First, our little man did an amazing job handling getting up at 4:30 a.m.! We also experienced an unheard-of blessing on the plane...it wasn't full, and we were able to get a row of three seats together. It really helped Eli to have his own seat. He enjoyed looking out the window and pushing the buttons (don't worry, we didn't let him push the button to beckon the flight attendant!).
The highlight of the trip for Eli was his new best friend, Sierra, who is the daughter of one of the other coaches. Sierra is 10 months older than Eli, and boy did the two of them bond! Our rooms were just across the hall from each other, and anytime Eli heard Sierra in the hall, his face lit up and he said "Sierra! Friend!" They played together the entire trip, went to Disneyland and a basketball game together, shared toys and snacks, danced together (even under tables), and ran and ran and ran...it was great! Not a day has gone by since returning home that Eli hasn't asked for Sierra. It was also a real blessing for me to have another mom around, especially one whose company I really enjoy (thanks, Lena!).
We did, of course, go to Disneyland - twice! Eli's still too young to really "get" it, but there were definitely some things he enjoyed. The "It's a Small World" ride was his favorite, and we rode it twice (would have done more had it not been for the lines!). His eyes were wider than they've ever been as we rode the boat through the brightly decorated tunnel. He pointed, danced, and asked for more! :) He also really enjoyed the Christmas parade, and was a huge fan of the Disneyland Railroad train that goes around the park. We planned to ride it just from one side of the park to the other, but Eli enjoyed it so much that we made a round and a half! Eli's other favorite thing at Disneyland was Goofy's house. Goofy's playground (specifically the slide) was a big hit with our little guy. Goofy also has a kid-size piano that plays some pretty goofy notes, and Eli had a great time playing it.
Eli got to hang out with a couple of different Santas. One in our hotel, and one in the California Adventure hotel. He never got around to actually sitting on Santa's lap, but he did become more comfortable with the big man in red.
Two of our favorite photos from the trip were both taken on the day we returned home. We had a lot of time to kill at the Long Beach airport, and fortunately we were able to spend most of it outside. Their baggage claim is outside, and Eli was very intrigued by it. He really wanted to walk on it, and once he managed to climb up onto it before I got to him. As soon as I said "Eli, we need to get down from there" he layed down on the conveyer belt! Fortunately I had the camera in my pocket to catch the cute shot. We didn't realize until later that he had layed down right next to the sign that says (in more words) "stay off!" When we arrived in the Seattle airport, Eli insisted on carrying his own backpack. The amusing thing was the way he carried it...which made perfect sense since everyone else was dragging their bags behind them! Pretty clever kid! :)
It was a great trip, but we were also glad to get back home...especially for Christmas! I promise to do a Christmas post very soon, but this one took a really long time, and I need a break. :)