Our Family Christmas (with a million pictures).

While we are pretty bummed that we won’t have our kids on Christmas (and this will be my first Christmas ever without Brooke), I think we successfully had a great early Christmas at Disneyland together.  We stuck to one day at Disney (HOW HAVE TICKETS gotten so expensive?!?) so we wanted to pack in as much as we could in our one day.  We got there at 7:20 a.m. and left at 10:00 p.m.  We packed in a ton of rides, food and of course the parade (my favorite part + Space Mountain).

We woke up nice and early and walked on over to the park.

Actually there was a lot of running that occurred on our way there.

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They opened up the gates early before the rides were open which gave us plenty of time for pictures.  This was Knox’s first time to Disneyland and he was so beyond excited to see everything there.

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Just running around giving high fives to everyone.

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A picture with the largest Christmas tree I have ever seen!

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Andrew grew up near Disneyland so he went plenty of times growing up but he hasn’t been in ten years.

He was pretty happy to be there too.  I might have been the happiest… Disneyland was what we did for family vacations growing up and I have a lot of great memories there.

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The first hour it was open we made it to four rides—>  ZERO LINES!  Splash Mountain, Pirates, the Haunted Mansion and the Pooh bear ride (a few times in a row ha… that one along with Small World is Brooke’s personal favorites).

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My hair went right into a ponytail after splash mountain;)

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We brought a backpack of snacks for the kids but they did get some treats there too… any guesses what Brooke chose based on her face afterwards haha?!

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So Brooke loved some of the roller coasters but Space Mountain was not her thing.  We got fast passes for that ride and they let Andrew and I switch off going with Knox so that one of us was with Brooke.  This was Knox’s second time in a row on Space Mountain and he could not get enough.

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Brooke was much more about the Fantasyland rides.

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The kids had strollers for the day but they did get in a lot of walking too.  Megan D gave Brooke this Minnie Mouse jacket last year and she was so excited to sport it there.  I was just excited to be in a t-shirt again.  My favorite type of clothing ha.  The temperatures were in the 60s during the afternoon—>  perfect for this Utah family.  When we were waiting in the beginning to go into the park we were all in t-shirts and the kids had on light jackets (and Andrew was in shorts of course).  Most people waiting were in heavy jackets and thought we were crazy for what we were wearing!  It felt like summer to us;)

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They also got carried often by Andrew in lines.   Brooke was pretending she was a dog in the picture below.  She can impersonate a dog better than anyone I know.  She even uses her foot to scratch her ears when she is pretending and can run so fast across the house on all fours.

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Brooke wrapped around me during Thunder Mountain and Knox putting his hands up in the air.

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Knox was most excited for the Haunted Mansion!  As we got closer to the doors he couldn’t control his excitement.  Jack the Skeleton is his absolute favorite and he was all over the place with the Christmas decorations.

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Just a picture of the boat where my parents had their very first kiss.  They were in high school and had their first date at Disneyland…. they both have different stories about who kissed who but I think I believe my mom’s story about the whole thing;)

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Just a few ride pictures:

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I somehow beat Andrew twice on the Buzz Lightyear shooting game ride… I take that one very seriously.

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Disneyland churros are a must probably because each time you walk by one of their churro stands the smell is so strong and amazing that eventually you just have to buy one.

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Another one of the top highlights of the day for Knox:

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They went strong all day long but at about 9ish they were both out in about two seconds.  Since then it has taken us all a few days to recover but it was totally worth it!

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The kids were asleep so Andrew and I ended the night by getting my favorite treat (marshmallows dipped in caramel and then chocolate and he had a caramel apple) and watching the fireworks before carrying them back to the hotel.

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And just a tiny little video with a few clips from the day!

We drove home yesterday and made it back (the kids were so excited to see Beretta again) home.  Andrew and I will be driving back to Southern California next week to drop Brooke off at her other grandma’s house for the week so our December is full of driving!  We need some good books on tape recommendations!  My favorite thing to do before a long day in the car is get up early and get out as much energy as possible on a run before sitting for hours and hours.  Excited to get out and run this morning too—>  Monday runs are my favorite.


Who has a birthday in December?  

Anyone running a Christmas themed race?  Any Santa runs?

Who else grew up near Disneyland?

Do you know where your parents had their first date?  I love stories about this kind of stuff!

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My sons birthday is Christmas Day!

We live an hour and a half from Disneyworld.

