Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And Now it's Time to Say Goodbye...

Don't worry, just to Disney. Blogger was giving me trouble so I took a couple days off, but my rambling will continue. But this is (probably) my last Disney post.

Posting my Disney adventures helped me extend my vacation joy for two weeks, which is a wonderful thing, but I think it's probably enough. So thanks for reliving this with me! It was a wonderful trip, and I can't wait to go back.

"And now it's time to say goodbye to all our company...

M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!"

"See you real soon!"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Play Time

Of course, besides meeting Mickey Mouse, Elizabeth's favorite part of visiting Disney World were the playgrounds. And we could have done that at home. Nobody does theming like Disney though!

Pooh's Thoughtful Spot at the Magic Kingdom was a hit. This was the playground with the water feature from my "Bravery" post. I loved Pooh's house and seeing Elizabeth play inside it, although there was a little boy who was in there with her and he was in need of better parenting. There were also giant honey pots to crawl through, and fallen "logs" with built in slides, and a surprising amount of room for a little girl to run.

The Boneyard at Animal Kingdom had amazing theming. It is set up to look like a major paleontology dig site. And its HUGE with multiple levels and many slides and rope ladders and bridges and caves and hidden places to get wet. I loved the way they made the climbing area look like scaffolding. It looks totally dangerous, but you would have to work really hard to fall off.

She went on the big tube slides too, but Elizabeth especially liked sliding on the kiddie slides with Daddy. He's a good sport that way.

Although it was pretty small and extremely crowded, my favorite playground that we went to was the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground at Disney Hollywood Studios:

There was a slide made to look like a roll of film, giant mushrooms, a leaky garden hose, a giant water gun, a huge bee, this Tinkertoy:

And of course, a giant ant.

The littlest playground was in the Magic Kingdom across from Mickey's house.

You have to be under 40 inches tall to play there, but it is completely shaded.

We pale people like that.

Around the World (for the last time) in 11 Countries: United Kingdom and Canada

If you've kindly stuck with me for this long, I appreciate it! And your good nature is about to be rewarded because this is (probably) my last Epcot post.

While we did not enjoy the aromas roiling out of the fish and chips shop, we liked the United Kingdom pavilion. It had been a long day so it was nice to sit on the curb for a while and watch a Beatles Tribute band. They encouraged us to sing along, which was good because I kind of already was. And not very quietly either.

After they finished singing and left the stage, one of the Disney PhotoPass photographers came over and asked us if she could take Elizabeth's picture. I said sure, but I was grimacing. See, its a sneaky thing they do to you and I knew it then. If you haven't been to Disney for a while, the place is now swarming more than ever with Disney photographers that lurk in front of the best photo spots and at all the character greetings. With their really nice cameras. So they get all these shots of you that won't look nearly as nice on your camera (even though they will take some for you on your camera as well, don't get me wrong, its not all bad), or, as in the case of the United Kingdom pavilion photographer, absolutely beautiful portrait quality head shots of your precious child. You have a little plastic card that you carry around for all the photographers to scan, and when you get home and log into the website, you see these amazing shots of yourself, your husband, your child, the scenery....all for the low, low price of $19.95 for a 5X7. And they only give you 30 days to purchase them after you initially log in. So they have you over a barrel because you waaaaaaaant these photos. And don't tell me to right-click-save-as, it doesn't work. Let me just say that there are some hard choices being rapidly made over here as time goes by.

So, as I mentioned we were exhausted. So much so that when I spotted this lovely stereotypical British phone booth, Elizabeth would not get out of the stroller to pose by it. So I just parked her and took my picture anyway. That is a lovely shade of red, you almost don't notice the completely over exposed little girl:

We were really fighting major apathy when we got to Canada. At this point it was like "*shrug*, yeah, it's pretty much the States anyway" I'm not saying it wasn't a beautiful pavilion though, because it was drop dead gorgeous.

Especially the view from the "mountain" we had to climb to thoroughly check the area out. The sun was starting to go down so it was cooler, there was a nice breeze....you can see how we would have enjoyed parts of Canada.

And then, as if to congratulate us for making it around World Showcase, we looked across the lake, and there was a rainbow over Germany.

Other passersby were just commenting on the (not fully captured by my camera) beauty of the moment, but all I could think of was that I was super glad we had bought the little dollhouse in Germany earlier in the day, because there was no way I would have gone all that way back for it!

