Sunday, November 30, 2008

Welcome, Endeavor!

We got a rare opportunity this afternoon to see the Space Shuttle touch down at Edwards Air Force Base. It was about a 45 minute drive from our house to the viewing area, and we were by no means all alone. Many other families took the time to drive out too, some complete with motorhomes and picnic tables.

My mom, who is a nurse for NASA and was waiting to recover the astronauts from the shuttle, called about 5 minutes before it landed and said, "They're coming in from the west!" We didn't quite understand all that entailed, but kept our eye generally to the west. Problem was, our eyes were looking too high in the sky! It was almost too late before we realized that "coming in from the west" meant that the shuttle wouldn't be circling over our heads before landing, but instead would be coming straight toward us on the horizon. At the last minute, we heard people around us shouting, "It's almost on the ground!!" and sure enough, we spotted it just before it touched down.

It was neat to be there and experience a landing, even though we didn't get to see it come down from the sky. My mom will be- no exaggerating- living at work for the next two weeks while the shuttle is here. They'll get it all fixed up and ready to fly back to Florida on the 747. Until then, I'm hoping for a chance to get up close to the shuttle if they have any public tours. And next summer we get to go to Florida to see a launch!!

Blogger is sort-of a pain to use for a lot of photo uploading, but I've posted my photos on my facebook page. You can see them using this link, even if you don't have a facebook account. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

They've got my number

Yep, they're right:

Your Christmas is Most Like: A Charlie Brown Christmas

Each year, you really get into the spirit of Christmas.

Which is much more important to you than nifty presents.

Set your DVRs!

Now don't say I never did anything for you. Here's a lengthy list of every Christmas show and TV special that will be on this year, complete with date, time, and channel. So go clear off all that other junk on your DVR and get ready for some Christmas television goodness!


If you haven't already seen our Thanksgiving pictures on my facebook, here's the link. You don't have to have an account to view them, I don't think.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

...particularly if boxes of Christmas decor lining every hallway in your home gets you in the holiday spirit.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

If you need a Dr. Pepper

Just found this on Snopes: Dr. Pepper is giving away a free 20-oz bottle to everyone in America. Here's more info.

If you need a laugh

This guy is hilarious. His name is Gerry Dee, and he was a contestant on "Last Comic Standing." By some glitch of the universe, he didn't win, but I guarantee you'll get a laugh out of this bit. Every time Brian and I come across it, we die laughing again. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

At WalMart...

...the name-brand-dressed teen in line with his mother behind me at the checkstand reached over and helped himself to some of the lotion that was FOR SALE, not FOR SAMPLE. Subtle difference, I know.

...the checker was trying to swipe my card on her machine and instead dropped it in a little crack between the machine and it's casing. As my ice cream started melting, she contorted herself to try and get her arm in there, apologizing profusely all the while. She did eventually get it out. I hope she gets a raise. Or at least a better sense of where the card slider thing is located.

...they have an entire, very long, aisle dedicated to every sort of Christmas candy imaginable. I went down this aisle.

...I did not buy any candy from the aforementioned aisle, nor did I buy the peppermint cream oreos, though I had them in my hand two different times.

...I got annoyed at all the homeless people hanging around outside the front doors. How dare they look at me while I'm walking in. Don't they know I just want to get my groceries in peace? They shouldn't be allowed to loiter out there. time, I'll buy some food for the aforementioned homeless people and be thankful I'm not sitting outside WalMart depending on the kindness of strangers.

It's that time of year again

Yep, time for the incredibly hilarious seasonal JibJab video, starring... US!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Disneyland trip report... it's smokin'!

Well, that was a Disneyland trip like no other! Let’s start at the beginning.

We were supposed to go with my parents to Disneyland on Saturday. The day before, my mom called and offered to pay for a hotel room if we’d like to go down that evening instead of waking up at dark-thirty on Saturday morning. After reserving two rooms at the Anabella (with the micechat rate- woohoo!), we were on our way.

We did hit some heavy traffic on the 57, so it ended up taking about 3 hours to get there, but it would have been worse if we had taken the 5. We checked in and headed over to the new Anaheim Gardenwalk and got right in at California Pizza Kitchen. After dinner, we did a bit of shopping and then headed back to the room to get some sleep.

Apparently, some among us didn’t think sleep was all that important, since Tyler didn’t calm down and close his eyes until about 10:30pm.

Bright and early Saturday morning, we were up and at ‘em and ready to go. After breakfast, we commented at how lucky we were that the wind seemed to be blowing the smoke from all the wildfires away from us. During the course of the day, we heard that the 5 freeway and a bunch of others were closed, so we were thankful that we had decided to come down the previous night!

Our first stop was the Peter Pan ride. While we headed to that line, we sent Brian over to get Space Mountain fast passes. He made it back to the Peter Pan line, which was fabulously short, just in time to join us before we boarded our pirate ship. Neither of the kids particularly liked it, even though I think it’s the best ride in Fantasyland.

