Friday

Sunset

Eat food from farmers markets.
Drink good tea each morning.
Read books that make you feel.
Paint, even if you’re awful.
Write, even when you have nothing to say.
Sit in the fresh air outside.
Go on hikes.
Swim in lakes and wade in streams.
Sleep as long as you need.
Work hard at what you love.
Work hard at what you hate.

Love unconditionally and wholeheartedly.

Happy Friday!

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Sixteen

Danica and Trey Po Disney SignHot Air Balloon Danica in Zero Nell 1970 Nell and Dee Matching Shirts Typhoon Lagoon Trey and Grumpy Donald Nell Flower Wall Steve and Trey Donkey King Trey on Bus Nell and Trey Pop Century Nell 70

This amazing young man is now 16. I remember very clearly the day that he was born. There wasn’t much toil. There wasn’t much labor. In just five hours short hours he made his appearance into the world at 10:35 on a Tuesday night. I couldn’t believe that I had a long, skinny, blonde hair, blue eyed baby.

As I’ve mentioned here on the blog previously, when I was raising my babies, I looked too much into the future and did not enjoy the moment. This is definitely one of my regrets. That being said, one of the things I did right was when Trey was a baby. I had a sinking feeling that he would be my last and every single night, when I rocked him to bed, I held him extra tight and extra long and just gazed at him as he slept in my arms. I didn’t want to put him in the bed before I absolutely had to. I treasure those deep longing moments with him cuddled in my arms sleeping. If I close my eyes and think really hard, I can still see that sweet baby face in my mind.

How to fast time flies. It seems that you blink and suddenly your baby; your youngest is 16 and and in high school.

In those younger days we was all boy and very hard to keep up with. He made us laugh all the time. I guess looking back he’s always been the “funny guy”. This kid was ALWAYS hungry; so hungry, in fact, he wanted to eat every 30 minutes yet spit out all of his vegetables.

Today, he loves football, working out, laying in bed and watching TV,  playing video games, going to water parks and eating.  He is a thoughtful, considerate and kind young man.  He considers my feelings.  He thanks me every night for cooking him dinner.  He apologies when he thinks that he has upset me.  What mother of a 16 year old boy can say that? Not many! I am blessed beyond measure.  Trey is excelling academically, socially and athletically.  I am so very excited about the amazing young man he is becoming and am so grateful to be on this journey with him as his mom.  I think he is just down right pretty darn awesome!

Happy 16, bud!  Here’s to many more together.  I love you!

*Since he loves water parks, we did a weekend trip to the Disney water parks in Orlando to celebrate.  

Venetian Pool

Nell Road of TreesNell Laying in Pool  Pool Wide View  Venetian Ceiling Danica Waterfall
Danica in Front Waterfall Three Palms Dee in Front of Pool  Danica Laying in Pool Nell in Front Waterfall Nell and Dee in Front of Pool

My, now college sophomore, daughter had only one full week off between spring and summer semesters.  I decided to sneak in some quality time with her and do something a bit touristy.  When you live in a vacation spot, it’s easy to forget about all the unique opportunities right at your finger tips.  We decided to shoot down to Miami for the afternoon and visit the Venetian Pool.

The pool was created in the 20’s from a coral rock quarry, where much of the original coral rock was used to border and further accentuate the pool.  The Venetian Pool was transformed into a paradise that is included in the National Register of Historic Places, the only swimming pool to have such a designation.

Upon walking in, you feel like you have transcended into a lush tropical vacation in Italy; waterfalls, caves, a beach, shallow lounge and, of course, the massive pool.  All of this beauty is surrounded by stone landscape and buildings architected from another time and place.  This south Florida tourist spot is a must if you are anywhere near Miami.

I thoroughly enjoyed my one-on-one time with my girl.  Now she’s off to the fun things in life like micro-biology.

Favorite Things

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We chased the sunset, discovered uncharted territory, held hands, talked, laughed and saw a bunny. Two of my most favorite things; nature and my husband.  This night was good.

