For All The Other Ashtons Out There Wondering About The Disneyland Hotel

You know that face that you make when you squirt ketchup on a bun, and only ketchup juice leaks out? And your bun is just shriveling while marinating in ketchup juice?

It’s a look of disgust and disappointment, in case you have never had this misfortune.

That’s how you will look at the nightly room fees for on property Disneyland accommodations.

That, or the Macaulay Culkin Home Alone face right before you slam your laptop shut.

But, Disneyland was calling my name. For like, a year, and I couldn’t swipe left on Disneyland Hotel, either.

I pored over travel blogs, hotel feedback, hazy personal memories, and a million reviews before deciding that I would at least cough up extra money in the name of convenience to park access. I discovered that most hotels that are comparable proximity wise really aren’t THAT much less. I was pretty 100% sure we wanted to have the option to walk back for a break/nap.

There are other hotels that may actually be less walking distance to the parks than those on-property, but when Disneyland Hotel advertised a fall deal, I filled out my payment information, closed my eyes, and pressed “confirm.”

I semi-forgot about that number as soon as I started getting things like this in the mail:


So, now that I’ve stayed there, was it worth it? This is the kind of stuff I wanted to read when I was debating my level of YOLO-ing, so I’m just putting it out in cyber land.

G tested out the beds ASAP, and approved.
G tested out the beds ASAP, and approved.

Expect The Mouse to shake every last Peso out of you in the name of magic.

…but even the headboards are magic.

The rooms have recently been renovated, and are beautiful.

Disneyland Hotel guests walking to Disneyland never have to go into “real world.” It feels like an enchanted vacation the whole ten minute stroll through Downtown Disney.

Hotel guests also get a one hour early entrance to the parks, but since only certain areas are accessible at that time, expect to still wait in small lines.

We easily walked back, and really did nap for a couple hours.

The pool was amazing, and we could have spent the entire day sliding down water slides. They did NOT offer complimentary sunscreen, which can easily be mistaken when lifeguards leave their own sunscreen near the complimentary swim diapers and kid floaties…

I’ll speak only for the Disneyland Hotel, but we had THE best interactive character experiences, which was the most fun part of the trip with an almost three year old. Instead of waiting in line to meet characters, they’d surprise us at the hotel and were so much more friendly. Since there were few other kids around, if any, they’d play with my son, and G LOVED it.

In Disneyland

My child is the one you can't totally see...
My child is the one you can’t totally see…

At the hotel:
Now that's a hug.
Now that’s a hug.

I may still be high on pixie dust, but after a relaxing stay, I would consider The Disneyland Hotel again for a short trip. So, if we start selling plasma now to book rooms during the off season…it’s doable. I’m saving my kidney for an overwater bungalow in Fiji.


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I’ll Take The Mouse Over The Rats.

Some people believe bad luck will ensue after breaking a mirror.

Some people believe black cats are a bad omen.

Today, after slinking out of the house to be embarrassing and get a spray tan, my path was crossed by MULTIPLE rats Free Willy-ing over a bush I accidentally bumped with the tanning salon door. I am convinced I was one of those fainting goats in a past life, because I froze and involuntarily held my breath for about 20 seconds before the front desk girl (casually) said, “Oh, yeah. Those rats. There are a lot.”

I (casually) speed walked to my car afterwards in case I was interrupting a conga line.

But, no cats, rats, or spray tan walk of shame can rain on my parade after the fun week I had in Park City with my family, and a girls night with fun friends.






Let there be Nelly, and let there be giant ice creams.


Only the utmost admiration for the girl that can eat two desserts. “One is my drink.” I am feeling confident in my friend picking abilities.


Next up on our Super Extreme September calendar: G’s first Disney trip. We’ve been studying the map and discussing Mickey Mouse, but he knows nothing about churros.


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Cliff Notes: I’m Usually Very Boring

After an uneventful summer, I was a little overzealous in making plans for this month.

It’s startling to suddenly start doing fun things, you know? I should have been reintegrated the way animals are reintroduced into the wild: slowly, cautiously, and with some supervision, so the animals thrive/survive/don’t embarrass themselves trying to speak cool slang.

Being all over the place has helped me discover that, more often than not, I am partial to uneventful days.

I very much enjoy the unglamorous mornings at home, no matter what Fergie says.

Today, I spent a while cleaning out our pantry (or surviving avalanches of breast pump accessories, to highlight the aforementioned glamour level) and marveling at the amount of random familial paraphernalia that we had accrued over the last year or so. My two little helpers were eager to investigate (mostly the pump shields), and it took twice as long, but we had no schedule and nowhere to be. The investigating ensued.

