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Entries from March 2015

Team Odette Visits @LEGOLANDFlorida Resort

Disclosure: I received five free passes to LEGOLAND® Florida Resort and LEGOLAND Waterpark in exchange for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

WINTER HAVEN, FLORIDA -- LEGOLAND® Florida celebrates the launch of the first-ever, full length theatrical LEGO® adventure, “The LEGO® MovieTM”, with a movie-themed weekend in the park on Feb. 8 and 9, 2014. Guests can head to their local theatre to watch “The LEGO Movie,” opening nationwide on Friday, February 7, 2014, and then come to LEGOLAND Florida to see LEGO come to life amidst more than 50 rides, shows and attractions and special movie-themed fun all geared for families with children ages 2 to 12. (PHOTO / LEGOLAND Florida, Merlin Entertainments Group, Chip Litherland)

Jack turned 12 (TWELVE?!!) on March 22nd, so for his birthday, we took him to LEGOLAND® Florida in Winter Haven, just about four hours north of our home in Miami.



Jack, who is absolutely crazy about all things LEGO® City and who has been asking to go to LEGOLAND® Florida for the entirety of the two years since we moved to this state (okay, actually longer than that, but incessantly for that timeframe), was the first chap out of the car when we finally arrived about noon on Tuesday.


The girls, who wanted to visit the waterpark area toward the back of the main resort first, insisted on changing into their bathing suits right there in the parking lot. Jack was impatient to GET GOING ALREADY and huffed and puffed the whole time!


Sophie, the little sweetie pie, tied Daddy's shoes when he couldn't do it on our way up to the entrance. Rob had a really rough day that day and, in fact, ended up back in the hospital the following day. He's still there and will be there for at least a few more days, but possibly much longer. I really don't know at this point.


Can you tell these kids were super excited to get into the the park? LEGOLAND® Florida Resort is an interactive theme park where LEGO® comes to life and kids take control. It is a 150-acre multi-day destination offering more than 50 rides, shows and attractions designed for families with children ages 2-12.


Just as soon as we could, I got into the entrance, made a sharp left and rented a wheelchair for Rob. Thanks to issues with his cerebellar cavernous hemangioma, Cyberknife radiation surgery, and craniotomy to remove the tumor and surrounding cerebellar tissue, his recovery and progress has been one step forward, two steps back, two steps forward, one step back, and so on. Right now, we're looking forward but moving backward, so... a wheelchair was necessary.

Fortunately, the LEGOLAND® team members were awesome. They let me park Rob, Chloë, and Jack outside the entrance whilst Sophie and I fetched the chair, and a team member came out with us to wheel him back in and breeze us through the check-in point. The resort is very accessible, and the only problems I had getting him around were a few hilly areas where inertia had us going faster (or slower) than I would have liked. Other than that, it was easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.


We found lots of really cool structures built out of regular-sized LEGO® bricks, in front of which the kids wanted to pose. Naturally, my Nikon and I were ready and willing to point, aim, shoot! The models in LEGOLAND Florida are made up of more than 58 million LEGO bricks! I want to know, who counted?!



Our first stop, once inside, was the marketplace in The Beginning. Jack had birthday money from both of his grandpas to spend, and of course he wanted to spend it here. Sophia and Chloë adore LEGO Friends®, so the girls had no problems stopping to shop and look around, themselves. Sophie looks so cute posing here, no?

Heartlake City


We'll have to come back this summer, because the girls will love when Heartlake City opens at the resort!

 All the kids really wanted to stay at the LEGOLAND Hotel, but it doesn't open in Florida until May 15th, so we'll have to do that, too, when we go back for another visit. I can't wait! 


Jack was excited, and a bit overwhelmed, by all the LEGO City choices. He didn't know where to start!


Jack just about gave up on choosing, before a nice store team member came over to help him decide. I'll show you what he selected later in the post...


 One of many photo ops in the park, of which we had to take advantage


Kinda like at the Disney Parks, kids can trade LEGO Minifigures with Model Citizens (aka LEGOLAND Employees, who sport them on their name badges). Jack wasn't interested, saying to me, "I keep all mine, Moooom," but the girls were all about it!

Unfortunately, we forgot to bring them, so I bought both girls a four-pack for $14.99 apiece in The BIG Shop in The Beginning. I told them to buy sets they didn't care about, since they likely wouldn't be coming home with those minifigs! Chloë chose a LEGO Chima Pack.


Because Sophia chose a LEGO City minifigure pack, Jack took it upon himself to help her set up the four figures. She was happy to let him, maybe because we were there celebrating his birthday, or maybe just because she actually loves the little twerp? I dunno.


At The Grand Carousel in Fun Town, just past The Beginning, we found arrows pointing every which way and took the direction for the Waterpark. Y'know, I personally love riding a beautiful carousel such as this double-decker, but the kids didn't want to waste precious daylight, so we skipped it and never got back to it. Rats!


The lady-babies thought this "old lady in curlers" watering her flowers was amusing, so they "forced" me to snap a picture of her. So much to see at LEGOLAND Florida!


We bumped right on past Fun Town and on into Miniland USA on our way to the Waterpark. The heart of every LEGOLAND Park, Miniland USA is home to seven specially themed areas. Jack, especially, but all the kids were like, "WOOOOOWWWWWW!" when they first saw it. We spent a bit of time at the beginning of our visit on one side, and a bit more time at the end of the day exploring the other side. 


Jack, of course, headed to the track first to watch the mini-races some other kids were actually playing! Miniland USA was pretty cool, you guys.


Of course, it didn't surprise me when Jack found himself at the NASA section of Miniland USA, nor when he stayed a while... he's fascinated by such things. I really need to get him up to Cape Canaveral to watch a launch!


Las Vegas was representin', as you can see. More on that in a bit!


The girls found Manhattan a treat, and they loved that the Statue of Liberty was front and center!


Treasure Island in Las Vegas, where Chloë was fascinated to learned I've actually stayed, once upon a time. "Did you see all this, out front, and watch the pirates fighting on the ships and everything?" Yep, kiddo. I sure did.


Jack insisted I take a picture of the Space Needle, another fascination of us.


After Miniland USA, the girls were able to complete their first Minifigure swaps. How fun that was! The Model Citizens were always happy to oblige.


Chloë's turn: This Model Citizen happened to have more than one LEGO Minifigure on his name badge, but some only have one - and some have none. Just in case you're going and your Littles want to swap, too, you'll know. ;)


Walking along, past Miniland USA, we found this really cool replica of Earth, with minifigures of various world-renowned iconic places represented all over it. Jack and the girls ran around the whole thing, calling out everything they spotted. It was pretty cool.


One of the kiddos insisted I take a picture of the whales somewhere in the South Pacific, I think. Cool, huh?!


Another fun photo-op


Natch, I had to snap a pic of the LEGO Einstein in Imagination Zone. I mean, really.


This LEGO giraffe peeked out of the other side of Imagination Zone's entrance. Sophie went up for a touch!


Before we arrived at the Waterpark, we found ourselves in LEGO City. Of course, that being Jack's favorite thing on the planet, we had to go! The first thing we did was get in line for the very fun Rescue Academy ride, and the first thing the girls did was conduct Minifigure swaps. Sophie went first.


... and Chloë swapped with the Model Citizen who talked them through the rescue operation. He was fun.


Jack chose the police car for their Rescue Academy operation. Small surprise there!


A wasp flew by just before the rescue was set to begin, so Jack jumped out of the police car, terrified as he is of things that sting, and refused to go back. No worries! This Model Citizen stepped up to help the girls get moving!


Team Odettelettes to the rescue! They're on the far left, but I couldn't get close enough for you to be able to see them. Just pretend. They're there, I promise.


Midway back to the beginning of the adventure, Chloë stopped for a pose. That girl loves the lens, I tell ya!


Across from Rescue Academy was Ford Jr. Driving School, and inside the shop there was a Model Citizen willing to swap Minifigures with Chloë. As you can see, she was smiling. All the Model Citizens were smiling. Not one grumpy Model Citizen in the whole resort. What a pleasant experience we had because of them!


