Florida Archives

The wedding is done. The kitchen is finally clean again after months of crazy – a word I have come to use all too much to describe our goings ons and I do think it’s time to come up with an alternate word for that word.

Cockamamie?

I put up Christmas lights yesterday. This isn’t something I usually do before December but it felt normal and right and we had used some of the lights at Kait and Vince’s wedding and I didn’t feel like putting them all away just to get them out again in two weeks so now we’re the cockamamie people on the block that are already decorated for Christmas.

[there should be a picture here but I failed and it’s light outside now so you’ll just have to wait]

Rabbit and I stood out on the lawn just after dark last night and looked at my creation. He eyed the roof of the house and said in all seriousness, I’m thinking maybe we should add some up there, and I realized that we are in the honeymoon stage that happens after a wild patch and we’ve got to be careful not to do too much because nobody is going to want to take all these lights down come January.

Did I mention that my daughter is married?

Wow.

And the entire wedding was perfect and beautiful and I can’t wait to have pictures to post. Our photographer is a family friend and she has had numerous weddings over the last couple of weeks so we’re going to sit and be patient but I know they turned out terrific.

We left on vacation the day after the wedding. We didn’t leave town, basically staying in our own backyard but Pensacola Beach is quiet and beautiful this time of year and the weather was perfect and we didn’t have to drive very far.

And the view from our condo was perfect.

Hot lemonade and favorite blankies on the balcony on a cool, breezy evening…  Who knew that was all it would take to appease these two little ones.

I will be honest and say that I was very happy to be back home after the four days at the beach but the vacation was so good.

And now to our last order of business to get everything caught up…

I mentioned before that we became foster parents in September, a task we took on at probably the worst possible time but we absolutely do not regret it one bit.  Our current placement is just the cutest child imaginable. I wish I could post her pictures and tell you all about her but that just can’t happen. What I can tell you is that she is the sweetest 2-year-old with a very uncertain future but she is doing amazingly well with us. Many of you have asked if there is anything we need or anything you can do to help and the truth is, if you would add her, her sibling, and their bio parents to your prayer list that would be the most helpful thing you can do right now.

And one last thing…

I am so sorry to all of you who have sent me messages after reading one of my posts here or on Facebook. I have been so overloaded with foster care appointments and meetings and wedding stuff and Lanie’s therapy and normal family things that I have had to cut out a lot of my social activities recently. But things do seem somewhat calm for the moment so I’ll hopefully do better.

And one more last thing…

We got Lanie a posterior walker. People, she is the cutest thing ever. Expect a video soon. 

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Somebody get me a doughnut.

Yesterday was the first day of fall and do you know what that means in Florida?

Nothing. It means absolutely nothing.

A couple months ago I had committed to a first day of fall running challenge. This was a personal challenge that I had come up with myself and I decided that I would do it on the first day of fall because sometimes my brain tricks me into thinking things that aren’t really real like apples taste as good as doughnuts or my boys will definitely clean their bathroom without me having to remind them 3 times or fall will really happen on time in Florida this year.

Nope, nope, and definitely nope.

So I woke up and thought to myself, Self, you really don’t have to do this running challenge today. It’s not like anybody is holding you accountable. It isn’t a group effort or anything. Just go ahead and wait until it feels like fall.

Then I got my running shoes on and proceeded to head out the door to see how many 1 mile laps I could do until I couldn’t do another one. Sam(10) quickly grabbed his shoes and said he’d do a couple of those miles with me.

We ended up doing just over 5, only stopping for water. Sam stayed with me the whole time.  This is a full mile more than I have been able to run as an adult. And a full mile more than Sam has ever run.  And it was 90 degrees and hot and sweaty and I am pretty sure we could have run a couple more miles if it had been cooler.

And why is my auto-correct trying to change the word mile to the word mole?

Yesterday after I had finished running my Fitbit said I burned over a thousand calories and I felt compelled to replace those with something delicious and because it was the first day of fall I decided that I would make apple pie for dessert. I didn’t make your standard apple pie because I wanted it to be healthy so I made an almond flour crust, low sugar apple pie with actual green apples I bought from the store. It was good but it wasn’t great and I really just want a box of doughnuts now.

Today Matthew(14) and I will hit our 193rd day of streak running. And let me clarify – that’s running every single day, not running naked. There is an older lady around the corner that often sits out front in a lawn chair in her underwear. When we run by she smiles and waves and seems nice enough but I don’t want to be that person so I wear clothes.

Sam is on day 191.
Ben is on day 190.

Gabe, Rabbit, and Joe all started after us and are a few weeks behind.

I cannot believe how dedicated my kids have been to this. I cannot believe how dedicated have been to this.  I am definitely not the queen of follow through but here I am more than halfway through my 1-year streak challenge and I’m training for a nine mile run in February.

