Friday, October 23, 2009

Skyeler Elizabeth turns 15!

I can't believe that my first baby girl is now 15!!! I look back and wonder where in the world time has gone. The Alex Trabek, Batman loving toddler will be driving in another year. The 2.5 year old who watched "Jurassic Park" and told me that it was ok if the dinosaur was going to eat that man on the toilet, is now a sensitive young lady. The cat loving little girl...well, at least she's still around :) Happy Birthday sweetheart! We are so glad God gave you to us.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dan's Marathon

Dan has been training since April for the Air Force Museum's annual marathon. On September 19th all of his training paid off. Not only did he run the marathon, he ran it in 4 hours 26 minutes! We were all so proud of him! And he was so pleased that he finished the race and accomplished his goal.

Coming across the finish line. The girls and I were running a little later than I had wanted and I was afraid we had missed him. We waited about 25 minutes by the finish line to see him cross. The place was absolutely packed!

Right after he came across the finish line, Aly was yelling for him. He was physically and emotionally exhausted, but thrilled to have accomplished his goal.

Dan with his medal and the girls.

Just a few more...

Ok, are you done with Florida pictures yet? I feel like I'm that person who makes you come over and view all 523 vacation pictures LOL! These are all miscellaneous pictures taken with the disposable water camera. Not too bad for a disposable. Aly was just saying that she's ready to go back to Florida...tomorrow :) With it getting down in the 40's around here at night, I'm ready to agree! We will be looking forward to vacationing with Dad again soon.

Skyeler and I getting our toes wet.

Aly's sandcastle. It was too dark by the time it was done to get the finished project.

Skyeler playing in the sand.

Look close...there is a long dark spot right in the middle of the picture...that's a manatee. Dan tried to take a picture under water of it, but missed it. It was really close to the shore till Dan got in the water with the camera.

Aly and I relaxing on the blanket. (By the way IF you are my secret sister, I LOVE this blanket. It's super soft and it actually folds back up to where you can zip it!!)

Aly taking the relaxing to the next level.

Breakfast on the beach with the King (Burger King that is)! We didn't quite make it for the sun rise, but breakfast on the beach was still pretty cool!

Aly underwater in Papa Bob's pool. I tried to get Skyeler and Aly to take pictures of each other but Skye wasn't interested. Aly and I tried a couple. This was the best one.

Saturday's Waves

Here are a few pictures from the disposable water camera. These were taken the morning after the storm. You can see that it is still cloudy. We had about a two hour window before it started to rain again. We were wore out after that time anyway :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Catch a Wave

The Gulf side doesn't see very many "big" waves. It is calmer than the Atlantic side, so I'm told. The water certainly had been calm every other visit to Florida. Friday night we got a pretty decent thunderstorm with a gusty wind. Dan had been hoping for a storm. He wanted to go out to the beach afterward to see if we could find some cool shells and shark's teeth. We woke up Saturday and the forecast was rain for the whole day. After the storms moved out of the area, Dan, the girls, and I set off for a quick trip to the beach to shell hunt. Once we got the beach, we changed our minds. The waves were about 4-5 feet, with a few 6 footers thrown in. I had never been in such waves before, neither had the girls. What an experience!! We had to take turns holding onto Aly. Every wave knocked her over. Heck, every wave just about knocked me over. It was crazy. Dan and Skyeler went out where they could "bob" a little on top of the bigger waves. After having one or two of the waves break over me, I stayed closer to the shore :) The force of the waves just tumbled you over and over if it broke on top of you. Not MY idea of fun. We did have to take a break, it was hard work trying to keep on your feet in the waves (and keep 55lbs of Aly from washing away!) and hunt for some shells but we didn't find much. Skyeler and I were so tired once we got back to Dad's. Aly said she would never forget that day for the rest of her life LOL! These pictures were taken on Sunday, not Saturday. The waves were still pretty big. Dan and I took a couple pictures with the water camera on Saturday and I'll post those as soon as I get them loaded into the computer.

Aly after getting knocked over. On Sunday she was able to go out a little ways without one of us holding on to her.

