Friday, November 28, 2014

best disneyland day ever

christmas at disneyland rocks.  even when it's not quite thanksgiving yet (which came late this year, so that's okay, right?).  the teen and i have given up being scrooges about celebrating christmas too early - the season always goes by so fast, and so we've learned to just embrace it somewhere around mid-november.

coincidentally, that's exactly when disneyland decides to start the holiday cheer and start putting up all of their elaborate decorations.  this is actually awesome for many reasons, but one being that we can go in and enjoy all of it before the crowds get too intense.  and so last weekend, we decided to do just that.  with the teen driving, i enjoyed the ride down to anaheim armed with all of the most important things for the day:


i never really understand how disneyland decides to handle parking.  sometimes the entrance to the massive structure is blocked, and we're stuck having to park at one of the other lots and take a bus to the entrance.  this time, as we entered the structure, we were directed to drive back outside of it and park in a completely different lot that i've never been in before.


the one thing that we really wanted to do when we got there was to get in line to meet baymax, from "big hero 6."  he's doing meet & greets inside the gift shop near the exit from space mountain, and from a previous visit i knew he was only there for a limited time.  we were meeting up with lilcee and mini cee, and when we got to the line they were standing just a couple of spots ahead of us.  the girls were, as always, excited to see each other.


we could just barely see a glimpse of baymax from where we stood.


a cast member came by to let us know that baymax's "batteries need to be recharged every 30 minutes."  our wait from that point could be up to 75 minutes, and he would come out for half an hour before disappearing through this door for another half hour "recharging."


so basically, it would totally be hit and miss as to whether we'd get to give the marshmallow man a hug or not.  boo.  although i must say, disney has a way of streamlining their process so that even the longest of lines continue to move at a decent pace.  we chatted and took silly pictures as we waited.


the teen remarked "that's probably one of the last pay phones in existence."  heh.  and it offered free calls to important places, such as disney hotels and disney dining.


sadly, this is as close as we got to a picture with baymax.


the girls were somewhat mollified with meeting hiro, though.



lilcee and mini cee had fastpasses to star tours next, and so we decided to check out the holiday activities back in big thunder ranch while they went on their ride.




the bean colored a postcard to be sent to soldiers stationed overseas.



and petted a goat on the way out.


castle selfies are a must, especially when it's all dressed up.


disneyland has a (supposedly) strict rule about no costumes on adults, so we were a little taken aback at the sight of these chicks, posing and snapping tons of pics.  they don't want kids to be confused about who the official characters are - and this was proved when mini cee asked lilcee if she could take a picture with them.


we were surprised that they were allowed into the park dressed like that, although from the looks of their backpacks, maybe they snuck in and changed clothes.  who knows?  people are weird.

after watching "mickey & the magical map" show, we found a great spot in front of small world to sit and watch the christmas parade.



i can't help it - clarabelle's face always looks like boobs to me.


i don't know how she did it, but somehow as we waited for the parade to start, mini cee talked the bean into trying the matterhorn bobsleds ride with her.  my kid doesn't like fast rides, and asked us a bajillion times how fast it was and if there were any big drops, and the teen and i were astonished when she didn't talk herself out of it and got on with us.

i sat behind her and kept one hand on her in an effort to ease her anxiety, and the teen managed to get this awesome shot mid-scream:


afterwards, she was out of breath but smiling.  "that was...AWESOME!"  yup, kid, you got that right.

she and mini cee talked the teen into riding the rockets with them after that.


o christmas tree, o christmas tree...


then we headed over into california adventure so that she could experience the wonder that is the bacon mac & cheese cone.


sunset in cars land is glorious.


our last activity with mini cee was at the animation academy, where we got to draw baymax.


after we parted ways, we found zero line for santa.  i mean, why not?



back on the disneyland side for the fireworks.


too bad they were canceled due to high winds.  boo.  instead, we convinced the bean into another first:  big thunder railroad.  she screamed her head off and wasn't completely sure she liked it, but she was happy to be sandwiched between me and her sister.


last ride of the night:


i can't wait to go back and take her on matterhorn again.  too much fun.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

short and sweet

hope you have a wonderful, blessed thanksgiving day full of love, laughter, and delicious food!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

the family that runs together...doesn't necessarily stay together

the fit 4 fall 5K, sponsored by olympic gold medalist bryan clay, will always have a special place in my heart because it was the very first 5K i ever ran.  not to mention, it's super close to home and there are always lots of familiar faces throughout the course.  plus, i'm a legacy runner, which means that i've been a participant in the race every year since the first one in 2011.  i kind of have to keep running it until my legs fall off.  heh.

last year, the bryan clay foundation started sponsoring a contest for all of the schools in glendora to register as many people on their team as they could, and the school with the largest team won a check for $5,000.  the bean's school promoted the hell out of it to their students and families, which resulted in a win by a landslide.  i'm not sure why, but they kind of dropped the ball this year and didn't really get the word out until about a week before the race.  when it was announced that another school was giving us a run for our money (literally), i talked the teen and the bean into joining the hub and me so we could add four more to our team.

it took a little work, but we finally got dressed and out the door, all clad in running shoes and our crazy bright neon team shirts.  the bean was not in the mood for a run that morning, throwing a fit and all but refusing to come.  it was the promise of possibly seeing her friends along the course that finally got her dressed and in the car, but she still pouted the whole way there.  oy vey.

parking was a little hairy, but the hub always has a few tricks up his sleeve.  we even managed to find a spot just around the corner from the start line.



and sure enough, as we joined the crowds of people hovering near the start, the bean let out a yelp as she found one of her most favorite friends in the whole world.


the teen was...a little less enthused about this whole thing.


i, on the other hand, was kind of over-the-moon elated to have my whole family gathered for a race.  this just doesn't happen, like ever.


i was resigned to having to do a lot of walking during this one.  i was itching to get out and run it to see if i could continue my streak of getting through the whole 3.1 miles without a walk break, but i knew the teen wouldn't be able to hang with that.  she'd graciously agreed to stay with her sister while the hub and i ran it, but i felt bad leaving them behind.  plus, the bean and her friend were sticking together.  and so as we crossed the start line, i watched the hub take off ahead of us.  the girls did get a running start, though.


it looks like the bean is ahead of her friend there, right?  but the joke was on her as little red proved herself to be a pretty steady little runner.  she hung back with the bean for at least half of the race, putting up with her little sprints that lasted for about five seconds before slowing back down to a walk.  seemed like forever till we finally got here:


the teen was ahead of us for most of the run, and i'd prod the bean along with a "hey, go catch up to your sister, she's totally leaving us behind!"  although it was fun to be with the girls as i listened to their 7-year-old chatter along the way.


this lady was annoying the hell out of me, though, as she continually tripped over the girls as she sped-walked along with her friends.  i couldn't understand why she wouldn't just stay to the side instead of always veering towards the girls.  she bonked the bean with her stupid elbow more than once, and by the third time i was ready to smack her with the bottom of my shoe.  ugh.


water break!


after the second mile marker, little red finally tired of the bean's whiny walking shenanigans.  she broke into a sprint that lasted for a good long stretch, and we ended up leaving the two sisters behind after all.  i'd promised her mom that i'd stay with her, and so the teen ended up with the bean while i kept up with little red.  it felt really good to run again.  and in what seemed like no time at all, that final mile was behind us and we were approaching the finish line at last.


her mom found us just as we crossed the finish, and i thanked little red for being my running mate as i joined the hub, who'd also finished just a minute ahead of us.  we waited for the girls together on the sidelines, and cheered loudly as we spotted them - also just about a minute behind us.  they both got high-fives from bryan clay as they finished.



amidst all the confusion, we still managed to get a shot of them together.  maybe next year we'll get them all looking in the same direction.


although who knows if there'll be a next year for this girl...


by the way, we got our asses totally spanked by that other school, who brought in 350 runners to our 150.  they took home that $5,000 check and a sweet trophy, but as second place we still received a nice $1,500 donation.  not too shabby, eh?
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