Geek. Pirate. Mom

The Life and Times of Whitney Drake

Posts tagged 'disneyland'

Everyday magic.

This weekend, TheBoy and I went to Days of the Wolf, a Teen Wolf convention. But that isn’t what that post is about.  (I’ll post about that on Wed)

We surprised the Kidlets with a trip to Disneyland and a stay last night in a hotel. (We haven’t left yet, right now we’re waiting for breakfast to get her)

After we left Denny’s for dinner, the Little Kidlet realized he forgot his current favorite stuffed animal at home. The tears began.

But it was already late and we knew it would take at least Ann hour to go home get Carrots and drive back. So TheBoy tried to distract the Little Kidlet. “What’s your favorite: bacon or fries?”

“Bacon and fries.”

This went on, along with quiet sobs of, “I want Carrots,” all the way back to the hotel room.

The Kidlets got out their Nooks, and the Oldest Kidlet started to draw something.  After a few minutes, he held it up. “I drew Carrots!”  And true enough, he’d drawn the brown bunny. “This way you can look at his picture when you miss him.”


The crying stopped as the Little Kidlet looked at it. “Thank you.”

It was one of those moments where it felt like we’ve done everything right.

(True story, I’m posting this from my phone to avoid paying for the internet for only two hours of usage. And when I was part way through this post, TheBoy informed me he was probably going to pay for it anyways.  Just my luck.)

When plans fall apart.

Being a mother has become a lesson in flexibility. When I was younger, plans were plans. If they fell through, I would sulk. And now? Well, to me life is like the tide, things come and go and the shoreline of my life constantly changes.

No, really.

It sounds like one of those insane motivational posters, but it’s true. I’ve had to anticipate and handle anything that gets thrown my way.

Last weekend, we decided to take the Kidlets to Disneyland, and headed out. The Little Kidlet wasn’t very enthused (which was odd), but it was a million degrees outside (90) and we thought nothing of it.

SAM_0166We went on Star Tours, we went to Innoventions to see the Iron Man 3 display (where I fangirled long enough to embarrass my boys, who clearly weren’t as excited about the suits as I was) and then we realized that the Little Kidlet was warm. In the air conditioned comfort of Innoventions, he was actually hot. So we stopped by First Aid (side note: To all parents, learn where First Aid is at Disneyland. Right next to it is the Infant Care center, where you can feed/nurse/change babies, and they even have small toilets for kids just starting potty traiing) where they took his temperature and discovered he had a fever of 101.6.

So they gave us a dose of Tylenol and we came home. The children were bitterly disappointed, and we bribed them with toys (LK now owns a Loki action figure, and I had everything nothing to do with that decision).

This isn’t the first time we’ve had to do something similar. A couple years ago we had a room at the Disneyland Hotel for a night before we headed out to Tucson to visit family, and the Oldest Kidlet spiked a fever and started throwing up. We gave him medicine and spent the entire day in the hotel room.

And while I know some people would have been upset at spending that sort of money, we just made the most of it- and we still had a great time. (He was also 100% better by the time we started the road trip. Kids are weird that way)

I’ve decided that motherhood has made me a much better strategist. I not only have to prepare for all the common things (the backpack we take out has a first aid kit in it, LK’s allergy stuff and a bottle of Tylenol, now), but I have to figure out how to adapt to the bigger curveballs. So look out world. Don’t mess with me, I will kick the ass of whatever you throw at me.

Doing the Time Warp.

Over the weekend, TheBoy and I snuck out for dinner. We went to the same restaurant we had our first date (well, it was a chain, so a different location- but same restaurant). And for whatever reason, half the songs they were playing were from the late 90s. Practically the soundtrack for when we were first dating.

And as much as we were mocking the waitstaff for their terrible taste in music, it was great. In some way, it made a simple night out feel like one of those early dates.

Of course, it might have been the margarita I had on an empty stomach. Or the super juicy burger that made me so very happy.* Or even the 20+ minutes that we were waiting outside for our table, standing and talking like we had on our early dates.

