Friday, February 12, 2010

34 weeks - only six weeks left!

Here I am at 34 weeks pregnant (sorry, I cut my head off). says the baby is about the size of a large honeydew melon (though I think our guy is bigger), which is fitting, because the size of Jeremy's "honey-do" list continues to grow every day. :)

We're in full-nesting mode right now, putting finishing touches on the baby's room (building the dresser/changing table, hanging pictures, etc.) and washing baby clothes as we receive them. I had a baby shower last weekend, and have another one next weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone!

The pregnancy continues to go pretty smoothly, I'm handling the gestational diabetes okay, but it continues to get harder to keep my blood sugars under control. I've found I have to walk 50-60 minutes a day now to produce enough insulin. I don't want to go on meds or insulin, so here's hoping I can control my diet enough for the next six weeks without it!

Baby is nice and big (a week ago he was 5 lbs, 4 oz) and I'm having contractions every day, so the doc thinks I'll deliver a little early, naturally, which would be nice. He just says I have to make it three more weeks (to 37 weeks) so that I don't have to be flown to Spokane for the NICU. I REALLY want to deliver here in Pullman!

My guess? Wednesday, 3/17. :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Persistence that pays off!

Lloyd and Wyla Headley are my great uncle and aunt. They are two of the sweetest people I have ever met, and have been married for SEVENTY years. The Spokesman-Review recently did a story on them, which can be found here.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Branding of Disney

In short, Disney does it right. When they do something (any type of endeavor - movie, merchandise, theme parks), they go all-out, delivering a high-quality product with very few flaws and gaps. I think a perfect example of this is their Pixar division, which produces the most well-made animated films of the last 10 years. Cases in point:
Toy Story
A Bug's Life
Toy Story 2
Monsters, Inc.
Finding Nemo
The Incredibles
In total: 22 Academy Awards (Up hasn't earned any yet) and $5 billion of worldwide gross earnings.

I recently spent 4 days (and nights) inside Walt Disney World in Orlando. We were the for the 2010 UCA/UDA College Cheer and Dance National Championships, which is hosted by Disney World. We stayed at the Disney All-Star Music Resort, which is a family-friendly, affordable option for people who want to stay inside the park.
The Crimson Girls by our hotel pool, which is shaped like a guitar:

Disney certainly has it all figured out, from airport transportation (bags delivered directly from
baggage claim to your hotel room), to park-to-park transportation (free busses that run every
20 minutes), to park admission (scanned park-hopper passes individualized with fingerprints of
the pass holders).

But one thing I admire over all others is Disney's branding abilities. It's incredible how many times we saw those uber-recognizable mouse ears inside the parks. Kids incessantly begging their parents to buy them Mickey paraphernalia, and most of the time, they get what they want. Here are a few examples of things I saw - people spending money to give Disney some free advertising. :)
A dancer in her Goofy hat, which she HAD to have - $29.99

Another dancer in her Mickey antennae headband (sparkly and pink) $6

Mickey/Minnie souvenir balloons - not sure how much, but I probably saw 300 kids carrying these.
A few girls in front of Mickey's "Fantasia" hat:

And of course, what's more iconic than Cinderella's Castle?

Even the milk cartons are branded!

Everything inside Disney is done in grand, regal style. Princesses must train for months before they can be "Belle" or "Cinderella." Characters go through a rigorous training process to ensure the brand's authenticity. Costumes are all in prime condition (you would never see Pluto's tail ripped or looking "used" like Butch's often does). And I believe this attention to detail is part of what makes Disney so recognizable and lucrative. Park workers clean up litter 24 hours a day. An underground series of tunnels takes "non-costumed team members" from place to place inside the park, so they are not seen by guests.

Not to mention, Disney is the King of Package trips. Just to see how long it would take, I looked up the costs for a family of four to vacation in Disney World. For under $3,000, a family of four could vacation there for 5 nights, 6 days, including 6 days of park tickets, airfare, and airport transportation. While I wouldn't call that "cheap," it isn't as much as I would have imagined, especially for so many days! And it took me all of 12 minutes to book on their website, which was fun and easy to navigate.