Thursday, February 28, 2019

PB&J Parenthood: 14 months

Hello Month 14!
February may be the shortest month of the year, but it was definitely full of new adventures, fun and more! Read on to find out more...

Starting off with a dose of MAGIC
The very first day of month fourteen literally began with a hefty dose of magic for our family! We made our 2nd Disneyland trip of the year for the most wonderful of reasons. In a crazy turn of events, we were invited by Disney Family to experience all the fun at Disney California Adventure Park's Lunar New Year event. Read about DCA's Lunar New Year HERE.
This was such a short but sweet trip. We literally were only in the parks a total of 24 hours! We drove down from the Bay Area late Friday night, got to the parks the next afternoon, then back home the very next day. Despite the shortness of the trip, it's always so good to be able to be back at the parks.

Hearts & Love
February was also a month of LOVE. We celebrated our 2nd Valentine's Day with our Ben. As the years have passed our versions of romantic Valentine's celebrations have definitely become way more low key. Now that we're parents, to a toddler no less, Valentine's day took a back seat to the reality of everyday parenthood. We made the best of a Thursday night Valentine with a nice home cooked meal, a sweet surprise of flowers, and just spending some quality time together as a family.

Curious George meets the Enegizer Bunny
We're another month into being parents to a toddler which means another month of growth and learning. Ben is much like Curious George, he literally wants to know about anything and everything! We joke that he has the mind of a little engineer already just like his daddy! He wants to know how everything works. He's so curious about his surroundings. If there's a button, he'll press it (favorite activity), if theres a screw, he'll want to unscrew it. If there's a knob, he'll want to open it. Let's just say our stock in baby proofing materials has gone up tenfold!
With all this curiosity also comes new mobility adventures for our Ben. This kid won't stop moving. Another way to describe him: an Enegizer Bunny. If you let him roam free, he can crawl clear across the room in seconds. He's also learned how to climb up on everything to get what he wants, which is both impressive, and scary at the same time!

Ben is also turning into a little grown up right before our eyes. It's really quite amazing to say the least. Watching him problem solve in situations, learning how to self feed, vocalizing his needs and wants? It's been crazy to see all the development literally happening with each day that passes.

One step at a time
Ben is now well into one year and two months old, and one thing he hasn't done yet? WALK. This boy can crawl like Speedy Gonzales around the room, pull himself up and climb over things, pretty much stand on his own.... but the one thing he hasn't managed to do is take those fateful first steps on his own.
Last year when we were in the thick of being newly minted parents I obsessed about everything. I followed every growth chart, milestone tracker and learning program for our little one to make sure he was "on track" with everything. When he hit 4 months and his cousins and same aged counterparts were rolling over, Ben wasn't. Our pediatrician assured us that Ben was fine and that he might just be "lazy" (said in the nicest way possible, lol) and that he had all the growth and physical ability to do so, but just didn't want to. Then in the very last month of the typical timeline, he finally rolled over.... then never stopped moving.

What I remember clearly from those days was the anxiety and the fear things not happening in these preset "timelines". As a parent, you get sucked into all the apps and the sources telling you what "normal" should be, but what I've personally learned in the last 14 months or so? Every child does things on their own time. Chances are more than not, they'll do what they need to do eventually!

So with Ben still not taking his first steps yet at this point in the game, we're not too worried. We know our little guy will get there... just on his own timing. And for the record, most children tend to take their first steps and walk between months 12-15... we've still got a month left to go! LOL. Our little Ben is getting there, we see it get closer each day, so hopefully by next month he'll take those giant leaps forward!

Onward!
So here's to looking toward another full month of memories and fun ahead. Much like our February, we'll be kicking off month 15 with another magical trip to our happy place. We're ready for a whole month of new adventures, memories and growth! So until then, from our little family to yours, thank you for reading!💜

Friday, February 22, 2019

Rainy Days at Disneyland

Rain, Rain go away?
There's a saying that a rainy day at Disney is still better than a rainy day anywhere else. Read on to find out if thats true...

Rainy Day Luck
Rainy days are a rarity for Disneyland, especially for what's usually a sunny SoCal. That is, except for this odd year! In what feels like a crazy chance of rainy day luck, the two Disney trips we've made so made in 2019 have been completely rained out. Fortunately with a little weather.com checking and some wet weather prep, we didn't let a little raindrops dampen our Disney days!

Team Rain or No in the Rain
The top question I received after our trips was: "how is Disneyland in the rain?". Well you'll either fall into two categories, Team Rain or Team "why are we even here, my socks are wet". It's kind of a personal preference on how you do in wet weather. Personally, I love it! Crowds are usually low, especially if the rain is already forecasted ahead of time and the park just has this extra magical feeling to it, like puddles reflecting the park lights, empty walkways, and more!
The trick to enjoying your visit in the rain? No expectations and some easy wet weather prep. To start, some basic rainy Disneyland information you should know about. Depending on the severity of the rainfall or weather there can be potential closures of some rides that are outdoors or exposed to the outdoors. The handy Disneyland app can help tell you what rides are still functioning in the wet weather and which are temporarily closed. Another thing to keep in mind is that certain entertainment options such as parades, the fireworks, or any outdoor shows may be cancelled due to the rain. Please check with the official Disneyland app or ask an information desk or CM to find out more about what is on the rainy day schedule during your visit.
Characters are still out to play in the rain! Sometimes there's even some fun meet and greets that pop up for guests!
But with all the potential attraction and entertainment closures, there's still so much fun to be had at the parks! I mentioned above that crowd levels are lower. We've found that on each of our rainy day visits that the parks were anywhere from lightly crowded to pretty empty. Wait times are generally shorter for things and you'll also get a glimpse of the park in a whole new way if you haven't visited in wet weather before! Here's an example: there was a heavy rainstorm that hit on the Saturday of our last visit, but the parks were DEAD. We walked onto every ride we wanted to go on and while checking wait times, the usually "biggies" like Guardians, Space, Soarin' and Toy Story Midway Mania were all 20 minutes or under. Walkways were empty and the parks just had this quiet and calm about them. It was really nice!

Be Prepared
So how to enjoy to parks in the rain? Be prepared with all the rain gear and wet weather style! Here's a list of things that helped keep our family dry and cozy in the rain:

- Rain boots! I can't stress this enough. Rain boots are a godsend walking through a drenched park. Disney works really hard at keeping puddles at bay with their puddle sweepers, but there's always the stray puddle or those unknowingly deep ninja pools of water. There's nothing worse than putting your foot forward and SPLASH your entire shoe, sock and foot are soaked. *Cringe* just the thought of walking around in wet and squishy shoes on a cold park night sends shivers down my spine, lol! So do yourself a favor and invest in a pair of rain boots or a weatherproof shoe. I got a ton of questions about the boots I wore on my previous rainy day trips and here it is! I LOVE THESE BOOTS! They were under $30 on Amazon and were comfy walking around a wet and puddle filled park all day long.

- A good raincoat. This is pretty much a given, but having a raincoat or jacket keeping you dry can make all the difference. I also got a ton of messages asking about my pink polka dot coat and again... AMAZON to the rescue! It was lightweight and not bulky at all so I could layer underneath easily. An added plus? It just screamed "Minnie Style". Shop the Pink Polka Dot Rain Coat
My polka dot raincoat not only kept me dry, but in the best Disney Style as well!

- Umbrellas. Yes, even with a raincoat, an umbrella will definitely help keep you extra dry! Plus you can get some cute rainy day shots styling them.

- Waterproof bag, plastic bags, anything to keep your personal items dry from the rain!

Stroller protection. For my families with strollers, invest in a stroller rain cover! Again, this is amazing to have. It'll keep your little one dry while strolling around.

