Monday, October 31, 2011

The Pine Tree

Here's more of a body shot of the pine tree - really, it looks great from the front!
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Halloween Costumes & Sunrise over the Atlantic

Our girls wanted a "Colorado-esque" costumes this year.
Here's what we came up with:
The quinnessential snowman.
She had a really cute carrot nose, and we painted her up and gave her a scarf and a broom for the trunk or treat last weekend. Unfortunately, she ended up with a weird rash on her face that still hasn't gone away. As such, we went with simple tonight.

We went next door for pizza and dessert before heading out trick or treating. The green pine tree on the back right is our oldest daughter. I'm still trying to find that other photo of her full costume. The dark haired girl in the back is our neighbor who is just the right age for our oldest daughter, and the other two girls are another door down -the little one is just the right age for our youngest daughter too.

Here's a picture that sneaked it's way in here.
We got up early while grandma and grandpa were here and headed out to the beach so that we could watch the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean.  We got there maybe 30 seconds before the sunrise.  In 2 minutes it was fully up - unbelievably quick!
We played in the water for about an hour, then our oldest daughter got stung by jelly fish and tons of jellies started washing up on the shore cutting our beach excursion a little shorter than previously planned.  

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Science Center

Last weekend we headed down to the science center.
They had a whole exhibit about bugs set up.
It was pretty gross.

As we walked in, we were dared to eat a bug.
They said - I'll eat one if you'll eat one.
So, we tried a few.
I didn't care for the cinnamon sugar wax worms,

I didn't care for the fruit dip wax worms,
but the Cajun crickets actually weren't all that bad... They tasted like hollow sunflower seeds.

After the bug eating, they had a bug spitting contest.
Now - let it be known, that the night before, we had headed out to an outdoor concert on the edge of a lake.
While there, the kids and I peered over the railing at the black water below. It was glassy smooth.
We discussed how quickly spittle would disolve in such glassy smooth water - whether spit was heavier than water, or lighter...basically - all of the properties of spit.
My husband was appalled.
I taught my girls how to curl their tongues, and to get some force and really launch it.
(Yes, pretty ladylike I know - and yes, there is a pertinent point here that I'm about to make).

Due to my kid's recently discovered mad spitting skills (from the previous evening) my daughter and I were both champion bug spitters, and we both launched our bugs (yes, from our mouths) over 15 feet.
I'd say that's pretty impressive.

We touched some really big bugs.
Looked at some really dangerous ones.
Watched (and cheered and screamed) a cockroach race

And had fun playing in the exhibit - one of the girl's friends came with us...under that sink is COMPLETELY filled with cockroaches - ew..!

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Blue Springs II

We spent about 3 hours floating down the river. We bought a raft for the girls - which was a good idea.
It was a little trippy since we were swimming in a river where there was no where to touch the bottom, and only 2 places to get in or get out. While it was overcast - at first the water was pretty chilly (that brisk 72*), but after a while it felt great.
We swam up to the head of the spring, and swam over some spots from which the water was gushing. Our youngest daughter told us it felt like swimming over Sprite. She was right.
They took off in the raft and left me floating on my back, lazily down the river.
It got a little eerie when I heard the branches and twigs crackling on the other side of the riverbank, keeping up with me.
I was relieved when someone else showed up swimming in the area as well.

Later, from the dock we posed for pictures, and then thought that we had our first real alligator sighting!

It turns out it was just a log...bummer.

As we headed home from the park, we drove past several of these beautiful plants. They were pretty spectacular (and we were told - pretty poisonous)

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Blue Springs State Park

We spent some time a few weeks ago at Blue Springs State Park.

Notice the little message on the sign to the bottom right

We headed over to a dock and across the river saw this bird perched in the tree

We think that the poles in the water are some sort of gate to help keep the alligators out maybe?

The St. John's river.
Blue Springs is a natural spring that emits 100,000,000 gallons of water each day - and it flows into the St. John's River.
The water stays at a constant 72*.
During the cooler months, the manatee swim from the ocean, up the St. John's river where they enjoy the warmer waters of the St. John's river.
We didn't see any manatee yet though...

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Downtown Disney

We found a sandwich shop we LOVE
Unfortunately (or maybe it IS a good thing), it is a ways away at Downtown Disney.

Grandma and Grandpa spent a week at Disneyworld after staying with us.
We headed down just before they left and met them for dinner at our favorite sandwich shop - Earl of Sandwich.
Mmmmm - my mouth is watering.

