Archive for the 'Happy' Category

Scuba Diving Class 1 – Pool Time

This Friday is Zach’s 30th birthday, and in a few weeks, my 38th. So we decided to get scuba certified, something we’ve been talking about for at least a year. Let me just be clear that I am scared to death of scuba diving.

Yesterday morning, Zach had to take off his mustache.

shaving to scuba

Then we biked over to the Captain’s Corner dive center, and found this behind a white picket fence:

scuba path

We waited patiently for our instructor to arrive:

waiting to scuba sara

waiting to scuba zach

After paperwork and intros, we watched videos and reviewed text for a few hours. We took a stretch break and popped over to a new Italian coffee shop that is open until 10 ish at night. Newly established, it’s the only late-night coffee shop in town! The delicious latte helped us power through the rest of lessons.

Then, it was time to squeeze into wetsuits and gear up for a pool dive.

zach squeezing into scuba wetsuit

Turns out that one wetsuit wasn’t warm enough for either of us, so we both put on a balaclava-looking layer.

For the first 10 minutes, I struggled against having my mask flood with water whenever I took out my respirator and put it back in. Duane, our instructor, got me a smaller mask and I was OK.

sara scuba ok

Then, I struggled trying to sink to the bottom, so Duane added more weights. Here’s a video taken about 45 minutes later, after I stopped panicking and finally caught on:

Zach went diving for the first time last year in Israel, and he was a natural.

zach in the scuba pool

But needed Duane’s help getting out of the heavy gear!

heavy tank zach

A friend had the Boogedy for the afternoon, so after dive class we took ourselves to Santiago’s Bodega, one of my favorite restaurants in town.

Happy Birthday to us!

santiagos after scuba

I went home and the real panic attacks started during the huge lighting/thunderstorm we had last night. I kept imagining all the horrible things that could go wrong! I’m not giving up yet, though, because I haven’t even seen any good stuff. The bottom of a pool isn’t exactly thrilling, but I’m sure seeing dolphins, sharks, fish, and coral will be!

Dive Class 2 happens tomorrow. First pool time, then books, then our first open-water dive. I’m not so sure about this yet….

May trip to Chicago

At the beginning of May, we headed up to Chicago so that Zach could go to a work conference. We went early in order to visit his sister and her family over the border in Indiana for a few days. Here are some photos of our adventures.

Our first visit to Lake Michigan. The Boogedy couldn’t believe that water got that cold without being ice.

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Zach and The Boogedy and Cousin J jumped all over the giant dunes at Indiana Dunes State Park.

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We went for a short hike at Coffee Creek, where we found an earthworm and offered Zach’s sister Sarah $50 to eat it. She declined on the grounds of being vegetarian. Later, though, she confessed that worms just give her the heebie-jeebies and it was all she could do not to gag at the mere thought.

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I picked dandelions during a walk through the neighborhood and braided them into a sticky crown for Prince Charming.

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The next evening we went back to the lake with the whole family and searched the pebble zone for perfect “skipping stones.”

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I can do it:

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But Zach has better…style:

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After Zach left for the Windy City, that left me and the Boogedy with a few days to spend with the cousins.  We went to iCream, where you can design your own ice cream. You choose your base (ice cream, non-fat, soy, yogurts), your favorite flavor, your favorite color (it’s very popular to choose the “wrong” color for a familiar flavor), and toppings. Here is the Boogedy, and cousins S and J, waiting for their treats. The little boys are thrilled. Anyone with a teenager knows that the big kid is playing video games.

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Here the worker is adding the custom mixture to the Kitchenaid. On the left you can see the vapor from the addition of Liquid Nitrogen (!), which freezes the ice cream fast.

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I chose Key Lime with graham crumbs on top, dyed purple. You know, because that’s just not right. I got the serious jitters from this snack. And I mean bad. I wonder how much sugar or chemicals this had! Aside from the fun-factor, I wasn’t impressed at the deliciousness.

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After the treats, Sarah and I took the boys to the Lincoln Park Zoo, which was very nice. I loved taking a spring vacation. Before I moved to the tropics, spring was always my favorite season. Nowadays, I don’t get to see tulips, daffodils, and chartreuse willow trees. It was lovely!

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Sarah drove us home via the scenic route, along Lakeshore Drive. She used to have an apartment in the John Hancock building, the one with the two antennae.

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These boys are the giggly-est, and did great on all car trips.

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Sarah, Todd, and I hung around drinking Lattes (from Todd’s super-fancy espresso machine) and Greyhounds (fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice and vodka) and letting the kids play. We’ve known each other for about 18 years, and it’s always fun to catch up.

On our last day of vacation, we all headed back into town to meet up with Zach and walk through Chicago. We loved The Bean, though I kept losing track of my kid. It was very disorienting.

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Then, we walked along the Magnificent Mile to the John Hancock building, where we rode the elevator to the 96th floor for drinks! I look relaxed in this photo but I was WRECK. I don’t care for heights and the view was, literally, breathtaking.

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I love visiting family. Thanks for hosting us Sarah and Todd! I am looking forward to a big family reunion in scenic Southern Utah later this month, and short jaunt afterward to Texas to visit my sweet mom and sisters.

Chicken Fight at the Blue Angels!

sara chicken fightdiana chicken fight

Here we are: me on Zach’s shoulders and the Boogedy atop Diana a few weekends ago at the Blue Angels Air Show!

The air stunts were awesome and amazing and superlative, but my camera was no good at capturing them. If you want to see great shots, try this facebook link for the Key West Naval Air Station. The views of the Keys from their planes are the best!

After watching the show, the Boogedy and I jumped on the bungee trampolines. Back flips! Double back flips! This was great fun. Then I got off and realized I was a little dehydrated, overheated, had craned my neck to the sky for the last hour, and hadn’t done any situps in…um, forever.  My head and abs were so sore.

sara jumparoo

The kid figured out how to do flips immediately and had a blast. HE never complained about any pains at all.

archo jumparoo

M’s Mittens

Zach and the Boogedy and I came to Washington DC to visit family for the week. This cold weather makes me want to knit, and I was really glad I brought some scraps of Koigu pppm on the plane to play around with. My 6-year-old niece flipped over the idea that I might make something just for her. I really only had enough to make some tiny, ribbed fingerless mitts.

Fingerless mittens

She hounded me every day to make sure I finished them! Every little kid should have an aunt who knits something special when she comes to town!

folded hands fingerless mittens

These mittens were even more exciting than the nutella-filled crepes we made the kids for breakfast (which I forgot to wash off before photographing these mitts).

Fingerless mittens

Here are some photos of the cousins piling stuff on top of my brother-in-law while he tried to work last night:

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Getting off the Rock: Orlando and the Upper Keys

We’ve done a fair bit of in-state traveling this winter:

Back in December, the Boogedy and I went up to Key Largo to go camping with Zach and Daisson during their Keys biking and kayaking trip. Here’s the boy in the mosquito netted hammock:

mosquito hammock

Later, dinner at Num Thai with Zach and Daisson.

thai boys

Chilly morning at the campground!

camping

 

After camping, the day warmed up and the Boogedy and I fed the Indigo Parrotfish at Theater of the Sea in Islamorada. This was AWESOME. They swam between our legs and ate from our hands. These were the prettiest fish I have ever seen.

blue fish

In January we went to DisneyWorld in Orlando (details tomorrow). Before heading to the theme park each day, we headed to Starbucks because the coffee at DW was….unsatisfactory.

On this sunny morning, we sat outside the coffee shop while the Boogedy pulled pennies from the fountain. He handed them to this baby so that she could have fun throwing them back in. Such a nice boy.

orlando fountain

The McDonalds in Orlando had an awesome playland, which the our kid saw from the car and begged to visit. Here is Zach, asleep near the shoe  cubbies.

asleep in playland

And here is the Boogedy, in the coolest McDonalds bathroom ever.

mcdonals bathroom

On our way home from Orlando, we stopped at an Alligator Farm in the everglades and snapped a couple of pictures:

alligator skin

When I saw these alligator babies (maybe 2 ft long) I thought of my niece, Rachel. As a young teenager, she once expressed the absolute WILLIES about the koi store where the fish swam slick and slippery all over each other! She couldn’t control the shudders.

alligator babies

Then just last weekend, while on our own kayaking trip in the upper Keys, we stopped for lunch at Habanos, a yummy Cuban restaurant in Islamorada. This is the view of the marina and mural from our table. I love the fence.

habanos

Here is the view of my boys, horsing around at the table. I love these goofballs.

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Kayaking the Mangrove Tunnels

paddle family

Part of Zach’s job with his adventure travel company is tour development and research. So Saturday Zach and I took the Boogedy up to mile marker 77 to Robbie’s to experience a true Keys Adventure: kayaking through the mangrove tunnels.

mangrove toes

Even though I’ve lived in the Keys for 2 years, this is the first time I have gone! Mostly I just let Zach paddle while I relaxed and tried not to think about the crabs crawling on the branches overhead.

The tide was really low and we saw purple squishy sea sponges growing amongst the roots.

mangrove sea sponge

I snapped a bunch of pictures, only to find that most contained two whole boys and half of my own face.

mangrove family

I caused a bunch of anxiety for this beautiful bird by standing up in my kayak to take his photo, but he never flew away.

mangrove bird

Oh look, just half of Zach’s face!

mangrove portrait

We caught sight of a small (4.5 ft) endangered American crocodile. We followed him through the mangroves, while he gave us the side-eye. Then, he bumped into a root and spooked himself and submerged with a splash.

