Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Nutcracker

Jen and I took the girls to see the Orlando ballet perform the Nutcracker at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. It was a beautiful day. Here are our beautiful girls dancing...

A Very Mickey Christmas

The Christmas party at Disney with the Simards was spectacular again this year! 70 degree temperatures (but with Disney-created snow), great shows and rides (me and Rich are now officially the record holders with over 150,000 pts on the Lilo and Stich ride which we took entirely too seriously) and amazing fireworks as ever. We stayed over at the Shades of Green (where me and Mike had our first kiss over 11 years ago:)) and Madison hand-fed the coy carp in the morning. Christmas is nearly here...
At the front of the crowd for the parade having been 'told off' by an old woman wearing socks and crocs

The boys enjoying the free cookies and hot chocolates

Crazy Uncle Mike's had far too many....

Jen's Graduation

Jen graduated with her Master's degree this month from USF! She was one of only 4 people (out of over 370) in her graduating year to achieve a perfect score of 4.0. After the ceremony we all went for a meal to celebrate the occasion. We forced Jen to wear her hat through the meal since it made us all feel smarter...Congratulations Jen - we are so proud of you!

Blue Christmas

Maddy's hard work paid off when she performed with her hand bells group at the Sand Pine Elementary Christmas show this year. We were so proud of our baby. Great job Maddy!

Gail's Visit and Thanksgiving

It was such a treat to have Gail here for two whole weeks in November and to have her here for Thanksgiving for the first time! We had a great meal as usual at Jen's, and Gail made me her fantastic Pea and Mint Soup so that I didn't feel deprived for not having turkey for the first time! It was a great visit. We went fishing at the beach and did lots of craftsy stuff. We also managed to get most of our Christmas shopping done at the new mall right around the corner. Black Friday (post-Thanksgiving) shopping was a bit rubbish this year (don't they know there's a recession?) but it turned out that Coldplay tickets (for extended dates in Manchester in September) were released that morning at 4am so I didn't wake up for nothing. Jay-Z is supporting...England here we come..!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


What an amazing show! We were in the very top of the nosebleed section at the Amway theatre in Orlando (which is huge!) but had a great view of the light show and screens so we were perfectly happy. Midway through they came out into the audience and played from the crowd. Everyone let Maddy go to the front (I think she was the youngest person there) and I followed so we ended up about 20 feet away for two whole songs. It was completely amazing! The set included all of their crowd pleasers and tons and tons of confetti in the shape of butterflies! We stayed in a great hotel and spent the next day in downtown Orlando. All in all a perfect weekend!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween

We are so excited about Halloween being on a Friday this year. No work/school the next day! We had Maddy's dance party last week (Maddy and Mya are on the right) and carved the pumpkins tonight. Mike made his traditional pumpkin seeds and we've all eaten way too many! Looking forward to the big night tomorrow...Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Maddy and Sabrina

It's still hot here so for now we're making the most of it (although to be honest I can't wait to get my sweaters and boots out). Maddy had a great time at the pool a couple of weeks ago with Sabrina. They are too cute together!

The other day Maddy called me on the way home from work and asked me to pick up Micky D's which she'd only had the night before. I said "Madison - if I get you McDonalds again, you'll get rickets." She said "I don't want those - I want Chicken Nuggets"...adorable...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Maddy's New Hang Out Room

We finally got done decorating Maddy's 'Hang Out Room' as she calls it. She wanted somewhere that she can play with her BFFFLs (Best Friends Forever For Life) in privacy. Yes - she's growing into a teenager. God help us...

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Labor Day weekend!

We had a great time last weekend in Orlando with Jen, Rich and Mya on our annual Labor Day weekend mini-vacation. We managed to get some pool time despite the feeder bands from the hurricane and had a really relaxing time reading magazines, eating & drinking, making fun of the pageant girls wearing crowns and sashes at breakfast and walking around Downtown Disney and the Boardwalk to watch the Epcot fireworks.

Mike and me in my hat so I don't have to do my hair. I wore it for the whole weekend...
The girls - loving spending time together
The girls hanging with Minnie
Pluto and Bono
Me, some monkey guy and a Disney character
Jen and Rich and the Disney guy

Until next year!

Maddy's First Day in 4th Grade!

All ready to go! Lookin' cute Maddie!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Maddy turns 9!

To celebrate Maddy's birthday this year we decided to have a sleepover with just her two favorite BFFFLs (Best Friends Forever For Life). Sydney and Sabrina came over for the evening and we did crafts, watched a movie, had cake and played with her new Nintendo DS pet! Thank you so much Sydney and Sabrina and Amanda for making it such a special night...4th grade's around the corner....

Monday, July 07, 2008

Good Times at OBX...

We had an amazing time on vacation in the Outer Banks, NC (or OBX as the locals call it). The beach house was absolutely gorgeous - 3 floors, a hot tub, pool and elevator! Our island, Hatteras, had great beaches and scenery - definately worth the 13 hr drive.

The kids loved to do their crafts and journalled every day!

Scott and Mike took the kids kayaking while we stayed home at the 'compound'!

We spent most evenings drinking, singing and watching the sunsets on the balcony. Tom and Pia came over one night from Salvo and we broke out Rock Band...

The view from the 3rd floor balcony was breathtaking. This picture was taken at 5am at sunrise...

On the 4th, we went down to the beach to watch the fireworks. The kids made hats and wore tattoos and T-shirts. Here's Trish, Jayden and Dylan...

...and me and Maddy...

Great picture of Mike and Dylan in full force...
Happy Independence Day from the Earlys!