Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Music City Bound

Eliot and I have been so busy the past few weeks that I haven't let you all in on another adventure that we're about to embark on.  We're kicking off June by visiting Nashville, Tennessee for the first time ever!  His youngest sister, Elissa, has a summer internship at the Nashville Zoo and we volunteered to help her move down there.

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Eliot and I are both pretty excited to explore this new city.  He's a huge country music fan and he's always wanted to go there someday.  This was the perfect opportunity so we took it!  We have a few things we want to do while down there... and I'm sure I'll be adding to the list before we fly down this Friday night!  Unfortunately, Eliot won't get to stay for too long, but he'll there long enough to get Elissa moved into her apartment before returning to Maine next Tuesday night.

I will then be down there with Elissa until the following Tuesday!  She and I have plans to explore the city and go to a country concert.  I'm going to play Momma Bear and make sure she knows where all the really important stuff is: hospital, local police station, walk-in clinic, grocery store, pharmacy, etc.  She and I will also be taking her bus route to the zoo so she'll know how much time she should allow for it each morning.  Then, after her first day of work is over, she and I will go out to dinner to celebrate before I have to leave for Maine the next day.

I'm so excited to explore a new city and to see what Nashville has to offer!  Not a bad way to kick off our summer, huh?  I'll be sure to post an update once I return!  °o°

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Aladdin Movie Review

Well, it's been another crazy week here.  Things have definitely calmed down since our San Jose Sharks got knocked out of the hockey playoffs a week ago.  (Although, I would have gladly kept up the late night game watching routine if it would have led to them winning the Stanley Cup.)  Instead, Eliot and I have spent our evenings working hard on mouse ear orders and cleaning the house.

We did get to take a bit of a break this past weekend.  Eliot, myself and my brother Jeremy all went to my parents' house over the holiday weekend to help them with a few projects- mostly with helping to clean out my Nana's camp down east, but also to move a few heavy things around their house.  It was a whirlwind, but we enjoyed visiting with them- especially since we all haven't been together since Christmas.

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The best part was that the three of us kids had decided we were going to go see the live action Aladdin together.  We weren't sure if it would be Friday night before going up to our parents' house or on Monday afternoon while on our way back home.  After both Eliot and Jeremy got to our house pretty late Friday, it was decided that we'd go see it at one of the theaters on our ride home Monday.

Aladdin was my absolute favorite Disney film growing up.  I loved the original animated movie and everything about it.  To this day, I still quote it randomly.  When I watch it, I'm pretty sure I recite it line for line even when I'm not trying to.  As a child, Jasmine was my favorite princess.  My favorite song was "A Whole New World" and I was also obsessed with tigers- probably because of Rajah.

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In fact, it left a pretty big impression on our extended family as well.  When we started doing skits with my cousins, we always went back to Aladdin.  I remember three different times we performed our rendition of it.  I was always Jasmine and my cousin Kaitlin was Rajah.  Jeremy was the Genie.  Then, Matthew and Lucas took turns being Aladdin, Jafar and the palace guards.  Aladdin was a big part of my childhood.

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I was so excited when I found out Disney was making a live action version.  I know everyone had an opinion about it... and not all of them were good.  I think everyone was most worried about how the Genie would be portrayed.  There will never be another Robin Williams, so would Will Smith be able to do the part justice?

After seeing the movie yesterday, I think the answer is yes.  Will Smith did a great job with making the Genie come to life.  There were still some jokes from the original movie, but he was able to put his own twist on it.  Genie was still the same character, but with a different flair.  I also like how he had a bigger role in this film.

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The storyline was pretty similar to the original.  I feel like the parts that were changed or added only added to the storyline.  (I love this fierce and intellectual version of Princess Jasmine!)  I also felt like this film was more accurate with the details of a Middle Eastern country.  The sets, dancing, music and costumes were more detailed than they were able to do in the animated version.

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I absolutely loved all of the bright colors.  I don't think I realized how drab the original film looked (compared to this) until I saw all of the beautiful colors in this one.  The costumes, sets, flower petals... they all really made the film come to life.

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The costumes were spectacular... and I know I say this all the time.  But, as a designer, I really appreciate all of the hard work that goes into the costumes and the sets.  This movie did not disappoint.  I loved all of Jasmine's outfits and the textures and detailing on them.  I hope they'll put them on display somewhere like they did with the live action Beauty and the Beast costumes.  I'd love to see them in person!

