Thursday, September 26, 2013

Family Florida Trip/ Goodbye Summer

Now that it is officially fall, I 'm finally getting around to organizing my summer pictures.  Jason and I had the chance to go with my parents and my sister and her family to the St. Peterburg/Tampa area of Florida.  I was so excited because it basically meant a week straight with my cutie niece and nephew, who as you will see from the pictures below, were the major highlight of the trip.  Although the condo itself had a pretty stellar view as seen in that first picture.

We flew down with my sister's family.  To all you traveling parents, flying with kids is no joke.  You are braver than I.  I am just glad we were able to fly with them and that everyone on the plan seemed kind and understanding.  Southwest had direct flights from Baltimore and those free checked bags really came in handy with all the kid-gear.  Once we arrived, it was worth it!  We enjoyed some pretty amazing sunsets, walks on the beach and mossy trees. 

No edits on these sunset pics.  It was just that beautiful.


 And now for some gratuitously cute pictures of my niece and nephew. Jason says I am the president of the Claire fan club.  I think it's true, though I probably share the title with her other aunts and uncles and grandmas and grandpas.

Goofing around with Pop pop.  Aren't they the cutest?

Isn't she just the cutest?  She loved the water!  There were these tiny mussel/clam type creatures that would wash up on the sand with the waves and then you could watch them dig into the sand.  Claire would see them and yell, "Mussels! Dig! Dig! Dig!" then try to pick them up and throw them in the water.  There was also a pool where she would practice what she learned in swim class: going "unda" water and paddling or as she said, "pado pado."

Not to be outdone by his sister, Dillon is equally as cute.  Poor little man was not made for the sun like his tanned sister though and actually got a bit pink even when sitting under an umbrella all day.  One day a spot around one of his eyes that didn't get enough sunblock turned pink, so he had a pink spot around his eye for a few days, like a puppy with a spot around one eye.  I don't think it really hurt him, so thankfully it was more cute than anything.

One of the few times we weren't spending the day on the beach, the four of us adult kids did some scuba diving.  Although it isn't exactly "tropical," the water was so warm, it's the only time I've ever dove without a wetsuit.  We saw some amazing wildlife, including the Goliath grouper below.  Nature has a way of making you realize how helpless humans actually are, especially when it takes the form of a 500 pound fish swimming towards you. 

It was a little hard to pose in a warm embrace underwater.
Getting up before sunrise was the only downside of the dive, but it sure was beautiful.
For anyone interested, the dive company was Tanks a Lot dive company in Clearwater.  We picked it because it was the closest to where we were staying.  They were friendly, but it was the only time we've been on a dive where they didn't go over safety drills and the dive master wasn't with us the whole time, so it seemed like the perfect company to go with if you are more experienced and want to be on your own.  We are all certified, so know everything in theory, but had a few moments of nervousness since we haven't had much experience. 

We actually stopped at a local restaurant the captain recommended called Frenchy's where we ordered grouper sandwiches, mostly just to try, but also seemed somewhat timely.  (The restaurant was fine, by the way, though didn't blow us away.  I forgot to get the crab soup the captain recommended.  Easy to forget soup in 95 degree weather.) 

All in all, it was a great trip.  We're so grateful to friends who let us use their condo and for the chance we had to enjoy the beach and build some wonderful memories.  Now just 9 more months until next summer.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Stuff my Mom Say (or How to Invent Words)

Sometimes I make up words or have unconventional ways of saying real words.  Sometimes I use words my friends' kids make up.  The best though, is using words my mom made up. When it comes to making up words, there are a few basic principles you can follow to be a new-word-inventor in no time.

If word-inventing is new to you, start out by using abbrevs.  That is short for abbreviations.  As in, "I got the hungs.  Are you ready for dins?" This means, "I'm hungry.  Are you ready for dinner?"  The trick is to choose words words that do not make you sound like you are the kind of person that says, "OMG. This cupcake is totes delish."

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bathroom Before and After

One of the things that is fun about owning a home is that you can personalize it and make it your own.  Of course, when you are extremely indecisive, this can take a long time and therefore not quite as fun.  I spent months and month looking at paint samples, deciding on a "color-scheme" for our house and then finally finding the time to actually use the paint.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

In the Kitchen: Mushroom Veloute

You know that line in "You've Got Mail" about the fall?  "Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address."  That is exactly how I feel about fall with the cool spell we got last week.  I want to smell that newly sharpened pencil bouquet, eat pumpkin flavored food, and wear sweaters around a bonfire.  Except it's not quite cold out.