Monday, May 20, 2019

A Quick Trip to California

Hi friends!  It's been another whirlwind this past month.  The most exciting news is that Eliot and I are both well again... finally!!!  It seems the sickness of this winter is behind us.  The weather has gotten a lot warmer.  (I've been contemplating if it's time to get the air conditioner out for our bedroom.)  Over the past few weeks, the flowers are in bloom, the grass is green (and growing like crazy!) and the birds are singing happy tunes outside our windows.  I feel refreshed and renewed with the beauty of spring.

We've also had some sadness.  Eliot's grandmother passed away at the beginning of the month.  We were expecting it as she's been unwell for a bit now.  However, it's still hard.  Eliot and his sister Sara are the only other people I've ever known to have all four grandparents still alive while in their 20's.  Jeremy and I lost our Grampie when I was a sophomore in college, but Eliot's known all three of my other grandparents.  I never met his father's parents, but I had met both of his mother's parents.  Bubbie D was the one I was most close to as we'd seen her during trips to California through the past few years.  She will be greatly missed, but we're glad she's no longer in pain.

I've always been a big believer that things happen for a reason.  And I'm sure this all unfolded exactly as it was supposed to.  As Bubbie D grew more ill, I grew worried about how everything would work out timing wise.  Both of Eliot's sisters had finals coming up and this summer they're both in internship programs.  We were afraid they might not be able to make it out to California for her funeral.  Thankfully, the timing of the service worked out and we were able to go out right after Elissa finished her finals, and right before Sara started hers.  It was a flying trip; Eliot and I were only out there for four days, but it was good to spend some time with his family since we don't see them very often.  (Although, they've seen us quite a bit the past few months.  I'm surprised they're not sick of us yet... haha!)

Eliot, Elissa and I flew out of Portland at dinner time on Thursday, May 9th.  We had a layover in New York and arrived in Los Angeles at 1:00 am Friday morning.  We drove about an hour or so south to our hotel.  After a few hours of sleep, we got out of bed, showered and dressed for Bubbie D's funeral service.  It was followed by a small reception.  Then, we went back to the hotel and slept for a few hours to overcome jet lag.  That night, all of us except Sara (who was studying) attended Fiddler on the Roof which was at the local theater center.  I'd never seen it but Eliot's family has seen it a few times.  I enjoyed the show and had some of the songs stuck in my head after.

On Saturday, Eliot's dad took Sara to the airport really early in the morning... like 4:00 am early.  When Rick got back to the hotel, Eliot, Elissa and I packed up to take off on the long trip up to San Jose.  (Eliot's parents bought us all tickets to go see a Sharks game that night!)  We left at 7:00 am and spent about 6.5 hours on the trip up to San Jose- only stopping twice to stretch, get food and so all of us and Bella (the family dog) could take a potty break.  Bella sat with Eliot and I the second half of the trip.  She took turns sleeping on each of our legs.  When we arrived at the house, we had just enough time for all of us to shower and get ready for the game.

I've only ever been to one other NHL playoff game.  My first game at the Shark Tank was the Sharks first ever home game in the Stanley Cup Final back in 2016 when we were out in San Jose for Elissa's high school graduation.  (That was another case of perfect timing.)  It was a memorable event that I remember fondly and often; it was also the moment when my love for the boys in teal was cemented for all time.

This time, it was game one of the Western Conference Finals: the San Jose Sharks vs St. Louis Blues.  We arrived a few minutes after the street rally started.  Rick got glitter dusted throughout his painted playoff beard.  Eliot, Elissa and I took photos over at the photo booth.  Eliot and I picked up a few free signs since we wanted more for our collection back home.  (Someday, Eliot and I want to have a San Jose Sharks themed game room where we'll hang all of these signs up.)  Then, we went inside the Shark Tank and got ready to watch our boys warm-up.

The rest of the afternoon was a fantastic, teal colored blur.  The three of us kids had seats two rows in front of Rick's season tickets.  We watched the playoff version of the intro video while thousands of synced, lighted bracelets lit up the arena and danced with the music.  The team skated out through the giant shark head.  The Tank was loud, and I was loving it.  The whole experience evokes a magic that reminds me of how I feel while watching the fireworks at Disney.

The Sharks won the game 6-3.  I was so glad that we not only won, but that we scored so many goals.  It's definitely more fun to jump up and cheer with 17,000+ other Sharks fans than alone with Eliot in our living room.  In fact, I taped a quick video of everyone cheering during our goal song after my favorite player scored our second goal.  I was even sitting exactly four rows behind one of our customers wearing our San Jose Sharks mouse ears (seen in the photo above)!  It was a wonderful experience and I'm so glad it all worked out.  With only four teams remaining in the playoffs at that time, and the short length of our trip, it was truly meant to be.  And I'm so happy for Eliot.  I know he misses going to their games.

