Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Happiest Place on Earth

I did it! I pulled off the biggest surprise this family has ever seen. For weeks I had been thinking about going some place special with the kids and my parents. In part to thank my parents for all the hard work they have done on our behalf with the business Eric left behind but also for a little bit of fun. Finding a place that would not continually remind us of Eric was a tall order. Since our family traveled together quite often I realized that I was never going to find that place so I decided to take everyone to Disneyland. I consulted with Goose and Boo and with their approval I started to form a plan.
I called my sister to ask if she wanted to be in on the fun and she said yes with no hesitation. She used her contacts from her hotel days and got us an incredible deal at the Marriott Suites about three miles from Disneyland. She also did a lot of leg work in getting our tickets to Disneyland. All of this planning went on without the kids or my parents finding out. There were some parents were not sure about leaving the business for a couple of days. I assured them that all would work out okay and that we needed this break. Oh, I forgot to mention...we also have four birthdays all in a row. Lil Cowboy, Miss M, my niece and my dad all have birthdays one right after another. Just another great reason to celebrate all together.
On the trip down to Anaheim I passed out some envelopes that had Disney gift cards in them. After a few guesses I had them open the envelopes. Lil Cowboy was yippin and hollerin like you can only imagine. Daisy was incredibly excited. My mom, Miss Disney herself, was blown away.
Little did they know there was a bigger surprise waiting at the hotel.
My sister and her family were waiting in the lobby area when we got there. My dad was incredibly surprised. He just could not believe that we pulled this off.
All the girls...oh, and a boy...enjoying an evening dip at the Marriott.
Brown Sugar getting a ride on Miss M's back

Lil' Cowboy was so excited to be able to go swimming.

What a cuddle bug!

So, this is the birthday gang....We also should include my sister whose birthday
falls at the end of the month.

The Happiest place on earth....where dreams come true.
I knew this would be a hard trip for me. Eric and I rarely spent money or time going to amusement parks but the moments we spent at this park were truly wonderful. The family atmosphere and the ability to enjoy the park with all ages was very appealing to us. I will say though that it is the happiest place on earth because we were with our family not because of anything that Disney could conjure up.

This is everyone with the exception of my sister and her husband.

Daisy is so much like her daddy. He loved the teacups and the dizzy feeling you got from spinning as fast as you could. It did not surprise me to watch her gravitate to this ride.

This was Lil' Cowboy's first time to Dland. He was amazed by it all but couldn't understand the whole character thing. He was waiting for Buzz Lightyear to start talking. The difference between reality and fiction is still a concept that alludes Lil' Cowboy.

Oooooh...I love this picture.

Our new family

If you ever have a chance to go to Dland plcase take the time to enjoy the Horseshoe Saloon. They have an act in there called Billy Hill and the Hillbillies. These guys are incredibly talented being able to play the fiddle, bass, mandolin, and wrap it all up with a nice touch of comic relief. This is something that Dland does right....hiring professionals instead of wanna-bes.
Outside of the saloon Goose got wrapped up in an impromtu skit. He did a great job.

As some of the older kids went on some of the older kid rides I decided to take Lil' Cowboy and Brown Sugar over to the Bug's life area of California Adventure. They had a great time running through the water fountains.

They were soaked but boy did they have fun!

Birthday girl...we had a lot of fun together.

My biggest helper right now. At one point I heard the quote from Toy Story "Get your moving buddy". Eric used to say that to us all and then he would look at me and say with a smirk on his face "I got my movin' buddy!" This memory brought tears to my eyes and Boo did the only thing a daughter can do to comfort her mom...she grabbed my arm and leaned
her head on my shoulder.

I don't know how my sister does it but she always seems to get great deals, great service, and great info. She found out from one of the cast members (what the Dland staff are called) that they were going to do a dress rehearsal of a new Pixar parade coming out this summer. She was told that we would not want to miss this. We didn't and it was great. The characters were incredibly close. There was water and bubbles everywhere. For those who visit the park in the middle of the summer....this parade will be a hit.

Eric's favorite character on Finding Nemo. Why? Because this father played with his turtlettes, encouraged them, and was incredibly laid back.

Another favorite picture.

Each child got a $20 gift card to spend on souvenirs. Lil' Cowboy was a bit anxious at first...he wanted to get the perfect item. These are what he chose.

He even got to meet the real mouse.

