Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Does there ever come a time where your children stop amazing you with how much they've grown, how much they've learned, how wise they're becoming? I don't think there is...unless they grow to be not so wise, in which case I'm sure there is still amazement going on, just not the good kind. The kind that makes you want to smack them and use lots of four letter words.

My oldest is going to be 10 soon, and I'm caught up in this ringer of emotion. She's alternately wise and carefree and serious and mothering and and and.....I figured out why they refer to her age as "tweens". It's not a play on the word "teen", it's because they are just in beTWEEN. They're right smack in the middle of being big and little.

We were at church on Saturday night and the kids were all playing on the playground while I sat and chatted with my mom. Damien went inside to go to the bathroom, and five minutes later, about the time I started wondering what was taking him so long, Emily came up to me and asked "Shouldn't Damien be back by now?" I had to laugh.
She takes her big sister role very seriously.

She also looks after her baby sister.

Like her haircut? I just did it last week. She didn't like it much, until everyone started raving over it, and telling her how much older she looks. I have to say, I completely agree. She suddenly looks OLD. Like teenager old, like she's going to snub me and slam her door in my face old.

But then I look at her with the rest of her gymnastics team, who ARE actual teenagers and she suddenly looks so tiny.

(she's the short one about to pick her leotard out of her crack)

Except she's actually old enough to be on the team with these teenagers which then makes her seem all old again. See what I mean about the emotional ringer?

She was having a tween angst moment the other day, and I pointed out a bright side to her issue. She responded with:

"the cup can't be half full ALL the time mom."

What am I supposed to do with that? I better keep my wits about me, or she'll be outsmarting me by 13, and we can't let that happen.

Friday, March 27, 2009

And that's that

Ok, honestly now, I'm kind of over the whole Disney thing. I'm ready to move on with life and talk about something else. How about the rest of you? Sick of Disney yet? Is there anyone still reading this thing? Did I scare you all away? Hello? Helllllooooo?
But I also feel like I should finish with the telling of the trip....so I'm just going to cram days 3 and 4 together in one post, and then get on with things. Other things. Non-Disneyland things.

Ready, here we go.

Hold on just a sec, I have to go look at pictures so I can actually remember days 3 and 4.....

Oh yeah......

Day 3 started a little more mellow. We didn't kill ourselves trying to get there right when it opened. We took our time waking up and getting ready.

I even went down to breakfast in my pajamas thinking that there had to be some other people doing the same thing. I mean, why not? That's kind of one of the perks of having breakfast right in your hotel, right? I was wrong. Everyone else was all dressed and ready for their day, and there I was with my hair thrown in a messy ponytail, plaid pajama bottoms, no bra and no makeup, and the coffee sucked. I hurried back to my room in shame, and scarfed down a cupcake and instant cappuccino.

It was a pretty warm day and we spent most of it at Disney California. Damien and I rode the Grizzly river run and got nice and wet. Then it was supposed to be Patrick and Emily's turn, but Emily opted out and Damien went again. This was pretty much the theme of the day. Damien rode a lot of rides twice.
Emily did ride Soarin over California with me, and that was awesome! Very realistic. I really enjoyed the part where you soar over Tahoe....all the trees and hills and snow, it was beautiful and thrilling.
California adventure doesn't have a lot of rides for Cali's age, but we did get to ride the Monster's Inc ride. It broke down after we were in line for about 20 minutes, and they said it would be at least 20 minutes before it was fixed. So then we were stuck in the dilemma of stay? go? stay? go? We stayed and waited. Mostly because we were already inside the air conditioned building, and got to sit down. It was a very cute ride, Caliana loved it. I loved the end, where Roz yelled at us to bring her a churro next time.

Patrick had left the park to go get us lunch, and we were supposed to meet by the fountain. He had forgotten to bring his ticket with him and couldn't get back in the park. For some reason (crowds, maybe?) I could never hear my phone ringing and we waited a long time for him, before he was finally able to sweet talk his way in. While we waited, the kids got to meet a few characters.

It went well with Mickey and Minnie....until the photographer tried to get Cali to look at the camera (something about cameras makes Caliana suddenly want to inspect everyone's feet). She just was not looking up, so Mickey took things into his own hands.....literally

I would not be exaggerating to say that she was deeply offended. She stomped over to me, one pissed off toddler, yelling "Mickey do that to my HEAD!" I tried really hard not to giggle. I really tried.

After Patrick eventually rejoined us and we ate, Damien and I rode California Screamin. Loved it, loved it. I am a roller coaster girl, and that one was fun. Then Damien and Patrick rode it, then we had ice cream and cotton candy

And then Damien started to feel sick (anyone else see this coming?) and wanted to go back to the hotel.

Being the experienced parents that we are, we told him he just needed to drink some water and cool off. We were so right. *Smug smile*

We still had a little time before our dinner reservations, so we went to check out the Lego store in Downtown Disney. I thought Damien might die on the spot. I think it was the giant Darth Vader built from legos. That place made ME want to play legos.

We had dinner at Goofy's kitchen, where the food was magnificent. But one of the best things, was the kids got a chance to meet a lot of the characters without waiting in line for an hour. Things didn't start off so great. Patrick accidentally called Pluto....Goofy, and Cali smacked him in the nose, so he sat in the corner and cried.

He eventually forgave us and we got our second, and final family picture of the trip.

Caliana really enjoyed Cinderella's fairy godmother

but she was having nothing to do with Minnie. She still hadn't forgiven the mice for what Mickey did to her head.

If you're wondering what that is on her plate, it's potstickers, with hot chocolate spit all over it. You people with toddlers know what I'm talking about. Right? Don't you? Please tell me it's not just my kids.

E and D were very pleased to meet their favorites, Chip and Dale. Although Chip had a good time harassing Damien. He put him in a headlock and took a little walk around the restaurant. I think some of these characters have repressed issues.

Patrick and Cali called it quits after dinner, and went back to the hotel. The other two and I headed over to Disneyland to take in some rides we hadn't gotten to yet.

I think goofy slipped a little something into Damien's dinner, because he became quite....I don't even know how to describe it.....insane? While waiting in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, he kept yelling out "Oh my Gosh, I'm PREGNANT!" Followed by stares and giggles and he was just enjoying the hell out of it. By the time we made it around to the riverboat, he was in such rare form I thought he might pitch someone overboard, so we called it a night after that.

Onto day 4, also known as "oh crap, we have to check out, cram in everything we missed so far, AND drive home"

We had breakfast at Denny's because I was not showing my face in the hotel breakfast room again. Damien learned a thing or two from Chip

When we got to Disneyland, we went straight to Space Mountain because I was not leaving without riding that one. The Fastpass return time was already at 8:00 pm, at which time we planned to be well on our way home, so we had to do it the old fashioned way and wait in an actual line. Emily went with me, and she yeah, chickened out again at the end of the line, and I got to ride by myself. I also left my sunglasses in the little storage bag. Dumb, dumb.

Since I couldn't put it off any longer, I took the kids to Toontown. Patrick escaped once again, this time to go back to Goofy's kitchen to try and find HIS sunglasses that he left the night before. The kids seemed to enjoy Toontown, but I would have preferred if it was a bit less hot and crowded.

Patrick got himself locked out of the park again. He had remembered his ticket this time, but had forgotten to get his hand stamped. The same manager that had let him back in the day before, had to come back out and let him in again. She must have thought he was very bright.

He was pretty ready to go by then, but we still had some "must-do's" left. Like It's A Small World. Am I looking tired yet?

That little boat ride honestly put us all in a better mood. I liked Lilo and Stitch

We also did the castle walk through. Sleeping Beauty is one of my all time favorites, so this was more for me than the kids.

We made it back to Tomorrowland just in time for the Jedi Training Academy. Damien is a big Star Wars fan, so we really wanted him to get to experience this. Both he and Emily ended up being picked, and they enjoyed the hell out of it. I have a little video of Damien fighting Darth Vader that I'll try and post on here soon.

Damien proclaimed it the second best part of the whole vacation. His absolute favorite, and Emily's also was the Aladdin musical. It was the last thing we did, and we almost nixed it, so we could get on the road home sooner, but I'm really glad we didn't. We had front row seats and the show was outstanding. If you get a chance to see it, go.

I'd love to tell you all about my horrible drive home, where I almost fell asleep constantly, and had to pull over to nap at least 4 times, but who wants to read that? I'll just say, we made it home safely, the vacation was a great success, and I'm so glad it's over.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day 2

I know you've all been checking this blog every 30 seconds for my next Disneyland update, so you could experience the vacation vicariously through my pictures and descriptions. The reason I know this is everyone that I know has gushed to me about how *theeeyyyy want to gooooooo to Disneylaaaaaand!* and how *theeeeyyyyy are soooooo jealous!*
And then I think that "yeah, Disneyland is fun and happy happy run here and there and blah" but it is also damn hard and exhausting. And I really don't want to go back anytime super soon. And I know you're all thinking "but it's so worth it!"
And then I remind myself of those women who have one child and never ever want to do it again because labor and babies and all that are so damn hard and exhausting, and I always think "yeah, but it's SO worth it!"

So ok, day 2.

It was St Patrick's Day. It was also the day that we had "MAGIC MORNING *WE'RE SO SPECIAL* ENTRANCE TO THE PARK", where we have to be there at the butt crack of dawn and get in before the general public.

I yanked everyone out of bed, made them get all irished up and perky and we headed down to take full advantage of the free breakfast at our hotel. And Caliana, she took full advantage

Then we hurried outside.....to wait for 15 minutes for the bus. SO much for butt crack of dawn.

We still arrived with 30 minutes left of our "Magic morning" and you know what? It turns out that thousands of other people also got a "magic morning" and we spent our magical 45 minutes waiting in line for the Finding Nemo submarines that do not offer fastpass, even though they so totally should.

That was about all Patrick could take of the lines and he opted out of the matterhorn. That's when we lost him. Cali declared the ride "sooo scarrry" after we got off and we moved on to Dumbo. I spent the entire ride scanning the crowd from my elevated position looking for my husband because no way in hell was I spending all afternoon with all 3 kids and no stroller and no other adult on my team.

There he is! Found him. The one in the green hat! Because that was so helpful in spotting him in the crowd on St Patrick's Day.

We got on a couple more rides and then hopped the bus back to the hotel. Patrick and I fought over who got pool duty, but I had taken it the day before, so it was his turn.

I actually got to catch a little nap. I totally loved those hotel pillows and if I had a smidge less integrity I totally would have packed up a few to bring home.

We, and by we, I mean me and the kids because Patrick wanted a longer rest, spent the rest of the afternoon and evening at California Adventure, which I found to be delightfully less crowded than Disneyland. Caliana napped and I sat on my ass for 45 minutes while Emily and Damien ran through the Brother Bear obstacle course.

I got a thousand and one comments and compliments on Cali's outfit, and two people asked if they could take her picture. Someone even asked me if I bought her dress at the park, so that made me feel good and oh so talented.

She woke up, uh......I woke her up just in time for the pixar parade, which rocked, and showcased all of her favorite characters.

Damien and I rode Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, which was so freaky and awesome. Then we bummed around in the little kid bug's life area and waited in line 20 minutes to ride a 30 second ride that moves 2 miles a millenium. I got a phone call from the kids' dentist around this time about making appointments for their checkups, so at least it wasn't a total waste of time.

Patrick met us for pizza at a cute little surfer restaurant that had very expensive and gross pizza. I think I'm remembering this part of the day in a negative light because I.was.tired.
Then we rode the golden Zephyr and actually got a picture of all 5 of us.

But the fun wasn't over yet, no way.

We promised the kids we'd get a good spot and stay and watch the fireworks. So that's what we did. We stood there for 45 minutes guarding our good spot, and Damien fell asleep through the entire thing. It took us another 45 minutes to get out of the park. Madness.

But a great time was had by all!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Disneyland Day 1 and a half

I completely stressed myself out over the rental car. My Netflix payment came through on my credit card 2 days before, and I was so unbelievably afraid that I wouldn't have enough credit available to rent a car, and then where would we be? Not in Disneyland, that's where.
In reality, it couldn't have gone smoother. I was in and out in 5 minutes, with keys to the same Chevy HHR we took to Utah last year, and loved, and the rental car man even gave me his employee discount. And let me tell you, it felt SO SO wonderfully awesome to drive again. I cranked up the radio and went through the McDonald's drive thru, just because I could.
I got home and finished packing and then tried to get some sleep. It was 4:30 in the afternoon when I went to lay down, and 6:00 pm when I woke up. I stayed in bed for another 2 hours trying to fall back asleep and eventually got another hour nap, but that was as good as it was going to get.
We left at 11 pm. I stayed pumped up on coffee and red bull all night and didn't even get drowsy. Patrick stayed up with me and we got to Anaheim around 6 am.
There was a McDonald's with a giant playplace so we got breakfast, let the kids run around and got dressed.
We parked the car at our hotel and went around back to catch the shuttle to Disneyland. Everyone was very excited, giggly and doped up on sausage mcmuffins. The bus came and I promptly tripped over the stroller and landed right on my hands and knees. Lovely start to the day. I totally blame it on very little sleep, cause there's no way it's just that I'm clumsy. Ok, that's a bold faced lie, but at least I didn't rip my jeans.

These are from the bus ride. They weren't excited, they were just still laughing at mommy falling on her face

Highlights of the day:

-going in, when we were all full of energy and excitement

-Emily closed her eyes for the entire Indiana Jones ride

-Everyone told me to skip Tarzan's treehouse, but my kids loved it and climbed all those stairs at least 3 times

- Patrick located all 3 smoking sections in under 5 minutes

- We ran into Patrick's parents and sister who we had no clue would be there at the same time as us

- Emily got to pretend to shoot her brother in the face

- Meeting Woody and Jessie. Some of Cali's all time favs

- Having lunch at the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney, even though we were getting quite.....cranky and snappy by that point.

We checked into our hotel at 3pm, and were so ready for a break.

I took the kids to the pool and I'm pretty sure some guy was taking pictures of me with his phone. It was either for him to say "damn, look at this hottie in her bikini", or "ewww, look at this chick, she should NOT be wearing that bathing suit." I didn't take any pictures, so you can't judge for yourself. Sorry.

Since Patrick and I were both tired and pissy, we decided to split up after dinner. He stayed at the hotel, and I took the kids back to Disneyland, and holy hell was it busy at night. We hit up tomorrowland and got a few rides in. Caliana loved loved loved Buzz Lightyears Astro Blasters and Damien was way stoked over Star Tours.

We ran out as the fireworks were starting, catching glances over our shoulders, but trying to beat the crowds. HAHAHAHA! What a joke.

The kids declared it the longest day of their lives. They said it seemed we had been on vacation for 3 days already and I had to completely agree. I was beyond ready for sleep, blessed sleep.