Both girls examining their new Minifigures, post-swap

032415 LegoLand Florida Trip

As you can see, lots more swaps happened in the park until the bitter end! The girls loved it, and they had fun each and every time they swapped.


At last, we made it to the Water Park! Admission is an extra $15 normally, I think, but we had our free passes and got right in, no problem. Rob had opted not to swim that day, and wanting to stay with him in his wheelchair, I opted out, too. The kids headed straight for Build-a-Raft, which as you'll see in a moment, was cool because there were foam LEGO bricks that could be built right ON the raft. Neato-mosquito, eh?!



The kiddos picked up their brick-laden tubes and headed for the lazy river's entrance.


Loose LEGO bricks floated in the lazy river, for kids to snatch up and add to their tubes. So cool.


While the kids were in the river, I parked Rob in his wheelchair nearby and visited the Beach-n-Brick Grill. I purchased a kids' chicken tender meal with fries, applesauce squeezy thingy, and a chocolate milk for Jack, a grape Uncrustables sandwich meal for Sophia, and nachos and a chocolate milk for Chloë. Jack had a pretzel and cheese, too, since Daddy ate both the chicken tenders AND the sandwich! He hadn't had much of an appetite for days, so I was just glad he ate, but LOL...

(True confessions: I ate half the fries, myself. Hey, the kids just wanted to swim, anyway!)


The jellies hanging from the inside roof of the Grill were among my favorite LEGO brick structures in the whole entire resort! Guess the marine biologist in me is not dead, after all.


This girl. Sophia, not for the first time, disappeared on me. I could watch the Build-A-Raft Lazy River from the Grill table where I was sitting with Daddy, but only Jack and Chloë came out after the roughly 8-minute tour around the Water Park. Well, after two, then three, turns around the River, and still no Sophie, I got nervous.

I went over to a Model Citizen lifeguarding the DUPLO Splash Safari directly in front of me and said, "I can't find my daughter." TWEEEEEEET!!! He immediately blew hard on his whistle, and said another Model Citizen would come right over to help me out.

I don't remember his name, but the MC who came over was right on cue fewer than 10 seconds later. He took Sophia's name, last-seen location, age, physical description, and what she was wearing, and then walked me over to park ourselves on the bridge overlooking Lazy River. He talked Sophia's description into the Walkie-Talkie, and we waited.

And waited.

And while we waited, we watched out for Sophie in the river. And then, boom, my expertly-spotting Model Citizen friend pointed at a child coming down to the ride's Exit. BOOM! That was her! I screamed, "That's her! Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!" as I ran away, toward my girl. 

Sophia walked up to me, out of the lazy river, saying brightly with a broad smile on her face, "HI, MOM!" Um. Okay. Dude. Heart attack city here! We hugged, I admonished her for not checking in like she was supposed to and not staying with her siblings like she was supposed to and for giving me a heart attack, hugged her again, and then brought her over to the table for a bite to eat. She managed one bite of Uncrustables before grabbing Jack and Chloë out of the DUPLO Splash Safari and heading for the Wave Pool.

Le sigh. That's life with Sophie.


There's life vest-adorned Jack in the red shorts, heading into the LEGO Lazy River, where his sisters were already waiting for him...somewhere. Thankfully, we brought along plenty of sunscreen. Despite the overcast and sometimes-rainy drive up, the day turned hot, sunny, and beautiful once we were in the Water Park. As my mama-in-law says, "It's a God thing."


Stopping to pick out and adjust their life vests. All of them can swim now, but perhaps they wanted a little help floating in the Wave Pool?

032415 LegoLand Florida Trip-001

[Click to embiggerate] Lots of fun was had in the Wave Pool. We stayed there nearly an hour, I think!


Chloë took a break from the wave pool to steal her nachos back from Daddy, who was still eating, and to wonder, "Mom, why are you taking my picture while I'm eating?" Because, my love, it's what I do.


Somewhere in there, the Joker Soaker, were my children after they finished playing in the Wave Pool. Again, take my word for it, 'cause I didn't go in enough to find them and photograph them. Jack loved the big bucket, which he likened to the one at Williamsburg's Great Wolf Lodge. (Maybe all the GWLs have them, but we've only been to that one!)


Jack got tired of playing in the water and, while he was waiting for his sisters to finish playing in the Water Park and get back to the main LEGOLAND Florida Resort, wanted to look at his new LEGO City sets he'd purchased in The Beginning. But first, I made him show me his muscles. Because, why not?!


With his birthday money, Jack chose not one but two sets The first one was set #60057, the LEGO City Camper Van.


Set number two was #60012 LEGO City 4X4 & Diving Boat.


He didn't want to build the sets yet, and risk losing a piece at the park, but he wanted to look at them and admire the accompanying stickers. This boy loooooves his LEGO City!


Jack thought the canoe in this first set was super cool. I had to agree. It's ONE brick!


The bitty boy decided to twirl Daddy's cane after he finished looking at his new LEGO City sets and before the girls came over to get back to more fun outside the Water Park. Pretty good at it, too!


When we were leaving the Water Park, the girls did another Minifigure Swap. This little boy walked up and wanted to swap with the Model Citizen, too, but he didn't have a Minifigure to swap. I explained about it quickly to the dad, and Chloë decided to bequeath one of her Minis to the little boy so he could swap. It made my day!


And thus, the boy completed his first LEGO Minifigure Swap with a Model Citizen. Everything is awesome!


We went back out of the Water Park to LEGO City, and Jack and his sisters made a beeline for the Ford Jr. Driving School. Inside, in the waiting line, there was a stop-and-play area where Sophia quickly hopped in to rearrange the DUPLO Bricks already there.


Inside, the kids learned about the "Stop" and "Go" pedals in their cars, as well as various traffic signals and signs. And then, it was time to drive!

032415 LegoLand Florida Trip-002

[Click to embiggerate] Driving School was so fun! Chloë ran a YIELD sign, and got embarrassed when I pointed it out (oops), but other than that, it was smooth sailing for all the new drivers out there. This was a much-loved activity by all.


The kids posed with their new "Driver Licenses," which was a fun touch. For about $15, one could purchase a real copy with their pictures on it, but I had to decline that expenditure.


Sophia stopping for a Photo Op on her way to another ride - this time, the roller coaster she sought since The Beginning! Jack and Chloë were too chicken to go, so they decided on a different ride.


At Boating School, Jack drove their dinghy while Chloë, you know, posed.


The day turned hot, so Jack and Chloë visited one of the misters while we were off in search of rollercoastering Sophie.



The two of them also tried their luck at this "Extreme" knock-em-down ball game, four plays for $10. Chloë managed to knock one down, but you had to get two, so they didn't win prizes there. Wah.


By this point, we were in LEGO Technic, the most extreme area of LEGOLAND Florida. Sophia came off the Project X racetrack roller coaster after about three rides in a row, and she went off with her sister on yet another ride there. I parked Jack with Daddy and went off to the Robot Pit Stop for ice cream.




The girls had great fun on the AQUAZONE Wave Racers, dodging in and out of waves - but be forewarned! Passers-by can get quite soaked if they come too close! ;)


Chloë chose this patriotic Popsicle for her treat. Yummo!



Still in LEGO Technic, the girls rode on the Technicycle while Jack waited with Daddy. He was starting to get worn out, I think, and frustrated. He didn't want to go to the toddler zone, DUPLO Valley, because, "That's for babies!" He didn't want to go on anything else either, though, because, "I don't want to get wet. The line is too long. I don't like going up in the air. It goes too fast." Yadda yadda yadda. Time for a break for the birthday kid.


Sophia's turn to play a game: this time, a guaranteed-win game. The object was to pick up something like four ducks and whatever numbers they had on the bottom were added up to equal different prize levels. Sophia misunderstood and tried picking up ALL THE DUCKS at once. Hahaha!! Oopsss... #FAIL


Jack wasn't thrilled that Sophie won enough for a prize for each of them, keeping the pink snake for herself, giving him a green one and Chloë the unicorn, but whatevs. Can't please him ALL the time, after all, and I'm used to his grumpy nature.


