It was a wildlife expedition when the Miller's showed up at our place for their Spring Break! Our kids loved showing off the "friends" they have met since we moved to a new climate. This butterfly wasn't a new friend, but he made it into the pool cage somehow and landed right on Holden. He was tortured for hours for his folly and we are unsure of his current whereabouts, but you can bet he learned his lesson about wandering into the Prachar abode again! Holden quickly showed Isaac all the fun places to catch lizards (we have called them geckos until we were corrected by Isaac, something about their toes makes them not geckos...he was the resident lizard/gecko expert and we had some learning to do!!) and they spent countless hours at that activity during the week!
We have admired our neighbor's lemon tree for long enough and having company gave us the nerve to ask if we could help with their overburdened tree just behind our back yard. We were given permission to pick and here is some of our crop.
We planned to make lemonade and the kids were pretty excited about our harvest:They proceeded to "help" make lemonade. Here is our recipe after many tries: 2 cups lemon juice, 1 cup sugar, fill the two liter pitcher the rest of the way up with cold water. The weather has turned downright AMAZING over the past couple weeks. It was like we had this winter (by Florida standards) that suddenly one day turned into summer! It has been sunny and low 80s with no humidity consistently and cools down nicely at night (you need your winter coat, i.e. sweatshirt if you are out in the morning or evening)! The pool is still VERY cold, but it didn't stop the kids. Troy went into vacation mode and read the paper by the pool on Saturday morning while Lora and I went for a run. Riley joined in reading the funnies.
We went to the beach on Saturday and were careful to watch the time so we didn't get sunburned too badly...to no avail. Seems the spray sunscreen didn't rub around at all, so the areas not directly sprayed got really red. Not one of us was spared. We had to spend the rest of the week looking like tourists! Sunday they attended church with us and we relaxed OUT of the sun.
We made it down to the pier just in time for a sunset one night:
And were rewarded with seeing a sting ray on the pier. They are apparently a nuisance to the fishermen, so he received this treatment:
The kids were fascinated by the fishermen and the big boys (Paul and Troy) had all kinds of questions for them. One ended up sending us home with a tiny taste of his catch.
Monday the Millers traveled just south of us to spend the day with Troy's Aunt Marcy and her husband. They had a great time snorkeling and finding all kinds of neat ocean life, while Paul worked and I did some blogging business and cleaning and relaxing! When they got back, we had decided we were going out for seafood to one of the restaurants along the bay. We arrived at our destination that was recommended to us by a local and had a long wait (can you imagine they didn't have immediate seating for a party of 10??), so we used our time making up games and watching the kids play in the shells/gravel. Here we were golfing with shells to see who could get their shell closest to the hole without going in:
Later that game turned into something more like quarters as we all tried to bounce our shells into the hole. We had to stop when the hole was completely filled. I noted that whoever tried to put the umbrella on that table was not going to be happy with us! BUT, it kept us all occupied for MOST of the 1 1/2 hour wait!
We were totally starved when we sat down (good scheme, we thought everything was fabulous that didn't eat us first!) The kids were given WikiStix to play with for a distraction and they had a great time creating things with them. Holden immediately used his to spell out what he could of the alphabet:
And Gabe made a stick man:
We finally got our food and inhaled it, right about bed time (it was a school night). We took our full tummies and kids home to bed! On Tuesday, we headed to Agape Flights for a guided tour:
Riley's class also was there for a field trip, so we got to see his class and say hello. They posed with the plane for a class picture.
Isaac is watching them from the offices looking down into the hangar and mail room:
After our tour, we headed off to Siesta Key. Troy brought his snorkel gear again, but the day was cloudy and it even sprinkled on us a couple times, so he had a harder time finding things than he did on Monday, but he still managed to bring in some sea urchin shells and sand dollars, spotted a sting ray and even swam through a school of fish! The kids LOVED the powdery white sand. They all agreed it was like flour (and is just as hard to get off your body) and very fun for shaping into sand castles or mermaid's "legs":
The Millers headed out to Tampa to the zoo on Wednesday and to spend the night to turn in their rental car and get to the airport in a timely manner. We were all sad to see them go! The best times we had were not those I have pictures of. I really didn't manage to get many pictures of their visit. The kids played so well together we didn't even know they were there sometimes! We will always treasure the time we had picking their business brains for suggestions and marketing ideas, and for development advice for Agape. Troy and Lora were a huge encouragement to us while they were here. Lora had to put up with running with me through the neighborhood, and I got plenty of good girlfriend chatting in! Thanks so much Millers! We are looking forward to making this a yearly event!
5 days ago