Happiest Place on Earth…Part Uno

So many great pics from this day, and just couldn’t relinquish any more to the cutting room floor. So, this is Part I – the day up to the nap!

We had fun at California Adventure…but we had SO MUCH FUN at Disneyland! Selah LOVED it. Here’s the day in order…

First off – thanks to Grandma & Grandpa Smith, we stayed the night at one of the Disney hotels, which allowed us to get into the park an hour early (before it opened to the public), and to take the monorail directly into Tomorrowland. That was key to the experience, and highly recommended for future trips. No pics of the monorail due to our haste in getting on with a stroller and about a thousand articles of unorganized baby gear, but safe to say that Selah enjoyed the ride.

First stop was the “Finding Nemo” submarines. This is the old submarine ride, and to be honest, was not much different than the old ride save some encounters with Nemo, Dorie, and the sharks. “Fish are friends, not food!”. She sat on Daddy’s lap, and definitely enjoyed seeing the familiar characters from one of her favorite movies.

The second ride attempt was the Buzz Light Year ride, and had the serious makings of a breakdown with gigantic robots with lasers and black lights everywhere – not to mention the extremely loud conditions. However, we were poster children for the difference that a child’s mood makes in enjoyment (ie. A Bug’s Life Spider from the previous day was after little to no sleep and a terrible mood after driving 4 hours, and Buzz Light Year thankfully was after a good night’s sleep, and a wonderful mood after waking up and immediately requesting Gramma, Grampa across the hall!).

She rode the ride with Grandma and Grandpa in the car in front of us, which was fun to get to watch. And by watch, I mean the 5 seconds that Jesse and I stopped competing to view our daughter (in a completely scary ride, this just demonstrates that the level of our competetiveness apparently supercedes our parental instincts)…who knew that the lazer guns in the car actually gave us points when we hit targets?!?!! Everyone is lucky that we only realized this about halfway through the ride, and did not make the group stand in line for us to “redo”.

Waiting for the ride:

I have a gun and I’m not afraid to use it!

The obligatory family shot in front of the castle to Fantasy Land:

Daddy and Selah being silly together, the norm ;):

Dumbo had to have been our longest wait of the day. Luckily, Grandma and Grandpa had the brilliant idea to wait in line for the ride, while we played with Selah, only doing the “handoff” in the last leg of the famous Disney switchback lines. Thank goodness. Her will to ride in the little elephants miraculously lasted the ~40 minute wait. And mommy and daddy proudly watched our brave little flier ride with my parents. I must have held down the shutter release the entire time because I have more pictures from Dumbo possibly than our entire trip combined, but I attempted to choose a representative series for your viewing pleasure.

Selah at the wheel (OK, more accurately, “knob”):

It’s a Small World came in between, but none of the pictures turned out for that. Selah loved it though – the singing, the characters, the dancing. It was a success, even without Grandpa who cleverly opted out of the Longest-Ride-With-Music-On-Repeat-Known-To-Man.

Up next, Toontown. Which was sort of a bust. Selah really wanted to meet Minnie. However, the line for greeting her favorite Minnie Mouse was 30 minutes long, and just when we got in line, Minnie went on “break”. This took the steam out of Selah’s sails (OK, mine), and we both had little energy to “encourage” her to wait longer for Minnie. However, convincing a very tired two-year-old that she can’t meet Minnie, and explaining the line situation, just wasn’t happening so well. So, we settled for a picture with Minnie’s mailbox (turned out bad so not wasting your time), and a distraction by playing on a firetruck with Grandpa. Much cuter pictures (I highly recommend clicking to enlarge and viewing her adorable face – and of course I’m not biased as her mother), and less of a wait:

Also to lift her extremly tired spirits, Daddy purchased a Mickey ice cream bar. Here’s the Before and After damage shots:

After (clearly):

If only we all could pull off “ice cream face” so easily, right? 😉

A quick stop for lunch ended in the inevitable nap, where daddy laid her in the stroller for a short power snooze to recharge:

Stay tuned for part deaux, the rest of the day (technically, just at Disney – minus the car ride to Vegas – we are all trying to erase that from memory!).

California Adventure!