Who knew?

I gotta go take care of Lanie and get my run done and clean out my refrigerator.

Does anybody have a doughnut?

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Summer in Florida

This morning we broke out the heavy winter gear.

Not only did this dry-air cold front push Irma away from us, it’s making my coffee feel really, really good.

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What happened when I was forgetting to blog

I failed to write the last few days. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was that I woke up late or had appointments or my coffee isn’t strong enough. I don’t know but I’m going to try to wake up my brain and recap this last week.

Matthew got braces again.  This happened on Tuesday. His mouth hurt pretty bad for a couple of days but he seems to be feeling mostly better. He still has trouble chewing though.

Also happening on Tuesday was Florida completely flipping out. Kait texted that gas stations were running out of gas already and my friend posted a picture of an empty water isle and mostly empty canned section at Walmart because Floridians go cray-cray when a hurricane may or may not be possibly coming close to where we are. Hurricane hitting the keys? PENSACOLA MUST BE NEXT BUY ALL THE THINGS.

Wednesday we went to the library. Turns out we had a late book that I didn’t know we had and when we went to check out we couldn’t so we had to run home, find said book, then come back and return it to check out the books my littles had picked out. After that Matthew and I went to the grocery store for meat and eggs and then went back to the orthodontist to have a wire fixed.
Then we filled our gas tanks and made sure we had oil and wicks for the lamps and made a plan to either evacuation with pets, or ride out the storm here, depending on the severity of Irma’s strike to NW Florida. It doesn’t look like she’ll be visiting us at all now, but I’m glad we’re prepared just in case.
I’ll also add that if you have not stocked up on your water yet, Publix in Pace has a bunch. But they are just about out of sweet tea. Apparently southerners have their priorities.

Thursday Lanie woke up with her right eye stuck shut. Normally we just ride out eye goop but Lanie is different so I called her eye doc and he wanted to see her. We spent the afternoon at the ophthalmologist, then the pharmacist, then the other pharmacist, then at home, then at the pharmacist again. I feel like I could start a whole new blog just on going to the pharmacy.

Yesterday some friends came over and brought the one day a year pumpkin spice doughnuts from Krispy Kreme. She has three little girls who my little girls love and they had so much fun while she and I talked about foster care and doughnuts and…
Pretty much that is what we talked about the whole time.

Those doughnuts were good.
Then I took some of the kids to the book sale at the library. We found some good, cheap books to add to our shelves, the kids checked out some more books, and then we came home and I realized that my house is a disaster because I haven’t cleaned it at all this week.

I know there is stuff I missed in this recap. Probably important stuff but Lanie just woke up and she is coughing and I really need this lingering cold to just go away.

Also, my older boys’ alarm has been going off for 10 minutes now and neither is waking up to it. I wake up to the sound of somebody rolling over on the other side of the house so I’m not sure how they can sleep through that incessant beeping sound.

I guess I better go get them up.

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Anytime my family goes to a friend’s house to swim there are too many kids in the pool for me to feel comfortable. Add in some more friends and their kids and grown men with beer and you suddenly have this perfect storm of chaos that can make any mom’s heart lodge firmly right in her throat.

On Monday we spent the day at a friends house watching the kids swim, eating good food, and trying to keep everybody from drowning.  Taking the kids to a pool is always a somewhat stressful venture for me but I really did have a good time and Kait got some great pictures with her fancy shmancy new camera.

Lanie is doing so much better at wearing her glasses so I was able to leave her contacts at home so she could get into the pool. She absolutely loves the water and smiled the entire time.

Jesse has completely overcome his fear of getting his head wet. He’s well on his way to learn to swim but it’s hard when you have lead for bones. The boy is quite slim but he is incredibly dense and sinks like a rock so learning to swim is a little more difficult for him.

And what’s with all the pool noodles?

There were tiny cans of soda and best good friends and life jackets that saved my sanity.

And sweet love birds who are THISCLOSE to being husband and wife.

And Lucy with her freckles and those incredible eyes that are a milky blue one minute and green the next.

Even though there were 14 minor children running around and almost as many adults, we had a pretty relaxed and safe Labor Day. There are so many more pictures and we had so much more fun but we’re headed out to the library and I’ve gotta go.

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Today we are busy. We have three appointments because Matthew’s metal mouth spacer thing broke in half the other day so we’ll need to run in to the orthodontist and have that repaired this morning. His plastic retainer broke too and I don’t know why they just won’t give him a metal one.  This is the second time it has broken and it’s getting really irritating and I’m thinking of switching orthodontists because his teeth are moving back into their previous positions. He needs a real retainer.

I’ve been waiting for three months for Lanie’s otolaryngology appointment after her sleep study in May showed she has severe apnea. She also has an audiology appointment before the ENT appointment and it’s going to be a long afternoon at Nemours and Lanie is sure not to be happy about it.

