Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Welcome Baby Declan Peter Freeman!

We got to meet the newest member of the family yesterday and he is just cute as a button:). There's nothing quite like spending time sharing in the unique joy that a new baby brings to a couple. Liz and Matt are clearly so head over heels in love with their son already. Understandable since he's not only a really mellow baby but totally gorgeous too. And I'm completely unbiased of course :). Did I mention how advanced he is too? He is lifting his head already at only 9 days old!

 Congratulations - we love you!

Florida Banana Spider

One of the many reasons that we love Florida is the spectactular wildlife here. We saw this fabulous Florida Banana Spider (technically it's a Golden Silk Orb-Weaver - not to be confused with the deadly Brazilian Banana Spider thankfully) in Matt and Liz's garden yesterday. They are the largest non-tarantula spiders in North America and harmless to humans. This lady spider was about 3-4 inches long but apparently they can grow even bigger and one has actually been photographed eating a bird. A bird!! A bird for God's sake!!!

Click here for the story about a banana spider eating a bird!

Kings of Leon

There's something about concerts that always makes me feel so nostalgic. The Kings of Leon were fantastic - no gimmics, lasers or tricks - just a group of really amazingly talented musicians sharing their thing. A really great show...

Kayt and Mags' visit

I was so happy that Kayt and Mags were able to squeeze us in during their whirlwind visit to the States. Kayt is the longest friendship that I have (over 32 years now!) and it seems like just yesterday that we were walking up to the corner shop together in our bare feet, pretending to be in the 'Fame' show together or sneaking to ghost town for a cigarette:). Good times...
Kayt  - I love you and miss you. We'll see much more of each other when one of Mags's genius ideas makes us millionnaires finally...:)

Haven't changed a bit...

Thursday, September 09, 2010

An inspirational teacher...

I know a bunch of our family and friends are teachers so I thought I'd share this for you in particular:). Madison has a new reading teacher at her Middle School who is truly inspirational! One of her special talents is that she makes what Madison calls "reading movies" about the book that they are next going to study in class. The format that she presents the book in usually features a cliffhanger so the kids in Maddy's class are motivated to get ahold of the book right away and read it to find out what happens next. Maddy says that her classmates have never been this excited about reading books before! She has always loved to read so we're thrilled that this special teacher is developing Maddy's passion and inspiring other children that are still developing their love for books at the same time. I'm not sure if other teachers are doing this kind of thing already but here's one of her "reading movies" so that you can see what it's all about. Pretty fantastic teacher, right?

Reading movie - Diamonds in the Shadows

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Morning happy dance

I dropped Maddy back at school today and the family of sandhill cranes that live there were feeding by the pond. They looked like they were doing the happy dance :)

Who doesn't love a good scratch in the morning?

Monday, September 06, 2010

S'mores with the S'mards...

The day before Labor Day Gail arrived, which we had managed to keep a secret from Madison! Mike picked her up from the airport and she called Maddy on Mike's cell from down the street. While they were on the phone and Maddy thought she was talking to Gail in England, she just walked into the house. It was so funny - Maddy was so confused and totally blown away! The next day we went to Orlando to meet up with Jen, Rich and Mya for Labor Day weekend - the start of my favorite part of the year:). The Hilton we stayed at was celebrating their one-year anniversary so there were lots of specials - free s'mores by the pool at night, dollar beers and cupcakes during the daytime and contests throughout the weekend. We upgraded our room to a huge, gorgeous suite and enjoyed some luxury for the weekend :).

Maddy's big surprise - a big hug with Gail...

Mike and I were very proud of ourselves that we managed to get to a 5K on the Saturday morning. It didn't even come close to compensating for the over-consumption of food/drink during the weekend though :)

The pool was perfect and we loved the not-so-lazy river and water slide...

Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner...now the year really begins!!!

Maddy's starting Middle School

We can't believe that our baby has started Middle School already. Despite the fact that Mike and I didn't exactly feel "ready", Madison obviously was since she transitioned really smoothly. She says that she enjoys the variety of having seven different teachers and the new and more challenging work. We were really proud and surprised to receive a voicemail from her reading teacher after the very first week saying what a pleasure Maddy is to have in class! Will we ever feel "ready"?!