Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Eliza and Ruby Conversations

Eliza and Ruby are darling together. Fortunately for us, Ruby lives a minute's walk away and we can have her over nearly anytime we want. Eliza's first words in the morning are usually: "Where is my Ruby?" I love it.

Today, they have had the best conversations to date. As they were coloring at the kitchen table, this is what I heard:

Eliza: "I love you, Ruby."
Ruby: "I love you too, Liza. I love your mommy, too."
Eliza: "I love my mommy. She gives us snacks and popcorn!
Ruby: "And chocolate milk."
Eliza: "I love your mommy, too. She let's us play with chalk."
Ruby: "And she painted my nails."
Eliza: "Oh yes. That too!"
Ruby: "I love my daddy."
Eliza: "I love your daddy too, and I love my daddy."
Ruby: "I love Nathan. He is so silly!"

A minute went by, and Eliza inspected Ruby's coloring.

Eliza: "Ruby, when I was little and your age, I used to scribble. Don't worry. You will get better!"
Ruby: "You draw so pretty, Eliza! You color in the lines!!"

I'm glad Eliza is able to play with her friend most days. It makes all of us happier :)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Beach Bums

Eliza couldn't wait to get to the beach. Once she heard we were going to South Carolina, all she could talk about was playing in the sand and seeing the ocean. Once we finally got to Folly Beach in Charleston, she was one happy little girl.

Ezra and Elliott were apprehensive of the sand and the water and mostly demanded to be held.

 I forgot my sunglasses and had to borrow a pair my sister randomly had in her car. My eyes are ultra photosensitive, so being outside without any eye protection was painful.
Even after my sister got me the sunglasses, I was unable to fully open my eyes. Yes, I know. I am a vampire. My family has joked about this fact for years because me hating the sunlight is nothing new. Thankfully, my sister brought along this awesome shade for me to enjoy...because she loves me and knows me so well.
I spent my time enjoying the sounds of the ocean and digging in the sand, looking for shark's teeth (because I am still my 12 year old self at heart). Sure enough, I found a tooth after five minutes of sand sifting. Take that, Nathan!
Ezra and Elliott eventually warmed up to the idea of playing in the sand and watched Eliza and Nathan build a castle.

Jacob and Robert refused to get out of the water and proved they are definitely my sister's children.

The day was a success, and I was glad the boys finally got to put their toes in the Atlantic Ocean. I think I am convincing Nathan that South Carolina really does have the best beaches.

And "the most interesting person on the beach that day" award goes to....
Check out those rims.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Disney World, Day 2

We began our second day at Disney World by meeting Robert's favorite character: Buzz Lightyear. It was the most important thing on our list, so we thought we should head over to Tomorrowland for the first part of our trip.
Robert was in little boy heaven, and I am sure we could have left the park after meeting Buzz, and he would have been totally happy. We rode a couple of rides and then headed towards Fantasyland, home of Ariel and Belle! Luckily, the lines were much shorter, so we enjoyed Ariel's new ride and then went straight to her secret Grotto to meet her. Robert and Eliza loved their autograph books and kept looking at their signatures over and over again.
After a short wait, we met Ariel. Eliza was starstruck and could hardly speak. Anytime she met a character she particularly loves, she was paralyzed with excitement.
Ariel was super nice, though, so Eliza eventually warmed up. And when she say Ariel had signed her book, Eliza clasped her hands and giggled in delight. It was adorable.
We then went over to Belle's part of the kingdom and met Gaston. Eliza mentioned that we had just seen Ariel and Gaston quickly responded, "Did she tell you about me?" The actor was the perfect Gaston. However, Eliza does not like Gaston at all and was not impressed.
We took some time to explore the cool restaurants and the fountains before heading off to meet Belle.

We also decided to split up our group. After dealing with unhappy babies the first day of Disney World, all of the adults decided it would probably be better for everyone if we kept the twins at the hotel the rest of the day. Juggling the happiness and excitement of the three year olds with the needs of the toddlers was not going to happen two days in a row! So, after a short stint at the park Wednesday morning, Nathan and my mom left with Ezra and Elliott. I think they were all happy with that decision :)
Marian and I stayed at the park with Robert, Eliza, and Jacob and proceeded to have the best day ever. Jacob, my sister's son who is also one, stayed with us because he is the most laid back baby in the world and can nap anywhere. For 9 more hours (12 hours total), we ran the kids back and forth across the park.

We eventually were able to meet Belle and participate in an interactive game she plays with the children. Each of the kids assumes a role (Eliza was a candlestick and Robert was a Felipe, the horse) and reenacts her stay at the castle.

