Friday, February 28, 2014

Photo Friday 2014 ~ Week 9

This week I took my camera with me to the kids' weekly golf lessons.  Yet another reason to love Florida is that you can golf year round!  They go every Saturday morning to the Chi Chi Rodriquez Golf Club which is an awesome place.  They attend The First Tee program which is just amazing for kids.  They teach not only the game of golf but also values along with it.  They have volunteers who help out each week and there are so many of them that each kid practically gets their own private coach.  My son has always loved golf, but my daughter has especially embraced the game since attending.  So much so that she now aspires to be on the LPGA tour when she grows up!  If you would have told me years ago that I would enjoy spending my Saturdays hanging out watching my kids play golf I would have never believed it.  I really do enjoy it though.  It's relaxing and fun and I love watching them focus with such concentration on their shots.  I need to improve my sports photography for sure, and I'm really starting to want a zoom lens to help me out.  Maybe someday...  For now, I've at least got some documentation of them for those future commercials when they are both famous golfers. :)  A mom can dream, right?

She's usually all decked out in pink for golf, but I love this shirt and always tell her it looks like a golf shirt so she wore it for me.  She's not only into the game of golf, but also the fashion side of golf which I think is so fun!  I need to try to find her some really cute outfits.

This past week the coaches had set up a mini course for them to play and they had to keep their own scores for the first time.  They use these velcro balls that stick to the 'hole' which is like a little pillar they hit to on some of the shots.

So cute!  I just love watching her golf.

My little lefty.  This was his favorite hole where they had to pitch it in from this little hill.

Nice swing!  He really does have a very good golf swing.  People ask us about it all the time.  He's been golfing since he could walk and the coaches have helped tweak it a bit, but he really does have a natural gift.  I'm going to try to take a video next time to post.  I keep trying, but they just aren't turning out well...I need to practice.

Pretty girl.  She's been very formal with her posing lately...I think we are out of practice. I'm going to take her out for a beach photo shoot soon since I finally found a dress I love.  I can't wait!

I took this shot right by the driving range of these awesome flowers.  Don't they look fake?  I love how they are multicolored like that!  So pretty!

Have a great weekend!  Anyone else headed out to the golf course?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Eagle Lake Park

One of our favorite things to do here in Florida is to go to all of the amazing parks nearby.  We haven't even begun to visit a fraction of them yet, there are so many!  There are beach parks, urban parks, nature preserves and parks with walking trails, parks with kayaking trails (still want to try that), and parks with playgrounds...the list could go on.  I tend to go to the playground type parks with the kids during the week and then on the weekends we get a little more adventurous with my husband.  My favorite park with a playground that we have visited so far is Eagle Lake Park.  We found it on a whim when I was driving past it after Bible Study one day in the fall.  I had my camera with me and took these photos.  You can tell they are old photos because my daughter's hair was still so long.  We just went back to the park this past weekend and it reminded me that I had never shared these photos.  And since the seasons are so similar here I pretty much could have taken them this week and you would never have known if it weren't for my girl's haircut!

There are actually two small lakes at the park.  This one is my favorite.  The other one is covered in some sort of green algae which is pretty gross.  We've been to this park many times and this last time is the first that I've noticed the 'Please Do Not Feed or Molest Alligators' sign. I haven't seen any though, but now I'm on a mission to find one.  They were actually looking at something in the water in this pic though.  Take a guess of what it is.

Can you see them?

Turtles!  We usually call this park 'the turtle park' because of this.  As soon as they hear you walking on the dock they start swimming over from all directions.  If you take some old bread you can feed them.  We have seen fish here too and lots of birds, but no eagles yet!

Another reason we love this park is the trees.  They are so massive that I don't even think photos do them justice.  I seriously love the trees in Florida.  Can you see how tiny my girl looks on that branch?  It is way above my head if I were to stand under it with my arms raised I couldn't reach it.

See my little monkey?  I still don't think you can really tell from the pics how massive this tree is.  It's awesome.

