Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Disney Adventures Part II - Around the World in a Day

Day 2 at Disney found us at Epcot. It pained me to get off course by switching up our days, but since they were still calling for a bit of rain on Tuesday we headed for Epcot in hopes of better weather the following day when there would be fewer inside attractions.

Epcot has to be our very favorite park at Disney World. Of course, the main attractions at Epcot for the boys were Mission Space and Test Track. I did manage to ride Test Track once. Knowing what was coming made it alot more enjoyable this time. However, it never quite prepares you for slamming through that door and out on the track at 0-70 plus mph in a matter of seconds. Sponsored by GM, the ride ends up at a car show which Brady always really loves. I've never seen a kid more excited about driving. (He's had his eye on my mom's car since he was just a tot!) He got in the driver's seat of every car he could including an H3-his favorite in red. I managed to find a car I loved, too-the Saturn Vue in Sea Green. The color matched the tank top I was wearing and was gorgeous! Yea, had to take a picture because I doubt I'll be getting it anytime soon.

The other ride we love at Epcot is Soarin'. We are just amazed by this ride. It truly feels like you are gliding over the state of California-you feel the breeze, your feet dangle, you swoop down over people in their canoes and PGA West and you can smell the grapes as you fly over wine country. If you ever have the chance to do this you must. It is awesome. We've riden it at least a dozen times and never tire of how real it seems.

There is so much to see and do at Epcot. Unfortunately, we found ourselves only being able to hit our favorites. We did manage to make it all around the world this time in World Showcase. Again, this is such a cool thing and you could literally spend an entire day just in this section of the park. I was determined to visit every country this year. Although I did have to skimp on Great Britain and Canada I managed to walk through all of them. I had so much fun visiting with the college students from each host country who man the shops and the Kidcot stops. A highlight for the children and adults, too is having your passport stamped at each country and a greeting written to you in the native language. I decided to make my own passport this year and had a blast collecting stamps and signatures. I'll add my photos to it later for a little album of my trip around the world in a day. We visited Mexico-where Brady sent a hilarious electronic postcard to my mom, Germany-where Brady had a Bravarian pretzel and I managed to spy a Hummel bluebird in a window display, Norway, Italy where we watched a street performer while drinking a Lemon granita and saw examples of the massive cathedrals that make up the skyline of this history filled country. We had our photo taken in front of a Chineese temple and got a taste of a Moroccan village where we spied Alladin, Jasmine and genie! We even made a brief stop in France where I dreamed about visiting the real French markets. And my favorite girl of all was signing autographs as we entered Great Britain-Mary Poppins. What a whirlwind trip we had that day. I love that it gives you just a glimpse of the heritage and customs that make each of these countries so unique.

Our visit to Epcot ended with dinner at Coral Reef in the Living Seas. We had alot of fun watching the sealife in the massive aquarium which is the focal point of this restaurant. The divers inside are so funny as they swim up to the tables along the glass. They say sometimes you can even spy Mickey swimming in the tank, but we didn't see him this time. We did see HUGE sea turtles and a manna ray and had fun trying to identify some of the other fish. I had the best mahi mahi with a mango chutney-delish! We had great service and it was nice just to slow down and relax and enjoy a nice dinner together. This year we didn't stay for Illuminations (the nightly fireworks over the lake in World Showcase), but we could see alot of it as we walked to catch the shuttle back to our resort. Epcot is really the prettiest at nightime I think. I especially love the twinkly lights embedded in the walkway as you pass through Innoventions on the way out of the park and all of the fountains changing colors as they dance.

Check back soon for some of the highlights of our day at Animal Kingdom. I promise it won't be nearly as long! ;)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Disney Adventures, Part I - Hurry Up and Wait

WOW! Our trip is starting to catch up with me. I literally crashed yesterday staying in my pj's all day. Today I did manage to get to church and teach Sunday School, but was more tired today than yesterday. Took a loooong nap this afternoon to try and catch up. Not sure if I'm ready for the week to begin, but ready or not. Right?

