Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Weekly Drawing: Mezzaluna Set – $55 Retail Value | CHEESESLAVE

Enter to win a Mezzaluna Set! I've been dying to own one of these... would go perfectly with my Henckels knives! :) Hurry... contest ends tomorrow!

Weekly Drawing: Mezzaluna Set – $55 Retail Value | CHEESESLAVE

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Enter Cheeseslave's contest to win some European Pyrex!

This is a contest I'd LOVE to win! European Pyrex made from traditional glass that doesn't explode or shatter! WOW! I LOOOVE baking in glass but it scares the heck out of me. This would be a real treat! Enter to win! (Image courtesy of


Friday, July 1, 2011


My sweet Evan has signed up for fall football and we're all really excited for him to play! This is the first time he's ever shown an interest in sports and I think it's going to be really good for him. He's come a long way this past year. He's taken a greater interest in water (and is much less afraid to be in water than he used to be). He's also learned to ride a bike and now he wants to play football. We are so excited to have found a wonderful team so close to home. As a bonus, no practices or games on Sundays! But it won't be easy. Pre-season practices will begin August 1 and will run Monday-Thursday. Once games begin, they still will practice three nights a week. Anyway, I took him out tonight to pick up his first pair of football cleats. To see him beam is such a treat because there is so little that really brings out that glow on his face. He tried on a couple of different sizes and ran back and forth in the store with them to try them out and then we settled on a pair. He proudly carried that box to the register and couldn't wait to own them. We still have a few things left to get him, but overall, he's ready. We will spend the next month out on the track trying to prepare him as much as possible!

Blog This! : Communicate - Google Chrome Help

I found this Blogger install app so I'm testing it out. Might make it a lot easier to share web content over the blog.

Blog This! : Communicate - Google Chrome Help

Winco Empty?

8:20 on a Tuesday morning. Apparently THIS is the time to shop at Winco!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Day at Wild Waves!

The boys got season passes to Wild Waves this year. Jodi was kind enough to take them with her kids and they had a blast!! Here they look greasy because they're all slathered up in sunblock.

Monday, June 20, 2011

New Spray Park in NE Tacoma

I took the kids to meet friends at the new spray park in NE Tacoma, right behind the Centre at Norpoint. Don't let the photos deceive you. It may have been gray but I got FRIED! It was probably the worst burn I've had in 10 years! We were there a mere 3 hours and it was gray, overcast, and 70F the entire time. Crazy. The kids sure had fun, though!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sweet Reminder

Nancy Webster sat in church with us. Ethan was using his smelly markers to draw pictures in a notebook. Nancy asked him if she could draw something and this is what she handed back to him. Love her so much!

Friday, June 17, 2011

First Day of Summer Break fun!

Jodi and I met up at Dash Point State Park for a really nice day in the sun! The kids were so excited to be done with school and had a blast soaking up some rays and squirting each other with water squirters! (By the way... these contraptions can be had for a cool buck at the local Dollar Tree!)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Birthday Cupcakes!

It's Mike's birthday tomorrow! Team Hunsaker stopped by with homemade banana split cupcakes! Mmmmmm... DEE-LISH! Hmmm, I wonder if this means I can get away with not making a cake! Yeah, I didn't think so!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Evan is all signed up for fall football. This will be his first venture into sports and practice starts in July. We're all excited about it. A couple of weeks ago, our neighbor Zak tossed a ball with him and then pulled out his shoulder pads to try on. As you can see, he was beaming! I can't wait for the season to start!

Evan masters a bicycle!

Evan taught himself to ride a two-wheeler a couple of weeks ago! We are soooo proud of him and he's having so much fun!

Sunday sundaes!

Last Sunday (a week ago), we had sundaes after church with Team Worrells. Love these guys!!

Team Harris recently met up with Team Worrells to see the latest Pirates of The Caribbean installment (On Stranger Tides). It got mixed reviews but I loved it!! I'm glad we went! Thanks Worrells family for the tickets!

