Family

Autumn has arrived! 

It finally feels like fall outside! I stepped outside expecting the same muggy, southern heat we’ve had for-freaking-ever, and lo! It was under 65, breezy, and sweater worthy.  

After naptime I bundled up the baby, stuck the toddler in long sleeves and we headed outside for fun.

Little Bear takes selfies very seriously.

We played with chalk and swept the driveway, since Little Bear loves to use the brooms.  

He decided this broom was better for Mommy, since its heavy, so he just colored it with chalk for me instead.

Pip tried out the new hat I knit for him.  I think I’ll have to quickly make another one, since it’s just the right size, and he’s growing like a weed!  No complaints there, though- I’m primarily a crocheter, not a knitter, and my skills need work. This hat is a simple enough project for my weak knitting skills to handle during long nursing sessions! 

Thoughtful baby is not sure what to think about cool weather.

We were outside for two. hours.  

Guys. The baby isn’t even a month old. I’ve never even been able to successfully keep the toddler outside for that long before on his own, let alone with having to take care of another tiny human. And we also put away chalk, brooms, and toys then went inside with no tears! Another success! 

I hope y’all are enjoying autumn! What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy the season? 

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Music, Uncategorized

Tuesday Tunes 

What have I been listening to this week? Amid the repeated requests for the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Theme, the Hot Dog Dance, and Paw Patrol, I have managed to get some “Mommy Music” in as well, a la Beauty and the Beast! 

I’ve been digging the soundtrack from the new live-action movie, especially Evermore (confession: I listen to this song repeatedly.  Both the Dan Stevens version and the Josh Groban cover; both are fantastic and wonderfully emotional without being copy-cats of each other). 

If you’re like me and on a too-tight-to-buy-music-budget, good news: YouTube has a playlist of the full soundtrack! You can listen by clickingthe link here.

My faves: 

  • The three prologue tracks 
  • Gaston
  • Days in the Sun
  • Evermore 

Enjoy! 

What are you listening to this week? Do you have a fave on this album I didn’t mention? Leave a comment and tell me about it! 

Disney Cruise, Disney Fantasy, Movies

Dead Men Tell No Tales: My Review of the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean Film 

Yesterday I had the pleasure of re-living my teenage years as I enjoyed the latest Pirates installment.  I went in super excited because they were finally bringing back Will and Elizabeth! My two favorite characters, and the cinematic couple that set the bar high for all subsequent film kisses and couple chemistry.

Pirates, Ye Be Warned: There be spoilers ahead!  I’ll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum, and put them further down this post after a quick review of the plot:

There are several intertwined plots to PotC 5, the most important of which is Will and Elizabeth’s son, Henry Turner, has dedicated his life to finding a way to release his father from his curse so that Will can come on dry land whenever he wishes and not be covered in barnacles, a look that only Orlando Bloom can pull off successfully.  Henry gets in trouble with the law for saving a bunch of uppity naval officer’s lives, runs into a pretty girl who is looking for the same magical artifact he is to break the curse, and together they wind up helping Jack Sparrow escape dead men and Barbossa find the greatest treasure of his life.

Overall, I give the movie a 5/10.  Fun, piratey, a good flashback to my growing-up years, and Barbossa’s character is fleshed out so well that he is now one of my favorite characters in the series, as far as character development goes. Definitely go see it if you’re a PotC superfan.

Okay, leave NOW if you want no spoilers.  If you don’t mind them, read on!

I went into this movie with fairly low expectations, figuring it would be fun, and probably just as bad or worse than the last three movies were.  Because I watched the first one just a few weeks ago, and I saw how good this franchise started out.   Back when Jack wasn’t a drunk idiot, though he enjoyed his rum; he was always clever, lucky, and played the fool often in order to achieve his goals through trickery.  (See the clip below for a refresher.)

The second and third movie weren’t quite as good, but Jack had already begun to devolve into a caricature of himself, with extra waving arms, bulging eyes, and talking gibberish.  Alas, that is all he is in the latest film.  In fact, other than the main “bad guy” having a vendetta against Jack that motivates him to become the villain, the film would happen almost the same way whether or not Jack was in it.   Jack spent most of the film drunk, stupid, and being completely useless to the characters around him.  In fact, I’d say his main contribution was playing matchmaker between the two new young characters.

