It’s Just Sunday

My dad and I are getting way too much screentime here! It’s high time I put something else up! Today is Sunday. I stayed in bed until way after 12pm and I’m not ashamed! I’ve got lunch on the table for my family, I’ve got dishes running in the dishwasher and my hubby threw a new load of laundry into the washing machine. So stuff is getting DONE!

Alan, Xander and I along with some friends went to Busch Garden’s Christmas Town last night.

In the England section of the park there is “A Sesame Street Christmas,” where Abby Cadabby learns the meaning of Christmas. Sesame Street residents spread holiday cheer as they share their fondest memories of favorite Christmas traditions. We unfortunately missed that show but I’ve heard from other friends that it was super cute! I mean c’mon – Abby Cadabby is SUPER cute!

Over in the Ireland section of the park we got to listen to Irish musicians play traditional Celtic Christmas classics. We also took Xander on the “Corkscrew Hill” ride which he LOVED. He was a little short last time we came – but we got on this time with no issues. It didn’t hurt that it seemed that the ride handlers were incredibly unorganized. The ride made me so nauseous though – it’s way better for the younger crowd!

We saw a HUGE line forming for a performance at the Abbey Stone Theatre called “Rejoice,” an emotional Christmas performance told through moving imagery, choral harmonies and a full, live orchestra. The line was insane though so we bypassed it.

In Germany we watched a huge beautiful Christmas tree light up to music and made our way into the overly crowded Festhaus for some dinner. The menu is a little different for Christmas Town – so make sure you check it out. You can also order some meal tickets and save a little cash. The show performed in the Festhaus is “Deck the Halls” and is a great show with live singers and dancers performing holiday music. The performances there are always great and we enjoyed watching it.

My friend and I rode Griffin in the freezing cold and he had the awesome idea to cover his face with his hat. Apparently, he stayed relatively warm during the ride while I froze my face off. It was SO awesome and SO worth it. The ride is exactly like the SheiKra down at the Tampa Busch Gardens which I rode back in October.

Here is a video I found on YouTube showing the awesomeness that is the Griffin:

Make sure if you go you get some of the awesome hot chocolate they sell. We purchased (for around $5) a cute little branded mug that we could refill for only $0.99. The hot chocolate I got was a nummy peppermint flavor! The penguins were a bit of a let down (Polar Path) because the line was so long (almost a 1/2 hour) and you walk thru the area to see lots of cute non-live penguins then see two live penguins. (yay). Seeing the snow in both the France and Germany sections was awesome though!

Christmas Town opens at Busch Gardens on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 3 – 10 p.m. beginning Nov. 27. The park will open each evening Dec. 18 – 27, excluding Christmas Day. Some sections of the park will remain closed for the season, and some rides and attractions are weather dependent.

Christmas Town admission tickets are available for $19.95. Guests with active Busch Gardens passes save 50 percent on Christmas Town tickets as well as free parking and in-park discounts.

Looking for Luxury Vacation Rentals?

Photo by Manuel González Olaechea y Franco

One of the popular myths about Navy Family Life is that when you are stationed overseas it’s like one big vacation. Yes it can be fun – but it can also be stressful when you have to take into account the cultural differences that you will come across. But – the cool part about living overseas is the fact that you are LIVING OVERSEAS! I think the most expensive part of traveling to; say for example, Europe is the actual flight across the ocean. Once you are over there you can take advantage of driving on the fast highways, flying to different countries or even riding the train across the continent.

Once ‘across the pond’ you can take some pretty awesome trips! A few of the places we visited while in Spain were Malaga (which is right on the Mediterranean Sea) and Madrid (which is literally one huge round-about!) both beautiful and both very different.

Malaga and Marbella I think are the rich people capitols of southern Spain. All you see there are fancy cars and luxury Spanish vacation rentals. Not to mention white sands and blue seas – it’s really gorgeous there.

