Instawhat: Photo Dump

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Hi there.  We’ve been busy living summer.  This here’s a photo dump of what I posted on Instagram for the end of June and most of July.  These pictures pretty much sum up our summer thus far.  See that freckle faced boy?  Poor Casper has skin just like his mommy & daddy… fair & freckled.  No amount of sun leaves a tan on him.  Not that the constant application of 55 spf helps that situation.  It does, however, help that whole skin cancer issue.  You’re welcome, Bug.

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I never thought about this when we were naming him, but I am thankful that we chose a short, easy to spell, easy to write name for our son.  He’s been able to spell Eli for months, and now he’s figuring out how to write it.  This was the first time I had him try it (though they may have practiced at school).  With the exception of the letters themselves being backwards, I was was really impressed.

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I manage a full service restaurant.  We all know that.  We also cater.  Catering is kind of my baby at work, and we went from rarely catering (like, maybe once a year) to catering events 6-8 times a year.  I love being able to cook something fresh for someone’s wedding or birthday.  I also love the challenge of making a beautiful, delicious meal in an unconventional setting… makeshift kitchen, cooking out of coolers, etc.  We have yet to cater an event where people weren’t really happy, and that makes all of the stress of the organization and timing totally worth it.  This particular wedding was at the same estate where Hubby and I got married, which made it extra special for me.  This couple’s first dance was to Jack Johnson’s “Better Together,” which happens to be the same song that Hubby & I shared our first dance to almost 7 years ago.  I was very excited about that.  Also, the couple had their first date at our restaurant, which I thought was pretty awesome.  It sideways torrential downpoured about thirty minutes before that photo was taken.  Yay for improvising & for portable sunshades!

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Hubby and I got to go golfing.  By ourselves.  We laughed a lot.  Love that man.

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Fourth of July to me is celebrating with friends and family on the beach and watching the fireworks go off over the water.  This year we were able to share the evening with our new friends from church, some of whom had never experienced the 4th the way we do it in a coastal town.  Our little boy got to play with all of his buddies… I was in heaven watching him be so excited and happy.

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After breakfast one morning, Bug said, “Mommy, let’s snuggle.”  Couldn’t say no to that.  Plus, we were both wearing our tie-dyed shirts that we made together.

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Random boat trip on the Myakka River.  We packed a lunch, cruised for a bit and just spent time together.  It was a beautiful day with my boys.

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A long time ago, when I first started blogging, I had a Pineapple Project.  A pineapple grew from a pineapple grew from a pineapple plant I had planted and I documented the process.  That first pineapple was 4 years ago.  That same plant grew another fruit the following year.  The original plant died off, leaving a pup plant, which is what pineapple plants do.  That pup finally bore fruit this year.  Usually, pineapples start growing in the summer and are ready to eat by December or so… or, at least, my last two pineapples followed that timeline.  This guy started growing in the winter (which was very warm) and was ripe by summer.  The cold snap we had in the middle of that is probably what made him a munchkin pineapple.  He was seriously tiny, but oh-so-sweet and tasty.

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We closed for three days at work to do some remodeling and maintenance work.  In three days we managed to empty the kitchen of nearly all of the equipment, re-tile the kitchen, office & dry storage areas, re-pave the parking lot, sand down and re-epoxy the bar top, paint several inside doors, paint some furniture, paint the outdoor patio floor, paint the walls in dry storage and deep clean all of the equipment and pretty much the entire inside of the restaurant.  And, proudly, the only thing that we didn’t do ourselves was the kitchen floor & the parking lot.  I wore a face mask for three days, but it was totally worth it to see the outcome.  Also, it was amazing how many customers walked across the blocked off and freshly tarred parking lot to see if we were closed.

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We went on a mini-vacation with my parents to Steinhatchee.  Steinhatchee is a really small town on a rive that leads out to the Gulf in the armpit of Florida.  I don’t mean it’s smelly… it’s just in the curve of Florida before the panhandle.  The scalloping there in the summer is awesome… you snorkel on the grass flats and pick up the most delicious little bay scallops.  We had a great long weekend, but it rained a lot so there wasn’t actually a lot of scalloping to be done.

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There is definitely a Hungry Howie’s on the river.  You can call in your order when you are done fishing or scalloping or whatever and then go pick it up by boat.  This made a pregnant lady very happy.

