Saturday, December 29, 2012

Our morning in Ybor and Channelside...

Today we made plans with our best friends Tricia and Mark to head over to historic Ybor City for their farmers/craft market and then ride the trolley car all around down town and have lunch at Hooters. Sydnee invited her boyfriend Matt so we were a group of ten. We joked that Matt was Mark and Tricia's son for the day so we could take advantage of the cheaper family passes for the trolley. We also told the two college sophomores that they were 17 for the day to save me $10. (please don't judge lol )

 It rained all night last night and was still pretty drizzly this morning so I was worried we might have to cancel. We decided to go for it and later it ended up being a gorgeous day. Unfortunately, because it was rainy in the morning there were not many vendors at the market. Of course, this did not stop Mark from buying 10 mini loafs of banana bread from a husband/wife baking stand. (I bought 2 they were so good) The circus is also in town in our neck of the woods so we got to see a few of the animals as they were walked from their traveling trailers to their holding areas. We had about a 20 minute wait for the first trolley car run so we stopped at an outside bar and had a quick drink. (Beers for the guys and sodas for the kids) There were a ton of little restaurants and bistros with outdoor patios. Definitely some where we want to go back when we don't have the kids with us.

We also popped our heads into Splittsville which is a restaurant and bar with 12 bowling lanes and pool tables. That also looked like a lot of fun and something we could do another time with the kids. Of course, because it is very popular and there are only 12 lanes reservations are a must.  We also saw the Carnival cruise ship Paradise come into port and the lines of people waiting to board her for their cruise. So naturally, McKenlee had to go on and on about how she is the only one who hasn't been on one and we "really need to go Mom."

 It was a great day and somewhere we will definitely check out again preferably on a sunny day so maybe the market will have more things to check out.

Dave, Marissa and McKenlee on the trolley car.

Tricia and I on the trolley car.

Tricia and I standing out front of Coyote Ugly. (at night Ybor is a renowned party town)

Dave, Mark, Natalie, Sydnee and Matt waiting for the trolley car.

All over Ybor Roosters and Hens roam freely.  Not sure why??

Marissa and McKenlee.

Having a quick drink while waiting.

Carson and his girlfriend for the day Natalie.  (Carson was all about Natalie today  it was to cute.)

Sydnee, Matt and Carson.

Pretty girls.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day in Pictures...

Sticking with tradition we headed over to The Weeks house for Boxing Day, this was their year. Unfortunately, Dave wasn't with us he had to work. Mark (Tricia's husband) had to work too so it was a Mom and kids day. We did the usual hang out, play games, and stuff our faces with Christmas leftovers. It was a lot of fun. Again, we didn't snap any photos through out the day so these are a little staged but as I always say "it is what it is."
Marissa and McKenlee.  Of course, my daughter being a goof.

Mom's and kids.

The kids.

 The Mom's.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day in pictures...

Sydnee showing McKenlee her new iphone.

My Grandmother bought us a rope and ladder game to play instead of our usual Corn Hole.

Cleaning up the wrapping paper and throwing away a McKenlee

The first gift of the morning.

All dressed up for Christmas dinner.

The annual Aunt Sharon, Dave and I in the kitchen photo.

Christmas dinner table.

Putting together the ladder game.

Making breakfast with my girls Christmas morning.

The game is set up and ready go.

Sydnee opening up yet another white dress.  We always buy her white clothing because with being a lifeguard she is so tan in the summer that white looks fantastic on her.

Opening her new cleats.  She plays in a intramural soccer league at her university and her old cleats were being held together with duct tape. 

Natalie opening her white Sperry's. (We have every color of Sperry's known to man in this house between my three girls.)

Goofy girl McKenlee showing her sisters The Hunger Games DVD.

Natalie wanted flowered jeans this year which made me laugh because I had flowered jeans in High School.

UCF Knight Slippers.

This one cracks me up,  it was quite a production getting this game set up can you tell.  LOL 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve in Pictures...

My Grandma, Mom, and I

Natalie and Thor.

Sydnee and Matt.

McKenlee and I.

Kirk and Butch.

Natalie and I

Dave and I.

Dave, Sydnee and I.

Dave and I with our beautiful girls.
I apologize for these very staged photos but towards the end of the evening we hadn't taken any so I made everyone get in a photo.  Unfortunately, my Aunts Sharon and Deenie had already left.  My sister was with her husband's family this year so I don't have any of them either.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Beggar...

