Archive for May, 2012

In the Villages

With the exception of the farm, we pretty much stayed around the house for our vacay (and why would we leave when we had a pool, air conditioning, delicious food prepared by Pappa Tom, and an embarrassing amount of beer?).

Editor’s note: G and I went into separate stores looking for beer.  We were both so shocked by how cheap it was that we returned to the car with multiple six-packs each.  I mean, we drank it all, but it required a bit more effort than normal.

When we needed a break from all the good stuff at home, however, we did make it out a few times to see life around the Villages (America’s friendliest home town, if you’re not familiar).  On Friday, while G and his dad were playing golf, the ladies and the babies went shopping and dining at one of the town squares.

This was after a delicious Greek meal, and Gramma is being very brave here — what you don’t know is that Nellie is covered in hummus and baba ganoush.  Kid smelled like the restaurant for the rest of the day.

On our walk after lunch, we ran into ducks, ducklings, and more ducks!  They had no fear of two kids in strollers, much to the delight of Nellie and Mikhail.

We also hit my very favorite village, Lake Sumter (and I love it for reasons other than its Starbucks), for a post-farm lunch and walk.

The kids rocked it at the Roadhouse.

And I even got a picture of mom and son at the end of our walk.

After all that sunshine, Nellie was just happy to get back in her little pool.

~ Day 4 of posts from our trip to Florida. They might go in order, they might not.  They might be themed, they might not. They will all be adorable. ~


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A Farm in Florida

When you think Florida, you think palm trees and water and manatees — you probably don’t think farm animals and hayrides.  But on Saturday, Gramma K and Pappa Tom took us all to a farm to meet some adorable (and decidedly landlubbing) animals.

We were greeted by some friends of the feathered variety.

But Nellie only had eyes for the bunnies.

Both of the kids got to pet the velvety rabbits…

…though Nellie was reluctant to let go.

Gramma K couldn’t resist either.

Mikhail was brave enough to pet the tiny chicken…

…which Nellie found to be very silly.

We saw miniature horses…

and milked goats…

fed deer, chickens, and goats…

(Lizzie was the most popular goat feeder of all)

made faces at emus…

and went on a hayride, where we fed bundles of sweet hay to the cows in the field.

Nellie enjoyed every minute of it, but her very favorite part was feeding and petting the baby goat.

I asked G if we could take one home.

I’ll ask again tomorrow.

~ Day 3 of posts from our trip to Florida. They might go in order, they might not.  They might be themed, they might not. They will all be adorable. ~

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The last time Nellie and Mikhail were together was in September when Nellie was only six weeks old.

Just look at them now!

It was so much fun to bring them together again, eight months later. They are only two months apart, Mikhail turning one in June and Nellie behind him in August.  As babydom goes, however, two months time can mean worlds of difference.  Mikhail is walking (everywhere!), while Nellie is just experimenting with weight on her feet.  And while she will launch into a pretty mean crawl if she spies something she really wants (dog toys are high on this list, as are remotes, phones, and hot beverages), she is otherwise pretty content to stay in one spot and play.

Even though Nellie would have loved nothing more than to sit and play with Mikhail, he had places to go and things to see — like what the drawers and cupboards and rooms were hiding. Nellie tried her best, though.  She tried to hold his hand, and when he turned away from her, she spied another way to make him pay attention to her.

Baby girl isn’t subtle.

There were moments of playtime together.

With drums.

With rattles.

And with a scooter.

But for the most part, they were two separate little personalities with separate interests exploring separate worlds of fun.

Even when we tried to pose them for pictures in their fancy new outfits from Gramma K and Pappa Tom.

I like to call this picture, “how many hands does it take to keep Mikhail in a seat”.

As you can see, he has boundless energy.

But even Nellie wouldn’t sit still for photos.  Places to crawl, and toys to lick.

~ Day 2 of posts from our trip to Florida. They might go in order, they might not.  They might be themed, they might not. They will all be adorable. ~

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We’re home again.  The house is mostly in one piece.  The dogs are in good moods.  And, blissfully, our clothes are clean because we did our laundry last night.  I have so many pictures and so many stories that I’m not sure where to begin this post.  But it’s late — pretty much Nellie’s bedtime — and I’m exhausted.  So I’ll start at the beginning, but with just a few tonight.

Florida was time with Gramma and Pappa, time with Aunt Liz and Uncle Drei and cousin Mikhail, time in the sun, and Nellie’s first time in a pool.  She had three swimsuits, two swim diapers, and one swim float, and she had a blast.

