Pororo Park in Seoul, South Korea

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if heaven were created by a 2 year old, it would be pororo park.  i mean, man oh man, this place was like a total wonderland for c.  there are 7 main characters and they each have a home/play area inside of the park.  there’s a small bouncy castle, a carousel, a ball pit, pourer’s house, bumper cars, train, ferris wheel ride, pororo show, cafe, gift shop, small wooden cube pit, baby room and SO MUCH MORE.  honestly there were so many little areas for c to run around in and the part that was super fun for her was that each room was completely different.  her favorite areas were the ball pit, the bouncy castle, and the ferris wheel.  img_8677img_8680

c’s first ride and she LOVED it!img_8675 img_8656 img_8638 img_8620

meeting her HEROO for the first time!!!  unfortunately she HATES to be touched so after this picture, c ran away screaming “no touch! no touch!!” and stayed away from him the entire rest of the visit.  LOL
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got a little bouncy ball from here (in her left hand) and she held it in her hand the entire way home so that daddy could see it.  it was the sweeeetest thing in the whole world.  she also took a bite out of it in the cab ride home… >.<  hm… img_8661
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i’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to climb that thing…but c was all up in there.img_8608 img_4141

this show literally blew c’s mind away.  i’ve never seen her so focused and so happy.  she danced the entire time and jumped up and down like a true fan. ^^

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this car ride cost like 50 cents per ride and I swear I would have paid like $5 a ride for c.  she literally had SOOOOO much fun exploring this park and seeing every single room, toy, figure, play area in the park.  if you have a toddler, i seriously recommend coming here!

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at the very end, there was a gift shop (brilliant).  c wouldn’t have known if we bypassed it, but she had SOOOO much fun that i wanted to end the day with a special gift.  a little symbol of the first amusement park c has every been to.  there were SO MANY toys and different show characters~ pororo, tayo, hello kitty, etc.  i pointed out huge toys for c, stuffed animals, dolls, kitchen sets… but the one and only thing c wanted was this small box of cars.  i even pointed out all the other huge cars and boxes with MORE cars~ but NOPE.  this small box of three cars was all my little one wanted.   img_4158img_8587 img_8596 img_8703 img_8614 img_8700

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International Flight Must-Haves For Toddlers

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back in May, our family went on a very spontaneous trip to Korea.  it was honestly the most fun vacation we have ever been on.  one for the books.  here’s an account of our flight below and how I got rocked on the flight.  I thought I was SUPER prepared and well…Toddler tantrums and time differences can really throw you for a loop.  The last two trips to Hawaii went so well I never expected C to be so naughty on this flight.  The big difference was the length of time that we were flying, the fact that C wanted to only watch youtube kids (we didn’t have wifi), AND that C wanted none of the snacks that i had brought.  Awesome.

On the way TO Korea, we took a red eye.  Perfect right?  C sleeps 10 hours, the flight is about 12.  I’ve only got to prepare 2 hours worth of activities.  Unfortunately, I didn’t expect C to sleep as soon as we got into the plane and then only sleep for 6 hours.  While everyone else was settling in and eating their first meal on the flight (which was about 1 hour in) C was PASSED OUT.  Then when C woke up, the whole airplane was fast asleep (like total darkness and silence).  From 6 hours in until about the 10th hour, C was CRAY.  GF doesn’t understand how to whisper.  She screamed for snacks, she screamed out colors when watching videos, she kept jumping and laughing on the seats… it was HARD.  She wasn’t naughty, but it was so hard to get her to quiet down since she didn’t understand that the whole plane was in quiet mode.  She had a couple of cray cray crying meltdowns around hours 9-10 and then Mike literally rocked her to sleep in .5 seconds.  UGH  I suffered for four hours and Mike got her to sleep in .5 seconds.  WTHHH.

Then on the way back, C didn’t take her nap b/c we wanted her to take it on the plane.  Bad idea.  She had a MELTDOWN on the flight and it was so bad that the flight attendant came over and gave her a sticker book.  A sticker book that C threw aside.  SIGH.

Anyway…after a week long trip to Korea where C and I were mainly alone + the two flights that we were alone (Mike was on a different floor), here are my tips on traveling with a little one on 10+ hour flights.

