Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's Dazzling...

So, this comes as no surprise to those who know me, but I am something of a shoe wh0re.  It is a something of a joke between Prince Charming and me - and I will say that he is a pretty good sport about it.  He indulges me when my shoes encroach upon his shoe storage space [in our micro closet, a whole other story...] and doesn't laugh [much] when I am trying to decide between the black boots with the block heels, the black boots with the skinny heels or the black boots with the pointy toe.

There is a point to this, I promise.  Having 2 little girls tends to cut into my shoe shopping time.  Just sayin... So, it was very interesting to me when, while volunteering at an event for St. Jude recently, I happened to overhear some of the field representatives [okay, I was eavesdropping] talking about one of the girls shoes [which I had noticed] and she was telling them about this shoe "club" that she had joined.

Okay - shoe club - now I am really listening.  So, I butt into the conversation and get the scoop about ShoeDazzle!  Now, you might ask, just what exactly is ShoeDazzle!?  It is a shoe "society" with a membership fee of $39.95 a month.  Each month, you are sent an email containing a link to 4-5 different shoesm which are selected for you based on criteria that you provided when you joined the site.  If you want a pair, you select them and voila!  You are the owner of a new pair of shoes for $39.95.  If you don't want any shoes, you just make sure to respond by the 5th of each month and decline.  And you can cancel at any time.  Sounded reasonable to me, so I joined.

The first month, I got the cutest pair of brown ballet flats - something I had been looking for and just never had the time to shop for (thank you, Savannah and Tara...those girls just do not understand that it is important to try on ALL the shoes in your size when going to a shoe department...). 

But, it is the second month where I truly fell in love.  Just look what showed up in my inbox on Feburary 1:

I adore these shoes!!!!  They are the most gorgeous, shiny, leather, RED heels and I am in love! Again, something I have been wanting and just haven't had time to shop for recently.

So, I am a huge fan of ShoeDazzle!!!  And it is rubbing off on my co-workers because several of them have joined recently, too!

And, no, ShoeDazzle! is not paying me for I certainly wouldn't mind if they wanted to comp me some shoes...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Yeah, what she said!!!

So, if you haven't heard about all The Family Guy / Sarah Palin bru-ha-ha, I guess you have been hiding under a rock for the past week.

So, in a nutshell Chris goes on a date with this girl with Down syndrome and at some point during thier conversations, she says she is the daughter of the former governor of Alaska. 

Somehow, Sarah Palin made this about her son, Trig, who has Down syndrome.  I can't really figure that out...yes, there was a reference to Sarah herself (maybe - really it could be some fictional governor of Alaska...ahhhh, but I digress...), but no one said anything about her son.  And guess, what, Sarah?  When you are a public figure - which you seemed determined to make yourself (as much as I might wish othewise) - people are allowed to talk about you...  Look it up...

I came across this great article today about Andrea Fay Friedman, the actress who provided the voice of the character on The Family Guy.    She has such a great take on the whole situation and in an email to the New York Times, explains to Sarah Palin the use of sarcasm. 

I loved it so much that I sent the link on over to a great blogger named Ellen whose blog To The Max is one that I follow regularly.  Her son has cerebral palsy and I love her take on life and her kids.   Her son, Max is especially inspiring to me since I "inherited by marriage" a nephew with cerebral palsy when my brother remarried last year.

Come to find out, Ellen had seen the article (which didn't surprise me), and had actually written a response to the whole issue for Huffington Post.  After I read it, I wanted to cheer!  Take that, Palin!!!  Ellen is right - you should be grateful! 

The whole thing just goes to show what I already knew.  Sarah Palin will take any opportunity to put herself in front of the media.  This was something that actually showed a kid with a Down syndrome doing normal things - including being a brat!  People are people.  And you know what?  Sometimes it really is not all about you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Is there a 12-step program for this?

