Last month we took our twin boys to the happiest place on earth. Nope, not Maui. That would be my happy place. Yup, you guessed it. Disneyland.

Our boys are five. They’d never been to Disneyland. Their sisters told them plenty of stories. But this was a first for them. A maiden voyage into the world of life-sized cartoon characters, ice cream sandwiches shaped like Mickey, and rides that make your cheeks rattle and eyeballs bulge.

We had a ball.

But you should know some context. Before we packed our suitcases, the sewer backed up into our basement, the dishwasher flooded the kitchen floor overnight, we woke to a cracked kitchen window one morning (!?), our vacuum cleaner went kaput, I saw a urologist Monday, and had an MRI of the lumbar spine Tuesday.

The adage is sometimes true. When it rains… it pours.

Happiest place on earth? A little California sunshine? Beam me up Scotty.

So we left Grandma and Grandpa with our three girls, lots of dish soap, and the carpet torn up in the basement. Off we drove. Down the interstate. Away from our problems.

It’s kind of nice to drive away from your problems. Not a solution. But… nice.

Two days later we were sliding down Splash Mountain and cruising through Radiator Springs. Slowly, my shoulders unhinged from my ears. I squeezed my boys’ hands as we walked down Disney’s Main Street. We rode every ride, shunned all things princess (because we could), and the joy of being with just our boys – something we’ve never done before – felt so unusual and wondrous, it could only be described as magical.

While waiting in line for our fourth Grizzly Rapids ride (we brought ponchos for the boys to wear while mom and dad graciously got soaked), this conversation happened.

Spencer: “Mom! I am NOT wearing a nacho this time. I WANT to get wet.”

Me: “You’re not what? You’re not going to wear a nacho?!” I stifle a laugh.

Spencer: “Nope! I don’t even care about getting wet. But you can wear my nacho if you want!”

Me: “Well, thanks Spence. I think I will.”

I don the clear plastic poncho, because my backside is throughly saturated, all the while picturing how utterly hilarious it would be to really wear… a nacho. Chips, cheese, the works.

Teenager passing by: “Cheater! Cheater!” He’s pointing right at me. I guess because I’m wearing a nacho. I mean poncho.

Spencer: “Is he calling you a cheater because you want to wear a nacho? That’s kinda rude. Mom, I think it’s okay if you wear a nacho.”

At this point I can’t hold back the giggles any longer. I erupt into laughter.

Just then Gordon pulls off his poncho and holds it out to the masses: “Anyone wanna wear a nacho?”

One of the best moments of the trip.

It felt so good. To laugh.

“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.” – Victor Hugo

So when your house (and your 40 year-old body) fall apart, and you can’t drive away from your problems, find something or someone to make you laugh. It’s the only way to get through life.


Catherine Arveseth
In four years, Catherine became the mother of five children, including two sets of twins. Catherine recounts her long struggle with infertility and how time in this personal “wilderness” helped her to see motherhood differently. Catherine also shares some of the complexities, joys, and coping strategies that help her live–and love–her busy life as a mother of five.
Catherine Arveseth

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  • Anne Marie

    I LOVE your boys!!! This is so adorable! What magical little guys. Their smiles totally remind me of yours. Darling! I will never say the word poncho again without thinking of “nacho”. I am so glad you got that time with them in disneyland. What great memories. Yes! Laughing in the face of life’s many throwbacks, delays, breakdowns, and bumps has saved me time after time. xox

  • K..Fellars

    Such a cute story. Thanks for sharing and I love your short haircut, you have such a lovely, friendly face:)

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