Thursday, May 19, 2011

New adventures

I have lots of pictures to share, but that will have to wait for another post.  :)  I just wanted to post quickly to tell you all what I've been up to.

I opened my own store!  Momma's Boytique 

I'm pretty excited about it.  :)  There's not a lot of stuff listed yet, but I've got some big plans.  If you'd like to see what's going on with the store, please check out Momma's Boytique on Facebook, Twitter, or on the Momma's Boytique Blog.  

I look forward to sharing this next step in my life's journey with y'all, my friends.  :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

I should preface my remarks here by saying that I have not read the Harry Potter books.  I know.  I know.  I was just never interested.  Doug and I watched the first movie when it came out on DVD.  We weren’t impressed with the movie.  I know.  I know.  I’ve heard that the first movie wasn’t the best.  The books are always better.  I was just never interested.image The sign says, “Please Respect the Spell Limits.”image  This section was not just crowded; it was packed.  It became difficult to maneuver the stroller through the crowd.  There’s a roller coaster called Duelling Dragons that the kids weren’t tall enough to ride.  There’s another ride called Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  Timmy is barely tall enough, but decided that a wait of over an hour wasn’t worth it.  There was a line to enter a gift shop in one area, and apparently Butterbeer is a big hit because there were two carts selling it, and the lines stretched on and on and on.  Doug and I took turns riding the Flight of the Hippogriff with the big boys, and it was a fun ride.  Did I mention that I don’t like roller coasters?  I don’t like roller coasters.  I think it’s the control freak in me… But, I actually enjoyed this little coaster.  It was fun.  I would actually ride it again.  That’s really saying something.  :)image Add this picture to the outtake reel…  Way to focus on the window instead of the object behind the window, huh?  Oh well…  It was crowded.  It’s not easy to take a picture quickly with a manual focus lens.  I took lots of pictures.  The ones I took in the morning are a little grainy because my ISO setting was way high.  I didn’t figure that out until lunchtime…  I wandered back into this area while Doug and the kids rode the roller coaster in Jurassic Park, so I took some more pictures there, but by then the sun was glaring, and those pictures are a little washed out…  Anyway, not so great photographs aside, the architecture of Harry Potter’s world is incredible.  I love the random  leaning chimney stacks the most, I think.  :)image image image image image

There were stands selling various magic wands, and lots of people wearing cloaks – some work at the park, and others were guests.  The photographs make it look like it’s cold there, don’t they?  I think the temperature was the single reminder that this was part of a theme park and not a real wizarding community. 

After spending some time hanging out in Harry Potter’s neighborhood, I want to know more about him.  Timmy and I started reading the first Harry Potter book yesterday.  So far, I like it.  I knew that I would, if I read it, but I had to wait for the desire to read it…

I’m glad I waited.  I don’t have to wait forever for the sequels to be published.  And, as many of my friends know, I’m not a big fan of series books… so we’ll see how it goes.  Am I really the last person to read these books??  I think I might be.

Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. Jurassic Park.


Do remember watching Jurassic Park when it was a new movie?  I don’t remember watching it in the theater.  I probably didn’t.  It came out before I had friends that worked at the one local movie theater.  But, I do remember watching it curled up with a blanket and a snack on the couch at home.  I read the book not long after I saw the movie, and I read the sequel, too.  It wasn’t long before I had read every book Michael Crichton wrote.

Anyway, the Jurassic Park section of the park was fun.  The kids and Doug rode the River Adventure ride while I wandered around with the baby.  :)  The line was about 45 minutes long, but they were excited to ride it, so they were good in line.  Doug was seated in the middle of the row with the kids to one side of him, so he was sitting next to a stranger.  Apparently, this twenty-something female was really scared at the final drop of the ride, because she grabbed on to Doug’s arm…  I wish Doug had purchased the on-ride photo, because, as he tells it, he’s got a stranger clutching his arm on one side and the boys are more terrified than he has ever seen them on the other side of him…  good times.  Both the boys have overcome their fears, and they can’t wait to ride this ride again next time.  image