I miss blogging. I think that if I embrace mobile blogging, I might do it more often. After all, I ALWAYS have my phone with me. Here's a test post. We saw these watermelons at the store and it reminded me that maybe summer really IS coming. It's the last day of May and it's still been mostly gray and 60's. Sigh... we've had ONE day in the 70's since NOVEMBER. Is it too much to ask for a little warmth and sunshine?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

First Experience at the Cannery!


It's difficult to see, but at the end of the aisle is a picture of Christ! I love that!

I went and worked my first shift at the church cannery today. WOW... I had a feeling I’d enjoy myself, I just never knew how much! I highly encourage anyone to sign up when your ward or stake is assigned. When I arrived, I had a few butterflies in my belly. Isn’t that silly? I just didn’t know what to expect and wondered if I would do everything okay. I found out that someone else was there from my ward and it was her first time too! We ended up working together for the shift and if I do say so myself, we made a great team! I have to say, there was definitely a spiritual feeling as we worked together to can a very large order of food. My testimony of food storage and preparedness was strengthened quite a bit today. This program is definitely divinely inspired! We canned pinto beans, black beans, sugar, rice, flour, carrots, potato flakes, apple slices, oats, milk, hot cocoa mix, fruit drink mix, refried beans, wheat, macaroni, and spaghetti! It took us about 3-1/2 hours to do it all but admittedly, the time FLEW. I was shocked to see how much time had gone by after we were done. We had such a good time! Other than the sister from my ward, I didn’t know anyone else there, but it was fun talking to other people and getting to know others in our stake. I will definitely be going back!

I learned some interesting truths today:

Labels are important. One sister spoke of a time when she gave her son a can of beef stew to try out. He later reported to her that when he opened it, he was surprised to find raspberry jam instead! Oops!

If you can fruit drink mix, don’t be alarmed when you later blow your nose and find orange boogies. Just sayin’...

The apple slices are, as my husband put it, the elixir of life! Everyone in my family loves them... including the dog! It was my first time trying them. Mike wants me to go back and get a case. I think I will!

You still need to sort your beans. Try as we might, we could not get rid of all the rocks!

To end on a serious note... if you have a chance to go, DO IT! For so long, I couldn’t go because I either had small children at home or else it was on a night I had to work. I’m glad I’m able to make it work now! I definitely have a testimony of this program and all of the good that comes from it for people worldwide!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Blessing of Service

We had such an amazing lesson in Relief Society today that I had to come and blog about it. Valerie taught the lesson. It was her first time teaching in this capacity and she did a beautiful job! (I never doubted for a second that she would be anything but amazing!) The lesson was about service. We have such a wonderful group of sisters who always share things from the heart and I learn SO MUCH when I am there. I am grateful to associate with such beautiful women who are shining examples to me. During the lesson, I was reminded of something that happened to me a long time ago. I wanted to share the story in class, but I knew I would not be able to do so without crying my eyes out, so I kept it to myself. But I do want to blog about it because it’s something that I’ve always kept close to my heart and that I’ve leaned on from time to time in my life.

