Life as we know it

Our family adventures

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Morning stroll

I took so many pictures on vacation. So many of them were of the same thing, but different. Perhaps my favorite was the stroll we took on Friday morning, our last full day on the beach.
I woke up way earlier than I wanted to most days while on vacation. But it wasn’t so bad because I just went out here and enjoyed the view. It was so humid though that the first pictures I took were foggy because my camera’s lens fogged up.
Peyton slept until 8:45 Friday morning. After Dada and Allie got up, we went down for an early morning walk on the beach.
I got some good pictures of the waves.
Allie didn’t want to go in the ocean any more. We went to the pool on Friday. But she didn’t mind dipping her feet in the waves on the shore.
It was some nice family time!

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Beachin’ it

We spent our first evening in Florida, Wednesday, playing in the waves at sunset.
Allie really enjoyed playing in the ocean on Wednesday night. The waves were bigger as the week went on, so she wasn’t a fan of the ocean after that.
I was looking forward to seeing a sunset on the beach. This one didn’t disappoint!
Peyton really enjoyed the ocean too.
That is, until a wave hit him in the face. Then he wanted to get out.
After that Peyton was happy playing in the sand. He also decided he liked eating it. I tried my best to stop him but I admit, he probably ate some.
Our condo was on the 18th floor. That’s a tall building!
Beach sunset!
We were out the next night at sunset and on Friday the sunset wasn’t quite as great because it was cloudy. I’m glad we got to see this one!
Allie waited for weeks to use her beach towel.
We spent most of Thursday on the beach. It was wonderful! We rented some beach chairs and played in the waves and headed up to the condo when we needed to.
Allie had a great time playing in the sand.
I split my time between the water and the lounger.
Oh my goodness, she looks so old in this picture!
The best part of our arrangement was that we could head up for lunch and then put Peyton down for a nap, essentially without leaving the beach. While Peyton slept, I enjoyed this view. Well, after I tidied up.
Once we were all sufficiently exhausted, we headed back upstairs to clean ourselves up and get ready for dinner.
Peyton enjoyed playing all over the place.
Maybe his favorite part was the TV cabinet… well, after the remotes. And there were about eight remotes around this condo!
With Cousin Carson!
This is as close as Peyton got to the balcony most of the time.
We went to Pier Park, a big shopping center, for dinner at Dave & Buster’s. We wanted to go to a different place but we found that traffic was terrible and we were hungry.
Peyton liked playing with Grandpa and his hat!
After dinner we walked down to Kilwins for ice cream.
Those high heels are chocolate! I wonder if people actually pay $30 for them?
And more beautiful chocolates!
The ice cream was great too!

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A six-state tour

Our total travel time in both directions to and from the beach was about 23 hours. We went through six states. On Monday we traveled from home to Grandma and Grandpa Durso’s house in Carterville. Tuesday we traveled from Illinois…
…to Kentucky…
…to Tennessee…
…where we stopped for lunch. We saw on the map this buffet restaurant. It was a little out of our comfort zone. But it was cheap. The food wasn’t exactly gourmet, but it filled us up and gave a cute photo opp for Allie. And more importantly, it filled Peyton up. The biggest problem we had from Peyts on the trip was when we waited too long to stop for lunch.

We were talking about stopping shortly after we crossed into Alabama. Well, when we saw this…
We knew where we’d stop. This was the Alabama welcome center, with a replica of one of the space shuttles developed in Huntsville, AL.
I didn’t get a good picture of the Alabama sign, so I took a picture of the one at the welcome center. Also, a cute one of Peyts out for a stroll.
And of course we went to see the shuttle up close.
We stopped for the night in Birmingham. We had left about an hour and a half before Grandma and Grandpa, Julie, Carson and Cole. We got to the hotel at the same time as them! That’s traveling with two small kids!

Wednesday morning we left for the last leg of the trip into Florida. We had to get off the interstate about two hours down the road in Montgomery. After that it was three hours’ worth of back roads down to Panama City Beach. It was slow going and some of the stops were a little iffy! But we made it into Florida!
Not a great picture, but also not a great sign. I guess they don’t do the big pretty signs in the back country. It was still another hour until we saw this sign…
I was surprised just how remote the whole area was, pretty much until we got to the coast. I guess even though it was state and US highways, I thought it would be a bit more built up since its such a destination!

Finally, we were there…
And I found my eventual career path…
It was nice getting out of the car when we went to check into our condo.
And even though our unit wasn’t ready, we went across to see our beach.
We went to an early dinner, and poor Peyts was tuckered out.
He fell asleep in the car and stayed asleep on me for at least 15 minutes as we got settled into the restaurant! He never does that!
Finally after dinner it was time to go get settled in.
Our seasoned traveler was ready to go.
Our condo was on the 18th floor. It did freak me out a bit to have the kids up that high. I did relax as time went on but the kids didn’t go out there too much.
Just look at that view!
That view doesn’t get old!

