Tuesday, March 10, 2009

He's given us Disneyland...

I’m finally getting around to journaling about our fabulous DISNEYLAND trip! Several weeks ago, Jeremy won a contest at work that gave him a $1,500 travel card!! He had some time off work, so we decided to surprise the kids with a drive down to Disney. I should mention that when Graci was still in China, we sent her some pictures of our family at Disneyworld. Apparently, she thought that was a common event in our family, and the day we met her she promptly told the guide, “Tell them I want to go to Disneyland and McDonalds.” (: We explained that Disneyland was very expensive and that it would be awhile (not to mention that she needed her heart fixed first). She hasn’t been too happy with us regarding the matter, so you can imagine her joy when we packed up the van, checked them out of school early, and announced that we were on our way to Disneyland! Such precious memories. We had three full days at Disney and Disney’s California Adventure. The weather was perfect! We had been worried about how Elli would do with all of the driving and disruption of schedule, but she was WONDERFUL! She was so happy and loved all the rides. And, thanks to her, we were able to bypass many of the long lines. Because she is blind (and essentially autistic) they let us use the fastpass lane for every ride and count her stroller as a wheelchair. Thank-you, Elli! Because of this we were able to do in three days what we might have done in five. She LOVED most of the rides—especially the big rollercoasters. Our family’s favorite ride was “Soarin’.” We went on it several times and it was so fun to see Elli get so excited and giggle each time. She even braved “The Tower of Terror” and was totally laughing on it. Fun, fun times. I think one of the cutest moments came when Jesi asked to go on "Little Word" again. (: The highlight of the trip for Graci was on Friday, where Dad had lined up a special surprise just for her. He surprised her by taking her on a “Daddy date” to eat breakfast with—you guessed it—Stitch! She’s still talking about it!

My favorite part of the entire trip was how grateful our Taylor was. Probably at least five or six times a day he would come up to me and give me a hug or hold my hand and say, “Thanks, Mom. You are the best EVER!” He was so sweet and so patient and wonderful, even when we were doing things for the younger kids. The other kids were very good too, but Taylor was just particularly grateful. Later on, I was telling my sister, Becky, about how one of our other darling children had a few complaining moments and I was just like, “Come on!!!! You are at DISNEYLAND!! Do you even get how blessed you are?” As I told her this, she responded with a very wise thought. She said, “I wonder if that’s how Heavenly Father feels about us sometimes. He gives us so much and we focus on the negative.” I have thought so much about that since then. Truly, our Father in Heaven has given us Disneyland! I mean, really—our life is Disneyland! We have the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have a beautiful home, we have enough money to pay the bills and some left over for fun family things, we have absolutely incredible children, we have freedom—we have so very much! He has given us the time of our lives, and it’s so easy to complain about not going on the ride we wanted, or that our feet hurt, or that we want another churro and it costs too much. I’m not sure if I’m explaining well what I mean, but I guess what it comes down to is that I have been reminded what a blessed life I lead. And that my Father would probably like to know that I appreciate it. That He won’t tire of hearing it many times a day. Thank-you, our darling first-born, for your sweet example and reminder of how we should be.

On another note, that same sweet boy sure caused us some grief on the drive home! (: It was very late, maybe one in the morning, and we still had over an hour to go. Jessica had just made a big mess that we had to pull over and take care of. As soon as we got back on the road, Taylor woke up crying and saying that his head was hurting. We gave him some Ibuprofen, but he was still upset. Then we heard the most horrible sound… You guessed it—he had thrown up, EVERYWHERE. I mean, he was covered in it, the van was covered, the leapsters and toys and games on the floor were covered. It was indescribable. Should I mention that Taylor had just had a Subway sandwich with extra pickles? I looked over at Jeremy and could tell he was “that close” to losing it. There would be no help from him. So we pulled over and I got out of the van to see what I could do. It was freezing cold outside and we didn’t have our coats, we’re on the side of the freeway entrance, and I’m thinking, “Where do I even start?” I finally had him take off his clothes and just put a blanket over the whole mess so I could deal with it later. He handed me an empty box of Cap’n Crunch that had throw-up on it. I asked Jeremy just what I was supposed to do with it, and we decided we would have to drive and find a garbage. I was trying to be good by not just leaving it on the side of the road. My reward for not littering? As I held it in my lap, I soon realized that there was throw-up INSIDE the box, and it was leaking all over my pants. I wanted to scream—in fact, I probably did. It was all such a nightmare—we were so tired and the van smelled so awful and it felt like we would never make it home! In fact, I think by the time I cleaned everything up that night and crawled into my bed, it was past four a.m. Fun, fun. Still, I smile thinking of it and it was a small price to pay for such an amazing trip. (And it didn’t hold a candle to what we had to deal with from Elli later that week, but that’s a different story…) (: (: (: