Staycation (of sorts) – Part 1

Trey Splashing Trey Floating Sun Rays Steve Hammock Palm Treee - Copy Nell Tube on Head - Copy Nell Floating to Bridge Behind - Copy Nell and Dee Walking on Bridge with Tubes - Copy Dee Kelly Springs Sun RaysNell Jumping in Tube - Copy Nell Dee and Steve Tube Train - Copy Dee Stuck in TreesTrey Holding Onto rockSteve Under BridgeSprings Foot ViewNell Tubing - Copy

It’s summertime and that means it’s family vacation time.  We have lived in Florida for ten years now and have not been to any of the beautiful natural springs that our state has to offer.  For this reason and because we didn’t want to spend much money (one kid in private school and one in college), we decided to do a staycation of sorts.  While we didn’t exactly stay home, we only went three hours north to Orlando.  You see, if I don’t get the boys away from the house, then I’ve lost them to the world of video games.  Pulling everyone away from their day-to-day routine and environment makes all the difference.  We are able to hang out as a family and truly connect.

For the springs part of our adventure, we chose Kelly Springs which is a short 30 minute drive from Orlando.  Kelly Park is a free-flowing natural spring (68 degrees year round – yikes!) which makes is popular for tubing.  The upside to this little adventure is the beautifully clear water and views, the close proximity to Orlando, the tubing experience and the laid back and relaxing environment (including our hammock – good call).  The only downsides is the crowd (the park is closed by 10am due to max occupancy) and the temp of the water (almost painfully cold at first – see pic above).

Most memorable parts of the day:

  • Steve and Trey racing down the river to see who would win.  Trey won (in case you’re wondering).
  • Steve making a bed out of tubes and falling asleep.
  • Watching some kid curl himself up in a tube and roll down the hill being encouraged by his family the entire time.
  • Trey looking for Pokemon (he had just downloaded Pokemon Go).
  • Danica being a princess; not wanting to be outdoors or get in the cold water.
  • Danica doing a high kick and a dance in the middle of the park when we announced we would be going to Disney’s Magic Kingdom the next day.

*I brought the underwater camera along and was able to capture some good pics.  I will go on record that my 16 year old son decided that he wanted to be the photographer for most of the day so some of these pics are attributed to him.  Great job, Trey!

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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.

Mid-Length Skirt DIY

Skirt Side Laughing
Skirt Hemmed Edge Skirt Elastic Pinned Seperate from Material Skirt Material Pinned to Elastic Skirt Sewn Finish Outside Skirt Sewn Finish Inside Skirt Looking Down Skirt Side View Looking Down

This past weekend was a full on craft fest.  I hadn’t dedicated any time recently to sewing, projects or crafts, so it was past due.  This skirt project cost a whopping $4.50 to make!  Below are the steps to make this easy flowy mid-length skirt.  Enjoy!

Materials:

1 yard of fabric (your choice)
Elastic to match your fabric
Straight pins
Thread ripper
Sewing machine and thread
Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Double fold one long end of your 1 yard of fabric and sew.
  2. Cut the elastic just long enough to fit around your waist, slightly stretched.
  3. Fold the elastic in half and mark the center with a pin. Then fold each half in half and mark each quarter point with a pin. Fold each segment in half again and pin for each 1/8 point.
  4. Repeat the same process along the top edge of your fabric.
  5. Match up the pins on the elastic to the fabric, gathering the excess fabric between each pin.
  6. Sew the elastic to the fabric stretching the elastic as you go.  The stretching will create a natural “gather”.
  7. Sew the two edges together.
  8. Double fold bottom of skirt and sew hem.
  9. Optional: Use thread ripper to remove pocket from a men’s button-up shirt and sew onto the front of the skirt.

Thoughts on Nature

Orange Lion King Sunset Caution Everglades Sign Bird Diving Orange Lion King Sunset over water Orange Sunset Road Glades on 1 Side Bird Flying over Everglades  Sunset with Palm Boys on a JeepOrange and Blue Sunset

I am a sucker for nature; pretty much any kind.  Being emerged in the beauty of the outdoors brings me peace and tranquility like nothing else.  As I sit there soaking it all in, I lose track of time and all worries of this world.  Nature is one of the places that I easily connect with God.  I see him everywhere; His majesty and wonder surrounds me. Florida sunsets are simply the best! What a great way to end an awesome weekend.

Scenes from the Weekend :: Celebrating 41

Wings are Served Steve Deep DiscussionSteve Laughng Hysterically    Nell Crab Legs Steve and Papa Watching GameNell and Nana Selfie Papa with Silly HatFull Moon before Eclipse Friday Night Lights  Dee Home Mom with crocheted Hand SockButterfly Boil Beginnings Backyard Work in Dress

 

The hubs turned 41 on the 27th.  In true Steve fashion, to celebrate, the decision was made to lay low, hang around the house with family and friends and cook his most favorite meals.  I am a busy body, always wanting to be on the go but I have to admit that the chill birthday weekend he planned was perfect. I had the best time and went into the new week nice and relaxed. Here are some of the pics from our weekend.

