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Eleanor’s Third Birthday: Part One – Disneyland

Posted by: Maggie

Here’s the post you’ve all been waiting for!

For Eleanor’s birthday we decided to take her to Disneyland for the first time! We thought this was the perfect age for her to really enjoy it! We were right! She loved it!

I want to start by saying that I love Disneyland! Love it! Before we had Eleanor I would go every year for my birthday, but I haven’t been since the birthday before I got pregnant. Hopefully I don’t sound too terribly cheesy when I say that Disneyland is beautiful and magical and makes me feel full of wonder like being a little kid again. Disneyland is like eternal Christmas for me!  So I was very excited to finally get to share all of that beauty and magic and wonder with Eleanor.

We started the day by letting her open one present early, a Tinkerbell shirt to wear to Disneyland.

We didn’t want to sit in traffic, so we didn’t rush getting out of the house. We left at around 10:30 and arrived at about 11:30am.

We spent the first 45 minutes wandering around main street, listening to the Barbershop Quartet sing Christmas songs, checking out the Christmas Tree (Eleanor didn’t like it, she said it was too big to be a Christmas Tree), and buying and applying $15 sunblock since we forgot ours.

Then we went to have lunch at Pizza Port in Tomorrowland and finally got on some rides. We started with Buzz Lightyear and Finding Nemo and then headed over to Pixie Hollow. This was Eleanor’s favorite part of the day! After a very long wait in line we got to meet Vidia (a sassy fast flying fairy from the Tinkerbell movie) and Tinkerbell!

The actress playing Vidia was fantastic! She complained that Eleanor had Tink on her shirt and told Eleanor to tell Tink that Vidia was prettier than her. So funny!

Then on to meet Tink! Eleanor loved her. She was speechless and only giggled at her. They were very cute together!

Then on to the teacups, Eleanor loved it. She kept telling me to spin us faster and then didn’t want to get off.

Then on to more Fantasyland rides. Eleanor had so much fun on the rides and kept saying how scary they were and how much she wanted to ride again.  We, of course, had to ride the Carousel. Eleanor adores Carousels. But who doesn’t? They are so pretty.

While I was taking photos of her riding I said, “Oh look Eleanor a mirror, I can be in the picture too!” She replied, “No! I don’t want you in my picture!” And then made this face:

Aren’t three-year-olds just darling?!

After our carousel ride, we headed to the front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle for some gorgeous photos of the castle decorated for the holidays, just as the sun had set. So, so beautiful!

I’m glad we waited until dark to visit Small World. Perfect for seeing the Christmas lights.

By the time we got off, we were starving and it was suddenly freezing cold out. So we hopped on the train and rode through the park to New Orleans Square for dinner. I don’t think I’ve ridden the train since I was little and I completely forgot about the Dinosaur land it rides through. Thanks for the tip Andrew!

I then spent the next 45 minutes waiting in line, freezing, waiting to get some soup for dinner. It was pretty crowded that day, and I guess everyone decided it was dinner time at the same time and everyone wanted soup. Meanwhile, Josh and Eleanor went to get us some fast passes for Haunted Mansion and then wandered around for a bit.

The vegetarian gumbo and clam chowder in bread bowls were pretty much worth the wait!

After dinner we jumped on Pirates, which had a very short line, because the fireworks were going off.

We were a little concerned that it would be too scary for Eleanor because of the big drop at the beginning, but she loved it. She kept asking to go back on the ride with the big slide where people screamed.

Afterwards we hit the haunted mansion, which was decorated Nightmare before Christmas style. I’ve never been at Christmas before, so I was excited to see it.

It was okay. Kinda cool, but I prefer the regular Haunted Mansion.

By then it was very late and time to go. I always ride on Jungle Cruise as my last ride of the day. It’s fun in the dark and the boat captain always seems to be a little funnier at the end of the day. BUT the line was so long I couldn’t believe it. I’ve never seen such a long line for that ride. So we headed to Main Street to call it a day, but of course, we had told Eleanor we would go on one more ride and she wasn’t about to let that go. Luckily, we walked by the Tiki Room and decided to check it out.

Neither Josh nor I have ever been in before. It was actually sorta fun. It’s a 15 minute theatre show with a fountain, and some singing and joke telling birds. Eleanor seemed to like it. She always loves singing.

After the show, we finally headed back toward Main Street to leave.

