Whew! I am not going to lie to you. A part of me is VERY happy that the madness of the holidays are over. As women, we work and work. We do the shopping, we plan gifts and treats for neighbors and friends, we menu plan, we decorate our homes, we CLEAN non stop. Frankly, by the time New Years comes along I am exhausted. Which is why we consider ourselves boring and never have grand plans on New Years. :(
This year, we decided to take our family to Disneyland for Christmas. Several months ago, we sat our children down and asked them what they would think about traveling for the holiday. We explained that the trip would be their Christmas and additional gifts would not be given. Each of them were very excited and said that they love the idea. I LOVED not having to do as much shopping this year. Loved not having to fight the mall and tried to simplify as much as I could. BUT as we all know traveling is A LOT of work too!
I spent the last several months planning our trip. My older sister and her family came with us and my younger sister from Phoenix drove over and met us there.
We decided to drive to California which for us is a 14 hour drive. We were smart and broke the trip into two days. We stayed in St. George on the way down and then in Vegas on the way back. The first night we stayed at the Worldmark resort in St. George. Some friends of ours have ownership in the resort and were gracious to coordinate a room for us. WOWSERS! It was an amazing room and both or our families slept comfortably. My kids and my sisters kids are all close in age which is nice when we travel because they all have a buddy. I think one of my favorite parts about the entire trip was watching each of them enjoy eachother and be goofs. I didn't grow up having a relationship with cousins so watching my children be so close to their cousins brings tears to my eyes.
Christmas Eve was spent driving. LONG day. We made several stops along the way. If any of you have ever made the drive from Las Vegas to LA along I-15 you know what a desolate drive it is. Above is a pic of the worlds largest thermometer. Odd I know. But the bottom sign rings true. You are entering death valley!
One stop included a picture of the above sign. My brother in law and niece insisted on stopping insisting it was from a book. So we have a picture of a sign. Yep. We are easily entertained.
I love the picture of Michael checking his phone. Seriously. When I was a teenager, we made this drive several times and never once did I have a phone, a i pod, a dvd player, or any other type of electronic. I remember when I had a set of magnetic checkers for the car I and thought we were pretty lucky as kids. Our drives were all about the license plate game and listening to my Dad sing the Beatles over and over and over again. On tape mind you.
We arrived at our hotel later that evening then spent the rest of the night playing games, ordering a pizza (nice Christmas Eve dinner) and gearing up for a full day.
Christmas Day was spent in the park. This is the second time we have taken our family but the first time we have been in the park on Christmas Day. I was immediately overwhelmed with emotion. There truly is something magical about this place. I was quickly reminded as to why we love it here. The park is immaculate. No detail is over looked. From the employees perfected uniforms, to the cleanliness of the bathrooms and the amazing food. We had a wonderful time!
I couldn't resist a pic of the Photo Supply Store. I love Main Street of Disneyland. LOVE the old, antique feel of the street, the decor and stores. I am in awe of all of the items that can be purchased and always wish I had a BIT more cash on hand!
I was so impressed with the amont of employees that were working on Christmas Day. Hundreds and hundreds of people leaving their families in order to create a magical day for mine. The ride operators, the parade dancers, the band members, the shop clerks, the ticket booths. I tried very hard to THANK as many of them as I could for working that day. It was fun seeing their reaction when they actually realized they were being thanked.
Did you know that the selection for being a cast member is quite the process? Each character has very specific qualifications in order to fit the costume or look they are trying to acheive. Very interesting.
We watched the Christmas Parade in Disney and the Pixer Parade over in California Adventure. Both parades were amazing. Beyond words. This is my younger sister with my two boys and my niece and nephew. I could never express in words how much they all love her. We are so happy she was able to come with us.
I know this post is long. I could share hundreds of more photos but the above one pretty much sums it up for me. It is a pic of Katelyn, my niece Ashlee and their younger nephew Dylan. The two girls were walking him to a ride while some of the older kids were already on a ride. The thought the entered my mind was that THIS is what Christmas is all about. Even though we had the opportunity to be in an amazing place, we really were most excited to just be with each other. Of course there was a bit of drama. What family doesn't have drama while traveling? Setting all of tha aside, we had a wonderful time. Memories were made. Our children had a wonderful Christmas and will always remember this trip far longer then they would a gift from under the tree.
SO... I am trying to catch up. I have NOT forgotten about the give a way promised and will post that this weekend with ANOTHER awesome contest and idea for you to think about. Tell me about your holiday?