Sunday, September 29, 2013

Disney Trip Part 4 - Eli Expressions

Eli was known to have on his stark, try-not-to-smile-as-long-as-I-can face while at Disneyland. Until Day 4. Day 4 is when Eli broke down and started showing us some of those expressive faces we are used to seeing out of him. Like this one. A good start to the day.
And this one where he was showing off his 1st Visit button.
It was red/orange/salmon/paprika shirt day that we decided to take advantage of our Magic Morning. A.k.a. a 1-hour head-start in Disneyland before the park officially opened. Our 4-day park hopper passes came with a free Magic Morning, so we all set off together in hopes of our promised hour of no lines, no crowds, pure magic.
After waiting a half hour for the dang tram to arrive, we were already shorted 30 minutes of magical bliss before even arriving to the park.
But we still had high hopes we could make the most of the other 30 minutes we still had.
These two were buddies. Ben must have bonded with Carson despite the whole foot-in-the-face incident.
When we got to the front gates, it was cra-zy. Crazy! There was barely any room to push a stroller because people were swarming all the entrances. I never did figure out if all those people were there for Magic Morning too, or if they were just waiting for the park to open, but it was nuts. We gave up on any hopes of experiencing Magic Morning in Disneyland and instead went to California Adventure.
There was a lot of waiting around on this day before we ever actually did anything.
So Eli's face started to evolve into one of these:
We started our day on the Monsters Inc. ride. Sully did a quick little appearance before the ride officially opened, so it was fun to be there for that.

Then Natalie joined me and Carson for a ride on the Bug's Life Chew Chew Train. Totally adorable.
Jeff had been asking Eli the day before if Eli wanted to ride the Cars ride again. By the end of the day, Eli gained the courage to agree to ride it again. 

After a night's rest and some time to think about it, Eli slowly walked with his head hung over to Jeff to regretfully confess, "Daddy, I don't want to go on the fast cars again." It was like he couldn't bear to tell Jeff, but he just couldn't subject himself to another speedy ride through Radiator Springs.

When we got to California Adventure, Jeff asked Eli one more time if he wanted to go on the Cars ride. Eli quickly agreed, so we hurried over to the ride before he had time to change his mind.

Jacob and Laurie took Carson so Jeff, Eli and I could all ride the Cars ride together. Eli was so happy to barely make the height requirement again. 
Natalie, Ben and Emma joined us in the backseat.
I had my camera handy because Jeff had told me Eli made hilarious faces the last time he rode the ride. Here he is right as the cars started going fast, deciding whether to be nervous or excited.
Here's his brave face:
Turning a corner brought out his terrified face:
And here's his overstimulated face again. Happy to be slowing down.
He said he liked the ride, but this was his last race despite our efforts to ride it with him again.
We saw Chip and Dale in a trolley.
Buds I tell ya!

Cars Land had to have been my favorite place in the whole Disneyland and California Adventure scene. It was so fun to see life-size cars strolling down streets that looked exactly like the movie.
Here's Eli's "I'm humoring you, Mom" face while we were doing bumper cars.

It was after that ride that Eli did one of my favorite things of the whole trip. Eli loves cars. We all know this. Little toy cars are the only toys he plays with. I've tried to introduce other toys, but he always comes back to the cars and only the cars.

When Eli plays with his cars, he likes to have them right at eye-level. Most optimal play spot is a coffee table so he can sit and play, but he will resort to lying on the floor to zoom his cars around if need be.

He always focuses his eyes on the wheels when he plays. He stares at them so intently. He watches the way they spin, ever so slowly most of the time, so he can catch every movement of their rotation. If a car has a wiggly tire, he casts it aside and will refuse to play with it until it is fixed. He is a wheel expert. He can sense even the tiniest upset of an axle, and he has such an instinctual interest in the anatomy of cars.

So you can't blame him for dropping to the floor after riding the bumper car ride to further inspect the engineering of the car. As soon as we were able to unbuckle, he hopped right out, and laid down, face smashed against the ground, in a hurried search for the wheels. It was the cutest thing ever. I soaked up the moment for about 2 seconds before I was forced to end his observations and scoop him off the ground so the next batch of bumper car riders could enter.

He did this whole scene again about an hour later when a lady in a motorized wheelchair stopped right next to us. The boy loves wheels. He can't help himself.

What princesses are to girls, Cars Land is to little boys. It really was magical to watch Eli see his favorite toy figurines full-size and in action, cruising down the road. I loved it so much.
The day was going great. It was going really great. I had just gotten Carson to sleep and my Mom was willing to sit with him so I could go on Star Tours with Jeff, Eli, Ben and my Dad. Eli was so delighted to be going on a big boy ride with all of us grown ups. We cruised through a small portion of the line which led us to the gatekeepers.

The gatekeepers. You know. Disney workers are usually really nice. Friendly. Helpful. Understanding. Good with kids. But that was not the case at Star Tours. The Star Tours workers took their job very seriously.

I've already admitted that Eli is 1/4 of an inch short of the 40" height requirement. I knew we were stretching it. But he had made it on Radiator Springs Racers two times already, graciously approved by 8 Disney height checkers. So I was confident by this point we would get the same treatment at Star Tours.