Heading into the waves. Unfortunately, I grabbed the wrong boogie boards. These were skimmers and were not real good for riding the waves. They ended back up on the beach pretty quick.

Just a view of the waves. It really doesn't do the size of the waves justice.

Skyeler battling the waves

Dan, Skyeler (yes, she's in the wave) and Aly. You can kind of see a decent wave behind Dan's head.

Venice Pier

This year we decided to go up to Venice and browse around the shops, something we hadn't done since our first trip to Florida. What a variety of neat little specialty shops. We certainly did not bring enough money for that :) Well, we DID have enough money for the chocolate shoppe. Caramel and dark chocolate covered apples!! Homemade caramel...Yum-O! And the fudge...Mmm. After browsing the shops, Dad took us to Sharkey's at Venice Pier. We had a booth with a view and some of the best fish & chips I have had in a long time. While we were there, we saw a dolphin out in the water. It stayed around for quite a while. Of course I only had Aly's little camera and not my Pentax with the zoom lens. :( So while Skyeler took picture after picture, you still cannot see that there is a dolphin out there. After dinner we took a walk out to the end of the pier. Quite a few fisherman were out on the pier. One allowed Aly a look at his fish and then let her throw it back into the water. Skyeler spent her time watching the dolphin.

Our booth with a view!
Skyeler can't get enough of watching the dolphin.

Aly checking out the end of the pier.

The fisherman on the pier. Aly is throwing the fish back into the water.

This is the fish. The fishermen told us what it was, but now I have forgotten (of course!). Aly wanted a picture before she threw it back.

In front of Sharkey's, Aly takes Daddy & Skyeler on a little pirate ride. Aargghh!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Boca Grande

Boca Grande is so beautiful. Dan and I had briefly visited the island once before. The girls had never been. The beach was practically deserted. Perfect for us. You cannot swim at the end of the island. Strong currents coming from the river and the bay mixing together make it dangerous. The amazing thing is that you can actually see where the different currents are out in the water. I was hoping to find a spot with tidal pools. We did find some rocks, two spots of them actually, but we only found one "thing" attached to the rocks. We are not sure what it was. Skyeler and Dan were hoping to find the mother load of shark's teeth. Aly was having an off day, I'm not sure what she was hoping for :) Dad didn't join us this day, he had some friends to pick up from the airport. This was the one day that I took the good camera. It was a pain to be so unbelievably careful with it, but it was worth it to have a few beautiful pictures of this area. At the end of our time on the beach, Aly was done. She got a little overheated and we spent a little time inside the lighthouse museum to cool off. Afterward we stopped downtown Boca Grande to browse the shops and have some ice cream in this beautiful little park. I have a feeling that Boca Grande will become a regular part of future visits.

Skyeler walks along the edge of the water. I love the sparkly sunshine on the water.

Aly explores the rocks on the beach.

The Boca Grande Lighthouse among the dunes

If you look close you can see the different currents here. There are some calm spots and different patterns of waves. Plus you can see the browner water in the forefront and the different color blues. This was just really cool.

Dan saw this little spider crab in the current and scooped it up with the net. Something had taken a few bites out of him. The girls spent some time examining him and then we let him go back to the water.

A sampling of the multitude of shells

A pelican in flight. The picture doesn't do it justice. The wingspan is amazing. There were many perched on what's left of a pier, which is the next picture.

We had walked quite a ways when we came to this rocky area. Shells were piled up around the base of the rocks and Dan and Skyeler looked for more shark's teeth.

What we found...
on the rocks. These little boogers were stuck good...
but Aly managed to get one off (we put it back when we were done examining it)...

and the biggest shark's tooth we have ever found (even if it is missing the tip).

Dinner on the Water

Celebrating a birthday in Florida is pretty cool in and of itself. Having your birthday dinner on the bay...even cooler. Though we waited till Tuesday to go out to dinner, it would have been too busy during Labor Day weekend, the birthday girl didn't mind. Honestly, we all enjoyed having dinner on the bay. Who wouldn't enjoy this view?!

Aly checking out the view.

Skye & Aly

Dan and I

Daddy & Aly

Papa Bob & Skyeler