20. February 2015 · Comments Off on Timmy’s (Almost) GoPro Action at Copper Mountain · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , , , ,

Last weekend we spent some time skiing. My dear friend Megan and her son Aidan came into town for the President’s Day weekend and we skied for two days. Timmy took advantage of the beautiful skiing weather to take some video with his new camera mounted to his ski helmet.

I’ll share with you right here the favorite of the three we’ve put on YouTube, which is on the Main Vein trail at Copper Mountain, and will link you to the other two.

TDV Camera: Copper Mountain
TDV Camera: Monarch Mountain

There is about 30 minutes of footage total; we’ve only edited/shared about 7 minutes of it so far.

I promise we will aim the camera a bit higher next time.


16. March 2013 · Comments Off on Florida Discoveries 39: Sea World Orlando · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,
During the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend, we played hookey off-resort and went to Sea World.

During the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend, we played hooky off-resort and went to Sea World.

On our weekend trip to Orlando at the end of February, I was hesitant to invest in one-day Disney World tickets. The solution came easily to us. Thanks to the Sea World Entertainment Hero Salute program, military members and up to three dependents can get one day’s admission per year to one of the company’s parks: Sea World, Busch Gardens or Sesame Place.

We have taken advantage of this program many times, from Sea World when Jacob was a baby, to Sesame Place twice.

We met up our dear friends Andy and Suzy with their kids, who we joined on our last family trip to Walt Disney World in 2011 and Universal Studios in 2012. We absolutely LOVE hanging out with them and we’re so happy they took the time to join us last month. We spent the day before the half marathon at Sea World.

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21. September 2012 · Comments Off on Happy Birthday Jacob! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

Jacob turned 10 years old earlier this month. We had a small birthday party for him at the house, and Jacob enjoyed playing with some of his birthday gifts.

Thanks to everyone to recognized his birthday with nice gifts, and thanks to those who took time out of their busy schedules to celebrate with us earlier this month.

And if you’re wondering, NO, I can’t believe I’m now the mother of a ten-year-old. I remember when I was just turning 10 years old, we had just moved into a new house in Norfolk, Va, and I walked 2/3 of a mile in each direction to and from school, without parents, and with my Kindergarten-aged sister.

Jacob wanted a Harry Potter-themed birthday party, but with an inflatable slip ‘n slide. It was definitely a hybrid experience. These are Golden Snitch cake pops. You’re right, I wouldn’t have thought that either upon first glance…

A close up of the completed Golden Snitch. Don’t laugh. The wings are made of gum paste.

We need a cake for the candles, right? The Gryffindor emblem was printed on cardstock and laminated with clear packing tape.

We have really enjoyed having a backyard here large enough to bring in these big inflatables. We rented the tables and chairs for the AF Base.

It was breezy and I had a hard time keeping the candles lit…

Most of his gifts were LEGOs! Thanks everyone!

Jacob got cash from the Grandparents this year. He took the check from Grandma and Grandpa Fox and used to to buy a metal detector. He deposited Grammy and Grampy’s check in the bank and is waiting for a video game to come out to use it.


Our friends and neighbors, the Scotts, took our family out on their boat last weekend.  It was so kind of them to offer; their boat seats 4 adults and 2 kids pretty well, but no more passengers than that can fit, so we had to find a weekend that didn’t involve other visitors.

We here thought we were going to have a visitor this weekend, my girlfriend Susan from Virginia, so we had said “No, thank you.” to the invitation at first. Susan canceled at the last minute because of Issac impacting her return trip. So then we were able to fit in a trip just before hunkering down and preparing for Issac.

Michael and Cathy gave us a choice: would we like to go east to Crab Island or west towards Pensacola Pass.  Cathy told us there was an area similar to Destin’s Crab Island towards the west at the mouth of Pensacola Bay.  Since we had been to Crab Island before, and I’m such a sucker for new experiences, we elected to go west.

We put the boat in the water at about 10am, and it took about 90 minutes to get to our location.  The trip took us past Gulf Islands National Seashore, Fort Pickens and much of NAS Pensacola.  When we docked, we were in view of the Pensacola Lighthouse and the Museum of Naval Aviation.  The map below shows where we were — on the shore just west of the mouth of the Pensacola Bay, along a channel called Pensacola Pass.

