Friday, February 26, 2010

Sun & Fun Museum

We headed out late today and made it barely in time to see the Sun & Fun Museum in Lakeland.  We'll have to come back and visit again since we had so little time.
Mostly, we were going to see some special friends.  We were in the Peace River TT and they were still in the Orlando TT, so we met in the middle.  We met up with Kati, Auvi, Zoe, Kelby and Conner.  Zoe is Austin's non-girlfriend.  We can't figure it out.  He wants to spend all of his free time with her and yet still gets mad when we say she is his girlfriend.  I guess we can just say she is his friend that he deeply admires in every.single.way.  She told me that he lets her think she is in charge.  I think they are off to a great start!

We met this family through FOTR, which is a group we are in for families that travel.  Most travel full time.  We have made plans to meet up with them a few other times, and it just didn't work out.  We finally met them at the rally.  We are really enjoying our time together. 

At this point, I handed off my camera to Auvi so she could play with my camera.  Here is some of her work:
 Aren't they cute?  
  I love this picture of Zoe.  Great work, Auvi!

Living the life in Florida!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Aric takes up Blogging

How cool.  Aric has decided to start a blog, to keep track of his travels with us.  I think it is so fun to go and read both he and Austin's accounts of our life. 

Here is Aric's blog: On the Road Again

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What We've Been Up To Lately

I have a harder time keeping on top of blogging in the winter, and that is mostly because of all the fun people around.  I want to hang out with them instead of coming inside where my computer is.  I love how busy we can stay, even if we don't go anywhere. We've been very spoiled the last two winters, and I hope this continues as long as we travel.

Mostly we've been playing lots and lots of pickleball and working on a new project that I'm excited about.  I'll wait a bit before sharing more on the new thing, but it has taken me hours so far and will probably do the same until we leave Florida.

We are really enjoying Aric being with us.  He is jumping into pickleball fun with both feet much to our delight.  This means we can play the game even if others are not around!  WooHoo!

Here are some of his shots of us playing:
Keeping in mind that in order for this non-morning person to play: I roll out of bed, dress, put in contacts and slap on a hat and go.  Don't tell anyone, but these are my PJ bottoms this day.  I must have gotten lost in the "dress" part of the routine.  Nobody cares, they just care how you play!  Or so I hope!  

I'm not going to point out that although I obviously couldn't mange to dress this morning, I did manage to run with my paddle somewhat in the "ready" position.  Unlike someone else who is all loosey goosey with his paddle.  I also won't point out that even when I'm in ready position, I play a tenth as well as loosey goosey who is obviously poaching my ball due to that reality.  Life just isn't always fair now, is it?
Here is my favorite part of playing pickleball: the sitting down and resting and chatting!  Especially when it is someone as sweet as Margie.  Auburn, do you recognize the dog?
Living the life in warmer Florida!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pickleball Wing Ding Tournament

Today we got up very early, so we could head over to a pickleball tournament that Rich and Donna invited us to.  The tournament was at King's Point in Sun City and was called the Wing Ding Tournament.  This is only the second round robin tournament we've been to, with the first being the one we hosted.  It was good for me to go and play with all new people, since I tend to have this mental hangup about playing with people I don't know yet.  Since we move every two to three weeks, it is not a good mental hangup to have at all.

I had fun today.  I still prefer just playing with the people at Thousand Trails without the pressure of tournament play, but it was good for me in some other ways so I'm so glad I did go.

Buddy rode with us, and it gave us a chance to know him better.  The people we met and played with were wonderful.  I have often said the pickleball crowd has some of the nicest people we meet, and today proved that to be true.

I'm always so impressed with Austin when we go to events like this.  He is so wonderful to not be intimidated about being the youngest person, the youngest player and the only one under 18.  I'm not sure I'd have been able to do that at all at his age!

The weather was fabulous, which just made the day all the more wonderful.  Now I'm off to ice my ankle, which is swollen since I ever so gracefully twisted it and fell.  Nothing major, just enough to remind me that I'm no longer 20.  
Living the life in finally warm Florida!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Grillin' & Chillin'

Tonight we headed to downtown Wauchula, where they had Main Street blocked off for the Grillin' and Chillin' event. It was a fund raising event that had a grilling contest. There was music and some classic cars there too.  We had fun!

I didn't take my camera, so these are courtesy of Aric:
And just because they are so cute:

More About the Lipizzan Horses

There is so much to talk about with these horses, that it is hard for me to know where to begin.  Their history is fascinating. Their performance is intriguing. Their beauty is breathtaking. 

