Tuesday, July 31, 2012

John Deere Green

I painted Haley's nails before we went to Disneyland.  They were looking really good.  It had been awhile since I had painted them and I was impressed to find them grown out past the ends of her fingers.

When we got back from Disneyland that was no longer the case.

I looked at them a couple of days after we got home and was very disappointed to see that she had been chewing on them again.  The cuticles were red and ragged.  I said "Haley you need your nails fixed."  She left the room.

Pretty soon she came back with a bottle of fingernail polish.  She held it out to me and said "Tree Farm."  The polish was green.  I laughed.

"Is that Tree Farm green?" I asked.

She said "Yeah."

I actually think that she meant that she wanted her nails painted in preparation of our tree farm camping trip, but it worked.  The color was actually called "Green Tea" but it looked more like John Deere Green to me, which is appropriate, because when we are at the tree farm Haley will get to ride Grandpa's tractor.

She knows that is the case now, for sure.  She talked to Grandma and Grandpa on the phone the other night and they told her that she would be able to ride the tractor on the tree farm.

So here are Haley's Tree Farm/John Deere Green nails.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Home again, home again...

On our last day at the Disneyland Resort we slept in again and then had room service deliver our breakfast.  It was so good.  I just have to say that the Disneyland Resort knows how to cook bacon perfectly.  I ate bacon at almost every meal, it was great!

Everyone was packing up so Haley caught on really quick that we were going home.  She was so excited.  She started talking about our cat Shadow.  She wanted to see him.  She wanted to pet him.  She wanted to have a Shadow Lap.

The security line at the John Wayne Airport was much shorter than it had been at PDX.  As my family went through security I was concentrating on helping Haley take off her sandals and put them in a bin along with her purse and her jacket and then I did the same with my things. 

I turned around and looked ahead of us and realized that they had a full body scanner.  I watched as people put there arms up in the air as the scanner circled their bodies.  My Mom turned and gave me a look and I shrugged.  I thought of the different scenerios that could occur, none of them good. 

Haley and I walked closer. 

The TSO smiled and walked toward me and said "Will she be able to put her arms up like this?" and showed me what was expected.

I said "I don't really know, she might get upset." 

He told us to step out of the line and went to talk to the other officers.  It took them quite a while to discuss it and then he came back to us.  He removed a barrier that revealed the "old fashioned" scanner and then walked through it himself.  He motioned for us to follow him.  I told Haley to follow him and she did and then I joined them. 

I thanked him several times.  It was really nice to have him recognize and accommodate her limitations with such care and courtesy.  It actually brings tears to my eyes as I remember it.  My husband was at the end of the line waiting with our stuff.  I helped Haley get her shoes back on and we headed for our gate.

Haley is really a good traveller.  She took to flying like she had been doing it every day of her life.  She did much better than I did.  I had to really focus on not showing my discomfort because I didn't want her to sense that I felt anything was amiss.  I don't hate  flying, but I do get a little claustrophobic and I am never completely comfortable.  I usually spend most of any flight praying. 

Our flight back was good and we made it home without incident.  I didn't feel like cooking (or coming back to reality) yet so we went to Olive Garden for dinner.  We had a nice dinner and then finally returned home.  Haley immediately sat on the couch and asked for Shadow.  We spent the rest of the evening watching TV and petting our cat.

I had a great time in California and I think everyone in my family did as well.

I want to go back.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A day at the beach

We had 3-day park hopper tickets.  If you have been following along you know that we were done at the parks.  No one was happier about that than Haley.

Our vacation was not over, however.  We had plans to go to a California beach, but first we were going to have breakfast with Mickey Mouse.  We decided to do the buffet breakfast at the PCH Grill on our last day to extend our Disney experience.  I had made reservations for 9:30 am, so we got to sleep in a little. 

