Monday, November 26, 2012

We did it.. Disney that is.

Growing up close to Disney, I never really caught the "hype" surrounding it. I wasn't a Disney basher, I liked it, just never was obsessed. I never thought much about taking Ellie. She doesn't really know many of the characters (driving up, there were characters on the signs and I said, "Ellie, look who it is!!" She got this look on her face like, I know I'm supposed to look really excited right now, so I will, but I'm not sure why... And said, "Mr. Duck!". Well, close enough. 

(Disney sure knows how to decorate for Christmas :)
But, while we were down in Florida last week for Thanksgiving, we decided on a whim to go. Will sat this trip out, so it was just the three of us. Despite not being huge Disney peeps, we had a really fun day! Ellie spent most of the day like this...

But Daddy didn't mind, of course :) She had never really been on a ride before, and the actual "ride" rides were by far her favorite!

Ellie is so inquisitive that it made the day super interesting. There were questions about everything. One of the first things we did was the tiki bird show. (What are the birds standing on? Why is it pretending to rain? Why are those alligators playing the drums?) Good question.

Then to It's a Small World, which, in case you haven't been to Disney in 20 years, don't worry, it's the exact same. This face on Ellie pretty much sums up the way she took stuff in.

Then, on to a 3D movie. No lines. So, we thought it sounded great while we waited for our next ride. (We were rookies and had to ask people what all the fast pass and other insider Disney stuff was.) Well, within 30 seconds, Ellie was done. Too loud. She wanted to go bye bye. 

The day was so nice. Perfect Florida weather, and somehow, even though there were tons of people there, we didn't have to wait too long for anything. And, it really is an experience for little ones! 

And of course, we had some Mickey ice cream. 

On Dumbo. This was her favorite one.

Eric's too...

One of the best parts of the day was watching the parade.

She loved seeing all the characters and really got into it. She was the most excited about seeing Mary Poppins and Burt. I think we were the only ones (meaning Eric) cheering for Burt in the parade's history.

All the dancing really inspired her :)

And then we decided to go to a little show before heading home. Oh my. The show was really cute, characters dancing around, music bopping, everyone believing that dreams come true, but then, of course, it couldn't just end on this cheery note :) A witch from Sleeping Beauty came out, throwing green fire, and Ellie was terrified. Ready to go. But, soon she was gone, good overcame evil, dreams overcoming nightmare, all that, and the show went on. So, we have had this conversation probably about 30 times since we were there:
Ellie: "Why that watch (witch) come out?"
Eric: "She was trying to tell people dreams don't come true."
Ellie: "Then everyone said (in her super serious voice) GO AWAY WATCH.
Eric: Yup.
Ellie: "And I just looked on Daddy's shoulder. But, why that watch come out?' (over and over)
Eric: "She just wanted to make some friends." (This answer finally appealed to her and we could move on :) 

It was a really cute show though, I mean, Mickey almost made me tear up. 

So, all in all, we had a really fun day. It was neat watching Ellie experience so many new things, and it was really funny listening to her try and interrupt things to make sense to her little world. (The names she called the characters she didn't know was entertaining. "Who's that little green guy?" Peter Pan. "Who is that Blue Dress Girl's Daddy?" That's Prince charming. "Who is Mickey's Daddy?" Hmmm, never thought about that. "What animal is Goofy?" Now, that's a good question.

It's always fun to have special days just with Ellie. I will always remember the time we spent together that day! Thanks mom and dad for keeping little Will! 

And, now it's time to say so Good Bye :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Slow, not frozen...

We had one of those days. Those really good days. The kind that when I start to think about it, I think, "Wow, wish I could freeze this day."

Then I got to thinking, freezing stops things. Leaves them just as they are. And some moments are best that way. 

(Like two happy kids, even when sitting this close together...) But freezing in my mind ends things. You have the moment, and that's that. 

So thinking back over today, I think I came to realize something that rings true deep in me. There are these days. Beautiful. Slow. Quiet. Joy-filled days.

And, I think I realize it's not just chance. It's not just something that happens and you have to stop and freeze it and store it in your memory forever because this kind of day might never happen again.

But, I think it happens because you do stop, and you do notice, you do look around. Now, a beautiful setting really does help. 

And I'm not saying things are perfect. Kids get whiney and tell you they're hungry a million times. That particular two year old also would like to know what's for dinner... at 7:30 a.m. 

And it takes work. Packing up a mini-van with every possible thing you could ever might need because your going a whole hour and a half away from home, making sure you have plenty of food, realizing you are on an "easy" trail, in which the map forgets to mention is super, I mean super, steep, slippery, and I don't think they take into account women wearing baby carriers and worn out, too big cowboy boots.

But it always ends up being worth it. 

I have to admit, it is easy to see life so brightly when the kids are in bed, I'm sitting in bed clean and well-fed (a dinner that someone cooked other than me), and with lots of happy children pictures to look through, but I think you have to relish the contentment and joy when it comes. And learn from it. How can these feelings come in the everyday...

Trying to live slow. To avoid an agenda when possible. To notice things and see them with thankful eyes. 

Like, the fact that she can't keep her hands off of his cheeks. And, sometimes he cries because she pinches, I mean loves on too hard, and I get tired of telling her to be gentle, but then I think about those cheeks. I have a hard time keeping my hands off too.

Really looking at things. 

We weren't hurried today. We had no plan or time frame.

We took time to stop when a little one wanted to see a bug up close.

To eat together.

And treat ourselves together, too!

To see how many different shades of red and orange that God decided to tuck away in these leaves.

And to take the scenic way.

Eric and I have spent a lot of time talking about how we want life for our family to look like. And, I notice a theme, slow, in a fast world, simple, in a world filled with distractions (good ones and not so great ones), and  thankful, for the beautiful and also the mundane, the fun, and also the tiring, the special, but also the necessary duties. This is all about perspective. And not super easy. 

But, that's where we are hoping to live. And, days like today, are good to stop, refocus, and remember the path we want to take. And, I am a big fan of the whole "nature is good for the soul" thing anyway.

He knows how to enjoy the ride.

Those cheeks we were talking about. 

So, I hope one day, to look back on these days, not as a bunch of really great memories here and there (which I so do hope to have), but at a lifestyle that brought contentment. One of gratitude and of trying to live slowly and intentionally.