Tuesday, March 25, 2014


We had one last "perk" remaining from Brent's days at ESPN - two tickets to any Disney park - and since they were set to expire June 2014, we decided to take a break from the rain of Seattle and head down to Southern California this past weekend. I think everyone was excited to have a long weekend vacation someplace warm!

We flew in late afternoon on Friday, in time to drive from LAX to our hotel and walk over to Downtown Disney for dinner. We learned a lot from last time so we stayed at the Fairfield Inn by Marriott - right across the street from the entrance of the park. You have to walk through the entrance to the two parks (Disneyland and California) to get to Downtown Disney. ESPN Zone is the furthest restaurant at Downtown Disney, but from our hotel to the restaurant was only 0.7 miles - really easily walkable! We played around a bit at the Lego store, but then it was time to head in - we had a long day ahead of us!
 We decided to start at California Adventures first. After a quick breakfast, we headed to the back of the park to go on the Toy Story ride.... no such luck, it was down for maintenance. So on to the Ferris Wheel. I think Brock enjoyed the swinging! And we could see the ducks in the water below!
We headed over to Cars Land and Brock was able to see Lightin' McQueen drive down the street - he kept pointing at it like he recognized it from his toy. There were a few rides that required kids to be 32". He had just measured 31.75" at his 12 month checkup and we knew that he was good to go from Brent's "Measurement Mondays", but when it came time to stand up at the measuring stick, Brock kept scrunching up his neck wondering what this thing was above his head.... so the mean lady wouldn't let him on the rides. Ridiculous. 
"I found a stick and I'm keeping it!"
Unfortunately a lot of the rides required that height, so after one little ride in A Bug's World.... we decided we'd head to Disneyland early. 

Playing with the water ball in Tomorrowland
We grabbed a table in Tomorrowland in front of the Star Wars stage and had lunch. Brock was adorable swaying to the music while eating his lunch. Then it was time for naptime - we knew it was a necessity for him to stay out so late, so we headed back to the hotel for some R&R. 

We were back at the park by 4 o'clock and headed straight to Fantasyland. So many of these rides are so dark! It really is a wonder how these kids aren't so scared. Brock seemed to be okay with Pinocchio and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride - he sat between us on the rides and cozied right up into Brent's side for the louder parts. I wanted to take him on Dumbo - but that was a 40 minute wait! And there are NO fastpass rides in Fantasyland at Disneyland - very different than Disney World.
Posing in a teacup!

The only ride Brock probably didn't like was the Haunted Mansion. In the beginning part of the ride, the crowd is corralled into a room in which the ceiling slowly starts to rise. As the narrator talks about how "you'll never get out of here alive...", the lights go out, loud thunder..... and Brock wailed. Of course Brent was holding him at the time and EVERYONE turned to look at him and said "awww". Yes, bad parents award. He really was fine after that.

I had made dinner reservations about a month ago for Big Thunder Ranch Barbeque and I am so very glad I did - the food was amazing! It's a sit-down restaurant (so $$$$) with a stage for live music in the back. This restaurant offers all you-care-to-enjoy barbecue chicken, ribs, smoked sausage, corn on the cob, coleslaw, ranch beans and corn bread! Everything was so tasty! Halfway through our meal, Brock and I got on stage for a little rendition of "This Land is Your Land"!

What better place to have a light-up toy than at Disneyland at night? Brock was thrilled!
And the last ride of the night was Buzz Lightyear.
Bad picture, but the only pic we got of the castle was while waiting in line for Buzz!

Sunday was spent walking around Downtown Disney and exploring the Grand California Hotel before we left for the airport. 
They all look so yummy!
"Hey! What is that green stuff I'm stepping on??!?"
My handsome men
 Right before we left, we stopped at the World of Disney and let Brock hug all the stuffed animals he wanted. I think he was in heaven! He literally fell back in to the display - he loved it.
Seriously, we are NOT going back to any Disney park until Brock is at least four years old.... or we win the lottery. We had a really nice time, but let's wait longer for the next trip so we can all enjoy it a little more (and we can do more!). :) 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Lion King

Part of my Christmas present were tickets to The Lion King this year. I was super excited to go as I had heard awesome things about the show and it did not leave me disappointed! Brent and I started our date night at Il Fornaio and I'm posting it here for our future notice - it is "meh" and we really don't need to go back. When I made reservations, we remembered that we didn't have a great meal, but neither one of us could remember why. We're going to remember this time!