After our trip to Neverland, we made a beeline for Indiana Jones, which only had a 10 minute wait for stand-by. Here we had our first experience with child swap, where Brian and I rode first while my parents stayed with the kids, and then we switched. It worked great, though by the time we had our turn at riding, the stand-by line still wasn’t that long. Nice feature, though! Colby was apprehensive about the ride, even though he’s been on it once before, but by the time we got off, he was a regular ol’ adventurer.

About that time, CA Adventure was about to open, so we headed over there, hoping to avoid a long line for Toy Story Midway Mania. They opened the turnstiles a little before 10:00am, so that gave us a few minutes to stop in and rent a couple of strollers, which turned out to be the best purchases of the day. :)

We got onto the Toy Story ride within about 15 minutes, and everybody really enjoyed the ride. I even beat my video-game pro husband’s score! Up until this point, we hadn’t had too much trouble with the smoke, but after we got off Toy Story, the wind must have changed. The sky was brown and our breathing was definitely being affected. I even got flakes of ash in my teeth a couple times! We wanted to get a few more rides in CA out of the way before lunch, so we trudged on.

We did Soarin’ and tried to ride Tower of Terror, but just as we got there, they were sending everyone out of line and saying they didn’t know when the ride would be back up. The kids had gone with Grandma and Papa to the Bug’s Life 4-D show, so we took the opportunity to check out the new preview center. Personally, I really can’t wait for the Little Mermaid ride and Cars Land, though I’m of the camp that they should have named it Radiator Springs.

Once we met up with the gang, Monsters Inc. was the next ride on the agenda. The kids *love* this ride! Luckily for the adults, since we always end up riding it 2-3 times in a row, the line is always short and there’s no lack of new details to see each time.

After Monsters, we were all getting hungry, but instead of finding a place to eat our PB&J’s, my dad suggested we find somewhere indoors to dine. After a run-in with an unnecessarily rude security person as we left the baggage check area (we didn’t realize we had to take our name label out of the strollers, and she was none too patient with us about it), we made our way to ESPN Zone for some cheese fries and fresh air.

The break did a world of good; when we came out of the restaurant, we could actually take a deep breath! We were thinking we might have had to leave mid-day, but a lot of the smoke had lifted by the time we finished lunch, so we forged on. Throughout the rest of the day, the heavy smoke came in spurts, but for the most part it was bearable.

After lunch, we headed back to Disneyland, only to find that somewhere along the way, we had lost one of our not-yet-validated annual pass tickets! After a frantic search and several of us almost having heart attacks, Brian glanced over and noticed the pass on the ground about 10 feet away! He ran over and grabbed it, and we all breathed a huge sigh of relief!

Passes firmly in hand, we came to one of the most exciting parts of the day- validating our official annual passes for the first time ever! Ugly pictures aside, they’re really cool and we can’t wait to make good use of them. Thanks mom and dad!!!

With the freeways mostly closed, and everyone else staying inside away from the smoke, we almost had the place to ourselves most of the day. We did lots of shopping (tons of cute Christmas stuff!) and of course more rides: Space Mountain, Buzz, Pooh, and we even got to unexpectedly ride Nemo since the line was only 30 minutes long! One of the best things about this ride is that you can bring your strollers through the line with you, which is invaluable in a relatively long line with tired kids. This was the second time I had ridden Nemo, and I have to say it was better the second time around.

During one of our many shopping stops (did I mention the Christmas merchandise??), I pulled out my wallet and reached for my credit card… only to realize it was gone! After another frantic search and a few more heart attacks, I realized I hadn’t gotten it back from the cashier at the store in Tomorrowland about 4 hours earlier. A cashier in Frontierland made a few quick phone calls and verified that yes, they had been holding my credit card in the store where I left it. Phew!!! We also clutched the kids a little closer, lest we lose them too!

By about 8:30pm they were announcing the cancellation of the fireworks show, and we had made several phone calls to family and friends outside the park and determined that to try and drive home on the congested freeways would be sheer torture. We called back to the Anabella where we had checked out that morning and asked for the micechat rate again. They wouldn’t give it to us, but instead gave us an “evacuee” rate of $70/night for 2 queen beds, and they waived the parking fee. Good enough!

So after a long, smoky, incredibly fun day, we made our way back to the hotel and hit the sack. This time, both kids were out almost before their heads hit the pillows. And the good news is that this morning, the 5 and 14 freeways were completely open, so we zoomed home in about 90 minutes. We already have a trip planned for next month to see all the Christmas finery and hopefully ride the updated It’s A Small World. Can’t wait to see snow on Main Street!

Downtown Disney at night

The Mickey floral gets a little love from Tinkerbell

The sun on a smoky day. This was at about 3:00pm.

