I'd like to say Eliza will let anyone hold her. That she's gentle and kind and loving and happy to spread her love to all those wanting a piece of it. But she's a
lot more cautious than that. She tends to feel rather unsafe in new situations or when new people are hovering around her. And she needs to be gently and frequently reassured that everything is okay. So I wasn't really sure how it was going to go, leaving her with my parents through the days while Brian and I scampered off to stand in lines.
But thankfully my parents are amazing and Eliza felt secure and loved in their arms.
Riley, on the other hand, was adorably unhappy whenever she was taken from her mother.
Look at that cute little face!
But, regardless of how the babies felt in the moment of separation, Mom and Dad were amazing at taking them anyway. And it was awesome to go on the bigger rides with my other kids.
You might notice Miles in the front of this log, and you might recognize that he is on his way up to the giant drop of Splash Mountain, and you might see that his eyes look bright and excited.
This is noteworthy, people.
Miles has not been particularly fond of roller coasters throughout his life (read: he has hated them with an intense passion like only Miles can), but that first day in Disney we pushed and pulled and pleaded with him to just try
Space Mountain (because it was (a highly motivating) Star Wars themed), and eventually he consented, albeit rather begrudgingly.
This was great! I thought. But halfway through the ride I changed my thoughts to this was a terrible idea.
The ride was much darker, much louder, and much faster than I had remembered it being and I was certain that by taking him on that ride, I had just solidified his determination to NEVER let roller coasters be a part of his life. Ever.
Another reason why this was a terrible idea
occupied my thoughts was that I had sweet little 5-year-old Timothy by my side, currently experiencing his first roller coaster ride, and as the G's pushed me into my seat and whipped my body around I knew I must have been scarring not just one, but two of my children. Timothy had been excited and easy to convince to try it out - but since he had had no previous reference or conceptions about roller coasters, that wasn't particularly noteworthy.
I couldn't see either child, Miles was a few carts back with McKenzie and Timothy was covered in the blanket of darkness that validates the 'Space' in 'Space Mountain'. I couldn't hear either child either, the music of the ride was blaring in my ears loudly enough to drown out any other sounds. But I reached over and squeezed Timothy's knee to let him know that I was there, and I tried to whoop and holler over the music to let him hear that I
was having a good time, thereby hopefully giving him
permission to do the same.
And just then, when I was expecting to feel his hand death grip onto mine, I felt it bump right into my cheek instead and I realized, he's got his hands up in the air!
I listened closer and could make out laughter coming from his seat - my heart and smile exploded!
As we pulled back into the loading/unloading zone I looked at his bright face and said, "Well?!?!"
He had no words but, as my brother who was sitting behind him said, "Those two little fists that shot up into the air" in response to the question told the whole story.
I whipped around to see if I could read Miles's thoughts and saw him climbing out of the car, eyes and body full of that unmistakable adrenaline and adventure high, and I knew that the future of being a human now looked much brighter for Miles.
They were both hooked, for good.
Eliza, on the other hand, was still a little unsure of anything that seemed to move without her anticipation of it. But the Winnie the Pooh ride happened to be right next to Splash Mountain, so while Nana and Poppy waited for us to come through Splash Mountain on that third day, they took Eliza into the magical world of Pooh and she fell in love with it. They went through it s.e.v.e.r.a.l times while they waited. And then she went on it s.e.v.e.r.a.l more times with me.
Enjoy your delightful Winnie the Pooh ride now, love. But get ready for the big roller coasters. You're the last one in the family to convert.
Family vacations are interesting now that we have teenagers and toddlers all in the same bunch. It's difficult to find something where everyone
is happy. But Disney provides that magic. We let the big kids run off and enjoy the park by themselves for a few hours, and the three of them had a fabulous time. And while they were off on the big rides, we took the littles to Fantasy Land - which was where Eliza found all the dreamiest rides. She loved Dumbo, don't let her face fool you.
And she loved the carousel, too. That stone-faced love is real, I promise.
And she loved waiting in the lines, too. She's a happy child, really.
One of my favorite things, and I might have said this before, is watching other people watch Eliza. Whenever we're in a crowded space, I know I can look around and find at least one person watching her with a smile on their face. She's had hundreds and hundreds of admirers throughout her short little life and I can't count the number of times I've heard, "She is such a doll," followed up with "No, really, she actually looks like a baby doll." I love
watching it brighten people's days just to look at her. I know that most of her magnetism is because of that beautiful little face, but looks aside, she is a beautiful person and she makes me want to be the kind of person who shares so much light that I brighten people's days like that.
Riley also seemed to enjoy waiting in all the lines. As long as her Mama was holding her.
If anyone else tried to hold her, her eyes would well up with the cutest little baby tears and tear drops as big as her eyeballs would start falling down her cheeks. This girl knows how to cry!
Even when she was a newborn in the hospital, her tears were real, and if you've never seen a newborn cry a cry with tears, it's something to see! Most babies don't start producing tears until much, much later, but Riley is advanced that way.
So anyway, we did split up for a few hours on the last day, but mostly we were together.
And we like it that way.
On another note, Disney with teenagers is weird these days.
I'm so grumpy about the way phones are taking over our lives. I have lots of rules and even more guidelines about appropriate usage of phones, but it's a fight... always a fight. When I contrast the picture above with the picture below everything about the way phones pull us out of our lives crystallizes in my mind.
Solidarity, moms. Let's force our kids to talk with people.
And can I tell one more thing? My Carson... I don't have many pictures of that kid because he's always moving so dang fast, but I was so impressed with him throughout this vacation. He was always working to include all of his siblings, respectfully went along with whatever was happening, and never once complained - even when he was wet and freezing cold after Splash Mountain at sunset happened. That kid is so incredible.
It was a fun vacation, and one of the greatest lessons I learned through being with my family for several days is that heavenly Father knew what he was doing when he placed us in families. They give us a platform to love unconditionally, to work on differences, to support and to listen and to strengthen.
I love these people.