Monday, August 15, 2011

Back to school

It's that time of year again...time to dust off the lunchbox, get into the happen of picking out my clothes the night before, and start getting in bed early!  
School starts tomorrow!
This is my 6th first day of school and I still get nervous.  Tomorrow will be a whole new experience for me though because the majority of my class was with me last year.  I've got a handful of new 4s and 5s but the rest of my crew should remember the basic routine and rules from last year.  My 3s don't actually start until next Tuesday...that's when things start to get interesting!
I've already packed my lunch, painted my toenails (priorities ya know) set out my clothes for the morning and now I'm ready for bed...and its only 8:15.  BUT...I need to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for those sweet babies in the morning!  Goodnight y'all...see you sometime in September when life begins to normalize again!  

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fairy Tale Wedding

Last night we attended the most beautiful wedding I've ever been to...well, aside from my own wedding of course!  The Parks have known Wells family for twenty something years.  Kenyon and Kathy Wells are wonderful people with such big and caring hearts.  They threw an engagement party for J and I and let me take my bridal portraits at their beautiful house.  
This picture was taken on the night of our engagement party

Their son was married last night in their backyard with a very "Father of the Bride" type of reception.  When we first arrived a valet service was there to park our car while we waited with the other guests to either ride the trolley car or golf carts to the house.  There was a small group of chairs for the family to sit in while everyone else stood to watch the ceremony. The bridal party was escorted by the groomsmen down the curved stairs followed by the bride and her father.
 When the bride and groom reached the top of the stairs the had one more kiss that had a very Prince William and Princess Kate style about it.  Then the groom whistled and out from the crowd came his 10 year old black lab who got to witness the entire ceremony.

Before the wedding started I was glancing around at the guests and you'll never guess who was standing not far behind me...Governor Nikki Haley!  The Wells were a big supporter in her race for governor and she made a brief appearance at the wedding.  I did manage to snap a picture before she headed out, but unfortunately she turned right before I took the picture.  It's a cute picture of Kristin though!
There was plenty of delicious food every where you turned and a live band.  Instead of a wedding cake they had hundreds of cupcakes on layered tiers.  We had such a great time and wished the bride and groom best wishes as they ran through a tunnel of sparklers to their waiting limo.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


If you ever go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter you MUST go to Ollivanders Wand Shop.  I know I'll look and see a 40 minute line, but trust me its TOTALLY worth it!  
Actually...the best plan is to have the husbands stand in line while you and a friend (or sis-in-law) ride the Dragon Challenge and then meet up with the husbands who are hot and sweaty from standing in the sun for the last 30 minutes.  At least that's what Kristin and I did. Our hubbies are the best!
Ollivander picks one lucky person to choose a wand...or to have the wand choose the wizard!  He has the person try out the wand and silly "magical" things happen until the perfect wand for that person is choosen.  Its a really cute little show.
 You can watch a video of what happens at an Ollivanders show here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

As everyone the few who read my blog know, I am big HP fan so naturally my favorite part of Universal Studios was getting to walk through the Harry Potter world.  It was the reason why we even went to Universal to begin with.  I can not even begin to tell you how awesome this place was.  If you read the books or even if you have just seen the movies, you can appreciate the work and planning that was put into making this magical town.  I really felt like I was on the HP movie set.  I think its fair to warn you that I have a lot of pictures for this post...and I think you'll want to visit too after you see the amazing-ness of these pictures show...
When you first walk in your see the Hogwarts Express with a train conductor standing outside.  Kristin and I couldn't pass up this photo op!
Then you go into the town of Hogsmead where you can go into all the different shops that you read about in the books.  If only it was cold outside...the fake snow on the roofs would have seemed more realistic.
We brought back a Chocolate Frog for really had a wizard card inside!
Pumpkin Juice!
Weasley's Extendable Ears from book 5
Monster Book of Monsters from book 3

We ate lunch at the Three Broomsticks and later in the weekend the guys had drinks in the Hog's Head Inn
Inside the Three Broomsticks

The rides inside HP world were awesome, but what I really enjoyed was walking through the lines to get to the rides.  They put parts of the movies throughout so you really felt like you were in Hogwarts.  One ride took us an hour to get through the line, but it was totally worth it!
In line to ride the Dragon Challenge
Goblet of Fire
About to ride our first HP ride

