Monday, November 12, 2007

To Disney, and beyond

I took my computer with me on the Disney trip, but I was way too bushed by the time we got back to the room every evening to even think about opening it up. During the time it took for the computer to boot up, I would have fallen asleep anyway. So I have no contemporaneous descriptions of our experiences, but it’s not like I need to reliably recreate a crime scene from memory, so no loss, but if I hadn’t needed Mapquest that weekend, hauling the laptop around the Western US would have been a completely useless activity.

So, quick trip recap:

We left Thursday morning and drove through to Las Vegas and checked into the seminar hotel and walked into a room bigger than our back yard. The girls thought they were finally in surroundings worthy of their heretofore unrecognized status as descendants of Kings.
Wow, who does excess like Las Vegas? On Friday, my best friend’s brother, SIL and teen-aged niece threw themselves into non-stop girl entertainment while I attended the seminar. On Friday evening , after getting the full run down about the day’s activities, bowling, hot-tubbing, decorating Halloween cookies, board games, dress ups, Disney Channel (big treat, we don’t have cable) and hours of Capture the Princess, I started to get a little worried that Disney would be a huge let down for them. The girls loved their day in LV and I can’t ever thank Phil, Mary and Megan enough. Ever. Not to mention the bags of incredibly cute and hardly ever worn hand-me-downs from Megan. I can’t even begin to calculate how much I will save in not having to buy blue jeans alone. So glad I drive a van. We're talking BIG bags of loot.

Speaking of driving a van, on Saturday morning we left LV and headed out for So. Cal. We hooked up with the Ellison family just outside of LV and I followed them the rest of the way until I peeled off in Anaheim (they were staying the night a litter further south). I tell you kid, that’s the only way to drive, I just sort of drafted off Stephen the whole way down. He picked the lanes, when to pass, the freeway links and I just followed in my ovine mini van. So relaxing, the only way to fly.

It seemed like I blinked and we arrived in Orange County on Saturday afternoon, so we had time to check into our hotel room and then zoom over to Newport Beach so the girls could put their toes in the sand and say they’ve seen the Pacific Ocean. This was YuYu and Nora’s first glimpse of an ocean, that I know of anyway.

YuYu could have stayed all evening and gone back every day. The next big vacation will have to be beach oriented for my YuYu Bee. She just loved it.

The kids had a GREAT time in Disney. I had fun having fun with them and sharing their Disney Character, live, in the flesh, euphoria.

Nora was pretty good, for Nora. When she went through turnstiles, she kept purposefully trying to wham whichever kid was in back of her with the turnstile, like no one would notice that she was aiming and timing the twist. After the third day of that, and many calm warnings and always trying to grab her to go last, I finally lost my temper with her on the Disneyland train stop in New Orleans Square. A fine scene for everyone waiting for the train to see: overwrought Mom hissing in small, tired, hot daughter’s face until she cried. It wasn’t so much the whamming that made me so angry, it was the insincere apology she bit out to Mimi that made me fly apart. Nora, as always, was only sad that she got caught, not that she was leaving bruises on her sisters every time she managed to get in front of them in a turnstile. But after herding four kids under ten years old through Disney single handedly without ever losing any of them, if that was the worst of it, I think I should get the freaking mother of the year award.

I tell you kid (my mom has a friend that peppers her conversations with “I tell you kid,” even though they are both over seventy now), the constant vigilance of keeping track of them wore me down to the nubs. And I do mean constant, “C’mon Meems, fast feet, fast feet,” “Nora Bud, if you can’t stay by me, I’m going to tie you to me with a rope, I swear to God,” “YuYu Bee, please please please keep up,” “Girls stay together, stay together, please, keep me in your sight,” “Ellie, thank you little friend, I could NOT do this without you, you are the best.” It is just very very tiring, but all the Disney moments, “MOM!! That’s Ursula, she’s REAL!!,” made it completely worthwhile, although we won’t be doing Disney again soon, I need a spiritual rest. And the girls need to run A LOT of excess adrenalin out of their systems.

We met up with with the Ellisons in Disney on Sunday afternoon (THEE CHI family (you kind of need the local cultural reference to understand that one, e.g., Thee Church, and be conversant in Chinese WC adoption lore)) for a really nice party at the home (well the g’parents’ home, but oh, wow, so nice, what a treat) of a So. Cal CHI family in Encino on Sunday afternoon.