We had another wonderful trip to Disney World. So grateful that we could make this trip again knowing it could be the last trip like that for awhile. We felt guilty at times with all that was going on economically during the week. Trust me, we're on lockdown over here. Those of you aware of Jeff's winter mode know what I mean. Well, you can triple or quadruple that now. :)

It was a good trip, but it did have it's share of hiccups at the beginning. Starting with Jeff and me being out of it at check-in and realizing on the resort shuttle that we had forgotten to get our keys (to the kingdom) at the front desk which was now almost two miles away. Fortunately, you can just keep going round the circuit 'til you get to where you want to go. In the meantime, the very diligent Albert from Honduras who had waited on us at the front desk sent a runner to meet us at our room with our keys! No worries. They just cancelled and reloaded our keys. Okay, back on the shuttle.

We made it to Hollywood Studios just in time for the skies to open up and start raining. It rained pretty much all afternoon. Guess where the umbrella and ponchos were? Yep, at the resort. We'd been in such a hurry to get to the park to start riding the Rockin' Rollercoaster that there'd been no time to grab such necessities. Managed to find cover in and out of venues, but by the time we made it to Epcot I finally just gave in and put on Jeff's ball cap and carried on.

Evening of our first day found us at Jeff's favorite restaurant, Le Cellier in Canada at World Showcase in Epcot. We made all of our dinner reservations 6-8 months prior, but found that on one of the busiest nights of the year they had our reservation scheduled for the night prior. We gently explained it was clearly a mistake because last night we ate Hamburger Helper and were packing. In true Disney fashion, they managed to get us in and Jeff enjoyed not one, but two filets! Yes, Brady now eats from the adult menu at Disney and was not hungry, but overly tired and well, Jeff just couldn't see that steak go to waste! And believe it or not, afterwards Jeff and Brady managed to ride on Soarin' before going back to the resort. Quite a full first day!

More to come of our Disney adventures which I'm happy to report only had one more hiccup the entire trip! It's good to be home, but we're experiencing post-vacation blues and we have lots to catch up on around here. I was hoping the fairy godmothers would have cleaned this place up a bit while I was gone! Anyway, might be a day or so before I post again, but please check back. I was particularly touched this year by Walt Disney's life story and want to share some interesting things I learned about him.

Remember, dreams do come true!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


*EDITED Sat, 2/27/08: okay, so I thought I was being SO clever to do this in advance. We got in late last night and just checking emails and such this morning and discovered that I forgot to "post" so this would have posted as planned on Wednesday. LOL
More to come about our Disney adventures later.

Guess where I am? Just wanted to say hello and that I'm thinking of you all. Here's a little hint if you're still wondering where oh where I might be...

M-I-C see ya real soon! K-E-Y why? because I like you! M-O-U-S-E!

Have a great week wherever you are!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Creative Therapy

I have been reading about a blog for awhile called Creative Therapy. Finally decided to check it out and found their catalysts to be intriguing. I found one of the most recent particularly intriguing: "What talent/ability do you wish you had?". The idea behind the Creative Therapy blog is to use each catalyst for a little art therapy. The site has a team of contributors who then invite readers to participate in the catalyst. Although I did not post mine, here is my therapy session in art. I was inspired by several collage artists-Pam Garrison, Anahata, Corey Moortgat and Lisa Kaus. Mostly, Pam Garrison though.

I went a little off the beaten path as far as the catalyst was concerned. I've been missing this part of me that was such a huge part of my life for so long. It was who I was. What I was known for. My identity. When I gave it up I lost a part of myself. That's a big reason I've been on this creative journey. I needed a way to express myself and to be able to identify with myself again. My music brought me great joy for many years and I cherish so many wonderful memories of sharing it with others.

I often wonder if I would still be able to sing and perform like before or if I am even capable of putting myself out there and opening myself up in this way again. Not sure how I did it all those years before. But sometimes I think about it and remember what it was like when I would SING.

Check out Creative Therapy and plan a session of your own. It's good for the soul!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


<-----We received this letter in the mail yesterday from our boy. Just in case you can't quite make it out, it reads:

Dear Mom and Dad,

I'm not having fun here at camp. Please pick me up as early as possible or as soon as possible on Tuesday. I miss you guys sooooooooooooo much.

P.S. Please hurry. I have to clean the toilets tomorrow.