That is 10, count 'em, TEN lunch boxes (and there is one is our fridge at work that is not pictured).  This is what happens when someone with a purse obsession starts packing school lunches.  My newest faves are the little paper-bag styled ones (the pink one with the peace signs and the blue with the small flowers). 

I think I keep the school lunch crowd of teachers entertained - not just with what is IN the lunch box, but in WHICH lunch boxes the girls will be carrying that day.  What can I say?  I like to change it up...

Welcome to the World, Miss Riley!!!

I am a great aunt for the second time.  My niece Kristyn and her beau Ty are now the proud parents of little Miss Riley.  Good - now I can channel all my baby urges her way!!!  Not that I have a lot, but every now and then the idea of those sweet little toes and precious little baby sighs give me a yearning...  Yeah, don't judge - you know you get it, too, sometimes!!!  Kristyn had a textbook labor and delivery, which she totally deserved after the angst-ridden last few weeks she had.  Kristyn is tiny and carried very small (I am not kidding, y'all - I looked that pregnant at about 16 weeks with Tara!!!), and anyway, towards the end, there were some concerns that maybe Riley was not growing enough, so, they decided to induce her at just over 37 weeks.  But it was perfect!!!  She went in Tuesday morning, got hooked up to the pictocin, progressed steadily and had Riley after about 30 minutes of pushing!!!  A total trooper!  Riley came in at a perfectly respectable 6 pounds 4 ounces and 19 and a half inches long!!!  I am over the moon (oh, and Kristyn and Ty are pretty proud, too!!!) 

Anyway, without further adieu:

Monday, February 8, 2010

Bibbidy Bobbidy, Whew!!!!

We have been home for just over a week and I am just now feeling settled in.  How do you even begin to sum up a week at Walt Disney World in a blog post and possibly do it justice.  At first, I was so overwhelmed with the whole week that I couldn't tell friends and family much more than "it was fabulous!!!"  And it was!  So, I decided to just let it stew a while and in the meantime, a friend who is going to Disney soon sent me an email with a lot of questions that I was glad to answer.  Then inspiration struck - I am going to post her questions and my answers here.  So, here goes:

Did you have as much fun as it looked?

Yes - we had as much fun as it looked - probably more! The girls were in heaven and just soaked it all in. We did have to remind them that mama and daddy got to pick some rides/attractions too, but they were good sports about waiting while we rode the big coasters and stuff. I took pictures like crazy trying to capture it all!

How was [the resort]?

We ended up staying on property at Disney's Old Key West resort (instead of where we originally planned to stay off property) - got a great last minute deal at the end of December. It was fabulous and all in all, we only paid a few hundred dollars more once you figured in the price of transportation, etc.

How was the weather? 
The weather was great. Only had a few sprinkles on Sunday afternoon. Mornings would start out cooler (high 50's to lower 60's) and would get up to high 60's to lower/mid 70's. We did get to 80 one day. We pretty much wore short sleeves most of the time.

Were the parks pretty empty?

It was not crowded at all by Disney standards. We rarely had a wait longer than 15-20 minutes for anything and most of the time, not that long. I would say for most things, it was a 10 minutes wait or less. We took advantage of the Fast Pass for several attractions - Soarin', Thunder Mountain and a couple of others.

Did you do any other character meals besides Cinderella's Royal Table? Did they take you on time for your reservation?  Was the food any good?  How much time did the Princesses each hang out and visit at your table?

