Thursday, November 27, 2014


I'm thankful for friends. We had such a wonderful visit with an amazing college friend of ours this past weekend. Emily came to visit us and it was a much needed catch up. Saturday we went hiking at Bledsoe State Park and I think Emily liked it as much as we do. We had some amazing conversations about God and scripture and I forgot how important it is to have close fellowship with people who love Jesus like we do.

Saturday night we went to the OpryLand Hotel to see their Christmas lights and Nativity scene. The lights were absolutely gorgeous and it took over 2 hours to see all the lights outside and within the hotel.

It was sooo beautiful and I had been wanting to go for a while. It was a day full of free fun!!

We also went to see Mockingjay part 1!! It was pretty awesome but I won't spoil any details. :p

So today on Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for family and the non related family members that we call friends!!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

A day in the life

So I promised a blog about my new job so here goes!

Interventional radiology (abbreviated IR or VIR for Vascular and Interventional Radiology, also referred to as Surgical Radiology) is a medical sub-specialty of radiology which utilizes minimally invasive image-guided procedures to diagnose and treat diseases in nearly every organ system.( 

The above link will lead any interested parties to discover what our department is capable of doing on a regular basis. 

So we have an awesome team. Each outpatient starts off in the Radiology Care Unit (ROCU) to be "worked up." The ROCU nurses obtain specimens for specific lab work that is needed, an IV, and review medical history and medications the patients are on. The MD's go over the procedure and obtain informed consent from each patient. My job comes in once the patient is ready in the ROCU. I personally review the patient's medical and sedation history and determine if the patient is a good candidate for moderate sedation (aka conscious sedation, aka twilight sleep). Moderate sedation is: A drug-induced depression of consciousness during which the patient responds purposefully to verbal command, either alone or accompanied by light tactile stimulation.  No interventions are necessary to maintain a patent airway.(

I then transport the patient around to the procedure room, get them on the cardiac monitor and start sedating the patient. The radiology technologist set up the table and get the patient surgically ready (i.e. patient scrubbed with antimicrobial cleansers and draped with sterile towels, etc.). Once everything is set up and *hopefully* the patient is sleeping quietly, the MD comes in to perform one of many minimally invasive procedures that we are able to do. They are typically assisted by another doctor like a fellow or the rad technologist. The minimal part stems from the fact that our procedures usually require only a very small incision (an inch or so) or just a arterial or venous puncture site.

This is a good representation of some of the equipment in each procedure room. The C-shaped machine is the x-ray, which is able to swivel around the patient as they lie on the table. The monitors shown will display the live image taken by the x-ray. The Docs can see in real-time on the screen as them move the table back and forth under the x-ray. 

After the procedure is completed, patients return to the ROCU for recovery and stay anywhere from the time it takes to get changed up to being admitted for 23hr observation. It all depends on the procedure that was done. 

It is truly amazing what we can do at the hospital with technology now. It's so cool to be involved in fascinating procedures that spare patients a lot of extra pain and recovery time involved with more invasive procedures. Any questions? There will be a quiz Friday. .. JK


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bledsoe Creek State Park

Saturday, Duane, Meah and I went on a lovely hike just outside of Gallatin. We are both very thankful to live in an area that has so many great outdoor spaces. Being a short 30-60 minutes away from many beautiful and unique places to hike  and enjoy the outdoors is truly an incredible blessing to us. The weather started out a little cool, being in the mid-high 50s with a cold breeze coming off the lake, but the work of Ridgetop trail warmed us up just fine. 

The stairs were our first challenge and definitely got me sweating! They were a fun climb though and the scenery was amazing. 

We saw some beautiful deer up close and personal, just 10-15 feet from us. I tried to respect them and go camera crazy though. It's always breathtaking to see wild animals that close. 
The Shoreline trail was also a part of the 3.1 mile loop that we took. It is literally a walk right along beautiful Radnor Lake shoreline  and it was pristine. Picture perfect for sure. I could've just hung up the hammock and stared for hours. 

We also saw "The Shire." Duane decided that the field to the left could'v been straight from The Hobbit or Lord or the Rings. 

Everything was perfect and Duane and I both agreed that we would love to go back to Bledsoe again soon! It had such a wide variety of landscapes and it was a nice relaxing hike with only a few challenging spots. I would definitely recommend it to anyone and Meah would too!


