psi_star_psi: (freaky)
Now, let's see...where was I?

We set out after breakfast to return home. The traffic was horrendous. We finally arrived, starving, at some restaurant. It may have been Andersen's. We fell on the food, then cycled through the restrooms. The girls took the opportunity of my inattention to play in the mud puddles in front of the restaurant. Their tights were soaked, and they were covered with mud. I took them into the men's room in turn and cleaned them up. As I was feeling most despondent, another gentleman in the restroom said, "Ahh, I remember those days with my girls. Hang on, it gets better." This perked me up considerably.

We stopped at Casa de Fruita on the way home. When [livejournal.com profile] aelfie was pregnant with Ike, we'd gone to Ren Faire and stopped at CdF also. I sampled the pomegranate wine, and determined that I should never be near something so tasty again in my life. I've had kids since then, and my mental health is more important than my abstinence. So we picked up a few bottles of the wine. [The case we picked up on our next visit lasted two years, and we resupplied after Ren Faire last month.]

After four years, I really don't recall anything else from that day. We got home, and it was good.
psi_star_psi: (SuperDad)
Up, breakfast, and the bus to Disneyland again. This time, Jen and I decided that we needed to rent another stroller, because I couldn't keep carrying the kids around so much. We headed off toward Toontown, but stopped at Dumbo and Storybook Land Canal Boats on the way. The teacups were closed off while a film crew worked.

Jen spotted a kiosk which sold framed art of people's names with a character as the first letter. We got one for the three kids last time, but now we need an update. Immediately adjacent was another kiosk with face-painting, so the kids got their faces painted while Jen ordered the artwork.

We headed on to Toontown, where the FASTPASS for Roger Rabbit was over an hour. The kids amused themselves at Goofy's Playhouse, and we waited in line for pictures and signatures from a couple of characters, then grabbed lunch. Roger Rabbit was too dark and scary for Elli, no surprise. Eventually we'll figure out her limits.

We headed back to the reopened teacups, then off to Tomorrowland. Buzz, Autotopia, and some shopping in the Buzz shop. By now, everyone was exhausted and cranky, so we decided we should bail. The 3:30 parade was just about to start as we slipped across the route in the central hub. As we turned to go down Main Street, Jen remembered she needed to go back to that kiosk to pick up the names artwork. The kiosk back by the teacups, now on the other side of the active parade. w00t.

We followed the parade route up all the way to Small World without any way to cross. By that point there was room for the kids to watch the parade, so we stopped and let them catch the last few floats, including the Santa float. We followed the parade along until we got to the kiosk, and Jen picked up the art.

We headed on to Main Street for some more shopping. Elli fell asleep, but Ike and Gwen had a good time in the candy store/penny arcade. We collected many smooshed pennies. Then we headed on down to the exit, veered off at the last minute to remember to turn in the second stroller, and headed for the bus.

For over 10 years, Jen and her chiropractor have attempted to snare me into her clutches of back pain management. I've always fended them off -- until this trip. Jen made an appointment to be seen the day after our return. "Do you want me to set you up also?" she asked. "Yes." My back was killing me, by feet were almost numb, I'd carried kids around for three days, all on top of the stress of work and managing the kids at the park. Bleagh.

We got on the bus to return. There wasn't any concentrated seating, so Jen sat with Gray near the front, Ike and Gwen headed off to the back, and I stood near the rear exit with Elli and the stroller. I stood there, radiating pain and misery, while a group of Happy Party People boarded and sat in the side-facing seats a few rows ahead of me. Bah, humbug. Then, last of all, a redhead in a black evening dress with the front slit down to 3.21 nm above her navel sat down on another woman's lap straight ahead of me and proceeded to have a boisterous good time on the ride back to the hotel. Due to the crowd on the bus, her head was blocked from my view by other passengers' arms or backpacks for the whole ride...but the rest of her was not at all impeded. I ogled 'til my eyes bugged out, and didn't worry about any of my pains. Every once in a while, the Universe throws me a bone.

We herded the kids upstairs, Jen got more drinks and popcorn, and we ordered in room service for dinner. While I was in the restroom, Gwen was playing with her Buzz Lightyear basketball in the room. She banged it against the door between the rooms of the suite and knocked the full-length mirror off the far side of the door. Seven years bad luck for someone. We called housekeeping to tidy up the mirror and gritted our teeth until dinner arrived. The kids later fell asleep after pizza and (all together now) more Cat in the Hat. Jen and I collapsed.
psi_star_psi: (SuperDad)
[But wait, there's more! Yeah, I'm slow, sue me.]

We arose, dressed, and breakfasted at the hotel buffet as the prior day. This time, we figured it wasn't worth the trouble to drive over, so we caught the shuttle in front of the hotel. Gray's stroller made things a little awkward, but not terribly so.

Time for Disneyland proper! [livejournal.com profile] aelfie recommended that we travel clockwise around the park, since everyone else would go widdershins to get to Tomorrowland first. This turned out pretty well. We started off with the Enchanted Tiki Room, which the kids enjoyed (as they did the last time). We hit Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Carribean, and the Haunted Mansion. Those last two made me feel old, since they've been so changed to fit the PotC movies and Nightmare Before Christmas respectively. The kids climbed around in Tarzan's Treehouse, which also made me feel old (and have Tommy Kirk flashbacks). From these rides, we confirmed our earlier theories that Elli doesn't like dark rides and Gwen doesn't like jerky rides. We got some lunch, did Splash Mountain and Winnie-the-Pooh, and rode the raft over to Tom Sawyer Island.

We stopped to look at the line to the Matterhorn, but moved on to ride Buzz Lightyear. Ike, Elli, and I rode Star Tours, but it was too scary and dark for Elli to enjoy. *sigh* We got pizza at Redd Rockett's Pizza Port, which carries gluten-free pizza for Jen. (I can't believe they haven't renamed it Pizza Planet yet.) We hit Buzz once more and headed back to the hotel for the night.

On the way through the lobby, we saw that it was still the Manager's Happy Hour for free drinks, so Jen went down and got us both a little something, the name of which I have already forgotten. (Manhattan? Cosmo? Some fruity thing.) She also got popcorn for the kids to share while watching The Cat in the Hat again. We settled them down for bed and passed out from exhaustion.

Due to the time lag that it's taken me to write this up, I've skipped the bits about carrying one or another child around nigh-continuously, which coupled with a strange bed was seriously twigging my back. I was living on GABA Calm to get through the day and ibuprofen to get through the night. And there's still a day of park and the return trip to go!

ETA: I remember! The drink was a Mai Tai.
psi_star_psi: (SuperDad)
[Don't miss the thrilling first installment!]

The kids woke us up butt early (5:30? 6?), so we wrestled everyone into clothes and went down to the provided breakfast. We were at the Embassy Suites, which is a hollow tower with a huge central atrium. The elevators are windowed at the four corners inside the open area. The lobby floor has a big water feature with koi and turtles, rocks, and a bridge, intermingled with the seating for the breakfast/happy hour/restaurants. On top of a 12 foot rock face is an animatronic lion which roars every so often. The kids loved the elevator, the lion, and the turtles. (Oddly, the wardrobe in the room didn't draw their attention.)

We worked out a routine that we refined over the next few days. One of us took the kids to seating while the other went through the line and got a couple of plates of food. Then we shared out to individual plates. My, but that works well with the kids, I must remember it next time we're in Solvang.

We loaded up everyone in the car and drove over the Disneyland parking. Then out to the tram and off to the park. Four kids, two backpacks, jackets, a baby carrier, and a stroller. w00t. Since we'd planned to sleep in until later, DCA wasn't open yet. We went down Main Street to do a bit of shopping while we waited. We got signature books for Ike, Elli, and Gwen. Then we headed into DCA for this first day because we had a lunch restaurant reservation. Over to the Bug's Life area, which has the kid-sized rides until time for lunch around 11am.

