Saturday, October 29, 2011

The 2

On to day 2. I have a feeling this day is the one my siblings missed doing the most. You see, it didn't exist the last time they were there...

My dad had one day before classes started and one thing he really wanted to see. I give to you:
The Wizzarding World of Harry Potter!!!

I have already mentioned the fact that I am a bit of a geek. If I were ever to truly tell you how much of a geek, I have a feeling a few of you would never talk to me again as your "cool" points would suffer just knowing me. One thing my family loves, and is actually VERY mainstream is Harry Potter. The only problem is we don't just love it like everyone else, we LOVE it. We reread the books over and over (my dad even rereads it in French to get a fresh perspective), we know random bits of fun facts that most people don't. We analyze the relationships between characters, compare the story lines to ancient mythology, and I'm sure one of these years I will force my kids to dress up as Gryffindors for Halloween.

It was a dream come true (literally) to step into the world of Harry Potter. To see the town,
the Hogwarts Express, the castle,
and even see and hear the icky mandrakes (luckily nobody died!).

I knew we would be going to this park and spent the summer reading the first three books to Ethan and Ella (and most of the time Livi, who didn't want to be left out) so they could fully appreciate it. I think they were only half as excited as I was (which is to say that they were ecstatic).

We rode on the amazingly crazy main ride at the castle which had a stunning line for the first 5 minutes, the most boring line for another 90 minutes and then they rushed us through the interesting castle part so we could barely even see all the cool touches. I wouldn't have minded spending less time out in the heat in the garden and more in the cool hall of portraits or Dumbledore's office, but considering it was Universal and not Disney it was extremely well done (I am such a Disney snob!!!).

The ride was part 3D CGI and part haunted house and is was awesome. The only non-awesome part was I got so sick I threw up in my mouth and only the thought of the mortification of getting off the ride with vomit all over me when 6 year olds were leaping off with smiles, kept it all down.

We ate lunch at The Three Broomsticks, which I'm sure was yummy but I couldn't really enjoy since I was SOOOOOOO sick. We tried pumpkin juice and butterbear, shopped in Honeydukes for candy, I feel like Ethan is saying "TWO chocolate frogs! Beat that!"

and Zonkos for practical jokes.

Ethan, Ella and Eric went on The Flight of the Hypogriff (which I was too queasy to even look at) and we had enough Easy Passes they could go on a second time, but only if the kids went by themselves. This was suppose to be a "family friendly" roller coaster, but I think Universal Studios and I have different ideas on what family friendly means. I watched with pure terror as my little adventurers waited in line and boarded the death contraption and all I could do was watch on helplessly because Eric vetoed me and said they would be fine and I was babying them. Thanks a lot Eric, but I guess this is one of the reasons why kids need a mom and a dad (so they can have fun sometimes).

About half way through exploring Livi got restless. She was sick of hearing she was too little to go on things, so we headed over to Dr. Seuss land to ride some Livi rides. We were lucky we had the Easy Passes so we could just walk on the rides because if I had to wait 5 minutes for most of those rides I would have demanded compensation for my time. Livi seemed to love them though and Dad was a good sport and went on most of them with us.

I was sad every time we left the Harry Potter world. I didn't care about the Jurassic Park area but I guess since it was technically a family vacation and not all about me I had to put on a smile and watch the kids (and Eric and my mom) get completely drenched on the scary dinosaur ride.
Their faces were so priceless I had to pay the exorbitant fee to buy the photo!

I could have spent just two hours in Harry Potter world and felt like my admission was worth it. I could also have spent all day just exploring all the shops, oohing and awing over all the little hidden gems, and waiting in line again for the ride (but not riding it) just to get a better look at all the parts we were rushed through.

And to top off the great day, the maid arranged the girls stuffed animals to greet us when we got back, put a tiara on one, and made a cute toothbrush holder with a grinning face! (Kind of like Grandpa Alan had set it up!)

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Best Family Vacation...Ever!!!!