Finally, the part that really brought the film to life were the songs.  These songs from Aladdin were my childhood.  I've been anxiously waiting for the soundtrack, but I didn't want to listen to it until after I'd seen the movie.  Now that I've seen it, I've been looking for it in the stores.  It was fun to see the little changes they made, but they worked with the film.  Then, there was the "A Whole New World" scene... it was perfection.

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However, the best part was that I got to go see the movie with my entire family.  When we told my parents we were going to see it in Bangor, Dad suggested that he, Mom and Nana join us.  They drove up separately, so after the movie we could all depart in our own directions.  We didn't get to sit all together- Mom and Nana were in the wheelchair row and then Jeremy, Dad, Eliot and I were seated two rows above them- but I was really glad that they got to experience it with us.  I even had to chuckle.  I was seated on the end (Eliot was between Dad and me) but I could still hear Dad humming along to "A Whole New World".  Clearly, Aladdin has left an impression on them too.

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All in all, it was a great film and a true love letter to the animated version.  I absolutely loved it and can't wait to go see it again!  I'm really hoping the local drive-in theater does a double feature with it and Toy Story 4 later this summer- I'd be there at least once that week... maybe more.  If you go to see it, please give it a chance and keep an open mind!  I'm sure you'll end up loving it too!  °o°

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Always Bleed Teal

I had a feeling when I was working on yesterday's post that I might be writing this one sooner than I'd hoped.  As of last night, the campaign of the 2018-2019 San Jose Sharks ended with a loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.  It was one heck of a season filled with so many wonderful memories.  Today, I'm left feeling sad and empty now that this amazing adventure is suddenly over.  But, what an incredible season it was.  I already can't wait for next year.

I know most of you probably don't follow along with hockey- and I'm sure you're all wondering why the heck I'm writing about this on my blog.  Simply put, I have to.  This is my little piece of the internet, and it's a place for me to share my thoughts.  Lately, they've been consumed with our boys in teal.  Eliot and I have sat down every other night for the past month and half to watch their playoff games.  (That's twenty 3+ hour games since April 10th.)  It's not only been a time commitment, but it's been an emotional one too.  After everything the team has been through this season, and after all of the wonderful memories I have, I would hate myself if I didn't write this post.

First and foremost, thank you to the San Jose Sharks for a great season!  It's been filled with a lot of ups and downs, but I was proud to be part of it all.  This season is by far the most committed I've ever been to any sports team, other than the ones I've been on myself (even then, this might surpass that).  From the 10:30 pm start times as an East Coast fan, to following the boys on the road, to screaming my head off at the Shark Tank, it's been one heck of a ride.  I couldn't possibly recount my memories of the entire adventure; we'd be here for the next week.  Instead, I've decided to post my favorite memories from this season here.  (Besides, many will probably find their way into other posts eventually.)  So, here we go on our walk down memory lane...

2018-2019 NHL Pre-Season

September 13, 2018- My new San Jose Sharks Disney gear from JCPenney arrives and we bought our tickets to the Devils game for my birthday!  The Sharks trade for Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson, suddenly have two Norris Trophy winners (Brent Burns) and are dubbed to have the best offensive defense in the entire league.

September 18, 2018- The Sharks have their first pre-season game and Eliot and I are actually able to watch it through a link I found online.

October 2, 2018- Booked our flights to Florida and California for our January trip.

2018-2019 NHL Regular Season

October 3, 2018- Hockey is finally back and regular season finally begins!!!

October 5, 2018- Sharks win their first game of the season in LA vs the Kings.

October 9, 2018- Sharks win 8-2 against Philadelphia in their home opener and make their new mascot Gritty eat his words about us being guppies.

October 14, 2018- My birthday present from Mom and Dad was to go see the Sharks vs New Jersey Devils game.  During warm-ups, my favorite player (our captain- Joe Pavelski) made eye contact with me and tossed a puck over the glass.  The kid behind me caught it, but I was still pretty pumped.  We lost the game 3-2, but Pavelski scored the first goal of the game, which was also his 700th NHL point.  That was all I really wanted and screaming "700!" as loud as Eliot and I could as he celebrated with the team while we were 6 rows behind the Sharks bench was something I'll never forget.

