The Happiest Place on Earth!

Beware – long post with lots of pictures ahead.

Yesterday was a crazy day! While my family is in town visiting for their Spring Break, we decided to hit up the Magical Kingdom known as Disneyland.


Of course, we had a lot of fun! We got there bright and early when the park opened, and it wasn’t really that crowded at first. However, once lunchtime rolled around, it was obvious that it was Spring Break. But that’s okay, since we had the little kids with us and we just did a lot of the easy rides. E definitely does not have an adventurer’s heart. It may be because of that infamous Alpine Slide experience, who knows. Nevertheless, I still tried. The first ride we went on was Big Thunder Mountain. Here’s the photo proof that he rode it with me:


You can see from the picture that he was glued to me the whole time with a scared look on his face. When it was over, I told him that we’d have to come home and tell the hubby all about how brave he was and he said, “Mom, I was just half scared and half brave.” I assured him that that was just enough bravery and kept making sure he knew that I was SO proud of him for going on it with me.

The next ride was the Pirates of the Caribbean, and I didn’t remember it being so frightening as a kid. Of course, there are the little hills that you ride down and such, but the skeletons and scary pirates were probably a little too much for West. After the first quarter of the ride, he spent the rest of the time buried in my shoulder. Poor kid. There’s another trauma just waiting to be discussed in therapy.

Here are some random fun pictures from the day. Apparently Angela really likes to recycle.


And Eli really likes Angela.


But me? Not so much. (And please excuse the blurry quality of this photo – I hadn’t yet trained my siblings in how to operate my massive camera. But at least the random chick in the purple shirt is in focus.)


We also visited the New Orleans section, and this is as close as I could get to the ultra-secret Club 33. (Again with the blurry photos, sorry.)


Jeff was really sad that they wouldn’t let him in the door.


Angela, Jeff and my mom decided to go on the Haunted Mansion ride, so I took the boys to Winnie the Pooh’s Adventure.


West loved the hunny pot photo op so much that he tried to eat it!


We went on the Jungle River Cruise. E pretty much didn’t trust anything I said about how easy or slow the rides were for the rest of the day, so this was his face on the boat. Good thing Nana was there to comfort him! :)


W loved It’s a Small World and E did too. He kept asking to go on the one again, but with Angela threatening mutiny if she heard that song one more time, we skipped the second showing.


Oh, and just in case you were also at Disneyland yesterday and happened to see this:


A-little-dude-running-around-in-his-briefs-trying-to-pass-them-off-as-pants-while-his-real-pants-dried-from-washing-them-out-from-an-accident-due-to-standing-in-line-too-long-without-a-bathroom-close-by, then yes, I will lay claim to him. He’s mine. And trust me, he felt no embarrassment or self-consciousness whatsoever -- he would have stayed like that for the rest of the day if we’d let him. But luckily for me and my embarrassment/self-consciousness issues, his pants dried in the sun and he was back to ‘normal’ by lunch.

Good times.


Speaking of lunch, there was a family eating at the table next to us and they kept saying things like, “Yeah, Laurel loves the Teacups!” “Laurel, please eat your lunch!” and “Come one, Laurel, we’ve got to go!” The first time it happened, I actually did a double-take, wondering how in the world they knew! The second time I caught on when I looked up again and saw a cute little girl with the name Laurel sewed onto her Mickey ears. The third time was a while later so I had forgotten about it and I actually turned around when I heard my name. And yes, I know that most of you probably have that happen a lot. But since I’ve only ever known 1 other Laurel and have heard of about  3 others, it’s kind of weird for me.

Anyways, after lunch we hit up Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. That was a fun one, it wasn’t as scary as pirates but still a lot of motion and noise, so E could say he was being brave by going on it. W liked it too, and hung out with Jeff during the long wait. Apparently Ang was brushing up on her creeper skills. :)


After that we went on the iconic teacups ride. E loved it, as long as they didn’t move the wheel at all. Jeff kept teasing him by reaching his hand over to the wheel then E would yell, “No! Don’t touch it!” It was pretty funny.