This story took place about 16 or 17 years ago. I was still living in Hawai’i at the time. That year, Honolulu was taking part in First Night festivities. This is a HUGE block party (that really encompasses several city blocks and venues) on New Years Eve. It’s an alcohol-free event. There are a ton of bands that play music, food vendors, and other types of entertainment. It’s really fun to go to and it’s nice to take kids to because it’s pretty safe. My friend, L, and I decided to head down there. We caught the bus (we lived very, very close to downtown at the time), hopped off, and got caught up in the festivities. As I recall, the entertainment was really good! As we were walking down one dark street, a dirty-looking homeless man approached us and asked, “Excuse me but do you have any spare change?” We kind of hurriedly brushed him off and said “No” and kept on walking. But then something happened that is difficult to describe. As we continued to walk, it was as though all the sounds of the music and the atmosphere began to be muffled. I liken this to a scene in a movie where someone is fainting and the sound effect they use to sort of drown out and muffle the surrounding sounds. My whole body became heavy... very heavy... so heavy that it was difficult to walk and my legs felt like they had become weighted-down sandbags. In my head, I kept hearing a voice saying, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my bretheren, ye have done it unto me.” I simply could not go on. I stopped and turned to L and looked at her. At the exact same moment, she stopped and looked at me and we both said at the same time, “We have to go back. This was a test and we failed.” She then shared with me that she was having a similar experience. In her head, she kept hearing, “Because I have been given much, I too much give.” So we quickly turned around and began looking for this man in a sea of First Night party-goers. It actually didn’t take us very long to find him. We didn’t have a lot of money on us. But we emptied our pockets and gathered up what we had and approached him. He turned around and I will never forget the look in his eyes. It was as though I was staring at Christ himself... I no longer saw the dirty man or the tattered clothes. I saw the Savior. We said, “Here. This is for you.” He took the money so graciously and with a tear in his eyes and a most humble spirit, he said, “Oh thank you. God Bless you.” And then we turned and left.

I will never forget that experience as long as I live. We walked away feeling so light and so blessed... WE felt blessed! When we give, even just a little, we get so much in return! The song we sang in Relief Society today was “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief”. It is my absolute FAVORITE hymn. I have yet to ever make it through the song without crying. I have rarely been able to sing the final verse because my voice simply gives way to tears. Today was no different. After singing about all of the selfless acts of service in the first six verses, the seventh is so triumphant:

Then in a moment to my view
The stranger started from disguise.
The tokens in his hands I knew;
The Savior stood before mine eyes.
He spake, and my poor name he named,
“Of me thou hast not been ashamed.
These deeds shall thy memorial be;
Fear not, thou didst them unto me.”

THIS is what I experienced that night with that homeless man... THIS IS IT. “Then in a moment to my view, The stranger started from disguise. The tokens in his hands I knew; The Savior stood before my eyes.”

Tonight, some friends stopped by with a cake for my husband. No, there was no special occasion. There was nothing to celebrate. It was not a “thank you” gift. It was simply an act of kindness, meant to make him smile... and it did. But it was so much more than that. It was a gift that said, “We are so lucky to have friends. Life would be so lonely without them. Friends add so much happiness and joy to our lives and make us feel loved.” I’m so thankful for friends and for acts of kindness such as this! These are the little things that buoy us up in life when things threaten to pull us down!

I am grateful for the all of the kind, selfless acts of service that I have been the blessed recipient of in my life. And I am thankful to be able to give as well. I only pray that I will continue to hear the Spirit’s still, small voice, prompting me to give to others in need!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Small prayers... large blessings!

I had to take a few moments today to count my blessings. Before I do that, and in order to understand why, I must back up and give some background to the past week or so.

Mike is taking off today for another business trip. If I have to work while he's gone (and this time I am working two shifts), it always adds a lot of stress to me because it means making arrangements for the kids. Both nights are school nights and... well... it's NIGHT TIME. I don't like leaving my kids at night... ever... unless of course they are at home with their dad. This ALWAYS stresses me out. So this has been weighing on my mind. Thankfully, my friend Jodi has offered to take care of them for me. What a blessing!! This works well because my boys go to school with her kids so she will get them off to school for me in the morning!

I had to work this past weekend. It's been a little bit crazy at work. Our level II nursery status went live and wouldn't you know it, we've had patients! For the entire month of February, I've spent all but one shift inside that nursery. It's a smallish nursery and being in there for 12 hours makes for a long shift. When you have to do it three nights in a row, you get a little bit stir crazy. The first weekend in February I spent 36 hours in the nursery and I did it again this past weekend. By Monday morning, I was going nuts. I LOVE my babies and I just need to get used to being in there for long periods. When I worked in the nursery at my last hospital, it was MUCH bigger and I had a lot more people to talk to. In this case, we keep it dark and quiet and there are only two of us in there.

Add to this the fact that I slept VERY poorly over the weekend. By Sunday morning, I had a raging headache. And add to all of this the fact that I was stressing out about a lot of things...

