I’ve spent six of the last twelve days away from home, jetting about the globe as befits my exciting and worldly lifestyle. Ha ha.
A couple months ago, a friend of my husband’s called him to say that he had an opening for Justyn to take an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Walt Disney’s apartment at Disneyland. (Have I mentioned that my husband is a huge Disney fan?) We had enough points to get free flights and some of our very favorite people live nearby and graciously offered to put us up for a night. Then, when his parents offered to drive down from Vegas to spend the day with us and one of our friends offered to keep ALL of our children for three days, well.
One simply doesn’t ignore such obvious signs from God, my friends.
So we jetted off, leaving our house at 4am and laying over in Dallas for four hours, because that’s what you do to get free flights.
People say everything is bigger in Texas. I take them at their word because most of what I’ve seen in Texas has been through the giant windows at the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport. But you know what’s not bigger in Texas? The moving walkways.
Here is a moving walkway in the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport:
It’s approximately 50 feet long and took me less than 4 seconds to walk past. In comparison, here’s a moving walkway from LAX:
But wait – that’s just the part of it that was in front of me. Here’s the rest:
Now that is a moving walkway, folks. Also, while on this particular people mover, a lady asked me if I’d come to L.A. “to make my big dreams come true”. Only in L.A. do people assume an out-of-towner is there to break into the movies. Then again, maybe the fact that I was taking pictures of an airport walkway screamed ‘country bumpkin’.
Anyhow, we got off the plane, took a bus into the ghetto and picked up a rental car, then promptly dove into that staple of SoCal life – traffic.
There was also graffiti on the side of the road, but when I tried to take a picture Justyn changed lanes. He said I wasn’t giving people the right impression.
We then preceded to spend 36 hours doing all the things we always wanted to do when we lived in the area, but didn’t because we have five kids. We ate amazing food, went to Disneyland (it’s so relaxing without kids!), ate more amazing food, walked at a leisurely pace, hung out with Justyn’s parents (they bought us amazing food), and in general really enjoyed ourselves.
This is Justyn next to the exact park bench on which Walt Disney sat as he first dreamed of Disneyland.
This is Starbucks. In Disneyland. Yes, that is the Hallelujah chorus you hear.
This is the Blue Bayou restaurant – you know the one inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride? We had lunch here, and yes, it was amazing. It’s hard to capture the atmosphere with an iPhone, but it was probably the neatest restaurant I’ve ever eaten in.
Later we had dessert at the Grand Californian’s Napa Rose restaurant. The Blue Bayou was expensive; the Napa Rose was ridiculous. They carry a $16,400 bottle of wine. We spent most of our time daring each other to ask the waiter where the nearest Denny’s was, and yes, I asked him what makes a bottle of wine worth the same as my van. He said there was only one bottle and it was “a very good year”. Apparently. I didn’t take any pictures because, you know, I wanted to be classy. But seriously, the food was – and I may have said this already – AMAZING.
And yes, we did the exclusive behind-the-scenes tour, but I have no pictures because they don’t let you take any. It is exclusive, after all. They took an official one but I don’t have a copy.
We visited our dear friends Tom and Annette Westerfield. They are the pastors of South Coast Christian in San Juan Capistrano, he’s a very recent cancer survivor, and they’re pretty much the most awesome people we know. I didn’t take any pictures while were were there because I was too busy soaking up the awesome.
On our way back to the airport we were going to stop at Randy’s Donuts, but we were running late (so apparently it’s not the kids’ fault) and I had to be content with a picture taken from the gas station across the street.
I had almost caught up on the laundry when we loaded up the kids and drove down to Rochester, MN for the Assemblies of God Minnesota Youth Convention, which was amazing. Here’s the Civic Center just before it was overrun by 4,000 teenagers:
Then the teenagers came in and I stopped taking pictures because I was more worried about losing a small child.
Here’s our sweet Nixon-era throwback hotel room. I brought our portable DVD player and figured out how to hook it up to the TV all by myself. If you knew how technologically inept I am, you would be impressed.
This is my baby sitting in an 8th floor window. Considering my irrational fear of completely safe high places, I felt pretty good about not panicking when he asked me to take his picture.
On arriving home, we were hit by a very brief but intense hail storm. And it’s not even Halloween.
That’s Minnesota for you.
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