Let me warn anyone else who might be going to Disneyland with a 39 3/4" child. Star Tours is a whole different ball game.

The two workers whose jobs were specifically to check and eject any height intruders measured Eli one quick time and didn't give him a second chance. "He can't ride this." They said abruptly and without any compassion.

I didn't care about the ride too much, and Jeff really wanted to ride it, so I quickly told Jeff to go on while I whisked Eli across the sidewalk to what I hoped would be a sly diversion to the Buzz Lightyear ride.

You must know something before I continue. This thing happens with Jeff and Eli if they spend too much time together. They bond. To an extreme point. As in, to the point where I start to question if Eli even loves me anymore. As in, Eli will not let me get him a glass of water, help him get dressed, hold his hand across a street. Nothing. If Jeff has been around Eli for longer than your standard 2-day weekend, I'm toast. Eli is bonded and he rejects me as any source of love and affection.

So here we are. Five days of Jeff and Eli. The bonding had happened. And the bond was strong. But I didn't realize just how strong the bond had become until juuuuuuuuuuuuuust after Jeff rounded the corner onto the Star Tours ride and was now out of Eli's eyesight.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" High pitched scream, high pitched scream, high pitched scream.

I'm all smiles. It's my tantrum defense. It helps me fake that I have the situation under control. Meanwhile my insides are doing circles and I'm frantically trying to come up with bribes, distractions and excitement to get us through the screaming.

I could have sworn the whole park silenced and slowly turned their heads to witness the "Screaming Child of '13". I'm sure he's already in the history books under that title. It was SO loud. You would have thought he had just lost a limb with his screams.

I picked Eli up and he went stiff as a board. I tried to make my way to my Mom because I thought maybe it would be less awkward if I had another adult with me.

I almost dropped Eli about 700 times in the 50 yard walk to my Mom. And I never even made it all the way to her, because Eli had wiggled out of my hands to plop himself on the ground. (Still screaming his head off, mind you.) I did not. Know. What. To. Do.

My Mom casually turned around, and I could see her surprise that she knew the source of the wailing. Then I saw her regretting for the first time her decision to get the whole group matching t-shirts. "What am I supposed to do?" Her eyes told me, "I'm stuck here with your peaceful, sleeping baby. You're on your own."

My face reddened. Not with anger. With embarrassment. I could see exactly where Eli was coming from. He had been thoughtlessly shooed away. He wanted to be with Jeff. It all happened so fast. He was mad. And he was going to let everybody know.

I bent down to pick Eli up off the ground. He inch-wormed away on his back each time I tried to swoop down for him. Then he got up in a flash and bolted back for Star Tours.

I chased after him. Other Disneyland goers attempted to stop Eli, or at least slow him down for me, but he was a boy on a mission. He made it back to the gatekeepers, who stood solemnly to block the entrance, again lending me and Eli no sympathy.

I took Eli over to a bench where he screamed and screamed and screamed. His screaming finally quieted down to just sobbing, and then finally to little whimpers. All the while I had to keep reminding myself we were at the happiest place on earth...

Jeff finally emerged from the ride after Eli's 45-minute tantrum. And Eli didn't let Jeff out of his sight the rest of the trip.
But Eli was happy to let me out of his sight. So I slipped off to ride Space Mountain with Ben and my Mom before Ben made his way back to Utah.
It was after seeing my Space Mountain picture that I realized Eli comes by his facial expressions honestly.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Disney Trip Part 3 - Beach Babes

Day three we hit Newport Beach to provide Eli and Carson with their first glimpses of the ocean.

Carson was so overcome by the marvelousness of the beach that he couldn't take his eyes off it.
All the cousins! And me.

The water was freeeeeeeeeeeezing. The kids didn't seem to notice though.

Ahhh. I love the beach. And I loved seeing Eli and Carson experience the beach for the first time.

Since the water was so cold, we did a lot of playing in the sand.

Abe and Ben rented boogie boards. I even caught a wave or two. It was a lot of fun.

The weather was perfect. The sky was blue. The sand was soft. It was a dreamy day.

Eli spent hours digging with Spencer.
Carson spent hours splashing with Jeff.

Jacob spent hours working on his tan.
My Mom spent minutes trying to play some beach ping pong game without a table that I don't know the name of. It's pretty apparent why my Mom never liked gym class. Love ya, Mom.
Sibling picture. In mini skirts. Wish we would have gotten a sibling picture with me more clothed. And with makeup on. But this will do.
You thought I was talking about my babies when I titled this post "Beach Babes" didn't you? You were wrong. Look at this bunch of babes I was referring to!
Oh Carson. Don't be so offended. You're a babe, too.
It was a great day. Right up until that moment when Dallas found there were thousands. Nay, millions of tiny little wormy sea bug things squirming just below our feet. One scoop of the sand resulted in wiggly little squiggly clear bugs scurrying out of Dallas's hands. We left quickly after this discovery.
The rest of the day we vegged. We had a nice dinner with the Goldens. Put the kids to bed early. Played a few games and enjoyed Belle's Castle in an effort to be fully rested for day two of Disney!