Our darling girls woke up on Christmas Eve to a fresh breakfast and a pair of very happy parents.
We were giddy with excitement, finally able to spill the big secret.
They ate their breakfast (which seemed to take way longer than usual by the way) and I asked Lola if she knew what a scavenger hunt is.
"Yes, it's when you go for walk in the woods and gather up all sorts of interesting sticks and leaves and stuff."
Well, yeah, that too, but what about the indoor kind? The kind where you follow clues?
And so it began...
They practically bolted out of the kitchen, getting downstairs, Lola running, Millie scooting down on her bottom, us holding Lola up, telling her to wait for her sister...
They found a wrapped package. A new Olaf toy.
And a second clue.
Get your swimsuits.
Back upstairs, pulling out drawers to find these: handmade Elsa hats with knitted Elsa braids.
Notice a pattern yet?
The third clue: Get your suitcases.
Lola, not even yet down the staircase, said to me, "Mommy, I wish we had Elsa dresses!" and then paused. "I bet that's next!" and raced into the laundry room, her sister right on her tail.
It was the one thing she asked Santa for. We knew we'd have no trouble getting Lola into her gown, but Millie? With her aversion to all things poofy? I was doubtful.
And so very wrong.
See how cute they are with the Elsa hair?!
But a fourth clue?
Mommy made one the last time, should we make another?
The Disney scrapbook, from our 2013 trip. In the craft/play room, right behind the closed door...
What they didn't know is what we did.
We gave them just a tiny piece of Arendelle.
Lola threw open the door and her reaction was absolutely priceless.
An Elsa and Anna calendar. Lola flipped out, so excited she was for a Frozen calendar.
Now, the adults reading this have probably put it together. Pack suitcase, get swimsuits, etc. Our girls, though, so focused on the game, they didn't notice the connection.
We opened the calendar and on it, there was a countdown, from (a certain number that I won't post publicly) down to a very rough Mickey sketch.
I could barely get the words out, "Where does Mickey live?" I asked, very quietly, knowing Ray was videotaping behind me.
And have you ever wondered at what a kid's reaction would be, when you tell them they're going (back) to Disney World?
But she knows us, too well. We tease, too much.
We had been telling her we'd go again when she was 8. And then, after I totaled the car, we said we'd have to wait 'til she was 10, that the new car was too expensive to allow us to do both right now.
So she was doubtful.
"Are you serious?" she asked us once.
"Are you really serious?" she asked us, again.
And then her face nearly slightly broke, asking one last time, "For real?", barely whispering, warning us that if we were still teasing, if we still weren't being honest, that we'd have taken the joke too far, that she was going to be crushed.
But as we nodded, she lost it.
Millie, well, she just kept looking at Lola and back at us. She nodded when Ray asked if she wanted to go meet Mickey. But I think, in the end, if Lola was this ecstatic, she figured she'd be kind of happy too.
It was worth the wait. Oh so many times in the last six months we've nearly caved, we've nearly given in and just told them, to let us all be excited together, to stop the whispers and secrets.
But this moment, the moment they realized what would come, it was so worth it.