Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I'd like to be...under the sea...

This post has nothing to do with an octopus' garden. It has everything to do with sting rays and dolphins! It was finally time to take Rozzie for her adventure with a dolphin. She was so excited to go and was a delight on the drive. We got to Discovery Cove and it rained.... We sat it out for 30 minutes and the rest of the day was great. We spent time in the aviary looking at some odd birds and some pretty birds. There was one bird that looked like a FROG!! It isn't an owl, either. Its actually called a tawny frog. Very funny looking.
Roz got hold of this little pink bird and then couldn't get rid of it! She liked it, though. It was very pretty. It even had a few blue feathers on its back.
Here is Roz at Discovery Cove before we got our hair wet. She is sitting in the "lagoon." The lagoon is just a nice big, ocean-looking swimming pool. It is nice and warm!! After going in the saltwater pools which are kept at 75 degrees, the lagoon is like bathwater.
Roz and I snorkeled the lazy river twice. It is part of the lagoon, so it is not salt water. It is a great place to practice the snorkeling. Roz seemed to already know what to do and was really good at it. She even dives down to the bottom which is something I won't do because I know that I'd end up with a mouth full of water. After the lazy river, Roz and I got brave to go in the COLD water. I mean cold. 75 degrees is a lot colder than you think. But we finally acclimated and jumped into the drop off!! Roz was a little freaked out about the size of the sting rays. THEY ARE HUGE - 5-6 feet across! There were lots of fish to look at. At one point, we got caught on a ledge and couldn't off because of all the sting rays swimming past us in very shallow water. It was a little freaky - they have all had their stingers removed, but it is still a little freaky. There is also a specific sting ray lagoon where you can go and are surrounded by sting rays. Again, freaky, but fun. Roz and I had a great time together, just hanging out and swimming. Finally, it was our turn to meet a dolphin. Roz was so excited. She was really bubbly and giddy. Our dolphin was named CJ. There were 8 people in our group. Two of them didn't want to do a swim with the dolphin, but once they saw everyone else do it and saw that it wasn't dangerous or anything, they decided to do it. Here is Rozzie kissing CJ.
Roz told me that dolphins were her 3rd favorite animal (1. flamingo, 2. zebra). Here we are with CJ. He really did seem to enjoy playing with the humans. As the trainer said, if they didn't like playing with us, they'd swim away.Here is Rozzie going for a swim. She held onto the dorsal fin and the flipper and the dolphin pulled her right along. The dolphin is a powerful animal. That was very apparent when hanging on and feeling the animal move! It is a very exhilarating ride.
After our dolphin swim, we got showered up and were off for Tampa. We got there in time to watch the TV specials on both Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. We really had such a fun time together. The next morning we were off to Busch Gardens. Roz got to ride one coaster when the rain started. It rained twice that day and we were under cover for about 2 1/2 hours total. we took that time to get some food. It was pretty packed and we shared a table with two other families. Lightning hit the building and scared everyone pretty good. it was really loud!! Then we were off for more rides.
Here is Rozzie with her #1 favorite animal - flamingos!! She got to see zebras on the train ride, so all her dreams were realized. She saw her top 3 favorite animals!!
We went into the aviary with the lorikeets. they paid her no attention until i spent $5 on food and then they were all over her! She loved it. Mom, if you were wondering, yes, they are your sunglasses on her head!
We had a nice drive home and are happy to be here. I have had 3 weeks of running and I'm ready for a break. I have already painted the chair rail in Morgan's room. I'm happy to have that project done. Next is the girls' bathroom. I have started priming it. As soon as I post this, I'll finish that job! it is nice to be home and get these things done. Morgan and Roz are back at Girl's Camp. Our two Jacksonville stakes were split to make a 3rd stake. We are in the new South Stake. East Stake was having their camp this week and they invited all the new South Stake girls so that they could meet their new friends! My girls were all about that!! it wasn't until Morgan was at the church and realized she didn't know any of the JC's that she got a little nervous. I'm sure she has been just fine. Roz left this morning and knows a few of the girls her age that were going. I'm sure I'll have more to post next week!! Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Grand Finale

It was very exciting, as it was 2 years ago, to go to BYU to see Morgan's concerts at the end of a week of camp!! Katie and I got to BYU and the choir was practicing. So, here is a picture of Morgan with her mouth open, singing - just like she is supposed to do!!
As always, the kids did a great job. The symphony was great. It is truly amazing what they can do with only 5 days of practice. The high light was John Williams' "Superman March." It was a crowd pleaser! Morgan had a good time, learned new things, and made more friends. I am grateful she has the opportunity to go out there for this camp. I tell people it is like EFY for musicians. It was fun to see her again. What really made Morgan happy was that SO MANY people showed up to see her perform. We went out to dinner at the Brick Oven after wards and we had to get a table for a party of 17!!! Katie came with me; Mom and Dad Smith came up from St. George; Karen, Peyton, & Journey came from Pocatello; Dave, Austin, Tyler, Kaitlin, & Chloe came from Syracuse (UT); and Rick, Holly, Autumn, Brooklyn, & Preston came from Park City. A big thanks to EVERYONE for taking the time to travel to Prove and come see Morgan. That means a lot to us!

Morgan is really close to Katie, so they had fun together. Morgan and Peyton have always gotten along great and so that was great to see them together again. Here is Peyton, Karen, Morgan, Katie, and Journey! She is adorable!! She looks so much like Rozzie - we all thought so!
Here is the group. This is all the family:Here the kids are at the Alden's going off to get movies late at night!! All the kids are so grown up and have a lot of fun together. We have Tyler, Morgan, Autumn, Brooklyn, Preston, & Katie!
We made a stop at the Skullcandy office and Morgan had a great time riding the bike around the office!! There is also a wheelchair in the office and Brooklyn had that at the top of the half pipe and we were all a little nervous about that, but she survived!!Father's Day dinner in Park City. I'm so glad Katie spent the weekend with us - thank you!!
OK. So at the time we were happily eating dinner, I should have been driving to the airport. I had mis-read the itinerary and when I discovered my mistake, it was too late and the world and I fell apart. No flights until Monday night. I was charged $600 for new plane tickets. I cried for about 2 hours. Holly came in and patted my leg while I broke the news to Travis. Alden's had to go to a family Father's Day gathering and we were invited, but I just needed some down time. Morgan and I went on a walk and then we shared a little Chinese food. I did some knitting and Morgan played Guitar Hero. We got over it. Monday morning, Holly, Brooklyn, Morgan, and I rode our bikes to the Redstone shopping area and walked around a bit and had some Japanese food for lunch.

After that, Morgan and I were finally on our way to the airport. The flight to Vegas was just fine but that is where it ended. The Vegas to Atlanta and Atlanta to Jacksonville was awful. The flights were 100% full. I got the middle seat both legs. On the red-eye from Vegas, the lady next to me was rather drunk. She wasn't obnoxious or anything, but she smelled so bad, i could hardly stand it. I didn't sleep a wink all night. I think a 3-leg trip is one leg to much for me. I was sick to my stomach and had a headache all day. I had no appetite either - which never happens. I'm recovering and I slept very well last night.

Now I am home to get to my summer break!! I have a lot of things I want to do, but first, we must clean. I did a lot of that today. It feels good to be home and especially to see Travis and Maddie - I haven't really seem them for 2 weeks!

While we were in Utah, the two stakes here in Jacksonville were split up and a third stake was created. Our ward was lopped off to the new South Stake!! It is very exciting. Some of the lines and divisions were surprising, but we are ready for something new and different!! The girls were devastated by the fact that they will be not be in the West Stake's Girl's Camp next year. But I tried to emphasize that they won't be in the East Stake either - we'll be doing something new with the best of both!! Then the big news came in that East Stake was inviting all the new South Stake girls to their camp so they can start meeting their new friends!! Both Morgan and Roz were thrilled with the idea of going back to camp regardless of who's camp it is!! So, we are letting them go. Morgan is off work next week, so why not? They can't wait. They won't know many people so this will be very different. I think it will be a great experience.

That is the news for tonight!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

BYU - Here she comes!!

We unpacked from camp and immediately got ready for our trip to Utah. We had about 13 hours between the two activities. We got to Utah and spent a couple nights with Dave and Lisa and their 6 kids. We had a great time getting to know the kids. They are all so adorable. The girls love their cats and that is something we can really relate to in our house!! Here are some pictures!! Here are the girls: Lisa, Lindsey, Jenni, Sydney, Chloe, and Kaitlin. I guess Morgan was taking the picture. You'll see her in a moment.
Here are the boys: Austin, Dave, and Tyler. I was astonished by Austin's voice!! He sounds just like his father! They are sure nice boys.

