Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Nomination for Best Kit!!!

Can I just say "WOW"?! Last term, I saw Eugene's kit from Lizzie Wychwood, and instantly wanted to be spoiled by her...Lucky me, I got that wish granted this term! And again, I say: "WOW"!!!! The thought and care she puts into the package just blows me away! I'm sure I didn't show all the enthusiasm I really felt, given that I opened it all after the fiasco that was my flight in from Venice, but I assure, you Lizzie, it completely made my day and all the hassle of flying with my boys completely worth it!!! My nomination for best kit absolutely goes to my fantastic spoiler!

The Bag (Brea Bag), which I have had queued on Rav since nearly the time I became a member...

The beautiful bronze-y inside!:

Sock pattern, bag pattern, and stitch marker instructions:

Sock yarn (HBP Harry colorway), YUMMY yarn for the bag, and leftovers from the Brea Bag so I can make a matching wallet (which wasn't really part of the kit, but it goes with it...lol):

The HBP Harry colorway:

The gorgeous yarn for the bag:

The bag pattern, yarn, and bluetiful (hahaha) material for lining:

Yummy Muggle Sweets!:

The most gorgeous sock blockers EVER!!!!! (And my very first sock blockers):

Close-up of the eagle painted on the sock blockers:

Knit Picks size 2.5 mm dpns, knitting gauge (also my first!), and needle point protectors (again, a first!):

Mini-sock keychain that matches my Brea Bag:
Stitch marker instructions and supplies (which I am very excited about because I've wanted to learn how to make stitch markers for a while now!), and though it's not pictured (security in Gatwick wouldn't let me board the plane with it) there was also a 3-in-1 tool for making stitchmarkers:
Close-up of what my first self-made stitch markers will be made of:
The whole kit!!!:
So many "firsts" that have filled out knitting tools that I didn't before have...so much blue, which is the bestest color ever, and a bag that I fell in love with on sight! And to top it all off, I got it when I was the most stressed and frustrated, and I couldn't think of a better pick-me-up! Like I said: "WOW"!!!!! Thank you so very much, Lizzie!!! I love every part of it!!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Magical Mystery Tour

Day 2! I was a bit surprised that I was as awake as I was the next morning, and I was surprised that I wasn't already sore from the walking! I don't get out much, here at home, and am very out of shape. I figured the previous day's events and the walking around (to dinner and back and so on) would have made me super sore. But there must have been something in the air there, because I felt great and had gotten the best night's sleep in a loooooooooooooooong time!

Everyone had discussed at dinner the previous night what to fill Saturday with, but I was pretty out of it and by that time was only catching about 1/2 of what had been going on! LOL So you might say that the day that lay before me was a Mystery...we started off by meeting outside Starbucks and were going to walk everywhere. Can I just say that I absolutely LOVE Edinburgh?! I feel in love with that city just on the walk to Starbucks! Everything we were going to go see was close together and so beautiful! I have a love for European architecture. It's just so beautiful and breathtaking to me. And to have history, on top of that, that is older than America...it puts me in awe!

So after a bit of morning chatter and finally figuring out the order of our itinerary, we were off! Now, I figured that kilts were more of an "olden day" iconic thing for the Scots. Not so! There were far more out being worn than I expected! On our way down the Royal Mile, we came across a very talented young man!
Here he is getting all set up....

And I know I took video of him performing, I just can't find it! Grrr...I'll have to look later, I suppose...Anyway, after seeing a bagpipe performance, we continued on our way. But before we got to our destination, we came across another gem...Here are the 3 E's (Emma, Emma and Elladora) standing beneath a significant sign:

Close-up of said sign:
After that picture stop, we were finally there! Where we we going, you ask?...

They supposedly had an exhibit set up for seeing the entire process, from sheep to tartan, but none of us could figure how they came up with that claim...lol However, here is one of the ginormous machines they had on display. It was really amazing to look at it and see how it all worked. (Unfortunately, I couldn't get a picture that got the whole thing in it...)

They even had tartan on part of their floor! I just thought that was the coolest thing ever... (Side note: I've always been a fan of the whole plaid thing...a taste I clearly share with Professor McGonagall!)

