Storybrooke Has Thawed: My Take On Once Upon a Time Season 4A

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I'm going to take a fangirl moment here.  If you're not interested or hate spoilers, then please avert your eyes, close the tab, what have you.

Sunday night was the Winter Finale of Once Upon a Time.  Season 4-A is now over, and the entire Storybrooke Has Frozen Over" arc has ended.  As with any show, this arc has had its fans and its critics.  Some people thought that they jumped the shark by bringing in cash cow Frozen, especially since at times it seemed more time was spent with the guest characters than the regulars.  Some people have even thought this half of the season was completely pointless.  I don't, and I'll tell you why.

Regina and Robin
Everyone knows that Emma mucked things up between the Evil Queen and Robin Hood with she brought back Marion from the past in the Season 3 finale, "There's No Place Like Home," saving her from a being put to death by Regina.  Robin, a man who lives by a code of honor, initially chose to stay with his wife.  Then the Snow Queen froze her.  Regina spared Marian's life by ripping out her heart until they could heal her.  In the mean time, Robin chose Regina, who believes villains never get happy endings.  Once the Snow Queen was gone, they returned Marian's heart to her body, but the curse came back.  Regina had to once again say goodbye to her true love, because Robin and Roland took Marian past the town line, to where magic could no longer harm her.

Regina had the chance to turn completely around once again and revert back to her evil ways, but she didn't.  That's not who she is anymore, and I have to say I like her as a good guy with a snarky mouth.  She is one of the good guys now, and I can't wait to see what happens when the "Queens of Darkness" descend upon Storybrooke with Gold in 4B.  I have loved her growth.

Gold and Belle
Well, they're married, but I don't know anyone who didn't see things not ending well.  For all the growth Gold had in Seasons 2 and 3A after finding Neal, once Neal died he went back to his old ways.  Seriously, their marriage could not have started off on a worse foot.  He had already given Belle a fake dagger, causing her to think that he has trusted her with his power.  In reality he has killed Zelena (though no one misses her), and stolen Hook's heart to make him do his bidding in a power-play to relieve himself of his dagger and conquer the non-magical world.

Belle, Belle, Belle, Belle, Belle, Belle.  I spent each and every episode of 4A upset with her.  She has been too trusting, too naive, and too unlike how Belle should ever be in believing Rumple would give up power for her.  He wouldn't give it up for Bae, and he won't for her.  He has no plans to, even if getting what he wants included killing his grandson's mother.  Then, (duh, duh DUH!) in "Heroes and Villains" she finally gets a clue.  She finds the real dagger, stops Gold's nefarious plans, and orders him outside Storybrooke, where he has no power.  FINALLY I could yell, "Right on, Belle!  You go, girl!"  Unfortunately, I'm afraid she has just incurred Rumple's wrath on all of Storybrooke when he brings the Supremes the Queens of Darkness (Ursula, Maleficent, and Cruella) into town with him.

Emma and Elsa
No, this isn't about a romantic pairing.  Like the movie Frozen was about sisterly love, Season 4A of Once Upon a Time was greatly about the love between friends.  You have Emma Swan, who hasn't exactly had a great many friends in her life.  There was Neal, but he was her baby-daddy, not just her friend.  She and Mary Margaret were besties all throughout Season 1, but then the curse was broken, and Mary Margaret is Snow White, aka Emma's mom.  They have done their share of bonding and bickering but in the end, Snow is her mom.  She's always trying to impart the motherly advice she didn't get to give Emma all of her life.  At one point during the entire Neverland arc, Emma even told Snow and David that they're the same age.  They don't have any more life experience than she has.  The dynamic of that relationship has changed.  It's still a great relationship, but it's a mother/daughter thing now rather than just friends.

Since the Season 2 episode "Queen of Hearts," it's been obvious that Emma also wields light magic, as the product of true love.  Other than the fairies (which seem to have been wiped out by a Gold-controlled Hook recently), everyone else in Storybrooke with magic has dark magic.  Emma's pretty much alone in this.  She and Regina have sort of bonded as Regina has tried to teach her how to control it, but that's always a tenuous relationship.  So the truth is, Emma doesn't really understand her magic, nor how to control it.  Enter Elsa.

