Education, The Kids

Zack, Plan D

Last year, around the time he was graduating high school, Zack decided that in the fall, he would attend the local technical college for his electrician certification. Then, right before the program was to start, he decided to switch to the Aviation Mechanics Program. Then, one day into that program, he decided to work full-time for a year until he decided what he actually wanted to do.

After working at a lumber yard full-time for the past 8 months, he has decided to give technical college a try again. This time he is pursuing a Computer Programming Specialist Certificate. There are five technical certificates that could lead to an Associate’s Degree in Computer Information Technology and eventually a Bachelor’s Degree, if he desired. But we just want him to focus on this one certificate at this time and we’ll see how it goes. We are hoping that he can get a decent job to support himself after obtaining a certificate or two without actually having to get a degree (since those general education courses would be the difficult part for him).

We hope that this is a good path for Zack and that he will be successful. We wish him luck! And if this doesn’t work out, there’s always the military!

 

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Florida Life, Odds and Ends, The Family

Summer Fun

Hello? Are you there?  I thought that I’d take a break from floating around my swimming pool with my Kindle and a cool cocktail to share some random summer tidbits.

We have been enjoying a lot of time in the pool this season. We have been trying to invite various friends over each weekend, including hosting about 20 friends from our church home group this past weekend. I failed to get any photos then but this was our home group after we won our church’s “Summer Spiritual Olympics” by completing various tasks to earn points during the month of June (such as listening to sermons, reading the Bible, volunteering as a home group, sharing the gospel, etc). IMG_8992

Those two girls in the red and black shirts were carrying our team, earning about 500 points each week, determined to win the Gold Medal. I’m glad for their sake that we did because they definitely earned it!

I love my husband’s servant heart. Carl spent one whole Saturday helping friends move into their new house and he even dragged Zack along.

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Carl even took another day off of work to help at Youth Camp one day. Part of youth camp including hosting a Vacation Bible School for inner city kids for three afternoons.

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Don’t worry, he has found time to enjoy himself when he’s not serving others. He enjoyed a day excursion to Pompano Beach for some scuba diving and saw some ship wrecks and lots of sea life.

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For Independence Day, we drove down to our neighbor’s beach house for the day for lots of relaxing by the pool and catching up. We even made Zack come and hang out with us all day and rewarded him with a cocktail or two.

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Afterwards, we were able to watch some fireworks on our friend’s, John and Michelle, dock on the river.

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After having Zack drive around without a door handle for the past 6 months, Carl finally went to a junk yard and found a replacement and taught Zack how to install it. Way to go guys!

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I hope that you all are enjoying your summer. Back to the pool now!

Praises, The Family, The Relatives, Traveling

Wedding Plans!

We are in the midst of planning Anthony and Kameko’s wedding and two major milestones have been checked off the list – the DATE and LOCATION!

The date is March 3, 2019!

The location is a beautiful 7-bedroom house in Hauula, O’ahu, Hawaii just 1/2 mile from the beach that Carl and I have secured for all of Anthony’s immediate family to share for the week.

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It has a big, open backyard where we will hold the wedding and party afterwards.

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The red building is where the property manager lives with his family.

If it’s rainy, the inside is large and open and can accommodate the party inside.

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We are very excited as plans and guests are starting to fall into place. We know that my mom; Carl’s parents; my brother John and wife, Laurie; Carl’s brother, Jim and wife, Linda; my aunt Gale; and Zack will be attending and staying in the house with us. We are really, truly hoping that Kelly and Avram will be able to get off of her internship/his school teaching job for the week to come also but they won’t know until both of those start in the fall. We are hoping that our nieces, Kate and Abby will join us but they will have to see what their work schedules allow. We believe Anthony’s birth-parents are coming and we are excited about that and it will be fun to share in such a joyous occasion with them.

We are hoping that a few more family members (I’m talking to YOU, Aunt Sandra and Leslie!) can come. I wish that somebody could win the lottery and treat all those family members that can’t afford to come (like my dad, other two brothers and their families) but know that they will be missed.

We are now working on all of the other details. It’s all very exciting and we are very happy for them and grateful that they are allowing us to assist in preparations and asking for our input (of course, as the financiers of the wedding, that makes it more of a necessity, ha!). Carl and I are actually planning a two-week vacation to Hawaii for the wedding. We will fly into O’ahu a few days earlier than everyone else for some wedding preparations. Then after our week together, Carl and I are going to fly to Maui to stay with a friend that moved there last year. We are so excited!

 

Florida Life, It's About Me, Odds and Ends, The Husband

The Socialites

We’re famous….we made the newspaper!

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Granted, it was just the local Resident Community News but we’ll take any press we can get!

Scan2It was interesting to see the 100-year old Casa Marina Hotel and all the cool, old photos lining the hallways but the event itself was kind of lame. Mainly because there was hardly any food and what they did have was eaten in a matter of minutes. But we are always happy for a night out together checking out new places (to us) in Jacksonville. Thanks Jaguars for these fun experiences!

 

 

It's About Me, Praises, The Husband, The Relatives, Traveling

Wait For It….

The other MAJOR reason for stopping in Chicago after Minneapolis was to fulfill my obsession over the past year by seeing Hamilton!

