Our hotel room was a marvelous family-friendly suite and the hotel amenities included a water park which was perfect for our kids. We settled in after a short flight and shuttle ride which arrived right on time. We ventured down to the pool to let the kids play while Stephen and I lounged side by side, talking about our future and sipping pina coladas. We took a short walk to get dinner and headed back for movie night at the hotel.
The following day was Mother's Day. We spent it at my dream spot: Disneyland! I got to take the kids on all of the magical rides I went on as a child, and live my dream of having a beautiful family and spending quality time having fun together.
On Monday morning we went to California Adventure. Per my planning, Stephen went to get a fastpass for Radiator Springs Racers while the kids and I got in line for the Toy Story ride. One ride down, onto the next! Stephen looked at me with his dreamy eyes and gave me a smile which I knew meant "I love it here!" We continued our day leisurely and took breaks when needed and hit everything on my list, just as planned.
Tuesday we decided to stay at our hotel and simply enjoy the water park. It was a nice break. The sun was shining, again Stephen and I lounged while the kids played and sipped on another delicious pina colada and talked about our next trip.
Wednesday, our last day at the park, was a balmy 80 degrees. We took the kids to meet all of their favorite characters. The girls dressed up in their princess dresses and were in heaven as they pretended to be Anna and Cinderella while traipsing through the park. Pike got picked to be a padwan at the Jedi Training Academy and his trip was made. We sadly left the park anticipating our next trip.
The kids were angels. We bonded as a family. We grew closer together and loved every minute of it. Everywhere we went people asked, "how do you do it?" Stephen and I lovingly looked at each other and just said "we are blessed." We made it home Thursday and Praise God for such a wonderful trip.
Haha! Did that sound too good to be true? Well, that's the way the trip played out in my head. For weeks, no months, prior to our departure. I had envisioned just that. Okay, let's try documenting the trip as it actually happened.
Saturday morning, we got to the airport right on time! Just 2 hours prior to our departure. Only I couldn't find my phone. "Uh, Stephen, I left my phone in the van." He quickly called the parking shuttle and they had to go back, get it, and then bring it to Stephen at the departure drop-off spot. I stayed at the baggage check with 4 kids, bouncing off the walls. 20 minutes passed. Stephen said, "they couldn't find it." I emptied my purse for the second time and voila! It was in there all along. Good start, eh? Our flight was smooth. An ear ache here and there between kids but nothing too serious. We arrived at 1pm. Got our bags and headed out for the shuttle. Which didn't show up until 2pm. Waiting on a sidewalk with excited kids, who are also starving hungry since they hadn't eaten lunch yet, for an hour, is not exactly fun. But the shuttle came and we were at our hotel by 3:30. Starving, we decide to go to the hotel's restaurant. First thing I did? Stubbed my big toe on the door stop. Hard. Busted my toe nail and completely ruined my pedicure I had done the week before. Bummer. Food was bad. Service was worse. The trip has no where to go but up from here! Right?
Well, I could give you nitty-gritty details, but honestly, I don't want to remember those. So I'll sum it up with this: Disneyland was packed. In the morning, it felt like shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. Everyone would crowd in line and sprint to their favorite ride or to get fastpass tickets. I'm all for a good deal, and also for getting the most bang for my buck by getting to go on a ride without waiting in line. But not like that, it's just not my style. The temperatures were HOT. 104 degrees hot. And for kids that think 65 degree temperatures call for swimming and sprinklers, those temperatures caused whining and misery. Jovie and Pike especially couldn't deal with the heat. Pear and Pike got sick starting on Monday. We had kids with fevers the remainder of the trip. We attempted to keep the fevers down and continued on with our trip but they just weren't themselves. Every time we'd attempt to go to the parks, the kids would ask if we could go back to the hotel. With our 3 day park tickets, we spent a total of probably 8 hours at the parks. Yeah, we didn't really get much bang for our buck there.
We did have our share of fun and memorable moments. Pear LOVED everything at Disneyland and she really was a trooper for being sick and making the best of it. The highlight for me was our last evening at Disneyland, I stayed at the park for an extra 2 hours with just Pear. (The rest of the family wanted to go back to the hotel.) And Pear was in heaven for those 2 hours. She kept telling me how happy she was and how much fun she was having. And she talked, and talked, and talked. And she would just burst out in song anytime she remembered a Disney song that matched the ride we were going on or what we were seeing.
Another highlight was Radiator Springs Racers. We got fastpasses to avoid the 2 hour line and the kids waited all day to go on this ride. Stephen, walked up with the 3 bigger kids and the lady measuring Pike said, "oh, I see light between the guideline and his head. Sorry. He can't go." This was the Cars ride that Pike had been dreaming of for months! Are you serious? An eighth of an inch! I told Stephen to go ahead and I would take care of Pike. He got the "stroller pass" so that I could go on as soon as he got off. And I headed to the nearest restaurant, grabbed a couple wads of napkins and stuffed them in Pike's shoes. No doubt, he was tall enough this time. And it was a great ride! Pike was also in awe of Thor and when Thor asked him who his favorite superhero is, he quickly responded, "Iron Man!"
Jovie is a silent one. She rarely expresses her joys and always makes her miseries known. Deep down, I think she had a little fun. But when I ask her, she says, "I hated it. It was just too hot! One day was like a desert." I know she did enjoy aspects but between the walking (which she isn't crazy about,) the waiting (if you know Jovie, you know she cannot be idle,) and the heat (of all the kids, she melts the most in the heat,) it was a bit more than she could handle.
Crew loved the parade and though hesitant to meet the characters, he followed big brother and sisters and put on a grin for all of the pictures. He couldn't go on too many rides and he was often hesitant on the rides he could go on, but as he watched the older kids' responses to the the thrill, he forced a grin and pretended to be at ease and having fun.
The hotel really was amazing. It was within easy walking distance to Disneyland, had an AMAZING water park for the kids and it was a suite with a total of 4 beds. The only downside was the fact that besides a McDonald's and a Pizza joint, there weren't really food options. The hotel advertises that they have a grocery market, which they aren't lying. They do have one but their prices were outrageous! We are talking $4.00 for one of those single serve cereals in a plastic container and $5.00 for an ice cream cookie sandwich.
Thursday finally arrived and we were all ready to go home. Crew now had a fever and didn't feel well. The shuttle ride to the airport was long but nothing compared to our flight. Pike was being extremely out of control and seemed to throw a fit about everything. Of course he refused to go pee at the airport, but as soon as the plane was in the air, he couldn't hold it. Airplane bathrooms are lovely, right? Yeah, they are even more lovely when you are pregnant and trying to take a finicky 3 year old who still sits backwards on the toilet. We finally land and we figure we are in the clear, almost home! Of course, Pike discovers that he must've had the urge to poo at some point but didn't and now he had the dreaded SKID MARKS. Skid marks in his undies are a big deal. And rather than quietly whispering the fact to me and requesting fresh ones, he yells so that everyone on the plane can hear, "I HAVE SKID MARKS!" He then continued to yell, "I have to go now!" about 100 times as we were stuck near the back of the plane while everyone slowly walked out. That's the worst of it right? Oh but no, the boys continue with their extremely difficult behaviors of the day. One fight led to another and in the end, Crew ended up vomiting on the train cram packed with people on the way to the baggage claim. I ended up stripping him down to his diaper and wrapping him in my coat until we got to our bags.
Our trip was memorable. We are blessed. We were able to go on a trip and BE together. Moments were miserable. And moments were amazing. I cried the next day, (that may be due to the fact that I'm pregnant, or it may be due to the fact that the trip was just that drastically different from the way I envisioned it.) Either way, I am thankful. Thankful for the opportunity. Thankful for my family. Thankful for this life. And today, I am laughing.