October 18, 2018- Our 3rd jersey (stealth mode) made it's debut and we won 5-1.

October 21, 2018- Happily Ever Hatter's San Jose Sharks mouse ears are posted in the Sharks Facebook group that Eliot and I follow.

October 23, 2018- The Sharks comeback against Nashville to win 5-4.

October 30, 2018- Tomas Hertl scores a goal with only 1.3 seconds left in the game!

November 3, 2018- Sharks host Star Wars Night at the Shark Tank.  They win the game when Timo Meier scores 13 seconds into overtime.

November 11, 2018- Eliot hands me the phone to watch the end of the game when we stop at a rest stop while driving home from my friend Nicole's wedding.  Pavelski scores and we win the game a few seconds later.

December 16, 2018- Sharks win 7-3 and all but 5 players on the team got a point!

December 25, 2018- Eliot and I wear our new San Jose Sharks Mickey Mouse holiday shirts that I bought us for our annual Christmas photo!

January 2, 2019- We went to see the Sharks vs Colorado Avalanche game with Eliot's family while visiting Sara in Colorado for New Years.  It was the first game all six of us had been to together since the Stanley Cup Finals 2016.  The Sharks won 5-4.

January 10, 2019- The San Jose Sharks have their 1,000th franchise win against the Vegas Golden Knights in a hard fought, emotional game.

January 12, 2019- The Sharks have a celebration for Brent Burns 1,000th NHL game.

January 19, 2019- Eliot, Rick and I attend the Sharks vs Tampa Bay Lightning game in Tampa.  Eliot had a puck tossed to him by Pavelski and promptly gave it to me.  We lost the game but I was so happy to get that puck.

January 21, 2019- Eliot, Rick and I attend the Sharks vs Florida Panthers game down in Miami.  We also lost this game but we had a good time.

January 22, 2019- Eliot and I watched as the Sharks won in overtime against the 2018 Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals while on one of the Friendship boats from Hollywood Studios to Epcot.

January 25, 2019- Eliot, Elissa, Rick and I attend the NHL All-Star Skills Competition in San Jose at the Shark Tank.

January 26, 2019- Eliot, Elissa, Rick, Nori and I attend the NHL Fan Fest.  We take pictures with the giant Shark head the guys skate through and try to see everything.

January 26, 2019- After Fan Fest, we all attend the 2019 NHL All-Star Game.

January 27, 2019- Eliot, Rick and I go back to the NHL Fan Fest.  Eliot and I watch the NHL Mascot Relay Races.  Then, we get our picture taken with the Stanley Cup.

February 11, 2019- The Sharks are first in the Pacific Division and the west.  Pavelski also scored his 30th goal of the season.

February 24, 2019- We missed the Sharks vs Detroit Red Wings game because we were at Walt Disney World with Eliot's family for Princess Weekend... so of course Pavelski got his 5th career hat trick with goals 31, 32, and 33 of the season.

March 12, 2019- Pavelski scores the game winning goal with only 4 seconds left in the third period in a 5-4 win against the Winnipeg Jets.

March 28, 2019- Eliot, Rick and I went to the Sharks vs Chicago Blackhawks game in San Jose.  It was my first ever regular season game at the Shark Tank.

March 29, 2019- Eliot and I went to our first Sharks practice at their ice facility.  Then, we got pictures afterwards with Brent Burns, Tomas Hertl and Joonas Donskoi and saw most of the team.  Eliot also had Burns autograph his jersey.

March 29, 2019- Rick took Eliot and I to our first San Jose Barracuda game.

March 30, 2019- I met and got a picture with Joe Pavelski.  He also signed my jersey and a postcard of him Rick had given me.  Eliot also got Joe Thornton's autograph.

March 30, 2019- We went to the Sharks vs Vegas Golden Knights game and the Sharks won 4-3 when Brent Burns scored in overtime.  The Shark Tank was electric (and I screamed and jumped up and down like crazy) since it was a big game as we were most likely playing Vegas in the first round of the playoffs.

March 31, 2019- We went to the Sharks vs Calgary Flames game.  It was 'Hockey is for Everyone' night at the Tank and a lot of the players had rainbow tape on their sticks for warm ups.  I bought a rainbow Sharks shirt and we both bought rainbow pucks.