The next morning, Eliot and I left San Jose and flew down to meet his mother in San Diego.  When we arrived, we talked to the Disney Cruise Line representatives for a few minutes since one of the ships was in port.  (That also explained why Eliot and I saw so many people wearing Disney gear at the airport!)  It was cool to see the ship off in the distance while we drove through San Diego.  I swear Disney stuff always finds us.

We had planned to go see Avengers: Endgame that afternoon.  We went out for pizza and poked around a few shops before it was time to go to the theater.  Eliot and I haven't kept up with the Marvel movies.  (In fact, we've probably only seen 2 of the Avengers... and he might have seen one Captain America movie.)  Thankfully, when Jeremy came up to visit a few weekends ago, he brought Avergers: Infinity War with him so we at least knew what was going on during the movie.  I enjoyed it and it really made me want to go back and watch all of the movies.  Eliot hopes that they'll all be on Disney+ so we can watch them later on this year.

Sunday night, we spent the night at Eliot's mom's condo.  Eliot, Nori and I ended up watching National Treasure on Netflix.  (I only partly paid attention to it since I watched both it and the sequel about a week prior when they were on Freeform.  Plus, I had some business stuff to get caught up on.)  Once the movie ended, we all went to bed so we could get up and ready to pack and go to Disneyland the next morning.

We had decided to spend Monday at Disneyland before flying home to Maine.  It's not that far from LAX, so it made sense to wait until our last day.  Eliot and I aren't annual pass holders for Disneyland at the moment (just for WDW this year) so Nori bought us day passes as a thank you for helping move Elissa of campus at UNE.  Since we were going to be there one day, we decided to just go to Disneyland and not get the park hopper upgrade.  We got there around noon with a plan to hit all of our favorites.

Of course, like usual, we started at the shops.  First, we hit up the art store that's right when you enter the park.  After that, I noticed a crowd gathering on our way over to the Emporium.  "Of course, it's just after noon which means the band is coming soon," I thought in my head.  After telling Eliot, we decided to stay to watch the little show at the train station.  I'm so glad we did.  The characters were all in their 90th celebration outfits and it was magical.  I love the little show at the train station and it's always one of my favorite things to see while at Disneyland.

Next, we hopped over to the Emporium and did a quick walk through to scan the merchandise.  But, we were still on a mission so we headed towards New Orleans Square and Pirates of the Caribbean.  We got in line but ended up leaving shortly after as the ride ended up breaking down.  It wasn't a total bust though.  I helped a nice older couple behind us who were having a hard time figuring out how to book their Fastpasses with MaxPass.  After I figured the app out myself, I successfully got them signed up for Toy Story Mania and it even overlapped with the rest of their family members' time.  A good Disney deed always leaves me feeling good!

We grabbed Fastpasses of our own to Haunted Mansion on the way over to Critter Country.  We decided to go on Winnie the Pooh and the line wasn't too long.  After that, I insisted we stop at the store so I could get a snack.  (Eliot had already eaten a churro and a giant sugar cookie... he owed me.)  I totally forgot about the Tigger Tails until I was in line.  Nori and I both got one and I took my obliagtory photo.  I decided to save it for later.  (I ate it once we got home in Maine and it was delicious.)

After that, we still had a few minutes to kill before our Haunted Mansion Fastpass.  Nori suggested we stop for a mint julep and I added that we should get some Mickey beignets.  Eliot was skeptical until I told him they were Mickey donuts covered in powdered sugar.  After that he was sold.  Upon eating them, he declared that they were like mini Mickey shaped fried doughs.  He was sold.  (Eliot loves fried dough.)  He even tried a little of the mint julep.  I was proud since he's such a picky eater.  We concluded our New Orleans Square adventure at the Haunted Mansion followed by Pirates of the Caribbean, which had re-opened.

Next, we decided to head over towards Mickey and the Magical Map to catch the last show of the day.  We had quite a bit of time before it, so we poked around on our way over.  We stopped in a few of the Frontierland shops.  Eliot got a few pins he's been wanting for a while. I also checked out the patch collection.

We stopped by Sleeping Beauty Castle to see the renovations.  I had heard it was supposed to open soon.  (We missed the reveal by 5 days!  It looks stunning!)  It was ok though; it was cool to see how much it's changed throughout the years.

