The Vacation Post




During July, 2011, we went on vacation to Southern California for 2.5 weeks. For the first 6 days, we were at Disneyland. Next 7 days, we stayed at Uncle Larry’s vacation home in Palm Springs. Last 4 days of our trip, we stayed in Monterey Park with my side of the extended family. Because over time, we tend to forget the little details of our lives, I wanted to make sure I capture these in writing so that we can look back and reflect on how it all went a little more clearly. Here are the most memorable things of our trip, in no particular order other than in the three different parts of our trip.

DISNEYLAND:

  • The Little Mermaid ride in California Adventure Park NINE times. Yes, nine times. It was, needless to say, Lily’s favorite ride.
  • Getting soaked on Grizzly River Run.
  • The colors water show at the end of the night on Jaeden’s birthday.
  • Eating lunch at that Chinese place in California Adventure Park. CHINESE FOOD in theme parks, woohoo!
  • Going on Space Mountain twice in a row with the “adults” after the kids were in bed.
  • Getting soaked on Splash Mountain.
  • Seeing the fireworks from the top of Splash Mountain.
  • Rushing through the park late at night with no kids in tow.
  • Lily’s face when she saw all the princesses in the princess parade.
  • “Who…?! What…?! Where…?! Why…?! Whaatt..??!!” Lily when she didn’t know which question to ask first out of excitement.
  • Going on the merry-go-round three times. Can we spell, N-A-U-S-E-A?
  • Lily covering her eyes during Pirates of the Caribbean and the Muppet Show.
  • Actually waiting in line to see the Michael Jackson show. L-A-M-E. He saved the world through pelvic thrusts.
  • Lily’s face when she saw the “CASTLE.” “Can we go inside, can we go inside?!”
  • Lily’s confusion when there was no “inside” to the castle other than the Sleeping Beauty walk through.
  • Getting my scalp sunburned.
  • Shopping for a bag with Dave that is neutral yet girly at the same time, and has to have a zipper or can close. We ended up getting a black backpack with the Disneyland logo on it. :P
  • Buying identical pink Disney crocs for Lily and Kennedy.
  • Buying the Little Mermaid figurine set for Lily.
  • Seeing the Aladdin Show with Lily and singing right along.
  • The awesome ride that is The Tower of Terror.
  • Pee dances with two toddler girls.
  • Lily waking up every morning declaring, “Okay, I’m done with this bed! I want MY bed at home!”
  • Regularly braiding Lily’s hair everyday to keep it up and out of her face.
  • Lily taking our picture while going on Mickey’s Fun (Ferris) Wheel.
  • Pausing for snack breaks in between rides and in line-ups.
  • Three hotel rooms side by side, with Nana in the middle.
  • Getting blisters while walking in wet shoes after getting soaked on Splash Mountain with Dave, Dan, and Kami.
  • Lily’s face when we went “inside” the castle (aka: Sleeping Beauty walk-through).
  • Seeing an old ex-best-friend after 15 years after a huge fall-out because she happens to be working at Disneyland that same week.
  • Having her avoid speaking or acknowledging us only to mistakenly give Dan and Kami a survey instead because she didn’t know they were part of our group.
  • Going swimming everyday at the hotel swimming pool and hot tub.
  • Lily slipping off the edge and falling into the hot tub, almost drowning. THAT WAS THE SCARIEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE.
  • Saving Lily from drowning by jumping in fully clothed, after the grown woman RIGHT next to her did nothing but nonchalantly stare. I wanted to kick that woman.
  • Lily and Kennedy going in and out in and out in and out of the “big pool” and the “hot pool.”
  • Dave’s laptop FRIED and he lost his hard drive, along with everything in it.
  • Kids eat free at IHOP every night after 5pm! Three times at IHOP that week. I’m done for at least 3 years.
  • The introduction of the summer orange milkshake on our last dinner at Disneyland at Denny’s. Wow, that’s yummy.
  • Having walkie talkies throughout the park.
  • First time getting nauseous on the Teacup ride. I think it is the beginning of old age or something?
  • “Can we fast pass this?”
  • Realizing there’s a malfunction in my favorite bathing suit bottom, and thus successfully mooning everyone while at the pool.
  • Two little girls toddling along without a single complaint for 6 days.
  • “The kids are heightened. HEIGHTENED.”
  • Seeing the fireworks from our hotel balcony across the street from Disneyland.
  • Over 12 hours of Disneyland for the adults minus Nana.
  • Misters are the best thing ever invented.
  • The horrible mistake from hotels.com that left Sylv and Reilly stranded without a room for the first night, thus sleeping with us instead.
  • Being on the phone with hotels.com for almost an hour demanding a full refund.
  • Lily’s first try at shooting during the Toy Story Mania ride.
  • Lily being scared in the Haunted Mansion ride.
  • Last day of Disneyland: “Okay, I think we’re disneylanded out.”

