Friday, January 30, 2009

Letter E

Ammon was (as usual) needy for attention, so I decided we'd work on the letter E, even though his friend, Benny, is out of town. He knew the sound of the letter even before we started today. I think it's because we have this fridge toy that plays the letter sounds with a catchy tune. So catchy that Justin goes around the house singing "A says A and A says ah, every letter makes a sound, A says A and ah." We made an elephant puppet, which right now he's snuggled up with in his doggie sleeping bag,watching The Jungle Book. We read Green Eggs and Ham and looked through a picture dictionary and found other things that begin with the letter E. He seems to love the attention. It made me sleepy.
I've been spending insane amounts of time on the internet researching my trip with Allison to Disneyland in about 5 weeks. I am getting excited! I'm also nervous about being alone with a kid, in places unknown. I have a fear of doing things out of my comfort zone. And I'm not talking about how everyone has these fears. I inherited it from my Mom. Blah blah blah, I know it's good for me to get out there in life and just live it, but it's scary sometimes!
I found out yesterday that I have a minor allergic reaction to sunflower seeds. This is ironic because I am so addicted. I can go through a pound in a week easily. Disgusting, I know. I'm going to try not eating nuts for a couple of weeks and see if I notice any changes. This should be interesting. I'm not eating gluten or any milk products either. Very boring diet.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Sliding. This is a new term for me. Well at least what Minnesotans refer to it as, which is: sledding. I've now heard two locals call it this, so it must be true. Kind of like Duck, Duck, Gray Duck, and "budging" in line. Funny Minnesota-isms.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Has anyone noticed that everyone is having babies, or just had one? Let me count the ways...Meggin, Holly, Karen, Sienna, Trevyan, Tina, Jerica, Erin, Brandelyn, Brittanie, Jacob's teacher from 5th grade?? . That's all I can think of right now, but that's a large list. Four are sister-in-laws! I'm feeling the pressure, and babies sure are cute, especially now that Ammon is getting older. Gosh he's changed since he was born.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Last day of Awesome Vacation to Florida

We actually got home last night from Oklahoma, but these are the memories from the last moments of stress-free life.

Packing up was a piece of cake. I was surprised how we fit everything into our bags so we didn't have to check one on the plane. On the drive to the airport, we stopped at Fudruckers and saw the alligators. Even if it wasn't in the wild, at least we got to see some.
We were on the last row of both of our flights. The second flight, we were on a huge plane. We opened our window, and what a view! All we could see was the jet. When the engines started up, we couldn't hear each other scream, it was so loud. And the vibrations on the feet! It was almost like getting a bonus foot massage.
We made it back to Oklahoma with no problems. Meggin picked us up at the airport and then we drove to the Dittmers. It was nice to see the kids, I suppose. Being home for a day now, I am realizing how much stress I carry in my daily life. This vacation was perfect. Just what I needed.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day 5 of Awesome Vacation to Florida

Another beautufil day. The forcast is very deceiving. I'm glad we didn't decide not to come because of those lightening and cloud pictures. It was cloudy and looked a little "tut tut," but no rain.
We drove to Deer Lake State Park and hiked on the Linear Trail across the highway. It was about a 1.5 mile loop. It was nice and secluded; didn't see any other people. It was fun to see different types of wildlife growing, like mushrooms and pines. We even saw a lizard/gecko that turned from bright green to brown. So cute and little.
Justin decided that he wanted to jog back to the house along the beach, which is only about 1-2 miles, so I drove back. I got there just in the nick of time. The cleaning crew was just getting out of their cars getting ready to clean the house. I told them we had extended out stay one more day, and the office should have told them.
Lunch, nap, then we walked to the beach. Justin brought the skim board and wore the wet suit. We walked south a little ways and found a flat-ish spot. I got busy trying unsuccessfully doing a Sudoku for a few minutes, got frustrated, so started making a family-school-of-fish sand sculputre.
In the mean time, Justin walked back to the house and got an inflatable lobster to ride the waves. He was making me laugh so hard. He is such a dork. After awhile snorkeling with the lobster, he came back in and said, "that guy walking by probably thought "they shouldn't let retarded people go out that far."" He did look really, uhm for lack of a better word, retarded.
He found a little shell with a crab in it, and we also noticed all of these little tiny clam shells that had clam type things in them along the wave front. You could see them digging back into the sand as the waves receeded. We had fun digging for them and watching them dig down.
Back at Endless Summer, we played another couple rounds of Skip-Bo. Our scores are now 400/65 in favor of me. Poor Justin. He usually beats me at Skip-Bop too. Then we made chicken/rice/black beans/salsa for dinner. We made regular rice and no Lawreys season salt for the chicken, so the rice wasn't as good as Basmati and the chicken a little boring. I guess it filled the tummies though.
We packed up most of our stuff, and surprisingly, there isn't that much food to throw away. Justin has a big appetite.
I felt like a late night walk on the beach so we headed down there again around 10 PM. There was no one there, except for the county guy driving his truck down the beach checking on garbage and what not. It was soooo fun! We sat on a sandy ledge by the waves and laid down and looked at the stars. The ledge was about 18 inches tall, and would crumble very easily. We had fun trying to knock the sand out from under each others' bumbs. I had fun trying to get on top of the ledge then slide down on my feet. It was hard just to get on top without it falling down. I was getting the giggles. Justin was a pooper because his "muscles hurt."
We walked back and played chicken with the waves to see how far out we would stand. I was by far the most chicken, not scared of the waves, but of what might be in the waves. Even though the whole time, we have never seen anything, just not being able to see what's in there is scary!
Back at the house, we rinsed off our feet outside, and then I sat and put my feet in the pool. It wasn't too bad! Justin was right all along. Then I was rinsing off in the tub and stood up under the faucet and scraped my backside pretty good. Not a great end of the day.
It's late and we have to get up at 7 AM.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I had a thought...Justin and I were walking along the beach tonight about 10 PM through the fog and were talking about how many trips we've taken over our 13 years of marriage. I can't believe how many! It's really important to me for these trips to happen. It makes me feel like a wife instead of always a mom, and makes me feel so loved. Here's the list we came up with:
  • Center Street Bed & Breakfast in Logan
  • ? Inn in SLC
  • Providence Inn
  • Portland/Olympic National Park
  • Yellowstone/Tetons
  • Fish lake/Capitol Reef
  • Seattle - beach
  • Tulsa hotel
  • Branson Missouri
  • Grand lake resort Oklahoma
  • Cancun Riviera Maya 2006
  • Oklahoma City - temple with Meggin and Spencer 2007
  • Florida South Walton beach house 2008

Not too shabby of a list! Hoping to making it longer in the years to come.

Day four of "Awesome Vacation to Florida"

Arise and shine! There was a HUGE thunderstorm and rain in the middle of the night, but this morning the sun was shining beautifully. We were able to detach ourselves from our king sized bed and make it to church in time to get the sacrament at the Panama City Beach Branch by 9 AM. That is one small building. Justin being Justin, bore his testimony today, and tried to get me to go up there. Yeah, no thanks. The people seemed quite friendly. We stayed for Sunday School then sneaked out so we wouldn't have to be apart for the third hour. I know, cheesy. I did notice a one-half inch hair growing out of the back of Justin's ear that threw me for a loop for a minute. He's only 36! Stop those ear hairs! Can this be grounds for divorce? (I'm obviously joking.)
We stopped in Camp Helen State Park and walked around for awhile. There was awesome moss growing on the trees several feet long all over the place, just like you might imagine the bayous. It was only $2 to park here and I enjoyed it lots! We saw a few interesting birds (an egret or heron) and to top it off, there weren't many people at all. I like secluded hikes and places. Since it had rained the night before, the forest smelled like tree and leaf decay. I love that smell.
We have been having fun playing with our digital slr camera. I wish we knew how to use it better. Hope some of them turn out okay.
We drove a few more miles and stopped at Deer Lake State Park (free). It was only a parking lot with a boardwalk over some forested area and sand dunes, which are neat to look at. We walked to the beach and contemplated walking back to this spot because it looked promising for skim boarding.
Back at Endless Summer, I took a nap while Justin read "The Hero of Ages" by Brandon Sanderson. He is obsessed with these books and is always trying time to squeeze in a few pages.
At 3:30, we walked barefooted to the beach and found that it was having the tide out that made for some fun skim boarding spots, so we didn't have to walk back to Deer Lake. I tried the board once and fell a little getting my sweatshirt wet, and chickened out on trying more. I probably would have if Justin put on a little pressure. Justin seemed to have lost his groove from the previous jaunt, but was able to get a few good runs in. The three times he fell down, I didn't have the camcorder on, darnit! His pulled muscle in his thigh is sure bothering him.
We made the sand come to life by sculpting a crab. I wonder if it will be there tomorrow...
Justin bought some $2.99 paddles and ball, so we had a great game on the beach. The sand is amazing (and squeaky). The was lots of fun too.
It was warm and sunny, enough that I was in my swim suit the whole time. The weather forcast has tricked us,and said that it would be rainy most of the days, but it hasn't been. Tomorrow is our last day. I would love to stay longer. It wouldn't cost us anything more to stay. Just the kids out of school and Justin's work. He said he could do some office work from here. The kids would only miss two more days of school, and we could stay through Friday or something. Just a thought. I heard it is -1 in Minnesota. Makes me think harder about staying here.
Yummy tacos for dinner. Justin ate 8, me 4 (which is LOTS for me). We had another installment of Skip-Bo, which I won, so our tally is now 175/65.

Another great day in Florida!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Day Three of "Awesome Vacation to Florida"January 3, 2009 "I wish I'd had one piece of bacon, instead of two. Stuffed to the rafters." Quote by Justin, teasing me because I don't want to spend an hour making hash browns from raw potatoes. He had a nice breakfast of bacon, eggs, and toast, with a little cranberry/blueberry juice. Justin pulled a muscle in his thigh yesterday during one of his skim boarding jaunts, and is now valiantly trying to make as little trips up the stairs as possible.
Later that evening...
Lots of shopping. We stopped at a mission thrift store, the Goodwill, and a couple of tourist clothes shops. We were successful at getting a couple of t-shirts, something for each kid and three, yes three, Christmas ornaments. We initially purchased two, but found one we really liked later on. It's a big ball with shells glued all over it.
We spend several hours at St. Andrew State Park. First we stopped at the lamest visitor center I've ever been in, but were able to find a map of the park. Then we hiked around Gator Lake and "bushwhacked" through the forest exploring; hoping to find one of the elusive alligators. There were signs everywhere telling us how common they are and to be careful etc. Must be the wrong time of year or something. We did see about four deer.
We drove to the beach area and settled in for a nice cozy nap with the windows and sunroof open. When we woke up, there was a fog rapidly rolling in. We walked along the beach for awhile, then left.
Justin has been craving fish tacos and he saw a mexican restaurant, so we stopped there. He got his tacos and said they were really good. I ordered a side dish of french fries. I tried squeezing my lemon and Justin's with lots of sugar to make my water a little bit like lemonade, but it was soooooo gross.
I was eating my curly french fries and noticed one that looked funny. I said to Justin, "this one looks like a cobra," and made a hissing noise which made a piece of fry fly out of my mouth. Justin still is making fun of me about it.
We drove into the town of Panama City Beach and watched "Yes Man." It was pretty funny, but could sure use some editing.
We returned our snorkel gear, swim suit, beach clothes, etc to Target getting us back about $100. That's nice.
Even though they haven't heated the pool yet, we might go jump really fast, then run into the jacuzzi tub. We'll see if it happens. It's really foggy outside, kind of like Twilight Zone, and there is lightening.
A fairly uneventful day, but I still give it 3/5 stars.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Day Two of "Awesome Vacation to Florida"

It is so delightsome to be able to sleep in, undisturbed in a quiet neighborhood, with no highways. I was so happy to see the sun shining this morning with the promise of a nice day. It made it easier to get out of bed.
Justin and I went to the Beach House Rentals of South Walton Beach and paid our cleaning fee of $135 and an additional $90 to have the pool heated. That was a hard decision to fork over that much money to swim, but it's going to rain and be cold, so I thought it would be nice to do something outside if it's crummy.
We drove to Seaside, where the movie "Truman" was apparently filmed, and spent an hour choosing the rest of our food for the week. We have decided on stew, chicken/rice/black beans/salsa, and tacos for our main meals. It's fun to go around with Justin and choose what to eat. He loves to get special types of drinks. We bought crannberry/blueberry, pomegranate blueberry juices, chocolate milk, and Black Cherry IBC pop. Food is about 50% more than in MN. It made it hard to buy the food, but there aren't other easy options. It's still cheaper than eating out.
After shopping, we changed into our swim suits (Justin brought Tony's purple and black wet suit) and headed down to the beach. We brought the skim board that we bought at a strange store for $5 and a snorkel and mask that Justin found under the house. Justin was such a go-getter and went straight into the ocean. I, on the other hand, wasn't too excited to get my feet wet today, despite the warmer temperatures.
Justin snorkeled for awhile, then tried the skim board. He wasn't so good, but after about 30+ tries, he started to get the hang of it. He could go about 30 feet at a time if he caught the waves just right.
Justin often has a way of making me do things I don't always want to. Meaning, I tried to skim board. I was able to skim for a few feet right off the bat, but had terrible balance. The third try, I totally did a face plant in the sand and water, then when I was trying to get the board, it came back and clonked into my shins. I still have a little bit of a burn on my chin. Luckily Jusitn hadn't started the camcorder for that ungraceful fall. Embarrassing. Covered in sand, I ventured out into the waves a little more to wash off. COLD!!!!! I think a wet suit must help a lot.
We spent about two hours at the beach, then headed back to the house and snacked on chips and salsa while we cut up the carrots and potatoes for our stew. Then we played our second game of Skip Bo. I won last night with a score of 100. Justin won this afternoon, so he's now up to 65. It makes it more interesting to be keeping score. I was able to successfully pick up 60 exact cards to deal out.
Back to the beach. Justin carried two patio chairs (yes, he looked dumb, and yes, it was his idea), to the beach and we tried to read. We were easily distracted by birds, eating an orange, the pretty sunset, taking pictures, and generally enjoying each other's company.
Genie called to ask what she could give Ammon. He had thrown up twice today. I feel so bad that they have to take care of our sick baby. It wouldn't do much good to go back early, but as a Mom, I want to be there for him.
Our stew dinner was super yummy. I'm sitting in bed and Jusitn is snoozing and it's only 7:30. The snorkeling and skim boarding must have tuckered out the little guy. We're planning on watching "Get Smart."
Time to go move the laundry over.
I give today 4/5 stars (would have been 5 if it was warmer. That's how perfect if was).

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Day One of "Awesome Vacation to Florida"
January 1, 2009

After a measly two hours of sleep from partying and ringing in the New Year with the Dittmers playing Nertz (I kicked butt), Justin and I got a ride to the Tulsa airport from Alex at 4:30 AM. We were the last two people to be called for standby to Dallas, out of about 50 other standby's. We easily got on the small 50 seater to Fort Walton, Florida and landed around 10 AM. We saw some interesting Salvador Dali prints in the airport then picked up our Pontiac rental car. We didn't have the address for the house we were renting, and found out that they were closed, so we called Spencer and got the lock box combination.
We stopped at Target to get a few groceries and ended up staying there for an hour, spending extra time going through the 75% off Christmas goodies. We were paid $10 for a diabetic monitor via a coupon. Arriving at our awesome rental house about 2 blocks from the white sandy beach, we turned up the heat on the house. It was only about 60 degrees today and the house was COLD! We haven't yet been able to figure out how to heat the pool outside, and hope to use the sea kayak this week sometime. We got our stuff put away and then looked at the weather forecast for the next few days to decide if we should nap or go to the beach. It wasn't a tough decision. Although it wasn't too nice and cozy outside, today was going to be the least chance of rain and thunderstorms. Bummer. The sand is amazing. It is so powdery soft and white. Finer than sugar. There are a few shells here and there and the occasional seagull. We experimented with the aperture of our camera, but couldn't seem to get it right.
We walked on a boardwalk through a sand duney/lake area for a long time and meandered our way back to the rental. It's beautiful here. I love the picturesque views and the color of the water. What an amazing *much needed* nap. We slept for a couple of hours and woke up famished and had Dinty Moore canned stew that works our well with my gluten/milk free diet that I'm on right now. It was pretty good, surprisingly.
We just got done watching a little bit of Napoleon Dynamite. That sure is one great movie. I am so happy to be here with Justin. I love him so much, it's making me teary eyed right now. He is an amazing husband and companion and I feel so blessed to have him be my eternal dude. He's my best friend.