After the "museum" of tartan, we continued on to our next destination...HOGWARTS!!! Now of course, to all the Muggles around (and as I used a Muggle camera and didn't have the potion to develop it in), this is what it looked like:

They think it's a significant part of Muggle historical happenings, largely revolving around Muggle wars and such, but we witches and wizards know that there is much, much more to it than that. ;) One of the first things I noticed upon coming to the gate:

Do you see it....? Here, how about a hint:

The crest of Godric, himself! And I took many, many, many pictures, so I'm just going to put them in here with captions instead of continuing a narration at this point:

The portcullis:

A Dog Cemetary (sweet in a morbid sort of way, lol):

Emma Wigworthy and her family crest:

Emma leading us down to the Slytherin Common Room:

Down in the dorms of the Snake Pit:

Ravenclaw Tower:

The Great Hall!!!:

The closest I could find to the Ravenclaw Crest (I was a bit disappointed):

And now this post is soooooooooooo picture-heavy, I think Day 2 is going to have to have a part 2!

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Hard Day's Night...

So many of you have been saying that I was "oh, so brave" to fly from Italy to Edinburgh on my own with my 3-year-old and my 2-year-old...the truth is...it wasn't bravery. It was severe insanity with a touch of suicidal tendencies! (Or, at the very least, just being extremely selfish. Which I paid dearly for.) After coming home, all I really have to say is this: Never. Ever. Ever. Again. Never will I again fly with two little ones by myself! Especially with them both going through the phases they are right now. Temper tantrums (screaming, crying, yelling...), roughhousing (pushing, tackling, and wrestling, which turns into hitting, kicking, and knocking over), and exercising their opinions and own desires apart from my own...it was foolish of me to do it. But I was bound and determined to not miss out on the get-together for the swap! But, as I said, I paid dearly for my selfishness...

The Hard Day began at 3am. I stayed awake all night long so that I didn't oversleep and miss the flight. I had to wake the boys up, get them out to the car, and get on the road toward the airport. (We had a friend that took us there.) Got there in plenty of time, got boarded (fairly) easily, I was super excited, albeit very tired, and was ready to go to Edinburgh!...but the plane wasn't. There were technical difficulties that kept us grounded for 2 hours. Two hours!!! Thankfully, I got to doze for a bit. Aidyn had also fallen back to sleep, but Calen was awake. As I was taking the carseats, though, and he was strapped in, I wasn't too concerned with staying awake. (Aidyn's carseat was too wide to fit in the airplane seat, which I hadn't counted on, because I know it fit just fine in the plane on the trip to move to Italy...) Finally, after they fixed the engine trouble, we were off. Got to Gatwick in London.

Arrivederci, Italia!

On the flight, they passed out what they call "landing cards" to those that are not UK citizens. Basically, you have to give them your passport ID number, the name and address of where you'll be staying in the UK, and the length of time for your visit. In all the papers I had printed out and made a point to have on me, the hotel reservation was not one of them. Go figure. So when we got to London and had to go through immigration, I wasn't allowed through. I evidently went in the wrong line (hauling the 2 carryon cases with the carseats laying down, one on each case, that kept slipping every time I turned...so I got shunted to the side to the right line, me apologizing to everyone I was cutting in the right line, yelling at two delinquent children that were tired and insisted on throwing tantrums and so on. I get over to the guy, lay down the cards and passports, and he gives me this look. Almost like a "are you stupid?" look. Before I even had a chance to open my mouth! And he pushed the cards back at me (again, before I had a chance to speak) and said, "these have to be completely filled out." I told him that I didn't have the address, and you know what he said back (before I could ask if he could help me at all)? "Then get it. And move to the side so I can help the people who do have their cards filled out." Okay, now, I get that there are other people waiting, but good grief! That guy was beyond rude! He didn't call anyone else over to give me a hand with said cases and screaming children or even any hint of how to find the address or anything! So I haul everything over to the side, catch the attention of someone patrolling the "gate" at the immigration control, and they said there were phones behind me, I could go use one of them. That person at least gave me a pitying look, even if they didn't try to help me move that direction or anything...

