Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Think, my friends. Think.

Spread the word to end "the word".

go to: www.r-word.org

and please pledge...in honor of him:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Getting so big

I noticed last night, more than I have in the recent past, that Xavier is growing up. He looks more like an elementary school-age kid to me now, than a little preschooler. I act like this surprises me, but actually it shouldn't. After all, he's turning 6 next week, and starting kindergarten in the fall. :-)

Here he is after bathtime(minus glasses ;-).

(he's beautiful from any angle, if you ask me...)

And one of my two turkeys together. :-)



That is my son.

Scaling a wall.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Playing together

Ben loves to make Xavier laugh. And he knows that this can be rather easily accomplished by making any repetitive noise (especially if its goofy). Here, Ben's making the toy Xavier is playing with make a clicking sound. Xavier thinks its hysterical.

Notice how I have Xavier all rigged up so he can't get bend his body/legs over to his right side? He's developing tightness all along his right side, and especially in his legs and hips because of his preferred sleeping position. We focus on stretching a lot, but left on his own for any length of time, he will roll on his right side or curl into a backwards 'c' if he's still laying flat on his back. Here, he's kicking his legs happily in a bicycle motion...and he's such a stinker, I think its half with the intention to get that bumbo seat out of the way so he can curl his legs up, instead of keeping them straight. ;-)

And...we're playing outside on a regular basis now! Hooray spring!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

SPPS chili cookoff 2009

Nick and I both had entries in our church's chili cookoff last Sunday, and although neither of us won...I know mine was better. HA!! lol.(BTW, Rachel - my recipe was based off of yours, with a little tweaking...so, thank you! :-)

Anyway, here's some photos from the festivities:

Bennett was in charge of decorating our table (a job he took very seriously)-

Ben and friend Gabe, not eating chili, but hotdogs instead. I was informed by Gabe that he's never eaten chili and didn't want to start now. ;-)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Key West in pictures

Our trip to Key West earlier this month is documented in the post below, but I wanted to also include some pictures of what we saw there, rather than what we did.

The next several pictures are of our hotel, The Casa Marina, inside and out.
The 1920's architecture and attention to detail in their recent refurbish/remodel is extraordinary.

The next two photos were taken on our hotel's beach at night:

Chickens and roosters run wild all over the place in Key West, in residental and shopping areas alike. Legend has it that when cock fighting was outlawed in 1837, all the birds were set free into the streets, and those wandering around there today are their decendents.

We spent a lot of time walking and biking around Old Town Key West. Its very touristy, but still manages to have held onto a lot of its charm. The people are friendly and old houses and buildings are well-maintained. Old residences have been turned into businesses - restaurants, shops, and inns.

Here's an example of that - The Hard Rock Cafe. This one seemed to specialize in alternative/punk/british invasion...which made me very happy :-)

This is St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Duval Street, which was built with funds donated by a local sherrif in the 1800's. The sherriff thought building the church would be good penance to God for the horrific methods he used to erradicate the pirate situation in and around Key West. This spot is supposedly very haunted and was one of our stops on our ghost tour.

The next two were taken on Duval Street:

Here's the air traffic control tower at the airport(which, incidentally, was so small, it reminded me of the one on "Wings" ;-)

These kitesurfers were on the water everyday. It was so interesting and fun to watch.

Here's the scavenger I speak about in the next post.

The last two are from the beautiful beach at Zachary Taylor State Park.

Key West!

It had been almost 6 years since Nick and I had any substantial length of time together sans children, and our recent weekend trip to Key West was an unbelievable remedy for that. We left at 5AM, Friday, March 6th, and returned about 11PM on Sunday, March 8th. I don't know about Nick, but it took about a day before I felt like I wasn't missing a body part - my boys are nearly always with me (except for work, of course), so to be without them felt so odd. But gloriously liberating :-)

Nick and I chose to get around Key West with bikes. We love to ride, and the mild weather, relatively small distances to travel, and ease of accessibility to everything we wanted to see and do made it the best choice for us. And really, at the end of our trip, we concluded there's no better way to truly experience Key West - riding through ocean breezes in quiet, charming neighborhoods off the beaten tourist path really was so calming and gave us an appreciation for island living.

Nick called the rental company while we were still on the runway, and they met us with two bikes in the airport parking lot shortly thereafter. Here's Nick riding along Highway 1 en route to our hotel.

We arrived at our hotel, The Casa Marina, and immediately headed to the beach. The hotel is beautiful (see next post), and the view stunning. Here we are, getting a burn.

It was too early to check-in, so we left our bags (2 backpacks - HA!) with the concierge, and took off on our bikes. We went to the Mallory Square/Duval Street area to explore and enjoy the beautiful weather.

90 miles from Cuba! ;-)

Back on the beach at the hotel.

That night, we ate dinner a short distance from our hotel at a little restaurant outside on the beach. Afterwards, we rode in the dark with our little lcd lights on our bikes down to a huge pier...way out into the darkness, over the black water. It was breathtaking that this place that was bustling with activity during daylight hours, was so quiet and dark. The stars were bright, and the water lapping at the pier was music to our ears. Such a nice way to end the evening.

The next morning, we had breakfast at an awesome cafe in a courtyard that was very untouristy (which is sort of a tough find there, to be honest). It was delicious, and there was also free entertainment - a curious, hungry pigeon flew here to there, waiting for us to drop something. The best was his repeated attempted to land on a ceiling fan (not operating at the time. ;-) He made me smile, and I snapped a few shots, so I would remember him (see next post).

After breakfast, we were off for more exploring and sightseeing on our bikes. The neighborhoods are so picturesque.

The gorgeous beach at Zachary Taylor State Park:

Key West's Marine Ecocenter dedicated to preservation of the natural coral reefs and marine life.

Visiting an old Navy pier.

Saturday night, we went on a Ghost Tour. It was nothing short of fabulous - eerie, creepy, and humorous entertainment rolled into a 2 hour walking tour through old town Key West. At the risk of everyone who reads this believing I'm completely nutso, I will tell you that I believe I caught some ghosts on camera. If people comment and want to see photos, I'll post them here -- but only if you ask! ;-) The tour started in the (by legend) very haunted La Concha hotel on Duval street. Here we are, waiting in the lobby for the start of our little adventure:

Our last morning at the hotel we spent on the beach, drinking coffee and taking in the cool ocean air.

We ate lunch at the famous Sloppy Joes bar (where I ate, hands down, the best sloppy joe I've ever had) and just soaked up as much island culture and sights as we could. I had to take advantage of the opportunity to do something silly while on vacation, and I got a henna tattoo of the boys initials on my ankle. For some reason, I thought it would be a more involved process, but it literally took about a minute and a half, and consisted of having a puffy paint-like substance squeezed into the letters. Its fading, but I still have traces of it left...its been a nice reminder of our time together.

And alas, our short, yet totally blissful holiday had come to an end. We took our time riding to the airport, and thankfully, our ride was lined by beaches and water nearly the entire way. We stopped off at the beach, waiting until the last minute to head back bravely into reality...

I can't even begin to tell you how much fun we had - its so easy to get caught up in everyday routine and lose yourself to a rather mundane existance ;-) This is exactly what we needed, at the end of a very long and cold Ohio winter to lift our spirits and focus on us for a change. Pure joy, I tell you. Pure joy. :-)