At the Dinosaur Discovery Center, there are some large models of dinosaurs, and lots of educational stuff about dinosaurs.  The kids got to touch a casting of a t-rex claw.  That was pretty cool…image Tanner was pretending to be terrified. :)image Sorry for the awful picture… This was indoors, without a flash, and I tried to lighten it up a little so you could tell what it is.  Whatever…  At the Discovery Center, this girl introduced the guests to the newest dinosaur, who had just hatched that morning.  Cool, huh?  Tanner thought it was awesome.  Timmy had a difficult time convincing Tanner that dinosaurs are extinct.  He had seen one that just hatched, so how could they be extinct??

I took a few more pictures in the Jurassic Park area, but they really didn’t turn out well.  There was just too much sun.

Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. More.

image Woody Woodpecker welcomed us into the park.  Sadly, my boys didn’t really know who he was.  Don’t get me wrong; they know their cartoon characters.  Tanner loves to watch Tom and Jerry and Popeye and Huckleberry Hound and the Pink Panther…  They just weren’t familiar with Woody Woodpecker.

image We were all sunblocked up and ready to go, and this little guy was so happy!  We got a new stroller just in time for this outing, and Travis loves to face forward.  He even got some shut-eye when the time came…  Hooray for a comfy jogging stroller!  :)

We spent a little time in the Lost Continent area of the park, not a lot.  Here are a few random pictures from that area:image This is from the Poseidon Adventure, I think.  I’m not sure, really.image This is a talking fountain.  I think there’s a camera in the opened  mouth… Very cool.  It actually reminded me of some of the gags that Jay Leno has done on his show, except this wasn’t really a gag…  Cool.

Somehow, I didn’t get many pictures of the superhero section.  Maybe because Doug and I split up.  He took Timmy to ride a ride that Tanner wasn’t tall enough for.  So, I was wandering around with the Tanner and Travis…  Timmy decided he didn’t want to ride that ride.  He was a little scared.  I don’t blame him.  I can’t remember the name of the ride, but it’s one of those that takes you straight up and then drops you straight down…  Doug and the big boys rode a different ride instead.image Anyway, we were going to go back to this section to see a Spiderman show or something (this part is all blurry now in my memory… It was right after lunch, and I was tired…) But, we never made it back over there. 

Speaking of lunch, we saw a few special people on our way to CityWalk.  As we walked through a souvenir shop, we saw this guy looking at the postcards:image Sorry about the blurry picture… I realized at lunch that my ISO was super high, so lots of my pictures weren’t very good.  It’s a good thing I took a lot and I know a little (a very little) about photoshop.  Oh, and I really could use a lens that will autofocus, if you’re feeling generous. (hint, hint) Anyway, Tanner had to really concentrate on his web-throwers.  That’s what he calls them…  He was puzzled that web-throwers are actually sign language for “I love you.”


Tanner was beyond excited to meet Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat. They were at CityWalk near the food service areas.  It doesn’t really show on his face as excitement, but he has loved Curious George for years, and that’s saying a lot when you’re only five years old.

image   I loved the comic strip section of the park.  There’s nothing like walking through the Sunday comics.  I wish I would have taken more pictures there…  Here are a few:image Inside the gift shop…image

Oh, I wish I had gotten more pictures!  The kids had lots of fun playing on Popeye’s boat, and I just loved Beetle Bailey’s tent and Cathy’s ice cream stand… and… and… and… Why didn’t I take more pictures here?  It was stinking hot, and crowded.  We were trying to find something the kids could do to cool off (water ride or splash pad or something).  We found ourselves in the Jurassic Park area before we found a water ride that the kids could go on that didn’t have a two hour long line…

Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. Seuss Landing.

