Our trip to Legoland was first in discussion before Joseph's 6th birthday. We had decided that we really wanted him to have a family experience, rather than a big party. Especially on the heels of Christmas and all the gifts (and over-stimulation) that the season brought.
Though Joseph's birthday was on January 14th, we delayed the trip until the end of the month for several reasons. We did, however, celebrate his actual birthday very quietly at home with family...and cake, of course.
The build-up for the trip was insanely perfect! The kids were ready to burst with excitement by the time it was finally happening. They packed their suitcases pretty much all week long in anticipation, and couldn't wait until after school on Friday. Daddy rearranged our van seating to party mode, and we were on our way north after ten trips back into the house for the million things we'd forgotten.
Before we made our way to the hotel, we'd planned a little side trip to see friends who were visiting from Wisconsin and happened to be staying about 15 minutes from our destination...and they were leaving the next morning. What are the chances? We met Becky (the lovely mom pictured below and A.K.A. FullPlateMom in the blogosphere) on our adoption trip for Joseph. She was in China with her son, Cam, to adopt a beautiful little baby girl named Cate. It was so cool to see them again! But the icing on the cake (like...literally, Cate's 2nd birthday cake) was that we were able to meet her husband and their whole family of ten kids, including their precious little Tess (pictured with Mommy), who is a beautiful heart baby I've *known* and adored for a couple of years through Facebook. It was like meeting a real princess. Please add her to your prayers as she has an open-heart surgery at the end of the month.
After a lovely visit, we departed for the hotel. We had opted for a Hampton Inn that was in close proximity to the park, and we were glad we did. We checked in around 9:00 just in time for a late night snack and bedtime. The kids were amped up, but they also knew that the quicker they slept, the faster they'd get to Legoland. We managed to sleep in until 7:30 (that's late for us), headed to the lobby for breakfast, packed our bags, checked out, and then...
These three were over the moon. Joseph was skipping along (his sign of true joy), and all three of them were amazed by the mere entrance! We arrived about thirty minutes before opening time, (which must've felt like hours to the kids) and we were second in line. But it was worth the wait!
The first ride of the day was some crazy rollercoaster. Joseph wanted nothing to do with it, nor did I. So we watched...and we laughed as we imagined Charlie up there twisting and turning. Turns out he's a little daredevil in disguise...or at least I thought so until I took a closer look at his facial expressions. He told Jimmy and Madi that he wasn't screaming, he was saying "AHHHHHH" like you do for a doctor, but really, really loud.
After that, we made our way to the back of the park for a few more *little-kid friendly* rides and attractions like these:
And then, we hit the Driving School! We nicknamed Charlie "Crash" because, oh my goodness, he ran into almost everything in his path. Hilarious. Joseph, on the other hand, managed to steer away from some very close calls. Impressive. And Madi got her license in the big kid school. Naturally.
After that, we hit some other rides until the kids obviously needed a food and drink break. Waiting in line is hard work when you're little.
And then we went back at it:
We left the park at 5:30, half an hour before closing, to head back home. The kids were whooped, and so were their parents. But thank God for Daddy, who can drive in such exhausted condition and with an awful back-seat driver (me) to boot. Bye bye, Legoland (or as Joseph calls it "Lego-man"). I can't imagine a more awesome way to celebrate a Lego-loving little boy's first birthday with his family.