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Well, we went on our first vacation as a family of three. It went both better and worse than we had expected... but I'll get into all of that later. Just be prepared for photo overload. We've been planning a california/disney trip since the first year we were married but didn't actually end up happening until this time around. The first time, we had it all planned and just needed to buy our tickets BUT then we went on a last-minute trip to Korea instead. The second time around, we had everything planned out and just needed to buy our tickets, but then I was insanely sick (turns out, I was pregnant haha). So, needless to say, this trip was long overdue!

Billie actually did very well with the nine hour drive. I was very grateful for that because I was stressing like crazy over that part of the trip. On the way down to California, she stayed very content for the majority of the time and the only issue we really had to deal with was a blowout just outside of St. George (which was exciting, as you can imagine). We were so anxious during the last two hours of the drive, though. We brought our cute friend, Morgan along for the adventure and we were all planning on meeting up with my BFF Jill (who, by the way, is now living in Newport) at Laguna beach. We were watching the sun sink lower and lower in the sky as we inched slowly forward and prayed to the heavens above that we'd make it to the beach before the sun sunk below the horizon.

We made it just in the knick of time! I think we got to spend about half an hour on the beach before it the sky went dark. I haven't seen Jill since about November, so when we pulled up and saw her waving enthusiastically as she greeted us, we were nothin' but smiles. She grabbed Billie and lead the way down to the sandy shoreline. 

Believe it or not, I didn't get to see a beach until I was about fourteen years old. I remember so vividly the way I felt when I finally got the opportunity to look out and see the seemingly-endless blue horizon. I fell in love almost instantly. I was so excited to share the magical powers of vitamin sea with Billie.

We dipped her little baby toes in the cool foam of the ocean as it rose to meet the sand. She let out a little gasp as the cold kissed her feet and then, as she began to get more comfortable, she would squish her toes in the sand. At first, she wasn't sure how to react, but before long she was bouncing her legs up and down and waving her arms about frantically as she let out excited little squeals. I think it's safe to say that she liked it. Her excitement about the ocean made me equally as excited and I kept flipping my head around to exclaim, "She likes it! Tay, she seriously loves it!" repeatedly in Taylor's direction.

I think that one of my very favorite parts about being a mom is simply watching Billie interact with the world around her and gain new experiences. It's so fun to see the wheels in her head start to turn as she learns and grows and figures things out. This trip was full of so many sweet little moments with her. We learned that she loves it when I tickle her cheeks with my hair and that she doesn't like when she can't see everything that's going on around her. 

Sometimes it's still weird for us because we don't feel like we're "old enough" to be parents. But part of me is starting to believe that we'll never feel as old as we actually are and we'll never feel old enough to be doing the things we're doing in life. So we're just embracing each new phase of life as it comes and trying to make the most of it.

It was really fun to spend some time with some of my oldest friends. I met Morgan back in either fifth or sixth grade when we ended up in the same ward (what we call our congregation at church). Our friendship bloomed and blossomed into middle school and high school as we shared a mutual love for Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings (more specifically, Aragorn). Jill and I have been friends since seventh grade. Our friendship began when we discovered that there was another human being in the world who was equally as strange as ourselves. If only people knew how weird things got when we figured out we could be weird together. 

One thing that's extra-fun about being married to Tay is the fact that we have known each other for so long and share a lot of the same friends. Because not only are Morgan and Jillian my friends, but they're his friends too. Which made this trip extra, extra fun.

Morgan's cute little sister got her mission call this past week and ended up opening it while we were sitting out on Laguna Beach. So Morgan facetimed with her family in order to find out where she'd be going on her 1.5 year service mission. She's going to Richmond, VA, by the way! 

There's something about the beach that can heal your soul and help your mind feel refreshed. I kept joking that, even if we drove for nine hours just to be on the beach for half and hour, we could turn around and drive straight back to Utah at that point and it would have still been completely worth it. It's been a long time since I last got to stand on a beach. It was just what I needed.