imageLast weekend, Doug’s employer had a company picnic at Universal Studios.  The picnic part was at CityWalk, which connects the two Universal Studios parks.  With our tickets (a mere $15 per person!), we received admission to one of the parks, parking and a catered lunch at CityWalk.  We chose to use our tickets to visit the Islands of Adventure park.  We had a blast!  I must say that, after numerous trips to Fiesta Texas and Sea World, and a trip to Disneyland forever ago, I have never been to a theme park like this.  They really got the theme part right.  Walking from one part of the park to another was like walking into another world… a very convincing world.  image

The first and last part of the park that we visited was Seuss Landing.  I love Dr. Seuss.  Who doesn’t?  imageThe Cat in the Hat ride was way fun.  The big kids rode it once in the morning and again in the afternoon so that both parents could ride it.  :)   image Are you hungry?  What do you think?  Try Circus McGurkus for great food and drink! :)imageI love the Truffula trees.  Sadly, some had been chopped down…  (name the book!)

imageTravis got to ride the Caro-Seuss-el.  He giggled the whole ride, and his big brothers were excited that he got to ride with them. imageimageimage This is the sign that hung on the street lights.  :)  We had lots of fun in Seuss Landing.  I just love Dr. Seuss.  Love. 

Tanner decided that he wanted to buy a Cat in the Hat hat as his souvenir of the day.  He loves to dress up in costume, that boy.  :)


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Break Wrap Up

On my family’s last day here, we went to Tarpon Springs.  The Sponge Docks were very fun.  There were some great shops.  We bought gifts for them to take back to Texas.  I bought some shells and a way awesome locally harvested sponge for my bathtub.  :)  Then, we had awesome Greek food.  We went to Hella’s Restaurant.  Awesome. Huge. Gyros.  So delicious.  Somewhere between the shops and the restaurant, we lost a binky.  So, after a quick trip to Walgreens (or was it CVS?), we came back to the house.  Then I went to sign all the paperwork for the sale of our house.  That’s another post.  We are all anxious to go back to the Sponge Docks when my family is here again in October.  I’ll be back before then, for sure.  :)

Our visitors left early on Wednesday morning.  It was way early.  Too early to be really sad, at least for me, because I got to go back to bed after Doug, Mom, Dad and Ian left.  Don’t get me wrong, I miss them like crazy, but in that moment, I really just wanted to go back to bed.  I’m not a morning person.

After I woke up again and made breakfast, I took the kiddos to the doctor for check ups.  Tanner is super healthy. :)  His ear infection is completely gone.  He only had to get a flu shot, no vaccines this time.  :)  Travis has been really congested and is fighting an ear infection.  He’s still my little boy, weighing in less than 18 pounds, about 10th percentile.  He’s a happy little boy, and I adore him. 

The next day, we went to the grocery store, quite an adventure with three kids. Then we went to Busch Gardens.  I’m so grateful for our season passes.  We had lots of fun.  We visited the Sesame Street Safari of Fun, watched the Sesame Street show.  I even got a hug from Cookie Monster.  :)  The big kids played in Oscar’s Swamp and another splash pad area while the baby napped.  Then we went to Timbuktu so they could ride the Scorpion roller coaster.  They love that ride.  :)

That was Thursday.  Thursday night, Travis had a fever.  I’m not sure if it was because of the ear infection or the vaccines he had.  He was still not feeling well on Friday, so we spent the day at home.  Rather than watching cartoons or playing the Wii or watching Star Wars, we decided to paint.  I had some wooden picture frames and a birdhouse.  The kids had a good time painting them.  I was surprised how well-behaved they were with their paint brushes in hand.  Maybe we should paint more often.  :)  I do love to paint.  We could do that.  :)

Tanner’s Early Birthday Party

We decided to have a birthday party for Tanner while my family was here.  (His birthday is on the 28th.)  I can’t believe he’ll be FIVE soon. 

image image image image He had fun opening a couple of gifts from Nana, Grandad and Ian.  And even Mom and Dad, too.  Here’s what I made for him: image image It’s a bandolier to carry all his Star Wars toys, Chewbacca style.  There’s even a little pocket to hold extra blasters and light sabers.  :)  I love how it turned out.


Happy Early Birthday, Tanner!