We went down to the restaurant and I let them know that we were there.  We waited a little while, the person that took our name kept watching over his shoulder to the dining room.  I thought that they were cleaning our table or something.  Then he motioned to us and we walked in and there he was, the Mouse himself.  We all got to give him a hug and then we got our picture taken with him.  We were seated at a table right there so for the entire duration of our meal we were within feet of Mickey as he greeted other guests.

Haley wanted to go back up and be with him.  She saw other characters around the restaurant and she wanted to go to them too.  Finally one came to her.  Then she got the drill.  If she just sat quietly and ate her breakfast all of the characters would come up to her and give her hugs and get their pictures taken with her.  She was in heaven.

Her favorite was by far Stitch from Lilo and Stitch.  She was so excited to see him and so excited to get a hug.

A man came out and led a dance along with Mickey and his friends.  He invited the kids to come up and dance.  Haley went right up.  She danced right along with Mickey.  She got to do that three times.  Each time she got better at the steps.

Notice how she is looking back to see if I care, but she doesn't care if I care, she is going to dance with Mickey Mouse!

It took her awhile to do the steps along with them. but she did it.

Especially the surfing, but she is hangin' ten too!

Haley immediately headed for the shop when we left the restaurant.  She wanted to buy a stuffed Stitch.  She found a small one that she could hold in one hand, and she held it the rest of the day.

After that we drove to Seal Beach.  When we got there we decided to walk down to the ocean first.  Haley didn't like that idea.  She didn't want to get anywhere near the water.  Then we walked up and down the street, shopping.  I think Haley liked that better.  We got ourselves something cold to drink and then some of us wanted to swim.

My brother and his family and Haley's Big Sis got their suits on.  I didn't bother getting a suit on or putting one on Haley, I knew she would not be swimming.  We followed them close to the water's edge and put a blanket down on the sand.  Haley was getting very agitated, it took me a while to convince her that sitting on the blanket was going to be OK.  She did have fun watching my brother and his family and her Big Sis playing in the water.  We also watched some seagulls.  It started to get windy and the swimmers came back to the blanket.

There was a Ruby's at the end of the pier and we decided to we were hungry.  Haley really liked the walk to the end of the pier.  Haley has always really liked the wind.  One of her therapists told me when she was little that she likes to feel the wind because it lets her know where she is in space.  Apparently that is still true.

We had a wonderful meal.  Haley ate everything on her plate and I didn't have to help her eat at all.  I always know that she is hungry when she does that.  There was a band setting up for a concert at the beach, but our family was all funned out.  We went back to the hotel to take our routine siesta.

Usually when we travel and stay in hotels Haley has her laptop to keep her occupied.  We didn't bring anything like that on this trip.  Her naps had filled her time up to this point, but she finally thought she needed a little screen time.  She wanted me to turn the TV on.  I found a channel that had a Disney bedtime story.  It was cute, but it was just one story over and over.  We ended up on the Disney channel.  Haley doesn't usually watch TV.

We decided to extend our Disney experience a little more by going to Downtown Disney.  We had walked through the area many times, but we had never stopped at the stores.  We especially wanted to go into World of Disney.  It was a lot of fun to look at everything they had to offer.  Haley found a Cars car that she didn't have "Holly Shiftwell" from Cars 2.  After that we got a Jamba Juice.

It was getting dark so we decided to go back to the hotel so that we could see the Disneyland fireworks from the pool deck.  The music that went with the fireworks show was coming over the speakers on the deck and it was a great vantage point to see the fireworks.  It was a wonderful end to our Disneyland trip.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Just Too Much

Haley was really letting us know how she felt.  She told me she was done when she had stood still waiting for fireworks for twenty minutes after being up for eighteen hours with only a two hour nap.  She told me she was tired over and over again.  She knew when she wanted to stop.  She knew when she needed to rest.  

She was the most sensible of us all.

On the third day of our vacation our family went out for breakfast at the Storyteller Cafe in the Grand Californian Hotel and Spa.  It was really a wonderful meal.  Afterward I texted my brother to find our where his family was.  They were already in the park, just about to get on a ride.  Haley wanted to go back to the hotel room after breakfast.  I told her that we were going to go back to Disneyland.  She started getting upset.  Her Big Sis told her that we might see Winnie the Pooh.  That got her attention.

