Quote for the Day

“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” -Mother Teresa

Family

Tropical Tuesday

Clear Water 2 Clear Water View Clear Water Cracked iPhone Cut Foot D Braiding Nells Hair Danica Sticking Tongue Out Nell and D at the Beach Nell Taking Pics on Rocks Before Fall Nells BraidScraped Knee and Cracked iPhone Standing on Rocks with Water Splashing Steve at Top of Rocks Steve Walking Down Beach Trey going Spearing Trey with Hawaiian Sling

An afternoon at the beach with the family is always awesome even when you climb rocks to take pics and fall busting yourself, your iPhone and your camera.  Hey, anything for a good picture, right?  I climbed up fairly high on the rocks and took some really awesome shots of the beautifully clear water and my son snorkeling.  I’ve done this type of thing many times in the past.  It was until I was done taking pics and standing on the bottom layer of rocks talking to my son that I lost my balance and fell.  I wish I could show you these cuts and my now cracked iPhone (what I’m most upset about) and say it was because I was doing something super cool like surfing or skateboarding but, no.  It was just simply me being clumsy.  Oh well.  I really did get some good shots though.  Now on to figure out what to do about my iPhone.

Life Without Internet

Burning PaperBuilding Blocks Trey Playing in the Fire Terrorizing the Cat

Our home entertainment options are solely based on the internet.  This means that when then internet goes down, all entertainment options go with it; no tv, video games, computer, Skype, etc.  So this is what a weekend with two teenagers and no internet looks like.  The kids threw their old school work into the fire in our new fire pit page by page.  The boys pulled out some old building blocks and made Lord of the Rings towers.  Because just building the towers wasn’t enough, they had to make them crash and video it in slow motion (which actually looked pretty cool, I must admit).  Things got really desperate when we resorted to putting on gorilla slippers and terrorizing the cats.

I’m not a big TV watcher but do spend way too much time on my phone and on blogs.  To be honest, I really enjoyed not having internet. Our teenagers spent time just hanging out with us with no distractions.   Overall we have way too many entertainment options and way too many distractions.  This weekend we were forced to unplug but I would choose to do it again anytime.

DIY Firepit

BootsFirePit Firepit with Chairs Gloves Backyard in progress Backyard complete

I have been wanting a fire pit in our backyard for a while now and with the cooler weather, I thought this would be a great time to build one.  Honestly, the fire pit is super easy to build, but you will definitely want some extra muscle to help carry these stones.  They are super heavy.  Here are the step-by-step instructions along with links to the supplies.

Supplies:
36 Retaining Wall Stones12″ x 4″
Bag of sand
2 bags of pea gravel or river rocks

Instructions:

  1. Mark off the area where the fire pit will be placed.
  2. Kill (with weed and grass killer) and/or pull all grass and weeds in the marked off area.
  3. Using a rake, shovel or your hands, level off the marked area.
  4. Place 12 stones (first layer) in a circle putting the stones flush against each other.
  5. Place the next 12 stones (second layer) staggering the placement.
  6. Place the last 12 stones (third layer) staggering the placement.
  7. Pour the bag of sand inside the circle of stones and level with hands.
  8. Pour both bags of rocks into the pit and level with hands.
  9. Do any other landscaping you’d like to give it a finishing touch.
  10. Put chairs around the fire pit.
  11. Grab a drink and enjoy.

Tropical Tuesday :: Skateboard Weather

Skateboarding PicBeach Waves LIfeguard Stand Palm Sidewalk View Skateboarding Pic2

These are the days we South Floridians look forward to.  These type of days are the reason that people live in South Florida and why so many people travel here to visit.  When it gets terribly cold everywhere else in the country, it becomes springtime here.  We only have summer and spring weather.  It is truly spectacular with lows in the 60’s and highs’ in the 70’s, sunshine and an ocean breeze.  You can go to the beach, skateboard, or walk the boardwalk without one drop of sweat.  I’m taking every chance I get to hop on my skateboard and go for a ride.  Happy “winter” everyone!

Family Time

D catching football D running with ball D Throwing Football Danica on Treys BackMom and Dad in Street Mom Catching Ball Mom dad and Trey playing football Nell after getting pushed in pool Nell Mad Papa throwing football Trey and Papa Throwing Football Trey Catching Ball Trey Caught D Trey Chasing D 2 Trey Chasing D Trey throwing FootballTrey trying to tackle D

The season was over at my dad’s work after him putting in 150 days straight (or something crazy like that).  So, he came for a visit.  We spent some great quality time together at their future retirement home.  We played a lot of football, Mom and I did crafts, I got thrown into the cold pool fully clothed (hence the mean face pic), we grilled out surf and turf, and watched the Saints beat the Packers in the Sunday night football game. Good times, good times!

Tropical Tuesday

Trey Behind After Surfing Trey Catching Wave Trey Paddling 1 Trey Paddling 2 Trey Walking in from SurfingBeach Rocks View GoodYear Blimp

One of the main things my son and I have in common is a love for the water and outdoors so it’s always a great day when I get to sit in my happy place and watch him surf.

Vitilago Hurts

Vitilago Hand on Mouth Vitilago Flat Hands Vitilago Hands Up

Vitilago is a condition that causes depigmentation of parts of the skin. Basically, it causes random white spots on parts of your body and the darker your skin the more evident.

