Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

This is a great state park, comprising the Southern quarter of Key Biscane. Nathan took Austin and Auburn there today because they wanted to find a park with good trails and interesting things to see. They found lots of neat things:

Nathan's review of the day: The bike trails here are extensive and wide enough for the bike/cars they rent, and there were good hiking trails as well. We walked about 5 miles in 2 hours covering a good portion of the park. There was a bay full of boats including some beautiful sailboats, and what looked like a nice restaurant overlooking the bay. Austin was planning Monte Cristo sandwiches for tonight so we didn’t try it out.

The one salamander/lizard with the metallic body color was particularly interesting, but also very wary. We will try to identify him.

The lighthouse was closed for repairs, but was still beautiful from the outside.

Capucine and Edurelief

As if I didn't adore Capucine enough already, she is now working on a project to raise money for a library. Go here and here for details.

Monday, December 29, 2008

NaBloPoMo in January

I will attempt to participate in this event in January. The theme is change.

FAQ-Do You Miss Living In A House?

This is another question people ask us and the short answer is no. We still have a house; it's just mobile. We still have everything we need so we aren't really roughing it in any major ways. We all do have a few things that we miss from time to time but we tend to say we miss this or that, not we miss living in a house that stays put.

I miss four things so far: a bathtub (only have a shower in our new house), our massive library of books (although I probably have close to 100 still at my fingertips), our screened patio and our kids that aren't on this journey with us along with Gabe and Liv.

Things I don't miss that I thought I would: a dishwasher, a yard and our pool. We generally have almost as much yard space just on our camp site and the resorts have all had pools. The dishwasher...well, I wouldn't mind having one again...just saying it hasn't bothered me to not have one either.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Florida Keys

Today we wandered down to the Keys. It is one of our favorite places and we say if we could hand pick a place to live in Florida, this would be it. It reminds me of our life now with its nice breezy, slow pace and chocked full of the good things in life. The view is breath taking with the beaches, palm trees and of course the water.

Everywhere is this gorgeous water, drawing you in. No, I don't know why Austin is standing on this rock. I've stopped asking why because Nathan just says he's a boy as if this explains it all. Ok. It's just what he does is what I tell myself. I can't blame him here though because I want to be as close to the water as possible too.We do some of the typical tourist things so we can take some typical tourist shots.And then we head to a really cool place named Bobby's, which is where you can feed the tarpon fish. If you ever get to the Keys, please do this because it is so much fun. You buy a bucket of fish for a few bucks, walk out on this rickety pier and encounter this:
Really, really big tarpon fish that sit around waiting to be hand fed all day long!Here you can see they will sometimes "jump" up a bit to grab the fish and when they do, you can see their huge mouths:Close up of one while grabbing a fish:And for extra laughs, there are pelicans trying to grab the fish, so you have to maneuver around them some:

They are incredibly annoying but they are beautiful in their own way:
Just another day in paradise........

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Miami Zoo

This is one of our favorite zoos and we always regretted that we did not visit it more often when we lived here. It is a big zoo, so you almost have to tackle it one section at a time, but that works just fine for us. One section still takes a good two to three hours and with the heat, that is more than enough for one day. They had their new Amazon section open, so we were able to visit that today and it was really cool!

We be jammin'........Touching the sting rays:
Looking at the animals:
We thought these eagles were awesome:
Who says chivalry is dead?

Miami Zoo-The Animals

Pictures taken by Auburn:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Gingerbread House Making

This is one of our holiday traditions that I think we've done just about every single Christmas. The older the kids get, the less interested they are in joining me in doing this though. Last year, Austin was the only one who would help me. Austin is...ummm...very particular when doing projects. So am I. So it makes for an interesting time when we work together. He decided in the spirit of Christmas, he'd help us to avoid the potential conflict and just do it himself this year.

Here's the end result and I think he did an awesome job. I was able to still participate by taking pictures and he was able to do it just the way he wanted. It was a good compromise!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve in Florida

We celebrated Christmas tonight because Aric has to work tomorrow. Nothing could be better than spending this day with the ones you love. We were missing Ashleigh, but it was great that we could get all four of the others together tonight. With us being on the road, it was even more precious to us this year.

The big hit gift of the year was this:

Plus this:Equaled this:
Four of the the party of five:Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Welcome to Miami

Today we moved from Wachula to Miami. We are staying at the Larry and Penny Thompson park here. We were supposed to be here a month, but with the death in the family, our plans were changed. It is so much warmer here than in Wachula. I forgot how warm it was here in the winter. We are loving it!

We had a hard time getting the RV in our spot and a nice gentlemen came over and helped us. And by helped, I mean he did it for us. I really can't get over how friendly people have been to us so far. I appreciate it so much.

We are gearing up for the holidays now that we are down here. I can't wait to see the rest of the family. Happy Holidays to all!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Boom Chicka Boom Boom

Don't ask. Vintage film of Austin that I found on our memory card in the video cam:

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's the Little Things in Life

Sometimes it is the smallest things in life that can drastically alter your life. And while this is probably not going to drastically alter my life, I have no doubt it will make a sizable change.

