Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day weekend at Longboat Key

All three of us have been so busy with work/school and desperately felt the need to get away and focus on each other and just relaxing for a long weekend. Maddy graduated 10th grade on Friday so we headed out that night for our little beach getaway for Memorial Day weekend:).

We stayed at an adorable place called the Wicker Inn right on the beach in Longboat Key. It couldn't have been more perfect...

The beach was so quiet and sea turtle nesting season has just begun so all beachside properties are required to have their lights off at night so that the hatching babies can find the water by the light of the moon.

Every morning volunteers walk the beach and mark any new nests - this one was just outside our room...

We woke up early on the first day and enjoyed a lovely walk together...

There were tons of bird photo opportunities to try out my fabulous new camera - I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying my new hobby!

And of course I can take such pretty pictures of her...

...with him...:)

Mike and Maddy bought some fancy new snorkeling gear and had a blast playing around in the water as usual :)

In the evenings the sunsets were so beautiful...

It wouldn't be an Early trip if we didn't sneak off for some offbeat tourist sight seeing too. We found out about Sarasota Jungle Gardens on the Roadside America app. I got to feed flamingos!

And we saw this 79-year old cockatoo ride the very same unicycle as he had on the Ed Sullivan show back in the 70s!

We also found the 'Unconditional Surrender' statue in downtown Sarasota...

And got a round of applause from a crowd of strangers for this shot :)

And we couldn't resist a trip to the Amish/Mennonite community of Pinecraft. 3,000 people vacation here every year from Ohio/Pennysylvania and it was really interesting to see their community and get a feel for how they live. We ate at Yoder's restaurant, made famous by their appearance on Man vs.Food (clip here!)

The food was amazing :). 

It was a completely perfect weekend and just what we needed. I feel so grateful for my family and this amazing place that we live in. And on this Memorial Day, I feel especially grateful for the service and sacrifice of those that have safeguarded our freedom. Life is good:)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Double celebration

This year my 44th birthday actually fell right on Mother's Day! So I started celebrating the weekend beforehand at Universal Studios...

I left my sunglasses on the Harry Potter ride the previous week and was really excited that they had actually been turned in! 

The next day Maddy and I went up to Oakland for a lovely nature walk and did some geocaching for the first time in years - Maddy still has a very beady eye...

I treated myself to a day off work on Thursday with Mike and after a much needed day of relaxation, we went to Maddy's school's Art Show.

It doesn't matter how many works are on display or how many times we've done this - it's always such a thrill to see your child's artwork. We are so proud of our talented daughter :)

Maddy's house blew up in the kiln so she redesigned it to look 'burned out' and called it "The Blitz" - how stinkin' creative! The art teacher said he'd never seen a student do that before :)

On Saturday, Lu and I did the most beautiful run for a Milk Bank in Florida:)...

But my birthday highlight was getting my new camera lens! Now I can take amazing pictures of birds!!! It's super easy to use and I am really thrilled with how well my first set came out :)

Who would have thought at 44 I'd be a twitchin' shutterbuggin' nerd? :)