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Taking a Break from the Current Agenda

And now – a mini hiatus from all things Disney. (Don’t worry, I’ll be posting Princess-Palooza next).

At a MMO this morning (that’s “Mom’s Morning Out” for those of you not in the know) we were talking about developments in the area and how sad it is that rather than take over and remodel a store that has been abandoned (like Linens’ N’ Things) so many places need to eat up open space and build new. Then we went on to talk about what we’d like to see less of (Tanning Salons and Wal Marts) and what we wish we’d have more of. For me, I’d love to see a Trader Joe’s open up my way…oh yes, that would be lovely…so if the person in charge of making such a decision reads this (I realize how unlikely that is but whatever) please get to work on that. Mmmmk?

Why Trader Joe’s you ask? Here: my list of Top 10 things I love about Trader Joe’s.

If Someone Else Does It Better…

Then why try re-inventing the wheel? I am s-l-o-w-l-y editing the 1000+ Disney pics so I can order prints and eventually enjoy a little scrapbooking fun (yes, I am one of THOSE people), and while loading some pics onto my flickr page, I thought I’d take a peek at what other people post on flickr as far as Disney is concerned.

Wow.

This is from Tom Bricker (aka; WDWFigment). Go visit his flickr page. It is made of awesome.
This is from Tom Bricker (aka; WDWFigment). Go visit his flickr page. It is made of awesome.

Next time I won’t bother trying to capture great pics of the fireworks, I’ll sit back and enjoy it…and let people that can do this:

Tom Bricker again...man that is just incredible!
Capture these moments for me.

For all who post this kind of wowness on flickr, thank you! Keep it up!

The only problem is during my surfing I saw some beautiful pics of Disney during Christmas and Halloween…and the “we’ll go again in 5 years” seems a loooong time to wait.

Have you visited his page yet? Go Now!!!

Magical Midnight at a Colorful Castle

So, we’ve been home from the Magic Kingdom for more than a week, and I have yet to begin logging blog time on all things Disney. There was laundry to do…lots and lots of laundry.  This was our first vacation since kids, and there are all sorts of things I want talk about: from simple gushing about the excitement (Prince Charming danced with Miss A!) to griping about the irritable details (as in – I’m never going there with a stroller again).  Of course there will be pictures…lots and lots of pictures. I have more than a 1000 vacation photos to edit (no –  that wasn’t a typo, and yes –  I probably could have taken more) and some “here’s what I learned” tips I hope will be helpful to you if you’re planning a stay with the Mouse anytime soon.

All shall be revealed in the days and weeks and most likely months to come…and if you get sick of reading about Disney, well then, don’t read it. This is my party website, and I’ll do what I want.

As far as photos are concerned, here is what I learned:

– Be prepared. I asked the husband to order me an extra sd card, he was amazed, saying he doubted I could use up 1 whole 2gb card, let alone 2…but I did.  I didn’t want worry that I wouldn’t have enough memory stop me from capturing one.  I brought my camera charger with, but didn’t plug it in the first night. The next day, I ran out of juice early in the SpectroMagic Parade. After that I made sure to plug it in each night  as soon as we got back to our hotel room.

– Make more mini movies. I was tempted to buy a flip camera for the trip, but didn’t.  I’ve just never been much for doing the recording thing…I’d rather enjoy the experience as it is happening than see it through a camera lens.  I did take  some mini movies with my digital camera, but just a few.  As it turns out,  these are Miss A’s favorite  things to look at: seeing herself play Mrs. Potts with Belle and watching the Dreams Come True parade lets her relive all the excitement again and again. So next time – more videos, I don’t care if I look like a fool recording it.

– Take a much bigger advantage of the photopass system. If a photographer offered at the time, then we did a photo – but I never really went around and “solicited” the Disney photographers for family shots with the photopass. As I look over the 60 or so shots that were taken on the photopass, I realize how nice it would have been to get some of those “landmark” shots of all of us together (in front of the castle at MK, the Epcot sphere, Mickey’s hat at HS, etc).

– Hopefully, I’ll have a better camera next time I go – one that can take a rapid series of photos so I’m more likely to get a perfect shot, and one that can handle nightime photography better – my shots of the SpectroMagic parade, the Wishes fireworks show, and Cinderella’s castle at night are just not so hot. Too bad, because I thought it was so neat to get a shot of the castle right AT midnight.The pics aren’t perfect, but at least the hands on the clock are visible.

castle-midnight-5-10-09

castle-clock

Things are a bit fuzzy and blurred, but with the help of the Pioneer Woman’s “lighten” and “define and sharpen” Photoshop actions I was able to capture a bit of the wonder. Seeing the castle change colors was very very cool.

Miss A's favorite color was pink, of course.
Miss A's favorite color was pink, of course.
Then there was orange, which we think is Lil G's favorite color.
Then there was orange, which we think is Lil G's favorite color.

The golden yellow color was really very pretty too, and set against the night sky it was just incredible. I think I might have been more taken with it than Miss A. She wanted to head towards more rides, I just wanted to keep taking pictures of the castle.

golden-castle-2

golden-castle

I really liked the aqua blue, but didn’t get any good pictures of that version.

I think it was getting ready to turn blue here...
I think it was getting ready to turn blue here...

I did take a picture of the castle when it was aqua while we were watching Wishes, but as you’ll see, the distance and darkness were too much for my puny camera.

Watching the fireworks above the castle with Miss A was so wonderful, I hope my memory of is stays clear and bright, even if the photos aren't.

Watching the fireworks show with Miss A was wonderful. I hope my memories of that night will always remain clear and bright… even if the photos aren’t.

aishtyn-and-wishes

A Disney “expert” told us in his nearly 30 years of MK experience that the best place to view the fireworks was from the train station platform. So I got Miss A some popcorn and a drink and we camped out about an hour before the show was set to start. We probably should have made it up there a bit earlier, for while there was still plenty of room, all the available chairs were taken. Lucky for us, about 10 minutes til showtime a very nice guy (who turned out to be a Cast Member out on a night off) gave up his front and center seat so Miss A and I had the most perfect chair in the most perfect spot.

The advice about viewing location was great.

Below us, Main Street was a crammed swarm of hot and tired people; but up on the platform there was a nice breeze.
Below us, Main Street was a crammed swarm of hot and tired people; but up on the platform there was a nice breeze.
And it was a show in itself to see the sun set and all the lights along Main Street come to life.
And it was a show in itself to see the sun set and all the lights along Main Street come to life.
As for the fireworks, we had a wide open, clear view of everything, including Tinkerbell's flight.
As for the fireworks, we had a wide open, clear view of everything, including Tinkerbell's flight.

Did I say it was perfect?

It was.

There’s No Point in Modesty…

…not when you’re the Mama of this:

blue-gwyn-sweet

Wherever I go with Lil’ G…people tell me how gorgeous she is.

I smile and thank them, unabashedly agreeing with them.
I smile and thank them, unabashedly agreeing with them.

Many will say, “I don’t often think other people’s baby’s are cute, but she is just adorable.

I find plenty of other baby's cute, but is it wrong to say that none compare to Lil G?
I find plenty of other baby's cute, but is it wrong to say that none compare to Lil G?

It can be kind of weird, we’ll be out somewhere and someone will come up to me saying, “I’ve been trying to think of an excuse to come over and tell you how beautiful your daughter is.” As long as my crazyperson meter doesn’t go off, I do the smile and thanks bit. (If my spideysenses shout “WACKO ALERT!” I pretend I hear someone calling me and hastily evacuate the area…that’s only happened twice).

Usually they are just normal people, snared by the magic in Lil' G's baby blues.
Usually they are just normal people, snared by the magic in Lil' G's baby blues.

We’ve had the usual slew of, “Oh, you shoud get her into modeling-commercials-etc!”

I'm not down with dragging Lil' G to all that, I just want her to have a happy silly babyhood.
I'm not down with dragging Lil' G through all that, I just want her to have a happy silly babyhood.

I suppose if one day, one of the admiring strangers turns out to be a casting director…then I might consider it…

and then again, I might not. I'm kinda selfish and want to keep all this cuteness for myself.
and then again, I might not. I'm kinda selfish and want to keep all this cuteness for myself.

That was a joke. Sorta.

Lil' G doesn't seem to care either way...as long as she can rock out.
Lil' G doesn't seem to care either way...as long as she can rock out.

10 Years Ago…

10 years ago:

I was getting ready to graduate college.

I was student teaching high school – my “preps” were: Speech (Juniors and Seniors), Honors English Literature (Juniors), and a BD class of  Soph. year American Literature…quite a variety, I must say.

I was performing in my last college theatre production. Originally someone else was cast in my role, but then she had to fly out to CA for an audition, and I was asked to come in and read the part for a week so rehearsals could continue. I really liked the director, so I agreed. When the week was up and they needed me to continue for another, I told them to drop her and cast me or forget it…a favor was one thing, but I was way too busy to put all that time in on a part that wasn’t mine. The director agreed, and gave me the part. I’m glad he did, because I really enjoyed that play. I’m also proud of myself for standing up for lil Ms. Me.

i-hate-hamlet

The girl whose part I took over? She didn’t get that part she auditioned for, but don’t feel sad for her – she’s moved on to bigger and better things.

So, while she has made a successful career in Hollywood (I’m only a teensy bit jealous…really), what have I done in the last 10 years?

Taught high school Theatre and English, got engaged, moved into my first (and only) apartment, got married, moved into a townhouse, had Miss A, moved into a bigger house, had Lil G, and now am on the verge of launching my own Children’s Theatre Co.