Jeff was bored though, sitting like a bump on a log the whole time. So once E got to go slow, Jeff, Ang and I went on our own and spun our cup into the stratosphere.





That was definitely a fun time. I didn’t get to go on too many of the bigger rides, so this was my adrenaline rush for the day.

After we went, E liked it so much that he wanted to go again. Angela was the only kind soul who went with him slowly.


He even got his hands up and had time to give me a little wave.


After all this excitement, W was getting pretty tired. Here he is in the line to go on the Toy Story shooting ride. Nana’s shoulder was a good place to rest.


Another fun part of the day was seeing the Star Wars Jedi Training Camp. We didn’t have E go up to do it, as I don’t think he really knows what Star Wars is (other than our pancake molds that we’ve used for breakfast once or twice), but there was this sweet kid dressed up like a padowan, holding up this sign that said “Pick Me!” I thought it was so mean when they didn’t pick him! Just kidding, they totally did.


All in all we had a great day at the park. We rode most everything we wanted to ride, ate most everything we wanted to eat, and had the most magical of times. I’m looking forward to our next visit in a few weeks with the hubby’s company.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about my absolute favorite part of the day! It was when Captain Jack Sparrow and my mom were having a loving photo taken together, I teased her by saying, “Come on, Mom, smile!” He turned to her and (in a perfect in-character voice) said, “Yeah, smile Mum!”


Angela got in on the action as well.


If he hadn’t been rushing off somewhere, I would have gotten a photo with him too. Ah well, just something to hope for on my next visit. :)

Thanks for a fun visit, family!


Challenge #24 - My favorite book

Okay, I confess, I'm not much of a reader. Unless it's something that just pulls me right in and I can't put it down, I end up putting it down permanently. I know it's not a good habit and I should get back into the swing of it. Maybe one of these days...

But that notwithstanding, I do have a favorite book. You probably won't be surprised to find out that it's a photography book:

Reading this book was the lightbulb moment for me in my photography experience. I had only kind of understood aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc., and it was only little pieces of each concept. But once I read this book, it was like all the pieces finally came together and it just made sense.

If you're interested in learning more about photography and just can't seem to get it, then this is the book for you. Everything is laid out in such a way that just makes sense. I can't recommend it enough.


Challenge #23 - Something I could never tire of doing

Well, that's an easy one.

While I may confess that I'm in a photography block every now and then, I never tire of actually taking photos. It's just in me. It's like saying you get tired of seeing beauty or expressing yourself. I can't see it happening.


Challenge #22 - My celebrity crush

Oh goodness, which to choose, which to choose?

It seems like I gravitate towards the foreign baby-faced man with a beautiful accent and a wry sense of humor. That's why I love these guys:

Colin Firth. Sigh. I fell in love way back when he was the first and foremost Mr. Darcy. Then loved him even more in What a Girl Wants, Love Actually, The Importance of Being Ernest, The Girl with the Pearl Earring, and Nanny McPhee.

Then there is him:


Paul Bettany. Sigh again. Loved him in A Knight's Tale, A Beautiful Mind, Master and Commander, The Da Vinci Code, and The Young Victoria.

Oh, dear, can't forget him:

Okay, so he's not really a foreigner (Boston counts a little, though, right?) and he doesn't have too much of his home accent left, but he's got that little boy face that I just can't pass up! Plus, we just saw him in the Adjustment Bureau a couple weekends ago and I loved it. I think he'd be fun to hang out with (as evidenced by his and Jimmy Kimmel's fun friendship, lol) and he seems like a real down-to-earth kind of guy.

I also have a thing for funny guys:

I'm definitely on Team Coco.

And this guy's Bob Dylan and Neil Young? Hilarious. (Sorry, Al, you'll just have to skip this one.)

I could list a bunch of others. I tend to like a lot of different 'types' of celebrity guys and enjoy watching them all in the movies and on TV (or Netflix, in our case). 

Alan Rickman (Specifically from Sense & Sensibility, not so much from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves)
Taylor Lautner (Yes, I'm on Team Jacob! Deal with it.)
Christian Bale
Ben Affleck
Chris Thile (he's not much of a celebrity, in a good way, but he can play a mean mandolin!)