Around the World in 11 Countries: Morocco and France

On days when I am not hungering for clean lines and open designs, I want to live in Morocco. At least the Epcot version. I love the detailing and the grill work on windows and the mosaics and gold shiny stuff. And all the bold colors.

I was kind of anxious to get here, because this was where we had planned to eat dinner and it had been a very long day. I had a fantastic vegetarian platter at the Tangierine Cafe, which is a little counter service restaurant and it was a nice break. We even had a little dinner music courtesy of the band Mo-Rockin' who was playing outside.

Did I mention I like the mosaics? Some people have this thing called "patience" that I am not super familiar with. If this fountain was my responsibility, an area about a foot square would be perfect, and the rest not so much. That's ok, I have other talents.
What you can't see in the picture is that the reason David is squatting down by Elizabeth is because he initially attempted to pose while sitting on the edge of the fountain and got a wet backside for his trouble. I appreciated the sacrifice.

France! France was fun. We saw what I'll call French Countryside Belle. Which is my way of saying that we saw Belle from Beauty and the Beast in her regular clothes and not as one of the versions of Princess Belle. I thought that was very cool, but then I would. Somehow she didn't have a line and I was heading her way when I almost got run over by a very large family stampeding toward her. We moved on.

This window was probably why I liked France so much. As you might have figured out, Belle is my favorite Princess. And this stained glass window in one of the shots is right out of the movie. It pleased me.

So, the lady on the left in the below picture is French. She had a very lovely, very French sounding name and of course I can't remember it. We spent quite a bit of time with her, so I probably should have taken a picture of her name tag. She took a shine to Elizabeth, so we all hung out in the "Souvenirs de France" shop which is where the Kidcot shop and the pressed penny machine were.
She is actually from Paris, and before she worked at Epcot, she worked at Disneyland Paris, and before that she was some sort of dancer. As you can see:

There was a lot of dancing and jumping and stuff, and Elizabeth had a good time.

So, no matter what anybody says about the French, I'm a fan.


So, this blog is really about my babies and my hubby and me, but I can't resist giving shout outs occasionally. My friend Mimi from high school lives in California now. In the coolest house EVER!! Her house was featured at http://rearrangeddesign.blogspot.com and if you want to see the awesome places some people get to live you should check it out. You don't get to see the view she has, but the shots are great. I don't know how to link the exact entry, although this: http://rearrangeddesign.blogspot.com/2008/09/house-tour_22.html might work. If not, it's the September 22nd entry. I call her style a little modern, a little retro, a little cartoony, but she has a much cooler description: "Ray & Charles Eames and Sir John Soane listen to indie-pop at a toy store." That phrase just makes me sigh with appreciation. Word of warning, Mimi's really smart and it shows in the post.

Mimi, you rock, and I'm in love with your house!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Elizabeth, who is very smart and cautious, likes to take her time to check out new situations. Here she is at Pooh's Thoughtful Spot in the Magic Kingdom considering the water feature. You can't see it in the picture, but she is a safe distance away from the fountains...

Here she is, taking Daddy with her for support while she checks things out from a closer vantage point....

"Hmmmm. This may not be so bad!", she thinks. "Look at all the half naked children running around!"...

"Woohooooooo! Now that's a good time!"...

"And now that I'm thoroughly soaked, I never want to leave! Dry my face off, and let's do it again!"

Monday, September 22, 2008

Around the World in 11 Countries Continued:Italy, America, and Japan

Back to Epcot! Don't worry, with this post we're more than halfway around World Showcase. The end is in sight! This is more for me than you anyway, right?

The Italy Pavilion was pretty, but since it pretty much only featured wine and breakables we only stopped at the Kidcot station. More on that in a bit.

Next was the America Pavilion. Why does the building in the below picture have Japanese architecture? Yeah, because I kind of didn't take any pictures of America. This may have been the only part of all four parks I didn't take a picture of. In my defense, I do have some familiarity with America. And besides, I was too busy admiring the view of Spaceship earth (Known as the Golden Ball to Elizabeth) across the lake, wondering why there were David Beckham jerseys in the gift shop (yes, I know he lives in LA. now. Wrong pavilion, people!), and being anxious to get to Japan in time for the...