Well over a year ago, I was working on my computer and selected “Showtunes” on Amazon Prime Music (my favorite music venue since it’s already free with my membership and there are NO commercials) to listen to while I worked. A song that I was unfamiliar with popped up and I was instantly hooked. After seeing that it was from Hamilton, I then searched and discovered the whole soundtrack was available for free with my membership. And thus began an absolute obsession with Hamilton music!

I would go on to listen to the soundtrack once or twice a week for months and months, eventually tapering down to just the occasional listening. I also watched many YouTube videos and documentaries on Hamilton: The Musical and Alexander Hamilton in general. Could not get enough!

So last year when we came to Chicago, I looked into tickets but since it was still new, tickets were selling for a minimum of $350 each. Seeing as we could take an entire cruise for that amount, we just couldn’t do it. Hamilton has a lottery each day for two tickets for $20. I tried everyday but it wasn’t meant to be.

So this year, knowing we were going to Minneapolis, I again checked out ticket prices for Hamilton in Chicago and was thrilled to find out that they were much more reasonable (still $140 each but way better than $350 each). So after convincing my husband to make a detour before returning home and asking my mother if she wanted to come too, our tickets were purchased!

We did some research and found some reasonable parking at the Palmer House so we drove down early.

We walked over to Millennium Park and then to Buckingham Fountain for some photos. Then we stopped at Miller’s Pub for dinner and drinks.

Finally, it was showtime!

It was amazing! I loved every minute of it. Obsession fulfilled! Although I knew the soundtrack well, it was even better to see the actors and choreography and to catch some things I missed.

Although I had tried to have Carl listen to the soundtrack before, he never really got into it. So he found himself a little confused at times. After reading a synopsis at intermission, he found the second half much more enjoyable. So my advice to everyone thinking of seeing Hamilton is to familiarize yourself before seeing it. Listen to the soundtrack several times. Read through the song lyrics (some of the songs are so fast paced that it’s difficult to understand if you are unfamiliar). Or at least read the synopsis.

Hamilton is coming to Jacksonville during the 2019-2020 theater season. You can be sure that we will be going again!

It's About Me, Praises, The Husband, The Relatives, Traveling

World’s Okayest Brother

One of our main reasons for detouring to Chicago was to meet our newest nephew, Max. Last year when we came to Chicago, he was on vacation with his mom so we didn’t get to see Lisa or the boys.

So this year I was thrilled to squeeze those chubby cheeks!

My brother, Rob, even took the day off of work to visit with us and wore the shirt I sent all three of my brothers a few years ago for Christmas.

Ok, I take it back….he’s more than okay!

Rob and Lisa made a great lunch for us with burgers and shrimp and salad.

We spent the rest of the time chasing the boys around the back yard.

I spent time in jail, playing super heroes with Robby.

It was a great day spent with Rob and his family. Now we have to plan another trip next year to meet baby Charlotte, who is arriving in July!

Later that day, we visited with Rob’s eldest daughter, Bryanna, at the restaurant she works at.

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It was a great meal and we enjoyed the chance to chat with Bryanna. In an unexpected surprise, Bryanna’s mother, Alex, even stopped by and we got to chat with her for a bit. It was a great family day. Stay tuned for the other MAJOR reason that we went to Chicago in the next post.

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

Part Two: Chicago

After leaving Minneapolis on Monday, since we were so far north and the additional airfare was very reasonable, we decided to make a side trip to Chicago. That gave us the opportunity to say hi to some family before heading home.

My dad offered to pick us up from the airport so we rewarded him with Portillo’s Hotdogs. Carl and I were naughty and even ate the buns.

We noticed that the street outside of Portillo’s was lined with Fire Department ladder trucks with American flags hanging over the roadway.

My dad realized that it must be for the funeral of a Chicago fire fighter that died in the line of duty on Memorial Day. After a quick google search, we realized the funeral procession would be passing by in just a short time. Since we had time to kill before getting to my cousin’s house, we decided to sit and wait.

Eventually the procession drove by. There were hundreds of police and fire vehicles of every type filled with mourners on the way to the funeral.

The streets were lined with people showing their respect and some holding flags, including the black flag with red stripe, which signifies the death of a fire fighter. The fellow firefighters stood at attention and saluted as the casket drove by on the back of a fire truck.

It was really a moving and powerful thing to observe. We witnessed some sweet moments as well, such as when a man pushing a shopping cart brought over two cases of water for the firefighters standing along the street and another when a firefighter walked over and gave plastic firefighter hats to some waiting children. We are so grateful for the brave men and women that serve our cities to try and keep us safe and we mourn the loss of Juan Bucio with the city of Chicago.

After getting to my cousin, Jeff’s new house and visiting for a few minutes, dad got bored and left. Thanks for the ride dad! It was nice to spend the afternoon with you.

We spent the rest of the evening visiting with Aunt Gale, Jeff and his girlfriend, Jill. My mom met us after a while and we ordered authentic Chicago pizza… more delicious carbs for Carl and I!!

Aunt Gale, Jeff and Jill all said they are coming to Hawaii for Anthony’s wedding so we are holding them to it!

I am glad we had time to visit with them and see Jeff’s beautiful, new house. Too bad they won’t be there long as Jeff’s “Design and Build” business is taking off and he’s already building his next house! Congrats, Jeff! See you all in Hawaii.