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Meal Planning

So I don't know if everyone is aware, but I recently took a new job with Vanderbilt's Interventional Radiology team. (sidebar - I'm planning another post to give the low-down on what interventional radiology is and does for those who aren't aware). With this new job, I sadly had to say goodbye to the oh-so-lovely nightshift differential so that meant less income for our household. In effort to help with our finances, I thought it might be good to start planning out our meals to curb our grocery spending. 

It's been about two months now of meal planning and I can say that we have saved money! I have not added coupons that weren't being used before or changed what we ate, we just plan to eat at home just about every night a week. I looked back at the credit card statements and did the math and on average, we save about $15 a month just by planning meals and being limited in our restaurant visits. 

So this is how things usually go... Sunday or Monday I make a list of what we are going to eat at each lunch and dinner throughout the week. Then I use that list to plan out the grocery list and go shopping. I usually plan at least one large meal that will give us leftovers during the week. I try to take into account which days I/Duane have things going on and plan accordingly to what can be cooked or  whether leftovers should be eaten. This is the actual plan from this last week. 

Lunch - Sandwiches
Dinner - Pizza

Lunch - Salad
Dinner - Chili & Corn bread

Lunch - Sandwiches
Dinner - Quesadillas

Lunch - Chili leftovers
Dinner - Chicken and Broccoli pasta alfredo

Lunch - Salad
Dinner - Leftover chili

Lunch - Sandwiches
Dinner - EAT OUT at GRAYS

Lunch - Quesadillas
Dinner - Pizza

So that's kinda what a week looks like. Occasionally it gets old, but I try to work in a new recipe every couple of weeks to keep things fresh. We will also sporadically eat out if the mood strikes us and just eat our meal another day. I don't plan out breakfasts, thats just overkill for us because we usually have oatmeal or eggs, waffles on a special day. Of course, when I go grocery shopping I use coupons (which I did before we started this too) and I watch whats on sale. If something like peanut butter or black beans are on sale, I'll get a few to last. 

It's actually been wonderful. Making the lists gets tedious and it can be hard to come up with what we are going to eat for the week but Duane will usually give some input as well. It takes away so much stress not having the conversation "Well what do you want to eat?" "I dunno." It also makes it so we will definitely have what we need in the pantry for each meal throughout the week. For us it works. And it saves us money! Double perks! 

What meals are weekly repeats at your house?


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Doterra, A review of sorts

So about a month ago I was getting a little desperate. I have been having problems with my feet since January of this year and frustration had started to set in. About 6 months into working nights I developed Plantar Fasciitis. I blame of combo of old stress/injury from so many years of softball, the incredible amount of walking needed as a nurse and the prolonged lack of sleep. I self diagnosed and was confirmed upon seeing my primary doc. Jump forward to August and months of advil, combos of heat/Ice, stretching, chiropractic care, ultrasound treatments, epson salt baths and even a switch over to dayshift and I'm still having this nagging pain. Strong enough that it keeps me awake at night, but light enough for me to go about my day with little to no bother. 

So in comes the voice of many claiming the wonders of essential oils. My interest was peaked and I was really ready to try anything to help and I heard about Deep Blue from Doterra. It's an oil blend made for sore muscles/aches and had received some pretty good reviews. Oils in general get mixed reviews for effectiveness, but like I said, I was desperate for some relief. I tried Deep Blue and was diligent for a month, every night at bedtime I would apply the oil. Much to my surprise, I actually saw some improvement. I had several weeks where I could fall asleep without having to take advil. This was monumental for me because I do not like nor do I want to have to take medicine all the time. There were some times, after particularly long days at work that I would have to take advil, but from daily to once or twice a week is a victory in my book. Deep Blue smells interesting. I don't think its a bad smell, but others may not like it as I liken it to a mix of grape cough syrup and bengay mixed together. Luckily, I was rubbing it on my feet so I didn't smell it for very long. I don't know if I will pay that much again (Dang Doterra, you're expensive), but it is definitely an option for me. 

I also tried and enjoyed a few other oils. I use the lemon oil mixed with water to clean my counters, stove and sink. It really cuts through grease/old dried food easily and leaves a lovely smell behind. I loved the lavender oil for sleeping. I fall asleep so much faster (even faster than when I was taking melatonin) and sleep better. It smells divine. I also have liked their digestzen blend, which I also have rubbed on my belly for heartburn and my feet for regularity. I won't go into details, but it smells like licorice and seemed to help me in more ways than one. 