And it’s raining.  We have tropical storm Harvey visiting us today and I’m not sure when we’ll get our run in. I may just have to go out there anyway and hope for the best.

There are other things I need to get done today too, like mop the floor and brush my hair.

I’ll be requesting a few more hours today.

But at least I got rid of my microwave yesterday and that feels really good because there is a new level of clearness on my counters. And Rabbit bought me a cast iron pan because I complained that I am tired of having to buy entire sets of new pans every other year after we’ve eaten all the non-stick materials that have come off into our food.

And my table is stained and looking fly. I am not sure if I used that slang correctly but it felt right so I am going with it.

Things are pretty good around here.

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Take Me Out to the Ball Game…

Yesterday we took the day off from doing projects and chores and took the kids to see a baseball game.

It may seem like some kind of crazy chaotic thing to take 10 kids to a ball game because it is.  This is not for the faint of heart but with good kids and a couple of adults constantly counting heads it is doable. Also, should I still count Kait and Joe when I say 10 kids because they are both adults? It just feels weird not to include them in our number.

Kait’s fiance, Vince, works for the Blue Wahoos and he sprang for tickets for the whole family because he’s awesome and we all had a great time even though the home team lost when the Wahoo’s game fell completely apart in the 8th inning.

But that’s okay because Kait got pictures!

Lucy and Maggie were glued to Vince.  I have warned Kait before that she needs to keep an eye on these two because they are out to steal him out from under her. I’m pretty sure this is why she was adamant about a short engagement.

I was reminded once again that Lanie is not heat tollerant.  It was warm and humid but it wasn’t unbearable but she was super red and sweating like crazy and all she wanted to do was nurse, which made her sweat even more because I had to cover her to keep from being exposed.

I had thrown a jar of frozen baby food into the bag on our way out of the house and that seemed to help and then the weather cooled as evening approached and she was in a great mood after that.

This little blond haired, blue eyed baby doll turned into a red headed, green eyed girl in the sunlight. I love how her hair and eyes seem to change colors depending on the weather.

Kait got pictures of everybody but I don’t have time to put them all up right now so I’ll just end off this post with this one of 3 of my daughters being completely themselves.

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I’ve always enjoyed the 90 degree weather that comes with living in the south. I could easily run my daily miles in 95 degrees except my running buddies wailing that it’s soooo hoooot makes me crazy so we try to get our run in during the cooler parts of the day.

Lately, while I still enjoy running in the height of warmth in the afternoon, I am finding myself looking forward the the cooler temperatures that may or may not be right around the corner because we live in Florida and while summer is quite predictable, you never really know what you’re going to get each winter. 85 degree Christmas? Sure. 30 degree New Years? Possible.

Yesterday the temperature here didn’t even get into the 80’s and I feel like this should be celebrated as some monumental record low for us here in Florida in August. Maybe it’s not, I don’t feel like asking Google. But the drop in temperature got me thinking about fall and I’m realizing that my love affair with hot southern weather is not what it once was and I’m ready for scarves and jackets and boots and does this mean I’m finally old?

For the first time in my adult life I am dreaming of sipping on coffee while sitting under a quilt on the porch watching the snow quietly pile up on the lawn.
What is happening to me?

Alas, this is not a realistic dream here in the southest of all states and for now I’ll have to be content to be here in this place that I have come to love.

I am beginning to believe that we Culbertsons are nomads at heart and the challenge for us might just be planting deep enough roots to hold us securely in one place.

I feel like a long vacation may be in order.

P.S. I cannot find the origination of the picture I used in this post so I cannot credit the source but I did not take it myself.

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I blogged on Friday and then I didn’t blog through the weekend.  I had expected I would pick it up again on Monday but then I didn’t do that either and now it’s Wednesday so I figured I’d just post an update of sorts.

Things that happened while I wasn’t blogging:

— Our main toilet has started flushing on it’s own.  If you have read this blog for any length of time you know that it was about time something like this happened again.  We are known for appliances and other supposedly inanimate objects to start deciding things for themselves.  Remember the Tell Tale Microwave? How about the range?

— Kait’s guy sprung for dinner on Friday night and it was a great evening.  I really enjoy double dating with those two.

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I almost spit water out of my nose, which is par for the course when I’m around Kait for any length of time.  I would explain why she’s sitting on the ground by the trash can but you kinda had to be there. You really missed out on that one.

— Rabbit got me exactly what I wanted for my birthday, which we celebrated on Sunday night.  I wanted my own Aden & Anais bamboo blanket because Lanie’s is so soft and I felt bad for constantly stealing it from her.  He got me two of them.

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I’m over the moon in love with these blankets. And him.

