Saturday, April 7, 2018

Spring Break Surprise, Part 1

About 13 months ago, Eric and I started making plans for a whiz-bang 2018 spring break for our family.... to Disneyland. Over the past year, the kids have made off-hand comments about wanting to go to Disneyland or how sooooo many of their friends have been there but they have yet to visit the Magical Kingdom, we'd stifle our grins and explain how big trips like that take a lot of planning and saving. As those sentiments poured out of our mouths, our inner voices were giggling and saying, "If you only knew what we're up to!"

We were very stealthy with our planning and packing efforts. Eric and I would refer to "Operation Orange" whenever talking about the trip, just to make sure the kids didn't catch on to what we were talking about. I even pre-packed our suitcases when the kids weren't home and then put the suitcases back on the shelves in the storage area just so the kids wouldn't see the luggage out of place. We were THAT dedicated to keeping this trip a secret. I'm proud to report that all of our secrecy and sneakiness paid off. The kids had NO CLUE.

Last Saturday, we snuck into their rooms so we could wake them up and soon after, head to the airport.

Once the cobwebs cleared, the kids were raring to go! We dropped off Buca with the dog sitter and headed down to SeaTac Airport and then on to Orange County, sunshine, palm trees, and the land of Mickey Mouse himself.

We spent our first day in Anaheim getting settled and figuring out our approach for the week. Our condo had a prime view of Disneyland (just under a mile away). Little did we know until our first night in town that we had an optimal view of the nightly Disney fireworks show right from our humble abode. No need to venture out late at night for us! We could watch them from the comfort of our own "home" and even wear our PJs! Bonus!!

The only thing that was set in stone was the next day ... Easter. We woke up to celebrate Easter day with the kids (Annika was THRILLED to have chocolate again after having given it up for Lent!). 

After our Easter festivities, the four of us piled into our rental car and drove up to LA so we could spend the day with my college roommate Rachel and her family at the Griffith Observatory. Rachel and I have known each other since we were 18 and are so lucky to have so many years of friendship and shared experiences. We've seen each other through so many stages of our lives, but it still doesn't seem possible that we've known each other over half of our lives. 

We opted to meet at the Griffith Observatory not realizing it and it's surrounding parks/trails are quite a destination spot on days like ... oh, say... Easter. WHOOPS! Parking was a bit of a challenge and left us on a mini hike we didn't anticipate. Fortunately, it all worked out and we met up with Rachel and Jason, their girls Hannah and Eliana, and Rachel's mom Peggy. We learned an incredible amount about the universe during our visit to the observatory. I have to say, though, that the coolest part had to be the Centered in the Universe show. It was shown on the large dome in and had a way of drawing in its audience in an almost magical way. When it depicted the big bang, I happened to look over at Conor and couldn't help but laugh at the fact his eyes were about the size of dinner plates! It was one heck of a big bang! :)

Hiking to the observatory from our parking spot

Griffith Observatory

Hey! Look what we could see from the observatory!

Conor watching the Foucault Pendulum

Eric and Annika

Yup, this is how Conor looks through a telescope

Eric and Conor

Sunglasses girl posing with her telescope

Waiting for the show to start

Infrared Conor

The Olson Four (plus Eliana) at the Griffith Observatory

College roomies!

After we got our fill of science for the day, it was time to fill up on lunch. We drove to a local restaurant to share a meal with the Moss family and continue catching up. Rachel and I haven't seen each other in quite a few years, so getting some face time was beyond special and cherished.

Eventually, it was time to head our separate ways and say "until next time" to Rachel and her family. Eric, the kids, and I headed back to Anaheim to spend a bit of time in the pool and then gearing up for our next full day in California .... at Disneyland.

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