Florida Archives

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.

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

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“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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Josh Sitton football camp take 2.

This past Saturday 4 of our boys were able to attend a free football camp at Catholic High in Pensacola for the second year in a row.  This is a camp where Josh Sitton (Green Bay Packer turned Chicago Bear and how does something like that even happen) comes and helps coach all the kids, giving them pointers, tips, and life encouragement. I don’t know the man personally but he seems like a really good guy who genuinely cares for these boys.

It was sponsored by the Blue Wahoos, our local baseball team because that makes so much sense.
(I couldn’t help the snark but really, we’re so thankful to the Wahoos for caring about their community and our kids!)

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The UWF football team gets involved too and each group of boys has a coach from the Argonauts working with them.

The quarterback was Matthew’s coach.

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Some of these kids were much older than the maximum age for the camp and that was disappointing but Matthew (far left standing up) held his own and did very well.

I don’t know much about Ben’s coach. Not sure what his position on the UWF team is.

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I’m sure when the season starts I’ll become more familiar with these specific players since my kids know them. Ben (Also far left standing up) had a great time and said he did much better than he did at last year’s camp.  He isn’t sure he wants to play football again though. He’s looking hard a tennis which would be so much better for me too because Ben had a bad hip sprain and a concussion (two different instances) last season and my heart can’t take it.

Sam had a great time too but he loves everything and could probably have fun having his teeth pulled. I’m not even kidding.

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He’s far left on the bottom row. I’m so proud of his spirit and love for life.

This was Jesse’s first football camp or football anything really.

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Jesse (left side with coach’s arm around him) was very confused about what was going on but had a smile plastered on his face the whole time.  He made quick friends with another kid and the spent their time rolling around on the ground and pretending to be dinosaurs.  I was 2 parts the mom trying to get his attention so I could tell him stop because there are no dinosaurs in football!, and 2 parts the mom trying to get a video or pictures of the what he was doing.  There were probably people talking about me and that’s too bad because I was completely unsuccessful at both getting his attention and collecting photographic evidence.

In the end, we went home with pictures of their time with Josh Sitton and the UWF football team, a belly full of pizza and Powerade, and pink cheeks because it was 65 degrees and I forgot for a minute that we were in Florida.

ProCamps puts these sports camps together all over the US. Professional athletes like Josh Sitton come out and work with our kids (often for free) and the children have so much fun. Make sure to look into it if you have kids who love sports.

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I have thought about it so much lately, how I so suddenly put blogging on the back burner 4 years ago after many years of blogging almost daily.  I still can’t put my finger on why I did that and, try as I have, I haven’t been able to figure out how to make it a part of my daily life again.

I’m not sure what I want to say right now but there really is so much to write and I feel an incredible urge lately to return to this place where I have archived so many memories, this place my kids love to come and read about our family’s life and they laugh at themselves and talk about how much they have grown.

This place that has been quiet far too long.  It’s time to wake it back up.

For today I’m going to post pictures.

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You can probably tell from the new header that somebody got into the paint recently.

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Guess who.  I’ll give you a hint.

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Yeah. It was all of us.

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In November my friend Marty did a family painting photo session with us and it was hilarious and needs to be written about in detail because apparently when it comes to family pictures I’m Claire Dunphy.

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And Kait is whatever character pays good money for the supplies and special lens needed (it was a very cool gift from her) and then totally forgets about the whole thing until her dad calls her asking where she is and she jumps out of bed where she was watching a show, runs out the door, and STILL shows up looking amazing.

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I think this one is where Kait is telling the boys that they’d better not get any paint on her.

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All Maggie wanted to do was paint the canvas purple.

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She did not understand why we were putting paint on each other.

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But Lanie absolutely did not want to paint the canvas.

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As a matter of fact, this paint session was not her most favorite activity ever.

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While she wasn’t her most cheerful, Lanie did give us a few good smiles.

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We had a great time but I do regret not thinking it through a bit more. Like not have a ladder in the background and maybe moving the little trampoline out of sight.

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The important thing was that we had a terrific time, made a fun memory, and ended up with some really great pictures.

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And some really awesome family art.


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28 degrees this morning. 20 freaking 8 degrees.

Being a military family, we’ve been stationed all over the United States. We’ve lived on both coasts, in the northwest, the southeast, New England (GO PATS!), and now we’re in northwest Florida. We’ve lived in Florida for 8 1/2 years now and this is the only place half of my children remember as being home so even though I’ve done my fair share of shoveling snow-covered driveways, starting the car to defrost a half hour before we have to go anywhere, thawing the tiny fingers and toes of children while they sip crock-pot cocoa, saying no for the tenth time to the 4 year old who is begging to go outside to make tunnels and snow forts even though he’s wearing a full leg cast after breaking his leg sledding, most of my kids have spent the bulk of their lifetimes living it up in sunny beach weather.

So I wasn’t surprised when Sam came running inside this morning with some sheets of glassy ice, completely amazed that everything had frozen overnight.

Mom, look! This is amazing!

There was one piece where there was a bee frozen inside but it broke and the bee was no longer encased before we could get a picture. Lucy(5) came back inside after about 2 minutes ripping her fuzzy gray jacket off proclaiming with irritation, this jacket is NOT KEEPING ME WARM!
I replied with, You might want to think about wearing shoes if you plan to go back outside.
Because she was barefoot. 

And Maggie(3) wore her warm boots like she was told and promptly lost them somewhere out in the backyard.

My kids definitely don’t know how to do winter.

In related news, it snowed briefly last night somewhere in our town. Joe saw the heavy flurries while he was at the gym but we didn’t see anything here at the house.

