Thursday, July 26, 2012

Disneyland 2012: So much work to do!

One of two autograph books I've created.
I've been pretty in active on here as I'm preparing to head down to Disneyland (just 8 days to go!) with a project that I should have started months ago, but is still going quickly along. I've also done a photoshoot and am editing photos, and it's all just coming down to the wire! This is what I get for breaking up my California vacation into two trips down and back. Yikes!

The Disneyland Project that I chose to place upon myself is making autograph books for both girls to take with them into the parks. Disney provides (for a nice little sum) autograph books, but I wanted to do something different/unique for the girls. So a trip to Michaels and JoAnns in Anchorage was in order. I ended up with books larger than what I had originally planned, but I think it works out better this way.

Pages were created in the computer, with scrapbook papers,
and the most awesome Cricut Machine!
The books are purple (for Haille Rae - shown above) and blue (for Hailee Elizabeth - not shown) both girls picked Belle as their favorite princess. The layouts will be the same, but the covers are just a tad different, so that both girls have a unique book. Inside the pages were printed from designs I came up with on the computer. I also have to come up with the "cover page" for each girl, and a few other little suprises.

The books are big enough that they can get an autograph and still have a picture of them with the character (should they want to) in the book. I'm still working on page designs, it's hard to know just who we're likely to see other than the fab 5, and I'm going to come up with a generic page for characters I didn't think of/plan to see.

Once the project is complete (hopefully by Sunday!) I will share the books, and I may even share the gallery of pages for others to do the same. I used my cricut and Disney cartridges to design the cover and some of the pages. I'm not done, but it's getting there.

We're getting really close to the trip and I'm really starting to get excited. I can't wait to see the girls at Disney (and Universal and Sea World, though those parks do not have magic) and see their reactions. Haille Rae may be a "veteran" but there's so much she didn't do and see the last time that there's still so much NEW stuff... and she'll have a little buddy to show the ropes to. Haille Rae is still adament that she is not going on "the ride with the snake" this time (Indiana Jones) but she is very sure she will go on "the roller coaster that goes upside down" (California Screamin'). We've told her the only way she gets to go on the BIG coaster is if she handles all the other Disney Coasters without being scared. So we'll see.

I should get back to the project. I don't have time to play around!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Disneyland 2012: Plans are Changing...

So while I was in Cali for the wedding I was informed that we would not be doing as planned originally. We'll most likely only do three days at Disney, a day at Universal Studios, a day at Sea World and a day at the beach.

Here's the problem: I have 4 different days with reservations. So, either that day at the beach better be a half day and the rest of it at Disneyland, or something's gotta give. Technically our two ADRs as a whole family aren't in the parks so we can fudge it, but I'm not a big fan of only three days. So I will most likely get at least another day ticket. Probably two... maybe three.... I'm obsessed, what can I say?!

I'm excited for Universal Studios Hollywood as I've never been to the Cali park and I hear it's much better in some ways to that of the one in Orlando. Sea World just doesn't compare, though, in my mind. While I do love seeing Shamu (all bajillion of them) and the other marine animals that are oh so beautiful, the park just does not work to achieve the same standard as Disney. And that's a shame because they're promoting a bunch of amazing animals that deserve to be showcased in areas themed so much better. And the rides are lame, too. (Well, ok, Atlantis is intense, but the San Diego version looks wimpy compared to the one in Orlando.)

We're two weeks out until I'm down in Anahiem. Two weeks from Tomorrow will (still) be our first day in the Disney Parks. Goofy's Kitchen for dinner. Excited doesn't begin to describe how I feel! Goin' back to Disney! w00t!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Fairytale Wedding

Most beautiful wedding, EVER!
It was a whirlwind trip to Cali and back for my cousin's wedding, but it was so worth it. I am so thankful that I got to share in Jillian and Matt's day. It was such an amazing testimony to God's love, and the love they share.

California was HOT and we were between the two forest fires, so the first day was basically unbearable. It was 102 in the shade and we were supposed to decorate my aunt and uncle's yard in preparation for the weekend's festivities, but after about an hour of dusting vintage pieces of silver I was spent and ended up sitting in the shade chugging ice water for the rest of the day.

The day before the wedding I wimped out and stayed at Judy and Gaylord's while the rest of the family headed back over to finish getting ready for Saturday's wedding. During the day the heatwave broke, and it was actually pretty plesant if not still on the hot side. I was bummed that I couldn't help out, had I known it'd only be in the low 90s I'd have sucked it up.

