The Birthday Recap

Last Wednesday, I turned 36 and Cutie Pie turned 5.  We celebrated with a little party of close friends and family that night.  J put together an awesome get-together for us complete with our favorite pizza, the amazing Angry Birds cake for Cutie Pie and my personal weakness- a cookie cake!  Yum!

Earlier that day, my dad’s mom (my Nana), stopped by to wish us a happy birthday.  I love this photo of Cutie Pie with her 🙂

Cutie Pie was thrilled to finally have a kayak of his very own!  Now we’ll be a kayaking family!  J and I have a double adult one and both of the boys have their own now.  Since the weather has been so nice, we need to take advantage of it by taking the kayaks out.  Somehow we managed to skip right over winter and landed right in the middle of spring here.  Crazy!

Both of us got ridiculously spoiled this year.  It was so nice sharing our special day with everyone!

I got some serious gifts like this gorgeous original painting by our friend, Terri McCutchan.  My mom totally surprised me with that one!  I absolutely love it and have it hung in a place of honor on a wall that you see when you enter through our front door.  It fits perfectly with our style.

And I got some not so serious gifts like this one lb. Snickers bar.  A slice ‘n’ share!  Just what I need while trying to get in shape for our April trip to Puerto Rico!

It was a wonderful birthday and I’m so lucky to be able to share it with my baby boy!  I really don’t feel any older, thank goodness.  Age is a frame of mind, yes?  If that’s true then I’m holding at 25-ish 🙂

Um, Merry Christmas?

I really have no excuse for why I’ve been an absentee blogger except to say that the holidays did, in fact, swallow me whole and just now spit me out the other side…  Do you feel that way?  We had some kind of craziness or activity every single day leading up to Christmas.  All good things but all serious time drains.  I’ve got a ridiculous amount of photos to share that I will now dump into this post.  I want to end this year by remembering all of the amazing things we did this holiday season yet I know this isn’t the most appropriate way to present this information.  But what am I gonna do?  I simply ran out of time to post each story individually…  Perhaps things will be better in 2012 in terms of blogging consistently?  Well, better in terms of everything would be really nice too.

Let’s see, I left off blogging on December 13th…  What happened next?  Oh, yes!  Our city’s annual Santa-on-the-fire-truck tradition.  He came zooming by our house at 9:30 PM on December 15th.  We’d been hearing him since 6:30 pm and had waited outside pretty much the entire time.  At 9 PM, I finally had the kids get into bed thinking he was not coming down our street after all.  Then the music and sirens got louder and louder.  The boys shot out of bed just in time to see Santa go speeding by our house!

I also invited Cutie Pie’s preschool class over for lunch during the last week of school before winter break.  We had a yummy assortment of preschool-friendly foods with plenty of pizza, salad and sangria for the moms 🙂  Then the kids camped out in front of the television to watch the new Ice Age Christmas movie on DVD.

Cutie Pie’s preschool Christmas program was on Friday, December 16th.  It struck me while sitting in the audience surrounded by all of the loving friends and family that this will be our last Christmas program at the preschool…  Cutie Pie will be entering Kindergarten in the fall and Eastminster will become a distant memory for him.  Bittersweet, indeed.  And see that little girl with the white fur trimmed dress in the first picture?  Her mom informed me that their entire family will be moving to Shanghai with her husband’s work in March.  It’s an exciting adventure for them but it will be so sad to see them go.  Wildman was in the three’s class with her middle son and Cutie Pie is now in VPK with her youngest daughter.  It’s funny how lives overlap and you get used to seeing the same familiar faces everyday and then one day they’re gone for whatever reason.  You realize how much you enjoyed their company over the years.

Saturday, December 17th brought the Satellite Beach Boat Parade!  It was our first time participating.  We were so excited to be a part of this cool Florida Christmas tradition!  We left the dock with Big Red, his kids and our across-the-street neighbors at 5 PM.  The parade began at the north entrance to the Grand Canal at 6 PM.  The weather could not have been more perfect- clear with wonderfully mild temperatures.

On Saturday night, after the boat parade, we quickly changed into our best vintage polyester and headed over to our friends’ Disco Funk Christmas Party!  What a crazy fun evening!

The Sunday before Christmas brought sugar cookie decorating with the cousins and breakfast for dinner!

We delivered Christmas goodies to the neighbors and hosted a little family party for Wildman’s 7th birthday on Monday, December 19th.  He insisted on an Angry Birds cake from Publix and was thrilled with all of his amazing gifts including a sweet child-size kayak from J and I.

On December 20th, we hosted a little beach bonfire for Wildman’s classmates to celebrate the last day of school before winter break and also roast s’mores in honor of Wildman’s birthday.

This post has grown much too long!  Looks like I will have to break it up into two.  Stay tuned!

Wordless Wednesday

Beachy Sandy Fishy

We rounded out our Spring Break with some much needed beach time!  J arrived home from DC on Friday evening just in time to enjoy the gorgeous sunny weather.  After a week of violent storms (for us) and snow (for him), this outdoor time was perfect.

I did a lot of sunning myself (with plenty of SPF, of course)!  I managed to finish The Paris Wife and start Water for Elephants while lounging around on my beach blanket.  I enjoyed the first novel very much.  Ernest Hemingway is a fascinating character.  Larger than life, really.  I liked this glimpse into his early years with his first wife.  It’s historical fiction so I’m sure not everything in the novel happened exactly the way it was portrayed.  But I enjoy imagining Ernest as a young, tortured, brilliant, ego-centric young man.  I’m only 25 pages into the second novel but I’m already hooked.  I always imagine my great-grandfather when I read stories about the Great Depression.  So, I’m totally connected to this story right away 🙂

For three days the beach fishing went off!  T-bone caught everything from a bonnet head shark to a stingray to a whole bunch of whiting!  I caught a teeny whiting and an itty-bitty pilchard…  T-bone is definitely shaping up to be quite a fisherman!

J entertained himself with a bit of SUK-ing (Stand Up Kayaking).  It’s not a real sport but it’s his take on SUP-ing (Stand Up Paddle Surfing).  It was entertaining to watch him catch and ride the small waves to shore.

Each afternoon we’d return home sandy, soggy and exhausted.  A jump in the refreshing pool helped everyone to clean off and perk up again.  It feels like summer is here already!

Wordless Wednesday

Quick Tour of Gainesville

We swung by Gainesville to pick up J’s brother on our way to Opelika, AL.  I hadn’t been back to the U.F. campus for quite some time so I insisted that we show the boys The Swamp before we picked up dinner and brought it to Uncle Chris’ house.

I cannot believe how much the town and the campus have changed!  I hardly recognized parts of downtown.  The copy center where I spent many a late night had been completely bulldozed along with one of my favorite restaurants.  It didn’t look like the same place.

We were happy to see that the stadium was open.  There were quite a few runners out racing up and down the bleachers.  I remember those days…  Running the stadium for exercise…

Wildman wanted to go all the way to the top.  Cutie Pie only made it halfway.  He was feeling a little under the weather due to a sore throat so I waited with him while the other two went up.

J and I decided to drive by our college apartment for old times sake.  Don’t you totally dig the Tudor Revival architecture?

Yes, we lived together in college.  My mom was cool with it.  J’s parents were cool with it.  My dad’s mom (who I hardly ever saw)?  Not so much.  I still recall the scathing, Bible-referenced letter I received.  Good times!  So glad her predictions of our doomed relationship didn’t pan out.  She has since apologized to me and J for her offensive remarks.  I found the whole thing quite funny.  Still do.

But I digress…

J and I shared the teeny, tiny studio apartment on the upper left of this building.  It had the sweetest orange and black linoleum in the kitchen.  It went so well with the avocado green, apartment-size range that would shock the crap out of you if you ever used a metal utensil in a metal pan.

Our king-size, black vinyl water bed barely fit in the one and only bedroom.

The staircase leading up to the second floor threatened collapse every time we walked on it.  I noticed that that safety hazard has been remedied though.  Hopefully it was fixed prior to collapse…

Our bikes were stolen from the porch.

Somebody threw a bottle rocket or something at our building and it caught fire one weekend.  We awoke to the sound of the maintenance man spraying a hose on the outside wall…

My car (a 1985 Honda Accord) was broken into one night.  The thief(s) made off with my sweet bag phone and my car stereo.  The upside of this incident?  It prompted the apartment complex to hire a nighttime security guard and I upgraded to a flip phone!

There was a trailer park on the other side of the natural barrier of trees that spanned the property line.  On Sunday evenings, the residents of the trailer park would erect a stage and jam all night long on their electric guitars.  It was awesome, let me tell you.

We were also lucky enough to live near the dumpster so we got to watch the daily rummaging of bums.  We watched our broken lamp walk off with a lady collecting aluminum cans one afternoon.

Ah, the memories!  For all the crap that we had to endure I have nothing but happy memories of our time there.  I consider living in the ‘hood a character building experience.

J lived in this apartment complex before I met him.  He lived on the first floor in another building.  We drove down to check it out too.  To our surprise, we found that white car still sitting out front.  The owner of the car was a rather large lady who lived alone in the apartment above J.  Every morning when she left for work that car would sputter, backfire and stall a few time before it warmed up enough for her to drive to work.

THAT CAR IS STILL THERE!!!!!

That car was a piece in 1992!!!!

We assume it still runs since it had a kayak strapped to the top of it as if it had just returned from an outing.

Some things never change, I guess…