So I get over to the pay phone, and I turn on my cell. I got texts in Italian telling me I'd have extra fees for using my phone in the UK. Yeah, okay, I didn't care about the fees at that moment. Right then, all I wanted was to call Lizzie Wychwood or Lily May Clearwater to see if they could look it up for me. My phone wouldn't work. At all. Great. (Turns out, when you have a prepaid phone, you evidently have to inform the phone carrier ahead of time...) So I was going to use the pay phone (that blessedly accepted euro, as I hadn't changed money yet) and call them...but I couldn't find the number in my phone that I know I programmed in the night before!!! Ok, so I would call one of my friends back in Italy and have them look it up for me. The phone wouldn't recognize Italian numbers!!! So my flight from Venice was already 2 hours behind schedule, I was supposed to meet a taxi to take me to my connection at Heathrow, I had two screaming kids and insanely rude people at immigration control, in a foreign country where I couldn't get a hold of anyone I knew. I was already on the verge of losing it, and the trip had only just begun!!!
I got the attention of one of the guys nearby, and he pointed me to the British Airways (who I was flying with) desk on this side of immigration. I go over there, clearly stressed and hassled, and I tell you, those people are magic. LOL One of them must have been a witch who calmed me with a charm from a wand under the desk...Anyway, they shuffled me around to switch my flight to Edinburgh to one going out of Gatwick so that I didn't have to stress about my Heathrow connection. Unfortunately, that put me at getting into Edinburgh at 2pm instead of noon, and the first meet up was supposed to be at the Elephant House at 2pm, but at that point, that was a minor detail I could overlook, just so long as we weren't stuck in London! They point me the direction of security, I haul my cookies (and the cookies of my kicking and screaming children) over to get our boarding passes checked...and someone from immigration comes over and says "they sent you the wrong way, you have to go through immigration." ARGH! I still didn't have the address! Nor could I remember the name of the hotel! Once again, the British Airways people worked their magic, though. I gave them what I remembered of the hotel name, and they looked it up for me and filled out that stupid blank line on each of the cards. Finally. I got through immigration. Went to go through security, and they tell me "you can't take the seats on the plane. Those have to be checked." I deliberately didn't pack any check-sized bags to avoid dealing with any of that! But whatever. Drag everything back to the nearest British Airways desk. (Not the same one as on the other side of immigration, lol)Once again, they were super helpful. They basically took the seats away from me and checked them for me. lol That was a nice break!

Then ahead of me lay the actual flight to Edinburgh! We had some time to kill, and I was told I could go up to the lounge and let the boys play in the British Airways lounge play area. Sweet! A break for me! I get aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall the way over to the lounge and up the elevator to the right level, and the people at the desk ask to see our boarding passes. Evidently, you have to have a certain class of ticket to use their lounge. Lame. To the nth degree. Haul the boys (who were not happy with me, since I had asked them if they wanted to go play, and they were looking for the playground...) and the bags back down to the other level and just went to our gate to wait. That was when I was finally able to fire up my laptop and leave a couple messages on the Rav forums. My boys, by that point, were getting a bit out of control, turning quickly into those kids you always see that run around screaming like banshees and wonder if their parents have any control over them. And the answer to that was pretty much "no." I didn't care by then, though. If someone wanted to complain, let them. Then I could vent my frustration on an airport employee and say "if you want them to behave like humans, get me into that lounge's play area!" I was almost disappointed nobody did complain, actually. I wanted to yell at somebody! LOL And actually, the only rude people I met at all on the trip were the immigration people on the way in (and the security at Gatwick on the way out, but that's for a later post)...everyone else was nice and understanding and helpful. Got on the plane. The boys were still tired and then complaining about being hungry and just wanted to go home. They actually got mad at me when I told them home was far, far away...

Finally. We got to Edinburgh. But nobody was there to meet me. I looked at the clock. 2:30. They were all at the Elephant House already. By that point, if it weren't for the little ears with me (and the little mouths attached that repeat all they hear), I'd have let out a nice, long stream of curses...still couldn't remember my hotel. (The BA people picked a hotel and wrote down the address. I don't even know if that was the right one.) My laptop battery was so low, my computer wouldn't turn on. My cell phone still wouldn't work. There were computers usable there, but you had to pay to use them, and I couldn't find the supposed slot for the coin. (I actually found it later, on the return trip!) But there was limited access for free, and I was able to track down a phone number for what I though was the hotel. Got a hold of their main office, and they checked...and I was right! That was who my reservation was through! Ok, so then just to find my way there with nobody I knew nearby and no knowledge of the city...the answer? A taxi. LOL Got to the hotel. Checked in. They told me all the general check in info, but I hardly heard any of it. I was at my wit's end by that point. Got the boys upstairs, went into our room. They immediately occupied themselves with jumping on the beds. I locked the door (so they couldn't get out of the room and run away), dropped everything, and shut myself in the bathroom. I had no phone numbers, no way to use the Internet, no way to contact anyone from the swap, and was with two unruly children in a hotel room of a strange and new city. I seriously sat down and started to cry. I heard a phone ring, but I thought it was in the next room. From the sounds, I could tell the boys had stopped jumping, so I dried my tears, took a deep breath, and went to see what they were getting into. Aidyn dropped the phone back onto the receiver like it was a hot coal! LOL Thankfully, it rang again, and turned out to be the wonderful Miss Lizzie! Evidently, she had been chatting with Aidyn. LOL So the whole crew (Lizzie, Emma W., Emma G., Elladora and her friend Vicki, and Lily May) came over to the hotel to hang out in the hotel lobby to relax for a bit. Oh, I so needed those friendly faces!
Emma G. and Lily May

