Abroad, Life with Jameson

CA 2016 // Laguna, Disneyland, + California Adventure

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We just got back from our five day stay in California and I couldn’t wait to write up a summary of our vacation! Partly because I don’t want to forget anything, and partly because I just have a deep love for these pictures and wanted to share them as soon as possible.

I took Jameson by myself to Georgia a few months ago to meet some relatives on my dad’s side, but this trip to California was our first official vacation as a whole family. And it was amazing. Seriously, it went so smoothly and Jameson was a perfect angel the entire time. In fact, he got compliments from strangers for being such a well-behaved and happy baby everywhere we went. He made friends everywhere and we had an absolute blast! I don’t even know what my favorite part was.

The whole trip was arranged by Alex’s company as a fun getaway for many of the employees…but we really had the freedom to plan whatever we wanted to do in the time we were there. We actually went a few days early with Alex’s parents (his mom also works for the company) just to give us time to do everything we wanted, and it was perfect.

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We left on a Wednesday and took a short flight to California (Jameson slept the entire time, bless his angel baby heart) and spent the afternoon settling into our room at The Ritz-Carlton in Laguna, which was absolutely goooorgeous. The ocean was literally just a short walk down a path from the hotel…you could see it and hear it and smell it and feel the breeze through open windows all over the resort. So lovely.

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It was a long day of traveling.

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That first evening at sunset, Alex and I took Jameson down to see the ocean for the first time. I was so excited and ridiculously giddy. The ocean is my favorite place in the world to be and I hadn’t been able to see it for several years (Arizona is not really the best place to visit the beach, ya know?). We half-skipped, half-stumbled down the steep path and finally made it to the sand. I scooped Jameson up and together we hurried to the water’s edge. He was absolutely mesmerized. I was too. Something about the ocean makes you feel infinitely small but also infinitely loved by the One who created it. It is the most wonderful feeling. We played in the waves until the sun was almost all the way down and then went back up to our room to get a good night’s sleep before our big Disney adventure the next day.

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It was HOT at Disneyland. We got there in the morning on Thursday (me, Alex, Jameson, and my in-laws who were a huge help the entire vacation) and we could feel the heat already. It was crowded too, but we still got to do a lot of the things we wanted and we had a blast anyway. Some of my favorite moments were meeting Mickey Mouse in his house in Toon Town (Jameson was obsessed. He even kissed Mickey on the nose! And actually all of Toon Town was great…so many fun things there for little kids), going on a few rides with Jameson (his first ride ever was Small World with me and Alex, which he loved, but we also went on the Winnie the Pooh ride, Pirates of the Caribbean, and King Arthur’s Carousel and he loved those too), watching the Paint the Night Parade (sooo amazing! Definitely a must-see!), and playing in the Star Wars Exhibit (odd, but Jameson had so much fun toddling around and exploring all the Star Wars stuff haha).

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That evening as the sun was setting, we walked around Downtown Disney (which Alex says was one of his favorite parts). It was so much cooler without the sun beating down on us, there was live music, and we got plenty of shopping done. πŸ˜‰ I love all the shops in Downtown Disney (especially the big old World of Disney store and the Lego Store) and it all feels so magical even though you’re not actually in the parks anymore.

IMG_0625IMG_0621IMG_0624IMG_0627IMG_0630IMG_0631IMG_0632Saturday was kind of a chill day for the most part. We went to breakfast with Alex’s parents in the morning, Jameson took a good long nap when we got back to our room (we had to wake him up after the second hour!), and then we spent awhile on the beach. Jameson had the time of his life throwing sand around, walking all over and sticking his toes in the water, and splashing in the waves with me and Alex.

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DSC_8288DSC_8292DSC_8294DSC_8299DSC_8301DSC_8305DSC_8307DSC_8315DSC_8329DSC_8330After we got all cleaned up, we headed to a cocktail party hosted by Alex’s company on a patio overlooking the sea (the only work event we had to attend). It was gorgeous and the food was delicious! Plus, Alex’s uncle Andy (along with his girlfriend, Nina) drove over two hours just to spend a little time with us and finally meet Jameson. It was so nice to see them and introduce them to our sweet boy.