I was stressed about Mike leaving. I was stressed about Evan's school work. He has a book report/diorama due this week and we haven't worked on it. I was stressed about Ethan. The cub scout Blue & Gold dinner is this Wednesday and he is supposed to decorate a cake for that event. I was also heartbroken because Mike will be gone and I'm supposed to work and this meant that Ethan would have NO parent available to be with him at his dinner. I think he will be getting his Wolf rank that night and my heart was bleeding, thinking of him being there without either of us. I knew that I would be TIRED on Monday because the kids were home for President's day and I was already exhausted from the weekend. That would leave only Tuesday night to work on the diorama and cake. Add to ALL of the above the fact that money is tight right now and I don't have loads to spend on fancy cake decorations or diorama parts. It all just added up and I felt ridiculously overwhelmed.

Through tears, I finally just uttered a prayer and asked that everything just work out. It was a small, short, but very emotionally fervent prayer. And after that, I left it in His hands. Then came the miracles...

I got home Monday and took a 3-hour nap. The boys played video games and were SO GOOD during that time... no fighting at all. I felt bad that I had to spend their holiday sleeping, but they seemed okay with it. Sadly, Mike had to work that day. I woke up feeling very well rested, which is a miracle in and of itself since I had gone days with poor sleep. I immediately got to working on the diorama and book report with Evan. I thought if we could even just get a start on it, that would be something. Miraculously, we finished the entire thing using materials we had on hand at home... and had a lot of fun in the process. It wound up being a family project... we all had a hand in it. But most importantly, Evan enjoyed the process, we all had fun, and we got it done ahead of schedule!

This morning, one of my coworkers GRACIOUSLY agreed to work the first two hours of my shift tomorrow night. She did this on a last minute basis and I almost cried when she said yes. This brings me the greatest peace of mind. It means Ethan will not be alone tomorrow night for the Blue & Gold dinner and it means that I can take video and pictures since Mike won't be able to attend either.

We got the cake idea figured out and miraculously, it is going to cost me a grand total of $4.25... that includes cake, frosting, and all necessary decorations! I had some stuff on hand and Jodi is loaning me her cake pans (I don't have the necessary size) so I don't have to buy pans.

It's all just come together and I think I can live out the rest of the week, stress-free! Even the smallest of prayers are heard. I am grateful and thankful for the blessings that come from faith and prayer. I am continually amazed at the blessings I receive and I continue to see and acknowledge the hand of God in all things!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Finding the humor in puke!

Yeah, I said it... humor in puke. Hey, if we can't find the humor, we'll just go crazy. So I'm sitting up late, having made my husband some yummy Valentine's cookies (I know, I said we don't celebrate Valentine's Day... and we really don't... but he loves these cookies and I thought I'd surprise him.) I was watching a show and knitting and thinking of going to bed when I hear the kids' bedroom door fly open and a very distraught Ethan yell, "MOM, I PUKED!" Oh boy... many thoughts ran through my head, like how this is likely just the very beginning of a long, nasty bout in our home... or how I have a VERY busy week ahead of me and this is really inconvenient... or how the kids have Valentine's parties in their classes tomorrow and they've SO been looking forward to this and how at least one kid will now miss the big event (yes, I'm a good mom and I'll still take the candy to class that he signed up to bring, along with his personally-hand-written Valentine's cards to everyone)... or how I just don't want this and I was so hoping that we'd somehow been deemed special enough to not be "blessed" with it. Yeah... all of that went through my head in a nanosecond. So I calmly put my knitting down and said, "It's okay. At least it was only on the floor and not your bed." Uh, yeah right... in your dreams, Christina. "Oh it's on my bed too mom!" Ahhhh... let the humor begin!!!

