Thursday, February 26, 2009
On one of our days in Florida, we took a field trip to Blue Spring State Park. It was a bit of a memory-lane moment for me, since the last time I was there was many, many years ago with my parents, brothers, and Grandma Minota. That time there were no manatees to see, but this trip there were 36 wild manatees in the area for us to enjoy! We also walked the boardwalk all the way in to where the actual Spring is located. There was a lot of lovely Floridian scenery to enjoy. We also toured the house that was built in the 1800s by a couple who settled in the area. It's always fascinating to me to stand in a place full of history and imagine the lives that were lived in that very spot so many, many years before. A big old stump at the end of the boardwalk inevitably became a good spot for the kids to jump off and feel amazing.Jumping off quickly became a game of "catch me!" Even my brothers got caught up in the excitement!!! (Actually, they were just humoring their sister, who wanted them to do it for a picture, too! They were good sports about it and we ended up with a funny picture that captures some of the fun, goofy humor of our family!) The whole clan......and a last few pictures before we headed out for a little ice cream shop (hooray for soft-serve vanilla ice cream with rainbow sprinkles!) and then home.
We spent the bulk of our ten days in Florida at my parents' house, while the NY crew (Uncle Chuck, Aunt Connie, Amanda, and Alicia) stayed with my grandparents at their snowbird-house, just a few minutes away from my parents' place. Most days, we moved in slow-motion in the mornings and then congregated in the afternoons. My kids enjoyed the requisite tractor rides with Grandpa...this is one of the main highlights for David any time we go to Florida. My dad lets him actually drive it and has patiently taught David how to operate all the levers etc so that he can work the attachments, too. Besides riding for the fun of it, my dad always has "jobs" lined up for them to do together. As much as David loves it, I'm still not sure who enjoys it more, him or his grandpa!!! And hooray for Abigail, who finally got up the nerve to ride!They also got to help pick oranges to make juice...Below is a typical scene in the afternoons (sans my dad, U. Chuck, and my brothers, who all went golfing). We sat in the sun to talk, laugh, read, knit, eat ice cream, and the kids would buzz around us in nonstop motion. My cousins patiently cater to David's and Abigail's every whim -- they adore my kids and my kids adore them! (Just for the record, I think they need to move closer so they can babysit for us!)One afternoon we walked down to the little park/playground down the road from my grandparents'...And by the end of every day, the kids were thoroughly exhausted, in a good way. Each day was wonderfully full of family and fun! We also enjoyed a visit from Jessica, but again...I didn't take any pictures.
Before I start this series, let me just say this...I didn't do a very good job taking pictures on this trip. I have hardly any pictures of the kids with everybody. I missed a lot of good photo ops because I just didn't think to use my camera. I did, however, end up with a zillion pictures of Nyki. Oh well.
~Below: The kids at the Big Cow...our annual stop on the way down to Florida (and yes, I let Abigail wear her pjs...we left home at 5:45 in the morning and it was still so early when we stopped at the Cow that the nice restrooms weren't even open yet!). At Uncle Caleb's house, the kids had some redneck fun playing in the drainage ditch (don't worry, I scrubbed them in a hot bath immediately afterwards!). We also had some more civilized fun with Uncle Caleb. :) At Uncle Matthew's house, he and David spent a good bit of time hitting golf balls out back into the big (empty) retention pond. The kids were very impressed with "the big hole"!!! Matthew and I also re-discovered the fun of playing video games together. The poor kids had to take turns letting Matthew and me play Legos Indiana Jones! :) It was great to visit my brothers. It's still kinda hard to believe that we're all grown up and that they do just fine without me on hand to "mother" them (although they're very patient with letting me fuss over them a little just because I like to!). Their places are so nice, and it was wonderful to spend time with them. My kids simply adore their uncles, and their uncles are wonderful with them, so they were thrilled to have uninterrupted wrestle and play time with them, and to be able to spend the night at their houses. I just can't help wishing they lived closer to us!