When we got to Fantasyland, we still had a ton of time left- so much time that the show before ours was still going on.  We were going to try to get on It's a Small World but the line was so long.  We stood in line for about 15-20 minutes before the heat started to overwhelm us.  Eliot left the line to see if we could get Fastpasses.  A few minutes later, he came back successful and we abandoned that line too.

At this point, Eliot had a really bad headache so Nori asked a cast member where we could get him some medicine.  They told us to go into Toontown to the gift shop.  I had wanted to see if they had my Small World tsum tsum set anyways, so it worked out perfectly.  (I had meant to buy it when we were in WDW in February but I totally forgot and it was sold out online.)  Thankfully, the store still had a few sets left on the bottom shelf.  Eliot got his medicine and I got my tsums!

We decided to sit in the shade and rest while Eliot's Tylenol kicked in.  Nori went over to one of the ice cream stands and we all had ice cream.  Eliot and I were going to split a Mickey Ice Cream sandwich until I saw my Toll House Cookie.  I haven't seen them at WDW lately so I had to get one!  Eating my way through Disneyland... Yum!

After, we went over to stand in line for Mickey and the Magical Map.  Eliot and Nori disappeared to get more food.  I got in right when they opened the theater and saved us seats.  They arrived a minute later with a giant pretzel, Eliot's favorite snack at Disney.  We watched the show and enjoyed every minute.  Eliot and I love this show.

We headed to It's a Small World right after the show ended.  The parade was going to be starting any minute and we were going to get trapped in Fantasyland until it was over anyways.  The parade was starting just as we got onto the ride.  When we got off of it, we saw a few of the floats pass by and we waited for it to end over by the Storybookland Canal Boats, which were closed.  (That's my favorite Disneyland ride; I'm obsessed with the little models!)

We followed the parade so we could get a photo by the Partners Statue.  There wasn't a Photopass photographer there but Nori took a few for us.  Then, Eliot and I took a few photos of our donkey children.  They're so cute in their little ear hats!

At this point, we'd done everything that I really wanted to ride wise.  Eliot and Nori headed over to Matterhorn for the single rider line.  They came back a little bit later and declared that they wanted to see if they could go on Space Mountain too.  We walked through Tomorrowland and I found a seat outside of the Pizza Planet.  They were gone for a really long time.  I passed the time by watching the score of the Sharks game as it updated on my phone.  Dusk turned into nightfall, and we were getting to the point when we needed to head out soon.

When they returned from the ride, we quickly made our exit strategy.  I still wanted to get my candy apples and see if the Clothiers store on Main Street had my castle bag that I wanted.  Eliot and Nori headed to get the apples while I went the store.  They were successful, but I was not so much.  However, we did get to see the super cute new Disney raincoats.  I LOVE the snacks one.

I still wanted to see if I could get my handbag so we decided to split up again.  Nori headed over to the buses to get the car from the Toy Story parking lot.  She was going to come back to the pick-up location while Eliot and I went to Downtown Disney.  At Disneyland, Downtown Disney is literally right outside the park and World of Disney is pretty much the first store you come to.  If I was going to find it, it was there.  Eliot and I had plenty of time since it was going to take Nori a few minutes to get to the car.

We explored World of Disney... not very thoroughly, but good enough.  I found the bag I wanted.  I was going to get it but I realized that if Nori came back and bought it for me, we'd save about $15, so I took pictures of it's location and saved my cash to give her instead.  Eliot and I also took pictures of the items from the snack collection that we want to get for our kitchen.  Finally, we looked at a few of the new clothing items- there's so much cute stuff!

Eventually, we knew we needed to head back so we could get to the airport.  Eliot and I ended up being ahead of his mother so we stopped on the Mickey benches outside of the parks to rest for a few minutes.  It was hard to believe we really had spent the day at Disneyland so I took a minute to soak it all in.  Then, we met up with Nori, went through the Carl's Jr. drive thru and headed towards LAX.  At 11:50 pm, Eliot and I took off towards New York.  After what felt like forever, we landed around 8:30 am, had a layover until 11:00 am and finally landed in Portland at 12:30 pm.

It was an exhausting four days, but we also crammed a lot into it.  I'm glad everything worked out timing wise.  We had a good time visiting with everyone.  Plus, we also got to see a San Jose Sharks playoff game AND go to Disneyland!!!  Those are pretty much our two favorite things to do while we're in California.  Eliot and I are not sure when we'll be back again... until then, we'll be California dreamin'!  °o°

1 comment:

  1. Love reading about your much FUN detail. Thanks for posting!