Saturday, November 6, 2010

Home again

8 witty remarks
We've been home from Disney World for a week. Actually, more than a week - we got in on Friday night (the Friday before the Halloween that we ignored). What I've been doing since then is, mainly, laundry. Despite the cuteness of my blog header, I actually fully despise laundry. I hate it so much that I once created a scrapbook page about how much I hate laundry... and then had that scrapbook page published. And the absolute worst thing about a vacation is that it requires about 693 loads of laundry. See, before you leave, you have to wash Everything. Then pack it into suitcases. Then when you get home you have to get it OUT of the suitcases again (and the suitcases now smell like stinky laundry - thank goodness for Febreze) and sort it and wash it all AGAIN. And, mind you, even a three day vacation is responsible for creating this phenomenon... and we were gone for a full week.

(Interestingly, the same thing applies with cleaning out the car. You have to clean and vacuum and Febreze the whole car before you leave... and then again after you get home, because the van is full of lost Cheerios and dried up french fries and empty water bottles and lost raisins and tiny Legos and all the marker caps that I would have liked to have found BEFORE the markers in question all dried up, but whatever. And the van is starting to acquite a distinct 'odor' now that it's approaching 90,000 miles. Fortunately, my dear husband has graciously put himself in charge of car cleaning and de-stinking, as it's sort of an extension of automotive maintenance. If you stand on your head, and squint.)

Another one of the tasks following any vacation, but especially 6 days in Disney World, is dealing with all the photos. Now, digital is a boon for a lot of reasons, but I swear our computer is so slow, it almost takes as long to get the USB port to realize there is something plugged into it, as it did to drop off film (remember film?) and wait a week and pick up your photos. I blame Windows Vista. But we do have a lot of photos - I took 257, which actually didn't feel like that much spread out over 6 days (well, 5 1/2 days really) crammed into the park, and Matt took a lot of video. Although most of his video didn't count because his camera was somehow turned on in his pocket and recorded for two and a half hours. And our video isn't terribly high quality. We do have a nice camera that we bought in 2003, so it shoots 8mm tapes, but Matt didn't want to bring that because it's complicated and takes up space. So for his birthday I found him the cheapest digital video camera ever - it was $25 at Big Lots - that he could stick in his shorts pocket and use on our trip. But when you buy a camera for $25, the resolution isn't terribly high. Still, we didn't have any video from our previous trip (in 2007, the one where I was pregnant with Amy and couldn't ride my favorite rides) so this was an improvement.

So anyway, the point to all this rambly, introductory-type stuff is: Look! Pictures! Yes, last time we went to Disney I wrote massively long posts detailing each and every one of our days in the park. I probably won't this time because a) you will get bored, and b) I just don't blog as much as I used to. There, I said it. I blame the fact that I learned how to sew and now I have more hobbies than I can conceivably make time for. But anyway: Look! Pictures!

(These won't be in any semblance of order, because Blogger always thoughtfully jumbles them around when uploading, and after 4 1/2 years of having a blog, I am sick of trying to fix it.)

Betsy's all time favorite ride: the Rock & Roller Coaster (Featuring Aerosmith). Yes, my first baby is big enough to ride on a ride that goes upside down. Sigh.

I just really like this picture. We were waiting for the Beauty & the Beast show and having a frozen pink lemonade (except Porter, who wouldn't drink it on the grounds that it was pink) and I think I had just gotten off the phone with Catherine. This was our first full day in the park and we were really living it up.

Family photo by the Muppets fountain. It's a family tradition, in the sense that I had a picture taken there (by myself) on my first trip to Disney when I was 17, so every time I've been back, I've had to repeat it. First with Matt (honeymoon), then with the 2 kids, now with all 3.
Also note that in the above picture, I am wearing my Route 66 skirt. I've mentioned before that every time I wear that skirt, I get a ton of comments on it. Interestingly enough, the same holds true even in Hollywood Studios, where there are a LOT of interesting things to look at - I still got comments on my skirt.

The queue for the new Toy Story ride was a really neat and detailed one - and we should know, we spent about an hour and a half in it. (Don't worry, that was our longest wait by far. Mostly, we used Fastpass.) The giant Candyland board made me realize that they have changed the Candyland board more than I realized since I was a kid. Ice cream floats?! I remember that!

