My Colorful Life: Episode 07
Breaks sure are nice aren’t they!? I’ve more or less taken the month of December “off” from social media and blogging (except for a few things here and there but nothing stressful), and man oh man was it so needed and so timely. With all the craziness of the holiday season combined with unresolved emotions tied to our recent move, I needed a little “me time”. You see, sometimes I have to stop and actually wonder, is this blog adventure really for me? Or is it in the hopes of producing great content for the joy of other people?? Well the fact that this thought crossed my mind on more than one occasion was reason enough for me to take a step back and truly re evaluate what my goals and desires are for this space and coordinating social media outlets. After much thought and reflection I have come up with some new and exciting goals for 2019 which I will share with you in a subsequent post, but for today I wanted to share a little bit about our holiday. Be sure to read until the end, I have put together a fun highlight video of our holiday season with lots of Disneyland cameos!
Since I have been mostly off social media I did not share too much, and truth be told I didn’t take too many photos - but I know there was some interest in our holiday season this year as we approached it differently with more of a “experiences over things” mindset. Now to be honest, the month was way more exhausting that I had anticipated. With my decision to take time away from social media and whittle down my holiday to do list, I had pictured a lot of relaxing and enjoying each other’s presence - and while we certainly did some of that I did not expect the pure exhaustion that would come with traveling for the holidays since it is something we have never had to do before. Okay, now let’s back up and start at the beginning so you can get the full picture of what transpired over this past month!
We started out our holly jolly month with a much anticipated trip to meet up with some dear friends from Kansas City. I spoke about this a little in one of my recent posts but we decided to use the money we would be saving by having a simpler Christmas and use it towards a trip to meet up with the girls’ best friends and subsequently some of our favorite adult friends in Scottsdale, Arizona. We stayed at the Fairmont Princess which is simply magical at Christmas time. We did some rides, ate lots of good food, and managed to have lots of downtime in our hotel rooms with some of our favorite people. It was a weekend to rest, recharge, and reconnect; leaving us feeling all kinds of warm and fuzzy as we headed home to the holiday rush that awaited us.
By the time we got home from Arizona I quickly realized that we only had two weeks before we left for our trip to Kansas City to be with my family for the holiday. This meant two weeks to cram in all of the Christmas fun that Southern California had to offer…. well let’s just say we tried but pretty much failed. There were so many fun events to take part in in our new home that I honestly was a bit overwhelmed with where to even start! Next year we will be better prepared for sure, but for this year we hit up a few of the essentials. We stopped by a truly amazing Elf themed light display, we did our annual Christmas lights drive around the city to check out some cool festive homes, we went to our first Christmas At The Lake complete with a sledding area and boat parade, we stumbled upon a Christmas faircelebration one day in downtown Anaheim where the girls and I had a blast, we made sure to also relax on a few beach outings and even fit in a cookie exchange party! Truly so much to do that we literally didn’t even scratch the surface I feel like! Events that I wanted to attend but ran out of time to: the Newport Beach boat parade, the Irvine Railroad Park, Winter Fest, FaLaLand Pop Up in LA, and that’s just to name a few…. next year we will have to start earlier 😉
Oh and let’s not forget the Disney Christmas magic…. you guys, there are no words to describe the feeling when you are standing inside Disneyland at Christmastime. It was such a fun + magical experience on our first trip after they had started all the holiday festivities that I told Arshia my goal would be to make it there 10 times before Christmas. He laughed and told me I was crazy (per the usual), but I was determined. Well I was on my way to meeting that goal and then the girls got a bit sick and the park got A LOT crowded. My inner claustrophobia couldn’t take much more so we had to stop at only half our goal… 5 trips in about 3.5 weeks…. all of them amazing, all of them leaving me smiling! I know some of you will ask what makes Disneyland so much better during the holidays so I will name just a few of those things right now:
The decorations - Oh my gosh, the DECORATIONS! There was no space spared from Christmas cheer at Disney and I was soaking it all in! From the heart stopping towering Christmas tree, to the wreaths lining Main Street, the decorated character homes in Toon Town, to the magnificent It’s A Small World display inside and out, to the breathtaking castle glistening in sparkles and snow… it was all so festive and amazing!
The extra shows and entertainment - We tried to see as much as possible but of course missed out on some I am sure, but the drumming toy soldiers, the Viva Navidad celebration, and the Elena of Avalor parade were all super fun and engaging shows to watch. And let’s not forget the completely wonderful Disney Christmas parade, you guys this was an event in itself, so many characters all dressed up in their holiday best, great dancing + music and a practically perfect Santa Claus… I don’t know that many parades could top this one!
The Festival Of Holidays at DCA - this could easily be one of our favorite things that Disney does! Multiple booths lined the streets of DCA selling food and drinks native to different regions of the world, all who celebrate the holidays a bit differently. Not only was this a wonderful way to include so many cultures, but the food was phenomenal! We only got to hit up a few booths this year but the ones that we did were so incredibly good!
The FOOD - And on that note let me just mention that the special holiday food and treats that Disney has during this time of year are out of this world! The candy cane bits + chocolate drizzled churro was easily my favorite pick but lots of other delicious goodies to choose from all over both parks and even into Downtown Disney. One of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow @disneyhungry was seriously making my mouth water daily with her photos of all the incredible eats she would come across. Now on my bucket list - trying as much Disney food as possible…. followed by a rigorous workout routine 😂
And enough about Disney, let me wrap up this long winded post with a little about our trip to Kansas City and our Christmas Day. I was really hoping for a white Christmas, or at least some snow on our trip back home but my hometown had a different agenda. The weather was not all too bad, although much colder than I am used to now in sunny California! We enjoyed A LOT of family time and seeing friends that we haven’t in a long time. It felt so, so good to reconnect with everyone and I went to sleep every night in my childhood bed with my husband by my side (and two little minions sneaking up to bedside at least once a night)… and nothing can put a price on that kind of happiness + comfort.
Some of the highlights of our time home included taking the girls to Crown Center and Kaleidoscope, making tamales with my mom, aunts, sisters and grandma; a sibling game night (my siblings are THE BEST, also I apparently am not as good as I thought at 80’s + 90’s trivia); and playing around with my dad’s new virtual reality system (equal parts fun and freaky). The trip pinnacle was Christmas Eve where all my family gathers at my parents house and we eat tamales and play games, always such a great time! Some games vary each year (Christmas movie or song trivia, general trivia, minute to win it games… we have played it all) and this year we played name that Christmas movie using only emojis as clues, matched the fronts and insides of holiday greeting cards, and stacked paper plates and soda cans for a minute to win it chandelier game. The kids are also included in the gaming and have their own kids games likes Feliz Navidad bingo, and reindeer ring toss. And speaking of kids, this year we were able to have the first kids performance in over a decade. It is a tradition with our family that the school aged children always put on a performance on Christmas Eve and over the last several years we have not had any school aged children so it was so fun to see this tradition begin anew… even if it was just Jingle Bells + my parents dressed up as Santa and Mrs. Claus! It brings back such good memories of all the performances that my siblings and cousins and I put on for our family over the years!
And no Christmas Eve is ever complete without a white elephant gift exchange (most gifts being prizes that my grandma wins on her trips to the casino 😂) and the annual reading of The Night Before Christmas by my mom. We always add a fun twist and everyone stands in a circle during the reading and holds a gift, every time “the” is said you pass the gift to the left and you get to keep whatever gift you are holding at the end. It was a wonderful evening and a wonderful end to our trip home. The next morning, on the other hand, was not nearly as fun as we woke up before the sun to catch our flight back to California.
Our Christmas Day was filled with traveling, unpacking, and sidestepping meltdowns…. so not the kind of magic that I was looking for by any means but we still found little moments to enjoy the day and the time with my husbands family. Plus the girls were super excited to see that Santa did not forget their house even though we were not home on Christmas Eve! We actually currently live with my in laws (that’s a post for another day!) so we didn’t have to do any additional traveling or “hosting” once we got home so that was nice… but I’m wondering, for those of you that travel over the holidays what are your suggestions for the holidays? I really want the girls to be able to experience that “Christmas morning magic” which is hard to do traveling on Christmas morning…. but at the same time I am not willing to miss our Christmas Eve festivities back in Kansas City! My initial thoughts for next year are that we celebrate on the 26th instead or maybe the day before we leave? Not sure how to factor in Santa to this story though so your recommendations are much appreciated, just leave me a comment below!
Well as I finish the final details on this post it is now 2019 and my head is full of all the ideas, goals and wishes for our family in this new year and I am so excited about it! I hope you all had a magical holiday season and an even more wonderful year ahead. Thank you for all of your support and encouragement this past year, it means so much that to have this level of appreciation for my creative outlets, I am truly so grateful! Happy New Year to you all!