November 27, 2017


For Christmas last year we perused all of our kids' and grandkids' "wish lists" (and, of course, their naughty or nice list!) and we decided that, in keeping with our new lifestyle centered around memories, not things, we would gift to them all a family trip to Disneyland!  (Clearly it was also a gift to ourselves!!!)  We hadn't been to Disneyland since our girls were in elementary school...and while we also thought of other destinations, the idea of taking all four grandkids to the Happiest Place on Earth sounded like so much fun!

So, we created a scavenger hunt in our home and sent the 8 of them all around the house collecting clue after clue until the final clue brought them back to the Christmas tree for the big box that had appeared under the tree...which was filled with Disney tshirts, and a poem, announcing our Disney trip plans!

Our only stipulation was that they ALL had to come (coordinate school and vacation schedules)...and that they had to figure that part out, because our schedules were wide open!  After they agreed on the late August dates I went to work, booking flights, reserving a nice AirBNB really close to the park entrances and getting the three day park passes to California Adventures and Disneyland!

We arranged to park Gracie at Mike's brother's home in Battle Ground, WA for the week and we left Portland, Oregon for Anaheim, California via airplane.  Our oldest daughter, Ashley, and her family arrived at nearly the same time on a different flight and our youngest daughter, Allison and her clan drove down to meet us all at the airport.  Even the airport reunion was fun!  We grabbed a rental car, loaded all of our bags and carseats into our two vehicles and headed straight to - the beach!!!

We had a great day at Huntington Beach...playing in the waves and sand, people watching and soaking up the sunshine!  My cousin, Seth, came down to meet us too!  I was pretty sure, at this point, we all would've been happy to call it a beach vacation as it was so much fun just to be together!

We got settled into our rental home, grabbed a truckload full of groceries for the week and fired up the barbeque while the kids enjoyed the playset in the backyard.  The house worked really well for us, with bedrooms for all of the adults, another bedroom for the kids (bunkbeds), a full kitchen, a rec room...and a nice yard with a cute little swingset. was a short walk to Downtown Disney...which is what we did Sunday morning...

After loading up the strollers with all of the essentials for a long, fun day...we hiked over to and through Downtown Disney and into DISNEYLAND!  The pictures will tell the rest of the story...

Anywhere these four are is the Happiest Place on Earth for me!


The best picture of the whole trip!  My favorite ride in the park...Splash Mountain!  Harper is tucked into my side, threatening to climb out...and no one bothered to tell Uriah that the front of the boat is where the action happens!!


I was having a conversation recently with Uriah and asked him what his favorite part of the Disneyland trip was...the rides, the characters, the music, the food, the fireworks...and his answer probably summed it up for all of us..."I liked some of the rides and the beach was really favorite part was probably just hanging out together"...

We parted ways after five days of fun in the sun together...and Mike and I headed south to visit some friends in San Diego, Lyle and Sue.  Thoughtfully, they gave us a nice tour of the area, took us to their favorite yummy burrito place, "Roberto's", drove us down to La Jolla (because they know I love the beach!), spent some time with their kids and grandkids in Escondito at an old time car parade and in general just enjoyed hanging out with them in their beautiful home.

We returned to Gracie after a week long adventure with family and friends...went to visit Mike's parents and siblings for a few days in Washington state and then we made our way to Hood River to enjoy Labor Day weekend in the mountains!

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