We only did the Cinderella's Royal Table breakfast. It was really nice - the food was actually really good - we both had an omlet - you had a choice of three different entrees. The girls got a plate with eggs, bacon and french toast. There were also muffins and biscuits, juice and coffee. When you first go in, you get in line to see Cinderella first thing - that was really the only time it felt a little rushed and I think that was really more me, thinking we had to hurry along. She talked to the girls and signed an autograph for them (I didn't know about the books then). They let me take a photo with my camera and then they took a picture. Then you went up the stairs and they showed you your table. After several minutes of eating, they started to introduce the Princesses. We were lucky, we were like the 5th table in the "line". The first princess comes out and goes to each table and spends about 3-4 minutes at each table. Doesn't sound like a lot, but it was plenty of time for her to speak to each of the girls and take a picture. Then she would move to the next table. At about the 8th table, they would introduce the next Princess and they would do the same thing. We saw (in addition to Cinderella at the beginning), Snow White, Aurora, Belle, and Ariel. The girls were so amazed. So, to me, the breakfast was worth every penny and then some!

What a way to start the day!  The girls spent thier first hour at Disney having breakfast in Cinderella's Castle.  (They were kind enough to let the 'rents tag along...)

Were the lines long to see any of the other characters?

We saw all of the Princessess and many other characters. The lines were longest for Ariel, the fairies, believe it or not, and Woody and Jesse. I don't think we waited longer than 20 minutes for any of them. The wait to see Ariel was longest - I do think it was about 25 minutes, then we saw Cinderella and Aurora in Mickey's Toon Town - and the fairies - Fawn, Tinkerbelle and Terrence. Micky and Minnie were in thier own area in Toon town and it went so fast and they took you in groups of about 4-5 families to a spearate room away from the queue, so there must have been 2 or even 3 sets of Mickey/Minnies going on at the same time. Oh and we saw Tiana and Naveen in Liberty Square. In Animal Kingdom, we saw several animal characters and also Pocohontas. She as so sweet! In Epcot, we saw the rest of the Princesses - Snow White - who spent a good 5-6 minutes talking to the girls in Germany, Mulan in China, Belle in France and Jasmine and Alladin in Morocco. Marie (from Aristcats) was also in France. Tara loved meeting all of the princesses, but she was not thrilled about the animal characters. At Hollywood, we saw Leo and Annie (from Little Einsteins), and JoJo. I think the characters meet and greets were Savannah and Tara's favorite part - the characters were so nice and the Princesses took the time to talk to them and give them a hug and post for pictures. It brought tears to my eyes several times just to see the "magic" as silly as that sounds!

Snow White was so great!  She spent a good deal of time with the girls and spoke in the same high-pitched voice she has in the movie.  You could practically hear the birds chirping around her.  And the funny thing was there was a fearess squirrel running from the flower bush behind her to the tree next to it gather leaves for his nest.

Meeting Ariel in her grotto!

The girls were so excited to meet Tiana and Naveen.  Tiana is Tara's favorite princess and I think she got a little crush on Prince Naveen!

Which parks/rides did the girls like the best? 

The girls love Magic Kingdom best and we went 2 separate days. Thier favorite part was Toon Town. Tara loved the Dumbo ride and they both likes the cars in tomorrow land and the Small World ride. They both rode Goofy's Barnstormer and enjoyed it, but once was enough for that.

Was Animal Kingdom as boring as it sounds?
Animal Kingdom - we really enjoyed it. It is basically a very elaborate zoo, but the girls are crazy about zoos (we have a season pass to ours each year), so it was right up there alley. That is where they got the face painted and saw Pocahontas - which was one of the hightlights of ther trip! There is a really cool "safari" where we saw lots of animals. There is lots of really great scenary - definately a place to walk around and just soak it in. Also, there is a great coaster there - Everest!!! It rocked! There is also a dinosaur ride. So, an enjoyable day, but not as much to do as the other parks - it was a shorter day for us - we got there about 10:30 and left about 5ish. Most other parks we were there first think in the morning and didn't wrap it up until after 7!

Did you stay at the parks the whole day? Or did you go back to the hotel in the afternoon for naps/rest?
We stayed at a park the entire day. We took several breaks throughout the day - they are lots of places for that - all of the parks have a least one "play" area and there are tables and chairs and benches scattered throughout. We would just find a spot to hang out and pull out our snacks and relax for a while.
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