Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ah, what to post about? I'm sure you don't want to hear about me doing laundry- although I did get a new-to-me washer this weekend. My washer and dryer were my very first large purchases when I graduated from college and got my first place because I refused to go to the laundry mat. I thougt I'd surely meet up with an axe-murderer there and figured I'd be much safer doing laundry at home. So fast forward nine years and said washer has washed it's last load. I'm not actually even sure it was washing the clothes at the end since it didn't always agitate or spin. But thankfully, I found a great washer on Craigs List for $75 and it works perfectly. We figured if it only lasted for a year or two we'd still be getting a bargain.

Well, I guess this will be a post of randomness since the pics have nothing to do with anything except that I figured I could sneak more vacation pics in; it's kind of like making your friends sit through your vacation slides only not all at once. And I hadn't posted a picture of my brothers kids except for Ashton and I didn't want to leave the rest of them out. So the pic of all the little kids with Amanda and my brother are Megan, Tessa, Chloe and Dalton helping Halle blow out the candles on his birthday cake- what a sweetie!

Murray is dead. Yep, my poor little Venus Fly Trap has bitten the dust. He had really been through a lot; repotting, getting knocked into the sink by Sophie, I put him outside where it was too hot, etc, but he always pulled through. Apparently though no water for the 10 days while I was gone was too much for him. I asked Travis to water the plants and he did once but never even opened the blinds that are over the kitchen window and didn't see Murray to water him. Which, unfortunately, was the first thing I saw when we got home, which resulted in a gasp from me, which drew Chloe's attention to Murray, which resulted in uncontrolled sobbing, which was not the homecoming that Travis had pictured. Poor guy, he'd worked close to 70 hours that week so I don't blame him- I'm just glad we weren't gone longer. In other plant news- My lemon seedling is doing amazingly well. I repotted it and put it outside where it is thriving. My sunflower is doing well also along with some blackeyed susans. I planted them late in the season- the very end of June, well beginning of July but hopefully that was close enough, so I don't have any blooms yet and I'm wondering if I will. And if they don't bloom will they come back next year? They're perrennials but I'm not quite clear on how it all works. I also planted some other type of daisy-like flowers in the urns on the front stoop but Halle pulled a bunch out of one but the others look good so we'll see if I get any blooms from those. I've wanted to re-do the front planter but I'm sure I'd spend at least $50 on it and don't really want to shell out that kind of cash on plants right now. Home Depot has some great looking Gerbera Daisies which are one of my favorites but maybe next summer. Or I could start some seeds indoors next spring and then plant them. And I know I've shown you this website before but after taking a closer look I found out they are located in McMinnville so their trees and things aren't shipped from across the country. They also ship all of their orders for $6.50 no matter how big the order is. I have my eye on a black gum tree that I've wanted since I read in Southern Living about how beautiful it's red autumn foliage is. But in researching it I've also found out that it is a slow grower and since we're not planning on staying in this place forever I might want to find something that will give me more immediate satisfaction.

Oh, and in other random news, I have completely re-done our living room! I stayed up until about 4 o'clock one morning and just finished it. Well, actually, I still need to paint the trim and do some touch-ups since I was pretty much painting in the dark but it looks pretty good. We moved the chair and ottoman out and replaced it with a piano that we're piano-sitting for the next couple of years. But I suppose I should really post some pictures of that. It just seems that my living room hasn't been clean enough in the last week to get a picture of it. Every time I think I can get a picture-because it is clean- the girls have thrown off all the couch pillows to jump all over or someone has set a basket of clothes in the floor to be folded, you know how it goes. But I'll try to post that tomorrow. I also painted Chloe and Halle's room but that REALLY hasn't been clean enough to take pictures of.

So, until tomorrow....
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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Halle Series at Hollis Garden

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I've never understood why but there are several spots at Lake Mirror that lead into the water. It's pretty though. Ashton took this picture because on my way to take it Halle fell down and scraped her hands and knees.
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Lake Mirror with the Lakeland Terrace Hotel in the background. That's the hotel where Travis and I spent our Wedding night.
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One of many super-cool murals at Hollis Garden.
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This is a much cuter picture of Cameron.
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"Mommy I Mean So Much to You"

That's what Chloe said to me while she and Halle were helping me make cupcakes this afternoon. I don't like to bake often because I don't want to eat the goodies but I know that it is love in a mixing bowl to Chloe. But now while I'm waiting on a cup of Vanilla Chai tea to steep I thought I'd blog a bit more about our trip.

The first picture is of Halle and her little cousin Cameron. He's about 15 months old now and this was the first time I'd seen him in person. He has such a sweet disposition and is so incredibly cute. He's a bit shy like Halle, but he warms up pretty quickly. I thought that this shot of the two of them with Halle's big cheesy grin was super-cute. And priceless because she would hardly hold still for a photo the entire trip. Joyce finally just resigned herself to the thought that she wouldn't get a non-scowly, eyes open, non-wiggling-out-of-the-picture shot when miraculously she started cheesy grinning for the cameras. Cameras? Yes, three to be precise. There were so many flashes as we all tried frantically to capture the moment. But that all happened in our last few hours in Lakeland I suppose I should have started near the beginning- I'll fast forward past the drive and start on Sunday.

Ooh, well I should rewind a bit and tell you that Doug and Joyce came into town on July 7th and left the following Wednesday with our precious little Chloe stuffed into their luggage. Well, it was something like that. Anyway, we were going to go to Doug and Joyce's on Saturday night but my parents and I carpooled which meant a stop in Lakeland at my brothers house and since it took us 13 hours to get there (which is about 3 hours too long) Amanda and I decided to stay the night there and head to Riverview the next day. I missed Chloe and really wanted to see her but figured that she was OK since she didn't call me the whole time she was gone- little turkey. And she was expecting us at noon on Sunday but we were talking to everyone and were running a bit late and then I got a call from Joyce who put a very distraught Chloe on the phone who wanted to see us right that second. It's funny how organized Chloe's brain can be about certain things. As long as she's expecting to be gone for a certain number of days and knows what time she'll see us she can be two states away from us with no problem. But if you throw in a variable all bets are off. So we had a very nice reunion and headed off to Pass-a-grille beach in St. Pete. We got there late in the afternoon and I made the mistake of not putting on sunscreen right away having forgotten all of my FL sensibilities; it's been 6 years since we've visited during the summer. So I ended up with a sunburn that haunted me for the rest of the trip. I really forgot that a sunburn can last that long. The girls loved it and dove right into the salt water. They didn't seem to care that the salt water was burning their eyes and they weren't creeped out by the amount of seaweed in the water that had been churned up by the previous days storm. We had a great time.

We spent the next few days with Doug and Joyce, relaxing (since it stormed every day), and playing Taboo. Then Amanda and I went to Southeastern to tour the campus. It has changed so much in the 9 years since I graduated. It's a great school and Amanda was thoroughly impressed with the facilities especially since she'd just come from her stint at MTSU. There is lots to pray about but I hope (as much as a Mom looking at losing her daughter can) that it works out that she can go there.

The next few days were spent with my brother, my parents, and my brothers 5 kids at a rental house in Kissimmee. We had a great time getting reacquainted; we hadn't seen them in over a year and a half. The girls loved playing with their cousins and the cousins fought over who got to sleep with Chloe at night. And I was able to spend some time with my oldest nephew, Ashton. When we lived in Lakeland I was always taking Amanda and Ashton to different places- Family Fun Center, Downtown Disney, Disney World- and they were like brother and sister. It's been pretty difficult for them to be separated. So I took them to Old Town in Orlando which we couldn't really do anything at because it was lightning- it ruled out the Ferris Wheel- and then to Arby's (which was supposed to be Starbucks but I couldn't find one) for a little talk time. Then we headed back to Lakeland to finish out the week. I took the girls and Ashton on a Lakeland tour. Amanda wanted to go by her Nanni and Poppi's old house- the one we lived in until she was 9 minus the year in Panama City- she has a lot of good memories there. And from there we went to Carter Road park which isn't really the name of it but that's what we call it. They have miles of rough biking trails and lakes that Travis used to kayak in, and really tall sand hills that they like to run and jump off of. Well, I've actually done it to but not this time. They had a great time but since it was about 8,000 degrees outside we headed over to Hollis Garden (still outside but by that time it was cloudy) which is one of my very favorite places to go. We had a great time looking around the garden and taking pictures. We finished out the week with a birthday party and then a party for the Button girls at Shane and Angies. Whew!

It's nice to be back and we're all pretty tired. It was a great trip but it definitely wasn't the same without Travis- I never want to go without him again.
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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

We're back! We had a great time in FL but we're very happy to be home. I can't even imagine summing up the last 17 days- Travis' parents were here and then the girls and I went there- but maybe I'll get to it tomorrow. Today I have tons to do around the house and my two little ones need time to run and play and definitely need to not be in the car today. But here are some pics from Amanda's play, the girls and I at the beach that I can't remember the name of but it's in St. Petersburg just down from the Don Cesar hotel & of my nephew Ashton at some sand hills in Lakeland that he and Amanda used to go to as kids. More later....

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