The Chocolate Lady

Friday, January 4, 2008

Let me tell you about our Holiday Excursion......

With Christmas break coming to an end, I was feeling guilty for not having taken advantage of the time off to make memories with the kids. I mean, CHRISTMAS is a memory, of course, but something fun...and extra, and vacation-ish seemed in order.

I love seeing the Rose Parade in looks so stunning, so amazing, and after watching it on TV New Years morning (with my face aflame with a raging sinus infection)....I got the gumption to gather the kids and take them to see the floats.

My plan was to be out the door by 9am, which automatically translates to 11am, because, that's how we roll around here.

Get this one dressed, brush that ones hair, the other poops her pants - change the diaper, that one has a meltdown because he wants to wear all his spy gear and I say goes on and on.....

Oh, and one thing I should mention, if you ever spend a 3 day weekend laid up with a sinus infection, take the time to brush your hair. Just because your eye is so swollen that you cant see, and your face feels like someone is pouring acid into your nostrils, dont think you dont need to detangle your tresses, is all Im saying, because you may then be faced with a huge nest in the back of your head...which will take a good 30 minutes of your time, while you wrestle with a brush and your daughters *detangler* spray, trying to get rid of the massive ball that was created while you didnt brush your hair for three days. And, such a thing only goes to slow you down when you are trying to get out the door to go see the Rose Parade floats.

By 11am, I was out the door; stroller (check), diaper bag with extra clothes, snacks and waters (check), jackets (check), money (check), kids in their seats (check).


First stop Starbucks, cause you didnt think I had time to feed my kids in that whole morning, did you??

I ran in, got the kids their pumpkin bread (each in their own bag) and their organic, chocolate milk (big treat!)....and I got my frappucino (which is sort of like a morning version of the ice-cream-shake)...and mine was made wrong (who is going to argue with a 1/4 cup of caramel on their morning ice cream shake??) ...but it was made wrong for the same reason that it took so long, because the "barista boy" was chit-chatting with his friends that had come to visit...goofing around and taking all the time in the world.....

in the meantime, my kids are waiting in the car while I "quickly run in"...and everytime I do that I fear I will return to a van that has 3 kids, and some "concerned citizen" and a cop, ready to bust me for leaving the kids alone (but bringing them into Starbucks would have just been a disaster....I was so lucky to finally have them in the car....)....but anways....

We get on the road, and thanks to "holiday light traffic" I got to our destination in just over an hour (about 60 miles away).

I was feeling pretty good, as we pulled up to Pasadena City College to park.....once I found a spot, we unpacked the car and headed over the shuttle bus.

This is about the point I should have patted myself on the back for just getting there, and turned around. But I had to push my luck.

It was now 12:45 and it was warm, AND, thanks to the increase in altitude (I leave near the beach, and this was up near the base of the mountains) sinuses had become enraged. Which in my world, means my patience level was operating at nil to none.

We walk the 1/2 mile to the bus area, to find 2 winding, long lines, and about a thousand people.

The first line, is to get the ticket to get on the bus. Naturally, just as we get into line, Beauty spies the porta-potties, and needs to go. And if she needs to go, we might as well take the time to ALL GO. 20 minutes wasted. and no one even peed.

So, then we wait in line for 30 minutes, it's hot, and Ive apparently forgotten the waters, and my sinuses are burning....but we are going to enjoy this.

Just as I step up to buy my tickets, with my 3 kids and stroller, some clown steps up to the counter in front of me. Some clown that just waltzed up, didnt wait in line......and, no joke, he had 2 black eyes! Wonder how that happened?? anyways......I pointed him to the back of the line, got our tickets, and we were on our way to line #2, the line to actually get ON the bus. But just as we went to get in line, Beauty grabbed her crotch, and we detoured AGAIN to the porta potties.

I would just like to mention, that while Beauty and Pooper slept on the hour long drive to Pasadena, Little One did not.

On a typical day, she would have already had a 2.5 hour nap, and she hadnt yet slept a wink. (dark, forshadowing music)

So, we finally go to line #2, which lasted about an hour. Little One wanted to be held off and on, squirming in and out of her stroller, etc....but I was pretty sure we would make it all work out. That is, until we got about 30 yards from the bus, and I was told I had to "break down" my stroller. Um, I cant break it down and carry it, and also carry my baby.....and quickly hop on a bus, and blah blah blah.......

But we did, and we got on the bus, and this was going to be fun.

Feeling pretty good that we had made it thus far, with no major meltdowns, I decided to do the "good-mother" thing and give my kids a talk about safety, and staying together, and going over their names, phone numbers, etc. and what to do if they got lost. They seemed to really get the drill, and knew just what to do if they got lost.

