Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Halloween Fun with CJ

For the first time ever, Connor got to spend Halloween with daddy! (This also means it was my first time to have him with us for this occasion!)

We were pretty excited about it, and we had taken him to pick out his costume in advance. We're not totally sure why, but he decided this year he wanted to be a grim reaper. He wore part of his costume when we went to Ghouls at Grassmere at the zoo earlier in October, but he was excited on Halloween to add his bone gloves, mask and his scythe.

We ended up carving pumpkins a few days before Halloween, too! This is something Connor has done with daddy every year, so we were glad to keep the tradition going.

On Halloween, I was able to go to Connor's school and help with their classroom party. Not only did they have some treats, they also got to play some games and do some activities. I helped all the kids make ghosts out of suckers.

After school, we had an early dinner and got into his costume so we could head out once it was dark.

We ended up trick or treating with another group of kids and parents from our cul-de-sac, and he had a BLAST running around house to house with everyone. It was unfortunately really windy and cold, so we stayed out long enough to fill up their buckets before going to a neighbor's house for hot chocolate.

After enjoying it, we headed to another neighbor's house where the kids played inside while the adults enjoyed a fire pit outside. We are so glad to be in a neighborhood with a lot of great neighbors!

Our last stop of the evening was to Gram's house to trick or treat. Connor got a special treat from Gram! He's pretty excited we will have this decoration for years to come.

The next day, Tucker helped Connor and daddy sort all of his candy!  Little man definitely got a lot this year!

We are so glad he had so much fun, and it was definitely fun for us to get to have this experience with him, too! I know we'll all remember this first Halloween together for a long time!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Our Harry Potter World Adventure: Part 2

On Sunday, we once again entered the park an hour early as hotel guests. We went straight to Minion Mayhem since we saw the day before it never had less than an hour wait and chose not to do it until day 2. We were able to get it knocked out in 10 minutes, and then we headed back to Diagon Alley.

We had breakfast at The Leaky Cauldron, rode the Gringott's ride again, and we decided to purchase the interactive wands so we could do all the spells around the alley. Y'all... this was so much fun. We were totally being kids, and we had a blast! We rode the train over to Hogsmeade so that we could ride everything again, have lunch, do all of the spells on that side, and then ride the train back to Diagon Alley (the train ride is different both directions).

We did a few other things outside of the Harry Potter sections, but we mostly just enjoyed chilling out and taking everything in. We kept seeing something new every time we took a lap around the section.  We also enjoyed some more butterbeer and picked up a few souvenirs.

Before too long, it was 5pm and we needed to head back to pick up our bags at the hotel and get to the airport to fly back home. 

Even though it was a quick trip, it was an amazing weekend! We got to do and see everything we wanted to do and see, and we rode everything (sometimes more than once!) We had so much fun, and we're so glad we decided to go. It was really great that we were able to do it over a weekend and not take any time off work, too. We will definitely be going back sometime (likely with children in tow), but for now we're glad that we got to go together and soak it all in!

Here are some pictures from our second day:

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Our Harry Potter World Adventure: Part 1

When Adam and I heard about the new Diagon Alley opening at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando, we knew we had to go.  We both love Harry Potter, and we've both been to the Hogsmeade section in the past (although not together).

We decided back in June to go on and book a trip for the fall. We knew it'd be a better time of year to go in order to not only avoid crowds in general, but also because then it wouldn't be quite so new. We figured the weather would be decent as well. Plus, it gave us something to look forward to during the craziness of moving and getting settled into life back in TN.

We were so excited that it was finally time to go!  We flew out after work on Friday and got there fairly late. We headed to bed, but I am like such a little kid that I had a really hard time getting to sleep!

We decided to stay in one of the Universal hotels because you were able to get into the park an hour before anyone else. This ultimately proved to be very worthwhile.

After getting into the park Saturday morning, we headed straight to Diagon Alley. We were blown away the second we saw it, but we knew to get straight on to the ride before the line got long. We virtually walked on, and it was really neat.  Then, we spent a lot of time enjoying butterbeer and exploring all of the shops and everything there was to see.  I just can't even explain how detailed everything is and how awesome it is to see it!

We soon took the train over to the Hogsmeade side (which is also new and incredibly awesome) and rode the ride in Hogwarts (along with the other two rides) and explored the area and shops before having lunch at The Three Broomsticks.  We truly felt like we were in the book - everything there feels so real!

Adam had never been to anything else in Universal, so we spent the rest of the day riding everything else in both parks. We never waited more than maybe 15 minutes or so except for the Harry Potter rides when we had to wait 30 if we were riding them anytime other than when the park first opened. We stayed until the park closed and then had dinner back at our hotel before calling it a night.

Here are some fun photos from our first day:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Finishing the KY Bourbon Trail

You may recall that Adam and I started the KY Bourbon Trail this past May/June. You can read about the first part of this adventure here.

In late October, we decided to spend a weekend finishing up the rest of the tour. We headed out after work on a Friday and made our way to Frankfort, KY where we had found an inexpensive hotel room that was sort of centrally located near the remaining distilleries we planned to visit.

We had some time to kill that evening, so we drove over to Lexington to have dinner at Mellow Mushroom and then spent the rest of the night checking out 3 haunted houses before heading back to our hotel.

On Saturday morning, we started our day at Buffalo Trace. It's not part of the KY Bourbon Trail, but we had heard good things and wanted to check it out. We enjoyed a great tour, and the samples led us to picking up a bottle of the main label to take home and enjoy.

We quickly discovered when driving to the next stop that completing this adventure in October was smart - the drive through KY was gorgeous with all of the leaves changing color!

Our next stop was Woodford Reserve. We were excited because we know we like this bourbon's main label, and we would get to try their double-oaked label.

We had some time to kill before our tour (this spot stays pretty busy), so we had some lunch from their cafe while sitting on their patio. The food was tasty, and it was fun getting to relax outside in a pretty spot for a bit.

The tour was pretty standard, but we still enjoyed it. We decided we like the double-oaked bourbon almost as much as their main label!

We ended the day at Town Branch. We didn't know that they also brew beer, so it was neat getting to sample both some of their beer as well as some of their bourbon during our tour. We found that we liked several things they make!

We had some dinner and then headed back to our hotel to relax after a busy day!

Sunday morning, we checked out and then headed straight to Wild Turkey. Neither of us had ever tried any of their product, so we maximized our 2 tastings each to try 4 different things. We didn't care for their main label, but they have some other products that were delicious. The tour was nothing special, but it was still great to mark it off the list.

Our last stop to complete our KY Bourbon Trail Passport (you can pick one up at any spot on the trail, get it stamped, and when you've visited all of them you send it in for a t-shirt) was Four Roses. We had tried their main label before and haven't cared for it, but we discovered their single barrel is quite tasty! It was another pretty standard tour as well.

It was only lunchtime, so we decided before heading back to Nashville to head back over to Maker's Mark again and pick up another bottle or two (as we may or may not have already enjoyed the bottles we bought in May).  We of course had to dip them!

I sent in our passports for our shirts once we got home, but we're still waiting to get them back along with our shirts. While we don't necessarily need yet another t-shirt, we did see them in one of the distilleries and they're pretty neat!

It was definitely a lot of fun for us to do the trail. It was a great activity to enjoy together, and we learned a lot not only about how bourbon is made, but also about how to taste it and the unique history of each distillery. We also learned a lot about what kinds of bourbon we enjoy (and have a nice little stock now that should last us a while.)

I definitely recommend doing the trail if you're into such things. Some of the tours are definitely better than others, but it's still a really fun experience to check them all out!