I found the first spots on my body about six years ago in my underarm area. A bit panicked by what I saw and having no idea what it could be, I made an appointment with my doctor right away. After a biopsy was done, it was quickly confirmed that I had the first signs of vitilago. I wasn’t happy about this diagnosis but wasn’t necessarily too concerned at that point since it was only in my underarms.

Then it happened. New spots appeared on my body. It moved to my face then to my hands and then to my feet. The hands and feet are bad enough, but having vitilago on your face is the worst. I suffered with it on my face for years but thank God, many of the vitilago spots on my face filled back in with pigmentation. My hands and feet are a totally different story. The vitilago in these areas are spreading like crazy.

I always felt very blessed to have an olive complexion. I can wear 100 SPF sunscreen and tan straight through it. This type of complexion is something that many women would die for. I used to love it but not so much anymore. The darker I get, the more my vitilago shows. As many of you know I love the beach and love being outside, but because of the vitilago, I find myself avoiding the things I love the most. It sucks!

Vitilago hurts; not in the physically painful sense but in the emotional, life altering sense. It’s a huge blow to your self esteem. I’m constantly trying to darken the vitilago spots or trying to cover up the rest of my body to avoid getting any darker.  Doctor’s have found no proven cure except for prolonged light therapy.  This type of treatment is expensive and insurance will not cover it. Their reasoning for not covering this treatment? They claim it’s because vitilago is only a cosmetic issue and from my personal experience, they are incredibly wrong! People with vitilago are hurting and our lives are being altered by this disease.

Colorado :: Day Four

ATV Path Bend ATV Path Straight Coffee Shop Deero Path ATV View Steve Driving ATV Wagon Wheel
We Become What We Think VW Van

This was the fourth day and the last day of our fun adventure in Colorado. I booked the red eye so we could spend the entire day playing.

After packing up and leaving our little apartment in Boulder, I went across the street to a local coffee shop. Since Boulder was full of local spots all offering gluten-free options, I don’t know why I was so surprised that this local coffee spot had gluten-free coffee cake. I have been gluten-free for six years now. So, I literally haven’t had a coffee cake in over six years.

My face lit up like a kid on Christmas morning when I saw that gluten-free caramel coffee cake looking at me through the glass counter. I immediately told the barista that I’d like one coffee cake to go. I grabbed my cake and latte and headed for the apartment to have one last meal on the patio. I ate that coffee cake savoring each bite like it was the last one on earth while enjoying the cool Colorado morning.

On our last day in Colorado, Steve wanted to go white water rafting most of all but we missed the season for it. So, instead he decided we would rent an ATV and ride trails in the Rockies. We drove though big trails, small trails, dirt trails and very rocky trails all while taking in the beauty of the changing leaves and wildlife. It was a blast even when the temperature dropped to 40 degrees and it started raining. Well, maybe it wasn’t a blast at that point but still fun. We did turn the ATV in early at the point that our hands were completely numb.

Colorado you were awesome! Your beauty amazed me at every turn. It was a great celebration. Happy 40th once again to my wonderful husband. I can’t wait to spend many more celebrations with you.

Colorado :: Day Three

Nell and Steve Overlook Nell at Overlook Nell Balancing on Rock at Creek Nell in Rain Over Waterfall Nell Large Rock Overlook Nell on Trail Nell Over Boulder Nell Sitting on Rock at Creek 2 Nell Sitting on Rock at Creek Nell Sitting on Very Large Rock Nell Standing on Very Large Rock Overlook Panorama Overlook Steve at the Creek Steve on a Bench Steve on Rock at Creek Steve on the Trail Steve Overlook Trail Mtn View Creek Flatirons Florida Hikers

This was by far the best picture day of all.  The views we saw were epic.

We went to Eldorado Canyon right outside of Boulder. After we got there, I realized that I didn’t do enough research (which is very unlike me).  I assumed that we would drive through the sightseeing area just as we’d done the day before in the Rocky Mountain National Park.  That was definitely not the case. Steve was wearing flip flops and I was wearing sandals, but we didn’t let that stop us.  We figured that we could bring a little Florida to Colorado.  We hiked the trail and climbed the rocks all without losing our shoes.

We’d also planned to go see the Flatirons, which are massive rock formations that look like slanted slabs.  We followed the directions but wound up winding up a tiny road to the top of a mountain.  When we stopped, we were completely amazed.  I felt like we were on top of the world and at that location, I guess we were; on top of all the other surrounding mountains at least (check out the first pic).  The views were breathtaking.  I certainly had never experienced anything like it before.  We walked out onto the overlook rock formation and just looked at the views for the longest time.  I simply could not get enough.  Honestly, I really wanted to stay longer.  I could have easily stayed until the sun went down.  Looking back, Steve and I both regretted not staying to watch the sunset.  Oh, well.  It will be on our list for next time.  After winding back down the mountain, we realized that we had driven right past the Flatirons.  We stopped to take one quick pic.  After seeing the spectacular views from the top of the mountain, the Flatirons just didn’t look all that fascinating.  Plus, we were exhausted.

Whew, what a day!  Colorado, you are amazing!