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  1. A backpack for Mom–this is a must for the flight and your trip.  Having a fancy purse is great, but not practical if you’re running after your babe and exploring a new city.  On the plane I keep my important documents (our passports, itinerary, wallet, computer), a change of clothes for myself, makeup, and a few essentials for C in the small pockets (like wipes).  The purpose for this backpack is to have everything I need in one place~ these things are not replaceable.  I can lose all my suitcases but not this one bag.  Pictured above are the two I really love.img_4405
  2. A duffle bag for each toddler–so this sounds like a lot but I swear there’s a reason behind it.  One entire bag is filled with essentials JUST for her.  Busy Bags, snacks, diapers, a change of clothes, wipes, medicine, drinks, blankets, etc.  This entire bag is to keep C busy and hold things she will need for the flight only.  (also be prepared for delayed flights so bring a few extra diapers!)  NOW the important part about this… If you get the right size bag, it will fit underneath the seat in front of you during take off and landing.  BUT ALSO be used as extra leg room for your little one to use as a foot rest or even extra bed space.  This is kind of hard to describe but I brought three bags to fit under three seats (we had an extra seat next to us that I knew would be empty).  So during the flight I propped the three bags up so that it was even to two of the seats and put the airplane blankets down to smooth out the surface.  Once they were down (three in total), it was soft and comfy like one flat bed.  The plane gives you little pillows for international flights and I used two out of three to even our areas that were lumpy for C.  It sounds like a lot of effort but on a long flight, this even surface gives C more space to play, a wide bed to roll around when she’s sleeping, AND it gives me a place to lay down next to her during a long flight.  One huge tip for us was booking a window seat and an aisle seat on a three seat row in the middle/back of the plane.  People hate middle seats and if they do book it, it tends to be at the front of the plane.  We were in Row 37 and 45 on our flights and always had the middle seat free.  That extra space is CLUTCH on long flights.  With that extra space C didn’t need to walk up and down the aisles like the other kids.  She had her own little play area with toys, electronics, and bed.download-1
  3. Electronics up the WAZOO–ipad, iPhone, extra chargers, ear phones, back up ear phones, game boy, kindle…freaking WHATEVER will keep your little one from bouncing off the walls and screaming down the aisles.  LOL  International flights all have a plug and a USB port for you to charge everything but I’ve totally been on flights where mine has been broken.  SOOO just make sure you have a back up and you know where the back ups are.  EEEK.
  4. Snacks for days–NEW snacks is what I learned.  BAD sugary snacks you normally never give your baby.  I brought like 70% snacks I knew she would like and was screwed when she didn’t want a single one of them (THE ENTIRE TRIP).  So the new snacks I bought along the way killed it with her and held her attention like no other.  One thing that I will never forget from this trip is that new, sugar snacks are the way to go for long flights.  I know that it’s not ideal for your baby BUT you have to remember that other people are sharing the flight with you.  It’s for the benefit of those around you.
  5. Comforts from home (like a blankie)–c has a favorite sheep blanket that she calls “baa baa”.  I didn’t want to bring it b/c she loves it so much, but mike felt differently.  He thought it would help soothe her to sleep and make her feel comfortable in new spaces.  He was totally right.  This “baa baa” was SOO important to her on the trip.  She held it everywhere and always looked for it when falling asleep.
  6. Comfortable Clothes + Shoes for both of you–The flight is LONG.  You’re definitely going to have a booger or snack or piece of food wiped on you.
  7. Use the extra time you get to set up your area–Families always get to go on before the rest of the crowd.  Take the extra time to get 2-3 busy bags out and store them in the pockets in front of you, get wipes at the ready, have electronics in an easy to spot place, and let your little one explore.
  8. Humor + a Positive Attitude–The flight is going to be CRAY.  Just expect it.  Expect that nothing will go your way, nothing will go as planned, and well… shit happens.  It’s ok if your baby has a tantrum, it’s ok if your baby can’t sleep.  The flight isn’t forever.  Just try to make the best of it and think of back up options for your little one.  For instance, I had lollipops in my bag for tantrums, there are goofy songs that ALWAYS make c laugh, and she loves a good chapstick.  And when all of that doesn’t work~ take a walk.  A little change of scenery will quiet a fussy baby and give them something to look at.img_9120

I hope these tips that I learned from my trip help you mamas and families out there!! xoxo

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Lake Arrowhead & Lake Gregory

a few weeks ago our family + many of mike’s friends went to Lake Arrowhead to celebrate his very belated 31st birthday.  this was my first time to arrowhead (i think) and bringing c along i wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  (if you don’t already know, i’m not a huge fan of the ‘outside’.)

but this trip to arrowhead was AMAZING.  not only did c LOVE being outdoors, but it felt awesome to spend the weekend with mike’s friends trying new things.  i was worried about how c would adapt to all the changes but she was a total champion~ i mean what kid doesn’t love staying up late and eating cake every night right?

there were so many restaurants and places for kids & dogs in arrowhead.  the little town had playgrounds, patio areas for our whole group, water bowls for dogs, and so much more.

one of the main activities we did was visit lake gregory.  if you are not a member of lake arrowhead association, you can’t use the lake.  (it’s very fancy about that) so we drove 20 minutes to lake gregory and had SUCH a ball.  there are plenty of places for you to pop a squat.  so many groups/families bring canopies, lawn chairs, coolers, and lake toys.  if you don’t have any of those, that’s totally fine.  there are picnic tables strewn all over the lake where you and your party can hang.  with so many people we grabbed two picnic tables and rented some equipment at the lake like this lawn board below and a canoe.  there are TONS of families and kids all over so it’s the perfect place to bring your family and spend the day.

after this trip i realized that i needed to take c outdoors more and let her really enjoy nature.  when i was growing up in sacramento we went camping every year and rafted down the sacramento river often.  i guess it’s time for me to buy a huge sun hat and water shoes so i can be one with nature every summer.  lol  from what i saw at lake gregory, i’m guessing c will be just as adventurous as her dad. ^^

if you’re looking for a place to take your little ones this summer or for labor day weekend, i highly recommend lake arrowhead and lake gregory.  SUCH a fun place for families and fur friends!

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Mommy Mondays: Busy Bags for Toddlers and Kids

This weekend we went to San Francisco for a wedding.  Charlotte was a flower girl and Mike was a groomsmen. <3  SUCH a cool experience for them to share!

The wedding ceremony was in a catholic church which meant…long ceremony.  Was I prepared?  NOPE.  Should I have been?  YESSSS.  This weekend we had a rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony, and reception that C needed to be “quiet and well behaved” for.  Was she?  of course not… sigh.  But I think that was more b/c I was not prepared for all the long hours she would need to be sitting quietly.  I saw all the other moms bring out a bag full of toys and snacks for their kids and instantly regretted not having busy bags for C.  I’ve listened to so many podcasts about this and I seriously kicked myself all weekend for not being better prepared.

SOOO… in case you’re planning on traveling in a plane, going to a restaurant to EAT, going to a nice wedding, WHEREVERRR~~ here are some great links for busy bags and how to create them for all ages!!

  1. Busy Bags!

2. Busy Bags 101

3.Ultimate Guide of Busy Bag Ideas

4. Kids Busy Bag and Quiet Bag Ideas

5. Busy Bags for the Kiddos

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