Unexpected Blessings

When we began our house search in sunny Florida, we initially told our Realtor we did NOT want a pool.  Neither one of us grew up with a pool, therefore the idea of keeping and maintaining one was desperately daunting.

Then we started looking at houses and we realized two things: 1.) Finding a house without a pool in Florida is almost as difficult as finding a house without a basement in St. Louis.  They’re almost standard.  And 2.) Of the few houses we saw without pools, none were desirable enough for us to get excited.

So we ended up in a house with a pool.  And we were nervous.  But no need to fear!  The owner of our local pool store came out free of charge and gave us a “Pool School,” telling us anything and everything we need to know about pool maintenance.  In exchange we plan to give him our business.  And that’s the way you run a successful business, folks!

For our part, we are officially glad we got a house with a pool.  We have used it every single day and will continue to do so until it gets too cold (we don’t have a heater).  The pool has been enjoyable both day and night.

Warning to Grandparents! The following photos contain images of your grandchildren being flung to precarious heights.  View at your own discretion…

This child of mine is insane. She is going to send me to an early grave.

He's crazy too. But he had sense enough to know his limits. "Dat's too high, Daddy."

She, on the other hand, came out of the water screeching, "Higher next time, Dad! HIGHER!"

This one has, unfortunately, gotten a little too big for maximum flinging...much to his chagrin.

This week has been full of unexpected blessings.  Walking the dog last night, I looked up and the sky took my breath away.  Our neighborhood is far enough outside of the city that we get an unpolluted view of the night sky.


Our neighbors are fun, friendly and have boys who love to play football.

Our house, minor quirks aside, is really coming together and feeling like home.

Home Schooling is going really, really well.

Today were the Powerboat races at Clearwater Beach.  With temps in the upper ’70’s it made for the perfect ending to a lovely weekend.

So many blessings.

Front row seats to the race. It's kind of difficult to get a photo of Landon in the water because he's always upside down. I'm pretty sure the kid's got gills...

I pray you all have a blessed October week!

Is anyone else totally freaked out by the fact that it’s October?! The holiday season is upon us, folks.  How did it get here so fast?!

Disconnected, Unedited

I have had a lovely time in Florida with the kids.  This week I have purposely disconnected from the internet.  I felt bogged down by my overwhelming need to be online all the time and I just needed a break.  Other than a few photos on Facebook, I’ve simply kept the computer off and have relaxed.

It’s been fun to reconnect with the kids.  We’ve played tag and Crazy Eights.  We’ve watched movies and played for hours in the sand.  We visit the tennis courts daily where I “play” tennis with the kids.  It consists of me chasing the ball for a half an hour while they laugh manaically as they swing with all their might.

And today, I totally earned Mom of the Year for wading out into the frigid ocean with Sloan because he wanted to snorkle.  Apparently his skin is made out of leather because he didn’t seem to notice the cold.  I, however, thought I was going to go into hypothermic shock.  Because my skin is made out of paper…

Today could not have been more perfect day.  So perfect that I ended up with a bit of a sunburn, which I hate because I’m all paranoid about the wrinkles that are cropping up on my face.  But whatever, each new wrinkle represents a day of fun in the sun.

That doesn’t at all make me feel better, but I’m trying really hard to not freak out.

Photos, straight out of the camera because I don’t feel like editing them:




She didn't like the cold water. Or the waves. While trying to run out of the water she fell and cut her toe. Good times...





More fun in the sun awaits us while everyone at home is bundling up against the final remnants of winter.  I will read, rest and delight in the laughter of my kids.  Right now, I will sleep!

The one where we plan a trip

I wanted to go visit my parents in London, but logistically it just wasn’t coming together.  So when mom emailed me yesterday and said she was coming back in to the States in March during the kids Spring Break and asked if we’d like to join her in Florida at their condo I don’t even think a second passed before I said Yes!

After calling Lee to confirm that worked with him, we booked our tickets and BAM!  We’re getting out of here in 6 weeks.  This is just the pick me up I needed to get through this final push of winter.  We moved to St. Louis when I was 12.  We moved from Wisconsin, so I do know that winter can be worse other places.

