Crying To LA

I have two more posts worth of pictures from LA to post, so here is the first part.

The drive to LA started out wonderfully, we were munching on snacks and listening to music and a Harlan Coben book on CD.
The only bump we ran into was a traffic jam where we sat still for 15 minutes on the road and sang all sorts of crazy songs to keep Ella happy.
A motorcycle accident had been the cause of the jam and they hadn't yet moved the body from the side of the road and that was a little bit of a shock, not exactly a sight we had been planning to see on our trip. 
It makes you cherish the fact that you get to be alive and on vacation with your little family.
The poor family of that motorcyclist.

We stopped for some lunch
But a few hours after that things began to go downhill fast
Little Girl has is not all that great at being able to sleep outside of her bed, she's an amazing sleeper in her own bed, but anywhere else is a struggle.
So she cried and cried and cried, so tired but unable to fall asleep and so angry to be stuck in the car for so many hours.
Until finally this happened (but only for 30 short minutes):
Finally we made it to LA!
We spent that first evening at Downtown Disney where there were several live bands and a swing dancing party and Earl of Sandwich, which is one of our absolute fave sandwich places.
Ella was just happy to be out of the car.
Whenever we have the stroller, Ella would much rather help push it than ride in it. 
Um, yeah, just take that picture above of us at In-N-Out but replace the background and you've got this picture, kind of amazing that the exact same pose is happening here, whoa.

Okay, now totally switch gears, for the last few days of the trip we stayed in Santa Monica, you already saw half of our trip there.
This is Santa Monica Pier:
^Lala dancing to the guitar music
There was the Farmer's Market and 3rd Street Promenade
We would feed Ella in her highchair in the bathroom of whatever hotel we were staying at, if she got hungry between meals at restaurants.
Oatmeal packets and Easy Mac N Cheese worked perfect for this.
We also had an entire duffle bag packed full of only snacks that we took with us, we are snacking champs over here with prego me and toddler Ella.
And then there was the beach, which Ella loved.
^Adam body surfed
^And Ella dug in the sand.
Little Girl with her pigtails totally made me think of the sunscreen girl.
And oh my goodness, we mastered sit-down restaurants with a toddler, we could be in and out of a restaurant in less than 30 minutes when Ella was grumpy.
Kind of a waste to go to a sit-down restaurant when you can't enjoy the atmosphere, but oh well, we couldn't eat only fast-food and snacks for a week.
We had some super yummy food while we were there, but I'll cover that in the next LA post.

Bits of Ella (a video of adorableness)

Absolutely in love with this video that Roz Cinema made of our family.
In love.

Happiest Place On Earth

After sitting for many hours and days in a bag of rice, the iPhone with all the beautiful Disneyland pictures has decided to not function ever again. 
This was kind of a really sad thing. 
Luckily, we took a few pictures at Disneyland with our real camera and there are just a few pictures from the beginning of our day at Disneyland that I had emailed to myself from Adam's phone. 
But, oh, I so wish that I had had the sense to email myself the very best of the Disneyland pictures instead of just emailing them to myself in the order that they were taken, there are so many pictures I would rather have than the ones I do. 
Oh well. 
I guess this means we'll just have to go back to Disneyland again someday.
And at least we have these pictures:


^ Dancing while waiting in line
^One of the best parts of the park in this girl's opinion: this curb.
Going up and down it over and over and mastering her curb-stepping abilities.
And yes, she did have a little diaper blow-out, which resulted in the change of outfit halfway through the day.

Before we went to Disneyland we did a lot of research about how to handle the park with a toddler, there are a surprising amount of blog posts out there that cover this topic.
Things like, tie a ribbon around the handle of your stroller so that you can identify it quickly in the sea of strollers that are parked next to each ride.
I had no idea what they meant by "a sea of strollers" but oh my goodness, that is exactly how it is, there are hundreds if not thousands of strollers at Disneyland, and it's so nice to be able to safely park your stroller next to each ride before you go on it, but good luck finding it if it isn't a neon yellow color.
So the ribbon was good advice.
Also, the bathrooms behind The Carnation Cafe on Main street are less busy than other bathrooms in the park (vitally important information for a pregnant girl).
And I really liked the idea of writing your cell phone number on your child's body in sharpie marker.
Luckily, we never lost sight of Ella during the day (holy cow, that would have been horrifying), but it was nice to know that if something crazy happened and she did somehow disappear into the crowd there would be a way for someone to be able to get a hold of us and let us know where she was. 
And the last bit of advice we appreciated was to have a very short list of things you definitely wanted to do and do those first and then you don't have to feel rushed or stressed for the rest of the day to accomplish everything you wanted to at the park.
We took it very leisurely at Disneyland, just walking from one land to the next, letting Ella explore, and we didn't go on a ton of rides, but we went on enough to make that girl happy.
She found the most joy at Disneyland in doing things like stepping up and down a curb in Toontown over and over and over again. 
And she loved collecting leaves and throwing them in the stroller.
Rides were cool, but being able to just enjoy little pleasures like that is what made her really happy. 
One of my favorite parts of the whole day was when Ella had zonked out in her stroller (unheard of for this girl) and Adam was hopping onto more intense rides (aka: non toddler or prego girl rides) as a single rider, which meant he got to cut to the front of the line, and I meandered through New Orleans Square with Ella's stroller.
 There are big trees that provide a lot of shade over there and there was a lovely breeze and the best part was that there was a big band playing jazz music and I just people-watched and soaked in the music (remembering a Big Band at a certain wedding 4 years ago this summer) and just felt relaxed and happy and it was perfect.
So I was glad that we went to Disneyland with a very laid-back approach.

