Friday, September 7, 2012

The Keys, Part 2

Lobster season started Monday, August 6, just after we got down to Islamorada.  To say that Brad was determined to find some lobster is probably a pretty good understatement.  So, bright and early Monday morning, we headed out on our lobster finding mission...

And the weather was not exactly perfect, but we were going out anyway.

We didn't find lobsters the first day (or even the second), but it did give the kids plenty of opportunities to practice their snorkeling.  Unfortunately the water was a bit rough, and therefore muddy, so they didn't get to see as much as they usually could have had the water been nice and clear and smooth.

One of the only drawbacks to the house was that there wasn't a dock for the boat.  However, we kept it at the Days Inn marina not a block from the house, and it was the least expensive marina around as well -- a win-win.  There were a couple of huge iguanas that hung around the marina.

The beach at our house was a nice, large place for the kids to play.  It was shared with the house next to ours, which is basically connected to ours and owned by the same people who owned our house.  If you had a really big party it would make sense to rent both houses, but they had them built in such a way that if your parties were separate, you really couldn't see the people next door.  The pool behind Gibson in the picture below belonged to the neighbors.

Sanders is our little scientist/nature lover, and she spent a lot of time out on the beach looking for shells and whatever wildlife she could find.

This is the view of our pool from the beach.  It definitely isn't as pretty looking at it this way as it is looking from the the pool side out over the beach, but I guess that is one drawback to an infinity pool.

As they say, the third time's the charm...we got lobsters!  Or, I guess I should say, Brad and Joe got lobsters!!

Brad got someone at the Days Inn marina to teach him how to clean them up, and so he did that once we got back to our beach.

And then we grilled them up for lunch with some butter and lemon -- talk about fresh catch!  They were delicious!

More to come!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cleanse and Detox & A Cute Idea

I have been feeling pretty blah lately.  I have always suffered from migraines, and I thought I had them pretty much under control with a daily prevention medication and another medication for when I actually get one, but they have been out. of. control. lately.  I drink one glass of wine or one beer and get one.  I eat one sweet thing and get one.  I don't eat on time and get one.  I go out in the glare of the sun and get one (even with a hat and sunglasses on).  I get too hot and get one.  I have too much or too little caffeine and get one.  I live and breathe and get one.  I am basically one walking headache.

I decided that I need to do something about this, so I am trying to get more exercise, more sleep, and more healthy foods in my diet.  I was doing all of the above before, and I think it made a huge difference in my headaches.  The only problem I have is finding the time for all of these goals...but I need to make time to feel good.

Anyway, this morning I tried a new smoothie, called the Cleanse and Detox smoothie.  It contains all sorts of stuff that I wouldn't typically put in my smoothies, but I thought that it looked interesting, so I gave it a try.


The kids told me that it looked like throw-up, which is just what you want to hear when you are about to eat something, right?!  However, it actually tasted pretty good!  The recipe can be found here, and I used everything except the flax seeds or oil because I couldn't find it at the grocery store. I need to make a trip to the natural foods store before I make the smoothie next time.

In other news, Mary Beth, our babysitter, found this cute idea on Pinterest over the summer, and I finally got around to trying it out...Gibson has to learn sight words for school, just like most other kids do at some point or another.  I don't know about you, but it is a pain to make him memorize his sight words, just like it was a pain to make the girls memorize their sight words before him.  So, write the words on ping pong balls!  Then, instead of just going through flash card after flash card, hand your child a pile of balls, and say "throw me 'who!'"  or "throw me 'you!'"  or whatever words you are working on.  Then your child has to find the word and throw you the correct one.  He or she learns to read the words while playing a fun game.

I tell you what, people come up with some brilliant if these brilliant folks could just cure my migraines...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Long Weekend Fun

Good Tuesday morning!  I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend.  It was nice to have an extra day to our weekend, but it sure was hard to get up and going for school and work this morning.  I sure do hate that 5:45 a.m. alarm.

 Here are some highlights from our weekend: 

Clemson won!  Go Tigers!!

Isn't family time the best?

Before you go, you have to click over here to Style Me Pretty to see pictures of my adorable cousin, Edward, and his equally adorable fiancee, Caroline.  These were taken this past summer on our farm and dock.  They make me want to go have a tomato fight...go see!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Keys, Part 1

Ahhh, Islamorada is my happy place.  And if you wonder why, look no further than this:

That was the view standing on the pool deck looking out over our pool and beach and the Atlantic beyond.  It is paradise.

We had never been to the Keys with kids before.  My family has been going to the Keys for years and years.  When I was younger, my grandparents would rent a house for the entire month of February, and the rest of the family would take turns going down to visit.  However, when we were little, my parents would never take Hunter, Graham, and me.  They said that kids weren't allowed south of Orlando, so we would just have to wait until we grew up to go to Islamorada.  It was always a grown-up vacation for them.  I think I was 14 or 15 the first time I got to go, and I immediately fell in love.

I thought that Brad and I would continue the tradition of no-kids-allowed Keys vacations, but we don't really have time to take the time off for a grown-ups-only and a family vacation, so we decided we would introduce the kids to one of our favorite places.

We rented a house for a week with my sister, Hunter, and her family (we invited my brother and his family, but they went on a beach vacation with Elizabeth's family earlier in the summer and couldn't make it).  We brought a boat -- which is a must in the Keys.  We also brought along our babysitter -- which is a huge bonus for some grown-up time on a family vacation, and, hey, an extra set of eyes is always nice when you have so many children around water.

Our house had a pool, and I think that was pretty key to our vacation fun.  We could wake up in the mornings and head straight out to the pool before breakfast if we wanted!  The kids swam like fish all week, Harper learned to swim while we were there, and they practiced their snorkeling skills in the pool before we headed out in the boat.

The kids LOVED getting to spend time with their cousins, Taylor and Harper.  We see the twins pretty often, but we have never spent an entire week under the same roof.  They all slept in the same loft, and I think they felt like they were at camp!  They really didn't have much to do with us the entire time -- unless they needed something, of course!

We took Mary Beth, our summer sitter, and she was fabulous to have around.  She really blended in as part of the family.

Brad got a coconut down from one of the trees on our beach one day, and the kids decided that they wanted to try it.  I think it took Brad a good twenty minutes to hack into that thing.  I worried that we were going to end up making a trip to the ER, and wondering if I should try to go ahead and figure out where, exactly, the closest one was.  And then the girls didn't exactly love the coconut milk...but they did like the meat.

More fun pool/cousin pictures...

Hunter and the twinkies...

That's part 1...more to come later!
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