...candy demonstration! There are not really many free or cheap things at Disney. This is an exciting one! This lady pops out of nowhere and starts to make these lollipop things out of rice candy. She stretches it like taffy, sticks it on a wooden stick and then makes it into any animal that you want. And gives it to you for free! Elizabeth asked for a green dinosaur, so the lady made her Godzilla:

It was pretty entertaining because they all start out looking like a blob on a stick and I personally watched her make Mom and Baby pandas, a cheetah and a unicorn. I was very impressed. Elizabeth was extremely excited by her "lollipop", but let me tell you, it was fragile. The above picture was taken within moments of it being handed over, and mere seconds later Godzilla had lost a chunk of his flame and an arm. It went downhill from there. In fact, the remains are in our refrigerator right now. I really should be doing something about that.

So, I mentioned Kidcot. Another one of the rare freebie things you can find. There are stations all over Epcot for this, and at more places than just the countries, although that was enough for us. Basically, Elizabeth got a mask on the stick to color, and at every country she got a themed paper charm (teddy bear in Germany for example) added on that dangled, a stamp from the country on the stick, and at China and Japan she even got her name written in characters. It was pretty cool. Her favorite part was adding more scribbles at every stop.
Next 11 Countries post, we're off to Morocco!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Say Cheese!

Tonight we finally gave Elizabeth her biggest birthday present. Well if you don't count the Disney trip, which I really don't since it was just as much a present for me. But anyway, she got that Fisher Price kid's digital camera thing, which I have been anxiously waiting to give her since it came out. However, it says its for ages 3 and up and I'm a stickler for that stuff. It's pretty unbreakable and all rubberized and stuff with binocular type view finder and is easy to hold onto. She is beyond thrilled with it. Here is her first attempt, a nice extreme close up of my untoned arm:

Some 80 pictures later (thank heavens for the included memory card that holds about 900 shots), her technique improved, although I was worried she'd fall off the couch for this one:

and she still just as often takes a picture of her foot. She's learning though and fast. Obviously the quality or the pixels or whatever aren't that great, but she thinks it rocks and I think that I prefer pictures of me to be blurry!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Run Lola Run!

Ok, not really, substitute Elizabeth into that title. This is a brief dip into reality. I say that because the whole Disney kick I'm on takes me happily into fantasy for a bit and I could stay there for quite a while. But time is not exactly standing still. So.

Today we had a belated birthday event for Elizabeth with some of our friends and their children. Nothing fancy, we just met at a local indoor kids playground for a while and then went to Coldstone Creamery for dessert and the happy birthday song. So, since I don't like to post pictures of my friend's children (no matter how cute they are) without their permission, and since its almost midnight and I don't think they would appreciate a call (not being the night owl I am these days), I'm just going to share my favorite picture from today:

My little camera does not usually get action shots that aren't just a mess of blur, so I was excited by that. And even though my darling's facial expression isn't the prettiest I've ever seen it, I think you can sort of get the idea from it of just how excited/overtired/buzzed on sugar she was as she sprinted in circles around Coldstone with her daddy's smoothie in tow. It was a good day.

Although this morning not so much. David and I participated in this community yard sale thing that happens once a month. It was our first time to do it, but we'll go back. It was just so dang hot that at one point I couldn't tell if I was sweating or crying. I couldn't see at all. Ick. So, you want to know what we sold among other things? Elizabeth's crib, the girl's swing, jump-a-roo, bouncy seat, exersaucer, baby bathtub and play gym. Yep, all the big baby stuff except for Lilli's crib and high chair. And it was a bit painful for me. Ok, more than a bit.

We are most likely "two and through" as the saying goes, unless we have another surprise, in which case we would deal. Intellectually I am on board with that. We have a three bedroom house on the smaller side and it is very important to me that the girls not have to share a room. We can handle living expenses and college for two kids, but I don't know if we can do three. Not unless we start playing the lotto anyway. Oh right, and then we'd have to win. We also have two Toyota Corollas, and you just can't fit three car seats in the backseat of one of those. So we'd have to caravan everywhere (and in today's economy, forget it!), or buy a new car. The thought of going from no car payments to a possibly hefty one is daunting. Also, my dad watches the girls, but he's getting older, and if I were to get pregnant tomorrow, he would be on the 80 side of 70 before the youngest was in school. Two is hectic enough for him (although in his defense he does extremely well with them 90% of the time) and I don't want to exhaust him to the point where we start having health issues to deal with. I neeeeeeed him.

