The Ultimate Blog Party 2013! #UBP13
Double Header: Saturday 9 & Sunday Stealing

Sundays In My City: Neighborhood Walks

Unknown Mami

For a long time now, I've been reading Sundays in My City posts by Mrs. 4444 over at Half Past Kissin' Time. I love them; they're a great way to be introduced to a town I've never visited. I've never posted before, but now that I'm in a new-again city (Miami, for those of you who haven't hung on every word I've written in the past four or five months - what what what?!), I plan to participate on a regular basis. Thanks, Unknown Mami, for hosting us! {And if you want to read more SiMC posts, click on the badge at the top of this post.}

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This post will be about our walks exploring around our new neighborhood, since I don't know much about Homestead and since we're trying to conserve gas right now, too. This is Chloë, 11½ - our oldest hija. I love her pool get-up, since the ultimate goal for yesterday was to find the neighborhood clubhouse and pool/playground. The hat is from my new close friend, Miss Lisa (not to be confused with my BFF, Dr. Lisa), and the rest of the outfit is from her own collection, aka her closet. ;P

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Since we left snow and cold weather back in Virginia (I have to stop myself from continually saying "back home," since this is home now) and have sun and mid-80º weather here, the flowers are everywhere and really striking. Especially the hibiscus. I'll show several more in this post, but these bright orange blooms are my favorite. After the color of the sea, orange and green are my favorite colors, too. Love.

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Sophia, who will be 8 on Saturday and our younger hija, loves to tuck them behind her ear. 

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I call these "palm carcasses," and they're everywhere. You really have to watch out for them; they're not a soft landing spot if you trip over one.

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The kids were really bummed out to learn that the pool and playground were unavailable during renovations over the next couple of weeks, but I tried to lift their spirits by telling them that at least it had been closed since Wednesday, meaning both the fortnight was already a quarter over and that we hadn't wasted four days not going to the pool when it wasn't open anyway, but guess what? That didn't help. Not a bit. So we hung out in the gazebo and planned future picnics in what some graffito had described  as "the chill spot."

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Afterward, we headed across the street to one of many lakes in the area. The kids wanted to look for gators, but really, I'm about 99% certain they won't find them in this lake. You can never be too careful, though, so we didn't take our eyes off them for a second! That's Jack, 10, on the right, with his hermanas.

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Just before I took this picture of Rob and Jack, they were sitting exactly the same way. Then, of course, Jack moved. I still like the picture, though, maybe because Jack rarely lets me photograph him. He's pretty camera-shy.

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Sophia having fun with sunscreen! She's such a goose. I love her pudgy little still-babyish legs...

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When we headed back home, we encountered this ol' girl wandering around unclaimed. I got ahold of her and found a collar but no tags. We named her Cousin Itt, because we weren't sure if she were a he at first, and she was quite hairy. She was sweet and docile, blind (at least partially) in both eyes, and unkempt. We couldn't find an owner in sight, so Rob whipped his drawstring out of his shorts for a makeshift leash, and we took her home to call Animal Control. (He's a handy one, that guy.)

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Cousin Itt paced around our backyard for a while, drank a lot of water and ate a little food, and then she settled in for what we thought was the weekend. Rob put up a tarp for her in case it rained (our six cats and our lease all said we couldn't keep her inside), since Animal Control doesn't work weekends. Alas, she started barking and wouldn't stop no matter how much I tried to calm her. We had to cut her loose before we got in trouble. She loped off in the direction in which she came, and we surmised that maybe an owner was missing her after all. We hoped. She didn't have many days left, we thought.

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I can count on one hand the number of times I cooked dinner at the crappy Portsmouth house, because we had barely any cookware and the kitchen suuuucked. Well, to give Rob a break, to prove to the kids that Mommy really can cook, and because I actually do enjoy it, I plan to change that now that we have a decent place in which to do it! Chloë is so amazed, she's keeping a chart of who cooks when. So far it's Mom 3, Dad 1 (tonight, when I still suggested the breakfast-for-dinner menu of eggs, waffles, and sausage); little does Chloë know, I plan to use it to teach her many things about charting, mean/median/mode, and so forth! Anyway, last night's dinner was Shrimp Scampi a la Farfallini for Rob and me, plain farfalle for Jack, and farfalle with sauce for the girls. I don't like to cater like that normally, but we had the ingredients to please everyone and I really don't like to battle over food.

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And for dessert, we had Granny Smith slices with peanut butter. Sophia tends toward the chubby side, and after several weeks with junky food and lack of activity, it had started to show enough to concern me. We're switching back to eating healthfully much more of the time. And guess what? No complaints about it at all. Whew.

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After dinner, while I was cleaning up the kitchen, Sophie surprised me with a pretty bouquet of flowers. We don't have all our household goods yet, so I had to use Jack's Cars cup. Suits me just fine!

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Today, while Rob stayed home with Sophia while she bathed, the Bigs and I took a walk around the more immediate neighborhood of ours. This is the view to the left, as we stepped outside our door. Steph requested more pictures of the scenery, so I obliged her today with my constant Instagramming iphoneography.

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Today's hibiscus is brought to you by the color pink!

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Behind the next set of buildings is another lake, and all around the apartments there were oodles of clutches of duck eggs. So cool. The kids loved finding those!

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We even found a mama Muscovy protecting her unhatched brood. What a neat find that was! (I'm sure she loved me peering in so closely at her, but, y'know. I'm a scientist, so it's okay, and I told her that.)

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We even found a weeks-old duckling wandering about, unparented. He didn't like me chasing him down for the picture, either, and some drakes in the area got pretty nervous about it, too. They didn't listen to my whole scientist spiel, so we left 'em alone after that.

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Just before I took this picture of the kids, Chloë breathed, "It's beautiful here." I agree. I mean, how could you not be happy? I'm enthralled with it all.

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On the sunny side of the complex, we find gigantical hibiscus blooms, as big as my hand! Holy moly! (I mean, I do have small hands and all, but those are some big fleurs. Yeah, some French, too. What? We have Haitians too, y'know.)

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Earlier on a walk, Rob and the kids spotted an ibis. (UM's mascot; hello, Sebastian) I missed out on that and got doves instead. Glorified pigeons. Harumph. Oh, well. All God's creatures.

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See that little structure, way in the back, there? That's Mailbox Central. We don't use it. We don't get our mail yet. We have a box, and we have a PO Box, too, but so far they're just for show. Le sigh. I'm expecting an enormous parcel of mail whenever it eventually catches up with us!

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Some more hibiscus. I like the pretty color, but I don't like the shrively varietal as much as the flatter kind.

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Five kittens were under one staircase, looking for food, on the non-lake side of the complex. They were so adorable, Chloë actually cried. She emotes well; no wonder she's an actress. And no, we're not taking any more cats into this house!

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So that's our neighborhood. Welcome, y'all! I mean, you guys. I need to stop that y'all business now that I'm out of Virginia, right? (I probably won't. I mean, it is pretty useful for those lazy typing and speech times...)

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Oh, Sophia didn't want you to forget about her, so one last appearance from her. Wait, something nicer, please, huh?

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Such silliness. I guess not! Hee.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week, y'all. Er, uh, yeah.

Fin.

P.S. Lest you think we're on a permanent break from homeschooling, just because we don't have all our school stuff, doesn't mean we're not doing it. I've gotten in lots of unconventional teaching, including the aforementioned math lessons, cooking lessons, lessons about plants (parts of a flower not the least of them), lots of reading, and so on. It's happening. Trust.

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