Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Halloween 101

Once again, I'm stealing from Sue over at Happy Hour and Happy Meals...because she's way funnier than me!!

This whole Halloween season must seem so bizarre to foreigners.

Foreigner: So what do I do first?

American: First, get yourself some cornstalks for the front of the house.

Foreigner: From a farm?

American: No, from Michael's. Grab a scarecrow while you're there, too.

Foreigner: But I don't have any crops to guard...

American: You NEED a scarecrow. Everybody has one.

Foreigner: And where do I get the pumpkin?

American: Well, you could just buy one at the grocery store...but the REAL way to do it is drag the whole family to a "pumpkin farm", stand on line for a hayride, ride a quarter mile out to a field, pose for the Christmas photo, "pick" a pumpkin from the ground, lug it back to the cashier, spend $30 in pies, and go home.

Foreigner: And then I have to carve a face into it?

American : Only if your kids remind you.

Foreigner: OK -and what do I need for Halloween night.

American: Lots of candy. To give to the neighbors' kids.

Foreigner: And what about my kids?

American: They'll be getting candy from the neighbors.

Foreigner: And do they eat all this candy?

American: No. There will be a lot of candy they "don't like".

Foreigner: And what happens to that candy?

American: The moms eat it.

Foreigner: So once you've visited everyone in the neighborhood, and they've oohed and aahhd over your kids' costumes, do you all become friends and socialize on a regular basis?

American: No - we don't speak again til next Halloween.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Busch Gardens with Friends!

Today we went to Busch Gardens with our friends, the Papas and of course, we closed the place down! No rain this time so we covered the whole park, eventually splitting up so the boys could do the BIG roller coasters and the girls could do the tamer ones, though from this looks of this humiliating picture, you'd have thought we were on the SheKra not the stinkin' Cheetah Chase! Isabella and Maddie look appropriately exhilirated, but I look terrified and Haley looks like she's going to jump out of her seat! Thanks, Colleen for purchasing this photo for the blogosphere's viewing pleasure!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Living Room

So I think my living room is finally finished (although I'm still looking for a bigger picture for the wall by the chair...Bruce and I got that picture at Holden Beach and I really love it but just not sure it fits there). The photos on the wall were taken by my friend, Colleen, and I printed them in sepia and put them in some frames that I had from the old house. The end table and the coffee table is from up north too (and I'm not convinced that I love it in this room) but everything else is new. The room gets lots of light since it's right off the lanai and has a great view of the pool and the lake behind what do you think?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Anna Maria and Friends

We spent a beautiful Saturday at the beach...of course, any day at the beach is beautiful in my book! Here are a few pics for those of you up north who will see what we'll be doing while you're raking leaves!
Our favorite restaurant on the beach, The Sand Bar, with Bruce and John playing football in front of it!

Seating for 15?

Our adopted son from England, Ben came with us and on Sunday, he and Jonah went back to Manasota Beach for more shark teeth!

Haley, Mason and Isabella

The BEST way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

(except for my expansive backside)...what an awesome view! There were lots of of boats out on the gulf on Saturday!

These 9 kids played for three hours without one scuffle!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Goodbye Yankee Stadium!...guest posted by Bruce

I've been a lifelong Yankee fan, much to the chagrin of my parents who were Brooklyn Dodger fans and then Mets fans. I've been to the Stadium dozens of times over the years and even saw the NY Giants football team practice there when I was a VERY young boy. So, of course, I wanted to go this season for one last look at the House that Ruth built. The problem - we live in Bradenton, FL and the Stadium is in Bronx, NY!

Kurt, a buddy of mine at work and a huge Rays fan (I'm rooting for the Rays too, now that my Yankees are out of the playoffs) asked if I'd be interested in going to NY after a business trip to MD to see the Rays play the Yankees. The sweetener to this deal - free tickets for the Saturday and Sunday afternoon games from Hal Steinbrenner, son of the legendary George Steinbrenner, owner of the Yankees.

