Saturday, January 9, 2010

Meet the Newest Member of the Team: Elliott Richard Kiliona Parkes!

As it has been a while since the last update on the Parkes, I figured I'd jump right to the chase and announce what the world wants to know... We had a baby! I know what you are thinking - "I didn't even know Luana was pregnant!" Now that certainly can't be true, because although we never mentioned it here on the blog, we certainly announced it other places. So if you are truly a friend then you should have known. If you are just some random person who doesn't know us but reads our blog, then please, stop. You're creepin' me out. Seriously - creepy.

So now we have a renewed focus on making sure the world is aware of just how awesome our little boy really is. Sure so far he hasn't accomplished too much (although the word "genius" has been thrown around on more than one occasion), we know there are great things in store for the little guy.

We also created a fan page on Facebook so that we can post pictures and updates. We'll see how it goes; we may eventually turn it into a profile page because a fan page may be a bit too public. But we'll see. If you look over to the sidebar on the right you will see a link to become a fan of Elliott. So get on that.

As for the other two less interesting Parkes members... we both worked in Entertainment for a few months and it was AMAZING! For me it was the greatest opportunity to see first hand the difference we can make in a child's life. And sometimes all it takes is a hug. "Sure," you might say, "a hug from Mickey Mouse. THAT can make a difference." But I think a hug from a favorite cartoon character is fantastic, but certainly less influential than a hug from a family member. The point is, hug your kids. Or hug someone else's kids. Just make sure you know the somebody else and that they are ok with it. Because again, creepy.

Now I'm working for Casting here at Disney as an Employment Coordinator. I do all sorts of fun things, including processing new hire paperwork and executing hires in Vurv and SAP, the HIRS system Disney uses. It is a good job, and I enjoy it. I'm looking at grad school options, though. Because it is a good job, not a great job. And I need a great job so that Luana can focus on her greatest job... taking care of Elliott.

It is so amazing to have him in our lives. We are so very blessed. How about some pictures?

Check out more on the Facebook Fanpage!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Karibuni Harambe Risavuya Wanyama Wa Porini


So now Luana and I have been working here at Disney for the last couple of months, and enjoying getting to know the area again. For me it hasn't been that long since I lived here last, but for Luana it has been quite a few years. But it still feels like home to me.

So here is where we are: I am working as a safari guide on the Kilimanjaro Safaris in Africa at Disney's Animal Kingdom. I spend my days driving a giant truck around for two week adventures through the African Savannah, including daily encounters with all sorts of exotic creatures... Bongos, Rhinos, Kudu, Crocs, Giraffes, Ankole Cattle, Wildebeast, Sabal Antelope, Tommies, Impala, Mandrills, Elephants, Flamingos, Cheetahs, Lions, Warthogs, Bontebok, and Oryxs... just to name a few. The animals keep it interesting, and they can be very entertaining (sometimes inappropriately so... how do you explain away two 5,000 pound rhinos right next to your truck making baby rhinos?) It is very high spiel, which I enjoy, but in the middle of the summer the heat certainly can take its toll! Mostly, though, I enjoy interacting with the guests. I love that part of this place so much.

Luana is working at Dinosaur!, which she is enjoying. Maybe I can convince her to post on here and she can tell you all about it. Suffice it to say, we're having a good time.

Here is the good news... in three weeks, we are moving out of college program housing and into a real apartment! Which means bye bye storage unit, bye bye being treated like we live in a dorm. We are moving into a two bedroom apartment back behind the Magic Kingdom, and we are very excited!

More good news... in three weeks, we are both transferring to entertainment! We are both going to be character performers. Now this is old hat for Luana, but I've never done it before. I was offered a full time job doing it back in 2003, but turned it down because I felt guilty dropping out of "Fiddler on the Roof." I have always regretted that I didn't do it. I am approved to be friend's with the Mad Hatter, and I think it'll be a blast.

