PB&J Parenthood: 15 months!

One year, 3 months
Ben has officially hit the 15 month mark and boy oh boy has it been a crazy month full of firsts, fun and the flu? Read on to read what we've been up to....

A month of firsts
Our March can be summed up into one word: Firsts. Yes, a whole bunch of firsts happened within our March aka Ben's 15 months. Some of the firsts we encountered were good, others bad... but in all the "firsts" have accumulated into another month of memories and joy!

First flu
March kicked off much the way our prior February began, with another trek back to the happiest place on Earth! Since our weekend was short, we decided to fly down from the Bay Area to SoCal, which marked Ben's 3rd airplane trip. Ben is becoming quite the lover of moving objects, be it cars, trains and of course, airplanes. So our little guy was more than excited to be on an actual plane for our trip down!

As a mama and passenger in general, we all know how icky and germy planes can be. One of the first things I do when we sit down on a plane is bust out my anti bacterial wet wipes and scrub down every inch of our seat, table, windows and pretty much any surface Ben might get a hold of. All of that prep though didn't seem to help with whatever might have been in the air, heck it could have even been something before our flight, because our poor little guy ended up catching the FLU!
That's right... Ben caught his first flu. The morning we were supposed to head to Anaheim from my sister's place in L.A, Ben began to throw up. We chalked it up to possibly being something not sitting right in his tummy, so we decided to just rest for the day in our hotel room in Anaheim. Our little guy seemed to perk up a bit that evening, but took a turn for the worse the following day. After getting some air outside of the hotel around Downtown Disney, we noticed Ben looked flushed. Low and behold his temperature skyrocketed to a fever so we rushed him to Urgent Care per advice from our at home on call nurse. Sure enough, the Dr. ran a flu swab on Ben and confirmed that our little guy had the flu.

I've touched upon our flu encounter in another blog post, so if you want to read more about "Getting Sick at Disney" along with our thoughts on battling the flu, read all about that HERE.
Long story short, Ben was protected by his existing flu shot. This meant that even though he caught a strain of the flu, his shot protected him from more serious complications like a hospitalization (or worse). Another plus was because he was diagnosed so early with his flu, he was able to take Tamiflu to help ease his symptoms. This drastically cut down on recovery time, he was feeling back to himself in just a few days as opposed to the 2 weeks it could have dragged on to be.
Overall, we're thankful that we had taken the necessary precautions advised by our Dr. to protect Ben from a worse outcome with his Flu. We're also thankful that our own flu shots kept both PB and I from getting sick as well. If you aren't a believer in flu shots... let me tell you that they work... Fully contagious Ben spent each night breathing next to me while he slept... heck, he even sneezed in my face a few times and this mama escaped without even a sniffle!

When your child gets sick its probably one of the worst feelings in the world. You feel so helpless when they're in pain or discomfort. But I'm thankful our little Ben kicked this flu like the little champ that he is!

First haircut
The weekend after Ben battled the flu and started to feel better, we decided that our family needed to get out and just do something fun. That something fun? Getting Ben his very first haircut! My family has always had a tradition of waiting until after the 1st birthday to give a child their first haircut. With Ben we happily waited to continue this tradition and also because Ben didn't have enough hair to cut until this month, lol! So we took our little guy to a local barber shop, complete with Cars seats and all. Ben was nervous, as were we, but his hair stylist was great and we ended up with the most dapper haircut for our little man. I say little man because this kid seemed to have aged years after getting his new do!

Not a first Disney trip, but a first Disney redo
So remember how I mentioned Ben got the Flu? Well we ended up cutting that Disneyland trip short, ehh, more like it was canceled entirely at the start of March. It was all good though because our main priority was making sure Ben was okay. We agreed that once Ben was 100% again we'd head back to Disneyland for our "redo" trip. This particular trip happened two weeks later and held so much magic and fun in store for our family!

First dad and me day
Everything always happens for a reason and I like to think that things always will work out in the end. Case in point, as sad as it was to cancel our first Disney trip, we were able to come back and redo the trip two weeks later, but that's not the only wonderful turn of events. The most magical opportunity presented itself for this Disney mama with an invite to celebrate the Mary Poppins Returns Blu-ray release at the parks. You can read about that *Practically Perfect* day HERE. While this Disney mama was away at her event, PB and Ben were left ALONE together at the parks for hours. This was huge for our little family since it'd mark the first time Ben and PB would spend this amount of time together without mama AND all while at the happiest place on earth! There was nervousness, anxiety and some fear... but Ben and PB rocked their "dad and me" time together like champs!

