We took a couple of days out of our trip to California to drive down and take the kids to Disneyland.
We drove there the day before so we could get settled into our hotel.
Our five hour drive to Anaheim was long, with lots of "how much longer?" potty breaks, tears about potty breaks, snacks, and LA traffic.
But we made it. Our hotel was beautiful and clean and we were so grateful to have two connecting rooms. The kids were thrilled to be out of the car. They danced in the mirrors and explored the room.
My favorite moment: Ellie squealed and said, "Wow!! We even have a garbage can!"
We went to dinner at Red Robin, loving the fact that it was 70 degrees outside and we could walk around without our coats on.
After dinner we took the shuttle to Downtown Disney so the kids could pick out a souvenir and we wouldn't have to spend our limited time in the park looking for the perfect toy.
Nicholas picked out an awesome light-up light saber (with some encouragement from Dad...)
We bought two. Kent and Nick were in little-boy Star Wars heaven.
Ellie bought a sweet little stuffed Lady puppy. Then we got crazy-overpriced ice cream and sat outside under the Christmas lights and listened to live music.
I think this night was my favorite part of the whole trip.
That night after we put the kids to bed I drove to Target and bought myself new tennis shoes. My riding boots were just not cutting it, and my feet were killing me.
I wasn't nearly as prepared for this Disneyland trip as I should have been,
but I figure, with all the packing I had to do before we went to California, it's a miracle I didn't forget more.
We intended to wake up early and get to the park as soon as it opened.
Well....it didn't happen.
Three young, emotionally-overwhelmed children,
plus two parents who really just wanted to sleep in....
You know how it goes.
The park was packed. So so crowded. But our day wasn't about racing to get on all the best rides, waiting in lines, or seeing shows. Our day was simply about letting the kids be the guides, doing what they wanted when they wanted, and just having fun together.
Our first ride was Autopia. Nicholas was bouncing with excitement.
While Kent and Nick were on the ride, I stayed outside with Ellie and Christian.
Ellie wet her pants. In the bathroom. After using the potty.
She's got skills.
Then she had a meltdown because she saw Pluto.
And Christian had to nurse.
But it was all worth it when Nicholas came bounding back to us shouting "THAT WAS THE BEST!" Even twenty minutes later he'd shriek every so often and say, "I'm just still SO HAPPY!"
Next up was Ellie's first choice, the teacups.
We rode the Storybook Land canal boats next, then went for lunch.
The food lines and crowds were ridiculous, and Nicholas decided it was a great time to have a "challenging authority/parents are the worst" moment,
but I got this (for the first time in my life!):
And everything was better. Matterhorn Macaroons, I'm going to love you forever.
Another thing I found that I love? The Disneyland Baby Care Center. What a beautiful, peaceful, perfectly well-stocked place. I found myself finding reasons to go back as the day went on...it was just so quiet in there (and so busy and loud everywhere else!)
We also rode the Jungle Cruise (probably one of my favorite rides--and it was all decorated and changed for Christmas!), got Dole Whips (duh,) and realized we stuck out after the second or third time someone asked us "Where in Utah are you from?"
And I don't even feel like our family is that big yet...
Nicholas really wanted to get his face painted.
I adore this boy.
He spent the rest of the day laughing with delight whenever he saw another boy with the same face paint, and feeling quite proud of his awesome paint.
We ended the day with a walk down to Toon Town, where we saw Goofy.
Nicholas was so excited, and jumped right in line to get a picture.
Ellie was terrified. Screaming, shaking, "He's coming, he's going to get me!!!"
Oh my goodness. Poor girl was absolutely panicked.
We didn't spend long in Toon Town....
And then, right as we were about to board the train to take us back to Main Street so we could leave, My exhausted baby finally fell asleep:
That night we spent over an hour trying to wash the face paint off of Nicholas (his eyebrows were still green nearly five days later...) ate dinner at Cheesecake factory after much difficulty navigating to their parking garage, and fell into bed exhausted and happy.