I always knew Jesse's favorite place was under the high chair.

I just didn't know Tuesday liked it there too.

Of course, it's the place to be when these little cuties are willing to share.


Monday, December 17, 2012

The one's we didn't use...

This year we are kind of last minute with our Christmas Cards.   My wonderful husband cracks me up when it comes to our cards.   Even though I am the one that places the order for the cards, picks them up, addresses them and mails them . He is the supervisor.   I guess you could say that our family mailing out cards is very important to him. I am sure it is because his family and a lot of his friends are in England and Australia and it is important to him that we get a holiday greeting out.    Last night he asked me again about getting our cards out.

The problem is we just didn't have a picture.

 In years past we normally have one that was taken recently that we say "oh, this would be good for our Christmas Card."   This year that just didn't happen so we had to take one.   We asked our neighbors if they would mind coming over and snapping a quick photo of us in front of the tree . So after a battery search fiasco. (My camera goes through batteries like water, note to self:next time buy a camera that comes with a rechargeable battery.)   We managed to get a few family photos.   We even at the last minute had Jesse join us.

Here are the ones that didn't make the cut.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sydnee's home....

Sydnee got home tonight for Christmas Break.  She and McKenlee headed up to the high school to watch Natalie's Soccer game.  I was going to go to but then it started to rain.  I just wasn't up for sitting in the rain. Plus, I worry more when the girls play sports in the rain.  There is so much more chance for injury with wet ground.  I feel like I spend the whole time holding my breath every time they go in for a tackle (with soccer) or slide into a base (with softball).

My oldest daughter makes me smile every time she comes home from college.  Each time without fail as she comes around the corner and into the driveway she beeps her horn continuously to announce her arrival. Then we her royal subjects loving family run outside and meet her in the driveway.  We give her big hugs and then help her carry in all her stuff ( see: laundry).  I don't know why we do this but it is expected now and I think it would break her heart if we didn't do it.  So of course we do, and it always makes me smile.

I guess Dave and I did something right.

 I say this because our girls know they are special. (every child is special) They have been raised knowing that their presence in our home is treasured, that they are adored, and we love having them here.  There is no doubt in their minds that when they are not at home they are missed.

 Now don't get me wrong, I don't want to come across all rainbows and butterflies here.  There are times, especially when they were younger when they would tell us they were spending the night with a family member or a friend and  Dave and I would mentally shout hip, hip hooray!!!  Because lets face it, sometimes you just need a break even from the ones who hold your heart.

But one of the best feelings I get  when I wake in the middle of the night is walking by each of my little girl's rooms and seeing them sleeping peaceful and safe under the same roof.  Even though (and I hate this) they really aren't little girls anymore.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Nap time for little kitties...

One thing that is an absolute given every Christmas season is that my cats will spend copious amounts of time napping under the Christmas tree.  So much in fact that usually the day before Christmas I will have to wash my tree skirt or risk having cat hair over all the presents.

It's funny because my cats don't have the best of relationships but will tolerate each other this time of year so they can both enjoy the very coveted spot.  I haven't figured out yet if it is because they feel safe and a little hidden under the tree,  if they just really like the thick fluffy tree skirt, or if the lights give off a little heat which they enjoy.  It may be a combination.  Whatever the reason I think it is adorable and had to snap a picture.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Memory Lane...

I took a little walk down memory lane recently and came across this picture. One of my favorites. I love how the girls are entwined( for lack of a better word) in this photo. There love for each other is evident in this picture. I don't see that much now that they are older. I know it is there but I don't get to witness it as much. Here are ten things I miss from that age.
1. All three of my girls lived in my home.  We all slept under the same roof.  I miss that so much now that Sydnee is away at school.

2. Natalie and McKenlee were best friends at this age.  They did everything together.  It was always Sydnee and the little girls.  Now it seems that it is the older girls and McKenlee.

3.McKenlee in our bed every night.  I know that sounds crazy because when she was little we couldn't wait to get her out of our bed.  (She slept with us every night until she was eight, please don't judge. lol)  But now I would love to go back in time and cuddle with that tiny little thing.  That tiny little thing is 5'7 now and I can usually only manage about a 15 second hug before she is off doing her thing.

