Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thank you Jen, Rich and Mya for another lovely Thanksgiving!
 
Rich's cousin, her husband and friend joined us this year - they are running the Space Coast marathon this weekend! Good luck to you all!!
 
 
We ran a little 5K in the morning. And had some extra pie...:)
 
 
The girls did a great job of entertaining the babies...
 
 
And Rich did another fantastic turkey...

 
It was an amazing meal:)
 
 
We just managed to squeeze in for the photo this year:)

 
We are grateful for family...


And our wonderful lives together...Happy Thanksgiving:)

Vero Beach Weekend

Before the craziness of the holiday season kicked in we decided to take a little beach trip to Disney's Vero Beach Resort :).
 

It's about a 2 hour drive from home so we were able to head out after work and as soon as we woke up on Saturday morning - Maddy hit the beach. She is such a Florida baby! It was lovely just to watch her playing in the water...
  
 
We love u 2 Maddy...
 
 
Just up the street is Sebastian Inlet State Park - the second most visited state park in Florida. We were pretty excited to see the 'dangerous marine life' flag - but it was only for the jellyfish evidently, not one of those big scary squid-looking things or anything :(
 
 
There were tons of fishermen hustling on the pier for space. So this is where our lunch is actually coming from...:)
  
 
They were reeling in massive catches every few minutes - it was amazing. And not a relaxing pastime - these guys were making serious cash!

 
But my favorite thing to watch was the pelicans fighting for the discarded fish bits as the guy on the end of the pier gutted the catches. I could have watched them for hours:)
 
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Full and happy :)
 
 
Vero Beach was the scene of a massive ship wreck in 1715. 11 ships from the Spanish Plate Fleet were lost carrying millions of dollars of cargo back from the New World. An estimated 1000 people died in the hurricane that took all but one ship and the 1500 survivors set up camp onshore and stayed to recover as much of the treasure as possible. Naturally pirates joined the party after not too long and the Spanish survivors took the native American Indian (Ais) locals  as slaves to speed up the diving effort. On the site of the survivors camp is a museum full of tales, treasure and more. It was completely fascinating.
 
 
Evidently there is an estimated $500 million still out there! To this day, bits of treasure still wash up from time to time and particularly after big storms. One woman found this bird worth $885K in 2010! Ssshhh...somebody's getting a metal detector for Christmas...;)
 
Anyway, we did find two trees that really like each other...
 
 
That night we made some s'mores back at the hotel...
 

And on the last day, we went to the Environmental Learning Center and saw some pretty impressive banana spiders...
 
 
And Mike touched a horseshoe crab...


...and he liked it...

 
 
Let the holiday madness begin!

Christmas at Disney!

Christmas lights started appearing all over Disney the day after Halloween! Jen and Rich came over to stay at Fort Wilderness so we got to see some of the campers already decorated for the season...
 
 
We saw the new Christmas firework show from across Bay Lake...
 
 
And I got to meet Lu's beautiful parents at Hollywood Studios with the amazing Osborne Family Lights...
 
 
And of course, the gorgeous castle at Magic Kingdom...:)
 

The season is here!!!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Veteran's Day

During the past 15 years that I have lived here in the States, I have never attended a formal Veteran's Day event:(. So I was really looking forward to attending the ceremony at Madison's school to properly honor our many war veterans who have shaped this country that we are fortunate to be able to enjoy every day.
 
At the beginning of the event, they brought in the kindergarten kids waving flags with one of their teachers dressed as 'Uncle Sam.' It was also Grandparents' Day so it was lovely to watch everyone stretching their necks to get a look at their special little one. It was the first thing that made me tear up when I thought about when Maddy was that little...:)

 
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The service included a speech from a decorated WWII veteran who shot down Japanese fighter jets. At 91 he was incredibly articulate and inspirational. He said that his two proudest days were: when he was taken to Washington D.C. by an organization who are dedicated to honoring WWII veterans and the second was today:).
 
And then Maddy came onto the stage with her class to dance to "Bandstand." [At the far left on the back row]. She looked so happy and vibrant with her new classmates in her beautiful new school. I am so happy for her that she has access to such a bright future...
 
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At the end of the ceremony, we honored vets from all branches of the military and had members from the audience stand up. It made me think about the people that I pass by every day - at the store, at the mall, at work... These amazing people are everywhere and have made such sacrifice for our country.
 

It was a really powerful event for me and I learned a lot too. Feeling very grateful :)