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30 April 2013

Disneyland is My Happy Place {errr, Olivia's Happy Place}

*Advanced warning, this post is long and winding and full of pictures.  Read when you've got some extra time on your hands.  

Oh Disneyland.  I just love, love, LOVE you.  I love the magic that happens the second you walk through those gates.  I love the excitement in my little girls eyes on each and every ride and meet & greet with the characters.  I just love everything about you.

I'm so glad that we were able to take Olivia back to Disneyland for her 4th birthday to meet up with her California bestie, Kendall.  Those girls love each other so much and they have such a special friendship even though we live so far away now.  I hope they are best friends forever.

We left the day before her birthday and I let her open up a sweet birthday present that my high school buddy, Natalie, handmade and sent to her.  It was filled with all sorts of goodies that her sweet daughter, Hazel, had picked out especially for Olivia.  That Natalie deserves Mom of the Year for sure...she not only made Olivia a purse, but she included my sweet Sydney girl too.  Thanks, Nat!!

➹ Olivia immediately filled her purse with her most prized possessions...the cheap princesses from her birthday cake! ➹

We had a pretty easy drive there with a few stops for lunch and potty breaks.  Our hotel was very nice and when they found out it was Olivia's birthday, they immediately started treating her like a royal princess.  They invited her down for a special breakfast the next morning where they made her Mickey Mouse pancakes and even brought her a birthday cake with ice cream.  Good thing she was going to burn off that sugar burst throughout the day!

➹ Her favorite thing is talking on the hotel phone! ➹

➹ Girl is obsessed with princesses and all clothing pieces that are "down." ➹

➹ The birthday girl in her new princess nightgown with her glorious bed head! ➹

➹ One of her favorite things she opened was a little mermaid doll with legs and outfits.  We got it, in front of her, at a garage sale the weekend before when we spotted the cutest headboard for Sydney's future twin bed. Maybe it was the anticipation of getting it? ➹
Love the sleeping Daddy in the background.

➹ Mickey pancakes! With sprinkles! And a fake smile! ➹

Our goal was to get to the Disneyland gates by 10:00 when the park opened, but let's face it, we are Michelsons and that didn't quite happen.  We were close though and we were excited to meet up with Kendall and see Belle right as we got in!

➹ Obviously Olivia's bed head didn't get much better.  In fact, I'll admit it may have even gotten worse.➹

➹ This isn't the first of these little flashback gems you can expect to get in this post.  You can thank me later. ➹

Almost immediately we went in to the Royal Faire to meet the princesses.  This was our third visit in the last year and it is the third place that they've moved the princesses.  Sadly, it's my least favorite.  Last April, the princesses were all outside so all of our pictures turned out great.  The ladies all interacted and spent a couple minutes with Olivia.  This time, they were moved to indoor rooms where it was dark and it just didn't feel as welcoming.  I know the girls still loved it, but, ugh, the pictures just didn't turn out that great.  

David is so great at spotting the different characters/princesses all over the park.  He will grab Olivia and take off toward them.  So, when we finished with the 3 princesses in the Royal Faire, we headed directly over to meet Snow White.  She was uh-may-zing!  Of all of the princesses we saw, she was the most energetic, interactive and genuine.  Olivia really got into hiding from the princesses before it was her turn and then jumping out and surprising them.  Most of the other princesses didn't quite get it, but Snow White was totally in on it and played right along.  Loved her.

➹ She also complimented Olivia on her pineapple shoes which just made Olivia's day! ➹

As you will start to notice from all of the pictures, we literally went from meeting one princess/character to another.  Next up was Peter Pan and the Fairy Godmother!

➹ These girls.  I just love them so much! ➹

We did manage to ride some rides that morning too.  We had to do the Dumbo, of course, and It's a Small World, which has become Olivia's favorite ride.   And, I think that's when we did Pinocchio, Snow White and Alice & Wonderland too.  {Forgive me for not getting our timeline perfectly correct.} And, while we didn't go on the spinning teacups, we did have to get our picture taken in one.

➹ Small World ➹

➹ Kisses for Katelyn!  We loved having her along...she was such a good little girl. ➹

➹ This year... ➹

➹ Last year...they look like such little babies. ➹

➹ Family picture! ➹

We ventured in to Toon Town to meet as many characters as we could, ride the Go Go Gadget Coaster and recreate a picture from last year!

➹ How do they grow so much in a year?! ➹

➹ Great capture, Sarah! ➹

Pretty sure we headed for Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, Tarzan's Treehouse, the Jungle Cruise, the Winnie the Pooh ride and meeting Jasmine and Aladdin next.

➹ This was our first Jasmine encounter and WOW, I didn't expect that outfit to be the one she would be wearing! ➹

Kendall and Katelyn left shortly after, but we were so excited that they were going to be back the next day.  

After they left, we ended up riding Splash Mountain and then watching the parade.  We even got a Fast Pass to ride the Peter Pan ride after the parade.

➹ Took a picture of our photo up on the screen.  Love it! ➹

➹ I can't even. ➹

It was an amazing day!  We love those Pedersen girls and we love Disneyland.  You combine that with our big girl's fourth birthday and you have MAGIC!

Love her SO VERY much!

Stay tuned for Day 2 of our Disneyland adventure!

28 April 2013

A Peek At Our Week

I promise, promise, promise to put our Disneyland pictures up in the next couple of days.  But, before I do that, I better put up these random pictures so they don't get lost in my iPhoto.

Here's a peek at what we've been up to the past few days:

➹ Fishing date with Poppy ➹

➹ Hang time on our Liberty of London spoils ➹

➹ Spending time outdoors before the triple digits hit tomorrow ➹

➹ A road trip to Tortilla Flats where poor Olivia got car sick while riding along the windy road.  Poor girl had not experienced anything like that since she was 20 months old when we were in Hawaii.  Not to be gross, but she had to ask me, "Mommy, what was all that stuff that came out of my mouth?"  She was so brave though.  And, you know, ice cream makes everything better. ➹

➹ Show me your surprised face! ➹

➹ I am now thirty-six. 

➹ Lots of swimming! ➹