Tropical Tuesday

I decided to take the last weekday of summer off with the kids so that we could end the summer with a bang.  We went to the beach, paddleboarded, snorkeled and hunted for shells.  It was perfect!

Beach from Water View Nell Snorkeling Walking UpCalm Beach Nell and D at Beach

Nell Sun Rays View Shell Collection SUP Water View

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Summer 2014 Beach Photography

With summer winding down, I thought I’d post some of my favorite beach pics from this summer (there were many to choose from).  Enjoy!

Beach Sunrise Breathtaking Water View Nell After PaddleBeach Scape Beach Rock View SUPs on the Sand Pier View Palm View Nell CrazyNell Beach Smile Breathtaking Sunrise Clear Water ViewEarly Beach Pier View

A Beachin’ Weekend

Beach Landscape Dee Side View Beach Green Ocean Jumping off Paddleboard Nell and Dee Beach Selfie Paddleboarding In Trey after Snorkeling Trey Snorkeling Trey Walking in from Snorkeling

It was a beachin’ kind of weekend.  The water was fairly flat and breathtakingly clear.  Those type of days are the best.  The fam and I did some paddleboarding, swimming and snorkeling. The beach is my happy place and spending the weekend there was just what I needed.

4th of July Celebration

Papa Waving Fireworks D at the Pool Papa and Nell Papa Nana and Trey in the Pool Smokey Pool Steve in Hammock Trey Negotiating with Papa Trey Pulled D in Pool

This 4th of July was spent celebrating my dad’s birthday in their newly purchased retirement home. My parents have been planning for retirement for many, many years and the first part of their dream came true just in time to celebrate the 4th of July. We had a blast breaking in their new pool.

A Weekend without Kids Part 3

Bike under the Palm

Hanging under the Palms

hat and sunglasses

Nell in Hammock on South Beach

Nells Bike Looking Down

palm view

Palm with Sunshine Through

south beach lifeguard

Steve on Bike TrailCruise Ship

Steve on Bike Trail 2

It was our last weekend alone before the kids came home so we decided to something different yet the same. We wanted to do another beach bike ride but change up the scenery a bit so we decided to load up the bikes and head down to south beach in Miami. If you’ve ever been to south beach, you know how crazy and crowded it can be. This weekend was no different. After getting there and seeing all the craziness (world cup parties didn’t help), we were very reluctant that this trip would pan out. But after much searching, we found a place to park, unloaded our bikes and began our little adventure. We rode up and down the boardwalk along the beach, stopped at an ice cream stand, sat and watched the massive cruise ships come up the intracoastal from the port, did a ton of people watching, laid in the grass for a break and even took a short nap. It was fabulous.

I think beach bike riding may be our new thing. You can do so much more sightseeing and exploring when you’re on a bike versus in a car or on foot. Plus the hubs has decided to begin a new “bike pimping” project. More to come on this front.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the time alone with my husband. He is my partner and my very best friend. I absolutely love doing anything and everything with him. These times alone truly make me look forward to the future.

Kids Retreat

The kids have been gone now for three weeks. These times are always bittersweet. It is nice to have alone time with my husband but I do miss my children terribly. We always consider that a husband and wife need the time alone and away from the children. But in all honesty the children need time away from us. It allows them to get a break, a change of scenery and to refresh. Being apart allows the kids and parents the opportunity to miss and appreciate all the little things about each other. Being apart for a month of time has allowed us to understand and truly appreciate what each person really brings to the family and to our household.

I know for certain that this time has allowed my children to bond with my parents which indefinitely means that they are getting spoiled beyond measure. A good example is recently my mom asked me, “how do you cook for these children. They are so picky about what they eat.” My response to her was, “I cook whatever I decide to and the eat it.” Apparently my mom is going above and beyond and cooking many different things to give them what they want. Bless her heart. She truly is the sweetest grandmother to my children. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen any other grandparents more engaged in their grandchildren’s lives. We are all blessed beyond measure to have them.

