Monthly Archives: May 2009

Fun in the Sun

I’m finally getting around to posting an update about our family vacation to St. Augustine at the beginning of May.  I can assure you it hasn’t been for a lack of trying.  Our computer has been on again and off again and on again and (oh,yes) off again.  So in light of our current off again status I decided to move everything over to the laptop for now until we can figure out what’s going on.  Technology is certainly a marvelous thing, but it sure can give me a gigantic headache too!!  About that vacation…

We spent most of the morning on Sunday packing up the 4Runner.  I wasn’t kidding when I said we packed pretty much everything but the kitchen sink (and yes…we still had room for Ben!)!









Ben stayed quite busy for most of the trip with a little light readingIMG_6937!









Jake, Ben and I were the first to arrive.  We immediately went to explore our fantastic beach house.  It was a 4 bed/4 bath home with 3 living spaces including a nice big flat screen TV, a pool table, darts and a Foosball table.  From the second story patio we had an amazing view of the pool,  hot tub and Matanzas River (part of the Intracoastal Waterway)!  We got to see beautiful sunsets every evening from the comfort of our back patio!!









After being told their flight was cancelled, then re-routed, followed by a total of a four hour delay…Tim, Candice, Laci and Randy finally arrived!!  Dad and Linda made it in later that evening (they took a few extra days to do some sightseeing on their drive down) and David arrived the following day!!  This pic was taken on the cute little dock outside the beach house overlooking the river.  While standing on the dock we even got to see graceful dolphins frolicking in the water! (Do dolphins frolic?  I was curious about what to call it when the dolphins do their little jumps out of the water so I googled it and found that it is really called breaching…and now you know…you’re welcome!!)IMG_6948







The guys were up and at ’em by about 5:15 am each morning.   “Our Players” divided up their time during the day between playing golf and watching “The Players” at Sawgrass.  (Sorry no pics of the tournament…no cameras or cell phones were allowed).  They played at St. Johns Golf and Country Club, South Hamptonthe Legends and Champions Courses at LPGA International…yes, they actually played both of them on the same day!  That’s 36 holes of golf…they were worn out!!  I’ve been sworn to secrecy regarding their golf scores, but if anyone REALLY wants to know please send a request via mail along with large sums of money (small unmarked bills only).


And the littlest “player” of all practicing his golf swing!!










A typical day for the ladies…after eating breakfast we’d head downstairs for a dip in the cool pool.  It was so nice!!  We’d swim for a while, then watch the magnificent boats sail by while eating snacks followed by playing some more.  Ben was always ready for a nice  l o n g  afternoon nap!  IMG_7140















After the guys returned home each day we had lots of fun playing HIGHLY COMPETITIVE games of pool and water volleyball (think:  The Water Volleyball Scene in Meet the Parents)!



Ben loved playing (more like pounding) on the piano with Omi!










We tried out some of the local cuisine at places like Salt-Water Cowboys and South Beach Grill, but of all the meals we enjoyed together my favorite was the night we had our very own shrimp boil.  It was so yummy!!  Plus we sat out on the upstairs patio and watched the sun set while we ate.  Delicious food, great company, beautiful view!









Of course we made time to hang out and walk on the beach a few times.  The beaches were absolutely beautiful.  The sand felt like powder under our feet and it wasn’t very crowded either so we had plenty of room to play and walk along the shore.
































We spent one evening touring up and down the cobblestone streets of downtown St. Augustine.   


Here we are standing in front of the beautiful Matanzas Bay.









Castillo de San Marcos









We stopped in at the Crucial Coffee Cafe on Cuna Street for an assortment of coffee drinks and then quickly made our way down St. George Street to the fudge shop!!IMG_7071









As the saying goes…all good things must come to an end.  It was an end to a truly wonderful week!!  Here we are feeling all refreshed and relaxed on our last morning of vacation. 









Ben did this for the entire trip home…still holding on to his little Hot Wheels car!!



Filed under Beach, Ben, Family, Food, Orlando, Travel

14 Months

Ben 14 months









“Hi”, “bye”, “uh-oh”, “boom” and “beep.” 

If you were to spend any amount of time with Ben these days you would be guaranteed to hear those words uttered constantly throughout the day.  When he’s riding around in the shopping cart at the grocery store you would think he was in his own little ticker tape parade.  He makes sure to greet everyone and I mean EVERYONE with a “hi” and a big wave and then a “bye” and another big wave as we “parade” around the store shopping for groceries.  He uses the phrase “uh-oh” for those times when he drops something on accident.  However, he also uses it for those times when he throws something down on purpose (like food from his highchair or a toy from his stroller), and then he looks at me and says “uh-oh”!  And then there’s “boom”.  Anytime he makes a loud noise it is usually accompanied by him exclaiming “boom” (along with a big grin)!! 

