Friday, August 31, 2012

Party Weekend....

Well my last little girl becomes a teenager tomorrow.  I can't believe it and yet I can when I look at her.  All long legs with a little bit of curve sprinkled around.  Since thirteen is a special B-day she wanted to take 5 of her girlfriends to our timeshare in Orlando to celebrate.  My sister and her family along with my Mom decided to join us and we have some friends joining us on Sunday for the day so it should be a great weekend.  I'll be sure to take lots of pictures.  Here's wishing you and yours a fun filled weekend making lots of memories with the ones you love!!!!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Being a Mom...

Sometimes being a Mom is hard.

McKenlee tried out for her middle school's volleyball team.
All the neighborhood girls tried out too.
McKenlee was the only one that didn't make the team.
McKenlee's heart was broken and there were many tears, so of course my heart was broken too.
I tried to explain to her that in a few weeks this wouldn't be a big deal.
Unfortunately, TODAY it IS a big deal.

Yes, sometimes being a Mom is hard.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Our Hannah Morning...

Sunday morning my sister and Hannah stopped by. Julie was going to look at some plants that our neighbor's who moved had to leave behind. (Carissa, she took the ficus and was way excited about the Magnolia) As she was walking up to the door my niece picked me a beautiful weed flower.  I quickly put it in a little vase in my window sill.  The best part was how excited she got about it.  She wanted me to tell Dave and the girls all about the flower she picked me.  Hannah and I then played her MOST favorite game THE WII.  First, we played Mario Cart where we competed for 11th and 12th place. (Oh yes, my niece gets her fantastic Wii race car driving ability from her Auntie)   Then we played Just Dance and I have to tell you, Hannah has some moves!!
Then she decided she wanted to help Dave mow the lawn.  Just like her Auntie though she discovered real quick that it wasn't really all that fun mowing.  So then we painted, that was much more fun!!  What a great morning I had with my sweet girl!!
My beautiful flower.

Helping Uncle Dave mow.

Love her face in this one, not really liking the mowing as much as she thought she would..LOL

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Manatees and Me....

Every once in awhile there is a day where I think "ok, maybe I like Florida a little" and today was one of those days.  The girls were all busy doing their own things.  Sydnee was home from college to do her second to last weekend at the Fort.  Natalie had gone to a friends house to spend the night and McKenlee had two friends sleeping over and they were camped out in her bedroom. (Literally, remember we have no furniture in that room right now so they were on air mattresses)  Dave asked what would you like to do today?  I thought about it and decided I wanted to go kayaking out at Fort De Soto park.

 I keep saying that I want to spend more time outside doing outdoorsy (is that a word?) things.  So we did. We packed a small cooler with some water and granola bars, loaded my Aunt's Kayaks into the truck and took off.  We unloaded into a protected (important because it was very windy today) mangrove inlet and explored around.

 Within minutes I spotted something I was unfamiliar with sticking out of the water. ( I have never seen a manatee in the wild)  I got excited and if I'm honest a little nervous.  "Dave, what is that I yelled."   "I don't know" he said "go check it out".  As I got closer it surfaced a bit and then I realized it was a manatee.  We became very excited and then kept our eyes peeled for more of them.  We were not disappointed, within 15 minutes  we spotted three more and these guys surfaced RIGHT NEXT to Dave's kayak.  He admitted it made him a little nervous because these guys were big ones.

  I was kicking myself for not having my camera but I didn't bring it because I was afraid of tipping over and getting it wet.  I don't know why I worry about that so much.  The kayaks are very stable I never once felt like I would tip.  I would of loved to of had some pictures of today.

 After Dave got his experience I got mine.  A large manatee surfaced right next to me.  He looked right at me for the longest time.  I didn't know what to do, I really wished I had something to feed him because I kind of think that was what he was waiting for.  He kept swimming under my Kayak and then back again.  I just kept talking to him. Looking back I probably looked kind of silly talking to him like he was a puppy. LOL

 It was about this time that  four women were kayaking our way.  I pointed the manatee out to them and the one woman paddled right over and asked if I had petted him.  I said no and admitted to her that I was afraid.  She smiled then took her shoe off stuck her foot in the water and told me not to be scared that they love attention.  Sure enough the manatee swam right over to her foot so she could scratch his back with her foot.  It was amazing.  Of course, as I sat there with my mouth agape he swam away so I missed my chance.

I hope I get to have another experience like today.  Next time I promised myself that I wouldn't be such a chicken and I would pet one.

I really need to appreciate Florida more. Yes, it is hot but being on the water is pretty great.  Except of course when there is a hurricane heading your way.  Go away Isaac, Go away!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Best of Luck Mr. and Mrs. Mendes...

Don't you hate it when really good friends and neighbors have to move away?
Of course, your happy as ever for them because you know it's going to be a wonderful opportunity. Especially when one of them has landed his dream job.   Plus, you know it's going to be awesome because they will be living in the mountains of Colorado.

 (I'm so jealous, you all know how much I hate Florida)

But the selfish part of you, you know the part of you that you try never to show anyone. Well, that part of me the "selfish girl" has these thoughts going through my head.