While I will never try to state that he and I are perfect, or that our marriage is. I can say right there that night out was perfect. (Well, except for the drive home. We got stuck in some horrible traffic- but I’d rather have that problem than anything else)

The next day we renewed our Annual Passes for Disneyland- something we weren’t sure we’d do this year, but we had so much fun last year, it seemed like a no brainer.

And the Oldest Kidlet finally worked up the courage to go on Star Tours. Nevermind that he’d already ridden Big Thunder Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean. He was just too afraid. But he decided Sunday morning that he was going to give it a try- and he LOVED it. He’s already asking when we can go back.

But my favorite part? Driving through the offroad part of Autopia and remembering the first time I met TheBoy. So much has changed since then, except for the fact that my heart still races when I see him.

*Wow, apparently I’m channeling Cas. Re-reading this post, I realized where I knew that line from… but yes, burgers do make me that happy. Good ones, though.

It’s my birthday, I’ll wear a wampa if I want to.

Sorry about missing a post on Friday (I try to post M-W-F, and if I have more to say, post those on Tuesday or Thursday). Last week was a busy week, with my MIL’s mother’s wake and funeral. So many many things to do, so many places to go- things were a little topsy turvy.

Before I go any further, thank you to everyone who asked me how I was doing. During a week where I was primarily concerned with how everyone else was… it was something I needed.

As it is a tradition, I went to Disneyland for my birthday. Disneyland trips when I was a kid tended to coincide with birthdays (I think it helped that my birthday was in the off season), and it’s been something I’ve continued as an adult (though I might have skipped the odd birthday when I worked there). Now that I have kids, it’s been a sort of escape. Last year and the year before, TheBoy got us a hotel room at the Park and we had a great time. Why just the two of us? Well, when you’re used to tailoring trips around what two little boys will and won’t go on, it’s nice to get to go on everything you want to.

But since we just had a trip away for the 5k, we decided to do a family trip this year.

We weren’t there for very long, and we managed to split up more than go on rides as a family, but it was a lovely time. The Little Kidlet and I went on Star Tours (Kashyyyk again), while TheBoy and the Oldest Kidlet rode the monorail and watched Jedi Academy. We went to lunch at Village Haus (they have a dedicated fryer for fries which is great for LK’s allergies), then on another trip around on the monorail.

Then we split so that OK could go on Pirates (this time with his father- since I’d gotten to go on it with him on our last trip as a family), and the Little Kidlet and I watched the Jedi Academy. From the side, not in front of the stage.

And while we were waiting to meet up, I bought this guy. I saw a picture of someone wearing one last week, and I knew that this was the hat for me. No pandas, cats, bears, or anything found in our galaxy. A wampa is the one for me.


Today’s plans are pretty low key. The Little Kidlet was home for a scratch test at the allergist, and we enjoyed my favorite tacos for lunch.

Tick Tock

Tomorrow is my 5k. It’s getting real!

TheBoy and I have checked into our hotel, picked up our racing bibs… and it’s on!

I know a lot of people wondered if we were going through with this, given everything that’s happened. But TheBoy’s mother and grandfather were both insistent that we go right on ahead with the run. So that’s what we’re going to do.

It’s funny-I’ve been so nervous the last week, and now that we have the bibs and I bought a new running bra (that would be the one item I forgot)… it’s like all my nerves are gone. It’s going to happen, and if I finish I finish. If I don’t, I don’t.

No need to wish me luck on the race. Just wish me luck on getting up in time. The race starts at 5:30 am!


What will I do?

I had a blog post ready to go on my laptop…

We’re on vacation, you see.  Returning to a hotel we’ve been to several times- only to discover that their wifi isn’t free and I’m not entirely sure what their connection policy entails…

So no internet.

But enjoy this picture of my boys with Mater.


As well as this abandoned doll I spotted a little while later.


Catch you later!

A past, vanishing.

A friend of mine posted on my wall on Facebook to ask me the name of the venue I got married at- a cool little Art Deco building in Orange County that had a ballroom, which my mom transformed into an amazing 1930s type wedding.