I don’t know where my parents first date was but I still have my mothers honeymoon outfit FROM 1964! And it’s Awrsome!


YOU DO!?!? Oh I love that you still have that! Absolutely amazing. I would LOVE to live 1.5 hours from Disneyworld:) Christmas DAY! You have a busy month this month! Hope you are having a beautiful day!


That trip looks like so much fun for all of y’all! I’ve never been to Disneyland, but I’m thinking I might need to go one day.

You and Andrew are seriously so adorable together, and I’m so happy for both of you–and your whole family! The love and joy y’all show is truly heartwarming. Brooke and Knox sure are lucky little kiddos!


Looks like such a fun trip! You may have answered this before, but is that a Madewell flannel? (Or do you have a specific link?) Love your style!


Oh thank you so much Katelin! Yes, it is a Madewell flannel! I can’t find the exact one online anymore (I bought it last year) but this one is a tiny bit similar but also one that I want haha:


We went to Disney World a lot growing up……….Disneyland is too far for us since we lived in Louisiana and Tennessee. Disney World is like Disneyland x 4! You need a full day in each of the 4 parks, and recovery/rest days in between a few of them! I want to go for a full week and have 4 days in the park, 1 day at the pool/beach, 1 at Universal, and 1 at SeaWorld. I am planning this vacation that we probably wont take for 2 or 3 years-Ha! I even worked at Disney World for a few months in college……….so much fun!


the price of the park admission is insane! I was best friend (we are both going down with the kids/families next week) and the park hopper passes are crazy pricey! I am glad you guys had a great time though!


Ah, now I see HRG’s Disney shoe choice. I hope your ankle is better! This is me, but I find a difference in my feet when I wear workout shoes vs. casual shoes when I’m going 10 miles.

I was wondering if you still oil your hair on Sat. nights? Also, iron and Blood Builder – did you get some? Are you checking your iron levels? Thanks for the post! I got Blood Builder – there was at least one comment on Blood Builder. I can feel the difference. I also learned a lot about foods interfering with iron absorption – like green tea and apples as well as many others. Also, learned about oxalates and phytates. It’s a chemistry job – pretty big for a hobby.


Yeah that is so so true! I thought I would be safe in sneakers! I sure do oil my hair (now about every other week though)… I love it! My mom got me some more Blood Builder and I noticed a difference for sure… because of traveling the last little bit I have gotten off track with it but thanks to your comment, I will take one today! Thank you Lee!!!


I like Disney- but am a rare breed who doesn’t love it. I think it’s gotten too pricey. Anyway, audio book recs- my husband and I loved Freakonomics and Super freakonomics. The Martian is also great. I assume you want something good for you and Andrew? i want to listen to Ready Player one. I’ve read it but haven’t listened to it yet.


YES YES… something good for both of us, thank you for the recommendations! We will have to get one, I appreciate that. It really has gotten so expensive but we just decided to make it their Christmas present (with two little things at home) which helped the blow of the ticket price ha. Hope you are having a great day Hilary!


My sister’s birthday is right between Christmas and New Year’s. She hates it! That picture of Brooke on the carousel is priceless. So much joy!


My birthday is 12/3, my husband’s is 12/13, my daughter’s is 12/27, and my dad’s is 12/31. Whew. My other daughter’s is 5/3, so she gets that month all to herself.

Side note: after admiring your spin bike for so long, I went ahead and purchased one! It arrived on Friday, but we had a busy weekend and didn’t get time to assemble it. I’m excited to start using it – I really need something else to do during winter to break up the monotony of the treadmill.


OH MY GOODNESS!!! This is the busiest month for you and your family! Happy birthday on the 3rd and I am SO happy that you got the spin bike. Please let me know what you think about it! I love a killer spin workout!


You mentioned that your husbands favorite book is Harry Potter, well those are the best books on tape. Try them, you won’t be disappointed. The man who reads them does all of the character voices and does them well. It’s like watching the movies while driving. Have fun!!


GOOD CALL… Andrew will be so happy that you recommended this. We will have a blast:) Plus we might go to Harry Potter land while we are there so this will prep us nicely!


Harry Potter world in Universal is the best!! The castle is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!


I haven’t been to Disneyland since 1990! I was 17. That’s a long long time ago. Last time in Disney world was in 2004 I think.