Want to see some of my other picks for rainy day style? Amazon Rainy Day Style Essential Round Up























So there you have it, my tips and tricks for making the best out of a rainy day at Disneyland! If you're heading to the parks and see wet weather is in the forecast, don't despair because there's still tons of fun to be had at the happiest place on earth. After all, a rainy day at Disneyland is still a day at Disneyland!💜

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Disney Lunar New Year

Happy Lunar New Year!!!
It's the Year of the Pig and there are oh so many ways to celebrate. But there's one place that is celebrating the Lunar New Year in the most magical of ways: The Disneyland Resort!

Our little family was invited by Disney Family to check out all the Lunar New Year fun on their behalf and here's our personal recap below! Check out more from our day here: www.DisneyFamily.com Lunar New Year 2019

Disney & LNY Magic
The fusion of two amazing things, the Lunar New Year and the happiest place on Earth! This celebration is one that definitely sparks some extra joy on a personal level. I'm part Chinese, my mom is of Chinese descent, so growing up we'd celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year with our loved ones. Getting to see my heritage represented at a Disney Park and done in such a spectacular way was beyond wonderful!
Showing Ben all about the Zodiac animal signs.

Food, Decor and Mulan, oh my!
Whenever Disney puts on a special event, they truly go above and beyond to give you the best experience possible. So it was no surprise to walk into Disney California Adventure Park and not be amazed by their Lunar New Year set up. There's amazing decor all about, festive music, fun activities for the kids like lantern making and face painting. Let's not forget the adorable merch and of course, the biggest draw: the amazing food!

I absolutely loved seeing how Disney managed to pair Mickey with the right amount of cultural elements when it came to decor and merchandise.

The food! Oh the food! That is what surprised me the most about Disney Lunar New Year! So many menu items that you'd never expect to see at a Disney Park (not in Asia) here at home. There was everything from Shumai, Pork Belly plates, pan fried noodles, almond milk tea (yum) and the piece de resistance: A fried whole tilapia fish (WHAT!?!?). Yes, you heard that right. A Disney Park.... in the United States is serving up a whole fried fish dish to guests. This is mind blowing because this is something so typical in an Asian household or menu, but to see it being offered to park guests, complete with servings of rice and soup is amazing! And if you're wondering, yes it's pretty dang good, my aunties would be all over this dish!
From the top going clockwise: Orchid Sptriz drink (yummy if you love floral flavors),  Pork Belly Banh Mi (this was AMAZING!, spicy short rib shumai, mandarin green tea tart and pan fried wheat noodles with chicken meatballs.
Mango Pineapple Pastry was my absolute favorite treat!
Yummy and extremely photogenic
All about that whole fried tilapia fish! So yummy and comes with a side of rice for two.
**Tip if you're visiting the LNY at Disney and are looking into enjoying the different specialty foods offered, I highly recommend the "Sip and Savor" pass! For $39/$36 for AP holders you get a pass with 6 tabs that can be redeemed for any food or beverage (except alcohol) at any of the LNY marketplace food booths and even at the quick service Paradise Garden Grill special event menu offerings. So worth it and it'll let you try a little bit of everything!
Sip & Savor pass is totally worth it!
Of course, this being a "Disney" Lunar New Year event there's a few magical touches in store besides the fun traditional elements. One of these doses of magic is their special character meet and greets! You'll meet your favorite Disney pals dressed in their traditional LNY best! While we were visiting, we met Mulan and Mushu (twice!). Our little Ben was dressed as a mini Mushu, so it took the whole experience to another adorable level! We also saw Pluto dressed in some Lunar New Year style, and although we missed them, Mickey and Minnie are there in some amazing traditional New Year wear, as well!


A celebration not to be missed!
So if you're looking for a fun way to celebrate the Lunar New Year, be sure to get on over to Disney California Adventure Park to see all of the fun! The event is ongoing from now until February 17th, so you don't want to miss it. THANK YOU DISNEY for sharing the magic of representation for so many cultures and shining a light on the Lunar New Year!

© Our PB&J Adventure Book
Maira Gall