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This is how Bug spends his time in the boat.  Catching, naming, playing with and then releasing bait fish and shrimp.  It is amazing how quickly those little hands can grab a pin fish.

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While swimming at the beach house, Bug turned Aunt Millie in to an elephant.  He’s quite the magician.

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After swimming at the beach house, Bug & I went for $0.99 ice cream at our favorite farm market, Detwiler’s.  Kid takes his ice cream seriously.

What have you been up to this summer?

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Instawhat: Week of 6/16

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For the first four months of this pregnancy I was so tired that I spent every free moment napping.  Finally, about a month ago, I started exercising again.  I’ve been running once or twice a week and, man, does it feel good.  Don’t worry, I’ve been taking it super easy… alternating jogging for 5 minutes or so and then walking for a few minutes.  There is a great, wide bike trail that runs throughout our county that I take advantage of as often as I can… mostly because it is full of views just like this.

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We spent the weekend with Uncle Chris & Aunt Millie (Bug’s Godparents) and Chris’ wonderful kids Karley & Timothy.  Chris’ grandmother has a home right on the beach here in Venice, so we took advantage of the fact that she is up north for the summer.  That’s Hubby and the kids heading from the pool to the beach.  Rough life, huh?

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Buggers and Karley enjoying an awesome surf & turf dinner on the grill.

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When Hubby told the kids that he brought fireworks, they were excited.  When he told Uncle Chris, he might have jumped up and down a little bit.  Proof that boys never really grow up.  They just get big enough to use lighters all by themselves.

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Yeah fireworks on old crab traps!

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Sunday morning swim session/water gun fight.  What else would you do after breakfast?

What did you do this weekend?

Instawhat: Week of 1/27

So, I forgot to post this stuff last week, which is actually okay since I also forgot to take a single picture on my phone last week.  Which, really, isn’t a bad thing.  We had a great week and focused more on each other than the pictures 🙂

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My favorite foodie event of the whole year is Forks & Corks, which is put on by a local restaurant group that we belong to called the Sarasota Originals.  Forks is held in the courtyard of the beautiful Ringling Museum and consists of about 50 local, independent restaurants as well as about 70 vineyards from around the world.  The coolest part to the wine enthusiasts (my dad & I included) that attend this event is that many of the winemakers and vineyard owners come to our town to represent their wines.  It’s like meeting celebrities.  Tickets go for $85 ($150 for VIP)… this year, they went on sale in early November and they sold out of 1200 tickets in THREE HOURS.  Amazing.  Luckily, we get to be one of the restaurants there.  We served pork belly with edamame fried rice and a sweet soy drizzle.  We were named the Best of Show.  No big deal.  We also drank a lot of amazing wine.  While we served food.  Also no big deal.

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Bug loves helping wash the car.  He’s getting pretty good with the hose.  Also, it was warm enough on a January day to actually play in the hose.  Be jealous.

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Just doing a puzzle in my underwear.  With my tummy hanging out.  Big man.

Instawhat: Week of 10.8

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Bug’s attempt at wearing a blanket like a dress.  He walked around like that for a good ten minutes.  If you weren’t aware… 10 minutes = about an hour in toddler time.

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We visited the fountains downtown on Friday.  (And again on Saturday.  And then again yesterday.)  Bug kept getting down and paddling his brick surfboard and then popping up and surfing.  This kid’s imagination has no end.  I love it.

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One day last week I made Vanilla Bean Cocoa Nib Meringues.

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They were so delicious that I’ve made two batches since.  I’ll post the recipe soon!

Hurricane Day… Kind Of

Yesterday was a hurricane day.  Growing up in Florida, I’ve been through a lot of hurricane days, with yesterday being the most anti-climactic that I can remember.  Thanks, Isaac, for a whole lotta nothin’.  **Side note – I say that, but in reality, obviously, I am thankful for nothing when it comes to hurricanes.  At least we have the chance to prepare for natural disasters, and I would much rather prepare and have nothing come of it than not be able to prepare at all.  And, of course, my thoughts and prayers are with those who were actually affected by Hurricane Isaac.**  This particular hurricane day was determined all the way back on Saturday with the county calling of school for Monday.  48 hours is a long time in hurricane land.  Way back on Saturday, we were still in the “cone of uncertainty.”  By Sunday morning, right about the same time Walmart ran out of water, we were no longer in said cone.  Yet, schools and government offices were still to be closed… which pretty much still made everybody think that there was some serious imminent danger headed our way.

