Photo Diary: A Day with the Lujans

Filipinos by nature are very much family-oriented, if they could live with all their aunts and uncles and cousins they would, and in one way or the other that was how my childhood was. There was never a dull moment because I grew up being close to both sides of my family, I got taunted, teased and semi-bullied (a lot by my kuyas). Yes, it was one of those “Ugh-I-hate-you-but-I know-you’re-pestering-me-coz-you-actually-care” type of relationships and it was true, they teased me a lot but I knew they had my back and that they loved me. But of course everyone grows up and life takes us to our own paths sometimes away from those you grew up with.

Today, I  got to spend time with my kuya Giancarlo, his wife ate Dulce and their 2 wonderful kids Isaiah and Jude. I’m glad that amidst the hectic Christmas season our families found the time to meet up. From a very-filling barbecue lunch at Lucille’s to a stroll in Laguna Beach to a Gingerbread display at the Ritz and a dinner at a local Korean soup place we found ourselves catching up and talking about random things in our current lives, a day was definitely not enough but it is what it is, I’m just happy that we were able to push through with this meet up. Lujans, thank you so much for spending time with us and taking us around AND for spoiling Cassie with her new toys, we don’t know when the next time will be but we will definitely be looking forward to that.

Here are some photos from today:

(Wish we had at least one photo with all of us together)

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Cassie and her kuyas, Isaiah and Jude

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They gave Cassie her favorite, Minnie Mouse in her Christmas-themed outfit

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The Lujans

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Beach art work

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The whole display was edible. How yummy is that!

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~Rhea

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Cassie’s 1st trip to the Happiest Place on Earth

Visiting Disneyland during the holidays, we already knew the place was going to be jam-packed. Prior to getting there my husband was telling me to prepare for long lines and a whole lot of waiting, pretty much he wanted us to brace ourselves for anything and expect the unexpected to avoid frustrations. I told him that this trip was all going to be about Cassie since its her first trip to Disneyland, all I wanted for her was to ride the “It’s a small world” ride and have a photo with Minnie Mouse, her all time favorite Disney character (so far).

Thanks mami for this trip, we had a blast and we could tell Cassie was sooo happy to be there based on the number of “Wows” she uttered all throughout the day.

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Ready in her Minnie Mouse outfit (without the ears yet in the picture)

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This ginormous Christmas tree was a sight to behold

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…We’re officially here!!!

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Why hello there Monstro the whale.

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T’was tempting but we skipped out on this one just because you can have Carousel rides elsewhere

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Oh, look who we bumped into—the Evil Queen.

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage

Cassie’s 1st ride. The only reason why we made this her first ride was because it was the closest one to where we were at, at that time and it had the shortest waiting time. I’m glad we went that route because when we checked the Disney app the waiting time doubled. I guess this ride is pretty famous with kids.

If you’re taking a child around Cassie’s age (a year and 2 months), be prepared for dark moments in the submarine which might possibly scare him/her. Overall she was in awe with all the bubbles and the fishies and she loved it!

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While waiting in line

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Alice in Wonderland Ride

We didn’t necessarily have this ride as one of our “must-trys” but infant-friendly rides were limited and this had the shortest waiting time after the submarine ride so we went anyway. What it is, is a mini-roller coaster where you encounter the characters of Alice in Wonderland, which would have been perfect except that it was set in the dark and the characters were colorful with a neon-effect, giving them an eerie glow. Add on the Cheshire cat’s creepy grin to the whole scenario and you get a crying, creeped out infant. I feel like if we take Cassie 2 or 3 years from now, she’d love this.

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Turkey Legs and Pizza for Lunch

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Thanks tita an for taking care of Cassie so mommy could eat

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Cassie’s Disney’s #OOTD

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It’s a Small World Ride

Of course the line for It’s a Small World seemed endless but it actually went by pretty fast. Cassie ended up sleeping while we were waiting and I was dreading the fact that she would miss out on the ride. When we finally got on the ride, we took that chance of waking her up and I’m glad that we did because she was just in awe the entire ride. She woke up smiling to the little dolls moving and dancing and the “Its a small world” song on replay. “Wows” and a whole lot of pointing— that was Cassie. Looking at her, you could tell that she felt like she was in her own wonderland and that just made me and Marco happy, seeing that look on her face was priceless!

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Tito Mik helping out with the Cassie-carrying.