Smoky skies over the magic kingdom

These kids would turn into Legos if it were possible

My next project

I think next time I have occasion to make a cake, I might give this little project a try...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Internet is Cool

Yes, the world wide web has it's share of troubles, problems, and downright evil things, just like anything else. But there are a lot of great things about it, too.

Where else can you find a long lost best friend from back when you were 12?

Where else can you buy a cable for your ipod for a mere 10% of retail price?

And where else can you find a super cool interactive map of Disneyland like this?:

Nowhere, my friends. And that is why the internet is just so darn cool.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Thank You" seems so insufficient

Take a moment today to remember.

As trite as it sounds, THANK YOU to all of our military, past and present, for all the sacrifices you and your families have made for me and mine.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Countdown to Wall-E

It's easily one of my top two favorite movies of all time, so in anticipation of Wall-E coming out on Blu-Ray next week, you'll notice a change in my layout. :)

We've already got our copy on order from Amazon and will hopefully get it shortly after Tuesday. It should look awesome in high definition Blu-Ray. Anybody who wants to come watch it, let me know! We'll make a party out of it. :)

8 days to go...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Proud Family

Today we are celebrating with Colby as he was recognized at chapel for the character trait of "Genuineness- living the way my heart feels toward God."

Here's Colby with his incredibly sweet teacher:

And with some of his fellow honorees (who are all in Kindergarten also):

Thursday, November 6, 2008

From the heart of a child

First, a disclaimer: there have been no preceeding lectures, discipline, or complaining on the subject at hand by the Mama in the following story. Cross my heart.

Colby, being in an especially lovey mood tonight, was spreading the love to all of us tonight. After declaring Tyler the best brother he's ever had and promising never ever to forget him, he felt like he wanted to pray and thank God for all of us one more time. Shortly after that, he said to me, "Mama, thanks for all the food, for cooking it for us. It seems like you do all the hard work... and all I do is play."

I so cherish these moments where I can see the influences of Colby's earthly and Heavenly fathers meshing together to mold him into a godly man.

Heads up, ladies... he's going to be a keeper!

The decision has been made

Since I had asked for hairstyle input earlier last month, I figured I'd post an update. After several discussions with Brian, I felt confident he was being truthful when he told me he'd like me to get my hair cut any way I wanted. So last night was the big night!

Here's a photo of me last Saturday:

And here I am last night, conveneintly wearing the same shirt I wore on Saturday!

I know I look less than happy in that last picture, but trust me, I love it! I got tons of compliments at Colby's school this morning, which is always nice. :)

On the other hand, the kids were less than enthusiastic. Tyler said, "Your hair doesn't look like yourself," and Colby's reaction was, "It looks ugly, but I still love you." Good thing I have thick skin! ;)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The day after

Well, we have a new president-elect. I know a lot of people are upset, and probably rightfully so. I voted against him myself. However, today the verse that's been going through my mind is Ephesians 5:20:

"always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Yep, it says "for everything." So I found myself thanking God that President-elect Obama is our next president. As a lot of Christians have been trying to remind themselves today, nobody gets elected and God goes, "Ohhh.. shoot! That was today??! Should have been paying more attention." Our ways are not God's ways, nor are our thoughts His thoughts.

So how could I thank God that Obama won? Well, there are a couple of things I thought of.

1) The purpose of our lives on earth is to glorify God, right? Well it could be that the things that are about to happen in our country will cause people to fall on their knees and glorify God.

2) Maybe God is showing us just Who is in control here. We Christians sometimes think we know more than God. Maybe this is a wake-up call that there is a big picture at work, and that we don't know every part of it.

3) Maybe it's time for Christians in America to face some persecution. Doesn't the Bible tell us in Philippians 1:29, "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him"? I would hazard a guess that not many of us have been truly suffering for Christ lately. Many are very afraid of liberties that could be taken away under Obama, but we were never promised an easy life. In fact, quite the opposite. So instead of fearing persecution and suffering, I propose we try to be thankful for it since it identifies us with Christ.

4) And lastly, it might be to show us Who we need to rely on. I think we all say we rely on the Lord, but when the rubber hits the road, do we really? What if all of us start getting taxed like crazy and we have no money left to feed our families? What if the health care system becomes totally socialized and turns into an utter failure? What if we get attacked by terrorists again? If any or all of these things happened, would we still rely on the Lord? We may have a chance to find out. I don't think it would be a bad thing for our faith to be put through the fire. I pray we'd come out refined and more emptied of ourselves than ever.

These are just a few of the thoughts going through my head today, the day after. Yesterday I was all about standing up for the Lord and opposing evil. Today I'm faced with what I thought was the worst possible outcome, yet I'm asked by my Lord to be thankful for it. Praise God that this world is not our home.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My better half

Brian started a new blog; check him out at