Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Gracie’s 1st Disney Trip! {Part I}

I’m finally doing it you guys! I’m blogging about our trip to Disneyland and it only took me two months to get around to it, hallelujah! Let’s get the party started with this picture, my favorite of all our Disney pictures. Our birthday girl hugging the main mouse she’s only ever known to exist on television. She was so excited when this picture was taken that she ran to him and even grabbed his nose as he gave her a hug. It’s like she was in total disbelief and needed to make sure he was real, haha. As Disney kids, this was a moment that Georgia and I had been looking forward to since our gal was born and marked the first of several teary-eyed moments we had during our days at Disneyland.


In all seriousness, I’ve been dying to write this post but I’ve put it off because it’s a lot to take on when you have so many memories that you want to document and about a million pictures to go along with them. Our trip was everything we hoped it would be. It was an absolute dream come true! The months of planning, saving, making reservations, designing DIY outfits, booking shows, crafting autograph books and making princess plans paid off. In other words, I have a lot to share folks so this is going to be a lengthy, picture heavy post. Grab a chair. ;)


Wanting to beat the crowds, our first day at Disneyland started super early. You would think we would have been dragging our feet that morning but we weren’t. It’s like we all turned into kids again and were buzzing around the condo practically singing as we got ready. Georgia made the entire family matching shirts for our days at the park so we looked pretty stinkin’ cute. On day one we wore 60th anniversary custom family tees and on day two we all wore shirts with our names and favorite characters on them. Even Gracie’s Gaga and Papa got in on the action.


Here is our 3 year old and her 73 year old Papa, super excited to be at Disneyland for the first time EVER! We made sure they both received a “first visit” button and Papa got a birthday button because we were there on his actual birthday. Heart melts!


The minute we stepped foot in the front gates there was Goofy, just hanging out by the entrance. A line had just started to form so we decided to jump in it and about 5 minutes later, Gracie was hugging Goofy! We didn’t bother looking up the schedule of when and where characters were going to be at the park but as luck would have it, we continued to run into them just like this on both days. Even meeting Mickey Mouse was a surprise. We thought we were just taking a tour of his house and then a nice man told us, “this way to meet Mickey Mouse”. It was all so very exciting (even for the grown-ups).


There were a few rides near the back of the park that we knew would be swarmed with people later in the afternoon, so we headed to those first. We started with the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage because it was under construction the last time Georgia and I visited and we’ve been dying to see what all the fuss is about. Finding Nemo was the very first Disney movie our gal watched as a baby and to this day, it’s one of her favorites! She was so excited when the ride started but got a little scared as we went under water and it got darker. She started in the seat next to me but was in Mommy’s lap by the end. In typical Grace fashion, once the ride was finished she wanted to do it again, lol. Next up was Toontown where we ran into Pluto! By the Bean’s second character encounter, she was a pro and had zero hesitation having her autograph book signed. 


Mama & Mommy Disneyland selfie. :)


On our walk over to Toontown we came across a little family of ducks. We ended up seeing them again swimming outside of It’s a Small Word and again later in the day. Every time we would see them Grace would say, “Oh, they’re so cute, little cuties!” There were so many of them and they were quite adorable.


Toontown may have been the Bean’s favorite spot in the entire park. If you’ve been to Disneyland, you know that the entire Toontown theme land is kid friendly, meaning kiddos can climb on everything! All edges are rounded, the floor is padded and everything is clean… It’s a helicopter mom’s dream! We let our toddler loose and she ran around like a crazy child. There were 5 adults watching and still she managed to run out of sight a few times, she was just so excited. Gracie’s uncle Dean did most of the playing here but Gracie’s Gaga and Papa got in on the action too.


I continue to be in awe of my in-laws. You would never guess that they’re both approaching their mid-70’s because they act 10 years younger. Grace is so blessed to have super active grandparents. :)


As we waited for the Mickey’s Soundsational Parade to begin, we spent the remainder of the afternoon on some of the rides Disneyland is most famous for and ones that us mamas had never ridden before! We went on the Mad Tea Party Tea Cups (which were ridiculously fun)! The Bean did super good with the spinning… her moms, not so much. That ride made me feel old for sure. No one ever tells you when you’re going to reach an age when spinning and flipping upside down makes you want to hurl, haha!