One of the funniest things I think he’s doing right now is steering his walk n’ ride toy around the house and beeping at things (typically after he has run into them) as demonstrated in the video below:

A few other new words:  “baby”, “Bee” for bed, “bubu” for bubbles, “moon”, “I”, “me”, “clock”, “up” and “yes”.  When he says the word “yes” it sounds like he’s saying a bad word:

Ben loves to help bring in the groceries when we return home from the store.  However, while “helping” he also likes to crawl around in the garage getting both dirty and into things he shouldn’t.  So we’re trying something new…I load both Ben and the groceries into the wagon and roll them into the house.  It seems to be working great!  (Except for when he decides to start unloading the groceries in the driveway instead of in the house!!)








This is Ben and his little buddy Ben from the neighborhood.  I watched “the other Ben” for a few hours for his mama Katy a couple of weeks ago.  They were so cute riding together in the wagon!  Note how small the little blue hat looks on Ben’s head…it’s the biggest one of Ben’s I could find!  It was pretty hot on this particular day and I didn’t want his head to burn.  At least he humored me and kept it on his head for most of the ride!!









Another favorite of Ben’s right now is listening to his cd player.  He will continue to point at it until I turn it on for him.  As you’ll see in the video below…this particular song (Encourage One Another from 1 Thessalonians 5:11) seems to be his favorite right now.  It is one of the songs from the Hide ‘Em In Your Heart cds by Steve Green. They are memory verses put to music and he LOVES ’em!

Here he is mowing the yard with dada.  Anytime Jake is out mowing the yard, Ben likes to play with his lawn mower out on the back porch too.  He is completely mesmerized by the real lawn mower.  Anytime we just walk by it in the garage he immediately begins pointing at it.










He likes to play with his blocks by seeing just how high he can stack them before they fall over!

Here he is riding on the toy pony he got from Opi and Omi for his birthday!

Some other fun stuff:  

His favorite book right now is Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss and any other Dr. Seuss book is a very close second.  A couple of funny things he does when we read the books:  In Hop on Pop there’s a page that shows Pat about to sit on a cactus.  It reads “No Pat no, Don’t sit on that” and then I follow it up with “ouch”.  Every time I say “ouch” he pulls my hair.  I have no idea where that came from.  The only thing I can think of is when he was younger and would pull my hair I would say “ouch, that hurts mommy” so that he would stop doing it.  Something else cute…when we read The Foot Book it shows a pair of feet bandaged up and it reads “Sick feet” at the bottom of the page.  Anytime we read this page to Ben or if he’s just looking through it by himself he coughs several times in a row.  We take this book with us sometimes when we go out to eat.  It never fails when he gets to that page and starts coughing people sitting around us look over at our table very concerned.  Once they figure out what he’s doing they begin to laugh!

He’s taking one nap a day now.  And as part of his bedtime routine we read to him in the rocking chair in his room.  Lately he’s started doing something new.  When he’s ready to go to sleep he points to his crib.  Once we put him down he’ll either roll over on his tummy and go to sleep or we’ll hear him playing on the monitor for a little while and then he goes to sleep.  This makes him seem very grown up to me!!  (sniff)

When we ask Ben if he is ready to go here or there he immediately responds, “Bye”…in a very southern accent!!


Filed under Ben, Orlando

A Job Well Done

To round out the week with more exciting news…Jake received a promotion at work this week!!  His new title is Vice President and Controller!!  He’s worked really hard and we couldn’t be more proud!  Way to go, honey!!

Here’s a little something Ben colored for him.  I should note that this is Ben’s first piece of artwork (please, do not distribute or reproduce the photos without expressed written consent)!  ha ha


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Filed under Ben, Orlando, Work

Engagement News!!

Jake’s sister Amanda and her boyfriend Joe got engaged this week!!!  We couldn’t be more thrilled!!  We got to meet Joe for the first time last year when they came to visit us in Florida.  He is one of the kindest, most genuine and sincere people you will ever meet!  They are perfect for each other!  Joe and Amanda, Congratulations!!  We’re so excited for you!!!

Joe and Amanda

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Filed under Family

Closing Day…Oh What a Day!

Closing Day...The Keys!!

Closing Day...The Keys!!

We’re homeowners again!!  Approximately six months ago we made an offer on a house in our neighborhood (it’s only eight houses down from where we currently live)!  And yes, you read that right…it’s been half a year since we made the offer.  The home was in pre-foreclosure status…also known as a short sale.  So we were not only negotiating with the seller but also with two lending institutions AND working with two Realtors.  Needless to say we’ve had quite the journey full of highs and lows.  I won’t go in to all of the details, but I will take this opportunity to share about closing day…it had plenty of it’s own highs and lows! 

So finally the glorious day (last Friday) had arrived.  My friend Katy watched Ben for me which was a HUGE help!!  I met Jake at the bank in order to pick up our down payment check.  After waiting for twenty-five minutes we were feeling the pressure to get on the road in order to make it in time for our 10:00 am closing…so we left…without the money.  I drove while Jake made several calls to the banks, title company and mortgage company.  I should note that during the phone call chaos Jake was informed by one person that we were on our way to the wrong location (after we had passed the exit) only to be told a few minutes later that she was wrong…we were headed to the right location.  Surprisingly enough we managed to arrive at the title company right on time (I was driving after all) with smiles on our faces.  Our Realtor (who has been wonderful through this entire process) was there waiting for us and the lady at the title company (I don’t know her official title…we’ll call her the “title lady”) was super nice.  So we drank coffee, ate cookies and signed a mountain of documents.  The title lady even let us use her computer to wire the down payment.  (It turned out our on-line banker forgot to put the approval order through the night before and we were told we had to put the order in by 11:30 am that morning in order to get a same day transfer.  We made it with about five minutes to spare!!)  As we were leaving we were told that the seller would be in to close at 1:00 pm that afternoon and then we’d receive the keys.  We were truly elated as we left the office.

