Tag Archives: Legoland

Sandbox List Adventure 28: The LEGO Weekend …

24 Mar

I’m not gonna say I’m a pro at these things, but I’ve learned my lessons. I’ve got the lonely gray hairs to prove it.

They’re like badges of honor.

You wear them proudly because not only did you survive this Parent Boot Camp experience you actually learned to have fun throughout The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. You know what it takes to get through a twelve-hour adventure with your kids and you pack plenty of chocolate just to make sure that you do.

Yeah … that’s right people. I made the trip to the LEGO Mecca of the world and survived. And once again I left my crazy at the door and this ensured a stress-free occasion even though there were plenty of pitfalls trying to bait me.

But what made this particular adventure a little different was that we didn’t have to drive back home the same night. This proved to be an awesome decision. I find that sitting in traffic, for close to three hours surrounded by stupid or careless drivers, tends to create pockets of anger within my Zen Zone. So in hopes of avoiding any George Costanza blowouts I thought I’d add a little something extra to our Guat getaway. I’d add a Sandbox List Adventure Item … a stay at the LEGOLAND Resort Hotel.

Dude.

Dude.

If my son was capable of doing a backward flip cartwheel, he totally would have … but seeing how his acrobatic skills were limited the high-pitched yes and high-five were pretty  good too.

 

This was their theme song the entire day

This was their theme song the entire day …

 

 

Yeah ... this is where awesome happens.

Yeah … this was where awesome started.

 

No time to waste ... went straight for the rides  and waiting for their turn.

No time to waste … went straight for the rides and waiting for their turn.

 

After a few mini roller coasters and boat rides we headed into the LEGO Movie exhibit. Definitely one of the coolest things I've seen.

After a few mini roller coasters and boat rides we headed into the LEGO Movie exhibit. Definitely one of the coolest things I’ve seen. Made me wish I was a Master Builder.

 

So we headed to the workshop and tried ... we were no Master Builders, but we managed to create something worthy of a ribbon.

So we headed to the workshop and tried … we were no Master Builders, but we managed to create something worthy of a ribbon.

 

After being creative, we decided we had a need for speed. And so they got their licenses.

After being creative, we decided we had a need for speed, so they got their licenses.

 

Then we headed to one of our favorite parts of the park -- The Land of Adventure -- and tested our pilot skills.

Then we headed to one of our favorite parts of the park — The Land of Adventure — and tested our pilot skills in the mini airplanes with Ms. Earhart watching.

 

After all that excitement I thought I'd add some more to the mix and I surprised the kids with a stay at the hotel. Something that would not have been possible without the coupons and discounts a friend was able to give me.

After all that excitement I thought I’d add some more to the mix and I surprised the kids with a stay at the hotel. Something that would not have been possible without the coupons and discounts a friend was able to give me.

 

I found the LEGO pit in the lobby to be an awesome waiting experience for the kids while I was checking us in.

I found the LEGO pit in the lobby to be an awesome waiting experience for the kids while I was checking us in.

 

The LEGO artwork behind the reception desk was even cooler.

The LEGO artwork behind the reception desk was even cooler.

 

Before heading up we decided to eat dinner at the restaurant, which incidentally was pretty tasty. I was worry about buffets if they are not in Vegas, but this one ... this one was definitely tasty.

Before heading up we decided to eat dinner at the restaurant. And in truth, I worry about buffets if they are not in Vegas, but this one … this one was both adult and kid friendly. It was also definitely tasty. I had seconds and thirds … and then dessert … it was a long day.

 

Once we finished checking in, we headed to the elevators where Disco LEGO guy awaited us with the sweet sounds of the 70s and 80s that made everybody in the elevator busta move ... flashing lights and disco ball seemed to help the mood. :)

Once we finished, we headed to the elevators where Disco LEGO guy awaited us with the sweet sounds of the 70s and 80s. This made everybody in the elevator busta move … the flashing lights and disco ball were very encouraging  🙂

 

We got to our room and we felt like we were part of The Clutch Powers entourage (The Indiana Jones of the LEGO World). But as awesome as the room was nothing was more amazing than the bunk beds for my son. He'd always wanted to sleep in one. So I was able to cross off two Sandbox List items that day.