When Emma and Hook traveled into the past, not only did they bring back Marion, but they also brought back an urn containing non other than Queen Elsa of Arendelle.  Elsa begins a search to find her beloved sister, Anna.  In the process, she creates an ice wall all around Storeybrooke and loses control of her powers somewhat because she is afraid, and Anna isn't there to help her control them.

Emma discovers Elsa, and they get trapped inside in icy cave.  They bond over having powers they can't really control, and being a totally unprepared Queen and savior as Emma almost freezes to death.  It turns out that Emma's dad, David, was aided by Anna back in the Enchanted Forest days, and they vow to help Elsa find her sister.  Meanwhile another Snow Queen has a weird plan to make Elsa and Emma her sisters, since they have light magic like her.

Throughout the whole arc, these two become really good friends.  I equate Elsa as the Ruby to Emma's Snow.  At one point, Emma's powers go out of control.  She asks Gold to help her get rid of them all together.  She almost goes through with it, until Elsa stops her, telling her that she has to love herself, and that her powers are a part of who she is.  What they don't realize is that Elsa actually saved Emma's life also, because Gold planned to kill her.

This friendship is, I think, the most important relationship development of the season.  Both Emma and Elsa needed a friend who isn't family, isn't a love interest, and doesn't have some other complicated relationship to them.  I don't think that Elsa ever had any friends other than Anna.  In flashbacks to Arendelle of the past, it's a BIG deal when Elsa calls Kristoff her friend, and I think it's a HUGE deal when Anna asks Elsa if she trusts Emma, and Elsa calls Emma her friend.  For either of these ladies to trust someone else like that is a huge milestone. Both Emma and Elsa are better, stronger people for having known each other.  THAT is why it was so sad when the Frozen family returned to Arendelle.  One can only hope that sometime around May Sweeps, Emma calls upon her friend Elsa to help in the fight against the "Queens of Darkness."

Anyway, this gif I found on a Tumblr page pretty much sums up the importance of this relationship.  It makes me think of the close friends I've made through the years and how important they've been in my life.  It truly is wonderful to have friends so wonderful that makes saying goodbye so hard.  The good news is that with such friendships, time and distance can't diminish them.

Courtesy of

I'll miss our friends from Arendelle, because I loved the friendship between the two E's.  Many people were upset because we didn't get to see a Kristoff-Anna wedding.  IT WAS NEVER ABOUT THE WEDDING, FOLKS!  Many were upset because we didn't see a lot of Snow and thought that many of the scenes between Emma and Elsa should have been between Emma and Snow.  Actress Ginnifer Goodwin has even admitted that being in the back burner during this half of the season was best, because she just had a baby in real life and needed the time with him.  Also again, Emma needed a friend, as did Elsa, not another relative or love interest.

In all, I loved the Frozen arc far more than the Neverland arc in Season 3A.  I was sick of that by the second episode of the season. The Winter Finale wasn't quite as intense as last year's, but it was still pretty great.  I'm ready for 4B and everything it offers.

That Time Bart Used My Head As a Tripod At the Garth Brooks Concert

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Saturday was an incredibly busy day for us.  We woke up at 5 am so that we could make it to church by 7:45 and work a few hours at the annual Christmas Store.  Bart and I like to work in the back where the kids wait after picking out gifts for their parents.  I love working the store, because every year we worry so much about what to get each other for Christmas and what to get Ladybug.  We worry about what to get, not if our child will get anything or if she ever has enough food to eat.  These kids are sweet and wonderful and deserve to have a wonderful Christmas just as much as mine does.  I'm thankful I have to opportunity to do this every year.  We almost didn't sign up this year, because we had plans for later Saturday evening, but I'm glad we went ahead and did it.  It just required a stop at Starbucks in Russellville.

Our other plans included Bart's parents coming up to spend the night with Ladybug, Lucy, and Dory while Bart and I drove to Little Rock to watch Garth Brooks in concert.  Bart is probably one of the biggest Garth Brooks fans on the planet, and I promised him after we married that if Garth ever came anywhere near us in concert I would go with him.  So I did.

We made it to the Little Rock metro area in time to check into our hotel, freshen up a bit, then head down to Verizon Arena.  Bart and I hadn't been to a concert there since the Mercy Me / Steven Curtis Chapman Christmas tour of 2005.  Back then, it was still called Alltel Arena.  Thankfully we knew to stay off the Interstate and met little traffic as we found a place to park.  I guess having spent a year living there left us with a few advantages.

