The Family, The Friends, Traveling

Other Celebrations

While Carl was watching 260 dance numbers all weekend, the rest of us spent the weekend partying. On Saturday evening, Kelly and Avram hosted a BBQ at their house with Avram’s parents and grandparents. It was so nice to get to meet Avram’s grandparents and visit with his parents again (Carl and I  met Avram’s parents before if you remember).


Avram’s brother, Dan, also came for a short while, as did Ollie and his family, the boy that Kelly has been a nanny for for many years, although none of them were around for the photo. We all really enjoyed them all and were happy to give Kelly and Avram  BBQ hosting experience!

On Sunday, we invited our friends, Steve, Kathy, Ron and Deb to visit at the Airbnb for another BBQ. Unfortunately, Ron wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t make it. Booo.

Steve and Kathy brought their son, Joey with them.


Both evenings, Carl returned home in time to visit with some of the guests for a short time.


On Monday morning, after saying goodbye to the grandparents and Bryanna, Carl and I took a drive through our former city, Chaska. We stopped by for a short visit with our old neighbors, Lou and Neil. We also stopped for a quick lunch with our friends, Julie and Kent at their lake home. Unfortunately no photos were taken of those two groups.

It was a short and sweet weekend spent celebrating and catching up with family and friends. We are grateful for those moments and wish they could happen more often. The weather was also unbelievably beautiful….after 95 plus degrees in Florida already, the 70 degree temperatures were glorious! Minnesota really is a beautiful place with lots of rolling hills and lush green vegetation. Sigh, almost makes me want to move back. If it weren’t for all that darn snow!!

Until next time, Minnesota!




Education, Praises, The Kids, Traveling

Kelly’s Graduation Celebration

Since Carl was busy all day Saturday and Sunday, we planned Kelly’s Graduation Celebration for Friday.


Since it turned out that the Airbnb that we rented for the grandparents was adorable, with a beautiful backyard, we decided to hold the party there. It had a cool spiral staircase in the backyard that was a lovely place for some photos of the graduate.

We spent the afternoon talking, laughing, eating and playing games in the backyard.



We ordered Chipotle catering for dinner, just like we did for Anthony’s graduation.


Kelly’s best friend, Jill, came by to visit after work.


It was a great day celebrating Kelly!


We are grateful that Sue and Karl drove all the way from Memphis for the celebration.


We are equally grateful that my mom and niece, Bryanna drove from Chicago.



Congratulations Kelly!! We are all so proud. Your clinic and clients are going to be blessed to have you as their therapist.

Side Story: Carl spent all day Saturday and Sunday videotaping dance recitals as the videographer for KC Video Productions. This is our 15th year taping for this particular dance studio, our biggest client. In a terrible coincidence, this is the first time in 15 years that all three of the dance studios that we were currently working with (one also in Minnesota for 12 years and one in FL for the past 3 years), all had their recitals on the same weekend! So we were only able to work with the one studio this year. Hopefully the other two studios will have us back again next year but chances are they will just continue on with whoever they worked with this year, unless they were really bad….so here’s hoping that our replacements were lousy!! Ha!

Education, Praises, The Kids, Traveling

Kelly’s Master’s Graduation

Kelly has completed her Master’s degree coursework and year-long internship and just as soon as she finishes her thesis (which she says in going to happen in the next few weeks, hopefully), she will officially receive her Master’s Degree in Counseling and Psychological Services.

Her company is apparently trusting that she finishes soon!

Kelly decided that it wasn’t important to her to “walk” in the formal graduation ceremony (and we all were very happy to hear that, as anyone that has sat through a college graduation ceremony can relate to) but did not want to miss out on a celebration of her achievement.


Since Carl was flying to MSP already for our yearly dance recital videotaping job, we coordinated with the grandparents to meet up in Minneapolis at that time to celebrate Kelly. Carl and I stayed with Kelly and Avram and I found the grandparents and my niece, Bryanna, an Airbnb just a few blocks from Kelly.


Carl and I were able to visit Kelly at her place of employment last Friday. She gave us a tour of the facility, including her very own office. I love that the company even gave her $200 to decorate her office.


After Avram completes his school year, they are going to celebrate her achievement with an amazing one-month trip to South Africa to visit many AuPair friends that Kelly has met over the years that have returned to their homes in South Africa. It’s going to be an amazing trip and we can’t wait to hear all about it.

One of the group therapy rooms with posters showing the skills that Kelly teaches to her clients.

Congratulations Kelly! Your clients are lucky to have you and too bad we didn’t have enough time for your to work out all of your father’s issues.

Florida Life, The Family, The Relatives, Traveling

Bradenton Trip

A few months ago, my mom asked me if I would be willing to pick her up in the Tampa area and bring her back to our house for a week’s visit. She was thinking of helping my brother’s wife, Lisa, fly to Tampa with her three young children, who was going to visit her parents, who have a home in Bradenton, FL, for a few weeks. Since I don’t get to see Lisa and the kids often and I haven’t even met my youngest niece (last time we visited them was July, 2018 when Lisa was pregnant with the youngest), who is now 9 months old, Carl and I decided we’d make a night of it and spend some time with them while they were generally in the area before bringing mom back to our house.

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Lisa’s parent’s house

After arriving at Lisa’s parent’s house and visiting for a while, we decided to head over to the pool to try and wear the kids out.

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Then Lisa’s parents made us all a great dinner and we were able to visit some more.

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Carl got to sharpen those grand-parenting skills by playing play-doh with the boys.

