Spring Break 2012

Mike and shelby Beach

Spring Break. Oh spring break. Our highly anticipated spring break trip came and went with great anticipation and tons of fun. It was a lot of work. It wasn't always the most relaxing (chasing a 2-year-old around Disneyland can wear out the strongest), but the memories made, laughter shared and time spent together made it well worth the hassle.

BeachShelby playing at the beach.


  • Looking at art at LACMA. The last few years, whenever we’ve gone to California we've taken the kids to LACAMA. There is a program that allows kids to get into museums for free and each child gets to bring one adult with them for free as well. It’s a great deal and it makes going to museums with kids far more accessible. Anyway, our kids love art museums. Shelby always has funny and insightful things to say about the art.

map  Upon dropping his park map in the treacherous waters of the Jungle Cruise.

  • Cooper insisting on having the park map as we walked around Disneyland. And then losing his map multiple time … mostly because he’s thrown the map in a body of water.
  • Watching the fireworks show at Disneyland


  • Watching Shelby enjoy the Santa Monica Pier (she rode the Green Dragon about 10 times, in a row). There wasn’t a chance in heck that you could get me on that ride, let alone 10 or 15 times.

Sea Dragon

  • Dipping our toes into the ocean and Shelby declaring the beach her favorite place on the trip (she's my girl alright)
  • Breakfast with Minnie
  • Cooper melting each time he met and hugged a new character


Tips for traveling with kids:

  • The Dollar Bin at Target is your friend. I packed both kids little bags for the car, filled with new goodies (all from the Dollar Bin). The kids loved looking in their bags and finding sparkly, new goodies for the drive.
  • I'm a hotel snob. The fancier the better. But with kids, a suite with a kitchen (even at a not-as-fancy hotel) is the best. Forgo fancy. Get a place with a full-sized Fridge and free breakfast. Soon after we arrived we went to the grocery store to stock the Fridge with milk, juice boxes, water, and soda.  Much more convenient and way cheaper.
  • Get two adjoining rooms, one for the kids and one for Mommy and Daddy make a huge difference.
  • Spring for the multi-day, park hopper passes when going to Disney. It means you don't have to rush through the park because you can come back.  It also means you don't have to feel bad if you want to go back to the hotel early or for a midday nap. We've done both the four day and three day passes. For us, three days at the Parks was perfect. The year we did four was overload.
  • Bring your stroller or rent one. Though Cooper can and likes to walk,MIT was a blessing to have a place for him to nap each day and to strap him in when we needed to move fast.
  • The food at California Adventure is WAY better than Disneyland.
  • Speaking of food, pack snacks. We loaded our backpack with yummy, healthy snacks. It helps you avoid all the temptations. We did indulge. But not as much as wee did in years past.
  • If you can do it, pack every single person in their own, separate bag. It tough if you're flying, with baggage charges and all ... But I really liked being able to keep everyone's stuff separate. It made it super easy each morning when it was time to get ready. I'd send each kid to their own bag and have them pick out their clothes for the day. And pack extras. Extra socks. Extra sweatshirts ... It's much easier than having to do laundry.
  • Plan for the worse. We were traveling by car, so this was easy for me. I packed umbrellas. Heavier sweatshirts for everyone. Pants and shorts depending on how the weather behaved. Lots of medicines (Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Pepto, etc), extra sunscreen, lots of wipes, diapers, pull-ups, etc I was prepared for just about anything, so it meant less stress and anxiety once we were there.
  • Take two bags into the park. One backpack with the stuff you don't want to lose -- expensive camera, wallet, medications, etc. And then another one you can leave with your parked stroller. This bag had extra sweatshirts, warm clothes for the night, snacks, and even a heavy blanket for Cooper.  Not that anyone would steal our stroller, but if they did, the stuff I left in it would easily be replaced with little cost. The backpack however, stayed on my back or Mike's the entire time.
  • Take breaks between park days. We went to the park on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The other days we slept in, took our time getting out of the hotel and explored other areas of Southern California. This made it easier to spend 14 hours straight at the parks. We rested up in between visits. And tried to get the kids to bed earlier on rest days.