Still, I got to edit quite a few photos from one of my sessions that I shot right before heading down, and I got to watch the wildlife for quite a while in the yard. Judy and Gaylord live in Lake Wildwood which is a gated community and there are tons of deer and turkeys and it's really relaxing. Two does and twin fawns spent the entire day with me and I took a few pictures and video. They're so funny, they eat the birdseed that is on the ground and they won't share so they spend more time fighting one another than they do eating.

The wedding Saturday could not have been more beautiful. Jillian was definitely a pinterest queen while planning her wedding as a lot of the little details looked familiar/similar to what she'd been pinning for the last 6 months or so. It was perfect, and you could tell just how much these two are loved. Uncle Rick built a backyard that is out of something like "Finding Neverland" which it was really noticable once the lights went down and the lights came on. I swear Tinkerbell and her friends were buzzing all around us as the night went on.

The ceremony itself was so Christ centered and just a beautiful testimony to God's faithfulness and love for all of us. Jillian and Matt are such a godly example of how to live life, and I was so very blessed to be part of their day. After the ceremony and family pictures (enter sarcastic yay here, I prefer to be behind the camera) I manned the "photo booth" where guests could come and be a little goofy to celebrate the couple in pictures. I got some great shots of quite a few people before we were all called to the back for dinner and dancing.

The dinner was mexican flavored, and buffet style. It was so good! I am not a fan of chicken tacos, but however they seasoned it, I almost didn't miss the beef. The corn tortillas weren't fried, but they were fantastic as well. Either I was super hungry (true) or it was just really good (or both). Once we all got our fill the tables moved out of the way of the dance floor and the party really started!

View from the tables. So does not do it
justice for how beautiful the night was!

I am not much of a dancer, I just feel too goofy out there, so I people watched. My parents, though, were on the floor most of the was the sib... I've decided he got his dance moves from Forrest Gump. As the group danced the night away, I watched the backyard transform into an enchanted fairyland. The white lights, the crystals, everything was magical. Where their cake and other dessert were they had mini chandeliers that twinkled and I swore Tinkerbell and her friends were having their own parties within them.

Jillian and Matt's first dance was from the movie Aladdin, "A Whole New World." It's been Jillian's song for what seems like FOREVER. After that my cousin Jake's band (Odd Man Out) took over and the dancing really began. Let's just say that the band was AWESOME, and everyone had a fantastic time. The party went well past the 10pm curfew.

After sending Jillian and Matt off with lavender and sparklers. We played designated drivers and finally got back home after midnight. Sunday we woke, went to brunch, and then by noon we were back at Rick and Becca to finish cleaning up after the wedding. I don't think I've ever spent so much time at their house - and that includes last year when I stayed at their house! Once that was finished Mom, Dad, Duane and I went to the Empire Mine to wander around. It was too hot to stay out for very long and we decided to go to Bridgeport to cool off.

Empire Mine's Mansion - I could live in that.
Dad, I don't think, has been to Bridgeport ever, and if he has - it was when he was a kid. Needless to say he took the scenic route. I was so sick to my stomach by the time we got to the river. We waded in what little water there was and it was refreshing. We stayed for about an hour and then headed home. It was a busy but fun day.

Monday I flew home. I was so not ready to come back to Alaska - don't get me wrong I don't want to ever live anywhere else (except MAYBE in a Disney Park lol), but I love my family! I've concluded Oakland's being cheaper to fly out of does not make it better. I don't want to ever visit Oakland or that airport again! Yuck! (What should I expect from RAIDER country, right?)

Tuesday I spent about an hour with Haille Rae before driving home. I don't think it's jetlag, but I'm so exhausted. It was a whirlwind trip and it's catching up with me! Thankfully I've just been hanging at home with the dogs (who were all happy I came home) and editing photos.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What ho?! Not a Disney Post?

I'm finishing up getting the house, dogs, and luggage ready for me to leave tonight to head down to my cousin's wedding. Anxious about leaving Yuka, but it's only a week and I think we can both survive... I hope...

I'm doing my best to pack light, but I keep feeling like I'm missing things... so I know I'm overpacking.

My biggest concern though is my flight tomorrow. They changed my itinerary out of Anchorage MAJORLY and now I'm dealing with going early to the airport and having a long butted layover in Seattle. I am going to be so tired. BLAH!

