So, You Went to California

At Christmas, Bart’s parents announced that part of their gift this year was to take the whole family to Disneyland.

We’d planned on flying in on Tuesday morning, but then at the last minute we found out that the Disneyland portion of the trip was scheduled to begin on Tuesday morning and so someone would have to leave in order to get us from the airport. So, after some quick rearranging of our Southwest tickets, we opted to fly in on Monday evening instead.

Except when we got to the airport, we discovered that there was some wicked weather in Dallas and everything was getting delayed like mad. Our flight had been delayed three hours, which meant we wouldn’t even leave Austin until ten p.m. Not to mention there would be a connecting flight that we would almost surely miss. ALSO Ella usually goes to bed around seven p.m. and now it was looking like we might not get in until 3 a.m. our time. Which sounds fun, no? (Yes, we haven’t even gotten to the vacation part because I’m so busy telling you about the travvvveling part).

The lovely Southwest desk agent found us an alternative flight that put us in only around 30 minutes later (after the unpleasant desk agent told us we were in the wrong line and that we’d have to go all the way back to the end of the other looooong line. . . ).

To make this already long story at least a little bit shorter: two brief delays later, and two flights just barely not full enough to let us snag an extra seat for Ella’s carseat so she could sleep on both flights, we arrived at LAX, Bart’s parents picked us up and we drove down to Anaheim. When we pulled up the carseat cover, we discovered Ella wide-eyed and quiet in her seat (probably wondering WHY we were in a strange place at one a.m.). We tossed her in the crib and prayed like mad that she’d go to sleep. After a little rolling around, she slept until six a.m. (which was eight her time).

His parents had found a large house to rent about half a mile from Disneyland (we walked it a few times, but mostly Bart’s dad was nice enough to shuttle everyone back and forth by car). The backyard was quite large with a big pool, which made for some fun times, especially Ella who had never been swimming before.

Anyway, three days of Disneyland. The weather was excellent. It was far busier than when we have gone with my family in the end of January, but we managed to make it on a number of rides and I was happy that there were so many things Ella could come on with us (Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, the heinous Ferris Wheel in California Adventure, Dumbo, the Carousel, Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, Finding Nemo, Pinocchio, etc).

On King Arthur’s Carousel
On the Ferris Wheel. I am not a wimp about rides, but this ride scares me to death. And makes me feel ill. Avoid at all costs.
Lunch in the park

We made quite a bit of effort to keep Ella’s nap schedule intact. She usually took a nap in the morning before we went to Disneyland and then a quick nap in the stroller while we were at the parks and then one of us would come back to the house with her for an afternoon nap. I was delighted by how well she slept on this trip, especially since we were in the same room with her during the night.

Bart’s immediate family now numbers 27 people, which made this Disneyland trip drastically different than when my immediate family went in 2007 and 2008, since we had only eight people and the youngest person was 11. We ended up breaking into groups for much of the time, with people going back and forth between the house for naps. And it was nice that Bart and I have been to Disneyland twice together and so we didn’t feel short-changed if we didn’t get to ride every single ride a dozen times. My main sadness was that we missed the new Toy Story ride in California Adventure.

The major disaster on the trip was when Ella chucked her beloved Texas Longhorn pacifier over the edge of her stroller and we didn’t notice it for a few minutes and then could not locate it on Paradise Pier. Also, do you have any idea how hard it is to buy a pacifier in Disneyland? And do you know how sad I felt when I looked through our pictures and saw the last recorded instance of her with it in (I am such a pathetic sap)?

The last day before we went home, everyone went to the beach, but Bart and Ella and I went to a different beach than everyone else because Ella was napping when they left. We headed out to Huntington Beach (snagging some In-n-Out burgers on the way), enjoyed walking through the market that was set up there, and finished up with a delicious Sea Salt Caramel cupcake from Lil Red’s.

Ella sported a hat in honor of the royal wedding (with the side benefit of keeping her head from getting burned). She also approved of In-n-Out (we felt judged by people walking by watching us feed a hamburger to our child. I wanted a small sign that said, “At home we feed her organic bok choy!”).

