Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Disneyland, Where Our Dreams Came True

We had so much fun at Disneyland! It was the first time for John and Alison and to see the magic in their eyes was priceless! We arrived at the hotel around 1:00 pm on Wednesday, April 23rd. We stayed in the beautiful Disney California Grand Hotel. Disney really knows how to accommodate families. There were bunk beds for the kids and a Queen bed for mom and dad. We even had two sinks! Wonderful and friendly service all the time.
John had heard about the Indiana Jones ride from a friend at school. He has no idea who Indiana Jones is, but that ride was the first thing on his agenda. When we entered the gates I wanted the traditional picture of the family in front of the train station with Mickey's face in flowers below it. John had a different agenda, and so I gave in and said we could take the picture the next day when we entered. By the way, I never did get the picture! We only have one family picture and that is with Mickey. John would pick and choose when he was in a picture mood the entire trip. Kids! Then out came Cinderella and The Fairy Godmother, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. Alison was so excited! We were right next to Cinderella and The Fairy Godmother, so we were the first in line. John refused to take a picture with them and just wanted to go ride the ride. We compromised and got their signatures and photos with Alison and tried to console Alison that we would see the other two later on.
Me being the "planner" that I am, we had to ride the train first, because that is what you do when you go to Disneyland. At every train station stop John wanted to get off to ride Indiana Jones, but once the train got rolling again he was fine and excited to see what it had to offer. Back at Main Street USA, we headed on foot straight to none other than Indiana Jones. Alison was too short to ride it so while the boys headed off we went all through Tarzan's Tree House. John loved the ride and thought is was "sooo sweeet". I also got to hear about the "cool" snake and boulder that Indiana saved them from.
Alison was just in awe the whole time, looking out for princesses and princes. We rode every single ride at Disneyland and California Adventure during our three days there. Alison went on Thunder Mountain and thought it was "stupid". So after that one she and I did other things while the boys went on all of the fast roller coasters. We had a wonderful time. We saw every parade and performance and took a lot of pictures.
One morning for breakfast we ate at the Critter Cafe. We were entertained by all of the forest critter characters while we dined. They come to your table and sign your autograph books and pose for pictures. We even joined in a "train" that went all through the restaurant lead by Brother Bear. John was so in to it that he even asked our waiter, Jose, to sign his autograph book.
Alison's highlight was dinner with the Princess at Ariel's Grotto. When we first entered there was Ariel as a human waiting to say hello and hug our little princess and take a picture. John refused to be in the photo with us or have her sign his book. He "was not hungry and just wanted to go on rides". Since we have been home Alison told me while looking at the picture, "I just love this picture of Ariel, me, you and dad. It is my favorite picture. I am glad John is not in it because that would have ruined the picture". Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Belle all came around to each table to spend time with the guests. I was quite impressed with how each one of them used the voice that you hear on the movies. They address the girls as princess and the boys as prince. Alison was so happy to watch them go around the restaurant and then when they finally arrived at our table all she could do was smile and stand there. We had to prompt her to answer them and talk to them. You could see in her eyes that she knew she was talking to the real Princess. I just love seeing that magic in her eyes. I will admit, I am still a little girl at heart because I look at them and think they are the real thing as well.
I just can't say enough about our trip. It was the most magical time for our family. We really enjoyed ourselves and spending time together. On our last night there the kids said they did not want to go back to Oregon, they wanted to stay longer. We all did. I explained to them that we could not stay longer because we had spent all of our money. We did not have any more money to pay for the hotel or food. We needed to go home so dad could go back to work to earn more money so that someday we could come back.
Every day Alison asks at least three time when we are going back to Disneyland. I say not for a long time. She was telling her friend all about the fun she had at Disneyland while they waited for the movie Speed Racer to start. She then followed it up by saying, "We had to come back home so dad could go back to work and earn more money so we can go back again". The two dads just looked at each other and laughed.
For now we have the memories of our dreams coming true. We look forward to the time when we can go back and make more dreams come true!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

6 years old!

We can hardly believe that John is 6 years old! He enjoys hearing about the time he spent inside mom's tummy and what he was like as a baby. He is excited to be a 1st grader next year. For his birthday this year the theme was Transformers. We had a friend party at Chuck-e-Cheese which was a lot of fun. We provided pizza, drinks and tokens and the kids had a great time. I brought brownies for dessert. I had put one of his Transformers, Optimus Prime to be exact, on the brownies as a decoration with the candles. But once he saw Optimus on there he just wanted to hold him. I don't remember if I even got a picture of the brownies with Optimus on top!

I took cupcakes, juice boxes and cheese and crackers to his class for snack on the day of his birthday. That night he got to pick where we had dinner. We had asked him on Sunday to think about where he would want to go. This is how the conversation went:

Mom= "John, where do you want to go for dinner on your birthday?"
John= "Um, is there a place called Denny's?"
M= "Yes."
J= "What kind of food do they have?"
M= "All kinds. Pancakes, eggs, hamburgers, mac n' cheese, grilled cheese. Things that you would like."
J= "Okay. I choose Denny's."
M= "Mark, where is the closest Denny's?"
Mark= "I don't know."

We figured out where the closest Denny's was, but by the night of his birthday John had changed his mind. He got Heeley's (shoes with a wheel in the heel) as one of his presents and was not about to leave the house or stop learning how to use them for dinner! There are no pictures from the day of his birthday because he refused to let me take any of him or the wonderful Transformers table decorations I had set up the night before!
We went to California on Saturday, April 19th to see Grandma and Grandpa Thompson and go to Disneyland. So on Sunday, April 20th John got to have an extended family party at Grandma's house. The two months leading up to the party and trip the kids were so excited. I get catalogs in the mail that sell themed party supplies. John cut out the Transformers page and was working on a letter to mail to Grandma Thompson to tell her that he wanted his party to look just like the one on the page. He never did get his letter off to Grandma, but he called her at least three different times with requests of what he wanted, how he wanted it to look and how we would "surprise" him the day of the party!

Grandma did an awesome job at filling every request! John has never had a pinata before and he requested an Optimus Prime one to be at his party, filled with candy and toys. Grandma found an Optimus Prime pinata! This thing was taller than John! He looked like a Mexican wrestler, but we taped an Optimus Prime party mask on him and he was perfect! After the kids all had a turn hitting him and getting candy, John went to town on him! He beat that guy to pieces! Then some of the wonderful Uncles suggested that we burn him. Grandpa was soon outside with the lighter and putting the pieces in a metal bucket. He went up in flames! The kids were so excited! John even got to be the Fire Fighter and put the flames out. This moment will forever be burned in his memory (pun intended). I just hope that he does not expect to always burn the pinata when we are done with it!

We had a wonderful time with our extended family. The kids had fun playing with their cousins. That does not happen often enough for us, so it was a welcomed time. Thank you to our Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents for presents, food and good times. We had a great time talking and laughing with all of you. Thank you for donating your weekend to us to spend time as a family. We love our family and our 6 year old, John!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Tulip Farm

One of my favorite things to do in the spring is go to the tulip farm. There are thousands of tulips in blume and it is an awesome sight! We usually go during the week when it is not crowded and free parking. However, this year, the only day that was not raining was a Saturday. So we went as a family. Never again will I go on a Saturday. Way to crowded! The kids did their usual complaining as we viewed the flowers first, then played on the kids toys. But for me, it is worth tuning out their voices as I take in the beauty.