We got to our room and we felt like we were part of The Clutch Powers entourage (The Indiana Jones of the LEGO World). But as awesome as the room was nothing was more amazing than the bunk beds for my son. He’d always wanted to sleep in one. So I was able to cross off two Sandbox List items that day. I gave myself I high-five for that one.

 

 

 

 

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Color

9 Apr
Legoland

Legoland

 

At this place … color is everywhere.

 

 

Checking Your Crazy at the Door Makes Legoland Better

27 Mar

The hope. The anticipation. The excitement. It all started with a jar and ended with a smile and a couple of do-it-yourself souvenirs.

It was a marathon of kid excitement that involved a lot of walking, waiting, and sunscreen. But luckily my new meditation challenges have instilled a little more patience in me, so I’m less likely to be annoyed among the hundreds of wild preschoolers and Nickelodeon watching kids that flock to this kid Mecca. That’s right … The Guat is a proud parent survivor of LEGOLAND.

Normally we plan to attend the park on a weekday when the place is a little less crowded and the lines are little shorter. But since we were in San Diego for my friend’s wedding that weekend, where the death of my feet began because someone invented high heels and I was stupid enough to wear them, we decided to venture off to LEGOLAND the day after the wedding. We were all about doubling up on adventures, because the drive is always jam-packed with traffic and stupid drivers. And don’t even get me started on expensive gas prices. So with all this to consider, we brought the kids to the wedding, with my cousin — the babysitter — to watch them in the hotel room, between her massive texting and Facebook  status notifications. And while the happy couple was off to Maui for their honeymoon The Guats and company were off to LEGOLAND hoping to survive the weekend crowds. Yeah that’s right this time I had some support on this parenting adventure as my good friend Gloria and her family joined us.

But in truth, even with the comadre support I was still a little stressed out, because like any crazy mom I wanted to get there as soon as the doors opened. Seeing how our hotel was five minutes away from the park I was hoping to take advantage of the proximity, but plans always go awry. Stuff like eating a well-balanced breakfast to start off the day slows you down. But I remembered my go-with-the-flow meditation mantra and it proved to totally help hide my crazy.

And trust me when you’re surrounded by that many kids, that many rides and games, and that much potential for fun, you gotta be able to check your crazy mom schedule at the door, which I know is hard for moms because we all know that sticking to the schedule makes everything easier on you later as the afternoon and night progress. For every action there is an equal an opposite reaction. Newton. Genius … total genius.

This is why the schedule exists, but at LEGOLAND you learn that there are no schedules. It’s a go with the flow environment and in truth I’m usually that kind of chick, but when it comes to the kids I get a little crazy, which is why I probably have more gray hair now. You can’t really go with the flow with kids every day, all hell will break loose. But I’m happy to say that on Sunday, I checked my crazy at the door, and the LEGOLAND experience was a better one because of it.

 

This is his jar that starts off the LEGOLAND adventure every year.

This is his jar that starts off the LEGOLAND adventure every year.

 

I wasn't about to sit there and roll up all that change.

I wasn’t about to sit there and roll up all that change.

 

CoinStar … my savior. It counted …

5  Dollar Coins.

1 Half Dollar.

479 Quarters.

304 Dimes.

178 Nickels.

686 Pennies.

Totaling $171.41.

Admiring the scene and enjoying he moment as the parents getting it together and loading the stroller.

Admiring the scene and enjoying the moment as the parents get it together and load the stroller.

 

The friendly locals.

The friendly locals.

 

One of his favorite attractions.

One of his favorite attractions.

 

While her brother was getting his Junior Volvo driving license, she was busy checking out the stationary cars.

While her brother was getting his Junior Volvo driving license, she was busy checking out the stationary cars.

 

After driving school we decided to check out their new Pirate water attraction where we proceeded to get soaked.

After driving school we decided to check out their new Pirate water attraction where we proceeded to get soaked.