It was a good concert.  Bart said that it's the best he's ever been to.  It was probably one of my favorite two or three, but remember, I'm not the country fan in the family.  Thankfully Garth sang only one new song and then sang his classics the rest of the concert.  I feared it would be something akin to his TV special last year where he covered all his favorite songs.  That was awful, and I thought he had lost his showmanship.  Trust me, he hasn't.  I've never seen so much adrenaline in a concert before and was thankful for the little break where Trisha Yearwood sang a few of her songs.  I especially enjoyed Trisha.  I just wish she could have sang Georgia Rain.  That is a song that moves me so that I'm inspired to write chapters when listening to it.

It was nice to get out with Bart and do something just the two of us.  The arena was so packed that we  spent a great part of the concert with me in front of Bart with his arms around me.  It was nice, except for when he decided to use my head as a tripod to steady his phone.  I suppose that's one of the hazards of being a foot shorter than your husband.

Several encores and over $100 of merchandise later, we left the arena to collapse in our hotel room bed.  We finished our Christmas shopping in Bryant (where we stayed), drove by our old townhouse, then headed home.  We we got home around 4 in the afternoon, Ladybug was napping, and Grandma and Granddad were exhausted.  Later that night, L told us that she was "so very, very tired, because Grandma and Granddad played with her so much."  That's not a bad thing.

Yesterday the entire weekend sort of hit me like a wrecking ball.  I was pretty much worthless, but it was worth it.  Getting to be with Bart as he experienced something he has wanted to do since he was a little boy was worth it.  Being a part of bringing Christmas and Jesus to all those kids Saturday morning was worth the early wake up call.  Would I do all of it in one day again?  Yes, actually.

So Much To Be Thankful For

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

 I'm writing this post from a Hampton Inn in Maumelle, AR while Ladybug watches Sleeping Beauty on her iPad, and Bart is at a meeting at his firm's home office in North Little Rock.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and we're spending the day at Bart's grandmother's house in Little Rock.  This is the first Thanksgiving without Bart's Granddaddy, and his presence is already greatly missed.  Still yet, we have so much to be thankful for this year.

  • Our health.  All three Gilbreaths and the two Gilbreath dogs are all in good health.  That is something to never take for granted.
  • Bart's job.  Bart works at a stable company, and they have recognized Bart for his hard work and our family's sacrifices several times this year.
  • Bart's brother and sister-in-law are expecting Baby 2 on Ladybug's birthday.
  • Our friends Brandon and Erin, who are more like family, are expecting a baby in the spring.  They have also moved to NWA and are closer to us now.
  • I may complain that I have to buy her new clothes and shoes occasionally, but Ladybug is growing like a weed.  Her mind is growing even faster.
  • We belong to an awesome, Bible-believing church.
  • After the longest dry-spell EVER, I've started writing again.  You know, with original characters and plot lines.
  • Probably the biggest thing to be thankful for happened Sunday morning.  Bart has been struggling off and on this past year or so regarding the fact that he can't really remember anything about when he walked the aisle to accept Jesus as his savior when he was a child.  He wasn't sure if it was all his idea, or if he did it because a friend did, or whatever.  So often as children, we walk the aisle, say the prayer, and don't really understand what we're doing.  That can to doubts later on in life.  I went through that when I was fourteen (See "Let Me Tell You About...")He couldn't remember it at all really.  Sunday we went to church like it was any other Sunday.  There was an invitation then the offertory.  I went to the bathroom during the offertory, because is was my Sunday to help in L's Sunday School class after church.  When I got back, our pastor did something he never does, he opened up another invitation.  Bart grabbed my hand and said, "Let's go down."  I'm thrilled to say that he no longer has doubts about his salvation.  He has nailed it down, as did several other people that day.  This time when he walked the aisle and prayed the sinner's prayer, he knew that it was of his own volition.  I can't really explain the joy I have knowing that Bart has this settled once and for all.   
If this post seems disjointed and lacking, I apologize.  Being cooped up in a hotel room with an almost three-year-old is trying at best.

Weekly Randomosity

Thursday, November 13, 2014

  • I created a Tumblr blog for the Princess Party pictures and linked to it up at the top of this blog.  I'm still needing some ideas for future pictures.  Bart's only suggestions are things like "have them pick acorns."  Seriously.  He's not getting the whole pop culture reference part of it.
  • Bart got us tickets to see Garth Brooks in Little Rock on December 13.  This is absolutely his dream come true.  It is his equivalent of me going to Prince Edward Island.  He is the ultimate Garth Brooks fanboy.  Seriously, I woke up Monday night/ Tuesday morning to him listening to the new album on his phone, Tweeting with my friend from the station, Charles, about it.    I've always known that they were basically country music fan soulmates.
  • L was just fine all day yesterday then started running a 102.5° fever.  She has had one off an on all day today, but doesn't seem too sick otherwise.  I'm hoping it passes soon, but will take her to the doctor if it doesn't.  Right now, I don't see the point in exposing her to more germs in taking her.  Last time I did when she was like this, it was nothing.
  • It could snow here this weekend.  I'm not particularly looking forward to it.
  • While drying my hair this morning, my hair dryer stopped twice.  I think it's trying to go gentle into that good night.
  • Every time I see a trailer for Dumb and Dumber To, I cringe.  I can't believe that at some point twenty years ago, I thought the original was funny.  Thankfully my taste in movies has evolved.  I like smart, witty humor now, not stupid, gross, raunchy humor.
  • When I was writing the date while filling out my prayer journal this morning, I realized that today would have been my parents' FIFTIETH wedding anniversary.  They only got to celebrate twenty-five, but they would have been together.  I mentioned it on Facebook, not because I wanted pity because my Dad has been gone for twenty-four years, but because I just find it amazing.  I would also like to point out that my parents were married sixteen years before I was born.  So don't start thinking that I'm anywhere near being fifty years old yet.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.
  • I'm seriously missing the warmer weather.
  • A video posted by Adrienne (@addy_lane) on

Waiting For Anna

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Living in the DVR / Streaming Television Age, Ladybug hasn't had the chance to get interested in a serial TV series.  You know, "tune in tomorrow, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel for the shocking conclusion!"  When we were kids, cartoons always had cliffhangers, and the series had continuing stories.  That's not so much the way it is these days.  At least it's not with the shows Ladybug watches.  It never takes Doc McStuffins more than one episode to diagnose and cure a patient.  Mickey and pals always solve their problem using all four mouskatools in the span of one episode.  You're never left wondering what's going to happen on the next episode.  Heck, you're never really sure when there's going to be a new episode, and it's ok because they're all recorded on the DVR or available to stream on the Apple TV whenever.

Now I've watched Once Upon a Time on ABC since the second half of the first season.  At first I scoffed at the idea of a show where all the characters from stories we loved as children are cursed to live in our world.  Then one weekend, when I was about eighty months pregnant with Ladybug, they aired all the episodes, and I got hooked.  I've been watching ever since, and L has often watched with me, because we would record them and watch on Mondays.  I know that there are scary parts, but she hasn't really been bothered by them.  She only half pays attention except for the the princess-y parts.

Well, this season they've introduced the Frozen characters into the fold, and Ladybug is hooked as well.  We've started watching it live, and Ladybug really enjoys it.  She even has the both of us wear crowns.  She has tried to get Bart to wear one too, but he has only worn one for a few, brief moments.

So the storyline partially is that Elsa is looking for Anna, and Ladybug really worries that Elsa can't find Anna.  I must give credit to the powers that be at OUAT for casting Georgina Haig and Elizabeth Lail and Elsa and Anna.  Their acting is spot-on, and the look very much the part.  Ladybug is positive that they are the real Elsa and Anna.  Every episode she asks, "Mama, when is  Elsa going to find Anna?"  My response is always, "Probably around Episode Eleven, because that's when this half of the season ends as well as the storyline."  Seriously, waiting on Elsa to find Anna has to be the toddler equivalent of Waiting For Godot.

Anyway, it's been a treat sharing this with her.  It's been fun watching her anticipate the next episode and actually have to wait for the conclusion of the storyline.  It's been helping battle her desire for instant gratification.  I have no doubt that Ladybug will be happy when Elsa inevitably finds Anna.  Heaven knows her dolls will be.  They're constantly having to experience whatever perils their television counterparts are going through.  Also, since it's two against one, we don't have our Sunday nights filled with Sunday Night Football!

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