Monthly Archives: January 2015

Day 368, Grassy Key, FL

IMG_4141While doing my bible study near the water, this iguana swam out of the Gulf and crawled up the rocks onto the pier.  I just sat there aghast because if Eliza and I had known that the iguanas could swim, we wouldn’t have been kayaking right underneath them a few days earlier!  This guy had his swim, then worked his way down our pier to a stone table and sat on it with a friend – a smaller green guy.  Again, so neat to see , as long as they aren’t touching me!

IMG_4152We went to our favorite park, Curry Hammock, in the afternoon and I swam for a couple hours.  The water was warm, but I couldn’t get anyone else to come swim!  Wimps.  They just like our nice clean, warm pool better!

Day 367, Duck Key

IMG_4114Dan and I rode our bikes north to Duck Key and I had to stop on a little white bridge to take a picture of the water – look at that color!  Duck Key is a little more upscale than our area, so it was fun to see the boats near the huge houses.

IMG_4122These are my favorite palm trees!  Huge and beautiful and perfectly groomed. The mansion behind them was very nice, but these palms deserve accolades for making the whole area look like the perfect Keys setting.

IMG_4129Riding back to the RV, this was the beautiful water on the Gulf side.  I wonder how many pictures I’ve taken of water in the last year!  i probably cannot count that high.  I may have to blow this one up for the wall when we get home!

Day 366, Grassy Key

Today was a lazy day and I was grateful we didn’t have a lot planned because I had woken up in the night with my bites hurting and I had a hard time getting back to sleep.  Eliza and I have tried everything to keep the no-see-ums off of us, but we are still getting eaten alive inside and outside the rig.

IMG_4103We played all the games at the RV park and you can see how happy the kids were to be playing with their parents – out in public where the whole RV park could watch!

IMG_4105We were out on the rocky pier and Nate saw this nurse shark – right in our own little marina!  A few evenings before two men had been looking for them at the same spot.  He was about 3′ long.

IMG_4109Walking back to the rig, this little green guy couldn’t decide whether to walk down in front of us or freeze and hope we didn’t notice him.  These iguanas are all over the RV park, and the islands.  They can be as little as 5″ and run across your foot, or as big as the ones we’ve seen in the trees.  Eliza and I love nature  – we just don’t want it to touch us!

Day 365 – ONE YEAR ON THE ROAD AS A FAMILY!

We rented kayaks at Curry Hammock State Park today to celebrate one year on the road!  We did it!  We made it!  We’re still talking to each other!  What a blast we’ve had.  I wouldn’t change one single thing.

IMG_5893This might be my favorite day of the trip so far.  We had so much fun!  Dan and Eliza rented a double, and Nate and I each had our own.  They were old and heavy and Nate easily carried them to the water for us.

IMG_5903We started off in a deep bay, then paddled through this mangrove tree trail.  There were little blue crabs crawling all over the trees and if they had fallen on Eliza or I, we were going to spirit ourselves out of the kayaks onto land.  This picture shows a wide spot in the trail, but other areas were more closed in and kind of spooky.

IMG_5935Eliza was using my old Iphone for the pictures, and she took some great ones.  I really like this one because it shows the bird and the water turning dark when the sun went behind a cloud.  it was still hot out, but the waves were starting to kick up more.  We were only a hundred yards off shore.

IMG_5951Having fun until Nate saw the 7 nurse sharks under the water.  We couldn’t get a good picture of them because they are dark brown and the water turned brown.  Eerie!

IMG_5943Nate and I raced to these posts, and he won by about 10 kayak lengths. This shot is after he won and I finally caught up and passed him to pretend that I won.  Someday he’ll forget he beat me and I can retell the story as if I won.  I won’t forget though – he beats me at everything now and then reminds me that I’m middle aged.  Grr.  Gotta love a teenager and a competitive mom.

IMG_5981After Dan and Eliza put their kayak back, Nate and I paddled down a side canal and found all these huge iguanas in the trees. That big huge orange guy hanging there on the left!  There were smaller ones that were green and they blended into the trees so well we really had to look.  I went back to get Dan and Eliza to come back out, but only Eliza was up for it, so she hopped into Nate’s kayak and went down the canal with me again.  She almost rammed her kayak into the mangrove trees a few times and we were squealing that the iguanas better not drop on us.  As we were paddling back, Eliza noticed 7 rays underneath us.  We had seen tons of fish, but this group of rays was magical and the perfect ending to our kayak trip.

IMG_4097Back at the rig, we rolled out  sugar cookies with a foil covered PAM spray bottle – Eliza’s idea because we didn’t bring the rolling pin – and then we cooked and frosted them.  I’m sure we had a nice dinner, but I didn’t put that in my journal!  Another perfect day on the road.

Day 364, Curry Hammock State Park, FL

IMG_4082We went back to Curry Hammock State Park and Eliza walked the beach with Nate and I!  It was another beautiful sunny day and there wasn’t anyone else there.  I picked up a few shells for gifts and had a blast with the kids.  They are amazing human beings and I love spending time with them.

IMG_4085After I wash the shells, I leave them on the table to bleach out in the sun.  This tablecloth was from our friends the Ackermans years ago and I have gotten more compliments for it on this trip than on our new rig.  People love it, Karm, thanks again!

Day 363, Grassy Key to Marathon, FL

IMG_4053I rode my bike to the library today, an easy 11 miles, and stopped at this quay for yet another picture of the Gulf water – isn’t it gorgeous?  Look at that color!  I can’t get over it and can’t get enough of it.  Just beautiful.  I understand why people live here and sit on their decks and just stare at the water.

IMG_4055Came back to our rig and was so grateful for it and this trip.  We’ve been through so much with this rig and together as a family and I don’t take one minute of it for granted.  We are blessed!

IMG_4059Dan and I went out to dinner and I took yet another picture of the sunset and the 7 mile bridge.  A fun evening, a great waiter and a beautiful sunset.  We got home and the kids’ were fine – score!

Day 359 Sombrero Beach, FL

We went to the library for school today, and I played hooky (no one else wanted to come!) in the afternoon and went to see this beach…. it’s famous here and is pretty cool.  People had said it is the  ideal beach – clean white sand, little waves, pure sun and a nice park behind it – and they were right!  Tons of street parking, but I had to go around twice to find a spot. I walked down the beach for a 1/2 mile and picked up a few shells.  I didn’t want to go back to the library.

IMG_3991This is a panorama picture – hopefully it will show better on a full size computer.  Look at the color of that water!!!

Day 357, Key West

We drove down to Key West again today, about 60 miles, and this time we let the boys come.  Dan had spent 2 weeks here years ago and said he really didn’t need to see it again, but he came anyway.  Nate didn’t care either way, so we made him come.  This cruise ship was docked on the west side and we couldn’t believe how big it was.

IMG_3870

We walked all over and Eliza and I noticed how many more people were here than our previous visit.  It’s getting closer to the holidays, which is the busiest time of the year down here.  And we thought we were the only ones  who would be in the Keys for the winter, haha.

IMG_3883This is the world famous Duvall street!  Busy, smelly, fun.IMG_3900 And the southernmost we will be on our adventure!  Yeehaw!

IMG_3911There are 3 main things to do in Key West – Bar hopping, fine dining and water recreation.  I’d add a 4th – shells on your truck.  We’ve seen them attached to cars everywhere we’ve been, but this was the best one.

IMG_3948We went to Mallory Square with about 2,000 other tourists to watch the sun set.  The couple next to us had just gotten married that day, and the family to our right were arguing about where to go on Duvall street that night.  There were booths selling food and tourist trinket junk, and entertainers with pets, fire and knives.  It was the party atmosphere we expected, and we weren’t disappointed.  Another perfect day on the road.

Day 356, The beach again

IMG_3828I went to the beach today after school at the library and saw this beautiful ray!  I yelled to a kid nearby and he came over and watched it with me.  Beautiful, fluid and as long as he wasn’t coming near me, fun to watch.

We’ve been in the Keys 13 days now and I am definitely on island time.  I really don’t care what’s going on in the rest of the world, I’m learning more about Jesus by reading Matthew than I thought I would, and my husband and kids are happy today.  What more is there?!  Oh, the sunset.  Always this great sunset.

IMG_3832

Day 354, Nate’s 13th Gotcha Day!

IMG_3802Whew, 13 years went by so fast!  How blessed we are!  13 years earlier we were at the Denver airport to pick up this incredible young man and begin the privilege of raising him as our son.  Eliza tried to give him a french fry and leaned in to kiss him, and Dan and I just looked at each in awe.  A son.  We really have him home with us.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  December 10th, thank you God.

I say a daily prayer for his birth parents and the wonderful foster family who raised him for 6 1/2 months.  He was supposed to come home to us at the end of September 2001, but we all know how 9/11 changed things and it changed our lives, too.  The INS shut down and started looking for all the Out-Of-Status-Bad-Guys, and the adoption paperwork got shuffled to another closed desk.  At our adoption agency’s Christmas party our kind social worker asked how I was holding up, and I told her I couldn’t wait for him any longer.  One week later he was in my arms and my life was complete.  Every adoptive parent I know thinks that their child was meant for them, and we are no different.  We thought we were such good parents with Eliza, our first.  She was always happy and was the joy of our lives.  We knew God meant us to be her parents and we considered ourselves beyond blessed.  We had no idea what was coming with our son, but we thought we were ready.

The first night we got home, I laid Nate down on the floor in Eliza’s room, and turned around to get her PJ’s out of the closet.  I turned back just as he rolled to his tummy, crawled to her bed, pulled himself up and stood there looking at me.  I yelled to Dan, “hey honey, we don’t have a baby, we have a toddler” and we’ve been trying to keep up with him ever since.

He is strong-willed, sensitive and bright.  He doesn’t take direction well, and I look in the mirror and think, “yes, God, I get it now.”  What goes around, comes around, and I am definitely getting what I need out of raising this young man.  He challenges me and stretches my patience and each night that I go to bed, I thank God that he’s in my life.

We took him out to dinner tonight to celebrate.  13 years with us.  13 years of tears and joy and laughter and the absolute certainty that he was meant to be ours.  The Keys sunset was beautiful, but his smile is better.  Thank you, God.