We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams . . .
yet we are the movers and shakers of the world forever, it seems

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Finishing Up February

Unable to let Disneyland go so easily, we brought the caramel apple home and ate it the day after we got back. The vacation was such a great break form life; we didn't worry about bills, work, we didn't answer calls, we just spent time together and made memories. We decided we were able to squeeze more quality one-on-one family time into those 4 days then we would have been able to in a month of being home. It helped us remember how much we enjoy each other, and what a fun group we are. It was nice to drag it out for one more day. It was a perfect way to end the adventure and close-out my birthday week. 
Mike was honored at work with the Pharmacy of the Year!!! He works so hard and is so good at what he does, it is so nice for him to be appreciated.  We're pretty proud of him. We think he's pretty great.

 I brought a sinus-bug home from Disneyland with me (I suspect it may be the same sore-throat Elliott had on that first day), and I shared it with Lucy. Even though she had quite a fever, we couldn't resist a picnic in our old park (yep, that's our old house in the background) on such a beautiful day.

 Being a sharing kind of family, she then shared the bug with Archie.
Once we were all feeling better, it was back to life as normal. Again, We all wished we were still back at Disneyland. This is Archie's bad-guy convention. It was quite a party, everyone was there: Xibalba, Darth Vader, Hook, Hook again, Zurg, some Zombies, Ursula....it was great. 
Leaving for Disney for a week was especially hard for Lucy. She's in middle school now and in the gifted and talented track, so they don't like it when she checks out for 5 days in a row. I thought the second week of the new semester would be relatively harmless, but I didn't realize that she had a big National History Day group project they were finishing up, and a science fair project that both carried over from the last semester!!! YIKES!! Her teachers weren't happy, but they were very helpful and she was able to work VERY hard and get everything done that she needed to.  This is her performing in the Trial of the Century at NHD.
 Another nice February day inspired us to take a bike ride to the park. Archie has been fixated on Aladdin since we watched it in our hotel at Disneyland, so he claims that he isn't, in fact, Superman in this costume, but Jaffar, the bad-guy from Aladdin. Of course :)
 Lucy and Rowan had their first BIG band concert!!! It was super-fun!
To understand the significance of these next two pictures, you have to know a little back-story. Archie did NOT like Pete the Cat at the beginning of the year. He wouldn't want to go to class, and when he did go, he made me ask his teachers not to read the shoes book. He has been very brave and has powered through, and actually learned to LIKE Pete!!! This was on his classroom door, and I thought it was very cute.

We waited until after our big trip, but we couldn't wait any longer....Lucy got BRACES!!! Awkward teenage phase has officially begun!!
So then whey doesn't she look awkward at all!?!? Man, this girl can make anything look good!

Disneyland Days: 3 & 4

By the third day, we slept a little more, and felt like seasoned Disneylanders! We also realized that tomorrow was our last day, so we had to get moving! We met up with Papa and Grandma in California Adventure, and headed to see Princess Ana and Queen Elsa....we may have gotten a bit distracted on the way; that happens in the magic kingdom!

 We made it to the Frozen Sing-a-long and we loved it. 

Archie was all charm.
 We found this while wandering around, and I thought it was cool.
 It was priceless just to see these two working together and laughing hysterically. Actually, one of the reasons there aren't very many pictures of this day, is because we were really having a lot of fun. One of my favorite moments was when we stopped to eat dinner at the Pinocchio restaurant and we spend most of the time singing the Veggie Tales Cheeseburger song with Archie; he loves it so much. The kids would start to crash around 5:00pm, so stopping for dinner and resetting was just what we always needed. The Teacups were always great because there was no line, and it gave the kids a chance to just sit and relax. I think we made it to closing time on this day too. 
 This emerging pre-teen bought her first pair of sunglasses at Disneyland, and she couldn't be cuter. 
Day 4 we slept in even a little more (walking 13 miles a day makes you pretty tired!), and had our farewell breakfast with Papa and Gramma and IHOP. I swear we got a picture of all of us outside the restaurant before they left, but I can't find it!! What I DID find though, was evidence that Papa is the best; he showed Elliott how to do a sneaky panorama trick. 
 One of the funny memories from this last day will be the giant light-saber dilemma. On the first day, Archie used his Disney gift-card to buy a GIANT 3-pronged light-saber. We spent the whole day dodging oncoming traffic as it stuck out at all angles from his stroller. When we got it back to the hotel, we quickly realized that it wouldn't fit in our luggage, so we would probably have to mail it home! On this last day though, we decided that it would be much more fun to give it to a Star Wars-loving boy and just buy Archie a collapsible one. We talked to Archie about it, and he agreed; it ended up being very sweet, and he was able to build his own custom light-saber which he liked very much. 
After breakfast, Elliott and I hurried into California Adventure to await the opening bell so we could rush to the Radiator Racers fast-pass. He is always up for an adventure, even with his crazy-mama. Just look at that SMILE!!!!
 It was our last day, so I really wanted to get in all the little nooks and crannies that we hadn't seen yet. We ate lunch in Tomorrowland, and caught the Jedi Training show. This is a picture of Archie using the force to raise the temple; he did a great job. 
 Then we rushed over to New Orleans to explore the steamship. We were racing around the stairs, and I hear Archie say, " Oh Mom! There's a princess over here!" He sure loves the ladies.