— Will somebody please make an infographic to help husbands understand that if an Amazon Prime package is delivered to our door we will be compelled to open it unless we know that we shouldn’t because you tell us there is a Prime package coming that we shouldn’t open? Because that happened.  Again.

— I turned 42 on Monday and now have the answers to life, the universe, and everything. This should be a very informative year for you all. You’re welcome in advance.

— Spring happened on Monday as well and BAM! Just like that, it’s 85 degrees. Loving it.
I love Spring weather. I love the sun. I love warm afternoon rain showers. I love the rosy glow of my kids’ cheeks when they’re warm from running around outside. I love their bare feet and dirty toes and wild hair.  I love Florida.
Also, I love free ice cream at the Dairy Queen.

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— Tuesday was World Down Syndrome Day. We are still trying to figure out how our family will celebrate this day but yesterday we wore our Nothing Down About It tee’s and went to the library.

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Then we went to eat a Chick-fil-a.  There wasn’t one table open. Not even outside.  We ended up having to have them bag our food so we could take it home, which was sad because the kids couldn’t trade their kid’s meal toy for an ice cream cone.  I gave them a dessert anyway but now I have all these little kid’s meal toys all over the place.
Rabbit commemorated the day by wearing mismatched socks under his flight suit and I also did my morning run in mismatched socks.

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— Matthew and I have been running at least a mile every day. We do 5K races together but pushing Lanie in the stroller was killing me and running was no longer fun. We have some good hills in our neighborhood so I make sure to run some every day to help make pushing the stroller easier and help keep the enjoyment in running. Today was day 8.  Lanie loves it.

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The hills are still killing me but I can tell that I’m getting stronger. I’m starting to wonder how it would feel to run without pushing a stroller. I bet I could run like the wind blows.

Oh, and Maggie decided to floss.

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I asked her what she was doing and she said, I need to floss. My tongue is stuck in my tooth. 

And there you have it, my (mid) week in review. Now go and make yourself a Bavarian Crepe today because it’s National Bavarian Crepes Day.  Who knew.

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Out at the farm

We’ve been more busy than usual lately and while that means that I have much more to blog about, it also means I have less time to blog.  I used to be able to hammer out a blog post in 3.2 seconds flat but something happened to the writer in me and I am no longer able to do that for some reason.  I still love to write. I long to write. I just can’t seem to fit it in but where there is a will there is a way or some such nonsense, right?

We went to a friend’s farm on Saturday.  They weren’t in town but Kait was farm sitting and there were a ton of baby animals that Maggie just had to see.

She couldn’t even be bothered to stop for a picture because COWS! so I barely got this picture of Lucy and her.  She wasn’t able to hold still enough for more than that.

lucyandmaggie

Until we were getting ready to leave and she became very upset and made many statements about her feelings.

maggiesad

“I just want to stay here with Kaity.”
“I just want to stay here and pet the cows.”
“I just want to stay here for a really, really long time.”

Turns out that all the mamas had put their babies down for their afternoon naps.  The sow was very protective over her piglets and you don’t mess with a mother pig. The calves were sleeping too and a couple of the mama cows made it quite clear that we’d better not wake their babies.  I experience this feeling every single day so I understood.

Kait said she was taking a picture of a different cow and this gal just walked up behind her and nudged her shoulder for a selfie.

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And she got some pictures of the babies while we weren’t there.

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The 1-year-old was clearly annoyed by his younger brothers’ antics.

And the piglets.  Kait said she sat on a fence at a safe distance because that’s a big angry pig right there.

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Hopefully, I’ll be able to take the younger kids back out there this week for a better look.

One particular cow took a liking to Rabbit.

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A serious liking.DSC_0486

She kept trying to rub her face on him and wrap herself around him. He told her he was a married man but it seems she took that as a challenge. It was quite humorous.

Joe met a Lady.
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Lady is a dog.  She’s a Great Pyrenees and she is so sweet and much larger than she looks in this picture.

Super friendly cow again.

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And Gabe with Lanie.  He was holding her most of the time so I could take pictures.

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She was super smiley until we took her over to see the animals. Then she just stared and stared at everything and everyone.

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Before we hiked it out to the animals I got a bunch of pictures of her being super happy and adorable in her new Carters duds.

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I’ll write about my new love for Carters and Oshkosh in another post because what they are doing in the T21 community really deserves some extra attention.

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She’s growing and learning and achieving milestones and I’m so proud of her.
And just like her typical counterparts she’s curious and wants what she wants…

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And often what she wants is to put leaves in her mouth so she is actively learning the word no.

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I had a picture of everybody walking out to the pasture but it disappeared and that is disappointing to me.

Can you tell I have a better camera? I appropriated one of Kait’s Nikons and now if I snap enough pictures I can usually get a few decent photos. That’s the type of photographer I am.  Just point and shoot and shoot and shoot.

And hope for the best.

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