this big!

Disneyland was so awesome. It wasn’t crowded, it wasn’t too hot. We got to do everything we wanted to do. Our tickets were free (thanks to a friend who works there who signed us in, SCORE!). Our packed lunch was delicious…I couldn’t have asked for a better day! It was just great! Toby and I didn’t even really squabble that much which was really really awesome since I thought Disneyland was pretty much everything Toby hates about everything and I was dreading his ongoing commentary. He was on his best behavior all day and so was Bug!

it's late!

We got a bit of a late start but it was fine! Because Disneyland wasn’t crowded! I don’t think I’ve ever been on a better day. If you’re thinking of visiting, I cannot recommend an odd Thursday AFTER spring break enough. Guess how long the wait was for Pirates of the Caribbean? Five minutes. Small World? Ten. That NEVER happens! At least not to me.

obligatory family portrait taken by random person

Obligatory family portrait taken by a total stranger. He didn’t even cut off our heads!


We met Ariel right off. Bug was enthralled.

sweet spot

Then we hit the teacups. This is my favorite photo of the whole day.


And I was there too! It’s kinda nice having Toby around to take photos of me. I get tired of taking the hand-held self-portraits sometimes.

let's do it!

We kinda sprung Matterhorn on Bug which was not really very smart. Prepping a kid for a roller coaster is tricky. You have to tell them how scary it is so they aren’t traumatized but you have to tell them in such a way that you don’t scare them into not going. Bug was pretty brave but Matterhorn was a little too dark and fast for her. Thankfully she seemed to get over it pretty quick and it didn’t scare her off roller coasters for good. Of course we praised her to high heaven for being so brave so maybe that helped.

blur twist

Toby had fun challenging himself with my camera. (Shot while twisting. He had the camera strap wrapped around his wrist about eight times, don’t worry.)


Next up was the underwater Finding Nemo submarine ride. This is my least favorite ride up there next to the Haunted Mansion and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Dark, claustrophobic and it takes forever to load and unload. I wasn’t terribly impressed with the new Nemo features but Bug seemed to like it. Except for the pretend crash and all the electricity sparking. I think she’s taken our “Don’t play with the electrical cords” sermons to heart.

I don't see Nemo

Meh. We promised we’d take her to Catalina and show her some real fish on a glass-bottomed boat.

Nemo land

It looks pretty from the top though.

put put

Autopia was a huge hit. I’d talked it up before we got there and Bug couldn’t wait to drive a car. She was pumped.


Unfortunately the steering wheel in our car was useless so she ended up letting Toby drive and just enjoying the scenery.


We wished we had bumpers like these cars (especially after my recent bank-parking-lot incident).


We waited 45 minutes to see the princesses. Normally I would think that was ridiculously stupid but then I had Bug and she reprogrammed my brain. We love princesses now and I am eating all my words one by one with salt. I’m so glad Aurora was there, Bug’s favorite princess. Bug was so shy. It was kinda like how I acted when I finally met Dooce in person.

Snow White Jasmine

By the time we got to Snow White and Jasmine she’d lost her timidity. She loved the princesses and I think they loved her right back. It was really sweet.


Then Toby bought her her own crown. I had stupidly stepped on her old pink plastic one a while back and she’s been mourning it for months now. As you know, Bug loves her crowns—sharp, hard, plastic crowns jammed right down on her ears. It was kind of nice that that was all she wanted. I was prepared to shell out major bucks for souvenir crap but she didn’t seem that into the merchandise. Good thing too ’cause it looked kinda cheap for the dollars they were asking.

Small World

Then we hit Small World. I thought for sure Toby would rather die than go on this ride since he suffers from earworms that will last up to a week. But he was a trouper and really enjoyed himself by taking photos in challenging lighting situations. Who knew Disneyland was such fun for photographers?! Also, my camera rocks. I’m so glad I bought it. (Thank you, again.)

it's a...

pink awe

Toby mocks
(Toby pretending to be in awe.)

tick tock

Tick tock, what an awesome clock.


I just thought these balloons were pretty. No other reason.

silly mask Tarzan's Treehouse

We didn’t do much in Adventureland/Frontierland. They were preparing for the premiere of the latest Pirates movie and a lot of stuff was blocked off. Bug wanted to go see the singing plastic flowers in the Tiki Room but I promised Bug we’d do that next time.


But we did ride Pirates of the Caribbean! Five-minute wait!!! Bug wasn’t scared at all. She’s braver than I was at five.


Then we passed by Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, my favorite ride of all time. I just figured she’d be too short for it but she wasn’t!!! Then I had to talk her into going. It took a lot of negotiating.

getting up the guts to go on Big Thunder

major negotiation

We pretty much just walked past it and gave up. She wasn’t into it and you know how stubborn Bug can be once she makes up her mind.

Toontown at sunset

We wasted some time at Toon Town, which she loved but we hated. And then right before the park closed, she changed her mind and we ended up going on Big Thunder at dusk!! I have no photos but that seriously made my day. And! She liked it. Best. Day. Ever.

even big kids can ride on it!


The rest was cake.

pretty lights

night settles

end of the day

Then we called it a day and took our tired selves home. I can’t wait to go back.

Nine years and still running strong…just like a Norge

holding up like a Norge

I’ve been lagging on posting my anniversary post for several days now. Mostly because I wanted that perfect photo to go with the post and since taking a portrait together didn’t work out, I had to think of something more creative. Leave it Toby to give me the inspiration for this shot.

It’s our fridge. Our Norge that I bought way back in 1996 with an old roommate. We bought it used. I’ve written about it before. It was an ugly mustard color but Toby and I painted it red. That was before we were married.

The other day, on our anniversary—the twenty-fifth to be exact, I commented to Toby that our refrigerator sure has held up a long time. We’ve had it for more than ten years and it’s only broken down once. He laughed and said something along the lines of how ancient it is, even older than our marriage. We got a good laugh out of that, thinking about how our marriage is still going strong after nine years just like a Norge.

I don’t know what it is about that name “Norge” that always cracks me up. It’s just so matter-of-fact and unapologetic. Like the name Marge or barge. It’s not glamourous at all but it’s good and sturdy like an old refrigerator built to last. Which is sort of like our marriage.


I can’t even believe it myself that we’ve lasted this long. It was rocky in the beginning. I expected a lot and was never happy. When I think back on it, I was a real pain in the neck. A whiney, bitchy, yucky person to be around. I complained all the time and was forever moping about how Toby didn’t hold up to my idea of what good husband should be. I never even thought about what would make a good wife. I was so immature. It’s a good thing I was a lot cuter back then than I am now because I don’t know why Toby would put up with me.

As time went on things got so much better. We talk about it a lot. We were so different back then, opposites really. It’s not that I’ve changed him (though I tried, believe me, I tried) or he’s changed me but we’ve both adapted to suit each other. I never saw it coming. It just happened.


I think having Baby Bug was the turning point for me. I know that is sad considering that we were married for seven years before she was born but it’s true. I was always looking for a way out before she came along. I always secretly thought I could do better on my own. But once we had a kid, I stopped looking at the cracks and started trying to fill them for her instead. I don’t want to bore you with the lovey dovey crap but changing my perspective like that was exactly what I needed to do to be happy.

famous rain pipe

Now I’m so thankful. Toby could have been a horrible guy. I was so blind when I chose him. (Do you see those shoes?!! And skinny jeans were not in style in 1999. But please ignore this parenthesis.) I went from having all my decisions made for me by my very close-knit family to wandering blindly by myself, having no clue what decision to make. It was a scary time back then. I think I stayed in the relationship so long because I didn’t know how to get out of it.

It would have been nice if I had a more active part in the decisions I made back then. I remember going to a counselor during the months before we were married and going through boxes and boxes of tissues as I cried rivers over whether or not I should get married. I really didn’t know what I was doing.

But now, in hind sight, I’m glad I was clueless. I might have turned Toby down if I had a clue. I might have passed him over because he didn’t have a solid career or a plan for the future. He didn’t have a savings account, he had years of debt. He wasn’t from the same religious background I was from. He came from a broken home… He was a bad choice on paper.

But maybe there was some part of me that recognized that he is a good guy because now it’s nine years later and he is a the best father and a wonderful husband. He has a good job and a solid grip on where our future is going. Every day I’m more and more thankful I did stay with him. I love him more and more every year that goes by.


I hope we last for ninety-nine more years.