last summer roadtrip

So one more last minute summer road trip before going back-to-school seemed like an excellent idea…  And it was! Late last week, in the mist of what seemed to be one of the most hectic week of the summer so far with Brian selling his truck, buying a new car, while getting everything ready for school, we decided to book 2 rooms at The Great Escape Lodge in Lake George, along with my sister-in-law Annick and her kids, as well as my father-in-law Joe, who all needed a getaway as much as us; so the more the merrier!

All packed up and excited, we left at 8am and made the 4-hour drive to the lake.  Once there, it was sunny, and hot, perfect weather… so we spotted a terrace by the water and had lunch.  We all wanted to take a boat ride to explore the lake, but since Brian and I had already taken our kids on the steamboat Minnie Ha Ha three years ago, we wanted to see if there were any other options to go on the lake.  So Joe told Brian ‘just go see how much it would be to rent a boat’.  Half an hour later we were on the lake in our pontoon!!!  Oh yes, we rented a nice pontoon for an hour on the lake and it was the best decision of the trip.  It was so much fun.  The boys were a bit afraid but once we were on board, they had a blast.  Cruising at our own pace, alone, with the kids waving at the huge steamboats, it was just awesome.  All that was missing were the drinks and nachos!  So we stopped in the middle of the lake where my nephew did an awesome back-flip from the side of the boat.  He was then joined by Liam for a quick swim, and then by Logan for a one second dip!  The boys fell asleep not long after while we were all enjoying being on the water.  It was such a blast that now the idea of owing a pontoon is roaming my husband’s mind ALL THE TIME since we came back from that boat ride.

We then explored the beach, the main street, made a few wished in the pond and bought a few souvenirs.

The boys were really anxious to see their ‘Maison de vacance’ (vacation house as they call it) so we then made our way to our hotel.  It was AMAZING.  It was huge, with an awesome indoor water-park, an arcade, multi levels treasure hunts and more.  I volunteered for the Target trip to get us drinks and snacks while the rest of the crew tried out the water-park.  Apparently they were having way too much fun, because although I spent over an hour going aisle by aisle with a Starbucks in my hand, when I came back to the hotel they were still at the pool and riding the slides.  Oh well, Target or water-slides, I guess it was a perfect way to end this great day for all of us.  We then all headed out for a late diner and came back full, ready for our next day adventures.

I really need to invest in hotel-rooms-black-out-drapes.  Not sure if it’s the exhaustion or if it’s the dark room but we sure slept late on vacation!  The Six Flags Great Escape amusement park was literally of the other side of the road to our hotel, connected with walkway for pedestrian.  No driving or parking fuss, just wake up, get ready and enjoy the park.  With almost no wait time at every rides, we were able to complete our to-do ride list and even do the water ones twice (it was over 30 degrees outside!).  Best part about the barrel water ride?  For 25 cents you can blast the boats with water cannons.  Hilarious!  We spent way too much time there but it was for sure the best money we spent on that trip!  Joe couldn’t stop laughing every time we would get someone soaking wet while feeding us with quarters to keep on going: 8 cannons shooting all in different directions with one of us at each of them waiting for a boat to come!!!  Yeah, hilarious!

We were done with the park at around 4:30, so instead of doing their favorite rides a second time, it was unanimous, and the kids all opted to go back to the hotel to spend more time at the water-park before diner.  This time I went.  Oh boy, not sure when was the last time I enjoyed water-slides that much.  My goal was not to get my hair wet, but that lasted for about 15 minutes until a giant water bucket dropped hundreds of liters of water directly on me.  Thanks Bry for telling me to stand ‘right there’ if I wanted to stay dry as the bucket was about to empty itself.  Well, my fav will always be the lazy river, and Logan’s too.  Liam went out of his comfort zone and tried to surf, and he was sooo good!  He’s not too keen on trying new things but he warmed up to the idea and went on his own to try it.  He loved and did it 6 times.  I was so proud!  My nephew did it like 50 times and was so natural on it at the end.  One more day and he would have been able to surf like they do in the movies!

I’m pretty sure Lake George is the capital of the mini putt.  Within couple KMs on each side of our hotel, I saw at least 6.  We chose to go at the Pirate’s Cove one.  Kind of ashamed to admit it but it was the boys first time… but it won’t be the last.  They loved it and were way better at the end.  Of course Liam got attached to his golf ball and then cried when he lost it in the 18th hole!!!  Well I didn’t cried because of my golf ball, but I almost did when we arrived at Martha’s Ice Cream and it was closed.  It was Dole Whip day after all and I was so looking forward to it!

Next morning we packed our stuff, and made a stop at the downstairs’ arcade.  These arcades should be illegal, it’s basically casinos for kids (or adults in Brian’s case).  We always leave discouraged… like we spend 50$ and then the kids get a 1$ gift for the thousands of tickets they won.  Go figure!  At least they had fun.

I knew a quick trip to Target would cheer them up.  And it did!  We then stopped at some outlets store and had lunch at an old school A&W where they still have car service.  We rode Go-Karts and THEN it was time to whip.  Dole Whip at Martha’s Ice Cream.  That place is a must if you’re in the region.  My father in law had the biggest ice cream come I’ve ever seen in my life… and he finished it!  Hopped back into the cars and made our way back.

We’re already planning where we’re going to go next year, and it will for sure be longer; as two nights is clearly not enough.  You have to visit Lake George.  It’s our 3rd time with the boys and we always find new stuff to do.  Hope you’re ready for back to school; I know I’m not!  Can’t believe summer is already over.  I still have 4 days left of vacay and I plan on making the most of it.  Summer 2017 went by so quickly, but still, I enjoyed being off work and at home with the boys so much.

Have a great last weekend before back-to-school everyone!

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canada day and a quick getaway

So last weekend was Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations across the nation.  We were not planning on going downtown Ottawa for all the big festivities, but I was very excited and really looking forward to our own celebrations, and BBQ’s, and friends, and local fireworks and Canada Day cake… but by Saturday afternoon, most of our plans had fell through, mainly due the crappy weather, so I was just miserable, at home, with nothing to do on this long weekend.  So I decided to take a nap.  Even then, I was so bored I couldn’t even fall asleep.  So I sent a text message to Brian, who was playing Mario Kart with the boys downstairs, asking him if we could go somewhere; like anywhere!!!