It scares me to death when my kids climb this tree but I don't want to be a helicopter mom and not let them experience things just because I am paranoid, so I keep my mouth shut and try not to look.  My boy got stuck in the tree last time we were here.  He was so high even my husband couldn't reach him.  Luckily we were able to coax him to a lower spot and get him down, but I don't think he'll be climbing it again any time soon.  I was totally freaking out that he was going to fall!

Just some more varieties of trees around the park.  I love the blue skies here.  They are always gorgeous!  And I swear that Dr. Suess could have been from Florida because there are a lot of Suess like looking trees around here.

This is a different tree that is right next to the parking lot.  It's branches are much closer to the ground so I think we might stick to climbing this one next time.  

I love my little tree huggers. :)

We need to get out and explore some new parks so I can share them with you.  I just need to remember to take my camera when we go.  I'm working on that!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Photo Friday 2014 ~ Week 8

I spent my morning at the Tax Collector.  That's what they call the BMV down here.  It's totally appropriate, right?  Anyway, I was dreading it, but amazingly it was a somewhat pleasant experience.  You can make an appointment online, so I showed up and was called immediately.  The lady who helped me had her own desk and we had plush comfy chairs to sit in across from her.  Other than the fact that it cost me over $500 to have everything transferred over from Ohio and to get my new Title and Driver's License.  Yeah, that part took all the pleasantness from it.

I forgot to take photos again this week.  I was busy celebrating my birthday by spending the day at the beach.  That's all I can say.  Usually on my birthday it's freezing and snowing.  It was gorgeous. I didn't take my camera though, I wanted to just enjoy the time with my kids and I had way too much to carry anyway.  We also went to the pool this week.  I forget to take my camera every.single.time.  It's a disease.  I really want to share some photos of our pool with you guys because we love it.  It's really gorgeous.

I took a few photos just this afternoon in order to get something to post.  This week wasn't exactly stretching me creatively to say the least.  Oh well.  It's only part of the reason I like this project.  The other reason is to get some photos of us just living our lives.  Not posed and perfect, but the real moments.  So here are a couple from today.

We rearranged the furniture yesterday (I'm still deciding if I like it or not) and we now have more floor space right in front of the sliding doors.  He was just hanging out looking outside when I snapped the pic of his back and then he heard the shutter and turned around and I got his cute little smirk too.

I cannot get this kid to wear a shirt.  I make him, of course, when we go in public, but at home this is his look every single day.  He was watching tv here.

She was watching tv from the other couch and she looked up at me as soon as she saw the camera.  I love her face.  I could take pictures of her all day.

This is from earlier in the day right before we left for the Tax Collector...hence the shirt.  I like how the black and white version of this brings out his freckles.  

Well, have a great weekend!  I will try to post some more next week!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Photo Friday 2014 ~ Week 7

Florida winters are really even better than I imagined.  My kids are outside right now in a new secret hideout that they found.  It's sunny, I've got the sliding doors open and a cool breeze blowing in.  I've got Pandora playing in the background while I update this blog.  I can see blue sky and palm trees out my window.  All these little things just add up and make me so happy.  I kind of shy away from posting about these things because I truly am not trying to make all my northern friends jealous, I just want to be able to look back on my blog and bring back these memories.  So please know that I'm not trying to be mean, I'm just trying to truthfully represent my life in the present moment.  And life is pretty great right now.  We joined a new Bible study this week and I was so encouraged by all the women that I met.  It really does feel like home here now.  I think that was a big piece that was missing...having sisters in Christ who I can share with and have a support group.  We are settling into more of a homeschooling routine with our new flexible schedule.  I really enjoy it. I have gotten so laid back lately...must be the beach life mentality creeping in. :) And you know what?  That is one of the things that lured us here in the first place.  A new simpler way of life with more enjoyment of the outdoors and the blessings given to us.  Less stress and keeping up with everyone else and what the world thinks we should be.  More time to reflect.  More long walks and adventures as a family.  Less of so much of the clutter in life and more of the good stuff.  It's easy to fall back into the trap of over scheduling and worrying but I'm determined to live purposefully for Christ.  Not trying to constantly live up to the world's expectations, but instead making time for what is eternally important.