Every year for Christmas, Nathan's mom gives us cash so we can buy what we want for our Christmas gift from her. We went back and forth this year about what to get. Practical or fun? I wanted practical, but also felt as if fun might be more fitting for Christmas. So we went with fun and bought a family gift.

The reason that I really wanted a practical gift was because I wanted a washing machine. It is one appliance I thought would make a big difference not just in our work load but also in our monthly budget. In some ways I didn't mind laundry duty because if I went once a week it meant I had a few hours alone which meant I could read and all of my laundry for the week was completely caught up. Where it was a pain is if I had to do loads in between and drag it down to the laundry room at the resort. That and we don't really have a lot of space to store a week's worth of dirty laundry.

The bigger factor again was the expense of doing laundry this way. When we first went full time we were spending over $100 a month on laundry. For the past month, Nathan and I have made some pretty big changes to help with this and to be more "green". We were still spending over $50 a month though.

Soooooo when I saw an ad in Craigslist (we love CL's) for a washer for $50, I was just about giddy. The one I had been looking at was over $200 new. We called. It was gone. Drat. The very next day I see an ad for another kind for $49. I called and it was still available. I was giddy this time. I wasn't sure it would fit in the closet that is the laundry closet meaning it is already plumbed for a laundry center. After the guy sort of measures it (it's two pieces of paper wide), we decide to take a chance.

This was our reason for our trip to Tampa yesterday:

As you can see, it fits! It is actually quite a bit bigger than the one I was looking at so double score! I can wash real loads in it. I can wash my sheets in it. I washed a full load of towels and it didn't even blink an eye at the size or weight of them.

Best of all, it will pay for itself in a month. I love it.

We were able to do the practical and the fun thanks to Mom and Craigslist. Thanks Mom!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

MOSI in Tampa FL

Although this was a familiar museum when we lived in Florida, we couldn't pass up visiting again. This museum is in Tampa and is one of our favorites. You know a place is going to be cool when you walk in and see this:

Yes folks, that is a bike on a high wire. And it is very cool!

Austin rode the flight simulator:
There are tons of things here so I'll just show a few of our favorites. One of the displays demonstrates what it is like to be intoxicated. Here is my cutie pie wearing the Beer Goggles:
And here is Austin practicing walking a straight line. The last time we visited, we were with Diana, Lauren and Josh and he couldn't find the line if his life depended on it. We laughed so hard I had tears running down my face. He truly thought he was on the line and kept saying, "What are you laughing at??? I'm on it. Oh, wait....(stumble, stumble, stumble) I'm on it!" Which just made us laugh harder. So this time he grabbed the hand rails.
He was quite proud of himself and told Nathan that he did much better with the beer goggles this time. To which Nathan said, "So you did better as a drunk this time?" We were so proud. ;-> I'm JOKING of course. Really, it is a great tool to demonstrate how impaired one is when drunk.

Our other favorite thing is a display that is named Disasterville. It has different buildings where you can spend time in a room that shows you what it's like to experience a natural disaster. One room is a tornado, one is a hurricane, one a fire and so on.
Anyone who has been through a hurricane will appreciate the humor in this plywood covering.

Oh, you want to know about that high wire bike? Well, Austin has ridden it every single time we've been here. Aubi rode on it too. Nathan tried to ride on it and chickened out right away. And I have been the biggest wimp of all. Didn't even try to ride it. But it does look like fun, right? Austin is such a pro that he bikes out, goes back and forth as if he's dancing and putting on a show and never wants to get off the bike. I'm always impressed.
Today Austin decides to taunt me mercilessly. Well, he always taunts me that way, but today he called me lame. I hate being called lame so I told him I'd ride the stupid, I mean really cool, bike. After all, it was a quiet day because it was the middle of the day and we were the only ones there. As I get strapped in, a group of kids that must have been on a field trip and hidden until that moment walk up. I say to the lady, "Oh great...an audience". She says, "Oh, that's so wonderful. You can be a role model for them." Yeah, that's what I wanted. As if being a role model for my own isn't enough pressure. Sheesh. Now I have to do it, or they'll all think I'm lame too. So I bike out and once I'm past the initial OMG...it is actually really cool. I am having a blast. I did it!!!!!!!!I am out there thinking I'm really something. Then I hear the lady shout out to me, "You can relax your shoulders". I about fell off the bike from laughing. Uh yeah, because I thought tense shoulders were necessary to balance the bike properly. Thanks! Good to know!

To humor her I try to relax my shoulders and shout back, "Thanks...that makes all the difference". LOL

Silly woman, relaxed shoulders are for kids. Not middle aged moms who are feeling the pressure of role modeling to a hundred teens that aren't even related to her.

Ah, well...it was still fun. And now I know that I'm not lame. Tense, but not lame.