An Actual Sing-Along (+ bonus features)

IMG_9337If you’ve never been to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, you should. Even if you’re not a fan of the oddly shaped but incredibly impressive exterior (designed by Frank Gehry), the acoustics are amazing, and the interior is gorgeous, per this photo from Wikipedia:

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But I digress. This post is about our trip to see Santa (remember, I’m a few posts behind) and participate in a Holiday sing-along to celebrate the magic of the holidays! We arrived early and took a few pictures outside – well, my husband did, doing his best stereotypical kooky, “I can’t be constrained to take a picture like tourists do” photographer impression. The BEST of his rapid-fire shots was the one above, in which my head is conveniently missing… (though I must admit it’s a pretty cool picture.)

Inside we stood in line for Santa in a beautiful room with very artistic “Christmas” decorations like the trees behind Santa:

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At the end of the line they handed out a coloring card and crayons, and in the middle of the room they had set up small long tables and chairs for the kids to decorate. Zoe takes coloring seriously and instantly got started. Then suddenly, she started covering her paper to “prevent cheating” as her sister tried to color HER card exactly the same… Oh, the drama. She literally refused to finish hers. I assured her that Ella’s card, though the colors may be similar, would NOT look “exactly” like hers.

Though both ended up lovely, I’m pretty sure I was right:

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The sing-along was great, infused with humor by Melissa Peterman, who invited three children – then EVERY child in the entire concert hall – to come up on stage. Luckily [insert sarcasm], we were pretty much as far as you could get from the stage in the balcony, but Zoe REALLY wanted to go. Good time to have 2 parents. Thanks, Dad!

I hung out with Ella who, while she did a good job, was more interested in eating than singing… And so, we went afterwards to an iconic Italian place Bart found downtown (Maccheroni Republic) with “artisan organic handmade fresh pasta” made daily. It was delicious. Right outside they had a branded vintage Fiat 500 (I have a Fiat 500e. I feel confident mine is much faster and more reliable, but dang that’s a cute car).

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With leftovers in hand, we headed across the street to the Grand Central Market, filled with local vendors since 1917, where we grabbed some fresh bread and headed out. Walking back to our car we saw a homeless man literally picking food out of the garbage to eat. Guess who went home with our leftovers? And tell me, how do you explain to two beautiful, kind children why someone would need to eat from the garbage?

I know this can be a touchy subject, but nothing helps remind us how lucky we are than seeing others in need. It makes me sad that some people take advantage of that feeling, another complicated subject to cover with children. Anyway, on this day Zoe only asked why someone was eating from the trashcan. I simply said that he had no food, and so, we gave him ours. And she was very happy about that.

Later that day we headed to Universal Studios for Grinchmas, which was a zoo on a Saturday night but worth it. In Whoville, we watched the Christmas tree lighting, saw “snow” (bubbles), and got a picture with Max, the dog from the live action movie, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The line to sit in the Grinch’s lap was 60 minutes long…

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(CLICK FOR VIDEO)

We of course went to Hogwarts (Harry Potter!) for the light show, where we were crammed in among tons of fans and watched ghosts and owls and Quidditch on the side of the castle. Afterwards we headed inside where Zoe wanted to ride the ride, and Ella tried to convince me she was tall enough:

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Turned out in her favor though because they made us wait in the gift shop… By the time Bart and Zoe got out, Ella had selected her two favorite things (she went home with the Unicorn). This was the “Please, Daddy” picture I texted Bart as he wrangled Zoe back from the ride:

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On the way out we met someone I was more excited to see than they were… Try explaining Beetlejuice to a 7-year-old (never mind a 3-year-old who basically refused to take her eyes off him as he taunted her). Ghoul? What’s a Ghoul? Zombie, but not exactly? Anyway, I am generally NOT fast to get into a picture, but since it was honestly easier to get in it than take a 30-pound kid off my back:

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And last but not least, if you’re interested in seeing our very own Zoe Lou Who perform in her winter camp performance of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, here you go:

(CLICK FOR VIDEO)

Phew. RIGHT UNDER THE 2017 WIRE. Tonight we’ll ring in the new year, and again I’ll make a resolution to blog for our children’s sake on a more timely basis… We’ll see how that turns out! Happy (almost) New Year!

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