Brown Sugar surprised us all by enjoying being around the characters. She stood in line, waited her turn, and then proceeded to run into Minnie's arms. This is also the child that rode every ride that she could...even the little rollercoaster ride in Toontown. As she got off the ride she jumped up and down saying "I like it mommy. I like it".
Lil' Cowboy's first ride in the park was the Matterhorn. He was a bit scared of the "monster" but loved the ride. He proceeded to go on Star Tours, Space Mountain (Mom, that's my favorite), Thunder Mountain Railroad, Pirates, and Splash Mountain (again..."Mom, that's my favorite). I was impressed that this little guy loved roller coasters.

The cousins and Nana.

Come on Lil' Cowboy...use your muscles!

The Davis kids....what a great group. They really pulled together and got along wonderfully. There were many tears along the way. Boo was heartbroken that her daddy was not there with us which made me heartbroken for her. Miss M really struggled on her birthday. All these firsts are not easy.
I could not help but cry through the fireworks display and Soarin over California (a wonderful ride that takes you through California and even past the USS Stennis that Eric was stationed on). There are moments when I just get overwhelmingly lonely. I long for Eric to put his arm around me or hold my hand. I long to share these experiences with him.
He took command of our family in such an easy fashion and we followed. I found myself having to lead our family in this new situation... all new territory for me. And, parenting six children is not an easy task on my own. Brown Sugar takes a lot of time and energy right now so it was a sweet pleasure to have such cooperative kids on this journey.
So, there is the reason that I have been absent from blog world over the last couple of days. Looking back I am thrilled that it all worked out the way it did.
But, lest you think that I had notions of escaping to a happier place and from my sorrow let me put your mind at rest. True happiness is not from passing pleasure that this world offers but rather from an unshakeable faith in Christ alone. My pain is deep but His love is deeper.


homeskoolmom5883 said...

I've been wondering about you.

Looks like you all are making some wonderful new family memories. I love the pic of you and brown sugar too.. she's getting so big. I found your "new family" picture intersting too...your "new" husband's handiwork is all over the background.
I could not help but shed a few tears as I read...

You are doing a great job of taking care of your family in the midst of one of the worst things a family could face...

We're still praying for you several times a day.
God's continued blessings on you dear sister,

countrymomtx said...

I continue to be touched by your blog and encouraged by your faith. So glad you had a great time with your family and made some happy memories. I loved the pictures. May God continue to heal your heart and your children's, and give you peace and joy as you walk out this first year without Eric. Praying for you, Cindy in West Texas

Anonymous said...

My brother,his wife and his 3 boys were there probably the same day you were. They commented on how wonderful the Soaring over Calfornia was. We have never been to DL. I am glad you had a wonderful time. I think bittersweet is sometimes the hardest emotion.

Anonymous said...

My brother,his wife and his 3 boys were there probably the same day you were. They commented on how wonderful the Soaring over Calfornia was. We have never been to DL. I'd like to go at such an uncrowded season but that never works for us with DH's job. I am glad you had a wonderful time. I think bittersweet is sometimes the hardest emotion. Tracy

Anonymous said...

Ok I have no idea why that double posted! I really only hit publish ONCE! I am really not trying to get twice the attention! And now it looks like I mispelled California twice ! TH

Laurie said...

I am so happy to check in on you today and see this wonderful post, full of fun for everyone in the midst of the hardest time of your lives. It worked out to be such a wonderful surprise for them from a loving mothers heart. Praying for you as you walk this new road, asking God to gently heal the shattered pieces of your broken hearts and to watch over you all with His love and protection.
My heart is heavy for you and it is with you as you miss Eric. He will always be just a memory away in your heart.

Love, Laurie in So. Ca.

Rebeca said...

It's wonderful that you were able to create such a special time together with your family. You continue to be in my prayers. Thanks for sharing your heart.

RachelMac said...

How fun!!! I'm SO glad your family has such wonderful new memories together. I remember my mom taking all 8 of us kids on a vacation to the Oregon coast shortly after my dad died (I was 17). We cried a lot and got to spend some sweet time just being a family and figuring out how our new dynamic would work. It is one of my "good" memories of that time.
Continuing to pray for your family often.
Love in Christ.
Rachel McCall in Idaho

Rebecca said...

