I mean, it's not like I've been posting recently or anything. But I'm making it official instead of being one of those frustrating bloggers who just disappears into cyberspace with no further word.
This is not a decision I made lightly. I'm in a very different season of life now than I was when I started this little blog nearly eight years ago. My oldest two girls have moved on from their 18 inch dolls. In fact, my oldest has gotten rid of all of her dolls and toys except for her Zelfs. 😉 My younger two are still into Barbies and some blind bag items, like Shopkins and such, but the days of reviewing toys in depth together have passed me by. And that's okay. I always told the girls that I never wanted them to feel like they had to be into toys as they got older just because I was.
And just to clarify, I'm still totally into toys. While I have downsized some out of necessity over the years, I still have a TON of dolls and toys in my room. Still, some of the joy of this blog was sharing it with my girls. Now we've moved on to other things we can enjoy together, some doll-related, some not.
In addition to that, my focus has shifted more to my writing. I'm trying to build up my author website and social media, and I can't do that and keep toy blogging and take care of my family and ... you get the picture. 😉
Here's some good news, though. In these past months, as I've pretty much dropped blogging on all of my sites because I was so overwhelmed by life and couldn't add anything else to my schedule (overwhelmed in a good way, with good things, but overwhelmed nonetheless), I realized how much I missed talking about toys with you, my online fellow toy collectors, moms, and kiddos. But the thought of returning to full toy reviews was just too much.
As I've branched out into other forms of social media this past year, I've found that Instagram is one of my favorite methods of sharing online. It's quick, easy, and visually-oriented...perfect for sharing a good doll photo or toy find. I had an Instagram account, but I was posting about everything from toys to my girls to my pets to my writing life. So I started other accounts, first an art account, then a writing account, and this past week, I finally broke down and did a toy account. 😊 It's a public account, so even if you don't have Instagram, you should be able to see my photos. You can find me HERE at the username "never.grow.up.ever" ("never grow up" was already taken). 😉 If you want the non-toy related stuff, you can find my regular account HERE, my art account HERE, and my author account HERE.
My Instagram account will be a lot more low key than my posting here on the blog. I'll share doll and toy photography, pictures of my collections, and fun toy finds, plus some doll-related crafts and customs. I hope it will help your disappointment a little to know that I'm still on the internet, still talking about the toys and dolls we love, just not here.
Also, just to clarify, I'll keep this blog up and running as a reference guide, so you don't have to worry that it will disappear.
In the meantime, I thought I'd give you a little snapshot of some of what we've been up to this past year when I've been so absent.
1. My three girls, as I mentioned briefly in a previous post, all starred in a community production of Annie Jr. and did a fabulous job! I got to be there for every performance, working backstage or watching them from the audience. I even got to help with set design and decorating the lobby. 😊
Oldest Gal and Middle Gal doing their makeup for the show.
Middle Gal and Little Gal waiting to go on.
Watching the monitor in the band classroom so I can give the kiddos their cues.
Hubby and I watching the play...
...with his parents. 😊
2. Oldest Gal graduated from 8th grade at her new school. She gave a speech and sang a duet with one of her classmates ("A Million Dreams" from The Greatest Showman).
My far too grown-up girl with her celebratory Dutch Bros after the ceremony.
3. I had the chance to perform "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" from The Phantom of the Opera at a local talent show-type performance at one of our local theatres. It was a fabulous experience! 😄
After my first performance!
My beautiful yellow roses from my family. 💖
4. My book has been on hold a bit in the middle of all the craziness, although I plan to get back to editing the first book, writing the second book, and prepping them for another writers conference in 2019 (Lord willing). In the meantime, I'm working on illustrations for a wonderful children's book that a writing friend of mine is self-publishing later this year. My deadline for the illustrations is the end of July, and the book is scheduled for a September 2018 release, so there will be more news on that front in the fall. 😊
Here's my first complete illustration. I can't share any details about the story or characters yet, but it's going to be a great book!
