Posted in Post A Week Challenge

Family Fun Days

I can’t believe it’s taken me almost a week to write this post, or that it’s been a week since I last blogged. To say that life has been a bit crazy is a complete understatement. Don’t get me wrong, it’s all good stuff…well, mostly anyway. I gave a bit of a sneak peek with my blog on Saturday but that was more of an experiment than an actual blog. I really wanted to see how my mobile WordPress worked so thanks so much for those of you who checked in on my completely random posts that day.

Our weekend got off to a great start Saturday morning. We began our adventure by attending the Tampa Bay Rays Fan Fest. Unfortunately, this was not the fun filled event we remembered from years past. The last time we went to Fan Fest, the Rays weren’t such a great team and the number of people in attendance was probably a tenth of the number that attended Saturday’s event. This is great for the Rays and Tampa Bay, but not so great for us. Also, the kids were younger so activities like running the bases and face painting got them really excited. Not so much now.  There just weren’t a lot of activities for the 9 and 11 year olds to take part in so we cut our trip to Tropicana Field pretty short. Of course, we did get Danny to be silly for at least one picture.

We left Fan Fest and headed to downtown St. Pete. This is one of my most favorite places and Gil and I even plan to live there after Daniel graduates high school. Until then, we are pretty much married to the New Tampa/Wesley Chapel area so that we can be close to the kids and there for all of their extracurricular activities.

The next hour or so was almost like being in heaven for me. Gil and kids went for a walk to Haslam’s Book Store while I browsed Silk Road Needlepoint. I had not been in a needlepoint shop in years and it was like a flood of memories came over me and my creative juices just started flowing like a river. I wanted to stitch all of the beautiful hand painted canvases and I longed to hold and feel each of the hundreds of fibers lining their walls. I have got to get a grip on my life so that I can make time to stitch again. It really is the most therapeutic thing I’ve ever done and being in that shop Saturday was a great big reminder of how much I miss it.

After we grabbed some lunch, we went for a walk toward The Pier. We never quite made it all the way to the end because we were completely distracted by the beautiful little beach along the way. We just sat there and relaxed for what seemed like hours. The kids played in the sand and threw the ball around. It was such a beautiful day and solidified one of the many reasons why we choose to live in Florida.

Our next stop for the day was at the St. Pete Times Forum for the Tampa Bay Lightning vs. the Florida Panthers hockey game. It was Natalie’s first ever hockey game and she really seemed to enjoy it. Gil spent a good bit of time during the game explaining the rules and answering all of her questions. I think both of the kids had a good time. Me…not so much. I like to watch hockey but we had seats in the 300 level of the arena and I don’t do so good up there. I don’t mind the height so much as the angle of the seats. I’ll be honest in that as long as I was sitting down, I had no problems, but the minute I went vertical, my whole world started swaying. I really hate it up there and it kind of made for an unpleasant experience for me each time I had to get out of my seat. I thought maybe I could make it work but I’m pretty sure that I’ll have to avoid all future events in which I can only get the nosebleed seats.

When the game was over, we headed out of the arena to see the band Tonic perform live in the plaza just outside. Unfortunately, the long day and our pure exhaustion kept us from enjoying the show so we headed home. Besides, we needed to recharge for the next day’s events.

Sunday morning came and off we went to the Florida State Fair. Woo Hoo…..time for rides and crowds and skeery people and fried foods and carnies and more fried foods and…okay, you get the picture. I really don’t have a lot to say about this day so I’ll just show you with some of the shots from our adventure.  We had a blast but thank goodness Monday was a holiday because I was completely pooped by Sunday night. It was exhausting but the fun and laughter we shared those two days made it all worthwhile. It’s not often that we get to hang out so much doing quality stuff so for me, it was a perfect weekend.  

Yes, that IS Gil's head at the back of the coaster.
The kids are there somewhere.

Check out this video of the kids in the giant plastic balls. It’s pretty funny. And really gross when you think about all the cooties living in those giant germ incubators.

Posted in 30 Days of Truth, Post A Day Challenge

When I First Met The Chi’ren

(30 Days of Truth – Day 24: Discuss a spontaneous moment in your life that turned out to be fantastic)

Today I’m supposed to talk about  a spontaneous moment in my life that turned out to be fantastic. This one took a little thought. I racked my brain for moments in the past few years that would qualify and one immediately came to mind. It was one December afternoon in 2006. I had gotten home from work and casually mentioned to Gil that there was going to be a shuttle launch later that night. I think it was about 15 minutes between the time I made that comment and the time we pulled out of our apartment complex heading east as fast as we could. It was CRAZY but we were going to try. However, I remembered how this particular example didn’t turn out to be quite as fantastic as I would have liked. We arrived and found an awesome spot with less than two minutes til launch and then at 40 seconds, the countdown stopped. It was a long drive home that night but we did get to spend some quality drive time together so it wasn’t completely wasted.

This line of thought immediately took me back to another time that we attempted to catch a shuttle launch. This was in July, 2005. I hesitated to write about this one since it wasn’t entirely spontaneous in that we made a plan the night before to go and to take Gil’s kids. This required both of us taking the day off of work and him arranging with his ex-wife for us to take the kids out of school/pre-school for the day. Hence the fact that this was not wholly spontaneous, but it felt like it for us. And, if you’ve ever witnessed, or tried to witness, a shuttle launch, then you know you better be prepared for spontaneous in a moment’s notice. Those crazy things are totally unpredictable.