My husband’s birthday is Dec 19 and my nephew is Dec 25! That was a memorable Christmas when he was born!
I was born in Miami so we went to Disney World about 13 times by the time I was 10. I’ve only been maybe twice since then (we moved away) but it is so magical I can’t wait to take my own family one day!
I love that you took a video on splash mountain (my fave) and when Brooke says “Winnie the pooh” in the video. So cute!


Loved all the pics and especially the video! It looks like you all had an exceptionally memorable and fun Christmas! :)

Interested to hear what other recommend for books on tape. I drive alot so I enjoy listening.


It looks like the kids had tons of fun! We went to Disneyland when I was in Kindergarten or grade one and had so much fun!


Looks like you made so many wonderful memories! I absolutely love Disneyland! My first trip was when I was 30 and we took our kids on my daughters 1st bday. We lived in Bakersfield for a few years and went as often as we could. Spent a day there this past summer. We would have stayed longer but the prices jumped! Our plan is to dona Disney Cruise next.


Do you ever worry about how much sugar you eat?


Looks like a really fun (and reallllly exhausting day)!!

I was supposed to run a Rudolph Ramble this past weekend as a part of my 2016 goal of running a race every month. Well .. It was cancelled because of the snow! I’m slightly starting to panic that I won’t be able to find a race to run!


I’ve never been to Disneyland and I’ve only been to the “Downtown Disney” portion of Disneyworld while on a trip for work. We are definitely planning to go when our little man gets older… Maybe timed to coincide with a Disney race? It looks like you guys had a blast!


Awwww looks like such a fun day! I’ve never been to Disneyland but I grew up near Disney World and went all the time as a kid. Since I don’t have any children I haven’t been back in a while, except to run the Disney Princess Half a couple of years ago. I think I want to go back and run Wine and Dine next year :)


We always take a fold up stroller to Disneyland, you just park it outside of whatever ride you are going on. Even though we don’t have little kids anymore, you can leave your jackets, water bottles, etc. in the stroller. It came in very handy when my kids were small and asleep on the way back to the motel. People don’t bother your stuff although I would never leave anything valuable in it. It looks like you had a great time and I am jealous!!

My oldest son was born on Christmas day and my mom’s birthday is on the 16th.

I ran the Baker’s Dozen in Hurricane on Saturday. That is one you should try!!


Books on Tape: I am currently reading “Cure: a Journey into the Science of Mind Over Body” and it has some running-related stuff but touches on a ton of other areas too! Also recommend all the Harry Potters on tape. Jim Dale (narrator) is amazing. Excited to hear what others recommend, I have a 9 hour drive coming up at xmas.


Okay, those both sound amazing! I want to listen to the Cure one NOW!! Andrew and I will love the HP on tape too… thank you!


These pictures are absolutely priceless! I love how all your posts just show such amazing family time and memories <3


What a fun family vacation! I am so glad you are able to do that with your kids.


My fiancé and I just ran a Christmas race on Saturday! Santa Runs Tacoma. It was fun, but cold! I have a race recap up on my blog at http://www.fromheartothere.net


I love that your parents’ first kiss was at Disneyland! The hubs and I went on one of our first dates there in high school! We live about 2 1/2 hours from Disney. We had annual passes three years ago and went 33 times that year. Whew! We haven’t been back yet ;)

My 35th birthday is tomorrow (eek!)

I have a marathon scheduled for 1/15 but I am having some major IT band issues! It’s really bothering the outside of my knee, so much that I’ve had to walk on my last two runs (that’s never happened before!) I’m working on rolling it out and stretching, any other suggestions would be awesome!

My parents met at a party when my mom was in high school and my dad was in the army. He snuck out because it was after curfew to see her. My dad passed away this year and I got to go through a bunch of letters that he wrote while in the army but never sent and it was seriously the sweetest thing ever.


The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines is free on Youtube. Sooo good!


ohhhh so much fun!!!!!!!!! I lived (kind of) close to Disneyland (about an hour away by car) so I always went to Disneyland (in Japan, of course) quite frequently when I was a child. And I still love going there. We would always try to go there at least once a year while we were there but now in HI- there’s no such thing :( and we can’t just take a road trip to FL or CA so that’s a bummer. We only have Aulani- the Disney hotel.

we always had to choose- Disneyland or Disneysea (we always opted for the land but we went to the sea area whenever it was raining or was about to rain because of all the indoor stuff that they had). It was sooo much fun. I wish we could go there again. But next time, I’d love to take the girls to the one in FL. and Tshirts in the 60s degrees- yes, I’d be freezing. I was freezing this morning at 63 degrees. hahaha!

