Happy Thanksgiving!

So many things to be thankful for this year. We’re so fortunate to have each other, good friends, a loving family, jobs, and a place to call home, filled with stray animals, mix-matched furniture, and an old piano in the corner with a few missing keys. :) Thanks to everyone who has supported our family with encouragement and love, and I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving. We’re going to watch the parade and ride bikes before heading over to dinner with family. This year we’re even going to try the Native Foods Wellington! I may or may not be counting down the hours! :)

Also, I’ve spent the past few days taking photos for Little T’s school because they needed someone at the last minute. Isn’t Little T looking all grown up? I just can’t believe it!

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Disneyland Days, L.A. Adventures, and Stick Searches

It feels like these weeks just fly by! I can’t believe it’s just a few days until Thanksgiving! Here’s a few pics from our adventures last week!

A bike ride, and a search for sticks, of course!

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Food prep for the week! I’ve been doing so well, we freeze bags of brown rice and steamed vegetables so I can pull them out and microwave them for quick meals. :)

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Stare contest, Trevor won.

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A trip to Native Foods to pick up a Native Wellington and vegan Pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving!

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Trying to find ways to have fun at the canon repair store! #photographerskidproblems

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Stopping by IE photo rentals the night before a big shoot. Little T was having a hard time listening to us talk camera equipment, so we had a picnic in the back of the car while Big T got everything, which he thought was pretty much the coolest thing ever.

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Louise and I had a big adventure the next day in L.A. for a great shoot. Taking photos was amazing, but spending the day with so many talented and nice people was absolutely priceless. Here’s Louise getting snowed on, and later after some driving (lol) we wound up at a vegan sushi restaurant.

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Grandma came to town that night, and Little T was in heaven. :) here he is brushing grandmas hair and helping her get ready for the day.

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The next day we had our holiday party at Disneyland! :)

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It was a blast, and Little T joined us for half the time, he decided it was the best day ever. :)

The next day we woke up early to look at wedding venues for one of my besties! It was a great day, so exciting to be able to help!

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At the end of the day, Big T and I took advantage of the grandma visit and went to see the Hunger Games, what a treat that was! So rare that we’re able to do that anymore. :)

And today Grandma and I took Little T to Build a Bear to pick out a stuffed animal, because I thought he was finally old enough to appreciate it, and wow did he ever? Lol, he loves his new little bear “Bouncy”. :)

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And Big T took a pic of me after I fell asleep on the couch, with one hand on my computer working, and the other with the remote with a cat laying on top of it, haha. That’s just the way I roll, it’s a glamorous life I lead. ;)

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And that was the week in our little household, minus the days of me working on my computer, because those make for the most boring cell phone pics, lol! Happy early tofurkey day, everyone! Hope you all have a great time with your families. :)

The Perfect Saturday

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You know those days that you don’t plan out to be perfect, but somehow all the stars align and everything just works together? That was Saturday.

It actually didn’t start out as anything perfect. I woke up around 4 in the morning to get work done so I could spend the day with my two T’s, and was determined to close my laptop by 8:00am, so I was in a rush to get things done at the beginning. And then Little T had a bit of a rough start. He was upset about not being able to watch a certain show, and threw the remote on the ground in perfect toddler tantrum fashion. It broke into pieces, and I think he was shocked that it broke the way it did. Even though Big T could fix the remote, we decided no t.v. for the weekend.

I never expected those decisions to be as hard as they are. It’s easy to look on the outside and think you’ll do things a certain way as a parent, but when it gets down to it, and you have to watch someone you love cry and feel upset, it is the absolute worst. :( But, deep down I know it’s for the best and so the softie in me sucks it up.

He was still cranky about the morning when we got to soccer, but the day got better as it went on. Little T did so good at soccer practice. He really likes his coach and is getting better at all the drills. He still would rather play basketball and asks if he can dribble the ball every once in a while, but we can’t find a basketball team for his age yet.

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After soccer, we went to the Claremont Pilgrim Place Festival. The retirement community puts on the annual festival to raise funds for their retirement program, and I always love going when we can. They all dress like Pilgrims, and their retirement art clubs, wood crafting groups, and different organizations all have tables where they show off what they’ve been working on for the past year and sell the things they have made. Little T and I play a game at these things, and we try to find five cool things to show each other before the day is out. It’s always interesting for me to see what he thinks is worthy of pointing out for the game.

