2013 Top 10 Highlights

When looking back and reflecting on everything that made up 2013, I have to say that it was one darn good year with milestones for the kids, for me and even two trips to Hawaii.  I am very thankful and very blessed for a wonderful year.  Check out my top 10 highlights.

1 :: My oldest turned sweet 16.
2 :: We went on our first trip to Hawaii visiting the island of Kauai thanks to my sweet parents.
3 :: Got a paddleboard racing sponsorship to become a team rider for a local surf board company.
4::  My youngest became a teenager.
5 :: My daughter went on her first mission trip to Haiti.
6 :: With the kids at my parents, the hubs and I enjoyed a motorcycle trip alone.
7 :: I was offered a promotion at work to lead the new technology team.
8 :: My daughter got her driver’s license and hit the streets for the first time by herself.
9 :: My husband and I started weekly date nights.
10 :: I met up with my parents on a trip to Maui.

1 - D is 16 2 & 3 Kauai & SUP Racing4 - Trey is a Teenager5 - D goes on first mssion Trip 6 & 7 Motorcycle trip & Promotion 8 & 9 D License & Date Nights 10 - Maui

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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.

All About the Adventure – Kid-Free Trip #1

A motorcycle trip to Marco Island on the west coast of Florida.  Seems simple and relaxing enough, right?  Not so much!  We started on our adventure south and stopped in south Miami to fill up with gas before heading across the barren Everglades.  We both jump back on the bike, my husband turns the key, and nothing.  It’s dead!  Now, trying to find a person that both spoke English and had jumper cables was like trying to find Waldo.  After about an hour we finally did.  Mind you, the temperature this day has a heat index of 115.  We start heading east but my husband doesn’t feel comfortable that the bike will start up again if we stop in the middle of the Everglades to eat at our favorite stop, Joanie’s.  He pulls over in a shopping center, turns off the bike, sits a minute and cranks.  Once again, nothing.  Ugh, now we’re in a less trafficked area so he pushes the bike to a gas station and we’re once again in the same boat.  About another hour later and the help of an English and Spanish speaking gentleman, we are riding and on our way going way out of the way to a dealership to replace the battery.  Three hours and $200 later, we have a running motorcycle.  By this time it is 5:00.  Anyone that has ever spent anytime in south Florida in the summer knows that it storms every afternoon.
We didn’t get to ride through just one storm going across the Everglades, but three!  Yes, three!  We finally arrive to Joanie’s, the only place to stop on the 90 mile path, to find that it was closed.  It is 6:00 and we hadn’t eaten all day and guess what?  Yes, it is raining.  We decide to push through the rain that felt like needles and we were both shivering cold.  We finally arrive in Marco Island where it is nice and sunny.  We check into our quaint hotel and go immediately to eat.  I drank and ate so fast I was sick for a good two hours but the restaurant was excellent.

We get up the next morning and eat at a nice breakfast restaurant where the waitress and I shared the same first name, Nell, and then leave to go check out the beach.  The beach in Marco Island is literally the widest beach I have ever seen.  Also, the public access area requires that you walk a half mile (literally) around a dirty lagoon to get to the Gulf of Mexico.  We did and the only nice thing about the beach was the shelling.  The water wasn’t even remotely clear.  I guess I’m spoiled from frequenting the beaches on the east coast of Florida.  We stay only 30 minutes because at this point my husband is getting really nervous about leaving too late to hitting rain again.  We decide to go ahead and leave and hit Key Biscayne on the way home.

Well, we didn’t hit a drop of rain going back.  We were beat down by rain going to Marco Island and we were beat down by sun coming home.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  I have an olive complexion and hardly ever burn and have literally never burned when continually applying sunscreen.  There’s a first for everything.  My entire back was red and already hurting before we even got home.  My husband was burnt to a crisp, which isn’t surprising since he’s the whitest guy I know.

So, they say it’s all about the adventure.  Well, we definitely had that and now we have a great story to tell.  Next weekend, the Florida Keys!

Boots on and ready to ride.

You’re hopeful to make it through one of the clearings, but it never happens.

Joanie’s, closed on the way there and the way back. 😦

At the restaurant in Marco Island after a long and hard ride.

Me and a manatee. Random pic on the walk back to the hotel.

The shells. The only good thing about the beach.

Smallest post office in the world on Tamiami Trail.

Looking back at the city of Miami as we head to Key Biscayne.