Thursday, April 30, 2015

The best thing about LA

Because we planned to stay about a week in LA and because I knew I would be pretty tired of hotel room by the time we got there, we decided to rent a house. We used airbnb, and lemmetellya, we loved it.

We found a great place, for a great price in a great area, but the best part about the experience was meeting our wonderful host, Tracey. This woman made our trip. She basically acted as our personal concierge. She found me the perfect place to run (with the Hollywood sign in the background), she gave us restaurant recommendations (which we hardly needed given all the delicious, gourmet food she left for us), she spoiled our kids absolutely rotten, and huge bonus - she works at Disney studios and gave us a private tour.

Tracey was the bomb-diggity:
 Oh, and sprinkles cupcakes are pretty great too:

Tracey took us to the Disney archives. This place was unreal:
Look - the puppets they used for the opening credits on the original Parent Trap:
Stan Lee's office, where my husband walked in to pretending he was lost looking for the bathroom. Like they don't see that all the time:
 The famous seven dwarfs executive building:

 The Character voices studio:
 Mia looking through the original drawing for Beauty and the Beast:
But like all good things, the trip had to come to an end and the laundry had to begin. (That entire back was full of dirty laundry).
On our last night in LA we were sitting in a restaurant and it dawned on me that my kids had not asked to play on my phone the entire trip. I actually teared up when I brought it to their attention. We just had that much fun being together without the distractions of our regular responsibilities.

Every family should be forced to spend huge amounts of time together in very cramped quarters. Strangely, it doesn't bring out the worst in you.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

We get our kicks on Route 66 (and a little bit in Vegas, but not much)

If you are ever roadtrippin' through Arizona on Route 66 you have to stop at the Snowcap. This was one of our favorite unexpected stops on the the trip. In fact, we liked it so much that we stopped again on the way home. 
Where else can you get an amazing chocolate malt and find a zombie head in a toilet? It's a win-win!
There is really nothing like this place. The family that owns it are so much fun and the decor can't really be accurately described with words.
And then there is Vegas....
If you're children can't see or can't read, this is a pretty good place for them. If not, well, prepare to do a lot of explaining. And the hardest thing for me to explain (anywhere, not just Vegas) is animals dressed as humans.
We stayed one night in Vegas at the Mirage to see the Cirque du Soliel Beatles Love show. The show was fabulous. The kids have been forced to learn every Beatles song ever sung, so they ate it up. They also ate up an all-you-can-eat buffet.
The smoke and the gambling and the prostitution and the alcohol aren't really classic kid stuff, but overall we had fun and thought it was worth the stop.
Nothing says father-daughter bonding like a trip to the city of sin.

Monday, April 27, 2015

If only we all had such confidence

I made the kids keep a journal on our road trip. I wanted them to have something to look back on and remember the experience. I don't think Bode understood the assignment:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Theme Parks

Being a child of the 80's, the only thing I've ever known about LA is that the Crips and the Bloods will kill you if you wear the wrong color. So, I was a little anxious to visit. However, it far exceeded my expectations and, thankfully, I lived to tell about it. The main attractions for the {three} children in the Lashley family were Disneyland, Universal Studios and Magic Mountain. 

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by Disneyland. One time, when we were on a Disney bus in Florida the driver told us that all of Disneyland could fit in the parking lot of the Magic Kingdom in Disney World. That was it for me. I was never going to waste my time visiting the "lesser" Disney park. 

I know this will come as a shock, but I was so wrong. We loved Disneyland. It's so much easier to get around and it doesn't feel small at all (except the sad, little castle). 
Mia was all over the pin trading. Disney is so genius for coming up with this little scheme game.
Apparently, I couldn't keep my mouth shut the entire day.
If you have little kids that love the Cars movie this place will blow their minds. 

I might go so far as to say the food options in the park are better than Magic Kingdom in Florida. And by food options, I mean chocolate options.
This is how I look every time I ride It's A Small World. I also tear up. Every. Single. Time.  Bode, on the other hand, was less than impressed:

Universal Studios was a step down from Disney, in my opinion, but they have some really cool shows and the kids loved the thrill rides. Also, they have a Starbucks, in case you need a place to chill while your family rides insane and terrifying roller coasters.

Huge plus to Universal - Harry Potter World. I bet we will be back for this:

And then there was Magic Mountain. It's like the trashy, filthy step-child of Disneyland. I hated it. The kids LOVED IT. It's still all they can talk about. They have some of the fastest roller coasters in the world. Also, the roller coaster with the longest drop in the entire world. If you like to see your life flash before your eyes every ten minutes, this is the place for you. 
We did get to ride a roller coaster with Phil Mickelson, which made it almost bearable. Almost. I didn't take many pics in this park because we were all either hanging upside down or being thrown from side-to-side on some death trap of a ride.
Bode thought the food at Magic Mountain was awesome. He made that declaration while dipping a corn dog in nacho cheese. I spent the entire day looking for coffee. I never found it.

The next time we are in LA, I will happily drop the kids and Andy off at this park and drive myself straight to Beverly Hills for the day. Period. End of discussion.

The kids will definitely tell you that LA was their favorite stop on the trip and that is because of theme parks. I'm raising two thrill seeking junkies. It's their Dad's fault.

Monday, April 13, 2015


We went to several beautiful beaches on the vacay. They always seem like such a good idea at the time. And then I get wet....and hot....and sandy. It's a little overrated if you ask me. But, it's still beautiful and the kids love it, so whatevs.

Our first beach stops were in San Diego. Now, those beaches are beautiful. 
We went to La Jolla Cove and saw a bunch of filthy seals nursing their babies. Kinda cool, kinda weird. The kids were just jumping over them and playing around them like they didn't even exist. And the seals didn't seem to care at all. Lazy bums.
This is the exact moment that Andy  ruined his brand new iPhone 6: 
We actually went to Coronado Beach after this (I would highly recommend it. The sand is literally flecked with gold) but there are no pictures to prove it. Let's just say that being down one very expensive phone was a bit of a bummer. The parents weren't feeling like making memories.

LA beaches aren't as nice but the kids didn't care one bit. They loved them all.
Mia spent hours digging a hole with her bare hands. Then, a sweet little girl came up and asked if she could help and Mia instantly abandoned the entire project. She's rather walk away then risk someone messing up her stuff. 

 And then there's Bode:
He dug sand out of his ears for an entire week.

And apparently the expiration date on your sunscreen actually matters:
The sunscreen on my face wasn't out of date. The sunscreen on my body was. It wasn't pretty. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

National Parks

We hit three National Parks on our journey through the West and all three were amazing. This was certainly the highlight. Growing up, my dad didn't think it was a vacation unless you were surrounded by black bears in Yellowstone with no access to a phone, so the National Parks were a must-see for me.

The first one we went to was the Petrified National Forrest and Painted Dessert:
 To quote Bode, "That's some really old wood."
 It was a different kind of beauty. The sunset was gorgeous.
 We saw all we needed to see of this park in a couple of hours.

Next was a classic, The Grand Canyon:
 If you're afraid of heights, this is basically the most terrifying place on earth.
At one point, while I was sitting in the car hyperventilating, I threatened to call the police if Andy didn't move my kids away from the edge.
 The kids loved it. I survived it.

And finally, my personal favorite, The Sequoia National Forrest:
 If you're from Oklahoma, where your trees are the size of sticks, this place will blow your mind.
Bode, holding an Oklahoma tree:
 Largest tree in the world (and a perfect representation of my kids' personalities):

I really could have drug my family through this forrest for a week. The trails and hiking were right up my ally.
Bode was genuinely offended that there wasn't a Braum's in the middle of the forrest. He couldn't wrap his brain around it. And Mia was genuinely offended that he could suggest something so ridiculous.