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I hadn’t been on the water since we capsized a hobie cat way back in September, and it was NICE. Truly relaxing, sunny, warm. All the things people come to the Keys to experience at this time of year.

relaxing in the kayak

We bought several buckets of fish to feed to the Tarpon, massive (5-8 ft long) game fish that live near the marina. You have to be careful because they jump out of the water and open their huge mouths and they will bite your hands. They don’t have teeth, but Zach can testify that they still scrape.

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After kayaking, we headed back toward Key West and stopped to check out a hotel that Zach may have guests stay at during their Keys Adventure. We laid in their hammock for quite a while, while the Boogedy played on the playground. I love the palm trees reflected in our sunglasses.

hammock portrait 1

We stopped for a round of night-golf at Boondocks. I love the landscaping here. Mini-golf has become a staple for family activities and we usually hit a course whenever we travel.

mini golf kid

On Sunday, our neighbors had organized a community barbeque in our shared garden. J&B grilled ribs and a whole chicken, as well as some herbed veggies. I brought a huge salad with red onions, pears, and blue cheese, and made a balsamic vinaigrette with shallot and mustard. There were lots of other potluck items, and I think everyone was a little surprised at how much of the cherry pie I ate! That fakey ruby red cherry pie filling is some kind of a weakness for me, and I just can’t resist.

It was such a lovely weekend!

Shiny Black Glass Beads

I’ve had a few lessons on making lampwork beads, something I’ve been wanting to learn for years and years. This small handful represents two sessions of progress. The first week I made a bunch of smallish plain black beads and the polka dotted ones. The second week I made the fancy flower ones. I’ve labeled the two made by my teacher, Debby Weaver, so you can see what I was going for on those flowers.

Debby taught me using black glass because it is visibly obvious how molten the glass is, whereas some of the other colors take more experience to work with. A few of my polka dotted beads cracked clean in half in the kiln because of temperature irregularities before I put them in there.

I really wish I had the space and money to take this up as a real hobby. I love doing it, and I feel like I’m pretty good at it, considering that I made that black/periwinkle/mint polka dot bead in the center on Day One! I wish Debby weren’t going back home to Maryland next month!

Handmade Presents for ME!

Months and months ago I participated in on of those Handmade Pay it Forward gift exchange dealies on Facebook. I sent Sunshine a baby chick hat for her tiny daughter.

This weekend I received some handmade goodness in the mail from her!! Check out these cute and super strong refrigerator magnets.

My favorite is cake.

Now I can retire the ugly bottle opener and ridiculous knife sharpener that I had been using to hold up the Boogedy’s artwork!

Also, she sent this adorable garland that says “Frosty”.

I wish I had had time to take it to the beach and model it there! But here I am in front of my neighbor’s house, with their garden composed of vegetation that is considered “houseplants” in most of the country!

Also, Sunshine was kind enough to send me a jar of Mentholatum, which must not be popular in the south, because no one here carries it. A few weeks ago I had the worst cold, and all I could find was nasty ol’ Vicks!

Sunshine, this was such an awesome box to receive. Thank you so much for making me these gorgeous presents!

Kite Day

I bought this peacock kite for Zach back in May when I was visiting my family in Salt Lake City. I just love World Market. Zach put it together today. It had dangly, gangly bamboo legs and long tail feathers and was made from painted silk. (Look at both my boys wearing handmade leather shoes I made for them!)

It had the prettiest face. We debated just hanging it from our ceiling for decoration, but ultimately decided on giving our kid the experience of flying a kite, which he had never done before.

Run, run…  But not too fast, it’s just silk and bamboo!

Ah! Flight! Joy!

Damn. Total flight time: 120 seconds.

I made a delicious braided bread braid filled with sweetened cream cheese and homemade lemon curd a few weeks back. I shared some with Paige because it was too pretty to keep to myself. The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite websites for great food.

Here are the spotty orchids currently in bloom by my front door.

I took the kid and dog to the playground 3 or 4 nights ago and stood on a fire ant hill. Fire ant bites form pustules that sting and itch like mad; if you scratch them, they pop open and spread sticky gold fluid all over and they just itch more. Look how far the redness extends…you should see the toe with FOUR bites on it!! Fire ant stings peak at 48 hours for me, so 6 hours after this photo was taken, I was begging Zach to PLEASE find the anti-itch spray so I could get some sleep!

This is my Sunday view. Looking at the washing machines, and eating bread and butter from Sandy’s Cafe.

This rainy day photo was taken back at the beginning of the rainstorm that caused the flooding. We were tired of being cooped up inside, so we took our umbrellas for a walk to the pier.

Despite the rain, the water was crystal clear, and we could see Parrotfish down amongst the rocks! Hmm, he is hard to see in this picture. Click here for someone else’s better photo.

I pulled over on my bike to take a photo of this glorious passionflower vine in a pot.

The Boogedy went to the new office with dad to help run network cables after Goombay Festival. This activity was deemed more fun than the festival itself, so much so that he forgot his tummy ache, which he’d had for days, and which the funnel cake and hot dog did nothing to stop.

 

 


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