It's About Me, Rental Properties, The Friends, The Husband, Traveling

Thank you for Being a Friend

(Cue the Golden Girls Theme song)

While Carl was busy taping dance recitals all day Saturday and Sunday, I had a full schedule of visiting friends.

My original schedule had to be shifted around when Carl and I stopped at the Chaska Target first thing Saturday morning for some shampoo. We ran into the son of a couple from our church we had attended. He asked if we were going to his cousin’s grad party later that day. “Grad party? What grad party? No, I wasn’t going but I am now!” So after dropping Carl off at the high school for the video shoots, and stopping at Caribou, where I ran into more old friends, I crashed the grad party, which was awesome because I was able to visit with so many people from our former church.

I had intended to take photos of each group I visited but in my rush from place to place each few hours, I typically forgot. I am so bummed with myself. Boo…bad blogger.

After visiting the grad party and bringing Carl a plate of food from the party for lunch, we both visited with Carl’s friend, Paul, in between dance recitals.

After leaving them to visit longer, I headed off to visit with our old neighbors, Lou and Neil. Realizing I was running short on time, I shifted a visit to our rental townhouse to the next day. Then it was on to visit, Julie and Kent. And finally, it was off to Deb and Ron’s house. Phew!

Deb and Ron made me dinner and then we visited for a while until Carl was done with recitals for the day. After picking him up and feeding him a plate of food we saved for him, it was time for some cards with Deb and Ron.

So good to catch up with them after 3 years! I miss our card nights together.

The next day, we went to our former church for the worship portion. After dropping Carl off at the high school for his day’s shooting, I returned to church to meet up with a few ladies for lunch. We had a great afternoon dining at one of the newer restaurants in downtown Chaska and seeing the beautiful new Curling Center and recreational area around the lake there. What an amazing addition to our former small town! Well done, Chaska!

I then zipped over to our rental townhouse to meet the tenant and check out the place. I was grateful to learn she is not planning on moving out anytime soon. I was then able to meet up with my friend Tina and spend time with her and her twins at a local park on an absolutely beautiful Minnesota afternoon.

My final stop was for dinner and drinks with our friends, Steve and Kathy and kids.

It made me really regret not spending more time with them in MN because they are so sweet and so fun. I hope that I convinced them that we would love to have them visit JAX at any time.

I am extremely grateful to have been able to visit so many friends in a whirlwind two days. I love friends that you can just pick up your friendships like it was yesterday and the conversation and laughs are plentiful. I miss all of those wonderful people and loved seeing them all!

We are grateful we were able to stay with Kelly and Avram in their cute duplex.

We are especially grateful that Kelly had cleaned so well that her cat, Peach, didn’t bother Carl’s allergies.

Peach is a real loveable sweetie and we are glad that Kelly adopted her.

We are grateful for a productive and fun weekend in Minnesota. Thanks to all!

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It's About Me, The Friends, The Husband, Traveling

Minneapolis Weekend

Last Thursday, Carl and I flew to Minneapolis for our last dance recital of the season. This is our big recital, with 6 shows in one weekend, whereby Carl gets to watch nearly 250 dance routines in one weekend. And I got to spend all my time visiting one friend after another!

But first came the fun of trying to get there. I shared the following story on Facebook.

We had an interesting experience at airport security while still in line. There was a loud shout by an employee, all the machines came to a complete halt and there was dead silence and nobody moved. Airport police descended upon a man who had just gone through the XRay machine, put his arms behind his back, handcuffed him and led him away. Then it was like somebody flipped a switch and suddenly everybody started moving again and making noise. That’s the first time we’ve ever seen somebody getting arrested in the security line!

That was exciting and a little freaky! We made it through the first leg of our trip without any further complications, landing in Nashville at around 5:30pm. Our next flight was supposed to take off at 6:10. However, immediately after landing, we got a notification that it was delayed until 6:50 due to weather on the East Coast, where our next plane was coming from. Then it was delayed until 7:20. Then 7:50. And so on and so on for the next three hours, with our flight getting delayed for another half hour at a time. Ugh….so aggravating! Fiiiiiiinnnnnally, our flight took off at 11:30 pm, arriving in Minneapolis at 1:30pm.

So much fun!! The other aggravating aspect was that the rental car agency closed at 11:00pm so we couldn’t even get our rental car. We ended up taking an Uber to Kelly’s apartment, where we stayed and then she drove us back to the airport the next morning to get our car. Good times! Traveling is so much fun!!

After a tour of the new MN Vikings training facility (which I’ll blog about tomorrow), we picked up Kelly to celebrate National Donut Day, by getting donuts for lunch at her favorite place.

Yes, Carl and I ate donuts! We deserved them after all of our traveling hassles the night before.

We returned to Kelly’s place to greet Avram after work and enjoy some cocktails and cards on the deck of their duplex.

Then we walked five blocks to a local restaurant for dinner with a Avram’s parents, whom I have never met (Carl met them last year). Avram’s dad walked in with a few treasures he found at a local garage sale and proceeded to put his puppet in a baby seat at the table! Now we see where Avram gets his quirkiness.

We had a great dinner with lots of conversation and laughs. So we invited them back to the duplex for some cards.

We really enjoyed our day in Minneapolis and our time with Kelly, Avram and his parents. As we told Kelly and Avram, we give them our blessing and look forward to their engagement announcement and wedding next!

Florida Life, The Family, The Friends, The Relatives

Bunco Party

For my visiting family’s last evening in Jacksonville, I decided to host a Bunco Party with our neighbors and friends. Prior to their visit, when I sent John a list of possible activities for the week and it included Bunco Party, he said everything sounds great but the Bunco Party. What he didn’t realize was that was the one activity that was NOT optional. Poor John. Made to socialize and made to play games…two of his favorite things.