Here in the United States you can find some pretty nice luxury vacation rentals too. In my neck of the woods – Virginia – we have a lot (a LOT) of history dating back pre-Revolutionary War. If your hubby is the “I want to stay in a super posh resort” and you are the “I just want to hunt for ghosts” then Virginia is a great place to visit because we literally have both types of those Virginia vacation rentals.

Do a little research before visiting any place be it here in the USA or abroad. That way you can see as much as you possibly can and spend only the money you want to spend.

Disclosure statement

Howling at Howl-O-Scream

Christine & The Wolves

When I lived in Florida my friends and I used to hit Busch Gardens’ awesome Halloween event Howl-O-Scream every year. This year – thanks to the folks at Annheiser-Busch (and of course Izea) all attendee’s of IzeaFest were bused from Orlando (where the conference was being held) to Tampa to visit Howl-O-Scream for free! We got some awesome “SWAG” including a HOS (Howl-O-Scream) bag, a notebook, a t-shirt, pen, light up beaded necklace and even some House of Vayne (the theme this year) gum! (yeah, I thought the gum was a little random – but there were members of our group that needed it due to some roller coaster tummy issues!)

I know I will certainly miss some people – but for the most part our crew at the park included myself, Lisa, Drew and Allison, Tasha, Martha, Meredith, Omarr, Courtney, Dwan, Alan, Buck and at least 5 other people that I cannot remember the names of!

I have to say though – while the houses were pretty cool, there seemed to be a lack of ‘oomph’ in the “scare zones” (areas where there are themed “ghoulies” walking around). Other years I’ve been there their seemed to be more people working them. It was nice, however, that since it was a Thursday – those of us with Izea almost had the park to ourselves! It was so dead there (pun intended!).

We rode only a couple roller coasters – just Gwazi (the ‘dueling’ wooden coaster) and the new SheiKra ride which was completely badass! I think SheiKra was both the single most terrifying coaster I’ve ridden – but also the absolutely most awesome one! I have never been dropped, face down over 100 feet at a 90 degree angle! The only guy from our group that went on this coaster with five of us girls (Elizabeth, Lisa, Tasha, Courtney and me) was Omarr.

The houses were pretty cool this year – there was a ‘biker’ themed one that I’m pretty sure they did a few years ago because I remember it, a sorority house one (which was … odd and kinda lame – although the boys LOVED it of course), a vampire one and a ‘Trapped in the Walls’ house where you got the feeling that you were – in fact – trapped in some walls (hmm).

We didn’t get to go into the Death Row or creepy Dolls houses – but there was a Carnival of the Dead that actually didn’t freak me the hell out! I hate (emphasis on HATE) clowns – so I was worried. But it was more like a band of dead Mexican mariachi’s … and I’m apparently not afraid of dead Mexican mariachi’s.

We did a little shopping (Lisa is nice and actually buys souvenir’s for her family – unlike me) and managed to get back to our bus by 11:15pm. That was supposed to be the last bus to leave – but apparently at least seven people chose to ignore this which kept two of the Izea people – Carrie and Ashley – at the park until at least 2:00am! I would’ve left those turkeys at the park – but that’s my opinion of course.

House of Vayne @ Busch Gardens HOWL O SCREAM 2009!




More IzeaFest photos can be found here!

Wanna-be Ghost Hunter

Now a lot of you know that I’m slightly addicted to Ghost Hunters on SciFi; but what you may not realize is I am a total skeptic! Yes, I believe in ghosts and in the afterlife (and I sorta joke about believing in reincarnation) – but what I do not believe is probably 98% of the haunting’s that people report. I like the show Ghost Hunters because it’s about debunking and not running around screaming and letting your mind play tricks on you.

That said – I took the “leap” and emailed a local paranormal investigation group here in Hampton Roads. Found out they are still actively doing investigations and emailed them (again) to see if they were interested in a tag-along (mainly, me). Hopefully I hear back in the affirmative because that would be so very neat if I could go on a real – group investigation (not just me and a friend with a camera trouncing around graveyards).

