Win and Relaxation

nana-with-sign sunset-nana-and-papa nana-and-papa-fishing bird-and-nana-on-pier tree-growing-from-bridge sunset papa-and-trey-kayaking sunset-nell-and-nana nell-hammock-chair nana-and-trey-fish steve-and-trey-chess nell-paddleboarding hammock-chair-biew tropical-path trey-and-papa-chess sunset-with-pier

The place we stayed in the keys was absolutely perfect.  It was located directly on the Gulf and lined with palm trees and hammocks; the perfect location for doing absolutely nothing; exactly what this family needed.  The sunsets never cease to amaze me.  I stand there in awe every time taking a ridiculous number of pictures as the colors evolve every few seconds.  I don’t think I will ever get tired of watching them.

The real reason we went to the keys was for our annual showdown with Key West High School.  This year was a bit different than last.  This year we won (yay!), but unfortunately my son got a fever just an hour before the game started.  The win was great, but a bit bittersweet night for us since he was feeling so bad.  We spent the weekend in the keys relaxing with family as planned.  As soon as we got home on Sunday, I took him to the urgent care and sure enough he had bronchitis.  They gave us an antibiotic and we are hoping for a quick recovery.

All is well that ends well.

January

Nell Walking to Waves Nell Walking to Waves 2

Going to the beach in January is unheard of.  Well, this is the reason I live in south Florida.  Typically, January and February are the coldest months that we see.  Cold for south Florida is a low in the 50’s and a high in the 60’s to 70’s.  Well up until a week ago it was was still very much summer weather with high’s in the mid 80’s.  While everyone was screaming for cold weather, I was at the beach riding the waves and soaking up the sun.

This past week the weather has adjusted itself to the typical January chill.  I have worn closed toe shoes for over a week now and I’m totally over it.  Bring back summer!

Tropical End to Friday Night Lights

After lots of hard work my sons football team made it to the playoffs which landed us in Key West. Unfortunately that is where the season ended. I am so incredibly proud of him. He has given his all and put in lots of blood, sweat and tears since June. Proud, proud, proud; I couldn’t be more proud. I already cannot wait until next football season. There’s just nothing like the Friday Night Lights!

Plus, hey, we got to hang out in the Florida keys for a couple of days. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Nell Under PalmTrey Pier (1) Tropical Hotel View Trey Feeding Fish Tiki Underneath Tarpon Huge Robbies Price Board Robbies Dollar Bills Robbies Beach Number 47 Nell Beach Chair Nell and Tre Pier Nell and Steve Pier Laughing Key West Football Game Hotel Dusk Beach View Football Field Selfie Nell and Steve Beach Chair Line

February

A photo of my children every month :: February

Dee {16 years and 11 months} and Trey {13 years and 9 months}:
I thought I would post a video of both of the kids to represent February. We went to the Florida Keys to celebrate my birthday ending the evening with a dinner on the water. In the video the kids are trying to jump and touch every rafter all the way back to the car. All this happiness ended pretty quickly because after the video was over my daughters iPhone popped out of her sweatshirt pocket and landed face down on the concrete shattering. Nonetheless, it was still a great time.

Birthday Celebration :: Day 3

Day three of the birthday celebration fell on President’s Day which meant that the kids had off of school. So, the hubs and I took off work and headed down to the keys for the day. We spent the day at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo. I did a ton of paddleboarding. We ended the day at Bayside Grille to eat and watch the sunset. Sunsets in the keys are breathtaking. Check out day 3 pics below.

Dinner Sunset BeginningNell Pier at SunsetNell PaddlingNell & Steve Pier SunsetNell & Steve Pier at SunetNell Paddling InKeys Sunset

October

A photo of my children every month :: October
Dancing by the Water Walking down fishing bridge
Dee {16 years and 7 months}:
She is always listening to music and lately has been the happiest, silliest teenager. It brings my heart joy.

Trey {13 years and 5 months}:
He is going through a growth spurt and changing drastically. His deeper voice still shocks me.

Camping in the Keys

Sleeping in HammockLooking Over the Fishing BridgeFlorida Keys Sunset Fishing Area Florida KeysCooking Bacon on CoalsWalking Down the Fishing BridgeCow Fish Florida KeysBroke the Hammock Climbing Iceberg in Florida KeysRainbow Florida KeysPutting Out the Campfire

A campin’ we did go; tent camping that is. We loaded up all the gear and headed down to Key West ready to rough it, yet relax. Camping in the Florida Keys can be tricky as timing is crucial. The Keys can have crazy high heat and terrible bugs. While we didn’t avoid these two things completely, we did manage to have a somewhat minimized version of it.