My Happy Girl after playing in the water

Just two weeks after the “actual day”, we embarked on our little trip to Disney California Adventure, Disneyland, then on to the “camping” portion in Bryce & Zion. For brevity of each post, I’m splitting into sections of the trip. While California Adventure didn’t have a plethora of pictures, Disneyland does, so I’ll start with the first day and leave the mega-post for tomorrow.

We decided to do the California Adventure park first, for a few reasons – #1 we had two days, so thought we could see one park each day, #2 it opened later in the day and we were driving from SB, and #3 we were told it had a lot of younger-kid activities. I’d say that it definitely doesn’t compare to actual Disneyland, but I’m certainly glad we did it. It started a little rocky with a brief (and unsuccessful) stint in the Bug’s Life 3D video, where a larger-than-life 3D spider was just not Selah’s cup of tea (smart girl we have, yes?), and we spent the earlier portions of the day attempting to recover from the “scare” which put her in somewhat of a funk. But the day only went up from there, and I’ll have to post a few videos to cover Selah’s favorite activities there, which included dancing to the Mickey Mouse Club live show and running around the water fountain (this sounds much less impressive than it was – it was an interactive water fountain that kids could play in).

For now, I’ll stick with the still-photos of a few highlights.

Meeting Mickey Mouse was certainly right up there with the best of them. From her body language and shyness, you’d think she was slightly traumatized, when in actuality, I think it was her favorite. But much like meeting a favorite celebrity or teen idol, she froze up on the spot. However, recounting the event of “meeting Mickey Mouse” is a popular topic of discussion even to this day (over a week later! That’s eternity for a two-year-old memory!).

The man himself:

Warming up a bit (yep, only a bit):

The balance of the pictures I have are from a ride Selah enjoyed, but I feel like the adults were rather cheated. It had to be a 20 minute plus wait, and the ride probably took just under one minute. Literally, 60 seconds. Of which, 40 seconds of it were sitting still, waiting for it to unload. So, essentially, the ride was 15 seconds long. The risk/reward of that investment just didn’t pay off. That is, until I saw this sequence of pictures of Selah & Grandma. Of which I would have gladly waited another 30 minutes, of course.

Look, Grandma!

All in all, the day was a success. And it warmed us up for the following big day at the Happiest Place on Earth. Stay tuned. 😉

Mother’s Day

The family

I couldn’t have asked for a better Mother’s Day! I suppose, if anything, I would have prefered to trade the perfect weather for the previous day – Selah’s birthday! But, no complaints – we all enjoyed it fully. Started off with breakfast, where my awesomely thoughtful husband made me poached eggs (!). Yep, he Googled how to do it, and was successful! Yummy! Then he got Selah ready (another gift!) for church, and dressed up for the occasion (this is noteworthy, as we both normally go on the very casual side to church). And after a nap at home, we all drove to Ojai to enjoy the beautiful afternoon at Ojai Valley Inn, relaxing with appetizers and beverages on the patio with friends while all of the kiddos ran around on the practice green, functioning as the perfect “playground”. It was so nice that we’ve vowed that we’ll go there on a non-occasion day, just to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and great views (without paying the hefty pricetag for a room and golf).
Here’s my favorite selection of photos from the day:
Mommy & her baby

Selah & I “golfing”

The beautiful setting

My loves

Remember: click on the pics if you’d like to see them larger – these are from the big camera, so only show up tiny on the post.

2nd Birthday Day

Balloons are the best! Especially ELMO balloon!!!

The weather leading up to Selah’s big day was perfect. All week – not a cloud in the sky, and “shorts weather”. Then, the day of – cold, cold, foggy, breezy, and cold. Which made the party spot a little less than ideal – a place on the beach that Selah loves because it is outside and has a sandbox. Very popular with kids and families…but not so great on a cold day. But, nevertheless, that was the only downer of the day – and probably most of all a bummer for the great-grandmas who drove all the way down to freeze with us! We were very blessed to have them (and Grandma Smith too who drove them!) in attendance, and Selah especially appreciated it – as evidenced by the fact that for about a week after her birthday, every morning we were greeted with “Happy Birthday” in eager anticipation that there might just be more family, friends, presents, and a party in honor of her, if each morning were her birthday from here on out.