 From there, Lucy and I decided to head to the haunted house, where I ran into a friend, Mindy Johnson, from Mesa High who I didn't know was there with her family!! Crazy Disney. I left my phone on the Haunted House ride, and had to wait 45 minutes at City Hall while security brought it over. For compensation, they gave me 2 passes for the whole family to go walk right on ANY ride!! I'm so glad they did, because that is the only way we were able to go on Peter Pan (always a long line), and Alice in Wonderland (the same long lines!)! We also discovered on this last day, that Archie likes the Winnie The Pooh ride too! AUGHHH!! Now we have to go back, because we only had time to do it once! 
Mike took the big kids to do some fun scarier rides in Tomorrowland, and Archie and I waited for a 7 minute window that, thanks to the awesome app, we knew Jasmine would be greeting guests. Archie was first in line. While we waited, the helper you see on the right was so great! It is hard for a 4 year old to wait in line in an exciting place like this, but she kept him occupied talking about Minecraft and the time just flew by. 

 He had just smashed two pennies in a nearby shop, and he handed them to Jasmine and told her they were for Raja; it was so sweet, and she was so happy about it. It made Archie's day!

 Noooooo!!! Night came to quickly on the last day!!! We never wanted it to end! We would clean toilets all day every day if it meant we could stay in this magical place forever. Don't they need pharmacists in Disneyland!?!?!  Archie finally got his Wilderness Explorer Badge from his favorite attraction, we grabbed some last-minute dinner, and headed to our last ride: Monsters Inc. 

Then we bought a Mickey kitchen sink full of ice-cream, my must-buy caramel apple, and sadly walked back to our hotel room. 
 Sad to say goodbye Disneyland, we LOVED LOVED LOVED you!!

Lucy's favorite ride: California Screamin'
Lucy's Favorite memory: hanging out with the family
Elliott's favorite ride: Raft ride
Elliott's favorite memory: Riding his first loop-de-loop
Archie's favorite ride: Peter Pan
Archie's favorite memory: meeting the princesses

Monday, February 15, 2016

Disneyland Days: 2

On Tuesday, we slept in unit 7:00, so that was an improvement, and, it was also the day we used our Magic Morning Pass to get into Disneyland at 9:00! Even Better. Even less of a line in, a little else people at the park, and a little warmer, Tuesday was so great. 

I told you that Archie didn't mind waiting in line; he always finds something to do.

Every day we rented a stroller for Archie that doubled as our pack-mule too. Lucy and Archie are waiting for me to arrive with it here. Not a bad spot to wait!
 After arriving at the park early and catching a few fast-passes, we RUSHED to Paradise Pier Hotel barely making it in time for our character breakfast with Papa and Gramma. I'm told I'll laugh about it someday. We all snuggled up to some characters as we enjoyed Mickey waffles and lots of fun. 
Archie with his first crush. Of all the princesses and characters he met, he was most smitten with Daisy Duck.  She wrote, "Love, Daisy Duck", and when I told him, he said, "she loves me!" Even now, when he sees her signature in his book, he gets all abashed. 

Here's the crazy one...and Stitch too!
She managed to get Elliott to blush too.

After breakfast, it was back to the fun. Mike and I had a great unspoken system: one of us would go with the big kids, and one of us would go with Archie. Lucy, Elliott and I wanted to ride the Matterhorn, so Mike took Archie to Toon Town to party for a bit. 

Here we are waiting for the Matterhorn. It was probably the longest wait we had because they were doing some maintenance, but I promised the kids an iconic Disney experience, so they stuck it out. The abominable snowman freaked them out; mission accomplished. 
Then Mike took the big kids and Archie and I did the teacups! Another classic Disney experience. He liked this one! There was never a line, so we were able to do this one a lot. 
 And this picture is just because I love the face Archie makes when he's tired of smiling. 
 Then we went and found Sleeping Beauty's castle. 
 We accidentally happened upon the 3:00 parade, and since we LOVED the last one so much, we grabbed a Dole Whip treat and settled in for the show. The parades are magic.
 Thanks to the park-hopper passes, we were able to go back and forth between the parks, so, with no lines to stop us, we had to give California Screamin a try and the river raft another go. Thanks Papa for watching the kids while Mike and I had a mini date on the Screamin, and Gramma for going on the raft ride with the big kids!
(we learned our lessons and brought ponchos today)

 We couldn't miss another chance to be Wilderness Explorers of course. 
 Around dinner time, we found a nice Cafe in Disneyland and sat to eat. We watched crowds gather and realized we had accidentally found a prime spot for the Light Parade and firework show! We bought a few blankets, more hot chocolate, a few more churros of course, and enjoyed parade and the most amazing castle-projection and fireworks display!
 (photo credits to Elliott for these)

Cudos go to the kids for their stamina and attitudes on these long, tiring days. Elliott was so brave trying the scary rides! The only one he "swore he would never ride" was the Tower of Terror, but he tried, and retried and tried again, California Screamin; he loved it! And Lucy walked and walked and WALKED with us and never complained that she literally had holes in her shoes and her orthotics worked like a charm! We averaged about 12 miles and 8 hours a day! Archie stayed awake in his stroller and loved every minute of it. Mike was patient and generous with his time and hard-earned money ($8 a corndog!). We spent more time together, interacting and enjoying each other in these 2 days than we would in a month at home and school and work. And that's why 
Disneyland really is a magical place!