Quite a few milestones hit in a decade, even if they aren’t very glamorous.

While I directed lots of lots of plays during this time, my only stint on stage was when a theatre was performing in a mall…yes, that’s right,

gurnee-mills-theatre1

a theatre in a mall…it didn’t last long. I think it’s a trendy clothing store now.

I miss acting, and hope to find the time to be in a few productions here and there, even if they are small potatoes community theatre productions, and not big time fancy pants stuff like a prime time t.v. show.

So what’s up for the next 10 years?

No more kids, that’s a given. And most likely no more moving.

I would like to go back to college for my Master’s…but I’m in no hurry, maybe in the 10 years after these 10 years (while the girls are in college too, don’t worry, I won’t make them take me to any parties).

I’d like to reach a place where I am happy in my body.

I’d like to actually finish a novel.

As for the rest, check back in 10 years.

Digital Drama and Technical Trauma

I’m having a bad e-day. Like a bad hair day but with all things electrical.

1. My main computer has been wigging out for about a week…the husband will fix it eventually, after all he’s a computer dude – that’s his thing – but that’s also the problem: he’s a computer dude, that’s his thing, and he does it at work all day and really doesn’t want to deal with it at home. Like if you’re married to a plumber and your own leaky faucet never gets fixed (I also have a leaky faucet and that’s not getting fixed either, but I digress). So it will get fixed, I just don’t know when.

2. Since I am unable to do anything on the internets on my main computer, luckily I recently got a netbook…however that too is wigging out whenever I let it run on the battery. So I need to send it in to get it fixed (it’s brand new!) but am stalling cuz  I dread the complete loss of an internet connection.

3. I was going to try and load some tv shows from itunes onto my ipod for Miss A to watch while on her first airplane ride, but my ipod froze up. Luckily, that annoying little glitch has happened before, and I knew how to fix it (in case you don’t, hold the menu and center button down together for 6 seconds or so) – it’s a pita, but a mild one.

4. Lil G was lookin’ just so cute this morning that I thought I’d snap a few shots…of course she won’t sit still for a nanosecond, so most of the time I have to delete the blurred mess I end up with (I only buy cheap cameras, my tendency to lose the things prevents me from indulging in a dslr, so I just lust over them instead). When I went to delete a photo, the whole camera froze – won’t turn off, won’t delete the pic, won’t take a pic  – nothing. So after pressing all sorts of buttons to no effect, I tried what I do when  my phone flips out in the same way – I pulled the battery out, waited a few seconds, then popped it back in. It worked. I wish everything could be fixed by just doing that. Or dropping it, that would be good too.

5. Speaking of dropping, when I went to do my usual 6am load of laundry, I dropped the bottle of detergent which then pulled the dispenser cup out of it’s slot and both crashed to the ground. You’d think a washing machine that cost over 1k would be built of parts that don’t crack on their first drop, but alas, no. A corner chipped off….I ran the load anyway, crossing my fingers that it’s not an issue. Maybe Fisher-Price should do contract work for  appliances, their sh*t doesn’t break no matter what a toddler whose favorite past time is throwing things can do to it.

So I’m getting the heck off the computer now, with the day I’m having lord knows what’s going to flip out next.

Px3 Part 2: Party Hats

I found the directions for these amazingly cheap and easy party hats in The Disney Party Handbook by Alison Boteler. You need 3 things: a stapler (well, 4 things if you count the actual staples separately), standard size green tissue paper, and red feathers (I got mine at Hobby Lobby).

So for about $2, you will make 10 hats. Pretty cheap, eh?
So for about $2, you will make 10 hats. Pretty cheap, eh?
Start with a cheet of tissue paper.
Start with a sheet of tissue paper.
First, fold it vertically. That's the long way. Step 1: fold it vertically. That’s the long way.
Then turn and fold again. (the loose ends should be at the bottom)
Step 2: turn and fold again. (the loose ends should be at the bottom)
fold each top corner in to make triangles
Step 3: fold each top corner in to make triangles
fold up one side of bottom about an inch
step 4: fold up one side of bottom about an inch
Fold it up again another inch, so it just touches the triangles.
step 5: Fold it up again another inch, so it just touches the triangles.
Repeat on the other side.
Repeat steps 4 & 5 on the other side.
Overlap each side and staple at each end.
Overlap each side and staple at each end.
Staple the feather (I like to staple it to the triangle side, but whatever floats your boat)
Staple the feather (I like to staple it to the triangle side, but whatever floats your boat)
And there you have it! Miss A loved making these.
And there you have it! Miss A loved making these.
Overall they seemed to be a hit at the party.
Overall they seemed to be a hit at the party.

What made these hats so great is that making them works as an activity during the party (though me & the other moms ended up making most of them), they work as a decoration during the party (little Peter Pans running all over the place), and when the party is over, they are instant party favors! Not bad for about 20cents a hat.