Saturday, August 27, 2011

"a drinking town with a fishing problem"

  Today we went to Cedar Keys, on the Gulf of Mexico side. It was a fun little fishing town where the buildings along the pier are all on stilts and the water splashes around underneath them. The kids thought it was fun to eat ice cream in this curiosity shop while gazing out at the Gulf.

Instead of finding rocks in the parking lot, there were clam and oyster shells.
We all had to stop and admire them.

This is the extent of the "beach" at Cedar Keys. It's a small area with white sand and shells. The water gets deep quickly, but we weren't wearing swimsuits anyway and weren't planning on getting too wet.

The beach had a big playground, and we enjoyed sharing our picnic with a flock of seagulls
(and I'm not talking about the 80's hair band...).

The town had several streets of quirky shops and restaurants where you could buy fresh clam chowder or fish. This building looked so rickety.

Many of the buildings are painted in bright colors.
Josh is saying, "arrrrgh," in this picture. Ashley's saying, "Let's go home." Ethan is saying, "Cheese!"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Welcome to Florida...

If you come to see us, you might get to see one of the following...

The biggest hurricane in 5 years,

A giant orb weaver (falsely named banana spider) outside your kindergartner's classroom,

A "house gecko" in your shower,

An amazing (and amazingly COLD) natural springs just off the Suwanee River ("where the old folks stay", according to the state song.)

If any of these things appeal to you, we have a hide-a-bed you can sleep on. We'll even clean the banana spiders and house geckos out of it before you come!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

butterfly rainforest

this isn't part of the butterfly rainforest, but this is the 2 inch bug we found on our porch! eeek...
when it crawled away, it clicked like a cicada.

a butterfly landed in Ethan's hand the moment we walked into the garden...
then it landed on me!

here's a short video (without sound) of the butterflies floating all around us. I should have held still so it would have been more clear and you could see how many there were. oh well :)

how many black and white butterflies can you find in this picture?

the gardeners leave bowls of fruit out for the butterflies to eat. One man asked Josh if he knew what butterflies ate and Josh said, "rotten fruit." (the answer is some eat flowers, some eat fruit, and some eat both)

we also got into a special exhibit about music. the kids had fun making noise.

ashley watched the sound-waves her voice created.

This was their favorite music room because it was sound proof
and there were all sorts of drums and instruments to make noise with

here's the sound proof jamming room.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

big weekend

 We went to the natural history museum down the street from us, and it was nice, big, and free. 
The kids are in a small cave in this picture.

On Thursday we took a trip down to West Palm Beach to see my sister (who happened to move to FL the same week we did). While there, we all went to play at Juno Beach and I've decided that I love the Atlantic Ocean. I grew up looking at and loving the Pacific, and was fairly prejudiced towards it. But the water was so clear, and the waves were so mild, and the water was so warm (about 85*), you could actually swim in it!

Ashley and her cousin had fun splashing around together near the shore. 

 We brought our boogie board sled from home, hoping it would work in the ocean. 
The kids loved trying to ride the waves on it.

 Ethan learning to ride the teeny tiny waves.

 This is Chris and Ashley way out in the ocean. You could walk quite far without having it get too deep.

A sand castle Ashley built. 
I tried to give her more seashells, but she said it was exactly the way she wanted it to be. 

 Josh and Chris swam out there with baby sharks swimming around them. Not too comforting...

 Proof that I was at the beach, too.

 Josh had some rad moves, dude.

 I'm carrying my sister's baby on my back. 
Poor boy has such fair skin, he got a sliver of a sunburn on his leg and the next day it was all blistery :(

I don't know what Josh is doing here, but I like this picture of him. 

My sister's street has a lake that weaves through it. There are some strange looking turkey ducks walking around, and some otters that popped their heads up every now and then. 

 The kids liked seeing the Orlando temple.

My sister's family traded babysitting services with us so we could take turns going inside. It was hot and humid, but worth it!

I wish I'd taken a picture of the little frog that jumped on my leg as we drove on the freeway toward Orlando. But I was too busy jumping around and screaming. Ethan picked up the frog and tossed it out the window. I hope it survived the fall!

To top off a fun weekend, tonight we walked over to the alligator lake by our house and saw five small gators floating around near the grass. Josh tossed a stick in and one of the alligators rushed over with jaws open and snapped at it. I'm glad it was a stick and not a person!

Friday, August 5, 2011

pictures of The Big Move

 One of many rest stops along the way.

Ethan loved riding in the front of our truck

Ashley and Josh keeping themselves busy

See how much fun driving across the country is?

One of many side-of-the-road stops we had to do in a few short hours. Too much soda?

Community of Christ ice cream cone building

It was cool to see the St. Louis arch. Too bad we didn't stop to go up inside of it

Even Chris had fun driving for four days. That smile looks real...

Our amazing view of the Penske truck. 

For some reason our kids were obsessed with finding and staying in Super 8 motels. 
Ashley said they really were super!

Here's a giant cow at the edge of Georgia. Watch out for the flies.

Ethan stuck his head in an alligator's mouth. Now we have an extra room in our apartment ;-)

Dinner with the grandparents at Boston Market (Mmmmm....sweet potatoes and meat loaf...). They kept having Nice Fights to decide who would pay. Bruce always won :)

We've got swings right outside our apartment, and so far they want to swing all the time.

Grandma and grandpa were nice enough to let Ashley and Josh sleep in the hotel with them while we were home trying to unpack and organize things. I guess they slept sideways on the bed.

 The hotel pool where my parents generously babysat the kids while we tried to unpack.
We were so lucky to have almost all of the grandparents there!

 One of our neighbors...
 A few more neighbors...
 We've got really great neighbors...
And bats. These bat houses are right outside our apartment complex, and crowds gather every night to watch the bats fly out. so we did, too.

It was a great trip and we're so grateful to Bruce for helping us drive, and to my parents for sticking around a few extra days to help us with the kids. We love you and will miss you!