We did some minor stuff at home in case we got heavy winds, like putting the potted plants in the garage and moving the patio furniture up against the house.  At work, we pulled all of the patio furniture inside just in case.  By Sunday afternoon it was pretty clear that we didn’t need to put hurricane shutters up.  It was pretty windy & rainy Sunday night, but nothing too crazy.  All of that meant that, this morning, I got to put all of the patio furniture at work back outside.  I was standing out on the patio, moving tables and chairs at 9:00 with the sun beating down on me.  Sure felt like a hurricane day.  Not.  And, other than bands of rain and wind every hour or so, the only reason it felt like a hurricane day was due to the ghost town feeling around town.  Not many cars on the roads, not many people out for lunch, not many businesses open.  Needless to say, I was happy to cut out of work a little early and spend some time with my family… my family that didn’t have school or work and therefore pretty much just got a free pass to play all day.

The best thing about Hurricane Isaac (or Tropical Storm Isaac as it was when it passed near-ish to our area) was the surf.  You see, we live on the southwest coast of Florida.  When a tropical system comes into the gulf, we have the potential to get really good surf, which doesn’t happen that often on our side of the state.  However, if a storm is too close to the coast, the surf is to choppy and rough and therefore sucky.  Hubby, being a surfer, went from being hopeful that we were going to get a storm to slightly depressed that it was going to be too close for good surf to super excited that it had moved far enough west.  If you know any surfers, especially in Florida, then you know that they are probably the only people that really look forward to hurricane season.  And, yes, Hubby woke up at 6:30 this morning and hit the water at sunrise.

Though I didn’t mind being at work, I was bummed that I couldn’t spend the day on the beach with him.  Hurricane days out on the beach are some of my favorite memories.  It is gray and windy and rainy, but also very warm and balmy and sticky.  As the storm surge comes in, the beach starts to disappear and things just look so… different.  And beautiful.  The waves start out small in the morning and grow exponentially until the wind gets on it too much and the waves get blown out.  The quickness of it all is what makes hurricane swells so different from regular swells.  It is such a peaceful and humbling feeling to be sitting on a surfboard in the rain.

When we were in college, we used to come home for hurricane swells and spend the whole day out on the beach.  We’d get out there as soon as it was light out.  I’d surf with the boys until the waves got too big for me.  The current moves really quickly with storm swells, so there was a lot of drifting past the best break and then walking back up the beach to do it all over again, the storm surge creeping up higher and higher with every drift.  I’d sit on the beach and just watch the boys doing what they love best.  I’d watch the rain and the wind and the way it moved things around.  Or, I’d nap in the back of the Toaster (our beloved Honda Element).  Oh, how I love sandy beach naps in the Toaster.  We’d grab some lunch at whichever beachside restaurant had the balls to stay open and hit the water again until the waves were too blown out or the rain was too hard or the wind was too dangerous.  I loved those days… with the salt sticking to my skin and my hair.

Fishin’ in Boca

I was all set to label this post as being Bug’s first fishing trip.  But then I remembered that we took him fishing last year.  Except for he didn’t actually fish… he just played in the pack-n-play in the boat.  Not that he really fished this time, either, but at least he was there and more involved than a year ago.

You see, Hubby & I love to fish.  I hadn’t been fishing in FOREVER and every time lately that Hubby has gotten to go, I haven’t been able to join him.  So, we carved out some time on a random Sunday a couple of weeks ago and took our little boat down to Boca Grande.  It was awesome.  We got up super early (and by that I mean 6:30… which is super early for me) and fished for a couple of hours before stopping at a cute little place on the water for brunch.  Buggy mostly just played in the boat, but he did fish a little bit with his Cars pole and helped me reel my line in.  He also got to touch the fish that we caught.

For awhile, when he was younger, Bug was very antsy in the boat.  He didn’t want to sit still while we were moving fast, which made it pretty much a pain to take him out on the water.  Now, though, he loves to sit on your lap while we are zipping around, which is SO much easier and so much fun.  He also likes to wear Daddy’s hat over his face (he can see through the little holes up top & thinks it’s hilarious).