The frigid temps aren’t here for long, though. It should be back up in the 70’s by the end of the week and I am definitely looking forward to that.

 

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I am constantly telling my kids to go outside and play, to which they usually huff respectfully and then head out front and have a really good time.  I know they are having a good time because we no longer have grass growing in a large section of the front yard.
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Yards without kids having fun don’t look like this.

I don’t understand why they so often resist the out-of-doors because if they look bored I usually give them a chore or a list of jobs or a baby to hold, though that last one kind of backfires on me because they often argue over who gets to play with Lanie.img_20160529_140241072_hdr

I think it’s important for kids to play outside. And often. Numerous times a day even. I think it’s important for them to make up new games and argue over rules and learn to work together.

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I think it’s important for them to wrestle and race and contemplate whether or not they can throw a ball over the house and what is Mom going to say when we tell her the football is on the roof?
I think it’s important for them to get dirty and sweaty and scrape up their knees.

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I also think it’s important that they take a shower when they come inside because have you ever smelled boy-sweat times five?

Right now there is civil unrest in many parts of our country, mostly from our younger generation, and I feel like maybe they were never been told to go play outside.

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adoptionawarenessGrowing up I clearly recall my home being a safe place, my safe place. If there is anything of more value to a child than a feeling of safety and security in a loving home, I don’t know what it is. I look back on my childhood and feel overwhelmingly thankful that my parents gave us a sheltered childhood.  We were nourished and taught good and right things and never lacked for anything and when the teenager that lived two houses down was irresponsibly sighting his rifle before going hunting the next day and I was sure his intention was to kill me…
I instinctively knew where to run for safety.

In the 27 hours of classes we were required to take to become approved to adopt through foster care here in Florida, I learned that every child in the foster care system has been through a traumatic experience that has cost them any hope of feeling that kind of safety. The vast majority of them have been either forcibly removed from their homes or given up voluntarily by one or both parents.  It leaves them feeling vulnerable and alone. The ultimate betrayal – turned away by the people who were supposed to instinctively long to protect them.

I have learned what kind of abuses take place and what effect that can have on a child. I learned that it is usually bad. Really bad.

I have learned that we, individually and as a society, have gotten far too comfortable with their cries.
Deafening. Silent. Raw. Hidden. Heartbroken.

I have learned that I can’t do that anymore.
And I have learned that sometimes all you can do is pray.

I have learned that there is a lot of fear in adopting a broken child and a lot of thought and consideration has to go into it before a challenge like that should be taken on.
And I have learned that no matter how much thought and consideration you give it there is no way to prepare yourself.

I have learned that the system that has been put in place to facilitate the best possible outcome for both adopter and adoptee is broken. I’ve learned that quite often, out of an understandable desperation to find children a home, the people in charge, the experts, will break the most essential of those rules and set everybody up for failure. Because there aren’t enough foster homes. Because the kids are close to being too old to place. Because they might have a disability that is just beginning to show and it’s RIGHTNOW or possibly never.

And that’s when failure happens.  And everybody is to blame but nobody is at fault because the real failure is not doing anything at all and nobody involved can be accused of that.

I have learned that it is hopeless.

And I have learned that there is hope.


 

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Our dishwasher broke. Like broke broke.  Like we try to start it and it goes click click click kind of broke.

I saw this coming. We always have to buy a new appliance during the holidays.  I don’t know why it always works out this way, it just does.  Plus, our dishwasher has been begging us to just let it go since we bought this house 2 year ago because 2 to 3 loads of dishes a day is apparently more than it can handle.

It’s true that we don’t have to buy a new dishwasher right now because dishes can quite easily be washed by hand, and we might still wait but we ended up at Lowe’s today looking at our options.  I think we settled on a Kitchenaid. I like Bosch too but they don’t have a track for the lower rack and I know for a fact that it would end up on the floor with broken dishes. Probably often. Note to Bosch: Stop doing that.

When we got out of the car in the Lowe’s parking lot a wave of summer warmth hit us full force.  I thought it felt fabulous but Ryan complained that it was sooo hot.

It’s November and I guess he’s expecting much cooler weather than 88 degrees but that’s what it’s been like here and we live in Florida and it’s like this every year and I’m not sure why everybody is surprised because, like I said, Florida.

 

Plus, Lanie has just grown into Maggie’s old summery clothes and she’s impossibly cute.

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I hope she’ll be able to wear them a bit more before she grows out of them.

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Because, Jesus.

Christ surfing without a board is everything a Floridian would need.

The Walmart knows.

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And it’s a tank top. Bonus.

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Still loving Florida

It’s been beautiful outside lately.  We did have a couple of tornado’s roll through last week, one going straight through the parking lot of my oldest daughter’s job, but nobody was hurt and the damage was minimal.
Since that storm the temperature has been hovering right around 70, with it likely pushing 75 this afternoon.  I know a lot of people like winter and cold weather and I get that (not really, that was a lie) but I appreciate warmer winter days so much.  The heat stays off, the windows are open, the kids get outside, and I can get some much needed cleaning done in the house.

Mopping a giant tile floor can be challenging when there are 11 people hovering around.

Here is Jesse planting some flowers in a little glass planter.

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He did a really good job and even cleaned up after himself.

Right now the older kids are off at work or otherwise engaged away from the house, and the younger ones are outside playing some sort of made up baseball-ish game with a plastic ball covered in pennies and blue tape.
I’ve learned not to ask questions.

I’m going to go now to see if I can get something done inside while they play outside.

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