Amy's first time on a roller coaster - she was JUST barely tall enough for the Barnstormer. (And remember what I said about the photos being out of order, because this was our first night in the park. When Matt was making our reservation, he figured out that for an extra $12 we could get a 6 day pass instead of 5, and we could do a few hours in the Magic Kingdom the day we arrived, provided we drove really fast through Georgia and Florida. Which we did, and we got to ride Winnie the Pooh before it got closed for renovations, and Splash Mountain, and we saw the night parade and fireworks and generally got our $12 worth.)

The kids coloring, at Epcot. Good thing we spent two days in the car to get there and two days back, because they certainly couldn't have stayed home and colored. I kid, I kid! I actually love that there are interactive/crafty things for them to do.

Fishy faces! The Nemo ride is always a favorite (unless you are someone with an irrational fear of aquariums. Luckily I don't know anyone like that.)

It just so happened that we were there during the Food and Wine Festival. Or just the Food Festival for us, since we are Mormons. And funny story about the big golf ball thingy: Amy thought that that was Epcot, and not the whole park. So whenever she saw it she'd go "Look! It's E'cot!" There is actually a ride inside, which is long and soothing and good for putting toddlers to sleep.

My friend Cid got us VIP seats for Fantasmic. I wish I got to be a VIP more often. We got to walk right off to the cordoned off seats even though it was standing room only. Thanks, Cid!
Matt bought a whole bunch of glow sticks before we went - they turned out to be a great idea, not only for finding the kids when it was dark, but also for keeping them entertained when we were waiting for nighttime stuff (and we did a lot of nighttime stuff). Since we had a lot of extras, we were able to give glow sticks to other kids, too - a great way to make friends.

Amy being cute. And that hat got lost somewhere. And yes, she did insist on wearing a skirt or a dress every day.

Amy being cute again. Actually, we were just sharing a treat while waiting for Dad and the big kids to ride their turn on Soarin. But I love this picture because my baby is dang adorable, isn't she? And I love how the Florida humidity made her hair, which is normally a bit on the wavy side, CURLY. So cute I almost couldn't stand it - almost makes up for what the Florida humidity does to MY hair.

Meeting the princesses - get a load of my kids in their cute Mom-made outfits. The girls' princess dresses got a lot of comments, too. I wanted them to wear something that was princessy but still comfortable in the insane heat. I always feel sorry for the little girls who have to wear a heavy polyester costume all day long (and I guess I feel bad for the character actors, too, but at least they are getting paid).

Porter was insistent that he wanted nothing to do with the princesses. But he totally flirted with Sleeping Beauty.

Watching a lady make Japanese rice candy shaped like animals. It was completely mesmerizing. I think the Japan pavilion is my favorite even though they don't have a ride or anything.

Another reason to love the Japan pavilion is that they have the most adorable salesgirls who will dress up your little girl in a kimono and fix her hair and everything. And again I didn't buy Betsy a kimono even though I really really wanted to.

Porter wore his Mickey Mouse shirt just for the occasion. It was a coincidence that they were both plaid.

The nice thing about having a character meal is that you can see Mickey Mouse without having to wait in a seriously long line for the privilege of doing so. And the nice part of having Free Dining is that you get to meet characters AND have a lot of really awesome food without having to pay for either. Also, we had a really great server at the Garden Grill and I am using the word 'really' a lot.

Dale was the silly chipmunk. He made my kids laugh.

We didn't necessarily plan to have three character meals in a row, but that's how it worked out. And I know it doesn't look like it here, but Amy actually loved the characters. What she doesn't love is having her picture take (she's not too keen on bib-wearing, either).

We promised our kids Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles, and the Crystal Palace delivered.

Amy calls this character 'Tiger'. How do I explain to her that she's wrong? I don't, that's how.

Obligatory castle picture. Like Amy, I'm not crazy about having my picture taken.

But Matt is okay with it.

My kids are at the age now when they are totally into cheesy jokes, so they really liked Jungle Cruise. Actually, I really liked it too.