Standing in front of Hogwarts, home of the Forbidden Journey ride
Mirror of Erised from book 1
Walking through the greenhouse...longest and hottest part of the line
Griffindor takes the lead!
Standing outside the entry to Dumbledore's office
The Pensieve
The picture frames really did have moving and talking people inside
The Sorting Hat
One our last day Kristin and I bought some frozen Butterbeer...OH MY was delicious!  It's probably a good thing that we waited until the last day to try it, otherwise we would have been buying these pricey drinks every day!  We are thinking its some combination of butterscotch and cream soda...whatever it is I wish I could make some at home!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Universal Studios

Hooray for end of the summer vacations!
Josh and I just got home from our anniversary present to each other...a trip to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.  We had the best time hanging out in Florida with Jeremy and Kristin.
Kristin and I were going to plan a family vacation to the beach, but Josh and Jeremy decided to surprise us by going to Orlando instead.  We've known about the trip since June and have been counting down the days all summer long!
In the car on the way to Florida
 Kristin really should become a travel agent as a second job because she found the best deals for our weekend trip.  She booked us in the Radisson Hotel near the park but unfortunately for us the hotel was having air conditioning issues the entire weekend.  We did manage to get one night compensated because of all our complaining...I mean, it was 77 degrees in the hotel room.

Day 1- we were told to take the trolley car to the intersection in front of Universal where we would only be a short walk away from the main park entry. (It only cost $1.25 per person to ride the trolley so we thought we would save on parking.) was not a short walk and we were worn out just from the trek from the trolley.  All I have to say is thank goodness for moving sidewalks and escalators once you actually get to Universal!
Waiting for the trolley
  The way Universal Studios is set up you first enter what is called City Walk.  Its an area full of shops and restaurants that link the two Universal parks together.  We had a three day park hopper pass so we could go to either Universal or Islands of Adventure.  We decided to head straight to Harry Potter World in Islands of Adventure first, but the wonderfulness of HP world will be saved for its own post!
Other than HP world there was tons of fun stuff inside Islands of Adventure.  The kiddo section of the park was themed after Dr. Seuss, but the teacher in me loved it!
The Lorax was always one of my favorite Dr. S books
Josh's favorite ride is the 3D Spiderman adventure.  We rode it a couple times because we discovered after we rode a ride once as a group, you could get in a much shorter line as a single rider and just wait for everyone to get through at the end.
Waiting in line for Spiderman
Jurassic Park is one of the older rides in the park and you can definitely tell the dinosaurs could use some updating, but it was still very fun.  Its a water ride but you don't get wet, you just travel in your little boat through JP to see all the dinos.
Day 2- Jeremy found another trolley route that would take us closer to the park than the first day, but it ended up being another long walk-not as long as day 1, but just not worth it.  This time we went to Universal and used our Express passes to ride almost all the rides with little wait time in the lines.
Yummy hamburgers and chicken fingers for lunch
There was even was a little San Fransisco area of the park that reminded J and I of our California getaway in December.
 Most of Universal was themed around big time movies like The Terminator, ET, Shrek, The Mummy.  There were more shows and 3D rides in this part of the park.
 Day 3- We finally gave up on trying to find cheap ways of getting to the park because both of the previous days we ended up taking a taxi back to the hotel because we just couldn't walk anymore.  THEN we found out that parking was only $15 a day and that was way better than all that walking.
The big roller coaster in Universal was called the Rip-Rockin' Roller coaster and it was actually closed the day before, so we went there first thing to try it out.  I'll say was fun, but one time was enough for me!  You got to choose your own music to listen to while riding which was cool, but it kept slowing down so you think that it was over and then zoom off again.  I've decided that I am officially getting old because roller coasters have much more of an effect on me than they used to!
 After that coaster we headed back over to Islands of Adventure to re-ride some of our favorites.
 We saved all the water rides for then end of the day and we were glad that we did...when they say you get wet...then MEAN you get WET!!!!  We were soaked from head to toe!  I'll spare you any picture of us looking like drowned rats with squishy shoes.  Haha
I have to say one thing that I did like about Universal is when you are going to ride something (like a coaster) and can't take a bag with you, they provide a free locker for the duration of your ride.  It was nice to know that all of our stuff was safe in a locker and nothing would get lost or broken.