I do have a couple of photos to share that I took today, Valentine's Day, of my two little Valentines.  Last night we were talking about who would be who's Valentine (with a little jealousy from my kids that their Daddy is my number 1).  I told my girl she was my big hunk of chocolate Valentine which she loved.  And my boy suggested he be a little piece of peanut free chocolate. Of course. :)  So we've been using our new terms of endearment today for a little fun.  Here are my favorite photos of the week.

 I crept up on the kids while they were in their hideout.  It's just a part of the landscaping that has a rock wall around it where they've decided to squeeze in behind the plants and play.  It is kinda hard to see them when they are in there but I could hear them chatting away with each other.  I love to overhear them talking to each other like true friends.  Their friendship is one of the best things to come out of our homeschooling.  After they noticed me they let me snap a few pics while they showed me all around their hideout.  I love this photo of my girl!

His totally fake smile drives me insane, but I do love how much you can see his dimple when he does it.  It kinda looks like he's in a jungle here.

I wasn't going to include this, but I just changed my mind because I think his face is just too cute with this funny expression.  I also love how it shows off his blue eyes.

I hope wherever you are in the world that you take some time to enjoy what's important this weekend.  See you next week!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Photo Friday 2014 ~ Week 6

When we first moved here we had no commitments at all.  We didn't know anyone.  We didn't have a church family.  Our kids don't go to school, so we didn't have school friends.  It was freeing and lonely all at the same time.  I was thinking about everything we did the past couple of weeks and I'm amazed at all the commitments we have now.  We are almost as involved as we were in Ohio.  We have a church family that we are really starting to feel a part of.  The kids have AWANA which they love and look forward to each week.  They also have weekly golf lessons and recently joined a chess club.  We also are no longer doing the Florida Virtual Academy so we now have so much more flexibility with school. We are finally able to take field trips and the kids can work at their own pace which is awesome.  Although it was scary letting go of that security net, it's been the best decision ever.

We ventured out to the Glazer Children's Museum this week (they had a free day, yay!) which is in downtown Tampa.  The kids gave it a thumbs down.  It was really geared for the 5 and under set which was a big disappointment.  On the other hand, it's right next to a playground and a river and a park with a huge lawn and fountains for the kids to run through.  We hung out there for the afternoon and the kids loved chasing the seagulls and buying treats from the hot dog vendor and running through the fountain more than any time spent at the museum.  And I got to get a bit of an urban fix at the same time, so it turned out to be a win/win for everyone.  I didn't take my camera, although I did enjoy texting some phone pics to my family to taunt them with the awesome weather and scenery.  I think they are thoroughly sick of me, but I have to send my not so subliminal messages in the hopes that they will consider moving here. :)

The weather here is even more awesome than ever with 70 to 80 degree days more frequently so we can do school outside on our balcony and take walks whenever the mood strikes.  We also headed out to the beach this week for my weekly therapy. :)  I took my camera in anticipation of Photo Friday so all of my favorites this week are from the beach again.  I hope you enjoy them!

I love this pic of my girl.  I love her new short hair.  She asked me why I liked a photo of her sandy butt. :)  I told her I just liked the way she was standing and looking at the water.

When we were at the beach there was a little boy skimboarding and he was really good.  At first she was discouraged because he was so much better than her, but then he actually came over and gave her a tip about throwing her board (one we had given her, but it was much better received coming from him and not us!) and her competitive spirit kicked in and she really started getting more daring.  She was doing so much better by the end of the day it was amazing.

He got hit in the eye with a ball and wasn't in a great mood after that (not that I blame him since the ball was covered in sand), but he still had fun chasing birds and walking around.  I like his sandy foot in this photo.

Taking a very quick break from skimming.  She also met a little girl at the beach that day who she played around with for a while and they took turns on the skimboard.

My boy still isn't interested in skimboarding at all.  It kinda surprises me because he's really athletic.  I think he doesn't want to wipe out in the sand or something.  I wouldn't either.

I hope you enjoyed this week's photos!  All my kids can talk about is the Lego Movie that we are going to tomorrow.  I'm pretty excited about it too.  Have a great weekend!


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