So there you have it. That is/was my Doterra experience. I got nothing from them for this, I just thought I would share a few of my own experiences with essential oils. 


Monday, June 9, 2014

My husband, the Rock Star

So for those of you who aren't aware, my wonderful and amazing hubby Duane is a percussionist. (For all the non-music people out there, he plays a variety of drums, various shakers/noise makers (tinker toys hehe), and mallet instruments as well.) He was trained in the art of classical percussion at Georgia Southern University, and also has taken private lessons for tabla, frame drum, and other non-traditional forms of percussion. Prefaced with that information, I have two huge blessings to share today. 

First, Duane got his very first endorsement!! He is now an endorser of Heartbeat Percussion. Be on the lookout for his picture/bio on the Heartbeat website under "artists."
So he just got outfitted with a bunch of super-shiney-fancy new cymbals with a fancy pants artist discount. Can you say proud wife? I'm so happy for him. I also have to give a shout out to our amazing friend Cory Shuman (Tell Scarlett) who was instrumental in helping Duane get this endorsement. Without his encouragement and connections that he had already made, it would've been a different story.
See there, that is Tell Scarlett (Cory is the middle guy). Check out there Facebook page for all their info. They are an awesome group based in Savannah, GA.
So, back to the blessings. I did say that there were two so I hope you guys were paying attention. Duane has these two amazing friends, Rae and Jonathan. He plays for Rae Hering on the regular, gigs, rehersals, the works. Jonathan works at Pearl, and if you are a drummer, Pearl is the dream. In fact, Pearl manufactured Duane's very first drum set. I digress. Anywho, Pearl is in the process of  releasing/promoting a new line -The HipKit- and Jonathan was kind enough to bring a drum for Duane to try out and just happened to record him playing it. Next thing we know, the guy who came up with the HipKit idea and is working to promote it wants to meet with Duane. After the first meeting, we were both unsure of what was going on, but we knew that Duane would be doing a few short videos to be posted on the Pearl website to help demonstrate and promote their new drum! That would've been more than enough, but its not all. We then found out that they wanted to make him a. Pearl. Artist.        
WHAT!!? It's still unbelievable. God is amazing. I know neither of us saw this coming!

P.S. -I couldn't get the blog-o just right, but any italicized words = links to the website or Facebook for easy access. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lost loves

Have you ever forgotten how much you enjoy something when it has been a long time since you've done it? It's easy to, life interrupts you and gets in the way. Suddenly, it just doesn't seem as important as it used to. You know you like it, but it's just not a priority. I have had this happens couple of times since we have moved to Nashville. First with rock climbing, and I have to thank my bestest fried Crystal for the fabulous gift certificate she gave me for Climb Nashville.

I love climbing. It makes me feel strong and clever. I know that I don't have the best upper body strength so working a difficult problem and figuring out "my way" of accomplishing it is so satisfying. It's peaceful. It is a fun way to get an amazing workout without feeling like your working out. I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed it.

The next thing was just this week and I have to thank Becki for going with me. Horseback riding. Sitting on the back of a horse is so peaceful. Riding through the woods is breathtaking as I am surrounded by God's amazing creation. I hope to be on a horse much more often now!!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Recipe sharing

So I thought I would share a recipe that is one of our go-to casseroles. We love this recipe and it gets gobbled up super fast. Maybe you will enjoy it as well.

Mexican Casserole

-shredded cheese (I use Colby/Monterrey jack)
-chicken (1-1 1/2 breast depending on how much meat you like)
-salsa (pick your favorite)
-taco seasoning
-rice (1cup uncooked)
-black beans (1 can)
-velveta (1/2 a package)
-cream of onion soup (1 can)

Rice prep- I have a rice cooker and all I do is set it up like normal and add a large spoonful of salsa and voila, Spanish rice
Chicken prep- I cook my chicken on the stove in a mixture of salsa and taco seasoning (I like the low sodium kind and only use 1/2 a packet) the salsa keeps the chicken moist and I just shred it up with a fork when I am done
Bean prep - heat on the stove in a pot. Simple really 
Everything else- melt velveta and mix in Cream of onion and whatever is left of the salsa. It will look disgusting. 