Perspective and a Mexican Fisherman

Sunset Hand

Where are you going?  This is something that I’ve been reflecting on here recently as I think about the fact that my children are getting older; one in college and one in high school.  I technically have three years left with kids living at home full time.  This is surreal.  I want to soak up every last minute; every last second with them.  I want to slow down my life.  I want to slow down time.

At the same time, it’s exciting to begin thinking about and planning the future with just me and the hubs.  What will our lives look like?  Will we live in a cute cottage on a big piece of land?  Will we live in an old Florida home near the ocean?  Will we travel around part-time or maybe even full-time in an RV? There’s so many questions and so many unknowns.  It’s exciting.  I love daydreaming about these sort of things.

Today, a lady at work shared the following story that completely touched my heart and certainly put into perspective.  We must be sure to focus on what really matters in life.


A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

“Not very long,” answered the Mexican.

“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“I have a full life. I play with my children and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, and sing a few songs….”

The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard, and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”

“And after that?” asked the Mexican.

“With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.”

“How long would that take?” asked the Mexican.

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American.

“And after that?”

“Afterwards? Well my Friend, That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?” said the Mexican.

“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings doing what you like and enjoying your friends.”

“With all due respect sir, but that’s exactly what I am doing now. So what’s the point wasting twenty-five years?” asked the Mexican.

Know where you’re going in life… you may already be there.

Mexico :: Day 4

Nell Yellow House Hand Up Small Caribbean Couple Small Nell Top of Tiki Lifeguard Stand Small Steve Mimosa Bar Small Nell and Steve on Wall over Beach Small Nell Close Up Small Steve Standing on Golf Cart Small Carnaval Dancers Purple Small Kissing in the Caribbean Small Barefoot in the Streets 1 Small Nell & Steve Up Close Beach Bed Small Steve with Mexican Man Statue Small

Last days are always hard; soaking in the final bits of your destination before you head back home to reality.  We took in as much of the island as possible.  One really cool part of this last day was sitting on a second story balcony of a little Mexican cantina watching the super bowl in Spanish on the TV while watching carnaval parades on the streets below during commercials. Well this was cool until the following morning.  I knew not to drink the water in Mexico.  It’s a well known fact that the water is not at all drinkable.  This was ingrained in my brain.  Little did I know that the ice in my drink at dinner while watching the super bowl (and carnaval) was not filtered.  I woke up the next morning stupid early to the sound of an alarm feeling all kinds of horrible.  I didn’t realize right away what was wrong with me.  I literally vomited my way back to the U.S.  I threw up in the airports multiple times and had to repeatedly jump out of the customs line to run to the bathroom to vomit.  When in the United States customs line, you see signs everywhere stating all these different symptoms and their related diseases.  I made sure to force my happy face when getting to the front of the VERY long customs line in the U.S. I did not what them to suspect anything strange.  I just desperately needed to get home to my bed.  Needless to say, it was the worst travel experience I’d ever had.  After thinking it through and talking to a few people who had traveled to Mexico, we narrowed it down to that one glass of ice.

Isla Mujeres was quaint, authentic and breathtakingly beautiful.  I would go again in a heartbeat but will NEVER have ice in my drink again!  Adios!

Mexico :: Day 3

Nell Hammock over Water SmallNell & Steve Underwater SmallNell Swimming Down to Car SmallReef Fish SmallSteve MUSA Swim Down SmallSteve Snorkeling SmallSteve Walking down wavy Pier Front 2 SmallWavy Pier SmallSteve Underwater Upside Down Selfie SmallSteve MUSA Swim Over SmallReef SmallNell Swimming Up SmallNell Posed on Wavy Pier SmallMUSA Statues Up Close SmallNell & Steve Swimming Up Small

The snorkel trip had a very interesting beginning.  We went to what we thought was the dive shop that I booked the trip with.  After several back and forth trips and stringing us along, we found out that this dive shop was not who we booked with.  They were apparently trying to scam us into booking with them instead.  Luckily, a sweet lady that represented our dive shop, Isla Mujeres Trips, called our hotel to say that we were late to check-in but they would wait on us.  When getting on the boat we were a bit surprised to be the only English speaking people.  Our tour guide didn’t even speak any English. Yikes!  Steve and I looked at each other and said, “well this is going to be an interesting trip!”  After a bit of time, we found out that a young Spanish couple on the boat lived in New York and could speak English so they translated the important stuff. Thank God!

