Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Traveling for work isn't always glamorous- there are airline delays, bed bugs, less than ideal locations, and of course you're enjoying all of these things while being away from your family. However sometimes there are work trips that you look forward to for two years because it means you get to finally go to Universal Studios to experience "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!" 

I went with two colleagues, neither of whom have ever read the books or seen the movies, but they were kind enough to play along and on the plus side it meant I had to do a lot of explaining - which simply added to the experience of feeling like I was immersed in Harry Potter everything! Not to mention they played the soundtrack everywhere you went. Bonus! 

I'm certain I didn't stop grinning all day. Everything was so realistic and detail oriented. We walked through Diagon Alley, drank Butter Beer (it's not really beer, didn't know that, but now realize it would have been weird for 11 year olds to be drinking alcohol - suppose I always just figured that was how they rolled over in the UK) went to Gringotts, rode the Hogwarts Express, strolled through Hogsmeade and best of all we got to go to Hogwarts! Fan Girl mode was in full effect! 

I can't wait to go back sometime when Andy and Adam can come along - I know they'd love it - especially my little Harry Potter! :) 

Apple & Pumpkin Pickin' in Shenandoah

We picked the perfect fall weekend to head out for a weekend of camping in the Shenandoah Valley. The weather was crisp and the apples and pumpkins were ripe for picking! 

We kicked our day off with breakfast at a local diner. Adam's pancakes were perfect for him - he really is a pancake piggy! And I snapped a pic of the evidence to prove it! 

After we were all fueled up we headed to Hartland Orchards to pick apples and were pleasantly surprised to learn that we would also have the opportunity to pick pumpkins straight off the vine! It was everything I needed to cure a serious case of fall fever!! :)

After we picked our fair share of apples and selected our own individual pumpkins we headed to Aspen Dale Winery for a quick tasting and to grab a bottle of wine for our picnic. We spent a little extra time there enjoying the gorgeous scenery while Adam hung out with the goats - no really, he did. 

Then we grabbed our picnic stuff, stopped at a local market for apple cider doughnuts (yum) and headed to Shenandoah National Park for a picnic in the woods. The scenery was unbelievable and further proof that Virginia really is for (fall) Lovers! 

One Fish, Two Fish, Gold Fish - No Fish...

When the magician said that goldfish were part of his act and that Adam would get to keep them, I figured we were going to be teaching Adam an early lesson in loss - and indeed, that's what happened.  They were fun while they lasted - Adam named them Charlie, Itchy & Mrs. Weirdy Pants. He loved feeding them and watching them swim - for the three days they were around that is. 

RIP Charlie, Itchy & Mrs. Weirdy Pants, we hardly knew you but you sure did seem fishy.

A "Magical" Birthday Party...

Adam had a great birthday party to celebrate turning 5. A Ninja Turtle theme with an indoor moon bounce (thanks Kristine & Kathleen) and a magician for entertainment! He had lots of friends over and we enjoyed getting to spend time with all of the parents. 

The magician was pretty great - he kept those kids entertained and sitting (mostly) still. He made sure Adam was the star of the show, allowing him to assist. Of course as the magician's assistant he had to wear a special hat and apparently facial hair was a must. 

One of the tricks was making a dove appear - pretty awesome and then it was balloon hats and animals for all! Nothing makes kids happier than balloons - never ceases to amaze me. 

The final trick was making goldfish appear - which Adam then got to keep (more on that in a later post)

After the show was over it was time for cake and favors - magic wands for everyone!