Monday, March 30, 2009

Here we go again....

Spring break, and our lovely little vacation, is over - and now it is back to reality. Ugh. Let's just say that is was HARD getting up and getting going this morning! Yesterday we cleaned out Clay's room (quite a task in itself!!) and dismantled his cheap-o trundle bed (actually, Clay took a saw and cut it up and had a blast doing it!) and then put new/old (antique) twin beds in his room and re-arranged it. It looks really nice, and I think he will certainly sleep much better now! Maybe he will like his "new" room so much that he will actually keep it clean without me constantly nagging him....ha ha ha ha ha!!! :)

Even though I had a difficult time getting going this morning, I have already run two loads of laundry, vacuumed the house, organized all the bookshelves, and dusted. After a quick shower, I am going to run to Whole Foods and Target, then come home and finish with the cleaning - it must be this brisk spring air....I am very motivated to do some spring cleaning!! Also on the agenda - MORE school, stuff. Taking transcripts to the middle school and trying to arrange testing for the gifted program for Paige, making sure teacher recommendations are in at Fleming Island High School, getting the course selection books for both high schools...and then waiting to see what happens. Aarrgh. I can't wait for this to be over and to know where Clay will be next year. I can deal with anything - I just hate this uncertainty.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Last day of vacation....

Friday afternoon was spent out by the pool (Tim, Paige and I) and fishing (Clay)....the photo above is Clay out fishing, and you can see a dolphin in the background - very cool.
This photo is of Clay and one of the friends he made (Mr. Joe) with a sea trout they caught.
Clay's best buddy while he was fishing....this guy was following him everywhere, hoping for a handout!
Paige - looking so grown-up...listening to tunes and doing sudoku.....

Saturday morning we woke up, cleaned the condo, loaded the car, and drove home. I-75 was a nightmare! All the yankees were heading home -- 2 ft. off each other's bumpers at 80 mph. There were three accidents - one of which we witnessed - before we got off in Gainesville! It's wonderful to be home - great to sleep in our own beds! Last night there were huge thunderstorms and lots of wind, but today is beautiful and sunny. This morning we drove out to the airport to pick up Tim's car, since he flew to St. Pete...and now we are just trying to get organized for the week aheaqd - back to reality!

Friday - Girl's Day Out!

Friday morning Tim's mother took Paige and I out to get manicure/pedicures.....aaah.....and don't our toes look purty? Paige is especially proud of hers (with the flower)....afterwards, Paige and I took Gramma to lunch, and then stopped at a couple of stores in the mall. It was a lovely, girly morning!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Shrimp Boil.....

The shrimp boil was pretty is an annual fundraiser for a local church's youth group. The brought out a plate like the one pictured above, and just kept bringing the shrimp until you couldn't eat any more! Clay and Tim are awesome....the peeled my shrimp for me! I love shrimp, but HATE peeling them!! Paige (who is not a shrimp lover) had fried chicken. Sally, Paige and I cried uncle way before Tim and Clay....and then Tim Clay ended up eating about 5 platefuls of shrimp. Yum Yum.....

Spring Break!!!

We have had a wonderful, relaxing, sun-filled couple of days....we have gone to the beach, hung out by the pool, Clay has fished...and we have slept late every day. It's been delightful!! The kids have even been getting along relatively well...

Today Clay was out in the water up to his waist with the other fisherMEN...having himself a grand old time! He was so cute out there with all the old guys fishing...Tonight is the big "shrimp boil"...we have no idea what to expect, except that all the old people seem very excited about it. Apparently it is all you can eat (!!) shrimp...... (hence the excitement??)

Tomorrow is our last day, and then we will drive home on Saturday...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Paige got 4 inches cut off her hair on Saturday.....and layers around her face....
Here is the final result - doesn't she look so much older? I hate that! (although the cut is very cute)...I THOUGHT we were just going in for a trim....once we arrived she started pushing for more length off and something around the face....ugh - she is growing up SO FAST!

