Happy 8th Birthday to Miles

Today our sweet Miles turns eight years old. He’s so funny, smart, complex and a ball of whirling, swirling energy that never ceases to surprise me. This year, he wanted a very small and homemade Skylanders party. Miles created his own games, helped with the food and made his own decorations. He really loves to run the show, and finally, after eight years, we are learning to just step aside and let him do his thing! I’ve often gone overboard in the past with parties and I’m learning to pump the breaks a bit. Jocelyn’s third birthday had forty people and a petting zoo in our backyard. It was an awesome party, but pretty overwhelming for Miles. I’ve learned that as much fun as those parties can be for the guests, our guy Miles is more of an intimate party guy. So even though we have met so many awesome friends here in California, he invited just two of his friends and a little sis for Joss. It was a perfect celebration for him!

Here’s a peek into our day celebrating Miles with games, food and of course, presents. Miles created a “golden can shoot out” game with Nerf guns that everybody loved. (Including the dads.)

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It’s tradition that I create a pin the tail on what ever character the kids are into that year. This year it was Washbuckler, which has to be the HARDEST Skylander to draw! I plan on embarrassing them with this tradition well into their teen years.

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Miles LOVED his gifts and was very vocal about it! (He gets his dramatic side honestly from me.)

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We love you so much Miles! We’ve loved every age you’ve been so far and I know this year will be even more amazing! Your eighth birthday will be remembered as your first birthday in California. I’m so incredibly proud of all the growth you’ve made to open your heart to California and all the new people we’ve met here.

our holiday weekend at Disney Land & California Adventure

As if the holidays weren’t awesome enough, we headed down to Disney Land the weekend before Christmas. It’s not a quick drive, but we are closer to Disney now, then when we lived in Indiana. (Roughly six hours to Disney Land compared to 24 hours from Indiana to Disney World is much more doable.) We have always heard that Disney Land was amazing over Christmas and it really, truly was! We spent our first day at Disney Land and then the next day we were at California Adventure. Our kids took some warming up to California Adventure as they spent the first half of the day asking to go back to Disney Land (creatures of habit, the King kids…) But once we got them on Soarin over California, they were hooked on California Adventure. It was a whirlwind weekend of rides, pin trading, magical snow, princesses, parades, food and amazing shows. Then of course, we came home to Christmas and we are all slowly coming down off our high. Here’s a mixture of camera and iphone photos I took over our weekend.

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In the last ten years or so Disney has started pin trading. They sell all sorts of little metal pins and people of all ages wear them around the parks on lanyards and hats. Cast members and stores will trade pins with you (without needing to purchase additional ones) and it’s fun thing to do while waiting in line. Miles only had one Disney trading pin that he got from our Disney cruise last year, so he wasn’t set up to trade yet when we arrived at the park. (Had I been smart, I would have stocked him up with inexpensive Disney pins from Ebay.) However, waiting in line we came across a super nice guy who gave us one of his pins to get Miles started. We were only there a matter of minutes and it already felt magical. We ended up running into him throughout the day, waving and smiling. Nice people are just the best.00dl 06

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We were in awe of the parade, especially seeing Elsa!

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000dl 3500star 068000dl 8000dl 078Every night, after they light the castle up, they make it snow. On top of making it snow, the fluffy, bubbly snow that falls actually tastes like gingerbread. Seriously. Disney blows my mind!

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I think what our kids loved most about Disney was the bubble blowers. We did talk them into riding the Haunted Mansion ride which was amazingly decorated for Christmas.

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Visiting Elsa and Anna in California Adventure was absolutely precious. This was the first day for Elsa and Anna to be at California Adventure and you get a fast pass to see them. When we went, I felt like we were the only ones seeing them for the day. The cast members who greet you were awesome and spoke in Frozen puns and when you saw Anna and Elsa, you were in a room all alone with them and a photographer. They were so adorable, telling Jocelyn they loved her pins and telling cute stories. As a mom, it’s just the sweetest thing to see your daughter meet a character that she loves and actually talk with her. I was a hot sweaty mess from a long day at the park, but these two treated me like I was dressed for my wedding day just as they appeared. I’ve never been much of a believer of character meet ups, but I get it now!

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I’ve always wondered what kind of crazy person bought the expensive Disney balloons. Now I know. Us!

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Our kids really didn’t care about Cars Land (which I think pretty much every other kid in the world would LOVE it) but they loved Soarin over California which was extra cool to ride now that we live here.

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It took our kids awhile to warm up to riding rides on the second day, but once they were into it, they were REALLY into it and we stayed crazy late. We ended up needing to take a pit stop at the Grand Californian hotel before carrying our sleepy Jocelyn back to our hotel.

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Such a wonderful, tiring, adventurous and beautiful weekend.

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  • December 28, 2014 - 4:24 pm

    Jill - Beautiful photos, Bets! It truly looks magical through your lens– I can’t believe we’ll get to see it for ourselves very soon! I just bought some pins on Ebay for our visit! Thanks for the tip!

  • December 30, 2014 - 3:41 pm

    JennyBZ - ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! this looks soooo amazing!!! your photos of the castle! swoon! i’ve never been to either disneyland or disney world but this makes me wanna go even tho i don’t have a kid! looks like you guys had an amazing time and your photos are spectacular!!