Saturday, June 30, 2012

Holiday Hiatus

So we are "going on holiday" as the Brits say. I still need to post our pics from this past week as well as our tea party pics. Allie and I had a second "P Day" today as we like to call it, but this one involved no painting. (Our last one was a painting picnic in the park. See this post for more details!)

Today's P Day was a "pajamas and pearls tea party" where we (obviously) wore our pajamas and fancy jewelry while we had our party and watched Anne of Green Gables (part 2, with the Pringles!). It was glorious fun. Pics coming soon.

For now I must prepare for our family reunion and make more memories with my family. I love keeping the blog updated (especially because it helps me remember all we've done when it comes to making Allie's book at the end of the year), but I don't want blogging about the past to take precedence over present moments with my family.

So I'm on hiatus... until we return from vacay and maybe until Allie goes back to Alabama. I wanna soak up every tiny moment with our sweet girl. Summer, please slllooooow down!

See you later!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Vacay Part 5: Central Florida

On Thursday we arrived at my parents in DeLand. Allie loves being at their house so I was glad we got to make it down here this summer.
We went to dinner at one of our favorite local spots with mom, dad, Aunt Susan, Uncle Lloyd, and Momso (my aunt's mom). It was so great to see our extended family we haven't seen in awhile!

Mom, dad, and Al by the manatee-themed waterfall.
We ended up staying at mom and dad's until we came back to Charlotte Sunday.

One of Allie's favorite things to do at my parent's house is really strange. She loves cleaning their pool! HAHA

And swimming in it of course. :)
We also took Allie back to a bookstore she loves in town. My mom took her here two years ago for her birthday and she always wants to go back and get new books. So we did. :)

I also cleaned out some things at my parent's house and gave Allie some of my old stuff, including this etch-a-sketch.
It's so funny to see her sitting on my old bed, in my old room, playing with my old stuff. I'm glad it brings her just as much joy as it did me oh so long ago.

On Friday we headed over to Ormond Beach, our home for about 8 months prior to our move to Charlotte. The weather was perfect for a beach day - the sky was blue, the water was the perfect temperature, and the waves were relentless!
Me and Al, rocking our sun hats.



 Allie and Zach, playing in the waves.

Beautiful beach girl.
 A trip to the beach would not be complete without ice cream from an ice cream truck!

 (P.S. I adore her swim suit! She picked it out and I just love the little striped flower on the ruffled top.)
 Yum!
Playing in the sand.

After the beach, we got cleaned up and headed down to Orlando to go to Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament! I've been wanting to take Allie here for awhile and I'm so glad this destination made it on our vacay itinerary.
Allie wore a dried flower headband that my sister got from Medieval Times 20 years ago. She loved it and it of course made her look like the perfect medieval maiden.
Outside the castle!
We explored the medieval village which was pretty cool.

Each room/exhibit displays what real medieval life would have looked like from clothing to cooking to woodworking to even torture devices! Yikes!


After walking through the village we went and waited in the great hall to enter the arena.
We ended up cheering for the green knight.

Medieval Times is fun for many reasons, but one of them is that you eat with your hands just like you would have during the middle ages.
Menu
During the tournament, you are served a 3-course meal including all the items listed above. It looks basically like this: (Stock photo from MT. I didn't take a pic cause it was too dark.)
Umm.. delish. And hot. My fingers were burning from the hot meat. Ha!

Let the tournament begin!

During the tournament you watch the knights compete in a variety of events.  (Go green knight!)
This includes swording fighting.
After each event, the knights that perform the best hand out a flower to one person in their section. So who do you think got a flower when the green knight did well? Yep! Our Allie!
Mom, dad, and Al after the tournament
The three musketeers!
Medieval Times was really fun! I haven't been here since the 6th grade and it was so fun to bring Allie, especially since she's starting 6th grade this fall.

Our time in Florida was well spent and I'm really glad we got to come down. Thanks for having us mom and dad!
On Sunday we drove back to CLT, full from a fabulous vacay. Our next family trip is coming up THIS Sunday as we head for Lake Junaluska, my family's summer vacation spot since before I was born. My family has a reunion there every summer and I'm looking forward to being in the mountains and seeing the fam!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Vacay Part 4: Jax & St. Augustine

After a fun day on Cumberland Island, we packed up the car and headed about 40 minutes south to my sister's house in Jacksonville. For those of you wondering, my sister is doing fantastic. She has a few days left of radiation and chemo, but she looks great (very minimal hair loss), feels great (just some fatigue), and seems to really be doing better than before she even had cancer! I am really proud of her and her attitude about the situation and her outlook on life.

She's altered her lifestyle a bit to include some really healthy eating which as you know I'm all about. She's been cooking up a storm and trying/creating new recipes daily. I was fortunate to be able to partake of some of her new delicious gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free alternatives such as these oatmeal blueberry muffins.
While visiting Lindz, Allie was thrilled for the opportunity to play with Bella and Rosie, my sister's two big, black dogs. Yes, the dogs are pretty much Allie's size. Ha!

We hung around Thursday morning and ended up meeting Steve, my BIL, for lunch near his work. Here's Al with Lindz and Steve and... Zach, inside the restaurant. HA!
 And the ladies!
After lunch we headed south to St. Augustine.

St. Augustine inlet full of sailboats

St. Augustine has a very adventurous history. So many explorers, battles, and pirates have left a lasting influence in this place. I haven't visited this city since the 4th grade and I had forgotten that St. Augustine is also the oldest, continuously occupied, European established city and port in the U.S.  Really my only memory was of "the fort", properly known as Castillo de San Marcos.



The Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest, masonry fort in the U.S. and was built in the late 1600's when Florida was a Spanish territory. For the next few hundred years, the fort endured many sieges and periods of war, but the fort has never been destroyed or overtaken.

The design of the structure is really fascinating and pretty sophisticated. The exterior walls are built of coquina, a type of local shell stone.
Looking down into the courtyard.

Old cannon
Allie in the courtyard
Exploring the inner rooms.

We also walked through the old village in St. Augustine. Some of these structures are also incredibly old like the fort. It's so fascinating to think about the people that lived here so long ago even before the Revolutionary War.
Here's the most unique coffee shop we've ever gone to with the funniest foreign lady owner.
 Old streets
Our final stop in St. A was the pirate museum. ARGH!
Their pirate poses. Ha!

Door handles
We learned about a bunch of different pirates, saw tons of artifacts and real treasure, went on our own hunt for secret things hidden in the museum, and even touched a 400 yr old treasure chest! This is a really fabulous museum and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting St. Augustine.


After St. Augustine, we headed down to DeLand to see my parents, affectionally named "Holly and Jim" by Allie. Tomorrow's post will be all about our adventures in central Florida!