Once we got off the bus we walked the 1/2 mile to the float display area (a few blocks of city streets, that were roped off with the floats, as well as booths of food, drinks, etc.)

As we entered the gates to the float area, I pointed to the kids and showed them, "that is the *blue gate* lost and found, that's where you will go if you get lost, just ask someone in a white hat if you need help, or go to the *blue gate* lost and found."

Well, let me just say right now, that you may not want to drill this safety stuff into your kids so much, that they actually start to look forward to getting lost and getting to go to the lost and found.

With Little One in her stroller (screaming to be held), I forged ahead, with the other two holding hands, and walking right behind me.

We have a "rule" (I like rules), that when we are in crowded areas, they need to walk behind me, not beside me....there isnt always room to walk beside me, like at th grocery store, or the Rose, it is best to avoid traffic run-ins, by walking right behind me....I forge the path ahead, and they just follow behind. It usually works. With me shouting out, "behind me, get behind me" everytime they start to go BESIDE me, and then get run over by some foriegn person.......

So, moving ahead, trying to look at the GORGEOUS floats, but having a hard time, because when you are in a super crowded area, with people packed in like sardines, moving slowly (if at all) you need to keep your eyes on the road, or your stroller will run people, you keep your eyes on the person in front of you, trying to take side glances at the floats, while holding your now crying toddler, and navigating a stroller with one hand, while hollering out, "stay behind me, come on guys, stay right behind me" to the older ones.

And then, we stop at some floats to take some pictures, and catch our breath, and it was nice. for a minute.

As we continued forward, Pooper lingered, to look at the float. "come on, hold your sisters hand" I yelled, as we moved ahead, pushed by the crowds....but he didnt hear me (so he says)...and the next thing I know, he bee-lines it back to the *blue gate lost and found* !!!

What is he doing? He is only 10 feet behind us, Im yelling his name, while I try
to turn my stroller around, with one hand, against the direction of the packed people, screaming his name, as I watch him scurry off to the lost and found.

I try to catch up to him, it's like driving through rush hour on the wrong side of the road...his little body scoots in and out of the crowd, while Ive got to navigate my stroller..nearly impossible.

And as I approach the blue gate lost and found, I hear, "Will the parents of......"

"Im right here!" I say.......

The nice volunteer in the white hat was handing her newest little guy some crayons and coloring book.....

I was totally sweating, sinuses burning, baby now fully crying, and we were right back at the beginning!

I tried to gently remind Pooper, that while I was proud of him for knowing just where to go when he "got lost".....NEXT TIME, feel free to look around before you high tail it to the lost and found, because WE WERE RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU!!

I couldnt say too much, what mom wouldnt be glad that their child knew what to do, and was safe (although he was always in our sights!)

We forged ahead......and saw some really beautiful floats.........

Elise was not so happy about being put in the stroller during picture times, she really just wanted to be held, dear thing.

And then, I saw this lady, and couldnt resist taking a picture. My friend Darla may be the only one that sees the humor in someone shalacking their hair in a purple spray (which may not be very apparent in the picture, but trust me, up close in person, it was clearly PURPLE)...but I took this picture for her...even though I dont think she even reads my blog.....but, anyways, this is for you Darla!!

We then browsed through the floats, got some junk food, and made the reverse trip home....

Here is Little One (churro in hand) on the bus ride back to the parking structure, now about 4pm, and hasnt had a nap all day!

And these two troopers.....(yes, Beauty did her own hair, at least it isnt sprayed purple!)

We made it back home around was a long day, full of "memories" that Im sure in time will seem so wonderful, that I may even become so delusional that I take them again next year.


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Anonymous said...

Kim, that's the kind of excursion that gets more and more fun, the more distant in your memory it becomes. I've always had a hankering to go see the floats, and we talked this year about going to seem them b/c Lauren really enjoys watching the parade and was interested in seeing them too. Then, on Jan. 2, we got lazy in the morning and didn't get around to it. I must confess after reading your entry that I'm not shedding any crocodile tears that we missed it! I had no idea it was such an ordeal to get there or so crowded once you were there. I laughed my head off about Andrew going to the lost and found. He's a smart boy that child!

Okay, last comment and totally off topic, but crocodile tears above reminded me of this. We got our kids this cheap game called "Crocodile Dentist" for Christmas, and they love it, and play it endlessly with each other and whatever adult they can rope into it. It has no parts to lose or break, it's small and even Elise can play it. Look it up online and consider getting it for a rainy day new toy.

Karen B.

Anonymous said...

That is really hilarious! I was sitting here at work cracking up. I can totally see the whole running back to the Lost and Found scene. Glad ya'll had fun overall!

Cindy said...

Reminds me of some crazy group home outings. Imagine doing this same trip when they are teenagers.