April 6, 2019- The Sharks win their final game of the regular season in a 5-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche at home in the Shark Tank.

Too Many Games to Keep Track of- Joe Thornton passes hockey legends in total number of NHL games played as well as total number of assists.

2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

April 10, 2019- The Sharks win Game 1 vs Vegas Golden Knights 5-2.  Joe Pavelski scores the first goal of the game (and the series) with a Brent Burns shot that deflected into the net off of his chin.  He loses a bunch of his bottom teeth and his lip is a bloody mess, but he returns to the game with a mouth shield on and continues to play.

April 18, 2019- The Sharks face the first elimination game against the Vegas Golden Knights who were 3-1 in the series and the Sharks win the game at home 5-2.  In a post game interview, Tomas Hertl tells the Shark Tank that they'll be back for Game 7 "because we're the better team" and the Tank goes wild.

April 21, 2019- The Sharks face their second elimination game against the Golden Knights and win the game in Vegas 2-1 when Tomas Hertl delivers on his Game 7 promise by scoring a shorthanded goal in second overtime.  They played for over 90 minutes including both OTs.  Sharks goalie Martin Jones stopped a record 58 shots.

April 23, 2019- The Sharks face the Las Vegas Golden Knights in Game 7 of the first round.  They are down 3-0 in the game with only 10:47 left in the third period when Joe Pavelski takes a crosscheck off of the faceoff.  He hits his head and is knocked out and bleeding on the ice.  Joe Thornton, Evander Kane, Brent Burns and a trainer help him off the ice.  He's clearly out of sorts, and you can see the concern on the Sharks bench for their captain.  Vegas gets a game misconduct and the Sharks get a 5 minute power play.  Thornton tells the team to go score three goals during the power play.  A few seconds later, Logan Couture scores a goal, turns around and very clearly yells to the bench, "that's one".  Thornton asked for three goals, and he got four.  In a four minute span, Tomas Hertl and Kevin Labanc also scored, along with another one from Logan. Vegas scored another goal to tie the game 4-4 with only a few seconds remaining in regulation.  Then, after what felt like a million years, Barclay Goodrow scored on a breakaway in overtime to send the Sharks to the second round.  The comeback is dubbed the Pavelski Payback as the team rallied a win for their captain.

April 26, 2019- The Sharks face the Colorado Avalanche in Game 1 of the second round.  The Sharks win the first game at home 5-2 and #BeatTheAvsForPavs is born as Pavelski will be out for an unknown amount of time with his head injury.

May 4, 2019- The Sharks host Game 5 of the 2-2 tied series and get a boost in the third period when Captain Joe Pavelski comes out of the tunnel waving a rally towel and smiling ear to ear.  The Shark Tank erupts with cheers as loud as when we won against Vegas.  It's the first time Pavelski has been seen in public since his injury and all of Sharks Territory is relieved to see him looking well.  Tomas Hertl scored twice to lead the Sharks to win 2-1.

May 8, 2019- The Sharks face the Avalanche in Game 7 of the second round in yet another controversial elimination game.  Joe Pavelski returns in his first game since his injury and the Tank erupts when he is announced as a starter.  He scores a goal on a deflection shot by Brent Burns 5:57 seconds into the game.  Tomas Hertl and Joonas Donskoi also score and the Sharks win 3-2 to advance to the Western Finals.

May 11, 2019- Eliot, Elissa, Rick and I attend the Sharks vs St. Louis Blues Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.  The Sharks win 6-3 and I have an absolutely fantastic time.  (Read more here.)

May 15, 2019- The Sharks win Game 3 against the St. Louis Blues 5-4 when Erik Karlsson scores a goal in overtime after an apparent hand pass by Timo Meier.  The entire hockey world sits with bated breath while waiting to see if the referees would overturn the call, but they don't and the Sharks have won.  And in that moment, we lead the series 2-1... but little did we know that call was the moment that sparked the Blues enough to lead to the Sharks' eventual demise.

May 19, 2019- The Sharks have a rough game vs. the St. Louis Blues and lose 5-0 in what would be their final home game of the season.  I'm left devastated at the amount of empty seats in the Shark Tank as the final seconds of the game ticked away.  More troubling is how empty the Sharks bench is as both Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl took hits that injured them, and Erik Karlsson appeared to re-injure his groin.  The series is now 3-2 and St. Louis only needs one more win to advance to the finals.

