The extra magical hour was at Magic Kingdom our first day, so, of course, we opted for Magic Kingdom our first day.  With Joelle on our first trip, we had things mapped out exactly.  Where we would run first, what fast passes to secure, etc.  This trip, we were much more laid back.  Heck, we weren’t even there when the park opened!  We got there at 8:30, instead of 8:00.  After that, we didn’t even try to get the extra hour of magic, we knew our herd would get enough magic.  Chris will say that we didn’t secure the Cinderella Suite because I didn’t wear mouse ears, but we did have a “dream” that very first day.  A woman stopped us (wearing the non descript satchel of dreams we were told to watch for).  It was right outside the castle…., but it was not the suite.  If only I had had on mouse ears!  It was really cool though.  Joelle was given the chance to pull out the sword in the stone.  They gave her some pixie dust and it came out!  That same dream weaver also gave me a fast pass later that day when she saw Chris, Joelle and Elise get on the Pooh ride without me.  (We only had 2 fast passes because Chris was out of the park giving Elise a nap while I got them.)  That was cool to get to ride with Lis on her first Pooh ride.

The gang all lined up to ride Dumbo.  Elise’s first ride.  Dumbo is such a simple ride, but it’s so darn fun and cute.  The carpets of Aladdin and the dinosaur ride (all the same concept) just aren’t as good as riding on good ‘ole Dumbo.  Elise and Chris exit the park – walking back.  I loved that flexibility of being able to walk from Magic Kingdom.  Joelle, Nana, Poppy, and I kept on playing – riding classics such as small world, peter pan and the haunted mansion.  Yes, Joelle loved the haunted mansion!  That was crazy to me.  I thought she would hate it. 

We all gathered for a favorite lunch spot of ours – the crystal palace.  I held my breath to see if Elise would love the Pooh characters.  She did.  She thought it was quite funny when she would spot them.  She loved chowing down at the buffets, I recall cutting up a lot of watermelon for her at that lunch.  Chris and I couldn’t cut the food up fast enough for her voracious appetite. 

I should have taken notes there because the details are already fuzzy, but I know that Nana and Elise left for naps after Elise had one Pooh ride.  Chris, Poppy, Joelle and I then headed over to Frontier land where Joelle got to meet Jasmine.  I think the entire trip was worth it to Chris when he saw the look Joelle gave Jasmine.  As mommie predicted, she still thought all the princesses were real.  She adored meeting her favorite.  I commented afterwards, “oh, Jasmine had such pretty jewelry on.”  Joelle sighed, “and her make-up was so pretty.”  We continued on to Pirates – Joelle also liked this ride.  Would she dislike anything?  Maybe it was a good thing Splash Mountain was closed. 

Joelle had her first ear ice cream, but seemed to prefer our frozen lemonades.  We met back up with Elise and Nana but exited the park via the train shortly after dinner.  Elise was done for the day.  (She had skipped the nap that she was supposed to take while with Nana.)

Chris and I sneaked up to the observation deck to watch the fireworks.  They looked like they were right over tomorrow land – right by our hotel and we told Joelle, Nana and Poppy that they would have to watch the next night.

At some point this day, we end up with a new umbrella stroller.  I say “new”, but it was really much more beat up then ours.  A testament to how many strollers there are in all the miscellaneous stroller parkings! 


I have to put a break in my chronicles of Disney because of three thoughts that I don’t want to forget and are relevant now.

Elise had to get her shots a day after we got back from the trip.  Chris came along because I knew she also was going to get the anemia and lead testing done (which translates to blood being drawn, a weakness of Mommie and I was afraid Elise would be screaming.  One of my most memorable events was the jaundice test for Joelle, less then one week old.  They couldn’t get enough blood and her crying literally drove me mad.  Chris sent me out of the room while they finished scraping the hell out of Joelle’s heel.)  First up, the shots.  She only shed one tear for three shots.   Second test, the blood sample.  I assumed they’d scrape Elise’s heel to get the blood, but they actually gave my tiny baby a little tourniquet and stuck a needle in her arm!   It was the craziest thing.  Elise sat in Chris’s lap, eating yogurt raisans, without batting an eye lash.   Both the nurse and lab technician were also in shock, waiting for the plaintive wails to ensue.  Elise is one tough baby.

Joelle caught me by suprise this week with her intelligence.  She’s this little thing who was so, so cute walking down the aisle for practice last night for Meg and Danny’s wedding, but she’s also got this spark of witty straightforwardness that seems so big for her age.  We were getting her valentine baggies ready for her classmates.  Chris walked in and I said, “yeah, I’m not sure if these were supposed to go yesterday with the actual valentines (they were due a day early to give the kids time to sort them out and distribute to the appropriate mailboxes).  I just figured these wouldn’t fit in the mailbox slots.”  Joelle looked incredulously at me and said, “Mommie, they’re shoeboxes.  You can take the lid off.”  I started giggling at her observation.  Chris, too, thought it was funny.