Bunco (1)
Beautiful hydrangeas from Laurie

We invited our friends from Card Club (Dee, Eddy, Pat and Don) and our neighbors (Bill, Dedie, Bill, Susan, Jim and Pam) and some friends (Lisa and Doug).

Bunco (4)

All told, we had 17 players, or 4 tables of 4 players.

Bunco (3)

John was the permanent substitute, filling in for Susan until she arrived and for Pam while she had to leave for a while.

Bunco (2)

John didn’t want to admit it but he actually had fun, especially when he got Bunco and was able to wear the pretty necklace.

Everyone put in $5 for prizes and at the end of the evening, I won $25 for Most Buncos and $10 for First Bunco and Carl won $10 for Most Wins. All of our guests thought it was rigged and said if we wanted them to pay us to come over, we should have just asked. Sorry friends!

Family (1)

It was a really fun week having mom, John and Laurie visit. I am so happy that they all came to spend time with us.

Family (4)

I’m hoping that now that they are on the same side of the country as us, we will be able to get together on a more regular basis. We look forward to visiting them in Edwardsville, IL once their new home is completed.

Thank you all for coming. We will miss you.

 

It's About Me, The Friends, The Husband, Traveling

Third Port-of-Call: Cozumel, Mexico

Our final port-of-call was Cozumel, Mexico. After completing his scuba-diving certification right before our cruise, Carl was excited to find out that Cozumel is in the Top 10 scuba locations in the world. And even better, he found out that Russ, who was coming on the cruise, was a certified scuba diver as well. So the two of them arranged to go on a two-tank dive in Cozumel.

Scuba (2)

After getting off the ship, they walked to a boat launch and then drove with their group about 1/2 hour to the first location at Cedar Pass. After getting suited up, they were under water for 45-minutes where they saw some sea turtles, a lobster and lots of fish and coral.

Scuba (1)

After getting back on board and taking a 60-minute break to dissipate the nitrogen build up in their bodies, they went to the next location with a huge drop off called the San Francisco Wall. They were under water for another 45-minutes and saw more coral and fish, including some giant grouper.

Scuba (3)
Carmello, the dive master

They had a fantastic time and Carl is so excited to have a new dive buddy to go with in the near future.

Scuba (4)

Since Russ ditched his family to go with Carl, I decided to help his wife, Allyson, take her four kids snorkeling. We took a taxi to the Money Bar, which is supposed to have some of the best snorkeling in the area.

Money Bar

It was the least I could do to help Allyson after Carl stole her husband away for the day. We all had fun in Cozumel and Carl can’t wait to go back again!

It's About Me, The Friends, The Husband, Traveling

Second Port-of-Call: Grand Cayman

During a previous family cruise that stopped in Grand Cayman, we were scheduled to take an excursion to Stingray City but due to a broken boat motor, it ended up being canceled and we never got to go. So with a stop in Grand Cayman on this cruise and interest from everybody in our group except Ben’s grandma, I decided to organize a private excursion to Stingray City through Native Way Sports.

Cayman (1)It was just our group of 21 on a charted boat with a fantastic crew. Our first stop was Stingray City, a sandbar visited by dozens and dozens of stingrays who are used to large crowds coming to feed them so there was no danger involved.

Cayman (16)
My stud muffin!

Cayman (14)Our guide, David, promptly picked up a Stingray, taught us about it, then let us all touch it and feed it.

Cayman (8)

Next, the boat brought us to the coral reef for about a half-hour of snorkeling. We all saw plenty of fish, an eel, a stingray and lots of coral.

Our final stop was at Starfish point, where, you guessed it, we saw lots of starfish!

Cayman (20)

This excursion was the highlight of the whole cruise for most of us. It was such a neat experience and I’m so glad that it all worked out this time.

Cayman (26)

Thanks to Native Way Sports for a memorable experience.

 

It's About Me, The Friends, The Husband, Traveling

First Port-of-Call: Jamaica

After one sea day, our first port-of-call was in Jamaica.

Jamaica (1)

For the past 9 months, our church has hosted a family from Jamaica while pastor-in-training, Sheldon, completed an internship after going through the Sovereign Grace Pastor’s college. Sheldon, Sara and their two young boys just returned to Jamaica last week and, along with two other new pastors, will be planting a new Sovereign Grace church in Jamaica later this year. So it was really fun to catch up with them on their home turf.

Jamaica (6)We met up at the Margaritaville at the port for lunch together.

Jamaica (12)We are so glad that they made the drive over to visit with us during our stop in Jamaica.

Jamaica (11)We can’t wait to see what God is going to do with them and their church plant in bringing the gospel message to their fellow Jamaicans.

It's About Me, The Friends, The Husband, Traveling

Carnival Vista

Our cruise was filled with so much fun and so many happy memories were made. Carl and I enjoyed the usual cruise stuff, like relaxing on the decks and reading, listening to music, partaking in trivia contests, enjoying delicious meals and some happy napping :).

We also took in nightly shows.

Show

We played games.

Deuce (1)Games (1)Games (2)

We took moonlight strolls.

Moon (2)

We saw some amazing magic tricks. This magician took our photo, revealing our chosen card hidden in the deck without our knowing until we saw the photo!

Tricks

We dressed up for formal night.

Formal Night (10)
Love this photo, even with the crazy hair!

Formal Night (2)

Formal Night (15)
Two handsome dudes and their new tuxedos.

Formal Night (17)

We dressed up again for a second formal night.

Formal Night 2 (5)

Formal Night 2 (11)

And we had way too many laughs about “laying a deuce” so it was kind of ironic that this happened…

Deuce (3)

We are so grateful for Dee and Eddy including us in all the fun.

50th Shirts (10)

Looking forward to our next cruise together!