Monday, February 26, 2018

(Southern) California Adventure

In mid-February, we traveled to Southern California to visit Chris's brother and his family. It was Immy's first flight on the outside, her first night somewhere other than the hospital or our house, the first flight Evie had his own ticket, and really the first time he understood what was happening (and could talk about it).

We talked about the "trip" starting a week or so beforehand to prepare him for the travel days and not staying at "Evie house" for a few nights. All things considered, he did fabulously. He's old enough for the iPad to be entertaining on the plane when the window shade and tray table got boring, and Immy is young enough that being nursed and cuddled is just fine for her. 

She did have a monster number two after we landed that got all over her, Elizabeth, and the carrier (eek!), but thankfully there was a washing machine readily available when we arrived. Everett had the time of his life just playing with his cousins, swimming in a big pool (even though it was a little chilly!), and checking out all their new toys. His face lit up constantly and it was heartwarming to see. 

Imogen did well with the new surroundings and new people as well. She is alert, but not yet worried about stranger danger, which made for a mostly happy baby for the whole trip.

And that was all before...Disneyland!

Disneyland - 2/12/18

We had a fantastic time. Chris, Elizabeth, and Everett all had fun on rides, meeting characters, and experiencing it all with Matt, Christa, Natalie, and Grace. Imogen snuggled like a champ and occasionally liked looking around before it got too overwhelming and put her back to sleep.

Some people wonder why we'd go through the trouble and expense to take kids so small to a place like Disneyland. "They won't remember it", "they can't go on all the rides", "you'll be so busy taking care of them you won't enjoy yourselves", etc. In our experience, all that is bogus. At two years old and exploding in language, Everett was grinning ear to ear most of both days we spent in the parks (Disneyland and California Adventure). He recognized characters and interacted with them - especially Mickey, Stitch, Pooh, "fire truck," and "red car." After almost every ride concluded he would say, "I want to do it again." He took a solid nap each day, and only really got crazy once bedtime was close (and who could blame him). 

Meeting the main mouse - 2/12/18

Fire Truck (maybe we should watch Cars?) - 2/13/18

So what if he doesn't have clear memories of it in five, ten, or twenty years? We do. And we have lots of wonderful pictures from our trip.

Imogen, while not truly enjoying what Disney has to offer just yet, got snuggled all day, nursed when she wanted, and had tons of face time when she wanted to be awake. Those are pretty great days for her, and it didn't significantly impact everyone else's enjoyment of the day. Note that we wouldn't expect this of a baby a few months older than she is now. If she could crawl, we're sure she would've been fed up with the carrier all day.

Immy awake while Evie napped - 2/13/18

Disney is also (no surprise) extremely gentle with, as they call it, "angel families." The characters and their escorts are all familiar with a situation like ours, and they treated Obie's O with the care it deserves. Yes, there were tears, but we didn't have to explain to strangers what happened. A few short words and they caught on and made sure everyone was on the same page.

The Disney Photographer with Stitch had this idea - 2/13/18

It's slightly more morbid, but we don't want to wait for things our kids will enjoy now and that we're able to provide. We don't know what the future holds, and we thought it would be good for our family right now. So we did it. We have the memories and the pictures, and we can tell Everett how he danced while waiting for the Luigi rid in Cars Land, or how he wanted to hold the shooter on the Toy Story ride but wouldn't let Daddy pull the trigger, how he refused to show Stitch his Stitch shirt, that he called Lightning McQueen "red car" and wouldn't have it any other way, how he constantly wanted to steal "Mommy ears" instead of wear his own (and sometimes made Daddy wear them), how he pointed out Sully on the Monsters, Inc. ride, and how he was mesmerized by drummers there to celebrate Lunar New Year.

Having a blast on the carousel - 2/12/18 

Interacting with the environment with cousin Natalie - 2/13/18 

We can't wait to take him back when he's a little taller and can ride the roller coasters. We can't wait to take Imogen once she's walking. And though we'll probably cry every time, it's nice to make more memories while thinking of Oberon.

First, you meet Mickey - 2/12/18

Then, you take a nap - 2/12/18

"I drive the car" - 2/12/18

Bedtime? What's Bedtime? - 2/13/18

When they ask if you want to rider-swap, again, you do it! - 2/13/18

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