Sure enough... all over the bed, the goose-down comforter, the carpet AND the area rug. Nice! He got in the shower and brushed his teeth well in the shower and got all freshened up. I went to gather my cleaning supplies and when I got back to the bedroom, most of said vomit had somehow disappeared. There was my precious dog, looking up at me like he'd just had the best meal of his life and licking his chops. Seriously, THAT made ME want to vomit. But what the heck, he made my clean-up a whole lot easier... nothing chunky to clean now! Yay! (Please, oh PUH-LEASE don't let the dog get sick now!!!!!!)

I got the floor all cleaned up and then sprayed a vinegar solution all over the place and covered it with a ton of baking soda. ***Side note here: Nothing takes out the smell of puke like vinegar and baking soda. Trust me when I tell you that I have experience with this. Anytime they puke, I clean it up well and then wet the area (yes, even mattresses) with vinegar and water and then cover the wet areas with baking soda. Don't be stingy with it either. POUR IT ON! I buy the 12lb bags at Costco. They are dirt cheap and baking soda cleans like nobody's business. Plus, it's not a chemical, so I'm not afraid of my kids breathing in anything nasty. When it's all dry tomorrow, I'll vacuum it up and I swear to you it will not smell like puke anymore!!***

Meanwhile, while Cinderella is hard at work on the bedroom floor, Ethan is in the living room and I hear that nasty gag and yell at him to RUN!! That didn't work out the way I had envisioned, so now it's all down the hallway and the bathroom floor, bathroom cabinet, and bathroom sink. WAY TO GO ETHAN!!! When I had thrown the bed sheets and comforter in the washing machine on a sanitize cycle, I thought I had really done well keeping it to one load of laundry! That'll teach me now won't it?

So anyway... here we are... Ethan moved rooms. I had to give up my bedroom fan because my kid won't sleep without one (it's gonna be a L-O-N-G night I tell you!) and Evan was moved to the bottom bunk. I don't want anyone on the top bunk when the flu is going around. I don't even want to *THINK* about where the puke would go from THAT angle!! Everyone is clean and fresh and back to sleep and they have big bowls sitting next to their beds with strict instructions to aim into them should they feel the urge to hurl. Here I am, wired and just waiting for the next round to start.

Did I mention that my kids *always* do this the night before I'm supposed to work a 12-hour shift? Yeah. These are the joyous moments of motherhood that I'll cherish always! Stay tuned for the next installment in the Harris Puke Adventures. :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

There Are No Ordinary Moments: CESAREAN COURAGE

I ran across this blog entry this morning, courtesy of a friend of mine. It is an intensely powerful piece that moved me greatly. The trauma I have dealt with over the past 9 years because of my first very, very traumatic birth experience has been immense. People may be quick to say, "Get over it. You have a healthy child. That's all that matters." Unless you have experienced this first hand, I would respectfully say, "You don't have a clue." When it is YOUR body that is mutilated and YOUR baby that is damaged, then you get to chime in. Otherwise, you just don't know. I'm going to include the text of the post, in case it ever disappears for some reason. But I am also linking the blog entry here and I encourage you to go there and read it. Following that entry, you can read the comments that I left (I've included them at the bottom here). Writing those comments opened up the wound fresh again as I was forced to relive that moment when that doctor damaged my sweet boy.

There Are No Ordinary Moments: CESAREAN COURAGE

JANUARY 18, 2011


As a doula, I keep up with "birth stuff". I read blogs, research and discussions on birth. There is a lot of talk about the medicalization of childbirth, about VBAC and VBAC bans, and women's choices and lack of choices and OBs fear-mongering and the negative effect of interventions and early inductions. We talk about the benefits of home birth and midwifery care, doulas, Hypnobabies, water birth, unassisted birth, hands off birth, free birth, active birth, gentle birth, natural birth....but what we really talk a lot about is fear and the cesarean "epidemic".

We, in the birth community talk a lot about fear because childbirth in our culture is saturated in fear. And there is no doubt in my mind that it is because of this culture of fear that we have such a high cesarean rate. And in all our talk of unnecessary cesareans, and of fear, I don't hear a lot of talk about courage. Because no matter what the culture is, it takes courage to give birth. A lot of courage. The courage to give birth is in every woman, whether she knows it before hand or not, and even if she thinks it isn't there, she finds it inside of herself.