We made a quick stop in the candy store for some Salt Water Taffy for me and Josh and candy corn for Eleanor, and then wandered into the main store to let Eleanor pick out one souvenir. She chose a Minnie Mouse doll whose skirt twirls and lights up. Shockingly, as of writing this, she has not yet broken it.

We left the park at about 11:30pm! I could not believe it! We knew Eleanor was going to skip her nap, so we assumed that we would leave when she started melting down in the evening, but I guess Disneyland is just too exciting and magical a place. We had very few bouts of crankiness and she was pretty much full of energy until she got in the car and fell asleep before we got out of the parking garage.

Happy Third Birthday Eleanor!

Posted by: Maggie

My Dearest Eleanor,

Today you turned three! The years have gone by so quickly, I can’t believe what a big girl you are!

You are fearless and strong-willed, sweet and loving, but fiercely independent. You are funny and charming. You have such a sweet little smile, but are a force to be reckoned with. You insist on doing things your way and don’t take no for an answer. Last week you asked me for something and when I said no, you went to ask your Daddy instead, when he told you to ask me you replied, “but she said No!” You are already learning that there is always a way to get what you want. You are constantly testing your limits and ours.

Everyone at school knows and loves you. I am constantly hearing from other parents that their kids talk about you all the time, even kids who aren’t in your class. You love your teacher, talk about her all the time, and sometimes call me by her name. You are a social butterfly. You love to talk to everyone we see. You say hello to every stranger that passes by and make friends with every kid you meet at the park. You tell people your name and ask them theirs, and you remember people’s names. I joke that you will be a talented politician or business woman.

Sometimes you make life tough for me and your Daddy. You get cranky for no apparent reason, and throw little screaming fits. You aren’t always a good listener. And lately you have become quite the little contrarian and back-talker. You sometimes get angry and call us names. You want to do what you want to do and don’t like to be told otherwise. But you are three after all so we try to be firm, but understanding. We know that you are maturing every day, learning to be a better listener, learning to be more considerate of others, learning to be a little more flexible.

You seem to be getting smarter every day. You understand things that we wouldn’t imagine you would. You remember everything and like to talk about things that happened months ago. Your Daddy and I are sure that our old brains will be no match for you soon.

You love to laugh and make us laugh. You are always doing silly thing, making up songs, pretending to be a baby, talking to your Daddy’s big toe (Toey). You turn everything into a baby that you can take care of. We know that you will be an excellent big sister someday. Your Daddy and I promise to work on making that happen soon!

Even though we think we are Eleanor experts, you are always surprising us in one way or another. Just recently you have fallen in love with all that is girly: Princesses, Fairies, Dancing, Singing, Pink and Purple, Skirts and Dresses (which you want to wear every day). We didn’t think it was your style, so we assumed you wouldn’t go through this phase, but we sure were wrong. You are so bold and brash and rough and tough, not at all the soft and delicate flower. But I guess you are proof that you can be tough and girly at the same time. You are definitely your mother’s daughter!

You are so sweet and lovely that I can’t help but smother you with hugs and kisses as often as you’ll let me. You like to tell me, “No kisses!” and then wipe my kisses from your face. You give your Daddy tons of affection, but you like to choose your moments with me. Usually when Daddy isn’t around.

I love you with all of my heart and I can’t imagine a life without you in it. You are everything that matters to me. And even though you wear me out and sometimes make me a little crazy, I love every minute with you. You make my life better because you are in it. I know that I’ve been working really hard this last year, and not spending as much time with you as I would like. I promise to make some changes in the new year so that we can be together more. But I want you to know that I work as much as I do and as hard as I do to make you proud of me. To be the kind of mom you deserve and to be the kind of woman you would want to be. I love you.


An Ode to Brian

Posted by: Josh

Today is Brian’s birthday. Brian is a fancy man who happens to be taller than you. Also, he’s my friend. I won’t bore you with all the boring details of our boring exploits in high school and what have you after that, assuming we are both still alive right now, but you should know that Brian is like me, except he doesn’t like Dr. Pepper, and one time I’m pretty sure I saw him enjoy the company of a cat. The good news is that he has had a beard for longer than I have had a face, and that’s something a man can respect. And even though he now has power over the lives of college-age kids somewhere in Texas, he still finds the time to throw me crumbs from atop his ivory tower (painted up like a football field) upon which he strides with legs like circus tent poles.

To Brian, who wins at staying alive for thirty years today! Enjoy the victory my friend, because tomorrow is going to be a lot like yesterday. Mwa!

Brian looking left.

Brian looking down.

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