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After retreating to a hotel with mom for some peace and quiet and resting up for the night, we met up with Lisa, the kids, Lisa’s parents and Lisa’s aunt and uncle at the beach the next morning.

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We were able to get more time with the kids while we played in the sand and water.

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4-3/4 year old Robby
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2-year old, Max
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9-month old, Charlie (Charlotte)

All three of the kids were so cute, lovable and social. It was so nice to have some aunt and uncle time since visits are few and far between. We are grateful for the hospitality of Lisa’s family, who provided chairs, beach towels and a picnic lunch for us. It was a great visit!

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After lunch, Carl, mom and I headed out for the 4-hour drive back to Jacksonville. Thanks to traffic in the Orlando area, we actually got home about 5-1/2 hours later. Not fun! But it was worth it to see Lisa and the kids. We love them all and miss spending more time with them. Thank goodness for Facebook!

*This little road trip was how Carl spent his first two days of unemployment! He is officially unemployed now and waiting for just the right position. He did receive his first job offer this week (after three interviews with the same company) but declined it since it wasn’t what he really wanted to do. With three months of severance from the Jaguars, he is going to take his time and wait for just the right thing. It was a little nerve-raking for him to pass on an offer but we are trusting in the Lord and excited to see what He is going to provide!


Praises, Traveling

Sea Island Resort

You may remember a few years ago when Carl and I were blessed with a weekend getaway at the beautiful Sea Island Resort in Georgia, courtesy of the Jaguars. Before they gave him his notice, the Jaguars again offered us a weekend at this amazing resort so we of course took them up on it. Last time I stated that it was definitely the most expensive hotel that I have ever stayed in. And the one-room suite that we were gifted with this weekend was definitely the most expensive room I’ve ever stayed in, going for $899 per night.

I was really bad at taking photos this trip but I borrowed this from last time and marked our room that we were given this time. Our bedroom windows are to the left of the arrow tip and our balcony is to the right of the arrow tip.

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This was the view walking into our suite. It even had a powder room (not shown) to the right when you walked into the hallway.


This was the living room.


This was the bedroom.


And this was the master bathroom and the deep soaker tub that I enjoyed each evening.



This is the view from our balcony.


Just like last time, they turned down the bed each night and gave chocolates and water bottles on the nightstand. They provided robes and slippers for use during the stay. Everyone called you by your name with a warm smile.

4.19 Sea Island

We spent the weekend walking around St. Simons and nearby Brunswick, walking on the beach, and mostly just relaxing by the pool and reading. It was heavenly!

We are grateful for these blessings from the Lord and will miss the fun perks like this from the Jaguar organization. We are glad we got one last getaway while we could! Thanks Jaguars.



Wednesday: Beach Day in Maui

Carl and I were originally scheduled to fly out of Maui for home on Wednesday at 6pm. Early in the day, I received a text notifying us that our flight was delayed 2 hours. A little while later, it was pushed back two more hours, now scheduled for 10pm (we didn’t actually end up leaving until 11:30pm that evening). Having the whole day free (we loved having the advanced notice), we decided to explore some of the westside Maui beaches with Debye.

First she took us to the southernmost tip of Maui to see the extensive lava fields.

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Although it looks like black dirt, it is actually miles of hardened lava rocks from the lava flow down the mountain.

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We found a little cove where Carl was able to do some snorkeling.

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Debye and I opted to sit in the shade and watch.

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We snagged one last Poke bowl for lunch and ate it on the beach.

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After packing up our things at home and enjoying one last dinner together, we headed for the airport. But not before stopping for one last Shave Ice.

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It was a fantastic two weeks in Hawaii with lots of memories made. We look forward to returning in the future (we know we will be back thanks to Anthony and Kameko making Hawaii their home). Aloha for now, Hawaii!


Tuesday: Road to Hana Driving Tour

On Tuesday, with the Madza Miata in the repair shop, we headed out to the Road to Hana in Mark’s red pickup truck. It was a good thing we had the pickup and not the Miata since the second half of the highway is unpaved and full of potholes that made for a very bumpy ride!

The Hana Highway is a 64.4-mile-long stretch which connects Kahului to the town of Hana in east Maui. To the east of Kalepa Bridge, the highway continues to Kipahulu. Although Hana is only about 52 miles from Kahului, it takes about 2.5 hours to drive even when no stops are made since the highway is very winding and narrow and passes over 59 bridges, of which 46 are only one lane wide. There are approximately 620 curves from just east of Kahului to Hana, almost all of it through lush, tropical rainforest. Many of the concrete and steel bridges date back to 1910.


The Road to Hana can also be called the Waterfall Tour because you can stop and see a LOT of them along the way!

We also took a very muddy hike through a bamboo forest…

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…a place where Carl fell in the river and pooped his pants.

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Okay, not really but it looked that way. Luckily he had his bathing suit in the truck so he was able to change his pants.

We saw more scenic overlooks.

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We explored a lava tube cave.

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We saw the black sand beach.

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We saw the red sand beach.

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We drove around the backside of Haleakala, which is a barren, desert, lava field, as opposed to the lush, tropical landscape on the other side.

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We saw a rainbow on the ocean.

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And we finally emerged on the other side, back into civilization, just in time to see the sunset from the side of the mountain.

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We look exhausted because we were! Having just driven 10-hours around the mountain, around some crazy, narrow, bumpy roads, we were beat.

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But it was a great day together exploring the beauty of God’s creation.

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