Every Wednesday, we bake something during activity time in school. Besides ending up with a fun snack to share with Bruce (who works at home on Wednesdays), the kids are learning how to bake, as well as practicing their reading and math skills by following the recipe. Yesterday David chose the recipe and (since it was a simple one), he got to give all the recipe instructions without me double-checking the information, which made him feel very grown-up. We made Oven S'mores and they were good. Other than Bruce vehemently disliking being sticky (he's a bit obsessive-compulsive about it) and Abigail making a royal mess of herself while eating them, they were a hit! (Every one else had one...I ate five...!)
Yesterday Abigail told us that she was "Robin Hood's Daughter." (I have no idea.) She wore her fancy black boots over her pajamas, didn't want her hair fixed, and carried her baby doll in her backpack, baby carrier-style. The other morning I found her in the kitchen, eating cereal off the floor...she was being Nyki (my mom's kitten). The girl has no lack of imagination...and yes, Mom, I know, I know...now it's come full-circle!
Monday, February 23, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Beautiful sky on the way to Florida...
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
...and my blog has been as neglected as it usually is when I'm on vacation! For a brief update on our time so far, visit my mom's blog here. I'll try to update my blog with pictures this weekend! Other than missing Bruce a lot, we're having a wonderful time, enjoying lots of sun, warmth, rest, and family...
Thursday, February 12, 2009
We arrived at my parents' this afternoon...and I'm TIRED! We had a wonderful -- albeit brief -- time with my brothers. The rest of the NY crew will be arriving tomorrow early evening...but for now, I'm going to bed and hoping to sleep until 7, at least!!!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
We are now in Ocala, Florida, visiting Matthew. Currently I'm relaxing and checking email, and the kids are outside with Uncle Mattie, hitting golf balls in the back yard and enjoying his undivided attention! It's hot outside here today -- I'm wearing capris and a tank top for the first time in months -- my legs are a ghastly shade of white, but it feels nice as long as I don't look down! :) It was hard to leave Caleb's this morning, but we're looking forward to seeing him again next week, at least, which made it a tiny bit easier. I am so very blessed to be so close to my brothers in relationship -- now if only we could be close in proximity, too!!! Off I go to enjoy the Florida sunshine...next post should be from Pomona Park.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
We left home this morning a few minutes before 6 a.m. and we arrived at Caleb's about 11:35 a.m. -- great trip! We were excited to make such good time (and NO, I did NOT speed!). We're been thoroughly enjoying this afternoon with Caleb. The kids are finishing baths now and then they will eat dinner and head to bed...and then Caleb and I will pull out our Angus burgers, popcorn, soda, and a movie!!! Next post will be from Ocala...
Monday, February 09, 2009
Today is one of THOSE days...that day before a trip when one suddenly realizes that there is still so much yet to be done...the day when one needs to go to bed early to prepare for waking up early to leave "in the 5s" tomorrow morning (in order to beat most of the Atlanta morning rush), and yet the day when one inevitably stays up way too late, frantically finishing "just one more thing" before leaving. The day when one must try not to think about being away from one's husband for ten days...because that's too sad to think about...instead, focusing on all of the much-loved but usually far-away family that will be visited in the next ten days. My next post should be from Florida!
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Since Bruce and I won't be together on Valentine's Day :( , my darling husband suggested that we celebrate early with a date at home. Although we weren't supposed to exchange gifts, he brought me tulips and truffles (he argued that they didn't count because every woman should get flowers and chocolate on Valentine's Day...and I just didn't have the heart to disagree after I saw the name "Lindt" on that bag!). He also very practically pointed out that the flowers are live, which means that I can take them to Florida with me to enjoy. He always has a good argument to support his opinion...he should have been an attorney. :)Last night after the kids went to bed early (as is our custom on Saturday night anyway, since they need the rest before the busyness of our day on Sunday), we got all ready and enjoyed a lovely dinner (filet mignon [with mushrooms for me], Brussels sprouts, and cous cous), complete with candles, our heirloom lace tablecloth that my grandma made for us, our good china, and fancy water goblets. For dessert we had still-warm brownies baked with chopped up Snickers sprinkled on top...yum. We enjoyed good conversation (not a surprise, since, 11 1/2 years after we started dating, we have yet to run out of things to talk about!) and a wonderful time together.My sweet husband even "showed up" for our date dressed up in date attire -- a fun surprise, since I hadn't mentioned to him that I was planning to dress up!We also enjoyed the perks of a date at home in that we both got to wear our slippers, we didn't have to drive home when we were done eating and tired, we spent way less on dinner than we would have if we went out (Kroger had filet on sale this week :)!), we didn't have to pay a babysitter, and when I got cold halfway through the meal, I got to wrap up in a fuzzy blanket while we chatted and ate. :)
Happy (early) Valentine's Day to my beloved... I love you, Bruce!