From there, we headed over to Little Miss Matched -
Have I mentioned that my husband took over the laundry duties here in Florida?
He gets upset if I even try to 'interfere'
He HaTeS, DetEstS, ABhOrs that our kids like to wear their socks in unmatching pairs.
If you check out his picture carefully - you can see the grimmace he is making in the background, as he considered the huge tub - filled with socks that didn't match.
Just for fun, the girls and I found some pairs, and started matching them. (The worker lady came by behind us and undid the matches)

Somehow the kids cooerced the grandparents into the sweet shop where they indulged them with their favorite "pucker powder".

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We hung out at the gift shop for a while, and had a blast checking out the different sunglass styles...

I say - self portraits never seem to be very flattering though..

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Pirates! Argh

We hung out with some pirates at the pirates of the Caribbean section

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Ripley's Believe it or Not!

Photos with Grandma

And Grandpa

Ok - not really.

While grandma and grandpa decided to head off on their own adventure, the girls and I headed to Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum.
There we found some pretty realistic wax figures that we bumped into.

We spent some time making wax replicas of the girl's hands as well.
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St. Augustine

While grandma and grandpa were here a couple of weeks ago, the girls were out of school, and visited St. Augustine again.

We started out at a spot that purports to have the "Fountain Of Youth"
We drank some of the water - it was actually not very tasty. At all. It tasted surprisingly similar to Florida tap water?!

They had some games set up, and the kids had some contests throwing corn cobs through hoops..

We watched a canon firing

And saw the Spanish empire's original
"This is the place" monument where Ponce de Leon landed.

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We woke up to this guy on our front porch the other day.
After googling big insects that look like flies, we determined that it may have been a cicada. Whatever he was - he was really ginormous, and no one wanted to go out the back door for the rest of the day!
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Highlights from the past month or so

We've had some interesting ups and downs over the past month. Here are the highlights:
  • Our spare room (which was ceiling to floor full of the boxes we didn't really want to unpack) got cleaned out and organized. 
  • We started a "mom & me" youth book club, and held the first meeting. 
  • We had company come into town for a week. 
  • The next week my husband was out of town.  He enjoyed meeting up with his cousin for dinner, and meeting some of the people he works with in other locations.   
  • We tried out a gymnastics gym -  30 minutes away, practices 4 x wk - including Saturday.  We decided it was a little too much. 
  • We tried out the swim team at the YMCA.  
  • We've now got our eye on a running club possibly?  Still searching for the right fit for our family. 
  • We met with an allergist to figure out which drugs our daughter is allergic to (antibiotics that is).  After an hour long wait, and then a 10 minute visit, we waited for 2.5 weeks to hear back from the doctor, to tell us that he wanted to re-do the tests that we'd already done in Colorado.  I picked up her file as I began looking for other options.  One thing I love about being here is that I actually HAVE more than one option! 
  • I filled out a 45 page questionnaire to have our daughter screened for a few things, and received a phone call that  asked us to come in first thing the next morning. We did a couple of screening tests, and were referred on to a developmental ophthalmologist.  (I also learned how to spell that word correctly recently.)  Did some preliminary testing and have 3 more visits set up to determine the extent of our daughter's eyes being out of alignment, causing her double vision, no depth perception, and even crossing issues.  
  • The good news is that we can hopefully move forward with possibly some vision therapy, or something to help her get the help she needs, and begin to excel academically.  The bad news is that our insurance won't help cover the costs and they are pretty daunting.   
  • We also found a surgeon ophthalmologist and will be meeting with him for a second opinion a couple of days at the conclusion of the testing.  
  • We also found 2 new allergists that we will get to meet with.  (Did I mention how much I've been on the phone lately?)
  • We met some fun new friends who just moved to the area from the UK.  We love their accents and the way they all speak!  
  • We had the primary program this weekend.  I made it through all of the pieces on the piano.  Our daughter accompanied the kids on one song.  I was glad.  It was a tough song, and my least favorite of the whole lot (because it was the hardest one - she's gonna eclipse me very quickly!)
  • Our primary presidency is in charge of the church's "Fall Festival".  I'm not even going to go there!
  • I've been rehearsing with some fellow musicians, and have put together a sextet to play for our stake conference - so we've been practicing on Sunday afternoons.  It is so nice to have strings in the house again! 
  • Finally, this week we had a bomb drop, when the owners called to let us know that they are listing their home (the one we are renting) with a real estate agent, and selling it as a short sale.  Grrrr.  I don't think I said that loudly enough.  Did I mention she wants to come in and take photos?  GRRRR
  • This evening we entered the throes of Halloween costume construction, and I should enjoy my creative outlet the next couple of days.  The real estate lady is going to be really excited to get Halloween costume/ward party/room mother mania photos for the listing.  Serves them right I say. GRRRR
  • I guess you've got to let come what may, and love it.  GRRR