Vacation All I Ever Wanted

Well, since I’m struggling a little bit today with doing anything that could be considered remotely productive (unless, of course, you consider watching basketball a productive activity), I thought I’d update the blog and bore y’all for a little while.

It is my sweet privilege to serve you in this manner.


Last Saturday our little family of three hopped on a plane and went to California. We flew out of Atlanta because we could get a flight from there waaaaaay cheaper than we could from here, so we left the house at dark o’clock Saturday morning and made the trek to the ATL. A friend of mine had suggested that we park at one of the off-site parking lots and catch a shuttle to the airport, so that is exactly what we did. It was a big time- and money-saver. I’m now an off-site parking believer.

(And yes, this is life at 41. Excitement over off-site parking lots.)


We’ve been planning our trip to LA since the first of the year, and we had about fourteen different reasons behind it: 1) D’s best friend Todd and his family live there, and we were way overdue for a visit 2) We were also overdue for a just-for-the-fun-of-it family trip 3) My sister-in-law Janie and my nephews were meeting us out there 4) It was Spring Break 5) Spring Break happened to coincide with the little man’s 8th birthday 6) We wanted to ride some rollercoasters.

Okay. Maybe we only had six reasons. BUT SIX IS A LOT.

And we had so much fun. Here are a few of my favorite moments.

Our flight to LA had TVs in the backs of the seats. And for six American dollars, you could watch a pretty wide selection of live television programming. I opted for Food Network, and OH, IT DELIGHTED ME. I love “Chopped,” and there was some sort of “Chopped All-Stars” thing going on. I DID NOT MIND IT.

We spent most of Sunday sightseeing, and when we stopped at Hollywood & Highland to walk around and take some pictures, I got very excited when I saw the banners for “Jimmy Kimmel Live” across the street. I kept pointing and asking D if he wanted me to take his pictures in front of the banners, and he looked sort of puzzled and grinned and said, “No, that’s okay.” It was only, oh, YESTERDAY when I realized that D doesn’t actually watch Jimmy Kimmel – he watches Jimmy Fallon. He loves Jimmy Fallon’s show, in fact, but it is filmed in New York. Which is a considerable distance from Hollywood & Highland.

By mid-afternoon Sunday, the boys could not quit giggling / making tooting noises / actually tooting. Janie decided that if we had any chance of returning to the hotel with our sanity intact, she was going to have to physically separate Alex and H. They were slightly wound up.

Their wound up state may have had something to do with the fact that they had just spent about fifteen minutes running around in the ice-cold ocean. Oh, they were lively.

The next day we were at Disneyland bright and early, and as you can see, everyone was considerably more calm.

In his defense, it was his 8th birthday, and it was the first time he’s been tall enough to ride the Indiana Jones ride, so his happiness was sort of off-the-charts. Plus, the Indy t-shirt was in a stack of clothes that our sweet neighbor recently passed along to us, so, you know, PERFECTION.

A couple of hours later the boys made their first trek to Space Mountain together, and listen: we all hollered like a bunch of hillbillies who had just won a round of “Family Feud.” We love us some rollercoasters, and we screamed our heads off. Even after we waited SEVENTY MINUTES to ride Tower of Terror. Such a blast.

Alex was a little scared about riding California Screamin’ – it is super fast and has a big loop and all – but he decided that he wanted to try it, and OH MY MERCY he loved it. In fact, he walked off of it, looked at me and said, “One word: AWESOME” – and jumped right back in line to ride it again. My nephews thought it was awesome, too – they rode it three times in a row.

We had a little birthday dinner at a Disney restaurant Monday night, and we were all so tired that I’m not entirely sure we could tell you what we ate (I do know that ice water has never tasted more delicious than it did when I sat down at the table and KNOCKED ‘ER BACK). At the end of the meal our waitress brought Alex a birthday cupcake, and he proceeded to eat all the icing and very little cake. Which was really no different than his first birthday.

Tuesday we went to Universal, and after spending Monday fighting some serious crowds at Disney, our time at Universal felt a little bit like a trip to a spa. We got to the park about fifteen minutes after it opened, and the average time we waited for rides was about five minutes. The first thing we did was take Alex to the souvenir shop to buy a hat (I’d left his cap at the hotel), and y’all, he picked out a WINNER. Cracked me up every single time I looked at him. Especially when he paired his new hat with the 3-D glasses for the studio tour.


The studio tour was so entertaining (way better than it was ten years ago); the kids and the grown-ups had a blast. Afterwards we rode some rides and took some pictures and watched the very cute Shrek in 4-D.

I didn’t know if an eight year-old would still be interested in getting pictures made with characters, but as it turned out: YES. He was way more laid-back about it than he was four years ago, but he still got such a kick out of seeing the “real” characters. Big fun.

Late Tuesday afternoon Todd was sweet enough to set up a little behind-the-scenes tour for the boys at the place where he works, and it may have been the boys’ favorite part of the trip. Afterwards we went to eat at a place called Paco’s Tacos, and I could write an ode to the tortillas there. They were FANTASTIC. Todd’s wife and daughter met us for supper, and we all spent most of our meal talking about how cute Gracie is. She is a doll.

See? I told you.