The past few days have been filled with haircuts, new pointe shoes (I know!!!....I DID just buy some, but her feet have grown), cleaning out the pantry because we had a major bug invasion, and packing... Tim left Sunday to go down to St. Pete so he could take his mom in for her cardio-conversion yesterday (she is fine now) and the kids and I are hitting the road in a few minutes to meet him down there for a few days of fun-n-sun since we are on spring break. I am looking forward to sleeping late and relaxing for a few days!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It is an interesting morning here...sort of hazy and misty. Tim tells me it is just a marine layer and will burn off later....but it is pretty and soft looking...I also took some photos of the orange blossoms and my orchid which is blooming. All of the citrus trees are starting to get blossoms, and the scent is delightful!

For some reason the death of the actress Natasha Richardson has really affected is kind of strange because the only thing I really remember seeing her in is The Parent Trap. I think it disturbs me because she was exactly the same age as me, and has children about the same ages as mine....and it happened so suddenly. It has just made me feel very reflective and aware of the fragility of these bodies God gave us.

Anyway, today will be another busy day....I am going to get a haircut in about an hour and tonight we have an open house at Orange Park High School for incoming freshmen. AND Paige has ballet downtown at the same time, so there will be a bit of a juggling act for us tonight. I am still not quite sure how we are going to work it!

Spring break is next week and I am REALLY looking forward to sleeping in a bit...and so are the kids! We are thinking about going back down to see Tm's mom for a few days if we can work it out. I know spring break is coming up for everyone else as well - we'd love to see you if anyone would care to visit...the guest cottage is ready and waiting. Remember, it is only an easy 3 1/2 hour drive from St. Pete (and a 30 minute flight on Southwest)....

Monday, March 16, 2009


Here is an update to those shuttle photos....Tim asked me to send them to at CNN...CNN just called, and they are going to used them/it (??) on the be watching CNN - you might see our photo(s)...and maybe they will even pronounce our name correctly.


Last night we watched the shuttle Discovery's launch from our dock - it was a picture perfect evening and a gorgeous launch! Tim said that the reason we had such a great view of it is that it was rising into the sun (the sun had already set on the ground) and the shuttle shot right along the east coast - a more northerly direction than usual. In the bottom two pictures, you can see the solid rocket boosters separating from the shuttle (click on the photos for a better view).

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The above picture is of my all time favorite pet peeve - People (I won't name names, but I think you can guess who from the shoes!) who leave their shoes lying in the middle of the floor - and they keep doing it...the shoes just keep piling up! Aarrggh!!

We got home from church and the kids wanted to know if they could jump in the pool - it's quite warm here today - 82 degrees and sunny. Clay tried using his persuasive tactics on me..."Mom, just 20 will wake me up so I can work harder on my school work", right. Anyway, I said sure - jump in the pool...Well, the water is apparently still a bit chilly because they were in and out in 5 minutes!! But it must have worked, because Clay got out of the pool and got right to work on his review for Drama - and it is not even due until Friday!!! We watched Amadeus last night and that is the film he decided to review. He took a brief break to go for a walk with Paige and I, but other than that has been doing his school work!

While Clay has been working on his review, Paige has been busy with Gracie...she gave her a bath, brushed her, and put a little red bow in her hair. Gracie looks gorgeous, and she and Paige are certainly forming a bond!

Tim has been busy today with another of his "projects"...this time working on some landscaping on the side of the house. Why it needed to be done RIGHT NOW, TODAY....I'm not really sure, but Tim has been busy working on does look nice.....

Friday, March 13, 2009

I haven't written anything since Wednesday morning, so I'll try to do a quick re-cap of the past few days....Wednesday we had conferences up at the school. Paige's went well...her teachers all love her and raved about how organized and prepared she always is, etc. etc. yadda yadda yadda. Clay's....well, let's just say that the word "underachiever" was mentioned. His teachers are concerned because he is so smart and has such potential, etc. Again...yadda yadda yadda. It's the same ol', same ol'.......The teachers did all say that this is very typical of 8th grade boys....still.....

Anyway, after conferences we picked Clay up and went to visit Orange Park High School. I was apprehensive because...well, when you drive past the school, as they say in real estate circles - "it doesn't have curb appeal"!!! I was very impressed with the guidance counselor we spoke to, and while the school is kinda dirty and um...worn around the edges....I think if Clay can get into the honors classes (and if Clay will DO THE WORK in the honors classes!!) that he will do well. I just don't know what else Tim and I can do to motivate him - it needs to come from him.