But my biggest celebrity crush has to be this guy:

While he may not be foreign and doesn't have much of an accent, I think he's got a very cute face and I like to stare at it long into the wee hours of the night. 

What can I say? I'm hooked.


Challenge #21 - Five of my biggest pet peeves

1. People who judge others while clearly not qualified to do so. And that includes everyone except Jesus Christ and God the Father. Seriously.

2. Finding the toilet paper roll empty.

3. People who constantly put themselves down in an attempt to get you to disagree with them and tell them how wonderful they are. Wouldn't a compliment in that scenario be insincere and not count anyway?

4. When I'm a wimp and don't say what I'm feeling inside during a situation or interaction with other people. Because inevitably I'll regret it later and wish that I had said something when I had the chance.

5. When there aren't enough cash registers open during a really busy time of day at the store. Like, really, can you not at least pull someone off of bathroom duty to get the 30 of us checked out who are waiting in two lanes? Come on.

I'd better stop there because I could start going on and on and run the risk of illustrating for you my pet peeve number one!


Challenge #20 - My worst habit

My worst habit is snacking. I tend to be that kind of an eater, not really filling up at each meal, but grazing throughout the day. And when I don't intentionally have healthy options lying around, that spells trouble. Of course, I'm working on cultivating better eating habits, but it goes in waves. I suppose that's better than nothing, but a little consistency wouldn't hurt. I'll work on it. ;)

{The layout above was created using darling supplies from Scrap Girls and includes B. Sweet Collection Biggie by Brandy Murry, Piece of Cake Collection Biggie by Kim Meeder, Patisserie Collection Mini by Erica Hite, and Le Chocolatier Collection by Caroline Kaiser.}


Gettin' our Lego on

I'm sure you didn't know, but we like Lego's around here. So this is a typical kind of activity for us. :)

Currently we're working on the Krusty Krab and accompanying Krabby Kar. I know, it's not Harry Potter, but I'll allow it. ::wink::


Challenge #19 - A picture of me last year and how I've changed

This is me last year around this same time.

This is me right now.

How have I changed? Well, my hair is a little shorter and a lot less red. Which, by the way, was not what I wanted when I asked the stylist for a change. But that's another story...I have also gained and lost around 10 lbs. since then, and that's pretty much it. So I think I'm pretty similar to last year. Getting older, you just don't change as drastically between years as you do when you're younger. That's probably the same reason why I forget how old I am sometimes! I hate getting old. :)


Challenge #18 - A photo of somewhere I've visited

I've been seriously blessed to get to visit a few really amazing places. The best, by far, was Italy -- but all of my photos were still back in the film days and I don't have any scanned to show.

So, my second very favorite place I've visited is Australia. The hubby and I went there (sans the one kid we had at the time) for a week while he worked and I toured! Luckily we did get a lot of touring in together as well, and we got to see some awesome things. But here's my favorite:

Yep, that's the Sydney Opera House! We went inside and got to take a tour. It was so fun.

Australia had always been at the top of my very long list of places I wanted to travel and see. And I'm so thankful that I got to do that!

Now it's on to the others on that list....


Challenge #17 - A photo of something that means a lot to me

I love this photo. It's from the Scrap Girls convention in 2009.

Last week was a rough week for me at work. I won't go into details, but just suffice it to say that there has been a lot of change going on and while I don't love it, I know that good things are on the way. I've been blessed by change before and I know that Heavenly Father has something great not just for me, but for all of us around the corner.

This photo means a lot to me because it represents the joy and friendship that I share with those I work with, those who I have worked with in the past, and those whom I will yet work with in the future. I love connecting to others with similar interests and passions, and I love being able to do it with people all over the world.

In short, friendship means a lot to me. I may be horrible at showing it, and I'm only now realizing how much it means to me, but it really does.


Challenge #16 - What's in my purse?

I carry so much random stuff in my purse!