View Larger Map
When Cathy was trying to tell me about this place, she wasn’t really sure of the name.  She and I jokingly called it “The Crab Island-Like Place near Pensacola” when we were planning.  We asked a couple people who were near our docked location about the name, and we heard two names: “Fort McRee” and “Sand Island”.

When I looked online, I found a forum post that provided several other names: Admiral’s Island, Dog Island, Pelican Island.  Nonetheless, it was a lovely place to dock the boat and play.

It was a very Floridian day for us!  Enjoy some pictures (mostly of the kids).

Backing the boat in at the Navarre Beach boat ramp.

Ready to climb in!

Dave had shotgun!

Timmy enjoyed the ride. He seemed obsessed with the boat’s wake for much of the trip.

Heading under Pensacola Beach Bridge.

Once you’re west of Pensacola Beach Bridge, you’ve transitioned from being in Santa Rosa Sound to being in Pensacola Bay. Then we were quite surrounded by sailboats most of the way across the bay.  You can also see the chop on the bay.

A view of where we were headed at Fort McRee. We docked just to the right of that center boat. Not nearly as crowded as Crab Island. Not nearly as wild and crazy either!

Timmy wasted no time leaping into the water as soon as we anchored.

Jacob was asking “Can I just jump in?”  The water was REALLY shallow, so after plenty of warning about that, we let him do it.

That is an ICE CREAM BOAT! Seriously! It plays the music, and you wave and it pulls right up near you.  And of course we let the kids get ice cream. I couldn’t resist this concept!

Happy Jacob with his bomb pop.

And Timmy was happy with his Spongebob pop.

One thing about hanging out with the Scotts — they know how to pack for an outing! We all brought plenty of drinks and snacks! The kids discovered the beauty of beef jerky.

After a couple hours at Fort McRee, we headed to Pensacola Beach and docked at Peg Leg Pete’s for a late lunch before heading back to Navarre.  Tip: 3pm is a very good time to go to Peg Leg Pete’s.

11. June 2012 · Comments Off on Summer Fun!! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

The kids are definitely enjoying their summer vacation so far!  Apparently Jacob was working extra-hard this school year because I hadn’t seen him this happy in a long time.  School and baseball just wore him out, I guess.  They’re enjoying sleeping late, staying up late at night and not having to get dressed until lunchtime.  Oh, the summer life!

Since school ended last Thursday, the kids have been doing little else besides playing games, riding their bikes and playing catch in the backyard.

Sadly, our area was hit with that Gulf Coast deluge of rain over the weekend so we were quite literally stuck in the house all weekend.  Our rain gauge is broken, but I’d estimate around 8-10″ of rain at our house all weekend.  We have good drainage so our house and our property was okay.

While under our virtual house-arrest, the boys got along GREAT and Dave and I could catch up on several household tasks.  We had visited Target on Friday and let the kids choose one video game and one board/card game each.  We enjoyed all of that and then some: Uno, Phase-10, Rummikub, chess, Monopoly, Guitar Hero and even our new “Go” board game.

I also helped out with this week’s Cub Scout Day Camp.  Even though my boys can’t go (because of our upcoming Road Trip), I had received a request to help out with some craft preparations.  I offered my assistance and I received a task that was PERFECT for this past rainy weekend: FiMo clay Star Wars action figures.  You press the clay into the molds, then bake a pan full of them at 230F for 30 minutes to harder.  They are to be used in snow globes (Hoth?) that will be made with baby food jars.

Here is a picture of what I was working on.  Cute, aren’t they?  They weren’t easy but with the rainy weather, we had all the time in the world!  I had to make 150 of these.

Of the dozen-or-so characters to choose from, there are the only ones that will fit through the mouth of a classic baby food jar. These were among the best of the batch. Most of the Yodas looks more like Gizmo from "Gremlins", and most of the Obi Wans and Chewies had no discernable faces. The molds for these were made by "Kenner" years ago. I tried to find a link to the mold product but can't find any.

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22. March 2012 · Comments Off on Spring Break Road Trip 2012, Part 3: Visiting Old Friends, Meeting New Friends!!! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,

One of the things I’m guilty of is trying to balance visiting friends with every trip we take back to the Northeast.  You know who you are!  There are many of you I haven’t been able to see in YEARS because we’re trying to see other friends.

Now that I’m a GeekMom, there are a dozen+ ladies I want to meet on my travels.  I can’t wait to meet more of you!  I’ll be in the D.C. area (again) and Long Island by the end of the year….

On this trip, we got to meet up with old friends from Nebraska, North Carolina, and we got to meet up with new GeekMom/GeekDad friends.

While we were in WV, we drove out to Centreville, VA and met some friends for dinner.

Poor Timmy was sick so he stayed at my parents while the rest of us met the Folzes near Washington,  D.C.  We were neighbors in Nebraska and you might remember these boys from Cub Scout pictures and from our trip to the Ashfall Fossil Beds in summer 2010.  The kids picked up right where they left off — and we grown-ups had a great time catching up.  Dave had so many questions for Nick about his Pentagon commute.

We met up with Don, Maryann, Joey and Johnny at a BBQ restaurant in Durham.  We are so grateful that they made the drive — on a school night! — out to see us!

Maryann looked FANTASTIC!!!  I felt so underdressed next to her 🙂
Maryann took this nice picture of all four boys actually sitting still!

The following day, I headed over to Southpoint Mall in Durham to pick up a long-awaited iPhone 4S (whoo hoo!) and we had a chance to meet up with our friends the Warlicks for lunch in the food court.

Strike a pose!

I had taken about 50 pictures of the boys playing at this fountain with my new phone. But then I had some syncing problems when I first plugged it in…I lost those pictures.  But Wendy sent me everything she had on her camera, thanks!

I was so excited to finally get to meet a fellow GeekMom author in person! We had an invitation to visit one of the GeekMom editors, Natania Barron and her husband, GeekDad writer Michael Harrison. For Natania, Michael and me, it was like old friends seeing each other after a long while, since we talk so much via Facebook, Twitter and our GeekMom discussion boards. But for Dave, he was getting to meet them and talk to them for the first time. We had a fun time enjoying Greek food for dinner — Natania made it all! — and the kids enjoyed a game of Zombie Dice with Michael.

09. March 2012 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

Last weekend Dave and I were invited to a birthday party!  It was an 80s themed birthday party and Stephanie (the same girl I went to Disneyworld with a couple weekends ago) knows how to throw a great theme party!

She decorated her house with vinyl records, cassette “mix” tapes and posters of 80s movies.  Her Pandora radio was set to the 80s channel, and even her birthday cake was a Ms. Pac Man!

Hostess cakes and Ms. Pac Man!

Stephanie had been accumulating vinyl 33s and 45s at thrift shops for $0.50 each!

Since I was will in a costuming mood from my Disneyworld trip, I had a good time coming up with an outfit that brought back memories of circa-1983 Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and Ferris Bueller all at once!

I don’t think my legs show up in any of the pictures, but I’m wearing black fishnet stockings with lacey ankle socks and stiletto heels. I have a huge fluffy black tutu ($8), part of the pink tulle skirt that I didn’t use with the Mulan costume from two weeks ago, a blank t-shirt with which I used iron on letters to say “Save Ferris” ($4) and Mardi Gras beads from last month. Dave’s shirt was a homemade iron-on of a Van Halen album cover from 1979. We bought his mullet wig, fishnet stockings and the black lace gloves and socks from Amazon for cheap.

The hair?  A scrunchie made from the bottom of my t-shirt, and LOTS of Aqua Net hairspray.

I couldn’t have planned this better myself!

The birthday girl and me!  Steph found this fantastic Dynasty-ish pink dress and she reminded me of Joan Collins!

Compare the gal on the left with this picture 🙂

08. March 2012 · Comments Off on Runner Girl Plays Dress Up — Part 2 · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

As you read in Part 1, Steph and I had to try to sleep the night before the big race, except we were too excited to sleep and we each probably got 3-4 hours of sleep total.

We got up at 2am — YAWN! — and was ready to meet the first bus from our hotel to the race venue.


Once we were dropped off, we had a long walk to the bag check.  A girl who was sitting near us on the bus was chatting with us.  And wouldn’t you know it?  Her brother is a weatherman in the Air Force!  And was traveling down to Dave’s squadron for some training!

Where’s Kevin Bacon???

I won’t bore you with the details of waiting to wait for the start of the race.
But here are some cute costumes to put smiles on your faces:

The start of the race is impressive.  Fairy Godmother comes out and says “Bibbity Bobbity Boo!” and fireworks are shot off!

I was in Corral A — so I had a great view of the start of the race!

During the race there are many opportunities to take pictures with the Disney characters.  I didn’t start doing this till the castle at about mile 5, when it was clear that most of the girls in my corral didn’t care about the pictures and there were no waits for most of the pictures.

So even though I didn’t plan to, I bought the digital copies of the race pictures.  There were so many, it was worth it!

Enjoy some of the professional pictures taken during the race:

That Prince Charming was — WOW!

The girl in the Snow White costume is Lisa from Houston.  She paced with me for miles 2-10! 
I wish the castle wasn’t so dark behind me.  We were there right at sunrise….
Flynn Rider — it’s remarkable how Disney finds such likenesses!

Mulan was the LAST Princess on the race route, at mile 12.  It was TOUGH getting back on the route after visiting with her.


The girl on my left is Stephanie (a different Stephanie than the one I traveled with).  She and I work together in the AF Reserves.  We paced each other to the finish!

Best. Finish Line. Picture. Ever.  Usually I look like death.

The medals are very substantial.  Downright heavy around my neck.

It was Stephanie’s birthday.

Stephanie and I had quite the adventure after our race trying to get lunch and then take the monorail and buses back to our room.  Our legs are like jello!

After we got back to the hotel, Stephanie D. and I took it easy for the rest of the day.  We enjoyed the hotel’s hot tub (along with about 10 other racers) and then enjoyed some Cajun food for dinner at the hotel’s food court.  We enjoyed the Oscars and fell asleep nice and early.

We drove home on Monday and that was that!

I’m trying to convince Dave to run the race with me next year.  I’d like to dress like Mr. and Mrs. Incredible!

But we’ll need some help w/ the kids to do that…we’ll see.

08. March 2012 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

I’m so excited to finally have time to sit down and share my experience with my first runDisney race a couple weeks ago!

Last fall I signed up to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon, whose route covers Magic Kingdom and EPCOT.  The race was on February 26th.  A neighborhood friend, Stephanie, and I made the trip together over a long weekend.  We had a wonderful trip and it was fun to be part of such a magical weekend.  There were nearly 20,000 runners.  While men are allowed to take part, they cannot win race awards.  There were about 1000 male runners.

Can you see me?  I am towards the right, just past the finish line.  Do you see the man in the light blue tutu to my right?

The training for this race was very similar to the program I did for the Gulf Coast Half Marathon last spring.  Like last year I was able to take advantage of the Pensacola Double Bridge Run as a good mid-point for training — and it was smart to incorporate the hills because the Disney course isn’t flat at all!

It’s tradition to dress in a costume for this race.  Needless to say, most of the women racing dressed as their favorite princesses.  Many of the men dressed up, also.  I chose to run as Mulan, due to her military and Asian backgrounds.

After ditching the tulle tutu option after a test run (I don’t know HOW all those other women did it), I opted to just stick to modern running clothing with a couple of additions.  I bought a pink running skirt, and I had several lighter pink running shirts to choose from already.

I had this old Susie Wong-style dress that I had bought in China years ago.  I outgrew the dress and the silk was looking worn out in spots.  I cut off the top and bottom to make a corset-style belt.

This could fit over my head and then zip into place w/ the original dress zipper.

This was the flower for my hair.

I after hot glue not holding the flower onto this comb during a run, I used floral tape to really bind it on.  It held up for all 13.1 miles!
A friend gave me this pretty lace scarf that served well as a gold sash and bow in the back.

Now that I had a costume ready to go, let’s talk about the race experience itself!

Stephanie and I arrived at Walt Disney World around 5pm Friday.  We headed straight over to the “Fit for a Princess” Expo, which featured numerous fitness vendors selling all the typical goodies.  We enjoyed samples of Clif Gel, Luna bars and got to test iPod armbands, headbands and other gadgets and gizmos.

I had wanted to look at the Dooney & Bourke commemorative handbags Disney had commissioned for the race.  They were sold out.  An employee said they had all sold out in two hours.  Gee, I wonder why they sold so quickly?  I wasn’t necessarily planning to buy one — I’m not a super Princess-ey kind of girl — but I still wanted to see them in person.

Forget the Princess race bag, this is the one I want!

We stayed at the Port Orleans French Quarter hotel on the Walt Disney World property.  This helped getting to/from the race venues more easily.

The landscaping and ambiance of this hotel is so beautiful!

We enjoyed a fun evening at the Boardwalk Resort.  We visited a piano bar called Jellyrolls and met up Debbie, with an Air Force friend who lives in Tampa now, as well as fellow blogger Rosalind of Girls Are Geeks.

Rosalind and me.

On Saturday, many runners who had their families at the resort with them took part in the Tangled Family 5K race.  I didn’t go to see the race, but I could see that being a nice warmup for the biggie the following day.

Steph, Debbie and I enjoyed a leisurely day at Magic Kingdom.  For the first time, I could spend the day at Magic Kingdom doing GIRLIE things!**

We browsed all the stores we wanted…slowly!  The lines weren’t bad at all, and we could manage our Fast Passes well enough to go on any rides we wanted to.  For the most part, we stuck to leisurely rides, but we didn’t let a trip on Splash Mountain escape us!

**On my 30th birthday my Mom and I spent the day at EPCOT…similarly doing girlie things and it was great!

Because we were wearing our race t-shirts, many cast members wished us “Good Luck tomorrow”.

This was about 30′ from the big drop at the end of the Splash Mountain ride.  The ride STOPPED for about 2 minutes.  Which is why I got this picture.

Enjoying some shopping!

We had dinner at Downtown Disney Saturday night, said goodbye to Debbie, and then Steph and I attempted to go to bed early — we had a 2am alarm set for Sunday morning!  But I was too excited — I hadn’t been this excited in YEARS about anything.  I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve!  I probably got about 3 hours of sleep before the race.

Stay tuned for Part 2…the race itself!

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

Dave Update:  Friday was a pretty good day for him.  He was able to rest very comfortably, and after the kids came home from school he walked up and down our block — the kids walked the dog.  With the back brace he’s keeping very nice posture while he back heals…

He’s looking great, and moving decently all things considered.  His spirits are high during the day.  By evening as the medications wear off he’ll get pretty worn out.  Which means he’s sleeping well at night…

Well before Dave’s surgery was scheduled, I had arranged with a childhood friend Angela to meet for a weekend of scrapbook cropping on November 3-5 with some other ladies.  We pool our resources — such as all those computerized, digitized tools that I haven’t invested in yet — and banter ideas back and forth.  I love doing these, and I hadn’t been to a crop since I was stationed in eastern Florida right after Timmy as born!  Most of the ladies booked rooms at a hotel on the beach and we rented one of the hotel’s meeting rooms to do the cropping, but my plan was to do marathon cropping during the day and sleep at home at night.

Our view from the meeting room we rented to crop.

We’re playing it by ear, but today I was able to go out and join in on the crop briefly while the boys were at school.  Dave stayed home and since I wasn’t far away, I could be back quickly if there were problems.

Enjoy some of the pages I made Friday for Timmy’s first-year scrapbook.  I did 8 pages…many of which I started at the crop and then finished at home tonight.  As I finished each page at the crop I took quick phone photos and texted (ahem, iMessaged them) to Dave.  They aren’t great photos here, and the scrapbooking supplies took a beating during our PCS last year so we have lots of upturned corners.  Make sure you see the last picture, it’s my favorite of the bunch…

If Dave is still doing well, I would like to go back Saturday and see if I can crank out 8 more pages.  I’m taking the ladies a lasagna, at a minimum…

There’s a page to the left of this titled “FIRST”, that looks the same with four other visitors (mostly family).
This is a pre-made page that I won as a door prize at a Stampin’ Up…or was it a Creative Memories? Party.  Today I just had to add the pictures and the word cutouts.

Some “journaling” (i.e. captioning) will go on the right side of this page.
A caption will go in the lower right.
My favorite so far.  Thanks to Angela for her Sizzix that makes “shadow” letters that made this so much fun to do…