So they truly have had such a great time visiting with their grandparents. They’ve done a week long camping trip, they took a trip to San Francisco, they went to the movies, they’ve been bowling and they swim in the backyard pool more times than anyone could count. Yes, they will certainly come back spoiled. But in all honesty this trip will be great for everyone. Family is so important and these are the opportunities we have to build bonds and relationships with each other.
kids in san franD wake boarding

A Weekend without Kids Part 2

Bike Riding Road View Hammock at the Beach Hiding from the Rain Majestic Chair Palm From Beneath Steve Bike Riding Steve Let the Rain Fall Down Sunset
The hubs and I had another special weekend.  We didn’t have any particular plans going into the weekend which was kind of nice.  We slept in each day and just went with the flow. We ate some great food, watched movies, rode bikes along the beach, swam, snorkeled, had some beach hammock time (apparently a huge hit amongst other beachgoers), and fought the rain twice. In south Florida it typically rains every afternoon in the summer.  It drizzled a bit during dinner on Saturday.  On Sunday we were at the beach when dark clouds, thunder and lightening rolled in.  The lifeguard called everyone in from the water immediately.  We thought we could ride our bikes back to the car in time to beat the weather but we didn’t make it.  It came a complete downpour.  We stopped under a tree for a bit but that failed us quickly.  We ended up riding about a mile in the pouring down rain.  Surprisingly enough, it was a blast.  We laughed and laughed all the way to the car.  I love these grand adventures!

Glimpse into a Weekend w/o Kids

full-moon-friday-13th Nell ShootingSteve Walking into WynwoodWall Painting Woman KneelingWall Painting HI GirlSteve at Wynwood TigerSteve at Wynwood Red FaceSteve at PantherGraditude SurfboardNell at PantherNell Walking down BoardwalkSteve and Marc Beach Sitting
Since it was Father’s Day weekend, my husband got to decide what we did.  Now, the hubs and I are total opposites in almost every way.  I’m a detailed planner and he doesn’t plan hardly at all especially when it comes to weekend activities.  I definitely had my reservations as to how this weekend would turn out since no plans had been made.  Well, I was pleasantly surprised.  The weekend was not only great; it was almost magical at times.  We did a movie, ate sushi, watched the full moon on the beach (on Friday the 13th – only one in our lifetime), ate at a specialty cafe, shot guns (my first time), saw amazing artwork at Wynwood Walls in the Miami Art District, went to the beach and boardwalk.

I want nothing more than having my children around me always, but there is something special about getting an opportunity to rekindle this terrific romance with the love of my life for nearly 18 years and counting.

Date Night :: Dancing in the Glades

Date night this week had me reminiscing on the past.  This weekend is our 17th wedding anniversary.  So we spent date night talking, laughing and dancing in the Everglades.  Ok, well I did the dancing.   Here are pics from this week.

Nell & Steve 560
Dragonfly 560 Nell Sitting in the Long Road 2 560Everglades and Rail 560 Nell Balancing 560 Nell Climbing on Rail Laughing 2 560 Steve Sitting in front of Rail Side View 560Nell Laughing 5 560 Steve Sitting by Rail 560Nell Sitting in the Long Road Cross Legged Side View 560

Date Night :: A Cloudy Picnic

We loved the Everglades spot from last week so much that we decided to go back and do it again.  We grabbed our Wendy’s, wine and lawn chairs and went west.  When we got to the exact location, there was another couple there walking around in our spot across the railing.  We noticed that they had setup a tripod and camera on the opposite side of the railing.  We nicely asked if we would be intruding on their photo session and they politely said no and that it would be fine for us to setup our chairs for the picnic.

We setup in our spot and proceeded to eat, talk, tell stories, laugh and take pictures.  Once our hour was up and it was time to go get the kids, we stood up to grab our chairs and noticed that the original couple was still there on the other side of the railing along with about 10 other people.  We thought we were alone!  As soon as we got up, the entire crew of “photographers” crossed the railing to stand in the exact spot we had been sitting in for an hour to take pictures.

Apparently, we were impeding on their photo shoot of the non-existent sunset.  You see, it was completely cloudy and actually raining off in the distance.  I knew that this spot was phenomenal for taking nature photos and had some of the best sunsets in the area, but apparently many others are aware the same thing.  Evidently, the clouds and rain does not ward off other nature photographers and does not ensure you’ll be alone.  Oops!  Oh well, we laughed and laughed and laughed for an hour.  We had a blast.

Take a look at some of my favorite pics from our date in the Everglades.

Nell What Up 560 Steve the Thinker 560 Sun Rays 560 Steve Cutie 560 Rain in the Distance 560 Nell Laughing 560Nell Laughing with Head Down 560 Steve What 560 Nell Smiling Big 560Steve Side View 560