Monday, October 17, 2016

#BoompaGoesToDisneyland :: Mickey's Halloween Party

So, for our third day, we didn't have a plan for the 12 of us.  We decided to let our kids sleep in a little, which they did.  But, we missed breakfast at the hotel, which stressed Elliott out.  Nothing a giant cookie from one of the Disney Bakeries couldn't fix however.

When Elliott and I had a minute, just the two of us in the morning at California Adventure, we talked about important Petersen things - like walking.  I told Elliott that he may be a Howden in name, but he is also a Petersen.  And being a Petersen means lots of things, but at Disneyland, it means we walk fast.  He knew exactly what I was talking about.  I told him that Uncle Willie calls it the "art of the dodge and weave".  There maybe isn't anything more annoying at Disney than people who don't know where they are going and stop right in your path.  Elliott was blessed with longs legs for a reason.  And, he is learning how to use them!

Anyway, CA Adventure was a mad house!  Absolutely stifling with people.  We got some fast passes, hung out in bugs land for a bit and then high tailed it over to Disneyland.  We were a little grouchy, a lot hungry and super stressed out.  The goal was to get a picture of all 12 of us in front of the giant Mickey pumpkin that morning, while our matching t-shirts were still clean.  Getting everyone at the same spot was a big tricky.  But, we did it, and then splintered again.

Grandma Judy set up shop on a bench for the parade - which at the time was 2 hours away.  Willie and I enjoyed a conversation with Mr. Lincoln.  My mom has the best job at Disney...she sits on a bench, people bring her food, and she hands out money.  I aspire to her job one day.  At one point, all the big boys (including Wyatt) headed back to California Adventure to ride Tower of Terror a couple of times.  My mom, Haley and I along with Molly, Jack and Quinn hung back to eat popcorn and watch the parade.

Note:  My children drank almost more Diet Coke than me on this vacation.

Finally, it was time to take a small break and do some souvenir shopping and get ready for the day's main activity:  Mickey's Halloween Party.

Long story short: Worth the extra $80 per person.  We will do it again.  We may never go to Disneyland ever again EXCEPT in the month of October because being in the park with 30,000 people instead of 100,000 is so worth the "price of exclusivity" (Ross' words).   The ambiance was awesome, the rides open with no lines and the fireworks were very cool indeed.

We did not manage to see the parade - tired kids and an early morning drive home were waiting for us, but the stressful morning we' had getting everyone together melted away as we wound down the day.







Sunday, October 16, 2016

#BoompaGoesToDisneyland :: Hot and Sweaty


Day two at the parks saw us heading into California Adventure for the coveted Cars ride fast pass.  We got it, but the park was super hot and crowded and we hadn't made a really good day two plan, so we floundered a little.  We did the Monster's Inc. ride, which never has a line and sort of wandered around.  Eventually, we ended up indoors and ready to watch Dude Crush at "turtle talk".  I absolutely love listening to crush and am amazed at the technology.  The best part, Crush picked my dad to talk to.  He called him, "Carvin' Karl" or something like that and teased my dad about the possibly too causal way he might swim.  It was pretty funny and a great time.

The rest of the day morning we just sweated, ate churros and fought the ginormous crowds.  The temperatures got up to a sweltering 95 degrees and it was just sticky and miserable.  So, after we all rode on Cars, it was to the shuttle, the hotel and off to the beach!  We put the kids in their suits and Quinn had a rest on our drive the beach.

I think it's mostly because of my mom's obsession with the Beach Boys and all historically California ideals they generate, but our beach of choice is always Huntington.  The pier is cool, there are always surfers, and we can head to Ruby's Diner for dinner - ice cream first.

The beach was a total energizer for all of us, especially the kids.  The only time Quinn cried on the whole trip was the beach...the ocean was a little too big and windy for him, but I was more than happy to hold a squishy kid wrapped in a blanket on the beach.

After our time at the ocean and one of the most spectacular sunsets I've ever seen (seriously, it was divine) we headed back to Disneyland.  We stayed until 11.

