Saturday, December 26, 2009

What next? ... Disneyland !!!

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Leslie and Aaron Jr... you just sold your home... what are you going to do next?


Earlier in the year when we first tried selling our home, knowing it would be a difficult time for us and also to celebrate being out of debt... I decided that once our home sold, I would take Aaron Jr to Disneyland. I had planned all year on taking him on my own, just driving down to California from Utah and having it be a little getaway for the two of us. Once our home sold and the time was finally upon us to go... I got nervous. It became a daunting task to think about driving all that way just the two of us. When I told my friend Kerianne that we were going to go in December after everything closed on the house, she reminded me that she was going to be in California with her family and her in laws the week of the 5th through the 12th and that I should plan to go at the same time and we could go to Disneyland the same days. So, that is when we planned it for. It was still a very lonely thought to drive that far on our own and scary as well. I actually thought about backing out a few times and a couple of times was dead set against going... but then I got online and booked a hotel on priceline so that I could not back out. Aaron Jr was so excited to go... so I knew I needed something in place to get me to just go.
So, we headed out on the evening of December 6th. We drove almost to Las Vegas that night and stayed with a friend, Karrin for the night. Then we headed out the next morning and drove the rest of the way to Newport Beach to our hotel. We checked in and made a couple of trips back and forth from the car to get all of our stuff into the room. We unpacked everything so that it felt a little more like home. The rest of the evening, Aaron Jr just kept organizing and making the room 'just right'. The photos below show some of the 'sweet touches' he made to organize and put things away in their 'proper place'. I loved watching him... it was so cute and so much fun how happy he was to be there in OUR room.

(Lots of photos... but would you expect anything else from me by now? :)

Mmm... dinner. :)

We went to Disneyland two days in a row. We went the two days that Kerianne and her husband's family were going so we could just tag along with them. It was supposed to be a cold and rainy week, so we took advantage of the good weather... though it was still really cold. It was jacket weather for us for sure.

Okay, so I had a scare when we were waiting in line for the 'Its a Small World' ride. We were in line and I turned my head for literally a couple of seconds and when I looked back to check on Aaron Jr, who was supposed to be right next to me... he wasn't there anymore. So, everyone stayed in line except Kerianne and me and we frantically looked everywhere around there. It was one of the worst feelings I can ever remember having. We could not find him anywhere. We kept crossing paths and each time, we expected the other one to have him... but still no Aaron Jr. So I went to an employee there at Disneyland and I told her I had lost my son. She immediately took down his first name, what he was wearing and then assured me that security will not let him out of the park... then she got on the phone. She told the person she was talking to that there was a lost little boy and I believe they even asked HER if his name is Aaron... and she said yes. They told her that he was at the place where you get on and off the boats for 'Its a Small World'. Evidently, he wandered a bit and started walking through the line all the way to the front of the line looking for us. Once he got to the front of the line, he didn't APPEAR to be with any certain group of people, so the girl who was there to help direct people off of the ride, asked around to see if he was a part of any group there... no one claimed him, so she took him to that open area and just sat with him. She asked him his name and his mom's name and any other names of people he was with. He had remembered a few... Anyhow, when Kerianne and I got to the spot where he was, I ran up to him and grabbed him and just held him so tight. Until that point, I felt like it was just all business, I HAD to find him. Once I found him, as I stood there holding him, I broke down and just sobbed. I told him how scared I had been that I lost him. Once I was holding him, he started to cry as well and told me that he couldn't find me. There were several workers there that were watching the scene and anytime I made eye contact, they would just give me a smile and a head nod as if to say that everything is all right. I was so grateful to that girl who was working... that she was paying such close attention to the fact that this little boy did not seem to be with a specific group. He had to be so scared... I was so scared. I have to say how impressed I was with the method they have there at Disneyland to help lost children and parents to reunite. I am grateful to them.
The photo above was taken as we were about to get off of that ride... I just held him and held him.


Aaron Jr was so excited to see any of the characters that we saw. There were not THAT many out and about, but we did see a few and he was THRILLED. I love that he is the age that knows who they are and really thinks they are the real character... not just some guy in a costume.

We had MORE than our fair share of cotton candy at Disneyland... it was difficult to get enough of it. :)

Mine and Aaron Jr's first time on the teacup ride.

TOP: 'Its a Small World' lit up at night... BOTTOM: the last thing you see as you exit the ride. It was fun to see all the stuff they do to decorate for Christmas.

The castle at night.

Aaron was asleep for the first part of the fireworks, but then woke up and enjoyed them. Can you tell it was time for us to leave for the night? :)

Someone said they do these fireworks every night? WOW!

After the fireworks were over, they played some Christmas music while the snow (soap bubbles) began to fall on us. They really go above and beyond there.

This is our second day at Disneyland.

Aaron loves the carousel. LOVES it.

Mickey Mouse went to put his arm around my shoulder, so I went to put my arm around his shoulder as well and my elbow accidentally hit his big ear and I almost knocked his head off... I couldn't stop laughing and apologizing... so we decided not to put our arms around each other's shoulders. :)

Aaron was thrilled to see Mr. Incredible. This was the first show Aaron Jr was obsessed with in his life... and he made Aaron and / or me watch it with him over and over and over.

