Once again, it was attached to one of Tim's work trips, but the timing was perfect. His expo was the first week, and the second week was my family's spring break! They all drove out and Tim took a little (much-needed) time off to hang out with all of us.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
We stayed the night in St. George on the way down. I have the best in-laws who let us stay with them when we don't feel like making the full thirteen hour trip in one day! We went to church the next morning, and I couldn't help but take pictures!
I just love her.
At one point, we stopped at Subway to eat, and I spent a few minutes obsessing over how cute she was. We got her a kid's meal, and it always makes my heart melt how grown-up she looks eating them.
(She got a little cold and had to borrow my jacket.)
I couldn't get over how green it was! Cajon Pass is usually pretty brown.
Ellie and I spent the first couple of days hanging out with my grandma and our favorite labrador, Cody.
Then my aunt Ginny took a couple of days off to take us shopping! I never complain when she wants to do that. (Or eating out. I never complain about that either.)
^^One of Ellie's cute new outfits. Obviously.
Ellie and I both got pretty spoiled those days!
Obviously Ellie was lookin' pretty stylish!
Sometimes she makes this face just to make me laugh. (It works.)
"I playing da piano!"
Somehow I didn't get very many pictures after my parents and brothers got there! Bummer dude. But I promise, we did have a lot of fun, doing normal Sparks-y things: soda runs, talking, eating out, talking, eating - you get the idea. It was fantastic.
I did get this one (random) picture from our trip to the Natural History Museum.
Alas - now I will bombard you with Disneyland pictures! It was basically the best day. We spent until probably around 4pm taking Ellie around to whatever rides we knew were more her speed. Then my parents came and picked her up (my grandma lives like 5 minutes from Disneyland) and watched her the rest of the evening! We went on a couple of rides just the two of us, and then met up with my brother and his girlfriend. Basically, it was the perfect day.
Our biggest mistake was taking her on the Snow White ride first. We didn't remember how scary that would be for a two-year-old, and it totally traumatized her. She spent the next few rides just waiting for a wicked witch to jump out at her.
It took some convincing, but eventually she succumbed and started to enjoy herself.
In fact, she didn't cry the entire time we were there. She came the closest when we were about to meet Pluto. She told us that she wanted to give him hugs and kisses, so we waited the two minutes in line, only to have her totally freak the second we were about to meet him. (Santa Claus, all over again.)
Speaking of lines, let's just talk about those for a second. The most we ever had to wait this trip was 25 minutes, and that was unusual. That was amazing to me, because I'd been a couple of times where we waited 45 minutes if we were lucky! What a good day.
The teacups were by far Ellie's favorite. On every other ride, we'd had to coax her out of her hesitancy. The first time I took her on the teacups, she suddenly burst out laughing! She giggled almost the entire ride. (Tim gets a little motion sick on those, so he only accompanied us once.)
The fact that she loved them so much made them my favorite part of Disneyland.
I was so impressed how well she did in lines. We saw plenty of kids bawling their eyes out, and I just knew that on any given day that could have totally been Ellie. I was counting my blessings that day!
The Carousel and the Dumbo Ride were her two favorites after the teacups. We rode each a couple of times!
As we were walking out to meet my parents, we happened by the parade! I was so happy it worked out that way, because Ellie was entranced!
At the end, she kept saying, "More! More!"
We had totally mixed feelings about dropping her off with my parents. On the one hand, she was being so good and enjoying herself so much. On the other hand, it was so fun to have some time where we could go do our own thing. Really, it was the best of both worlds.
We loved hanging out with Eric and his girlfriend that evening! Our favorite experience with them was riding the rockets. I was imagining that it would be like the Dumbo ride, only a little faster. It was...except that the seats were much smaller and it went much faster. We decided to pair off, only to find out that we could barely fit in a rocket together! I was barely strapped in, and Tim wasn't really strapped in at all. Then as the ride started, the centrifugal force kicked in, and suddenly I was crushing Tim's bad knee. It started going faster and faster, and I started freaking out internally (and I'd been the one to encourage this dang ride!). Tim tried to tell me about his knee, and I (with my hands covering my eyes) yelled, "Suck it up!" Then we just giggled (partially out of fear) the entire rest of the ride. It was horrifying.
We got off the rockets only to find that they'd had a similar experience. (At least we weren't alone.)
It was one of the best days I've had in a long time!