Of course, I knew he wouldn’t say no to that!

So I sent him the text at 3:30 pm… by 3:45 we had agreed on a destination, and by 4:00 we were out the door, and on our way to the USA on Canada Day!  Well, that doesn’t sound too much patriotic, but I got to say that we did look at some destination in Canada first; Brian wanted to go see his beloved Red Sox in Toronto, but it just didn’t work out.

I love Canada!  I truly love everything there is to love about our awesome and unique country, and I am so proud to be Canadian, but seriously, if there’s one thing the American got right is that they didn’t let Target go bankrupt!!!  So while Brian was booking the hotel online, I was figuring out the shortest route to get to my beloved Target!

We left at around 4pm and didn’t stopped until we made it to Watertown’s Target.  I promise Brian before the trip I’d be good and reasonable and wouldn’t spend too much as this was last minute and clearly not planned in our summer budget!  Well I kept that promise for about two hours.  Still can’t believe that store didn’t worked out in Canada.  Obviously not because of me, as I visited the Orleans store at least once a week while it was open!  Even the boys were excited to see the giant red balls outside.  So within one hour in the store I had already found so many things I didn’t even know I absolutely needed!  It felt so good, and I was so happy, with my Starbuck in one hand and a red shopping cart in the other.

We then got back on the road.  Brian had book a nice hotel in an awesome neighborhood of Syracuse, NY.  We stayed at the Marriott in Armory Square; surrounded by old buildings, beautiful flowers lining streets and string lights everywhere.  We loved it as soon as we saw the location of the hotel.  We arrived shortly before 9, check ourselves in, unpacked and then headed down to the lobby for some drinks and snacks while waiting for my mom and Frank.  They too, had decided to join us on our crazy last minute getaway.

I don’t know a lot about Syracuse, but I’m pretty sure we had the best location in town.  At 10 pm, we ventured out to find a place to eat.  Right by the hotel there was a great place, Pastabilities, only to find out that the kitchen had just closed minutes ago.  It’s definitely on the list for our next trip.  So Brian then walked into a cute little alley and found a place called Modern Malt.  He came back to get us, and as soon as I walked in, I was in love with the place.  Retro style Diner with a pretty glass dessert display, a colorful aqua and orange decor and some delicious looking chocolate milkshakes on the menu!  We shared a fig jam and caramelized onion burger on a brioche, and it was sooo good!!!   Wish we would have had more time in Syracuse in order to go back for breakfast.  They had some waffles-with-everything meal and it looked just delish!  I honestly would have tasted everything on the menu.

Sunday morning was slow and relax.  We enjoyed breakfast in the lobby while planning out our day.  We drove to a few stores my mom wanted to go to and then it was Destiny shopping!  Spent a few hours browsing the stores.  Found a few things.  Then the boys did a rope course that they loved.  Unfortunately, they were just a few inches shy of making it to the big course.  Next time.  We shared some awesome nachos at Margaritaville for lunch.  Then played arcade games where Liam won the roulette tickets jackpot and where Brian wanted to spend the rest of the day!  By late afternoon we were all tired and decided to head back to our rooms for a nap and swimming.  Swimming for Brian and the boys, and yep, a nap for me!  Not sure what it is about hotel pools, but they’re always the best according to my boys.  They ended up meeting some other kids, and their mom had floating balls that they were all throwing in the pool, and they raced, and it was just so much fun apparently… oh well, nothing beats a nap in a comfy hotel bed!!!

For diner, of course we had to go to The Cheesecake Factory.  It was, as usual, so good!!!  And bonus, I ate my cheesecake for breakfast the next morning!

Next day came by way too quickly and it was already the end of our short and unplanned but so much fun summer vacation.  So we packed our stuff, got in the car and started our journey back.  We made another stop at Target (upon my kids request, I swear), then Cracker Barrel and then home.

I love these last minute getaway road trips.  Luckily, I have people who love crazy ideas and always want to tag along.  We’re all sad that it went by so quick.  But we had a lot of fun spending time together, and I’m sure it won’t be too long before we go back!

For now, at least, it seems like we brought back the sun with us; so let’s enjoy our backyard pool a little and let’s hope summer is here for good!!!

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yearly girls getaway

It was our fifth anniversary this year… every year we plan, we book, we prepare what we need to bring and then we leave our families for an ENTIRE weekend!  Last weekend was our annual girl-only-spa-weekend-getaway!

We have one rule: never go to the same place twice… but I have to admit that this might change next year as this year’s location was almost perfect!

So back in January, we all met and started to look at the available deals online.  We previously went to St-Sauveur, Mont Tremblant, Montréal, and Québec city, but this year we all really needed/wanted to relax, so we decided to go somewhere more on the ‘country side’ where we wouldn’t be tempted to go out as much; and Fiddler’s Lake was the perfect fit for what we had in mind.

Friday morning we dropped off our kids to school, and on our way we were!  Our first stop was Ofuro spa in Morin Heights.  A Zen-like spa, with Nordic baths, relaxation zones and massages.  It was rainy/snowy, and we felt like we had the place to ourselves.  After 5 hours of total relaxation, we picked up food and drinks for the weekend out and headed to the cottage.  As soon as we got there, we were already in love with the place.  It was huge and luxurious, but with a country look to it, three bedrooms, and floor to ceiling windows with a beautiful view of the nature and trees that were surrounding us.  To make this place even more awesome, we had our very own outside sauna and spa just to ourselves.

On our first night we ended up eating comfort food, watching old music videos and singing crappy songs!  We made a gigantic nacho platter, my ‘famous’ guacamole, and some wings.  And then, as full as we already were, we still decided to heat up a Chocolats Favoris chocolate fondue can with some fruits around midnight!

Ok, so it looks like all we do is sit and eat.  But there’s more to that.  Every year, we set up some personal goals to achieve.  Anything goes.  Last year, I wanted to create a blog (check!) run half a marathon (10km is a half marathon right???) and start up playing guitar again.  So clearly, the blog part got done, the guitar, not so much but I started playing piano again with Liam.  So it’s almost the same…or so I kept telling myself.  As for the half marathon, I just added it to the 2017 list!  We also share our favorite products we discovered throughout the year.  It’s so funny, we never know what’s in store!

Saturday morning, without any kids to wake us up, we all slept in.  Which means we were up by something like 7:30!  It was nice though to spend a lazy morning in our pj’s until 10 and then go out and jump in the spa.  We stayed in there for 3 hours, then had some cheese and charcuterie for lunch.  Then, well of course, it was nap time.  It’s harder to nap when you hear your girlfriends talk and want to sit there and have fun with them, as I didn’t want to miss a thing… but my vacation-mode-laziness and crave for a nap took over… so yeah, I ended up taking a short hour nap, and then went back outside in the spa for another 2 hours or so.  God it felt good.  And it was all we needed, a lazy no rush day with nothing planned, with sunshine, a nap, and all of us lounging in our pj’s.

After a day-long of doing nothing but relaxing, we all got dressed up and ready to go for diner in Saint-Sauveur.  I had the best Goat Cheese salad ever and then some pasta.  It was nice to be out but all we wanted to do was to go back to the cottage and enjoy some more time in our spa (where we spent another 2 hours that night!!!).

You know what, as much as I love love love my spa weekend, at some point I think about my boys and wonder what they are doing and what’s happening at home.  I just love being at home.  I was a stay at home Mom for almost 4 years and not one day I wished I was elsewhere.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m always so excited to leave on this little getaway, but a part of me sometime makes me miss them.  At least I know they’ll have an awesome time with my husband!  So before I left, I packed up their little suitcases for the weekend and prepared them some snacks.  This year, they had a sleepover at my mother-in-law on the Friday, and then on the next day, the 3 of them met with my girlfriends’ husband and kids for a playdate that turned into another sleepover.  Our four husbands, with our 9 kids, under one roof, with countless pillows and blankets, chips and candy, and I’m pretty sure without any curfew!  It must have been quite the evening…  Even I wouldn’t tackle such a task!  But my boys were pretty excited to tell me all about their last minute sleepover at their friends and their ‘party without Mommy’!  Apparently it’s happening again next year.  We’ll see about that!

So, back to us at the cottage!  The next morning came by way too quickly.  We packed up our things, tried to find a nice terrace for lunch, only to find hot dogs and poutine!  We did a bit of shopping, and then we were on our way…

It’s always fun to go away but there’s nothing like coming home.  I was greeted by my babies with more kisses than I could have asked for, and that was the best thing ever.

Now it’s all over, and I can’t wait to plan our next getaway.  I really hope we get to do this every year.  I just love spending some relaxing time with my girlfriends; we’ve all changed so much since University, and we sometimes don’t see each other’s enough, but in the end, we’re still the same we’ve always been: just an amazing and truly unique crew that loves spending time together, doing nothing else than alternating between our pj’s and couch and our bathing suits and spa for an entire day!

On my list of places to visit for our annual getaway: Lake Placid, Niagara on the lake, New York and Las Vegas!  Let’s see where we go next time!!!

2016
2016 Cache a Maxime
2016 Québec
2016 Québec

 

2015 Montréal
2015 Montréal
2015 Mont Tremblant

 

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vegas with kids? oh yes we did

Never say never.  Yes, we are those parents who brought their kids to Las Vegas!

I’ve been to Vegas a few times prior to our last trip and I’ve always said I would never bring my kids there.  But, well, surprise, surprise, our boys came to Vegas with us for 4 days last summer!

We love Las Vegas.  We had such an incredible time at our Honeymoon in 2009, and then again in 2013, both times staying at the gorgeous Wynn Encore… every time we go to Vegas it seems different yet always so much fun!

I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to bring our kids to the city of sins, but luckily we had our double stroller (that stroller saved our lives multiple times) and many siblings to help us entertain the boys.

If you’ve read my posts on on our California trip, you know we had the time of our lives over there.  So Vegas is the second part of that 10 days trip.  We left Anaheim on the Tuesday morning, in our rented super nice minivan and drove off to the desert.  It was a really smooth ride, sometime too smooth going 100 mile per hour without even feeling it!  The boys were great, and within less than 4 hours we were at The Mirage checking-in.  We had 2 great connecting rooms with the best Jojo in the world!  Thanks Jojo for the room!!!  My Mom and Frank had arrived the day before and Brian’s family had arrived earlier that day.

We all met at the gorgeous pool for a swim as the HEAT was just crazy.  Wow!  I’ve always been to Vegas in the summer, but I had never seen a Vegas heat wave.  We couldn’t touch the pavement as it would have burned our feet instantly.  It was so hot we even saw an orange construction cone melting on the street.  It went up to 47 degrees at some point.  The air felt non-existent, like it was difficult to breath in.  So we had a few icy margaritas at the pool while enjoying a swim, and then went back inside to cool down and for a nap.

Later that day, we all met at the Forum Shops at Cesar’s Palace to have dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, yep second time in a week having dinner at the Cheesecake Factory… it was that good and we knew our family would enjoy it.  We had an awesome dinner and the best server.  We then took a walk down the Strip at about 11:30 at night and it was still above 35 degrees…

So the week before we were at Disneyland, and it was magical to see the boys’ reaction when meeting all of the characters… well Vegas was different… as they were scandalized and so confused to see Olaf and some Minions on the sidewalks without their costume’s HEAD while taking a break… so not like Disney!!!

Wednesday was wedding day!  Since the last time we had been there, the restaurant Giada had opened at the new hotel The Cromwell, so we decided to have brunch over there.  The restaurant is simply beautiful.  We had a great booth overlooking the Strip and Bellagio.  We shared a brick oven pizza and ceasar salad while the boys had the fanciest chicken strips and some amazing gelato ice cream sandwiches for dessert.

Then, we went back to our room and got ready for the wedding.  Drove over to The Little Church of the West and met up with our family and friends that had made the trip to see my mom getting married.  Took lots of pictures and then it was wedding time, or wedding minutes!  My Mom was gorgeous, and I was the one walking her down the aisle; both of us giggling all the way down.  It probably took less than 5 minutes for her and Frank to get married.  It was quick and beautiful.  We then headed out to one of our favorite restaurant, Maggiano’s.  It was really nice to be all together and celebrating this special day.  We had a wonderful time and the food was delicious, as always.