But hands down, this has been the worst winter I have ever experienced here in St. Louis.  It’s just been nuts and I think everyone is feeling the effects.  The winter blues have settled in big time.  But alas, we now have something to look forward to.  Sunshine.  The beach.  Hours playing at the park.  Sunsets at the Sand Pearl.

In six weeks we will be doing this:


And this…


And this…


And we’ll probably watch a few of these…


There may not be a cure for the Summertime Blues, but this is definately my cure for the wintertime blues!

Lowry Park and Orlando

We’ve been here two weeks.  For the most part, it’s been a delight.  The last couple of days, however, have been a little dicey.  Maybe a full moon is coming.  I dunno.  All I know for sure is that we had to make an emergency call to daddy today for a little over-the-phone discipline.

Not. good.

Here’s to hoping tomorrow is a better day and they simmer down a bit!  We have had some fun in our two weeks stay.  We went to Orlando the few days before Lee arrived where we spent time with family, went to downtown Disney and ate at the world’s largest (and most obnoxiously loud) McDonalds. 

I also went shopping BY MYSELF at the outlet mall.  BY MYSELF PEOPLE!  CAMA! (Russian for ALONE)  It was the greatest day of my life.  I mean, outside of my wedding day and the day my children were born.  So it was, like, the fifth greatest day of my life. 

A few pictures for your viewing enjoyment.


Every other year when I grew up, my parents rented a condo on Clearwater beach for one month.  We’d pack up our (smokin’) minivan and trek from Wisconsin (when I was younger) or St. Louis (in my teen years) and drive down.  So this beach is as much home to me as any place else. 

While down here, my aunts and uncles would come over and stay with us in the condo.  Many of my favorite childhood memories are on this beach with my cousins.  I love recreating those memories for my kids.

My cousin Kristen came to see us in Orlando with her four children.  Her third born, Fiona, and Tia became fast friends.  It was such a blessing to be with them.



Landon and Kristen’s youngest, Miles, struck up a mean round of ping pong.  After which we ate lunch and Landon decided to take a snooze poolside.


After swimming with the cousins, we dried off and headed to Downtown Disney.  I’m not ready to pay the high prices for Disney World yet.  I want all of the kids to be old enough to remember it before we go.  But Downtown Disney was a fun place to visit, shop and eat.  The kids all had money to spend and had a great time searching for the perfect toy to bring home.  Even though it was 4,000 degrees, we still managed to have a good time.

My brother and his girlfriend, along with her little girl, joined us for a little hotel swimming and Downtown Disney.  The next night we got to play at their home for a bit.  It was so fun to connect with them.


This week we decided to take the kids to Lowry Park Zoo.  The original plan was to hit up Busch Gardens, but then we found out how much it cost and did a quick about face.  Lowry Park was significantly cheaper and the kids had a blast.  They got to ride ponies and camels, as well as a log flume and roller coaster (kiddie coaster).  And we got to feed goats and parakeets, as well as a giraffe, which was, for me at least, the highlight.

My favorite quote of the day was Landon on the roller coaster.  As we zipped around the first turn, he laughed and yelled, “Dis a fuuuun.”  Then we gained momentum and roared around the first turn and his eyes almost popped out of his head.  “I stared, I stared (scared)” he cried.  So cute.

I was all up in his grill (grille?) - Oh yes I was.

I was all up in his grill (grille?) - Oh yes I was.

His tongue stretched all the way to my hand.  Dang!  It was freaky.  Notice how the kids are not nearby.  They kept a safe distance.

His tongue stretched all the way to my hand. Dang! It was freaky. Notice how the kids are not nearby. They kept a safe distance.

This was a singular moment of fun for Tia.  Mostly, the flapping parakeet's freaked her and Landon out.  Those tiny, devilish little birds.

This was a singular moment of fun for Tia. Mostly, the flapping parakeet's freaked her and Landon out. Those tiny, devilish little birds.

Careful...they spit.

Careful...they spit.

Whew. We’re tired.  We are having a great time, but I will admit that the kids appear to be tiring of one another as is evident by their near constant bickering.  I’m trying to take them out one at a time for some one on one time and to keep them from killing each other.  We just have a few more days and as much as I’ll hate leaving this place, it will be nice to return to the routine of home.

Until then, we will continue to have fun in the sun!