Friday, April 29, 2016

Flag Star Football

Have I mentioned Joseph has started doing flag football?  I swear, his interests and activities bounce all over the place that it's hard to keep them straight!  During the last cycle of after school enrichment programming, a new company - Flag Star - was offering flag football, and Joseph wanted to sign up with a few of his friends.  They absolutely loved it!  Coach Carl is such an awesome guy (with an awesome name!), so when we found out they also offered a Spring weekend league, we rallied a bunch of classmates and formed a 3rd grade Janney team.

They were assigned the team name Ravens.  How awesome is it that we have a girl on our team?!  They have a pro coach that runs drills and teaches skills, then they play a different team each week.  Most importantly, the kids have so much fun.  Plus we get to hang out on the sidelines with some of our friends for an hour and a half.

Here are some action shots from last week, with Joseph on defense, snapping the ball, and even catching a pass!  The poor kid doesn't have a competitive bone in his body, but the coaches are wonderful about really including every player in every game to a significant degree.  Who knows if he'll keep up with it, but we're all enjoying it for now.  I know there's some people down south that would love to see an LSU Tiger in training....

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Although the majority of our Spring Break centered on Disney World, I think we were all looking forward to our one day off property at Universal Studios the most.  Because: the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!!

There are actually 2 separate parks connected by the Hogwarts Express.  We chose to start our adventure as Harry did, in Diagon Alley first, then off to Hogwarts and Hogsmeade.  The first thing to see is a section of Muggle London, and parked in front is the Knight Bus!

Through the magic passage in the brick wall behind the Leaky Cauldron is an amazing recreation of Diagon Alley.  All the shops you read about in the book, and Gringotts bank in the center with a giant dragon on top.

A big draw was checking out everything in Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes.  Joseph could not have been more thrilled to see bottles of "U-No-Poo," the constipation sensation that's gripping the nation.  (As the saying goes, "Why are you worrying about You-Know-Who, you should be worrying about U-No-Poo.")

We splurged on an interactive wand for our little Gryffindor at Ollivander's.  There are spots all over the parks where he could say a spell and do a specific wand movement to make something magical happen.  So totally cool.

No duh, we had lunch at the Leaky Cauldron.  Actually, some of the best fish and chips ever!  We tried both regular and frozen Butterbeer, which kind of tasted like overly sweet vanilla cream soda.

Then we stood in line for the main attraction, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride.  It is just astounding how these places are exactly like what you see in the movies.  The ride itself was fantastic too.  I read ahead and finished all 7 books, but Brent and Joseph have only finished 6, so they don't quite know all the references, but nothing was spoiled for them.

Finally we set off for Hogwarts and Hogsmeade in the other park.  You guessed it, we found our way through King's Cross station to Platform 9 3/4.

Hogsmeade is recreated as a snow covered village (even though it was scorching sun and blistering hot!) with all the requisite stores and restaurants, including Honeydukes candy shop.

There's Hagrid's Hut!  
Right next to a Hippogriff nest!

Seeing Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in person in absolutely mind blowing!  The biggest attraction, the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, is housed inside the building, so you get to walk through and see some of the most well known things in the books.  The talking portraits were awesome!

There was so much to see and do between the 2 Harry Potter themed parks that we didn't do anything else in the rest of Universal Studios.  Well, I had to stop and get a squishee at the Kwik-E-Mart in Simpson's World, but that was it.

No surprise that Joseph picked a chocolate frog for a treat!