My Mom and Frank wanted to go to the Paris hotel where a band was playing in a little casino side cabaret.  And that’s when having kids in Vegas started to be a pain.  Until then, we didn’t really had any trouble with the kids, as we were able to go through all of the casinos in all of the hotels, as long as we wouldn’t stop, like NEVER.  You have to be in constant movement in the casinos or someone will come and warn you.  So thanks to our awesome stroller, it was easy for us to keep the kids seated (with the iPad or a toy to play with) for sometime an hour or so.  But that night it became a bit more difficult after we were told we weren’t allowed inside the cabaret with the kids… It was kind of sad for Brian to miss my mom’s wedding ‘reception’, but I understand their rules… so I stayed at the cabaret while Brian was circling around the casino.  Eventually, he left with the boys to bring them back to the room; a 15-minute walk took 1:30 with the stroller due to some of the elevators being broken, escalators too small for the stroller, and some closed walkway.  Basically, it was a pain.  So I stayed a little longer to listen to the band and dance with my mom on this special night.  There was an hilarious couple who were clearly out dancing us; kind of pretending they were on Dancing with the Stars!  It was hilarious!  Right before it was time to go, Jojo caught the bouquet, and then we said our goodbyes to the newly married couple!

On Thursday we took a quick trip to the Premium Outlets, met up with my friends Anik and Jannick who flew to Vegas for the wedding.  Came back for a swim and a nap, and THEN, got dressed up for the big event: LOVE by Cirque du Soleil.  We saw LOVE 7 years ago, but we wanted to see it again.  At first, when we booked our trip, the show was on hiatus.  But 3 weeks prior to our departure, a 10th Anniversary LOVE show was announced.  So we jump at the occasion and bought some tickets for us, Jojo and Brian’s dad.  Red carpet and all for Ringo Star, Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s son and Sir Paul McCartney.  We could see them from our seats; and it was just a unique experience to watch that show and listen to the Beatles’ music with Sir Paul sitting next to us in the crowd.  Fantastic show; we’ll see it again one day that’s for sure.  At the end, Sir Paul came on the stage and sang with us.  It was such a beautiful moment that I will never forget.

Matante Lulu babysat the boys in our room while we attended the show. Merci Matante!!!  By 10:30 the show was over but we weren’t ready to call it a night, so we all left for Fremont Street.  At 11:00 at night, parents of the year award goes to us!  And it was so inappropriate; the boys saw things they should have not seen for another 15 years!  The naked nuns being one of those!!!  I’ll just say it’s the last time for a while that I will venture out to Fremont Street!

So Friday was our last day of our 10 day California/Vegas trip.  We explored a few more hotels, gambled a little, took a few pictures and met up again with Jannick.  We had drinks at Serendipity on the strip side patio and did a bit of shopping.  Rounded up the gang and had one last dinner at the Mirage buffet.  Our flight was delayed and the boys were amazing staying up late once again.  We got lucky though, as the four of us were upgraded to first class seats for our red-eyed flight back to Montreal.  Let’s just say the boys looked really jet-set in first class with their drinks and provided iPad!  I could really get used to travelling like this!

So, in the end, it was not that bad bringing the kids to Vegas, but I wouldn’t recommend it (although they seemed to have enjoyed their trip and the night life!).  Logan really enjoyed Las Vegas as he sang ‘Viva Las Vegas’ so many times during the week, he was so cute!  Vegas or anywhere else, we just love to travel with people we love; it’s the best.

We will be back in Vegas for sure… next time at our beloved Wynn Encore… but without our boys by our side!  We love traveling with them, and of course I’m already planning on bringing them back to see Mickey soon, but Vegas is our own Disneyland, and we can’t wait to go back by ourselves!!!

Viva Las Vegas!

 

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last week of winter

First, I would like to announce the very lucky winner of the essential oils holder giveaway: Anne-Renée Caporicci!  Kind of forgot about it over March break, but better late than never!  Thank you to everyone who shared, liked and promoted my blog.  And thanks a lot to our friend from Scotty Wood Design for the great gift!  I wish I could give everyone a prize! You are all so great, thanks again for following mylemondroplife!  I promise I’ll do another giveaway very soon.

So last week was March break, finally!  We had been waiting for it for like forever.  We had a long to-do list, but not much got a chance to be crossed off.  It wasn’t on the list, but we did end up spending three straight days in our pajamas!  It should have been on the list cause it felt sooo good.

On our first day off, we slept in… well past the usual 7am.  A luxury!  And then we took the boys and their cousins to a few games of laser quest.  We met a friend from Liam’s class, played arcade games, had a lot of fun, and then we went for an ice cream cone at Chocolats Favoris.  Laser quest followed by ice cream cone is one of my boys favorite things to do!  One of my favorite as well.

Back home, we had Brian’s sister and brother over for dinner.  My brothers-in-law practically took over my home and Brian’s toolbox and repaired every minor things our house needed fixing for!  The question needs to be asked: where was my husband when they learned all of that?  I don’t want to know!  Well, thanks guys… please come back in May for the outside fixin’!

Sunday was snooze fest.  We each took turns for naps and being lazy.  These days are the best!

Monday was Trolls Day.  The boys have been obsessed with the movie and CD.  The music is awesome, or was awesome, for a while.  Logan got the soundtrack for Christmas and it’s all the music we have been listening to in the car since.  I can’t listen one more time to ‘Can’t stop the feeling’.  The movie has also been on a loop at home since we got it.  So, to make them happy on their first real March break day off, I decided to have a special day to honor Trolls.  My mom made the most awesome Trolls hat, it’s hilarious!  We also had popcorn and Trolls cookies and cones while watching -once again- the movie.

We had the best of days on Tuesday.  I had planned the chocolate paint activity with my cousins!  You can read more about that in my last post.  The kids had so much fun being together.  But it made me feel old, as I can remember spending time with my cousins during March break doing fun activities our parents had planned out for us.  Now, it’s our turn.

On Wednesday, as soon as Brian came back from work, we left for the cottage for a three nights little family getaway.  It was Brian’s first days off since our California adventure last summer, and the kids were really excited that the four of us were leaving on a ‘trip’.  Logan was expecting we’d take a plane and go to Disney, but no, not this time Loggy; it was only a short road trip to my uncle’s cottage in Morin Heights.  We were lucky enough to have the cottage for ourselves for the weekend (as my uncle was away down south with my mom for the week).  Morin Heights is a cute little village near Saint-Sauveur in the Laurentians.  We had packed our snowshoes, a bunch of kids movies and some snacks.  First stop was for a late diner at Patate Labelle in Lachute, a snack bar where you can get some of the best fast food around.  For me it was a poutine; HEAVEN!

Once we arrived, we made a fire and snuggled on the couch for what seems like hours.  By that I mean the boys on the iPad and myself taking a nap!

Next morning, we braved the cold and got out to the Glissades des Pays d’En Haut. We met up with our friends ‘les Roy’ and went sliding/tubing.  It was one of my favorite as a child and still is.  That place is so much fun with some really fast rides, but with next to nobody on the hills, bonus, there was like no waiting time.  After the first ride we already knew that our little Logan was not a fan.  Poor Loggy, he saw the hills and he started to cry, so I decided to skip a few with him, but we did managed to bring him back with us later for some more rides… but he definitely had more fun jumping on the tubes and eating snow than going down the hill!

We did the rafting and tornado slides and they were crazy!  I mean the 8 of us in one circle type of boat going down the hill while spinning and spinning, watch out!  I screamed the entire way down!

So we went back to the cottage, and then, of course, I took another nap… what can I say, for me, cottage + fire = I need a nap.  Well not only at the cottage, it’s actually one of my main priorities when on vacation.  But then I was ready for our feast.  Our friends joined us at the cottage, and we had cheese fondue, cheese raclette and another fondue.  But even after that amazing meal and all that good cheese, I got to say that the best part was the dessert!!!  Vero had made some croissants filled with Cadbury Easter eggs.  To die for… while the guys’ dessert was another craft beer… they found a spot in Morin Heights where there was a ton of Beau’s beer that they can’t find at our local LCBO… but as excited as they were, nothing could have come close to what I felt eating that Cadbury Egg croissant!  Shortly after we were done with the desserts, we were all so full, and the kids were all so exhausted that we called it a night.

Friday was already here and we went snowshoeing in the mountain trails.  I’d say it was a tad dangerous and a little extreme for some 4 and 6 years old, but it was just gorgeous.  After snowshoeing, we went for a French onion soup, then a nap, and then some main street shopping in Saint-Sauveur before ending up in a pub to celebrate St-Patty’s Day… with craft beers, burgers and an awesome dessert.  And then, one last night at the cottage, with the end of March break approaching way too fast…

On our way back home, we had to go say goodbye to Brian’s aunt, and on our way there we went to the theater to see Beauty and the Beast.  No spoiler alert here, just go watch that movie.  Wow!  We had dinner with Brian’s family, and then it was time to drive back to Rockland… and time to end our March break the same way we started it, in our pajamas!  It was a week filled with great snacks, great adventures, great friends, and many great naps… just the way it’s supposed to be!

Next, summer break!

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california dreamin’

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I remember, years ago, dreaming about going to Hollywood with my friend Annick to visit the land of our all-time favorite movie, Pretty Woman, renting a convertible and cruising down Rodeo Drive!  Well, sadly it never happened, but at the same time, Thank God we never went, because after spending a week there, let me tell you one thing: what a freaking mess it is to drive in LA!!!

So, we decided to travel to California and Las Vegas back in January.  I love planning trips, the excitement, the dreams and all the things you will do!  I never imagined LA was going to be this BIG!  We had a great flight, the boys were awesome; they just love going on a plane. They were so quiet, and happy, and relax, and sleepy.  Don’t worry, I did not exaggerated on the GRAVOL, I just followed their Doctor’s recommendation, or course!

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So we arrived in LA, all excited, ready for our big trip.  Once Brian got our minivan keys, we were ready for our driving journey!  My mom had rented a AirBNB for the week near Venice Beach, so that’s where we drove first.  We had guacamole and drinks, talked about our flight, about LA, and then we left to explore the city!  First stop: Venice Beach.  The beach was just gorgeous, with water for miles, beautiful sand, and a perfect gleaming sun.  We walked on the beach and Logan face planted the moment he started running for the Ocean!  It was hilarious!  They had a great time finding the smallest of seashells and just being pushed by the waves.  We should’ve spent more time at the beach on that first day, but we thought we would have time to come back; which we didn’t.  Next we explored the Venice Beach Boardwalk, an experience in itself.  Let’s be honest here, Venice Beach is not what I expected… let say there’s nothing glamorous about that place.  It was first on my list and now it may be last if we ever go back to LA.  We had snacks and walk for a few miles and then we started to get jet lag.  We had seen enough, so we drove to Anaheim, where we were actually staying.

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The boys fell asleep within 30 seconds, Jojo within 10 minutes, and we made it to Anaheim in no less than almost 2 hours with the never ending traffic.  We found our room, we unpacked, we freshened up, and with a second wind, we were now headed to Downtown Disney for a great diner at Napoli’s and a very late night on the town!  We had been up for almost 24 hours by the time we went to bed that night.  But after a short night of sleep, we spent the day at Disneyland.  One of my favorite place on earth.  When can I go back?

On Saturday, we had the chance to attend the most beautiful wedding ever.  Betsy and Andrew got married in LA.  The church was beautiful and the venue was out of this world.  We will never experience anything like this ever again.

Of course we had a few bumps on our way to the church!  We had an hour drive to the wedding, and as always, we were tight on time.  The boys were loud and agitated all morning long, but luckily for us, we had a dvd player in our rented minivan and the boys were really into that new movie we had bought that morning: Star Wars Lego, so we didn’t hear them for the first 45 minutes.  The last 15 was completely different thought.  Liam started to feel sick, while on the highway, right before our exit: ‘maman, I think I’m going to be sick’… Brian just said ‘F***ck…’ and looked at me in despair, knowing what was coming.  We were in our wedding attire, the boys were in their wedding attire, we had no wipes, no water, 2 pj’s and one plastic bag from Target because of that Star Wars dvd we had bought earlier that day!  So yeah, well said, f*ck

I got out of the passenger’s seat, unbuckled Liam, brought him in the back seat, I sat on the floor, my dress gathered around my waist, taking him out of his clothes as he was now so pale… and then it came all out… most of it in that Target plastic bag, all of this while driving at over 75 mph!  It was a nightmare.  I took one of the pj’s and wiped him with it!  Thank God we were only minutes away.  So we made it to the church, got out of the minivan, found a wedding guest who was nice enough to give me a bottle of water, cleaned him up, and dressed him up.  In no time he was top shape and we were ready, with even 5 minutes to spare before the wedding!  It was such a beautiful ceremony.

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Before going to the reception venue, we had an hour or so to burn, but I had a plan.  An In-N-Out plan!  So Logan and I got ourselves crazy good burgers while I took one of my favorite picture of the year!  Boy I could use one of these right now!  In-N-Out burgers are the best.

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We ended up in Santa Clara and drove by the ocean, until it was time to climb up that mountain to get to the reception.  That’s when I found my new fear of heights!  Ouff… we had to stop at least 5 times while driving there, as I had to put my feet of the pavement and take a few breaths.  But once we got there, it was paradise.  Felt like a movie.  Wedding out of dreams, at the Blackberry Creek Farm, where California meets Italy.  The food, the flowers, the dishes, the sky.   The bride and groom were gorgeous.  We dined under the lights in a valley surrounded by big trees.  All the details were thought of.  The boys played in a tree house, with a chandelier inside… my kind of playhouse!  And my kind of wedding!  In the end, we had such a fabulous time.  Thanks again for having us!  This place was just perfect: http://www.kellygulch.com/

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On Sunday morning we drove to Beverly Hills.  We snapped lots of pictures of boutiques, street signs and famous places.  I finally drove down Rodeo Drive (not in a convertible thought, but in our nice minivan!).  Then we visited Griffith Park and Observatory to see the Hollywood sign.  That new fear of heights reached another level that day while driving up there, and I was not able to enjoy the view from atop the mountain.  So we drove back fast enough to sea level, where I’m very comfortable!

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We made our way to Santa Monica Pier.  Wow.  The sky was clear, the sun was bright, it was so crowded, with music and people everywhere, yet, at the end of the pier, everything seemed to be so calm, and so peaceful.  This was Brian’s favorite moment of the trip, he seemed so happy to be there.  I have tears thinking about that moment  we spent over there, just staring at the never ending ocean.  It’s like we were alone in the world, it was just breathtaking.ca15

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We then played a few arcade games, won a few Shopkins for the boys, and watched a few performers along the way.  The beach was too crowded… we tried to swim, the boys wanted to go in the ocean again, but the waves were too strong.  We just stayed there for a few minutes and then packed up our stuff with a few pounds of sands in our swimsuits and we were on our way back to Anaheim.

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We had diner at The Cheesecake Factory… it’s good thing we don’t have one of those here…I would live there.  DELICIOUS food, and those cheesecake, huh… just kill me now!!!  No let me eat my cheesecake first, then kill me!

Monday was our last day in California.  We went to Disney California Adventure.  You can read about our time at Disney in one of my previous post.  The boys are now asking daily when are we going back there.  I don’t have an answer.  But I know it will happen again, eventually!  We had such a great trip, but we didn’t even have time to see half of what we wanted to see.  Next time we’ll have a convertible, lots of time, and we’ll drive from Napa to Disneyland!

Sunsets and palm trees, we love you.

 

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it’s just a little hocus pocus…our salem day trip

14567601_10154356482131293_2202737002413096952_oHocus Pocus, my favorite Halloween movie!  Which was mostly filmed in…SALEM!

The first time we went to Boston, in 2007, I saw a Salem sign on the way there and I just SCREAMED!  I had no clue where Salem was but I knew this was the witches town, and witches equal Halloween, and Halloween equals fun!  I wanted to go right away, Brian didn’t, so finally we settled that we would stop on our way back…  I think he was hoping I’d forget about this while we were in Boston, but oh no I didn’t, I thought about it all weekend long…

So, on our way back we took the Salem exit, found a little village, not a ‘cute’ little village, though, like I imagined, but anyway, we were there and we started to look for witches!  I had my Salem-witch-hunt-map ready, but strangely, it seems like I couldn’t find anything, it was just so confusing, the street didn’t match, there were no stores, nothing scary really.  So we stopped at a General Store and Brian went in and asked where the most popular Witches Dungeon was, and, yeah, well, the answer was ‘sorry Sir, but what you’re looking for is Salem, Massachusetts.  Here, you’re in Salem, New Hampshire’.  So Salem, Massachusetts was left of the bucket list, until 3 weeks ago!

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So during our last minute October road trip to Boston, we finally planned a full day in Salem!  Woohoo!  We had no particular agenda, I just wanted to walk and visit this really ‘cute’ and unique village.  October is very special for Salem, they call it Haunted Happenings, has they host a month long  Halloween party!  Yep, my kind of place.  We got lucky, as it was also the Food Truck Festival while we were there in the  Salem Common, a park right in the middle of this historic village.  It was full of amazingly delicious food trucks, with so many people, a little bit of rain, some New England Clam Chowder and a few lobster rolls; we all enjoyed our food truck lunch under a huge pergola!

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We walked on the red line all day, which guides you through town.  Going through shops, little cafés, delicious bake shops, while stopping every 15 feet to take pictures.  We saw the CLUE house (ya, like the game, where a real murder happened!!!), the Bewitched statue of Samantha, and a wand shop called Wynotts.  Everything was stunning…simply scary stunning!  I was in heaven.  The houses, the trees, the crooked sidewalks; I am just in love with this place.  I can’t wait to go back… yeah, well, I’m going back next year, just decided!!!  Next year I want to bring my mom and the boys.  They would love it.  So bucket list for next summer: Salem!  And this time I wanna do the Red Trolley Tour and the Hocus Pocus tour (it was sold out).

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As I’ve said before, I’m not into the scary stuff, but even I loved walking in the Salem 300 years old cemetery…it was kinda creepy but yet so fascinating, or something like that!  The old stones, the huge tombs, the graved names, the old trees and the very old iron gate; it felt like in a movie.  Well, it was like in a movie… as this cemetery is the exact same one you see in the movie Hocus Pocus!

So next year, I want to spend more time just sitting in a pub or café, take a tour, visit Dani and Max’s house, visit the witch dungeon, and do the Salem Escape Room!

