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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mickey's Halloween Party {Trick-or-Treating at Disneyland}

We kicked off our Halloween celebrations with trick-or-treating at Disneyland during Mickey's Halloween Party. It was so. much. fun!!! Seriously, we made some of our most favorite memories at Disneyland ever, which is saying something considering how often we go :). We've been to Disney during Halloweentime before but this was our first time trick-or-treating. Disneyland is already decked out for Halloween -- Jake loved all the "Mickey puhkins" and "Mickey ghosts" around the park -- but they turn it up a notch for Mickey's Party. It is just such a well-done event.

Since it was our first time trick-or-treating at Disneyland, we figured it was only fitting to come dressed as the Mouse family. That is, Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
The upgrades from regular ol' Halloweentime include fog over the Rivers of America, purple/green/spooky lights throughout the park, dimmer lights on Main Street and cobwebs projected onto the storefronts and the castle, pumpkins projected all over It's a Small World and Halloween music playing on the speakers. There are lots of little touches throughout the park; for example, the walk from Frontierland to Big Thunder Ranch is done Haunted Forest style, with spooky lights and music and fog, but minus the creepy people you'd find at a Haunted Forest. Later at night, there is a Halloween show at the castle and lots of fireworks. And the best part is that the classic Mickey characters all dress up, too.
And the trick-or-treating itself? Insane. So. Much. Candy. We didn't even try to get very much candy but still somehow ended up with enough candy to hand out at both our house and my mom's on the real night. Disney has treat stations set up all around the park that you just go up to and walk away with a handful at each place, and then they have "Treat Trails" where you get in line and pass by 4-6 treat stations along the way. The park maps had markers where all the treats were AND had a list of what characters would be where, and they were there all night long. It was fantastic. Jake was so sweet, saying trick-or-treat and profusely thanking the cast members: "gank oo, gank oo, gank oo!" Also, the ride lines? Tiny. So great. 
We went early to try to meet Mickey in his formal attire -- that matched Jake and Matt -- before he got dressed up for Halloween (the characters wear costumes, too!). Mickey was sweet and called a cast member over to make sure Jake got special treatment. They walked along holding hands and Jake got to be one of very few kids that got a picture with him. And then later that night, when we saw Mickey and Minnie, they seriously spent five minutes just hugging Jake and giving him kisses and high fives. They were so great and Jake was in HEAVEN with "Mickey and Mimmie." He blew them kisses when we left and talked about them all night and it was the cutest ever.
Jake is really into Toy Story right now and was excited to meet "Boody."
The only long line of the night was to meet Mickey & Minnie in their Halloween costumes. This is how Jake handled the wait...
This is how Jake watches fireworks -- with his hat covering 99% of his only-slightly-opened eyes, and his mom's hand protecting him. Hahaha

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

When Jake Met Summer

A dear friend said when her first baby was born, she fell in love with her husband all over again. Then with the arrival of her second baby, she fell in love with her first child all over again. This was certainly true for me.

Around 3:45, a nurse wheeled us to our recovery room and Jake was on his way upstairs to meet his little sister. I'd anticipated this moment since I first saw a positive sign on the pregnancy test. Since Jake is still so young, I wasn't quite sure how it would go, but I pictured him liking her and thinking she was cute. It was sweeter than I could have ever imagined.

"Mommy!" Jake exclaimed as he and Matt entered the hospital room. Then, Jake saw his baby sister and his face lit up. He pointed at her and smiled bashfully as his daddy carried him to the bed where I was holding our girl. Jake just kept pointing and smiling at Summer for the next couple hours. He wanted to be right there to watch as they weighed her and bathed her, and he was already so eager to help us with her. Jake leaned down to kiss his little sister repeatedly, and then talked all about "Baby" and "Sis" for the entire 1.5-hour drive back to my mom's house. He was the best big brother already. It melted my heart to see him love her so much, so instantly.

When I left for the hospital to have Summer, I told Jake that we were going to get his Baby Sister and that they would be best friends. And they were, from the very first moment they met.
We bought a new set of cars to give to Jake in the hospital. They were the perfect little present. He was excited about his new toys and they kept him entertained during those lulls when Summer had to nurse.
Helping us get Sis dressed:
*All photos by the incredibly talented Kirstin Roper.
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