Monday, February 6, 2017

Part 4 of 4 Last Days - Courageous Carter

Wednesday night late, my dad and brother-in-law flew in to join the party. So Thursday was our first day ALL being together (well - all except my sister-in-law, Radene and her son, Carter since he couldn't come because of his Leukemia treatment). We decided to all wear our Courageous Carter t-shirts and try and take some group pictures so we can send them to Carter and let him know how much we were thinking about him all week.  We went back to California Adventure park and got there early again to get fast passes for Radiator Springs but then headed out to the pier to ride some of the rides that had no lines... like the swings and the ferris wheel etc.  We saw Woody walking to his picture spot and followed him to be one of the first groups to get a picture with him. The workers noticed our matching green shirts and asked about them. (a group of 31 people in the same bright shirt is pretty noticeable) We told them a little about Carter and they were so touched by his story and our efforts to 'bring Disneyland' back to him.  One worker wanted to get a little surprise together for us and Carter so after talking with people on his phone he told us he could get us a private meeting with some of Carter's favorite Disney characters.  Then he walked us across the park to meet Lightning McQueen and Mater. Then he told us he had one more surprise for us and to meet him by the pier at 3:00.

So we rode some more rides: Radiator Springs, did some rides in Bugs Land, the Jellyfish, the Zepher, and watched a Chinese New Year Parade.  Then met back up at the pier at 3:00. The worker guy met us and had a big bag of gifts for Carter that he presented to Justin: a tshirt COVERED in signatures from disney/california adventure characters, a mickey ear hat with Carter's name embroidered, a signed Captain America shield and free access to the pictures they've taken of our group earlier that morning. It was so kind and thoughtful and brought Mom and I to tears (remember the crazy emotions I'm dealing with). The rest of the day we rode some more rides (the boys rode Screamin' with me a couple of times in a row thanks to extra fast passes) and went shopping and again came home early.  It was a very nice without any stress or rush of getting in certain rides since we've mostly ridden everything we wanted to plenty of times.

Our last day was back in Disneyland. Whew.  It was forecasted to rain and be overcast and a little chilly. We happily thought this meant fewer crowds. Wrong.  Our plan was to go straight to Peter Pan since we hadn't ridden that one yet and it has the longest line. Even though it said 20 min when we entered the line we ended up waiting over an hour for it since it had to temporarily shut down twice while we were in line.  Plus it was raining. But it was first thing in the morning so the kids were still fresh and it wasn't too bad.

Then we went rode some more rides and watched a show at the fantasy land theatre, Mickey's Magical Map. We had great seats and it was really good.  We had to say goodbye to Mom, Dad and Hailey since they're flight left that afternoon. Then we visited Toontown and rode the rides there. Freddy fell asleep and I walked him around in the stroller. When he woke up, everyone was on a ride so I decided to take him to Mickey's house since he still wanted to meet Mickey.  The line was super short and Freddy didn't cry or run away (like he did with Minnie). So cute. Then we rode Star Tours again and got dinner and treats at the nice restaurant at the end of Main Street.  The rain had gotten worse and kids were tired and cranky so most families split up after dinner to head home (they were going to Harry Potter World the next day and wanted to get good rest).

The kids each got one treat a day and then could spend their own money on more treats or souvenirs. They each had $50 plus whatever smiley-face money they've saved up over the past year. Gwen had quite a lot and hardly spent any. Charlie had a decent amount and most of it (mostly on snacks). Alec had a decent amount too and spent most of it too.

We stuck around with Jordan and Estefi and Sarah and German. We rode Splash Mountain some more, and did the Jungle Cruise. Then we waited at the front of Main Street to try and catch a glimpse of the Electrical Parade... but it was canceled because of the wet conditions. So we booked it to our car (we had parked that day to help us get home fast). We got to the house around 9:30pm. and then loaded up the car (we had packed all our bags in the morning) and by 10:30pm after 5 full days at Disneyland we started our 31 hour drive home to Mississippi. 

The drive home was..... terrible. Chris took the first shift driving and made it to Arizona by 2:00am and we stopped to sleep for a few hours. I woke up just after 4:00 and decided we'd better get going and drove until lunch or thereabouts. Then we switched back and forth driving till we couldn't and trying to sleep when we weren't driving. The kids were tired and cranky too and when I wasn't driving I felt like a MONSTER.  I had no patience for whining or fighting and didn't parent very well. :( We pulled into Dallas, TX around 2:00am Sunday. Then crashed at Thom and Brittany's until 7 or so. We wanted to stay and play but needed to get going. We wanted to stop by a sacrament meeting somewhere and found a chapel outside of Dallas at the right time on our route. We drove the rest of the day and got home around 7:00pm Sunday night. And got up at 6:30 for school and work the next morning. UGH. It was so brutal. But totally worth it. At least, I can say that as I'm typing this a month later!

It really was worth it to be able to be a part of such fun memories with their cousins. Our kids don't get a lot of cousin time, and to feel like they belong to a part of an extended family is SO important.  It was a sacrifice of time and money and sanity but it was totally worth it and full of fun, sweet, family moments.

1 comment:

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