Bye-bye, LEGO City and LEGO Technic! Time for more adventures ahead.



Of course, you may know we collect pressed pennies when able, so Jack was delighted when we found this machine outside Land of Adventure's Coastersaurus, where the girls went. YES! Sophia convinced Chloë to go on a real, honest-to-goodness roller coaster. I could NOT believe she went and figured she would either back out or come back out screaming and crying.


You can almost but not quite see them at the back, whizzing by me.


But look. LOOK AT THIS PICTURE. Does that look like a girl who did NOT have fun with Sophia? NOOOOOO. Chloë, in red, came off exclaiming, "That was FUN! I want to go again!" and she did! I can scarcely believe that happened. I am still so, so proud of her!


By this point, Jack was in full-on pout mode. I had told everyone that our goal for the day was to make him smile, laugh, and admit he'd had a good time. Uh-oh. Fun was definitely had, and you've already seen the photographic evidence of that, but I was losing this battle. Trust me, it's not LEGOLAND's fault. This boy chooses to be grumpy. Life is not fair. Life is hard. He sees the glass as half-empty. My mission in life, where he is concerned, is to fill up that glass!


The girls, on the other hand, refused to not have fun, despite grumpy Jack's mood. So they continued onward, going on the Safari Trek in Land of Adventure.



Okay, they went on Safari Trek twice. Jack scoffed. Meh.


These LEGO parrot figures actually talked to us! They did NOT want crackers, they told us. Ha!



While the girls went back for their second ride on Coastersaurus, Jack needed another peek at his two LEGO City sets. Just to make sure they were still there, I guess. They were. Phew!


In the Land of Adventure, I found just the cure for Jack's ills: Pharaoh's Revenge. Oh, my word, y'all, it was close to the 7 PM closing time for the Resort, and I thought the day was beyond saving. But then, suddenly, there it was: a play structure where HE could decide what speed to go, whether up or down, in or out, or all around. Did he want to go? YES! He smiled, he DID!


He was all smiles after that. Whew Whew Whew!!! I was so relieved. He even climbed the LEGO Camel for a last-minute photo op!


Sophie decided she needed to climb on the Ship of the Desert, too.


We wended our way back up to Miniland USA to head toward the park entrance, as it was after closing time. But, we kinda meandered a little, taking our sweet time to look at Miami's Little Havana in Miniland, and no Model Citizens rushed us along. Quite nice, quite nice.


We ended up outside Sunny's Ice Cream Shop in Fun Town, and despite it being after 7 PM, they let us in and served us ice cream. Scoops for everyone!

Yes, we totally had ice cream twice that day. What of it? ;)


So, Jack River, did you have fun at LEGOLAND Florida Resort for your 12th birthday? He NEVER voluntarily throws me a thumbs-up sign, so I think this is a very good sign that he did! And he admitted that he had fun. Whoop, whoop! SUCCESS!

Many thanks go to the Model Citizens of LEGOLAND Florida, who made our day, along with the Media Team who granted us five free passes to visit the resort in exchange for my opinions and this post. Also, special thanks to my friends Luis and Samantha Z. for helping us enjoy Jack's special day!



Sunday Stealing: The Dirty Dozen Meme


Link up here if you're stealing today, too!

The Dirty Dozen Meme

Stolen from: The Archives
1. This weather is really.....
In a word, it's schizophrenic.

 2. You think you've seen it all, you should see me.... in the car. I rock it out, baby.

 3. I'm sure you would still love me even if...

Actually, I'll say that! I do wet the bed, when I dream about having to pee. I actually do pee. Note to self: Wake UP!

 4. I think I have finally realized...


... that I can do it all, because I do do it all.

 5. Since the last time we linked up...

I've probably gained twice as many new gray hairs. Time to re-color! ;) (Thankfully I only had, like, six to start with!)

 6. I get super embarrassed...

when attention is on me and I don't want it

 7. I really thought by now...

... my husband knew how much I loved him, and that I always will.

8. If I thought no one would read it, I would write about...


heh. Apparently, every other post I write besides these memes... :]

9. I knew I was in the wrong place...

... this time I went to a new church and I was the only Caucasian person there.  But you know what?! I was welcomed, hugged, kissed, and comfortable there. So no big whoop, y'all!

10. I am so not above...

picking my nose in public. You know, that crap has to get out somehow.

11. Let's pretend... house is clean. My Hubs is just at work, instead if in the hospital again. I'm still a size 5. (dammit)

12. Just you wait...


I got nothin' for this one. Literally, nothin'.

Thanks for stopping by! 


Saturday 9: Thinking Out Loud

Did y'all know Ed Sheeran was my boyfriend? He totally IS!! He does not know yet, so shhhh....!

Anyway, link up here if you're playing along today. (Hey, it's 11:54 PM right now, so technically it's still Saturday. I win!)

Saturday 9: Thinking Out Loud (2014)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This week's featured artist, Ed Sheeran, was discovered by Elton John. Tell us your favorite Elton John song.

Oh no, that's way too hard. I'm going to have to go with "Sad Songs," because, you know, they say so much.

2) Ed's arms are covered in tattoos, so clearly he doesn't suffer from trypanophobia, or the fear of needles. Do you get nervous when the doctor gives you a shot?

I don't get nervous, but I do have to look away when the needle goes in. I just donated my O- blood tonight, woohoo!

3) One of his tattoos depicts a Heinz Tomato Ketchup label. What condiments are in your kitchen right now?

I hate condiments, except I do have to put mayo in my egg and tuna salad, and I dip my shrimp and Krab into cocktail sauce. So there are those. The rest are Hubs' Miracle Whip, various kinds of mustard (eww), ketchup for the kids' fries of French, myriad salad dressings we rarely use, and if it counts, tahini for when I make hummus.

4) Spotify named Sheeran the most-streamed artist in the world for 2014. Do you use Spotify? Pandora?

I don't, I stream I ♥ Radio nearly 24/7 unless the television is on, and sometimes even then.

5) Ed celebrated his success by purchasing a farm near Suffolk, England. Would you prefer to live in a rural, suburban or urban area?

I'm a city girl. I do like to visit the country, but I wouldn't want to live there. We live in Homestead, Florida, in the butt-crack of Miami-Dade County. If you drive to the other side of US1, our main thoroughfare here in Miami aside from the Florida Turnpike, then it's all farmland. I mean, with the palm trees, it's like a Tropical Iowa out there. Best of both worlds. #WINNING!

6) In this song, Ed sings about kissing "under the light of one thousand stars." Were you able to see the stars last night? Or was it it too cloudy or overcast?

It was pouring rain last night when I got home from visiting Hubs in the hospital, where he's been admitted since Wednesday afternoon and will remain until God Knows When. After the hospital, I picked up the kids and drove them to the Easter Egg Hunt at the local YMCA, but we just missed it before the rain shut it down. So to make up for the big bummer, I drove them to Menchie's for FroYo instead. More #WINNING!!! ;) Then I went to sleep the moment we got home, and I didn't wake up until 1:30 PM today. Oops...

7) Ed is a natural red head, a trait he shares with only about 2% of the population. Does red hair run in your family? 

Semi-sorta-kinda. My hair is red, but it's really mousy brown and I dye it auburn. Hubs' and Chloë's hair has reddish tints to it.

On the other hand, my older sister who will be FORTY YEARS OLD (!!!!) in three weeks, married a Ginger, and their younger daughter is also a Ginger. Stacey and their older daughter are blondes. Yeah. They must use a lot of sunscreen over there.

 8) One of Clairol's most popular shades is a red (Nice 'n Easy Natural Light Auburn). Have you/would you dye your hair?

Every month, give or take, since May of 1995, I have dyed my hair. My good friend Erin who literally JUST had a beautiful baby boy (Aiden James - congrats Erin and Brian!!! ♥) used to call my brown hair "hair-colored hair," and I wanted a better color than that!