So I remembered the name and started to Google it. There wasn’t an official site any more. Just a bunch of review pages and venue listings… and then a Yelp! page had a note added that the place was closed.

Honestly, I’m not surprised that it shut down. It was an old building which had been refurbished into an events hall- something that had to have taken a lot of money. And aside from my wedding, I never really saw it pop up anywhere- not with local fundraisers. Not a great sign. But it was a lovely building, and something that I will never forget.

This was the ballroom- the room where we were married as well as had the reception. While they reset the room, my guests were whisked away to a lounge for drinks. There was a small theater on one of the levels, as well as a restaurant. The upper floor was used as the holding area for the bridal party, the groom had a groom’s suite (with TV and leather chairs, if I remember right) on the main floor. You could access any of the floors by stairs, or an old fashioned elevator with an elevator man. I should probably blog about my wedding at some point in time- because it was utterly perfect. (If you can see, each of the tables were named after various nightclubs- the cards served as the guestbook, and my mom collected them all in a book for TheBoy and I)

Update: When I started to do a little more digging, I found that the building has been bought by the Church of Scientology, but they seem to not have enough money to do anything with it.

Weirdly, this isn’t the first important location in my life to have vanished. TheBoy proposed to me in the pit area at Fantasyland Autopia- which is now a combination of smoking area and the “offroad” portion of Tomorrowland Autopia.

To reminisce about a truly magic moment in my life, I have to either fill my lungs with cigarette smoke, or fumes from the Autopia cars. Fun times.

Experience something similar? I expected this to happen as I got a few decades older, not when I was in my early 30′s!

Day 7 of NaBloPoMo

Sunday. 9.11

Sunday was the 10th Anniversary of 9/11. Because it is impossible to forget, I didn’t want to spend my time watching specials produced to keep the wounds fresh. I know, it makes me sound callous. But honestly, I can still see what happened a decade ago. I remember how uncertain I felt, and the way that others reacted… I didn’t need to see it cut to sappy music.

So instead of watching specials and services, and trying to explain to my young children just what this was about (I still think they’re a little too young)… TheBoy and I went to a reunion at Disneyland. We decided that celebrating life was the appropriate thing to do.

I worked at Disneyland while I was in college. It was where I met TheBoy, and where I made a lot of wonderful friends. (And in the context of the day, it was how 9/11 affected my life the most) In truth, it sort of ruined me for working at any other company- not because the job itself was that great. It was fun, but taxing. But because of the nature of working attractions, you build a family from the people you work with regularly.

I was lucky enough to get to work at the World Famous Jungle Cruise. I came in at the end of a summer, and felt like I was on the outside. But TheBoy’s best friend Ry worked Jungle, and made sure I wasn’t hazed like most newbies (he reminded people that I had already worked at Disneyland for a year and a half). So I was welcomed with open arms by a lot of really great people. Hilarious people.

While I worked at Jungle for almost three years after that, and made some wonderful friends- it was that group that I felt the closest to. It was that group that we were meeting with. We got there early, and met up at the Hub (that’s the fancy name for the place by the statue of Walt & Mickey). We took some pictures, caught up and went through the Park for the day. And the funniest part of all was that it felt like no time had passed. Sure, we were all 10+ years older than the last time we’d seen each other as a group, and most of us were married with kids… but it felt as though we could have just gone to Jungle and hopped right back into our rotations.

I’ve hinted at the scope of my anxiety issues lately. Making friends, being back in situations I’m not familiar with… it’s enough to drive me crazy. I went to a wedding of a cousin of TheBoy’s and had butterflies in my stomach all the way up there! But it says something about the way we all worked together that it didn’t even occur to me to be nervous about anything other than taking my kids along. (And why didn’t we bring them? I knew there’d be a lot of hanging out and talking- indeed, our lunch took well over an hour. Not exactly something my boys have the patience to do. Nor would they have been up for trying any new rides. The next reunion, I’ll bring them along)

Here’s a picture I shamelessly stole from my friend Alan. It doesn’t have everyone (I’ll try to find a picture that does), but it’s a picture that I love.