That evening, we ate dinner together at a little pizza place right off the beach. We hadn't eaten anything all day aside from road trip junk food, so a warm meal was very much appreciated by our grumbling bellies. Morgan sat next to Billie in the back of the car for the whole drive down to California and they quickly became best friends. For basically the entire weekend, Billie would get the biggest, cutest gummy smile on her face anytime she'd see Moe. 

It was so cute to watch them interacting with each other. And I kept having those weird surreal feelings of, "What the heck? My high school friend is playing with my baby. I wonder what our middle school selves would think if they could see us now." Such a crazy thing to experience, really.

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On Saturday morning, we met up with the cutest photographer, Brittany, whom we hired to take our family photos on the beach. We planned on doing Disneyland that day as well, so I was definitely stressing over the fact that I tried to cram a million things into one little weekend. BUT, I am SO glad that we followed through with our plans to get our family photos done on this trip. They couldn't have turned out more perfect and now these photos will always be linked to all of the other great memories we created while we were on this little trip. I think we've decided to make it a tradition to do more family sessions as we travel. (I'll share more of these photos soon-- they're seriously so good and they deserve their own post!)

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Fun fact, I've only ever been to Disneyland once in my life (not counting this trip). I went with my family before one of my soccer tournaments out in Cali when I was sixteen years old. We were there for about three days and I specifically remember telling my mom that I thought it was the most romantic, magical place in the whole world. I've been dying to make my way back to Disney for YEARS, so when we finally stepped foot into the park again, I was elated! I was so anxious the entire drive back to Anaheim from Malibu (where we did our family session) because I wanted to make sure we'd have enough time (but we were only planning on spending two days in Disney, so of course we wouldn't have enough time).

Our first day was just as magical as I'd hoped it would be. Turns out, going to Disneyland with a baby can actually be pretty beneficial. They have this magical thing called the "Rider Swap" that makes it possible for you to ride the rides that babies can't ride. We used the heck out of that, too. (It basically gives you a fast pass). Between all of the rides we went on and eating all the foods that smelled far too good to resist, we had a pretty full day. 

Speaking of full.... Billie had a massive blowout on our first day! We ended up having to buy her a new set of pants because we were underprepared in terms of extra clothing. But it all ended up working out okay. Disneyland actually has a baby care center that is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. They have changing tables and a little section for nursing mothers (with comfy chairs, fyi). Taylor just liked it because it was quiet and had air conditioning. Tay just kept saying, "Of course. It only makes sense that Disneyland is the most baby-friendly place." But can we just take a second to appreciate how cute of a dad Taylor is? Tay and Billie are the cutest pair.

California Adventure had a really cool section of the park that was decorated for the Chinese New Year. They had all kinds of cool stuff going on to celebrate. We were pretty stoked to find a little Korean food cart with mandu and bokkumbap! (One of the many reasons why I love Tay is the fact that he appreciates Korean food as much as I do!) I was actually pretty surprised by how good the food from the Korean food cart was. 

One of our favorite parts about taking Billie to Disneyland was simply getting to peek into her stroller and see her either sleeping or smiling.  We've always known she's a good baby, but this trip proved to us just how awesome she is! She stayed content basically the entire time (with the exception of a couple hours on one of the days because she was tired and refused to go to sleep). She made the experience so much sweeter than we could have ever anticipated.

We had such a fun Disney group, too, which made Disney that much more fun. I loved getting to be in the happiest place on earth with my little family. And I loved getting to be there with some of my oldest friends as well. One of the most exciting things was when Jill got a call from Jenn asking what she was doing over the weekend-- and then Jenn made the drive down from Utah to California to go to Disney with us for our second day! It was just so chill and so fun. You can't complain about being in the happiest place with the coolest people and the yummiest food. We watched the sun set from Paradise Pier at the end of our second day and it somehow resulted in us having an impromptu photoshoot with everyone (it was hilarious)! Billie puked on Tay's head and one point and we had old ladies wearing Yoda backpacks rolling their eyes at us for being so "millennial..." which only encouraged us to start being even more ridiculous.