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…and the lines keep going and going and going

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Mickey’s ToonTown

This part of the park is literally like a big playground for kids where they can visit the classic disney characters’ house. We came too late in the afternoon and the lines were so long that we missed everyone except Goofy. We ended up going inside Minnie Mouse’s house and I’m pretty sure to Cassie that was a big blur but I knew she had fun while we were in there. At this point we still haven’t seen Minnie and I really wanted Cassie to have a picture with her since she is Cassie’s favorite, they directed us back to the front of the theme park and told us she’d be hanging out there until the start of the parade.

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Outside Mickey’s house

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Mickey’s Ice cream bar—a disney must-have

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Yay! at least we found Goofy. Good job tito mik and tita an for falling in line for cassie 😀

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Minnie Mouse’s House

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We finally found Minnie up front but Cassie wouldn’t wake up at all. She opened her eyes for a few seconds but went back to sleep, poor baby was really exhausted from today’s activities.

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Disney’s Electrical Light Parade

Everyone who visits Disneyland should really stay to watch this especially since they won’t be having this around forever. It’s not only fun for kids but its safe to say most adults enjoy this spectacle, I’m a bit sad that Cassie slept through the entire thing but on the bright side, Marco and I enjoyed the parade in peace ( no offense Cas).

Sorry my pictures below won’t do justice to the actual parade but at least we had most of it on video for Cassie to watch later on.

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Of course she woke up after the parade, She was in  a good mood too.

You’ve been good to us especially Cassie, thanks Disneyland. Till next time.

~Rhea

Destination: Palm Springs, California

December 25, 2016 (Christmas Day )

Found myself on the road on Christmas Day for the very first time in my 30 years of existence. Christmas day was always spent at home and it always seemed like a perfect day to take breather from all of the Christmas hustle and bustle, it was just family tradition for both sides but this year we decided to break the norm and do something different. We accepted a complimentary stay at Palm Springs, the younger Mendezonas (and when I say younger I mean the unmarried ones— Javi, Dino, Pilica, Mikel and Anya) had to leave in the wee hours of the morning to check in, I guess they’re kinda staying there for two nights. The rest of us including abu had a convoy to Palm Springs as soon as we were all ready.

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Since we were all hungry, Elmer’s was our first food stop. There was a 30-40 minute wait so we ended up playing with the kids up front.

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Me and My mini-me in our coats in Palm Springs. Yes, it was kinda cool.

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Our family on Christmas Day, waiting for our food to be served.

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Teo’s pretty excited about the shake.

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And this little one was just on the floor in her Christmas suit, picking up crayons, without a care in the world.

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Cassie’s pancake. is this a bear or a mouse?

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My cutie patootie

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Merry Christmas from my family to yours. 😀 Checking in the hotel in awhile.

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Once we were all settled in mami, Pilica, Anya and I left to go buy bathing suits since we all forgot to bring ours. We completely forgot that it was Christmas Day and most of the stores were closed, we found ourselves in Walgreens buying groceries and drink for our over night stay. After dinner we had family game time—Charades and Munchkin.

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Checked out just in time for lunch, we ended up eating in Sammy G’s Tuscan Grill. The name personally didn’t sound so inviting but it supposedly had good ratings and everyone at that point just wanted to settle down.

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It was Christmas Candyland at the reception area.

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The inside of the restaurant just felt warm and inviting, very apt for Christmas and they were playing classic Christmas songs as well.

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The family enjoying our appetizer—Calamari (except for little Cassie I guess, look at that face, haha)

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Loved the intricate wood carving on the pillars within the restaurant

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Cassie, Ninong Dingz and Baba posing with the snowman

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Explored the strip after lunch

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These palm trees are intriguing

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The girls (missing Pauline, Abu and yaya Diday)

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Twinning with this one for the millionth time

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If you find yourself in Palm Springs, Great Shakes is a MUST visit and a big stress on the “must. It’s said to have one of the best shakes in the whole world

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And you’ll see a bunch of this around the store just validating that claim. You can even check yelp or google this place, ratings are excellent.

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Here’s my cranky baby…

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Here’s my no-longer cranky baby thanks to Great Shakes’ shakes. Haha. I’m telling you they don’t disappoint

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And lastly a family photo of us three before we leave this place. Of course we took it at a random parking lot but its okay, at least you still see some palm trees in the picture. Haha.

Again, Merry Christmas one and all.

~Rhea