I am surprisingly short on pictures – I must have been paying more attention to Selah & guests than my camera (??!!?) – but have included an a assortment of what we have to remember the day by, and especially share with those who we would have loved to have with us (hello, Hawaii fam!) 😉

Mmmmm….Elmo cupcake!
Almost finished. Of course I’m eating the whole thing!
Putting on my purse and bracelet from Aunt Rose, Uncle Steve, and Cousins Alyssa & Kaylee. Have to dress to impress while pulling the wagon!
My little artist on her new easel – a gift from Mommy & Daddy
Loving my special red wagon from Nana & Papa
“Again, Daddy?”…making Daddy work for his princess in her new red wagon with a custom paint job courtesy of Papa!
And….I’m spent!

Brace Yourself

There could be a lot of upcoming posts with pictures…considering I just downloaded the month of May – which happens to have a lot of big events for the Wheeler family! First off, just a few to wet the pallete…of Selah & Daddy getting ready for camping. Remember – if you click on the pictures, you can actually get the full size version – for some reason when I upload with our nicer camera, I have to post them in thumbnail size or else you see just a tiny portion of the whole picture on the screen.

Both of these were taken the day before Selah’s birthday, while unpacking our “new” tent (purchased a year ago for a camping trip we never made, so just making it out of the box for the first time prior to Bryce/Zion!).

Just chillin in the tent box, no biggie, Mommy.

A Vacation Preview

We took just short of a million pictures on our trip, but these are just a few taken on my phone – and thought I’d give a little preview.
Selah posing with her popular friend Goofy

Selah, Gramma, & Mommy on the carousel

Chasing Selah at Excalibur – different Vegas experience with a toddler!

Driving through Zion – cant even fit the cliffs into one frame!

Entering a mile long rock tunnel in Zion

“Camping” by Selah & Daddy cooking on our porch of the hotel room in Zion, after not getting a campsite.

The stellar view from ‘roughing it’ at the Majestic View Lodge

Mmmmm…breakfast cookie while “camping” at the hotel

Probably 75% of what our vacation consisted of: chasing a toddler in various locations

Hiking Zion – best day of the trip! Great weather, great views, & a sacked-out munchkin who let Mommy put her in the pack. You can see her blond sleepy head above my shoulder!

Coloring at a restaurant on our way home

Playing in the sand at Lake Las Vegas – our last stop on our way home from “camping” (a loosely used term since we really only camped one night, of which I don’t have a single picture, which is a total bummer because it was the night we met up with my Grandma, Aunt Jeannie & Uncle Mike, & cousins Tera & Cael – and was a trip highlight & our first tent-sleeping experience with a toddler!). Nevertheless, it was all fun and Selah was a trooper aside from her daily requests to go “homey” 😉



Birthday Eve

Jesse and I are definitely not pros at the holiday celebrations yet. Not for the lack of actual celebration, but almost the opposite. We prepare well in advance of the holiday (Christmas, Easter, Birthday), swearing to one another that she doesn’t need any presents, let’s keep it simple, and other minimalist goals.

Selah’s 2nd birthday seems to be no exception. We weren’t even going to celebrate, save our Disneyland trip after Jesse’s semester ends next week. However, our informal lunch had to have cupcakes, so of course I wanted to do Sesame Street. And ‘no presents’ somehow turned into an easel complete with art supplies…and we apparently couldn’t stop at that and had to throw in a toddler basketball hoop (to get her exercising after painting, of course!) 😉

So, while it wasn’t as low key as intended so far, here are some pics of the preparation tonight:

Sesame Street cupcake final products:





Daddy’s hard work assembling:




Also, has to throw in one of Selah, Daddy, & I baking his birthday cake together on Jesse’s special day yesterday:




And one of us the other day after school:

Love this girl, my almost-two-year old, most amazing baby girl.

A Quick Conversation

Tonight went like this:

Mommy: Selah, what do you want for your birthday dinner this weekend?
Selah: Ketchup, please.

Hmmmm…I’m glad that later when we suggested “pizza”, it seemed like it might go over just as well.

Rainbow Birthday Party

No, this isn’t our birthday party, just a teaser of a headline, I suppose. These were some beautiful pictures that were given to us by Selah’s friend, Cecilia, from her birthday party a few weeks back. It was an amazing rainbow party that we can never top – don’t worry, we won’t even try. It was that good, seriously 🙂

I scanned the pictures in to share because they were so nice. Our little girl is growing up so fast – it will be her big day this weekend!