We parked far away and Little T and I had a great walk on the way there (Big T ran errands and met us later). Little T , as usual, looked for the biggest sticks he could find while we walked. I’m always amazed at his ability to find sticks no matter where we are. :)

When we got there, Little T had his face painted like a pirate. He kind of looked like a pirate Harry Potter to me! Expellirarrrrghhhhhhhhhhhhmus! :p

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After the face painting, we went to our favorite area-“the Glue Station”. All the residents collect things like bottle caps for the year, and then hand the kids cups full of glue and a piece of cardboard. The kids then take the bottle caps and leaves and odds and ends to make a piece of art with the glue onto their cardboard canvas. IMG_1175.JPG

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Little T worked hard on his art, and told me he was making the Indiana Jones ride. He’s never been on the Indiana Jones ride before, and so it’s a much talked about mystery to him. He kept adding things that he imagined would be there, like hot lava and traps. :)

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He was doing so well after a rough morning, so we got him a snow cone, and one for big T too. ;)

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Then we rode on the “Mayflower”, it’s a tour bus designed by the crafter retirees. They made the whole thing look like a boat on wheels! On the Mayflower, were given a tour of the retirement community and talked a little bit about pilgrim life. Little T sat next to a kindred spirit, who laughed with him every time we went over a speed bump and the tour guide said it was a whale bumping the boat! :) Hilarious stuff, guys!!!!

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After the Mayflower, we decided it was time to head back and walked to the car. Little T found the biggest stick of all, and I found the prettiest house with ivy all over it, and so everyone was happy. :) The walk turned into a run when Little T announced to everyone that he had to find a potty, lol. Don’t worry though, we made it there okay! Phew!

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Little T with the stick he found:

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My dream house! :)

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When we made it home, Little T wanted to put his art on display! Pretty impressive, Little T! Do you see the resemblance to Indiana Jones? I do! :p

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When we got home, Little T took a much needed nap, and I finished up some work from the morning. I was kind of amused at my sleeping Harry Potter Pirate, note to self: next time remove face paint before nap-time, or there will be a Harry Potter Pirate face imprint on the pillow. :p

After Little T woke up, we all cleaned the house together. Little T prefers making messes to cleaning, but he did his best! Whenever we clean, he likes using the feather duster, and even though I always have to go back and redo everything he just did (shhhhhh), he thinks this is the best task of all.

When we had a cleaning break, we did some learning games on my iPad. We use Agnitus, a great app for working on reading and math. As a side note, the other apps/games he loves are anything from Toca Boca, especially Toca Boca “Boo”.

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When we finished all of that, we got ready to go to our neighbors house for a chili party. Our neighbors work in the Ag department at Cal Poly, and have the sweetest pet pig named Penelope. Little T wanted to show them one of his favorite toys, his barn with his horses. :)

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Our neighbors put out the cutest tent for Little T to play in. This photo was taken before the other kids arrived and they all ran around like maniacs.

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Little T had a great time. It reminded me of being young and finding new friends at grown up parties, such a fun and new feeling. I remember being that age and hearing the murmurs and laughter from grown ups in the background, and wondering what they could possibly be talking about that was more interesting than running around and playing. Wondering if I’d ever enjoy just sitting around and talking like them. Seems so long ago. :)

Big T and I loved talking and getting to know our neighbors better and having uninterrupted grown up conversations at a non-work event, something that doesn’t happen too often for us. Our hosts made a perfect vegetarian chili too! It was so sweet that they stepped out of their comfort zone and made it for us, and wow, it was so good! We teased that we were going to stop by for more veggie food now that we know they’re so good at it! ;)

Little T was worn out when he got home, and even debated having me skip his bedtime book, but in the end he listened to me read with droopy eyes, and yawned and told me he’d had a good day, before drifting into dreamland.

So anyway, it may not seem like much, but it’s always these simple days that seem the nicest to me. The ones where you get to take your time and enjoy what’s happening right in front of you, without the distractions of a crazy busy grown up life, and I’m always so glad when they come up. And wow, two posts in a week! I’m on a roll! :)

Life and Updates and Things Like That!