As mentioned above, we went to Meg and Danny’s rehearsal last night for the wedding.  Chris mentioned afterwards, “I was struck by the moment.  Danny really is getting married.”  Meg has felt part of our family for a very long time.  Joelle has always adored her and is quite confused that she is only now becoming an “aunt noonie” because she has always thought of her as an aunt, but Chris is right – it’s so cool that Meg and Danny are getting married.  It’s such an awesome event and I am always moved during the ceremony.  I expect no less tonight.  I was personally also struck last night by something that seems so obvious.  Danny is old now.  I don’t mean that in a mean way, I just mean to say that in my mind he’s always stayed about the age he was when Chris and I got married.  Standing up there, it struck me that he’s grown up so much.  As the second kid with a big brother, it just felt like Danny would always be way younger.  Maybe I’m trying to kid myself into thinking I’m still young!  Anyway, I can’t wait for tonight.  I’m very happy for them.   

As usual, I drastically underestimated how early one must arrive to endure airport procedures when I purchased our tickets. Our flight left at 10 something, so we left very early for all the girls. We splurged on terminal parking because we had 4 bags between 2 adults, 1 walking kid and 1 strolling kid. Why hasn’t someone invented a stroller with one handle? Security was security and even Elise removed her Robeez for inspection. Chris vocally mentioned what I had been thinking, “Oh, we ARE that family now.” The ones who look flustered and confused while looking for the baby food that we forgot is a liquid and trying to unpack every other offending morsel for the inspectors. Security is not kind to those traveling with young children.

Elise enjoyed her freedom walking around the airport and doesn’t enjoy her freedom being taken away once boarded. Luckily, she did sleep for about an hour of the flight. She was slightly amused by the dvd, but mostly wanted off the plane. One more obstacle before the holy land, the bus. The magical transportation bus, which actually does help us because they took our bags to the hotel for us. The driver made me laugh when he said “folks, I live the magic 12 times a day.” (in reference to hearing the video on the bus about disney.) Of course, we were the last of 4 stops, but, ah, we arrived at the Contemporary at last.

Nana, Joelle and I ventured to downtown Disney. Joelle was in awe of Goofy’s candy store. Frankly, it is pretty amazing – any and every sugar concoction you can think of. She settled in on a cookie dipped in white chocolate with sprinkles. Yum. I was still feeling quite awful from my stomach bug. Nothing else in the entire store tempts me, a testament to how ill I still felt. (I made up for it later!) We shopped a bit until Chris called to say Elise was up. We decided that we’d all eat at Downtown Disney, an ill-fated decision which made Chris (and Poppy) endure a bus ride with a wailing Elise. We’re introduced to the Disney meal plan and the Earl of Sandwich: desserts and food are plentiful.

I hope to soon document a lot of our trip to Disney in one or more blogs, but I feel I would be remiss in not sharing the week we had prior to leaving for Disney.  I just kept thinking, “oh my gosh, we’re leaving for a family vacation in ____ days, how will we get there?”  It all started on Monday night, January 28th.  Elise threw up several times in the night.  She’s had a few tummy bugs, no worries.  She did fine all the next day on crackers, rice cereal and banana.  So, we gave her corn for dinner.  She threw it up.  It was strange.  In my great motherly wisdom, this wasn’t how it was supposed to work.  Hence, I coined the phrase, “I’m adequate,” when Chris said, “such a good mommie” one night.  Later in the week, he would say, “I’m competent,” when his own confidence was shaken.  The entire next day, she only had Pedialyte.  Scheduled for her one-year shots, we took her to the doctor on Wednesday.  She used every last ounce of energy to tell us, the entire audience in the waiting room and all the nurses that she was pissed off about being there.  After her battle cries were issued, she turned into a limp rag in her daddy’s arm.  I can still envision her body draped over Chris’s arms, completely limp.  Her eyes would follow Dr. Pielop around the room, but she didn’t move.  I could tell that the doctor was even a bit dismayed and worried over her appearance.  Chris has mentioned this, but when the doctor asked me when she had smiled last, I broke down in tears.  It had been quite some time.

Magically, on Thursday, she was a bit better.  Joelle went over to a friend’s house after school and threw up right as we were about leave.  All over the place.  I hesitate to write this because of the graphic nature (those weak at heart, should skip to the next line), but it has relevance later. She actually even threw up in my mouth.  I couldn’t take a shower for obvious reasons and was mortified at having had this huge incident at a friend’s house.  It was an awful moment.  I called Chris on the way home and told him bluntly what had happened.  Without waiting for his reply, I hung up.  I’d had a rough week already and now this.  It was a low moment for me.  Luckily, Nana was at the house watching Elise and was able to help and Chris skipped his party for Baker & O’Brien that night to come home. 

Joelle bounced back from her GI quickly and could have almost even gone to school the next day.  Turning point?  Is everyone getting well?  Not quite yet.  Having had the germ in my mouth, it was a bit hard for my body to fight it off.  I, too, fell prey.  I got sick on Saturday night and was in bed almost all of Sunday.  I felt better at times, but it was a rough go on Monday and Tuesday.  I didn’t eat anything until Tuesday.  I lived on gatarade and really didn’t have my full appetite back until Thursday or Friday at Disney.  We made it though.  We made it and maybe enjoyed it all the more knowing how sick we had all been.  I just keep thinking how lucky we were to get sick before we left and not during the trip. 

