As Mark reminded the kids one day this week, he won a trip at work last year, and could choose between a romantic come-fly-with-me weeklong all-inclusive resort somewhere south of the border with only me, OR drive the whole fam damily to a smaller, less expensive vacation. He said, "You all need to be grateful to Mom because SHE's the one who said that we probably should go to Disneyland."
That's right, little old selfless me. I'm better in theory than in practice. Actually, I think he was trying to soften the blow of my last words: "Just...go pretend you are orphans for five minutes!!" It had been raining cats and dogs and we had chosen to play our "snack day" card that we'd been holding off the kids with, so that we could take a break in a slow, somewhat wind protected area of Disneyland.
Boston and Cooper, of course, chose two-foot long weaponlike lollipops and Macy chose a handful of Mickey lollipops. Mark, Leslie and I chose Ghiradelli Ice Cream. Snack Day was a great plan, I thought, because it kept the "Mom, I want THAT!" to a minimum (I just told them to remember what they thought looked good and they could choose one snack on snack day). However, when we finally huddled into our boardwalk nook to eat our scrumptious sundaes, the hot caramel melting the brand name ice cream into a puddle, I was confronted with,
"Mom. Can you get the wrapper off this?"
"Sure". (Easier said than done. Only took me two or three minutes. Dang shrink wrap.) I lifted my spoon.
"MOM. I can't get my wrapper off!"
"Oh. Okay." This one proved to be only slightly more challenging. I finally tore it and handed it back. Luke started to complain. I got up and rummaged through the bottom of the stroller until I found his baby granola bars, unwrapped that, and gave it to him. Mark opened his arm and I clambered back onto the dry spot on the bench, cupping my bowl, lifting my spoon...
"MOOOOOm! I can't get my sucker out!" This from Macy. Her suckers were tied into a bouquet. Looked nice. Double taped with invisible gorilla scotch tape at the top...and at the bottom. I finally jimmied one out, bending the stick horribly and hoped she wouldn't freak out about it. She took it, not caring.
Leslie commented, "Mom, you better eat your ice cream. It's totally melting!" The first bite was divine.
"Mom! I need this wrapper off!" Mickey's sucker head was also shrink wrapped. We finally cleaved it open with Mark's keys. I think that is when I made my orphan remark. I started shoveling my carmel ice cream swamp.
Boston just laughed at me and commented over his shoulder as he began sword fighting with Cooper in the middle of the pedestrian street. "Mom, if we were orphans, we wouldn't be HERE!" Darn tootin. I lifted my spoon.
"So Mom, what's been your favorite ride so far?" Leslie does not think she is one of the kids and not therefore, an orphan for five minutes. Mark pulled me in closer and not so gently reminded her. I licked my spoon and watched some totally spoiled-rotten soaking wet grubby orphans rudely block and then salute passersby with their Pirates of the Caribbean swords and swirly lollipops. It was pretty entertaining. Parents these days. Sheesh.
Somehow two days later these same orphans figured out where I parked my van, even though we tried to sneak out of the hotel in the dark at the utterly INSANE hour of 5:30 AM so hubby and I could be in downtown SLC for a wedding that evening. Once they had firmly buckled themselves in and were not to be gotten rid of, I instructed said urchins of the travel plan.
"Everyone, we'll have breakfast in a couple of hours. Just, be quiet, close your eyes and go BACK TO SLEEP!". Aaaah. There was silence from the back row. Then came Leslie's battery operated "Bop It" toy with it's preprogrammed but timely comment. "I'm goin' ta sleep."
Sigh. That gave everyone the giggles, including me. The giggling and wiggling soon turned to whining. (The kids were whining too.) It's not really their fault. They were pretty exhausted, and having already packed jackets, kind of chilly, unpadded and uncomfortable to be sleeping. Macy had the "good" bucket seat across from Luke in the middle because it was her turn. That meant that Leslie had to be pegged into the back seat with zero foot room (and she needs a lot--she gets it from her Auntie Brooke), so she would sit in the center and stretch her long legs out over the folded up stroller that was crammed into the aisle. Well, if she got to have her feet up, that meant that Boston should be able to put his feet up too--on Macy's arm rests or head rest. Of course, World War III erupted shortly thereafter. I have sketchy memories of this event, mostly of some elbows in the backseat to the breadbasket, Macy in full battle cry brandishing "Pink Blank" over her head like a spear, and Leslie and I bludgeoning everyone with the first verse of "Love at Home" through a chorus of screaming and mayhem. (Sound familiar, Mom?) Of course, when that didn't work we did what any other modern parents would do and rewarded their bad behavior by turning on cartoons, plying them with candy, and moving the main offender to the cushiest seat, where, incidentally, he could also be isolated from the other orphans. At this point I questioned the sanity of our Season Pass friends, put some peppermint oil on my headache, and disappeared into my memory foam pillow.