Her absolute favorite rides and events at Disneyland were It's a Small World (obviously, what kid isn't in love with that ride?), the characters, and the parade at the end of the day (all pictures of her dancing at the parade are forever gone).
We couldn't really tell if she was liking going on rides or not until the very end of the day when we got on the shuttle to take us back to the parking lot and Ella got all excited and giddy and we realized that she thought she was on another ride, so I think the conclusion is that she thought rides were pretty cool.
Although Pirates of the Caribbean definitely got a few screams of terror from that little girl, poor thing.

Also, Ella's face here is awesome (translation: I am dang tired, take me home so I can sleep with my Gerard NOW):

The End.

Little Clenched Fists of Happiness

When Ella is very very happy she clenches her fists really tight and grits her teeth and her whole body just tightens up and shakes with pent-up happiness, like she can't contain how much joy she feels.
(She does this a lot when she sees Gerard after a long day away from him).
So the fact that there are multiple pictures in this post with Ella clenching her little fists means that she was out of her mind with how much she loved the splash-pad.

The last time she swam here she was under a year old, so it was a totally different experience this time.
At first she was very cautious, only watching all the other kids splashing around but too afraid to go in herself.
So I put her feet in a shallow part and she liked it, but she wouldn't move away from that spot because she was afraid she would slip and fall in the water.
But after some brave and cautious exploration she realized that she wasn't going to slip and pretty soon she was racing up and down the deeper parts of the splash pad with the bigger kids.
She even got soaked by other kids running by and she was thrilled by it.
She found a little friend and the two of them ran around the water, hand-in-hand, instant best-friends.
She gets bored of things pretty quickly and likes to move on to the next activity, but after 2 hours at the splash-pad she was still in love with it.

 As you can imagine, we will probably be spending most of our summer there.

Just Today

Well, our little iPhone of wonderfulness decided to take all of our Disneyland pictures and go for a little plunge in the pool, so until we figure out whether or not we will ever see those pictures again here are some pictures from today that we took with our regular camera.
In the meantime, the iPhone is basking in a bag of rice, in hopes that the rice will suck all of the water out of the phone and save it (fingers crossed).
We spent the day in Santa Monica/Venice Beach and I think it may have been Ella's favorite day so far, she kind of was in heaven.
And I don't blame her, it might have been my favorite day so far too, because it was a perfectly ideal sort of day.
We rented some bikes, using a Groupon that got us 1/2 off ($30 saved-- bam! Just wait, we save $15 more later on in the day, thanks to Groupon).
So we put on our swimsuits and just rode our bikes along the Venice canals and the beach, stopping to bask in the sun and sand and dip our toes in the water (Adam got a bit more than his toes wet, he went body surfing multiple times today).
A quick flashback:
Last week, Ella and I were downtown and there was this flower bed with all these bright beautiful flowers and Ella exclaimed, "Whoa!" 
I was so excited that she would be impressed by all the colors of the flowers, and I started pointing out all the flowers and colors and Ella hurriedly rushed forward but instead of going for the flowers, she dug her hands into the dirt, again exclaiming, "Whoa!"
Summary: Ella loves dirt a lot.
And mass amounts of dirt are worth getting very excited about.
Which means that a beach covered in sand= happiness and joy for Ella. 
She absolutely loved being buried in the sand and had a marvelous time trying to destroy the castle her dadada was building.
Also, lots of sand was consumed.

When we got hungry we rode our bikes to a bagel shop and grabbed some scones (and chased birds).

Ella wasn't a fan about getting into the freezing ocean water, so we swam in the pool instead (yes, the same pool that may have robbed us of our Disneyland pictures).

Ella was dressed in this kind of insanely adorable outfit that had most people thinking she was a boy (which makes sense since that is a boy's shirt) but that's okay because she's still cute, even as a boy.
Adam calls her "Elmo" when people call her a boy (which is her great grandpa's name, so it works out perfect).

The day ended at this classy and delicious Mediterranean restaurant (that we found via Groupon) that has the tastiest caprese salad I've ever had, and with the most scrumptious ice cream sandwiches at Diddy Riese that more than made up for the frustrations of finding parking close to it on a Friday night.
Overall, a perfectly ideal, delicious and successful day.

Absolute fave picture of the day:

The End.