First steps
Now here's something that honestly just needed a good dose of Disney magic to happen... Ben's 1st steps! As crazy as it seems, Ben took some of his first wobbly walk steps at Disneyland! It could have been watching all the other kiddos run around and play, it could have been all the distractions, or just plain Disney magic, but whatever it was, we can say that Ben was motivated to walk at Disneyland. Granted, he was still "drunk baby" walking while holding onto our fingers or one hand. But it's leaps (&steps) more than he's ever done while back at home.

So where are we now? As I type this Ben has officially taken a few steps ON HIS OWN!!! YAY! We've always known this little guy could do it, he's got everything he's need to physically, but there was just some kind of mental block up until it just happened at Disney. There aren't enough words to describe the joy, the RELIEF, and the happiness that washes over you as a parent when your child finally achieves that huge new milestone of walking!
This is such an exciting time for us as parents because we're seeing him realize he has a whole new world of possibilities ahead of him. You can just see the wheels turning in his head... and this mama and dada know they our stock in baby proofing just went up tenfold, LOL!

This also goes to show just how flexible those "guidelines" are for our children. You know, those written "supposed to/should be doing" schedules that somewhat get drilled  into your head as a parent. Ben has proven to us that no timeline will ever contain him or his greatness, lol! He likes to roll on his own timing and we wouldn't have it any other way!

Spring forward!!!
We're closing out our March with a whole of of new memories, milestones and most of all: magic! Here's to April and all the new adventures that await! Until next time, thank you for reading! 💜

A Practically Perfect Day

A day "Practically Perfect in Every Way"...
The most magical day celebrating the Mary Poppins Returns! I was recently invited by the DisneyBound, on behalf of Walt Disney Studios and Disneyland, to experience a day honoring the practically *perfect* nanny and her connection to the happiest place in Earth! Read on for more...

The most magical invitation
A few weeks back, I received the most magical invitation to take part in a day celebrating the Blu-ray release of Mary Poppins Returns. We were asked to don our most fashionable Mary Poppins or Mary Poppins Returns DisneyBounds and experience a fun filled day in the parks centered around the history of Mary Poppins and it's ties with Walt Disney.
Call it Disney destiny, if you will... but this entire opportunity literally was the most magical twist of fate! If you follow along with us on IG, you might remember that at the beginning of March we had to cancel a Disneyland trip due to Ben's flu. So we rescheduled and within a few days of booking our redo trip, I received the message about having a chance to participate in this amazing event!

The day of the event came and I said good bye to PB and Ben since it was a solo invite. The two boys enjoyed an afternoon of "daddy and me" time around the parks while I got to experience what has to be one of the most magical days, ever!

A spot of tea
The Mary Poppins Returns event kicked off at Jolly Holiday at Disneyland. We were greeted by the amazing Disney Studios and Disneyland Parks team who had set up the most adorable Afternoon Tea for our group.
We sampled some of the scrumptious menu offerings from Jolly Holiday, along with some sweet surprises for the group all around.
Soundsational Sights
After finishing up a delectable Afternoon Tea, we were escorted over to a special viewing area for Disneyland's festive Soundsational Parade! This parade is incredible, from the moment it begins with Mickey drumming away, to all the familiar favorites strolling past to a catchy tune, and finally the most appropriate ending: a tribute to Mary Poppins! Let's just say that our stylish little Mary Poppins DisneyBound group got a lot of extra smiles and love from the parade cast when they danced past us! It's a stellar parade and if you're planning a visit to the parks anytime soon, a must watch! 

All about a table and a little Club called 33
After wrapping up with the fun at Soundsational, we were then escorted to meet our guide for the day, Jeff Kurtti, famed Disney historian, aficionado and most recently author to "Practically Poppins in Every Way". Jeff would lead us through a walking tour of the parks, bestowing his vast Disney knowledge and kindness to our group.
As we walked into New Orleans Square of the park, we all started to notice we were headed in a familiar direction... to the entrance of Club 33!!! Now if you don't know the significance of Club 33, a brief rundown is that it's a private, members only club within Disneyland Park. It's legendary and stepping within it's doors is literally Disney hallowed ground. So imagine the group's amazement when we were told that this was our next stop for our day!
We weren't allow to film or take photos beyond the staircase, but having only been in the original club years before, stepping into the new club was just magical! **PB&J fun fact: The lobby of the new Club 33 rests in the heart of the Court of Angels, a place that was once open to the public years before. It's also the site of where PB proposed to me long ago! I dream of the day we get to be back there together to stroll down these steps of memory lane (literally)! But until then, my solo Mary Poppins picture will have to do, lol!

