Balderramas in California 2024: Ride Reviews

Balderramas in California 2024: Ride Reviews

As I wrap up my posts about our California trip, I wanted to share a fun video I put together. After many rides at Disneyland, I made a point to briefly interview my daughters to see what they thought of each ride. I hope it’ll be fun for their future versions to reflect on this as a bit of a time capsule and relive some memories. However, some of this was too cute to sit on, so I hope they don’t mind indulging me in sharing this. In the video, there’s one ride where Mariana was absolutely not a fan. Enjoy!

Mariana’s New Bedroom!

Last weekend, we took on the weekend project of re-imagining Mariana’s bedroom. This has been her bedroom since her birth, but before that, it was also Clara’s nursery. While upgrades have been made to her room over the years, her room has still been virtually based on the same color scheme and layout up to this point.

A baby nursery with blue walls, a pink stripe on the salls, a brown chair and a wooden crib.
Clara’s Nursery back in 2013
Mariana standing in her blue room with a pink stripe, filled with a bed, table, desk, and toys everywhere.
Mariana’s room in 2022 (it normally wasn’t this messy, but she created one of her many shops out of her room).

With Clara being busy at a dance competition all weekend, this was a great opportunity for Mariana and me to be productive in the house. Mariana picked out the colors, and we took to Pinterest to get some ideas. After exploring many options, Mariana narrowed her choice down to a grey bedroom with a light blue accent wall, rejecting complex shapes and patterns that were floated to her.

The project went into full force last Wednesday when I took all of the furniture out of her room (Maraina was with her mom for the next two nights).

Mariana's blue room with a pink stripe, mostly empty, with a white bed turned on its side.

The next night I focused on getting everything off of the walls and doing a lot of patching.

The same bedroom, but now with the walls bare and covered in white spackle.

When I got the girls back Friday morning, we picked up the paint and went to town. My mom joined us and both girls were amazing helpers, and we were reminded how satisfying painting can be.

By day’s end, the paint dried enough to set up Mariana’s bed and move some furniture back into the room. She was excited to sleep in this in-progress project.

Mariana (and George, who we’re pet-setting for Shannon) spending the first night in her newly painted room

Saturday came, and Clara spent the day at her dance competition. My mom came over, and the three of us started getting the lights, shelving, wall fixtures, and all of the furnishings into the room. We had a lot of fun playing with string lights, threading them along the ceiling down her dresser wall. We swapped the location of her bed and dresser, and I replaced her nursery dresser with an amazing wooden dresser I got in an estate auction. My mom also replaced Mariana’s desk with a new-to-her desk. I also mounted Mariana’s TV to the wall to open up her dresser space. We tried to be more selective about adding things back into the room, taking the opportunity to de-clutter as much as we can.

Here is the current result, with a few more decorations to add, along with some on-the-wall shelving that will arrive next week.

Mariana's finished bedroom, with grey walls, with a sky-blue wall on the right, her bed, brown dresser, desk, and shelving.

Mariana is excitedto offer a tour:

I’m so very grateful for all the people who helped make this happen: my mom, who helped paint and decorate; Shannon, who helped me get the dresser. Next up: Clara’s room this summer? Stay tuned!

Tubing at Beaver Meadows

Clara, Jeromey, and Mariana, dressed in winter gear in front of a sign that says "SnowTube Park".

The girls and I have been clamoring to go tubing since early December, but the mild winter and a busy schedule prevented us from going. We finally carved out time in late January to make our way up to Beaver Meadows Resort near Red Feather and had an absolute blast.

The last time I had been to Beaver Meadows was during my Campus Ministry Days at John XXIII, over 20 years ago. As I was researching tubing locations online, Beaver Meadows made the most sense when considering experience, price, and travel time. We purchased our tickets the night before and booked a 2-hour window from 12-2.

The drive up there was pretty, and with the mild winter, the roads didn’t give us any trouble. We stopped at Subway in Fort Collins and picked up lunch for afterward.

The tubing hill is very well-run. They have a pully-lift system that brings you up by your tube, and once you’re up there are multiple runs to choose from. As someone with a moderate tolerance for speed, I didn’t find the runs too scary. The girls learned the hard way that you may not want to go down head-first, but we luckily escaped injury and enjoyed our other runs.

We used the GoPro to capture some videos of our runs. Clara wore it at first and took some awesome videos:

She and Mariana also formed a train down one of the runs as well.

I also joined in on the train, but had to take the front on this run:

Finally, Mari and I took one last “race” down one of the parallel runs:

Despite having a lift take you to the top of the hill, tubing took more out of us than we expected. By the time our two-hour window was up, we were ready to be done and enjoy our lunch in the back of the truck:

We would highly recommend going to check out Beaver Meadows. They’re open on weekends through Spring Break and will scratch that itch for some winter fun.

Help the Girls in Laps for Learning!

Later this week Clara and Mariana will both be running in their school’s only fundraiser, “Laps for Learning”, and would love your help!

Both girls are asking for a one-time pledge for the laps they’re going to run. Mariana claims she’ll run 13 laps, while Clara thinks she’ll run 2 (each lap is about a 1/4 mile).

This is the school’s only fundraiser for the year and 100% of all money raised will stay within the school. Mariana’s school plans to improve its outdoor learning garden as well as purchase interactive boards for its classrooms. Clara’s school will be using its funds on technology and wellness.

The girls will be running this Thursday, October 5! Any contribution, no matter how small, will help them reach their goal! Your contribution is tax-deductible, and I can work with you to get a receipt from the school if you’d like. You can give online using the buttons below, or if you’d like to mail a check or use another service to send the funds, I’ll donate on your behalf – email me and we’ll figure it out! – jeromey [at] . Thank you for supporting public education!

Family Photos in Jim Thorpe, PA

While planning our Jim Thorpe trip, my sister put forth the idea of organizing a family photo shoot while we were all together. She researched photographers and found Nikki Slivka Photography, who did such an awesome job capturing the beauty (and chaos) of our family of 15.

As all parents know, kids aren’t always cooperative photo subjects. It was a challenge during our session, but the kids enjoyed having some props like a parachute, bubble gun, and a ball, which helped us create awesome candid shots. The rolling hills of Jim Thorpe also created a beautiful setting.

I can’t recommend enough that any time you get together as a family, you seek out a photographer to capture your time together. I know it’s not always cheap, but I’m so glad that we did this.