And then, we danced to a song Gus made up (and sang through his pump shield megaphone).
And colored.
And ate string cheese.
And played in the hose.
And stuffed the rest of our string cheese inside the hose.
And it was just my kind of day.

During nap time, I came across an exciting editorial hair styling opportunity in New York City, and after daydreaming about it and looking into travel arrangements, I realized how in love I’ve become with the comforts of young motherhood. I don’t want to leave.

I like the sweats, and the little fingerprints, and bed head all day. I love it, actually. Because, who cares? I only get a few years to enjoy it.

…so I think we will just stay here, in bed.


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It’s Sad/ A Tender Mercy Camera Phones Didn’t Exist When I Was In College So I Don’t Have More Photos

I’ll stop talking about my birthday.

Just one sec.

I am getting a new computer, and am making sure I’ve saved everything I want off my old (OLD) (GERIATRIC) (DECREPIT) laptop. Appropriately timed, I found some old photos that made me smile as I was reminded me what welcoming twenty looked like. I walked into a surprise party, and a gorilla stripper that arrived and left in full costume was the cherry on top.




College boyfriend and all, THIS was my early twenties in a photograph: corralled craziness, super fun, laughter, incredible friends, spontaneity, late nights, constant surprises, lots of love.

You can apply all of the above to my late twenties as well, just with associating those words with Brian and babies, and “late nights” in all caps. (I have vague memories of long, wild nights at Club Baby, but they’re a little blurry…)

My thirtieth birthday didn’t involve strippers, or much of anything, really! My birthday wish was to do nothing, and that’s what I did. My day consisted of minimal effort, salty hair, beach exploring, and napping, with a West Hollywood dinner at PUMP to ensure I was still marginally interesting/trying my best to meet Lisa Vanderpump.



The cutest cake I've ever had. Those little fingers couldn't stay away from decorating, licking, or eating.
The cutest cake I’ve ever had. Those little fingers couldn’t stay away from decorating, licking, or eating.

I wonder if these pictures are as indicative of this whole decade as the previous were to my twenties.

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3-0 and Basically a Blonde Confucious


Well, here I am. THIRTY. Since I am saving speaking in parables for my 40th birthday, here are some bullet pointed little nuggets of wisdom for my “What I Learned in my 20’s” chapter of my pamphlet. (See end for pamphlet details.)

After changing diapers in airport lavatories, I’ve realized the likelihood of The Mile High Club existing on commercial airlines is doubtful at best. Unless we’re talking about underweight contortionists, there’s just not much room, and personally? I wouldn’t want to miss the peanut handout.

Flip phones are indestructible.

After being the ring leader of all boy bashing for several years, I was put in my place when I became a mother of boys. Boys, actually, are not stupid, or weird. Girls, actually, are emotionally charged, and can get a little crazy.

If you choose to wear a bikini to a waterpark, odds are good that everyone around you will get only a slightly more conservative view than the one you give your gynecologist.

I am not the only person that can care for my children.

Hold on to your best friends. They’re hard to find.

Although lack of sleep can really mess with your brain, and has been used as a form of torture during wars, you cannot die from no sleep. There were no recorded deaths at the time of my last baby, anyway, when I Googled it to check. (I was relieved to put my will on hold.)

Dinner tastes better when you don’t have to look at a dirty kitchen.

In case you’re interested in dabbling in online identity or banking theft, I’ve discovered most people have the same password to everything. There is a good chance that password is related to a dog they’ve loved. I’m not sure why I know this or why I’m sharing it…

I’m not the only person in the world that secretly likes Filet O Fish. (Stop making that face.)

The Kardashians are taking over the world, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

Self consciousness should be a worry of the past. Do you think anyone is even looking up from their phone? No one will even notice that your eyeballs are imploding while they are checking their Fantasy rosters and taking selfies with the dog Snapchat filter.

You generally get what you pay for…but I still heart Marshall’s.

Marry your very best buddy to make life a million times easier.

No one ever feels older than about 24.

Seek out adventures.

Speeding in a construction zone is going to be expensive, and may be a misdemeanor. That’s how Missy came to be Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, I believe. Just flew right through the orange cones.

Vacations are worth the money for a dozen reasons.

Sometimes life’s biggest decisions are the easiest to make.

Hell will freeze over before Anderson Cooper ages.

Don’t check your bank account before bed.

Laughing at yourself is crucial to survival in general.

Lipstick is like caffeine for your face.

Peanut butter makes you fat. I also learned most people knew that before their twenties.

If you work really hard, and are nice, you’ll be okay.

College is the best.
Babies are the other best.

Pouring money into your car is a waste of money, unless you’re peacock-ing.

You’ll rarely be happier than when you make someone else happy.

I spent an entire semester discussing Aristotle, who claimed the greatest good man can achieve is happiness. For some reason, I think of that often. If that’s truly the root of goodness, do what makes you happy. Are you happy?

Seeing your first baby smile at you for the first time will change your whole life and all your priorities. That’s what I think the greatest good is, Aristotle.

Express gratitude.

This world is scary, but it’s still full of nice people.

Celebrate everything.

I can only stress about what I can control.

Contrary to everything I had been told, being a parent is so, so, so fun. I wish I’d had kids earlier.

(I’m considering making a list of things I’ve learned for every decade of my life, and publishing little pamphlets in sixty years for my funeral party favors. I plan to use my children’s inheritance to splurge for hardcovers. If you want to add your own bits of wisdom in the comments, I’ll make sure to quote you for my posterity.)

As always, if you feel inclined to share, please do!

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My Dance Date 2k16 / Would I Sue Brian If He Broke Our Contract?

Most people’s prenuptial agreements protect finances.

I didn’t have a staggering net worth or massive inheritance to consider, but I did have my sanity to defend. At twenty two, I was wise enough to know a woman’s opinion holds more merit when she is engaged than it ever will at any other point in her marriage.

It was during that golden time that I made Brian sign a spiral bound paper (college ruled), initialing in blood that we would never live in the Dakotas, I could have a cat, and he would squish spiders.

Like I said, important, important things.

I’m not sure if the agreement will be upheld in court as a legal document, but it is signed and dated.

One item of business discussed during engagement (although it was not signed upon), was to have a BIG date once a year: high school dance style. I’m not talking about going to dinner at Chipotle. I mean, a real, planned, get dressed up and go all out date. Going to high school in Las Vegas, I enjoyed some elaborate dance dates…but wouldn’t it be so much more appreciated to do it all again, married, leaving your house of kids to dress up for the guy you’d actually been hoping would ask you?

It took seven years to execute B + A Prom Date, but we made it happen last week.

Cue spray tan.

I got my nails done.

I timed fresh hair just right.

I bought a pretty dress, complete with the annoyances of trying on 57 before finding one that covered everything it needed to.

I got my makeup done.

Wait, did I shave my legs? Oh, well.


The Snapchat files
The Snapchat files

We had appetizers at Wolfgang Puck, where I felt inclined to solemnly place a small silver dish at the end of the table with a red rose lying on it…

The hostess had some shaky hands. That's all I know.
The hostess had some shaky hands. That’s all I know.

I surprised Brian with a helicopter tour of Las Vegas.


 It sounds cooler if I don’t tell you it was bought on Groupon.

It sounds cooler if I don’t tell you it was bought on Groupon.

We had a late dinner at Serendipity instead of a show, which I didn’t think we could stay awake to watch. Good call, because we were struggling by dinner.

Although there was no alcohol involved, I still felt hungover the next morning from too little sleep, so I felt I got the full, stereotypical high school dance experience. Satisfying.

Brian and I had the best time. The night was exciting and fresh, and I laughed hard enough to require a potty break. I don’t tell you any of this to glorify our night…I am telling you this so that you’ll do that same.

If it sounds fun to you, have a “Prom Night.” If it sounds ridiculous, it is.

I’ve always been drawn to ridiculous.

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Summer Slipped My Mind

Toodles, summer. I only say, “Toodles,” because we watch so much Mickey around here. What I really want to say is:


But, Ashton, you say. It’s almost boot weather, and nothing tickles you like seasonal shoe rotations!

I know. Is this an identity crisis? I am usually itching for fall, but because I have no one in school to keep me on a schedule, September snuck up on me. I am panicking. (Just pencil me in as “yes” on that identity crisis.)

I LOVED this summer so much more than usual. That could be due to this being my first “normal-ish” summer experience in a long time. (Summer is so much more pleasant and carefree when I’m not nursing or pregnant.) However, after really thinking about it, I think the problem in years past was that I’d forgotten how to do it.

I forgot how to summer.

Thankfully, my little guys jogged my memory. This year:

I rememberered how water from the hose tasted.
I remembered how welcoming and warm cement feels after running in sprinklers.
I remembered the melody of creaky swing chains.
I remembered how Otterpop juice is July’s liquid gold.

It was magical. Thank you, my little guys. Having young children truly makes every season so much more vibrant. So exciting. So beautiful.

As the sun sets on this season, I want to savor every last bit of extended warmth we get in Las Vegas, as well as every minute of precious, unscheduled, “no one is in school yet so I’m not wearing pants” time. IMG_4087


Sunday evening "Ca-sickles."
Sunday evening “Ca-sickles.”





Summer, it hurts me to have let you you slip my mind for a few years while I was adulting. I’ll try my best to cut that out.

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