So about that table. We were escorted into the Club for one very special reason... this table
It may not seem like much to an ordinary guest, but there's actually a very direct and important tie in between Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Returns and this marble table within Club 33. That's because this table was originally used in the first Mary Poppins film within the Banks house hold. Afterwards, it was transferred to Club 33 where it was displayed in the Club until it was asked to be used once again in the sequel film, Mary Poppins Returns! How neat is that?! There's a little photo placed on the table now with autographs from the cast, along with Emily Blunt's Mary Poppins standing int he same frame.

Royal Suites and Disney Dreams
After wrapping up at Club 33, we were then escorted to a place near and dear to my own heart: 21 Royal. Again, if you've been following along with us long enough you already know our special ties with this magical space. If not and you're curious, you can read all about our 21 Royal Celebration HERE.
Although we've already had some 21 Royal dreams come true, the experience being in the suite again was still truly magical. I'll never take moments like this for granted and I'm thankful for each incredible visit to this special place, especially since it was under such a special context!
We learned about the rich history of this suite. How the space was originally envisioned by Walt Disney to be his new private residence, a space for his family and to entertain his guests. Sadly, Walt passed before it's completion, so the project was never fulfilled. the space later went to be used at the Disney Gallery, then decades later, the Disney team finally completed Walt's vision and completed the suite. They turned to the original concept art by the famed Dorothea Redmond and brought Walt's dream to life. The suite was dubbed the "Dream Suite" and was used in the special "Year of a Million Dreams" promotion at the parks. Currently, the suite is now called 21 Royal with it's purpose to be what Walt had always intended: a private retreat in the parks for entertaining. Guests are able to book the experience for themselves and 12 of their closest friends or family for the most magical evening in the suite, a multiple course gourmet meal and touches of Disney magic that would make Walt Disney proud. And yes, I'll vouch that it's exactly as (if not even more) magical as it sounds!
So how did this suite tie into our Mary Poppins experience? Well not only did the Suite embody everything Walt Disney wanted in his original vision, but if you look closely around the space, you'll see hint of some practically perfect decor around the room. 

The sweetest finale
As if our Mary Poppins experience wasn't mind-blowing enough, our final stop took us to the most magical place of all: Walt Disney's Apartment. There's a tiny space right above the Main Street Fire Station, you may have even noticed it on one of your visits to the parks. The little light that shines through the window right above... That's where Walt lived... Walt Disney resided in this tiny apartment during the construction of Disneyland and later he and his family would use this space as their own when the park was finally open.
We weren't allowed to take photos inside the apartment, out of respect for the Disney family since this was literally Walt's "home", but let me tell you, it's a powerful sight to step into a space he once occupied. Logistically, the space is tiny. It about 500 sq. feet and can be described as a little studio. There's a tiny kitchenette, complete with a grilled cheese maker (one of Walt's favorites!), a living room that doubled as where he slept, and tucked into a tiny corner a little bathroom. 

We were told stories of Walt living in this space, how he'd wake up and stroll around the park in his robe to how he'd dote on his family and grandchildren that would stay there with him. As a Disney fan, this was so overwhelming. Each person in our group had tears rolling down their faces. It's a powerful moment to realize you were in the same "air" as Walt Disney. The man who created such a legacy, the man who created this happy place for us, we were just so honored to be in such a special place.
The group photo they took for us as our special keepsake!
The word thankful doesn't even begin to cover how I feel about being able to have been one of the few who got to experience this magical day. I'm thankful to Leslie, the creator of the DisneyBound for not only the invitation to this, but for creating such an amazing community of fellow Disney fans. I'm thankful to Disneyland and the Walt Disney Studios for putting together such a wonderful day of surprises and fun for us. I'm just so thankful to have been included in this amazing event. 

As the magical Jeff Kurtti put it, "Disney people just get each other on a different level". It's so true. The day may have been centered around celebrating Mary Poppins and Walt Disney, but it meant so much more. Everyone in the group had come from different backgrounds, platforms, ages, locations... but the one thing that tied us all? Our love of Disney!

I'll never forget this magical day! Thank you once again to the DisneyBound, Walt Disney Studios and Disneyland for giving this Disney mama a chance to be a part of something so special! 💜

Ben's Disney Birthday: Part II

Now presenting: The Happiest Birthday Party on Earth!

Part II of Ben's Disneyland birthday party is finally here! Ready to recap all of the fun the magical night had in store for us, our guests and of course, our little birthday mouseketeer! Read on to hear about all fo the festivities...

Sick Days at Disneyland

The happiest sick days on Earth?