Here are a few shots from her first day in the water.

Way more pics tomorrow, and a real post with words.  Right now: bed.

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It’s our last day in Florida. The sun is shining and the baby is napping. There’s been no time to blog because we’ve been busy.

Busy swimming.


Busy going to restaurants.


Too busy to blog and way too busy to worry about hair.


But the fun ends tomorrow, and Nellie has a lot of amazing pictures to share when she’s back.

Happy Memorial Day! (Early)

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I realize, of course, that there has been a lot of mention recently of snakes.  Twice in one week, in fact–one at each place.  And while I realize that our list of house guests is rapidly dwindling at the prospect of rat snakes in their room, I want to emphasize that this is not normal. In fact, the snake at the cabin–the itty, bitty snake we saw in the grass that lived outside our door–was the first snake we’ve seen up there.  Until our most recent trip, we had seen more bears roaming around the trash bins than we had seen snakes slithering through the rocks.  (That record is now tied, 1-1, though I know those bears are out there–my poor, destroyed trash cans speak to that loud and clear.)

But while you shouldn’t expect a snake encounter at the cabin necessarily, well, I’m sorry to say that we’ve had our share at the house.  The worst was the copperhead that bit Lucy square on the nose.  After ensuring it would not bite any of our other dogs, G brought up to me while I was cooking dinner just to confirm it was, in fact, copper.

Our screened porch has seen the most snakes.  The first was coiled in a massive loop around a plant that was just inches from me–I also happened to be home alone at the time.  I ran out screaming, as is usually the case when I see snakes, it seems, and we never found it again.  That episode is also subtitled, “The Time We Discovered that the Garage and the Screened Porch are Connected.”  Or, “The Snake is Now in our Garage.” 

The most recent episode of snakedom in the screened porch came about a year ago while I was cooking dinner and G was entertaining the dogs on the deck.  He spotted the copperhead slithering about near the door between the kitchen and porch, rushed in, and grabbed the knife with which I was doing dinner prep and took care of the snake.  My very best knife.  Really??

But the funniest episode — well, funniest to me, anyway — was our first snake episode at the house.  It is also the loudest I have ever heard G scream.  G was on the side patio raking up nature’s debris when he pushed the rake into the opening where we keep the hot tub hose and wires coiled up… and he pulled out a very, very, very angry snake.

That snake–a 7 foot, ginormous black rat snake–remains the largest snake I have EVER seen in real life that was not accompanied by a man in khakis on Snake Day at school.  That giant snake danced with G–one hissing, one screaming.  G eventually won, but they went many rounds.  When G finally got the snake on a garden tool, he flung the snake into the woods in one triumphant victory hurl.  And there, about a foot off our porch, it got caught in a tree.  A 7 foot, angry-as-all-hell snake, dangling a couple feet from our hot tub.

It’s been five years since that incident, and I am pretty sure G still approaches that space beside our hot tub with a 20 foot pole.  At the time, of course, it was TOTALLY NOT HILARIOUS.  But in hindsight–in my hindsight anyway–it was pretty damn funny.

Have I officially taken care of all future visitors to our house at this point?  No more snake stories today.  Instead, I will post the second half of my pictures of Nellie playing with Lucy.  Who doesn’t follow up stories about snakes with pictures of babies and puppies?  Tag this one adorable.

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Nellie and Lucy

Nellie has a different relationship with each dog.  Sally, possibly, loves her the very most, but Sally is (just as Sally always is) a little too pushy for Nellie.  Sally likes to kiss Nellie repeatedly (and why not? she usually tastes like yogurt), and she is usually so in-Nellie’s-face about the love, that Nellie has grown accustomed to pushing her away.

Linus, on the opposite end of the spectrum, doesn’t really know what to make of Nellie.  Even after nine months, I think he’s wondering whether we might return her to some store.  (He would probably like Sally to be returned also.)  He and Nellie mostly exist side by side, competing for my attention, and patiently putting up with one another.  Sometimes Nellie tries to pet him and he moves away.  He’s not ready for little hands grabbing his hair just yet.

And in the middle is Lucy.  Nellie has a love affair for sweet, patient, lazy Lucy.  Lucy who closes her eyes and lets Nellie climb on her, pull her ears, tug at her chub, and fold her face into funny expressions.  Nellie has taken to making a beeline crawl to Lucy whenever she spots her in the room.  She loves this squishy dog.


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