I have definitely been struggling in the blog department... since Jillian was a baby (whoops). Life has been crazy and so many other things have consumed my attention. Back in July Lance's mom, Ronalyn, passed away in her sleep as the result of a blood clot. She was the definition of a vacation mom. She would plan a vacation out of the minute and while you were on the vacation with her, she would start planning the next family vacation. She was extremely passionate about Disneyland and her family (not in any particular order). As we have continued this life without her as the ring leader for family dinners, family trips, and all things vacation we decided the best way to honor her birthday would be to go exactly where she would want to go with exactly who she'd want to be with, Disneyland with the grandkids!
Timing seemed to workout for our little family and the Anglin's to allow us to drive to Cedar City to celebrate the baby blessing of grandkid number 5 and continue on the road all the way to Anaheim. It was a long drive for both cars carrying 5 kids 3 years old and under, but somehow we survived the drive and got to Anaheim before midnight on Sunday. We settled into our VRBO with Lance's cousin Chad's family of five. The home was a quaint little home walking distance from the park with a pool and hot tub. Each morning we scrambled to get the kids breakfast, get dressed, and be on our way walking towards the park entrance just as they were opening the gates.
We spent two days in Disneyland and two days in California Adventure and as always it was busier the first day that I had anticipated for early May. Day one was by far the busiest, and I wonder if its just because its Monday and thats an easier day for people to take off of work or for traveling. We started with Bennett, Hudson, Gage, and the dads going on Star Tours. All of them passed the required 40" until Hudson was at the front of the line and the worker told him he was too short and kicked him out (after waiting in line for 20+ minutes!). Landon was pissed so he folded Hudson's socks, went back in line, and had the initial worker walk him to the front of the ride to allow Hudson and him on without issue. This multiple measuring of Hudson happened multiple times throughout the week that Hudson got so used to just running over to the measuring board and standing his neck tall.
Per Kelsey's instructions we entered the park on day one and got each of the 4 kids their bubble wands. These became great entertainment and also a huge pain in the butt as they used them to make bubble mounds that made each other wet. Those bubbles lasted for what felt like eternity and even a month later Jillian and Bennett go into the backyard and use their bubble wands.
Jillian has continued to find so much joy on the carousels its simply heart warming. She could literally go on it over and over again and never get tired of the ride.
Disneyland with 6 adults, 7 toddlers, and 1 infant looked with we were herding children every time we were in line. The kids did surprisingly well being patient and staying in line. A few times their attention spans got the best of them, but luckily we had Lindsey with us (Mrs. Fun Mom) who would whip out a song, simon says, dance game, or something else to captivate the attention of our kidlets which allowed us to stay sane.
[Bennett looks like he is posing for GQ but in reality he had a super itchy bum he was scratching]
As I mentioned, we have been talking with Jillian for the last few months about meeting Disney princesses. We even started watching Beauty and the Beast and Tangled in addition to her other favorites, The Little Mermaid and Frozen which had her simply smitten to meet these princesses. She's taken full advantage of all her princess dresses and plays dress up 80% of the day. She has even skipped naps and changed in and out of princess dresses in her room for hours as well as missed some bathroom cues leading to pee accidents because she didn't want to take off her princess dresses. For weeks leading up to our trip she kept asking when we go to Disneyland so she could dance with Belle. Boy oh boy did we luck out. We were able to meet Ana on day 2 and that was just the beginning. Day 3 we waited in line at the Royal Palace (i think that's what its called) and met Snow White, Cinderella and Ariel. Day 4 we ate at Ariels Grotto and the experience of meeting Rapunzel, Belle, Cinderella, Ariel, and Tiana was priceless.
Ariel's Grotto was really an event. You walk in and prior to being seated you get to a meet and greet with Ariel. As soon as everyone is seated at their table a Jester announces and presents a new princess every 5 minutes until all 4 of them are out meeting and greeting the tables. Each princess comes up to your table and interacts with your family, takes pictures, and chats with the little ones. Belle even tried to dance will Jillian just as she wanted. Seriously heart melting. The food was also pretty good (pricey of course) but now my kids are obsessed with their hotdogs looking like an octopus.
Just as we suspected Bennett (and Hudson) simply LOVED going on all the big kid rides. I planned to get Bennett a poncho, but somehow never got around to it. He went on Splash mountain 3 times. The first time with Lance his shorts got a little wet and he was a little frustrated. The second time he rode with me and he literally cheered and shouted for joy at the end of the ride, "yahoo!!!! I didn't even get wet! My shorts are dry!" Time number 3 however, the very first "dip" the water came up over the front and drenched Bennett from head to toe. He spent the rest of the ride crying because he was wet. Lance carried him over to me after the ride with the saddest look on his face. Luckily I had brought a change of shorts and a hoodie for him to change into.
The walk back to the house each afternoon left our toddlers exhausted. Most of the time they would pass out in the stroller during the 20 minute walk. At one point Hudson was standing on the glider board trying to rest his head in 5 different positions so he could fall asleep standing up. One day we decided to take the glider and Jillian got too tired to stand so we found her a little "seat" next to Bennett.
After 4 long and exhausting days at Disneyland we packed our things and headed towards the beach. We enjoyed a fantastic meal at Ruby's and definitely overwhelmed them with our table for 14..... 8 of those being under 5 years of age. The kids watched as fishermen caught some fish off the end of the pier and were fascinated and disgusted as the fish flopped around in their "buckets."The drive home was probably the most torturous we've had to endure in a long while. Friday early afternoon.... It literally took us nearly 7 1/2 hours to get to Las Vegas when it should have only taken 4. We were stuck in traffic while Jillian decided to forgo her daily nap.
Thus we had to get creative with keeping these kids occupied on our 13 hour drive (spread across 3 days) back to Salt Lake.
We spent the final night in California Adventure watching the World of Color and let me tell you, that was the absolute perfect way for us to end our Disney trip. I sat holding Bennett as he dosed in and out with the beautiful music and captivating lights to only feel Rona's spirit so strongly with us. There are so many times I am still in disbelief that she is no longer on this earth with us, but how grateful I am for her life, for her legacy, and for all that she has taught me.