After getting through the blood, sweat and tears of setting up the 8 person tent and all the camping gear, we played and relaxed. I went paddle boarding (until my son knocked a hole in it!), the boys fished, the girls took turns laying in the hammock and we all swam, ate, read, laughed and enjoyed each others company.

My husband typically makes friends everywhere he goes and this trip was no exception. He made friends with an older fisherman who was very skilled and took him and my son under his wing. This very nice man showed them how to properly catch fish, what bait to use, which type of fish is good to eat and even gave them a hands-on lesson on how to properly clean a fish. What a wise and kind gentleman.

When it came time to cook dinner we quickly realized that we were in a bit of a mess. We had hamburgers and freshly caught fish ready to throw on the grill. Problem was that they didn’t exactly have grills at this campground. They had fire pits. Even though it took what seemed like forever, we were able to put the skillet directly on the coals and eventually have a tasty dinner. Man, there is nothing like eating freshly caught fish. It literally melts in your mouth! Unfortunately, this was not the case for cooking breakfast the next morning. After a very sweaty, buggy and sleepless night we attempted to cook breakfast on the remaining coals the next morning. There were just not enough coals left to cook the entire meal and our patience had worn thin. Tired and hungry we decided to go for one last swim, pack up our gear and head to the next town to find a local spot for a big breakfast.

Lessons learned: make sure the campground has full grills and go late in the year when it’s cooler with less bugs (I have more bites than I could ever count). All in all, we had a great time. As much as I love nature and the outdoors, we may have to look at investing in a small camper before venturing on this type of journey again.

Mom’s Day in the Keys

Nell AdventureBahia Honda Bridge & BoardsRelax HatBahia Honda Yolo BoardKeys SunsetNell and D at SunsetKeys Sunset 2Sunset Lovely
I decided to spend Mother’s Day this year at Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys.  To much of a surprise, there are not many beaches in the keys.  Most of the water butts up directly to the land.  Bahia Honda is one of those exceptions.  Not only is it an exception; it is exceptional. Bahia Honda beaches are typically voted as the prettiest beach in Florida and is usually listed in the top 10 prettiest beaches in the United States.  I would have to agree that the beaches there are, in fact, extremely beautiful.  We went paddboarding and snorkeling and were able to see dolphins, tropical fish, a queen conch hermit, a 4 foot wide stingray, coral and much more.

Of course we couldn’t miss the infamous keys sunset.  We timed our dinner and location to be able to catch the sun as it went down over the water.  The beauty of a Florida Keys sunset never ceases to amaze me.

I had an amazing time in a beautiful place with my favorite people.  I couldn’t have asked for a better mother’s day.

*I want to say a special thank you to my wonderful husband who is not a beach or sun person as he typically burns in 10 minutes.  This time he managed to get a severe burn while sitting under a canopy 100% of the day.  I’m sorry babe!

The Keys – Kid-Free Trip #2

The trip down to the Florida Keys was quite enjoyable and less of an “adventure” than the last trip.  We left Saturday morning and rode down to Islamorada with no problems.  We ate a great little lunch before heading to Key West.

We stayed at a small bed and breakfast off Duval Street.  The lady at the front desk walked us to our room.  There was free happy hour where the staff and guests sit together and tell stories.  We also enjoyed relaxing by their small pool surrounded by tropical trees.  We absolutely loved it!

That particular weekend was Lobster Fest in Key West.  There were tons of grills in the middle of Duval Street grilling fresh lobster in the half shell.  Holy crap, it was the best lobster I’ve ever had.  It may have even the best seafood I’ve ever had and that’s saying a lot since I’m a seafood fanatic.  We watched street performances where my husband was called from the crowd to participate because he looked like a “strong guy”.  We also watched the infamous Key West sunset even though it was cloudy and then toiled around from place to place afterwards.

We had a lazy Sunday morning eating breakfast by the pool then hopped back on the motorcycle and headed north.  Overall it was an amazing weekend.  I just simply love hanging out with my husband.  I am so blessed to have such a wonderful man in my life and such an amazing marriage.

Here are some pics from the trip.