Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Day of School - 2010

Levi is a big kindergartener now, and loved getting his things ready.  His teacher is Mrs. Barnett, who seems very friendly.  He knows a few kids in kindergarten, but none are in his class.  Not that it matters for him, Mr. Charm and Charisma.  He'll have a dozen friends by Friday, I'm sure.  We also found out that one of his t-ball buddies is moving to the neighborhood, and is in 1st grade at Valley View now.  We are all very excited about this!  Hank and Levi get along really well.

A.J. made a big leap this year, too.  He's a 4th grader now, but because of numbers of students, is in a 4th/5th split class.  There are 8 4th graders, and 28 5th graders.  Some of those kids are huge!  He knows half of the 4th graders in his class, but none are his close friends.  He also stays an extra 25 minutes each day, which seems like forever to him.  His teacher is Mr. Bender.  He's never had a man before, so this is new territory, but he seems like a lot of fun. 

We always take a picture by the sign.  On the first day, and the last day.

A close up of my two cuties.  Yes, they're wearing matching shoes. :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

the rest of our time in Florida

Um, sorry about the long hiatus, again.  It isn't very easy to get blogging done in between whatever the kids need right. this. minute.  And helping them, mostly A.J., with summer workbooks.  Plus finishing up my last class, and trying to keep up with making enough food to keep Jon full. (Oh, my goodness.  That boy can eat.  A lot.)  So, here is the rest of our Florida trip.

When we came back from the Grand Bahama, we spent the next morning at a laundromat and the afternoon at a local beach.  We headed back to the "hotel" and the following day went to the Keys.  I know that it is rather bizarre to visit the Florida Keys, and even stop at the nation's first underwater state park and not even get in the water, but I was still rather sunburned from the snorkeling in the Bahamas, and just didn't feel like it.  It just means we have to go back! :)

We did take several photos, though.  Here are some of the best ones.

I just loved this little archway.  It made me think of outdoor weddings, and since this trip was partly for our 10th anniversary, I thought it was particularly fitting.  (No, we didn't have an outdoor wedding.  Are you kidding?  It was January, in Missouri.  And snowing.  But if we had, it would have been in a place like this.)

We walked a couple of short trails around the park, and kept seeing these little lizards everywhere!  We could sometimes hear them rustling in the leaves and not see them at all.  A helpful tidbit we learned while there: poisonwood trees are related to poison ivy.  And, if you even stand under one to shelter from a rainstorm, you can get the irritant on you.  So, if you are going to southern Florida, you should probably learn to identify this tree.

Look!  It's me!  You can't see the sunburn, it was on my back.  But, apparently this state park is known for some sort of violent history.  I just didn't bother to read about it.

John Pennekamp has a sister park nearby.  Bahia Honda was going to be a very fancy gated community.  Somehow, the state of Florida acquired the land and turned it into a park.  It is very interesting.  And the most spooked I've ever been while walking in the woods.  There was NO ONE else there.  Even the ranger is stationed at Pennekamp.  Creepy.

This is a huge spider that we saw over us on the trail.  Sometimes, there are great advantages to being a little on the short side. 

This is a cute little hermit crab trying to cross the road at Bahia Honda, and probably totally surprised that there were people on his route.  Eventually he hid next to my shoe trying to escape Aaron's pestering.

And, then?  Ahhhh.  After walking around South Beach (and taking no pictures, because the camera is heavy and it was HOT) we drove to the hotel we'd been waiting for.  We had one night between our "package" and arriving in Georgia.  So, Aaron cashed in some points and we stayed at the Marriott Harbor Branch.  Oh, we will be staying there again.  It is gorgeous!!  And very family friendly.  There weren't any kids running amok through the lobby or anything, but no one gave the kids that were there a second glance.  The pool was fantastic.  The beach (private!) was beautiful.  The food was lovely.  And, because he hadn't stayed in a Marriott in a while, the lady at the reception desk gave us a free in room movie.  We watched "The Young Victoria."  That was great, too.

I think that every room had a balcony.  And, they were all secluded from the neighbors' balconies.  Prepare to swoon.

This is the view from our 10th floor room.  See the pool?  It's huge.  See the beach?  Very quiet.  Plenty of lounge chairs for everyone.  A towel kiosk poolside, so you don't have to carry your wet towel through the hotel.  Simply the best ending to the week we could have asked for.