Thursday, March 31, 2011

Colorful legs, big and small

Some of you may know that I have what I call "vein issues" during my pregnancies. This time around I did the research and run around to get the prescription strength compression socks, which my insurance so kindly paid for. Most of the time my legs don't even see the human eye, let alone the light of day. Sorry, if you think I'm gross but I've given up shaving my legs as well. What's the point? I made the real effort to shave for St. Valentine's Day, though.

Every-once-in-awhile I'll inspect the damage of my lower legs, ankles, and feet and each time they are more colorful, more puffy and bumpy, and it really does look like a toddler took a marker to my legs!

Pete was in the bathroom with me as I got in the shower this morning. He saw my legs and exclaimed, "Oooh, color!"

I chuckled a bit and said under my breathe, "Ya, does it look like someone colored on my legs with a marker? That's what happened." I said it kind of sarcastically, thinking, I only WISH that was it and I could just wash it all off.

While I was doing my hair, I hear Pete coming up the stairs. As he rounds the corner into my view, I see he has his pant leg pulled up.

He said, "Color!"

Sure enough, in effort to be like his mom, Pete drew with a blue dry erase marker on both his legs. Funny thing, though, is that it looks amazingly similar to mine. The color, the location, the design...this kid is a genius!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ok, so maybe now I can complain

Boy it sure is hard coming home to cold weather after being in Florida for two weeks. Driving home from BWI airport we were excited to see beginnings of blossoms. We had hoped Spring would be here in full swing. But Mother Nature likes to play jokes and "whabaaam!" slap you in the face for no particular reason. 3-4 inches of snow Sunday morning is a pretty funny joke. Ha...ha...ha.

It is confusing to a 4-year-old as to what to wear.

But in the end, really I can't complain. The snow was mostly melted by the time we got out of church. And the Cherry Blossom Festival is supposed to be starting next week (if they don't delay it). We have been three years in a row and it has become a great family tradition.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I can't complain Day: 7, 8 & 9

Who ever heard of getting a hair cut on vacation?? Well, you have it here, folks. I was getting tired of the shaggy pictures. We needed a "We're ready for summer" look. So I got myself some new shears (needed them anyway) and got to clippin'. I never get sick of the "before and after" pictures of hair cuts.



Around nap time, we headed north to Miami, looking for the beaches. Both little boys got some snoozing in the car. Driving through Miami was really fun. Big tall buildings and palm trees. It took us awhile to get there (traffic and finding a parking spot) so we didn't get on the beach until after 4:00. Dave and Mike (co-worker) met us there.

The 4th iconic picture of Dave and I on the beaches of Florida. (1st, 2nd, & 3rd) Man, we are looking like parents, or something. What I'm not including is a picture of me in my flattering maternity swimsuit. Only the lucky few Floridians who happened to be on the beach that day were privy to that sight.

Next we headed to the Hard Rock Cafe which was well past bed time. Pete gets real mischievous after hours. Here is Dave trying to control the screaming in an already noisy restaurant!

Awww, cute! Charlie and Mike. Mike is such a nice guy. He bought us all some yummy nachos to share. He also goes out of his way to hit all the Hard Rock Cafes in his travels just so he can pick up milk shake glasses and stuffed bear souvenirs for his sister and aunt.

Remember that pirate ship outside our hotel featured on days 3 & 4?

Well, we got to ride it today!! I had to round up some rented kids life jackets (required for under 6). We skipped nap time for Pete (bit us back in the end with a total meltdown before dinner, fell asleep on Dad's lap, and got put down to bed for the night) but heck, how many times do you get to ride on a real pirate ship??!! We lubed up on sunscreen and prepared for a 2 hour voyage on Queen Anne's Revenge II.

Looking up to the front at Captain Ron...

...and to the back at First Mate Don.

Pete was hesitant most of the trip. I don't know why, the boat never went faster than maybe 8 miles an hour. We got to help raise the sails and once we got out there, they cut the motor and we were really coasting! (maybe 3 miles an hour) It was so relaxing, though, with the warm wind just the right temperature. I think we were dragging on the bottom because the water is so shallow. We were kicking up lots of dirt and they kept referring to it as our tractor trail, sowing all sorts of vegetable seeds. It took us (there was another family of 3 with us) a bit to catch on, as it must have been a long standing Captain-First Mate joke.

"Captain Charlie" got to steer for most of our trip!

Pete hopped up there for 5 seconds before he started to whine.

Happy sailors! Pete warmed up when we were about 5 minutes from home and really got excited when he saw Dad waving from the shore.

Aaaannnd we are nearing the end of our trip and my camera battery! (Nope we didn't bring the charger.) We'll see what adventure tomorrow holds before we fly back home on Friday.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I can't complain Day: 5 & 6

Welp, we got sucked in. We are officially tourists. We paid the price but it was worth it. The "Theater of the Sea" (deep, booming voice, echo echo echo) had all sorts of fun things to see!

A parrot show! Turns out a parrot's IQ is about that of a 2-4 year-old toddler, both of which I have. They were pretty darn smart.

The dolphin show was probably the highlight. This one jumped 20 feet in the air!

We took some time to dip our toes.

Charlie is definitely looking the part of a tourist.

This was an interesting place because besides all the show animals there were lots of abandoned ones that roamed the area free. Including lots of cats and these giant Iguanas!!

Even these strange mouthed children were everywhere and didn't seem to leave us alone!! (You can see the Iguana in the background above Charlie's head.)

On a nature walk, we met some ladies from Idaho. We talked for a bit.

Lots of really fun sea turtles...and sharks, rays, alligators, crocodiles, fun colored fish.

This sea turtle was disturbed before it hatched and it was born with a defect of a "bubble butt" that caused a buoyancy problem. So someone designed a life jacket for him and cleverly named him Quasimodo.

Here he is coming up for some air.

We finished the day with a sunset swim on the beach. Dave's co-worker, who is down here with us but staying at a different hotel, went ahead and bought all the gear for snorkeling. Dave got to try it out here.

Sunday we got up early and drove 1 hour south to Marathon to go to church at a little tiny branch. There were about 20-25 people there, half of which were visitors. Among those were the ladies from Idaho we met at the Theater of the Sea!

After church we continued our drive for another hour south down to Key West. Key West was an interesting place. Lots of bicycles, scooters, electric cars, trolley rides, etc., anything to cut down on the number of cars on the narrow, crowded roads. We saw people living out their dream, lounging in hammocks, no shoes, eating only coconuts.

We followed US 1 to the very end.

We caught a glimpse of the incredibly huge Disney Cruise ship that was docked.

Strange Banyan trees (looking at the trunk)

Strange to think we were closer to Cuba than to our hotel! Charlie kept asking how far we were going to drive and then walk. We just told him that we HAD to get to the very southern tip of the country. Ironically, Dave was sporting his Denali t-shirt from his trip to Alaska last summer, near the northern most part of our country.

And what do ya know, but we bumped into those same ladies from Idaho again!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

I can't complain Day: 3 & 4

A continuation of the rubbing it in...

We took a drive down US 1 through a couple of the Keys and stopped at DQ for a treat. Pete still has a dairy allergy but we thought we'd just throw the question out there, "Do you have anything non-dairy here?", thinking ya right, this is DAIRY Queen. Turns out they did but boy did it stain! Pete's hands were blue for the next day.

Funny how a spoon just doesn't do the job. Ya always gotta try with the finger.


Thursday we decided to go for an adventure and hop on a Glass Bottom Boat Tour. I don't know what I was thinking when I tried to smuggle in that ball under my dress...I guess I thought the boys might need something to play with. Silly me.

The water was so pretty. Lots of shades of green and blue. That is the Atlantic Ocean there in the distance.

The "glass bottom" was more like windows in the bottom. It is hard to tell the depth in this picture. They let you sit on the ledge and dangle your feet but the windows were about 4-5 feet below my dangling feet. We saw lots of fun coral, lots of sting ray, jelly fish, and of course, many different colored fish.

On our way back, the boys preferred to watch from the windless-inside.

I, on the other hand, liked it in the very front of the boat. I saw lots of birds and got to see my favorite bird of all time, the Belted Kingfisher.

Back at the park, we got some hot dogs and these White Ibis were hanging out picking up crumbs.

Right next to our hotel is a very quiet (strangely) Tiki Bar that offers free sunset cruises on this pirate ship. The boys go nuts over it every time it comes and goes. Unfortunately, it is all booked up for the evening for the rest of our stay, but we may be able to get a ride in the afternoon next week.

This evening a pelican got itself caught up in a fishing lure that was hooked under its wing and then connected through its beak, poor thing. He was captured with a net and these brave fishermen worked hard to clip off all the barbs and poured alcohol under the wing.

Then they sent him on his way. Hope he does okay.

Some pretty sunset pictures:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I can't complain Day: 1 & 2

We just love it when we can tag along with Dad on a work trip. This is our 3rd time to Florida as a family and 4th time as a couple. I know this is a little window in our lives that we are able to do this, before the kids start school. I just L.O.V.E. that we can pick up and go. We decided a little over a week ago, and I had to clear my calendar of doctor appointments, lessons in church, wedding receptions, etc. Come on, twist my arm a little harder! Two weeks in Florida is totally worth it. Financially, we can pull it off because of the extra income Dave gets from travel. How can we say no??!!

It is absolutely beautiful down here in Key Largo. The temperature is a constant low 80's. We are right on the water with boat docks. It is fun to watch all the boats and yachts come in and out. But mostly it is fun to watch the wildlife! I saw a dolphin today looking outside my bedroom window! We are told there are several dolphins that come close and play daily AND a group of manatees that come up close. I can't wait to see them. There is also an alligator (yet to be seen by us) that lives nearby in the water. That worries me a little. Lots of pelicans, different kinds of seagulls.

We are ready for Florida! Though we are still wearing long sleeve and long pants in MD, we only packed shorts and short sleeve (with one token warm outfit just in case). I, myself, am wearing long beach dresses EVERYDAY. A first in my life. They seem to capture my wonderfully plump belly, while keeping me cool (remember I have to wear those stylish compression socks?). I may never go back to pants, at least until baby arrives.

The view outside our screened-in porch.

I'm sure this scene will become a regular for the next two weeks.

Decked out for the swimming pool.

I see a geek emerging...

Dave surprised us and came home 1 hour early.

No picture of me in the water, but if you can imagine a flattering maternity swim suit complimented by some black, knee-high compressions socks, that would be me. The baby was doing summersaults or something in my belly in the water. It was the strangest feeling as my belly was poking out lopsided, with a "baby bum" sticking out on one side. The water took the pressure off my pelvis and legs, probably because the baby was having fun floating up inside me.

This was our first time swimming outside this season and I was a little worried that Charlie would have regressed from the progress he made by the end of last summer. But he just jumped right in. This will be a great summer for swimming lessons, which I am excited about because it was hard enough hanging on to two kids in the water last year. With baby coming, it will make it easier to handle if Charlie can do his own thing.

Do I look chill or what? We ate our lunch outside today and met some new friends.

Whenever we stay in a hotel, Charlie always gets hooked on all the fun kid TV channels that we don't get at home. It has been a bit of a challenge to convince him that we aren't always in Florida and we need to limit the TV. But I can't be too hard on him because I also get hooked on the FoodNetwork, HGTV, and other channels I only get to watch on vacation too. :o)