"But I don't like to just sing it in my head!"
"Mom, Boston's kicking me again!"
I mumbled loudly from my pillow between the headrest and the window, "Hush up, and I don't care."
"Did she say I could have more grapes?"
Which of course gave me the giggles again. It was a very fun trip for our little family of seven, and we are very glad to have survived it.
We all had our nip-and-tuck moments, though. I have a pretty healthy fear of heights and would like the rest of you to know that free-falling is NOT a fun sensation. I just build up with dread, kind of clench up my stomach and teeth and pray for it to be over.
Cooper (my most sensitive) backed out of the Indiana Jones line after about 10 steps in, but claimed to like the roller-coaster-in-the-dark Space Mountain. He wanted to try it a second time with me to prove it. Yes, he liked it all right. He demonstrated that if he just puts his hands over his ears and closes his eyes tight, it only feels like he's driving in a fast car. He demonstrated that little hint the entire ride.
Boston thought the free-fall stuff was just awesome, but thought he was going to die in our private family cage on the Ferris wheel. It started to swing about 10 feet off the ground and totally rocked his world. He later insisted that HE wasn't SCARED! Huh-uh! Just NERVOUS. Luke hated it, too, until I tried Cooper's trick on him, plus the binky.
Macy proved to be pretty sensible about what was real and what was pretend. She didn't go on the "worst" rides anyway, and when she went on Pirates of the Caribbean with me, she was surprised and declared, "Mom, I'm not even scared! Evil cackle, evil cackle. Somewhat unhinged cackle."
Leslie seemed to be pretty happy the whole time except when the boys were trying to yank her arms off to escape her third-responsible-adult handholding. As for Mark's Disneyland Demise, I think I heard him mumble something about a death march at the close of day three while we explored the totally tame but fun Tom Sawyer Island. (We left the park trailing Mark about ten minutes later. My feet weren't even tired. Ha.)
There were plenty of "good to be alive" moments, too, some pictured here, some not. Having one on one fun time with my children, for instance, as we took turns on the rides. Watching Luke's wide-eyed yet exhausted reaction to the World of Color lights/water/flame show. Savoring our picnic lunch in the quiet shade on a deck overlooking the riverboat. Macy in full princess regalia being excited to see her fantasy characters come to life. Luke laughing at being pushed through the rain in his stroller. Both of my boys in their matching shirts being selected to train as Jedi's. Beautiful music wherever we go. Seeing all the BYU fans, including some messages on the back of our van (highly visible with its seven vinyl Y's.) Parading my family of seven in our bright matchy shirts. No housework! And realizing that my kids are not, in fact, spoiled, as they were just as excited to get back to the hotel, watch TV and eat popcorn. (Except for Cooper who hates popcorn, Leslie who can't have it because of her braces, and Luke who would choke on it. Oh well, it smelled festive.)
|Luke is ready to go. But will he wear a hat??|
|We wait in line for the Ferris wheel/gondola|
|We wait for the Aladdin show to begin. Boston was a little impatient, thinking he wouldn't enjoy it at all, and claimed, "They are totally wasting my time!"|
Macy was very excited to watch the parade and totally thought she was singled out to be waved at by every notable princess. Maybe she was! Good work, ladies. This video shows some of her reaction. LOVE the gooey face she makes.
|The kids had fun exploring Tarzan's treehouse. Except for Cooper who got startled by the jaguar.|
|the next day was kind of cold. And wet. |
|Sleeping Beauty in front of her castle.|
|Sleeping Beauty's sleepy face? We need to work on that one.|
|Dang brothers trying to steal the show.|
|It's okay to mix your fairy tales when you are this cute.|
|This picture makes me laugh. It looks like the guy is yelling at Leslie's driving.|
|Orphans with swords.|
|Poor wet baby. He loved it and was extremely good the whole vacation. The ride home, not so much.|
|Boston conquered the Indiana Jones ride.|
|Check out Cooper's eyes bugging on on Space Mountain. Guess that's why he decided to keep them closed from now on.|
|I spent alot of time with Macy and Luke in line to meet some celebrities while the others went on scarier rides. That's why there are so many pictures with just Macy.|
|Boston was singled out as a Rebel Spy on Star Tours. I don't know, he doesn't look that shifty to me.|
|Luke and I sat and saved spots for the Jedi Training Session for a long time. The others made it just in time. I like this shot because Luke kept trying to get up front with his brothers. Pick me!|
|Boston's battle with Darth Maul.|
|Cooper's battle with Darth Maul.|
|LOVE this picture of Macy on Tom Sawyer's Island.|