Yesterday Tim took the boat in for it's annual tune up and check before summer. After picking him up and bringing him home I went to Target for all the stuff we seem to run out of all at once - batteries, toilet paper, deodorant, laundry detergent, and so forth and so on! I also finally got Clay registered for the Taekwondo competition next month....still need to make reservations at a hotel though....

Today I made a run up to Costco for more stuff (where does it all go???) and Tim has been busy pressure washing....we also had to pick Clay up at the school around 11:30 - he called to say his stomach hurt and he felt dizzy. He has been sleeping all afternoon. This is going to sound terrible and make me sound like the worst mom in the world - but I hope he really is sick, and wasn't avoiding his History and English tests.....I guess time will tell.....

This evening Paige has ballet, Clay has Taekwondo in the mornng (if he is feeling better...), he has to review a movie for Drama, and Sunday the kids both acolyte in church and Sunday afternoon is the soccer awards banquet for the school. BUT - the week after next is spring break! Hooray - all I want to do is sleep!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

No school today!! Hooray! We all slept late his morning, although since baby Gracie woke me up at 4:00 am this morning to go potty, I didn't quite get the same enjoyment that everyone else in the family did from sleeping late!! Still, it is so nice to have a quiet morning without rushing around....Saturdays Clay has Taekwondo, and Sundays there is we are all being a bit lazy and enjoying this! Clay will need to get going on homework and studying though - he has THREE tests tomorrow - English, Math, and French. Tim and I have to be up at the school by 11:00 for conferences, and then we will pick Clay up and head over to Orange Park High School.

Yesterday I took the puppy for a long walk and wore her out, and then went to Whole Foods with my mom and stocked up. Tim was busy doing yard work and getting our bathroom ceiling fixed - it looks great now though! We're not sure what we are gong to do with the house - thinking about taking it off the market. Two other waterfront houses that we know of recently lowered their prices - DRASTICALLY! Obviously, they are desperate - we're not. And we can't and won't go that low. So....we're thinking about taking it off, enjoying the summer, and seeing how the market looks next year. We'll see......

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The house is nice and quiet right now - Tim is reading the paper, the kids are at school, and Gracie (yes, we finally found a name for her) the puppy is napping. I am taking some computer time for myself before going for another walk, making a run to Whole Foods, laundry and cleaning. Tomorrow is conference day at school, and after the conferences we are going to visit Orange Park High School. Yikes. I am a little nervous about Clay going there next year so I am very hopeful that I will feel more optimistic after our visit!

Tim got a trade or a vacation drop or something, so he is home for a few more days and he has a list of things he wants to get done - taking the boat in for a tune up, pressure washing everything, yard work, fixing the ceiling in our bathroom, etc. etc. He is a man with a mission - when he gets like this, I just try to stay out of his way!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Puppy Love......

Having a puppy around is good for me! I went for TWO walks around the neighborhood today, and was even running - yes, running - around the yard with her highness this afternoon. I'm sure it wasn't a pretty sight, but hey, WE had fun!! The pictures above are of our still un-named precious puppy all tuckered out after our walk and playtime in the yard.

Hopefully, we will have a name for her by tomorrow....

A new puppy!!!!

I have just started thinking about getting a new dog....we had to find a new home for Boomer last summer because he started jumping the fence and taking off....I had been delaying because the house has been on the market, but recently started thinking about looking around. We knew we wanted either a Labradoodle, Goldendoodle, Bearded Collie or another Old English Sheepdog...anyway....when we got home last night, my mother called to ask us if we wanted a puppy as our "early" Christmas present. I was inclined to say "no thank you" - first of all, I wasn't at all sure that I wanted to deal with a puppy - I was thinking more of a year or two old "rescue" dog - and secondly, just wasn't sure if we were quite ready....but she brought this little angel over and I fell in love! She is a miniature Labradoodle and is 13 weeks old, and absolutely the BEST!!! So good...... name yet....we're working on that. Any suggestions? She is very calm and sweet and cuddly...still has that sweet puppy breath.....


Sunday morning we went back over to Lee and Janet's for breakfast, and some more "family bonding" time - and then out to the pool for a couple of hours before packing the van and hitting the road once again.