106 degrees predicted for Sac tomorrow... maybe I'll just be naked the whole time i'm there... at least while outside lol

Monday, July 9, 2012

2013 WDW Packages to be released Wednesday!

Apparently announced last week, July 11 is the official date for Walt Disney World 2013 packages to be released and available to travellers. This is one of the most anticipated days of the year for Disneyphiles as it means official planning may begin on the next Disney trip.

I will be travelling to Sacramento, California on Wednesday, but I have a feeling I know what I will be doing on my layover. I can at least get an accurate price out on our September trip - hopefully when they get closer to closing out this year they will offer free dining to make it even more manageable.

So if you're like me wanting to look at prices for next year, it's only a two day more wait!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Disneyland 2012 - Project Autograph Book

So I am spending a glorious few days with the house to myself, aside from the dogs I am completely alone to do as I please and I'm loving it! It's also helping me to hone in my creativity on a project I've been planning for months. Most kids just get the autograph books that the Disney Parks, but our girls will have custom made ones.... I'm printing out pages for characters they're most likely to see, and then generic pages for ones I didn't make "real" pages for. They're an 8x8 scrapbook album that I will personalize their names and favorite characters.

I'm really excited to be working on it. I head to California for my cousin's wedding later this week and then come back to just me in the house for another little while. So excited.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Disneyland 2012: Photographic Countdown 7

In honor of America's Independence Day a photo from Disneyland's ship, the Columbia. Happy 4th of July! We are 31 days away from Disneyland!

Last weekend in June - just what I needed!

After a not so fantastic Thursday I was sooooooo ready to get out of dodge for a while. I packed up my car for the weekend, left my computer at home, and headed for Anchorage. I planned on spending the night at my gparents and then we were going to head for the Iditaord BBQ for Volunteers and musher sign up on Saturday (blog about that coming later this week).
The drive up was pretty uneventful, and I made good time even with a pitstop in Girdwood where I ran into my friend Paul who was headed down to Kenai for the weekend. Go figure. After we exchanged the "stay away from these sections of anchorage/once you hit the sterling hwy it won't be as crowded" information we took off in either direction.

The drive was uneventful until I took one of the curves to find a ton of parked cars in an area you don't normally see a large congregation - there were sheep on the side of the road. So I joined the growing group of parked cars and grabbed the camera and giant lens. I spend at least a half hour shooting photos until the crowd grew to a size that made the older of the two sheep very aggitated. So I moved on and headed to the "big city".

Met up with my friend Angie for dinner at Ling and Louies. We both had their Mongolian Beef and it was super tender and yummy. I want to go again and again and again! After catching up I was off to visit the gparents. Pretty much an uneventful evening that went way too late.

After not getting enough sleep, grandpa asked me to follow him out to Wasilla for the BBQ (as I said, I will blog about that later). A drive that normally takes 40 minutes tops, took close to two hours. We went no more than 40mph on the Glenn Hwy. Not fun.

After the BBQ I headed a little way down the road to Juanita and Haille's where I was going to spend the night. I hadn't seen them since January - very bad, I know - and I was missing the kid something terrible. After getting directions I made a quick drive over and met a giant of a girl! Haille is up to my chest and is only age six! Her first words to me after I commented on her height was "I'm tall enough for EVERYTHING at Disney." Dang it. LOL

We decided to go to the movies that night so off we went, she gave me the wrong directions ("Aunt Toni, I'm SIX, I'm going to make mistakes!") but we finally found the theater. Got our tickets, our soda and popcorn... and she proceeded to spill a full (thankfully small) soda all over the theater stairs. So out we went to get another soda. Back in and sit down. We, of course, saw Brave (review to come later, hopefully), and when the Disney logo came on Haille proudly proclaimed "I've been there." Yes, yes you have.

After the movie it was home for a bit of fun before bed. Sunday we spent at the Park and then DQ before going home. Just spending time with Haille was a joy, even when she put her stinky, sweaty feet in my face, and was a general six year old. She is just so much fun. And so stinkin smart it isn't even funny.

At one point she told me, "You know what, Toni? My gramma spoils me. And my dad spoils me. And my mom spoils me. You need to spoil me more." Gee, thanks kid. LOL

Sunday evening I drove home. Now it's just maintaining until I head down to California for my cousin's wedding next week!

Haille's not a little girl anymore! *tear*