You have to visit, and if you do, please bring me!  It’s just a little Hocus Pocus!

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Ah say ento pi alpha mabi upendi

Ah say ento pi alpha mabi upendi

In comma coriyama

In comma coriyama

Hey, hey, high, high

Say bye-bye!

Bye bye!

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sweet caroline and farewell big papi

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Boston is one of our favorite city.  Beautiful skyline, by the dirty water, gorgeous big old houses and vintage buildings, too many things to visit and home of the Red Sox.

I bought our first tickets to our Beloved Ballpark 9 years ago for Brian’s birthday (mistake #1).  We had never went to Fenway Park, or Boston.  We ended up watching 4 games in 3 days… (mistake #2).  Didn’t even had time to visit anything, or just to do anything, but boy did I end up knowing a lot about the Sox.  You know what Drew Barrymore went through in the movie Fever Pitch with her crazy-red-sox-fan-boyfriend doing nothing else than talking about baseball, well that resumes my first weekend in Boston (except I didn’t got hit by a foul ball, thank God).

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Since then, we have been to Boston every other years.  Always with ball games in mind, with never enough time for my ever growing list of things to do, or things to see.

This past weekend was no different.  But at least one thing got crossed of my list, Salem!

It was a last minute road trip with our friends Pat and Mel; and it was one of the best!  The last few days leading to our trip were discouraging, with a shitty weather forecast, as it was supposed to rain non-stop for the entire weekend, but it didn’t, only a few drops on Saturday.  Wouldn’t say gorgeous weather but we had an awesome time nonetheless.

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 We left very early on Friday morning, maybe too early for some of us, making a first stop for coffee at 6 am and then heading to the border.  Vermont is just gorgeous this time of the year, I wanted to stop and take pictures of everything; the mountain, the lakes, the views, everything was just so nice.  Then on our second stop, at the New Hampshire Liquor Store, I let out a very LOUD scream out of nowhere, Pat hit the break, Brian told me WTF as he thought we had ran over someone or something, but no, no one was harmed, it was just a scream of excitement as I’ve just spotted the most perfect, gigantic, orangy 1200 lbs pumpkin in a pick-up truck!!!  I almost jumped out of the running car!  The boys were annoyed by myself a little, but I was just so happy!  So I took a few selfies with this beauty, Pat bought a Cinnabon something bottle of something, Mel some bottles of wine and Brian a nice bottle of Scotch that he was so excited to get for ‘half the price’ he would have paid in Canada he said, but in the end, I think my pumpkin was the most exciting thing at that Liquor Store and so worth my screaming.  For me it was just the best way to start an October road-trip!

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Once we got to Boston, we visited our favorite mall, stores and had a great lunch at Panera.  Spent way too much time in a Sports Memorabilia shop with Pat and Bry, at the official New England sports gallery/store; Brian was like a kid looking at everything and showing me all the David Ortiz signed framed he could find, hoping I’d tell him to get one!  He got one, and I couldn’t care less, but my only request of the day: FIND ME A TARGET!  They did, and they left me there for a while!!!  God I miss that store!  I love you Target.  Then, we made our way to the heart of Boston to eat at one of our favorite restaurant, Maggiano’s.  We found that italian-family-style restaurant on our honeymoon in Vegas, and now, every time we’re in the states, we try to find one.  We shared many appetizers, including my ultimate favorite one, the Mozzarella Marinara, all that melted cheese, it’s to die for!  Great pasta dishes and perfect crème brulée!

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 On Saturday we visited Salem, which in itself is worthy of its own post!  So stay tuned Witches!!!

 On Sunday morning we packed all our stuff and headed to a place that is very dear to my husband, Fenway Park… America’s Most Beloved Ballpark and Home of the Boston Red Sox!  I’m not a sports fan, but there’s something about this place that melts your heart and makes you want to cheer and scream for the Red Sox.

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Brian’s favorite player, David Ortiz, is retiring at the end of the season, and the Red Sox were hosting a weekend long party honoring him.  Always at full capacity, Fenway was filled two hours before the first pitch with first timers, families, friends, loyal fan, and Red Sox Nation, ready to give a proper Farewell to their one and only Big Papi.  It was an emotional day at Fenway, celebrating one of the best player of our generation and one of the greatest Red Sox of all time (as he told me to say in my Blog).  I have to say that the ceremony was very touching, even for me.  Grown man crying, then smiling, then crying, aka Brian, people chanting his name, and everybody just having a great time.

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So Bry had a few beers, we had sausages and Fenway Franks, pretzels and some crazy pulled pork fries.  We sang take me out to the ball game and Sweet Caroline, my favorite one, always watching while we’re singing if we’ll appear on the big screen (it happened once and I have a picture to show it).  We were just so happy to be there, for his last game, all of us.  Thanks for all the memories Papi!

Then, after they lost, we left the stadium, full and ready for a long long drive back home!

Oh Fenway, we will miss you, but we will be back!  Boston you’re my home.

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disneyland part two- california adventure

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We had a plan:  Get in, no pictures, run, go to Cars Land and get in line for Radiator Springs Racers.  I was a woman on a mission, ride the most sought after ride within 15 minutes of our arrival!  CHECK!

With less than 10 minutes wait, we got a McQueen Racer.  The kids were (who am I kidding, I was) beyond excited!  What a ride!  Gorgeous scenery, the music, the atmosphere and then the race…our boys were scared but so happy we had won!  What a thrill!  We now had to get fast passes to ride at night.  CHECK!

Cars Land was beyond anything I had ever experience.  We were transported into the movie.  It’s one of our family’s favorite.  Cars Land did not disappoint.  We rode Luigi Rollickin Roadsters and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, we laugh so much!  We took a walk with McQueen.  Life was perfect!  We got to the Cozy Cones and Liam fell in love…with a cone!  It was hilarious!  Pictures, hugs and kisses, and promises to come back later that day!

