Sunday, September 11, 2011


I remember where I was on 9/11. I know a lot of people can remember where they were on 9/11. I know as I get older a new separator will be put into the generation gap: those who can remember and those who can't. I teach and most of my students were in third or fourth grade with a few being in the second grade when 9/11 happened. For the most part, these kids do not know a country without the lingering horror and saddness of 9/11.

I just hope amongst all the TV specials, documentaries, coffee table books that the students don't think of 9/11 as something that happened a long time ago, but instead realize how much our nation changed in less than 12 hours.

I know that as a freshman at Clemson University, I didn't know how much things were going to change and on that day, how much they had changed. I had stayed up almost all night studying for an astronomy exam and hadn't even gotten comfortable in skinny dorm room bed when the phone rang.

Mom: Hi honey! Just called to say good luck on your exam. And you need to turn on your TV.
Me: Uggh. Five more minutes. I have five more minutes before I have to get up.
Mom: Trust me, turn on your TV. It is important.
Me: Ok.(realizing it must be important because my mom never watches TV)
Click of the TV. A tiny screen propped up on the top of a microfridge unleashed scenes of horror.

I went to take my exam right as a plane hit the Pentagon. I answered C for all the questions and went back to the dorm room. My roommate and I sat the rest of the of our classes canceled...watching the TV. We knew our lives had changed, but we could never imagined how much they had changed.

Now, ten years later, I can think back to the dorm room, full of cheer with crazy colored posters on cinder block walls, text books haphazardly on a generic college-issued desk, and dark images surreal on a TV screen. An innocent girl, barely a month into college and living away from home: how could she comprehend two planes and two towers? How can she express to her students, children just as she was ten years ago, the importance of 9/11 when ten years ago she barely understood it herself? I don't know if I will ever be able to express the importance  of 9/11 or how the world she knew and expected to be there when she graduated from college changed, but I know I will and can try, because change doesn't happen when people forget.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hogwarts, Hogwarts, hoggy warty Hogwarts

I am going to tell you a not so secret secret.....I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan. My love for Harry Potter is only rivaled by that of my love of all things Disney. I re-read the books constantly. When the last book came out, I did an eight hour marathon of reading in order to finish it in one day. The Newsstand at Clemson use to have midnight release parties and before the store closed, my mother and I would make Harry Potter themed cakes for the parties. We have made a golden snitch and Hogwarts out of cake. For the last Harry Potter movie, I went as a golden snitch and Trae wore Harry Potter glasses.

Don't you love the wings?
Trae made them! True love right there!
 My love of Harry Potter is no secret to Trae and he vowed for our one year anniversary that I would have a real butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We had the crazy plan of driving all day, staying in a cheap hotel, spending a day at Universal with me waving to Disney, and then heading back the next day. Thanks to a wonderful friend, we ended up staying for a whole week and getting to go to Disney too!

We started the trip on our one year anniversary, and on August 1st, I was dragging my husband out of bed at a very early hour to make sure we were at Universal by the time the park opened. (We weren't, but we were only "late" by 30 minutes.) While Trae might have wanted to sedated me that morning, my excitement wore off on him.


The park felt like I had truly gone into the books or onto the movie set. Every detail was there, even in the bathrooms! When you walked into the bathrooms, you could hear Moaning Myrtle talking!! The Wizarding World, however, is small; the size meant we were able everything and not feel time crunched but also the lines were very very very long. We even did the other sections at the Universal Parks to let the crowds at the Wizarding World die down.

Since I read tips for visiting the Wizarding World, I knew a few tricks to avoiding some of the lines. Butterbeer, for example, is sold Hog's Head which is set up in the back of the Three Broomsticks and also has a back entrance. We did not have to wait in an unending line at a butterbeer cart to get butterbeer, and went back to Hog's Head each time we refilled our survivor mug. (A smart buy because it is ten bucks and butterbeer costs around six, so with the glass you get three dollar refills, and in some odd math way, evens out to the third butterbeer being free.)

Try making butterbeer at home with this recipe!

Instead of using store bought sauce, I made my own with this recipe. If you don't have dark brown sugar, use light brown sugar and just add maple syrup to the pot.

We (or I did as Trae keep kindly telling me to stop gawking and keep moving) also enjoyed the extensive line for the Forbidden Journey Ride; the whole ride queue is set up like the castle. We even walked through Professor Sprout's greenhouse and see mandrakes! I loved actually going to Hogwarts, and wanted to jump over the ropes and barriers and start taking classes! Even the Fat Lady was there and the pictures talked!

The hat even talked in rhyme to you!!

 We finished off our Hogwarts excursion with a trip to the The Tree Broom Sticks.  The food was wonderful! I had shepard's pie and Trae had chicken and ribs with roasted corn on the cob. Honestly, I was extremely surprised at how good everything was. The atmosphere was also enchanting. Shadows of owls dropping off the letters and the Daily Prophet or the Quibbler could be seen overhead. A huge fireplace was in the center of the restaurant. It was the perfect way to end our visit and the best way to enter into the first day of the second year of marriage!

See my necklace? It is a time-turner that Trae got me for an early birthday present!


I am so sorry for not posting in a long time. I am afraid I have gotten a bit behind with school starting and having a full load of classes to teach. I have also taken on a second job per say, where I get to write and not get paid! I am a Disney Wedding Blog mentor for the Disney Wedding Blog! If anyone has any questions about Epcot in Flordia, I am the girl to ask. You can read my blurb on the website here.

I am super excited about this position, because it gives me a chance to write about Disney and also get this blog out there. I really want to try to take this blog "to the next level" and into the professional realm. My goal is to go to the BlogHer conference next year.

Anyways, here is my promise to keep updating on a more regular base. I also promise to finish telling everyone about my vacation.