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Night at the park

We just got back from an amazing beach vacation. I never got around to writing about it before we left. We went to Panama City Beach, FL, with Grandma and Grandpa Durso and Aunt Julie and Cousins Carson and Cole. Unfortunately Uncle Jeff wasn’t able to come. 😦 We got back last night after two days of driving, a total of about 23 hours. The best decision we made about vacation was to take Monday off to rest and recharge. So now here we are in the last few hours of vacation.

Before vacation, we met my good friend, Chelsea, and her son, Scott, at the park near our house for a little dinner and play date. Scott is two months older than Peyton. I’m really sad that they’re moving to Florida. They’re leaving tomorrow, in fact. I met Chelsea through the Runner’s World online community, and then she moved here in 2008 for her husband to go to school. We have running in common, though we never actually ran together because she’s way faster.

Anyway, Allie and Peyton had a great time playing with Scott. Well, Peyton played by Scott. I”m not sure he knew Scott was there. But Allie sure did!
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We tried to get all three kids to pose for a photo. This is what we came up with.
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I’m glad for Facebook and blogs and other tools that allow us to stay in touch with friends better when they move far away. I’ll miss you, friend.

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Such big kiddos

He looks older than 17 months, doesn’t he? I think so. We took the kids to the park on Saturday afternoon. Peyton is still unsure about walking on surfaces that aren’t concrete. When we let go of his hand he’d just stand.
Or he’d just sit. He was very interested in the rocks.
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And here’s our silly Allie. Speaking of growing up, my gosh! I can’t believe some of the things that come out of Allie’s mouth sometimes! Like, really grown up sounding things. She knows how to spell Allison now. She is so excited to start school in the fall, especially when we told her she’d get some new clothes.
Allie wants to play on her own, but she is also very attentive to her little brother.
Peyton still loves the swing! I had to take him out after a little bit that day though, he was looking a little dizzy.
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Peyton really surprised us with how he played! He was really into the slide and liked climbing.
When he went down the slide, he tried to climb back up.
And look at Allie climb!
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Peyton even got brave and tried to slide down all by himself. He made it a couple times, but usually we held his hand because we didn’t want him to fall off.
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And getting ready to go home, he stands until I take his hand to help him walk. I’m sure it won’t be long before he’s running around like crazy.
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A mid-summer’s flower report

There’s a definite difference between the planters on our front porch…
… and the back deck.
Holy petunias! We picked the flowers solely on the basis of color. I didn’t realize until I was planting that they would get so big.
Definitely all the rain we’ve gotten has been a benefit along with the sun on the back deck. I had thought that the rain was sufficient for the porch, but realized too late that they were getting water, but not enough. I’ve lost a few of them now and not many blooms 😦 I’m paying more attention now, so hopefully the flowers will come back! The geranium in the middle of the orange pot has a very small bud in the middle.
In the picture above, those petunias are from the planter next door. Look how big those dianthuses!
The middle planter is overtaken by petunias and the marigolds are big and bright!
And this one is a petunia, geranium, dianthus and marigold. The geranium was pretty droopy for awhile but is blooming again. Its kinda hard to see with that huge petunia!
We bought too many plants and I had crammed them into the planters. I love it!

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Holiday weekend

What a fun weekend! We had the perfect combination of time off, doing fun things and also getting stuff done.

After the parade on Friday we didn’t do much. I went out for a run at dusk and that was kinda fun to see all the fireworks my neighbors were setting off.

Saturday morning we went to the farmer’s market for the first time this year. Finally! We got a few things for our planned grilling out on Sunday, some bakery treats and maybe the most important thing… cheese curds! I think we may need to start getting two bags though because Peyton tried them and he loves them as much as his sister and I do! So the kids cut into my share of the cheese curds!

After we got our treats we found a shady place to sit and let Peyton walk. I took these adorable pictures moments before he melted down. He was exhausted from all the excitement.
I just love that hat! Later in the afternoon when Dada went to the gym, I took the kids outside again.
Peyton is really funny in the grass… I set him on there and he just stood. That is, until he fell down.
I wonder what he’ll think of the beach?
Sunday I fired up the grill for the first time in two years and grilled hamburgers, hot dogs and brats for lunch. We had salad along side with arugula from the farmer’s market. Its not often I get arugula and I like it a lot! It was one of my better grilling efforts. The rest of Sunday we got naps in for Peyts, workouts in for Mama, cleaned the kitchen a few times and I stayed up late to make rhubarb cake. Worth every bite! Now the countdown to vacation, which is just 9 working days left!