Sugarwings went to school last week, looking pretty festive. When I picked her up, I took a photo of her in her rainbow pants and it (of course) made me think of Dorothy.
So, I gussied up the photo a bit with PicMonkey.
Here is the before. Weren't those bricks just calling out to be yellow and to be followed?
Dewdrop, AKA Arabella Cinderella, had a slew of farewell parties before hitting the road and heading back to North Carolina for some much desired momma time.
One of our goodbye parties was a trip to the Topeka Zoo.
And to the park next door where all the concrete animals to climb on had fresh coats of paint.
Over the years, that zoo has just gotten better and better. This time, we saw lots of improvements and remodelling that had occurred over the winter.
After going to that park for well, decades, I noticed for the first time that there was a children's theater in the parking lot. How did I miss that? I love to take the grand fairies to shows, but in Kansas City and Lawrence, they are often sold out and hard to get tickets. For this little playhouse, we called a day ahead and for ten bucks each, got to see a group of kids put on "Aristocats" and Sugarwings was thrilled with it.
The only bad thing about it was that Dewdrop had already left and we didn't get to take her with us. She'd have loved it too.
But I'll take her next time.
Before I went to the arty girls weekend on the island, I spent some time with Sugarwings and my handsome husband. She had school conferences a couple of days that week, so we snuck her out a couple more, and flew her off to Cali with us for a little Disney getaway.
Yes, I'm becoming a Disney freak. Mouse addict? Princess stalker? I don't know what you call it, but I caught a serious case of it. And while my husband the rest of the adults in the family are over the place, the girls and I are not. My husband does say he has one more trip in him to take Dewdrop, since she couldn't come this time. Then he is free and never has to go back with me.
But he does have moments there that he loves, like dancing Downton Disney with his grand fairy.
She and I don't get tired of any of it, and we try to soak up as much as we can. We decided that we would never leave the hotel without walking under the wizard's hat, even if going another way was quicker. You just have to walk under a wizard's hat if it is available, don't you?
The highlight of our girl's day at Disney (my husband went to visit friends and the beach, he didn't come to the park) was seeing Ariel.
We rode her ride too. We actually spent our extra "magic hour" before the park opened, trying to break our record of how many times we could go around and around on that. We hit five times in a row without having to get off, since there were no lines.
Sugarwings had her art journal with her and drew a frame on pages for the princesses to sign.
At the lunch in Ariel's Grotto, all the princesses stop to chat and while I didn't hear all of the conversations, a few were pretty involved, and the ladies were very nice about spending time with her. Many of them told me what a great kid she was, and had some laughs.
Sugarwings was very animated while telling Tiana that she admired her because she was a princess who took care of herself and worked hard. Their conversation turned to Rapunzel and Merida after that.
It was all pretty cute.
Sugarwings is about 9-1/2 now. And looks so grown up. I'm hoping this isn't our last visit to the grotto for lunch, I'll be sad if she is ever too cool to hang out with her grammie there. I know I don't outgrow it.
Neither of us got tired of hunting for Hidden Mickeys and we even found a few.
We certainly picked the right day to be there, a Monday in late February. We never even needed a fast pass, there were hardly any lines.
When there was a little wait, we had a system. I'd read a book on my phone, and she would listen to a book on Audible with headphones hooked to my phone. We were a pretty good team, and it was an ideal day. Great weather, no crowds, no rush, we did what we wanted, when we wanted to.
That is pretty much how the whole trip went, we stayed at Disney a couple days, then at the Hotel Del Coronado a few more. Our poor girl came down with a fever and we missed the San Diego Zoo, and even with that, we had a wonderful trip.
She and I had lazy mornings on the balcony watching the water, wrapped up in hotel robes and reading our books.
The Del gives each kid a backpack with scavenger hunt tools and hints, so we played that game for a while.
We explored the hotel, ate fancy dinners, and watched the Sandcastle Man with his masterpiece. Yes, quite a trip, and all building up to my artful girls getaway. I really felt lucky and blessed.
I'll leave you with a few more pictures of the week. And here is a favorite song from my youth, so dreamy and sweet. And about Disney, too.
For the last few years, every time I go to a beach, I leave behind fairies made from the shells I find while walking the shores there.
I've been told that Coronado Beach can be shell heaven or be totally bare. And I caught it on one so-so day then a few days of bareness. So I was lucky to have found enough to create this little sprite, my beach treasure hunt didn't yield many shells. Lots of sand dollars though. My husband was a champion sand dollar finder, he even found living ones that we couldn't pick up. They were everywhere he looked.
