Saturday, June 30, 2012

Disney Update: weekend of 6/30

I receive a lot of fun and exciting information from the Disney public relations team, and I want to share as much as possible (because I know you love Disney as much as I do). So I have decided, instead of disseminating information, images, and clips sporratically, I will collect info for the week and include it in a weekend Disney update.

Now parents like me can get a quick glimpse of what is happening in the magical world of Disney entertainment. Bookmark or add me to your RSS reader so you won't miss a thing.

June 30th Disney Update:

If you missed my post on Tuesday, click through to learn the lore behind the mystical will 'o the wisps from the new Disney Pixar movie, Brave.

And here is a brand new clip from what looks to be another Tim Burton dark-but-fun classic,  Frankenweenie:

In Frankenweenie, a boy named Victor uses science to bring his beloved dog back to life. It is both a parody of and homage to the classic Frankenstein. It is scheduled to relesase on October 5th.

I also came across an informative and interesting post via Mice Chat recently, with many photos of the DisneyWorld Fantasyland expansion. Our family is eagerly anticipating the completion - hopefully we can go visit shortly after it is complete. More castles! Our four-year-old  Princess Amelia will not complain about that.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Reading Power in a live show!

If you know Amelia at all, either in person or through this blog, you know she is a singing, dancing, performance kind of girl. We have clapped and cheered our way through several local shows - princesses, circus stars, and more.

On July 27th, Super WHY Live: You've Got The Power is coming to Atlanta - and we will be there! We love Super Why, Princess Presto, Womder Red, Alpha Pig, and the super sweet smart puppy, Woofster. It will not be your ordinary show; in addition to singing and dancing, the Super Why friends will excite and entertain us with technology, visual effects, and even aerial stunts! The new production features a team of top talent, including a Tony Award-winning scenic designer and an Emmy and Tony Award-nominated lighting designer.

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to take fans on this high-flying ride and invite them into the world of Super WHY in a completely unique way...we’ve created a truly unforgettable show for the entire family.” said Michael Cohl, CEO, S2BN Entertainment.

You can check out several behind-the-scenes videos about Super WHY Live right here.

If you don't live in Atlanta? No problem! The show is touring around the country this summer, kicking off in Monroe, LA on July 18th. Other stops include Birmingham, Knoxville, Memphis, Raleigh, Charleston, Tampa, and Miami. Other cities will be announed soon!

Fans can visit to sign up to receive the latest tour news and announcements and follow @superwhylive on Twitter. 

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About Super WHY - Reading is power and Super WHY is the only preschool property created to help kids learn the fundamentals of reading through interactive storybook adventures.

About S2BN - S2BN Entertainment is a diversified international family show and event entertainment company specializing in the acquisition, development and production of high caliber touring exhibitions, unique live music tours and events, theatrical performances, and consumer and multimedia product offerings.

I will receive tickets to the July 27th Atlanta show. However, all opinions are 100% mine.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WW: When vacation ends

Here's a vacation photo I did not expect.

This is what it looks like when you have been gone for a week, took an insanely early flight, didn't bother with hair and makeup, and finally landed near home...

Only to find out your car battery is dead.

And when you have a handy dandy keyfob which uses, ahem, the battery? You cannot even open the doors (or likewise, the hood) to get a jump.

One hour wait in the sun for AAA.

Thank goodness we had some Pringles to feed the child.

I love that Steve thought to grab the camera when I was talking to AAA for the third time.

This vacation pic will surely be a classic.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Will 'O The Wisps, magic in @DisneyPixar's Brave

We waited two days after the opening, and could wait no longer. We saw Disney Pixar's new movie Brave on Sunday! We purchased tickets online ahead of time, and waited in line for thirty minutes at the theater so we could get a good seat.

The movie was great! A little bit intense in parts for a four-year-old, but she was fine. She already wants to buy the movie and bring it home.

Santa, did you hear that? If it's on DVD for Christmas, fly one over to my girl!

Did you see Brave? Were you as intrigued by the wisps as I was? Sometimes I wish I had these glowing mystical beings to guide my own life.

In “Brave,” Merida spies tiny blue lights after escaping into the forest in search of a change of fate. Forming a path that dares her to follow, the lights lead Merida to a mysterious location that holds the power to change her destiny—just not in the way she imagines.

The good folks at Disney shared the background behind the lore of the wisps:

* * *

Travelers—particularly those who venture out after sunset on unfamiliar pathways—beware of the will o’ the wisps.

It is said—though by whom is a bit of a mystery—that on certain days for certain travelers in certain parts of the world, little lights dance on the horizon, whispering tempting invitations… pledging the answers to lifelong questions, the realization of dreams, a key to secret treasures—a change of fate.

