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Monday, August 13, 2007

August 13, 2007

We’re BACK! Actually we’ve been back from sunny So-Cal for a few days but have been busy battling colds. Yes, as always, we caught a bug on the plane. Mike was sick for most of the trip – though he pulled through – and the boys and I really came down with it towards the end. Despite the illness and the trip getting off to an interesting start; we had a great time.

So, yeah, the trip started out with a bang. We were up at 4am, got the boys out of their beds at 4:30 and headed to SeaTac. Upon checking in at 5ish for our 7am flight, we were informed, “Oh, by the way, your flight is cancelled. The pilot didn’t show. The next flight, direct to Ontario, CA is at 1pm.” Right. We debated on whether or not we should head home, but we’d already paid for the parking garage, taken the car seats out (installing Zach’s is a mega-pain), had all of our luggage, etc. So, we bit the bullet and spent 8 hours hanging out at SeaTac before even boarding our plane. And, believe it or not, it was the best airport experience of my life and so much fun!

We had to wait four hours before we could even check our luggage and get through security, so supplied with tons of food vouchers, we bought some goodies and coffee from the one open espresso stand and set up camp by the empty baggage claim. We had the place pretty much to ourselves and boy did we make the most of it! The boys would’ve been surfing the baggage belt if I’d let them (and we did think about it), but we spent most of our time riding the escalators up and down and sprinting across the empty sky bridge. Once we were able to check in, we had all of SeaTac at our finger tips. We bought (and ate) tons of food and found the coolest airport-themed, indoor playground for kids! It was great! By the way, the flight went well too, and Matthew thoroughly enjoyed chewing gum for the first time.

Our Engaged Encounter Convention was great. We went to workshops, the boys played in the daycare, we swam in the hotel pool, danced and drank and ate. Zach and I got up early on Sunday morning (and since Mike wasn’t feeling well and Matthew was still sleeping), we headed out for a run. The foothills surrounding Ontario were cloaked in a fog so thick I couldn’t make them out. Sadly, with my throat burning, I eventually realized that it was SMOG and not fog. Talking to friends at the Convention later, I found out that years ago, the smog was so bad that they used to cancel school due to health concerns. My friend’s mom would cover his face with a cold wet washcloth. When she removed it there would be a black circle on the cloth where he had been breathing. Crazy.

We spent Sunday afternoon at the big mall in Ontario, then drove to our new hotel near Disneyland, did laundry and swam in the pool. Monday morning we were up bright and early to catch the shuttle to Disneyland. We got through the main gate and headed straight to the new Finding Nemo submarine ride. The park had only been open for about fifteen minutes and there was already a TWO HOUR wait to ride the submarine. Mike and I took turns walking the boys around while the other slowly creeped up in line. By the time we made it on the ride, Zach was fast asleep in the backpack. Oh well, he wouldn’t have remember it anyway, though he would have loved all the fishies. Mike and Matthew shot “bad robot guys” (according to Matthew) on the Buzz Light Year Astroblasters ride. Then, we all went on the circus train ride, the boys and I went on the carousel, and we drove cars at Autotopia. We paid WAY too much for lunch. Rode the big schooner ship, then Matthew braved the Thunder Mountain Railroad rollercoaster with Mike. Matthew was only slightly traumatized (he didn’t like the dark tunnels). Then I got to do the ride before Mike and Matthew headed to Pirates of the Caribbean. (Where Matthew was traumatized by the shooting pirates). I went and did Space Mountain and the Matterhorn. We went on It’s a Small World – Zachary’s favorite (he couldn’t decide where to look, what to point at and whether he wanted to sit or stand). We also went in the Tiki Room (which we all loved…until the thunderstorm which Matthew didn’t like). We caught the parade – where Matthew was traumatized by the Ursula the Sea Witch float and where Zachary fell in love with one of the parade ladies (even blew her kisses). We met up with Mike’s dad, Jim and stepmom, Annelies for dinner back by our hotel. The boys (and I) fell into the dangerous zone of post-Happiest Place on Earth crankiness and attempted to get to bed a little early (which ended up being 10pm).

We slept in Tuesday morning and then set out to California Adventure. The boys and I rode the Under the Sea carousel while Mike rode the California Screamin’ roller coaster. He then joined us for the Bugs Life rides that the boys LOVED. Matthew loved driving the Bumper Bugs, the spinning ladybugs, the “silly hungry Caterpillar train” and Flik’s Flyers (where we flew inside a huge Chinese take-out box). Jim and Annelies joined us and the two of them, Matthew and I rode the Soarin’ over California ride. (You sit strapped in a seat that lifts up and moves like an airplane/glider in front of a huge movie screen showing views of California). Matthew loved it…until he was traumatized by the loud planes and the fireworks. After that, Mike, Jim and Annelies went on Tower of Terror (the highlight, for Mike) and the boys and I watched the 3-D Muppet Movie (which Matthew liked until the fireworks and loud explosions at the end). Do you sense a theme? Basically Matthew loved Disneyland except for…something…on every single ride! We watched a live stage show in which Mickey magically appeared at the end. Zach immediately started rushing the stage waving and yelling “hi…hi…hi” at Mickey. It was very cute.

That night, we had dinner with Jim and Annelies and got to meet her son Erik for the first time. Erik is a 19 year old surfer dude studying to be a nurse. He was SO nice and fun and the boys LOVED him. Wednesday morning, we went to their motel for breakfast and then we all went to Huntington Beach for the day where we got to watch Erik surf. I quizzed Erik on surfing and surf culture and decided that in another life I should be a surfer chick. I’d be one now except that I look frightening in a bikini; I get lobster red instead of golden tan, I don’t have sun-kissed highlighted blond hair (my hair gets bigger and bushier with sand and water); and I’m probably way too chicken to even try surfing. But despite my lack of California beachiness, we all had a blast at the beach (and yes, got a little sunburned). We had a quiet night at the hotel and packed up for the trip home.

The flight home was a little bit harder for Zach. He was SO done with sitting down, being strapped in or tethered to anything. Once we were able, he and I pretty much paced the aisle the whole flight. He was the Walmart greeter of Flight 435, waving, saying hi, giving high-fives and making everyone on-board his new best friend.

As predicted, we arrived home tired, sick, cranky and ready for a vacation! We had a great trip and we’re so happy to be back home.

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