I feel like we've experienced our share of memorable Disney trips, but our most recent trip was truly one for the books... We made it to the happiest place on Earth... but never stepped foot into the park. WHAT?! Because one of us caught the FLU. Read on to hear about what happens when a magical trip takes an unexpected turn....

We've made it to Disneyland (kind of)
Our little family was ready for another Disneyland weekend. I was especially excited about this trip since we had not one, but THREE, yes three new DIY/Disneybound styles I had worked so hard on to debut at the parks. We also had some magical experiences we were ready for like the Food and Wine Festival at DCA and checking out World of Color after it's year long hiatus as well as Ben's firs time seeing the show. Most of all, this mama had just spent the prior 2 weeks taking care of Ben all on her own since PB was away on another Asia business trip for work. This Disneyland trip was to be the magical reward for a hectic 2 weeks prior!
Literally hours after PB landed from his flight from Shanghai, we hopped on another flight out to LAX and made it to SoCal! We spent the night at my sister's house in LA for some quality time with loved ones and good food before having to head out to Disneyland the next day.

The next morning, after a cozy indoor picnic breakfast due to the rainy weather, Ben's good spirits took a turn. Our poor little boy ended up vomiting multiple times. We chalked it up to maybe breakfast not sitting well, so we decided that it'd be best to still head to Anaheim, but rest up at our hotel for the rest of the day and just push back our Disney plans by a day. After calls to the airlines, rental car place and talking with the hotel, we were able to extend our trip by an extra day to make up for our sick day in.

We spent all day on Saturday resting Ben up in hopes that he'd be better for a full day of Disney on Sunday. He seemed to have been getting better once we reached Anaheim, he was drinking and eating again, had no fever, overall he just seemed to be doing okay. Then Sunday rolled around... Ben woke up and looked even worse than he did the day before. He wasn't vomiting, but he just looked... unwell. As a parent you just know when your child is acting different and this was the definition of "off". We decided to forgo the parks again to let him rest more. When we all started to feel a little restless, we headed for some fresh air at Downtown Disney. This Disney mama had a chance to quickly run into World of Disney to pick up some magic, while daddy and Ben took in the sights outside. We thought the outdoor distraction would lift Ben's spirits up, but he got fussy so we called it an afternoon and went back to the hotel. This is when we noticed Ben's cheeks were super flushed, so PB ran down to the Walgreens next door for a thermometer and low and behold, our little guy had a fever of 101. 

Naturally, as any parent would be we were concerned and honestly, freaking out because we knew that we were officially in "sick" territory, all while away from home. We remembered that we had a 24 pediatric nurse hotline from our medical provider at home, so we called and the nurse suggested that we get Ben checked out at a local Urgent Care. Less than an hour later we had a diagnosis for our Ben: THE FLU.
The happiest Urgent Care on Earth! Literally, the Anaheim Urgent Care waiting room... Appreciated the touch of Disney!
The flu. It's a sickness that can bring even the strongest adult down, but for a child under 2? It's potentially very serious. Thankfully, because Ben had the flu shot (more on this later), his symptoms weren't as severe are they would have been if he hadn't received his flu shot a few months prior. We were also lucky enough to catch the flu within the first 48 hours, so Ben was able to get Tamiflu, a medicine that helps lessen the symptoms and speed up the recovery time of the flu.

Disney will always be there...
So we gathered our Tamiflu, Pedialyte, soup, and lots of TLC and hunkered down to help our Ben recover. We decided it would be best to just cancel the remainder of our Disney trip and head home. So we hopped back on the phones to cancel our already rearranged airline tickets, changed our rental car to now drive back home to the Bay Area (the more comfy option for Ben and to not spread the flu elsewhere, lol), and agreed that our little Ben and his health came first. Besides, Disneyland will always be there for us when we're ready and 100% healthy to be back!

A lesson learned from sick days at the happiest place on earth

So what did Ben getting the flu on our Disney trip teach us? Well a lot, it was just another notch in our parenting belts. And apparently this is quite a common occurrence since we received so many messages from fellow moms and families about how their own Disneyland trips that were cancelled, cut short or interrupted due to illness. 

So what are some tips & tricks that we have for when you or your little one get sick at Disneyland and you're away from home? Here's what we found helpful:

1. See if you're medical office has a 24hr hotline. Ours thankfully had a pediatric nurse on call 24/7. It's a quick way to to talk to a medical professional about symptoms and find out what they think should be the next steps for care. They can also help put you in contact or help you find a doctor or urgent care nearby.

