Disney 2013/Claire turns 5!

its been a while, and with good reasons.
I don't know what those are.
however, this ginormous Disneyland post ought to make up for some of it!
Disney gives the military a sweet discount for Disneyland/CA Adventure, and Grammy (and GRANDPA!!!!!) wanted to give Claire the surprise of her life for her fifth birthday. (THANK YOU!!!)
So I never told the kids where we were going. Claire really didn't know what Disneyland was, and I wanted to keep that magical-ness of it, and then her Primary teacher went and told her all about it a few weeks before. Still not totally comprehending it, we stuffed the kids in the car, and told the kids we were going on a boring trip for Daddy's work, and staying at a hotel. If they were good, we would go swimming! Little did they know....
Grammy had filled our hotel room with Disney surprises, and they were THRILLLED with that! and that we were going to DISNEYLAND? They were tired, and I don't think everything was really understood. We woke early the next day (Saturday), got right in, and got busy finding and doing everything we could get in before the kids crashed that day.
(Joe and I went to the Newport Beach Temple for a session that night. Its been a while, and we needed it! THANKYOU GRAMMY!!!!!! So we had to get in as much that first day as possible.)
They loved every last second of it.
Well, sorta. Bubba and Claire, Thrilled. Evie baby, not so much. Hated basically every second of it, hated her stroller, hated walking around, hated most of the character meet and greets, HATED the tram to go from the parking garage to the parks, and screamed to get her point across. Oh well. (glad we didn't pay for a ticket for her!!!!!) She did love meeting the princesses though- LOVED them. and the shows- she was dancing away for those!
The next day we did a little reminiscing in the city of Orange. I spent the bulk of my childhood there, and we did a little "this is where mommy lived! and where mommy went to school!" and the kids didn't care. Sunday was claire's actual birthday, and we went to our old church building and went to Sacrament Meeting in our old ward. (the kids were a bit out of sorts, which is a way of saying they were rather crazy- they were quite tired still!) and went to the park I grew up playing in. Played at the park, mom and Joe went and got café rio for lunch (shhhh don't tell) and we opened presents. It was rather surreal being in this place where so birthday parties, ward parties, summer camps, and a million afternoons of playing went down, and now my kids got to enjoy it. the weather was completely glorious, and I soaked that up. Claire got spoiled even further by parents, grandparents and her Yaya and Papa, and then we had to say bye to daddy.
Monday- my mom and I hit the ground running- we had to get it all in! we got in the shows, the princesses, and got Grammy and Claire on Grammy's favorite rides that Bubba and Evie were too little for. We stayed as long as those kids could handle, and crashed at the hotel.
Tuesday- we packed up the car and headed out for one more day at Disney- we did a few of the kid's favorites again, found the last couple things we missed, and called it good. it was the hottest day by far, and the kids. were. done.
and now, in no order whatsoever, Disneyland, CA Adventure, A sunday in the park.


a million thank yous to my parents!
it was one of the best trips ever!

One miracle: Bluebell- the Explorer that's been in the family over 10 years- barely, and I mean barely, made it home. The dash lights were flashing and not going away the last 2-3 hours of the drive home, with kids screaming and me white-knuckled (the transmission was slipping and whining). She was driven a total of 3 more miles before heading to the car doc 3 days later to see what could be done, and (not surprisingly.], but sadly) she needed a lot more work than we can afford, and more importantly, more work than was worth to keep around. It all happened in a whirlwind of rapid-fire decisions, (while trying to keep kids happy, take some family pictures, figure out dinner, and pack up my husband for a month-long out of country assignment) and while the right decision was made, we were all in a bit of shock when all the sudden we were car-less.
my blessed mother (she is a SAINT) was here, and lent us her car, rented her own to drive back to Utah, while we figure out what to get. we had been planning on a new car next year and researching already, but are still making final decisions. looks like a mini-van mom I will become....... still not sold yet, but warming up to it. sigh.

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