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We now had to explore the rest of the park!  Brian and Josée did California Screamin’ 3 times in a row, we played the arcades and won a Mickey!  Got a few churros, man these things are good!  And then magic!  Logan needed a bathroom break, so Brian took him.  On their way, a cast member stopped them and asked if they liked Toy Story.  Of course they said yes!  Woody then came out, gave Logan a sheriff badge and a certificate.  They took pictures together and Logan was named Sheriff of Andy’s toy box!  Only one person a day get this special treatment and Logan (and his family) was the lucky one!  We got fast passes for rides, first in line for meet and greets with Disney characters and some privilege seating for the World of Color show.  Thanks Woody and Disney!

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We had ice cream and margaritas, more churros, Mickey shaped ice cream and frozen slushies!  We rode Goofy’s Sky Flight, Tower of Terror, Soarin’ Over California, , Monsters Inc, and more!  We got to spend time alone with Anna and Elsa, Buzz, Woody, Olaf and Judy Hopps aka Judy Bunny for Logan!  Walking across this park is a treat in itself!  The beautiful theaters, buildings, the lake and the most gorgeous ferris wheel ever!

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We also got amazing tickets for the new Frozen show at the Hyperion.  Forth row, a show worthy of Disney Broadway.  It was magical.  We loved it!

We now had a ride to catch in Cars Land!  Liam, Josée and myself, got back to the Racers for one last drive.  Radiator Springs Racers is even better at night!

One of the things I loved most in the movie Cars, is when the main street gets lit up, all the cars are riding to ‘Sheeboom’.  At 8:03, the same music started, and one by one, they lit up the buildings!  I got chills and a bit teary eyed.  I wish I could have froze the time there.  And then Dj’s came rolling down the street with some Flo’s V8 waitresses and it was party time!

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Time had come to take our places for World of Color.  A beautiful show of water, lights and special effects.  The last 60 years of Disney was portraid in a magical way that only Disney can do!  I left the park with tears of happiness and bit of sadness.  For the beautiful day we had spent together, the special memories we had created and how lucky I was to be here with my family.  Sadness, I wanted everyone I love to be there with us.  Sadness because we would never have this day again.  My babies would be older the next day and maybe we would never get to go back…It was hard to say goodbye.

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‘Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy’

Until we meet again Disney!

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our first trip to disneyland- part one

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Needless to say, I’m a Disney fan!  Or Disney addict!

Theme parks, movies, shows and everything in between.  The moment I knew my due date for Liam, we had a trip planned, 3rd birthday at Disney World in 2014.  It never occurred to me to visit Disneyland in California, until my mother decided to get married in Vegas.  Wanting another Disney vacation, wheels in my head started turning NON-STOP about going to DISNEYLAND.  It was meant to be, Disneyland 60th Anniversary, a wedding in California and one in Vegas within one week, my decision was made.  For the first time, we would visit the park where the magic started!  The four of us and Josée, Logan’s godmother, cousin, friend and best travel company anybody could have, we traveled to California for a once in a lifetime trip!

We only had two day to visit two parks.  Many hours were spent researching what rides to do, what show to see, what food to eat and where that special Mouse would be!  I knew the maps of the parks by heart, we needed a bathroom, I knew where to find one!  The best places for the parades, we got them!  I had dreams and dreams about the parks and how it would all play out!  My bucket list was long, my expectations high and my wish list a mile long!  Like magic, our two days in Disneyland were better than imagined…they were perfect!

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We got there for the opening, Mickey ears in place, ready to explore!  The boys were ready.  I created two mini-Disney addict within 5 years!  They could not wait to meet their favorite characters.  And so was I!  We go to meet Tinker Bell, and it will probably be one of my favorite memory ever.  Liam has a stuff crocodile from the movie Pirate Fairy, he’s been carrying that thing for almost 2 years.  When we got to meet Tink, she immediately recognized Crocky and was all over the boys.  The love she showed them was above and beyond.  Hugging them, talking with them and trying french words was awesome!  We spent 5 minutes alone with her and that’s 5 of the best minutes of my life!

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The lines for the rides were short, some non-existent!  Logan did Splash Mountain, something Brian will regret his entire life!  We rode the classic Perter Pan’s Flight, It’s a Small World, Dumbo and Mad Tea Party!  We did a few of the grown-up rides during the boys nap.  The afternoon parade was awesome!  Logan could not stop screaming at what was coming, he would grab our wrist and try to push us on the street to see what he was seeing!  Peter Pan found us, or rather Crocky!  He tried to have Crocky eat Hook!  I had my first Dole Whip!  I should dedicate an entire post on this fabulous snack!!!  It was as awesome as everybody says!  All the food was amazing!  Weather was crazy hot!  We bought balloons, light up glow swords, Ariel’s bubble maker for Lulu and the little peas from Toy Story!  Liam found out about Star Wars and now wants everything BB8!  Logan found out he doesn’t like rides as much as he though!  I found out I loved Disney even more than I though!  My husband found out that it would not be our last Disney trip!!!

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The new Paint the Night Electrical Parade was beautiful and the fireworks after made me cry like a baby.  Magical fireworks, Frozen song and snow falling on our head was more than our hearts could handle!

We opened and closed the parks and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I wasn’t gonna miss a minute!  The boys were awesome, they should get a medal!  We were lucky; no crying, no wining and didn’t ask for too much stuff!  I spent an enormous of time telling them how lucky they were to be there, to eat Mickey shaped ice cream and to view those beautiful parades.  I think they got it.   I would often ear “Nous on est vraiment chanceux hein Maman, hein?”  I made my heart explode!

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Oh Disney, why do you have to be so far!  We’ve been back a month and everyday the boys are asking if we can go back!  So for now, we look at pictures and video, we watch our favorite movies and pretend plan our next trip!

Advice:  Don’t wait!  It’s my best advice!  Don’t wait until they’re older, don’t wait until they’ll remember it and just don’t wait!  Magic as no age, but younger kids see magic differently, it’s alive!  A life size mouse is only real for some time.  Snow falling on our head is only real in Disneyland on sizzling summer days!  Flying elephant might never get old for me, but for them, it might!  Our boys will never be this age again and they will grow out of wanting to meet the Princesses, but we will never regret taking the time to feel this magic and to live it through their eyes!

Disneyland, you exceeded our expectations.  You created magic, joy and love.  You gave us memories to last a lifetime.  Not sure we’ll have the chance to visit you again.

But until then, “if you can visualize it, if you can dream it, there’s some way to do it.”  -Walt Disney

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