A high point of the the whole experience was on Friday when Poppy came late in the afternoon to bring the girls “get well” balloons.  Elise was delighted.  She walked around and around the room (a delightful sight without the balloon since she hadn’t really walked for three days) tugging her little balloon with her.  There aren’t many things in this world cuter then a kid holding on to a beloved balloon.  She didn’t understand where it went when she let go until a few hours of trained exposure, so when her balloon first went “away” to the ceiling, she immediately tried to grab Joelle’s.  It was adorable to see her feisty spirit back. 

As we flipped the calendar to 2008 we looked forward to a fun year – Elise’s 1st birthday party, family trip to Disney World, girls going to meet Joaquin in SLC…all in the first part of the year. Instead the highlights have been:

Jan 1 (day after flexible spending due) – someone puts a pin in the Chris voodoo doll (herniated disc)

Jan 27 – Elise’s 1st birthday party (ok, it hasn’t all been bad)

Jan 28 – Elise gets sick and basically doesn’t eat anything for a good part of the week – she’s pretty much her old self again but she gets tired and hungry quickly because she’s still trying to catch up on calories.

Jan 31 – As Elise is just starting to be able to at least be able to drink gatorade, Joelle gets sick

OK, we can look forward to February – Disney! Uh, hold on there…

Feb 2 – Petie is next in line and gets sick after feeling under the weather most of the week.

Guess who’s next?

It has been really, really sad to see my girls not just “sick” but SICK. One by one they have been picked off and the life just taken out of them. I think Petie would agree (although right this second she might not) that the worst moment was when we took Elise to the doctor on Thursday. We had her 1 year appointment scheduled but used it as a “sick visit” because she basically hadn’t kept anything down in almost 3 days. The doctor asked if she was showing normal emotions (like smiling) but was just lethargic. We realized that we couldn’t really remember the last time she had truly smiled.

Which reminds me, the next time we saw her smile might have been later that night when Joelle was around, now sick. It was ironic because when Joelle would go up to Elise when Elise was sick, Elise would kind of swipe at her. When Joelle was in her zombie-sick state Elise would go up to Joelle and grin as if to say “see, how do you like someone smiling at you?” Joelle for her part showed great restraint and did her best to deliver a fake-perky “Hi Elise”.

Joelle is loving High School Musical.  She goes through cycles of adoration and, after Danny and Meg’s giftie at Christmas (HS Musical CD), she’s been all over it.  Chris and I have been agreeable with this cycle, it’s actually pretty fun music.  So, we bought HS Musical 2.  Joelle was watching it the other morning.  I walked in the room and tears were in my baby’s eyes.  Troy (Joelle calls him Trent) and Gabrielle had just broken up.  She was so upset and it was time to walk out the door for school, but I did my best to console her and said, “baby, that’s a good lesson.  Trent wasn’t treating Gabrielle right, so she left him.  I hope you do the same thing if that happens to you.”  She looked up at me as if she understood, but then broke out in fresh tears and said, “but Trent gets more jewelry!”  I felt like saying, “come again.”  I did encourage her to explain more and she said, “Trent already has a ring and now he gets the necklace, too?”  Yeah, clearly Joelle didn’t really get the whole idea behind what was going on.  (Troy gives Gabrielle a necklace at the beginning of the movie and she gives it back when they break up.) 

Oh well, like I said before, the music is catchy.  Little Elise even likes it.  Her favorite is the “bop to the top” song.  She sings along, “bop, bop, bop,” with the music.

Elise has been a little fussy this week.  Specifically, she was cranky on Tuesday, Wednesday and today.  I was outwardly surmising what the potentional causes of her frustrations could be with Nana.  You know, the typical issues:  teething, catching a cold, etc.  Joelle suddenly piped in, “she could be missin’ me.”  I paused in my ruminating and said, “yeah, you might be right.”  I was thinking, “ah, my vain daughter.” 

Ironically, I think Joelle is right.  Children can be so wise.  Elise has gone through infatuations with each member of our family.  Her infatuation with mommie lasted the longest and I thought it was rock solid (ah, the vain Mommie.)  After our trip to Dallas, it suddenly switched to Daddy.  With the Christmas break and subsequent return to school, she’s decided “oh wah” is her new go to girl.  She follows Joelle around the house saying “oh wah”.  When we went to school to pick up Joelle from tumbling, Elise spotted Joelle immediately and ran to her with open arms saying “oh wah.”  It was absolutely adorable and Joelle ate it up. 

The three of us headed to the mall afterwards.  In one shop, a lady asked what my daughter’s names were.  I said, “Elise and Joelle.  Although, they call each other Oh wah and Lee Lee.”  Sometimes I wonder why parents kill themselves over the naming of their children.  They come up with their own nicknames anyway.  

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