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After the cocktail party, we all (except Alex’s dad, who stayed behind to hang out with Andy) took a bus down to the docks where we boarded a boat that took us about 6 miles out into the ocean for a whale & dolphin watching tour. We got to see a giant pod of dolphins and one really cool humpback whale, but near the end of the tour poor Jameson got sea sick. 😦 He woke up from a nap about halfway through the boat ride and was acting kind of strange, but we thought maybe he was just sleepy still…it never even crossed my mind that he could be sea sick! He loves being tossed around and he loved all the rides at Disney, but I guess being on a boat is different. Plus he’d been snacking on random food with us all evening so maybe something just didn’t sit right. Either way, it was his first time ever throwing up for real and I felt absolutely horrible. We took him onto the steadiest part of the boat we could find and I just held him and sang quietly in his ear until we got back to the docks. Thankfully by the time we got on the bus to take us back to the hotel, he was back to his normal happy self. He even started greeting people in the lobby, waving and chatting and showing off his favorite shovel! What a ham.

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Sunday was really just a travel day. We enjoyed a quiet breakfast out on the hotel patio with the foggy ocean as our view and then packed everything up and headed to the airport. Jameson once again slept for the entire flight (seriously, this kid is a dream) and we made it home safe and sound!IMG_0674IMG_0676

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Last glimpse of the ocean before heading out.

I think what I loved the most about this trip was seeing the world through Jameson’s eyes. Being a parent gives you the chance to enjoy things you’ve done a thousand times before in completely new ways. It is such a gift! I think I actually spent most of the vacation just watching Jameson’s face to see how he’d react to everything around him. And with every bit of joy and wonder and excitement he felt…I felt it too.

Honestly, this vacation was so much more than I could have asked for. I loved getting to share it all with some of my favorite people and I loved spending so much time with my two boys. Showing Jameson the ocean and all the magic of Disneyland and watching his face light up over and over again was truly something I’ll cherish forever. I can’t wait to bring him back in a few years and see how excited he gets to experience it all again!

** One more thing I’ll mention… If you’re traveling to Disneyland with an infant, definitely check out the Baby Care Centers! They have one in Disneyland and one in California Adventure and you can find them easily on the Disneyland app. They’re quiet and air-conditioned and they have the cutest little old ladies there to help you out (at least they were there every time I went inside). There’s places to change your baby, high chairs for feeding your baby, small areas for your little one to crawl or walk around for a bit, and my favorite part was the rooms they have for nursing your baby (or for pumping). The room was darkened and secluded and was filled with these comfy wicker chairs for you to sit in. Perfect for if you need a break from all the hustle and bustle out in the park.

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Abroad, Life with Jameson

Georgia 2016

Phew! What a week! Jameson and I (along with my sister Stephanie and her daughter Madelyn) just got home from a six day vacation in Georgia to see my dad’s whole immediate family and introduce the babies to everyone. We had such a great time (even though it also really wore us all out) and I’ll always be so thankful that we had the opportunity to do it. Such great memories, especially getting to introduce the babies to our Grandma and Grandpa — their great-grandparents!

My mother-in-law was actually the one who set the whole trip up for us. She had lots of extra frequent flyer miles from all her business trips so she was able to book us flights for practically nothing. And we got to fly first-class on the way to Georgia, our first time ever! I can’t even tell you what a blessing Daniela was for her generosity and help. We never could have made this trip happen without her.

I was so nervous to tackle a major vacation without Alex, especially because it was Jameson’s first time flying and first time being away from home for any extended amount of time. But honestly, like most things, it wasn’t as hard as I worried it would be. Both four-hour flights there and back went very smoothly (I’ll probably write up a separate post later with some tips and tricks I learned about flying with a baby) and Jameson adjusted pretty easily when we arrived. Praise God! Getting through the airport with two babies, two strollers, two car seats, two diaper bags, two duffel bags, two pack ‘n plays, and my camera was a bit of a crazy circus act (especially when we landed in Atlanta and there’s that whole nutty subway train system you have to take), but we managed on our own!

The first day of the trip was super mellow. My grandparents picked us up from the airport mid-afternoon, we drove through some nasty Atlanta traffic, and then just hung out at their house for the evening. My Aunt Nancy and Aunt Peggy came over to meet the babies, and so did my cousin Nicole.

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Waiting for the plane!
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Jameson’s first plane ride
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On our way to Grandma & Grandpa’s
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Aunt Nancy with the babies
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Aunt Peggy and Jameson

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Grandma has written in her diary almost every day since she was 18. Today she’s writing about meeting her great-grandchildren.