 1. Who is going to take care of my animals when we go away? (These friends are huge animal lovers and spoil ours rotten when we are away.)

 2. Who is going to  have the spare key for our girls (and sometimes ourselves) when we lock ourselves out of the house.

 3. Who are we going to borrow things from?

 4. Who is going to be our extra set of muscles when Dave needs help lifting or moving something heavy?

 5. Who are we going to chat with in the street when we happen to be pulling into our driveways at the same time?

 6. Who are we going to complain to about these one particular neighbors? LOL

 7. Whose dog is our other wonderful neighbor's dog going to play with since ours is so antisocial?

 Oh my gosh, I could go on and on.

 Fortunately, we are lucky enough to have other fantastic neighbors who will help fill the void. Two of those neighbors joined us last night as we all went to a farewell dinner for these friends.

 Of course, this picture was taken after we had gotten back from dinner and I had already changed into my "comfy (stretchy) clothes" which is why I am trying to hide behind Dave and Steve. LOL

 Best of luck CJ and Carissa we are going to miss you but couldn't be more happy for you as you begin this next chapter.

 P.S We will be visiting. LOL

Dave and I, Steve and Brandy, and CJ and Carissa

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

McKenlee's First day of school.

School started on Monday around these parts and here is a picture of McKenlee on the first day of school. This is her last year of middle school before joining her sister in high school next year. I don't have a picture of Natalie and I am embarrassed to tell you why. It will show once and for all why I will never receive a "Mother of the Year" award. Natalie leaves for school at 6:30 A.M. Yup, that's right I said 6:30 A.M

 I (bowing my head in shame) was not up. Dave takes her to school in the mornings so I was sound asleep. I do vaguely recall a shout out from under the covers that resembled "have a great first day honey, yawn" But no, I was not conscious enough to take a picture. (please don't judge me) LOL Maybe next year when they are both leaving at the same time I will force (see: dragging, kicking and screaming) myself to get up and snap a quick few so I can get back in the running for that award I am working so hard to receive. :)
McKenlee and her friend and neighbor Megan on the first day of 8th grade.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dinner is served....

Dave is on vacation this week and it is so nice having him home.  Usually, when he is on vacation we are ALL on vacation and going somewhere.  Unfortunately, this was the only week that Dave could get.  He is kind of low on the totem pole at work.  With the kids starting school this week going anywhere as a family wasn't an option.  He thought about trying to fly home to England to visit family but airfare was way out of our price range. Especially this time of year with school clothes, two birthdays, and visits from friends.  So he is having a staycation and hanging out with me and my little ones.  Today we headed to Kanes furniture and Ikea to look at bedroom sets for McKenlee's room since Sydnee took the bedroom set that was in there with her for her apartment.

Tonight I decided it was time to get back to the gym and get working on my time and speed for the half marathon.  This has been on my mind a lot since I have not been working out AT ALL and February is quickly approaching.  One of my friends, who is doing the marathon with me suggested we do a different marathon that has a more flexible time requirement.  Instead of a 16 minute mile they allow a 18.34 minute mile.  Oh my gosh, that was music to my ears I tell ya.  I knew I was never going to be able to get to that consistent 16 minute mile but 18.34 is totally doable.  I was so relieved and then inspired. So back at it I am.  

Back to the title of this post.  Because I was at the gym with Natalie, Dave and McKenlee decided they would make the meatloaf that I had planned for dinner.  Neither of them had any idea how to make a meat loaf so McKenlee decided to look in one of my cook books and try to find a meatloaf recipe.  They found one for a southwest meatloaf but didn't have all the exact ingredients so they improvised.  The most impressive was substituting crushed cheerios for crushed cornflakes.  I wasn't really sure how that was going to taste but I have to tell you their meatloaf was delicious.  It was so nice to come home and find out that they had made dinner.  How nice it would be if Dave could be home all the time to make dinner with McKenlee.  :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Florida Boots

I saw these the other day on a young girl and she was nice enough to let me take a picture.  These are definitely Boots made for Florida.  Every Floridian knows flip flops in any form are the only way to go....

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sydnee's first apartment...

Yesterday, we loaded up a moving truck with Sydnee's bedroom set and a bunch of generously donated furniture and headed to Orlando to move our girl into her first apt. She is incredibly excited to begin her sophomore year at UCF and live with two of her friends in her very first little home. We have been blessed with some very generous friends so the apartment is furnished very nicely. Between the three girls they had just about everything they could ever need. The only thing they had to purchase yesterday was a vacuum cleaner. They even have their first pets. One (the puppy) is only there for two weeks till he goes to his permanent home but the other a little tail less kitten named Stubbs is there to stay. What a cutie pie he is. I will have to get a picture from Sydnee to post. (You can't really get the full cuteness affect in the photo )  She is very excited to get back to the books and start school tomorrow. Her sisters start school tomorrow too so it will be a busy week in our house and Sydnee's house too. Wow, that sure seems weird to type "Sydnee's house (apt)." LOL
Sydnee and her two room mates Katie and Kayla

Their dining area which they decided to leave open with just the sofa table and use the bar
  to eat since it is such a small area.

Sydnee's room.

View of the kitchen and bar area.

Hanging lights in her room.  Two of her friends Ben and Kevin came to help her move in.

Another view of her room and closet which she put her desk in to make a study  area since the closet is so big.

Another view of the living room.  Dave taking a break after carrying furniture up three floors.  LOL

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hello Chloe and Family....

Remember our beautiful exchange student Chloe?  Well she and her family came to visit us for a few days last week on their Florida vacation.  It was wonderful to see her and meet her family.  Her Mother Valerie, Father Christopher and her brother Victor.  Her Aunt Murielle and Uncle Dennis along with her cousin Charlotte.  We had such a nice time with some shopping, some beach days, and lots of great conversation as we got to know each other.  Dave and I decided we would really like to learn some french for the next time they come or we manage to get over there for a visit.  We are so jealous that they all speak English so well and we don't know a lick of French.  Murielle and Dennis are not quite as fluent as Chloe's parents but they really tried hard.  We had lots of laughs over some of their mishaps.  They shared that they were having a conversation with a store clerk one day and Dennis and Murielle told the girl that in France they owned a condom manufacturing company when what they really meant to say was a CANDLE company.  LOL  They said the look on the girl's face was priceless.  One evening they made us a delicious French meal along with crepes for dessert.  It was delicious.  I am so thankful that Natalie had the opportunity through her school French class to host an exchange student and we had the pleasure of getting to know her and her family.  It really is "a small world after all."

Chloe showing the girls how to make the crepes.

Having a little "girl time"  poor Victor he patiently played a video game on his Ipod waiting for them to  finish.

Victor fell in love with our dog Jesse and she with him.   :)

Love this one of the kids just being kids.  Natalie adding a little silly.  

Dennis and Christophe doing dishes after an evening meal.

Making us our fantastic French meal.

Me with Chloe and Charlotte.  Sweetest girls!!

Our delicious French meal.

More crepe making..

Me with the incredibly gorgeous and incredibly TINY  Murielle and Valerie. (Yes, I  felt like a giant  LOL )

Natalie and Chloe.

Group shot before they headed to Orlando.  My little one that I watch is in Natalie's arms.

Chloe and Charlotte enjoying the pool.

Playing some good ol America corn hole after dinner one night.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Beach Holiday .....

We recently spent a week out at the beach. We have friends who own a timeshare out on one of our local beaches their week is the last week in July. Now that they are retired they travel all summer which works out to our immense benefit. Since they cannot use their week they let us rent it from them for an incredibly discounted price. We love spending time in their condo for many so many reasons.

1. It's close to home so it's a very inexpensive vacation. No high gas bill or plane tickets.

2. Because it is local we always have a lot of friends and family come visit us.

3. It's beach front and a corner unit so from every window and balcony you have a view of the ocean. It's awesome.

4. It's such a relaxing vacation because you are not trying to see everything in case you might not ever visit again. We live here so we've seen it all we just spend the week chilling on the beach.


My gorgeous mermaids in the complex pool.

Dave and I on one of our morning walks.  We walked the beach every morning except one. (because someone had to be a big kid and had an unsuccessful attempt at skim boarding and rolled his ankle)

The older girls boyfriends came to visit. Here is Natalie and her boyfriend Thor

The girls also had lots of friends visit too. Here is Sydnee with her friend Katie.

Sydnee and her boyfriend Matt.

McKenlee's two BFF's Marissa and Hannah.

McKenlee and my niece Hannah.  Those silly glasses were a hit can you tell?  LOL

We rented or should I say Dave and the girls rented wave runners.
  Falling off a wave runner in the middle of the ocean is not anything I'm interested in.   LOL

Dinner at a seaside restaurant.

View at the restaurant it was on the inter coastal.

Little fish that Natalie caught with just her hands.  I was kind of impressed.  LOL

Itty Bitty puffer fish Natalie also caught.

View from the balcony.

Marissa and McKenlee.  

The week was spent with our toes in the sand.

My beautiful niece loves the beach.

Every evening we headed down to the beach after dinner to watch the sunset.

Natalie and I sporting our slightly pink shoulders.

Natalie showing Hannah the little coquina.

Monday, August 6, 2012

My girl turns Nineteen...

My oldest turned 19 on Saturday. As per family tradition she got to pick her favorite dinner and we had a family party. Which inevitably got big like all our get together's do. LOL By the time we had our family and some extra friends we had a houseful for dinner but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sydnee giving her Nanny a Thank You kiss.

Of course I made the B-Day girl wear a B-Day hat..

Sydnee and her boyfriend Matt with my niece sporting the bow from Matt's gift.

Dave and I with Sydnee showing off her new camera.

Sydnee and her BFF Jacqueline.

Cheesy smiles..

Me and my gorgeous B-day Girl..

Sydnee and her friend and room mate Katie who got her an adorable home made apron.
 So she can cook lots of  meals in their new apartment.