Now layer everything up in a 9x13 pan. I usually go rice, soup mix, beans and chicken, but however you like it is fine. I do try to put either beans or soup mix next to the rice to keep it from getting dry. Then top with your shredded cheese and throw in the oven at 350 until everything is bubbly and the cheese is melted. Maybe 20 min max. I'm not sure to be honest. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or in a tortilla for that matter. Enjoy!!


Sunday, April 20, 2014


To write an extraordinary piece about the amazing gift that Christ has given us could never fully explain the vast love of the Lord. Although I often struggle with feeling like I'm not enough, He chose the path that led to the cross. We are so broken, yet He meets us exactly where we are. In the midst of the lowest point, He is there. I wish I could keep this close in my heart everyday and be filled with his confidence and joy, but I will always fall short and have to keep trying. But here again at Easter, I will try again in earnest to live in love and joy, filled with the Spirit, learning the truth and growing in the grace of my Savior. Today is the day we celebrate the greatest victory!

"but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." 
Romans 5:8

Even though I didn't get to see my family (except Duane of course), We did spend time with members of our small group family and spent some time hiding and hunting eggs for some little rascals. What a joy to see such excited kiddos!

Thanks to Brian for all the awesome pics! What an entertaining evening :)


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Good and Bad consequences

Wowza. What a crazy packed weekend. I can't even imagine spending more time in the car and getting to see more amazing people this weekend. It was packed with incredible people and it makes me feel both awesome and sad because we just can't see everyone in such a short time :( Here's the rundown.

Friday morning. I get off work and we rush to get on the road asap. This means taking Meah to her second favorite place, the kennel for boarding. To say she is not a good car rider isn't doing her any justice. She loves the car. The car does not love her (i.e. lets just experiment and see how many times I can make Meah sick). I got Duane to take a quick video of just how excited Meah gets when we turn into the parking lot at the vet. Please enjoy crazy pup-monkey noises.

So we embarked on a seven and a half hour journey to Greenwood, SC. Duane had been recruited by our good friend Brandon Henson to play at DNOW that weekend. It is always awesome to see Brandon, Tabor and Asher and see how Asher is growing and learning. That combined with watching middle and high school students learn and worship about God would have been awesome enough, but there was more to come. Saturday, after the morning sessions, we packed up in the car again and took the one and a half hour ride to Augusta, GA. 
Jordan and Hollie

This time was very near and dear to me of course because Hollie, Jordan and Isaac, my wonderful family that lives way-far-away in Texas were in town this weekend. It is always wonderful to spend time with all three of them in any way shape or form. This was no exception. Isaac was his usually awesome, easy-going, fun self. He is still loving the outdoors and balls in all shapes and sizes, and becoming more mobile and communicative every day. Many hours were spent playing Killer Bunnies, a crazy competitive effort to claim the magic carrot and have some awesome bunnies. Of course, I also enjoy time with my parents and grandparents during our short visit to Augusta. But wait! There was still one more stop along the way before we headed home to Nashville. 
Grammy and Isaac
Sunday afternoon we left Augusta, after barely staying over 24 hours and headed to Statesboro. I can't say I ever thought I would miss Statesboro, and maybe it's just the people who are there, but I felt an amazing sense of relief when we pulled into town. We got to see some of our Compassion Family (The Huxford's and the Clifton's of course) and little Aubrey stole my heart with her beautiful long lashes and sweet demeanor. Duane and I spent the majority of our time with Crystal. I don't know what I would do without this amazing woman in my life. Everyone needs a friendship like that. It was well worth the extra hours spent in the car just to sit around at her house, play Carcasonne and catch up. If only Garrett could have been there so Duane could've had some guy bonding time too!! We miss them both so much!! I believe every friendship we may ever have from now until the end of our days will be measured up to them and I am not sure it can be beat. 

Total Car time: 18 Hours
Time in Greenwood: 20 Hours
Time in Augusta: 27 Hours
Time in Statesboro: 20 Hours

whew I'm tired. 

Oh I totally forgot the bad consequences. Duane and I left our veggies and herbs outside while we were gone. I'm pretty sure they are dead now. Sad day. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Budding update and Product Review

Duane and I have had, what I would call, our first success in planting. Almost every seed has sprouted!! It's a miracle. I kinda feel like I have a black thumb (even though I've never really planted anything), so I am going to give the credit to my wonderful hubby. 

So my birthday was this month and my mom got me a gift (isn't she nice?).She got my the Olay Pro-X Microdermabrasion Plus advanced cleansing system. I had asked for a facial cleansing brush (my interest sparked after using my sis's Clarisonic) so I was really excited to try it out. It has 3 speed settings and I generally use the slowest because my skin can be very sensitive. It has 2 interchangeable brush heads, a foam head and a brush head and comes with two different cleansers to use with it. 

After using it I am immensely pleased. It's gentle and my face feels silky smooth after each use. Within the first few days I could tell it was really cleaning well because I started to break-out in a few places. Now those places have cleared up and I have gotten multiple comments about how awesome my face looks. I have used the cleansers that come in the kit and my go to Mary Kay cleanser and they all work very well with the brush. I feel so much more confident in how my face looks, make-up or not. My skin is smooth, even toned and clear. I give it an A. (It only missed out on the A+ because it isn't rechargeable, it uses batteries). 

PS- I am not a spokes person for Olay, they have no idea who I am and I received no compensation for this review. I just liked the product.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Plant life

You know how we all get these "great" ideas for activities or plans, etc.? Well this time, with some gentle urging from Duane, we followed through with the plan. We planted some veggies and herbs tonight!

Took a trip to Home Depot and bought seeds and soil and all of the other goodies needed for planting. We planted rosemary, chives, oregano, parsley, basil, lavender, tomatoes, and lettuce. I'll keep everyone updated with how our plant babies are doing over the next several weeks. Hopefully we will have some herbs and veggies soon!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Just a nurse

I recently recall saying to a doctor, "Oh I'm just a nurse." I was surprised and pleased when he corrected me. Why? Because that's what people all around us tell us everyday. Maybe not in direct terms, but through their actions and speech, we know. Don't get me wrong, nurses get a lot more respect than they used to. But I know one thing for sure, I am anything but "just" a nurse. 

Nurses are intelligent. We may not have had as much schooling as other professionals, but I remember studying harder than I ever had before and not everyone makes the cut. By the time a doctor completes school and is ready to start practicing, even as a resident, a nurse the same age has had several years of experience in the field, dealing with complex problems on a daily basis. We have developed keen assessment skills and a killer gut instinct to go along with it. We often take part in courses to specialize in our chosen field, spending countless more hours becoming experts at what we do. 

Nurses work hard and fulfill a lot of roles. I am an educator, a portable pharmacy to my patients, a wound care specialist, a physical therapist, a phelbotomist, a janitor, and a bather, feeder, and dresser just to name a few things. We are expected to make sure our patients are medicated, clean, well-fed, educated and satisfied with all the care they have received at the hospital, no matter who it came from. I have found that we suffer the consequences when another hospital service is at fault for poor care. I will stand by this as long as I am a bedside nurse, a care partner (nursing aid, patient care tech, whatever you call them) can make or break you. No matter what, take care of your care partners, help them in anyway you can and treat them with respect! I know from first hand experience just how hard their job is. :)
Nurses are compassionate. We see people at their worst. We are hit, kicked, slapped, bit, verbally abused and degraded by patients, families and other hospital personnel. Yet we endure, because we care about our patients. We laugh and cry with them, talk them through their stresses, and are their for them when they need us. There is rarely anytime in a shift to decompress whenever a nurse encounters such harsh realities. I feel that many of us are forced to brush it off, laugh it off or bottle it up as much as possible. :(

Nurses are strong (mentally and physically). We work 12 hour shifts on concrete, lifting, pulling, and pushing patients. We hold in our sadness at the loss of a patient, pulling it together until our shift is over because we must carry on for our other patients. It is all too soon that there will be a brand new patient with a new set of problems to manage in that very same room. 

What is a nurse to you?

-Disclaimer- this post is in no way meant to degrade or belittle any other profession, or the patients and families we care for. As nurses we understand that the hospital is very stressful and sometimes that presents in the worst way possible. The only point of this post is to remind myself to always hold myself in high esteem for what I do. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Hey I have an idea!

So, my wonderful husband, in all his wonderfulness sent me a text about a month ago. 
      "Why didn't I think of this before as an option, teach music abroad."