Friday was a beautiful day. It was perfect weather so we headed to a gorgeous local park with my Aunt Nancy, our cousins Nicole, Vincent, and Ronnie, and our second cousin Dave. We had a yummy picnic lunch, went out for dinner at O’Charley’s where we met up with our other cousins Jamie (& her husband Stephen) and Carlie, and then later went to my Aunt Nancy’s beautiful new home for some birthday cake for Stephen.

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Nicole and Madelyn
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Steph and Madelyn
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Stephanie and Nicole
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Little Vinny, Madelyn, and Cousin David

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Ronnie and us

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Aunt Julie!

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Carlie, Jamie, Nicole, me & Jameson, Stephanie & Madelyn

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Uncle Guy with Jameson

We spent Saturday just hanging out with my grandparents at home during the day. Stephanie and I took the babies for a walk around their gorgeous neighborhood and fell in love with all the pretty houses. We don’t have homes like that in Arizona, that’s for sure. It was really funny too because at one point on the walk,Β  I started noticing this weird sound that I wasn’t familiar with. It kept constantly happening and finally I looked around and was like, “Okay, what is that?!” only to realize it was the wind blowing through the trees! We just don’t have big areas of trees like that where we live hahaha. Whoops!

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Grandpa with his beautiful roses.
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With their “boo boy” and “boo girl”

IMG_8596IMG_8597IMG_8598IMG_8592Saturday night we had plans to go out with our cousins Jamie and Nicole for coffee and dessert. We left the babies with Aunt Julie and our younger cousins and headed to a really nice restaurant for a few hours. It was nice to spend time alone with Jamie and Nicole, but I was a nervous wreck the entire time. It was the first time anyone has ever babysat Jameson besides Alex (and even then it’s only been for like an hour at the most and only two times haha) and he was already being super clingy to me the whole vacation because of all the new people and surroundings. I felt so off-balance without him and was constantly thinking about him and what he was doing. My Aunt Julie said he did great aside from one 25 minute crying session (ugh, my poor baby) but I don’t think I’ll be leaving him again for any extended amount of time for awhile. I guess I’m just not cut out for that type of thing. I’d much much much rather be with my baby.

 

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Nicole with the babies before dessert
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Jamie and I

Sunday was my grandma’s 76th birthday! We had a big party planned for the whole family, but right when everyone was arriving around 3pm my poor grandma got so sick with a nasty stomach bug. The rest of us still hung out and had dinner and chatted but Grandma spent her party in bed except for when we sang “Happy Birthday.” As she would say, poor Uncle Wiggly!

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It all started with these two. ❀
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All partied out.

Monday was our last full day in Georgia. Steph and I took the babies to Marietta Square with Aunt Nancy, Aunt Peggy, and Cousin David. It was this cute little square park in downtown Marietta with little shops and restaurants all round the edges. We walked around the park, went to a sweet old fashioned candy shop, a super cool vintage store, and had a delicious lunch. Such a nice day out!

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With our Georgia peach ornaments to commemorate the babies’ first trip to GA
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Vintage shop

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Watching The Voice on our last night in Georgia

Unfortunately, our last night was rough. Stephanie caught the same stomach bug that my grandma had and got hardly any sleep at all. Several of my cousins got it too and even today my grandma just told me that two more family members have it. What a mess. My grandpa had to take Steph to Urgent Care the morning of our flight for anti-nausea meds and an IV drip for rehydration. Luckily she was well enough to make the flight that evening but what a stressful day! Thank God I bypassed that illness and the babies stayed healthy too. I don’t know how else we would have managed the Atlanta airport and another four hour flight.

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Last morning in Georgia

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Traveling in style.

Overall, we had a great time. There were rough patches for sure (naps and sleeping at night for the babies were a hassle, the time change threw us all out of whack, Jameson was teething and super clingy, and that yucky stomach bug of course). But I’m still so glad we could go. I’m so glad my son got to meet his amazing great-grandparents and a whole bunch of other awesome people who love him so so much. We’re very blessed to be a part of such a wonderful family. I know he won’t remember the trip, but I always will. ❀

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Watching Grandpa come home! I love that I got to share one of my favorite childhood places – my grandparents’ house – with my son.

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