May 21, 2019- The Sharks can't overcome the injuries and missing players and fall to the St. Louis Blues to end their season.  Both Tomas Hertl and Erik Karlsson didn't make the trip to St. Louis.  Joe Pavelski made the trip, but he was a "game-time decision" and ended up not taking the warm up.  The Sharks all fought hard until the bitter end, but ended up losing the game 5-1 before lining up for handshakes.  After all of the ups and downs of these playoffs, Sharks Territory is devastated, but most fans are so proud of this team and all of their accomplishments.

There you have it.  It was a whirlwind of a season but it was worth every second.  I am fiercely proud of this team, proud to be a Sharks fan and so proud of everything they accomplished this season.  I really did believe this was our year to finally win the cup.  Everything seemed to be lining up.  After the determination I saw in the guys during Game 7 against Vegas, I had no doubts they could do anything.  Game after game, they seemed destined for greatness.  If I'm being honest, if we hadn't gotten as injured as we were in these last few games, I still truly believe they could have.

But, this wasn't our year.  Many fans will complain that this was another let down, but as a newer Sharks fan, I think this was incredible.  I haven't had 28 seasons of disappointment, and if these other fans think they have, then they're a bit jaded.  The Sharks have made the playoffs 22 times of their 28 seconds.  Many teams have not been that successful.  Sure, we haven't won it all yet, but neither have 6 of the other NHL teams- and most of them have waited longer than we have.

Don't get me wrong, this is still disappointing.  From the beginning of the year we were among the favorites to win the Stanley Cup.  However, how can you be that upset when we were one of the last 3 teams (of 31 teams total) standing?  Plus, no matter how upset the fans are, I can't help but think of how disappointed the guys in the locker room are.  They really wanted this, that was clear.  

I can't handle the suspense waiting to find out who will be on the team when they return this fall.  That's the worst part.  I feel so helpless wondering how many of our guys will be back.  I'm so relieved that most of them are locked into contracts... but then there's those who aren't.  Who knows if Joe Thornton (who turns 40 this summer) will be back again.  Joe Pavelski turns 35 this summer, and his contract is also up.  We also have no idea what Erik Karlsson will decide to do.  We still need to lock in Timo Meier... and the list goes on.  I can't even think about it... it literally makes me sick to think about losing some of these guys.

So, another season has officially ended.  The team will clean out their lockers and I'll dismantle my little Sharks shrine that has slowly grown on the end of our couch.  My mementos will return to their usual places and the jerseys will be put away.  I'll have to make myself more room in my closet for all of the new stuff I have.  This season alone my Sharks wardrobe probably multiplied by 10... and I'm not even exaggerating a little bit.  I have at least 4 new jerseys, 4 new sweatshirts, 3 baseball hats, one winter hat and more t-shirts than I can remember.  I'm certainly not lacking in the color teal.

Now, we watch the finals, regroup and count down to next season.  Hopefully, we won't have to wait too long to see some of these guys get locked into contracts.  I know that I'll still be following the Sharks social media for news like I have all season.  Eliot has already promised me multiple Stanley Cup wins while playing his NHL '14 video game (which he's actually doing right now... it's nice to hear the "announcers" talk about the Sharks).  We'll find some more new gear to prepare for next season.  And when the schedule is finally released sometime in August, Eliot and I will be sitting down that night and planning which games we'll be trying to go to next season.

Thank you Sharks for a great season!!!  We love you and always bleed teal!!!  °o°

Monday, May 20, 2019

A Quick Trip to California

Hi friends!  It's been another whirlwind this past month.  The most exciting news is that Eliot and I are both well again... finally!!!  It seems the sickness of this winter is behind us.  The weather has gotten a lot warmer.  (I've been contemplating if it's time to get the air conditioner out for our bedroom.)  Over the past few weeks, the flowers are in bloom, the grass is green (and growing like crazy!) and the birds are singing happy tunes outside our windows.  I feel refreshed and renewed with the beauty of spring.

We've also had some sadness.  Eliot's grandmother passed away at the beginning of the month.  We were expecting it as she's been unwell for a bit now.  However, it's still hard.  Eliot and his sister Sara are the only other people I've ever known to have all four grandparents still alive while in their 20's.  Jeremy and I lost our Grampie when I was a sophomore in college, but Eliot's known all three of my other grandparents.  I never met his father's parents, but I had met both of his mother's parents.  Bubbie D was the one I was most close to as we'd seen her during trips to California through the past few years.  She will be greatly missed, but we're glad she's no longer in pain.

I've always been a big believer that things happen for a reason.  And I'm sure this all unfolded exactly as it was supposed to.  As Bubbie D grew more ill, I grew worried about how everything would work out timing wise.  Both of Eliot's sisters had finals coming up and this summer they're both in internship programs.  We were afraid they might not be able to make it out to California for her funeral.  Thankfully, the timing of the service worked out and we were able to go out right after Elissa finished her finals, and right before Sara started hers.  It was a flying trip; Eliot and I were only out there for four days, but it was good to spend some time with his family since we don't see them very often.  (Although, they've seen us quite a bit the past few months.  I'm surprised they're not sick of us yet... haha!)

Eliot, Elissa and I flew out of Portland at dinner time on Thursday, May 9th.  We had a layover in New York and arrived in Los Angeles at 1:00 am Friday morning.  We drove about an hour or so south to our hotel.  After a few hours of sleep, we got out of bed, showered and dressed for Bubbie D's funeral service.  It was followed by a small reception.  Then, we went back to the hotel and slept for a few hours to overcome jet lag.  That night, all of us except Sara (who was studying) attended Fiddler on the Roof which was at the local theater center.  I'd never seen it but Eliot's family has seen it a few times.  I enjoyed the show and had some of the songs stuck in my head after.

On Saturday, Eliot's dad took Sara to the airport really early in the morning... like 4:00 am early.  When Rick got back to the hotel, Eliot, Elissa and I packed up to take off on the long trip up to San Jose.  (Eliot's parents bought us all tickets to go see a Sharks game that night!)  We left at 7:00 am and spent about 6.5 hours on the trip up to San Jose- only stopping twice to stretch, get food and so all of us and Bella (the family dog) could take a potty break.  Bella sat with Eliot and I the second half of the trip.  She took turns sleeping on each of our legs.  When we arrived at the house, we had just enough time for all of us to shower and get ready for the game.

I've only ever been to one other NHL playoff game.  My first game at the Shark Tank was the Sharks first ever home game in the Stanley Cup Final back in 2016 when we were out in San Jose for Elissa's high school graduation.  (That was another case of perfect timing.)  It was a memorable event that I remember fondly and often; it was also the moment when my love for the boys in teal was cemented for all time.

This time, it was game one of the Western Conference Finals: the San Jose Sharks vs St. Louis Blues.  We arrived a few minutes after the street rally started.  Rick got glitter dusted throughout his painted playoff beard.  Eliot, Elissa and I took photos over at the photo booth.  Eliot and I picked up a few free signs since we wanted more for our collection back home.  (Someday, Eliot and I want to have a San Jose Sharks themed game room where we'll hang all of these signs up.)  Then, we went inside the Shark Tank and got ready to watch our boys warm-up.

The rest of the afternoon was a fantastic, teal colored blur.  The three of us kids had seats two rows in front of Rick's season tickets.  We watched the playoff version of the intro video while thousands of synced, lighted bracelets lit up the arena and danced with the music.  The team skated out through the giant shark head.  The Tank was loud, and I was loving it.  The whole experience evokes a magic that reminds me of how I feel while watching the fireworks at Disney.

The Sharks won the game 6-3.  I was so glad that we not only won, but that we scored so many goals.  It's definitely more fun to jump up and cheer with 17,000+ other Sharks fans than alone with Eliot in our living room.  In fact, I taped a quick video of everyone cheering during our goal song after my favorite player scored our second goal.  I was even sitting exactly four rows behind one of our customers wearing our San Jose Sharks mouse ears (seen in the photo above)!  It was a wonderful experience and I'm so glad it all worked out.  With only four teams remaining in the playoffs at that time, and the short length of our trip, it was truly meant to be.  And I'm so happy for Eliot.  I know he misses going to their games.

The next morning, Eliot and I left San Jose and flew down to meet his mother in San Diego.  When we arrived, we talked to the Disney Cruise Line representatives for a few minutes since one of the ships was in port.  (That also explained why Eliot and I saw so many people wearing Disney gear at the airport!)  It was cool to see the ship off in the distance while we drove through San Diego.  I swear Disney stuff always finds us.

