Sunday, November 30, 2014

World's Largest Treehouse

This summer, Gram came across the alleged world's largest treehouse in Crossville, TN. She's been wanting to take Connor to see it ever since, and we finally found a good Saturday to make the drive out there to check it out.

It's definitely pretty neat! He really enjoyed exploring the many, many levels. It was built by a minister and has a chapel along with a lot of cool little spots throughout. Adam even went all the way to the very top and rang the bell. We also enjoyed the big swing!

It was a pretty cold day, and there had been a little bit of snow overnight. We definitely bundled up, and we probably would have stayed a little longer if it hadn't been quite so cold. Nonetheless, we were there for about an hour or a little longer, and he definitely got to check out every nook and cranny!

Technically, this place is closed to the public due to codes and stuff, but the owner built it with the intention of letting anyone come see it who wants to and for free. There was a another family there when we were exploring who knows the owner and said it's not a problem for folks to come check it out. We're really glad we got to take Connor to see it, especially since there's always a chance the powers that be could make him tear it down!

Here are some photos from our exploration:

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Tonight, I am with my husband on the eve of Thanksgiving. Tonight, we're staying at my sister's house in the town where we went to college... the town where we met in 2003... the town we will run 4 miles tomorrow during a turkey trot before heading back to our new hometown and our new home to host Thanksgiving.

I'm thankful to be back in TN. I'm thankful to have a beautiful house that we've been working hard since June to turn into our home. I'm thankful to have Connor with us this year for Thanksgiving. I'm thankful we can have our families over to cook and eat yummy food together.

There is much I am thankful for, and no list will ever encompass everything that brings me such joy, warmth and gratitude. For tonight, saying that is more than enough.

Tuesday, November 25, 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: