Guess what! It’s July. That’s stinkin’ nuts. Tomorrow will be October and then the next day Matthew will be graduating from high school. It just all goes way too fast! But we’re doing our best enjoying every moment – especially of summer vacation!
June 25th, we awoke at the butt-crack of dawn (no, really, 3:45am!!!) and – along with my brother and mother – headed to SeaTac Airport where we caught our plane to San Diego. I started our vacation with an inhumanly horrendous sore throat and worries that I’d feel like dooty for our entire trip, however, miraculously said throat-pain-of-Satan only stuck around for a couple of days. Thank goodness!
On Friday, June 26th, we – all of us, along with Mike’s dad Jim who joined in (and eventually Mike’s sister Kathy) – went to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Highlights: the bird show (seeing the ginormous California condors fly right over head!), riding the tram around the park (and feeling like you’re suddenly on the Savannah plains of Africa) and watching the cheetah sprint – reaching 60 miles per hour (0-40 in three steps alone!) and covering 100 meters in 5.24 seconds. It was a hot but enjoyable day! We went back to our hotel where Mom, Chris and the kids hung out and rested while Mike and I attended the first night of our Engaged Encounter Convention.
Saturday, June 27th – Mike dropped Mom, Chris and the kids off at SeaWorld for the day. Now, my dear mother, had managed to hurt her leg just a couple of weeks pre-California departure and has been on a cane/crutch and in pain ever since. With threats and bribes we stressed good behavior to the children. I even said, “Pretend she’s not Grandma. Just a nice lady who you are to help for the day.” A Disneyland souvenir hung in the balance. Kayli – apparently- repeatedly asked mom, “Am I on my best behavior?...Am I still being so good?” Thankfully, threats and bribery are the key to parenthood and the kids were - supposedly, as far as we were informed - well-behaved and they had a great time at SeaWorld.
Meanwhile, Mike and I attended our Convention and that night partied at the Luau and Dance. Super fun!
Sunday, June 28th – we all attended Mass at the end of the Convention and then drove up to Anaheim. The 1.5 hour long trip took 3.5 hours thanks to the infamous So-Cal traffic. We managed to arrive at our hotel in time to drop stuff and then head to Bubba Gump for dinner with Mike’s sister, her hubby and cute grandson (who was Kayli’s age. We were ALL happy that Kayli found a captive audience to whom she could talk through all of dinner). We got to bed as early as we could for our big day at Disneyland.
Now, if you’ll recall, we went to Disneyland in February 2014. It was a difficult trip. Just 6 weeks after dad died, I was (obviously) miserable (and sick, since I was sick like 9 times in the first three months of 2014). We also had a frustrating time at the Parks – tons of rides closed and several breaking down on us. I wrote a letter, (“Dear Disneyland…”) and, in response, they gave us tickets to come back for two days!!
So, Monday, June 29th, we woke up early and I ran to the park (literally…started the hot day with a jog) and went to Guest Services to retrieve our tickets and then wheelchair rental to score a rolling seat for mom. There’s no way we (she) could’ve done all that walking. And, as I’ve heard, Disneyland is amazingly accommodating to those in wheelchairs. We were able to cut a lot of lines. (The boys were maybe a little TOO happy about it and even said, “Thanks for hurting your leg, Grandma, this is awesome!” They even turned into whiney butts when we had to occasionally wait in a little bit of a line – NOTHING compared to the waiting we would’ve done without the wheelchair).
Disneyland got off to a bit of a rough start though. The ride we’d most been looking forward to on the last trip (Thunder Mountain Railroad) had been closed, so we were determined to do that one first. Well, it’d been a LONG time since I’d done that ride and didn’t entirely remember it. Despite his hesitation, I encouraged my brother Chris to give it a go thinking it wouldn’t be TOO much. BIG mistake. He was NOT a fan (to say the least) and I felt awful. Thankfully, he rallied fairly quickly and as Mike said, maybe if we hadn’t started with that (and gotten ‘the worst’ out of the way), Chris would’ve been more overwhelmed by everything else. After that it was smooth sailing.
We did Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion (which Zach sat out and Chris declared was his favorite ride), Jungle Cruise, Tiki Room, It’s a Small World, Finding Nemo, Star Tours, Buzz, etc., etc. Basically, we got to do ALL the rides that we weren’t able to do last time and in record time! In the evening, we found a great spot to watch the special 60th Diamond Anniversary night parade. (Kayli screamed at Mickey like a psycho-super fan…when he was still a block away). And we watched the spectacular fireworks display. Seriously the best, most amazing fireworks I’ve ever seen.
We dragged our tired butts back to the hotel to bed….and did California Adventure the next day.
Tuesday, June 30th Overview: Started with the cars ride – Radiator Spring Racers - (Chris sat that one out. Mom LOVED it – we all did!). Mike took Matthew on the rollercoaster California Screamin’. Then he took Zach on the Tower of Terror (which terrorized Zach despite wanting to do it). We all watched the Aladdin stage production (like a mini-Broadway show – it was awesome). Kayli’s fatigue started to kick in and we dealt with a couple of required amusement park meltdowns. We all loved Soarin’ Over California (Chris didn’t want to do that one…and we’d obviously learned not to push him). Then in the afternoon, all of sudden, it clouded up and got really cool. There were a couple of claps of thunder and then huge raindrops began to fall. They closed rides and I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to enjoy our dinner at Ariel’s Grotto and special viewing for World of Color. Thankfully, it all worked out – the crowds cleared out a bit, the sun came back out and we thoroughly enjoyed the rest of our evening and our last night at the Park. We were even able to watch the fireworks again as we departed the park and went to return the wheelchair.
Wednesday, July 1st, my mom’s brother Phil (aka “Uncle Phuzzy”) and his wife Helen drove a couple of hours to see us at the hotel. We played a game that Zachary had created called “Fantasy Storybook Fun” – you create a story using different cards that you draw from a pile. Not to brag, just speaking the truth, but that kid is a creative genius. We had a ton of fun! We had lunch with them at the Cheesecake Factory before we began our 2 hour drive back to San Diego.
We’d almost made it. We were nearly in the clear. Off the freeway and just five minutes from returning the rental car when Zach said that thing that parents dread hearing most (while in a car…or nearly anywhere), “I’m going to throw up!!” I wasn’t able to get him a receptacle in time and he proceeded to fill the back of the van – cup holder and console area. Oye. Yup.
As mom said, “Well, it’s not a family vacation without someone throwing up.” Mike argued that that is NOT, in fact, a requirement of the Martin family…but alas, it’s a Buckley tradition (that I frequently upheld as a child) and that sometimes rears its ugly head.
Despite the pukey end, we had a really, really great trip! J
Getting up at 4am to fly to San Diego was a tad exhausting.
Matthew working those famous shades of his!
At the Safari Park
3 Little Lemurs
Engaged Encounter Convention Luau
We made it!!!