Lizzie, Emma W. and Elladora

Lily May started off with a gift for my boys (toy dinosaurs!) which they (and I!) were both grateful for! And I got some gifties! My kit was amazing!!! (I'll be posting pics of my actual kit in a different post...this is the anecdote of my travels!) We went out to dinner at a restraunt called "The Filling Station," which was awesome! There was so much there that reminded me of the U.S. (it's awesome living in Europe, but sometimes you just miss your own country, you know?)...the "oldies" that were playing, the paraphenelia on the walls (Ford, baby!), the non-Italian taste of the food...it was awesome! After that, the boys and I went back to the hotel and all three of us were alseep at 7:30pm...

So in short, I had a looooooooooooooooong, hard day, but that night was the beginning of a wonderful stay in a beautiful city! The next day's events to come in a following blog...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Yay for Randomness!!!

I received a lovely RAOK today from Miss Fleur Sweeting! I recently made a trip to Edinburgh, which the travels to and from there were extremely stressful, but the time there was phenomenal, and this morning we got out for a playdate, so nothing particularly rotten has been going on to where it was the perfectly timed pick-me-up, but it sure was some beautiful icing on the yummy cake of life I've been having lately! :D

Those chocolates look sooooooooooooooooooooooooo good! I've been drooling over them since lunchtime (which was when I had popped by the post office), but been a good mommy and not spoiled a meal...or would it make me a selfish mommy for not opening it so I wouldn't have to share with the poltergiests? LOL Either way, I'll be enjoying them tonight! Along with relaxing with the cucumber eye patches! Those look fun! :) And the yarn!!! (It's Saphira 100% superwash merino...not sure of a colorway name, but I luuuuuuuurve it! Such pretty blues and greens!!!) ::gasp:: to the millionth power!!! WOW!!!! It's gorgeous!!! Thank you, Fleur!!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day by day...

So far too much happened on the comings and goings and during our stay to cram it all into one post, so I'm going to do a seperate post for every exciting day! :D (Not too mention, the poltergeists won't let me sit down long enough to write it all in one post...they're having a time of adjusting to being back home evidently...driving me nuts!)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

So tired...

So I just organized a lot of pictures. Over 500 of them, actually. (And no, they're not all from the trip...I had about 200 on my camera that I forgot to clear off before we came...) And now I'm absolutely exhausted. My poltergiests are sleeping soundly (which means I've been working in the dark for the past nearly 2 hours) and my eyes are tired from looking at the monitor...soooo...I'm sorry, but I won't be posting massive amounts of pictures tonight. I need to get some rest to keep up with them at the zoo and train station tomorrow! (And if I can squeeze it in, Greyfriar's Bobby...we were over at the Elephant House the other day, but forgot to swing by, and I know if I don't see it while I'm here, I'll regret it!) However, I will give you all a little taste/teaser. ;)

A very talented young man playing the bagpipes:

The beautiful Edinburgh Castle!:

Descending into the Snake Pit!:

The lovely yarn shop!:

The infamous location where Jo penned the first of her brilliant works!!!:

The lot of us out to dinner:


I'm sorry I've been so quiet! I spent most of last week getting ready for our trip to Edinburgh, and then once here, I had issuses with getting my computer online and such. We leave tomorrow evening, after our trip to the zoo and the train station, but hopefully that gives me ample time to blog tonight! I have been taking many, many, many pictures and having a blast! I'm the last of the group to leave out. Everyone else departed earlier today (or in Emma G's case, preparing to leave very soon!), so it's just myself and my little poltergiests tonight and tomorrow. :) But I promise I'll get pictures and such up as soon as I possibly can!!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Next Round of Quidditch!!!

1. On which day did the Order of the Phoenix come to get Harry?

a. Tuesday
b. Sunday
c. Saturday
d. The day of his 17th birthday

2. During all this chaos with Voldemort and the Death Eaters, people still had lives to live and Ron's oldest brother, Bill decided to marry Fleur Delacour. Who were the uninvited guests at Bill and Fleur's wedding?

a. Voldemort
b. Death Eaters
c. Scrimgeour
d. Grindewald

3. Voldemort had seven Horcruxes hidden in different places. Six of them were hidden at the Gaunt shack, Hogwarts, a cave, inside Harry, inside his snake, Nagini and Tom Riddles Diary. Did Voldemort hide the last Horcrux inside the Malfoy's vault at Gringotts?

a. Yes
b. No (it was in the Lestrange's vault)

4. Why did the Dumbledore's move to Godric's Hollow?

a. The reason is unknown
b. They were tired of their old home.
c. The father went to Azkaban
d. It was a better place for their children to grow up

5. Harry and Hermione read a part of "Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore," written by Rita Skeeter. Then they met Dumbledore's brother Abeforth and he told them the same story, just with a few details changed. Which of the following did Aberforth and Rita Skeeter agree on about Dumbdore's past?

a. Why the Dumbledore family moved to Godric's Hollow
b. That Dumbledore was friends with Grindelwald for a while.
c. Why nobody outside the family noticed Ariana much.
d. The reason for Dumbledore's father's imprisonment in Azkaban.