  1. Special homemade wings and some football watching.
  2. Good convo with he in-laws.
  3. LOVE this! A true belly laugh. This pic makes me smile every time I look at it.
  4. CRABS! Cooked my famous seafood boil.
  5. “Watching” football.
  6. Selfie with my favorite lady.
  7. Crochet experiment gone wrong.
  8. The blood moon before the eclipse.
  9. Friday night lights.  Trey’s team won 32-20!
  10. SHE CAME HOME TO VISIT! I miss her face so badly! (having grown kids is harder than I expected)
  11. The successful crochet sock for mom’s arm.
  12. Backyard butterfly. I call these the bumble bee butterflies.
  13. Seafood boil beginnings.
  14. Landscaping in a dress.  Why not?

Costa Rica Pic of the Day 4

Steve and Trey Catch Wave Sunset

Sunsets and catching waves.  Both were spectacular.

Costa Rica lessons learned today:

  1. 5 and 6 foot waves surmount and break at the shore.
  2. Sunsets in Costa Rica are better than Florida.
  3. Taco bars are awesome.
  4. Sometimes the best adventures aren’t the ones you planned.

Pre-Graduation

dee papa and glen at guanabanas earl and joanna at guanabanas Entire family pic at Guanabanas Glen end of pier nana and papa at guanabanas nana papa nell at guanabanas nell and glen at guanabanas nell and trey guanabanas steve and trey guanabanasdee and jake at guanabanasJake carrying dee-throw in pool Trey after pool in towelDanica after pool

It was the night before graduation, which called for a full family dinner at a tiki restaurant right on the intercostal. The dinner was delicious. Our graduate had a blast. The company was perfect and best of all my mom handled her first big dinner out very well. There was even a water initiation of the graduate when we got back to my mom and dads house; a.k.a. Jake threw Dee in the pool fully clothed! Now that was fun!

Impact

“Often people who are not in the limelight in the church feel they are not as important as those up front.  Some even feel they are second class.  The truth is we are all number one, because God has no favorites.  The Bible tells us that God is impartial.  There are no little people, because we are all special to Him.  We all have a congregation and a sermon to live.  The Bible says, ‘Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven’ (Matthew 5:16).  In our pulpit, the work place, God has people who will never attend a church and He is depending on us to be a living sermon to them” -Power of the Pew Warmer by Charles Pearce

Unfortunately, many times we don’t really see someone’s true value or their true impact on others until they are not around.  This is the point in which you really feel and see their void.  At least, this is what I had always heard, but never really experienced.

My mom has been in ICU for 26 days and I can honestly say that I truly understand this now.  My mom’s reach and impact on others has been deeper and wider than I had ever realized.  She truly lived out the caption above to the fullest degree.  She was out there being a doer of the Word each and everyday.  Being a light to her family, friends and everyone around her.  She was bringing the love of Christ to others.  Quilting for the homeless, crafting for the needy, volunteering for the animals, donating time, donating money, supporting and caring for her children and grandchildren; and this was all above and beyond her regular duties of managing a rental business, caring for her home, renovating a retirement home and caring for her husband.

How often do we get so wrapped up in our busy day-to-day lives and miss out on all the important things?  I know that I do.  I fall into this trap over and over again.  I’m too tired, I’ve had a long day, I don’t feel like stopping, I don’t want to take time to talk to that person; wah, wah, wah….me, me, me.  Not my mom.  She always found the time to do all the important things. To do those things that really matter; the things that have big impacts on individual lives.  The things that change lives.  She invested of herself.  This has been abundantly evident by the outpouring of love, support and prayers that we have received.

A tragic event such as this will put life into perspective.  You realize very quickly the things that matter most; people.  My mom is an inspiration.  She is my inspiration.

Three Generations American Heart Association Walk dogs Hair Donation Christmas Wreath Christmas Angel

Retrospect

There is something about a tragic life event that will make you look in retrospect.  In doing so, I went back to a photo album that my mom had made for me years back that included nothing but old photos from when I was a little girl.  I picked out some of my favorites to share with you.  There were a few things that came to mind when looking at these photos.

  1. My mom is a breathtakingly beautiful woman.
  2. She is incredibly stylish.  I would love to have those clothes today.
  3. My dad looked even more Spanish in his younger years.  (He’s not Spanish at all)
  4. My parents knew how to vacation well.
  5. The 70’s was an awesome era.

* My mom is slowly progressing and healing from her terrible accident.  We had the first glimpse of hope yesterday; she responded to us by shaking her head “yes”.  She continues to be a miracle from God everyday and for that we are incredibly thankful.  Please keep the prayers coming. This will be a very long journey. (Daily updates found HERE)

Mom and Me Tree 800 Mom dad and me cypress gardens 800 Mom and me in chairs 800 Davis and Ehrets 800 Dad and me 800

In an instant…

everything can change.  In an instant your entire world can be turned upside down.  This happened to me and my family 18 days ago (and counting).  I’m not ready to talk about the full story here but the gist of it is that my mom was in a horrible car accident and has been fighting for her life.  The good news is that we see God working miracles everyday.

Let the ones you love know just how deeply you love them.  Don’t delay in getting together with family.  Don’t let your “busy” life get in the way of calling someone you love.  I guarantee you that in the grand scheme of things, that stuff that made you so “busy” won’t matter at all.

I ask you from the bottom of my heart, please pray for my mom, Brenda.  She is still in ICU in critical condition.  Please pray specifically for complete brain healing and function as well as prayer for no infection or illness as she heals.  If you’re interested in keeping up with her story, you can follow it daily on her CaringBridge website HERE. Much love and thanks!

Mom and Nell in front of water
Mom in HImom nad dadmom and nell snorkelingmom and dad luauMom nell earl in cavemom and nell selfie