We had planned to go see Avengers: Endgame that afternoon.  We went out for pizza and poked around a few shops before it was time to go to the theater.  Eliot and I haven't kept up with the Marvel movies.  (In fact, we've probably only seen 2 of the Avengers... and he might have seen one Captain America movie.)  Thankfully, when Jeremy came up to visit a few weekends ago, he brought Avergers: Infinity War with him so we at least knew what was going on during the movie.  I enjoyed it and it really made me want to go back and watch all of the movies.  Eliot hopes that they'll all be on Disney+ so we can watch them later on this year.

Sunday night, we spent the night at Eliot's mom's condo.  Eliot, Nori and I ended up watching National Treasure on Netflix.  (I only partly paid attention to it since I watched both it and the sequel about a week prior when they were on Freeform.  Plus, I had some business stuff to get caught up on.)  Once the movie ended, we all went to bed so we could get up and ready to pack and go to Disneyland the next morning.

We had decided to spend Monday at Disneyland before flying home to Maine.  It's not that far from LAX, so it made sense to wait until our last day.  Eliot and I aren't annual pass holders for Disneyland at the moment (just for WDW this year) so Nori bought us day passes as a thank you for helping move Elissa of campus at UNE.  Since we were going to be there one day, we decided to just go to Disneyland and not get the park hopper upgrade.  We got there around noon with a plan to hit all of our favorites.

Of course, like usual, we started at the shops.  First, we hit up the art store that's right when you enter the park.  After that, I noticed a crowd gathering on our way over to the Emporium.  "Of course, it's just after noon which means the band is coming soon," I thought in my head.  After telling Eliot, we decided to stay to watch the little show at the train station.  I'm so glad we did.  The characters were all in their 90th celebration outfits and it was magical.  I love the little show at the train station and it's always one of my favorite things to see while at Disneyland.

Next, we hopped over to the Emporium and did a quick walk through to scan the merchandise.  But, we were still on a mission so we headed towards New Orleans Square and Pirates of the Caribbean.  We got in line but ended up leaving shortly after as the ride ended up breaking down.  It wasn't a total bust though.  I helped a nice older couple behind us who were having a hard time figuring out how to book their Fastpasses with MaxPass.  After I figured the app out myself, I successfully got them signed up for Toy Story Mania and it even overlapped with the rest of their family members' time.  A good Disney deed always leaves me feeling good!

We grabbed Fastpasses of our own to Haunted Mansion on the way over to Critter Country.  We decided to go on Winnie the Pooh and the line wasn't too long.  After that, I insisted we stop at the store so I could get a snack.  (Eliot had already eaten a churro and a giant sugar cookie... he owed me.)  I totally forgot about the Tigger Tails until I was in line.  Nori and I both got one and I took my obliagtory photo.  I decided to save it for later.  (I ate it once we got home in Maine and it was delicious.)

After that, we still had a few minutes to kill before our Haunted Mansion Fastpass.  Nori suggested we stop for a mint julep and I added that we should get some Mickey beignets.  Eliot was skeptical until I told him they were Mickey donuts covered in powdered sugar.  After that he was sold.  Upon eating them, he declared that they were like mini Mickey shaped fried doughs.  He was sold.  (Eliot loves fried dough.)  He even tried a little of the mint julep.  I was proud since he's such a picky eater.  We concluded our New Orleans Square adventure at the Haunted Mansion followed by Pirates of the Caribbean, which had re-opened.

Next, we decided to head over towards Mickey and the Magical Map to catch the last show of the day.  We had quite a bit of time before it, so we poked around on our way over.  We stopped in a few of the Frontierland shops.  Eliot got a few pins he's been wanting for a while. I also checked out the patch collection.

We stopped by Sleeping Beauty Castle to see the renovations.  I had heard it was supposed to open soon.  (We missed the reveal by 5 days!  It looks stunning!)  It was ok though; it was cool to see how much it's changed throughout the years.

When we got to Fantasyland, we still had a ton of time left- so much time that the show before ours was still going on.  We were going to try to get on It's a Small World but the line was so long.  We stood in line for about 15-20 minutes before the heat started to overwhelm us.  Eliot left the line to see if we could get Fastpasses.  A few minutes later, he came back successful and we abandoned that line too.