I never break or alter a shell for my fairies, so I was happy to have him find this 3/4 sand dollar that made a pretty skirt with the ruffled conch shell topper.
The shore was a bit rocky, lucky for me, one was just right for the fairy's head, because I couldn't find a shell that worked anywhere.
There might have been a lack of shells, but the sand itself more than made up for it. There were GOLD FLAKES OF GLITTER throughout on my first day there!!!!!!!!!!
Apparently, the waves are filled with Mica flakes that wash up on the shore. When the surf is light, they are big, fat, flakes of gold glitter. On rougher days, the mica is pulverised into a shimmer of stardust. Every day, the sand along the water is different, but it is always sparkling.
I was in love.
I just wish the sparkles had photographed better. The glitter (and that is what real glitter is made of, MICA flakes) was one of the most unexpected treats I've ever come across on a vacation.
Well, beaches each have their own personality and specialness, like the quartz crystal on Siesta Key that keeps cool to the touch no matter how hot the sun is. And the heart shaped pieces of coral that wash up on Kaanapali in Maui. Or the shark's teeth fossils all over Venice Beach.
Why oh why do I live in the smack dab, middle of the USA, as far from any beach as you can get?
Of course, I really can't complain. We have made it to the ocean quite a bit in the last few years for Kansans.
Which is why I make all these sea shell fairies to leave behind, I want to show my love of the shore, and my gratitude for the opportunity to be there.
I treasure each moment I get to be by the water. And thank my lucky stars that I had a chance to be there.
Every day should be considered a gift, but a day by the beach is a true treasure.
As I wrote this before I left on my trip to Florida, we had a major cold spell. Our pipes didn't freeze up over night, but only because I know the drill. When temps plunge into single digits, the curtain comes off the cabinet under the sink, to let the warmer air in the house circulate through there to the pipes.
Of course, every time that I forget to do that, we wake up to no water in the kitchen.
Honestly, I shouldn't be such a wimp about the cold, this has been a remarkably mild winter so far. And here I am flying off to the land of guncles and sunshine right when it is at its worst.
But I cannot get warm! And I feel like my skin is made of ancient tissue paper that is disintegrating. No matter how much cream I slather on, no matter how many pots of water I set to simmer on the wood stove to put moisture in the air, nothing helps.
And my poor toes. They can't remember what it feels like to be pink and warm.
Sugarwings has had the opposite of the complaints that I've had. She wants SNOW and LOTS OF IT. We had this little dusting of flakes and she was so happy, she couldn't wait to get out there with her dog and show her how to catch snowballs. (While dressed in a fashionable scarf)
If this is the only snow we get, I'll be pleased as punch, myself. Or maybe there will be enough snow to satisfy these two while I am away this week. That would be ideal. They get to chase snowflakes while I soak up some sunshine, and we are all happy.
I plan on returning from my time in the South with a much better attitude, once my toes have been reaquainted with sandals and sun. My plan is to soak up enough rays of light to get me through the rest of this dismal time of year. And to remind myself that for some odd reason, I do enjoy living in Kansas.
Boy, am I glad to be getting a break from it right now, though.
I know it is the New Year (already???!!) Well, at least I am trying to convince myself that, yes, Christmas is over, 2016 has arrived, and it is time to get back to normal.
Hmmm, if I could just figure out what normal is.
Anyway, our holidays were so full that I still haven't run out of photos from them. And I am still basking in that holiday glow. Soooo, I'm indulging myself with yet another blog post of girls being excited by the Christmas extravaganza.
Last year, we started a tradition of seeing a play at the local theater as part of our month long party in honor of the holiday. The play in 2014 was Mary Poppins, and was cute as a bug.
This year, we got to see The Little Mermaid. It was spectacular! Yet one more reason that we are lucky to live in such a cool town with so many interesting things going on.
I'll leave you with some pics from the day, and I just might sneak in a few more of happy girls enjoying Christmas too. Because those are my favorite pictures of all.
Unless we are at a beach... I do love beaches. That sounds especially good right now when the temps are dropping in the midwest and things get icy.
But for now, Under the Sea is close enough to the beach for me.
I hope your holiday was full of joy. We had some fun experiences, and plenty of laughs. With lots of hugs.
We started out our two day, holiday extravaganza with a nice, long walk in the woods on Christmas Eve.
It has been mild weather, ideal for a light jacket and some time in the trees.
Albie took that literally, and showed off his climbing abilities. That boy loves to climb trees.
Dewdrop likes to be a damsel in distress waiting to be saved from her perch in the branches.
And her Pop Pop is always happy to step in and help her down.
