Monday, September 26, 2011

You know what's up IGFA

Saturday we got up and decided we wanted to do something a little different than one of our regular Saturday Florida activites. Tyler suggested going to the International Fishing Hall of Fame, which let's be honest... would probably not have been my first choice. BUT... I did want to get out of the house and I knew it was something Tyler would love. Plus it is the INTERNATIONAL fishing hall of fame, so it had to be good right? 

Owen was super excited when the first two things on our way into the place were this big silver marlin (is that what it is? I'm guessing), and a turtle (this is what Owen is staring at so intently in the picture below). Combination of these two items... heaven for our child.
And this was before we even got into the actual building. Once inside, we were pretty impressed. Look at this cool ceiling.
Owen couldn't take his eyes of these guys and was pointing out every shark. This amazing interior design job wasn't the only thing this place had to offer though. It also had WII games for the kids:

 A boat for Tyler and Owen to play in:
 Fish puzzles. Owen loves puzzles.
While Owen enjoyed all the interactiveness this place had to offer, Collette pretty much just chilled in her stroller looking cute as can be. I really love this face.
 This mannequin was there to tell us all about the fish he had caught and what to use to bait your fish when you're out on the water. Very informative. And a little bit creepy.
 They had this super cool virtual fishing experience. Owen was a natural. He caught a huge tarpon on his first cast. Good work little buddy, you made your daddy proud.
 Tyler working on reeling in a huge marlin. Lookin good babe.
 Collette thinks so too.
 There was this interesting display of the inards of the fish. It said something to the affect that a true fisherman knows his fish inside and out. Very insightful.
 Here we're learning about fishing literature. Collette was a big fan of the headphones.
 After our brains were full of fishing knowledge we decided to go out to the wetlands and check out the alligators (yes, this was something that was promised at the fishing hall of fame). Unfortunately, we looked outside and this was happening.
It's raining... hard. So we decided to kill some time scoping out the boats since even though they were also outdoors, the walkway that led us to them was covered.
We made ourselves at home on this boat while we waited out the rain. This is Owen coming up from the bedroom, he loved that there was a bedroom in the boat. 
While Owen toured the place, Tyler took care of some business.
 This is Collette and I trying to lay down for a rest. Owen wasn't having it. This is pretty much standard any time Collette is trying to get some shut eye.
When the rain stopped we headed out to the Wetlands, They kept their promise about the gators, we saw three or four hanging out in the water.
 Like this guy.
 And this guy, who we thought was going to eat a bird. He didn't.
 Owen loves gators.
I guess next time Tyler suggests going to some lame museum, I will fully trust him when he says it's going to be a good time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Derek and Lindy came to visit!

My younger brother's girlfriend, Lindy works for Jet Blue so they decided to come and visit us for a weekend (you can just up and fly across the country when you get free flights). We were super excited for them to come into town and we had such an amazing time with them.
Their trip got off to a bit of a rough start for them by sitting on the tarmac for over an hour because a tiny screw was missing from the plane. After an hour, they had to change planes. Once they finally got here, their luggage hadn't made the connection. Luckily they only had to wait three hours until they got their bags. Unluckily, when they finally got their bags, Lindy's suitcase was ripped. She also lost a jacket, a necklace, two rings and maybe a few other things along the way. Don't worry though, she didn't let it faze her and I think she still had a pretty fantastic time.
Once they actually got all of their stuff here, we got changed and headed down to the beach. Nothing like the sun and the sand to make you forget a ripped bag and some lost belongings. Tyler was able to take an hour or so off work to join the party. We loved having him there with us! He and Owen pretty much just spent hours playing in the sand.
Collette and I mostly just sun bathed. She is a natural at the beach:
See that little speck in the ocean in the picture below?
That's Derek and Lindy. Oh, to be young, in love and have no kids. You can just swim out to the middle of the ocean and make out if you want.
That night we made some sushi and then Derek and Lindy took the bikes downtown Lauderdale for some cheesecake and sightseeing. 
Aren't they so cute? Really though.

Originally we wanted to head to Key West while they were in town but figured since we had been there quite a few times and had never gone to Key Largo, we would hit that up instead. (It also may have been due to the fact that there was a huge motorcycle convention in Key West and we couldn't get a room). On the way down, we played some Truth or Dare in the car. Always a good time. There was Tyler giving Derek a head massage (not an easy task while you are driving). There was also a lot of off-key singing, crazy dancing, and puppeteering going on. We were entertained.
 Anyway, Largo offered everything we wanted on our little weekend getaway. Specifically... snorkeling!
We got out on the boat around 1:00 Friday afternoon and spent all day in the water. I'll be honest, the first day of snorkeling wasn't as successful as the second day. The first thing we ran in to while in the water were about a million jellyfish. They are super slow moving so you can around them but it's pretty intimidating to get in the water when they are surrounding the boat.
  Once Derek and Lindy dared jump in, they swam over to some coral and ran right into one of these guys:
If you're not familiar with this particular type of fish, it's a barracuda. It started following them and they booked it back to the boat. He followed them all the way there but luckily nobody lost any limbs or anything. After that incident though, we had nothing but successful snorkeling experiences.

 We had heard about this place that you can snorkel where there is a big statue of Christ underwater so we decided to check it out next. It was really cool:

I'm sure you're wondering why this statue is underwater. Or maybe you couldn't care less why it's there but we were all wondering. I was hoping it was from a ship wreck or something cool like that but actually it was built to represent peace of mankind by a guy in 1961. When it was built, they wanted it placed somewhere unusual. I guess underwater in Key Largo was the unusual place this guy was looking for.
Super fun day in the water but by 7:00 that night we were starving so we decided to head to get us some grub and then get back to the hotel.

Saturday morning we were meeting up with these people:
 Our friend's, Kim and Bubba
And the Mulcock's
They were heading down to Key West and decided to meet us along the way. So Tyler took them out on the boat to snorkel and scuba dive.

While they did that, me, Owen, Collette, Derek and Lindy played at the beach. Owen is so in love with Lindy. She was a super good sport and played in the water with him for hours on end.
Once Ty and the other got back, our friends headed to Key West and we jumped back on the boat to get one last snorkeling trip before heading home. We found an amazing spot and ended up swimming with a giant sea turtle and some super cool fish.

 Look at all of these guys?! Those were just the ones right around the boat. So many cool fish. I may have to invest  in an underwater camera.
We headed back to Fort Laudy  late Saturday night and were so super tired that we just ordered some food and watched the sad sad BYU-U game. Sad.
Sunday we went to church and then it was time for Derek and Lindy to go. They were headed to Nassau for the next few days, you know, free flights and all. We were way jealous watching them walk on to the plane and were totally missing them minutes after they left us.
These are the last visitors that are planning to come see us this year, unless of course, any of you want to come visit us, we would love some Halloween or Thanksgiving guests!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Surprise! We're here to make a mess of your house and eat all of your food!

Last weekend I was on the phone with this guy:

Complaining to him that my handsome husband was going to be out of town for the whole week and that the friends that usually entertain me while he is gone were going to be out of town as well. Labor Day is my mom's birthday so Derek being the major gentleman that he is offered for me, Owen and Collette to use his sky miles and fly out to Utah for a few days. I hesitated accepting the offer because it seemed a little too generous a thing to agree to but if I'm being honest, I couldn't wait for him to insist so that we could jump on a plane, even if it was with two kids in tow.

Owen loves flying. Especially when we get two rows to ourselves for him to play on.
We decided it should be a surprise for my mom so we hopped on a plane later that week and showed up on my parent's doorstep. I'm usually horrible at surprises because I get too excited and can't stand the anticipation. I spoil birthday presents before I give them, I read the end of books to make sure there are happy endings and if Tyler has seen a movie I haven't seen, I almost always make him tell me the end so I don't spend the whole movie wondering if everything is going to work out the way I want. See... bad with surprises.  Anyway, I actually kept this surprise and it was totally worth it. My mom's jaw literally dropped. Super confused look on her face and saying "wait, what?" over and over. So fun.
Since the point of our trip was my mom's birthday, we pretty much spent every second with her. We hiked, talked, swam, talked, played with the kids, talked, made a huge mess of her house, talked and ate a ton of yummy food . I feel so lucky that my mom is one of my best friends and I'm so so grateful for her in my life. Also super grateful for a brother who made it possible for me to spend her birthday with her this year.
Few  pics from the trip, or maybe more than a few because that's how I roll...

 Owen LOVES his Uncle Derek
Collette was super happy to be in Utah too.  I really love that little smile.
 One of the highlights for Owen... having a shopping cart his size.
We also played with cousins.

Took walks and more walks and more walks... (Florida friends, look at that beautiful grass, don't you kind of want to roll around in it?)
 Celebrated the birth of my mom! So happy you were born!
 Did some hiking with Derelindy (This is what Owen calls my brother Derek and his girlfriend Lindy) Because of Owen's knack for blending names together rather than recognizing people as individuals Tyler thinks Owen has a future as paparazzi.

 Aunt Joe was super sweet and surprised my mom with a ding dong and a candle on the hike for her b-day.
 Another hike with the cousins. We were trying to get our fill of the mountains while we were there. We didn't succeed... I still miss them.
 Owen was so so sleepy from the hike but wasn't about to give up the sucker. Sound asleep and still kept sucking on it.
We're way sad that there aren't any of these growing out of the ground here. Something crappy about Florida, the pumpkin patches are actually pumpkins in a parking lot.
We also visited Grandparents. Collette and Grandma Whitesides
Owen loves the fish game at G and G Cushings. They've had this game since I was his age. I felt the same way about it when I was little.

Something else cool about being there this past week was that  my nephews were ordained decons. We were able to go to the ordination and then hang out with them all Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of them looking all handsome in their church clothes but I did get this great pic just after they changed out of them.
Aren't they good looking kids?
Like I said earlier, we pretty much spent every waking moment with my mom (since the whole trip was to  celebrate her) but I did have the chance to hook up with my good friend Emily. This lady has been one of my best friends for 28 years. Love this girl! Thanks for hanging with me Em!
Unfortunately, trips like these do come to an end. We took a red eye home on Tuesday night and couldn't wait to see Tyler. We really miss that guy when he's not around.
Bit of advice to anyone traveling with two kids alone... don't take a red eye flight. Your kids will get plenty of sleep and want to wake up the second you land while you, being in your mid-30's will get no sleep and not be able to recover for at least a week. Seriously, what happened to the days when I could go to sleep at four in the morning, wake up at six to work out and feel refreshed and energized with those two hours of sleep? Sometimes I miss those days.