Love, Brady

Priceless. It's Thursday and he's made it through the whole week of camp. I hope he's still speaking to us when he get home tonight. We're so proud of him. We never thought he'd go let alone stick it out the entire time. Can't wait to see him and hear about his toilet cleaning experience!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Water, Water Everywhere

It was appropriate that our lesson through the Bible in Sunday School class this morning was on Noah and the flood. Ike made it's way inland and arrived here early this morning and dumped several inches of rain. The ground was already wet from rain earlier in the week and we've had an exceptionally cool and wet summer by comparison to most summers. The creeks and streams just couldn't take it. This was the excitement we saw after our lesson on Noah.

This is the golf course and driving range where my husband works. My husband's clubs are inside. He's not a happy camper since he has a tournament tomorrow. We're hoping the water quickly recedes back into the creek from which it came. The ducks, well they're just swell. And the froggie he seemed a little lost. He's almost as green as a pickle! (Sorry, Mom-just couldn't resist getting a picture of him.) And look at that worm. Yep, it's a worm nearly ten inches long-thought it was a snake at first. And check out the fellas in the sailboat. We weren't sure who they were, but I guess they saw an opportunity to work on their skills. There was a decent sized crowd standing "on shore" cheering them on.

We've had lots of excitement today. Our little guy headed off to fifth grade camp this afternoon. I'm sure he'll do great, but it's hard to let him go and have these adventures. I know he's in good hands and I'm going to keep busy while he's gone so I won't think about it.

<---This is Mr Hirschi, his teacher. He is VERY tall. Brady's trying to do bunny ears over his head!

I'll remind myself of the lesson we had today in Sunday School this morning that God keeps his promises and that he's in control. I'll be thinking of those in Texas and Louisiana tonight too and the long days many of them have ahead. I'm hoping there will be a rainbow in the sky just for them.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Just 10 short days until we leave for Disney. I can't wait. Not just because this is one of my favorite places, but because we have needed this vacation for such a long time. In fact, it probably wouldn't matter if we weren't going anywhere at all, but we'll be happy to get away from it all with Mickey and all of his friends.

Here's a list of the Top Ten things I'm looking forward to the most.

10. Taking a "class" with one of the Disney animators. I'm hoping Brady will do this with me again. He really suprised me last time and got into it. Wonder who we'll get to draw this time?

9. Dinner at the Polynesian-we didn't really know what to expect last time so we're happy for a do over. We did get a walking tour of this property last time though-we got off the tram at the wrong stop! It's like you have been dropped off on a Pacific Island-all the plants are so lush and beautiful. I hope Brady gets a chance to do the coconut race this time.

8. World Showcase-there is so much to see that we didn't make it all the way around the world last time. Hoping to get to the other side and spend a bit more time in Paris-since that's probably the closest I'll get. Can't wait to see Alice and Mary Poppins and watch the Beatles perform in merry old England again, too.

7. The Living Seas Aquarium-we didn't walk through this last time so I'm hoping to get to do so this year. The tanks are HUGE!

6. A Bug's Life 3D-this totally makes you feel like a kid again. Every sense gets a workout and everything seems so real. Not sure I can get Brady to go back to this one. It kind of gave him the heeby-jeebies.

5. Soarin'-the imagineers worked overtime on this one! You truly feel like you are gliding over California. Wonder if we'll be able to see Arnold waving at us! Seriously, you can smell the grapes as you pass over wine country. It's awesome!

4. The Spectro Magic Parade-we had a great place to see this parade last time. Hope we're as lucky this year. This is an AMAZING parade and all of the characters come out for this one. Cinderella's coach is my favorite with Prince Charming on board.

3. WISHES-there's nothing quite like fireworks at Disney. And even tho' I know it's really just someone on a zipline, there's something magical about Tinkerbell flying towards Cinderella's castle to start the show.

2. Stopping to look around and realizing all of this was because one man had a dream and followed his heart.

1. Just spending uninterrupted time together making memories. That's the absolute best part of a vacation no matter where you go!

It was hard to limit this list to just ten things. It's so much fun watching Jeff and Brady interact at the parks. They canNOT wait to ride Yedi mountain or the Rockin' Rollercoaster. The most adventurous I got on the coasters last time was to ride Test Track at Epcot. It is very cool-my dad and brother would love it. Then there's the new Nemo show all done with elaborate puppetry and Haunted Mansion that we didn't do last time and riding on the riverboat at Magic Kingdom and breakfast with Mickey the last day we're there. I'm also hoping to get to window shop a bit at some of the shops. See? There is so much to see and do.