It has come to my attention, that a few of our friends and family are irritated with my lack of updates on the family blog (you know who you are). You have to excuse me, things have been full speed ahead over here. My days begin at 4-5am and I work until it’s time to get Little T to daycare, then I work some more until it’s time to pick him up, and then I work some more until he wakes up from his nap. Then it’s Little T time until bedtime. Honestly, it would be easier to have him in full time daycare and not wake up at 4am, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Those long days are tough on him and I like having more time with Little T!

On mommyhood: I can’t believe how much love you can have for one little person. He’s at such a fun and sweet age! I wish I could freeze it in time and that we could just stay here for a little longer. It goes by too fast! I know that everyone always says this, but I don’t think it really hits you until you’re a parent and you watch your child grow right before you eyes, feeling like it was only yesterday that you were carrying them around in a baby bjorn.

Here are a few things I don’t ever want to forget:

1) Little T loves to watch Little Bear. I think it’s so sweet that this is his favorite show. Sometimes he asks if Little Bear will ever come over and play with him, I think they’d be perfect playmates. :)

2) Little T loves to cuddle, and I hope he never grows out of it. I love how he still reaches out to hold my hand.

3) Everyone is his friend. I love how he’s a leader at his daycare, creating games and activities for the group, and making sure the new kids in the class feel welcome.

4) He still loves basketball, pirates, and cowboys.

5) If he could, he would spend every day of his life at Disneyland.

6) His favorite things to eat are rice, peas, rice, and rice.

7) He loves the color red…and sometimes blue, but mostly red.

8) His favorite thing to do is listen to me tell stories. The other day he asked me to tell him a scary story. I started out by saying in a spooky voice, “Once upon a time, there was a little boy who wanted to listen to a scarryyyyyyy story, so his momma told him one and scared him so much that he screamed, the end!” Then I had to tell this story about ten more times. He may be my biggest fan. :p

Here’s a few snippets from our adventures…please excuse the iPhone pics, when I’m out I like to be present and not thinking like a photographer, it’s so much easier for me to grab my iPhone and capture a moment and then go right back to enjoying time with my two T’s. :)

Brutus the cat, cuddling with some photo shoot leftovers (to make a long story short, Brutus was a neighborhood stray who found our doggy door and decided to live with us one day):

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Poor little T, not feeling well. In the rare day when he’s sick, we pull his bed out into the living room and have a sleepy movie day. Brutus likes to snuggle with him. :)

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Having our annual family girls day at Disneyland, and spending it dressed as Minnie’s! Sometimes I try to look sassy, mostly it doesn’t work. heh heh

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Farmers market and veggie shopping!

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A few of my photos were in People Magazine Online and People Magazine! So exciting. :) My two T’s took me out to dinner at Viva Madrid to celebrate! I feel like I should have found out about the People Magazine spread in a glamorous restaurant while I was sipping a nice glass of wine, but instead, I think I was in my pajamas surrounded by too many animals.

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Bike rides and neighborhood chalk art. :p

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Apple picking and good times at Riley’s Farm

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Mickeys Halloween party with R, ending with a long and tired escalator ride.

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Little T asked me to take him dancing because he wanted to dance with someone “fancy”, so I took him to the Mad Tea Party, this is the outfit he wore. :p He danced his heart out with a little girl dressed as Elsa, of course.

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He loves those red cowboy boots so much. It’s all he wanted for his birthday and he wears them as much as he can. And here he is again browsing through a local toy shop. :) He’s just starting to be curious about superheroes. He’s never seen anything spiderman or batman, but hears about it at daycare a lot. I have a feeling next year he’ll want to be a superhero for Halloween. :)

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And actual Halloween! Little T wanted to be a pirate again. Not a cowboy, because that’s not a costume. :p He decided he would hold a carrot, because nothing says frightening like a pirate with a carrot in his hand!

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For Trick or Treating, we went to my sisters house and had a great time with their family. Little T had the best trick or treating year yet. Usually it’s overwhelming with all the trick or treaters, but it was pretty quiet this year and that made it easier on his SPD.

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Here’s Nana, it took us a while to realize she was in a costume…I kid, I kid….

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And perhaps the saddest picture of the night, was a photo if me on a toy horse in a not-so-great costume and a cocktail in my hand. :p Hey, it was a long day!

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Last week we got to see a sneak peek of Big Hero Six, and had a great time!