We were in charge of dinner the last evening, so I made six chicken pot pies (four of them curry and two of them plain), plus some watermelon and a salad. It is. . .very different to cook for 27 people than for three. I shall reevaluate my plans to have twenty five children.

Also, my goal on this trip was to avoid any sunburns and I think we did remarkably well (thanks to Bart’s sister for giving us a bottle of sunscreen). 

Our flight home was nonstop, which was delightful, although it was so full that we couldn’t bring the carseat on and Ella had to nap on my shoulder, which meant it was a brief nap. And then we were home.

As my mom says every time we go on vacation, “It’s nice to go away; it’s nice to come home.”

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  1. How fun!!! and 25 kids is a lot:) haha! sorry about the paci! sad!! ok and she is such a cute baby!! and people judge (hamburger) whatever! Hailyn LOVES in n out and she also loves strawberries and brocolli ect- it's about balance- glad it was a fun trip- minus the flight switching and weather- glad it turned out great!!

  2. I want to go to Disneyland with Bill. Also, I want to go to In N Out with Bill – he's never been! (

  3. It sounds like a wonderful vacation!

    My favorite bits:

    Ella sported a hat in honor of the royal wedding

    I wanted a small sign that said, "At home we feed her organic bok choy!"

    I shall reevaluate my plans to have twenty five children.

  4. Maybe the reason we are friends, despite our many many differences, is that we share our aversion to that monstrosity of a carousel at California Adventure. I have video of me screamning like a lunatic for the entirety of the experience, it was not my finest moment. It's extra fun because in the video Gwen, at three years old, was consoling me- telling me everything would be alright. Yeah.

  5. Ah, so many things to say!!! I grew up in that area and went to D-land all the time. I LOVE how you're gripping the seat in the picture of the ferris wheel. We went on that in February (I'd been on it before) and went in a non-swinging gondola. My autistic daughter got so freaked out that after we had done one circle around and came sweeping back through the bottom on our way around for a 2nd time we yelled out to the worker to stop the ride. He was kind and stopped it to let us off. It didn't help that the wind was insane that day. And the toy story ride in CA Adventure is so fun! You should definitely try to get on that next time you go. And Huntington beach? I grew up going there, that was our beach! Obviously, you can tell that I love this post. 🙂

  6. The trip sounds awesome, etc. etc., but really I just have to say that I laughed really hard when I read "I shall reevaluate my plans to have twenty five children." HAHAHAHAHA.

  7. Oh this post made me (very selfishly) achy inside because THAT IS MY HOME TOWN and don't think I'm going to get to go home this summer. (Real desires to cry bottled up inside right now).

    But on a happier note: how fun is Disneyland… AND maintaining a nap schedule. I'm so glad to know I'm not the only mother nap-nazi on the planet.

    AND hooray for no sunburns! I am a huge believer in avoiding them at all costs… even if it sacrifices a tan.

  8. What a fabulous trip! Love the sun hat and the nap schedule! I'm surprised Ella's never been swimming?

    It is so funny how we worry about what other's think while we feed our children…Organic Bok Choy! Very funny.

  9. Oh my goodness. I knew I always liked you, but then!!! To see that you don't like the ferris wheel at California Adventures either, well, we are just soulmates plain and simple.

    I call it the Ferris Wheel of Death.

    I HATE it.

  10. I do realize that since I am on chat with you right now, I could just say this there, but. . .

    You were sorry to miss the new Toy Story ride. It was AWESOME!! (my boys thought so, at least). And as for that Ferris Wheel, we had one child need to go to the bathroom right when we were in front of the line, and when we got out of line we noticed that there was a different line altogether. One for a non-swinging car. Empty line. No motion sickness. At least almost no motion…just height. Just FYI.

    And, as for the rest of my comment, that trip was so fun. When do we go again?!

  11. My kids will probably grow up scarred and angry, but we have yet to go to Disney Land. Glad you had fun. 🙂 Ella is a doll and just keeps getting cuter.

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