearance. But we all survived "the terror" and came out all smiles!


We really just had the best time taking it all in, eating our weight in churos and letting that magic just soak in. 

We hung out with Ariel and Eric...

paused for smiles and silly face (ehm, Landry)...

and captured these sweet moments in time.

I love it when we are all together. I love making new memories with my "old" brothers (ha!)...

and I mostly just loved watching the faces of these sweet kids.

Well, and hanging out with these two isn't so bad either.

The sweetest faces were made sweeter as the day progressed...

there was always room for one more snack...

and the lines for rides became adventures and rest stops all in one.

Landry didn't want to give up these glasses. 

And then all too soon, the sun was setting...

and the day was done. But you know what... that magic was still there. 

I think by far the smartest thing that we did was to decide to not plan a thing. Which is the exact opposite of my every day life - but I am seriously so glad that all we "planned" to do was have fun, enjoy our family and spend this time focusing on the kids. And, dear readers, if I had any advice to give you that was ever worth listening to... 

That is it. 

Don't plan for greatness, let it happen to you. Let the wonderment of the day seep in and guide you. Let the joy on their faces create the happy in your heart. Let them play. Let them get messy. Let them eat candy 10 minutes before dinner. Act silly. Be crazy. Run through the water. Carry them on your shoulders and keep them in your heart. 

And not just when you go to Disneyland... let's do that every day. 

California Dreamin': Day 1...

Yes, I know we have been back from our trip for almost a week, but well... we've been busy! 

We left for California on a Friday night. We put the kids in pjs so the flight would be comfortable and we wouldn't have to mess with changing clothes once we got to Jody and Sonya's. They were as excited as they were adorable! 

But we all know that best laid plans are just plans. Mother Nature had a different idea for our travel times and delayed our CS flight by 2 hours which meant we missed our connecting flight from Houston to California. Ryan found us a couple of rooms at the LaQuinta next to the Houston airport so when our 8am flight rolled around we wouldn't so exhausted. Everyone was happy and content and ready to be there! 

Jody, Sonya and Owen met us at the airport and drove us directly to our favorite place in Norco - the Famous 6th Street Deli (that they own).  Somehow GiGi always ends up surrounded by the kids. 

We ate an amazing lunch, laughed, caught up and just soaked in the feeling of being with family.

The afternoon was just how I like them to be - slow and easy. With nothing on our agenda and all the time in the world to do it. 

The weather was GORGEOUS so we played outside...

made new friends...

and explored. 

We couldn't talk Emmy or Landry into getting on the horses, but they were both okay with patting them.

Our sweet set of cousins ready to tackle the week ahead!

Radley decided he wanted to ride the horse but settled on just sitting still (which he was quickly relieved about). 

And then we ate some more, laughed some more, and got ready for the next few days ahead.... 


It's Fall, Y'all...

So today was some kind of wonderful. 

The whole weekend was a gift, but today was extra special. 

The rain put us all in a trance, so we slept late - Miss L until 9am! Enjoyed some fresh baked muffins by the King, and then it was time for some crafts! I bought these cute door hangers at HobLob about a month ago for the kids to decorate for Halloween. I thought it would be cute to make their foot print into a ghost, so away we went.

First up, Miss Landry...
(photo cred: Radley)

Then Miss Emmy...
(photo cred: Radley)

And then Mr. Radley King had his turn. He was slightly ticklish. 

We waited for their feet to dry then each kiddo added their personal touches. The finished products are pretty darn cute. And you would know that if I took a picture with my camera. But alas, I only snapped one with my phone, so you'll have to wait. 

I know - the anticipation is probably killing you.

Ryan then got some great husby points and took all three kids grocery shopping while I finally decorated for fall. 30 days late. 

But now the house smells of all things yummy and it just seems so cozy around here. Radley produced actual tears when he got back because he wanted to help. Thankfully Ryan always "forgets" about 2 boxes up in the attic so the kiddos got to place a few things here and there, too. 

Then nap time called, I scheduled some blog posts, they slept, Ryan did something fun I'm sure. :)

And then... craft project #2 commenced. 

(Ryan was in charge of pictures which is why there are none except beginning and end)

Isn't he delightful!?! Super fun, super cheap, and super easy! 
Pinterest Win for sure! Ours is slightly different - we just used poster board for the hair, but we love it!
(Plus I'm sure it won't last until Halloween, so now we have extra supplies to make him over again!)

I mean, if this doesn't get us points with the HOA, I don't know what will!

After the door was finished, we ate dinner, played in our "centers" (Radley's room is the art center, Emmy's room is the home center, and the living room is the crazy center) and got ready for bed. 
Please note that these pjs are from last year...Emmy is wearing an 18 month; Landry 6-9 month and Radley a 4T. My children are small. 

And I love it that way.

We said our prayers and I looked up to see this sweet little child giving me one of her famous looks. I had to break protocol and snap this pic. 

Some kind of wonderful indeed.

(Double chins courtesy of Guercio genes)