I kept waiting for there to be a major turning point for Jack, waiting for his “Aha!” moment.  Perhaps when he realized who Henry was, he would get excited about saving Will from his curse, since it’s Jack’s fault for causing the curse that ultimately spared Will’s life (one of Jack’s better moments of character, I think).

Nope.

Jack spends the movie caring about saving himself from the ghostly Captain Salazar (excellently played by Javier Bardem, who delivered one of four main character performances I actually bought as genuine).  I will give the writers credit for showing Jack’s origin story, and reflecting back on his days as a clever sailor, but once that flashback is done, we are left seeing a Jack that’s merely a shadow of his genius character from 2003.

It was a joy to see Will Turner come back, and I was reminded how much I love Orlando Bloom as an actor.  His performance is so heartfelt and genuine that you can’t help but spend the entire movie rooting for him to be released from his curse, even though he’s got under five minutes of screen time.  At least it’s better than what we got of Kiera Knightly’s return as Elizabeth – she wasn’t even allowed to speak one word during her (maybe) one minute of screen time.

The newcomers of the film, Henry and Carina, are fine.  They acted the part that was written for them, and despite the “I’m a scientist and a woman, hear me roar” jargon that Carina was forced to spew every five minutes, the two of them were a decent addition to the cast.  I think they would have been better left as being best buddies after this movie, as there is zero chemistry between the two as a romantic couple, but hey, I guess it’s a pirate story.  The hero needs to get the girl, yada yada.  And it works well enough.

My favorite part of the movie is actually Barbossa’s storyline.  From the beginning of The Curse of the Black Pearl, we know that Barbossa is your standard pirate, obsessed with treasure, having his own fleet, and holding enough power on the sea to stay out of trouble with the Navy (or buying them off).  He’s faced curses, switched sides as it was most convenient for him, and even though he’s often been the bad/indifferent guy, he’s always the character you can’t help but like.  Even in the first movie when he’s the only true villain, you can’t help but feel bad for Barbossa.  He really just wants to eat his apple, not turn into a skeleton, and keep his ship.  His methods are definitely not morally acceptable, but the guy has obviously been through a lot and he still manages to keep a gentlemanly demeanor and attitude towards the people around him, especially Elizabeth.

PLEASE DON’T READ THE NEXT PART UNLESS YOU WANT THE ENDING SPOILER OF THE FILM.  

LAST WARNING.  

DON’T COMPLAIN IF YOU KEEP READING AND FIND OUT SOMETHING YOU DIDN’T WANT SPOILED.

Spoiler alert:

Through the course of the movie Carina’s motivation is following the map her unknown father left for her.  We find out before she does that Barbossa is her father, and that her mother died when Carina was only a baby.  Barbossa knew he wasn’t a good guy and couldn’t provide a decent life for his child, so he left Carina at an orphanage with her book map and a jewel to pay for things in the future.

Up until this point in the movie, we see Barbossa living the dream life of a pirate: he’s got his own fleet, a gilded command ship with gorgeous stained glass and his own personal chamber ensemble, loyal crews, sway over the Royal Navy, his own magician/witch,  and the loyal Monkey Jack by his side.  He’s not one to give up his hat; if there’s a chance to wear a fancy coat, fluffy hat, and gilded peg-leg, he will do it.
I did the math, and we can reasonably assume that he had to leave Carina a short time after the events of Curse of the Black Pearl, after being revived by Tia Dalma.  This would explain his need to always accumulate, whether it be treasure, ships, or fame: Barbossa was filling the void left by his daughter with pirate treasure.  In the end, he not only sheds all of his showy clothes and plumed hat so that he can save his daughter from peril, he also calmly sacrifices his own life to save hers.

Of all the things this movie did, Barbossa was one of the few it got right.  His character arc is so wonderfully constant through the series and now given a reason for being the treasure-obsessed pirate he is, and perfectly completed by not only shedding all of his beautiful earthly belongings in order to save his daughter from peril, but his total sacrifice for his child.
(Let me tell you, this mama bear had a hard time keeping it together in the theater at that moment.  I had a severe case of the sniffles.)

Dead Men Tell No Tales is worth a watch if you’re a die-hard Pirates fan, for Barbossa’s storyline alone.  Will and Elizabeth’s (too-short) comeback is also worth a watch.   Just make sure you stay until the end of the credits for an endearing scene… with just a hint of foreshadowing.  (Because why would you let a franchise die after only fourteen years?)

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What would a PotC post be without a shot of myself and the Smuggler meeting Captain Sparrow on the Disney Fantasy?

 

 

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Family

Lion Guard Themed 1st Birthday Party

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Lion Guard pin he got at Animal Kingdom!

Last October, our little love nugget turned a year old, and we were ready to party.  Of course, the tricky part of a baby party is how on earth do you make it fun for both the baby AND the adults invited?

Our answer: Theme it with the baby’s favorite Disney Jr. show, and gear the games towards the adults!

My parents agreed to host, but everything else, from set up to clean up, was up to me and my husband. Of course I started by pinning all the Lion Guard and first -birthday party ideas I liked on Pinterest.  

I worked with a really good print shop on Etsy  to get the invitations.  I told them what I wanted the design to say, and they did the arranging part.  Then I printed out a bunch on cardstock at the local office supply store.  Voila!  Cheap invitations.

A family friend is a fantastic cake baker and decorator.  She even made it gluten-free, so I could eat cake, too!

She sculpted a Kion for the top, and a ton of flowers, foliage, and grubs galore!

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I bought the action figures at Toys R Us.  IMG_9536

I made a simple photo backdrop by hanging different colored streamers and taping up balloons, all from Party City!

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With his Granny and Grandda.
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With his (Great-) Gramma & Grampa.
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With his Donk (Downton Abbey fans…you understand.)

The first party game was “Name The Baby.”  I asked all the guests to bring a baby picture of themselves, hung them up with numbered clothespins, and had them write down who they thought each baby might be.  It was a good “get to know you” kind of game for those who didn’t know each other well, and I tossed some Disney babies in there for bonus points.

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I gave out the little notebooks and pens as party favors, along with a Lion Guard plastic cup.

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Cups and pens make good drums when the grown-ups are busy playing games!  (Mickey Mouse safari romper was on clearance at the Disney Store – shopping win!)

We also played a 10 question trivia game about Baby Flynn’s first year, mostly multiple-choice.  Things like “What was his first finger food?” (A sweet-potato fry!)
I bought a cute little chalkboard from Target that was the winner’s prize.

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Of course, I couldn’t resist buying him Kion.
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I know it’s blurry, but I love this pic!
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Family photo.  I have no idea what I was laughing at.  Probably something my husband said.

I made the cake repellent wall protector high-chair backdrop from a plastic tablecloth.  The banner was from several packs of colored burlap banners, and I hand-lettered them with paint pens.  Mini clothes pins and twine came helped finish it all off, and all taped up with painter’s tape, strategically hidden behind the balloons.

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YAY!
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I can’t believe they bibbed me…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Man even got a smash cake covered in “grubs”…

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Though he was given a more appropriately sized piece to cut down on crumbles.

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So yummy.

Meanwhile, the grown-ups dug into the big cake.

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Someone decided to trust me with cutting the cake.

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A double-disaster because a) I love blades, and b) I cut cake pieces WAY too big.
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He definitely enjoyed his cake.
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Cutest OM-NOM-NOM.

Something that isn’t pictured is the giant letter “B” initial I bought for guests to sign with a little birthday message.  I used scrapbooking pens, laid them and the white letter out on the table, and guests could just sign whenever they got a moment.  It turned out well, though I recommend either using sharpie or paint pens if you do this. The scrapbooking pens were colorful, but took a LONG time to dry and smudged a little.  But it still turned out cool, and is part of my son’s bedroom decor!

I also bought a Lion Guard table cloth for the food table, to keep the theme going.  We had simple food: a veggie tray, a fruit tray, some chips & dip, and the cake.  (I mean, it’s really all about the cake, right? Right.)

I hope you enjoyed the look into his party (only 7 months later… Better late than never)!  What are some of your favorite party themes for littles?

Uncategorized

Guess who’s coming?

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That’s right, baby #2 is on the way!
Current working name: Peanut. (We like to find out and reveal the gender, but hold off on revealing the name until the birth certificate is signed.)

Little Bear seems to know something big is going on.  He occasionally points at my tummy, and seems to be getting extra snuggly.  Maybe he’s figured out his days of fitting on my lap are numbered…

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Good thing this kid likes babies!

Oh yeah…

…it’s a BOY!

We are all super excited and can’t wait to meet our new little dude!