When we entered the park Haley wanted to ride the Disneyland Railroad again.  We got off of the train at the New Orleans Square and headed straight for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  After that we had to hit the shop outside the ride,  Haley just could not pass up a chance to shop.

My Mom really wanted to go for a ride on the sternwheeler The Mark Twain Riverboat so we headed to Frontierland.  My brother and his family weren't there yet so we decided to raft over to Tom Sawyer Island.  Haley did not the like raft.  She did not like the island either.  She was really not liking much anymore.  To her credit the island was dusty and hot and really the only things to do were go in to caves, walk across rickety bridges or climb stairs.  Those are things that Haley does not like, not to mention the idea of getting on a raft to get there and back.  She was not having fun.

Finally my brother and his family were getting close so we got in line for the sternwheeler.  Once we were on the boat Haley and her Big Sis found a place to sit and that is where they stayed for the entire ride.  Since we were so close we all decided that it would be fun to do the Pirates of the Caribbean ride again.  It was just as much fun as the first time.  

Haley's Big Sis had made it her mission to meet Merida from Brave so we split up again.  My husband went with my brother and his family and Haley, Big Sis, my Mom and I headed for Fantasyland.  We made a plan to meet at Mickey's Toontown at 2:00 pm.  Since we were in Fantasyland Haley got to ride the carrousel again and then we went on Pinocchio's Daring Journey.  Haley's Big Sis was still in line and my Mom was hungry so we decided to get a snack and sit down for a while.  We decided to eat at the Troubador Tavern which is just outside the Princess Fantasy Faire, it was still really hot where we chose to sit.  When Haley's Big Sis found us it was time to meet the rest of my family at Toontown.

When we went in to Mickey's Toontown we were all tired and hot.  It seemed to just get hotter as we walked around.  My niece and nephew found a roller coaster and Haley's Big Sis went with them.  We asked Haley if she wanted to ride on the roller coaster.  She shook her head "no."  We asked her if she wanted to sit down, she shook her head "no."  We asked her if she was having fun, she shook her head "no."  I looked at my Mom, "Is it time to go back to the hotel?"  Haley said "Yeah!" and started walking.  

My Mom, my husband and I followed her.  When I caught up to her she said "All done!"  She was so excited.  I knew that she meant it.  My brother and the rest of the family were going to meet us at the hotel when the kids got off of the roller coaster.  My husband had an appointment to get a rental car and my brother was going to take him to the airport so it was a good time to stop for the afternoon.

We caught a ride on the Disneyland Railroad one more time and headed back to the hotel.

Everyone took a nap, but my niece and I, neither one of us can sleep in the daytime. After a couple of hours I woke everyone up and we went to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner.  We thought it would be a nice change of pace for all of us to eat a nice meal together.  It was nice for a while, but I could tell that even with a nap Haley was done.  I called my Mom over and asked her if she really had her heart set on going back to the park.  She told me that she wanted to ride a few more rides, but asked me why I was asking.  I told her that I really couldn't see Haley going back to the park.  I think that she had been having fun, but she was just at her limit.  

Mom agreed to stay at the hotel with Haley.  

It turned out the be the best thing.  When I told Haley she was going back to the hotel she seemed so relieved.  As soon as they were back in the room Haley laid down on the couch.  She wasn't there for very long when she started to fall asleep.  My Mom asked her if she wanted to get her pajamas on and get in bed.  She jumped up and said "Yeah."  

So for the first time in three nights she was in bed by 9:00 pm like she is used to.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day Two

The second day of our trip we headed for Disney California Adventure Park.  We had walked through part of this park the day before because we were staying at the resort so we could enter the parks through the Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa.  

We stopped at Starbucks for breakfast and then we rode our first ride in this park, The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure.  They did a really job with this ride and we all really enjoyed it.

We spent quite a while in the Paradise Pier portion of the park.  As we walked through we noticed a commotion off to the left.  It was Jessie from Toy Story 2 - Haley and her Big Sis stood in line for a picture.  When we felt that we had our fill of that area we headed to the place where I most wanted to be, and I had a good feeling that Haley would like as well - Cars Land!

Cars Land is wonderful.  Radiator Springs is exactly like it is in the movie.  You walk right down the middle of the street that Lightning McQueen fixed up so well.  Haley got her picture taken with Mater and then later on with Lightning McQueen himself.  We had lunch at Flo's V-8 Cafe and shopped in all of the shops.  We didn't ride any of the rides however because the lines were really long and it was really hot.  Well, hot to those of us that come from the Pacific Northwest.  The humidity was doing us in.  We decided that it was time for our afternoon break again.

This time when we got back to the hotel I convinced Haley to climb in to her bed for her nap.  I thought that would be more comfortable than the couch.  She was happy to do it. I had told everyone that I wanted to be back in the park by 4:00pm because there were several things that we didn't want to miss.

When we returned we went straight to "a bug's land."  This is another wonderful environment that felt like we were right in the middle of the movie.  We went to the 3D adventure "It's Tough to be a Bug!"  There were several interesting moments in this one.  We were supposed to wear "bug eyes" - 3D glasses, but I noticed that Haley kept taking hers off, so I don't know how much she got out of the show.  Also to make it more realistic we were sprayed with "acid" and "felt" bugs around us.  Haley didn't like it much, but I kept saying it was funny and fun and hoped for the best.

The next ride was Heimlich's Chew Chew Train, it was really geared toward little kids.  Most of us didn't really get it.  After that it was time to find our places for the Pixar Play Parade.  We found a really nice shady spot right in front of a waterfall.  I am so glad we got to see this parade, it was all of the Pixar characters that Haley loves so much and it was done really well.  The thing that I didn't know and Haley didn't appreciate was that every float that went by squirted us with water.  There were even bubbles coming from the light standards.  It was really fun, but Haley doesn't like to get wet when it isn't her idea and she was getting pretty upset.  It was a good thing it was warm enough that we were dry shortly after the parade was over.

After the parade we headed back in to "a bug's land" and rode a few more rides.  It was such a cute area, I really loved the details.  The next thing on the schedule was Disney's Aladdin - A Musical Spectacular.  The show began 6:20 pm and I thought we had just enough time to get there.  When we came out of "a bug's land" there was the Red Car Trolley right there.  I thought it would take us where we wanted to go, so we all got on.  

Little did I know that it only made two stops, where we got on and at the very end.  So we got to see where we wanted to go as we went by and we saw a few more things that would be fun, but we had to hurry to get back to the Hyperion Theater.  We rushed up to the gate and I told the Cast Member that we had special seating (thanks to staying in the resort hotel) and we were rushed right in.  After we found what I think were probably the best seats in the house we realized that everyone else had been waiting in line for a while.

My brother and my husband were concerned, neither one of them is a fan of musicals.  I just smiled and hoped that they would not be too uncomfortable, because Aladdin is one of Haley's very favorite movies.  The show was amazing.  From the beginning it was as exciting and fun as the movie.  The genie was not Robin Williams, but he did a great job of creating his own special character and his jokes were very current.  The production was very professional and magical and I think it was worth the price of admission all by itself.  Haley loved every minute of it.  She sang during the songs and laughed at all of the jokes.

After the show we found a hot dog spot in Hollywood Land.  When the adventurous half of our group finished eating they headed off to ride the Grizzly River Run.  Haley really wanted to shop at the store across the street.  After that we went back to "a bug's life" to ride some more rides.  Our family found us there and we headed back to Cars Land.

Cars Land is beautiful at night.  Everything is lit up with neon and it looks just like it does in the movie.  I really wanted to be able to ride one of the rides in Cars Land so we decided to stand in line for Mater's Junkyard Jamboree.  Mater's Junkyard is decorated with all of his adventures and Mater sings a different song for each ride.  We stood in line for at least twenty minutes and I never got tired of listening to Mater.  I was concerned that the ride looked a little like the teacups and I did not want to be spun around, but it wasn't.  You are pulled in a car behind a "baby tractor" and it is like a giant square dance.  It was so much fun.  Haley and I and her Big Sis rode together, we had Haley in the middle.  We learned a lesson on this ride though, Haley was holding three Schliech horses while we were in line and I forgot to have her put them in her purse.  When the ride was over they were gone.  We frantically looked around the car and found all three of them, but it was a close one.

After our ride we got our picture taken in the middle of the street and then headed back to Hollywood Land.  My brother and his wife told us that we did not want to miss Turtle Talk with Crush and they were right.  It is an interactive show, Crush from Finding Nemo talks with the audience, he talked with my brother and his son and it was so much fun.  

As we were exiting Turtle Talk with Crush we saw a sign for Sorcerer's Workshop.  It was a really fun interactive place where we learned what Disney character we were most like;  Haley is like Nala from The Lion King. We also got to record our voices over scenes from our favorite Disney movies, Haley had a ball singing "Hakuna Matata".  My brother and his family decided to head back to the hotel after that.  Disney California Adventure Park closes an hour before Disneyland Park so we headed back over there.

Haley's Dad and Big Sis were ready for more fun so they took off ahead of us.  My Mom and Haley were really dragging as we entered Disneyland Park and Haley saw the Disneyland Railroad train again, so we decided to go on another ride around the park.  We were lucky we did because as we came back to the station that we started at they announced that it was the last trip of the day.  The train was heading in to the stable for the night.  

Haley and my Mom were done so we left the park and headed for our hotel.  My Mom and I were a little apprehensive about which direction to go, but Haley just kept pointing us in the right direction. 

Haley got us back to our hotel safely and we called it a day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


We are home from Disneyland.

We left home early, early in the morning.  We caught a very early flight and we were up and at it long before the sun came up.  My husband and I were a little nervous about the security line at the airport, but we didn't need to be.  Haley started off queuing up like a professional, a skill that she would prove to use many times over the next few days.  The flight was uneventful, as they say, and we caught a taxi to our hotel.

We stayed at the Paradise Pier Hotel inside Disneyland Resort.  We were immediately greeted by a statue of Goofy and my brother and his family.  After we checked in and checked our luggage, (and Haley did a little shopping) we were off to the park.  Since it was the first time at Disneyland for at least half of our group we started there.  As we entered the park the first thing Haley noticed was the train.  We decided that that would be our first "ride" at Disneyland.  We got right on the train and I pulled out the sunscreen.  Everyone doused themselves in sunscreen as we took in the surroundings from the rails.

We took the complete loop around Disneyland and ended up right back at the entrance.  As we stepped off of the train the first thing that we noticed was one of Haley's favorite characters, Cruella DeVil!  We had to get a picture taken with her.  Then, because we had been up since 3:15 am we decided that we needed to eat lunch.  We ate at the Carnation Cafe and it was delicious.

We decided to start at Adventureland and went on the Jungle Cruise.  Haley wasn't too sure about getting into a boat, but she liked it.  I learned pretty quickly that I had to be careful of my reactions.  Haley's Big Sis and I were screaming and jumping at every little thing and I could tell that Haley was getting more nervous by the second.  I started laughing and saying things like "How fun!" and "Isn't that silly?" just to lighten the mood. 

Haley really enjoyed Tarzan's Tree House.  I wasn't sure how she would take all of those steps up and down, but she did really well.  The payoff was that she got to see the characters that she loves up close and full size.  She really liked it.

After that we headed into New Orleans Square, remembering to curb my reactions became really important when we went into the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, I had forgotten how dark it was in there.  It got really dark and we dropped quite rapidly and I screamed and then I remembered to laugh and say "Fun!" and then Haley did too.  At the end of that ride Haley turned to me and said "Incredible."

The Haunted Mansion was a little tricky.  We had to step in to moving cars.  I wasn't sure how we would do it.  Haley's Big Sis went first and just asked the operator if they could stop the ride or slow it down for her sister.  They did and it was no problem.  There were a few rides throughout the parks that were like that and the Cast Members were very accomodating.

Haley really had no trouble with the lines throughout the whole week.  I had done some research before we left and was prepared to ask for a Guest Assistance Pass, but we never went looking for one.  Every time we needed a ride to be slowed down or needed a little extra time to get in a car or out of a car we were allowed that.  I must say that Disneyland and every one of it's Cast Members are amazing.  They are there to make sure you have a magical time and we did.

We decided to hop on the Disneyland train again and head over to Fantasyland.  Haley's Big Sis had one goal, she wanted to meet all of the princesses (and female characters) from her favorite movies that she could.  She made it her mission to find Rapunzel from Tangled.  It took us a while to track her down and when we finally did there was a good long wait.  I decided that Haley wouldn't be into that and we headed off to ride King Arthur's Carrousel.  Haley really likes carrousels and this one was centrally located so that we could see most of Fantasyland and keep tabs on her sister and the rest of our family.

They were still in line when we got off of that ride so then we got in line for Dumbo the Flying Elephant.  We had to wait in the sun for that one, but Haley held up pretty well.  When we got close they handed Haley a "magic feather" which was made of wood or plastic and was black.  We were supposed to give it to the Cast Member that ran the ride, I think they used them to count how many people got on the ride.  Haley held on to it until we got into the "flying Dumbo" and as I looked down to fasten our seat belt she hucked it into the water.  I gasped.  The Cast Member came for our feather and I apologized and told her what Haley had done.  She just smiled and kept walking.

Before we had left for Disneyland I suggested that we take afternoon breaks and after everyone had met Rapunzel and Flynn Rider they thought it was time for one.  We decided we wanted to ride the monorail to Downtown Disney and walk back to the hotel from there.  Once in the hotel everyone rested.  Haley found her spot on the couch in our room and fell asleep.  Actually everyone slept except for me.  After awhile I woke everyone up and we went swimming at the pool.  After that my brother got us Subway sandwiches that we ate in our rooms.  Then we were ready for more.  We rode the monorail back in to the park.

Since we were in Tomorrowland we rode the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, which turned out to be very cool.  We rode cars in Autopia and then split up in to two groups, those that wanted to ride "thrill rides" and those that didn't.  Those that didn't turned out to be me, my Mom, my Husband and Haley.  We headed back to Fantasyland.  It was starting to cool down and the line for it's a small world wasn't too bad so that is where we headed.  Haley loved that ride.  She still seemed cautious about the whole boat idea, but once we were inside she sang the song at the top of her lungs the entire ride.

After that we rode the Casey Jr. Circus Train.  I think this had to be one of the highlights for Haley.  She has been watching Dumbo a lot lately and she loved hearing the song that she is used to.  She loved it when Casey Jr. chugged up the hill saying "I think I can, I think I can..."  It was dark when we got off of that ride and we decided to check out a spot to watch the fireworks from.  My Mom was most excited about seeing the Disneyland fire works.

We walked all around the square in front of the Castle which was already full of people.  We found ourselves a spot and waited.  After about fifteen minutes of that Haley said "I'm done." and started walking away from us.  I caught up with her and coaxed her back saying that the Boom Bang was going to start soon.  We stood there a little longer and then she started to act like she was going to leave again.  I sat down and she sat on my lap.  Pretty soon a cast member with a flashlight told me there was no sitting.  We stood up again and luckily the fireworks started right after that.  The fireworks show was amazing!  After that we tried in vain to find my brother and the others.  I soon realized that the little group that I was with was done for the night and we headed back to the hotel.

It had been a full day.


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