My family went on a vacation to Florida while I was in college. I was unable to take the time off, and when they got back all I heard was that it was "the best family vacation EVER!!!" Ever since I have felt a little left out, a little incredulous that it was THAT awesome, and a little sad that they had the best vacation (maybe because I wasn't there).

Well, my dad had his continuing education in Florida again and for some reason my mom didn't want to go to Disney World all by herself while my dad was in classes. She invited us to go along (since my siblings had been twice without me, and they all have things like work and school) and so we jumped at the chance to go with them!

We started talking about going about a year ago. Over a year of planning, and being excited. I didn't have to wait a year for my wedding, so asking me to think about this trip for a year, building up expectations and reading up on various things to do, was like putting chocolate cake, enclosed in plexiglass, in front of a toddler and saying they can't eat it for a year.

So did it live up to the family's hype, my own expectations, and the general "wow" that you expect from Disney? It blew them out of the water. It truly was "The Best Family Vacation Ever!!!!"

"What?" you may say. "Could it really be that great?" "Surely you exaggerate."

Here is my answer to your questions: Day 1

After getting up early, flying, renting a car, and finally getting to our hotel we decided to take advantage of the hours we had left. We played on the hotel playground, went swimming in the pool, went down the water slide a few hundred times, and then realized we still had time to make it to Mickey's Halloween party.

We headed for the Magic Kingdom, bought some last minute costumes (no complaining from the girls to get more princess dresses!) and enjoyed trick-or-treating Disney style. It was late, dark, and we didn't know where we were going, but we got to ride, rides, Outside the Haunted Mansion, which was one of the best lines for a ride I have ever been through!

eat the (actually) good candy they handed out, enjoy the ambiance that only Disney can do, and ended it all with amazing fireworks. It was a great night.
That was only day 1. Awesome sauce.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

We Are A Weird (But Happy!) Family

I was looking over some photos I've taken in the last few weeks and realized we are a tiny bit on the weird side. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the fact we are just a little bit different, but looking at these photos I just had to laugh at the crazy, zany crew we have here at the Stott house.

A few weeks ago Ethan's friend Caleb turned 9. I let Ethan pick out a card and told him to "write on the inside." This is what he brought back to me:
I asked him why he didn't write "Happy Birthday" or even "From Ethan" anywhere and he informed me that he had... on the cover.

Eric and I watched an "Office" episode where the less than cool workers take up "planking." Planking is just lying on objects as if you are a plank. We laughed about it and Eric somehow brought it up at Family Home Evening. Next thing I know we are "planking" for our activity. Some people can lay completely still on objects that seem very uncomfortable and do it with panache. We are not those people:

Our tiny dog is a cold-a-phobe. I'm not sure how we are going to deal with this as the winter progresses, but I have a feeling I will be knitting tiny booties and and beanie pretty soon. If the afternoon is too cool you can find her curled up in blankets. If she has a bath I have resorted to tucking her up under a heating pad. This is not a Nebraska dog. This is a Southern California dog. Too bad she is so darn cute, or I would ship her off to live with Casey.

And lastly, we recently went to a Harvest Festival here in town. There was a bouncy house, glow in the dark art centers, and a VERY long hay ride. My kids favorite part: Playing in a barrel of corn.
Yep, we are a little odd, but I think we are happier that way.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Sound of Silence

A good day...both girls napping at the same time!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Stop Being So Great! - Updated...Again

My sister wrote this really great post about how we are always a little worried that our lives are too great so something bad is about to happen. I would link to it but I am too lazy, so I will try to summarize.

Due to too many seminary videos, feel-good books and movies, and our general ability to over think/sympathize, we are cursed with feeling like something bad is around the corner ready to take us down. I am always a little scared that one of us will get cancer, loose a limb, or be poverty stricken. Our lives are just too easy, so something is about to happen to fix that.