 

 Then we headed off to The Land of Adventure where they rode on all the rides at  least three times each. This one was our  favorite -- the giant slide.

Then we headed off to The Land of Adventure where they rode on all the rides at least three times each.

 

This one was our favorite -- the giant slide.

This one was our favorite — the giant slide.

 

After all the walking we ended up in the gift shop to buy firefighter Legos. But the best prizes were the two Angry Birds he won at the throwthe

After all the walking we ended up in the gift shop to buy firefighter Legos. But the best prizes were the two Angry Birds my son won at the throw-baseballs-and-knock-down-the-clowns-with-the-crazy-red-hair game. There was a lot of woo-hooing.

 

Happiness Project Update 20: Paying It Forward One Penny at a Time

23 Jan

“Feel good, be good and do good.” Author Unknown.

I’m all for this. I’m all about the good. I mean who isn’t, right? So while working on expanding some of that good, I continue on my Happiness Project quest and finished the Buying Some Happiness section in Gretchen Rubin‘s book. I liked the fact that she was realistic in most of the chapter, admitting to the fact that money does help provide options for happiness or moments of happiness, but it’s not the main mojo for it.

I concur. Money plays a factor. Most people don’t think so, or might not admit it. But I do. I came clean about it in my last HP Update.

But as I kept reading she brought up an interesting point …

“It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that if you have something you love or there’s something you want, you’ll be happier with more.”

Dude. This would never happen with chocolate. Never. I know they say “never say never,” but I’m saying it. I could never buy enough chocolate. There is no limit to the powers of the cacao bean. However, when talking about parenting and kids, curbing your enthusiasm is a definite must.

Image via happiness-project.com

Image via happiness-project.com

As adults we know that there’s a line when it comes to buying things for yourself as a reward or special splurge, and turning into a crazed shopaholic with 12 different credit cards all maxed out. We get it. At least some of us do. But when you’re at the train store, or Target, or Best Buy, or Costco and your kids want you to buy them something every single time you go somewhere, that seems to be the path of a shopaholic for sure. We all want nice things and we all want them for our kids, but when it comes to them, sometimes buying them more “stuff” can do more damage than good. Sometimes teaching your kids about modest pleasures instead of instant gratification can help in their own happiness. It can help produce an atmosphere of growth, appreciation for the “good things,” and fiscal responsibility. And then you feel ecstatic as parent because you think you did an awesome job of raising someone who isn’t materialistic in a very money-oriented label-minded world. You raised someone with values and that makes you extremely happy as a parent.

For instance LEGOLAND. It is the be all and end all of trips when it comes to my four-year old. It is his mecca. It is his chocolate. Now some people have the ability to take their kids four or five times a year. We go once a year. I explained that the trip usually comes as a result of all his good behavior throughout the year and I mention some of his achievements, like sharing with his sister knowing full well she’s probably going to stomp on the toy in the end, being able to finally master penmanship and write his name, being able to transition successfully into preschool even though they have Children of the Corn-like parents roaming around,  like working hard, practicing and doing well in his little golf competition, and for being an overall good kid.

I also make him aware that we save all year-long. We put in all our spare change from every purchase into his makeshift piggy bank we created out of an old Kleenex box. We got Martha Stewart creative and thus was his LEGOLAND box was born. Quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies. Even some dollar bills. Every day we’d add a little something and he’d see his savings grow.  And he wouldn’t take any money out of it no matter what. He knew he was getting closer to his goal. We ended up with about 250+ dollars last year. And he enjoyed spending every bit of it on the entrance to the park, hot dogs, chocolate cake, Lego souvenirs, and Lego memories.

Once the morning came and he saw his empty box, he said … “We need to start saving money in my LEGOLAND box so we can go again. It’s gonna take a long time. But we can do it.”

I like his perseverance. It makes me think that I have taught him something, hopefully it’s in the realm of appreciating good things when they happen to you and being able to be responsible enough with your money that you can save up for what you want and enjoy it with the people you love. Hopefully I’ve paid the happiness lesson forward, one penny at time.