I'm running out of words, but here are some funny pics of us on the rides because we're real good at making really ugly faces. Tay's "scared" face is probably one of my favorites. In the first photo, we all said we were going to have a competition to see who could make the ugliest face on Guardians of the Galaxy. Jill and I both walked off the ride saying, "Woah. I don't know what I did... but I do know that I just made a reallllllly good face on that one." When we saw the photo we just about died because SOMEHOW we both essentially made the exact same face! Still laughing about that, to be honest. 

This trip will forever have a special place in my heart for more reasons than just one; it was our first trip as a family of three, my first time going to Disneyland with Tay (and Billie too, for that matter), my second time going to Disney ever, it was my first real trip with my friends.... the list goes on. We seriously couldn't have anticipated how awesome it was going to be-- we didn't know how badly we'd needed a road trip until we piled everyone in a car and drove down to California for the weekend. Looks like we'll have to go on road trips more often than we have been.

This trip also just gave us confidence about traveling with a baby. I was stressing over every minor detail leading up to the trip, but I quickly learned that everything works itself out in the end and there's no use stressing over everything. Traveling is much different than it used to be, of course, but it's still SO doable if you just plan things out a little more precisely (we used to wing things a lot more). I hope we will able to give Billie lots of new experiences in new and exciting places as she grows up.

The only down side of the trip was the long and treacherous journey home. It has been such a mild winter in Utah that we forget to even think about the possibility of a snow storm during our travels. But, lo and behold, on the day we'd originally planned to drive straight home from California to Utah, there were winter storm warnings and closed freeways. At the last second, we decided to leave straight from Disneyland and start the drive home at 8pm the night before we'd originally planned. We made a pit-stop in St. George for the night and didn't end up rolling in until about 3:30am. We left the next morning around 11:00am (we just wanted to make sure Tay was well-rested enough for the journey) and ended up not getting home until about 6pm. So a drive that typically only lasts for about four hours ended up taking about seven hours. 

We drove straight through a blizzard basically the entire time. It was so bad that it was even snowing in St. George when we started to leave! There were so many accidents that the traffic on the freeways was awful in several different places. At times, it felt more like a parking lot than a highway. 

Thankfully, Billie was in an impeccably good mood that day. She handled the long drive like a champ and kept us all feeling silly because we were more grouchy about being in the car for a longer period of time than she was. 

BUT, we made it home safe and sound and that's really all we wanted. It was a crazy drive that felt like it added another three days onto the duration of our trip, but it was worth all the fun that came before it. The big takeaway from this weekend: just do it. Travel is something that means a lot to us. because experiences and memories in new and exciting places mean a lot to us. I'm not going to lie, constantly hearing the words, "Good thing you traveled a lot before you had a baby because that's all going to come to a screeching halt once the baby arrives!" made me really sad. We had every intention to continue traveling as a family even after the baby came, but I got more and more nervous about it every time someone would tell me that it wasn't going to work out that way. This trip was somewhat of a "trial run" for us. And I think we've come to the realization that, yeah, things are different with a baby, but you can still chase after your dreams and accomplish your goals even as a parent; parenthood is NOT the end of the world. 

It's just the beginning of a new and exciting adventure. It's different, yes, but DOABLE.

Taylor: "Babe, get a pic of me walking under this sign that says 'bye' because I think it would be cool." You were totally right, babe. So cool. (I LOVE HIM SO MUCH!!!!)



  1. Looks like such a fun trip! Disneyland is my absolute favorite place in the world. And it definitely makes it better when you're there with your friends and family.

    1. It's seriously the best place-- that's why they call it the happiest place on earth!

  2. What's Jillian doing in California?

    1. She moved out there because she's always wanted to! She's now working with a design team and living out all her dreams.


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