We had a long day of travel on Wednesday thanks to a couple of runway delays in LA and Atlanta (there was no gate for our plane in Atlanta after we landed). I was about to CRAWL OUT OF MY SKIN after sitting on the runway in LA for over an hour, but then the Delta people made it somewhat better by making all the on-flight movies complimentary. Which is precisely the reason I spent a couple of hours getting re-acquainted with one of my favorite movies of all time.

“That is one NUTTY HOSPITAL.”

So good.

And when we finally got back to Birmingham, there was one very sweet puppy dog who was beside herself with happy when she saw us.

So all in all, it was a great trip. We had great fun. We made some great memories.

And it’s great to be home.

The end.

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  1. Meredith says:

    Your baby cannot be 8. CAN. NOT.

  2. Sounds fun!

    And that “hillbillies who just won family feud” comment has my sides hurting. HILARIOUS.


  3. Glad y’all’s trip was wonderful! We’ve had a great week but so glad you are now home. B. has been missing A. BIG TIME! We got back home Tuesday night and went to see Gnomeo and Juliet today – I highly recommend it- hilarious!!

  4. GinnyBerry says:

    You sweet doggie looks so much like my Chloe, who is the best dog in the world!

  5. Love this post!! Such GREAT memories… and I grinned so huge at A’s hat.. haha! Soooo stinkin’ cute. You can tell he’s tenderhearted even in pictures.
    Glad you had a nice time, girlie.

  6. Amy Brown says:

    I was at Disneyland last week too! I’d say what are the odds, but judging by the crowds I think the whole entire world was at Disney last week!!

  7. Christy says:

    oh how you make me laugh – I love how you tell a story. I’m so glad y’all had a fun family vacation. How wonderful that you take the time to slow down and be together. (even though you may not look at it as “slowing down”)!

  8. OH HOW MUCH FUN! I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE all these pics of your little guy. He is too dern cute. What a totally fantastic birthday for him!

  9. Please tell young Papaw Happy Birthday! And it’s so broad minded of you to hang out with Ole Miss fans ; )

  10. A can NOT be 8. Sorry, against the rules. Roll back the clock to, uh, 3. 4 tops.

    Either way, I am thrilled you had so much fun on your trip! It made me miss home abit until I remember the traffic, smog, blah blah blah.

    Did Todd not get married, oh, yesterday? How can that baby be a year old?

    I need a watch, or something. Time is racing by too fast.

    Gotta go- the baby, um, my 18 year old, needs her bottle.

  11. We just got back from Disneyland in November. Such a treat, indeed. Though I think you had more fun because I had a three yr old and a nine month old with me.

  12. We were at Disney Monday night too. It was so crowded!

  13. I live in San Diego with my family, except my husband is deployed right now. I am taking the kids(3yr old and 6yr old) to Disneyland alone, just me and them! I know. I must be crazy!
    wish us luck. I am convinced we r gonna have a blast.

  14. Sounds like loads of fun!

  15. How fun!!!!! :)

  16. What a special way to spend his 8th birthday! So stinking jealous.

  17. So glad y’all had a great time! One thing, though…is that one of YOUR nephews in an….OLE MISS shirt? Oh, I’m so sorry for you….


  18. Just for the record, I think watching basketball is a productive activity. It is March Madness afterall. :-)

  19. How FUN!!! You are making me want to take a vacation with our kids! Thanks for sharing :)


  20. I had fun looking at your vacation pictures. Made me want to go on a on-the-spot vacation with my family.:-) I’m pretty much sure you had fun, especially your birthday boy.:-)

  21. I loved this post. But this:
    and listen: we all hollered like a bunch of hillbillies who had just won a round of “Family Feud.”

    made me SCREAMIN’ HAPPY! So happy that I’m thinking of adding it to my gratitude journal. YES I AM! Even though I can’t just copy and paste it like I did above. Seriously, though! THIS makes me grateful! So there you have it–your sharing made my gratitude journal! JUST scribbled it down! WAIT! New post: Thankful for Boo Mama!

  22. What a wonderful funny and uplifting post! Thanks for sharing…your little boy is getting so big! This is a birthday he will always remember! :)

  23. Christine says:

    So glad you had a great time in our neck of the woods! It was a beautiful week last week…good thing you’re not here this week! (Weather chat – almost as interesting as fiber supplements and discussions about the merits of the offiste airport parking structure! Totally with you on that one, BTW!) It’s a Disney bday for us this year too, which in our case, happens to be tomorrow! We had our kids at Hollywood and Highland a few months ago to see “Tangled”. My six year old was absolutely entranced with “the big city”. I on the other hand, was completely appalled at just how PG-13 the whole place is. I’ve been to H’wood dozens of times but never before as a mama of impressionable girls! Yikes! But it’s a very fun place, assuming you can come up with creative explanations for why there’s a man walking in front of you in an evening gown and high heels! ;-)

  24. Sounds like y’all had a great trip! My children want to take a trip on a plane soooo bad. As fun as it is going on an adventure, I know y’all were glad to be home.
    the wanna be country girl – Caroline

  25. I’m EDWARD Kimberly.

  26. I love the recaps of your adventures! Tell Alex Happy Birthday for us!

  27. For what it’s worth, I think you struck the PERFECT balance between respecting your (not-so-) little guy’s privacy and showcasing his awesomeness. KUDOS, Mama!! And happy, happy birthday, Alex!!