Oh Disneyland! We haven't been since Joaquin was born, (a mere 5 months ago!) So we were all feeling a little Disney fever and had to get our fix! It's funny what they say about the second child. Before kids we'd say, "we're not going until they're 5 years old. It will be such a hassle and they won't appreciate it or even remember..." We held out taking Santi until he was 2 and a half. He LOVED it and talked about it long after his first magical visit. And here's Joaquin, my second child, visiting Disneyland at Five. Months. Old. Look at his face, he loved it. He won't remember, but I will.
I headed back to Vegas this week. This time with Abe and the boys. It was Joaquins first flight! He did great. Plus we flew a cool new airline out of Carlsbad called BizAir. It was awesome. It felt like flying private.
We spent the past few weeks in El Paso. My last flight before baby comes!
Santi had a great time with cousin Ricky. Their favorite thing to do is race each other and see who can scream the loudest. They are so cute together.
Playing with Ricky and Chadi at the playground.
Visiting Great Grandma Rosa.
Next time we go to EP, we'll be a family of four!
I know, I know...we were just there! But Santi had the greatest time we wanted to squeeze in one more trip before his Fontan.
For years, Abe and I had annual passes to Disneyland. We live about an hour away from Anaheim, so we used to drive up for the evening, have dinner at downtown Disney, ride a few rides and head home. Short & sweet. So easy, nothing to pack. I probably didn't even carry a purse. I'd just bring my pass in my back pocket.
We would laugh at the parents dragging screaming toddlers and sleeping babies around the theme park, pushing loaded strollers and carrying diaper bags. We'd roll our eyes and say "we will NEVER come here with anyone who requires a stroller or frequent diaper changes!"
We'll guess what?
Sometimes "never" just means until we have our own adorable two and a half year old who we're sure will absolutely love Disneyland and be on his best behavior.
The real deciding factor in bringing Santi to Disneyland so young, is his looming surgery. He'll have his third open heart surgery in October. We want to fill him up with fun and adventures before he faces the traumatic experience of recovering from surgery and staying in the hospital for an extended period of time.
To be honest, Disneylanding with a toddler wasn't as bad as we imagined. In fact, it was SUPER FUN! We did it right. We had a beautiful suite at Grand Californian, 2 day park hopper passes and the helping hands of Coco and Papa.
We made the Best memories!
Santi loved seeing the fireworks (we could see them from our balcony!), which he calls "pop pops!" We surprised him with a huge lollipop! You should have seen the smile on his face when he saw that sucker! He was so thrilled to ride the rides. I think he liked Jungle Cruise the best.
My 10th annual Palm Springs girls weekend rolled around just in time! I was in need of some serious RR & GT (rest, relaxation & girl time!)
We rented a gorgeous house nestled against the mountain and spent 3 fabulous nights swimming, tanning, eating & crafting. Flower crowns, portrait painting, Cards Against Humanity, bike riding & sparklers. Oh yeah, it was the perfect getaway!!!
For Santi's latest trip, (His forth flight since he first started flying 2 months ago, if you're keeping track!) We took him to visit my grandparents in East Texas. They have a lovely farm, about 180+ acres, brimming with little boy adventures. There are tractors, motorcycles and a 4 wheeler with no brakes. Acres and acres of thick woods to stomp around in and several gardens which he plowed with his toy tractor.
Within 5 minutes of being on the farm Papa had Santi and I up in a tractor cruising the property. I was pretty sure Santi's head was going to explode with excitement. Santi started saying a new word after that, "Papa!" "Papa!" He fell in love with my Papa. They bonded instantly. Later in the week Papa took him on the riding lawn mower and fed him freshly picked wild berries.
I lived in Houston as a kid, a 4 hour drive from the farm and my mom would take us there for almost every school holiday and a few weeks every summer. It is such a special place for me. It is quite and calm, rich in nature and enchantment. Green and lush. Seeing Santi here, enjoying the company of grandmother and papa was simply beautiful.
Another great flight with this guy! He's a natural traveler.
Abe and I went on an adventure to Marfa, TX with our good friends Patrick and Sara. We explored the quirky little town and got to see the XX (one of my most favorite bands!) perform a super intimate show at the Chinati Foundation. Spectacular.
For Santi's second airborne adventure, we flew to El Paso. He's been to EP a dozen times, but this was his first time flying there! He did great!
Abe and I both love to travel. I hope our enthusiasm for traveling rubs off on Santi. There is no greater teacher than adventure.
Taking Santi on his first flight is a HUGE deal for us. His cardiologists originally said he wouldn't be able to fly until after his third surgery. That date is still TBD. A few months ago we asked his cardiologist what he thought about Santi flying. His response was, "sure, why not!" Wait. What?! We sat on this idea for almost 6 months before we booked his first flight. To Las Vegas!
When the day came, we were nervous for his health. Would he maintain his blood oxygen saturation at 30,000ft? We were nervous to travel with a toddler. Would he have a tantrum on the plane? Would he scream for the duration of the flight?
Lucky for us, Santi did amazing. He loved flying. He loved Las Vegas. That city is made for toddlers. He was in awe of the lights and the larger than life decor in all the hotels.
Abe's family met us there, including our Nephew Ricky, who will be one in April. Santi is such a sweet big cousin. He loves his baby cousin.
There is a famous steakhouse just east of El Paso, called Cattlemans. The property surrounding the Restaurant is an actual ranch and small zoo. We took Santi last week and loved seeing all of the animals up close. He made friends with the bunnies, goats, longhorns, llamas, a donkey, peacocks and buffalo! So cool!
Santi attended his very first football game! To my dad's dismay it was not my alma mater, the Vista Panthers. It was the 80th annual Sun Bowl! UCLA vs VA Tech. UCLA killed VA 42-12! Go bruins!
Just a few more days!
After 4 fun weeks in El Paso we are heading back to San Diego.
I've said this before and I'll say it again...and again and again. I think it's so important for moms to make time for themselves. I am so lucky to have an amazing husband and family to love and care for Santi when I need some girl time.
I recently spent 3 nights in Alexandria, VA visiting my bestie Lindsay and her sweet family. I consider these trips "research," because her daughter Eva is only 8 months older than Santi. It's fascinating to see all the things Eva is doing and saying. It certainly helps prepare me for Santi's next phases.
We packed a lot of adventures into my short visit: Air & Space museum, American History museum, sea glass hunting, wine tasting and of course hours of girl talk. There is nothing that can soothe the soul like a first class flight, wine tasting, girl talk and a bed to yourself. Hah! Did I just type that?! But it's true! A little "me time" goes a long way.
We're heading to El Paso! We stopped at our usual spot in Tucson for the night. Santi loved exploring the property with his tractor. Oh, and we let Santi drive. It makes for a very exciting road trip :)
Abe has had his getaways and I've had mine, but for the first time since Santi was born, we had two nights away, just the two of us. Coco and grandpa Rick stayed with him while Abe and I jetted off to VEGAS!
We stayed in a beautiful suite at the Cosmopolitan with an amazing view of the Bellagio fountain. We gambled. We enjoyed cocktails. We had two delicious dinners at Scarpetta and Tao. I even tried my hardest to sleep in...that is harder than it sounds. I'm up at 7am no matter what (so annoying!). We had a great time, it was long overdue! We are both looking forward to our next getaway!
I just returned from a mini vacation up to Washington DC to visit the Littles! We had such a great time seeing the sights. Santi stayed home with Abe, while I got a few days to recharge and get inspired by Lindsay and Eva.
Eva is a year and a half now, I can't believe it! She is so smart, independent and well spoken, sweet and fun to be around. She loves reading books with Lindsay, eating oatmeal and giving kisses to her frog, Ribbet. Watching Lindsay mother her is a huge inspiration and motivator for me. They are my model of what a parent toddler relationship can be. And it makes me excited for what's right around the corner for Santi.