Ah, Disney here we come!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Finders Keepers

Look what my dad brought to me from the lake! Bluebird feathers! Look at that color would ya!?! That blue is electric! Dad had been looking for weeks for just one feather and he told me he found all of these within 50 feet of each other. Kind of don't want to think about that too much. Visions of Sylvester and Tweety Bird come to mind-ewww. Anyway, they are my treasures. Thanks, Dad!

In other Blue Bird Art news, I hope to add a couple more items to my etsy shop over the next several days. Thanks to all of you who have been checking it out. I sold my first item on opening weekend. I may not sell another thing, but it was a thrill to make that first sale. I had so much fun purchasing tissue and making my own tags to seal the package.
Here's the hand-doodled logo I came up with. I'd been drawing this for awhile now since seeing some of Pam Garrison's doodling in, you guessed it-Postmark LA. Still loving that book! I hear the Bellas are coming out with another and I can't wait!

Anyway, I love the idea of the bird in the cage and thinking about it flying free. If you're old enough to remember Mork and Mindy, you might recall Robin Williams as Mork yelling out, "Fly! Be Free!". Okay, that's not exactly where I was going with this, but I like the idea of "let yourself fly". That's another blog post all by itself.

Have a good rest of the week and keep your eyes peeled for the ever-illusive blue bird!

Monday, September 08, 2008


I am thrilled to report that I have finally finished my first quilt. YAY! I have been learning SO much. Particularly about sticking with it and that handmade does not equal perfection. I am so grateful to have my mom right beside me pointing me in the right direction, letting me use her fabulous machine and cheering me on at every step. I'm having alot of fun spending this time with her-sweet memories.

I just love that it is so girly. I love, love, love these Anna Griffin fabrics.

To me, the back of this one is as cute as the front. Way simple, but WAY cute!

I used Sulky variegated threads for the feather embroidery stitch. Machine embroidery was definitely the way to go. I'm pleased with how the appliques turned out. I actually only made a couple mistakes with the machine embroidery. The circles were very easy and the monogram wasn't bad. It was those pesky flower petals and leaves that gave me the most trouble.

My next quilt project will be for my other niece on Jeff's side. I'm still hoping to use the Heather Bailey fabrics I purchased, but can't make up my mind whether to try a new pattern or this same one. Not sure how those bold graphic prints would workout with this applique. It wouldn't be a big deal to do something different, but Rachel loves to have the same as her older cousin Morgan. We'll see. I really want to use the POP GARDEN fabrics for her quilt-they remind me so much of her little personality.

While I was finishing up my quilt yesterday, Mom was busy making up this sweet pin cushion. We ordered these little kits from Heather Bailey's new online shop. We are anxious to try and make her yummy pins, too from wool felt, vintage buttons and yo-yo's (the fabric kind). ;)
Between the two of us, we have more projects than either one of us could ever hope to complete. But that's half the fun, isn't it!?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Only In America

One of the things I love most about our country, and which I believe many of us take for granted, is the right to peacefully assemble. Yesterday, we took full advantage of our freedom. Our town was fortunate enough to host a rally for the McCain-Palin campaign. It was literally just down the road from our house so how could we not go? Particularly since there are so many history making moments already being made in this election year.

Although the heat and humidity were near unbearable, the three of us non-adventurers managed to beat the heat and the crowds. And were there crowds! An estimated $15,000-most of whom didn't appear to be from our town, but from nearby counties. Behind us in line to get in was a young family who had relocated from New Orleans. They had come not only to hear John McCain and Sarah Palin, but in particular to hear local politicians. I applaud them for their efforts-they had very young children with them and dad had to hoof it back to the car a half mile to put the stroller back since security didn't allow them.

Our boy did well in the heat, but lost his zeal shortly after the bus arrived with the presidential and vice presidential candidates. We waited nearly four hours so I didn't blame him for being done at that point. In fact, we had been able to see the governor, Senator Bond and others speak, but when the main speakers came out we could not see them at all including John Rich. But all in all it was a good day and we were glad we went. No matter your stance on issues or candidates, I encourage you to take advantage of your right to assemble and to be mindful of all the freedoms we experience in America.

Happy Labor Day!