Santa runs sound like fun! I don’t know if there are any around where I live but I should check it out :)


Listen to the free podcast SERIAL (season one) on your drive. It’s soooo good and will keep you HOOKED.

Here’s a summary:
It’s Baltimore, 1999. Hae Min Lee, a popular high-school senior, disappears after school one day. Six weeks later detectives arrest her classmate and ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, for her murder. He says he’s innocent – though he can’t exactly remember what he was doing on that January afternoon. But someone can. A classmate at Woodlawn High School says she knows where Adnan was. The trouble is, she’s nowhere to be found.

real life murder mystery. it’s awesome! Enjoy!


Ahhh how FUN!!!! I want to go back to Disneyland SO bad- my hubby and I used to have passes and it was the best! Also, you look SO CUTE. I love your outfit!!!



“Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage” by Alfred Lansing. It’s all about Ernest Shackleton and his crew. So incredible! I can’t believe all they endured. It’s a great listen. (True story that is as exciting as any fiction adventure I’ve ever read and the narrator nails all the accents. Two thumbs up!)


Thanks for the rec! My library has two audiobook copies, do you know if your narrator was Tim Piggot-Smith or Simon Prebble?


Simon Prebble


Last time I was at Disneyland was in June of 1994, the night I graduated from high school. I graduated from high school in Southern Calif. and our school and many, many other high schools went to Disneyland right after our late afternoon graduation ceremony. Disneyland closed to the public and opened to high school seniors and was open all night long, til early morning hours. Also there was a dress code too. Girls had to wear a dress or skirt and guys had to wear a shirt and tie. Good memories!


Glad you guys got in some serious Christmas family time together!!!! Soak it all up. . .even those long car rides! My family is all up north so my husband and I are so use to those long car rides. Before I know I am about to be in that car, I get in a long run. The other thing I started doing was bringing my jump rope!!!! when we stop for gas I do 100-200 jump ropes!!! Try doing that at like 3 in the morning!!! You will get very funny looks at the gas stations!


Tape recommendation! Ok full disclosure I’ve only heard clips but we all know it will be great: Brene Brown has a new audiobook called ‘The Gift of Imperfect Parenting.’ I can’t wait to hear all of it!


How about a Disney sponsored post? You are writing about it anyway. Then it would be free!


Aahhhhh. I love this so much! Disneyland? Awesome. Christmastime? Favorite. Being with family? Always the best. Seeing your kid’s faces light up with joy? Priceless. All of this combined makes me so very happy. I want to do this next year. But Ross couldn’t care less about DL, especially since we went 3 years ago. But now I want to take Felicity, obviously. Hopefully it will happen. Maybe I should set up a GoFundMe account ;)


December 30th is my birthday and I’m not going to lie-it can be annoying sometimes. People forget or think it’s actually on the 31st. Us December birthday people have a lot of stories (leftover christmas gifts, holiday burn out, christmas wrap, etc.) I know it sounds trite but I roll with it all now because I love winter despite hate being freezing.

I think my parents first date was at a Yaw’s-a very classic Old Portland burger place. Pretty sure they had fries, gravy, and a green mountain.

Knox looks like a thrill ride lover!!! The kids are adorable and their happy shiny faces are so sweet!!!!


My parents met in South Korean (where my dad was stationed) and they didn’t speak the same language! They had to speak through translator friends, but it was definitely love at first sight.

Think of LOVE ACTUALLY — the Colin Firth character and the lady he crushes on — they both eventually learned each other’s language (well in my dad’s case, just enough to get by).

It’s the cutest story — and they have all these really cute and sweet misunderstandings to this day (32 years married).


Looks like so much fun at Disneyland! What a fun Christmas!
My birthday is Dec 11th so what else would a runner on their bday? Run the Santa Hustle Half Marathon at Cedar Point of course! ?
Happy Holidays!


Instead of a book (which don’t mistaken me I’m SO FOR) Try This American Life podcasts!


You guys have the cutest kids!!! I just love seeing little kiddos faces at Disneyland.. so precious!!


Three Weeks with my Brother was a really good book to listen to while driving. I listened to it with my dad when we drove cross country! Its by Nicholas Sparks, but its not a romance novel, its his story of traveling around the world with his brother, mixed with stories from their childhood. Fun fact: Nicholas Sparks ran track at Notre Dame :)

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