Again, Eliza was so excited that she couldn't talk and answer any of Belle's questions. I thought Eliza was so outgoing and unafraid until this trip! As it turns out, she can be quite the introvert. She really was happy, but just too overwhelmed with everything to process it all.

Following our adventures with Belle, we unwound a little bit with a ride on the carousel and enjoyed the fact that the park was nearly empty.

We then headed over to meet Merida. The line to meet Merida was the best because you could practice shooting a bow and arrow as she waited. Eliza has an archery set at home, so she knew exactly what to do. She shot the target so hard that the arrow ricocheted back and nearly hit her in the face. She was pretty proud of herself.

Robert also had pretty impressive archery skills.
For some reason, I knew Eliza wouldn't be too afraid to meet Merida, and I was right! The Merida actress was perfect, and she made the kids feel comfortable immediately.

As we left Merida, I began to feel a little tired. It was later in the afternoon and we had been at the park for hours already. Somehow, though, Marian and I had crazy amounts of energy and gained a second week because we were just so excited to be hanging out and doing fun things with our kids. Robert, Eliza, and Jacob were a different story. The kids all fell asleep and took a quick nap while we walked down to a different section of the park. Eliza never falls asleep in a stroller, so I knew she really must be exhausted.
She took a 20 minute nap, and I woke her up to the sight of one of her favorite princesses: Tiana! Eliza went through a Tiana-obsessed phase for quite a while and even named her Christmas elf Tiana because it was her favorite name at the time.
She was obviously excited to meet the Tiana, but was somewhat alarmed that "the Frog" wasn't around. The actress (again) was amazing and explained that the Frog was out in the brook hopping around. She then took Eliza and Robert over to a viewing area to look for the Frog prince.

Eliza's curious mind was mostly appeased with this tactic. Of all the actresses we met at Disney World, Tiana was my favorite. She really won us over!

We knew it was getting late after our Tiana visit, so we hurried over to meet Tinkerbell and her fairy friend, Rosetta. Eliza is currently obsessed with Tinkerbell, and I happened to know the actress who plays Tinkerbell at the park. My friend Catharine, who I went to high school with, is one of the Tinkerbells at Disney World. She is there 5 days a week, and we somehow managed to go on one of her only days off. I was pretty disappointed, but Eliza couldn't have been happier.

Eliza said hello to Rosetta and then ran over to Tinkerbell.
Again, she experienced the stage fright aspect of meeting a character. She momentarily conquered her fears in order to interrogate Tinkerbell. Eliza had been sprinkled with fairy dust earlier in the day and wanted explanations as to why she couldn't fly. Tinkerbell did a really a really good job explaining that Eliza could use her imagination and tried her best to change the topic. Eliza was very persistent, though, and left the meeting pretty upset that she didn't have more specific answers.

Marian and I were able to distract Eliza by going on several rides. We then hurried to the other side of the park to meet the final character of the evening: Mickey Mouse.
Eliza and Robert were both happy again after meeting Mickey, and Marian and I planned on going to get good spots for the parade and firework show. However, while pushing the double stroller, we suddenly got a flat tire. This was very bad news because we still had a lot of pushing to do and the stroller really wouldn't move with the kids sitting in it. Marian, being the smart woman that she is, thought that the Disney World staff would have an air pump because they supply wheelchairs and strollers. Sure enough, they did! Our excitement turned into disappoint when I used the air compressor and accidentally popped the tire. Once again, the Disney staff came through. One gentleman took the tire and said he would be back momentarily. 10 minutes later, he had patched the hole, filled the tire with air, and reattached it to our of charge. I love nice people.

The day was saved, and we went off to enjoy the fireworks followed by the light projection show on the castle. We had front row seats for the light show and it was amazing. It was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the evening. Here are some of our favorite snapshots of the castle that night:
Wreck-It Ralph Castle

The floating lights from Tangled Castle
Scottish castle in honor of Brave
Here is a video with the full light show:

Marian and I still weren't done with taking the kids around the park, though. The rides were open for another hour, so we ran to a few we knew the kids we love. It was around this time that Robert looked up at Marian and said, "I think it's past my bedtime, Mom." They were pretty tired!

Finally, the park closed and we left. We were pretty sad it was our last day there, but we were glad we made the most out of the trip. Eliza was deliriously happy/excited/tired on the way back to the motel. She was laughing one minute and then asleep literally 20 seconds later.
We were said to leave Orlando the next day, but we knew we were headed to Charleston for more good times, so we couldn't help but be in good moods. Orlando said good-bye, and we left with our worn out kids.