She’s two years old and already has better hair than I do.
Up until recently, I was still using an all-in-one shampoo and conditioner on her and her sister during bath time. But with as much hair as she has, it is really fine and tangles easily, so I decided it was time for an upgrade. I came across a line of baby products by Beautycounter that I just had to try. Read more…
It started at Juliet’s 2-year well-check. The doctor measured her and her height was only at 20% for her age. Everything else was good, really good actually. I talked about any concerns I had, and questions he had, and I left the office with a happy and healthy 2-year-old.
But then I got home. Read more…
I haven’t actually been doing monthly updates for Anniston’s first year, but this past month was a big one, so she earned it.
As I have mentioned numerous times, Anniston could not be more different from her big sister. She is a little more serious. A little more sensitive. She is happiest being held, still. She wants my attention at all times. She gets bored very easily and doesn’t enjoy playing alone. She hates to sleep and almost never naps. Those bags under her eyes in almost every picture, those are real, people. She has got to be exhausted by now. Eleven months and I can almost count the amount of naps she has taken on two hands.
If you read my post yesterday, I am sure you could sense how exhausting amazing our weekend in Disney World was with the girls. And, to top it off, my husband also left on a week-long work trip only 12 hours after we got back from Disney. So, by the following weekend, I was in desperate need of a break. The timing could not have been more perfect for our girls’ trip to California.
The trip was planned because I won tickets to the Ellen show. Crazy. My mom and sisters are huge fans of the show, so we all decided to make a trip out of it. Because it is pretty much the farthest place in the U.S. from where we live, we don’t make it out there often, or ever, so we planned out almost every touristy thing you could think of for our mini vacay.
We stayed at the Viceroy in Santa Monica, and it was beautiful. We had an ocean view room and were able to see the Santa Monica pier and watch the sunset from our balcony.
We spent Sunday exploring Santa Monica. We walked down to the pier, rode the ferris wheel and shopped at the Third Street Promenade.
For our first night, we had reservations at Sur Lounge. I don’t watch Vanderpump Rules, but I do watch the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, so I was pretty excited to check out Lisa’s restaurant. We did have a great time at dinner, but, if you had any plans of going, [I am sure you do not] don’t. Our appetizer came out and was still partially frozen, no one particularly liked their meal, and the service was almost too fast. The food was out in a matter of seconds and it felt like we left only minutes after we had gotten there.
I did manage to get at least one touristy pic in front of the restaurant, so I’ll call it a win.
We had the most amazing weather while we were there, so we spent the entire second day outside. We rode bikes from Santa Monica to Venice, then over the Venice Canals, shopped on Abbot Kinney, rode back to Santa Monica, then went back to the beach and rode to the Pacific Palisades and back to Santa Monica again. We spent over four hours on our bikes, but it was the absolute best part of the entire trip. And the people watching is… well, it’s something.
The last day was Ellen, the whole reason for the trip. We had to check in for the show by 1:30pm, so we got up early that morning and did the Warner Brothers Lot tour first. It was over two hours of set tours, but the best, by far, was the set of Friends.
We left the tour, walked over to the Ellen set and checked in for the show. The check-in process is interesting. I will leave it at that. My blog is too little, so I will not be spending any money on the lawyer I would probably need if I went into any further details. I will say that you pretty much know if you are going to get a good seat or not, and we got some pretty good seats. We were able to sit through two tapings, watch guests Wanda Sykes and Sofia Vergara, and dance a little next to Ellen and Twitch.
In this photo released by Warner Bros., a taping of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is seen at the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Calif. (Photo by Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.)
We left the show, grabbed a quick dinner, and headed to the airport to catch the red-eye home.
We crammed so much into those three days and had just the best time. I have only been away from my girls one other time since Anniston was born, so I knew it would be hard, but they were in great hands with JoJo (my mother-in-law). And you know everything went well when the first thing out of your two-year-old’s mouth when she sees you is, “Where’d JoJo go?”
I am still having trouble facing the fact that Juliet is now two years old, but she is, and we spent two weekends celebrating her big birthday.
Even though we live just a short three hours away from Disney World, it had been years since either my husband or I had been, and we had never taken the girls. So, instead of a big party this year, we decided it was the perfect time for their first Disney trip.
We had a small party for Juliet on her birthday weekend, with just family, and didn’t actually plan one thing. We ordered pizza, my husband picked up a generic cake the morning of the party, and there wasn’t a single decoration to be seen. And it was perfect.
Juliet played with all of her cousins, opened way too many presents, and managed to sneak in two cupcakes and a piece of birthday cake.
The weekend after her birthday was our big Disney trip. This actually required a lot more planning. Fortunately, none of the planning was done by me. My sister is an annual pass holder and certified Disney expert, so we left all of the planning up to her. She booked our hotel, secured our fast passes, made meal reservations, and sent me a full itinerary of where I needed to be and what time I needed to be there. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
We knew that there was no way that both girls would be able to sleep in the same room with us, so we stayed at one of the few Disney Resorts that offer suites, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. It is not the most luxurious hotel, but we had a full kitchen, a living room, two full bathrooms, and a separate master suite. Plus, we stayed in the Finding Nemo suites, so I am pretty sure we could have stayed in our room the entire weekend and Juliet would have still thought that Disney World was the best place ever.
We drove up Friday morning, checked into our hotel, then headed straight to Epcot. My top two toddler and baby approved recommendations at Epcot are the Frozen ride and the Finding Nemo ride. We also went on the Journey into Imagination ride, but it is a little scary for small children. Lucky for us, Juliet likes being scared, so she giggled through the whole thing.
Saturday was our big day at Magic Kingdom. Juliet is in full-blown princess mode right now, so we had fast passes to see Cinderella, Rapunzel, Elena, and Tiana.
She got a little shy each time she met a princess, so I’m glad we spent an equal amount of time on the rides. Juliet absolutely loved the Magic Carpet ride, and we actually got off and went straight back in line for that one because she kept asking to ride each different color carpet.
The parade was a huge hit with the girls and Juliet also loved It’s a Small World, but who doesn’t love that ride?
On Sunday we went to Hollywood Studios for a couple of hours, saw the Mickey’s Club House show, then hopped in our car at nap time to drive the three hours home.
The weekend was a bit of a blur, I took almost no pictures, and it took my husband and I about a week to recover from the trip, but Juliet has been talking about it almost every day since, and that makes it completely worth it.
Some tips for anyone else thinking of braving the most magical place on earth with a toddler and a baby:
Stay at a Disney Resort. The buses to and from the parks are so much easier than packing up your car, parking in a lot, then taking a shuttle from your car to the park entrance.
Don’t assume that your children will nap. I totally thought the girls would nap in their stroller, because, well, I wanted them to. They didn’t. They both only napped for about 45 minutes each day, but the magic of Disney will help you all power through it.
Bring back-up. We went with my sister and her family, and my parents. So, it was six adults and three children. This is probably the only reason we survived the weekend. Every time someone was tired of carrying, wrangling, or dealing with a child, there was someone else to pass them off to.
Fast passes. Fast passes. Fast passes. We only waited in lines for a combined total of about thirty minutes the entire weekend because we had fast passes booked for everything we had planned to do. Thanks again, sis!
Bring snacks and drinks with you! The parks let you bring in all of the food and drinks that you want, so we had a backpack full of juice boxes, snacks, and squeezies for the girls.
Have the time of your life! Because if your husband is anything like mine, it may be the only time in your life you go to Disney. Kidding, but he is threatening to make me wait at least four years before planning our next trip.