I may or may not have texted back 7 hours later

That's where it all started. Duane and his scheming. He began doing research (his specialty), and discovered a website devoted to posting jobs available at international schools (as in, not in the USofA). From there he spent an enormous amount of hours perfecting his CV, putting his teaching philosophy into words, writing cover letters, gathering references and testimonies and putting together a website dedicated to promoting himself as an international teacher. He has since put applications out to schools in Mali, The Cayman Islands, Rio de Janeiro, etc. Now we wait patiently for responses. 

What have I been doing during all this. Stressing. Worrying. Wondering about the future. Let me first state this. I love my husband, I respect my husband, and I want him to succeed. Despite the steady flow of gigs that Duane has had in Nashville, we are not reaping the benefits. The idea itself has met a lot of resistance from all different kinds of people (I'll admit, that I have had my doubts and issues). People mean well and I love that they can feel comfortable to speak truth to us and caution us from making decisions we may regret. I know that they speak out of love for us. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? God calls us to do and try many different things and I never want to be close-minded or stiff-necked. I have always thought, God won't call me to do anything radical like moving to another country, being a missionary,etc. I'll just be a nurse...the gosh-darn best, most compassion, caring nurse you have ever had, all for God's glory ;). Never say never people. Never say never. 

It took me awhile of wrestling with this, being angry, sad, upset, name it. I can't believe I didn't break something in a random fit of rage. (Yes, I am my father's daughter. I have quite the temper.) I worried about bills that we have, the puppy we love, what would/could I do in a foreign country, and how would I get along if I didn't know the language. Fear is crippling. I hate not having a plan; a well formed check list of 'to-dos' I can calmly work my way through. I am struggling to learn that I am not, nor will I ever be, in control. 

In this moment though, I feel peace. I am determined to be still, and wait on the timing of the Lord. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

So Behind...Happy Anniversary?...

So last ..cough.. year Duane and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary!! Now, although I love that we married in December and I thought our wedding, the weather, and the day was absolutely beautiful, it does get hard to celebrate together so close to the holidays. Our first two anniversaries, we didn't really do anything for ourselves, instead we would just go home and visit family for christmas/new years. This year I wanted it to be different. I wanted to make our marriage a priority and so we planned a trip. Not just any trip, but a DISNEY trip.

So, being the frugal couple we are, we could not imagine paying 200+ a person to fly to Orlando. Instead, we dropped Meah off at the kennel and started driving. What was suppose to be a 10 hour car ride turned into a 13-14hour car ride. AHHHH!! Just outside of Atlanta, there was an accident that closed all of south bound I-75. We were diverted off the interstate for a 3 hour detour that took us about 5 miles down 75 past the accident. We were at our wits end by then and not even halfway there? It was an awful start, but we finally made it to our hotel at about 2 am.

Disney was absolutely magical. I say Disney and of course in my mind, this includes Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. I know this is not so, but I just wanted to clarify for this blog's sake, what I mean exactly.

Day 1 we went to Hollywood Studios. We road Tower of Terror, Rock n' Roller coaster  (both several times) and went to the Indian Jones stunt show to name a few things. It was really fun and since we went in December, we hardly waited in lines at all. The longest line was maybe 30mins total and I feel so spoiled now. I wouldn't know what to do if I had to wait a long time. 

We spent Day 2 at Universal Studios, riding roller coasters, becoming Minions from Despicable Me, being chased by aliens from MIB and the Mummy. We also saved the world with Transformers. It was so much fun. 

Day 3 we went to Islands of Adventure and basically spent the whole day between The Incredible Hulk and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The detail in the Hogwarts castle and the stores and restaurants was phenomenal. I had 2 Butter Beers, we rode both sides of the Dueling Dragons (you have to ride in the front, its 100x more awesome), and the ride through the Castle. I guess we will have to plan another trip soon since they are opening up Diagon Alley later this year *wink, wink.*

Charlene, Aaron and Brian
We also had one more special thing planned and we got to share it with our friends from small group Charlene, Brian and their son Aaron. We went to Mickey's Christmas Party. Basically it's Disney Magic and Christmas spirit all rolled into one amazing night. The park opens from 7p-12a for everyone who has the special tickets. You can ride any rides, there's free cookies and hot chocolate and you get to watch some spectacular fireworks and a parade. I even got hit on by Peter Pan. What more could I ask for right? That night we were able to ride Space Mountain (Duane had never been!!) and I got to meet Belle (my favorite Disney Princess). We also watched the parade, road the railroad and got stuck in a Haunted Mansion. It was amazing. I loved our Disney Vacation.