Space Mountain was one of the rides I was really looking forward to, since I hadn't been on it in almost 10 years (thanks to being pregnant with Amy on our last trip [totally worth it]). Only this time, when I went on it, I actually found it to be a bit too much. I started having a problem with motion sickness right around this point (it got even worse the next day) and I had to close my eyes for most of Space Mountain. Betsy and Porter, on the other hand, rode it twice in a row (thanks to baby swap) with no problems. I guess being young has its advantages.
I should also mention - since we didn't take any pictures for fear of losing the camera - that the kids flat. out. LOVED Splash Mountain. We rode that one both days we were in the parks (I brought ponchos the second day we went) and the kids got to do it twice. I think collectively that is our family's favorite Disney World attraction (and poor Amy couldn't even go).

Another thing we had promised the kids was ice cream shaped like Mickey Mouse. We made good on that promise our second day at Magic Kingdom. We were actually waiting for our Fatspass return time so we could ride Peter Pan and then leave. The park was going to be open for several more hours, but we'd done everything we wanted to do, and we were exhausted, so we decided to go back to the hotel and swim and pack up our stuff for the trip home. So. Those Mickey Mouse ice cream bars really hit the spot.

And the kids got hilariously messy while eating them. This photo doesn't even begin to show the filth and sticky smear that is created when you combine ice cream with the hot Florida sun. So we just got good and messy and had a good laugh and cleaned up everything afterwards with baby wipes (don't go anywhere without baby wipes or you have to do that stereotypical Mom thing where you lick a napkin and use it on your kid's face, which eeewwww).

Our last day - Animal Kingdom. We did the whole 'picture by the Tree of Life' thing. And if it seems like I didn't post as many pictures this time around, it's because a lot of them are redundant with the pictures from our last trip. (Only with Amy in them.) Animal Kingdom was also the day when I went on four different rides within an hour... I really don't recommend that... by the time we got off Expedition Everest I was within inches of tossing my cookies (which we got for free from the dining plan). So I swore off rides after that and we stuck with shows.
I also got to meet up with my awesome friend Cid, and thank her personally for the Fantasmic seats, but I didn't take a picture. Matt took the kids on one of the puke-inducing rides and I talked Disney and NCIS and fan fiction with Cid while Amy played adorable peek-a-boo with her.

They have the same thing for apes here as they have for the orangutans at the National Zoo. Like the Japanese rice candy lady, this was something else I could have watched for hours.

The kids like this section of the park, because it's dinosaur-themed. I always have a hard time with it, because the pavement reflects back the sun and there's no shade and there is a high concentration of puke-inducing rides. But, again, the kids like it.

Betsy and Porter being dinosaurs.

This is the hotel we stayed at. Betsy liked it because she's planning on becoming a rock star someday.

And then we went home. THE END. (Unless you want me to write about the epic poop blowout Amy had once we crossed the state line into Georgia on the return trip. It was like someone had poured twenty or thirty cups of Snack Pack into her britches. We had to bathe her at the hotel and throw out her clothes and I used an entire pack of wipes and half a can of air freshener trying to render her car seat habitable again. But that was pretty gross, so I won't tell you about it.)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

More doll sewing

8 witty remarks
Now that the kids are back in school, I can spend a lot more time in my oh-so-messy basement sewing area. Mainly what I've been sewing is doll clothes - I'm trying to get my Etsy shop stocked up before the holiday buying season hits. Of course, since I like to bite off more than I chew, I have probably 93657 projects in various states of completion. I'll go on a bender and cut out probably ten different dresses (and bear in mind that I sew almost everything in duplicate or triplicate) and then it's a matter of getting them sewn. And once they're sewn I have to put in snaps and/or buttons, which for some reason takes me FOREVER. I think I need to come up with a system less haphazard than "I'll just sew whatever I feel like sewing today."

Here's my most recent project. My most favorite time period to sew for is the 1930s, because I love love LOVE the fabrics. Betsy's Kit is always happy to model.
So, that's an epically bad photo because I had to use my cell phone - we are fresh out of Double A's. Here's another dress I made a while back from that pattern, and MAN do I wish I had some more of this fabric. (I think both of these are Henry Glass "Posies from the Thirties.' Yum!)