5. Probably the biggest news ever is that OUR FAMILY FINALLY MADE IT TO DISNEYLAND!! 😄 We went the first week of June and had an amazing time!! You can see more pics on my Instagram account, but I thought I'd share a few favorites here.
Me and Hubby on the shuttle our first morning.
Little Gal's magical moment just after we got to the park. Mickey came out, took her hand, walked her to this little plaza on Main Street, and played rock, paper, scissors with Donald Duck before taking a picture with her. Pure Disney magic. 😍
The girls all got these special pinback buttons for their first visit to Disneyland.
Our tickets. Pixar Fest was so much fun!
Super Hubby, holding all the bags. 😆
The perfect ears for me! 😍
On Main Street.
Little Gal and Goofy on Day Two.
Middle Gal (in her Loki DisneyBound) at Rapunzel's tower near the Royal Theatre.
Oldest Gal (in her Jane DisneyBound) heading to one of the shops.
Sleeping Beauty's castle.
Trying "the gray stuff" (it's delicious!) at "Maurice's Treats." 😊
Me and Mimi with Eugene.
Riding the King Arthur Carrousel.
Little Gal meeting Jessie.
Riding the Mark Twain Riverboat with Oldest Gal.
Waiting to ride the Grizzly River Run at California Adventure (one of our favorite rides). 😊
Mom wearing her baby Dory shirt hand painted by Middle Gal. (This was just before we rode Grizzly River Run and she got SOAKED!) 😆
My special pin from Hubby. 💕
Funko Beast watching the Pixar Play Parade.
Little Gal enjoying the wall of stuffed animals at the World of Disney Store in Downtown Disney.
The huge Lego Belle and Beast in front of the Lego Store. 😍
The girls loved the "Build your own Minifigure" option at the Lego Store.
A kiss from my prince on Main Street at the happiest place on earth. 💖
Oldest Gal's first Mickey pretzel.
Little Gal and Peter Pan.
The five day park hopper was a little rough for Little Gal. 😉
Flo's V8 Cafe in Carsland. It was super cute and had great food!
Feeling tiny in A Bug's Land.
Riding my traditional carrousel horse. 💖
Funko Beast enjoying the castle at night.
Nathan and Middle Gal walking to Downtown Disney.
Waiting to go in the park on day four (after taking a day off).
The girls waiting for the park to open.
Little Gal at Jedi training. 😍
Oldest Gal getting Dr. Strange's autograph.
Little Gal with Jack Sparrow, the character she wanted to meet the most, while wearing her pirate DisneyBound. We caught Jack just before he had to go!
Keeping cool in A Bug's Land during the hot afternoon.
There wasn't as much Beauty and the Beast merchandise as I expected (I guess we should have gone last year after the live action movie came out for that), but I still found a few really cute things.
Middle Gal with her hand-painted Stitch shorts and new Stitch backpack.
Middle Gal and Oldest Gal on our last night.
I was so excited to find this mug on our very last night! I'd looked for it all week, but it only showed up right before we left.
The craziness of our last night in the park. 😆
One last stop in Downtown Disney before heading home.
And that's about it! Right now we're just holding down the fort, trying to survive the scorching heat of our hometown's summers. We're about to tackle replacing drywall in our back two bedrooms to get rid of residual mildew (and possibly ant colonies). We're crafting, watching movies, keeping up with summer activities, getting over the colds we caught after Disneyland, and looking forward to our annual trip to the ocean later in July.
I just want to give all of you my most humble thanks for nearly eight years of reading, commenting, supporting my writing dreams, sharing my joy of doll and toy collecting, and just being the most incredible group of people I could ever hope to meet. I truly hope you'll drop by and say hello on Instagram sometime. I'll also be linking my IG toy photos to my Never Grow Up Facebook page, so if Facebook is more your thing, you can connect with me there.
Thank you for all the fun, my friends. It's been a great ride. 💖