My mom and dad took us to Disneyland as our Christmas present this year. They informed us of this last Christmas Day, but it was to be a secret from the boys. Sooner or later though, someone (Poppa?!) just couldn’t keep the secret any longer so round about April, he let the boys in on it. They were so excited! Though it was for Christmas, we would wait until after New Year’s to go so hopefully the holiday crowds would be thinned out once most people were back in school.
We were originally going to drive down to southern California but last summer, Poppa found a killer deal on flights on Southwest and figured it would be about the same amount as renting a van large enough for all eight of us and driving. In retrospect, that was a fabulous decision as E has not been a happy car passenger the past few weeks and 14 hours in the car together would have been miserable probably for all of us. So on the morning of E’s third birthday, he got to ride on an airplane instead. That beats birthdays one and two by a long shot!
It was 6 degrees when we left for the airport. I’ve never been so happy to leave town.
We ate breakfast at home, but apparently the long struggle of getting all of our luggage, two carseats, and a stroller from the car to the shuttle bus and in to the airport worked up an appetite, so the boys had ham/egg/cheese muffins as second breakfast at Wendy’s after we met Grandma and Poppa at our gate.
E had a fabulous flight. He looked out the window a lot, read books with me, and enjoyed his apple juice and peanuts. He was less thrilled with the long wait and then walk to get off the plane, find our luggage, and catch the rental car shuttle bus without losing anybody or anything.
But in one of the highlights of my day, we saw the one and only Air New Zealand “Hobbit jet” on the ground at LAX while taxiing to our gate. It was awesome!
We were happy to finally be in the car and on our way to San Diego where we were staying with my cousin and her family. She had prepared dinner for us and birthday cake for E so we could have a little party.
For the past few weeks when we’d ask him how old we was going to be, he’d hold up four fingers and then with his other hand fold his pinky down to make three. It was so funny to watch. Then when we asked him at the party how old he was now, he actually said, “Three.” And now that it’s easier to say it than show the fingers, he’ll hardly do it anymore. I will miss that particular cuteness. He’ll always hold up two fingers though if the answer is two. Maybe one day he’ll decide to say that word. He’s very slowly adding to his vocabulary. I can’t wait until he finally decides to share all the ideas in that little head of his with us!
We got a picture of all the cousins gathered together: my four boys, my cousin Denise’s boy and three girls, and my cousin Pete’s two boys, so 10 of the 12 great-grandchildren on that side of the family. Don’t ask me what D is doing with his hands.
We took a few birthday presents for E to open that night. He got new train overalls, two shirts (which counted as part of his clothing I had to pack), a Lauri shape and color stacking toy, and a book, Everything I Need to Know Before I’m Five. We left the IKEA car playmat at home for him to open after our trip. We let him play with his toy before carefully packing it back in the suitcase so we wouldn’t lose any pieces, but he actually fell asleep with his new book in his arms. He certainly loves books.
He’s finally hit a stage where he’ll pose for pictures now. I’m so glad, because I want to remember this happy 3-year-old’s face on his birthday.