I’ve had a real “ghost” experience – just one though. We had a spirit in our house in Rota, Spain … Saw him one night standing next to my bed wearing what appeared to be a Spanish uniform. He was tall, had dark hair and a dark mustache. I told him to go away and never saw him again. Alan (my husband) woke up while I was talking to the “ghost” and (while he still says I’m nuts) at the time thought he saw something also.

I will never “for a fact” know if I was just dreaming – but it seemed very real. I’m one of those people that doesn’t trust my own “sensitivity” (or anyone else’s for that matter) so it’s a great story – but I wouldn’t bet my life on it having actually happened.

I’m not into just visiting supposedly haunted houses and places – I’m extremely into HISTORY. So, since I live in Virginia now which has been occupied for quite awhile now – I’m totally interested in exploring. I explored my hometown (sorta – Brooksville, Florida) with my friend, Amy when we were younger. I also did some exploring in Jacksonville and St. Augustine when I lived there.

Here – we’ve already been hiking around Jamestown (that original settlement) and will hopefully do Williamsburg soon. But here in Virginia Beach there are a lot of historic places. I’d also love to walk Portsmouth (with a large group). There is a “Tweetup” in Portsmouth tomorrow – but I doubt I will make it. Don’t think Xander would be interested although I know my husband would be. Ahh well ….

That was one big tangent wasn’t it? Sorry!

Travel in the Outer Banks

Outer Banks of North Carolina 2002 shot by dpdixon

Outer Banks of North Carolina 2002 shot by dpdixon

The Outer Banks of North Carolina is almost a day trip from here in south Virginia. When we lived in North Carolina we used to take outings around to check out all the famous lighthouses that are there. Sometimes, we didn’t even need to take long trip – on a clear night we could just walk up to our crows nest on the top of our house (it’s a roof deck) and look out to see a lighthouse beacon in the distance. I never remember if it was Cape Hatteras or Cape Lookout that we could see though. I’m pretty sure it was Cape Hatteras though.

One time we rode the ferry to Ocracoke (an island right off of North Carolina) and were just blown away by it. You could not get there by car – so you had to load your car onto the ferry. It was about a 2 hour ride to the island and once you got there it was like you automatically relaxed. Typical “island” lifestyle! Plus, plenty of history and pirate lore! (It’s been said that Blackbeard himself tried to turn Ocracoke into a haven for pirates!) Another part I loved about Ocracoke was all the old, old cemeteries around the island – and anyone who’s read this blog before knows I have a love for all things graveyard. We also got to do some 4x4ing on one of the many “drive on” beaches on the island. Be careful that you can get out once you get in though – there are a few places that you can easily get stuck.

I’d love to plan another trip to the Outer Banks soon. It’s great for couples and families alike. There is a ton to see and do and lots of history (and pirates!). It’s beautiful there – and they even made the list in the book “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” written by Patricia Schultz. See? There’s two recommendations for you!

Family Weekend

Today we’re packing up the family and heading up to Great Wolf Lodge for some indoor camping fun. Great Wolf is up in Williamsburg and looks like a hunting lodge – it’s pretty neat. Some of their suites look like you are staying in a log cabin – and you don’t even need any berghaus clothing in order to be all camper ready! You just need to bring yourself (and your suit because there is a huge INDOOR waterpark!)

Unfortunately; this time around we won’t be able to stay in the log cabin or even the wolfs den, we just have a large room with two beds, but I still think this trip is going to be a lot of fun! Basically, why we are going up there is for a marriage retreat sponsored by my husband the command. I jokingly say my husband because it’s him and the Chaplain that are running this thing. It’s been a huge headache this week (well, the past couple months also – but mostly this past week) since hubby has been “bringing home his work” all this past week. I know he’s just doing his usual 110% but it still sucks sometimes. But, this weekend it’s about US – me and him – because there will be CHILDCARE ALL DAY (and for two hours at night!) and you can be sure we will be taking advantage of this! (Yeah, I’ll be on the ‘net and he’s going to be watching television, lol). Here’s to command sponsored fun!