The bad news is, it isn't quite full time yet. The only positions they have in entertainment was for us to extend this college program, so we are doing that. The economy is still to blame, but we are guaranteed work through the end of December. After that, I really hope something opens up. I'm sure it will.

We are really enjoying our ward, they've been very friendly. So much so that while looking for new apartments we had to find one in the ward boundaries. We are also in the same ward as Adam and Andrea Daveline, which is a lot of fun as well. We sure love those guys!

So maybe our decision to come here wasn't the most practical, and certainly not the most fiscally minded, but we are having a great time. We just wish Florida was a little closer to the West Coast.

Until next time, kwaherini!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Do we even have a blog?

I know, I know, this update is majorly overdue. It has been a while since we have updated, and I’m not sure why. It may have something to do with the lack of change going on, or something else. I don’t know. But I’m here to remedy.

When last we left our intrepid heroes, we were moving out of our apartment into my mom’s basement. We were waiting to hear about an audition, and trying to figure out our lives. And now…

We are living in my mom’s basement, trying to figure out our lives. First off, I didn’t land the audition. I’m not surprised, I auditioned with four talented fellows, and that was just my audition group. I can’t imagine how many other talented folks they saw, but it must have been a difficult decision. I’ve always thought that once you get to a certain point in performing (especially at call backs) it is no longer a question of talented or untalented, but of right or wrong. The factors that influence a casting director to make casting decisions are often traits you can’t control… look, vocal quality, etc… and for one reason or another I didn’t fit their goal. No worries, though. I’m not counting it out.

So on May 18th we are moving into Chatham Square (I presume) and darting back in time for a three month retro College Program adventure! Luana and I are both going to working attractions, but we aren’t sure exactly where yet. I’m hoping for high spieling good times, but we’ll see. We’re just really excited to be going back. I’m hoping that this will get my foot back in the door and I’ll be able to land something full time and more in line with what I’ve been doing over the past two years. I am also looking to start and a Masters program at UCF next spring in Human Resource Management. I’ve been studying like crazy for the GRE, so hopefully that works out.

Now in preparation for our move, we bought a new car! (Well, new to us). We traded in both my Saturn and Luana’s Nissan, and now have a 2005 Chevy Cobalt. It has a lot of bells and whistles, and we’re quite happy with it. Neither of our cars would have been a trustworthy conveyance to the sunshine state, so it seemed the best option. We are down to one car now, but we can use Disney transport once in Orlando and we also have our little pink scooter (though I would love to trade it in for a real motorcycle sometime soon).

The funny thing is, I got really emotional about letting go of my Saturn. I’ve had a lot of wonderful adventures all over the country in the last seven years, and he’s been with me for almost all of them. Almost everyone I care about has spent time in that car, and I put 100,000 miles on the ol’ boy. Summers in West Yellowstone, winters in Rexburg, years in Orlando, driving across the country (four times!). It was reliable, didn’t have power steering, and just fit me. It was like selling an old friend. The new car is so much nicer, and more reliable, and a better choice. But in a strange way getting rid of my Saturn seemed to officially close any traces of non-adulthood. Maybe not, though. I am still going to be working for Disney, after all.
So the last time I drove it, as I took it to trade it in, I teared up. I know it is weird, but that’s what happened. Come on; deep down you know it is part of my charm.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

An Invitation to Participate in a Research Study of Latter-day Saint Parents

The below information comes from my friend Steve from high school, who is working on this project. If you meet the criteria, please fill out his survey. It won't kill you...

