wan-na find something?

Friday, December 4, 2020

crazy, beautiful, wonderful life

15 years.  it's gone by in a flash.  i can hardly believe it.  it seems like just yesterday that we were in hawaii and i made my way down the aisle:

to meet up with this guy:

and exchanged vows that we'd both written just that morning.

we made vows to this little girl, just ten years old and now known as the old lady, and created a family.

a little later, the now-hub basically signed his life away with a stroke of a pen:

we shared our first cake as husband and wife:

and happily took our first family portrait.

of course, a cheesy sunset photo was a requirement.

back home about a month later, we got dressed up again to celebrate with more of our family and friends.

of course, there were more cheesy photos.

and then we cut into not one, not two, but THREE cakes.

fifteen years, four moves, one new baby, three dogs, seven different cars, countless trips, endless laughter, eternal love.  we've shared lots of highs as well as a good handful of low moments, we've bickered and made up, made lots of decisions big and small, and through it all i just can't imagine doing it any other way.  life isn't perfect, and neither are we - but we're pretty perfect for each other.

how it started:

and how it's going.

oh, and yes - the 15th wan-niversary twirl is on today's agenda...as long as the dress still fits.  wish me luck.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

getting a little california adventure

downtown disney has been open for a good amount of time now, with no reopening date in sight anytime soon for the rest of the disneyland resort.  i totally get it and agree that it's not the right time to open amusement parks. still, we really miss our disney visits.  it's been a really long time, and you know disneyland is our happy place.

so when they announced that buena vista street in california adventure was going to be open for dining and shopping - sort of an extension of downtown disney - i knew we'd make our way over there as soon as it made sense.  of course, on opening day the reports were just as crazy as we'd expected, with people camped out and in line for hours and hours to enter.  everyone's missed the disney magic, so i wondered how long it would be before we headed out for a dose of it ourselves.

when one of my friends posted that she'd made a dining reservation at one of the downtown disney restaurants and managed to spend some time inside california adventure with minimal wait, i decided to follow her lead.  i hopped onto the app and found a dinner reservation for the day before thanksgiving, and   hoped that it wouldn't be too crazy.

we managed to pull into the simba parking lot with almost an hour to kill before our reservation time.  surprisingly, the area was fairly empty and we were really excited to find that we didn't even have to sign up for the virtual queue to enter buena vista street.  when we made our way over there to check it out, people were just walking right in with zero wait.  woohoo!

the old lady and her special friend had gone back to the car for something they'd forgotten, so the bean and i just kind of strolled along at a leisurely pace and snapped pictures here and there.

we still had about half an hour before our reservation, but it looked pretty quiet at the restaurant and so we got ourselves seated early.  we started things off with the burrata appetizer, which was so delicious we devoured it almost as soon as it was served.

after a little confusion about how big the pizzas were, we ordered a family size four cheese with prosciutto to share and were pretty startled when it arrived and the damn thing was about a mile long.  it was super delicious, and we ended up boxing up half of it to take home.

we were all stuffed silly, so it was a good time to get up and walk it off.  it hadn't gotten any more crowded and we were still able to walk right into california adventure.

it was like coming home, for real.  we all just soaked it all in and gazed happily at the sights that we've seen hundreds of times and missed so much over the last nine months.

we knew that our access to the park was pretty limited, so we walked through to see how far we could get.  as we headed towards cars land, we noticed all of the tables and chairs that had been set up so that people could sit and enjoy the snacks that were available for purchase.

end of the line.

heading back towards soarin', we came across the churro cart that was open for business - with quite a long line of folks waiting to pick up a beloved treat.

we strolled through this area as well, to see how far we could get.  again - not too far.

it was a pretty chilly evening, so we mobile ordered some hot cocoa from award weiners in the hollywood studios area.

this is also where the kids indulged my request for a group photo.

we were hoping to pick up a treat to take home, so we'd joined the virtual queue for trolley treats, the candy shop on buena vista street.  when we got the text that told us we could get in line, we found that it was still a pretty long wait to enter the store.  no biggie.  we just chatted and peoplewatched and checked out the window displays along the way.

it was the last stop of the night, and by the time we got outta there it was closing time.  it was quite a different way to "shut down the parks," but whatever.  we'd gotten our fill of what we were able to see, and it had been a really lovely evening.  it'll have to do for now, until we can go back for real.

