Sunday, December 04, 2011

Spending Time in the Happiest Place(s) on Earth

We had the opportunity to attend two of the happiest places on earth this week when at the beginning of the week we went to Disneyland and at the end of the week we had Eliza sealed to us in the Los Angeles LDS temple.

Like dominos falling, family members continued to succumb to the stomach virus early in the week. Eliza got sick on Sunday, and we actually hoped Hallie would get sick too just so she could be done with it. No luck.

The kids went to visit their cousins in Simi on Monday, and Landon, Lucas, and Haydn went hiking in the hills behind Grandma and Grandpa O.'s house.

We headed to the Disneyland Resort on Tuesday, going first to Disney’s California Adventure. Here are some details from our hotel room. Little Disney and Mickey ear touches everywhere:
The mural lit up with fiber optic fireworks, and the accent pillows read, "When you wish upon a star. . .  your dreams come true."
bathroom tiles,  
wall sconces, 
and event the carpet all had mouse ears.  


Of course, we had to make a stop at the LEGO Store in Downtown Disney on our way to the parks. 

We started at California Adventure with a few rides, shows, and visits with animated characters. 

Landon took off like a rocket on all the roller coaster rides whose height requirements met, including the Tower of Terror. In fact, he rode it twice, and the second time he rode, a guy in the same row as us seemed more interested in seeing how the boy would handle the drops than in his own thrills! Landon never ceases to amaze.

Dad hamming it up while the guy to his left looks to see what Landon will do, which is be awesome, of course. 

Getting ready to ride the ladybugs

Cars Land (coming in 2012, dang it!!)

Alas, Hallie finally got sick late Tuesday night, and Eliza was still a little under the weather. However, iron lady that she is, Hallie grinned and bore it through the nausea. Bummer for her that we had a character breakfast! She couldn’t eat, and Landon didn’t eat because he was too excited/distracted by the characters. Mike was not about to eat for three because he didn’t want to puke on the roller coasters. Joy, joy. In spite of it all, we took in the whole Disneyland experience, and Landon continued to show a love for fast rides in Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Mickey’s Toon Town, and New Orleans Square (he’s not so fond of the “scary” Haunted Mansion, however).

Morning play time

Eliza liked Pluto.
Er, maybe. 
Pluto really liked Landon (nom, nom, nom).
Eliza was really not sure about Dale, so Dale kept his distance. 
On the other hand, Chip got right into the action. 
Princesses are more what Eliza seems to like. 

Poor baby had a diaper blow-out, so Mom had to buy her something to wear. 


We bought little hats for the kiddos. 
Landon chose to use some of his birthday money to purchase an upgrade. 
About the talent of these steadfast tin soldiers, all we can say is, "Wow!" 
It's a Small World decked out for Christmas, inside and out

Landon's strong, but it's almost as if those weights were stuck to the ground or something!

We watched the Christmas parade and fireworks and saw the soap (er, I mean, snow) fall over a magical Main Street all decked out in holiday cheer.

Mike and Landon went to Disneyland by themselves on Thursday morning, going to the parts they’d missed the day before. They started the morning in Adventureland. After riding the Jungle Cruise twice and climbing around Tarzan’s Treehouse, Landon led Mike on his own little adventure when the child wandered off. Thank you, thank you to the wonderful Disneyland cast members and security staff who quickly and calmly found the boy and reunited father and son. We’re putting Landon on a leash next time. ;) Hallie and Eliza joined us a little while later, and after some more exploring of Main Street, New Orleans Square, and Frontierland, we decided to pack it in before traffic hit between Anaheim and Thousand Oaks and so we could get ready to go to the temple.  

So long, Disneyland! See you in a few years!
On Friday we finally were able to have some family members and friends join us for Eliza’s sealing. Of course, we had just a few last minute dramatic elements to sear the event into our memories. First, Hallie woke up in the middle of the night with an upset stomach (not illness, just popcorn that disagreed with her). Then, Eliza had a bit of a relapse with her illness, only this time her problems had migrated downstairs. Mike and the kids headed to the temple first, with Hallie and Carly following a few minutes later and Dwight and Marilyn following a bit after that. Mike and the kids managed to get through traffic and to the temple on time, with his parents next in line. However, we were not yet in the clear.

We had been all prepared the week prior with changes of clothing, photographer, adoption decree, and so on, but a lot of that preparation went by the wayside when we went to Disneyland. Mike washed the shirt he was going to wear for family pictures . . . and then left it hanging rather than bringing it. We had the adoption decree in Mike’s computer bag all ready to bring, . . . and then we left the computer bag at home. Mike realized this part way into the trip, but when he tried to reach Hallie, she did not respond (she had misplaced her phone). Getting no response from Hallie, he tried Carly a few minutes later. She and Hallie were too far along to turn back, so they contacted Dwight and Marilyn, who drove back another hour in LA traffic to pick it up. In order to be sealed, we had to confirm with the temple that Eliza was in fact our legal child, hence the need for the adoption decree. No decree would have meant that the whole trip had been for naught.

When Mike and the kids arrived at the temple, he let the workers know that Hallie and the decree were on their way, but the workers let us know that we would have to wait to get the decree before we could really do anything. However, the workers let Mike put the kids in the youth center to get ready while the grown-ups sorted things out.  Eventually everyone and everything required arrived and we were able to be sealed to Eliza. Seeing our babies dressed in white and knowing that we are now really and truly a forever family made all the drama disappear.

We have just a couple of candids here. Eliza kept running away from the camera. More pics to follow. 

All too soon it was Saturday and time to return to Detroit. We only had slight delays getting to and leaving our layover in Denver, but after a day’s worth of flying, we finally arrived home safe and sound with piles of mail and packages and laundry to sort through. But that’s all work for another day. In the mean time, we’re trying to get the kids acclimated back to Eastern time and old home routines. As of this writing, Eliza does not seem interested in settling down and getting some needed rest (four hours trying and counting). She’s still trying to get over the bug, which has settled in to her guts and doesn’t want to go away. Poor baby!

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