Thursday, June 16, 2011

Project Mania

I am a project oriented type of person. I wake up in the morning, get my to-do list going and enjoy my day. In the summer, I tend to become manager of a staff made up of kids...sometimes. There are several reasons for this. First, I have come to learn that if my kids have some structure to their day, they enjoy the unstructured portion much better. Secondly, in our house, if you live here, you must contribute. I also find summers to be the perfect time for teaching some life skills. I tend to run out of time on the life skills front during the school year. So we tackle cooking, laundry, specific cleaning skills, yardwork, etc. Today we cleaned the siding on the house, weeded the gardens, and mowed the grass. John is going to learn how to do his laundry this summer. The windows all need cleaned, closets and cabinets need organized...I have a long list. Now, before you start feeling sorry for my children, we also play hard in the summer. In fact, part of the purpose of this post is to prove to my children in 20 years that their summers weren't completely miserable. I have proof in the form of pictures. Today we worked hard and then went and played hard at the bowling alley. I am embarassed to say that I came in 3rd out of 4...with the bumpers...and I was actually trying...sigh. After the bowling alley, we hit up the DQ on the way home. Tomorrow I think we may hit the movie theater ($1 summer movies) before we go shopping for Dad's Father's Day gift. But not until we have done some mopping :)


This is a vacation wrap blog post, but I couldn't help expressing my feelings about this time of year. I'm sure you'll hear details in posts to come about our day to day activities in this blissful time of the year. Our summer started out with vacation. We have kind of fallen into a tradition of starting our summer with vacation. Our VBS has been towards the end of summer and we have found some good deals at the beginning of summer because we can travel before some schools are out. This year we did a "split" vacation. Joe & I traveled for a week and then we are going to do a family thing in July. We had 15 years of marriage to celebrate. The kids headed to Grandpa & Grandma's on the Horn side and also got to hang out with some aunt's an uncle and some cousins. The enjoyed some banana splits, pond swimming, new puppies, outside movies, trips to the library, problem solving riddles (courtesy their math teacher aunt) and lots of being loved on. Ashley got to spend a few extra days there just herself. I'm not sure she even misses us although she is definitely being missed around here. Her sister called her about 3 hours after arriving home. I think absence has made the heart grow founder.

Joe & I headed to south Florida...Ft. Lauderdale area. It is the land of the Porche and million dollar yachts parked next to the multi-million dollar home. I truly had no idea the kind of wealth that was in parts of Ft. Lauderdale (um, not the part we stayed in, in case you were wondering). For some reason I always thought the wealth resided in Miami down there. I've been all over the U.S. so it is always a treat for me to visit somewhere that I've never been. The sunrise...We LOVE sitting on the beach...especially me early in the morning. However, we also find great relaxation in exploring. So this trip we hit the Everglades and the Keys. The everglades are in a drought right now so there was much more wildlife than there typically is. And I saw way more alligators than I had planned or enjoyed to see. Probably shouldn't have watched so much Swamp People before our trip. It was still so fun and so interesting. It looked totally different than what I expected. And I didn't think it looked anything like the Louisana/Mississippi swamps.

A couple of days after visiting the Everglades and getting some more beach time in, we headed down to the Keys. Our primary goal was a glass bottom boat ride out to the reef. I cannot even tell you how excited I was about this. I've never seen a reef before. So we arrived in the Keys first thing in the morning for our trip, dosed up on Dramamine, and after a short wait got on our boat. I feared I may have problems when the captain kept emphasizing the importance of those with motion sickness issues to take medicine, but I was completely fine on the 30 minute ride out to the reef. When we arrived, this is what we saw and were suppose to see...only with more fish, etc. for the 45 minute duration of the time on the reef.

I lasted maybe five minutes with this view. And I spent the remainder of the time with this view.

Staring at the horizon, sucking on mints and praying that I didn't throw up. The waves were 3-4 ft. so not that horrible. But we were definitely rocking and I just can't handle that. I should have known considering I can't even really get on a swing these days without some motion sickness. As gross as I felt, I would still do it again. It is probably something I'll never get to experience again....the blueness of the ocean was unbelievable.

We had planned on driving down further south in to the Keys, but the boat ride kind of did us in. So we will have to experience the furthest point south in the U.S. on another trip.

All in all it was such a great way to kick off our summer. We came back feeling refreshed, completely blessed to be married to each other and ready to face the world again.