4.Watching my Natalie drag her white blanket around.  In this picture Sydnee is 10, Natalie is 6 and McKenlee 4.  Natalie carried her blanket around consistently until she was about 11.  It went every where with us. The times when I would have to wash it she would stand at the garage door and cry until it was done.  She called it "bumpy."  She still has it on her bed but it is no longer her constant companion.

5. Sydnee bossing her sisters around.  When Sydnee was around this age she went through a stage where she thought she was the Mom.  She would constantly tell her sisters what to do and even tell me how I should respond to their behavior.  Of course, at the time it drove me nuts but now when I look back it makes me smile.

6. Watching them play with the neighborhood girls.  It was around this age that I started letting them play outside with the neighbor kids unsupervised in our two front yards. (ours and the neighbors)  Of course they had to be together, they were not allowed by themselves.  Back then though it wasn't an issue because they wanted to be together all the time anyway.

7. Natalie being taller than McKenlee.  Up until about 2 years ago Natalie was taller than her younger sister and always out weighed her by exactly 10 lbs.  Two years ago that all changed and now McKenlee is four inches taller and out weighs her sister by exactly 10lbs.  Sydnee still has an inch on McKenlee but I know that is only a matter of time.

8.  Being 33.  When this picture was taken I was only 33.  I would love to be 33 again.  LOL

9. Christmas mornings.  I miss the Christmases when my girls believed in Santa and all the magic believing entails.  We used to follow the Nordic Santa Tracker every year on line to see exactly where Santa was throughout Christmas Eve and leave out milk and cookies.  We used to make reindeer food with oatmeal and glitter for Santa's reindeer. Oh how I miss that.

10. I miss their little voices.  Whenever we watch home videos of the kids when they were small it is their voices that melt my heart  the most.  Their sweet little voices.  Funny things they say or words they would mispronounce.

Yes, while I love the young women my daughters are becoming everyday. I miss the little girls they used to be.  I'm so thankful that pictures and videos and memories allow us to re-visit those time.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Jesse's Girl...

Someone sure was glad Sydnee was home from college for Thanksgiving Weekend. Sydnee has always been Jesse's favorite girl.
Getting in some cuddles.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Turkey Trot...

This year since I have been working so hard (working hard the last five weeks anyway lol)  I invited myself and my girls (plus Thor) to join our neighbors and friends Greg and Eileen and their daughters to do the Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot this year.  It was a 5k and it started at 7:30 in the morning.  This meant I had to be up at 5:15am so we could get there by 6:30 for a 7:30 race.  OUCH!!  It was so much fun.  According to the newspaper there are more than 17,000 people who do this race every year.  There are three different races two 5k's and one 10k.  There were 5600 people doing our race.  This was only my second time doing a race, I did the Gasparilla 5k a couple years ago.  I'm still really intimidated by the crowds especially when it first starts, but after it gets going I love it.  This one was really fun because most of the course was through residential neighborhoods so people came out on their porches with their coffee and cheered us on.  There were quite a few homes that had small bands set up in their driveways playing music for us.  I loved this!!  What I loved most of  all was doing it with my girls.  I was really surprised they would be willing to get up that early to do the race with me.  You know teenagers they don't like early mornings.  I definitely want to do this race again.  I think Dave was sorry he didn't do it with us, he was really worried about the house not being ready for  all our guests that would be arriving later in the day.  So he stayed home and straightened up.  We were home by 10am though so we all helped get everything ready.

Here are the kids. Megan, McKenlee, Thor, Natalie and Sydnee

Eileen explaining the race route to the kids.

Greg, Eileen and their daughter Megan.  Their other daughter was with a group  of her friends.

The kids when we first got there, can you tell the sun had just come up.

My girls and I (I''m not looking real pretty here lol the hair slicked back look is not for me)

Sydnee and I

I was trying to get a picture of the crowd behind us.  There are so many people it's insane.

Here is one of the several bands we passed playing music for us. 

The old people.  LOL 

Later in the day our family came over and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner that went off without a hitch.  I'm just disappointed I didn't take any photos later in the day.  We had fifteen at our Thanksgiving table and everyone enjoyed the day.  The best part was that my last two baby hamsters were adopted by my Uncle's granddaughter's family.  Yay!!!  Just kidding the best part was a day spent with family reflecting on our blessings but the hamster adoption was a definite bonus.  LOL