Kate, Lexi, William

Summer Dreams

Tonight was one of those nights that will be impressed into my memory forever. I would call it a top 10 weather day. It was sunny and about 80 degrees with no humidity or wind. It was perfect. Daddy grilled while you three kiddos rode bikes up and down the sidewalk and played on the swing set. There were lots of squeals and giggles and almost no arguing, whining or tattling.

Lexi optimistically suggested going to the Ice Cream Factory for dessert and requested we ride bikes. Initially, the plan was to have William ride in the trailer with Kate, but he insisted on riding his green bike. We gave it a go, but figured he would get tired and need to ride in the trailer and throw his bike on it.

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Oats, you rocked it. Your little legs were petaling a million times a minute but you rode all the way there AND back!

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You each enjoyed your ice cream and even switched it up from the usual:

  • Lexi: Birthday Cake
  • William: Mint Chocolate Chip
  • Kate: Watermelon Sherbet

So grateful for this weather, these memories and most importantly these sweet peeps that make us a family

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Love,

Mama

Chirstmas, Kate, Lexi, William

Christmas 2018

Merry Christmas Lexi William and Kate!

We were busy, but in an enjoyable sort of way throughout the entire Christmas season. This year, Christmas feel on a Tuesday. I took the Monday, Christmas Eve off from work and we started the morning with homemade buttermilk pancakes, homemade whipped cream and bacon. They were the best pancakes I have ever made and this will be a tradition moving forward.

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Most of the morning was pretty low key. Lexi and William were giddy-excited that Santa was coming tonight. Lexi exclaimed,’Ahh tomorrow is the day I get my Barbie Dreamhouse!’ I had to remind her that just because you ask for something doesn’t mean you get it. You two were so excited, you were pretending it was Christmas morning and opening gifts and acting surprised. William goes, ‘I got a Mickey!!! Lexi shrieks ‘I got a tablet!!’ LOL!! I died! Where do you come up with these crazy ideas?!?!

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I started getting ready at like 10:30, because it takes a long time to get myself and 3 other kiddos ready šŸ™‚

Kate took an early nap and we were out the door around 2:45 to head to Church. We met Grammy & Papa, Grandma Terri, Grandpa Bill, Great Grandma and Auntie T there.

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After, we headed over to Uncle Pats for Christmas Eve with the Tansey’s. It was a fun celebration as all of the cousins were there, so you kids had a blast running around with all the other kids. Santa made a surprise appearance and brought each of you an early gift. William and Lexi were in disbelief and Kate was terrified. Santa brought William a Paw Patrol set, Lexi a LOL surprise Pearl set and Kate a Minnie Mouse purse and cell phone.

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We headed home around 9:30 and since Pat’s is so close to home, nobody fell asleep. Both Lexi and Kate went right up to bed and were out in a couple of minutes. William helped set out cookies and milk for santa and some carrots for the reindeer. Daddy was also outside flooding the ice rink and William wanted to make sure he had the Grinch dust (green glitter). He says, ‘Dad, the grinch isn’t real–he’s just a character.’ Dad responds, ‘I know, but we’ll spread it around just in case’. William yells through the crack in the door, ‘Ok, Don’t forget to get the roof! You are so sweet buddy!

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Christmas morning, I was Shocked that you all slept in past 8:30, especially considering how excited you were. You came into our room and Daddy got the camera set up before we headed downstairs! William b-lined for his Heatwave and transformer trailer for Santa and Lexi was excited about her new table and desk chair and her Barbie’s and Hatchamals that Santa brought her. Lexi bounced around she was so excited and wanted to just rip through everything that had her name on it. However, she was very pumped to give everyone the gifts that she had picked out for them. She searched through the piles to find the items for her and requested that everyone open the gifts from her first. William was much more methodical and wanted to open and play with everything before moving onto the next. Kate was in the kitchen most of the morning eating, while everyone else was opening gifts. Girls gotta eat! She did come in every once in a while and loved her new Minnie Mouse doll, stroller and Unicorn Fingerling. Lexi’s was over-the-moon excited about the Lego hospital kit she received.

IMG_2570-COLLAGEWe spent a good 2 hours opening gifts before eating breakfast, cinnamon rolls and fresh fruit. Then we spent the next several hours putting together Lego kits (Lego hospital and the fire truck) cleaning up and getting ready before heading over to Grammy and Papa’s house around 4.

There we visited, ate some meat pies and enjoyed the next round of gifts.

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Then, on the 26th we were hosting the Sampson’s at our house for our Christmas celebration so we started cleaning the house and getting ready for Christmas celebration #4!

All-in-all it was a jam-packed couple of days, but filled with so much love, gratitude and so much to be thankful for.

Love,

Mama

Chirstmas, Kate, Lexi, William

Christmas Activities 2018

Dear Kiddos,

Christmas was no shortage of magic. The anticipation of the season is so exciting to me and I love everything about it. I love the lights on the houses, I love the decorations, (and actually decorating) the baking, the shopping, the music, the process of thinking about gifts and finding good deals, going to church, coordinating adorable outfits, wrapping gifts–everything about it is magic and I hope that you feel the magic and enjoy it as much as I do.

This year, we hosted Thanksgiving so I resisted and didn’t put the Christmas tree up until after Lexi’s birthday party, but the rest of the decorations came out on the evening of Black Friday.

I didn’t haul all the bins out until you were sleeping but then popped my earbuds in and listened to Christmas music (Jim Brinkman’s Piano Instrumental–my fav) and had the house twinkling in delight when you woke up the next morning.

The following Sunday, we headed over to Ivy and Claire’s house to do some cooking baking. We made sugar cookies and some peppermint cookies. You all had a great time, but honestly probably had more fun just playing with your cousins.

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IMG_2187-COLLAGEThe following weekend, the whole family went over to Grammy and Papa’s house for breakfast and Christmas Jammies. Grammy created a scavenger hunt for each of the kids that took them around the house and ultimately led them to their Christmas Jammies.

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The following weekend, we set up the Christmas tree. I usually like to do this by myself as it is a process to put the lights on and then the ribbon and then the ornaments, but figured I would give it a go with you awake and let you enjoy some of the fun too. Lexi was into it for about 5 minutes, but William helped the entire time and loved every moment of picking up the ornaments and finding a spot for it on the tree.

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In the past our elf, Sparkle Minnie has arrived on December 1st, but this year she was sick and didn’t arrive until about December 10th, and she brought a friend, Sparkle Mickey, to keep an eye out on you guys. She also brought you a book, the Giving Tree and asked for your to do a Good Deed everyday as a reminder that the Christmas season is about more than getting gifts, but being thoughtful and considerate towards other people. Lexi definitely understood the concept and we would talk each night about what good deed she did throughout the day. Some days it was sharing her magenta marker with a friend at school or playing with someone who was feeling sad. Other days it was doing William’s chore of unloading the dishwasher, or throwing away Kate’s diapers for mommy and daddy. It was so encouraging to hear how you were being intentional each day about how you can be thoughtful towards others.

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December 8th, we went to Breakfast with Santa at Lexi’s school. Uncle Dustin, Kenzie and Grammy and Papa joined us for some pancakes and crafts. Kate hated Santa, but William asked for a Heat Wave transformer and Lexi asked for a Barbie Dreamhouse.

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We also baked cookies a couple of times and decorated a gingerbread house. We made pretzel hugs, spritz and molasses cookies.

IMG_2380-COLLAGELexi and William both helped pick out gifts to give each other and loved helping wrap them up. Lexi picked up a green lego car kit for William and William picked out a Barbie car for Lexi. We also listened to a lot of Christmas music and would sing Silent Night and Away in a Manger each night before bed.

William had his first Christmas program at Preschool. You looked so handsome and I was proud you actually sang a little bit.

IMG_2396-COLLAGELexi had her annual Dance program. So fun to watch you dance–this is the first time that I’ve seen you smile while you were dancing. In the past, you have always been very focused on the moves and the teacher, you haven’t been able to smile so it was fun to see you ‘perform’

IMG_2453-COLLAGEThen, Lexi had two program’s at school. The first one was just for kindergarteners and you had a little saying you had to memorize and say during the program, ‘B is for Bethlehem, crowded and old, birthplace for Jesus, prophet foretold. Then, there was another one in the afternoon with the entire school where you sang a couple of songs. You also had an advent party in your class and I was able to volunteer for it. There were 4 stations that groups traveled to and I ran a game: pin the nose on the snowman.

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Whew! Lot’s of activities, but so much fun! I’ll create another post for Christmas itself.

Love,

Mama

Lexi

Lexi is 6

Dear Lexi,

One of our family’s favorite books is The Hungry Caterpillar. We love to read it and watch the caterpillar explore all the different foods, build a cocoon and morph into this beautiful butterfly. That book is a perfect metaphor for you over this last year.

Your shy, scared and reserved personality diminishes a little bit every month and you’re blossoming into this brave, friendly and adventurous little girl. It is so fun to help guide and encourage you through these milestones and watch you transform before my eyes.

In October, you were Star of the Week at School, and you colored this amazing poster, all about you, and I think it is pretty accurate.

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Your big heart and nurturing personality couldn’t beĀ any clearer in your relationship with your brother and sister. You adore them and they look up to you the way a mom could only dream about.

You are gentle and kind with Kate. You love to give her hugs and read books to her, make her laugh and generally make her happy. You beg to go see her the moment you hear her rustling in her crib.

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William is your BEST friend. The two of you play together for hours everyday and are pretty much attached at the hip all day long. Rarely do you two argue. You have figured out how to play with each other and integrate each of your toys into whatever you are playing. You will be playing with your Hatchamals and he will be playing with his Transformers, but you’re always playing in the same scene or house (doll house, Micky garage, magnatiles creation) and each of your toys interact with each other.

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While playing, you are definitely the ring leader and suggest where you are playing or what your characters are doing and 90% of the time William just follows your lead.

One thing we are working on is including your brother when others are around. When other kids are around, you have a tendency to ditch him for others or even play games where ‘he is the bad guy’ or just run away from him. I don’t think it is intentional and you’re not doing it to make him feel bad, I think you have such a strong desire to be liked and fit in, you’re willing to leave him out so others will like you. We spend a lot of time talking about what it feels like when others are running away from you or other friends leave you out and how that must feel to William when you do that to him. So far it hasn’t really sunk in yet as it happens a lot, but hopefully as you continue to grow and mature you’ll get it and start to stick up for him–or for other kids at school who may be getting picked on. This is by far my biggest worry for you as you get older. I worry that this desire to fit in is going to lead you down a bad path or get in the way of making decisions that are going to emphasize your strengths and get in the way of your happiness. I pray that Daddy and I and will be blessed with the right words and stories to help guide you on a path that is the best for you.

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Another fairly surprising characteristic to emerge this year is your competitiveness. It feels like everything is a competition with you. ‘Want to race up the stairs?’ ‘Who can do it faster?’ and, when we complement William on something, you always follow-up with ‘Well I did XYZ?’ or ‘What about me?’

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You are also quite the talker and can be bossy from time-to-time. It is rarely quite when you are around as you are always always talking about something (I blame your daddy on that one).

Activities

Last winter, you got a pair of ice skates for Christmas and spent a good chunk of time skating on the rink in the backyard.

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Last winter and spring you took Swimming lessons and can legitimately swim. You love to swim underwater, but still have a hard time making it down to the bottom of the pool to reach diving sticks or rings

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You completed your 2nd year of recreation dance and performed in another recital

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This summer, you played on your first soccer team and really seemed to like it. You even scored a goal (1 of 3 kids on your team)

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You also took gymnastics classes during the summer as you were begging to learn how to do a cart-wheel

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School

You participated in your first Christmas program at pre-school.

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Went on field trips to the Children’s museum and Como Zoo

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Graduated from preschool

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Then in September, you started kindergarten at St. Vincent’s. You made friends quickly, are learning to read and complain about how you don’t like Math. When you found out your teacher’s name, Mrs. Burke–you weren’t thrilled. You automatically envisioned her to be old, grouchy, with blackĀ hair and wrinkly hands (like Grandma T–as you described). She is the complete opposite and you adore her and she adores you too.

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Trips

We took our first family vacation to Florida to visit Grammy and Papa. You were giddy with excitement to ride on an airplane for the first time. You loved seeing the ocean (or the Gulf) and splashing around in the waves and swimming everyday.

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We went to camping to storybook island in South Dakota and you had so much fun exploring all of the different nursery rhymes

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Of course there were several trips to the Bothwell cabin which you just adore and a week spent with the Sampson’s up north.

lexi-sampson-cabinThen the big trip of a the year was a surprise trip to Disneyland in October. We had the BEST time and you loved the rides and meeting the princesses and characters and relished the magic that Disney brings.

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Favorites:

  • Reading & writing
  • Anything arts and crafts related
  • Legos–specifically Lego Friends (the toys, the books, the show)lexi-and-william-legos
  • Hatchimals
  • Dit-Dat (your giraffe)
  • Pajamas
  • Sweets/treats
  • Rice, chicken wild rice soup, Avacado
  • Watching YouTube
  • Swimming, riding your bike, playing with other kids
  • Being loud
  • Doc McStuffins

Lexi, you are growing into this thoughtful, helpful heart-led little girl. You are imaginative, animated, nurturing, smart and beautiful in every way imaginable. I am so proud of you and honored to be your mom.

Happy 6 sweet girl!

Love,

Mama

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Kate, Lexi, William

Halloween 2018

Dear Kiddos,

I threw in the towel this year on coordinated costumes. sigh. I love them and think they are awesome, but you guys had different ideas on what you wanted to be, I didn’t want to spend all the money and William needed to wear the dinosaur costume this year as it wouldn’t fit next year. So Lexi was Elsa, William was a green dinosaur and Kate was a piggy.

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William had his Halloween party at his school on Tuesday and I was fortunate enough to be able to volunteer at it. We had two crafts, two games and a snack. I coordinated one of the crafts and we created cotton ball ghosts. You also painted a paper pumpkin, golfed into pumpkins and played pin the candy in the bucket. I loved being there and seeing how happy you were to have me there. Later that night, I asked what your favorite part of the day was and you said making ghosts with Mommy.

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Then on actual Halloween, Lexi had a spooky lunch and party in the afternoon. Originally, I was not planning on attending, but after talking to my boss about it, she convinced me to go. I am so grateful to work for a company that supports family activities during the work week and a supportive boss. When I arrived in the cafeteria to surprise you, you were so shocked to see me as you didn’t think I was going to be there. It was so awesome to see how proud you were to have me there and SO worth it! For your spooky lunch, you had gobblin fingers (pizza slices with no sauce) and the cafeteria was decorated with purple and orange lights bat lights floating around on the walls and lit up pumpkins on each table.

After that, Daddy, Kate, Badge and Great Grandma arrived while you changed into your costume. Then, your class had a little parade to the older classrooms to show off your costumes and then had a party in your classroom for the rest of the day. So happy I was able to be there for it!

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That evening, you guys all got dressed up and we headed out to trick or treat around 6:00. Near the end, William started to get pretty tired and needed me to carry his bucket as it was too heavy. We were home probably just after 7:15. The kids sorted and counted their candy, ate a couple pieces and then headed up to bed for the night.

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Kate really didn’t like her costume at all and wanted the head off right away. She trick-or-treated to the neighbors house and then had fun waving to all of the trick-or-treaters at our house.

Another fun halloween in the books! Now to start thinking about Christmas!

Love,

Mama

family vacations, Lexi, William

Disneyland Day 3

We were much more leisurely getting out of the hotel room this morning. We packed everything up and brought it down to the car so we could just grab the car and head to the airport.

The big things on the to-do list for the day was to meet Donald Duck, Daisy, take some magic pictures and buy souvenirs.

We got to the magic kingdom park around 8:30 and the kids began their shopping.

disneyland 26They looked around in several of the stores and Lexi settled on a Minnie Mouse color changing pen and a Minnie Mouse autograph book that she was going to use to color. William picked a plastic Mickey Mouse figure that he could move his arms and legs. They picked out a stuffed Piglet for Kate and some cookie cutter/pancake molds for Grammy. Mommy got a Minnie hat and a christmas ornament. We also admired some of the Character villans that were on main street, that only come out at Halloween time.

disneyland 31Next up, we took some magic photos in front of the castle and then rode the Astro Orbiter Ride and made our way through Pixie Hollow to meet Tinkerbell.

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Finally, Donald was out, so we made our way back to the front of the park to meet Donald. It was probably one of the funnest things to watch as a parent. William was beside himself that Donald Duck was right in front of him. He was just in awe.

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It was nearing lunchtime so we explored Tarzan’s treehouse and grabbed a bit to eat.

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Then Daddy, Lexi and William took the train half way around the park (it wasn’t very conducive to strollers) so I met you on the other side.

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We rode the Buzz Lightyear ride again and then headed to downtown Disney to find the shirt that Daddy wanted in the right size. After that we headed back to the hotel, grabbed the car and made a quick stop at Panera to eat at the airport.

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Both of you kiddos changed into jammies since we weren’t scheduled to land until midnight. You played with your toys for a bit on the plane and then both cashed out.

And that my sweet kiddos concludes your first Disney experience. I can’t wait to go again–especially with Kate!