Tim's mother enjoyed having the children around, although she gets tired very easily....but it was a nice weekend, and so wonderful to see everyone!


Saturday morning we went for a walk on the beach - and Clay was the official "finder of the first shark's tooth"....then we went to lunch at Woody's - a little waterfront dive that is Tim's favorite place to eat in St. Pete and had wonderful grilled fish sandwiches. The afternoon was spent being lazy at the pool while Gramma napped.

Saturday evening we were invited to Aunt Janet and Uncle Lee's for fresh fish. Their grandchildren were visiting, and is was so nice for all the cousins to get to know each other. Clay and Paige haven't seen the twins and Tori since they were babies and we lived in Michigan! We were all amazed at how much Clay and Alec and Ian look alike, and Paige and Tori got along quite well. Lee took the boys out fishing and they brought back a ton of grouper and snapper - Lee made grouper and snapper nuggets and it was delicious! It was a very nice mini-family reunion!


We arrived in St. Pete late Friday afternoon, and after a short visit went to Fort Desoto Beach for a sunset picnic on the beach. The food was delicious, and the sunset was breathtaking.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A little road trip....

TGIF! Yes, it is finally Friday...and I am so glad! Right now I am "washing that gray right outtta my hair", Tim is cleaning the van and filling it up with gas, then I will finish packing and cleaning. At 11:15, we will pick the kids up from school - and hit the road! We are headed down to St. Pete to visit Tim's mom and sister. We are still very worried about his mother. She has been in a-fib again (for about 2 weeks now). It looks like they will try to shock her heart once again on Monday and hopefully this time it will stay in a normal rhythm. The kids are very excited about seeing Gramma and Aunt Cookie....

There's not much else to report. Today looks like it is going to be a beautiful, spring like day - highs around 73 and sunny. I can't believe it is already time to "spring forward"...didn't we just do this?
Anyway, Happy Weekend everyone!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Clay's Comments:

Hi. I have had an extremely boring week. The only exciting thing that happened is that I got a 94 on a French quiz and a 101 on a History test. I have been considering becoming an airline pilot for a career. I think it would be a cool career because you get to travel a lot and everyday would be different. Just an idea. But I am not sure yet because my dad says it is not a stable career anymore. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A few words from Paige:

Hooray! I'm not sick anymore! I was sick all weekend and it was horrible. The end of the quarter is coming up in school and I have been doing a lot of extra credit. After this quarter, I will be starting French and I am excited about taking it. I am excited because I will (hopefully) know some French when I go to France this summer.

I lost a tooth. It was a big molar and now it hurts to chew! I wish I still believed in the tooth fairy. :-(

When I was doing my homework I heard a big bang and a SQUAWK so I ran into my brother's room and Chloe (our kitty) was attacking Clay's bird, Buddy!! But don't worry - I saved the day. And the bird lived happily ever after. The End.

We woke up to cold temperatures this morning - had a hard freeze last night...but this weekend it is supposed to be almost 80 degrees - crazy March weather! It is a beautiful, sunny day though, and I decided to take some pictures of the flowers which are starting to pop out everywhere to remind us that spring really is right around the corner....

Paige is much better. She was back at school (and ballet) yesterday - now I am just keeping my fingers crossed that no one else catches this latest virus. Ugh. Enough!!

We are making plans for a quick visit down to see Tim's mother this weekend. Tim's sister Beth will be there, and the kids are very excited to see Gramma and "Aunt Cookie"....we will probably pull them out of school a little bit early on Friday to drive down there and will come back Sunday afternoon.

Today I am planning on some "spring cleaning" - it is supposed to warm up to around 54 degrees, so I will crack open some windows and just get going on some DEEP cleaning! I am thinking about making some vegetable soup for dinner....after yet another trip to the grocery store, of course! Tim gets home tonight and I am hoping to have a nice dinner waiting for him along with a nice clean house!

Years ago I used to do cross stitch, and I have pulled it back out and started again....I'm also thinkng about pulling out the stained glass supplies and starting a project with that as well. The studio where I used to take classes has gone out of business :( so I will be completely on my own this time - I wonder if I remember how to do it?! I'm not sure what exactly has inspired me to get "crafty" all of a sudden....
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