Just a few pictures from a little trip to Tucson to visit GG and Great Grandpa.  We also got to go to my cousin Samantha's bridal shower.  Camden had such a fun time with these 2nd cousins, he's still asking to go back and visit them.

My heart will always be in Tucson

The Beach

Since the kids and I had to make the drive home from California without Roy, Mom offered to go with us and help take care of the kids.  This is always safer than me driving on a winding freeway while simultaneously trying to open a stupid fruit snack package.

She and I decided to drive in the wrong direction for the first 40 minutes so that we could take the kids for a morning at the beach.  It was overcast and chilly, and I didn't think my kids would actually get wet.  I should have known better.

Hallie's favorite thing to do was to run away from the freezing waves as they came in.  Camden loved digging in the sand.  The seagulls loved my beach bag and tried to fly away with it.

Disneyland Magic

Several months ago, Camden and I had the following conversation.

Cam: "Mom, are the Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Disneyland real?
Me {caught completely off guard}: "Uhhh... What do you think?"
Cam: "Jonah says they are just people dressed up.  But I think they're real."
Me: "Well... they are people dressed up.  But they aren't trying to trick people, they are trying to help people have fun and pretend that Mickey Mouse is real."

AS I'm saying this to him a voice inside my head is like, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU,  YOU MURDERER OF INNOCENCE AND MAGIC!"
But when I was just thrown on the spot like that, I found that I couldn't lie to my boy.  Not even for the sake of innocence and magic.

Seriously... what is wrong with me?

Nonetheless, when we revealed our Disneyland plans with a countdown chain I made with construction paper {thank you, Pinterest} Camden was over the moon.  Of course, Hallie had no idea what we were all excited about, but she loved the Minnie Mouse shirt we got for the trip.

Camden vaguely recalled our last Disney trip.  Mostly, he just remembered that he never wanted to go on Splash Mountain ever again.  So, more than anything else, he was just excited to get to hang out with the Collett clan.  

The trip was a generous Christmas gift from Mom and Dad to everyone.  We got to stay in the Grand Californian Hotel in rooms that were all connected, with balconies that were right in California Adventure.  It was such a treat to be able to walk right into the park, or walk right out for afternoon naps.

The cousins were deliriously happy to be reunited.  Jax never wanted to leave Camden's side.

On the first morning we went downstairs for a character breakfast.  Neither of my kids were quite sure about the giant stuffed animals that kept poking their noses and trying to hug them, but Jaxon was so cute about it.

And then we hit up the parks!  Hallie was entranced by the castle, and her favorite ride was the carousel in Fantasyland.  Camden was the boy who never stopped.  In three park days, he was the only one out of the whole group who never went back to the hotel for a break at any point in the day.  From open to close, that boy was riding rides and loving life at full speed.  His favorite rides were Radiator Springs Racers and It's a Small World.  {Even though that song drives me nuts, I absolutely love that he is still a fan of that classic ride.}

Toontown was a personal favorite of my childhood, and it's so cool to get to take my own kids there now.  My mom took pictures of me and my siblings in these same cars decades ago!  {How she got us all to look at the camera is a mystery I'll never solve.  She's a magician.}

Camden was completely weirded out by Mickey Mouse.  Now that he knew it was just a random stranger hiding in that thick costume, impersonating Mickey, he wouldn't even stand by him much less hug him.  I had to drag him into the family picture and promise him that the mouse-fraud wouldn't touch him.  All the while that little voice in my head is yelling at me about what a terrible mom I am for killing the magic for a tender five-year-old boy.  Waaah!

Fortunately, there is more magic to be found in Disneyland even outside of the characters and their long lines.

Toontown highlight for Hallie: Minnie's "makeup".

That night we went to dinner at an Italian place in Downtown Disney.  This is where the Buckmasters revealed the "We're Celebrating Baby Buck" buttons.  Can't wait until our next trip with all **three** of our kids!

This ride made the pregnant ladies super sick.  Yay Star Tours.

Kissing Lightening McQueen.  Apparently only the fuzzy characters are scary?

Okay guys, I was so excited about the new Frozen performance at the Hyperion.  Pretty sure I'm a bigger fan of the movie than my kids are, but I didn't realize the severity of my nerdiness.  I got us all reservations for a Frozen themed lunch to take place before the play, where we had seats front and center.  I mean, how cute is this Olaf dessert?

Come to find out I was the only one who cared about seeing this play.  Like, at all.  Camden was completely put off by the idea of anything that wasn't going on a ride, and all the guys were pretty blunt about their disinterest.  At last my mom and sister took pity on me and offered to keep me company.  Oh, and I didn't give Cam a choice.  He worked really hard to look as miserable as possible the entire time.

But even a pro like Camden couldn't keep the smile off his face.  This show was filled with magic.  It was truly amazing.  Cam refused to tell me he liked anything about it, but I'm pretty sure he loved the puppets - Olaf and Sven.  I mean, look at that face, he's trying so hard to suppress that grin.

One glorious night Lynn came to hang out with us.  We got giant ice cream cones and went on some of the pregnancy-friendly "big kid" rides.  Camden loved Soarin' Over the World.

Also, I love this weird girl.

And this girl!

And all the people in our crazy family.  

Entertaining the toddlers in line was no easy task.  Camden was a big help, though.  He would lead games like ring around the rosie, or let us know when one of the little ones was wandering a little too far.

Tom Sawyer Island!  Camden was such a little adventurer, he was hard to keep up with.  And those caves are deceptively complex.  I maaaay have thought I lost my son there for a moment.

In the meantime, Roy spent a lot of time with Hallie.  It was a divide and conquer strategy that worked pretty well, though we did battle it out for whose turn it was to take Hallie back to the hotel for a nap.

Oh and there was one night I took Camden to see the World of Color water show.  It would have been pretty spectacular if Camden had been like 20 pounds lighter.  My neck was numb for an hour after that!  Jake or Roy would have made a much better viewing deck, but everyone was asleep for the night.  Cam and I were hardcore.

This was the last ride of the night, and the way we felt about our trip coming to an end...

In the morning most everyone hit the road with the dawn.  Roy actually hit the air, as he had to fly to Oregon for his dear grandfather's funeral.  Grammy and Papa stuck back with us for one last character breakfast.  And you know what?  My kids weren't nearly as skittish.  Disney managed to work some magic after all.  Maybe I didn't ruin everything.  :-)

But still... all future magic questions will be directed to Roy.