Anyway who knows me knows that I am not very good at keeping secrets when it comes to gift giving. When I finally figure out the perfect gift, I want to shout it from the rooftops. I'm notorious for giving in early and letting people open their gifts early so I can see their reaction because I know they're going to love it. Well, I am so proud of myself because I was able to keep Jordan's 30th Birthday present a surprise! Go me!
So how was I able to pull this off? Well, first Jordan decided that he wanted to go to the temple for his birthday (so very Peter Priesthood of him, but I was excited to go as well). We arranged for Mom to watch the kiddos so we could go to Atlanta. We got a killer deal on a hotel in Atlanta through Hotwire. A few days later, we saw that the Atlanta temple was going to be closed for two weeks starting the week we were going. FABULOUS! This has been the Florida Golds' luck for the past year. So we called Hotwire and asked about a refund. They said they couldn't give one because it was one of their super hot deals. The dilemma was do we go anyway since we already paid and just say we tried to go to the temple or do we just suck it up and head to Orlando. We had planned this trip with another couple, the Lasters (David and Becca). Becca and I were talking about it and felt like we should go to Orlando so we could go to the temple since we already had babysitting covered and a rental car. We then decided it would be a wonderful idea to surprise Jordan with tickets to Universal Studios Island of Adventures so he could go to Harry Potter World. We figured out the cost of the new hotel room and the discounted tickets through David's work. As luck would have it, I had some Christmas money left over that I could finagle to cover the cost. The thing you have to know is Jordan watches our finances like a hawk. There was no way for me to pull this off if I had to withdraw money because he would know before I got home that money had been withdrawn. So the saved Christmas money was enough to cover both tickets with a whopping three dollars left over.
The next phase of the plan was to talk Jordan into Orlando. This was no easy task. Jordan didn't want to give up the amount from the Atlanta hotel reservation. This part of the plan required me to be a little bit grouchy to get him to change his mind. Jordan is normally one to go with the flow whereas I'm more the uptight one. Well the roles were reversed this week (this was partly induced because of some not so great events...an IRS letter saying we filed our taxes wrong probably due to my stinking tutoring I did last year AND the car started overheating for mysterious reasons). It took a while, but we finally convinced him to be okay with going to Orlando.
An adult trip to Orlando was exactly what we needed. We made the six hour drive Friday afternoon with no kids. This meant it actually took six hours instead of eight. No one was grumpy or picking at the other one on the ride down. Again, just what we needed. Saturday morning we woke up super early to go to the temple. Becca's Mom works there and informed us that there were six buses scheduled for Saturday. (I can't wait for the Fort Lauderdale temple to open! It'll cut down some of the traffic to the Orlando temple.) We got there so early, the temple wasn't even opened yet. I could tell Jordan was not that excited about being there so early. We had a great session though. We were both grateful to have the opportunity to go to the temple despite all of the hardships we had faced making plans for this trip. When we left, there was a line out the door with about 75 people waiting to show their recommends. INSANE!
After the temple, David had mentioned that he had never been to City Walk (the shops and restaurants outside of Universal). So we rushed over to City Walk. Becca told Jordan that you could see Harry Potter World from the gates. We walked down to get a glimpse. The boys took a bathroom break when we got to the gates. While they were gone, Becca asked me how I was going to tell him we had tickets. I told her I had no idea. I honestly didn't think we'd make it this far without him knowing. So when he came back, here's what happened.
So we rushed in and headed to Harry Potter World without Fast Passes (since they cost tons extra at Universal). Let me just say that I am so glad we didn't buy Fast Passes! Instead of taking 45 minutes just to buy a Butterbeer, it only took 5. The Harry Potter Ride was only a 45 minutes wait versus the normal 2 hours and 45 minutes. That was followed by 2 minute waits as single riders so we could ride again and again quickly. It was AMAZING! Here are some of the things we did and saw.
The Hogwarts Express.
Butterbeers, which were super sweet and rich but delicious!
Hogwarts Castle was amazing!
The boys had to make sure they could fit in the seats before getting in line.
What's that? There's no stroller to be pushed? So FABULOUS!
A wand selection demonstration at Ollivanders. Yes, those are wands from the floor to the ceiling. All different kinds of wands. Jordan was too chicken to buy a wand. He didn't want to be that dorky...though he really is and I love that about him.
We ended up closing down the park...leaving at 6:55. An hour before it closed, we decided to go on the water rides since the high that day had been 80 degrees. By the time we went, the sun was down and it was cold if you were one of those idiots that were wet...which we were. He had the best time though! Best. Birthday. EVER.
Buckeye Brownies Recipe
1 hour ago