The highlight of the evening was our family of five's ride on the Jungle Cruise in the dark.  I didn't know that they ran the ride in the dark, but it's much more fun than in broad daylight.  The boat captain shines a spotlight on the animals and is a little more loose with the script.  Our captain was Juan.  He was maybe the funniest tour guide I have had on the jungle cruise in my life.  And not only was he funny, but, we saw a LIVE RACCOON on the ride.  It totally freaked Juan out and he went off script for the rest of the ride he was so flustered.  It was the best.

Then, we went to bed!









Thursday, October 13, 2016

#BoompaGoesToDisneyland - entering the park!


All of us arrived at the hotel in Anaheim at different times on Friday night.  We had a quick team meeting in my parents hotel room and then it was off to bed.  I mean, when your early entry day to the park is your first day, you need your rest.

Ross and i woke up at 5:30 in the morning.  We were all meeting at the shuttle stop at 6:20 am, so we could get into the park right at 7:00 am and ride as many rides as we could before it really started to get crowded.  
First ride: Peter Pan.  Then the rest of fantasy land.  Then, the group splintered, as expected with the "riders gonna ride" and the "sitters gonna sit".  We spent the next three day sin multiple combinations of family, taking turns with the littles.  My mom and I were pack mules, hauling all the crap that belonged to us.  Haley hauled most of her crap in a backpack on her back and a bum bag on her bum.

The weather was VERY warm and in the afternoon, we all started to melt a little.  Nothing that a nice lunch in Downtown Disney couldn't fix.  And, bugs land, in California adventure sure saved the day on the first day.  The kids could just get on any ride they wanted and it was shady and cooler than anywhere else.

By the early evening, Quinn was desperate for his main souvenir of the trip, a giant Buzz Lightyear.  Once I got it for him, and grandpa opened it for him, Buzz didn't leave Quinn's sight for the next three days.  He called him his, "special friend" and never let go.

On the first night, we left before the fireworks with three very tired kids.








#BoompaGoesToDisneyland - more driving

Day two of our adventure, Friday, October 7 was another long driving day, but at least we got to do the driving in the daylight.  We loaded into our rented mini van, started the movies and were on our way.

Things to note from day 2:

*Elliott has decided that Harry Potter is the greatest thing ever.  We are borrowing the books a couple at a time from Aunt Karen and he spent nearly the entire day in the car reading book number 3.

*Wyatt is a great car traveler.  He just sets up shop and hangs out.

*Quinn is great in the car, long as he can keep eating.  He may have eaten his body weight in hi-chews in the car.

*Ross had major work drama the entire drive.  It was so stressful for him, and consequently me.  I'm not sure how many times we had to pull over so he could take a work phone call.  It was rough.

*Shake Shack in Las Vegas.

*The highlight of the day for me was stopping at the 7 Magic Mountains just outside Las Vegas in Jean, Nevada.  It's an art instillation that is up for two years and was super cool.  You take a frontage road, park in the dirt and walk out to 7 gigantic towers of bright and fluorescent rocks.  We were all impressed.

*Semi truck on FIRE on the side of the road in Victorville.

*Eating dinner at a hole in the wall Italian place in Anaheim called Carolina's.  It was absolutely delish!






We went.  We played.  We drove home.  Sounds pretty simple, but the reality of getting our family of five somewhere, let alone somewhere at the same time as the other 7 members of our extended family is a pretty significant feat and now, days after our most excellent vacation, I am still exhausted and sleepy and have very sore feet.

When we all finally settled on a date for our Disneyland adventure, the countdown began.  In the days leading up to our vacation, the boys were more crazy than if Christmas were impending.  And, after a very slow start on day one, I really never thought we'd get on the road.

Rather than a travelogue, as I'm apt to do, the next few blog posts will just hit a few highlights of the trip.  There is just too much detail to ever try and write it all down.

So, let's commence the highlights.