Dumbo the Flying Elephant was a ride we passed all day and could not wait to get on. Mid-afternoon, when I assume most families were eating lunch, the line for the Dumbo ride was short so we jumped in. It worked out perfectly that we opted to eat cotton candy and ice cream most of the day because skipping lunch saved us lots of wait time. Who needs nutrients when you’re in Disneyland, am I right?! ;)


Our last stop and one that Grace could not wait for was Sleeping Beauty’s Castle! Our gal LOVES Disney princesses and Sleeping Beauty is at the top of the list right next to Little Mermaid. She walked through the entire castle on her own, holding our hand because it’s pretty dark in there. She was absolutely mesmerized. We had to stop at every nook and cranny so she could peek in and check out every square inch of that place. I completely remember going through the castle when I was in the 2nd grade with my parents and aside from some technical upgrades, it looks exactly the same. I definitely had some touching mama moments as we went through and I couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that Georgia had the same excitement when I took her to Disneyland and through the castle for the first time as Gracie did. Like mother, like daughter.


FINALLY it was parade time and not a moment too soon. We all needed to get off our feet and we needed some real food. We lucked out and arrived early enough to snag some curb seating while my lovely wife grabbed us a few giant corn dogs (that are my fav) and we were ready. This experience was the one that got me. Georgia and I totally cried watching Grace watch the parade (and I think the uncles may have teared up a bit too). Even though she had way too much sun at this point, was exhausted and in desperate need of some rest, she loved every minute of it. She yelled hello at the characters. She waved non-stop as each float passed and couldn’t take her eyes off the horizon as she looked to see who was next. Our hearts felt like they were going to burst.



Day one at Disneyland ended with our first show, Fantasmic! I must give props to my wife because she single handedly coordinated most of the awesomeness in our trip including the shows we watched that were paired with marvelous dinners. Our first show experience began at Blue Bayou, the Disneyland restaurant with a Princess and the Frog theme located in New Orleans Square. The food was so good but the atmosphere was even better. The place is made to feel like you’re actually out in the Bayou in Louisiana complete with a night sky full of fire flies and frogs leaping into the river that encloses the place. It was pretty fantastic!


Our 2 hour dinner reservation was at 7pm, which meant that the show didn’t start until 10pm and much to our surprise, the Bean was still going strong come show time. I think there’s just something about Disneyland that gives even the little ones more energy than normal. I was fully expecting her to be in meltdown mode but instead she had a full tummy and was super excited for the show to begin.


The wifey got us amazing seats just one row from the water front, so we could actually feel the heat from the pyrotechnics when Mickey slayed the dragon and were sprinkled with water a few times. It made for a pretty awesome experience when the floats carrying Disney princesses floated by. We could see there faces and all the detail in their costumes. I’m pretty sure that was Gracie’s favorite part. G and I loved the entire experience but more than anything else, we mostly watched our gal watch the show with beaming smiles from ear to ear. It was magic.


The huge boat carrying all of our favorite Disney characters marked the end of the show and the height of excitement for our little crew. I was actually able to get some of it on video and I’m thinking that’s really the best way I could possibly conclude this post. It was the perfect end to our super fantastic, wonderful day. Stay tuned for Gracie’s 1st Disney Trip Part II: California Adventure!


And it won’t take me another month to share. I promise!


Monday, May 18, 2015

19/52: Happy Cleft Awareness Week!


An estimated 2 billion people currently lack access to surgical care for cleft lip/palates. If you would like to donate, please visit: http://www.operationsmile.org


This little beauty has melted our hearts since day one. :)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Things you should NEVER say to a person facing infertility: {Lesbian Edition}

- “You’re so lucky your wife can just have all of your babies”. Oh yeah, thanks. Lucky me... I was told this by the receptionist at a recent acupuncture appointment. I had just told her that this next try would be my 10th and last attempt. As she updated my file, that was her response.

- “Now you don’t have to deal with horrible morning sickness and stretch marks”. Umm, I already have stretch marks and I would LOVE to be nauseous. I-WOULD-LOVE-IT! Here’s the thing, it’s never a good idea to try and convince someone who is heartbroken and spending thousands of dollars trying to create a life, that it sucks being pregnant. It’s the one thing we would love to have happen to us. It’s basically the best thing in the world that could happen to us. We welcome the cankles, the sleepless nights and the aversions to food. Trust me, if and when it happens, you won’t hear us complaining.

- “Your body won’t hold on to a baby if it’s not healthy enough to keep the baby”. Well kick me while I’m down, why don’t you. So not only have I miscarried, but it’s my body’s fault that I miscarried. Ugh. Damn you, stupid body.

- “Statistically, if you haven’t gotten pregnant by the 4th attempt, it’s probably not going to happen”. *sigh* A person facing infertility is WELL aware of all the statistics. So you spouting them off offers zero help… Nada. None. Zip. Zero.