But back to the show - it was amazing! I love going to the Paramount - it is a GORGEOUS theater. I loved the show and I think Brent did too! The opening song was my favorite. As soon as the actors who portrayed giraffes came on to the stage, it really felt like these were animals - they mimicked the way the particular animals moved so well! The costumes were beautiful and the two little kids who, at only 10 years old, played Simba and Nala as children were amazing. Of course I cried when Mufasa died... yeah, I'm a sap! :P
View of the ceiling from our seats - the chandelier and designs on the wall are amazing!

Quick picture before the curtain went up
We had a really good time that evening. And our neighbors behind us were..... interesting. 

Yes, that woman behind us brought her doll to the theater

Thursday, March 13, 2014

East Coast has some crazy weather.....

"Mom, this is why stand-by can be awesome - we get the whole row.... let's only fly like this from now on, k?"
Tuesday, March 4th, Brock and I headed back to the East Coast. The flights there were awesome - wide open planes and I did not fret once about not getting to our final destination (flying stand-by). Brock was such a good traveler and was able to get some naps in too!

Our layover was in Chicago and after doing a little research beforehand, found an awesome (to be determined...and we'll get to that later) children's museum/play area in Terminal 1 for Brock. He loved walking/crawling all around, pressing the buttons, but especially watching the big kids.

Finally we were in Raleigh and Brock was free to explore Grandma's house and Papa's condo with his new found skill!

He had some fun with Papa's guitar after Papa sang him a song. Brock was mesmerized by the strumming and the singing. I think he enjoyed it. :) 

All he wanted to do was climb and show off his walking! 
Up to this point, it was COLD. As in, colder than home in Seattle! Temperatures in the 30's and 40's during the day.... brr.... 
But then, in typical North Carolina fashion, Saturday it warmed up to 68! (With Sunday and Monday following in the low 70's!) It was so nice, we were able to meet some friends at a park! 
Brock and Jude (Shaunis' son - 16 months)
Will, Beck, Brock

My brother Brian and his new fiancee were in town, but typical to me - I didn't get a picture until it was time to say goodbye. Apparently it's a theme for pictures of Brock and Brian.

And then.... and then the ugly happened.... At this point we thought he had a bad case of eczema. Brock had some shrimp for the first time Friday night, along with some other various new exposures. We thought he was having an allergic reaction, which caused the bad eczema. He does get some good eczema patches at home. We loaded him up with creams and lotions and aquaphor and benadryl at night and nothing was really helping.

It was all over Brock's body and face. We still thought it was eczema, so I was excited to see Jessica on Monday for lunch to ask her advice on what next to try. She did give me some very good tips... and we did talk about other things besides Brock's rash. :)
American Tobacco District in Durham - BEAUTIFUL DAY!

 But all this while, we are out visiting friends and family with the thought it was still eczema.

You can see the rash and bumps on Brock's face, arms and hands

It's not until we fly home and go to our pediatrician that we find out Brock has hand, foot & mouth disease... a contagious virus that causes a rash in the above mentioned areas - atypical to show up on arms and legs too. Good job Brock, you get a gold star for going above and beyond! Brock really didn't seem "sick" besides the rash, so it didn't seem to affect the visit with Grandma except just being a nuisance.

Brock is not in daycare and we really haven't been out with other children.... so I'm blaming that stupid play area in the Chicago Airport for this! With all of the children flying in and out of that airport, I'm sure that area is a cesspool of diseases! I don't know if we'll be visiting that spot again (of course, I took Brock there on the layover back home.... so I passed on the crap to some other kid.... and the cycle continues). Moral of the story - TODDLERS ARE DIRTY!

Superhero Brock

LOVE his cute thighs!
Zulily sent us a few pictures from his photo shoot from February 6th. Brock looks so cute in the city they built for him!

And then here are the pictures with the "rocking owl" toy he was modeling with.

Brock is checking out the eyes