It was also a very real pleasure to get reacquainted with So. Cal Super Parents C and D and meet the two children they’ve brought into their family since the first time we met a few years ago here in Zion.

Okay, maybe it’s just me, but bombing down the Hollywood Freeway with exit signs for all the great streets of song and film flying past, it just gives me a tingle. I also had the privilege a meeting an efriend in the flesh: a calm and fun single mom from the Bay area and her darling, darling, precocious is the understatement of the century, child L, and if I get her permission, I’ll post some pictures and a link to their own blog. D and I mistimed Monday evening and didn’t get around to feeding our kids until 9:00 pm at the IHOP on Harbor Blvd. YuYu, my waif, almost fell asleep on her pancakes; she just does not have a very deep well to draw from when she’s low on sleep. So maybe that admission nixes my mom of the year trophy, but, hey who knew only two of four logs were running on Splash Mountain? And once you’re inside the mountain, tough luck brother, you’re stuck, ride or die.

And, of course, the Highlight with a capital High: The Princess Lunch at Ariel's Grotto. You can't put a price on princess love, unless of course you're Disney, but a chance to meet the "real" princesses, priceless (Is VISA/Mastercard/evil consumer credit lender still running that contest for a write your own ad? I might be onto something).

We trick or treated on Tuesday evening at California Adventure and that was pretty fun too. Lots of characters were out and about and the Disney people had treat stations set up around the park and my kids who were worried about missing out on Halloween if we didn’t get back home in time the next day, got pounds of candy that night. Those Disney folks covered all the bases. That’s what makes them great.

I drove straight through from Anaheim to home on Wednesday; can I say thank you thank you and a few Hosannas to the gods of ceiling installed DVD players? and still made it back home in time to trick or treat on Halloween (not bad time, I drive fast, but safe, fast but safe). But it went something like this: Pulling into the garage at 7:30 pm. “Girls, quick, get your coats on, run downstairs, find a crown in the dress up box, grab your treat bag (already full from the Halloween party at California Adventure) and let's RUN! before it gets too late.” I tell you kid, after hitting all the houses on our street and the circles, we got back to the house around 8:45 pm where it finally caught up with me. After driving them like cattle for the past many days, not enough sleep and 12 hours of continuous driving, I was actually shaking from fatigue. The girls, on the other hand, slept a lot of the way back, were wired on candy and PST (to them it felt like 7:45 pm), and that was a bad combination. I made them brush their teeth and go to bed even though they were not ready or even tired, and I fell into bed, splitting head, and tried to sleep. Kind of an anti-climatic end to a really fun vacation, but such are the physical limitations of single parenting.


Eliza2006 said...

Ummmm, you are super-mom, wonder woman, etc. You can't imagine how often you cross my mind. When I feel stressed with one, I think, "but Marji has 4!!!!" and I push on! Congrats on making it through your trip!!!


Anonymous said...


Well, no *wonder* I was worried about you! LOL You practically collapsed from exhaustion with your whirlwind Disney-excess festival.

BTW, thanks for the photos! I love them all, but the photos of Nora and Ellie on the ride(?)... They are the first photo(s) I have ever seen of Nora, that I felt she looked free and childlike.

Do you agree or is it just me?

(from Iowa)

Darlene in CA said...

Hey Marji,

I still haven't recovered from the Disney whirlwind and I flew back and only have 25% of the daughters you have.

Go ahead and post Ms. Lulu pix. I didn't take nearly enough. It was a pleasure hanging out with you and your girls. Lulu's already asking when she gets to see Ellie again. Boy, she loved your girl. She's worn that Ariel's grotto button to school nearly every day since we got back. Please thank Ellie for it again.

Take care, Darlene

Rebecca said...

A disney trip and not on a cruise! You know where the kids are all corralled together in certain areas of a ship while they feed the parents enough booze to make them forget they have kids. Now if I was a drinking person that is the way I would go.

Otherwise, one mom super secret to another - pony tail!!! When Nora makes the moves to get into the turnstile ahead of someone just reach out and grab something. Believe me it creates quite the stoppage. Grow hair out. Make pony tail - it really is like a little handle.

Now as for Nathan - I am thinking about getting some sort of leash/bungee cord contraption just because it would prevent my heart attacks since I would always have him in hand and also provide me with much needed entertainment as he bounces off everything.

And I agree with the dvd in the van all the way! So do the kids.

A Special Family said...

So glad you had a nice time at Disney!! What beautiful pictures!!