We left on Thursday, October 6 in the evening.  The boys had to attend school, Ross work, and of course, there was a soccer game that Elliott needed to play in.  We waivered for the whole week as to whether or not we should go to the soccer game or just get on the road.  But, we decided yes to soccer and a very late start.  It was the better decision.  Elliott played an excellent soccer game.  His team squeaked out a win.  We got dinner and then headed on our way with the goal to spend the night in Mesquite.

After a (thankfully) uneventful drive south we caught up to my parents, passed them, and all ended up staying in the same hotel for the night.  Quinn slept on a bed I made him on the floor and Elliott and Wyatt shed exhausted tears as they drifted off to sleep lamenting the fact that they were sharing a bed.




Thursday, October 06, 2016

Elliott plays soccer!

Elliott has been playing soccer now for so many years, I've lost track.  Like the other boys, he's been playing since he was 4 years old and he just loves soccer.  Lucky for him, he's a really good soccer player.

Elliott's season runs fall and spring.  This past spring, the leagues across Utah changed their rules and decided that teams would be made up of kids in the same birth year, not the same school year.  Unfortunately, this meant that the team he had been on for the last year which was made up of kids from his school class would be dissolved.  And, all the kids would have to find a new team to play on.  Oh man, it was a stressful couple of weeks.  Ross and Elliott knew that he wanted/needed to play at a more competitive level, but to do that, you have to try-out and make a team.

The first frantic try-out was a bust.  There were about 70 kids trying out for maybe 3 spots on a team.  It was a disappointing mess.  The next try-out was smaller and luckily, Elliott made the team after a couple rounds of "auditions".  He was excited.  His dad was excited.  An entry level competition team seemed perfect for him.

Well, the fall season is nearing an end, and so are the bad news bears.  There have been a few more downs than ups - one kid broke both of his arms, another just up and quit the team, a few kids are pretty sporadic practice and game attenders....but, my kid has persevered and I'm proud of him.  He LOVES to play soccer.  There is a level of aggression that comes out of him that is pretty interesting to watch when he is on the field.

I tell the boys, especially Elliott, that all that matters at the end of the game is that he (they) did their best.  That he (they) needs to be able to walk off the field, regardless of outcome, and know that a good game was played.  I don't get soccer at all, but I'm really happy to watch my kid(s) play so well.

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Wyatt plays soccer!

Wyatt has been playing soccer for a few years now, but this is his first year on a bigger field with someone else's dad as the coach.  He also lucked out this year and has 4 of his best buddies from school on his soccer team.  They yell and cheer and hug each other at the beginning of every practice, even though it's only been 90 minutes since they last saw each other at school.

Wyatt is a great athlete.  He is strong and fast and powerful.  He does however, sometimes, base his performance on how many people are watching him on the sidelines.  The more fans, the better the performance.  What can I say - the kid loves an audience.

All of Wyatt's games this season are at 8:00 am.  That is so early, and lately, so chilly to get the 5 of us out of bed and to the field on time.  But, it's worth it.  Wyatt has already scored a dozen or so goals and is really doing well - and looks good in a uniform.  It's fun to watch him shift gears on the field and go from regular to super speed.  He's really doing well.

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Quinn plays soccer!

This is the first year my littlest buddy is playing an organized sport.  Starting with soccer, when your dad is the coach, and your bestie cousin is on your team is a pretty good introduction to competition.  Ross is an excellent coach and Quinn is pretty competitive apparently - more so than I ever thought was possible.

The first couple practices, he melted down a little.  The first game he wasn't sure what to do and only RAN when we all yelled at him, "QUINN....RUN!"  But, since then he has been a goal scoring machine and last week, out ran and hustled a giant bully of a girl (who, by the way, was not a 4 year old) and even scored a girl on her as she tripped him and knocked him down.

It's so exciting and fun to watch him get excited and have fun.  Let's face it, kids a couch potato who loves TV, french fries and riding in shopping carts so to see him have energy and run and be enthusiastic is really really great.

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