PALM SPRINGS:

  • Swimming every single day.
  • The make-shift bed for Lily on the floor next to our bed; and she thought it was the coolest thing ever.
  • 110 degree dry heat every.single.day.
  • Lily hating the car ride to Palm Springs because she declared, “I don’t like this car seat! I want OURS at home!”
  • Stepping out into the weather at Palm Springs for the first time and Lily exclaiming, “It is a little bit hot here. MOMMYYYYY PICK ME UP!!”
  • Game nights with the adults after the kids were in bed.
  • Blue finger nails and toe nails from Auntie Kami for the girls.
  • Alonetime in the pool with Dave during one of the nights. :)
  • Lily and Kennedy fighting like sisters. :) “MOM SHE’S LOOKING AT ME!!!”
  • Walmart trips. Many Walmart trips.
  • Finally being able to cook our own meals after eating out 3 times a day for 6 days a week.
  • Soak City on the Monday before we left: everyone got sunburned except the kids.
  • Kami and I switching places supervising the girls while they went down the water park slide at Soak City; and effectively switching getting soaked by the giant water reservoir that tipped over every few minutes.
  • The Lazy River at Soak City, and floating along it over and over and over and over again.
  • No vegetarian foods at Soak City, thereby pigging out on… fries.
  • Dave having a “superhero” sunburn mask on after Soak City because he was wearing his sunglasses while everything else on his body got burned lobster red.
  • Editing photos while on vacation. Aww!
  • Finishing the book “The Forgotten Garden” finally, after having started it 6 months ago!
  • Ants in the kitchen. Lots of ‘em.
  • Whipped cream cheese. I will never go back.
  • Kix for breakfast every morning, and Chex Mix for snacks every evening.
  • Being “cold” in the evening in the house (due to air conditioning) while it is over 100 degrees outside.
  • Using Lily’s padded underwear as a cushion for her car seat so it doesn’t hurt her thighs.
  • Lily getting used to floating on her own in the pool with a donut ring on!
  • Hot tub at night. Weird concept for such hot weather but it felt ssoooo nice.
  • Towels and wet bathing suits drying overnight while hung over the rails by the pool.
  • Interesting margarita mixes for all the adults except myself, after the kids have gone to bed.
  • Silence after 9pm, when every adult is doing their own thing in the same room after the kids are asleep.
  • Bought not one, but two brand new laptops after Dave’s fried one. One for me, one for him, as per our tradition.
  • Slow internet at the house.
  • Shopping at Target again. I miss Target!
  • New bathing suit for Lily and me, woohoo!
  • Braiding Lily’s hair every single morning.