2. If you don't have a hotline and need medical help or need to see a doctor right away, look up a nearby Urgent Care. They're usually walk ins and always have a doctor on duty. We went to Anaheim Urgent Care- Euclid Street. The staff was super friendly, the office was clean and best of all? The doctor we saw was truly amazing. This was probably the nicest Urgent Care we've had to go to and they treated our little Ben with so much kindness and care. We're thankful for the kind nurse that took her time to get Ben's oxygen/pulse reading after many failed attempts and to the kind doctor who immediately made us feel at ease and that Ben, despite the flu, would be okay.

3. Drugstores. There's a ton of drugstores spread out around the Disneyland area, there's two major ones just a block away from the front gates of the park (CVS and Walgreens) on Katella and Harbor! We we basically stopped in the Walgreens connected to our hotel (Hyatt House Anaheim) multiple times during our short stay. They had everything we'd need pretty much 24hrs a day from bananas, water, pedialyte, baby thermometers, and a pharmacy to fill our recent Tamiflu perscription. There's also a pretty well stocked Target just down the street on Harbor for more store variety!

4. TLC. A whole lot of tender loving care can really help when you or your kiddos aren't feeling well. It helped Ben a ton to just stay in the room and rest. Taking some time to just rest up, hydrate with tons of fluids and practice some self care for you or your little one does a world of wonders!

5. Travel cancellation policies. THANK GOD that our plane tickets, hotel and rental car all had flexible cancellation and revision policies. If not, we'd be totally out of luck in rebooking things and our money. Because our airfare was flexible, we were not only able to change our flight dates once, but also come back the next day and cancel the return flight all together with no penalty. Same thing went for our rental car and hotel arrangements too. The hotel was great about letting us stay an extra night in the same room (with the same rate we booked) and were able to cancel the change the next day when we had to leave. The rental car we had was also great since they allowed us to return the car to another airport, in our case back home at SFO for another fee, but it was possible so we didn't have to fly home.

My point of this? Whenever you're booking your next travels, Disney or not, especially if you have kids... get that flexible cancellation policy! Those extra few dollars will really be worth it if you have to cut a trip short due to an unexpected illness. 

6. Trust your gut. With our Ben, we just knew something was "off" with his demeanor the day he was diagnosed with he flu. As a parent, you just know when something just isn't right with your child. I'm so glad we went with our instincts and brought him to Urgent Care when we did. If we had let Ben's flu linger any longer he could have gotten worse and we wouldn't have been given the Tamiflu, which in turn helped ease his symptoms tenfold!

7. Flu Shot. Okay, so I know this is a hot button topic with some mama's and families out there, but hear me out. As a mama who recently went through the experience of a kiddo with the flu, I am SO THANKFUL we got him his shots. The Dr. basically said that if we hadn't gotten Ben the Flu shot months before, that his symptoms would have been more severe and he would have been hospitalized or worse! The flu is NO JOKE, it can lead to potentially life threatening and serious complications in young kids. I know some of you might be thinking "Ben had his flu shot, so why did he get the flu?" Well plain and simple, there are many different stains of the flu out there. The flu shot can protect you from getting it OR lessen the symptoms if you happen to catch a strain that wasn't in the shot, just like what happened to Ben. So our Ben WAS protected from the more serious effects of the strain of flu he had. Let me tell you, watching our little guy the first night, the worry, the anguish on his little face, the discomfort and pain he was in? Knowing that it could have been much worse if he didn't have the shot? I can't even imagine what would have happened to our son. So THANKFUL for the flu shot and that it helped Ben stay out of the hospital or any further complications.

8. Know that it's okay to not be at the happiest place on earth. So we literally were within range of Disneyland, like one block away type of range. We could step outside our hotel and see DCA, we could hear the fireworks going off each night. Literally so close... yet so far! It was definitely a little heartbreaking to have our Disney plans shaken up... But you know what? That's okay because our little Ben and his well being came first. As it goes with a lot of things in life... sometimes plans change and it's okay because more than likely, its for a good reason. Disneyland is great, but it'll always be there. Your health, or your kiddos health should always come first! Plus, it may not seem like it now, but having to cancel or cut a Disney trip short because of getting sick will actually be a great story to tell to others or look back on someday. Lol, our experience did just inspire this entire blog post!

We'll see ya real soon, Disneyland
So as I type this, Ben is currently still in recovery mode and both PB and I are still doing okay all thanks to our own flu shots (yay!). So once Ben is fully recovered, hopefully in the next week or two, we'll make our way back to Disneyland. Until then, thank you for reading! Here's to flu free and sick free Disney days ahead! 💜