There's always a diaper and wipes, just in case. There's always my wallet with all sorts of change and ID cards and old gift cards we've never used. Usually there's at least five pens (unless I'm trying to find one, and then they disappear), and most times some sanitizing gel. More than likely there is a toy or small book of some sort. And then there's always the random fruit snack pack or bag of goldfish from church 2 weeks ago. Can you tell I have kids??

I need to do a better job of cleaning out my purse regularly. It's a simple thing, but it makes a big impact when I'm in line at the grocery store and go to pull out my wallet, and don't have a used tissue, half a pack of gum, and a Lego pop out.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever found in your purse? (Or man bag, if you must.)

Challenge #15 - Something I crave a lot

Yep, I crave bubble baths. I don't take them nearly as much as I'd like to, but they're so nice.

Also, these with milk. Yummmmm!


Challenge #13 - Something I don't leave the house without

Yep, I know it's been a little while. I can't believe how fast this week went by! Luckily, we're finally on the mend around here and are finishing up our antibiotics routines. W had a check-up at the doctor on Thursday, since he recently turned 2. Of course, he had to have shots and wasn't happy about it. Poor little guy -- that's the worst thing to have to sit through as a mom.

The little ones don't understand why they're being hurt and mom's not doing anything about it. In fact, she's helping to hold him down! I hate that. But at least I know he's being protected from scary illnesses, and that's worth it to me. We've just been snuggling a lot to make up for it. 

So now, on to the blog challenge! We're almost half-way there.

These are my keys. I don't ever leave the house without them (unless, of course, we're taking the hubby's car somewhere and I don't need to drive, but that's not often).

I love love love my Lego Hagrid. I bought him at Legoland a few years ago and it feels right at home on my key chain. He keeps watch over the other things on there and also used to serve as a chew toy for W, even though it's gross and I stopped him whenever I caught him doing it.

I the dangle instrument one at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. That was a fun trip -- it was my first time there and the hubby and I got to tour it all by ourselves! No kids! So yeah, it needed to be commemorated.

That's pretty much it for my key chain fun. I had to take a few things off because it was getting too heavy. It's probably still too heavy with both car clickers on there. Ah well.


Challenge #12 - A TV show I'm currently addicted to

Our family went on an adventure about 5 months ago -- we canceled our dish TV service and switched fully to Netflix on our Wii. We did this for a couple of reasons.

1 - We were paying too much money for television. I mean really, upwards of $60 a month so that my kid can watch the same shows over and over again? Not worth it.
2 - My kids were turning on the TV first thing in the morning and it wasn't turning off all day long. Not that they were necessarily watching it all day long, but it was just always on, in the background. And that made for a lot of extra 'noise' that we just don't need.
3 - Marketing to kids is out of control. Every commercial is just packed with sensory overload and E started asking for every. single. thing. that he saw on TV. I don't blame him, it's tough to resist! I knew we needed to step back from that for a while and just focus on being happy with what we have.
4 - I found myself watching TV just because I was bored and didn't really care what I watched, just as long as it was on. I wasn't getting anything done. And truth be told, marketing for adults is just as crazy! It is a lot easier to resist buying things when you're not being 'sold' every 10 minutes.

So the moral of the story is, we don't have TV right now (at least not live) and we're totally okay with it.

Which brings me to this question -- it's kind of tough to answer. But never fear, I still get lots of good shows on Netflix, it's just that now I am purposefully choosing to watch them, not just ingesting whatever is available. So, I'm still addicted to Lost. I've started watching the series from the beginning and it's so fun to review the things that I had forgotten about and to see the characters' evolve from beginning to end.

I mean, come on, can you blame me? :)


Challenge #11 -- A photograph of the town I live in

{Okay, I know this post has popped up in Google readers all over the place -- multiple times -- but this is the real one now. Geesh, I need to learn to not try and post things for February 29th because it defaults to the current day!! Sorry peeps!}

I admit, I had to go to Google Images for this one. I guess I'm not really on the town that much to have many photos of my city. Ah well, at least you get the general idea.


We like our little town well enough. We won't be here forever, but for now it's home.