3 years ago we took our kids to Disneyland for the first time. It was not only their first time but mine as well. I had always dreamed of going since the days where I was obsessed over Pooh Bear and Eeyore. We told the kids that we were going to go once and then never again. ha! Big mistake. I am one that does not like to splurge on many things. I came from very little and with that background comes a knowledge that there are people with great need. Now being in a position to help, it’s hard to spend money on things that otherwise could go to others. It’s hard to explain.
I’m so thankful for being in a position to be generous and also in a position to treat our family to things that I never did when growing up. So back to 3 years ago. After flying home the kids and I made Josh promise that on our 15th anniversary he would take us back. Every time a Disneyland commercial would come on the kids and I would talk of going back. This year as the time grew closer Josh and I booked the trip but never once told the kids. In fact when they asked I would say things like, “well, I’m still holding out hope” or I would tell them that they need to get jobs at Disneyland when they grow up and then we could go anytime! heeehee
I week before our week at Disneyland I had a photographer’s conference in California. As I packed for the conference I brought down all our suitcases and left one packed for the girl. Josh took care of the rest. When my conference was over the plan was to meet in Anaheim. The kids still didn’t know this though. I said my goodbyes to them and expressed how I couldn’t wait to see them in a week’s time. A week later they woke up to Josh telling them that they needed to go pick mom up. Which was true. He just didn’t offer the full story and they assumed he meant from the airport in Portland.
A few hours away and they woke up after falling sleep on the road. They could tell that they were no where near Portland and so began to ask questions. They were a few hours from the Oregon/California border. Josh pulled over and handed them an envelope in which they got the message from me that I was waiting for them to come get me… in Disneyland! Josh recorded the whole thing! I still can’t believe we kept the secret from them- thank you to the clients and school staff and church friends that helped prep our being gone without letting the cat out of the bag as well!!
Once they arrived we toasted to being together over Mickey mouse cake pops and settled in for a few days to just enjoy Anaheim. Being that there was rain (we got 4 inches in three days time- the most they had received all year…. you’re welcome California, we Oregonian’s like to share our plenty). The first day at the park was filled with what I call “Disneymoments”….. I know, I know, I’m a cheese ball!
If you know me at all you know I’m a bit OCD. I plan everything. every.thing! So I had read many blogs and had tips and tricks to maximize our Disneyland fun. On our first day we got to open the park early and spent 16 hours straight in the park. wowzers- I want to do that again! I had read that when you are celebrating a special occasion you should go to Disneyland’s City Hall and let them know so that you could get acknowledged. I did just that and we ended up with two buttons that declared to all the cast members that we were celebrating our 15th anniversary. If you know anything about Disneyland you know they are known for the experience. And every where we went each cast member would congratulate us and we got to have some great conversations all because of our little pins. However, we quickly learned that we must still look too young to be married that long. At times I thought some cast members didn’t believe us! Another time Josh and Naomi were off on their own and Jesse and I were waiting for an attraction. The cast member had been looking at me funny and finally said “I know I should congratulate you but you couldn’t have been married for 15 years to him…. right?…” I busted up laughing and poor Jesse thought that was just disgusting!! I explained that Jesse was my 13 year old son and that my husband of 15 years was with our 10 year old daughter playing. He and another cast member had a hard time letting it go.
Then of course there was the few times we were reminded that if we’ve really been married that long we should know to leave the “rug rats” at home. Needless to say our kids have thanked us for letting them celebrate with us.
I could talk your ear off about this wonderful vacation that we planned for several years but I won’t. I will leave you with this though: Through our time celebrating our 15 years so many people have been so kind with cards and words and gifts. Jaime Davis gave us such a gift. She met us at Disneyland the night before we left and documented our love story. She was so great that even Jesse and Naomi kept talking about her the next day about how nice she was. After posting a photo that Jamie took on Facebook, I have received some questions of how a session at Disneyland works. Here it is folks: you click HERE and check out Jaime Davis Photography. Then you send her a message and begin an amazing experience with one talented photographer! Easy as that! And no, Jaime has no idea I’m writing this!
These will be the only images I will be sharing of our trip. The reason being is two fold. They really capture our time and our family accurately. And second I challenged myself to see the world through my eye rather than the lens. So I left my camera in it’s case. GASP!! But I did, and I will tell you I don’t regret it because these images remind me all I need to know years from now. We laughed, we kissed, we hugged,
we I cried, and we celebrated an amazing 15 years with the love of my life- and the two precious gifts he gave me!
Note: I have to thank Janet Walker of Heirlooms Creations. Two days before I was to leave on this trip I found that the dress I wanted to wear for this shoot had a bad zipper. I found someone who said they could replace it- only it didn’t work out. I panicked with less than 24 hours to fix it, I was so upset but after I spoke with Janet she reassured me she could fix it and you know what, she did. I dropped it off after 9pm the night before I flew out and she had it ready by the next morning! She really saved the look I was going for on this shoot and I’m so thankful! So, if you are looking for a great local seamstress- she’s your girl!
*all photos © 2014 Jamie Davis Photography