18. July 2012 · Comments Off on Florida Discoveries 27: Destin Parasailing with the Kids · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , , ,

Coming in to land after their ten-minute trip.

Last weekend we took advantage of another Groupon: $35 parasailing with Destin Parasailing. By buying two for “myself” and gifting two more to Dave (per the terms of the Groupon), we were able to swing $35 parasailing for the whole family!

We were scheduled for last Saturday, but due to poor weather, we rescheduled to this past Sunday and the weather was fantastic!

You can read more details about a parasailing experience here from our trip last year, but with the kids we were really happy they enjoyed it. There was another 7-year-old on our boat and she was much more high-strung. She went up before our boys did, and she shrieked and hollered most of the time. We didn’t know if she was happy or sad about the experience. When she came back, she seemed to be giggling, but then said “It was scary!”. So I was nervous that the kids might get nervous themselves.

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15. July 2012 · Comments Off on Florida Discoveries 26.5: Now We’re Olin Marler Spokespeople! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

Where are our royalties?

Today we took the kids parasailing (new blog post coming soon!) and we used the same business, Olin Marler Fishing Service, that we did for the deep sea fishing earlier this month.  So when we were checking in, Jacob pointed out that Dave and I were in one of the pictures in the window.

This was with other pictures of people showing off their catches.

A professional photographer took pictures of each group and this was the one she took of us, but we didn’t purchase…although at $10 for the print, it was a relative bargain.

But we didn’t have to buy the print because the same photographer had taken this picture with Dave’s iPhone at the same time.  See?  We’re even posed the same way.

I’ll refrain from the more gory pictures of chum and cigar minnows with their eyes stabbed out, ha ha. But here’s the boat’s catch. There were 10 of us fishing, so we each were allowed to take home two red snapper and many other kinds of fish as well.  Dave’s biggest red snapper catch is on the farthest right of the top row, and my lesser amberjack is right next to it.

Yep, I’m quite a bit behind, but I wanted to share Dave’s and my latest Florida adventure.

While the kids were in the northeast visiting with the grandparents, on July 3rd we booked a half-day (6 hour) fishing trip out on the Gulf of Mexico.  We had SO MUCH FUN (yes, I’m shouting this).

Our boat, the Gulf Breeze.

We chose Olin Marler Charter Boat service for our trip, since that’s the same company we used for our dolphin cruise in April.  The Marler name is a fixture in Destin: “Uncle Billy” Marler was one of the founders of Destin and served as the fishing village’s first postmaster.  The founding families’ names are everywhere in Destin: street names, company names and even tied into the names of the boats.

Olin Marler offers several options for deep sea fishing trips: the “party boat” which holds more people on the boat but costs less, the group charter: a smaller boat experience that accepts an assortment of smaller parties, and the truly private charter, where a single group pays for the full cost of the boat trip, regardless of how many people are in the group.

We chose the middle option, since we didn’t want the chaos of a large group but weren’t about to pay for a full boat all to ourselves.  Our group charter was able to accomodate up to 30 people on board, but there were only 10 of us.  It felt very fortunate to not be on such a crowded boat.

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30. April 2012 · Comments Off on Florida Discoveries 21: Dolphin Cruising in Destin · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , , ,

We had a wonderful afternoon on a dolphin cruise. The weather couldn't have been more cooperative!

I guess it’s been a while since I wrote one of these “Discoveries” posts, isn’t it? It doesn’t mean we didn’t do anything — in fact, I’m reminded that I should relabel my USS Alabama, Mardi Gras and Santa Train posts “Alabama Discoveries”…we do seem to spend a lot of time there, don’t we?

Maybe while I’m at it I’ll rename our Atlanta road trips “Georgia Discoveries” 🙂

Thanks to a Groupon I purchased several months ago, we were able to take advantage of a dolphin cruise around Destin Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico this past weekend. The Groupon benefits expired on April 30th, so in typical Major Mom fashion, we took the trip on April 29th.

We took a 30 minute narrated tour of Destin Harbor and then traveled through the East Pass into the Gulf and got up close and personal with three separate pods of dolphins. As you might have read or heard, dolphins are indeed very social and friendly. The younger ones enjoyed showing off for us — trying to get as much air as possible when jumping! More »

06. November 2011 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

Dave Update:  With the kids at home to help Dave (most of the help he needs now is picking up stuff that he’s dropped, by the way), I was able to go back out to the weekend crop on Saturday and take advantage of a few more hours of making pages.  Dave had a really good day, although he’s really starting to get bored just sitting and watching TV.  He’s having trouble reading with the drugs he’s on, but hopes to get into reading a bit more once he’s off them.

After I got home from the crop, we took Dave out to dinner — his first outing since he came home from the hospital at dinnertime on Tuesday.  We just went to Vinnie R’s, a local Italian restaurant that’s right on the edge of our neighborhood (1.5 miles from home).

At about 8:30pm last night, Dave sneezed.  He typically doesn’t suppress sneezes, and he didn’t with this one.  The pain started right back up again and we felt like he was back at square one, the jolts of pain and muscle spasms immediately returned.  He was on a minimum of pain medications, so he felt every bit of the pain until he went back up the recommended dosages and could get things back under control.

This morning (Sunday), he’s feeling better.  He slept a little funny and had a knot in one of his glutes that took a couple hours to relax.  But otherwise, he’s ready for another day of sitting and healing.

Saturday’s Progress: I did 9 more pages on Saturday: 5 more pages for Timmy’s 1st year baby book and 4 pages featuring our October 2004 Bahamas cruise for our family vacations scrapbook.

Angela had proclaimed “This isn’t a competition…BUT….”.  We didn’t mean to, but we girls were definitely counting the pages we made up over the weekend.  I completed 17 pages in over the two days, which is pretty impressive for me 🙂  The other ladies will have cranked out anywhere from 25-40 pages over the weekend, but they were staying at the hotel and had 18 hours per day available…I did not.

One of the ladies gave me a ton of design help on Timmy’s 1st Christmas pages.  I realized how far into the stone age I am with my styles.  I broke out my circa 2002 Coluzzle and you’d have thought I was breaking out Medusa’s head, lol!

Things have come a long way since the days I last did marathon cropping, back when we were stationed at Patrick AFB and I’d get together with Angie, Kasi and Suzy for afternoon crafts about once a month or so.  For the first time, this weekend I was able to try out a Xyron sticker machine, a Cuttlebug cutter/embosser, and the electronic Cricut paper cutter system (with an infinite choice of cartridges!).  I could get lots of use out of the Xyron and should probably buy one, but the Cricut scared me to death!

Dave should be proud that I did all of these pages without paying a DIME for any new scrapbooking materials — only a payment into the meeting room at the hotel, and about $30 worth of photos that I had printed up at our local Walgreens.  Although I now want to hit up A.C. Moore and stock up on some of the latest and greatest!  With a 40% coupon, of course!

I’ve completed 13 pages of Timmy’s first year scrapbook and probably have about 6-7 more pages in mind.  They aren’t chronological (I have a traditional baby book that documents his first-year milestones), but rather fun collections of pictures I had of him in his first year, such as eating, bathtime, and family gatherings.  Jacob has a similar book that I finished several years ago.

These title letters came from the Cricut machine.  We also embellished some of the Christmas trees in the header paper with glitter.

Some captioning went into the lower left.

We took a cruise in October 2004, just after Jacob turned two years old.  Dave’s Mom joined us and we had a lot of fun.  We squeezed it in between all those hurricanes that hit Florida in 2004.

That pic of Jacob in the upper left is one of my favorites in the whole world, and Walgreens cut off the word “Pirate” that was written above “Jacob” on the hat (because these are digital prints being blown up into 4×6 size or something like that).  The Carnival Kids Club had the kids dress up as pirates and “attack” one of the restaurants and cause all sort of mayhem.

This was from our visit to the Nassau Zoo.  These were the friendliest flamingos we’ve ever seen.

I further embellished this page with homemade stickers of gas station pumps and tanks (hence the strange caption).  We have so many pictures of Timmy eating and drinking — always so happy.

Just before I left for the evening, we got to watch a sunset beach wedding out the window.  We had fun coming up with our own stories of how the couple met and what their circumstance was for having a wedding with only a bride, groom, clergyman, photographer and three flowergirls.  We had two hypotheses: a husband and wife privately renewing their vows with their three daughters, or a servicemember quietly marrying a single Mom of three girls just before he takes a deployment.

Thanks to my maximum zoom on my iPhone camera, you too can watch a sunset beach wedding!  The bride is just off the picture to the left.  There are three flowergirls walking from the stairs to the aisle drawn into the sand.

The bride is standing right under the pirate flag.

It wasn’t that warm (upper 60s), and it was rather windy, as you can see from the bridal veil.

25. July 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

Who here is a fan of Groupon!  Go ahead, raise your hand!  Don’t be shy….

I started using Groupon in the Omaha area ($5 Omaha Lancer’s tickets!), but quickly transferred my settings to Pensacola when we got here.  I’ll admit that I don’t care about most of the deals that come our way (half price facials, $20 for $50 worth of pizza at a restaurant in Pensacola, etc.) but I’ve taken advantage of a couple deals that seem relevant.

Some Groupon tips:

  • Read the fine print CAREFULLY!  I saw a great golf deal that was only good on weekdays.  This golf deal only cost $2-6 less than if you played the course at regular price after 3pm.  I have two movie tickets in my account right now that are only good after 6pm.  Know and understand the limitations.
  • Note the expiration dates on the deals.  Sometimes you have quite a bit of time, sometimes you only have till the end of the month.  Remember that you’re pre-paying for the coupon, so if you miss out on the deal before it’s expired, it’s your loss, not the business’s.

The first one we got actually cash in on was a parasailing trip last weekend.  At Destin Parasailing, they offered $37 for one ticket on the parasailing trip, which is the 60-75 minute boat ride (time for 4 groups to go out) and 15 minutes up on the parasail itself.  These trips are typically $60-75 per person.

It was incredible!  Parasailing is VERY gentle, and Dave and I will both attest that riding in the speedboat while keeping the chute aloft is far more adrenaline-packed than riding in the chute itself.

Our boat (the red one).

Dave’s rigged up and ready to go!

This family is coming back in — Dad (an Army Soldier vacationing here from TX) is holding a camera in his right hand and I’ll bet he got some great pictures.  The girl in the middle is 11 years old and wasn’t much bigger than Jacob.  The first mate on the far right took the next couple pictures with my iPhone while we were up.

Seconds before we launched!

The launch isn’t what you expect: the boat pulls away from you and you’re essentially suspended, almost still.  All the motions are very slow, and the whole experience is VERY quiet.  So peaceful…

You start out not-that-high, it takes about 5 minutes for the chute to gain altitude as the boat pulls it, like running with a kite.

Our view of the Crab Island Bridge as the boat brought us back in at about 7:10pm.  

We got back just in time to enjoy a lovely sunset dinner at Poppy’s Crazy Lobster restaurant for steamed seafood.  I saw the Great Blue Huron eating fish while walking on the dock on the way to dinner.

Choose your poison…we ordered a “Category Three” to share.  

I’m very glad we shared it!

Dave got steamed shrimp, which he has proclaimed was the best restaurant shrimp he’d ever had!

Meanwhile, I enjoyed some snow crab legs!