I used the BunnyBear 'Princess Seams' pattern for that one - it's probably the pattern I use the most (aside from the Route 66 one) because it's just so darn cute. I also like that it doesn't use a ton of fabric - only 1/3 of a yard if I do the collar and cuffs contrasting, and I do - which I suppose is appropriate for the time period. (The austerity of the Thirties, followed by rationing of the Forties, goes a long way in explaining the 'New Look' of the Fifties, don't you think?) I love BunnyBear patterns and have quite a few of them - I'm constantly stalking her site to see if she's put out that Colonial era dress yet.

I've also been on a big Civil War kick lately.
I think I like it for the same reason as I like the 1930s: really great fabric prints. (Now is when I link you to Nauvoo Quilt Co. - she has the BEST stuff.) I made up some dresses that included little straw bonnets (they weren't anything fancy, I just got them from a craft supplier and trimmed them) and they sold like hotcakes. I'd also like to attempt a hoopskirt, I think it would be pretty easy with some corset boning.

Did I say I've been on a big Civil War kick lately? I meant to say I've been on a big Revolutionary War kick lately.
Yes, we got an Elizabeth. I already had a Felicity that I'm saving for Amy when she's bigger. When F and E's retirement was announced, I debated getting an Elizabeth before she gets crazy expensive on eBay. I wasn't going to (because Elizabeth has brown hair, darnit! Now get off my lawn!), but what convinced me was how much she actually resembles Amy, with the blue eyes and blond curly hair. Sigh. So I used that as an excuse to sew little matching 'best friend' dresses for them. I hope they sell as a pair, because I don't really want to split them up.

So that's what I've been up to. Anyone have any interesting projects to share? I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been crafting up a storm.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Too hot to blog.

6 witty remarks
Holy cow, I don't think this summer is EVER going to end. (Of course, give it another six months and I will be whining about winter.) Here's what we've been up to...
  • My little sister Laura came for a week-long visit, which was filled with fun, sunscreen, and pancake mix. People, I have the BEST sisters. I didn't take enough pictures, though.
  • We went to the State Fair. It was the hottest day in recorded history, and we all basically died of the sweats.

    It took milkshakes from the Dairy Barn to restore the natural balance (and chocolateyness) of the universe.
  • The kids started school on, consecutively, the two hottest days in recorded history. Porter actually began kindergarten the day after Betsy commenced second grade, so I didn't get to take an official 'first day of school' pic of them together. They are both pretty cute, though. The year is still new enough that they are actually excited about school. And Porter shocked the heck out of me at his 'kindergarten orientation' that I went to with him... his teacher asked him to write his name on a piece of paper and draw a picture of himself, and he actually did it. (This is the kid who usually throws a fit if you get him within ten feet of a crayon.)
  • Then, on the hottest day in recorded history, we went to Conner Prairie. Laura and I each brought an American Girl doll in historical garb, and we had lots of fun setting them up for photos.
  • I've been to the pool a LOT - we went four times in a week while Laura was visiting. I've actually gotten a tan line, something I usually avoid by deploying the SPF A Zillion.
  • I'm completely earwormed with this song. Curse you, Amazon and your free MPS downloads! It's just a gateway drug!
  • I've watched a lot of TV miniseries/movies this summer. I went through all of Band of Brothers again, then Lost in Austen (it wasn't good, but they managed to make Wickham really sexy), then Little Dorrit (it was so cute), plus Matt and I watched the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended edition, of course).
  • I wrote some fanfiction, too.
  • I've been doing a lot of sewing, down in the basement to avoid the highest temperatures in recorded history, although I would do it anyway. I actually made a dress for myself: Seen here against the lovely backdrop of my shower curtain. But look at that fabric! It's all sewing notions! And it's Alexander Henry, of course.
  • I'm sewing a lot of doll clothes, too. Actually,August has been a really good month for me, sales-wise. I've been selling them on both eBay (woo hoo free listing fees) and Etsy, and I think I have shipped like ten dresses this month. I made this one for a summer-themed sewing swap on American Girl Playthings, and as soon as the recipient posted pictures (her photographs are much better than mine) I had like three more people contact me and ask me to make them one. So I've been working on that.
  • My little girl's hair went curly this summer. I'm not sure if it's due to the hottest summer in recorded history - we'll see if it stays that way when autumn hits - but boy is it cute. Amy's completely fixated on baby dolls, and she's also been practicing her animal noises. This video was taken when a bunch of Blinns were here for the day (watch to the end for bonus Miles!)
  • It's been an exciting summer for my side of the family. One of my sisters got engaged, another one found out she's having girls (plural), my sister-in-law is having a baby pretty much any day now, and after thirty-one years Dad got the fat envelope from Kodak. As for us, we are working on getting Betsy prepared for her baptism in December, and planning our trip to Disney at the end of October. I'm sure this heat will end soon!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