Eric especially frightens me. He is just too good. He is a wonderful husband who puts up with how hard I am. He works so dang hard for us and never criticizes when I spend too much money on stupid stuff (shoes definitely not included, because they are never stupid). He will watch chick flicks with me, listens to my rants and encourages me to pursue my hobbies. Eric is always willing to watch the kids if I need a break or come home from work to empty the mouse trap because I am too much of a chicken (it is harvest time and we have a field up the street=a few little visitors every October./ GROSS!!!!)

A couple of days ago I woke up to this: Eric not only got up with the kids (which happens more often than not, since I have trouble falling asleep), but when the girls asked for a tea party for breakfast he made them warm (not hot, because hot is too hot) chocolate and gave them cut up pop tarts. On a work/school day. When he could have just told them "not now" or "how about on Saturday?"

It made me tear up for a couple of reason:
1. I am overly emotional and have PMS
2. Look how happy those girls are!
3.He is SUCH A GOOD DAD!!!
4. Now something bad has to happen

Okay, so nothing bad has happened to me yet, and my life has been blessed from day one, but when someone I love does something so sweet I almost want to tie them up in their room so they can't go out into the world. Or cut off a toe. That would even things out, I think.

So I am sitting here, alone, on a Friday, while Eric is tromping around the forest looking for a blood trail for a buck he got with an arrow, dragging along our 8 year old son, way past his bed time. Whew...saved.

Re-UPDATE (???):
So Eric spent all night following the blood trail of the buck, slept in his car, and went out again this morning to follow the trail again. He found the trail, and realized he had no way to ensure the deer bit the dust so I had to drive 45 minutes out to Bridgeport to bring Eric back his bow (he brought Ethan home last night before going out again and left the bow here for some reason), and then 45 minutes back. He will probably be gone all day, and butchering all night. So, Eric probably wont be hit by a semi while helping a little old lady change a tire in the middle of a tornado. We are fine in the cosmic balance for at least a year. But, I do smell a new pair of shoes coming my way...

The View From My Window

Okay, so it is technically my sliding glass door, but window sounds better. I LOVE FALL!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Out of Character, but Oh Well

I am not a person to forward emails, send on chain letters, or pass on random stuff in general, but every once in a while I find something so amazing, so worthwhile, altering that I just have to share. This is one of those cases.

I saw this on Epbot and laughed so hard and so loudly that my family came running from all over the house. Livi now begs for it and sings along. She especially loves episode 3 because of the baby. This video encompasses my sense of humor, along with wonderful one liners, and actually really good blue grass music. I hope you laugh as hard as I did.

I give to you "Guy On A Buffalo"

ps. the other two episodes are on you-tube, and the band sells t-shirts on their site, if anyone needs a Christmas gift idea for me!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mmwa Ha Ha Ha, or I'm Very Good Aren't I???

IT IS OCTOBER!!!! Yay!!! The days are not cooler yet, but the leaves are changing and the nights are crisp. People are BBQ-ing, the Huskers are playing and I am a happy clam. The girls and I spent the morning putting up all our decorations and we are excited to make sugar cookies tomorrow. I spent the time Eric was gone finishing a few projects and I thought I would share because I need the feel like I can actually accomplish something (and I wouldn't say "no" to a pat on the back right now, even if it is from me!).

I was starting to work on our Christmas advent calendar when Ella asked why we didn't have a Halloween one. I thought for a moment then got to work trying to find a pattern I could use. Turns out there isn't really a big market for Halloween advent calendars. Hmmm, who would have guessed. Ha ha.

As my brother and I were talking about two days ago, we are not super great at creating new ideas, just very proficient at making things we have seen. We are not creative genius' we are the forgers who make copies for our own use. So the thought of coming up with my own from scratch scared the begeezes out of me.

I decided if I failed it wasn't like I was destroying anything, and probably it would be fun for the kids anyways. This is the end result:
What the kids woke up to this morning, a stark landscape with pockets waiting to be explored:What they will see at the end of the month after putting up an addition every day:I also made two wreaths for the door, and some VERY cheap artwork to put up behind our pictures from "costumes of years past". I need something taller to put next to it though. Any ideas? I was thinking a leg lamp, but we all know that's really more of a Christmas decoration.