At about 3:30 pm that afternoon Jake received a call from our Realtor.  We were informed that the seller was not pleased with some of the language in the closing documents and would not sign them.  The documents were being sent to his lawyer for review and the lawyers for the title company were being called in as well.  What?  Was this really happening?  We went from all smiles and cookies to “we’d advise you to contact a real estate attorney.”  By the time Jake got home from work that evening we were beat.  After dinner we took Ben for a ride in his wagon.  We just kept looking at each other and saying, “we’re speechless” and then we laughed.  We laughed at the absurdity of it all.  We laughed because we knew who was in control…clearly not us.  We felt like God was either protecting us from something or allowing our character to be tested.  So we left it there…in His hands and we went to bed.  We were exhausted!  The next morning we were both up early.  I jokingly asked if we’d heard from the Realtor yet and Jake checked his blackberry.  And there it was like a light shining from heaven illuminating one single e-mail on the screen.  The e-mail was from our Realtor (sent at 4 am) stating that the seller had agreed to sign the documents.  Hallelujah!

Here are some pics I snapped the day we got the keys!  The lot is on a cul-de-sac and the house is 3 bedroom, 3 bath w/ living room, dining room, family room, office, and three car garage.  With some fresh paint, a good cleaning and a little TLC on the yard (it hasn’t been watered in months)…the house should be back in tip top shape again soon!



Entry, Living Room, Dining Room

Entry, Living Room, Dining Room

Hallway to additional bedrooms/bathrooms/laundry/garage, Office

Hallway to additional Bedrooms/Bathrooms/Laundry/Garage, Office

Family room, Breakfast, Hallway to master, Kitchen

Family Room, Breakfast, Entry to Master, Kitchen


Filed under Ben, Dakota, Orlando, Projects

A New Method of Travel

Now that our computer is back up and running I feel like I have so much to catch up on!  We’ve got big things going on around here (and no, I’m not pregnant).  =)  I’ll just start with the most recent…(drum roll please)…Ben is WALKING!  It’s been so exciting to watch him progress from using the walk n’ ride toy to standing up on his own and finally walking!  With a little encouragement he’s walking more and more each day, although for now his preferred method of travel is crawling…I can’t blame him…he’s so FAST!  These two videos were taken just a few days apart…it’s amazing the difference a few days can make!


Filed under Ben, Orlando

Family Vacation – St. Augustine

We are leaving tomorrow afternoon for St. Augustine.  I guess you could call this our first “official” family vacation since Ben was born.  We’re super excited!  We rented a house on the beach (okay, we opted for a house with a private pool and in order to do so we gave up beach front property…it’s across the street within walking distance though!)!  We’re meeting up with my brother Tim and his wife Candice and Baby Laci, my brother-in-law David (we’ll miss you Jill…Khloee is still in school so they couldn’t make the trip), my dad and stepmom Linda and Candice’s dad Randy. 

Truth be told this trip was originally planned for just the guys.  The PGA tour is making a stop in Ponte Vedra (just up the road from St. Augustine) for the TPC Sawgrass and the guys want to go and watch players like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson and Sergio Garcia (to name a few) and of course play lots of golf themselves.  So we, the ladies, decided to tag along to soak up the sun and to do a little shopping at the outlet malls nearby.  Jake made sure to cash in on his private golf lessons over the last several weeks, plus he’s managed to squeeze in some time at the driving range AND he’s even been practicing his swing in the front yard.  Apparently golf is serious business.  I don’t know that much about golf, but a couple of things I know are true…ONE.  When I play golf I usually cannot make contact with the ball (it is EXTREMELY embarrassing…that’s why I really don’t “play” per se…I ride along in the golf cart and when all golfers and I mean ALL golfers are out of sight I jump out of the cart and take a swing).  TWO.  Driving a golf cart is super fun!!      

I’m pretty sure we’ve packed all but the kitchen sink for our trip.  Since we’re driving (it’s only about an hour and a half from our house) we’ve been tasked with bringing things that the others don’t have room for in their suitcases.  Beach stuff, food stuff, baby stuff…you name it, you can probably find it packed in the 4Runner.  All I know is that I CANNOT WAIT to feel the sand between my toes, hear the crash of the waves against the shore and lounge by the pool for the next nine days.  Ahh!  Can you feel the relaxation oozing out of your computer screen!!

P.S.  Turns out one of the memory sticks on our computer had gone bad…not the hard drive.  Thankfully it is one of the easiest and cheapest things to fix.  We ordered a new one at the end of last week and it should be waiting on us when we return from vacation!  Wahoo!!  New pics and videos coming your way soon!!

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Filed under Beach, Ben, Family, Orlando, Travel