9) Random question: Look at the windows in the room you're in. Are they covered in curtains or blinds?

Venetian blinds on all windows in our abode; no curtains, kinda blah. 

See ya in Sunday Stealing, gather up!


Sunday Stealing: The "I" Meme


Link up here if you're playing along today!

The I Meme

Stolen from: The Archives
I am... 

Image result for i am woman hear me roar

^^^ pretty much just that! ;)

I want... 

people to

Image result for recycle symbol



Image result for stop smoking

I have... 

Image result for lots of babies

FOUR precious children, not just three, and today is the birthday of TWO of them, not just one. Remember that. (Robby, you mattered, and you always will. Love you, Mama )

I wish... 

people could be blind to the colors of the flesh when judging matters of the heart, soul, and mind

I hate... 


being stuck behind a slow driver, especially someone who all but hits 0 MPH when they're making a right turn. GO, already!!

I fear... 


I hear... 

Right-wing extremists talking, but it comes out to my ears as "blah blah wah wah freaking blah"

I search... 

Image result for seek the truth

for Truth in all things.

I wonder... 

Image result for i wonder why people are laughing

why people are laughing, when I walk by or enter the room, and always always always think it's about me...

I regret... 

I try not to have regrets. Good experiences are wonderful; bad experiences are... still experience.

I love... 

Image result for you and me against the world

my husband, and the family we made, more than anyone can imagine

I never... 

mean to hurt the ones I love the most.

I ache... 

every year from March 22nd to March 25th, since 2003. So, right now. I will always miss my baby boy.

I always... 

overthink everything, every situation, every time

I usually... 

act before i think. My daughter Sophia is definitely like that, too.

I am not... 

Image result for sound mind sound body

ever going to be perfect. Accept that.

I dance... 

for my husband and kids, in our house, pretty much on a daily basis. I never dance like that in public.

I sing... 

Image result for i sing amazing in the shower

like a goddess in the shower, like a Siren in the car, and like shit on stage.

I sometimes... 

feel like I wasted the entire day

I cry... 

remembering stuff that was good, as often as I cry remembering stuff that wasn't.

I am not always... 

as stable as I look. or as unstable. Sometimes you gotta fake it 'til ya make it.

I lose... 

my shit when someone else take and then loses... my shit.

I am confused... 

easily and often

I need... 

to be treated with kid gloves. I'm fragile.

I should...


stop blogging and go to Fort Lauderdale to pick up my kids. Okay! I'm going, I'm going!!


Saturday 9: It's Not Unusual


What a weekend so far! Hubs and I both had emergency department visits at two different hospitals, both had CT scans, both put on oral steroids, and that was the opposite of fun. Hopefully today, the 12th birthday of our twin sons, will much more fun.

Join us by linking up here - even if you're late to play, like I am!

Saturday 9: It's Not Unusual (1965)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Check here.

1) In this song, Tom sings that "it's not unusual to go out at any time." Will you be "out and about" this weekend?

Because Hubs had another "episode," as I now call them, with neurological issues following removal of his cerebellar cavernous hemangioma last year, I anticipated he'd be admitted to the hospital for further testing and evaluation. Friends of ours came down from Fort Lauderdale to pick up our three wee ones from the hospital last night... but to my surprise, Hubs was discharged at 3 AM!
So for Jack's birthday, he's with the girl he "loves," their daughter Kira... hehe. Anyway, long story short, I have to go pick them up. His big celebration is scheduled for Tuesday, and it involves the excitement at which I hinted in recent weeks in this blahg.
 2) Before his music career took off, Tom supported himself and his young family by working as a vacuum cleaner salesman. Could the room you're in right now benefit from a thorough cleaning with a vacuum? 

 Oh, hell yes. If I had the money, I'd hire a live-in to keep the house spotless at all times. However, I don't, and it's not.
3) You can purchase a verified Tom Jones autograph on eBay for $299 (or the best offer). When you were growing up, did you collect signatures and sayings from your friends? (Autograph book? Yearbook? Cast?)
I never broke any bones in school, so no casts, but I've signed my share of them. I do still have all my school yearbooks, however.

4) At the height of his popularity, female fans would throw their panties onstage at Tom Jones. Sam can't imagine doing this, and not just because she's not that crazy about Tom Jones. She'd be embarrassed because her underwear drawer could use a serious refresh. If you could choose one new article of clothing to add to your wardrobe today, what would it be?

5) "Tom Jones" is also the name of character in a famous 18th century novel. Tell us about a character from a book you wish you were friends with in real life.
I think Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn would be a scream to know in real life!
6) When this song was popular in March 1965, Sarah Jessica Parker of Sex and the City fame was born. Do you share your birthday with anyone famous?
Famous people who share my September 8th birthday include cinema dude David Arquette and songstress P!nk. No one I've heard of shares my 1976 year too, though (it's mostly athletes, so... duh).

7) Also in 1965, when this song was a hit, Americans were riveted by the Gemini space program and children all over the country wanted to be astronauts. Think back to your childhood: When you were in first or second grade, what did you want to be when you grew up?
At that age, I wanted to be a librarian, with glasses and a big bun in my hair. I planned to wear button-down blouses and pleated skirts every single day. Hahaha!

8) Fifty years ago, the most popular headache reliever was aspirin, and you could buy a bottle of 200 tablets for just $1. Do you have any aspirin in your medicine chest right now?
 Hubs probably has some in one of his 17 First Aid kits, for heart attacks, but other than that I don't stock it regularly. I wouldn't want to risk Reye's Syndrome with one of the kiddos.

9) Random question: You've just entered a public restroom. Would you rather find a paper towel dispenser or hot air hand dryer?
It depends. I've made no secret of my disdain for those awful Dyson hand dryers - and all Dyson products, really, because they truly don't work as well as their price tags indicate they ought to - but I like that one hot air dryer that blows really hard and loudly (can't think of the name but there is an "x" in it)! If it's a Dyson up-and-down stupid hand thingy, I look for paper towels as an alternative.
Thanks for stopping by!

Our 2015 #DisneySide @Home Celebration




Disclaimer: I received free products in order to host a Disney Side @ Home Celebration, including all those in the photo above. The opinions expressed in this post are, as always, my own.

Wow! What a great #DisneySide @Home Celebration kit I was sent for this year's party by Disney Parks and BSM Media! I received: a Mickey cake pan from Wilton, along with their sprinkles and other Wilton goodies; a huge canister of all Mighty Pacs, Wisk deep clean, and Snuggle fabric softener for helping clean our laundry; all manner of Mickey & Friends tableware for the party, along with more decorations to make things great; HP Photo Paper and envelope kits for all my party guests; Duff cake mixes; Disney Palace Pets toys to give away to party guests; Disney Princesses nail polishes that I put in the goody bags for the girls; game, activity, and recipe ideas; and SO much more!


When the Disney Store online had a killer sale a month or so ago, I snagged up a few prizes for our games, including art sets, stamp kits, desk sets, and more! And when had its own sale on these tray tables, I bought four! We usually like to eat as a family at the table, but every so often for a movie night or just 'cause, we'll sit in the living room and eat. We have no coffee table, so I thought the tray tables would be the perfect solution for both that and setting up for our #DisneySide party this past Saturday afternoon.


When I got a great deal on Oriental Trading's website, I snagged more girlish goody bags, along with a bunch of treats to go in them in addition to what my @Home Celebration kit contained. I paid mere pennies for a whole lotta awesome!


One of the things I grabbed on Oriental Trading was a Disney Princesses backdrop and decoration kit, and these props were included for photo op purposes. The pretty packages on the right were the HP photo paper gifts.


The wands also came from Oriental Trading, and the little ladies loved those! I also hit The One Spot at Target for the Frozen items in the background. No, I didn't have any particular theme for this year's #DisneySide party; I wanted to go "all Disney, all the way" for our theme!


Funny story: I called up the Parks and Rec office to see if the pavilion at our chosen park was available for our needed date. They said no, it was booked for the entire day, from morning 'til night, by the same party. So... when we arrived at noon, an hour early to set up for our party, and no one was there, I figured they were either finished with it or weren't going to show up at all!