At this point, Eliot had a really bad headache so Nori asked a cast member where we could get him some medicine.  They told us to go into Toontown to the gift shop.  I had wanted to see if they had my Small World tsum tsum set anyways, so it worked out perfectly.  (I had meant to buy it when we were in WDW in February but I totally forgot and it was sold out online.)  Thankfully, the store still had a few sets left on the bottom shelf.  Eliot got his medicine and I got my tsums!

We decided to sit in the shade and rest while Eliot's Tylenol kicked in.  Nori went over to one of the ice cream stands and we all had ice cream.  Eliot and I were going to split a Mickey Ice Cream sandwich until I saw my Toll House Cookie.  I haven't seen them at WDW lately so I had to get one!  Eating my way through Disneyland... Yum!

After, we went over to stand in line for Mickey and the Magical Map.  Eliot and Nori disappeared to get more food.  I got in right when they opened the theater and saved us seats.  They arrived a minute later with a giant pretzel, Eliot's favorite snack at Disney.  We watched the show and enjoyed every minute.  Eliot and I love this show.

We headed to It's a Small World right after the show ended.  The parade was going to be starting any minute and we were going to get trapped in Fantasyland until it was over anyways.  The parade was starting just as we got onto the ride.  When we got off of it, we saw a few of the floats pass by and we waited for it to end over by the Storybookland Canal Boats, which were closed.  (That's my favorite Disneyland ride; I'm obsessed with the little models!)

We followed the parade so we could get a photo by the Partners Statue.  There wasn't a Photopass photographer there but Nori took a few for us.  Then, Eliot and I took a few photos of our donkey children.  They're so cute in their little ear hats!

At this point, we'd done everything that I really wanted to ride wise.  Eliot and Nori headed over to Matterhorn for the single rider line.  They came back a little bit later and declared that they wanted to see if they could go on Space Mountain too.  We walked through Tomorrowland and I found a seat outside of the Pizza Planet.  They were gone for a really long time.  I passed the time by watching the score of the Sharks game as it updated on my phone.  Dusk turned into nightfall, and we were getting to the point when we needed to head out soon.

When they returned from the ride, we quickly made our exit strategy.  I still wanted to get my candy apples and see if the Clothiers store on Main Street had my castle bag that I wanted.  Eliot and Nori headed to get the apples while I went the store.  They were successful, but I was not so much.  However, we did get to see the super cute new Disney raincoats.  I LOVE the snacks one.

I still wanted to see if I could get my handbag so we decided to split up again.  Nori headed over to the buses to get the car from the Toy Story parking lot.  She was going to come back to the pick-up location while Eliot and I went to Downtown Disney.  At Disneyland, Downtown Disney is literally right outside the park and World of Disney is pretty much the first store you come to.  If I was going to find it, it was there.  Eliot and I had plenty of time since it was going to take Nori a few minutes to get to the car.

We explored World of Disney... not very thoroughly, but good enough.  I found the bag I wanted.  I was going to get it but I realized that if Nori came back and bought it for me, we'd save about $15, so I took pictures of it's location and saved my cash to give her instead.  Eliot and I also took pictures of the items from the snack collection that we want to get for our kitchen.  Finally, we looked at a few of the new clothing items- there's so much cute stuff!

Eventually, we knew we needed to head back so we could get to the airport.  Eliot and I ended up being ahead of his mother so we stopped on the Mickey benches outside of the parks to rest for a few minutes.  It was hard to believe we really had spent the day at Disneyland so I took a minute to soak it all in.  Then, we met up with Nori, went through the Carl's Jr. drive thru and headed towards LAX.  At 11:50 pm, Eliot and I took off towards New York.  After what felt like forever, we landed around 8:30 am, had a layover until 11:00 am and finally landed in Portland at 12:30 pm.

It was an exhausting four days, but we also crammed a lot into it.  I'm glad everything worked out timing wise.  We had a good time visiting with everyone.  Plus, we also got to see a San Jose Sharks playoff game AND go to Disneyland!!!  Those are pretty much our two favorite things to do while we're in California.  Eliot and I are not sure when we'll be back again... until then, we'll be California dreamin'!  °o°