Monday, November 30, 2020

shrinking down to elf size

so while we've not had an elf on our shelf for a good three years now, when we saw the advertisements for a drive-thru EOTS experience at the nearby fairplex i knew we'd probably end up going.  

until i saw the pricing for it...instead of charging per car, they charged for each individual person in the car.  that's kind of crappy, no?  and so we brushed it aside and didn't think about it again until one day when i got an email from goldstar offering heavily discounted tickets.  and when i put three tickets in my cart for a thursday evening, it ended up totaling pretty much what i would have expected to pay for an event like this.  so we picked a date and bought the tickets.

aaaaaand then covid hit our house - the very week we were scheduled to go.  man.  we were pretty bummed, but there was definitely no way around it.  i offered them to one of our friends, and they were all set until they realized that one of the kids had practice at the very same time as the event.  and so i turned to another friend who has two kids and luckily, they were available and excited to go.  she texted me later on and raved about how much fun they'd had and how it'd lifted the girls' spirits after being on lockdown for most of the year, and i was so glad they'd been able to use the tickets.

after we received our second negative covid tests, i decided to try again.  and happily, we were able to find tickets again at the same discounted prices.  so on a thursday evening after cheer practice, the girls and i made our way to pomona and started our elf on the shelf adventure.

they have an app that you download before going through the gate, and it plays music and tells you the story of what you're seeing as you drive through.  it's divided into 16 chapters, with signage to show you when to move on to the next one.

we checked in with one of the staffers, who then handed us the light-up necklace that came with the bean's ticket and showed us a sneak peek of the merchandise we'd be able to buy at the end of the line.

we also each received a little "letter to santa" packet, and were instructed to have them all written out as soon as we could because someone would be collecting them about ten minutes into the experience.

next, we had the chance to order some snacks and hot cocoa to enjoy in the car together.  the girls went for the cocoa and the "reindeer bites," which were just little bite-sized churros.

then it was time to wait in line to enter the fairgrounds and actually get the show on the road.  at the very beginning, each car stopped at the "spirit escalation station," where elf helpers would scan the car and measure our level of christmas spirit.

apparently, santa's sleigh crash-landed here.

this is where we entered the "shrinkin' tunnel," and when we emerged we were shrunken down to elf size.

right afterwards, elves were on hand to collect our letters to santa.

from there, we were treated to a lot of cute light displays and elf antics.

and every so often, we'd come up to another spirit escalation system to see if our level of christmas spirit had improved.  of course, we moved up a notch or two every time.

it really was very cute, and lots of fun to drive through and see what was coming up next.  the elves were all very animated and full of enthusiasm - although i suppose it helped that our visit was really early in the season still.

and because we were all still shrunken down to the size of an elf, this EOTS kit looked gigantic.  heh.

one last check of our christmas spirit before going through the UN-shrinkin' tunnel:

and look who was waiting around the bend for us!

this was pretty much the end of the experience.  as we drove towards the exit, we looked out at the fairplex where we usually go for funnel cake, bacon wrapped deep-fried stuff, ice cream, cotton candy...and where i usually see my cookies displayed - assuming i've actually placed.  sigh.

turns out that we were waiting in line because there was a quick photo op.

you can't even really see us, but it's still pretty funny.

right after that was where we got the most fun surprise of all - those letters to santa that we'd dropped off had been shrunken down to elf size, perfect for hanging from the christmas tree.  so cute!

and of course, the last stop was the merchandise station.  we picked up an ornament and a couple of little things to take home.

all in all, it had taken about an hour from start to finish.  super cute, and a fun way to kick off the holiday season.  i'm not sure it would be worth full price, nor would i suggest the $75 VIP upgrade (which got you a shorter wait to check in plus a goody bag of some sort and a socially distanced photo op with santa).  but if you can still get your hands on the off-peak pricing...do it.  it'll get you into the christmas spirit for sure.

crazy, beautiful, wonderful life

15 years.  it's gone by in a flash.  i can hardly believe it.  it seems like just yesterday that we were in hawaii and i made my way dow...