Lunch was at Ariel's Grotto, aka Princess-a-palooza. First, we went down a big spiral staircase to meet and take pictures with Ariel. Only Gwen had anything to do with this, so only she got in the picture and had her book signed. Next, into the restaurant for lunch. We had a big booth, so Jen and I took up the outsides to corral the rest. The food was great! A multi-tiered appetizer tray, including jello with fruit, a bread basket (Kids didn't want it, Jen couldn't eat it, all for me!), and a tasty entree. No, I don't remember what it was, but it was good. Jen spoke with a chef and got a gluten-free entree. [This should be taken as read for any meal in the park. Disneyland is fabulous about providing special dietary options.] Four more princesses wandered around the room during the meal, posing for pictures and signing books. If the kids hadn't been so antsy throughout, it would have gone very smoothly.

After lunch, we went off to hit some rides. The default arrangement for rides on which we could not take Gray was me and three kids, while Jen waited with Gray. We tried a smaller roller-coaster, but Gwen Did Not Like That. I took them on the big Ferris wheel while Jen went to get FastPasses for the big coaster, California Screamin'. After the Ferris wheel, I took Ike on the big coaster. He loved it, so much so that he went on it again with Jen immediately afterward.

By this point, we figured it was time to start heading back. The sun was going down, we'd been up early, and there was still a tram ride and drive back to the hotel. (We must have done something about dinner, but I don't recall what. Jen will have to fill it in.) By the time we reached the hotel, it was time to prep the kids for bed and settle them for the night. We discovered that TNT or TBS or something had The Cat in the Hat running nigh-continuously in the evenings during our stay, so the kids watched that before bed.

After the kids were out, we needed something from Target. Our room window faced the street, so I could see the red bull's-eye. It looked too far away to walk, but upon reaching street level I realized that was the elevation fooling me. So I walked the block and a half, picked up a few things, and returned. Yeah, more walking around on concrete, that's what I needed! (Walking in L.AAnaheim! KBZ!)

I decompressed until Jen and Gray went to bed, took a shower to make the morning go faster, and turned in. We were only starting, after all.
psi_star_psi: (SuperDad)
Back on the 20th, Jen took the girls to Kid's Park and Ike to his regular Forest Friday class. I stayed home and packed some more stuff leftover from the previous night (CPAPs, for instance). She returned with Gray, and we finished up the packing for a five-day trip. We'd arranged for a teen she knows through one of her mom's groups to come by to feed the animals and walk the dog. Off we set!

We retrieved the girls, then hit a McDonald's for lunch. Onward to the park to get Ike. He hadn't taken a jacket, just rain gear, so he had been very cold. Apparently one of the teachers rifled his backpack for additional clothing, but failed to put it back in the plastic bag. The backpack and his change of clothes were soaked. He sat in the car seat eating his cheeseburger in his underwear. An auspicious beginning!

Jen gave brand-new marker coloring books to each self-ambulatory child, and we allowed them to watch DVDs (normally not allowed for around town trips). We were past Morgan Hill or so before Elli thought to ask, "Where are we going?" "Down the road and around the corner," is Jen's standard reply. They gradually clued in that something was up, but we wouldn't tell them the destination.

We hit a Carl's Jr. for dinner about halfway down. The kids still need to work on their restaurant manners, but they did OK for this stop. We stopped 2-3 other times on the trip to Anaheim for bathroom breaks. Jen drove at the start because we picked up Ike from the park up a windy road. She doesn't do well on windy roads unless she's driving. Thus, I drove the second half.

We moved along the 5 at a good pace until we dropped into the greater L.A. basin. (I kept passing signs that indicated exits to Pasadena. Another time, perhaps.) Elli passed out at this point. We didn't make it to Anaheim until 9pm, so Ike and Gwen were exhausted. Ike was very impatient for us to get somewhere so he could find out where we were going. As we drove down Harbor Blvd, we finally passed the main gate. "Look, Ike, what's that?" asked Jen. "Hey, that looks like that sign says Disneyland. Are we going to Disneyland?" he realized. "Yes, Ike, we're going to Disneyland!" It is fair to say this received a positive response.

We got to the hotel, checked in, unbundled our Stuff, and figured out how to arrange everyone for sleep. We had a suite with two double beds, a sofa bed, and a crib. We didn't use the crib much, but it was good to have as a backup. We usually slept with Jen and Gray in one bed, me and Elli in another, and Ike and Gwen in the sofa bed. (Of course, the kids drifted more into our beds as the night passed.) One day down, four to go.

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