- “You better hurry, you’re not getting any younger”. Well, no shit. With all the movies that make a mockery of people who say things like this, it amazes me that these kinds of sentences still fall out of the mouths of otherwise fairly intelligent adults. Unless you’re my mom (who always forgets how old she is), most people are well aware of their birthdate and age. And let me just say that as the days tick by and time quickly passes, I need a reminder of how old I’m getting like I need a hole in the head.

- “I don’t know why it’s taking so long. My husband just has to look at me and I get pregnant”. Really, that’s great. Congratulations! You win the fertility blue ribbon. The thing is, I don’t have unlimited access to fresh spe.rm. I have to buy that shit and it’s expensive as hell. Oh and when I’m given it, my uterus not only naturally contracts because there’s a metal object being shoved into my vag.ina… BUT my body also tries to kill the little guys who make it because they’re viewed as foreign contaminants. But good job on all those kids of yours. Be sure to high-five your husband for me.

- “Maybe you just need to lose more weight”. This one makes my head spin and I’ve only been told it once, thank God. Listen up finger pointers, being thin does not equal being healthy! I know that’s how Americans view health, but it’s a distorted view. I mean, crack heads are thin but are they healthy? Not so much. What I wanted to yell at this family member was – YES, I am a full-figured woman! I also quit smoking almost 2 years ago for this venture. I exercise. I meditate. I go to acupuncture. I’m strong. I eat healthy (most days) and I don’t abuse drugs, prescribed or otherwise. I’m healthy damn it. I’m just a voluptuous Latina with huge boobs, so get off my case! 

And last but not least… The one I detest.

- “This is God’s will”. I don’t even know where to start with this one… Do not tell someone that it may just be God’s will that they aren’t meant to carry a child. Even if that’s what you truly believe. After months and sometimes years of trying, we already began to feel like the world is against us, so telling us that our God is willing this to happen and that maybe we’re not meant to carry a baby, well that’s just mean. It’s an insensitive thing to tell someone, even if hurting them is not your intention when you say it. For many of us, our faith is all that’s holding us together, so telling us that our faith in what our bodies can do doesn’t matter because it’s not part of God’s plan… Well, it leaves us feeling hopeless.   

These are all things that have been told to me by friends, family and medical professionals over the past 20 months, as we’ve worked to make Gracie a big sister. I’m sharing this because I think that when you aren’t the person facing infertility, when you’re not in the infertile trenches with these people, it’s very easy to say something hurtful even when that’s not your intention. Having said that, there’s also things that you should know not to say, even if you have zero personal experience with struggling to conceive. Some things just require a little common sense.

And a tiny bit of sensitivity.



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

:: Topanga Beach Day ::

I know I’ve said this before but I could say it all day. Gracie has the best uncles a girl could ask for. They are so involved in her life and do everything they can to stay in close contact with her, even though they live in sunny California. Dean and Chris aren’t your typical; I’ll see you a few times a year and call occasionally, kind of uncles. They’re the call and check-in often, let’s have Skype dates; I’ll send you funny videos and gifts for no reason, kind of uncles. They are always thinking of ways they can come out here or get us out to California so that they can see their niece as often as possible. The two of them do so much to make sure that even though they don’t see her every day, Grace knows just how much they LOVE her and how special she is to them. It makes me get all teary just thinking about it. :)


For our trip out to California, we met up with the boys on day 4 and it was just us for a day before G’s parents met up with us in Anaheim. In typical super uncle fashion, the fridge was stocked with snacks they thought the stinker would like and she had her very own “Let’s Make Art” book that they picked up just for her sitting on the desk with art supplies when we arrived. Our guys also planned a special beach day for the five of us, which we were sooooo excited about! As a family who lives in the desert, any opportunity to be around beautiful beaches and water is never taken for granted. The “Guncles” practically live at the beach, so we were set up with all the beach gear and yummy food we would need before we headed out!


It was a very chill day spent relaxing and noshing on yummy foods while soaking up the sun. This was Gracie’s 4th time visiting the ocean and she could not wait to get her feet in the water. Grace and G collected seashells, Grace played in the waves, we picnicked and took our gal’s 3rd birthday pictures, which made the day fly by.


I’m a water sign and a total water baby, so our day at the beach was a day that I needed, for lots of reasons. I don’t know how to explain the connection I have with water other than to say that it soothes me like nothing else. It really helps me to put things in perspective and clear my mind. This is one of the reasons I shower twice a day, every day and try my best to make sure we make it out to the lake, water parks, pools and rivers as often as possible. I’m sure there’s some biological explanation for how I feel. All I know is that it’s a force that I can’t and don’t wish to fight (even if my frequent showers drive my wife crazy sometimes). In my defense, all of our plants are desert plants and we don’t buy bottled water. We don’t have a pool, or grass and all of our appliances that use water, are energy efficient! See babe… I’m practically a water conservationist if you think about it! ;)  


Our beach day was the same day I found out that our first IVF cycle was unsuccessful. Looking back, I don’t think there’s a better place I could have been to receive news like that. Sure, when it all hit me days later, it was tough but it wasn’t devastating when I found out and I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I felt at peace and happy. Thank God for Mother Nature.
   

I’ve noticed that the bigger Grace gets, the more she shows that she is a water baby too. For one, she’s a Pisces and I totally believe it that kind of stuff. She loves bath time and has since she was a newborn. She showered with us when she was tiny and would lie in my arms under the warm water until we both turned to raisins, just as happy as can be. She is currently obsessed with swim school and anytime we’re camping or at the lake, it’s her and I out playing in the water until dark. Typically we’re the first ones in and the last ones out. Like every other water adventure, the same was the case at Topanga Beach.



The kid was rolling in the sand, hounding for rocks, running non-stop along the beach (while screaming with joy) and playing in the waves. It made this Mama’s heart so happy to watch.


She even let me play with her sandy beach hair. Yeah, I couldn’t get my hair to look this good if I paid someone to do it…


Such a fun day in the sun.

Thanks brother bears! We can’t wait to come back and visit again!



Monday, May 11, 2015

A day for the Mamas!

This Mother’s Day weekend marked exactly one year since my miscarriage. It’s hard to believe that an entire year has passed because for as challenging as it’s been, it went pretty darn fast. I had a decision to make on Friday. Was I going to be sad and relive those feelings of loss, or was I going to acknowledge my feelings and move forward. I chose option B and I’m so glad I did. Miscarriage is a horribly painful thing that I would never wish on anyone and if you let it, it can drag you down into some dark and hopeless places. I didn’t want to allow myself to do that. My awesome brother-in-law was in town visiting. I got my hair did (thanks brother bear). The wifey spoiled me and I had a cutie patootie little gal to enjoy the weekend with. There was just too much good going on to feel anything but thankful. It honestly ended up being the best Mother’s Day we’ve had yet. :)


We had Mother’s Day Brunch at the same place that our maternity pictures were taken, 3 years ago. When I look back on those photos, I can still feel the joy that was pouring out of us as we waited to meet our baby girl. We didn’t think it was possible to be any happier and then she arrived. This perfect, happy, beautiful baby came into our lives and changed us forever. In that moment, the struggle to conceive and all the heartache melted away. She finally found her way to us and just like that, two mamas were born.


Georgia and I received our FIRST ever Mother’s Day gifts from Gracie this year! I adore our kiddo’s school and that they always go out of their way to make us feel supported. For Mama’s Day, the stinker made us these adorable flower pots decorated with her hand print and a poem on each side. Her super awesome teachers made sure she made two, one for each of her Mamas. I know some may think, well of course she made two, but sadly that’s not always the case. I have several friends who have kids with teachers who refused to allow them to make more than one Mother’s Day gift, even though they have two moms. It’s just so sad and wrong that things like that still happen.

Sunday was an absolutely beautiful day, so we tried taking family pictures because the restaurant we visited had a beautiful garden out front. After many attempts, this is what we ended up with. Is it weird that I LOVE these silly photos so much?! They capture exactly where we are as a family today. It’s a glimpse into our life with a toddler and it’s imperfectly perfect. 


And we must not forget two of the most important moms in my life! My beautiful Ma and 97 year old great-GREAT Grandma. Aren’t they just the cutest?


Georgia and I are so blessed to be surrounded by such amazing, strong women like Gracie’s Gaga.


The Bean was in charge of watching over her “class pet”, Mr. Gray the dog for the weekend, so he accompanied us on all our weekend adventures.

{He joined us for Mother’s Day Brunch}


{Uncle Dom being silly with Senor Gray}


{He kept Grace company as she got a haircut earlier in the weekend}


{The two of them had a tea party}


{And they also had a few sleepovers}


My super thoughtful wife spoiled me for Mother’s Day, like always. She gave me a bottle of my favorite fancy perfume, J'adore by Dior, which is basically the best smell ever! I also go a new pair of Nike’s, yay! Mommy got spoiled too! Along with special gifts for her, I asked Gracie to draw a picture of Mommy on her Mother’s Day card… This was her creation! It’s the first picture she’s ever drawn of a person. Mommy looks so pretty, LOL! ;)


I hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day as well! I hope you had the opportunity to be with the women who mean the most to you and felt loved all day. We had so much fun with our rambunctious little gal! We're so lucky to be her mamas.

Happy Mother's Day, friends!



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