So, like I said, I know all the reasons we are done, but emotionally I'm not quite there. We had 4 years of us time (celebrated that anniversary right before Elizabeth was born) before we got around to having a baby. Then, no sooner did that baby turn one, then I got pregnant again unexpectedly. Now here we are a year after that one, and my biological clock (or something) is telling me to get on the job again. So emotionally I can't quite accept that I will probably never be pregnant again. Because I loved being pregnant. Not so much delivery (I'll tell you those stories another time. And don't worry, I'll post warnings that you might not want to eat before reading Lilli's). Not at all delivery in fact. Unless they are willing to guarantee me an epidural, perhaps hooking me up a couple weeks before my due date. But I managed to let go of the big ticket items, mainly because David promised me that if we get a surprise I can buy all new stuff. Muhahahaha! But anyway, I can't let go of the majority of the baby clothes. Especially not the baby dresses. Because you know, another baby might wear them. Maybe.

So at what point do you get rid of most of those? How do you know that you really are done having babies? Short of permanent solutions that is, I'm not into that. Do you keep expecting to maybe be pregnant again up until your youngest is in school? I could use some advice on this issue. Either in comments or e-mail. If you've got some, or some words of comfort, hit me! After this morning I need it. The sweat/tears thing? I have a suspicion it was both.

Around the World in 11 Countries: China and Germany

So, back to my Disney obsession! Yay! I'm sure you're as excited as I am.

We really liked China. There is a huge shopping center/store thingy that pretty much extends the length of the pavilion and let us stay out of the sun for a good long hike. It was pretty thrilling. The entertaining thing about the below picture (although let me say, I thought the pond was beautiful even if, according to my ecologist husband, the plants are Florida plants and not Chinese ones. Whatever.) is the upper left hand corner. There is obvious construction going on back there, but Disney even prettied that up. Artful draping all over the scaffolding. Attention to detail, that's why I love them.

There is a long stretch between China and the next country, Germany. Fortunately there is a "refreshment outpost" along the way. And refresh we did. Although poor Elizabeth's ice cream was melting so fast that the straw was necessary.

Perked back up again, she felt able to help the dad and son (there, in the shade) with their drum playing. I'm sure they appreciated it.

Germany was also a lovely stop due to the interconnectedness of its stores. They do give a skewed view of the country though. According to Epcot, Germany is all about beer, cuckoo clocks, teddy bears, Playmobile and Christmas. That was ok with me though. We took advantage of the Playmobile thing and hefted a dollhouse around for the rest of the day.

You know, I should tell you a little story about that dollhouse. So, Elizabeth and I think it rocks equally. Her, because she's a little girl and she's supposed to, and me because I apparently never grew up. So in this little dollhouse (which if you want to google it is the Playmobile Take Along Doll House), there are tiny little mugs and a tiny blue pitcher. Which Elizabeth decided was for lemonade, and that plays into my story because it was apparently on her brain. There is also a tiny little book along with beds for all four figures (a mama, a daddy, a little girl and a baby girl. See another reason why we wanted it?). So, one night, Elizabeth tucked everybody into their beds, picked up the tiny book and said to the dolls: "I'm going to tell you a story. Once upon a time there was a little girl who was crying into her lemonade. Her mommy was sad because the little girl was crying into her lemonade, so I read everyone a story and it was all better. The End."

That's exactly what she said, word for word, no lie. Where she comes up with this stuff I don't know, but she definitely has an active imagination. Last Wednesday at the library she asked me to sit at one of the little tables with her and we then proceeded to have Thanksgiving dinner (popcorn was served) with a passing bear. And then she proceeded to "carry" the rest of the "popcorn" through the library while frequently checking behind her to make sure the bear (a boy bear, I know because I asked) was keeping up. I find myself shaking my head a lot. I know she's three now and is getting to the age for this stuff, but it still surprises me.

So, back to Germany!

See that little train? It looks almost identical to Spencer, one of Thomas the Tank Engine's friends. You may not care, but we have too many of Thomas' friends, so I am intimately acquainted with them and notice these things.

It's a nice train set though. If it were in the shade I bet we would have stayed there quite a while. However, I started to cook again, so we moved on.