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Then we celebrated J’s engagement at the ESPN zone, because we figured we could “talk weddings” while Little T had fun playing basketball. :) He loved seeing the wo’s and mo’s again.

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Little T and I went on a dinner date when Big T wasn’t feeling well, and Little T snickered about how I ordered him soy ice cream. Apparently, Big T wouldn’t have approved, and this deviation from the rules pleased him. :p

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And all of us together at Disneyland. Little T would spend every day of his life there, if he could. Please excuse Little T’s headphones and pacifier, the headphones help his sensory processing on the Disneyland rides, and same with the pacifier, although with the help of occupational therapy we have reduced the pacifier and have been looking for other things to help instead. :)

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And that’s some of what we’ve been up to! Thanks for asking! I’m going to try to post here more often, but no promises until after the busy wedding season is over, ack! :) Love you guys!

Friendly Visitors and Little Blog Updates

The other day I was showing Little T old blog posts from here, and it made me remember how important it is to keep this little blog going, to help me remember the good days that I never want to forget.

So! I wanted to quickly write about our friends visiting from Vermont. We met ages ago over a mutual love of Harry Potter, and haven’t seen each other for five years. I was so incredibly happy to see them again when they came to visit this month, but next time, everyone had better get over here. LoIKIA’s, I’m looking at you! ;)

We had a busy two weeks, that included photoshoots:

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Here is Erica bringing my vision to life. :) 20140429-083336.jpg

And Mindy! 20140429-083353.jpg

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And took a trip to Disneyland and stayed at the Disneyland Hotel. My mom even came up for a day. We spent the night before Disneyland playing in the pool and the spa. We thought it was funny because Little T looks much older than he actually is. He was talking like a tough guy to some other kids in the spa who thought he was perhaps the same age, until he gave it away by pointing to me and saying, “hey, that’s my momma”, and (our favorite), “do you want to see my boo boo?” :p

When it was time to go to sleep, Little T listened to the Princesses on the Disneyland Hotel t.v. as they told bedtime stories. The next day he woke up ecstatic and ready to go. When we were in Star Tours, he pumped his fists into the air and shouted, “this is the BEST DAY EVER!!!!!!!” :p

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I finally went on the Tower if Terror. None of us were thrilled to go, but Little T insisted. I told him I was scared and he said he’d protect me. I told him again that I was scared, and he said, “momma, I told you so many times, I’ll protect you, okay?” :p

That night, Little T stayed up longer than he’s ever been up before, and all of us watched Fantasmic together. He was scared at first, but really loved it. I think he just might enjoy feeling a bit scared sometimes, tough little guy. :)

We also took a trip to the Highland Springs resort and wandered around the olive trees.

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And sat next to a garden snake.

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We visited San Juan Capistrano:

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And the Huntington Library, where little T tried to be a trooper, but was just soooo tired, poor little guy.

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We wandered around Monrovia:

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Cuddled with the house pets:

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Took selfies and visited Fresno:

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And went to Morro Bay, where Theo found pirate treasures, and Miss Piggy discovered that she loved the beach.

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All in all, a lovely two weeks, and I was so sad to see my friends go. We promised it wouldn’t be five years before we see each other again, and said our goodbyes. It took about five minutes after I got home from the airport for Theo to say he missed them. I miss them too, Little T.

Bad dreams and Little Protectors

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Last night, I had a bad dream. I think it’s because my neck has been sore and I haven’t been sleeping well the past week. Anyway, Little T usually crawls into bed with us sometime during the night. He’s a snuggle bug and doesn’t like to sleep alone. We don’t encourage it, we aren’t against it, it is what it is. We do insist that he starts out in his own bed, but its rare that he ends up there.

So last night, I had a bad dream that involved Little T getting hurt, and all I wanted to do when I woke up was snuggle him and make sure he was okay. Big T went to get him from bed, and carried him into our room, which has never happened before. Tired Little T asked in his tiny voice if I had a bad dream. I told him I did, and he said he’d protect me. He can be pretty adorable sometimes. I think it’s good because it evens out the times when he’s a total threenage terror on little legs. ;)

This morning I woke up early and started working, and Little T walked out and asked again if I had a bad dream. I told him I did. Then he asked if that’s why Big T brought him into the room so he could protect me. I told him it was.

