Walt Disney managed to get the Happiest Place on Earth built in less than a year, although there were some bumps in the road along the way. Construction on the theme park began on July 21, 1954. On July 17, 1955, the soft opening to the press was fraught with troubles ranging from unexpected crowds due to counterfeit tickets, non-working water fountains, and ladies’ heels sinking into the fresh asphalt on the warm summer day. Disneyland opened to the public on July 18, 1955, and it went on to be a place where memories and magic are made.

Construction on my oldest daughter, Kristen, began in early 1984. The early stage of the endeavor was fraught with morning sickness that could be quelled only by English muffins with melted cheese. Later developments included itchy stretch marks and frumpy maternity clothes. The project was completed after thirty-three hours of labor and an emergency C-section. However, the result weighed 8 lb. 4 oz. and was more magical to me than any Disney creation.

Disneyland is often a place to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations; honeymooners from all over the globe visit daily. My first trip to Disneyland was to celebrate my eighth birthday. Twenty years later, I began taking Kristen and Courtney for celebrations of their own. In recent years, with the addition of Laura to our family, we created a new tradition of an annual summer adventure at the Disney resorts. We visit the Disneyland and California Adventure parks, eat at the Blue Bayou, sometimes stay at the Grand Californian, and wear the matching personalized T-shirts that Kristen creates for us each year. Oh yes, we do. What?



Every year the Disney parks have a theme and a parade to go with it. This summer the theme is “What Will You Celebrate?” It was like the folks at Disney did it just for Kristen.

This summer our family adventure at Disneyland was a special celebration of Kristen and Adam’s engagement, which happened just days before, in a chicken coop. Yes, a chicken coop. What?

Sure, we spent a happy day doing the things that we usually do; still, I can’t help but wax nostalgic about how everything is changing.

Courtney & Kristen 1988* ~ Laura, Kristen & Courtney 2009
“Life is a journey, not a destination.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
As the changes keep coming, I can tell you one thing for sure: I’m going to celebrate the ride.
Congratulations Kristen & Adam!
I love you.

*Yes, I made Kristen and Courtney wear matching MC Hammer pants to Disneyland. It was 1988. Gosh.

A peek at our recent Disney adventures:
2009: Photos
2008: Post and Photos
2007: Photos
2006: Post

(A BIG thank you to the magical folks at Disneyland Resort Public Relations for providing Blog This Mom and her family with complimentary Park Hopper tickets this year. Castle construction photo courtesy of disneydreamer.com. Castle photo and vintage Mickey Mouse courtesy of Google Images. Current Mickey Mouse image courtesy of disneyparks.disney.go.com)

37 comments on “What Will You Celebrate?”

  1. Smalltownmom: Yes, I am still the Pontiff of Parking, but this time my good spot was mostly ’cause we got there early.

    Also? I’ve never accepted a free anything or earned ad revenue in all of my years of blogging, but I wanted to mention that I was given tickets and I would have posted about our Disney trip anyway, as I usually do. So . . . I figure the price of the tickets they gave me amortized over the three-plus years I’ve had this blog, means I might have earned three cents a day (give or take).

  2. A few questions:

    MC Hammer pants? (That wasn’t very nice of you to do to them at such a tender young age.)

    A chicken coop?

    Free stuff from Disneyland?

    Umm… I think that is all for now.

  3. You know, I was going to be all suave and sophisticated for a change, but then I saw your girls and all I could think was, “Holy ship! Cheri makes some very beautiful children.”

    Okay, I didn’t think *ship. I thought of a different word. But I think you’re running a family-type bidness here, so I’m trying to keep it together. And you know how I am – if I don’t shut up soon, an F bomb will be dropped because I cannot even fu…fricking help myself.

    Beautiful girls, Cheri. I have to go. F bomb timer is ticking.

  4. Having a category titled “making kids wear MC Hammer pants in the 80s doesn’t make someone a bad mom” makes me love you with all my heart.

  5. dear wife,

    i’m excited about being the stepmother of the bride. also? could you ask disney for free parkhopper tickets for the storybook ball for me? also? i feel like i should say something nicer than those two things. but you know i’m thinking nicer things, right?


    your wife.

  6. aww. this is the sweetest post ever. i was just telling someone not ten minutes ago that what is important in life is how happy you are. and i felt a lot of happiness and love in your post today. hugs!

  7. Congrats to Kristen and Adam! And congrats on you getting a nifty neato cool brother/son-in-law for the rest of the fam.

    Oh, and cool beans on getting the tix!

  8. I don’t think I can say anything intelligent right now because I’ve just had a good cry. Thanks Mom. That was beautiful.

    Let me know if you find any Hammer pants in my current size. I feel a comeback coming on.

    I love you!


  9. Why were women wearing heels to Disneyland?

    I know it was 1955, but still.

    Also, I’d like to request further explanation on the chicken coop and MJ Hammer pants.

    (Congrats to Kristen and Adam!)

  10. hell yeah, life is a journey and not a destination. I have a journal with that exact quote on the front and I can’t read it enough.

    what great memories! You’re a lucky mom

  11. Just to clarify, it didn’t happen IN the chicken coop, just along side it 🙂

    Cheri, I don’t think we told you, but if you achieved the Pontiff of Parking, we managed to get the Jesus of Parking when we were at DL. Since we had the clamshell on the roof of my car, they parked us in the “oversize vehicle” section, which meant bottom level, right in front. Only disabled parking and RV parking was closer.

  12. Wonderful memories. I was 8 my first trip to Disneyland and can still remember making the Dumbo ride move up and down.

    Congrats on your growing family! You got an Adam!

  13. Dear Cheri,
    Nice to meet you…this is my first time to visit your blog.
    I love it…..I would love for you to drop by and visit me.
    I am a empty nester except helping to take care of my 33 year old daughter as she battles cancer again.
    Funny I have a college degree in dust, also and a second major in lost socks…lol
    angel hugs

  14. what will i celebrate today? disneyland is too far away, so i’ll celebrate having gotten 7 1/2 hours of sleep last night by going out to breakfast, if i can schlub my way into the shower before i fall asleep again. i’ll have a veggie omelette or a waffle with fruit because i feel like a big breakfast, so i don’t have to cook lunch, so i can read the newspaper and take some pictures and go for a hike in the hills because it’s a beautiful day, marine clouds so it won’t be so hot, and lots of sunshine. it’s not disneyland, but the parking is easier and it’s a hella lot cheaper and i can take my ipod.

  15. Love your blog! I have been in that ‘nostalgic’ mood for a while comparing trips made when my oldest daughter was little. She’s 21 now and off on her own… Hope you’re having a great day!

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