Now, to what happened on 9/11 a decade ago. Read More…

Getting caught up.

I suppose I’m glad I didn’t try to set up affiliate accounts with Amazon or Overstock. Because California wants to collect sales tax from Amazon (which, btw, they could have done ages ago), both companies severed their affiliates program. Which is a shame. Apparently people were making decent livings off of those!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, which seems odd to say now that it’s summer. But it’s been busy.

As I think we mentioned, earlier this year we bought annual passes to Disneyland. So when we get the chance, we head off to The Park. We hadn’t gone in awhile, so we headed off. I’m not sure why we weren’t anticipating this, but the trip itself wasn’t so great. We’d had so many wonderful trips recently with kids who took turns picking rides, not fussing about where we ate… that we just weren’t prepared for two kids who decided to meltdown at the drop of a hat.

I’m sharing this for those who enjoy schadenfreude as well as for parents of little kids who need to know that they aren’t alone. We were discussing rides to go on, and after we’d decided to go across the park to ride the Big Boats (er, the Columbia and Mark Twain) I suggest we take the train around. It’s the train, my kids’ collective favorite. Nope. Mentioning the train was enough to make my oldest start wailing and screeching about how he wanted to walk. We resolved that with a snack, and things were fine for awhile. Then we went to the Pirates Lair (formerly Tom Sawyer’s Island). We had fun… up until it was time to leave.

Both of them decided that they were not going to leave and plopped down on the ground screaming. Probably the worst public tantrums we’ve ever had. And the worst part was that we had to wait for a raft off the island while they were flipping out. People were unbelievably kind (leading me to believe that most of the parents there had been there before, and that well, they could see we were trying our best).

That isn’t to say that we didn’t have there weren’t a majority of wonderful moments. I took the Little Kidlet on the Columbia (a replica Tall Ship) and he was convinced he was a member of the crew. He took his spot at the helm, manned the bilge pumps and rang the bell. Considering how much I love sailing ships and the Age of Sail, it was wonderful to see that he loves it just as much as me.

Earlier in the day, we saw Peter Pan in the Park. We were just outside the castle, sitting on a bench near the walkway that leads to Snow White’s Grotto and had already seen a couple princesses walk by. The Oldest Kidlet decided that they must have been visiting Sleeping Beauty for tea. We were just talking about Pixie Hollow and pixie dust, and Peter Pan, when… Peter Pan came running towards us, leaping over a bench. If he was able to do parkour, I have a feeling he would have. On his way, he saw a woman in her 20′s wearing a Peter Pan hat and ran up behind her, grabbed her shoulders and shouted, “I like your hat!” Then he was off sprinting towards Fantasyland. The woman jumped a good few feet, and the kidlets, TheBoy and I couldn’t stop laughing.

Looking back on it, TheBoy and I could see the things we missed. The little cues that excited kidlets were hungry and tired. While it made for a difficult day, it’ll certainly help stop future trips from ending in tears. (We did leave after the Pirate Lair meltdowns)

Proof that we actually did have a nice time

Disneyland and Bravery.

The Oldest Kidlet is a lot like me. Same drive, same short-temper (which I’ve learned to control). Same need to be the center of attention. He’s exhausting for that reason. Ever butt heads with a parent, only to wonder why because you’re so much alike? Sometimes it’s because you’re alike in the good and bad ways.

I honestly don’t remember what started it, but we were getting in the car yesterday after hitting up a coffee place on the way to Disneyland. I looked back at my boys and said, “You two are going to be the death of me.” He looked right back and said, “Don’t say that, Mommy.”

We went to Disneyland. TheBoy took some time off so that we could spend this weekend together, and realized that we could go to Disneyland during the day. So we went! Our big splurge was on annual passes this year since we don’t live too far from Anaheim (though I do miss our little apartment near Anaheim that we used to live in. You could hear the whistle from the Mark Twain sometimes, and see the fireworks). And it’s been a nice break from routine for us.

The Oldest Kidlet has been going to Disneyland fairly regularly since he was a baby. We had the nicest annual passes (the ones that let you go whenever you want- they weren’t so expensive 5 years ago), and it was free for him. My mom was watching him and used to take him once a week. It was a nice walk, and they both enjoyed it. He got bigger and bigger, and after his brother came along, we didn’t renew the passes. But he was a fearless kid who would try anything.

Of course, since we’d stopped going to Disneyland, he became more fearful. Crowded spaces, loud noises, unfamiliar terrain… he didn’t like any of it anymore. So we always worried about the Park, especially now that he’s getting into the height range of the “E-Ticket” attractions.

Not this trip, but the trip before… things started the way they usually do. We got on the train, by and large one of their favorite things to do. We got Fastpasses for Autopia, but the Oldest Kidlet just wasn’t understanding the concept. He refused to wait to go on the cars- unless it was in line. So we split up. I took the Little Kidlet on Buzz Lightyear (where he refused to shoot anything, and did not like a giant Zurg, but was all smiles about it), and TheBoy took the Oldest Kidlet on Autopia.

Afterwards, we met up and went off to go on the Casey Jr Circus Train (another favorite) and get some lunch from Village Haus (which has dedicated fryers for their fries, so I don’t have to worry about cross-contamination for the kidlet or I. And they have gluten-free buns for their burgers!). While we were there, the Oldest Kidlet mentioned that he saw the submarines and wanted to ride them. And I knew that disaster awaited us. I haven’t been able to get him on Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean for the last two years. He sees the dark queues inside, puts on the brakes and insists he can’t go. I knew, deep in my heart, that the second the submarine went into the caverns… that he would freak out and be stuck on the submarine. So I explained that it would get dark. He said it was fine. I told him that he wouldn’t be able to get off once we left the dock. He promised he could wait.

So what happened? The second it got dark, he freaked out and I finished the ride holding his little brother on my lap (who was fine with the whole thing and appreciated the better view), with the Oldest Kidlet holding my other hand over his eyes, while I reassured him that it was all pretend. But I am proud of him. While it still scared him, and he admits this freely, he doesn’t regret going on it. He told both me and my mother in law, that now he can say he’s been on a submarine.

So why am I mentioning this? Yesterday’s trip to Disneyland had a lot of familiar visits. We went on Autopia, the Train, Casey Jr… and then we split up. The Little Kidlet and I were hungry, and so TheBoy took the Older Kidlet to ride the Mark Twain (they’d wanted to go on the Columbia, but just missed it). And passed Big Thunder Mountain. “It’s a train rollercoaster,” my son said. They discovered he was tall enough to go, but my son said no. We went on more rides- the Carrousel, played at the Pirates Lair on Tom Sawyer’s Island.

On the Island, my son became brave. He jumped on the pontoon bridge, ran through caves- and got lost. While in a cave, he decided that he wanted to go to the other cave we’d passed by, and turned a couple wrong ways. We found him… but it was one of the scariest moments of my life (though not quite as scary as when he cut his forehead and there was blood everywhere). As we were leaving the Island (angering the Little Kidlet, who decided he didn’t want to go in caves, but liked climbing on piles of treasure), the Oldest Kidlet announced that he wanted to ride the rollercoaster.

TheBoy got them Fastpasses, and they had their lunch while we waited (which in retrospect seems stupid since we didn’t know how he’d handle Big Thunder Mountain, but he was grumpy and hungry). And off the went. The Little Kidlet and I rode the sailing ship, and when we got off… they were waiting for us. They’d gone on! My brave little son was scared (both TheBoy and I had forgotten how noisy Big Thunder is), but didn’t completely freak out, and proudly told everyone that he’d ridden a real roller coaster- but he thought it went a little too fast for him.

We came home from Disneyland, and TheBoy and I packed up for a weekend away from the boys! As we were leaving, my son told me to have a great time. And to stay for three nights, but not four. Because he’d miss me too much if it were four.

I’m proud of my brave boy. Here’s to hoping he’s always willing to try something new. Maybe next time I can get him back on Pirates of the Caribbean.

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