After that, I heard Little T walk into our bedroom and tell a still kind of sleeping and groggy Big T that Big T was a good boy. Little T said that Big T did a good job for bringing him into Momma’s room, and that he was a really really good boy because of it. He gave him a few more “good job, dadda’s” before coming back into the living room for breakfast.

I liked hearing Little T give his dad some genuine praise. It was so sweet and heart Felt, but also interesting to hear how much weight he places on the phrase “good boy” and “bad boy”. To him, it’s the best and worst thing you can call someone. It makes me think about being sure to use those phrases carefully, because they do mean so much in his world.

Anyway, here’s to better nights and dreams ahead. If I’m going to have bad dreams though, I am glad Little T is around to protect me. ;) He is the best of good boys, in my book.

The One True Carrot

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At the petting zoo this morning, Little T discovered that he had the “One Carrot to Rule Them All.”

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I wish I had video, then you could hear all the Cal Poly Pomona Petting Zoo animals saying, “my preciousssssssss”. 
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One carrot to rule them all, one carrot to find them, one carrot to bring them all and at the farm store bind them. ~Little T

Vegan eats and Treats

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We’ve been spoiled this week. My birthday has made for delicious meals, and I’m sad that I didn’t get a photo of Chef Chloe’s Tempeh Picatta, because it was amazing. The tempeh made for good leftovers though. We grilled it with BBQ sauce and have had it for several days over. I think it may be a new favorite in our household. So here it is, a few of our meals over the past week or two.

Rice with faux sausage:

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Roasted everything!

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Chef Chloe’s vegan pumpkin cupcakes:

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BBQ Tempeh, couscous, baked beans, and spinach:

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Amy’s Vegan Mac and Cheese, faux lemon chicken, cooked baby carrots, and rice:

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Little T’s favorite will always be rice. Cooked any way, as long as its on his plate, he’s happy. :)

Parents Can Go to the Movies Again ~ Thanks to the Harkins Theater

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One of the things that has been hard for Big T and I, is finding ways to have a date night. Our family lives far away, and our friends have full time jobs. The nanny service that we use is wonderful and reliable, but pretty pricey~so we only use it on rare occasions. Thankfully, we discovered the coolest movie theater, and I just have to share it with you all.

If you like going to the movies, you have to check out the Harkins Theater in Chino Hills. They actually have an on site childcare center. For only six dollars, they’ll watch your child for the duration of the movie. Parents are given a buzzer to hold during the movie in case the childcare center needs to reach them, and children are given access to a pretty cool and fun place. It’s run by childcare professionals, and they have a area for kids to watch movies on their own, an art center, a game station, and lots of other fun things for the kids to do. The first time we took Little T, he thanked us for taking him and asked when he can go again, so I’m thinking it was a success. My mom gave us a gift card for my birthday, and said she was happy to give us date nights since she can’t be here to babysit and give them to us in person. Isn’t that sweet? The gift of grown up time! :)

Play Center From the Outside:

Harkins Theater Child Care Center Chino Hills Inland Empire Harkins Theater Child Care Center Chino Hills Inland Empire

Here’s Some More Info for You:

  • For children Ages 3-8
  • Must Be Potty Trained
  •  Walk-ups are welcome and reservations are recommended
  • Sun thru Thurs First Show to 8:30 pm
  • Fri & Sat First Show to 9:30 pm
  • PlayCenter staff members are trained professionals who work exclusively in the PlayCenter. They are background checked and fingerprinted.
  • Complimentary Popcorn and Water

Allergies and Dairy Free Food at the Theater:

One of the cool things I love about the Harkins, is that they have a lot of healthy options at the snack center like almonds and dried fruit. None of their concession food items have transfats, and they are dedicated to making sure there are healthy food options available. At the play center, they give complimentary popcorn and water to the children. I was able to confirm through Harkins that their popcorn is gluten and dairy free.

The child care center said I was welcome to leave our own food for Little T with the Play Center Staff, in case I wanted him to have another option besides popcorn, but Little T was so excited about the popcorn that we didn’t think he needed anything else during the movie. Popcorn one of his favorite snacks and he told us all about having popcorn at the theater after we’d picked him up. :)

All in all, it was a great experience and we are so glad to have discovered this! I hope you all get a chance to see those great holiday movies that you may not have had a chance to see otherwise!

For more information and other Harkins Locations: Check here! 

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