Off my present topic:

So, technology not being my friend, I may have mentioned the fact that I can't link things in a pretty way. However, I want to take two seconds away from my current Disney obsession to wave around the link to a website that belongs to a couple that David and I are buddies with. It's http://www.terrafurnishings.com/ and even if furniture isn't your thing, I would be delighted if you would click over to their site to admire the web design if nothing else, since I'm super proud of them for starting this up. I like initiative, I just don't have much of it. Also, if you are into being fairly green and like your furniture to be built only from renewable resources (i.e., actual solid woody goodness!) instead of the chemical laden scrappy press board stuff, they have the site to visit. Oh yeah, and their stuff is pretty too. Check out the "hand-slumped glass bowl". I don't know what "hand-slumped" means, but I want to cuddle it.

P.S. In a shocking departure from my major splurge on posting (really having to restrain myself to only two little topics a day), this is it for tonight. I spent too long playing Pirates of the Caribbean and I'm pooped. And we'll let that be a topic for another day!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Around the World in 11 Countries: Mexico and Norway

Ahhhh, Epcot. I love it so. Perhaps if I had any international travel under my belt I would feel different, but, since I don't, I will happily take the Disney version of reality.

Mexico was pretty awesome.

And we saw signs that maybe Elizabeth will take after her daddy in more than the ways we knew about. He's got mad percussion skills if you weren't aware. And isn't it true that the drummer is always the cutest member of the band?

Norway, while beautifully themed, was not the cool retreat I thought it might be, but that might be more to do with the EXTREME HEAT at Epcot that day and not really be so much the fault of the Norwegians. Speaking of which, the lovely native of that country who greeted us at the entrance to the Maelstrom and assured us that it was not a scary ride and was therefore suitable for toddlers was dead wrong. It was not the giant three headed troll putting a "curse" on us which scared her, no, in fact Dora the Explorer has regular run-ins with a "Grumpy Old Troll Who Lives Under a Bridge", and as the giant animatronic rose up in front of us I would swear that I could hear Elizabeth humming his theme song under her breath. I would say that it had something to do with the fact that it turned into a fast backwards downhill flume ride in the dark. My baby is not much of a thrill seeker. Her favorite ride of all? Yep, It's A Small World. So it was no wonder I felt her little fingers dig into my leg and clench on time. Poor baby. So we weren't very cheerful as we pulled up to the "dock" in our little Viking boat. But sneaky Disney completely took the wind out of my sails (ahahahaha, no pun intended, really) by greeting us with Dream Ears as we got off the ride. Nothing like a freebie to perk you up. Sadly though, Elizabeth preferred to wear this:


Here's some eye candy for you:

Ahhhhh. Just had to get that out of the way before I could post anything else. I feel much better now.

More Sinister Than it Looks?

Please look closely at the following pictures and see what you think of this "kitchen" scene in Mickey's house. Please excuse the quality, a great photographer I am not. Although I love my digital camera. Or "crackera" as I may start having to call it. Cameroin? Camerjauna? I'm really not as familiar with the drug world as I just made it sound so I would be delighted to accept alternate suggestions. At any rate, my addiction is all about quantity. But I digress. Please take a good long look:

I really can't be the only person who looked into Mickey's kitchen, saw the saw (so to speak) and all the red and initially thought Donald Duck had killed someone, can I? Seriously, bloody handprints and foot prints? A crime scene in which there has ovbiously been some sort of disturbance? See the blood spray on the wall? The poor attempt at arson as cover up (the apron on the stove burner)?
No? You think it looks like a comedically poor attempt at home renovation?
Hmmmm. No more CSI for me then.

The Simplest Things Amuse Me

In preparation for my much anticipated trip to WDW, I read more than my share of guidebooks. And listened to a few hundred podcasts. And one tip I gleaned from my "research" was to take a digital photo of where you park so you don't have to remember where in the massive lot your car might be located when you drag yourself back at the end of the day. You know what else they are really good for though? If you take 480 some pictures over not that many days, they make really good chapter headings of where the pictures of the next park begin. And I get to be more entertained then necessary about how they decided to break up the lots. The sections shown are from the Magic Kingdom (characters), Animal Kingdom (mythical beasts), Disney Hollywood Studios (different kinds of media), Epcot (I have no earthly idea since I was a little too pooped that morning to notice the theme and I'm not really feeling like googling this right now, so if you want to know...), and back to Magic Kingdom. The only picture I missed was from the afternoon of our last day when we returned to Magic Kingdom after our one and only nap break through the entire stretch. I didn't catch that one since we were sprinting for the tram and I was too busy laughing at the fact that we had been directed to the "Grumpy" section. Ahahahahaha. Yep, I'm still finding it more entertaining than it actually was. That's just how I am.