Parents and Family Weekend

This weekend, we got to visit Bunny for Parents and Family Weekend at her college! We’ve been there before, but it was fun to see some of her favorite things and check out where her classes are!

We got to go to “Donuts with the Dean” while we were there, visit the campus Starbucks (I think we’re calling it “Starbies” now), walk all the way to the top of the hill, and attend a volleyball game (we won!). It was a beautiful day, to boot, and we had a really fun time!

We even got to have Zaxby’s, which is a real treat for me!

The most special thing to me, besides seeing her (of course), was getting a picture of all the children. I know she hasn’t even been gone for a whole month, but I was really happy to get a new photo of the Fab Five together.

I’m not going to lie…Thanksgiving feels like a long time from now, but that’s when we get to see her next!

Away from Home

Today is Bunny’s first day of classes at the four-year college she transferred to to complete her college education. She’s already been away from home for over a week, and we miss her terribly, but we’re also very excited for the opportunities she’s going to have over the next two years!

Chickadee Thursday

This has been a Big Week. We said goodbye to Bunny when we dropped her off for college, and I didn’t think Chickadee was going to let her go:

To distract ourselves from missing her, we visited the St. Louis Zoo on what was probably the nicest August day I’ve ever experienced in St. Louis! It was the kind of day that makes you believe that eventually it might be autumn.

My Almost Twins

I’m not going to lie…I’m feeling sentimental because Bunny is moving out this weekend to finish her college education. That has me thinking back over how quickly the years have gone by, and I can’t look back without remembering how Turkey and Bunny have been my “almost twins” since the day she started crawling after him.

They were born one day short of 16 months apart. And Bunny was determined to chase after and keep up with Turkey since she began moving. It didn’t take long for strangers to assume they were twins when we were out and about, and in a lot of ways I viewed them that way, too…I even started Bunny in kindergarten with Turkey, and they were classmates all the way through.

They were each other’s first friends, and it hard for me to imagine them not together. I know that I will adjust to our new normal, but it’s going to be a big adjustment, and one I’m not entirely looking forward to.

Only Nineteen (But Her Mind is Older)

Today is Bunny’s 19th birthday! We started the day with a “Bunny Walk.” We had quite a bit of rain overnight, so we didn’t see as many bunnies as we would have on a drier morning, but we still saw about a half-dozen or so, which was a good way to begin Bunny Day!

As always, present-opening was the highlight of the morning. There was a dual theme of Star Wars‘ Ahsoka Tano and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

We watched some movies this afternoon, and I worked on dinner. She asked for the apple punch from The Brothers Grimm Cookbook that we enjoyed a few weeks ago to go with her traditional birthday dinner of Stromboli:

This year’s bunny cake was based on The White Rabbit from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I don’t think I got his expression quite right, but he was pretty easy to decorate!

It was a very fun day celebrating Bunny!

Chasing the Characters

If you look closely at the shirt I wore to Disneyland, it says “Chasing the Fun.” Turkey and Bunny said it should have read “Chasing the Characters,” because apparently that’s what I do best when we go to theme parks!

Here’s a round-up of the characters we met or saw up close at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure (plus Goofy’s Kitchen)….my personal highlights were meeting Donald Duck, and also getting to see Goofy in his snazzy green suit! Also, since I was wearing a birthday celebration pin, many of the characters either said “Happy Birthday!” to me (like Lightning McQueen), or pantomimed it in some way (like Minnie Mouse).

Not pictured, but also seen by us include Peter Pan and Wendy, Captain Hook, the other chipmunk, Mirabel, Pinocchio and Geppetto, Sadness and Joy, Snow White, the Evil Queen, Ant-Man, Thor, Merida, Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, the Dora Milaje, Mary and Bert, Chewbacca, Rey, Mulan, and Clarabelle Cow. I think that’s pretty impressive for just two days in the parks!

The Happiest Trip on Earth–Day Three

Disneyland–32,673 steps

We saved Disneyland for our second (and final) theme park…seeing the train station for the first time was just as much of a thrill as it was at Disney World!

We got to watch the welcome show that is held on the steps leading up to the station when the park opens. The characters (minus Donald and Daisy, sadly), were all were their beautiful Disney 100 costumes!

We decided to take care of two things at once, and rode the Disneyland Railroad (something I really wanted to do since its Disney World counterpart was closed last summer) to the back of the park (where we wanted to get coffee).

What I didn’t realize is that station was practically on top of “It’s a Small World!” So we rode that first thing, and I loved it (of course)!

We then made our way to the Alice in Wonderland area, where not only do they have the teacups (a different experience because in California, they’re fully out in the open), but a second Alice-themed ride as well. And we ran into Alice herself, plus, the Mad Hatter!

We also visited New Orleans, home of the Haunted Mansion and beignets, and also Princess Tiana!

We wanted to make sure we saw the Sword in the Stone and the Wishing Well, since we missed both of those things at Disney World. Sadly, none of us was worthy to remove the sword, but we did all get to make a wish!

We were lucky that the “Star Wars Month” events were still going on while we were, and Turkey and Bunny got to ride “Hyperspace Mountain.” While they did that, I walked around and took some pictures of the castle (and let a Disney photographer take a photo of me!). Not as grand as the Cinderella Castle, but still lovely!

We walked back to the castle when they were done, and I found someone to take our picture:

The Disney photographers also got some nice pictures of the three of us:

And then we headed over to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. I’m pretty sure there are some minor differences, but it felt pretty much the same as the Disney World version! We got to have ronto wraps for lunch, and do some shopping and sightseeing.

One of the things Turkey and Bunny were most looking forward to, though, was having another lightsaber building experience at Savi’s Workshop (especially since they updated the parts since last summer). It was pretty cool to just get to be an observer this time, and watch other people do the work!

We didn’t see the Mandalorian and The Child, but we did get to meet Boba Fett!

We didn’t get to go on Rise of the Resistance because it was either shut down or the line was two hours long or it closed early (that was probably the biggest regret of the whole trip), but we did go on Smuggler’s Run…I got to blow things up!

After that, we walked through Downtown Disney on our way to dinner. Of course we had to stop at the Lego Store and admire their creations:

I really like this beautiful floral display:

And then we went to the Disneyland hotel to have dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen…it was so much fun! (Full details to come…)

After our meal, we hopped on the monorail to get back to the park:

We rode Star Tours (always a fun experience), and then went in search of Dole Whips:

We were barely able to find a place to view the fireworks…the crowd was massive!

The park is open for a couple of hours after the fireworks, so we had time for a few more things. We were three minutes late for Rise of the Resistance, so we headed toward Runaway Railway, instead. I love how the line is set up like a museum dedicated to Mickey Mouse!

After that, Turkey and Bunny decided to ride the Matterhorn while I took care of what was left of our shopping, and took some more pictures:

We rode the teacups one more time, and even managed to get on Dumbo the Flying Elephant.

We shut the park down (which I would somewhat regret the next day), and didn’t get back to our hotel until about 12:30. It was really hard to get to sleep after all that excitement and knowing we had a full day of travel ahead of us!

The Happiest Trip on Earth–Day Two

Disney California Adventure–26,156 steps

The real fun began on the second day of our trip, when we walked from our hotel to Disney California Adventure!

We stopped by Radiator Springs first thing, only to find out that our number one ride opens late. We did get to see some characters, though, and Lightning McQueen wished me a happy birthday! (Since we were also celebrating my birthday on the trip, I got one of the park’s “Happy Birthday” buttons…you would not believe how many cast members notice and congratulate you!)

After that, we headed over to Pixar Pier, where we got to ride an eccentric ferris wheel (I think there are only two like it in the country!), a carousel, and a roller coaster (OK, only Turkey went on that). We also met some characters from Up!

After Turkey got off the roller coaster, we headed over to Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats, where we go the “Pixar Parfait.” The combination of soft serve and slushy was surprisingly good!

Then we headed back to Radiator Springs, were we got in line for Radiator Springs Racers, a ride we all wanted to go on. The line was long, but you really felt like you were in the movie, so we didn’t mind, because there was a lot to see (and a lot of back story explained). The ride itself started off very calm and relaxing, just like when Lightning and Sally went for the same drive in Cars, but then it turned into a race (we won!).

We also went on Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters, which was just plain fun!

We stopped by Flo’s to share a traditional diner meal of a burger, fries, and a milkshake:

Then we headed back to Pixar Pier. We went on the Little Mermaid ride (but sadly not Goofy’s Sky School, because it was closed all day), but more importantly, we found someone nice enough to take a great picture of us!

Buena Vista Street is a great place to find characters (sadly for me, no Daisy Duck), and we took full advantage:

We spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do after that. The Monsters, Inc. ride broke down while we were in line. A few of the other rides we were considering going on were closed, too. We did finally make it on Soarin’, which is a fantastic ride, and makes amazing use of scent, and that was a lot of fun. We also visited the Avengers Campus and the Shawarma Palace, and lived out our superhero dreams…we even got to pose as various characters!

By that time, it was starting to get late, so we headed back to Radiator Springs to see the neon and grab a snack at the Cozy Cone Motel, where you can get ice cream cones, chili “cone” queso, frozen cone-coctions, a popcone, and…churros. We picked the churros, partly just because the ridiculousness of trying to make churros fit a cone theme amused us!

And then we went back to the pier for the light show, which was really beautiful…it’s amazing what they can create with light and water!

We stayed pretty much until the park closed. The walk back to the hotel felt much longer than it had in the morning, and we were exhausted, but we still had a full day at Disneyland to look forward to!

The Happiest Trip on Earth–Day One

STL—>MSP—>LAX; 13,823 steps

Are you ready for a look at the “Happiest Trip on Earth?!?”

To celebrate Turkey’s and Bunny’s graduation, the three of us went on a trip to California, where we visited Disney California Adventure and Disneyland! Two weeks ago, we set out from St. Louis’ Lambert Airport:

Even I, an airport novice, could tell that Lambert is a very small airport:

It was the first time either Turkey or Bunny had flown, and it’s probably been 25 years since I have, so it was quite an adventure for us!

We had a decent layover in Minneapolis-St. Paul, so we had plenty of time to explore the airport, which we all really liked. It was big and bright and busy, and almost like a mall, with shops and restaurants everywhere. There was plenty to see (and lots of moving sidewalks, which I love, because they’re so much fun), so the time passed quickly.

We stopped at Shake Shack (another first for us) for lunch, and we absolutely loved it!

I also got to introduce Turkey and Bunny to Caribou Coffee (something I really enjoyed when I lived in Chicago)…we’re very excited that they’re slated to come to the St. Louis area soon!

Our gate was much bigger and more modern than the one in St. Louis:

We settled in for our long flight of the day, to Los Angeles:

I won’t lie, the airplane snacks and being able to watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off made me much more comfortable on this long flight!

It was fascinating to watch the landscape change from 35,000 feet as we traveled across the country…we even saw snow on the Rocky Mountains!

As we approached L.A., we were impressed by just how sprawling the city really is:

The airport was busy, although we certainly didn’t see much of it!

We took an Uber (another first for us) to our hotel, the Castle Inn and Suites, a “Disneyland Good Neighbor Hotel” just a few blocks from the parks:

I loved the theming!

Our room was simple, but nice:

I’m not going to lie…it was hard to get to sleep knowing that we were going to visit Radiator Springs the next day!