Swimmin’ Boy

Last weekend we celebrated the 6th birthday of Bubba, aka Timothy, who is the son of Bug’s Godfather.  When I say we, I really mean Hubby & Bug… I only got to stay for about 20 minutes before I had to go to work.  BUT, in those 20 minutes, I had the pleasure of watching my boy do his favorite thing… swim!

He has this awesome swim trainer thing that pretty much allows him to, well, swim.  This kid is something else in the water.  He’ll stand on the steps, jump right in, kick his feet and wave his arms.  He can swim a few feet out from the steps, turn around and swim back to the steps with this tubey thing.  And, look how happy he is!

Buggy swam for almost an hour with his buddies Karley & Timothy… what a lucky guy!  Side note: do you like Hubby’s beard?  He’s planning on keeping it around until his test at the end of October.

Captiva

A couple of weekends ago, my cousin got married on Captiva Island… more specifically at South Seas Plantation, which is about 2 hours away from home.  This is where we used to vacation as kids and it holds a very special place in the hearts of my whole family.  We spent the whole weekend hanging out with family, walking on the beach and relaxing in the pool.  I didn’t take many pictures of the weekend because, well, I was too wrapped up in having a good time.

  The wedding itself was perfect.  The ceremony was on a rocky point facing the sunset.  The groom was beaming and the bride was more stunning than I can possibly describe.

The reception was one of the most fun receptions I have ever attended.  I can’t believe I don’t have pictures!  Let me start by saying that my cousin has been in a couple of bands (mostly made up of the same guys) over the last 12 years and his father (my uncle) is also a musician.  When I was first in college, the only people I hung out with were my cousins & the band guys.  Instead of hiring a band, they just set up their equipment and played.  It wasn’t like a wedding reception… it was like a rock show at a bar.  It was like old times, except for now we are all married and some of us have a little less hair and bad backs (sorry, guys).  The best part… I got to share it all with Hubby.  He has always heard stories of the old days, but that night he got to experience it with me.  Amazing.

The other super awesome part about the weekend was the pool.  The resort has a couple of wading pools, which are perfect for kids.  Bug could run right into the water.  He was in. heaven.

He was so excited about the pool that we never actually took him to the beach.  I am all about the clean fun of the pool as opposed to the super sandy fun of the beach.  In my defense… we do have a beach at home!  And we use it!

My wonderful, sweet mother-in-law and my equally as wonderful sister-in-law drove down to babysit Bug after the ceremony so that Hubby and I could enjoy the reception.  And stay out late!  And have a few drinks!  And sleep in!  Of course, we still only slept until 8, but whatever… it was wonderful.

What was the best wedding (besides your own!) that you have attended?

Indo Baby

Hubby is a surfer.  Not that he gets to surf very often these days, but he will always be a surfer nonetheless.  When we were in college, we both rode longboards (long, surf style skateboards) to class.  We took every opportunity we could to travel to the beach for even the smallest swell.  We spent a spring break and then a whole summer in Costa Rica traveling to the best surf spots.  Hubby gets excited for hurricane season because it means that we might actually get some decent waves on the west coast of Florida.  When I was pregnant, we joked that our baby would be deathly afraid of the water.  Luckily, thus far, this is not the case.  We’ve got a serious water baby on our hands.

Years ago, while we were still in college, I bought Hubby an Indo Board for balance, agility & strength training for when he had to go long periods without surfing.  There may or may not have been a lot of wipe-outs in those days, when we were all a little more apt to trying out bold moves on the Indo.  Now, we pretty much just go back & forth.  ‘Cause, you know, we’re old and scared of hurting ourselves.

Recently, Bug has become really interested in the Indo Board.  He loves standing and sitting on it when it’s on the ground (not on the cylinder) and he loves when we help him stand or sit on it with the cylinder, moving it back & forth.  He’d actually rather not hold our hand while we do this, but we make him.  He’s also a fan of trying to climb on it while it’s on the cylinder, but Momma doesn’t like that too much.  SCARY.

I’m thinking we may have a future grom on our hands!

What do you think your baby/child will be into as they grow older?

Vacation Snippets: The Falls

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Okay, so the Falls is really just a small waterfall, but it is beautiful nonetheless.  Bug really loved playing in the cold water and throwing rocks over his back.  Weird, I know.  Better that than at peoples’ faces, right? And yes, that is a dragon tattoo on my baby.

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