Thursday, January 3, 2013

Tournament of Roses - Part 1

To put a little more detail behind my recent facebook status updates and instagram submissions over the past few days.

Since Christmas 2011 we have known that my parents were taking all three families to California for the 2013 Rose Parade. It’s one of my mom’s favorite things (more on that later) in the universe and they had already gone once when my younger brother was stationed in LA and once with my aunt and uncle. So they are experts.

It’s a four-day trip, starting the day before New Year’s Eve when the Norcross contingent managed to leave a mostly clean house (miraculous) with two small suitcases containing clothes; a briefcase; a daypack with magazines, books, iPod, iPad, Mobigo, 3DS and all the cords necessary for charging and hearing; a soccer backpack filled with as many stuffed animals as possible (Morgan); and one other backpack with Kit, Barbie, Ken, and Bitty’s blender so she could make smoothies if she was hungry (Zoe).

(Oh yeah, Bitty brought her own backpack filled with changes of clothes for her and Kit. Luckily, the airport did not require us to buy her a ticket.)

Breezed through Cleveland security despite only checking one of the above bags.

Survived a five and half hour flight with 3 little girls, 2 medium boys, 3 teenage girls, and 8 adults (one of which had never flown before). Thank god for the Temple Run app and my new young adult fantasy fiction novel.

Hopped off the plane at LAX with my dreams and a cardigan. (Thanks for getting THAT stuck in my head, Mylie Cyrus.) And stepped into a balmy 50ish degrees. Cardigan not helping much. Umm, where are the 60s? I signed up for 60s! Oh well, we just left 10 inches of snow behind, I guess I won’t complain (too much).

First purchase from the hotel gift shop the next morning was a large scarf that you will see modeled in every picture of me for the remaining three days.

After a dinner at Bubba Gump’s (on the patio under propane heaters), we settled into the hotel for the night. Girls we asleep around 8 (which to them felt like 11) and I wasn’t far behind them.

In case you are wondering, Scott got up at 4 in the morning and headed out on a run around North Hollywood. He later advised against it, due to the incline that Universal City sits on, and the potential gang banging.

Our kids were up by 5:30 and ready for the breakfast buffet, along with the big busload of seniors from Sun City, also here to take in the parade.

I’m not sure if all kids are like this, but Morgan is obsessed with “favorite” things.

For example, as the credits start to roll on a movie… “What was your favorite part? Who was your favorite character? What was your second favorite part?”

On New Year’s Eve, we spent the day at Universal Studios. So of course there was “What was your favorite ride?” But there was also, “What was your favorite part of that ride?” and “What was your favorite ten seconds within that part of that ride?”

What was your favorite ride?
Mom: Transformers
Dad: The Mummy
Morgan: The Simpson’s
Zoe: Transformers

What was your favorite part of the studio tour?
Mom: King Kong
Dad: Jaws
Morgan: Jaws (sub-set: seeing how the robot shark worked)
Zoe: The man with the knife (referring to when a real actor playing Norman Bates came at the bus acting like he was going to stab someone – yes, that is my child – and honestly, it kind of gave me the heebie-jeebies, someone give that guy a real job).

What was your favorite part of Waterworld?
Mom: I liked it all (honestly, this was the last thing we did and I was tired of answering the question. I liked the diving show on Oasis of the Seas better.)

Also, we can talk our kids into just about anything…

Morgan really didn’t want to go on The Mummy, but we convinced her. And even though she started crying when the bugs exploded on us and the ride started going backwards, in the end she said it was fun. (It builds character.)
Except where T-Rex’s are concerned…

Despite the fact that when Morgan initially saw that the Jurassic Park ride was on a boat it was the first thing she wanted to go on, as soon as she found out it involved T-Rexes attacking us it lost all appeal and there was no changing her mind. Zoe did go on it, however. I’m pretty sure that it scarred her for life, along with Papa who got hit with every random water spray throughout the experience.

Seriously, EVERY ride in that park is scary. Even the Simpson’s ride has a psychotic Side Show Bob chasing you, trying to kill you. But since it was a cartoon, Morgan apparently didn’t find it as convincing. However, she did admit she is afraid of Whos (as in, the Whos down in Whoville – since they were still celebrating Grinchmas) and refused to take a picture with one of them.

So to top it all off, of course we walk though the House of Horrors and let mummies, werewolves, and Frankenstein’s monster jump out at our children right before bed time. And I am a person that HATES haunted anythings. Houses, forests, insane asylums…I have a fear that one of the people is going to actually kill me with any number of tools normally used for chopping down trees. It’s called suspensionofdisbeliefobia. Pretty sure it’s in Morgan’s DNA. Zoe might have missed that gene. (Also she was really pissed she wasn’t tall enough to go on The Mummy.)

I believe I mentioned that this all occurred on New Year’s Eve. After which we had a great meal at the Hard Rock CafĂ© in Universal City where Zoe, Morgan and Whitney first fell asleep.

We got back to the hotel a little before all our friends and family in Ohio celebrated the New Year. And surprisingly, Pacific Time shows Times Square on a tape delay, so every single one of us missed the ball drop since we were all snug in our beds not long after 10. Jet lag is a bitch and we had to be up at 4 AM the next day.

To be continued…

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