Tuesday, February 25, 2020

remembering our mollydog

it was a year ago on sunday that we said goodbye to molly for the last time.  that night, we went to disneyland for some distraction and to spend some time together as a family.  and so we decided to spend the first anniversary there as well - minus the hub, who was gone for the weekend celebrating a friend's birthday in vegas.

since the old lady and i were the only ones who'd been able to experience the new "rise of the resistance" ride, we convinced the other two to get up early and head down at 6am like we'd done a couple of weeks ago.  and so just before 6:30 we pulled up at the parking structure...along with a bazillion other people.

it took about 15 minutes to finally get parked, and because it was so early getting through security was a breeze.  the trams were running smoothly as well, and we got in line at the disneyland turnstiles not too long afterwards.

they typically don't start allowing guests onto main street until about 7:30, but with the crowds that gather in the esplanade in an effort to get a ROTR boarding pass we noticed movement in the lines about 10 minutes after we'd arrived.  and so by 7:30 we were scanned into the park.

we hadn't loved our breakfast at earl of sandwich last time, so we thought we'd try la brea bakery cafe instead.  as we headed over, i cracked up as i watched the girls walking with their shared boyfriend.

we were seated pretty quickly at the restaurant, and just before the park opened the old lady headed out to get away from the crowds and try to snag those boarding passes for us.  while she was gone the server brought our breakfast to the table.  i'd opted for the pecan cream cheese-stuffed french toast:

along with my most favorite breakfast beverage.

when the old lady returned she was grumbling about a glitch in the app that didn't allow her into the boarding system right away, resulting in us getting into group 116.  anything after group 80 is considered a "backup group," which means we weren't guaranteed to get into the ride.  bummer.  she ordered a bloody mary to drown her sorrows:

breakfast was delicious, and i drained my glass in no time.  i definitely got a little silly, and the bean was not impressed.

apparently i was extra silly, because as soon as we were done the kids steered me right into the starbucks next door for some caffeine.

we walked through world of disney to browse through the merchandise, and i made a mental note to come back and pick up one of these for myself:

our first fastpass of the day was for the guardians of the galaxy ride.  it was fun as always, but we were a little bummed to see that the ride cameras were out of order when we exited.

no worries, though, because we went outside and took our picture.

the incredicoaster was next:

and then we decided to head over to disneyland.  the number of boarding groups being allowed to ride was moving really slowly, so we knew our chances were slim to none - especially since we had to get the bean back home for cheer practice by 6.  oh well.  at least we took some fun photos that day.

the only ride we went on at disneyland that day ended up being star tours, which was extra fun since they recently added new scenery from the latest star wars movie.  from there we watched the extended sneak peek at the newest disney/pixar movie:

had some lunch at pizza planet, capped off with this minty chocolate parfait:

took one more peek at the boarding group status:

and then we stopped in to pick up something for the old lady and i to commemorate the day.  the bean doesn't do jewelry at all, but we ended up choosing these matching bracelets:

so yeah, i know the symbols on those charms represents something totally different.  but that's okay.  for us, they carry a different meaning - a combination of the rainbow bridge that our molly crossed over last february 23rd and how much we're always going to love and miss her.

sweet molly.  i hope you're enjoying doggy heaven.  teddy, cocoa and stevie are here to help fill the vacant space left at home while you've been gone, and i know you'll be waiting to greet us all when that time comes.

Friday, February 21, 2020

i definitely want s'more

after competition was over, we took the bean to a pretty forgettable spot for sushi dinner.  well, she was perfectly satisfied with it - which is all that really matters anyway, right?  but we definitely made up for a mediocre dinner with a pretty fantastic dessert stop that took us a little out of our way.  totally worth it.

knowing very well how much i love all things marshmallow, the old lady had shown me an instagram account for a place called toasted mallow.  they do custom s'mores and milkshakes using fresh ingredients and housemade marshmallows in all kinds of flavors.  and of course, it was nowhere near home - more like gilbert, arizona.  but when the hub pulled up yelp while we were finishing dinner, i was pretty stoked to find it on the list of recommended places.  15 miles away from where we were, but he's always such a good sport in indulging my shenanigans.  and so about 20 minutes later, we were pulling up here:

it was pretty empty when we walked in, but there was a lady working behind the counter and the most delicious smell that greeted us as soon as we stepped inside.

the wall on one side was lined with shelves stacked with various flavors of marshmallows to take home, along with some fun layered treats in a jar.

at the counter, you could also pick out gourmet marshmallow pies and pops.

the s'mores menu was pretty extensive, along with a "build your own" option.

i knew the bean would be more interested in a frozen treat, and there were plenty of those to choose from too.

i opted for the butterfinger s'mores, but asked for chocolate marshmallows in place of the peanut butter ones.  she was happy to make the switch and piled them into a graham cracker bowl before torching the tops to make them all melty and gooey.  then she topped that with peanut butter sauce, chocolate ganache, butterfinger bits and threw in a couple of mini peanut butter cups for good measure.

we got about halfway through it before i was really sweet-ed out.  but man, was it good:

as for the bean, she went with the frozen hot chocolate - basically a chocolate shake with hot chocolate mix whipped in and then topped with marshmallow fluff.

they had a couple of cute shirts for sale too, which we spied on the way out.  they'd gotten a lot busier since we came in, but still took the time to wave and thank us for coming in.

the shelf stable items are available for purchase from their website, and we definitely walked out with a bag full of treats to take home and share with the old lady and her special friend.  if you happen to be in the area and are looking for something sweet, definitely go here.  so good, and super friendly!  i wish they had one at home.  i could use one of those s'mores right now.  mmmmmm.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

trying to earn that bid

we all slept in on comp day, knowing that we didn't have to have the bean in the coach's room until 11.  it was nice to just kind of relax and get ready at a leisurely pace before packing everything up and making the 20-minute drive to downtown phoenix.  there, we had time to stop at a dunkin donuts for a quick bite and head on into the hyatt for hair and makeup.

of course, because it's us, we realized that the bean had forgotten something she needed back in the hotel room.  d-oh!  and so we headed back out to scottsdale without a moment to spare.  the hub dropped us off at the door to run inside and get the bean dressed and ready while he headed back out to gas up the truck and then make our way back to phoenix...all within half an hour.  luckily, all she had to do was literally change into her uniform and then we even had time for a couple of pictures before he barreled back in to pick us up.

"look mom, it's like a late valentine!"

and then immediately after i took that, "i can't believe you took a picture of a leaf."  oy, kid.

we somehow managed to get back to the phoenix convention center right on time, with the hub dropping us off again while he headed off to find parking.  the team was gathered in front of the hall, making sure everything was in place and then taking lots of pictures.

the coaches took the girls inside for warmups then, and we found seats easily inside.  there was even a full concession stand open offering hot food, which was a really nice change from the usual garbage we find at these things.  instead of settling for a 7-eleven style hot dog and chips we were able to order grilled chicken sandwiches and burgers - i guess that doesn't sound like much of an upgrade, but believe me...it was definitely better.

the bean's team took the stage first, and as always i was beaming with pride the entire time.  i wish she weren't in the back this year though, because i kept losing her as i watched them perform, but that's okay.  they killed their routine, and we were super proud of them all.

the squad's oldest team provided the very last performance of the day, and they were pretty phenomenal.  and when it came time for awards, everyone was over the moon to find out that they'd won a fully paid bid to quest championships at disney world next month.  the bean's team earned a bid for the competition as well, which was pretty exciting.

once we got home, after a long parent/athlete meeting followed up by lots of juggling and decision making, they decided to take everyone who wanted to participate and combine them into one big ol' honking team.  you know what that means?


ahhhhh yeah.
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