It would take a couple hours at least for me to write in detail about the happenings of these past several weeks, so I think I'm going to have to condense things a bit. I could probably even sum it up in one word if I had to: DISNEYLAND! Yes, Nathan, Henri, my mom and I spent Thanksgiving in the Happiest Place on Earth!
Henri did great on the flight down - well, make that flightS, plural, since we flew from Eugene to San Francisco to Orange County. He only fussed a couple of times, but it was more from exhaustion than anything else (we had to get up at 5:00 AM - what a way to start a vacation, am I right?) We went to the park pretty much right away, since we couldn't check into the Worldmark condo until late in the afternoon/early in the evening.
At first, it seemed like Henri wasn't too sure what to make of Disneyland - so many sights, sounds, smells...His first ride was the Jungle Cruise, which he took in with wide eyes and a look of awe. After a few days, we started to fall into a pretty good routine. We'd get to the park by early afternoon and stay until almost closing time (Henri is a good little night owl, thanks to Nathan's graveyard schedule). Every couple of hours, when Henri would need to nurse, we'd make our way over to the child care center at the end of Main Street, U.S.A (the end closest to the castle). It became our home away from home, even though I got more comfortable nursing him in public - with the help of my cover - as the week went on.
H spent some time in the stroller, but by far his favorite way to see the park was from the view of his front pack. Nathan carried him most of the time, and Mom or I pushed the stroller - which pretty much became the pack horse for our bags and camera cases.
If I'm remembering correctly, Henri went on the following rides:
- Jungle Cruise
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Haunted Mansion
- Winnie the Pooh
- Disneyland Railroad
- Peter Pan
- Snow White
- Tea Cups
- Alice in Wonderland
We also visited Santa at the Big Thunder Ranch, went to the Tiki Room and met several Disney characters - among them, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale and Mary Poppins. Ultimately, I would have to say that meeting Mary Poppins was the highlight of the trip for Henri. He took one look at her, held her hand, and fell in love. Seriously, he just lit up and couldn't stop smiling!
The whole trip was one I will never forget. I thought I'd seen everything there was to see in Disneyland, but there's something about being there with a child (no matter the age) that makes you see things differently. For one thing, I came to appreciate just how geared toward children the whole experience is. For another, having to slow down made me notice things I'd never seen before. I came to love just walking around the park, soaking in the ambiance.
Since we've been home, we've been getting ready for Henri's first Christmas. I'm a firm believer in not getting ready for Christmas too soon (ie: not before Thanksgiving), but these past couple of weeks have been a blur, and I'm staring at the calender in disbelief, unable to grasp that Christmas is LESS THAN TWO WEEKS AWAY! When did that happen?! I have to take a deep breath and calm myself - the tree is up and decorated, lights are on the house, all but one gift has been purchased...we're going to be fine. Just keep repeating that: we are going to be fine.
Coming up: Zoo Lights! Based on how much more Henri liked D'Land by night, all decorated for Christmas, Zoo Lights is sure to be a hit!
I don't yet have the Disneyland photos on my laptop (slacker), but here are some links to the albums on Facebook. My mom also has three albums up, which I will link to if I can.