Love,

Mama

family vacations, Lexi, William

Disneyland Day 2-California Adventure Land

William woke up around 5:45 and therefore everyone else woke up around that time as well. We got ready, grabbed a bit to eat for the ride to the park and arrived at Magic Kingdom a little after 7 am for magic hours. I grabbed a FastPass to the Cars ride and then headed to Peter Pan’s flight. It was raining, so we we threw on some garbage bags I had bought at CVS the night before and went to wait in line (which was already 35 minutes!). William refused to wear anything so we did our best to try and protect him and keep him dry.

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While we were waiting, Lexi, William and I rode the carousel and then popped back in line with Daddy.

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The ride was so fun as we flew through the air in a hot air balloon type basket through Neverland.

We walked out of the ride, right at 8:00 and jumped into Snow White’s Scary Adventure, which was very similar to Winnie the pooh, just a little scarier (with the witch).

After this, we headed over to California Adventure Park to go on the Cars ride. Unfortunately, it was closed due to the rain as were most of the other rides, except for the Incredicoaster, so Bill got a fastpass and was literally sitting in the car ready to go when it broke. So, we split up–William and Daddy used a FastPass and went on the ToyStory ride while Lexi and I went on A Little Mermaid. The Boys LOVED the ToyStory ride as it was like a game where you had to shoot different things and get points.

disneyland 17After that, we waited in line for 20 minutes for the swinging Farris Wheel. William and I popped out quick and went to meet Woody, which was a big highlight.

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All the FastPasses we were booking were turning into multi-use passes because the rides were shut off from the rain. A multi-use pass means you can use your FastPass on any ride at any time verses typically being tied to a specific ride during a certain time slot.

Next we went over to Soarin, where you sit in a thing like an Airplane and sore through different habitats. Our FastPass got us through the line in about 15 min verses the 60 min that everyone else was waiting.

It was around 11:00 at this point and the rain was starting to slow down a little. We grabbed a bit to eat and then went to try to find Donald and Daisy, but didn’t have any luck.

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Instead we headed to Frozen the musical, which was fantastic. It was just like a broadway production.

After that we met Captain America while we were trying to find Spiderman.

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Around 2:15 we went to the Disney Jr. Dance Party where the kids got to see Roadster Mickey and Minnie, Doc McStuffins and the Lion King characters. Lexi asked to go up with the rest of the kids dancing near the stage while William was perfectly content watching on my lap.

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The rain had pretty much stopped by this point and the Cars ride was back up and running so we went over there to redeem a FastPass. The line was 45 minutes long because all of the FastPasses that had been given out for the day for almost all of the rides had been turned into multi-use. Anyways, Disney nailed the execution of Cars land. The executed the town perfectly to replicate the movie and the ride was no exception. It started off by getting into a real lightening McQueen car and a leisurely stroll through plot lines in the movie. Then, it gets into race mode and you are racing fast like a rollercoaster on a racetrack. William was horrified. I mean terrified. Straight terror. He passed the height requirement by about a half of an inch and had never been on something that went that fast and spun around. About 10 seconds into the ride, I took my hand and covered his eyes so he couldn’t see. When we got off the ride, we really built it up like ‘oh my gosh, that was so fun! William, you did so good’ and didn’t acknowledge the fact that he had been scared and he bought it.

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After that, we went over to the Incredicoster and watched Daddy ride in the front car. We all went on the Toy Story ride and then met Buzz after.

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Finally Spiderman was out so we ventured back over to his posting and waited 30 minutes for the meet and greet. William’s dreams came true. He was very shy when he was meeting him, but couldn’t stop talking about it after.

disneyland 27Next up, we grabbed a Mickey pretzel for dinner, ate a couple of snacks and went to go on the Cars ride again. This time the wait was 60 minutes long for the FastPass, but the non-FastPass line was over 3 hours. William did better this time, but was still pretty scared.

IMG_1840disneyland 22By this time it was starting to get dark so we went to find a spot to watch Paint the Parade. Both kiddies feel asleep before we even found a spot to watch.

Disneyland 19Again, it was out of this world. So good. I wish the kids could have seen it. After this, Daddy and I each took a turn riding the Incredicoaster again and Daddy wanted to try and beat his score on the Toy Story ride again. The park closed around 10 and Daddy and I walked back to the hotel. We were both exhausted. A full day of walking and adventure.

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Love,

Mama