Monday, July 27, 2009

My Mind is Elsewhere

I haven't posted. There is so much going on! I have a daughter turning 13 this week, a son and husband taking a quick turnaround trip to Tennessee, another daughter in Mexico, and I'm trying to register this same daughter for classes at the local community college.

Oh, and there's a pretty cool French kid here to learn English in the mix as well!

Don't forget to check out the Mexico blog for daily updates! Today's was especially good. In fact, I snagged this photo from there.

I'm thinking this one will be an all-time favorite!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mexico Team

The team has arrived safely in Chihuahua! Don't forget to check the blog each day for postings and updates!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sunrise to Sunset, Conclusion

Immediately after snapping a picture of Vincent snapping a picture, the skies opened and it began to pour. It seems as if there were no warning! One minute we were debating on whether we should get into the water, the next minute we were grabbing everything off the beach and sprinting toward the Jeep!

Is it just my imagination, or is the back seat of a Jeep doubly cramped when it's raining?

The kite surfers were also packing up, but probably because of the lightning, not the rain.

Since it was still another hour until sunset, we couldn't see sitting in the Jeep the entire time.

It looked like the clouds were broken up to the north, so we whipped out the Garmin and tried to find another destination.

Our last attempt at a sunset was at Anclote pier. We gave up any pretense of trying to swim at this point. Here, Glenna carries a key item.

The tide was low and we walked onto the pier to a place where we wouldn't disturb the anglers.

This is a really cool weather station, placed by the University of South Florida.

This was probably the best shot I got of the sunset. Again, the actual orb was hidden by clouds.

We had each selected a goodie from the bakery at the Greek restaurant to enjoy while watching the sunset. Even though we were completely stuffed (and Vincent said he didn't need to eat again for two days), we managed to find room for bakery goods.

While Glenna and I chose something sensible like Baklava or an almond cookie, Kelly and Vincent chose these cookies that were as big as their faces.


The entire time we were there, the rain kept threatening. We'd huddle under the huge beach umbrella with our Greek pastries, then emerge to take photos, then duck back under the umbrella.

We couldn't stop laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation!

This was the last, parting shot, taken from beneath my towel.

The drive home seemed incredibly long. We discovered that while a convertible Jeep may be cool for a beach cruise, it's definitely NOT cool for a road trip! There are no arm rests in the back, for one, and it's hard to fall asleep with a roll bar in the way.

Thankfully, Himself had had the earlier mentioned Cuban coffee, plus a Greek coffee, plus a coke. I couldn't possibly have done this trip without him! His knowledge of Florida from all his driving was invaluable. I was able to focus on other things and not stress about how to get there. I'm so glad he was with us, and we missed Ty terribly (he was at work).

Though we had our mishaps, that's part of the adventure! If you're waiting for [insert excuse] to do a sunrise to sunset trip, don't wait any longer. Get out there and enjoy!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunrise to Sunset, Part III

After breakfast, we stopped at the house to let dogs out and regroup. Where to next?

Because Vincent wanted to get gifts for his family that were typical of Florida, Kelly suggested Downtown Disney. Great choice!

Vincent has a cousin who is mad about Legos. We took some pictures here for him.

It was fun to take pictures of Vincent, taking pictures. This is his first experience in the United States, so I'm hoping he doesn't think the rest of the nation is like Disney, or even Florida, for that matter!

I may have to come back for these:

When we stepped out of the Irish store, Himself and I noticed ominous clouds. We told the gang that we'd better find a store we'd like to be stuck in, because we were about to get wet.

Unfortunately, we had wandered past most of the stores and were in the restaurant/club area of DTDisney. We were already beginning to feel some drops.

To get out of the rain, we stepped into Bongos, a Cuban restaurant. The minute we did, the sky let loose! Vincent had never seen such rain and grabbed his camera to take pictures. Reminds me of us, our first day in Florida, eleven years ago!

We ordered plantains with mojoito sauce and some papas fritas. This was also our first awareness of the MJ Memorial service. Sometimes it's as if we're in a cave because of our lack of TV! Still, we weren't missing much. Himself, knowing he had more driving to do, had the foresight to order a Cuban coffe.

After the storm, Vincent picked out a gift for his adorable niece and we decided to move on to the next thing. We wanted to head to the West Coast, and Kelly thought it would be fun to check out Tarpon Springs and a certain restaurant there.

A little road weary, we soon gave in to the soothing lull of the engine and the radio.

Kelly snapped pictures of all of us while we slept on the long drive. However, I'm the one in control of what goes on the blog! (heh heh)

We were so surprised that Kelly was able to remember this restaurant.

We're so glad she did! At Tarpon Springs there are a half-dozen Greek restaurants. This one was wonderfully tacky and gaudy. The food portions were huge and delicious. We knew it would be good because of the Greeks who were eating there!

We try not to buy corny stuff that will end up in a drawer, but it's perfectly acceptable to take a photo of it and share the joke! This one was for Ty:

Actual sponges on an actual boat at Tarpon Springs, home of the sponge industry!

Why is the word "live" in quotations?

Is it alive or not? Is it dead? Or, is it only mostly dead?

Vincent wasn't the only one snapping pictures. We had never seen boat storage like this.

We tried to go to Howard Park to swim and catch the sunset. Because of construction, the only water access had "DANGER" signs posted, and any sunset was blocked by trees! Across to the south, we could see a small island and some activity there, so we decided to head over that way.

Turns out this was the aptly named Sunset Beach, and there were about 5 kite surfers there!

The only way to surf in the gulf is with a little boost - no waves!

The kite surfers were setting up. These were so huge, but they were so light that one person could handle them easily. A little boy had one up in the air and we thought it was going to drag him all over the beach! (It didn't.)

It was so pleasant outside! I think we were all glad not to be moving.

Hmmm. . . are those clouds in the distance headed our way, or away from us?

Vincent at Sunset Beach.

Vincent put his feet into the gulf to see the difference from the chilly Atlantic this morning to the warm Gulf of Mexico.

Right after I snapped this photo, it happened.

Next: Can't get a break!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Today is the Day

This little girl is on her way to Mexico today!

We are trusting God in all things and can't wait to hear of His provision and perfection in Mexico.

Day 1 of 15!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sunrise to Sunset, Part II

We left the beach and headed west to De Leon Springs! This is another place we've visited for canoeing with the youth group, but have never participated in its quaintest feature:

The Old Spanish Sugar Mill!

Here, pitchers of pancake batter are brought to your table, and each person gets to make their own! There's a large griddle built right into the top of the table.

Vincent wasn't sure what to do with the place mat until Kelly demonstrated. He was relieved. I think he thought he had to read it! Sometimes I forget to explain things to him and feel badly, but he catches on despite my mistakes.

Aren't these the cutest metal plates? There was only one blue one, and Glenna grabbed it. She can have the blue. Give me the red!

This man is happy because he knows he's about to eat!

We could order sausage, ham, or bacon to go with our pancakes. We could also order toppings such as blueberries, apples, bananas, chocolate, or peaches.

I think we all became proficient pancake flippers! I was the only one to eat the whole wheat/buckwheat ones. They were so good!

I don't think one can ever be too old to have lips stained by blueberries!

By her hands, it's evident she didn't use a spoon to put the blueberries on the pancakes.

These hands did as well.

These hands had apples!

Vincent also had his first taste of maple syrup and molasses. Loved the first, and we all disliked the second!

Mistake #2: We didn't swim here, either.

Strangely, the spring pool was occupied by old men. Really, it was weird!

The top went on much more easily than it came off!

Our Chariot:

Kelly would love to go to a college near the beach and drive a Jeep. While Florida may afford the former, I'm sure her parents can't afford the latter!

I think we need this in our yard. Now.

We made a quick stop for slurpees and moved on.

This picture makes me so happy!

Sing with your head up
with your eyes closed
not because you love the song
because you love to sing
because you love to sing!
- Copeland

Next Stop: It can't be real!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sunrise to Sunset

We have lived in Florida for 11 years, but we have never participated in the tradition of watching the sun rise on the east coast and set on the west coast. With Vincent visiting from France, we decided this was a prime opportunity to do so!

There's only one flaw in this plan:

Yes, I blinded everyone in the car with this shot. That's a.m., folks!

The other problem with this plan is that this is the week Florida decided to rain non-stop. We didn't let it hinder us too badly, though, and actually had a great experience from it.

Most of these pictures look like they were taken inside an ice cave. It was quiet and peaceful on the beach at that hour. We never actually got to see the orb of the sun rise because of the clouds, but we got some beautiful glimpses of the sunrise.

Mistake #1: We decided not to swim here, but to go on to the next event.

We spent the next 20 minutes trying to figure out how to get the top down on the Jeep rental. Himself chose the Jeep when his car was being repaired, correctly thinking it would be great for a beach day.

With the girls, anything is an adventure! Having the top down added an element of cool that was only enhanced by the Police CD blaring from Kelly's iPod.

This is the last time we saw this hat.

Here I am.

I absolutely HATE having my hair whipped around in a car. It gets into my chapstick, it becomes snarled and full of knots, and it never fully recovers and looks horrible the rest of the day.

I decided it wasn't about ME, however, and took one for the team. These photos show me trying to make the best of it.

Trick photography, and my typical view of Vincent.

Next stop: That's going to leave a stain.


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