Daily Prompt Challenge: I’d Make a Statue of That

27 Dec

Twenty-Twelve didn’t have too many moments that I’d want immortalized in stone, more like instances I’d prefer to be plopped in some quicksand. Statues seem to be a little permanent … you know like a tattoo on the face. Besides, I’m really not the statue kind of person. I’m more of a gallery of images kind of person, like a slideshow tribute they have at an award shows like the ESPYs or Oscars. I’d like to see my life in film … directed by Nora Ephron of course.

But a statue? That is a challenge. However, I’ve found it … the sculptor may need a lot of plaster …

Most of the time it’s hot, filled with long lines, hyper kids, and parents who need some sort of timeout during the long corn-fructose syrup filled day. But there are instances that are permanently embedded in your head. Moments you capture with your beat up Canon PowerShot — statue-worthy moments that once remembered make you smile, or crack up so hard that you cry.

Dune Raiders. It’s called Dune Raiders. A 30-foot blue slide that could probably be found in any amusement park, but we happen to discover it at LEGOLAND this year. Now there were many rides we ventured on that made us smile, even laugh. But this one had unstoppable giggles as my son zoomed down one of the 50-foot-long racing lanes and pass the pair of double-helix corkscrews in his worn-out potato sack. A first place finish, with me a close second — both of us laughing at the bottom, and me extending my hand out to my son in my most animated AHA!-Congratulations gesture. And him just cracking up. It felt better than chocolate.

Immortalized in stone

I know you can’t really see our faces, but it was awesome …

It was one of those moments that everyone has in a lifetime with parents, friends, boyfriends, dudes, children, or pets — the kind where you want to bottle up the feeling and shelve it because you know that you’ll probably need it next week during one of your many quicksand days that usually involves family, defeat, drama, bills or rejection letters. It’s a feeling you want captured and embraced, so that it can take you back in time to be relieved again. It’s what I want to remember, but in truth it’s what I want him to remember. It’s how I want him to remember me.

I’d make a statue of that.

But the only change would be having my one-year old daughter sitting on my lap, laughing it up with us.

Yeah … that statue would be awesome in front of a bank or something.

Immortalized in Stone Writing Challenge provided The Daily Prompt

A Three-Hour Tour … A Three-Hour Tour

4 Apr

 Ever feel the need to kick your spouse, boyfriend, or partner out of the car while you’re driving long distances on the freeway?

Yeah.

It occurred to me as we made our trek to Legoland.

Legoland California

Legoland California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was supposed to be a joyous occasion and it was in the end … but the beginning tested my patience and we were in what my friend likes to call “silent mode”.

I felt like I was in the car with Gilligan on a three-hour tour … a three-hour tour!

As a mom, I can understand I’m a little neurotic. But there’s a reason for that craziness. Everything I do is for a specific reason. And no … it’s not so I can hear myself talk or give my dude a list of things to do. It’s to avoid THE MELTDOWN.

When you have kids and you’re on a journey that lasts more than one hour in a car your mission becomes avoiding THE MELTDOWN — when your kids lose it, when they cry because of boredom, when they cry because there is no television or video games, when they cry for a ridiculous reason, when they cry in general, when they cry because it’s nap time, when they cry because they’re hungry, or when they cry for no reason.

You do your best to avoid it.

That was my entire plan on a trip that the GPS stated would take an hour and forty-four minutes. However that approximate time did not include meltdowns and unforseen detours.

The park opened at ten and I wanted to get there around that time, give or take fifteen minutes, so my son could thoroughly enjoy all the attractions. Last year we failed to anticipate how long the drive would be, so we arrived after noon, where he was cranky because he didn’t sleep in the car, and the park closed at five. We felt bad about cheating my son out of the full Legoland opportunity, so I vowed that wouldn’t happen this year.

I did everything I thought I could to prepare, but the forces of destiny played tricks on me.

My plan included leaving early … just as the baby takes her first nap. Figured she would sleep all, or most, of the way there and we’d be cry-free for the drive, while my son played with most of the toys or books I packed.

What happened?

We woke up. 