MONTEREY PARK:

  • Having to go ignorantly eat at a “Tofu House” (thinking it was all vegetarian) only to realize too late that it was a Korean restaurant with little vegetarian alternatives. This was right before we checked into our hotel room.
  • Realizing after we checked in that Happy Family ALL-VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT was literally right next door, along with Lee’s Sandwiches, which sells vegetarian Vietnamese sandwiches. What a waste of a meal a Tofu House.
  • Discovering Happy Family restaurant. Yum. Both places.
  • Showing up at Brigitte’s house and seeing so many cousins and aunties and uncles.
  • Finally meeting Brenna!
  • Finally having Brigitte meet Dave and Lily!
  • Lily playing possessively with Brenna’s toys. :P
  • Lily being shy with all the aunties when they acted like mother hens and literally started poking and hugging her and yabbering away in Vietnamese, which she doesn’t understand. Heh.
  • Breakfast every morning at Lee’s Sandwiches. Yuuummmmm.
  • Being just the three of us again after two weeks with extended family felt weird and oddly quiet.
  • Lily meeting my cousins’ kids, her cousins, and playing with them one by one as she met them.
  • Eating AWESOME vegetarian meals every single day for every single meal after the mistake of Tofu House.
  • Bitter melon with fried/scrambled egg.
  • Vegetarian bun rieu. Mmmm. Lily and Dave loved it too!
  • Lily eating the best meals we’ve ever seen her eat. She was constantly hungry and ate so much every meal. She loved everything on her plate all the time.
  • Going to the beautiful Hacienda Buddhist temple, just the three of us.
  • The L.A. museum of natural history! First time for Lily seeing dinosaurs in person!
  • Being refused entry to the main praying hall because I was wearing a spaghetti strap dress.
  • Lily getting a free cookie in the snacking hall because the lady behind the counter declared she was so beautiful.
  • Ineffectively trying to explain religion (particularly Buddhism) to Lily.
  • First 5 minutes into the city of L.A., stopping to get gas and for potty break for Lily: had a homeless man and a homeless woman ask for spare change, telling us “Oh your daughter is so beautiful. Wow.” and looking at her creepily, me witnessing an extremely overweight lady steal a couple of bags of chips and corn nuts. Worse yet, we decided not to do anything about it because we were afraid she might have been armed and dangerous if we told on her and became “witnesses.”
  • Dinners with relatives every night. I’ve missed them.
  • CATHY’S WEDDING!! So fun, and so happy to see Lily getting along with all her little cousins.
  • Dancing Lily with dancing Ethan and dancing Eileen! They can boogie!
  • Itchy Dave right before his sunburned skin started peeling.
  • Ordering prints and products for photography clients while on vacation. Boo! Heh.
  • Beautiful Cathy and her hubby Alan having the coolest first dance ever.
  • Eating dinner after the wedding with some of the aunts and uncles and my DAD!!!
  • Lily finally giving hugs starting the day before we left, at Cathy’s wedding. She gave her Uncle John and Auntie Lally a hug.
  • Right before we said goodbye to everyone, she gave her Ngoai (my dad, her grandpa) some hugs, as well as my Little Aunt some hugs, and then played catch with her Auntie Brigitte, by which the prize was GIVING HUGS AND KISSES!

GOING HOME:

  • Lily saying, “Are we done with our vacation now? I want to stay longer.”
  • Almost losing Bubby at LAX airport right before our flight. Brief 5 minutes of panic while we freakishly scanned the waiting area for Bubby.
  • DADDY FOUND BUBBY!!
  • Eating Lee’s Sandwiches veggie sandwiches for lunch for the last time. :(
  • Lily and I coloring for most of the plane trip home.
  • Heavy heavy heavy suitcases and a super-husband who carried them all.
  • Arguing with the bus guy as to why Lily wasn’t registered to ride with us. I don’t care whose fault that is, but we’re going home, WITH Lily, on that bus, even if I had to drive it myself.
  • And we did! And I didn’t have to drive it! Ha!
  • Seeing Nana where she picked us up at the border store, and Lily exclaiming excitedly, “NNNAAANNAAAA!!!!!!!!!!”
  • During the car ride home, Lily asked me matter-of-factly, “So which of your aunties are we going to see tomorrow?”
  • Lily’s teary eyes when told that we weren’t going to be seeing them for a while because they don’t live in Canada with us.
  • Lily declaring that this was not good, and that all the aunties and cousins “should move up here with us. That would be nice.” :)
  • Sleeping in our own beds.

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