Then I dropped Morgan off at her home for the week, Harris Hall of Heritage Halls at BYU!! She has been having a fabulous time. She texts me each day and is really enjoying her time there. I can't wait to see her tomorrow and go to the final concerts.
I left Dave and Lisa's - I had such a nice time with them. we haven't seen each other in a number of years and it was great to catch up and remember what a nice time we have together. I was able to have lunch with my friends from Cincinnati - Nicole and Tina. It was great to see them. We had a LONG lunch and had a lot to talk about. I'm so glad to have this opportunity to see them. We can pick up where we left off and talk and talk. A few tears were shed, but that is what friends are all about. So good to see you, girls!

Today, I had lunch with more friends. These friends are from my childhood/teenhood in Minnesota. Jeannie and Beth (mother and daughter) were very influential in my life. Beth was a great friend and we had such a great time with church friends. We found that we will be in Minnesota at the same and we will be having a reunion of sorts. Any of you from Plymouth 1/2 Wards are invited, date and time to be determined! So exciting. We spent 2 hours at Cafe Rio in Park City. It was such a great afternoon.

After lunch, I drove to Salt Lake and attended the temple there. Nearly 20 years ago, Travis and i were married here. I have only been there one time since then. It was a wonderful experience. I spent a lot of time taking in the artwork and sights. Beautiful!!
Now Katie is here with me in Park City and we are going to Morgan's concerts tomorrow. More pictures to follow!! This last picture is the fan Holly produced for me upon my fan request. I laughed so hard. I works wonderfully but reminds me of an R2 unit it Star Wars!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'm a Beaver...You're a Beaver...

I taught that song to my 2nd level girls at camp and it became a favorite. That's right, last week was Jacksonville Florida West Stake's Girl's Camp! It is always a good time. We go to a state park about 80 miles west of Jacksonville. The way we run camp here reminds me of the camp in the movie "Parent Trap." It is very organized and done on a stake level. The girls stay in cabins with a cabin leader (I was a cabin leader last year). The girls go to classes taught by "camp crafters" (which is what I did this year) for each year of camp. As I said, I was over 2nd level - mostly 13 year old, 8th grade girls. The girls do this for 4 years, as outlined in the camp manual and then their last two years are spent as junior counselors. Morgan was a JC this year and was assigned to a 3rd level cabin. The kids have such a great time. I just can't say that enough. Anyway, I'll just post the pictures. There are too many stories to tell them all. I had a grand time. It was hot. It was buggy. We were stinky. But I wouldn't trade it for the world. This is a picture of our ward that was at camp - girls, leaders, etc. We have a pretty good group and they all get along so well. I just love these people!!
This is a sign on the way into the park. I figure there is a joke behind it, but I don't know what it is. I think it is funny. This is the cabin I stayed in with 9 other ladies. We had a good time. We had a kitchen, but didn't use it. Mostly we used the fridge. The past couple years, there wasn't enough water in the river for the girls to swim. We prayed and prayed for rain this year and boy did we get it. (See my post about the rain and Maddie's room.) This year the river was too high and the risk was too great for people being swept away in the current. The river comes to an end at a sink hold and so being sucked down there would be The End. A lady in the stake brought this pool for the girls to swim in - it was great. Wednesday night, we were all so hot, so I suggested we take a swim in the pool. We went out at about 11:30 and sat in the pool for about an hour. It was the best thing we did all week. I slept so good after that.It is really fun to be at camp with the girls. I try to stay out of their business. I had a number of people say that it wasn't until the end of the week that they realized I was Morgan or Rozzie's mom. So, I think I did a pretty good job of distancing myself. I can't wait until next year when Maddie is at camp, too!!These are my good friends Lani and Donna. It is great to hang out with them for the week. I had just gotten back from my 5 mile hike and so was really icky at the time. I loved my new hat, though - very stylish!One night we have a dance and the girls have such a great time - without boys!! Here is Rozzie with some of her friends at the dance.Here is Morgan and some of her friends!!Skit night is a favorite of all the girls. This year was especially good. The skits were short and really funny. Here is Morgan with one of her three skit groups! They were Smurfs.Here is Rozzie's skit. She is the one in the blue with her arms out. They got the theme of "My Pretty Pony." They rewrote a bunch of Disney songs to include ponies. It was one of the top two skits. This is a picture of some of my level 2 girls. Their cabin counselors made these little cars for the girls. They came in to eat with them one day and were so cute!!
This was the last day and everyone was happy to be going home to a shower and air conditioning! The people here are McCall, Morgan, Lani, Ashley, and Elizabeth. Rozzie made buddies with this girl, Lyndzie (who is a senior) and they had a great time together. They think this picture is really funny.

See, it was so fun!! I can't wait to go back next year with Maddie and even Travis. Travis is planning to go and work in the kitchen so we can all be there together. Yay!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

June bugs

I am in Utah now, but I have a few things to catch up on right now!! School is out and we had Girl's Camp right away. I'll blog about that next. By now, I feel like school is such a distant memory - did it really happen? I hope I'll be ready to go back in August. I'll start here with Rozzie's birthday and you can read about camp later. Here is Rozzie, turning 13. She had some friends over for dinner of Oriental Chicken Salad - which was a delicious choice. Then she requested The Cake with The Frosting. Also a delicious choice. She is looking older, isn't she?
All Travis wanted for his birthday was a trip to St. Petersburg to see the Twins play the Rays. Twins lost, but we had a great day. The girls really enjoyed the game, also. It was a lot of driving for one game, but that is how it works sometimes. GREAT day and quite a few Twins fans.
Rozzie with her full set of braces. She doesn't like them as much as she thought she might. They hurt and are annoying. She looks cute, no matter what!
Maddie was getting stuff out of the dryer and Morgan walked by and lifted her in! She is a funny little kid.
That is really it for now! I'll try to post in another day or two and get the camp stuff on. Then it will be the Utah trip.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Bad Things That Happen

I'll have good stuff to post soon, but people have asked for pictures regarding the damage, so here it is. Maddie was reporting water on her floor in her room. We thought water was coming in at the foundation. We had very heavy rains for many days about two weeks ago. The next day, Maddie reported it was much worse and the ceiling was wet. When you would step on the floor, the water would seep up through the planks. the planks were warping. It was looking very bad. There was nothing we could do, as the rain kept pouring down upon us. Travis called our insurance guy and he put a tarp on the roof where we thought the rain was coming in. By that time, the wall had bubbled under the paint and there were little water balloons of made from the paint. The floor seemed to have about two inches of water on it. Even the dry side of the room was destroyed as the wood expanded and the floor buckled. I came home from school and Maddie declared, "Now my floor is elevated." Mind you, Travis put this floor in last fall/winter. There were now wet spots in the family room and living room. The roofer came and moved the tarp. We had dryers in the house for over a week which were LOUD and made us all very anxious. Even Licky was hissing at everyone and was very tense. It just wasn't a good week. To top it off, that Saturday afternoon, a central branch on the tree in the front yard broke off. The remaining central limb is weakened at the joint and the tree will have to be removed. THEN, the air conditioning went out. Now this week, Morgan had a flat tire at school and we had to replace the tire. We are still waiting on the insurance claim. Travis already bought the replacement wood. W have everything lined up to get fixed, but are waiting on insurance. So, that is all I know. Here are the pictures:

The initial water damage:
Maddie's ceiling - our first indication that it was the roof, not the foundation:
The area affected. You can see how the plants are wet at the junctions.
The ceiling in the family room. I looked up and said, "oh no."
The highest point of the ceiling in the family room - above the fireplace.
The broken tree - you can see the hole!
The branches that came down, finally...
A view from the other side.
The tarp in the valley of death.
The last dryer. There were 5 at one point plus a big space heater. I was afraid the house might burn down with that heater - it was very dry and very hot in that room.
The hole in Maddie's wall. Lani came over to see the damage and the insurance guy was here and we stood there as the rain started AGAIN and the water just ran down the studs in the wall. Lani told Roger that it was like the water walls at the doctor's office!
A close up of the boards. By this time they were dry and had warped and expanded.
You can see how much the floor buckled. This is what Maddie described as "elevated."
A very cute kitty, sleeping on our bed with Maddie's blankie and stuffed kitty. After all the horrible pictures you have just seen, you are in need of cute therapy.