Sunday, December 19, 2010

July in Christmas!

No, you didn't read it wrong. I said "July in Christmas." I know, the phrase is supposed to be "Christmas in July," but it's not July. It's Christmas. And I'm going to talk about July. When everybody else is talking Christmas, I'm talking July, baby. Wrap your mind around that one.

Down to business. And by business I mean the Happiest Place on Earth. It's Disneyland story time, folks. Only 5 months overdue. I actually wrote most of this post about 2 weeks after returning from Disneyland, but then there was Jake's birthday and then there was Dan's birthday and then there was soccer and school and Halloween. And I recall promising you this post sometime before 2011. Since it's against Blogger law to not post about Christmas and it's also against my own personal law to post a blog any earlier than 1 week after the event, I knew that I'd break my promise to tell you about our Disneyland trip before January 1...if I didn't do it tonight. There's no time like the present, right? That's my motto. Oh wait.

Just crank up the heat and put on some flip flops and sunblock and pretend I'm not the worst procrastinator you've ever known.

July in Christmas:
On July 11th we packed up my parents' swagger wagon (not the official Toyota Sienna, but still a wagon with some swagger to be certain) and picked up Dan's parents and headed south. And by the way if you haven't seen the "swagger wagon" video, you're seriously missing out and need click this link immediately. So...official start time was 8:24pm and Dan's goal had been set to drive through the night as the kids slept and reach Anaheim in 16 hours. I, being the encouraging wife that I am, laughed in his face when he told me that goal. Two small children with two small bladders, and two small attention spans that were going to be stuck in two small carseats did not equal 16 hours in my humble opinion.

Who knew that after picking up Dan's sister Jane, Curtis and little Bekah in northern CA, we were actually on pace. And then we decided to stop for lunch at In&Out (my mouth just started to water as I typed those words) before crossing the Grapevine. Ah, the Grapevine. You know, that windy stretch of I-5 in SoCal with no exits that takes you up into the mountains, and then out into the valley. We were pumped to pass this milestone and not stop til we high-fived Mickey himself. And then we went around a corner. And abruptly stopped.  For the next 3 hours. Seriously, we drove 4 miles in 3 hours. It sorta makes me exhausted all over again just thinking about it. God bless the Swagger Wagon and its DVD player. The kids did awesome. I, on the other hand, probably lost a few years off my life due to my blood pressure reaching limits it had not seen before. I'm not exactly the most patient of drivers. Although it was great to get to catch up with Jane sitting next to me in the front seat. In fact, she probably lowered my stress meter down to non-lethal levels. Here's to you, Jane.

We found out 3 hours later as we passed a charred semi-truck what the problem had been. Well, like I said, we had been on pace to completely miss LA traffic, but of course now we were stuck right in the middle of it as we exited the Grapevine. Our 16 hour trip turned into a 22 hour trip. But long story (not even remotely) short, we made it!

Oh, Disneyland. The Happiest Place on Earth. My boys were in awe. We had 5 day hopper passes between Disneyland and California Adventure. The first ride we went on was Thunder Mountain Railroad. We assumed that Ty would be the daredevil (this in keeping with his typical fearless behavior) and that Jake might be a little more cautious. So we decided not to tell the boys how fast Thunder Mountain would be. Jake rode next to me and Ty next to Dan. Jake was whooping it up, screaming for it to go faster and grinning from ear to ear. And evidently Ty was clinging to Dan for dear life and asking him "are there any more fast parts?" after the first turn. Who'da thought?

After that Jake was giddy about the thought of more fast rides and Ty was a little unsure about what we'd gotten into. Dumbo was his highlight because he was able to control how high and low the flying elephant went. When he's in control there's no stopping his fearlessness. When he's not...well let's just say he had a death grip on Dan's arm during Pirates of the Carribean and there was no reasoning with him after Star Tours. Dumbo and Peter Pan and the carousel were better options. He still had a complete blast.

Jake, on the other hand, insisted on getting in line for California Screamin' when we went over to California Adventure. You had to be 48 inches to ride, and low and behold he was exactly 48 inches. 0-60mph in 5 seconds, upside down loop, crazy drops. And Jake couldn't get enough. He had the need...the need for speed. Wow, thanks writers of Top Gun for coming up with that catchy phrase to cleverly end this paragraph.

We had a great hotel that was super close so we were able to walk to the park each day. The only downside to the trip was that tiny detail of it being the hottest week in the history of mankind. It was close to 750 degrees (give or take) every day we were there. The kids were champions and barely complained. But that's probably partly because I made them drink 4 times their body weight in water. Dan and I are bigger so we only drank 3 times our body weight, and probably lost approximately that much fluid through our pores as we stood in line after line.

But in all honesty, looking back I don't remember the heat as much as I remember the sheer joy on my kids' faces when they met each character, or the shrieks of delight while riding their favorite rides. What awesome memories! So glad we got to share it with my incredible in-laws. Thanks Gram and Pops for making it even more special.

The trip home was much less eventful. I don't recall at this moment if we did make Dan's goal of 16 hours but it sure didn't feel like it when we pulled into our driveway.
We felt like we could have and should have slept for days, but alas, life goes on.

Aaaand, 5 months later...Disneyland blog done. Promise kept. You can turn the heat down now. I'm done with July. That's right, it's December. Put your Snuggie back on and go back to the fireplace and turn on some Christmas carols.

See you in 2011.