Charmed and curious, unsuspecting travelers follow the floating lights, mesmerized by their whispers, their promises. Yet no matter how long or how fervently they follow, they never quite touch the beautiful beacons whose flickering lights eventually fade and disappear… leaving the inquisitors, the dreamers and the treasure seekers lost… and alone.

* * *
If you have not seen Brave yet, it's in theaters now.
Follow your own destiny... go see it!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Three surgeries in nine months

Friday was not a good day. After Amelia's second eye surgery, she looked fantastic. Her eyes were straight for a full six weeks. Six weeks and one day post-surgery, however? We noticed some shifting again. She was no longer always looking at us with two eyes. We tried to make excuses... hoped it would go away.

But yesterday, we went in for her 12-week post-op check.

I hid my tearful face from my daughter in the waiting room. Nine weeks prior when we scheduled this appointment, it was with joy. It was to be our final visit before she "graduated" to an annual check. It was supposed to be our last one in 2012.

Not to be. We are looking at a third surgery in late September. Third! In a span of only nine months. At age four.

I was miserable most of Friday. Thankful for a friend who got us out of the house for some kid playtime; probably the only thing that kept me sane that day. At night, I peeked in on my sleeping little sweetie and felt my heart crack. I allowed the guilt and doubt to creep in. I felt like I did not protect her.

It is now Sunday night. I have had time to recover from the shock and heartbreak. I cried on my husband's shoulder. He shared his fears and sadness, but we agreed that we would move forward together as a family. As we have done twice before.

We are pretty strong with our power of three.

The doctor did allow a twinge of hope. There is a chance, albeit a small one, that this is an anomaly in her healing. What he called "a blip on the radar." We purposefully delayed the next surgery just in case. If we have any right to a miracle, I wait hopefully for it. Trying to keep my own eyes open for a glimpse of change.

Maybe, just maybe, September's pre-op will show a change for the better. If not, we will survive.

We can do this.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Weekend Disney update!

Top-notch new movies and shows coming from Disney! Our family cannot get enough of Disney fun, magic, and creativity.

Check out the new Monsters movie with cuddly Sully and hilarious Mike Wazowski!

We have a while to wait, but the new take on the seven dwarves looks just perfect, in The 7D, which is slated for Disney Junior in 2014.

The series takes place in the whimsical world of Jollywood, where Queen Delightful relies on the 7D – Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Grumpy and Doc – to keep the kingdom in order. Standing in their way are two laughably evil villains, Grim and Hildy Gloom.

And, of course, Brave came out yesterday! We will be in line to see it tomorrow afternoon. Here is a new clip you may not have seen - enjoy!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sage Advice from High School

I jumped at the chance to follow Mama Kat's instructions in writing prompt #4 this week:  Dig out your high school yearbook and share a message a friend wrote that stands out to you.

Once I finally found my yearbooks (upstairs office, bottom shelf, dusty!), I had a great time flipping through them and reading the comments and quips from almost twenty years a few years ago.

I had the expected "it was fun being with you in class" notes, the gushing "I am so glad we're friends!" sentiments, the overused "stay sweet!", and the occasional expression of undying, forever love from the boyfriend of the season. All of whom, it turns out, did not love me forever.

But my favorites? The sage advice from teens. The sarcastic comments that made me laugh out loud (LOL... we didn't even know what that meant back then!).

So, from the class of 1996, er, I mean the class of "not really that long ago"...

Sage Advice from a High School Yearbook
  • "Quit hitting me" -- from a good guy friend whom, apparently, I liked to hit
  • "Don't eat any dynamite" -- from someone with a completely illegible signature
  • "If you find a lump, consult a doctor" -- from an anonymous health safety expert
  • "Remember, don't eat yellow snow" -- not what I was hoping for, from a guy I adored
  • "Don't cross your legs, it's a bad habit" -- from fellow flute player, who also crossed her legs
  • "Uh, check out my butt or something" -- from a kid who liked Beavis & Butthead too much 
  • "When you get to my planet, be careful. You'll cause a riot" -- I don't even know how to explain this one

                                                                                   See me?
Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WW: We own a zoo

When does a house reach maximum capacity for stuffed animals?

This is only Amelia's room. There are a few more on her bed. A couple froggies on a chair. And we have two more bins downstairs!

She loves them with all her heart. Each and every one is considered her friend.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Daddy's Day (one day late)

So I did not have a gushing, sweet post for Father's Day yesterday. In fact, I barely made myself known on any social media platform at all. We were too busy having fun as a family! But that does not mean my husband does not deserve a gushing, sweet post in honor of the special day. So, without further adieu, here is my Father's Day post. One day late.

Five Favorite Reasons why Steve is an Awesome Daddy:
  • He has no qualms about sitting on  pink blanket in the middle of the living room to play tea party with one little girl and five stuffed animals
  • Despite risk of injury, he continues to bounce Amelia around like he did when she was a toddler - even though she weighs a whole lot more now
  • He can splash around in the pool when the water is too cold for me
  • He will drive us anywhere for the sake of a fun vacation, and he won't complain when Amelia and I both fall asleep
  • He is smart and silly, hard-working and fun - all at the same time! 
Yesterday, we gave him cards and an art project Amelia had created just for him. We slept in, spent lazy time together at home, and went out for a yummy dinner. But I think I know his favorite moment of all...

Before going to bed, Amelia gave him a squeeze and said,
"Daddy? I wish I could hug you forever - all day long!"

That girl knows exactly how to melt her daddy's heart.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Great Adventure: Buying A First Home

The Great Adventure of Buying A First Home
(a guest post)

My daughter recently started walking, or rather, shuffling about with an adorable unpredictability. Once she became mobile, I began to notice a lot less space in our small two-bedroom apartment. Her army of toys has literally taken over. My husband and I are thinking it might be the right time to find a larger home. While we have rented ever since we moved in together years ago, the current low interest rates have made buying a home an attractive option. Enter the uncertain world of house hunting.

While my husband and I have reliable income and a fair amount of savings, we try to lead a modest lifestyle. My husband and I want to impart sound values about money to our daughter, even at a young age. We avoid living above our means and are doing everything in our power to not saddle ourselves with debt, and that includes a large mortgage. That means we’re are priced out of certain metropolitan areas (for instance, New York City, where we both grew up, is not a viable option).

Excluding NYC, there’s still a wealth of possibility out there, And luckily, our daughter is still young enough not to be unsettled by decisions about schools, cost of living, or general culture shocks. I’ve decided to look at our search for a new home as the next great adventure after marriage and motherhood. We’re diving into the great unknown and it’s exciting!

We’ve found there are lots of (free!) resources at our disposal, such as the recent Forbes article, “The Best Cities for Raising a Family,” which ranked cities by median income, overall cost of living, commuting delays, crime statistics, school quality, and housing. We found that with a little research, and a few helpful resources, you can find affordable homes in virtually every city throughout the US, as well as compare the cost of living in your current city to other areas you are considering.

Obviously, the cost of the home is one of our main considerations as we search for our new home. We’d obviously like the keep the down payment as low as possible. We’ve been exploring different options that would minimize upfront costs, including Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), an insurance that places most of the risk on the lender instead of the borrower. PMI makes it possible for first-time buyers to clear the biggest hurdle to homeownership: coming up with the traditional 20% down payment, which is a very attractive option for my husband and I. Even if you’re not a first-time buyer, PMI allows you to consider a wider range of homes and leverage your investment in your current home. Both first-time and move-up buyers can benefit by putting less money down and keeping cash for other uses: your child’s education fund, investments, paying off debt, home improvements or an emergency fund. We have yet to find the home of dreams just yet, but when we do, it’s nice to know we have options!

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This guest post was brought to you by the financial experts at Genworth Financial

#WW: Summer Camp Circus

I definitely have guilt issues throughout the summer. When it seems like every kid I know is playing at home, staying out late, and not following a rigid schedule, mine is going to bed early and attending school. She has been adjusting to a new classroom, new teacher, and new friends. Sometimes she asks me to stay home with her; those mornings are the worst!

However, I know she has fun once she is there. Last week was Circus Week! Amelia was part of a fancy duo of tightrope walkers.

Upon first getting her assignment, Amelia was very concerned. The teacher had to explain that the tightrope would be a string on the FLOOR. (And sure enough, she did not fall off once!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Safety first! No Diving.

I wrote this last year, but it needs to be said again and again! Please keep safety in mind when your children are at the pool or the beach. NO DIVING!
- - - - - -

As I sit at the pool, visit the waterparks, and lounge by the beach this summer, I will cringe countless times.

I will avert my eyes - and say a prayer - as I watch children dive, headfirst, into shallow waters.

I cannot even express how much this bothers me.

A few years ago, I never thought twice about it.

For those of you who don't know, my sister-in-law suffered a terrible fall on July 8th, 2010 and is facing life paralyzed from the chest down. We spent countless hours (months) at the rehab hospital with her.

100+ people are at this one facility on any given day.

Monday, June 11, 2012

It's reading time!

Amelia is four, going on seventeen. The moment she reached her 4th birthday, "I can do it - I'm four!" became her daily mantra. She can unbuckle her car seat now. She can unlock any door. She gets her own drinks out of the fridge. She can reach things she had not been able to reach before.

Lately, she is frustrated. She is annoyed that she cannot read. She does not understand why she cannot spell. She writes her letters for hours on end, asking me how to spell names and words. She writes random letters and asks me what they say; then gets mad at me when I explain that she wrote DHYELAI, which is not an actual word.

All of this tells me it's time to start teaching! I am not a teacher, nor do I have the faintest idea how to go about this, especially since Amelia is a bit younger than what I would assume is the optimal time for learning to read. I have to tiptoe around her frustration, because I do not want her to get down on herself if it is difficult. But learning that things are difficult is not a bad lesson, either.

Since she is initiating this new phase of learning, I will play along.

The other day, we labeled the house! It was really fun to point out objects, write them down, and stick them up. Amelia reads out the letters each morning and tells me the word. She is showing a lot of excitement, so much that her eyes twinkle when we run through our house of words and play our "game". 

We began with 15 words: Floor, Chair, Drawer, Stove, Water, Books, Toys, TV, Clock, Stairs, Bath, Bed, Window, Closet, and Door. Each day, I plan to add another new word or two to the mix. We've added Fireplace, Mirror, Plant, Table, Tree, Music, Upstairs, and Downstairs so far. My house looks a bit crazy, but it's fun!  

I want to make up a game with sight words soon, since I've been told those are usually a first step to reading. (Sight words are those like if, at, the, or.) It will be a summer of words!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Blurry vision

Poor eyesight is annoying for many reasons. Fumbling with lenses or seeing only blurry surroundings when you awake in the middle of the night, to name two.

Another one? Mystery creatures on the shower ceiling.

You see, I was taking my morning shower downstairs the other day, glasses (obviously) off, and I spotted a brown thing on the ceiling, nearly above my head. I am terribly near-sighted, so I could not identify the mystery spot.

But I knew.

I knew it had to be an unwelcome creature. Summertime in Georgia, you know. It had been very hot outside for several days. My house was nice and cool inside.

it was not a very relaxing shower. I lathered my hair... did that thing move? Rinsed my hair... ahh, I think it moved! Applied conditioner... oh my, it definitely moved! What if it falls on my head?!?!

Clearly, I have a bug phobia. Especially during the hot summer months in the lovely state of Georgia. We have some pretty impressive creatures down here.

Blurry photo, but still better than I can see.
This is what I call the "leggy bug" - no idea what it is, but it creeps me out!
And it moves fast.

I can't even look at this photo without a shiver. Ewwww.

Maybe I need to wear my contacts in the shower. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Are you BRAVE?

I am really looking forward to Disney/Pixar's new princess film, Brave. Only a couple more weeks! In the meantime, you can check out some of their latest vignettes:


I remember you

Dear boy,

I remember you. The boy who had just a mama. The boy who didn't always fit in, who had fewer toys and older clothes. The boy who liked me.

My parents taught me right; I was not to judge or look down, but to be kind and open to everyone. I did not always know what to think of our friendship. Sometimes it scared me. You had an air of danger, of trouble - or was I imagining it, just because I did not know much about your life?

Time marched on, we went our separate ways. You surprised me one day, many years later, when you wrote me letters. I was surprised, flattered, and a bit wary when I realized you still had a fondness for our friendship. Trouble had caught up to you a couple times. You were an artist - you sketched lovely pictures. You sent me some.  

We are out of touch once again, as it is with the constant motion of time. In adulthood, you still show a hard exterior. Looks can be deceiving; I am sure you are a good father and a good person. I am glad that I was taught to accept everyone. I will pass along that teaching to my own little girl. There are not many opportunities to experience differences in a small town private school, and I was lucky enough to have a unique friend who never showed me anything but a kind heart.

I hope you are still on the right path and doing fine.

The past & present Me

- - -
Mama Kat's writing prompt: (#3) An open letter to Somebody You Used To Know.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

WW: Blue

Today's Wordless Wednesday? A tribute to my favorite things blue.

Those shining blue eyes

Blue hydrangea, shimmering with dew
Sapphire - first Christmas gift from Steve (11 years ago!)

The deep blue sea

Happy Wednesday to you! Enjoy all things colorful today.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mommy & Me: Splashing Saturday

When the Atlanta area forecast has no rain and a high temperature of only 75 on a Saturday in June, you just cannot stay indoors. We took a mini road trip to Little River Canyon, just over the border in Alabama.

We climbed over rocks and splashed in the little trickles of water. Amelia ended up soaking wet, but thankfully she had extra clothes in the car. Steve and I did not have any extras - and we both had a near disaster. Those rocks are slippery when wet!

Mommy & Amelia

Family feet!

Not a Mommy pic, but too cute to leave out!

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?
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