Christmas has come and gone--the kind of Christmas you can only experience with young kids. On December 24th, the family gathered at a Chinese restaurant for dumplings, sticky rice and bean paste buns, etc. Then it was off to our house for gifts from Grandma and Papa while the grownups sipped champagne. Fast forward to Christmas morning for present-opening and a sumptuous breakfast. The big reveal was that three grandchildren, Hannah and Reagan and Grandma and Papa would be flying to Los Angeles for a visit to Disneyland! Delighted screams filled the room, as we explained to four-year-old Noah that he would soon be meeting Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse.
Seven sleepy people rose in the dark for a 6:30 flight, allowing extra time to park cars , deal with bags, go through security (kudos to TSA folks working without pay) and get to the gate in time to gobble down muffins and breakfast sandwiches. As Mary Poppins might say, the kids were practically perfect in every way throughout the flight. We enjoyed a real breakfast at a deli near LAX and then herded everyone into the minivan for the drive to Anaheim where Hannah had rented a cute house not far from the Mouse House.
Having had our share of amusement parks while raising three kids, Andy and I opted to explore LA. After dropping everyone at the gate, we headed for the foothills and beautiful Pasadena, where preparations for the Rose Parade and Bowl were in progress. Next stop was the Border Grill. One of the chef/owners is Susan Feniger, with whom I had a slight connection, as our brothers were friends back in Toledo. She was in the restaurant (one of many she and business partner Mary Sue Milliken own) that day and chatted with us. A spectacular Tex-Mex lunch finished with a complimentary dessert. By day's end, the rest of the crew were pretty wiped from the early wake-up and big crowds, but had a wonderful time.
On another day, Hannah and Reagan took the older two to Universal Studios for rides and Harry Potter. Noah and Grandma went to Adventure City, a park geared toward younger children. We rode the train, a little fire engine, went up in planes and a hot-air balloon, twirled on the carousel and had lunch. He even had his first Uber ride. The next day, while the troops were back at Disney, we toured Sunset Strip and Rodeo Drive (where we spotted Larry King!).
We finished a wonderful trip with a visit to windy, chilly Huntington Beach so the kids could see the Pacific ocean, and had a delicious seafood dinner. Another early flight got us home by noon. Andy and I can't thank Hannah and Reagan enough for including us. Special thanks to Alison and Matt for staying at our house with their dog and ours.
I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.