Besides the fact that we kind of planned this little excursion on a whim, it was very significant because it would be the first time I met Gil’s children. Geez…no pressure there.  I was excited about the launch (seeing one has been at the top of my bucket list for years and years) and super excited and nervous about meeting the loves of his life. We had been casually dating for a few months at this point so I guess this would have been the normal progression in a normal relationship. However, if you read yesterday’s post, you know that we were anything but normal and this led to a higher level of anxiety for me. I always had that thought in the back of my mind that meeting his kids might be a mistake because I didn’t want to cause them any confusion when/if I was no longer in the picture and someone else was. But, those were just the crazy thoughts in my stressed out head. I tend to greatly over think things even if I don’t always say it or show it. And of course, all the worry was for nothing. We picked the kids up that morning at school and Gil introduced me to them as his ‘friend’.  They were like, OK. No big deal. Of course that’s how we were going to play this. Of course.

We stopped by Publix for snacks and headed toward the Space Coast. The conversation in the truck on the way over was light and fun and silly at times. His children were so beautiful and Natalie was so articulate at five years old that even I felt intimidated by her. Daniel, who was three at the time, barely spoke above a whisper but was just totally precious to look at. We started hitting some heavy traffic as we passed through Orlando and actually started getting a little nervous about making it on time. But, as fate would have it, when we were about 20 miles away, and an hour from the scheduled launch time, the mission was scrubbed due to some technical problem. <sad faces all around>

Gil and I looked at each other, determined not to waste our day off and our time together, and we made a quick plan to just head back to Downtown Disney for the day. Even though I was disappointed about the failed shuttle launch, I knew there would be plenty of other opportunities to see some future mission. (HA…little did I know and I think I just found my inspiration for a future blog entry). I immediately became excited about visiting DD because I had never been before.  The kids were excited because, well, it was Disney and what kid doesn’t get excited about Disney.

We made a big ol’ U-turn and back west we went. We got to Disney and walked around and just hung out while I soaked it all in. Gil suggested we rent one of the boats and just float around the little lake for a while.  The kids absolutely loved this. Gil even let Natalie steer the boat in one of the back canals and she was so excited. However, it was shortly after this that we realized the folks at Disney see everything. Everything. We got ‘pulled over’ in our boat by one of the park police (what do you call those guys?) and given a stern warning that we had violated the rule that no children are allowed to drive the boats. Seriously, there had not been anyone near us when she was driving. So take this as a warning….Mickey sees everything!

After the boat ride we grabbed some lunch and then did a little more sightseeing, mostly for my benefit since the kids had been there many times before. They were like my own personal little tour guides. We capped off the day at the Lego store and playground. Gil and I just hung out and chatted while the kids played and built things. This was my first real glimpse into the personalities of the kids I would grow to love so much. There was Natalie, the little motherer (is that a word? No, right?) who watched over her little brother as if it was her job. She still takes care of him and goes out of her way to make sure he’s happy. She rarely makes choices for the two of them without making sure Daniel’s feelings and desires are met. Then we have Daniel, the little thinker. I saw it in him that day. He’s a man of very few words but you can tell there’s some crazy, mad, genius stuff going on in that brain of his. I think he could have spent the entire day constructing stuff with the miscellaneous Lego pieces provided for the kids to play with.

It was a great day, even if we didn’t get to see the space shuttle blast into the wild blue yonder. That day was a wonderful start to what I feel is a great relationship with Gil’s children. I know I certainly fell in love with them a little bit that day. I look back at these pictures and I can’t believe how much they’ve grown. Natalie is now 11 and Daniel is 9 but I still sometimes look at them and see those little round-faced kids from our first meeting. I am very blessed to have them in my life and that day was such a milestone in our relationship.

Posted in 30 Days of Truth, Post A Day Challenge

Monkey Licks

Well, I’ve decided to sort of take a day off. Actually, I’ve taken most of the day to catch up on some blogs that I’ve been reading and loving but haven’t had a chance in over a week to enjoy. I made this a priority, instead of writing my own blog. I feel that it’s important to give as well as receive and I felt a need take some time today to let them know I enjoy their writing and their stories or music in some cases.

I’m totally ditching today’s topic because I just don’t want to remind myself of some dark period in my life.  I prefer to concentrate on the good times.

And speaking of good times, we got a little silly tonight. The following videos are pretty much proof of that.

This first video is of Monkey. She’s demonstrating why we never need to get a pedicure. She has a magic spot on her back, that when rubbed, triggers a need to lick something. In this case, it’s Natalie’s feet. I love how my sweet Boo is begging for attention in the background. He’s so vocal and I love that.

The second video is…well….pretty self explanatory. I didn’t realize I had captured Boo’s purr in this one. Doesn’t it sound like he swallowed a pigeon?

I wasn’t going to post this third video but it’s too funny/gross not too. I had no idea how sensitive the microphone is on my camera. You can actually hear her slurping sounds as she licking her paws. EWWWWWWW. Right?

And, for those of you who have followed Gil’s FB or Twitter updates about Monkey, this is supposedly the cat who’s trying to kill him.  Yeah…she’s looks really menacing perched there on his chest like that. 🙂