A Toad Abode

This past weekend, we made a super quick trip to our hometown of Pensacola, Florida, to celebrate the 80th birthday of Chris’s grandmother, Grandma Brown.  Grandma Brown has been in my life since I was 15 years old.  She is very special to both Chris and me, and it was so nice to be able to celebrate her with family. We saw family members we hadn’t seen in years.  Unfortunately, I was having such a nice time talking to everyone that I didn’t take a single darn picture.  Chris’s aunt…

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How to Pack for the Beach

We are beach regulars.  During the summer, I try to get out there with the kids about once a week.  Though, they are revolting this week and refuse to go.  What sticks in the mud.  Anyway, after a few summers of beaching it every week, I have become somewhat of a packing ninja. The first thing you have to do is realize that sand is going to get everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  I used to hate the beach.  I grew up on the beach and still didn’t like it that much.  I much…

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Talking to My Kids About Tragedy

As you all know, Orlando has been in shock for the past two weeks as we deal with a horrific tragedy in our community.  Chris and I weren’t really sure what to tell the kids yet, and since we are home for summer, we weren’t really worried about them hearing about it from friends or anything.  So, we were completely unprepared when both of them came running into our bedroom one morning,  yelling, “MOM!  DAD!  49 PEOPLE WERE KILLED IN ORLANDO THIS PAST WEEKEND!” Chris and I hardly ever have…

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When Bean is Away…

For Bean’s 7th birthday, my mom took him on a trip to Washington, D.C.  They are having a blast, and I’ll share details about their trip once they get home and I can hijack my mom’s camera.  For now, she is sending me pictures on her phone every few hours, and I can just see the pure joy on Bean’s face.  It’s his first trip away from home without us, and so far, I think we miss him much more than he misses us! But no one misses Bean more…

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The Mascot Games

This past Saturday, we took the kids downtown to see the Mascot Games.  I had no idea what this was.  Chris got tickets through work, and we figured, “Why not?”  Turns out, it was a lot of fun!  They had all these sports teams mascots there from all over Florida, but also from all over the country, even as far away as Toronto. (This is the bear from our Orlando hockey team, the Solar Bears. My kids LOVE Solar Bears games, and seeing “Shades” was the highlight of their day!)…

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A Perfect Father’s Day Fore Us All!

On Father’s Day, the kids and I took Chris golfing.  It was the first time we have played as a family of four on an actual course, and not just at the driving range. I was a little skeptical at first.  I mean, golf is everything my kids are not – polite, quiet, contemplative, old.  And yet, they rocked it and had a blast in the process! I learned so much about them on the golf course, actually.  For example, I learned that baseball has completely ruined Bean’s golf swing.…

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Ways to Help My City

I’ve continued to post about random pieces of our lives here for the past two days, but make no mistake that underneath all of that perceived “normalcy” my family, my community, my city, and our country are still reeling from the events in Orlando this past weekend.  Our television stations here are showing around-the-clock coverage, our radio stations are broadcasting tributes and updates in between every song they play and some have even stopped playing music altogether.  My Facebook feed is… well, I can barely take it.  Friends mourning people…

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Gracie’s PreK Graduation

Yesterday, my sweet, sassy, spitfire Gracie graduated from preschool!  WHAT?!?! We are so very proud of her and all she has learned this past year.  She had the same preschool teacher as Bean and we could not have been more pleased.   Gracie can write her name (and anything else, if you spell it for her), write uppercase and lowercase letters, knows numbers up to 200, can sound out words, can read the Step One beginning reader books, and can even tie her shoes.  She knows all about China and…

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Happy 7th Birthday, Bean!

Last Wednesday, Bean turned seven years old. SEVEN. As in, the number between six and eight. As in, WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?! On his birthday, we sprung him out of school and went to Universal for the day. My inner teacher self was totally opposed to this idea, for the record. But I was overruled by my family. And I’m so glad I was because we had such a fun day! Chris’s best friend was in town for the week from New York, so Justin came long, which was great…

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