This was the only day I had actually booked ahead to do an excursion.  The only thing that I didn’t want to miss was MUSA, an underwater art that lies between the shores of Cancun and our little island.  I have to admit that I half heartedly booked the trip not expecting to see much.  Because we are not certified divers, we could only snorkel and the museum was 30 feet beneath the surface.  I thought we would be able to see hints of the sculptures at best.  Man, was I ever wrong.  The beautiful water had certainly impressed me the first day, but that was nothing compared to our snorkel of the museum.  When jumping off the boat, the first set of sculptures were the grouping of statues.  The statues were so visible and clear from 30 feet that we could see the details of their faces.  It was so clear, I felt like I was in 5 feet of water. AMAZING!  From there we went on to see the VW bug sculpture and the sculptures of people in prostrate form.

Even though the snorkel trip was MUCH colder that I liked, it was all worth it.  I love snorkeling and have seen many reefs but this snorkel trip took the cake.  It was by far the prettiest and most memorable trip of all time.  We ended the day at a restaurant (with the wavy pier) for a nice fish dinner.

Mexico :: Day 2

Nell Looking over Cliff Small Nell & Steve Kissing over Cliff Small Nell Flying Small Nell Palm Stump Leaping Small Reggae Band Small Zipline Platform View Small Nell on a Cliff SmallSteve Sitting over Cliff 2 Small Nell Zen over Ocean Small Nell Corner View Small Steve Tiki Swinging Small Steve Beer to Go Small Nell Joint Surfboard Small Ocean Cemetary Small Steve with Golf Cart SmallPina Colada in Cocount Small

Day two was shaping up to be a fairly cloudy and somewhat chilly day so we rented a golf cart and toured the island.  Isla Mujeres is so small that you can see the entire island in 2 hours via golf cart.  How cool is that?  We set out on the adventure with no agenda in mind (quite unusual for me).  There is almost no possible way to get lost since there is only one road that goes around the island (with ocean views, I might add).  We rode in the golf cart and simply stopped when we saw something of interest; a roadside restaurant with a very unstable “wavy” pier, intriguing B & B with the best piña colada I’ve ever had, random reggae bar with a live band, beautiful rocky oceanside views and a surprisingly colorful and beautiful cemetery (never thought I’d think of a cemetery in that way). It was the best day and I fell more in love with this beautiful little island and the golf cart driver.  😉

Mexico :: Day 1

Steve in Water Behind SmallSteve Downtown Small Beach View from Hotel Small Nell Leaning Over Hotel Balcony Arms Up Small Steve at Beach Side View Small Nell in Water Small Steve in Water Behind 2 Small Nell Downtown Isla Mujeres Small Boat Gazebo Caribbean SmallSteve Swing Bar SmallNorth Beach SmallNell Swing Bar Small

After a flight, a shuttle and a boat ride, we landed on this tiny island just off the coast of Mexico.  Isla Mujeres was all that we thought it would be and maybe even a bit more.  I was immediately taken by the views. I assumed all the pics online were touched up but I was completely wrong.  The water was a bright, crystal clear, fluorescent, turquoise dream; amazing! We were ready to start the “becoming 40” celebration.

Tomorrow

Isla Mujeres

Tomorrow, tomorrow; I love ya, tomorrow.  You’re only a day away.  This time tomorrow, this will be my view.  Let the 40th birthday celebration commence.  Vamonos!