November 15, 2017

Hogsmeade in Utah...

Hogsmeade in least a very, very small version of it.

In a bit of business brilliance, South Towne Mall in the Salt Lake Valley decided to have a holiday version of Hogsmeade--the small shopping village in the Harry Potter series. There is a version of it at the Universal Studios in California and Orlando. Those are amazing places to go (we like Orlando better than California). So we had high expectations. Maybe a bit too high .

We went the first night and there was a line from the entrance snaking back to the JCPenny's nearby. We were surprised of how small it was for the amount of media attention it had received. We also were surprised at the amount of people there. However, it is not surprising when you think of all the Harry Potter fans around the area.

The next day Lucky Dragon begged to go back. I went back with he and Koala Bear. We were there on a Saturday at 1000h. I did not realize the Hogsmeade shops did not open until 1100h. I was going to find something else to do but there were several people already in line. So after consulting with Lucky Dragon, I spent the next hour by myself in line with a 4 year old and a 10 month old! Luckily, he was so excited for the experience (he is an avid Harry Potter fan) and that there was a family that brought there pocket sized dog along with them (yes, very cliche to go shopping with a bag sized dog). Koala Bear was amazingly enthralled with it.

We played games like "I spy with my little eye" and reading the signs of the shops nearby. It is especially fun to see that Lucky Dragon is reading now--small words like SUN and STOP. The long line waiting was broken up a bit when an elderly lady had a stroke of some kind and smashed onto the cement floor convulsing before going still. In a flurry of medics and police ensued and she was taken off. It was a bit chaotic. And sad. Lucky Dragon was so interested to see. He was extremely interested in what was happening and how.

It was fun to see all of the people in line with their Harry Potter themed clothing. T-shirts, cloaks, wands etc all adorned these people. JK Rowling truly did create a world of wonder!

We finally made it into the shops--the small area of shops. We looked at every wand they were selling. It was not the same size of selection at the Theme Parks. It was fun to see them and see how Lucky Dragon loved opening each box and trying it out. They had a film crew onsite and they asked to film him...he gave them his best "Expecto Patronum!" spell. They also filmed him playing the little game of Quidditch.

It was fun. Really just a small selection of things to buy. The theme-ing for the shops was done well. They did not sell Butterbeer and the line was REALLY long for what was there. After we had purchased some pen wands and a chocolate frog for Lady Hiva we went out. The line was literally clear down to the other end of the mall!! I would estimate it was nearly a mile long!  Glad we went. But also glad we have had the chance to go to Universal and get a better feel of it.

November 05, 2017

The Annual "Explosion of Christmas" 2017!

Christmas has arrived!

As you all know, I suffer through Halloween (I have been trying to be better about liking it) because that is Lady Hiva's favorite holiday, but once it becomes 1 NOV Christmas starts! Lady Hiva calls it my Explosion of Christmas!

This year Lady Hiva had put away all of the Halloween while I was at work and Lucky Dragon was SO excited for me to come home from work so we could decorate the tree. So out comes all of the bins of Christmas decor...well not ALL the bins, there are so many we don't use them all. YIKES. We had so much fun decorating. He was a machine. If we stopped to talk or discuss, he would get us back on track. He would animate to us why he chose the perfect place for each ornament--the most popular reason was that two ornaments were "friends so they needed to be close to each other."

Dresden, Germany

 The following few photos are Lucky Dragon exploring his photography skills:

The chaos before it looks better!

This year's tree's theme was silver, red and black

The next day tree #2 and #3 went up too! It was fun to go through all of our creche collections. We have them from all over the world. It is fun to have them out to celebrate.
Tree #2 was last year's, lime green and white

Tree #3 in Lucky Dragon's bedroom. Decorated by himself

The Creche in his room

Munich, Germany

Sophia, Bulgaria

United States of America

Rome, Italy

United Kingdom

Berlin, Germany

Tree Creche from Dresden, Germany. Dark wood Creche from Manila, Philippines

Barnwood box made from wood from my childhood farm

Tapa cloth Creche from Laie, Hawaii

Munich, Germany

Chartrain, France

Olive wood Creche from Athens, Greece

Iznik tile Creche, Istanbul, Turkey

Once we had the inside done, we decided to put up the lights on the outside. This was an interesting experience considering we now have a REALLY tall house with a steep roof! Chiding myself for not following through and buying that long ladder, I borrowed one from a neighbor. With two short ladders--one to the first level of roof and the other to the next level, I climbed up. As I stood up and was treated to a magnificent view of Utah Lake shining in the moonlight, I realized that I was doing my own version of" Don't try this at home!" haha. We made some garlands and spread the lights around to celebrate the season. It made us excited.

Lucky Dragon being the photographer again! hahah

Many people ask why I like to do this so early, or they ask why I am "forgetting" Thanksgiving. Usually I answer with some kind of joke. But in all seriousness I do love the Christmas season. I like the way the focus is on words like, joy, peace, love, family, service and, of course, our Savior Jesus Christ. I am sure that Christmas is stressful to some because of the commercial aspect of it, but for me that part of Christmas is only secondary. What a better way to live then to focus of loving and serving others. That is something I definitely need to remember and this season helps me do that.

So...I did not skip Thanksgiving, we just eat around the tree and lights of Christmas.