An increasingly prominent group of religious individuals both inside and outside the U.S. are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church is currently the fourth largest in the U.S. (Lindner et al., 2007), and its worldwide membership of over 13 million has been projected to reach as high as 250 million by the year 2080 (Stark, 1996). Despite this exponential growth, scant research exists on the relationship between religiosity and parenting within the Latter-day Saint (LDS) faith. The need for additional research on the parenting component of Latter-day Saint families seems especially strong given the faith’s emphasis on specific parenting practices and the importance of family not just in this lifetime, but in the eternities.
My name is Steven Behling, and I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. I’m also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although I am not yet a parent, I believe my membership and activity level in the Church will impact how I parent my children. The purpose of this research study is to help those outside of our faith better understand how Latter-day Saint religious beliefs and behaviors influence parenting. In order to participate, you must meet the following criteria:

(1) I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

(2) I am a parent of at least one preschool or school-age child.

If you meet both of the criteria listed above, please follow the link at the end of this e-mail to begin the study. If you do not meet both of the criteria listed above, I invite you to send the link on to anyone you know who is a Latter-day Saint parent of a preschool or school-age child.
In appreciation for your time and assistance, you will have the option of providing your e-mail address to be placed in a drawing for a $50 Target gift card. Once a sufficient number of participants have completed the study, a drawing will be held and a total of 10 gift card winners will be notified via e-mail. Participants who provide an e-mail address will also have the option of receiving a brief summary of the study’s findings once the study is complete.
Please fill out the questionnaire only once. Parents living in the same home are eligible to participate, provided they complete the questionnaires on their own, without the other parent present. Biological, adoptive, and stepparents are invited to participate.
If you have questions about the questionnaire, please do not hesitate to contact me at
Please follow the link below to begin:

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I don't know if you've seen the movie "Dave," but I am in need of a Dave Kovic right now.

In the movie, among other things, Kevin Kline plays a man who runs an employment agency. His goal is to make sure everyone has a job.

In short, I need a job.

I am sitting here in my currently furniture deprived apartment, wondering what is going to unfold in the next few months. Don't worry, it is not furnitureless because we had to sell it all, but rather because we are moving out in less than a week and only had yesterday to use my step dad's truck. So now we have two camp chairs and an air mattress. Everything else is hanging out in my mom's basement.

And yes, we are moving into my mom's basement. The wonderfully clich├ęd and demasculating experience of moving into Mom's basement. But only for a few months. Here is why...

When we last saw the adventures on our blog, I had recently returned from my audition with Disney. It went well. Excitement abounds. Well, I returned to Orlando just over a month later for the call back. I had been practicing my Stitch voice for weeks, and felt good about it. I flew down, stayed with Adam and Andrea again (love those guys) and went to the call back. It was an interesting experience. We went in five at a time, took turns reading the sides with the director, and then did a (very) little improv. I felt really good about it... I held my own, at least. Trouble is, four out of the five of us held our own. We all were funny, and we all sounded the part. So I know I did well... just don't know if I did well enough.

They let me know the show would start rehearsing in March, and they would let us know soon. Soon has turned out to be a very loose term... after a week I emailed them and was told they are still make decisions, and if I don't hear anything within six weeks I can assume they are not interested in me. Six weeks?!? It has now been three.

So this coupled with the fact that the lease on our apartment is ending, has moved us temporarily into my mom's house. It'll allow us the flexibility to be able to up and move if and when Disney calls. We don't want to sign another lease if we'll have to break it.

If I don't get the job? We are still moving to Orlando. We just aren't sure when... at the latest it'll be April/May. The company is doing a summer alumni College Program, and for the first time I know of you don't have to be a student. In a lot of ways it does seem like a step backwards from what I've done in the past, but it will only be a few months and will get us back with the company. And a lower paying job is still better than no job at all.

Our other option would be to move down now and try to find a job. But we can't get an apartment without a job. And we can't get a job without an apartment. It is a vicious circle. So if we go down as CP's we'll be able to have a job and housing. It just seems like the smartest way to facilitate our move. But for now I need a job. I've been substitute teaching this month, but the sporadic nature it limits our income. So I need a temp job (or any job)... does anybody know of anything?
Oh, Ziggy... is there any life problem you haven't experienced? Your foibles heal us all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008