And all those mothers having cesareans? They have courage. Courage that needs to be recognized.

In our analysis of cesarean births and their increasing numbers, we get caught up in the focus of why the cesarean was or was not necessary, if this or that intervention caused it, if only that had been done or not done then perhaps the birth could have been vaginal. We get angry, we get sad, we work to change things. This is all good and very important, because too many women are subjected to unnecessary cesareans.

But can we please stop, for one moment and recognize, that no matter how educated or uneducated, coerced or informed the choice that woman on the operating table made or didn't make, whether that cesarean was elective or emergency, necessary or unnecessary - it takes a lot of courage to get there. Our birth culture may be saturated in fear-based decisions, but behind every cesarean and "unnecesarean" is a woman of courage. In that moment, it doesn't matter how that woman got to the operating table. It doesn't matter if the surgery is necessary or unnecessary, what matters is that it takes extraordinary courage to say:

"Cut me open.
I love my baby so much, that I will do anything to get my baby out of my body alive.
Lay me out, cut me open
because I love my baby so much."

That is courage. That is bravery and sacrifice and mothering in its purest form. That is the willingness to lay down your body and risk your life that your child might be born, that your child might live.

Cesarean mothers are BRAVE.

In the midst of our efforts as doulas and mothers and midwives and counselors and friends, in the work we do to educate and empower and change things...we need to take a moment to recognize the courage it takes to lay down and allow yourself to be cut open to have your baby.

And so, I recognize a few of the women that I know who have had the courage to give birth to their babies by cesarean:

Were you a Cesarean Brave Mama? Do you want to recognize the courage of a Cesarean Brave Mama? Leave a comment.

Here are my comments, left at the end of the blog post:
Thank you for this beautiful piece. I have spent so much of the past 9 years grieving and working through the trauma surrounding my cesarean experience in 2002. This piece actually closed part of the gap in my still, ever-gaping wound. This piece really did wonders for my healing.

Thank you for recognizing my courage. I said the words, "Cut me open". After seeing that doctor with her leg hiked up on the bed while she pulled on my sweet baby's head with forceps, I pulled myself from the very depths of hell and shouted, "STOP. JUST CUT ME OPEN. JUST CUT ME OPEN ALREADY." I would have allowed her to cut me open without anesthesia before I allowed her to yank on my baby's head like that again. Courage is putting yourself in that situation. Courage is laying there while a doctor holds up your baby over a curtain and says, "Hi mom" and then takes him away. Courage is laying there while someone else is holding your baby. Courage is wanting nothing more than to run to your baby and hold him and tell him how sorry you, while strapped to a table in a paralyzed state. Courage is looking across the room and seeing people doing things to your sweet child, knowing that it should be YOU in their place, protecting him. Courage is laying there paralyzed and looking over and seeing your baby rooting and looking for you. It has been 9 years of HELL and I am nowhere NEAR dealing with that trauma. But this piece today helped me, ever so much, to continue towards healing.

As a neonatal nurse, I treat babies so differently than mine was treated. Each time I am able to connect a cut-open mother with her baby, it helps me to heal. When I am the nurse, that baby goes directly to his mother. When I am the nurse, he is skin to skin with her, even if it is only with their faces together. When I am the nurse, the scenario is no different if a mother needs general anesthesia. I have been looked at and ridiculed by anesthesiologists for doing so, but it does not matter to me. Because I know that that baby needs his mother, even if she is asleep. And I know that deep down, that mother knows her baby is there and is well.

Yes, it takes oceans of courage to have a c-section.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Harry Potter - The Exhibition!

Last night I got to go to the Harry Potter Exhibit at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. This was part of Ethan's birthday present! Nancy came with us, as did Ethan's friend Justin and we had a great time. (Justin is the biggest HP fan I know and this was not his first time going to the exhibit!) It was a bit harrowing getting up there. The traffic was INSANE once we hit the main city limits; I forgot how bad traffic gets on a Friday night in Seattle. Once we got there, the line just to pay for the parking space was making me nervous too. But in the end we got up there and it all went off without a hitch!

