Friday, March 11, 2011

the happiest place on earth

day one

Last week, we ventured off to the land of Mickey and Minnie for a little family getaway.

Family time is a little rare in our house, with Daddy gone so much- so the chance to be just the six of us for five whole days?  It was good for the soul, I tell ya.  All of our souls!

This trip was a little bit impromptu, just having decided to take this little getaway a few weeks earlier.  In fact, we only told the girls a week before we were leaving.  I had been telling Courtney for about a month that I kept having this recurring feeling that we needed to take a little family vacation.  Finally, we bit the bullet and decided to getaway together for a few days.  We had taken the girls to Disneyland before (with the exception of Claire), five years before, when Ryenne was in kindergarten and Emmy was only 18 months old.  That trip was so much fun, but this one was fun in such a different way.  We loved having going on rides with our bigger girls and having a kind of grown-up fun with them.  We laughed and joked and did things we couldn't  have done five years ago. 

I remember planning one of our first little family vacations to Moab when Emmy was a newborn.  Ryenne would have been just four years old, and everyone kept telling us to leave the girls home (because they wouldn't remember it anyway) and then Courtney and I could enjoy  ourselves.  Then an older, wiser friend (whose children were teens at the time) told she disagreed- we should take them.  She told me that like us, they had many opportunities to go with extended family on reunions and such, but had made a special point to take a trip with just their family each year.  She said that while the kids may have been to young to remember all of them, and that they still had disagreements and their trips were never perfect-  their kids had learned how to be together as a family in a unique way.  Now that they were older, she said their kids looked forward to family vacations, and knew how to have fun together in a 24/7 kind of way, while their friends who "waited 'til the kids were a little older" now had teenagers who would rather die than spend a week with their family.  Her point was that learning to take happy vacations and make special memories is something you have to teach your kids.  While we followed her advice, I don't know if I quite understood what she was saying.  Each year, we've tried to make opportunities to get away with just our little family, even if it's for just a few days.  It hasn't always been easy with so many young children, and sometimes I admit I've questioned the wisdom in not waiting until they were all a little bit older!  This trip, however, I began to see the light!  It felt like it was beginning to pay off a little.  We started to work together better, and everyone seemed to be able to give and take a little better, seeing what needed to be done to make things work.  Not that we didn't have our fair share of little quibbles, but overall, I felt  a sense of teamwork and camaraderie that we hadn't had before.  It sound crazy, but it was such a fun experience!

Tuesday afternoon, we arrived at Disneyland, ready to "Let The Memories Begin!", after what had already been a looong day.  We had taken a 6:30 am flight, so you can imagine how early our day had started.  To shorten our morning commute to the airport, we stayed the previous night in a hotel in Salt Lake, crammed into one room!  The three oldest slept in one bed, choosing to sleep across the bed so they had more room.  You can bet they were all thrilled to be so close to each other.  The first hour of "bedtime" consisted of Claire climbing all over everyone and being crazy while the other three filled the air with sweet nothings such as "Stop touching me!"  and "Get your feet away from me!"  Finally, out of desperation, I told them a pioneer story I had recently heard about a family and their trek to the west.  Of course, I had to go pretty heavy on the freezing nights out in the cold, without tents and blankets. . . hardly any food.  And I just may have mentioned how happy I bet those pioneers would have been to have two whole warm beds for just six people, complete with cozy blankets and a heater.  Let's just say the guilt trip worked perfectly and all were sleeping quietly soon after I ended my diatribe.  As my brothers used to say, "Pack your bags, Mom's taking us on a guilt trip".  Like mother, like daughter I suppose. 

The next morning the girls were troopers as we made our way to the airport and through all the long lines.  It was sure nice to have a few older helpers this time!

Before we left, the girls decided we'd better paint their nails.  Obviously, we had no other choice than to do red with white polka dots.  Why?  For Minnie Mouse, of course!  They were a definite hit, both with the girls and everyone else.  My favorite part was when Emmy told me the next day how when she gets her nails painted (it's not a regular thing at our house- eighty fingers and toes take a long time!), she is much more dainty in the way she holds her food and uses her hands.  We laughed when she sighed and said, "I don't know what it is, it's just that when I get my nails done, I feel like a new woman!"

Ryenne obviously felt like a new woman with her fancy nails, too.

After getting settled in our new home-away-from-home (two rooms and a kitchen this time: the only way to go with a bunch of little rascals, in my opinion!), we took naps and then headed for the Disneyland.  Lots of smiles, excitement, and adventures for the rest of the evening.

And who did we see?  Mickey!

And Minnie!

Fun day?  Yes-sirree!

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