We decorated the entire pavilion with all our amazing décor, and lo and behold, five minutes before our party was due to begin, the "real" party showed up. OOPS!!! And when I instructed Team Odette to move over to the shady tree you see above, the real party mom informed me that they were going to use the whole park and that I couldn't do that. "Too bad!" I shot back. "You don't own the whole park!" And so we moved.

Long story short, I felt bad about my snotty attitude later, and I apologized to the mom and dad, gave them some of our party gifts, invited their kids over to our party, and even exchanged phone numbers with the mom. Sorry, "real party mom"! :\


Our Princess backdrop was a huge hit with a girls. With the boys, er... not so much!


our party set-up


Rob kicked things off by proposing to Cinderella. Hee... he cracks me up.


Chloë, my natural poser, joined the belles at the ball.


Sophia, decidedly not posing!


Jack had lots of fun with the bubbles I picked up for 33¢ apiece at Walgreens! Well, all the kids did, but that was his favorite part, I think.


Kiddos checking out the goodies table


Our party guests and new friends


Fun times at Team Odette's #DisneySide @Home Celebration 2015


After our guests decided on their game prizes, Chloë claimed the Minnie Stamp Set for herself. It's a pretty cool set, but then again, it is made by Disney... right?


Everyone received a goody bag chock-full of fun!


Sophie and another little girl chose the Disney Palace Pets to enjoy; see?



Big smiles all around!


After goody time, we decided to play a last game of Pin the Smile on Mickey. As you can see, the first smile was quite accurate. After that, um...


We forgot something to use for a blindfold, so ingenious Sophia fashioned one out of paper napkins!


My brilliant kid is not so good with the blind-folded aim, eh?


Even Rob got into the fun!


I was playing along, too, but I was terrible at it!


Really, this was a fun take on Pin the Tail on the Donkey. One of our fave games!


Since we were right next to the kiddie playground, and we had lots of punching balloons left (also from Walgreens!), we invited the littles over to have some treats of their own! No one was left out of our #DisneySide @Home Celebration!


The party pavilion guests invited us over, and we invited them over, for a shared party. It was pretty awesome the way everyone came together after a somewhat shaky start. Way to show your Disney Sides, everyone!


Party pavilion mama and her daughter even posed with the princesses for me!

What a great party we had. Thanks again to Disney Parks and BSM Media for providing our wonderful @Home Celebration kit chock-full of free goodies to help us celebrate. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

See ya next time!




#TBT Throwback Thursday: Wedding Day Bliss


Yesterday (Wednesday), Team Odette headed up to Clearwater in Pinellas County, Florida, for me to visit a potential new JAFRA Consultant of mine. (That appointment went great, even though I forgot to take my anxiety meds. She's going to sign up next week!)


Afterward, the children were starving, so I took them nearby to Steak 'n' Shake for dinner. Surprising absolutely nobody, and true to form, Sophia ordered mac & cheese, Jack ordered chicken fingers, and Chloë ordered a grilled cheese sandwich. Par for the course. Robert had to stay outside in the car with Paco - voluntarily, of course. He spoils that pooch something awful (and I'm a bit of an enabler, myself)!


Since we were already in Pinellas, and St. Petersburg was on the way home, we offered to take the kids on a slight detour through St. Pete Beach and show them where we had our second wedding on the beach at sunset fourteen years ago. They were all over that like white on rice.  Our first stop was to visit where Mama used to work before going to graduate school: Larry's Olde Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor. (I gained so much weight snacking on the Peanut Butter and Chocolate flavor!)

Since the kids had already had shakes with dinner, I simply ordered a vanilla cone for our ice cream-lovin' spoiled pooch, Paquito, and let the kids get a chocolate-covered pretzel. And, come to find out, the same owner(s?) are still there from when I was 22 and heading off to University of South Florida to work on my Ph.D. in shark feeding ecomorphology with Dr. Phil Motta. (Totally name-dropping there.) She didn't recognize me, but when I told her that I had been there 16 years earlier, she said I must have been a baby, so I was too flattered to remind her that she fired me because I was leaving for grad school four months later!


And finally, we meandered down Gulf Blvd along the coastline to Pass-A-Grille Beach, the site of that fortyear post-nuptial wedding ceremony.

You see, we had originally planned for that sunset-on-the-shore wedding to be the actual nuptial ceremony. However, circumstances changed in that I had to rush up to see Rob unexpectedly a week or so after my previous visit to see him for a Navy Christmas party, wherein I found it almost impossible to drive away back to St. Petersburg at the end of my visit. For this latter drive up, I already knew by the time I arrived in Panama City Beach, where he was at Coastal Systems Station, that it would be utterly impossible for me to leave him again.

So, after we returned to PCB from Missouri to bury his stepfather, Gene, we hauled ass back to St. Pete together to put in my notice at work, pack up my apartment, get my dog Johnny... and elope! We filled out our marriage license paperwork on the 30th of December and had to wait until the 2nd of January to get married. Rushing to the courthouse after I finished work on that 2nd day of January, 2001, hand-in-hand and laughing our fool heads off, was the absolute best moment of my life.

We got married at the courthouse that day, just us and the Justice of the Peace. She shut the blinds, left, and let us smooch to our hearts' content after we exchanged the rings.


By that time, however, some of our family and friends had already made their travel arrangements for the planned beach wedding. We decided to go on with it and get married in front of them, our pastor, and God. (Not that He wasn't present the first time, but, you know.)

On February 17th, 2001, which also would have been my mommy's 50th birthday, we had our beach wedding after all. I had found out sometime around January 20th - just a few short weeks after we eloped - that Chloë was on the way! So I went to our wedding pregnant and, kicking off my shoes, finished the scenario barefoot to boot. I knew people would think my pregnancy was the reason we got married two short months after we first met, and that wasn't helped by her arrival a month early! Haha! But no matter, because Rob, God, and I know the truth. (And my OBs, natch.)

Anyway, 14 years later, there we were at twilight, with 13½-year-old Chloë, along with nearly-12yo Jack and nearly 10yo Sophia cavorting in the sand on Pass-a-Grille Beach. And just like we had those years ago, Rob and I kissed in the moonlight whilst dancing to Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight." However, with Paco in Rob's arms, those kisses turned into puppy licks and, um, eww.

Once we gathered up the children, who were disappointed not to have seen any sharks or cownose rays as I'd suggested might have happened, we decided to head up to St. Petersburg's 34th St S and visit where I used to work at the Law Offices of James M. Brickley.

Jim died while watching the attacks on September 11th, just four days after Chloë was born, so sadly the law firm was no longer there. It was replaced by a dental office. The Gold's Gym in that plaza was another gym chain now, but the Domino's was still there. The bagel shop that had the best bagels and cream cheeses on earth (which I've been craving ever since our elopement) was shut down and empty inside, and the plaza had expanded to include many more shops including one of those ubiquitous Dollar Tree stores. I got a little teary-eyed remembering Jim and his wife Pam, who I had considered my mom-figure once upon a time.

Anyway. All-in-all, it was a pretty rockin' day, and we had the best time. The kids and Paco snoozed almost all the way back home to Miami, and Rob and I held hands and rocked out to songs on the radio. And I drove entirely too fast.

Thanks for strolling with me down Memory Lane!


Sunday Stealing: The One Thing Meme


Link up here if you're playing along today!

The One Thing Meme

Stolen from: Survey Haven

One Thing ..... 

 that makes you smile: 

my family being happy

that makes you cry: 

I don't cry often unless I forget to take my meds, because they prevent me from doing so. That being said, having my heart broken is a guaranteed tearjerker for me.

that you love to do on the weekends: 

Image result for JAFRA freedom to be you

Work my JAFRA business

that you do for only yourself: 

buy excessive amounts of Diet Coke. I need to quit that shit. :\

that you have in your underwear drawer that's NOT underwear: 

Nothing, just undies. Well, I think I mistakenly put my body-shaper in there, but it doesn't belong there.

that you do before going to sleep: 

Take off my makeup and do my bedtime skincare routine, ever since Conference: I learned that for every night you sleep with your makeup on, you age your skin five days. No thanks!

that you do within the first 15 minutes after waking: 

a. Look at my phone to see the time and whether I have any important messages. b. pee. c. drink a swig or three of Diet Coke. 

that's in your purse:

Image result for purse funny

I can't live without my lip balm, so I have it with me wherever I go. I have, like, six open tubes around the house.

that you actually LIKE to clean: 

I don't mind cleaning. I just don't do it very often, because I don't prioritize it in my busy life. It's always on my to-do list, though!

that you DETEST cleaning: 

My daughter Chloe's curly hair

that other people would find odd about you: 

I can't stand rubbing or scratching on fabric. If Hubs tries to rub my leg and I'm wearing pants, for example, he'll inevitably hear, "Don't rub fabric!" And scratching your legs through your denim jeans? That is a may-HAY-jor no-no in front of me! GAHHHHHH.

that you would buy if I handed you a $100 bill: 

I'd probably go crazy and buy some groceries. Hey, I got kids to feed, man!

that you feel you HAVE to do before you die: 


Buy my husband a boat. He really wants a boat. I want him to have a boat!

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Mysterious Ways

Link up here if you're playing along this weekend!

Saturday 9: Mysterious Ways (1991)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) In honor of St. Patrick's Day (this coming Tuesday), we're featuring one of Ireland's most successful exports, U2. What else is Ireland famous for?

Potatoes. Political and religious unrest. Beautiful green pastures. Castles. Whiskey - and pubs.

2) The Dublin studio where U2 recorded this song (and all of Achtung, Baby) is now a music store called Claddagh Records. U2 pilgrims from all over the world travel to the spot (Celia Street, Dublin 2). If we were to visit your neighborhood, are there any landmarks you could direct us to?

Right down the road from me is the famous Homestead Speedway. if you're a NASCAR fan (I'm not), you'll have heard of it, surely. When a big race is on, we can hear the cars zooming 'round the track from inside our abode.

3) Lead singer Bono is rarely seen without his trademark sunglasses because he suffers from glaucoma. How is your vision? 20/20?

I have glaucoma, too. And nooooo. I am never without my spectacles or my contacts. My vision is about 20/200 in one eye and 20/250 in the other. No bueno.

4) Bono and wife Alison were married in 1982 and are still together today. Who is the longest-married couple you know?

My grandparents celebrated over 50 years of marriage. They're both gone now. I am not sure who else has been married that long, but I hope to get there one day with Hubs!

5) When Bono inducted Frank Sinatra into the Grammy Hall of Fame, he applauded the older man's "swagger." Do you think you have swagger?

No way. I'm supposed to, though, according to JAFRA USA President Paulo Moledo. Because of our superior product line and excellent commission structure, he says, we should carry ourselves with serious swagger. I'm workin' on it!

(P.S. Please "like" my JAFRA Facebook page!!)

6) Bono has been honored by world leaders, including President Obama and Nelson Mandela and the Pope, for his philanthropy. Here's your turn to brag: tell us something you have received praise for recently.

My friend Patsy complimented me on my brilliant children, saying they "think outside, under and around the box" or something similar to that. Loved that - since we homeschool!

8) On St. Patrick's Day, will you wear green?

Normally I don't, because I'm not even the least bit Irish, but this year I will be doing a St. Patty's promotion for my JAFRA business, so I will get into the Irish spirit with that.

9) Will you enjoy a glass of green beer or maybe a Shamrock Shake from McDonald's?

Negative. I don't like beer and can't have all that sugar. Although I did have a sip or two of Hubs' Shocktop at the Mardi Gras festival we went to today! 

Thanks for your visit!


How The Little Entrepreneurs Were Born


For Christmas, my sister Stacey went a different route this year than her usual gifts and sent the kids a joint Tie Dye kit, complete with a brand-spankin' new T-shirt for each of them. They have been seriously asking me five times a week, "Can we do the tie-dye kit today? Please? Can we? Can we?"

Well, finally on Saturday night, far too late for it to be sensible, I said yes. SQUEEE! Their excitement was boundless.

Mind you, I had never tie-dyed anything before in my life. Nor had Robert. So... I knew it would be a bit of a challenge the first time, and I told them not to expect grand results.


I read the directions three, no four, times before starting to tell them how to proceed. (My kids have no patience for reading the damned things themselves, and I'm a bit of a perfectionist anyway. And a control freak. So there's that.)


Sophia was first out of the gate. She decided to do a swirl pattern and quickly rubberbanded her shirt in a twisty vortex of 100% cotton. She selected her colors from the kit confidently and went right to work.

(Yes, we pre-washed the shirts. That waiting was THE hardest part, you guys. You remember what it's like to be nine, yes?)


Jack, exhibiting his characteristic blue- and green-heavy preference some more, chose precisely those colors for his shirt. He opted to do the bulls-eye pattern.


He saturated the crap out of that thing, too. It's a wonder the rinsing water ever ran clear!


Chloë immediately set about doing a rainbow swirl pattern. I was not surprised; she's a girly-girl through and through. She has also inherited her mother's Type-A, perfectionistic qualities, good or bad, and so her process was as methodical and intentional as that of the other two was chaotic.


Sophie's, which reminds me of sherbet or maybe a creamsicle, turned out awesome, no? I think she got more of a bulls-eye than a swirl, but that's okay, because it's cool. She was sound asleep when the eight-hour wait for the dye to set was finished, so she woke up long enough to rinse her tee and get Mommy's picture needs out of the way before crawling back into her bunk.


For someone who has hardly any creativity in his bones, Jack's turned out pretty cool, too! I loved it. And amongst the colors was my favorite, the teal blue-green of the middle depths of the sea, so what's not to like?


In fact, he enjoyed the creative process so well, he hunted in his pile of laundry for another white t-shirt to dye immediately after finishing the first one. I don't know what you'd call his lack of pattern, but can you tell the kid really likes the color green?


Chloë's rainbow outing turned out vivid and funky. I loved it, and so did she. Very happy with the results despite also achieving a bulls-eye instead of a swirl. (I'll have to Google methodology to determine where we went astray.)


In fact, Chloë dove into her own pile of laundry and decided to dye a matching pair of capris! I was surprised at this, since the pants were relatively new, but since she bought them herself with her earned babysitting money, I certainly wasn't going to tell her no! She donned the clothes after they were watched and dry, and yes, she looked quite the hippy. Adorable. I'll have to get a picture later today when she wears them fer realz.

All of this excitement led to one DUH! and one WOW! To-wit:

They didn't sleep pretty much at all until Sunday morning. Which means now our school schedule for the week is fecked. I'm gonna have to work on that all week long. Sweet. :\

Also, they decided to pool all their savings and some money that both parents invested in the project, to start their own tie-dyeing business! Even Jack bought into the project! We went to the hated Walmart and bought all manner of dyes and materials for dyeing, and throughout the wee hours, the kids set to work. 

think they have decided to name the enterprise "Two Tweens and a Teen," but it's not carved in stone yet. They're all gung-ho and have dollar signs in their eyes, so I'm hoping their wares sell. I will set up and take pictures later after everything is clean and pressed, giving them space on Etsy, and perhaps Facebook, and maybe Instagram, too. We're a multi-media operation here, folks.

So this should be fun. My dad suggested we tie this into a 1960s-70s American history lesson about those transitional times, too, which I think is a stellar idea. Now to bone up on that (hey, I wasn't there)...!

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday Stealing: Threes Meme


Link up here if you're playing along today!

Threes Meme

From Remember the Stars

1. Three things that scare me: 

a. Losing another one of my children

b. Being laughed at and rejected by people I care about

c. Being laughed at by complete strangers

 2. Three people who make me laugh: 

a. Larry David (he's totally my unaware boyfriend)

b. Hubs (hysterical!)

c. My children, every single day

3. Three things I love: 

a. hearing children laugh

b. not being able to control my own laughter

c. homeschooling my kids

4. Three things I hate: 


Aw, only three?! ;) Okay:

a. being behind a slow, bad driver

b. people who think my homeschooled kids must be awkward and weirdly unsocialized people (they're not... any more than awkward and weird public-school kids, anyway)

c. intentional litterbugs. (P.S. If you're a smoker and toss your finished butts on the ground, THAT'S TOTALLY LITTERING!!!)

5. Three things I don't understand: 

a. Republican values

b. people who have their head in the sand and don't understand global warming and global climate change are real and really happening. but let's not get me all worked up about it, shall we?

c. intolerance, racism, and pretty much all -isms of that ilk

6. Three things on my desk: 

Business cards

a. my beautious new bilingual business cards for JAFRA (they look better than the scan, heh)

b. a can of Diet Coke

c. my ubiquitous Samsung Galaxy S5

7. Three things I'm doing right now: 

a. this blahg post (duh)

b. moderating my auction page on Facebook

c. sneezing (this cold sucks butt)

8. Three things I want to do before I die: 

a. SCUBA dive Australia's Great Barrier Reef

b. gain forgiveness and compassion for the woman who broke my brain

c. quit drinkin' the damned Diet Coke!!!

9. Three things I can do: 

a. knit, and well

b. bake, and well

c. drive, and uh...

10. Three things I can't do: 

Image result for parking funny

a. park my car well, especially when parallel parking is involved. thankfully, I nailed it on my road test 20 years ago!

b. design my own knitting patterns that work

c. sit still and relax

11. Three things you should listen to: 

a. ME, when I talk about the important issues like those mentioned above (get yer heads out of the sand, already!!)

b. "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars (and just try not to bounce around to it)

c. your conscience

12. Three things you should never listen to: 

a. people who tell you that you can't

b. people who tell you what to do when you know better and haven't asked for their advice

c. the metal band Cannibal Corpse - it's horrid

13. Three things I'd like to learn: 

a. how to relax and, in tandem with that,

b. how to be patient

c. how to design my own awesome knitwear!

14. Three favorite foods: 

NEW YORK-style all of the following:

a. pizza

b. cheesecake

c. Italian bread

15. Three beverages I drink regularly: 

a. Diet Coke (duh)

b. fruity, girly rum drinks (but usually only when I'm being paid to evaluate a bar or club)

d. a Cosmopolitan (when I'm evaluating a classier bar. Hee.)

16. Three shows I watched as a kid:


a. The Cosby Show (shame about Bill, isn't it?! Ugh)


b. Perfect Strangers (who didn't love Balky and his "dance of joy"?!!)

c. Full House (because Uncle Jesse, mmmm)

Thanks for stopping by!


A Day On Key Biscayne: Winter Miami-Style


On a lark late Friday afternoon, I asked everyone here if they wanted to go out to the beach on Key Biscayne. The answer was a resounding "YES!" so off we went. 


It was 8-month-old Paco's first trip to the beach, so of course I took a lot of pictures of him. He's our spoiled little baby, after all. He did not like the water so much, but he had a good time digging around and running to and fro in the sand.


I'm working on my photography skills and trying to better learn all the bells and whistles on my Nikon, so I took a ton of pictures with lots of different settings. Here are the ones that turned out, well, okay ... in my opinion! ;)


Sophia, our most rambunctious child, paused for a rare moment of consideration before deciding what hell to raise first, once released from the hour-long stay in Miranda (our minivan).


Jack, still a diminutive lad at nearly 12 years old, looks considerably more grown-up in his facial features here, I think. Do you agree?




At 13½, Chloë is the least rambunctious of our children and preferred to stay out of the water. We originally tried to go to Bill Baggs State Park at the end of Key Biscayne, but upon hearing about the threat of Portuguese man-of-war in the area, declined to pay for the swim we wouldn't be able to enjoy. So, still concerned, she refused to even wade in the shallow water at the Key's dog-walking park.




Well, after running up and down the beach a whole bunch, Chloë was sweaty and hot. I convinced her to cool off in the water just a little bit, explaining how the man-of-war floats visibly on top of the water and is a planktonic animal that won't exactly swim after her. She relented!


I wanted a new cover photo for my Facebook profile, and this one seemed to fit the bill. However, I didn't like the way I had the kids centered, so ultimately I opted for this one instead:


Which do you think is better?




Rob, looking much trimmer lately since successfully finishing his year and a half on steroids to treat his brain tumor (yay!), manned the dog leash and stayed out of the water. He's doing well. He needs to get to physical therapy to get his musculature and balance back, but he's making excellent progress. I'm so thrilled about that.


It's hard to beat the sunset (or the sunrise, for that matter), over the sea. I've always been a big fan.


Little boy feet


Admittedly not the most flattering angle for anyone, I still think Sophia looks beautiful here.




Sophia Lorelei, nearly 10



Back to relaxing for the ever-photogenic Chloë Raine






One of the kids noted that a seagull dropped a fish. Suddenly, we were surrounded by shore birds. This is the only photo where it didn't look like a scary scene out of The Birds, so it stayed in the line-up. ;)




Sophie threw sand - I'm forever railing against such a thing - and accidentally got some in Chloë's eye. So we did an eyewash with Paco's bottle of drinking water. Fine, it worked, and no scratching was involved. But then, Rob dumped water on Sophia and Jack, too! Sophie didn't take too kindly to this! (And I wasn't too thrilled about wasting Paco's drink!)



Love my lady-babies!



Jack pointed out that there was a husky swimming in the water near that kayak, above. I couldn't even see it, until I took the pictures of it. Guess I need a new eye exam...


Chloë started a sandcastle - of sorts - and invited her younger siblings to join her. As usual, Sophia wanted an irrigation channel and Jack rallied for packing the sand with water. Not her plan for this "castle," but she rolled with it.



Naturally, Paco came to investigate the building. He permitted it to continue. (He didn't pee or poop anywhere in the sand, either. He's a struggle to potty-train, that one with an almond-sized brain, but I was glad that he didn't wiz in the sand at least!)


I love the colors in this one. The top of her bathing suit is almost mirrored in the setting sun.


Jack, the engineer in the family, oversaw the public works.


Just then, a woman with yet another pooch joined the dog park. This one was a fetcher. 



Back and forth he ran, full of vim and vigor, while I snapped a billion pictures. What spunk!


Meanwhile, Sophia added a driftwood door to this rather, uh... simple castle.


Not surprisingly, the Odettelettes clamored to go pet the fetchy dog. They know to ask permission from both us and the dog's owner before approaching any strange canine, but Kota looked like a friendly fella, so we said yes. The lady was super-nice, too.


The husky (and his kayakin' owner) ran by. Yes, I watched. Meh.


Meanwhile, Paco was all about having a visit with Kota. We haven't socialized him well with other dogs, so we didn't know if he would behave. He's the friendliest little noodle-doodle with people, so it probably would have been okay, but Rob declined to let them interact.


And so, they moseyed away.


Jack said that the slimy muckety-mud smelled "like poop." That's what you get for playing with anoxic muck, little dood. Needless to say, all three cherubs entered the Bath Zone upon our return home!



More water-play after saying good-bye to Kota




Speaking of cherubs, how cute was this little toddler? He seemed to like having my lens focused upon him, and he gave me plenty to snap. What a sweetie! ♥


Sophia started crying about being stung at that point, and after I examined her, I realized that she had just had an icky run-in with some sea lice. Not dangerous, just annoying... but we were saved by the bell! The ice cream truck rolled by at precisely that moment, so I sent Chloë and Jack running to wave them to a stop.


Chocolate for Chloë and Jack, and vanilla for Sophia. Rob and I decided to break the tie by sharing a vanilla cone ourselves. It cost me $13 (one cone had sprinkles) for four measly cones! Why, back in my day... ;)


Thankfully, Sophia's tears halted while the ice cream was enjoyed. (How do you think I got through my Robby grief? It's hard to cry so much when you're eating ice cream, y'all...)




Paco LOVES ice cream - and the occasional Wendy's vanilla Frosty - so we didn't neglect him. He had more of Rob's and my cone than we did!




Not a drop was wasted.


Uh-oh, the sea lice were bothering Jack by that point, too. You know when the children are having fun at the beach and getting ice cream, and still asking to go home? It's time to go home.


Besides, the beach was growing dark, the sun was finished setting, and we were the last ones there. Yup, definitely time to go home.


See ya next time, Key Biscayne! Thanks for the memories...


Saturday 9: Here I Go Again

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: Here I Go Again (1982)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This song originally appeared on Whitesnake's Saints and Sinners album. Are you feeling more saintly or sinful this morning?

No one's all good or all bad, and I'm definitely a healthy mixture of both. ;)

2) Whitesnake was formed by Brit David Coverdale, who now lives in Lake Tahoe, NV. Have you ever wanted to relocate to another country?

Sure. Hubs and I talk about expatriating all the time. Well, living on a boat and traveling the world while home-porting somewhere in the US isn't technically expatriation, but close enough. My dad, on the other hand, would do it in a heartbeat if he could afford the destination he desires.

3) In the song, Coverdale says he "was born to walk alone." Do you enjoy time on your own? Or do you quickly get bored or lonely?

Intelligent people should not ever get bored. Boring people get bored. I don't get bored. I love my own company.

4) During the band's 1980s heyday, Coverdale was known for his skintight leather pants. Do you own leather pants or slacks?

I try not to own leather anything. I'm not vegan anymore, not even a full-on vegetarian (more like pescetarian), so owning leather goes against my general principles. I don't own a leather coat or leather shoes, either. (Crocs are my friends.)

5) What about snakeskin?

Ditto the above response.

6) It's estimated that 20,000 people die of snake bite every year. Approximately 1,000 suffer fatal spider bites. Less than 50 are killed each year by sharks. Considering sharks, spiders and snakes, which do you find scariest?

I've swam with sharks and would do it again in a heartbeat. It's a wild thrill. I've had snakes writhe all over me, but I do not relish it. I had a spider bite on the back of my head 14 years ago, and I can STILL feel it. So... I'll say spiders? I'm not afraid of bugs and arachnids in general, but I don't want them touching me without first gaining my express written permission.

7) In 1982, when this song was popular, the world lost Princess Grace of Monaco. Before she became a royal, she was film star Grace Kelly. Have you ever seen a Grace Kelly movie?

No. Should I?

8) Speaking of movies, the top-grossing film of 1982 was ET: The Extra Terrestrial. Have you seen it?

My parents took me to see it at the drive-in theater. I was six then. It's one of the few memories I have of my mother alive, so I cherish this movie.

9) Random question: How many timepieces will you have to reset when we spring ahead this weekend?

Most reset on their own now, but I'll still have to do the van, the microwave, and the stove. Thanks for the reminder!

Have a grand Saturday, y'all!


Wordless Wednesday: Kiwi Crate Fun

Link up here if you're (any degree of) Wordless today!


My kids LOVE Kiwi Crate! You can try it here and also take 30% off your first box with the code DRSEUSS. Sophia, here, aged almost 10, received her first box in Kiwi Crate's Doodle Box subscription. She LOVED it. At first, because this is for the older kids (aged 9-16+), it was a bit more challenging than the Crates she had had in the past, and she expressed some frustration. But, believing that this was good for her, I left her alone. She created what she wanted to out of the Crate and then used the paints to decorate her face a number of different ways. She's a completely creative kid, and this Crate really sparked her imagination!
Jack (nearly 12), on the other hand, is my mechanic. Thus, he received his first box in Kiwi Crate's Tinker Crate subscription (ages 8-14+). Again, like Sophie, he was more challenged with this kit, but again, I left him alone. And what a transformation! He put together the kits himself and was beaming with pride at what he had created. I was thrilled, since he is a difficult child to make happy.
Anyway, though not exactly Wordless, I thought I'd share the only two snaps of their processes I was able to get Saturday night. They Doodle'd and Tinker'd too quickly! ;)
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday Stealing: 17 Meme


Hie thee here and link up thusly if you're playing along today!


17 Meme

Stolen from: Survey Haven
Are you a jealous person? 

Rarely. It's not a "yes" or "no" question for me, because normally I am not jealous of much. However, there have been a few instances in my life when the green-eyed monster came out and surprised me. I'm more jealous of my children getting attached to someone other than Mommy than of, say, Hubs checking out a hot chick!

When is the next time you’re traveling out of state? 

We left Miami last night and spent the night in Palm Beach, which is practically like leaving the country - does that count?

Can you write your name in a foreign language? 

"your name in a foreign language"

Yup, just did it. 

Image result for laughing emoji


My name is my Melanie, regardless of what language I'm speaking. it doesn't change from that to something else when I'm speaking another language - or writing it. However, I can't read, like, cuneiform, so maybe it would be something else in a language with other characters than English?

When you’re getting ready for something, do you listen to music? 

There are two times when I will stop listening to music: When the telly is on, and I don't want to compete with that, or when I'm listening to "IRIS" (my Samsung Galaxy S5's voice) navigate me around parts unknown.

What is your favorite day of the week? 

I'm a stay-at-homeschooling mom, and my husband is retired. One day really just blends riiiiight into the next. I often don't know which one it currently is.

What is something you did yesterday and wish you could have done today? 

Hubs and I went to a swanky French restaurant in West Palm Beach for a mystery shop last night. It was pretty amazing. I had a stellar companion, excellent service, and beautifully presented plating of our food. I would repeat that experience tonight if I could... but I would whisper in my own ear to order the gnocchi instead of the sheepshead (fish)!

If you woke up tomorrow and knew/spoke a different language, which language would you want it to be? 

All of them. I'd be a walking Altavista Babelfish.

What did you last order online? 

After I took the children to see Big Hero 6 at the theater, I immediately went home and pre-ordered the blu-ray/DVD combo pack from Amazon. It finally arrived yesterday. Woot! Such a good flick. I was extremely gratified when it won the Oscar last week.

Do you have any specific hobbies? 

Read my tagline: I blog. I knit. I crochet. I scrap. And sometimes I even parent my three young children. (Not necessarily in order of importance)

What’s a song you recently discovered that you want to tell everyone about? 

 I'm really loving "Bills" by LunchMoney Lewis. I haven't listened to this version before now, just the radio edit.

Favorite fall or winter accessory? 


I live in Miami. Your normal calendar seasons don't really apply. So I pick my nose rings, of which I have a full wardrobe. If it's the monsoon season (June through November), maybe Wellies?

What did you last eat? 


I had an onion bagel with whippity cream cheese. I put entirely too much cream cheese on it, but I like it that way. And no, that isn't a gastric bypass-friendly food choice, but I was about to eat myself, I was so hungry!

Look to your left. What’s there? 

That's about the size and shape of the morass that is my desk at the moment. Eleventy-billion things are on my left. How much time do you have?

How long does it take you to fall asleep? 

I drink about 19 gallons of Diet Coke per diem. It rarely affects me anymore if I drink 'em, so you may be surprised to find that lately, I've been falling asleep at the drop of a hat and sleeping many hours. (Note to self: ask doctor for results of B12 and iron levels from last week's blood draw...)

Is there a TV in the room you are in? 

There is one television set in our abode and yes, it is in this room. It is considerably smaller than the hole in the entertainment center, which drives my OCD-having self bonkers.

What comes to your mind when I say "red"? 

Image result for red lips


"Lips," but if you said it to Chloë, 13yo daughter, she'd probably think of the album by T-Swizzle (a.k.a. Taylor Swift).

Name something you think is pointless?


I couldn't think of anything at the moment other than the turn signals on the cars of most Miami drivers (hey, I use mine, and I even told the kids earlier that when they learn to drive and see that most people here neglect theirs, they should use them anyway), so I polled the room. Here are the responses:

Hubs: Cummerbunds (I disagree)

Sophia, 9: Haz-mat suits (I disagree)

Chloë: Thin socks (I kind of agree!)

* * *

Well, that was fun. Thanks for stopping by!