My Family

My Family

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Disneyland/Huntington Beach

After 5 years of dreaming of the day that we would be able to take our children to Disneyland, we finally were able to make it happen!  
In January of this year, my good friend, Rachelle Allen told me about the 
Disney sponsored "Give a day, Get a day!" program that had just begun.  The program required that as volunteers, we sign up for an activity that benefitted the community in some way, complete that service, and then, in return, anyone 6 and older who helped would receive a FREE day at Disneyland or California Adventure or Walt Disney World.  
I was ESTATIC  to have such an opportunity.  Every time I had worked up the cost of going to Disneyland for our large family, I would end up shaking my head and thinking, "I don't know how we are ever going to make that happen!"  
In February of this year, we went to glean citrus fruit to be donated to a food bank.
We worked for 4 hours as a family, picking every fruit we could reach (and then some), and filling a huge food bank box (about 3 ft tall and 4 ft wide) 2/3 of the way full.
We had the 5 oldest children with us and got a babysitter for the 2 youngest (which was odd, I haven't had to call for a sitter for a very long time!)
The excitement of helping others, AND knowing that we would benefit with a day in Disneyland made the day extremely memorable. 
Once the tickets were in hand, we debated about when the best time for our family was to go.    
It didn't take long to settle on April...and we started looking for the specific dates we could go.  
Then...we waited...excitement mounting...for the day we could leave for DISNEYLAND!  

It felt surreal walking onto Main Street, USA in Disneyland the morning we arrived.
To say that it was a dream come true is not an exaggeration, and it was was heartwarming for me to know that my children would be able to build lasting memories with their siblings at Disneyland.  (We also got to see the Rob and Tracie Halliday family one night while we were there!  Talk about the ultimate play date.)  :)

The pictures we took were minimal.  
Even when I wore the camera around my neck, my thoughts were on keeping track of my children, not on capturing the moments on camera.  
Our family did wear the same color of shirts while we were there, so keeping track of the kids was easier than if everyone had worn random colors...but still, ensuring the kids were all safe and accounted for was a job that took all of my time and energy.

I was with  Isaac and Sam while the others went to Space Mountain.  We waited in line to get on It's A Small World.  The boys LOVED it...and Sam was singing the song for most of the morning.  It was very much as I remembered it, although I didn't have a high tolerance for the repetitive nature of the music.   
I loved this "postcard" at the end of the ride.
It's a great reminder for all of us.  
We quickly learned that any means of saving our feet was not only recommended, but also necessary. My kids were very excited to climb up to the top of the double decker bus and save themselves a few steps down Main Street.  We also discovered the train that goes around the entire park, and loved riding that.  (Did you know that there are mini-shows along that track? I actually didn't remember that, but I do believe that I rode that same track and saw those shows as a young girl...funny, huh?)  
Stephen caught this picture of me and Nathan coming down Splash Mountain.  I'm at the very back and my hair is flying out straight behind me.  Nate is right in front of me...and the rest of the family was...
eating ice cream.  
They had already ridden Splash Mountain and were hanging out with Isaac.
They even got some for us, and kept it in the cooler until we got back.
For my Bekah, seeing the princesses was a must.  The line was LONG (1 hour, 15 minutes) line...but she was insistent that it was something that was very important to her.  The rest of the family went on Small World, (making Bekah the only one who didn't get to go on that ride), and then went to ToonTown.  Emily was told that they were heading to the Dumbo ride, so she opted to stay with us, saying, "I guess princesses are better than Dumbo." (I know that neither of them were on HER list of things to do.) 
Princess Jasmine was the kindest and most sincere of the princesses that Bekah met.  She really made "Princess Bekah" feel very important.
As we were leaving, Beks looked up at me and said, "Is that all?"  She had expected that all the princesses would be together and she would get to choose which 3 she got to meet.  (It was a lesson on expectations being different than reality.)  She did choose NOT to stand in a 45 minute line to see the fairies in Pixie Hollow later that afternoon.  (Whew!)  We walked up and peeked through the leaves around Pixie Hollow and she saw the fairies that were inside...she was very happy when Silvermist waved at her.  
In ToonTown, the girls and I were looking for the rest of the family and decided to do a quick tour of Mickey's house. 
We had a chance to meet Mickey Mouse in the back of his house.   
I talked a lot to the older kids that while they thought the characters were silly, that they had to "respect the Mouse".  No disrespecting Mickey was allowed.  Although the girls didn't want this picture with Mickey, they stepped in when I did.  
I personally think it's amazing that all of so much has come from the initial cartoons that Walt Disney created of Mickey Mouse and I need to teach my children of the contributions that Disney made to the world of entertainment.  Their exposure to Disney is only animated movie related...and they don't ever remember a time when they had to wait to see a movie only in the theatre or on The Wonderful World of Disney.

We knew when we planned the trip to CA that we needed to take the kids to see the ocean.  
None of them had ever been to the beach, so we took them on Saturday morning.  
Their joy and excitement is so apparent to me in this picture.  

My favorite man.
Isaac didn't want to get his feet wet for a very long time.
The whole kid crew, lined up for the "family" photo.
        Pat realized it was our first trip to the beach EVER as a couple.
When we first arrived, the tide was coming in and the waves were a quite choppy and high.  
By the time we left, the ocean had calmed dramatically and was beautiful to see. 
Isaac finally got his feet wet.
Everyone except Isaac and I played extensively in the water.
It was truly amazing to see my children experience one of God's amazing creations for the very first time.  I love the ocean and how I sense the reality of God and His hand in creation every time I see it. 

As trite as it may sound, I know that the Lord has a hand in our lives.
I view this entire trip as a blessing, a miracle, and a dream come true.
To be able to share it all with Pat and the kids...even better.  
I will treasure this vacation for a lifetime.   


MnM said...

Oh Kristine I'm so glad you got to go! Sounds like it was so fun and memorable!

McDougal Family said...

So glad that you and your family were able to go! Sounds like you had an amazing trip! What awesome memories for your kiddos!!

Chandra said...

Thank you for sharing this experience with me. I really enjoy reading! Your perspective lifts me and I miss you Kristine! I didn't even get a chance to really get to know you, but I really look up to you. Thank you for what you teach me, even if we are so far away!

Tressa said...

Oh, this sounds like so much fun - I'm glad you got to go! My first (and only) trip to Disneyland was on my honeymoon...we're excited for when we can take the kids!

johnsonteammom said...

Great, I can't wait for my turn now. The anticipation after reading your post has intensified!!! I missed you though.

Candace said...

What a great experience for your family!!! I'm so glad you got the chance (and spent A LOT less money than you would have other wise...that makes it a WHOLE lot more fun!! :) I have never been to Disney Land and can't wait for the chance to make a similar trip with my family some day! You guys are great. :)

Susan said...

SO great! I loved reading this. So many people take things for granted - but your family obviously appreciated it and saw it as an opportunity. And it looks FUN! Great memories!

Kim Skinner said...

Looks like a fun trip! Glad you were able to go.

Anonymous said...

How fun! I'm so glad you shared it here with all of us. My kids haven't been to DLand yet, but the beach? I can't believe none of your kids had seen the ocean! I'm sure they absolutely loved it! (maybe even more than Disneyland?) I sure remember my beach vacations as a child a lot more than theme parks. But the family time is the most important part! Glad you had a great time.