3 witty remarks
What have I been doing since last time? Let's see. After returning from the New Kids on the Block, I had to watch Band of Brothers (ten episodes) to get my Donnie fix. Of course I ended up watching most of the episodes twice (or six times cough'Bastogne'cough) and then writing a story about it, so yeah, that ate up about two weeks. Then I got hooked on the BBC adaptation of Dickens' 'Little Dorrit' (sixteen episodes, but they're only 30 minutes apiece) and just finished watching that yesterday. I've also been sewing doll clothes like a fiend - I'm linking you all to this but it's really only the tip of the iceberg. Fortunately, this means spending a lot of time in the basement, which is the coolest part of the house (also the spideriest).

Betsy has had a bunch of week-long sport camps (they are offered free through the school district, yay!) - this week is bowling. The kids are also on their last week of four weeks of swimming lessons (not free, boo). Porter has been doing really well with the swimming lessons - I think if we keep at it, one of my children may actually be able to swim. Betsy, not so much. But that's all right - she's good at a lot of other things. We've also been cooking out a lot (and because this is Indiana, eating a lot of corn) and swimming in the neighborhood pool. And I just made zucchini muffins from the bounty of our garden. The really crazy thing is, the kids only have a month left of summer before they go back to school!

I think I mentioned in a previous post that we had gotten a membership to Conner Prairie, the local living history museum. I honestly can't understand why we hadn't gotten a membership - it's about ten minutes from our house (unlike the zoo which is allll the way downtown) and it's only $65 a year (roughly half the cost of the Children's Museum). I think we were thinking we had to wait until the kids were school aged so that they would appreciate it. Which is clearly crazy because two-year-old Amy loves it as much as anyone. She now shouts "Connerpwaiwie!" every time we drive by on our way to church. She's a little afraid of the animals in the barn, though (even the baby sheep, it was funny how she was hanging on to me for dear life).

One of the things they have added recently is this balloon ride attraction (it's tethered so you just go straight up and down, but it is really a balloon). Now, normally I am skeptical of the obvious attempts at adding revenue (I'm looking at you Indianapolis Zoo) but this is based on something that actually happened in Indiana in the 1850s, so I give them a pass. Back in the spring we got a thing in the mail for free balloon tickets with the purchase of a membership. And the balloon ride tickets are normally like $12 a person, so we wouldn't have done it if it wasn't free. We actually tried several times before we managed to go up - it's very weather dependent, the skies have to be perfectly clear with only a hint of wind. (Perhaps this is why hot air balloons didn't revolutionize travel the way they were all predicting it would back in the 19th century.) But we finally got our free balloon ride during Fourth of July weekend.

Look out, kids! You're going to fall out!
Just kidding, that wasn't the real thing. This is the real thing:
It's a pretty smooth ride, and even though I am nervous about heights, it didn't bother me at all. The balloon gets to a maximum height of 300-something feet. You can see all the way to downtown (granted, this is Central Indiana, so that's not that impressive) and we probably could have spotted our house if it doesn't have the exact same roof as every other house in our neighborhood.
Amy was a lot less frightened of the balloon ride than she was of that vicious, vicious baby sheep. "I go up in the sky," she said, and continues to say every time we drive past.
And here's me! Matt laid down on the bottom of the basket to get that shot. We've been back to Conner Prairie a few times - I thought the kids would be clamoring to go in the balloon again, but we explained to them it was a one time deal, and they seemed to accept that.

So, that's our summer. Pretty soon my sister Laura will be coming for a visit, and we will go to the State Fair, and then the kids are in school and the fun time is over (for them. For me, fun time is just beginning). How is everyone's summer going?

Embellish Life Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved Baby Blog Designed by Ipiet | All Image Presented by Tadpole's Notez