I guess I will begin where we began.  To visit these horses and see their free performance of their winter training, you visit the 400 acre ranch.  The ranch is in Myakka City, which feels as if it is in the middle of nowhere.  It's one of those you drive and drive and wonder if this is right locations.  I drove past it before I realized we were there.  Once you are there, they welcome you in and help you park.  You park on what appears to be their lawn and then sit in the stadium area. 
Both times we have visited, it has been a full crowd.  While they perform, they do a great job of explaining the history of the family and the horses.  The horses are the rarest breed in the world.  The family has a history linked to this breed dating back to assisting General Patton's mission to save the horses when they were captured during World War II.
It is a wonderful thing to see the carry on their traditions both for their family's sake and for the horses' sake.
The show is full of demonstrations of the different ways the horses were used in battle.  From their website:
All Airs Above the Ground, originally outlined by Xenophon the Greek, derive from defensive horsemanship created for war and predated-dated the birth of Christ by some 400 years. These spectacular leaps and plunges were originally meant for use by mounted riders to inspire terror in the hearts of foot soldiers.

That this nearly lost art remains alive, is due in very large part, to the commitment of Colonel Herrmann, scion of the Herrmann family, and historically among the world's greatest trainers of this rare breed. In a lively and informative narrative throughout the presentation of his remarkable stallions, the history, evolution and contemporary application of this most sophisticated horse and rider training is recounted. It is repeatedly noted that extreme patience and, most particularly, love are the requisites to such highly schooled animals. Herrmann epitomized the master of classical European equitation.

The horses and riders also perform some beautiful dances together.  Both are amazing to watch.
As incredible as all of this is, while I was sitting there, I found myself wanting to spend hours upon hours just capturing the beauty of the horses.  I took so many shots of them, I think I'm going to sneak them into the next few week's blog posts just to share them all.
Living the life in Florida!

Herrmanns' Royal Lipizzan Horses

We visited this amazing place last year and loved it. Aric wasn't with us, so he didn't get to see it then. So today we drove over together to see it.  He loved it too.

I will have to write more tomorrow, because I'm too tired to write much detail tonight.  Here are a few pictures in the meantime.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Look Once, Look Again...More Free Books

Here is the second set of books I have to give away.  This is a set of "Look Once, Look Again" books.  Again, these are hardcover with library bindings.  I have a set of five of them: Mouths, Tails, Feathers and Fur, Leaves and Eyes.  They are recommended for ages 4-8.  You can take a peek at one of them here: Amazon

Exploring the Science of.....Freebie Books

I'm still wading through our storage shed and sorting through the hundreds of books we have left.  I have a few sets of books that I'd love to pass along to someone that could use them.  The first set is a Science series that says it is for ages 9-12.  They are hardcover books, with a library binding on them and they are in great shape.  The set is of the four seasons and fire and sunlight.

Just leave me a comment if you would like them, and I'll email you for your address.  If there is more than one person that would like them, I'll do some sort of drawing for them.  I am guessing we will have a few more sets to give away so keep your eyes open for more.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hardee County Animal Rescue

Before we ever visited the TT's here, Barb and Dennis told us we had to visit this place when we did stay for the winter.  Barb described how the boardwalk elevates you so you can see the animals clearly.  I'm so glad she did tell us about it, because we might have missed it otherwise.

I love visiting this very small rescue and I love that we are usually in for a treat with the animals that are here.  I also love that we can get pretty close to some of the animals.
Ok, so that animal doesn't count in an official rescue way, because they are not part of the rescued animals.  They are part of the experience though, because they are everywhere.  There are some animals that I am a bit more fond of here too.
This guy was not very big last year.  If it is the same guy.  He's huge now.
These were not so close, but that's ok...I'd rather not be too close to the green gunk.
This guy was annoyed that I woke him up from his nap.  He was not amused.  I was talking baby talk to him because I thought he was so handsome.  Apparently panthers are not fond of baby talk.  Who knew? I apologized and moved on quickly.  I'm not sure what would posses me to talk baby talk to a wild animal anyways.  Besides, I can relate because this is how I feel each and every morning.
This was my favorite close encounter.   This sweet guy was hanging in his rope hammock and peeked out to see me.  I guess baby talk works on raccoons.  
 Aric asked why someone would rescue raccoons.  Good question.  After seeing this sweet face though, I'd be tempted to.  Well, if I didn't live in an RV with three cats, one dog and two teenage boys I would be tempted to.  Glad I can visit them this way so I don't have to.  Living the life in warmer Florida.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ringling Museum of Art

Today we headed over to Sarasota.  We stopped off at one of my favorite Florida museums, the Ringling Museum.  We only had time to see the Art Museum, which we are always impressed by.  If you have never visited this museum, I highly recommend it.
After our visit there, we ate at an overpriced restaurant that we are still talking about.  On the way home we played 20 questions.  I love that the guys are still able to be entertained by such simple fun things.  I hope they never outgrow that.  Living the life in Florida!

In Search of Norman Rockwell's America

This was one of the special exhibits at the Ringling Art museum.  We loved this exhibition!
If you want to know more, you can read about the exhibit here: Norman Rockwell Exhibit