To be honest... Kerianne knew who these bears were, but I have no idea... so... anyone... anyone?


The bottom photos were from one of our favorite rides... the new Toy Story ride. It was a blast.

This one as well.

If you are planning to go to Disneyland / California Adventure and you have not done the 'Tower of Terror' ride... it is a must. It is so much fun. They take a photo of you at one point of the ride and I took this photo afterwards when they had the photo on a TV screen. I am in the very center of the photo. Second row, middle.

The bottom photos are of Kerianne and some of their family that we were with. Thank you again Bangerters for letting us tag along.

I am him mom, so of course I say this, but isn't my son beautiful?

One of the more boring rides at California Adventure. :) But still fun for young kids.

THIS ride was so much fun to take photos of Aaron on. I got some great ones.

See? If anyone wants to check his throat and tonsils, his nostrils, his eyes, his tongue and his teeth... these photos are perfect for that. :)

A Bug's Life theater... so much fun. Aaron looks so serious.

Kerianne and Me.

I totally look like a deer caught in headlights. Maybe I was taking the bug exhibit too literally... with those bug eyes. WOW.

Cheesy, but fun. A is for Aaron L is for Leslie

And here we are again... he lasted longer each day than I expected though... so he was a real trooper.

Because of the weather, this was our one and only outing to the beach. What a bummer. Aaron managed to use that 15 or so minutes to have a blast though. He loves the beach and ocean. Like father, like son.

Can you tell the ocean is behind us? Hmmm... One thing you CAN tell from my hair is that it was windy. :)

Here we are at Universal Studios. There were a few cool things to see there, but overall... I would have preferred another day at Disneyland... or even just relaxing. But at least Aaron got to see Scooby Doo and Shaggy.
That was our last day in California.

We caravaned with the Bangerters on the drive home to Utah and I am grateful to them for letting us. It was bad weather some of the way and if anything had happened, it was nice to know there were people there to help. We were blessed with safety and blessed that our cars all functioned properly.

Overall... it was a lonely trip. Being there as the only adult... no one else to bounce ideas off of as far as what to do, where to go. It was odd to be on a vacation without Aaron... just me and Aaron Jr... vacationing out in the world on our own. We were able to meet up with a few friends for a bit throughout the week though... so that was nice.
AND... it was SO much fun spending that time with Aaron Jr. I hope he felt special... because I feel special being his mom. I had a blast with him and we really had some great quality time together. He is such a sweet boy and he makes me laugh. I am so glad we went. I'm glad I didn't chicken out just because of the feelings of loneliness getting to me. We both loved Disneyland and California Adventure. It was our own little adventure together and I hope to have many more. It was so worth it all.

I love you Aaron Jr...
thanks for being my date on this week long vacation.

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Sarah said...

Looks like you had a great trip, even with a scare. We were there the 5th too. Toy Story is definitely the best! The fireworks are always cool and the snow was definitely awesome.

I admire your strength to go and just do it. So many (well, me) would have reasoned and made other promises to get out of it. You did a great job!! And Aaron Jr will remember all of that. How could he ever feel anything but loved and special? You're doing an above and beyond job.

AlanaBD said...

Love the pics! I will tell you about our scare while there when I call you today. BUT, I can NOT imagine losing your child and the scare you must have had.
I laughed out loud about almost knocking off his head!!!! I went from tears of worry, to laughing!!! That is SOO funny!
Disney IS magical and we are so blessed that we have been 3 times with Braeden. And, plan to go each year--thanks to Rob and him having his conference there--at Christmas time! LOVE IT!
SO glad you had a good time and that you DID IT!!!

Mindy said...

Ugh! I typed a whole comment and it wouldn't go through. The bears are Koda and Kenai from Brother Bear. I'm so glad you two could have such a fun adventure together (except for the scary getting lost part!)

Jen said...

It looked like you had an amazing trip! You looked happy and I'm so glad that you were able to spend that special time with Aaron Jr.

By the way...I loved the picture of the two of you and Winnie the Pooh...not sure what it was about the picture, but it brought a smile to my face for both of you.

Have a very happy and blessed New Year!

Rhitzclan said...

Yay!! I'm so glad you guys had such a blast! You are great at always taking so many pictures to capture a moment. =)

Kristi said...

Fun! Maybe one day our family will go to the magical kingdom. 3 years right? It looks like you had so much fun. I am glad you went out on your own adventure, stepped out of your comfort zone, and are moving forward. Next stop, our house!

Haley said...

Fun to see all the changes they make for the Christmas season. So glad you guys had fun. You deserve it.

Rebecca_Adams said...

I enjoyed reading this blog post about your Disneyland vacation! I love all the pictures! Looks like you had lots and lots of fun! I've never been to Disneyland before, but I want to go sometime!!!

Anonymous said...

you made memories that will last forever on that little trip to disney. that was a great thing to do for you both.

i lost my youngest son at the falls in niagara falls canada one time when he was about 9. i was calling 9-1-1 and trying to report him missing and kept getting the usa 9-1-1 and they said it will do us no good, you are in cananda. we cannot help you. while i was on the phone a canadian policeman called me to tell me he had daniel. daniel had walked right up to him and told him he was lost. he was the 200th child that night. they celebrated his number and drove him to where i was.

i hope you had a great Christmas and have a Blessed 2010!