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Legoland Castle Hotel Room Tour

We've been back from Legoland for a solid day now and I'm still so tired. Needing a vacation from your vacation is a real thing right? I convinced Kinsley to nap with me for two hours yesterday and it was the greatest thing ever. I hope she always wants to nap with me in the afternoons! 

Luckily, there was lots of sleep to be had on this vacation too. We stayed at the Legoland Castle Hotel, and our room was so fun, and had so many amazing details for the kids. The reason we picked this room was because they had a specific bunkbed room for the kids to share. The room was pretty small, but it was big enough for Kinsley to roll her wheelchair in to play with the Legos, so big enough for what we needed it for. 

Kinsley slept on the top bunk because it had a bigger bed rail, but if we wanted to go through the effort, they would have brought another bedrail to go on the bottom bunk for her to sleep there. We wound up putting Kyle on the bottom, and Kinsley on the top, and everything worked really well. Bonus points the kids were so exhausted by the time we went to bed each night that they went to sleep super fast. 

One of my favorite details when we entered the room was this welcome sign waiting for us on the TV. It was such a small little detail, but Kyle couldn't get over, "How do they know our name?!" the entire time! 

The kids room didn't have a closing door, just a sliding curtain. Two feet down the hallway from them was Derek and I's bedroom. We had a complete king size bed with lots of blankets and pillows... and let me tell you, after walking 20,000+ steps each day we were here, this bed was heavenly at night. Pure heaven. 

The only downside was that the walls were tissue paper thin. The people in the room next to us were having a super casual conversation and we could pretty much hear the entire thing. Not a huge deal because they weren't being loud and obnoxious, but just a heads up that if you can hear them, they can hear you. 

The bathroom was really big and nice, which worked out well when we were all trying to change and get dressed at the same time when we got back from the beach. I was super impressed that all the shampoos, soaps, and conditioners, were all natural/organic, and didn't have any harsh chemicals. I usually correlate hotels with lower end products, so it was nice to see that was something the resort valued. 

Likewise, when we were in the theme park, all the kid's food was organic. Yogurt, juices, milk, fruit snacks, everything. I assume not everything was organic, but it was nice that all the pre-packaged things that you would buy for your kids were. If I'm going to pay for overpriced resort food, having it be good quality that I would feed my kids at home makes the $46 lunch we ate a little bit better. 

Lastly, Our room was adorned with tons of awesome Lego statues, along with a disclaimer that if we broke one of them we'll have to pay $900. The safe that the green dragon is on top of had Lego sets for the kids inside. They place one small set in there each day, for each kid, so the kids walked away with two new mini sets from the room as well. 

There were a lot of things in the hotel that we didn't get to like swimming in the pool. and the entertainment in the hotel restaurant each night. I feel like since we were only there two nights, it was hard to cram it all in. I think one extra day would have been great to feel like we really got the most out of the hotel, but we still had a ton of fun, and it was totally worth the trip!

San Diego Day 2| Legoland California Resort

Yesterday was our second day in San Diego, and it did not disappoint. The entire reason we came here was because Kyle wanted to go to Legoland for our family vacation this year, so yesterday was the BIG DAY. We were originally going to go to Disneyland, but Kyle came home from school last year with a flyer for Legoland, and BEGGED for us to come here instead. I looked up the prices, and it was $800 for us to stay in the Legoland Castle Hotel for two nights, go to the park one day, and the aquarium the next. Disneyland would have cost us just about double the price, and we wouldn't be staying right next door to the park. Legoland sounded very appealing at that point. 

We started the day with eating breakfast at the hotel, and playing in the hotel courtyard before we could head into the park at 9:30. The courtyard is amazing, with wheelchair accessible playgrounds, tables filled with legos to build on, large Lego bricks that you can build life size towers with, and so much more. The kids could have easily stayed here all day to play.

If you're going to Legoland with someone who has a disability, right when you walk into the park you'll want to head into "Guest Services" directly to your right. Once you're inside, they'll give you a pass to take with you on all of the rides so you don't have to wait in any lines. We chose to come in September because we knew the park would be less crowded, and it was worth it to us to take the kids out of school to come because we knew if we were spending this kind of money, we wanted them to get maximum enjoyment. That being said, there were almost no lines, which made our disability pass almost pointless, but if you're coming in peak travel seasons, it will be totally worth it. 

We spent the morning going on most of the rides in the "Explorer Island, Funtown, Miniland USA, Imagination Zone, and Ninjago World." Kyle and Kinsley were both tall enough to go on all of the rides, and seriously loved going on the rollercoasters. I was so nervous someone was going to have a meltdown at some point during the day, but they were so happy the entire time. It was a total blast. 

Derek and Kyle had watched all of the Star Wars movies together this year, so seeing all the Lego Star Wars sculptures was a huge deal for both Kyle and Derek. They were totally geeking out together, it was super cute! 

After the Star Wars area, we headed to the Ninjago World for Kyle to pickup a new Lego set. He'd been super obsessed with Ninjago on Netflix for the last year, so he was super excited when they had an entire store dedicated to nothing but Ninjago! 

