by 8:01am wednesday morning we were in the parking lot of starbuck's with coffee in hand praying for God's protection as we traveled. i love hitting the road on time!! of course i spend the first hour or so trying to rack my brain for anything we may have forgotten. the only thing i could ever think of was the traveling high chair for anna. not bad- i must say.
in newman family fashion we stopped at a roadside rest area in the desert for lunch. we had string cheese, fritos, boiled eggs and grapes. i know it sounds kind of strange for lunch but when ross' mom drove out with me and the kids when we moved to arizona that is what we had as our lunch along the way. henry loved it back then so we have done that whenever we take big trips. here is a pic from our stop. (side note- the desert is a very hot place!) after lunch we were back in the van and headed for paradise. along the way we saw the craziest thing. just west of palm spring is a windmill farm. i don't know if that is what they are called but there were probably 300 or more of those giant modern looking windmills. we thought it looked like something out of a sci-fi film.
once we got into anaheim and we turned onto harbor dr. henry started reading the signs with a little help from me. once he figured out they said "disneyland" he asked if we were going. we told him we were and the adventure of excitement began for our kiddos. we checked into the hotel around 4ish and once we were settled in we walked over to downtown disney. the music was playing, the fountains were going, people were smiling (though some did have the disney glaze) and then we saw the store...the disney store. let me just say that my kids get excited to go in the one in the mall and now they were face to face with the biggest disney store ever!! henry asked if we could go in and so we did. i was really proud of him. he asked if he could have a few things but when we said no he didn't throw any fits.
ross had been told that the thing to do is to get an autograph book so that the kids could have characters sign their books whenever they met one. i will say that when i went to disney the first time i was 22 and i really didn't care about having an autograph. maybe it was cool to do that 7 years ago but i didn't know it. buying one of these autograph books was probably the best thing for our kids. henry and daphne loved trying to find characters each day!! we only bought one at first and henry had it full by the end of the day so we had to get another one. here are a few of the pictures of characters they met along the way! characters met were: mickey, minnie, donald, goofy, pluto, alice in wonderland, woody from toy story, jessie from toy story 2, eeyore, cinderella, snow white, sleeping beauty, snow white, buzz lightyear, mulan, & chip and dale (captain hook was seen but we were in a long line for peter pan's flight and so we couldn't catch him).
during the 2 days we were there we road: casey's little train, the teacups, peter pan's flight, king arthur's carosel, it's a small world, nemo's submarine voyage, astro orbitor, the buzz lightyear ride ( i forget the name- it was henry's favorite), the winnie the pooh ride and several more that have escaped my mind already!daphne loves cinderella. she has for quite some time. on our first morning in the park we were able to take her to meet three of the princesses. sleeping beauty was first and i felt a little sorry for her. the whole time she was trying to interact with daphne our girl talked about cinderella "over there". after a hug we continued on and daphne met her very favorite princess. when she went over to see cinderella, cinderella patted her dress skirt down so daph could sit next to her. daphne very sweetly took cinderella's hand and sat down and closed her eyes. it was as if she was trying to capture the moment forever in her memory. cinderella would move daphne's hair out of her face and they talked and smiled. it was such a sweet moment watching daphne enjoy every second of something just for her!!
as we searched disneyland for characters henry became determined to find buzz lightyear. after we road the buzz ride and ross and daphne got in line for it buzz started walking up the way. henry and i both got excited and i handed him his autograph book and pen. he took off towards his hero. now let me tell you that when a character is done signing books they have to be a little rude and brush kids off. the way buzz was walking i just knew he was not up for signing books. i got tense and braced myself for henry getting his heart broken. much to my surprise though, when henry walked in front of him and asked for his signature buzz kindly stopped, gave him a thumbs up and signed his book. let me say this- once the character hands your book back to a kid- they get mixed up in a crowd. i was sure we would miss the photo op since buzz was obviously on his way somewhere. again i was surprised. buzz held onto henry's book and then took henry by the hand and they walked to where buzz was headed. i thought i was going to cry as i watched my son hold his new friend's hand and then get a big hug and picture with buzz.
we even had the chance to take the kids down to laguna beach for some time in the sand and surf. my kids love the beach...well we are working with anna- this was her first time to sit in the sand. she went to the beach when we went to texas last fall but this time she felt the sand, ate the sand and had the ocean wash over her toes. here are a few pics from that day. henry and daphne loved playing in the waves and burying each other in the sand. i can't wait till we get the chance to take them to the beach again!!
check out ross' blog later this week and get his spin on the adventures of our vacation. there are many more pictures he will share.
many memories were made for our family this past week!! i am excited for next year and whatever we may do then!
thank you, Lord for the chance to do something extra special with the kids. You blessed our lives with sweet family fun!!