What a wonderful thing to do to bond your family together. In the midst of all the sadness and grief you've taught your children that life must go on and from what I've read about Eric, he would have wanted you to carry on. Thanks for all your postss. They are inspiring and you have been such a great testimony.

Copper's Wife said...

I am SO glad that you all were able to go on this trip!! The pictures of the children enjoying themselves were wonderful. I was struck at how much beautiful "Boo" looks like you these days! Wow! I'd not noticed that in person, but....Wow!

Elizabeth said...

Again you continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. I am amazed at your faith in the Lord. You are an example to a young wife and mother such as myself. I am glad that your family had such a great opportunity to spend this much needed time together. I would like to leave you with lyrics to a song that I feel lead to share with you.

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone will I glory
Though I could pride myself in battles won.
For I’ve been blessed beyond measure
And by His strength alone I’ll overcome.
Oh, I could stop and count successes like diamonds in my hands,
But those trophies could not equal to the grace by which I stand.

In Christ alone
I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross.
In every victory
Let it be said of me
My source of strength
My source of hope
Is Christ alone

In Christ alone do I glory
For only by His grace I am redeemed
For only His tender mercy.
Could reach beyond my weakness to my need.
And now I seek no greater honor in just to know Him more.
And to count my gains but losses to the glory of my Lord.

In Christ alone
I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross.
In every victory
Let it be said of me
My source of strength,
My source of hope,
Is Christ alone.

Sung originally by Michael English

In His Love,
Elizabeth - Ohio

Mrs. Jeannie Mitchell said...

Hi Heather,
It my favorite place on earth too!!!! I'm so glad you had the fun of going.

TNfarmgirl said...

Your writing and testimony have touched my heart...and the hearts of many others as you continue to rely on our Father.
You have received the Mathetes Award at

My family continues to pray for your family...

Quinne said...

Hi Heather :) What a joy to read! What a precious gift for your sweeties and for your family. Love and prayers, Q

kristi said...

Thanks so much for sharing - you've been missed. You always have a way of touching my heart with your words. I know you're not perfect but you are doing amazingly well. Keep at it Heather. And I totally second Copperswife's comment - she's darling just like her mama! Although your whole troop is adorable :):):)

godlover said...

Such a special family; Eric taught them well, and you too, of course. I'm glad you were able to do this. You are truly an amazing woman. God will heal. It just takes time and all the while you're building new memories for all. Remember the words of our Lord: "My grace is sufficient for you." It always is. Hang on to that truth.

BelovedPeace said...

Hello Davis family! :-)
How wonderful that you got to go do that together! :-)
May God bless and comfort you all!
I'm still praying for you!
Lots of Love,

Jessica NicDhòmhnaill said...

It looks like y'all had a wonderful time together!! What a blessing!!

I just want to let you know that Y'all are constantly in my (and my families) prayers!!
And we are eagerly looking forward to your visit in May!!!!!

God bless each of you exceedingly!

Much Love from Your Sister In Christ Jesus,



"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

-Matthew 11:28-30

da halls said...

Thank you for the update.

I am so glad you and your family were able to have such a wonderful memory making trip.

I will continue to pray for you and your family.

Mary Beth

kymk99 said...


I'm so glad the trip turned out well and that so many members of your family were surprised! These are special memories that you and the kids will be able to share and talk about for years to come.

Yvonne :o)

felmleyfam said...

wow friend (if you don't mind me calling you that). After 44 days of praying for your family it was such a privalege of seeing the new pictures and being able to pick out each one of you precious people. thank you for sharing. we continue to remember you in our prayers day and night. not that i think you are being chastened but hebrews 12 has been so encouraging to me as I am reminded of how the Heavenly Father loves His children. You are doing a wonderful job. that is so neat that you always had a special "moving buddy" in your marriage. Great job making this trip possible for your "new family" (as you said). Yes, Christ is your strength and it is evident as you triumph in the many hard things that you share with us on this blog.

Tama said...

I am so glad you were able to have such fun and enjoy each other in your newly defined family! We are going through some trauma here and your family is always so encouraging in how the Lord provides. That for us there too will be days of "refreshment" ahead. He is faithful! I truly enjoyed going to Dland with you through your blog!
In Him, Tama
We continue to pray!

S & C & C's Gram said...

Loved sharing a glimpse into your vacation. What a delightful family!

And by the way, love your new 'do, Heather! Very chic... ;-)