Katie's girls are as adventurous as Albie and showed off their circus skills by straying off the path and up the branches at every turn of the trail.
Of course, when you hang out with trapeze artists and circus performers on a regular basis, things usually get interesting.
We also had a big, family yoga session before our dinner Christmas Day.
Which soon led to a human pyramid.
Or three. (Although this one is only 2/3 human)
Notice that I am not in any of the piles? I was in charge of Santa Hats and photos. Somehow, I wasn't added to the stacks of people, I think my reputation for clumsiness is pretty well known.
Our Thursday was full of exciting deliveries, there were presents being left on the porch all day! One was a package of steaks which came with DRY ICE packed in it.
I was intrigued by the dry ice and used it to create a mini fog machine in this old, silver coffee pot, with the mist flowing from the spout and around the evergreen branches. (Adding rubbing alcohol to the block makes clouds of swirling fog rise from it)
We also tried making sushi on Christmas Eve.
Tried pretty hard.
Then my husband got us some take out.
It was a little like the Bumpas' hounds ruining Christmas dinner in A Christmas Story.
On Christmas morning, we had evidence of the Jolly Old Elf's visit, by the tracks of glitter left on the floor. And I have a feeling, I'll be seeing remnants of that holiday magic for the rest of the year.
The evening ended with Elf and Nightmare Before Christmas, after a big poker tournament where Ryan won 40 bucks from his cousins and was beaming with pride.
I'll leave you with a few more pictures of our celebration, and wishes for a happy holiday season to you too.
We took the grand fairies to see Santa again, this time at Lions Gate Country Club. Of course, the little ones were excited to see Mr.Claus, but I was really excited to see the fab brunch that was set out...
Beth came along with us, and we decided it was a good time to practice being hoity toity since we will be attending Deb Hodge's fancy event in Feb. We will be living the high life then, that event looks amazing!
So, a luxury style holiday buffet was just what we needed to get into practice of being pampered.
And we wanted to do some elfing around.
We arrived early so that Sugarwings could have a heart to heart with Santa, since her last visit with him was so intimidating.
All went well, and smiles prevailed.
Lion's Gate is part of the company my husband works for, but it is a 45 minute drive, so we only go there for special occasions. The food is always THE BEST and they have cute events for kids.
That is where Dewdrop first met her favorite princess, Snow White. It was at "Ghost and Giggles". One of the co-workers dressed as Snow, and Dewdrop fell head over heels for her. She is always happy to see her when we visit the club. She even took her an apple this summer when we went there to use the swimming pool on a day out.
Hmm, if you think about it, that might seem traumatic for Snow White, to be handed an apple. Isn't that a scary memory for her?
On this visit, she gave her a shy hug, then watched her from afar. Then, she told her Pop Pop that she was so happy to see her friend again, and asked him if he knew that Snow White had a job there.
I could save a fortune on vacations, if I just went to visit this Snow White over and over, to Dewdrop, it is as exciting to see her there as it is at Disney.
It doesn't matter where you go, as long as you bring your imaginations. Fun is waiting for you anywhere if you just look for it.
We love to go see Santa. When Sugarwing's Mommy sent me a message saying that the hospital she works at was hosting a party with Mr. Claus attending, I answered back, "We are on our way!"
Surprisingly, Sugarwings was feeling a bit shy with the Jolly Old Elf this year. There was some indecision about what she should "order" (as Dewdrop calls giving Santa her wish list). It reminded me of the scene in a Christmas Story where Ralphie freezes up:
[Ralphie is visiting Santa at the department store, only he can't remember what he wanted]
Santa Claus: How about a nice football?
Ralphie as Adult: [narrating] Football? Football? What's a football? With unconscious will my voice squeaked out 'football'.
Santa Claus: Okay, get him out of here.
Ralphie as Adult: [narrating] A football? Oh no, what was I doing? Wake up, Stupid! Wake up!
Ralphie: [Ralphie is shoved down the slide, but he stops himself and climbs back up] No! No! I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!
Santa Claus: You'll shoot your eye out, kid.
Santa suggested Barbies and both girls agreed, even though neither really plays much with those dolls.
That big red suit can really throw a kid for a loop sometimes, huh? For them, it is a Big Deal, and I wonder just how many other kiddos freak out and get their tongues tied over this major event of the year.
After a tour of the cardiac unit where her Mommy was busy saving people, she found her courage and we went back to see Santa again,(he was MUCH nicer than the guy Ralphie visited) so she could tell him how much she really wanted some Shopkins. He was glad to see her back again, and very gracious to change her "order" for her.
Here are some pictures of what is new in the Etsy shop- in case you are still making your list!