March 27, 2011

The lowdown

My wonderful brother-in-law told me that he can't wait to read the blog posts that will summarize the last week of our collective lives. He told me this while the kids zipped through the kitchen at top speed over and over and over. Apparently he believes I'm going to recap our Spring Break vacation to California in a way that will amuse him. 

I would hazard a guess that he thinks I'm going to write about how wet and chilly it was in Southern California during our visit and that I'm going to tell all about each of our families losing days of carefree fun to sick children. He probably also thinks I'm going to bitch about how I was discriminated against because I'm a girl I live in Kansas, and I wasn't allowed to drive a car to the grocery store without a chaperone. (I'm not bitter about that. I know it was because of all that aforementioned rain.)  He has probably even predicted I'll tell you that we learned the hard way that the Griffith Observatory isn't open on Mondays and that Legoland isn't open on Tuesdays. 

That all happened, but in the 48 hours we've been home, those aren't the memories that really jump out to me.

Room for everyone on the swingset
Instead, I'm going to show you how much fun six kids can have in a backyard that's equipped with a tree and a swingset.  I'm so terribly biased, but these are great kids and they have great fun together. With each visit, they pick up right where they left off the time before.

Jump Rope!
Zac and Andrew in a tree. I don't think they're supposed to be up
that high, but all's well that ends well.

I would be remiss not to mention that roller skating is a very good rainy day activity and I can report that it's kind of like riding a bike.  Though it had been at least 25 years, it all came back to us adults quickly.  I should also document that four kids had four different styles of learning to skate and they all worked, though the styles of the two youngest resulted in sore shoulders and elbows for their parents.  For them, skating was a contact sport.

I will also tell you that while Griffith Observatory is indeed closed on Mondays, the drive there is worth the trip and walking around the grounds and capturing the views offered of the Hollywood hills, downtown LA, the Pacific Ocean and the famed HOLLYWOOD sign were all great fun. Having the Train Museum in the park all to ourselves was fun too. Not many people braved the tempermental elements that day and the kids had the run of the place. We even had our own private tram driver.

Griffith Park Outlook.  If you look carefully you can see the
Hollywood sign iin the background.

Deserted train park
I can confirm that while it seems very strange for a theme park to be closed two days a week, after two checks of Legoland's website, we had no choice but to believe it. My genius sister-in-law knew we needed to step up with a really good substitute and Disney's California Adventure did the trick. Upon entering, we wondered if California Adventure was another bust for the trip, but it turns out it's a total win if you just give it time.

The Bugs' Life train ride. Exhilirating it was not.
Zac on the Bugs' Life bumper cars. We were starting to get somewhere now.
On the Disney Midway
Andrew, Zac, Mark & Eric rode this rollercoaster. When did they grow old
enough to do this?!

What Maria, Claire, Thomas and I did while the boys rode the rollercoaster.

The kids had a blast and while I won't speak for anyone else, I did too.

I'm also going to show you that a well-stocked costume trunk can provide hours of fun - both for the kids wearing the costumes and the adults being entertained by them.

No shame.
Rides in the Model A are also always entertaining. Butch and I spent what must have been 90 minutes driving around Claremont rotating who got to sit in the back and who had to sit on my lap so that everyone had a fair turn.  We also throroughly embarrassed Zac by going to pick him up from school like this!

The coveted rumble seat.

So, while Eric thought I was going to remember total chaos as four, five or sometimes even six kids shrieked and ran and yelled and wrote on each other with markers and shrieked and played, he's wrong. I remember that it's a gift for these kids to play together, for hours on end, so well and for them to wake up each morning asking when we're starting the day's adventures together. I'm also going to remember a lot of good food consumed and oodles of good company.

I will remember that it's a good idea to check ahead for operating hours, but if they don't work with your operating hours, Plan B will probably be just as good. And, I will also remember how lovely it is to spend a week at Casa Henderson where food is prepared on your behalf and the trash cans are always empty, without my having to lift a finger. Thank you!


Maria said...

This is the first time I have sat in front of the computer since you left. I think I have been in a depression! What a great recap! Love you guys and loved all the fun we had. Miss you tons! :(

Butch Henderson said...

Thanks, Susan, and trust me, you can drive the Corvette anytime! (:>)

Rosemary said...

That Corvette will be waiting for you on your next visit! Where shall we go? :-) Loved the way you summarized all of the fantastic highlights and showed pictures that conveyed how much fun the kids (and adults) had together. I wish there were videos of the skating, but your description, along with the comments of other skaters, creates a great picture in my mind of the whole event. What a gift your descriptive writing is to bring all of the parts into such a delightful whole. Thanks! I love you lots!

Maria said...
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Unknown said...

Well said Susan, we miss you guys!