6. When Harry and Hermione visit Godric's Hollow, they visit the graveyard to see Harry's parent's graves. Harry walks by a tombstone that we later learn belong to tone of "The Three Brothers." The brother buried there once owned what?

a. The ressrection stone
b. The cloak
c. The wand
d. The sword

7. The Trio finds out that Luna had been kidnapped by the Death Eaters , and that they won't give her back until they got Harry Potter. Why did they kidnap Luna?

a. Her father sided with Harry and Dumbledore
b. They though he would come to her rescue
c. She was a muggleborn
d. Her father failed as a Death Eater

8. After Voldemort killed Snape, he left the room and Harry came out from under the cloak. Snape gave Harry some of his memories all the way from when he was a child to just months before. Harry dived into the Pensieve and which of the following did he not see?

a. Dumbldore telling Snape that at some point Snape had to kill him.
b. Snape telling Lily she was a witch
c. Snape and Lily having fun in a potions class
d. Snape talking to Dumbledore on a hilltop

9. On the search of the Lost Diadem, Harry finally gets to talk to the Gray Lady. Who was the Gray Lady when she was alive?

a. She didn't remember because she had been dead for so long.
b. Rowena Ravenclaw.
c. Helena Ravenclaw.
d. A girl who was put in ravenclaw 800 years previously

10. Which of these is not one of Harry or Ron's children?

a. Rose
b. Hugo
c. James
d. Victoria

Picture Scavenger Hunt

These pictures must either be posted to your blog or linked to from your blog.





Godric's Hollow

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

All around Hogwarts...

I loved this week's assignment! :) I bumped into Knitsy a couple of times, while she was clearly gathering some news for our gossip column, but have been finding treasures all over other blogs...I think I've even come across one that I may not have seen before! I have no idea how it fell through the cracks, though...odd...I'm usually so thorough...

Anyway, I want to start off with my Gryffindor report...may I just say that Miss Pandora Phelps ROCKS?! I love all of her creations! She's recently made a Niffler and a cauldron bag and is now working on a horse that may become a pegasus...I just love looking at what she comes up with! It's so awesome!

Over in Hufflepuff, poor Chrysta the Cursed seems to be having dental issues...I have some of my own and have been suffering from toothaches quite a bit myself lately, so I can empathize! I hope you feel better soon, Chrysta!

And I never thought I'd say this, but I'm a wee bit jealous of a Slytherin! Rowena Weasley has posted pictures from her Hawaii vacation, and they are simply breathtaking! I guess I'll just have to make myself content with going somewhere in Europe and taking pictures. ;) Heeheehee!

I have been getting quite the workout as of late, running up and down to the owlery multiple times a day! My BFF over at Beauxbatons and I are communicating more than usual...but I can't say why!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Owl Attack!

Something happened yesterday that reminded me of when I lost my duel last term to Elladora. I was bombarded by owls and almost had an anxiety attack at the memory trigger! First I got a lovely package from Minerva Wood! She had made me the lovliest pair of socks a while back, and I wore them so much I wore holes in them! I was sooooooo upset! Well, she made me a new pair! :D They're asolutely gorgeous!

Thank you so much, Minerva! I love them!!!

The next package was a book I'd ordered, that I'd forgotten I'd ordered, but have been wanting to read for quite some time now. So when I opened it, I got a huge smile on my face and quite a bit excited that I have some new reading material! :)

And I got a new pattern book, too, in a third package! :D My mother-in-law had asked me if I could make my nieces sock monkeys. I looked and looked and looked all over, but couldn't find a free pattern I liked, so I caved and bought one. :)

I'm really looking forward to buying the yarn I need and making them once the term is over! :)

The fourth package I got was from my mom, and it was actually full of goodies for my Christmas deocration stash and some yummy candy canes. :) (I hadn't gotten to eat any for Christmas because my older poltergiest got into them and ate them all.) And now it's time for me to go to bed so I can work on ymy homework and spoilee's package tomorrow!