My Nephew

Chuck and I celebrated our nine year wedding anniversary on July 16.  And that very same day I became an Aunt.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d ever be an Aunt.  When my brother, Jeff, started dating Kelly I became a little more hopeful.  She’s always been so good with my kids.  She’s a natural.

I remember sitting with her on the couch at my parent’s house on Christmas Eve.  My kids were being their normal loud selves and Kelly mentioned that when they have kids it’s going to be even louder.  I remember saying to her, “Well, that’s not going to be for a long time!”.  And Kelly laughed.  She kind of has this little mischievous laugh.  Like, ha, you are so wrong.

I didn’t think much of it until on Christmas when she hands my Mom a gift that looked like a picture frame.  See, exactly three years before on Christmas we told my parents I was pregnant with Kennedy by giving them a picture frame with an ultrasound in it.  So, as soon as I saw my mom tear back the corner I knew what it was.  Kelly was videotaping the whole thing and you can just hear me screaming “Oh my god!” over and over again.  It was a huge surprise.  A great surprise.

Kelly asked me to be in the delivery room and I was really honored.  I was so grateful that I go to be there to see my nephew being born.  It really is the coolest thing to see a brand new person start their life.  Kelly was so unbelievably brave.  Way braver than I was when I had my kids.  Like I said, she’s a natural.  And I’m really proud of my brother too.  You can see how much love he has for his little boy.  He’s a great dad.

I don’t have any cousins and I always felt like I was missing out.  I’m so happy for my kids to have a cousin (hopefully cousins).  They are both so in love with him.  And they were so excited to get to see him on his birthday.

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Jace just turned one month old and it seems like he’s been with us so much longer.  It seems like he has always been part of our family.  We are looking forward to seeing him grow.  Specifically my kids who don’t understand why he sleeps all the time :)

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How To Not Wait 4 Hours to Meet Anna and Elsa at Disneyland

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*** All images Canon 5D Mark II, 50 1.2

F 2.8, 1/400, ISO 1600

I’ve got my very own little Anna (yeah for another redheaded Disney princess!).  She’s had days where she only responds to Anna and will only call me Elsa.  And you may have seen on Instagram that even when I lock myself in the bathroom she comes knocking on the door asking if I want to build a snowman.

We go to Disneyland a lot, but I have never been brave enough to attempt the Frozen line.  I’ve heard horrible things about 3 or 4 hour wait times and I’m not patient enough to stand in that long of a line with a 2 year old.  Not even for my little Anna.  But, with our annual passes nearing our summer blackouts I really wanted Kennedy to meet them.  Okay, let’s be honest, it was really more for me than for her.  Because she won’t remember it, but I always will.  It was so magical.  And totally worth every minute I spent in line and waking up at 5:45am.

I learned a couple of things about how to make the wait a bit easier and I thought I’d pass them on to you in case you have your very own Anna and Elsa.

1)  Pick a day where there isn’t a Magic Hour at Disneyland.  Magic Hours are when one of the parks opens early for guests who are staying at a Disneyland Resort.  If there is a Magic Hour there will already be a long line to see the princesses before you can even get into the park.  Pick a day when there are no Magic Hours.  Or, better yet, when California Adventure has a Magic Hour.  Then all of the resort guests will be over there!  You can find out which park has Magic Hours by viewing the daily schedule (hover over the day and click on “daily schedule”)

2)  I noticed that some days Anna and Elsa don’t start seeing guests at the same time the park opens.  That means if the park opens at 8 sometimes the Frozen sisters may not start until 10.  So, you will be waiting in line for 2 hours before the characters even get there.  That’s no fun!  You can find out what time they start by looking at their schedule.

3)  Get to the park before the gates open.  You want to be one of the first people in line when the gates open.  Because a majority of the people who are there that early are there for the same reason you are.  When they open the gates (I heard it varies between 7:25 and 7:40 on a day that the park opens at 8) you will want to head towards the statue of Mickey and Walt Disney (in front of the castle) where there could be cast members holding small frozen signs.  All of the lands are roped off until 8 when the park opens.  At 7:50 they will walk you through the castle before the park opens (which is pretty cool) and lead you to the line to meet the Frozen princesses.  If there are no cast members holding signs then go right to the Frozen house (next to the carousel) when they open the ropes.  You might want to run.  But, don’t tell them I told you to.

4)  If you have another adult with you have them take your child on some rides while you wait.  If you don’t, bring a blanket with you that they can sit on and something to occupy themselves.  Kennedy made a friend in line in front of us which helped make the time pass by faster.  Also, don’t panic if your kid has to use the restroom.  Kennedy is newly potty trained and started doing the potty dance right before it was our turn to go in.  The cast member was very sweet and told us we could go use the restroom and he would hold our spot.  It turned out it was just Kennedy’s nervous dance.  Which looks an awful lot like her pee pee dance.

5)  Don’t get pissed when they close the door.  There were about 3 families in front of us when they closed the door.  We were so close and I was so annoyed that they already needed a break (they had only been working for an hour!).  But, after I went inside and saw how in character they were, those girls needed a break!  It was only for about 10 minutes.  So, don’t panic!

6)  Keep in mind that they do cut off the line about an hour and a half before the characters are done for the day.  You’ll want to check with a cast member the day you are there to confirm that.

We ended up waiting in line for an hour and 15 minutes (that’s after being in line at the front gate for about 25 minutes).  If you have a die hard Frozen fan it is worth it.  We got lucky and both sisters were there (apparently that doesn’t happen often).  If your child has their heart set on seeing one or the other I would prepare them early on that they might not be there.  The princesses spent about 3 minutes with us, which doesn’t sound like a long time but it really did seem like a long time when we were there.  Kennedy was so in awe of them that she could barely talk.  I haven’t seen her that quiet in, well, ever!  Elsa played a game and tried to guess which Anna was her real sister.  It was cute.  And Kennedy just kept her arm around Anna and snuggled up.  She loves to snuggle up with princesses.  I might have shed a tear behind my camera.  Gosh darn Disney always makes everything so magical!

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