A couple weeks ago, my baby sister announced on her Facebook page that she would be having a promotion ceremony the next day.
I’ll be honest here, I don’t really “get” a lot of this military stuff. While there have been some extended members of our family that have served and my dad did attempt to join (couldn’t continue due to his asthma), we don’t really come from a long line of service in the armed forces. Then there’s my political views (which I honestly don’t think they are that different than the average American, but sometimes they come off more extreme than they actually are, anyway…)
But, you know what? That’s OK. None of that stuff matters when it comes to loving and supporting my sister. So I called her up and asked if it was something I could attend. We got all the details worked out and then I was off, by myself with the three kids so I could be there for her. Stephen and I had already planned to head down that weekend to see his cousin graduate and I just decided to extend the trip a bit. He’d join us after work that Friday.
I made great time so I had lunch with the kids (and sea lions) at the harbor before heading over. I felt pretty awkward the whole ceremony. Here I am with my three kids (one a fussy, teething baby that was having a hard time being quiet during important parts) and my sister’s husband standing off to the side in this equipment lot by ourselves with all these marines. Afterwards though, the officer that presided over the ceremony said he was really glad I was there and that they can’t do what they do without the support of family. So I relaxed.
Turns out this promotion was a pretty big deal. She was promoted meritoriously, which means she had to work really hard, pass tests, interviews, etc. in order to get this. During the ceremony the officer also said their unit has won the last few meritorious promotions, which is also a big deal.
Walking up from the back of the formation.
Reading the promotion.
About to get pinned.
Presentation of the newly minted Sgt. Tanner.
Showing off the new pins on her collar.
Special coin things she got.
With the Bean.
So then after that, I had two days by myself with the kids that I had to fill up with fun.
Now, this might sound crazy, but the next day I decided to take them to Disneyland. I knew they’d have fun. I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about them getting bored or getting into mischief at my aunt’s or climbing on something inappropriately or, well, I think you get the picture. Plus, bedtime has kind of been a nightmare around here with TWO parents and I knew they would be so dang tired that I could just transfer them to their beds from the van afterwards with no issues. And everything pretty much went as I expected. We had one tantrum/meltdown right as we were about to meet Pooh Bear & Co, but we got away from the line, calmed down and then went to eat dinner before settling down to watch the parade as our last activity.
Aside from the Pooh Bear incident, we really had a lot of luck meeting characters which is what I wanted to mainly do since I knew I wouldn’t be able to do many rides by myself (Small World was our only ride).
As soon as we got in the park, Snow White and her evil step mother had started greeting guests by the wishing well. Bean loves the characters and talks to them non-stop. Sprout clings to my leg and watches them from afar. As we walked through the tunnel under the castle walls, Ariel appeared.
We made our way over to Toon Town and the kids got to play in the playground area. Then we went through some character houses. As we got to the end of Mickey’s house, he had just arrived and was now doing pictures. We were second in line!
We tried to go next door to Minnie afterwards, but the line was closed because she had “a lunch date to get to.” Side note: for the next few days Bean had an imaginary friend Minnie Mouse that she led around holding hands and kept saying stuff like, “Mama, I just can’t pick up those toys because I have a lunch date to get to with Minnie.”
We headed back to Goofy’s house and play area where we’d left our stroller and he was walking up to his front porch! Impeccable timing!
Had lunch, got on the train for a round trip. Rode small world. Headed over to pirate’s island. Bean got freaked by the cave. Sprout loved it. The barrel bridge was nearly a disaster. Found the treasure pile.
Pooh Bear meltdown. Dinner in New Orleans Square and then parade time.
Bean was so excited!
Sparrow was SUPER happy and excited during the parade!
The next day I headed down to San Diego. We played at at park and then went to the model railroad museum at Balboa Park. I really, really love model trains. This one was really cool because they had a model of the Tehachapi loop, lots of information on the Kern rail system and its importance, and they were in the process of building key Bakersfield rail locations.
The next day we had some time to kill before the graduation. We drove around trying to find grocery store discounts to Legoland or Sea World and then decided on the Scripps Aquarium.
Then we found out my sister could buy tickets on base for cheap. So she got tickets for us to go to Sea World with my aunt (my aunt generously got all of our tickets, but my sis couldn’t come with).
We headed over to the graduation party for good food and a live feed of the Point Loma graduation ceremony online.
The happy grad courtesy of (her dad), Uncle Randy.
We got back to my aunt’s late that night and then were off to Sea World the next day with my aunt. We had so much fun!
My aunt dubbed these guys “The City Council.”
“Bean, turn around and smile in front of the puffins.”
(And so the attitude begins)
Unfortunately, the kids were much too squirrelly and distracted for a family picture with my aunt.
I had a bit of a harrowing drive home that night trying to stay awake, but we made it! I spent the entire next day in my PJs, so exhausted!