Kyle wanted to push Kinsley around the park in her wheelchair all day long, and I seriously thought it was the sweetest thing ever. I had to snap a picture in case this becomes something he loathes 10 years from now. I need to be able to remind him that at one point he begged to do it ;)

After lunch we headed to Castle Hill where Kinsley went on a horse ride that she was absolutely obsessed with. I was a little nervous because she had to mount the horse and ride the entire ride on her own without an adult, but she did so well, and rode it several times. We also let Kinsley go into the gift shop in this area to pick out her souvenir, and she walked away with a giant unicorn Beanie Boo. She ALMOST got a Disney Frozen Lego set (a practical choice when at Legoland), but once she saw the unicorn there was no convincing her otherwise. It's name is Pixi and will live with us for all eternity. 

After Pixi joined the family we grabbed a snack before heading to "Pirate Shores, and Land of Adventure" to finish off the rides that we didn't get to during the beginning of the day. At this point Derek was feeling a little sick and had to sit out on some of the rides, so he played photographer while the kids and I went on the rest of the ones we'd missed. The kids even made a friend from the hotel and rode one of the last rides of the day with her. I love how she just sat in the middle of Kyle and Kinsley and made herself at home. 

Overall I'm glad we came to Legoland exactly when we did. The minimum height for the roller coasters was 42 inches, and since Kinsley was 43 inches, she got to go on everything. There aren't any huge rides here that were too much for them, but just enough to give them that little thrill. I honestly don't think we'll ever come back, just because I think if our kids were any older they wouldn't love the castle themed hotel room, and the rides might not be as thrilling. I was telling Derek that this trip was so amazing and perfect, that I don't want to come back and think, "Man, it just wasn't as good as the first time we came." I really want to end it on a high note, and I think our kids were the perfect ages to do that. 

Another thing I really loved though was how inclusive Legoland is for disabilities. I'd heard that they were better at inclusion than Disney was, and I totally believe it. It seriously made me so happy to see that they had Lego Figure statues in wheelchairs, both at the hotel, and in the park. They really go out of their way to make sure every person of every shape, size, color, and ability feels represented, which I think is really special. 

Once we were done at the park, we made our way back to the hotel and relaxed for a couple hours before heading to the grocery store, getting some food for a picnic, and we all watched the sunset on the beach together. It was pretty cloudy, so the views weren't amazing, but there were tons of surfers to watch which was super fun! 

Today is our last day here. We're planning on going to the aquarium, and then have some time to kill before heading back to Utah at 8pm. If you have any good recommendations of things we should do, feel free to let us know in the comments! 

Day One In San Diego| 7 Accessible Beaches with Free Beach Wheelchairs

Yesterday was our first full day in San Diego. We're just here for a quick family vacation, but are packing lots of fun into three short days. We started off the day at 6am, woke the kids up, and headed to the airport for our 9:30am flight. The kids did really awesome flying, and Kinsley's wheelchair made it through the flight without getting destroyed, so I'm calling that a major success. 

When we landed we went to the rental car place, and decided to upgrade to an SUV so we'd have more room for Kinsley's wheelchair. We were so bummed to find out we paid more money, only to find out the chair didn't fit. We had to take the wheels and tippers completely off to get it in the trunk, and then it just barely fit once we got the suitcase in too. 

Side note: When Derek and I first got married we bought a brand new 2012 Ford Escape, and a year later regretted the decision because we now had a car payment we didn't have before. For years I HATED that we bought that car. After this experience with the rental car, it makes me think that maybe Heavenly Father put that car in our place at a very specific time and place, because of how amazing it's been for our family since. It fits Kinsley's wheelchair, gait trainer, and a suitcase if we wanted, without having to take anything apart. Total blessing in disguise that I appreciate seven years and one paid off car after the fact. 

Seven Accessible Beaches: 
After we got our rental car we headed straight to La Jolla Shores to play in the water with the kids. It was super windy, but the ocean water was surprisingly warm! The kids loved splashing in the waves and had an absolute blast. When we were on the airplane I quickly googled "Assessable beaches San Diego", and was surprised to find out that seven local beaches were not only accessible, but had free beach wheelchair rentals as well. If you're heading to San Diego with a wheelchair bound love one, check out one of these seven beaches: 

Ocean Beach
Mission Beach
Cornado Beach
Silver Strand State Park
Imperial Beach
La Jolla Shores
Oceanside Harbor Beach

Each beach has either a manual or electric wheelchair free of use, which can be accessed from the lifeguard buildings. This website here has more information with contact phone numbers.

Board and Brew:
Some youtubers that I follow (Emma Aabrahamson, Ellie Abrahamson, and Sarah Abrahamson all sisters if you couldn't guess), always rave about Board and Brew sandwiches and their amazing special sauce all the time, so I couldn't resist stopping in for lunch today after we played at the beach. Their sandwiches are huge, and the kids split a grilled cheese, while Derek and I shared a sub, and it was definitely more than enough food, and totally worth the hype I'd experienced online for an entire year leading up to this moment. 

Legoland hotel:
After lunch we checked into our room at the Legoland Castle Hotel. I'll do a full hotel tour later in the week, but our room has been so much fun for the kids. They have their own bunkbed room for themselves, that's well stocked with legos to play with. There's lego figures everywhere, and they even have lego sets in the room for the kids to take home. It's a kid's paradise! 

Costco Dinner:
For dinner we hopped in the car and drove a half mile out from the resort to grab a quick bite to eat at Costco. Derek and the kids each had a slice of pizza, and I grabbed one of their acai bowls for the first time. We ate and were all super exhausted and headed back to the hotel to sleep! Everyone is super excited for our full day at Legoland today! 

4 Tips For Meaningful Adult Friendships

We're in this phase of life where we're super busy with driving the kids back and forth to school (I make three round trips to the school a day), Kinsley has 2-3 therapy appointments a week, Kyle is doing two sports, and the kids are both in swim lessons. I'm blogging like a mad woman, hosting a parenting conference, and finishing up some pre-req classes for grad school. It's a much different life than before the kids were in school, we had weekly playdates, and were constantly socializing with people all the time. 

I'm at this point in life though where I have really come to crave meaningful relationships. I don't necessarily have time for weekly mom groups and playdates, but I've found myself wanting to be deeply invested in the friendships that I do have, and try to safeguard them as best as I can. 

Set Aside Special Times for Friends You Want To Invest In:
One of my best friends from back home in NY lives about 10 minutes from Derek and I in Utah now. Last year during the school year we made it a point to have lunch together about once a month while my kids were in school and it was so much fun. We'd chat for about two hours straight and have deep and meaningful conversations and it filled my cup so much. If there are people in your life that you want to have these kinds of moments with, make a plan for it, and make it a regular thing that you both look forward to. 

Get Comfortable With Being Vulnerable:
This doesn't mean that every time someone asks you a hard question you have to go all in all the time, but if you're already in a conversation with someone that you want to be good friends with, and a hard question comes up, don't be afraid to just go all in with your answers to them. Confiding those things that you normally wouldn't tell other people shows them that you're invested in that relationship. Derek and I had dinner with some good friends a couple weeks ago, and the husband isn't afraid to ask the heart wrenching questions, and because I know this is a friendship I want to invest in, I gave the heart wrenching honest answers. Did it awkwardly involve the shedding of tears? Yes. Were friendships strengthened? Also yes. 

Don't Be Afraid To Be The First One To Reach Out:
When Derek and I recently moved to our new neighborhood, there was a family that I really wanted to be friends with. We'd chatted at a couple church activities, and had a ton of similarities, but then she moved before we could really get to know each other. We're both runners though and so I reached out and said I'd love to drive to her new neighborhood and meet up for a weekend run sometime and she totally said yes. 

Don't Let Distance, Distance Your Friendship:
Piggy backing off that last point, just because my new friend was moving to a different town, I still wanted to invest in that friendship, and so I went the extra mile to make time for that friendship to grow. Likewise, since we've moved so often, there are a small handful of people that I still make a point to text with and catch up with on a regular basis, because those are friendships that mean the world to me. Last year I was dealing with a lot of hard things in my personal life, and it was so nice to be able to talk through the entire situation with a friend 2,000 miles away with a completely neutral opinion on the situation. I cherish long texting conversations with friends and feeling like we're still living in the same town, even though we're not. 

Friday's Five

1. Kyle Starts Cross Country
We got an email the other day saying that there was a cross country program available at Kyle's elementary school. Naturally I was super excited about this, and he said he wanted to try it, so we got him registered yesterday. He'll have after school practices twice a week for seven weeks, with three races throughout the season. He'll be racing a 2k distance, and I'm just so excited for him!

2. Kinsley Took Her First Step-ish
Kinsley and I were working in the living room together a couple days ago. I was holding onto her, and then letting go, and trying to get her to take one step to the couch. We tried about 7-8 times before finally instead of face diving into the couch, she took one step to get there. Granted, her one foot was only in the air for .0001 seconds before her hands touched the couch, but it's still an awesome step in the right direction. 

3. My Brother In Law is A Legit Youtuber
Derek's brother recently left his home in Idaho and moved to Pheonix, and he's been vlogging his entire experience of moving out on his own and finding his way. He's super inspiring, and has been documenting his life as a 20 something who is going blind. He's up to 70k subscribers, and I just love him, so you should subscribe to him too. >> 

4. Advocating Moms Conference Registration Closes Tomorrow
I've been so impressed with the response we've gotten for the special needs parenting conference that I'm hosting. Click here for all the details, and get your tickets before they're gone! 

5. We're Going to San Diego!
Monday we leave for a family trip to San Deigo, and we are so excited! Naturally I need all the good food reccomendations, and maybe I should have looked up some good accessible beaches to go to with Kinsley. Someone help me out and give me all the best tips?