I always love being in downtown Seattle. It's not so fun getting there, but once you're there it's a great place to hang out. The Space Needle looked beautiful as usual and so did the arches at PacSci. Sadly, Warner Brothers prohibited ANY type of photography. As I said to someone else, who asked if I had taken any photos, "No way! The Ministry of Magic was all over that place!" The hosts who were walking around all came from the UK with this tour so it was fun to hear them all speaking with accents. It certainly added to the authenticity of the event.

The evening started with the Sorting Hat (of course). Justin QUICKLY raised his hand when they called for volunteers and he was chosen first! He was, as predicted, sorted into Gryffindor House! Then we all moved on past the Hogwarts Express into the main area where all the props and costumes were located. We got to see thousands of props and costumes from the first five films. It was fun recognizing so many different props. But there were many things I didn't remember. Nancy and I agreed that a HP marathon is in order! We wanted so badly to take pictures of things so we'd remember to look for them in the movies.

One of things I'd heard from people was that they were blown away by how tiny the costumes looked. I will second that sentiment! Hermione's costumes looked especially tiny. While Harry's and Ron's seemed to get bigger over the years, hers did not. Her beautiful Yule Ball dress from year 4 (Goblet of Fire) was TEENY TINY... the waist was so small! It's hard to imagine that she fit into it! Harry's and Ron's beds also looked very small to me. By contrast, we got to see the actual costume worn by the actor who was used for Hagrid's body! We had no idea, until a host told us, that a real person wore it! It was HUGE. It really gave us a sense of just how gigantic Hagrid really was. I know that for me personally, while reading the books, it was a bit hard for me to wrap my head around that. I remember in Sorcerer's Stone his hands were described to be the size of "trash can lids" (or "dust bin lids" if you read it as Philosopher's Stone.) Now I can finally "see" it!

I loved seeing it all! Fun, fun, fun and worth every penny!! We were not able to get photos, as I said, but I took some photos of the things Ethan and I got from the gift shop. Let me start by saying that most everything in there was HIGHWAY ROBBERY!!!! They wanted $40 for a Marauder's Map, $45 for a wand (made of plastic, I might add), $28 for a t-shirt and $60 for a hoodie! Now this wasn't a special hoodie or anything... just a typical hoodie that said Harry Potter across the front. CRAZY! Ethan found a quill and ink set for $10 and I told him he could get it. I felt lucky that of all the crazy expensive stuff in there, he soooo badly wanted the $10 item! As for myself, I got a VERY cool mug that has a secret Marauder's Map on it! I'll let you take a look at the pics below to see yourself. The map shows up once you put hot liquid into the cup. I'm currently nursing a cold, so I have plenty of need to use my cool mug for my honey lemon tea. Lucky me!

Thanks Nancy and Justin for coming along... what a fun evening!!

Happy 9th Birthday Ethan!

This is a late entry. My sweet Ethan turned 9 on January 13! It was a day he had been looking forward to for a VERY long time! He had two requests... cupcakes for his class at school and a lemon cake for his birthday celebration at home. I was happy to oblige both requests. I actually made the cupcakes the night before so that they would be totally cool and ready to frost the next day.


After getting them all made up, I boxed them and took them up to his school along with a bouquet of colorful balloons. It was so much doing that. He beamed from ear to ear when I got there and he saw the balloons. He didn't know I'd be bringing those!

The kids in his class sang Happy Birthday to him and he loved being the center of attention! Sadly, Blogger is not letting me upload videos. I have tried and TRIED since last night and it won't let me. Boo. I also tried to post the video of us singing to him here at home and it won't let me do that either. Not happy about that!

When Ethan got home from school that day, his lemon cake was awaiting him! He was really excited to see his cake, his "Ethan" confetti, "Ethan" balloons, and presents! Here are some photos: