01. January 2013 · Comments Off on Florida Discoveries 35.5: LEGOLAND Florida · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,
Timmy's trying to be a Minifigure here. We love our funny guy!

Timmy’s trying to be a Minifigure here. We love our funny guy!

I can’t believe I forgot to post about Legoland! <Facepalm!>

We surprised the boys with a brief trip the day after Christmas, on our drive home from spending the holiday with Dave’s family in Tampa. Instead of writing a bunch of dialogue about it here, I will drop the Google+ photo album here and you can enjoy the captions. Enjoy!

Our family got to spend last week with Dave’s family in New York. Even though Jacob, Timmy and I get to go annually — the boys spend some time up there — I sometimes go up to pick them up from their visits…Dave hadn’t been since 2009.

We flew the family up this year, driving to Panama City Beach so we could take advantage of a low-stress Southwest Airlines route to Islip, New York…on Eastern Long Island. This made pick up/drop off easy for Dave’s parents. The boys were wonderful during the travel both to and from New York.

The enjoyed playing with their stuffed animals on the trip up to New York. They were each allowed to bring two. It sounds strange, but they play pretend with their animals very nicely and don’t fight. I’ll take it!

The family spent most of the week relaxing; Dave and the boys played with LEGOs and Lincoln Logs, and the whole family enjoyed going through box after box of photographs from when Dave was younger.

It’s a tradition — playing with Daddy’s toys.

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20. September 2012 · Comments Off on Our Trip to Dragon*Con · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

We all know who that is on the left. But who knows who’s standing on the other side of me? It was SO SCARY how well he nailed the character!

This post has been a long time coming…but because GeekMom’s credientials got me a free press pass into Dragon*Con, I had to write all my Dragon*Con related posts for GeekMom first. Our whole family drove up to Atlanta over Labor Day weekend and stayed in a hotel near Turner Field so we could also enjoy a Braves game (for another post).

Learn more about the history of Dragon*Con here.

Do you want to go to Dragon*Con? Here’s the website.

Since I’m heading on a jet plane for Nebraska in the morning, I figured for now I could simply refer you to the posts I had written over the past 2 1/2 weeks for GeekMom. That about sums up the fantastic weekend we had!

I have a lot more posts forthcoming (about a plethora of topics) as I have a few days to myself while I’m working.

The boys couldn’t get enough of all the costumes! They were indispensable when it came to identifying some of the characters, especially from Pokemon and the more obscure Star Wars characters.

I had never been to a fan-con, and it was a pretty amazing experience. I was probably a bit over my head with how intense some of the fans are. I didn’t even attempt to wait in the very long lines to meet some of the more popular fans (such as Torchwood’s John Barrowman and Batman’s Adam West and Burt Ward).

The parade was a totally new experience for our family, especially the part where we publicly appeared in costumes somewhere other than on Halloween or a Civil War reenactment!

For those who didn’t know, Timmy became a Doctor Who fan this past summer. I’ve been slowly working my way through 2005-and-later episodes on Amazon Video and he often joins me. He loved seeing the Daleks, TARDISes and fans dressed as the several variations of The Doctor.

The next Dragon*Con post I plan to write will be an interview with the amazing Erin Gray, who starred in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century in the 1970s, and Silver Spoons in the 1980s. Ms. Gray’s accounts of being a working mom in a challenging marriage were very moving. It was also very interesting learning her story of how she turned to alternative medicine and tai chi as a way to keep from delving down a road of drugs and alcohol, like so many of her colleagues.

Dave is a huge fan of The Simpsons. He found not only Duff Man, but also a group of Stonecutters!

Here are my four Dragon*Con Diary posts, enjoy!

First Impressions

Dragon*Con With the Kids

“Cosplay” and the Dragon*Con Parade

Science and Space Panels

12. August 2012 · Comments Off on Florida Discoveries 33: A Visit to Tallahassee · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , , ,

After a 3 hour car ride, the kids were ready to do some running around!

It had been on my to-do list all summer: to take the boys to Tallahassee to visit the Museum of Florida History and see the Capitol Complex.  It’d also be a chance to try out my new camera in some new settings.  We had put it off numerous times, and last Friday — our last Friday before school orientation — we made it out the door nice and early for the three-hour drive.

Except I forgot a critical planning factor: the one-hour time change.  So we were out the door at 8am and I was thinking we’d get there in time to enjoy lunch somewhere and then get in 4-5 hours worth of sightseeing.  We were on the outskirts of Tallahassee when I noticed that the clock on our truck was reading about 11:55am instead of 10:55am and I thought to myself, “Oh crap…”

So we blasted through a Taco Bell drive-through just off of Florida State’s campus and then as the kids ate I negotiated my way downtown and parked in a garage next door to the Museum.

This is a nice overhead shot of the Gray Building from the 22nd floor of the New Capitol building…the museum is only on the ground floor of this building.

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30. July 2012 · Comments Off on Florida Discoveries 29: Morrison Springs Park · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Tucked away in the middle of nowhere, Morrison Springs Park is a jewel of a spot near Defuniak Springs. It’s a very popular freshwater snorkeling and scuba-diving location.

After nearly two weeks straight of having steamy-hot mornings and thunderstormy afternoons, it was time to simply take a gamble and head outside on a day trip.

This is the time of year in northwest Florida when the Gulf of Mexico water temperatures get so warm, trips to the beach become somewhat unpleasant.  Even swimming pools aren’t cutting it.  Many folks will head north towards places like the Blackwater River to legitimately cool off.

A fellow AF spouse shared a recent trip she took to Morrison Springs, a county park about 75 miles east-north-east of Navarre, and about 10 miles east of Defuniak Springs, not far off I-10.  It looked very interesting.  The cold water certainly caught my attention.  Today I decided to pack a lunch, our swim tubes and swim noodles and headed out with the kids.  None of us knew what to expect.  I warned them that if the place was icky enough, we’d turn right around and I’d take them to a cool lunch spot for their trouble…but it was quite nice.

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I could have sworn I had heard about the Pensacola MESS Hall from the Pensacola With Kids blog, but I can’t find the reference article.  Oh well.

Trust me when I say that I had first heard about it through Pensacola With Kids, but I can’t find the original review now.  But what I did find was this story in the Pensacola Digest that came out not long after the facility opened in June.

This facility currently is only scheduled to be open through the 3rd week of August (August 18th according to their Facebook page).

So what is the MESS Hall?  Well, for starters, MESS = Math, Engineering, Science and Stuff.  It’s a science center unlike anything I had ever seen.  And trust me, I have been to many many science museums and explorer-type centers in my days.

The MESS Hall is in downtown Pensacola just a block off Palafox Street near the center square.  After spending time here, the family can adjourn to a nice dinner nearby.

The MESS Hall has attempted to capture the feeling of a traditional mess hall, which is a military term for where servicemembers eat on the base or on their ships.  The kids will walk in (after paying the $5 per person admission), and are greeted with a open space with tables and assorted areas for free play with wind tunnels, marble run parts and pendulums.  The walls are covered in posters featuring optical illusions.

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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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11. July 2012 · Comments Off on Jacob’s Visit to New York · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,

Jacob got home on Wednesday from a 3 week visit to New York with Dave’s parents.  He had a very nice — and busy — visit.  He had the chance to go with his Grampy to a classic car show in Stony Brook, he visited the Statue of Liberty in New York City, went to a Long Island Ducks minor-league baseball game, visited the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad in Pennsylvania, and he ate filet mignon at a restaurant not once, but twice!

The filet mignon particularly tickled me because he’s alway so picky about the fat on steak.  Wouldn’t you know, filet is now his favorite cut of steak.

That’s my high-stakes boy!

Here are a couple of pictures from his trip that Dave’s Mom took.  He had a wonderful time!

Here’s J on the ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty.  I couldn’t get over his needing a hoodie on the same day that we were sweltering in the upper 90s down here in Florida.

My mother-in-law got this fantastic picture of Jacob jumping in the sprinkler on a hot day in the backyard.

01. July 2012 · Comments Off on Florida Discoveries 25: Florida Scenic Highway 30A · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,

Dave and I took a drive on Saturday.  It’s something we hadn’t done in YEARS — as the kids get older they don’t really have the patience to just sit in the car and enjoy the scenery.  We got into the Mustang, put the top down and headed eastward!

Much of what I had written about Florida recently has been in areas around Pensacola and Destin.  Unfortunately, there is so much congestion in Destin, we rarely get to go east.

I had a brainstorm this week to head down Florida Highway 30A, which is a beach highway between Destin and Panama City Beach.  U.S. 98 is the main route connecting the cities, but if you have the time, check out 30A for some serious beauty…

Of note along Highway 30A is the town of Seaside, made famous by the 1998 film The Truman Show with Jim Carrey and Laura Linney.  The made-up town was actually the center of Seaside.

I love the houses here…but owning one? Forget about it!

The town is very beautiful.  Dave and I parked the car and enjoyed a seafood lunch right on the beach. More »

Since Debby is keeping her distance from northwest Florida, I can safely resume my blogging about our road trip.

After visiting with Dave’s side of the family in Pennsylvania, we said our goodbyes — especially to Jacob, who is visiting with Dave’s parents for a couple weeks — and headed 2 hours back down I-81 to my parents in Martinsburg.

Our visit with my parents was similarly short, and we enjoyed trips to Costco and Kohl’s with my parents.  Costco was awesome since we’re no longer members so my parents bought our stuff and we paid them back.  We could stock up on batteries, “Mexi-Coke“, and I also got a nifty clothes-dryer rack.  I’m seeing how many days I can go without using my dryer!  If you count our vacation, I’m at 12 days so far!

Dave and I drove home on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, and Timmy stayed in West Virginia.  Both boys will be home after July 4th.

I don’t have pictures from when Dave and I were there, but my parents and sister have been sending great pictures of Timmy enjoying the local water park and batting cages.  Last weekend my parents took Timmy and my sister’s family to DelGrosso’s Park in Tipton, PA.

Enjoy some pictures my sister took of the day he had at the park!  She has a fantastic camera by the way…

Jacob’s having a wonderful time in NY, also.  We speak to both boys every other day.

Timmy and his cousins at DelGrosso’s, a small amusement park in central Pennsylvania.

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