I'm pre-writing this post to hit on Sunday afternoon (when, hopefully, I'll be asleep), so that you'll get a little idea of what Sunday afternoon looks like around here. After lunch, we immediately hit our respective napping places...
Bruce is sound asleep in well under one minute. Seriously. Abigail usually reads a couple of books in her bed and then falls asleep. (This picture is from last week, after she'd already come downstairs.) David and I start at opposite ends of the couch and then he either snuggles his way down near me to fall asleep or hides under the pillow and falls asleep, like in this picture. It takes me much longer to wind down enough to fall asleep. I either read and watch football/golf a little and then fall asleep, or just sit and get computer chores done while the house is quiet. Then it's off to evening church, all well-rested and ready to go!
Saturday, February 07, 2009
After the cold temperatures we've had in the last week or two (don't make fun of me; it was 12 degrees the other morning), being back in the 60s feels wonderful! Yesterday afternoon, I found as many outside jobs as I could because it was too lovely to be inside. :) Today is going to be just as nice...the kids are already outside, and I'll be heading out there later this afternoon, after I finish some laundry, packing, and other trip-prep (the kids and I are heading to Florida early Tuesday morning). Spring in February...one of the reasons we love the South!!!(...a word of encouragement to those of you in the north...the robins have been in our yard every evening, as is their custom every year on their spring migration, so they're on their way up to you!)
In our house, having two functioning hands is not something we take for granted. In fact, we speak about one's opposite hand as though it's its own personage, as in: "Abigail, can leftie try?" or, "Abigail, I think leftie wants a turn." It's all part of the therapy that is just a normal part of our daily life, always trying to strengthen her left side. It's always very exciting when she uses leftie to do something that requires concentration and coordination. Yesterday she made finger puppets and then used them to say a little rhyme about buying flowers from the farmer. Nice enough, but the exciting part is that she got them onto leftie all by herself, and look at how well her fingers/thumb are splayed -- and they stayed that way for the whole rhyme! Good job, leftie!!! We thank God for the spitfire-spirit He gave her! Her desire to do things with both hands makes her so much more willing (well, most of the time!) to work with that left side, which not only improves her strength, flexibility, and dexterity, but also builds pathways in her brain that will in turn increase her left side abilities. Go, baby girl, go!!!
...we read "If You Give a Moose a Muffin" and then made the accompanying recipe for Mud Moose Muffins (or something like that). We had to make two rounds' worth of batter, because after the last step -- pouring in some peanut butter chips -- I looked down and saw a maggot floating on the top. Whoops. A half-used bag of baking chips don't last very long in the south. Thankfully, I had another bag -- and enough of all the ingredients -- so we mixed a second batch and they turned out great...and without any extra protein. :) On a side note, the apron Abigail is wearing is the one I won in a giveaway from Rosemary back in December. Yes, I know I'm behind...I have yet to post about it...but I thought I'd better let Jessica cool off a bit before I mentioned it again. :) I was wearing the apron for this project, but Abigail insisted that she needed to try it. It looks particularly cute over her pajamas! Yesterday we completed day 117 (out of 180) -- hooray for us!
Friday, February 06, 2009
Dinner at Sushi Sumo (the kids always argue about who gets to sit next to RaDora, and she always ends up offering to sit squished in the middle!)...
Dessert at Coldstone Creamery...
(sorry about the alliteration...I couldn't help myself!)