A Princess and her Castle

With my older 2 kids at camp the same week, and unable to find a toddler camp that would simultaneously potty train and teach my youngest to say something other than “I can’t do that ‘cuz a BUG is eating my BRAIN!!!!”, I needed to find something for The Toddler and I to do during our day.

Even though Disneyland is only 10 minutes from my dad’s house, I wasn’t really considering it. I just find it a difficult place to go in the summer season with a kid under 4–long lines, lots of people, hot weather, and a lot of money!

However. When your almost certainly last child puts on a tiara and tells you she wants to ‘find the Disneyland castle and dance like a princess’, then you melt into a puddle, take a picture, and go directly there–budget be damned.

From the moment we walked through the gates, all she focused on was finding the castle.

As we made our way down Main Street, behind the trolley, she started squealing. Apparently, at the moment she saw the castle, words escaped her. She resorted to ‘cat speak’ which is a series of high pitched squeaks and meows.

“Eeeeee meeeeoowwwww Mmmm Mmmmm eeeee!” which translated is, “Look, ma! My castle!”

Happily, it didn’t turn out to be as crowded as I’d expected. We rode most of the rides with minimal wait times. There is a ‘golden’ time from the time the park opens until about 11, when lines are pretty short. It gets crazy from 11 until about 5 or 6, and then starts thinning out again.

First there was the carousel, which she loved:

Then Dumbo, the flying elephant ride:

Then the Jungle Cruise ride, which she didn’t like so much. I think I have a picture of me at the same age, doing the same thing. Except I don’t think I’d come up with the cat speak then.

We took some time to eat some yummy candy.

But for the Toddler, all roads led back to the castle. Do you see it there, at the entrance to Fantasyland?

Sometimes a picture captures a moment in time that imprints on a mom’s heart. For me, this next picture is what I’ll remember about taking the Toddler to Disneyland. Nothing else matters at that moment. It’s simply and sweetly just a princess and her castle.

Where in the world?

I’m such a sucker for interactive maps that show where you’ve been. In fact, I’ve been mulling over a project where I would take a map of the world/US, attach it to a wall, and then put a stick pin in every place that we’ve travelled to…maybe different colors for each one of us in the family. It looks really cool on the wall at the Beau Jo’s Pizza in Idaho Springs!

So, to test it out, I made myself an online map of my own adventures. It really brings back the memories! And made me stop and think….I’m so glad I have been able to travel to so much of the US. If my Dad hadn’t picked up jobs and moved from Orange County to Wall Street, moving all of us with him, then I never EVER would have experienced New England like I did. And if my parents hadn’t taken a sabbatical and driven us all around in a rust covered, pop top, VW Vanagon, then I NEVER EVER would have experienced the entire middle swatch of the US. And if I hadn’t gotten married so young, which means both hubby and I moved around quite a bit to finish up schooling/climb up the job ladder/burn the job ladder down and start fresh, then I never would have experienced the south as much as I did.

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

Whoo Hoo! 41 states, or 80%! It kinda makes me wonder if the states I’ve missed feel left out? I mean, West Virginia has every reason to feel neglected and overlooked. How is it possible to travel through all the surrounding states and not hit at least a part of W. Va. ??? Is there some dark space in my mind that has a secret avoidance of the place? Do I need counseling to fix this apparent statophobia?

And I can’t forget the world map…

create your own visited countries map

Poor Asia, Africa & the Middle East. You will be next! When living in Hungary, we tried to venture into the Ukraine so we’d have a whole other continent under our belt. But, the trip required us to travel through Romania and then to Ukraine, both places where it was advised to ‘bring in your own food, water & living supplies’ during the extent of the visit. And, transportation was spotty, so be prepared for long delays before public transportation would show up (if at all). But that alone wasn’t enough to stop us from going–we tried to rent our own car but no one in Hungary would rent one to us for going to those places. I’m sure it’s different now, that was 7 years ago. But, we just felt that with 2 small kids (The Naturalist & Golfer were only 4 & 1, respectively.) we’d do something less adventurous. Like, taking the night train to Switzerland which took 22 hours. Yeah, THAT was a lot less work. :heavy sarcasm:

I am pleased that I’m representing with Venezuela on the board. Yeah yeah!

But the thought that I’ve only seen 8% of the world is rather sobering. I feel very myopic in a way I hadn’t before. Maybe Amazing Race will call up and tell me they have a spot for me! I think hubby and I would make a good team, I mean, we shlep our kids all over the place with a reasonable skill. We also tend to verbally jab each other when stressed, and you know how much AR loves a couple that look like they’re about to explode. I think we can cover that.

I don’t know if asking you all to do this is a meme or what…but make your own maps and share! I’m totally having the kids fill out their own and then figure out what percentage of the country they’ve seen. Which is a very traditional homeschool move. BUT! I’m letting them use a calculator, which is a very unschooling move. I’m so sneaky with my evil math.