We were supposed to leave around 8:30 a.m., but getting everything together in the morning took longer than usual. So I skipped breakfast, figured we could get some kind of sandwich somewhere. We made it out the door around 9:30 a.m.

Once we were in the car we thought about the coupon. It could have saved us sixty-two dollars. Now for some people, sixty-two dollars isn’t much, but when you have a family of four and you know there’s going to be ten-dollar popcorn and eight-dollar hot dogs, you try to save anywhere.

Did I mention the coupon during the week?

Yeah.

A few times?

Yeah.

Did it happen?

No. 

Frustration.

All he had to do was eat lunch at Denny’s, which is like 20 feet away from his work, and we’d get the free-ticket coupon.

But it never happened.

So he assured me we could stop by on the way there. No big deal, we would eat there. But before that ever happened we had to drop off one of his friend’s cell phones, which took about thirty minutes.

Was it in the opposite direction?

Yes.

Did we absolutely have to drop off the phone that morning?

No. 

Could his friend have waited until the evening for his lost phone?

Yes.

Did he?

No.

Baby crying. Passed nap time. Son anxious and getting cranky. Mom frustrated, no food.  Hypoglycemic — just a nice way of saying bitchy because I was starving and had a headache.

We finally made it to a Denny’s, the one near his place of business, and the baby falls asleep. I suggested we take the food to go, so that the restaurant noises do not wake up the baby.

I got off the car and asked the hostess lady about the coupon special, she told me there were no more coupons. They ran out yesterday.

Ugh.

Forget the coupon, just leave. We need to get something to eat. I’m starving. I’ve got a headache coming and we’ve now been in the car for about an hour. My son’s patience is non-existent. I give him a snack, but he’s still in a crappy mood. He seems to be hypoglycemic too. He asks about Legoland again, for the hundredth time. Again I tell him we’re almost there, be patient.

About fifteen minutes later, my son gets a headache. He begins to complain about the headache. He gets loud.

Baby awake. Baby crying. Pacifier missing.

Baby’s crying intensifies my son’s headache.  We pull over and try to comfort my son and find the pacifier. He stretches his legs for a little bit, then decides he needs to use the bathroom.

After this twenty-minute detour, we get back in the car. Baby still crying. I move to the back seat to try to comfort and distract everyone. Baby settles down for a second, then starts up again.

Oh! There’s a Dennys right there. Driving too fast to make the off ramp.

There’ll be another one down the line.

Baby still crying. Son still cranky and head still hurting.

I continue my efforts to comfort and realize the baby has pooped.

“We need to stop the baby has a giant poop.”

“Can’t you just change the baby while I’m driving. Unbuckle her seatbelt, clean her and slip in the diaper.”

“Are you kidding me?

“What?”

“Pull over.”

We exit. The baby’s poop made its way up her back and all over her clothes.

After changing diapers and clothes, we pile back in the car and drive.

I’m desperately searching the car for ibuprofen. My head is pounding. My dude decided to take another freeway so as to avoid heavy traffic. It’s a loop, but it’ll be faster than the current freeway we’re driving on. We drive the detour and encounter gridlock.

“Are we there yet?”

“No. Not yet.”

After waiting for all those cars to crawl out of our way, we drive thirty more minutes and see the sign: Legoland Next Exit.

Did you see that Legoland next exit?

We pass the exit.

What happened?

I thought you said next exit, not this one.

“Are we there yet?”

Baby cries.

It’s 12:14 p.m.

So envisioning  throwing him out of the car. Tuck and roll, dude. Tuck and roll.

Eventually we  made it to our destination, cranky as hell. But once I saw my son’s eyes light up as we drove into the parking lot, I was ready to rid myself and my dude of that nasty mood and of the three-hour tour … that three-hour tour.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Arranged

3 Apr
The Power of Arrangement

The Power of Arrangement

At first glance they are just pieces of plastic.

Insignificant.

Small interlocking building blocks that hurt when you step on them with bare feet.

But when arranged by kids, both big and small …

Amazing things can happen.

Imagination and Legos.

A cool arrangement.

The power of this arrangement brings you Star Wars and Jedi Knights.