So, off we went, driving up 95 and the Joisey turnpike to NYC for the weekend. We took the subway and got to the stadium early on Saturday and picked up our tickets - 2nd row right behind home plate!!!! Best seats I've ever had ANYWHERE!!! We got to see Jeter and A-Rod up close and, even better, the Rays won big that day! We went to ESPNzone that night and watched USC beat up on Ohio State, which bummed Kurt out, since he's an Ohio guy.

The "new" Yankee Stadium across the street from the original

A view from left field and Monument Park

A view from the catwalk above our section

Yes, these were our seats...second row behind home plate for both the Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon games! GREAT seats - and they were FREE!

Yes ladies, we were this close to Derek Jeter

The next morning we drove in to the city (aka Manhattan to you non-New Yawkahs) and I introduced Kurt to lox and eggs at the Stage Deli (which were delicious as usual). We drove up to the stadium, bought the requisite Final Season t-shirts and got the tour of Monument Park before seeing the Yankees beat up on the Rays. In the process, we met Joe Maddon, the Rays manager, Stu Sternberg, the Rays' owner and we saw a bunch of Rays up close and personal.

We got to meet and talk to Joe Maddon, the Rays manager ...and a cinch for Manager of the year!

It was awesome to see the Stadium one more time before it is torn down. I'm sure I'll be making the trip up every now and again to the new stadium, but it won't be the same. Yes, Yankee Stadium has had a number of makeovers throughout the years, but it has that same mystique to baseball fans that Wrigley in Chicago and Fenway (ugh, the dead Sox) in Boston also does.Monument Park, Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York

In Monument Park at Yankee Stadium - incredible baseball history! That's Lou Gehrig (#4) and Babe Ruth's (#3) plaques behind me

The greatest catcher in the history of baseball...Yogi Berra

Some of the Yankee greats

The 9/11 monument in Monument Park

So, in honor of the greatest stadium in baseball (Camden Yards in Bal'more notwithstanding), here's a tribute to Yankee Stadium from Nils Lofgren, the diminutive guitarist for Springsteen's E-Street Band.

and one more thing...The Rays are going to the playoffs baby!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Go Bucs!

Nathan, Ben and Jonah

Last Sunday, while Bruce was at Yankee Stadium watching the Tampa Bay Rays play the Yankees, Jonah was with his friend, Ben at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers opening football game against the Atlanta Falcons! Ben and his brother, Nathan, are from England so Jonah explained the game to them...which wasn't too hard, especially because the Bucs won! Jonah's hoping the Bucs go to the Superbowl this year...since it's in Tampa!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

MISC MONDAY...Yearbook Photos

Bruce and I had a lot of fun with this site...and sadly, I had almost every single well as every single outfit that corresponded with the year.


This one looks like my older sister, who graduated in 1977 and had this same hair.

Oh yeah, I was totally rockin' those bangs that only came about by holding the curling iron for the precise amount of time...too long, and you had a little tootsie roll thing laying on your forehead!

This looks scarily like me in 1996...just starting to let my hair grow out and a little heavy on the highlights...I think I even had that same denim dress.


This is the most pathetic of them humiliating to admit that I did in fact have this same haircut by way of a perm gone horribly, horribly wrong. I was in college at the time and no, I did NOT think it looked good! Didn't look good then and doesn't look good now...perms should be outlawed.

Let's see...the big hair of the 80's was deperately trying to hang on, as were the remnants of a perm. Those soft, romantic sweaters (probably with some pastel argyle design) and the flat gold chains (I have a jewelry box of gold jewelry...ick...that my kids keep telling me to MAIL IN FOR CASH!) but I also opted for a strand of pearls.


Again, I look very much like my oldest sister, who graduated in 1968 ..I was just a preschooler in 66 you know!


This was way too glamorous for me in the year 2000...I was deep in the throes of raising 6 kids aged 3-17 and pregnant with my 7th way would I have had time to style my hair like that!

And finally, here's my very handsome husband...


Yeah he'd look like that...if he had hair then!1998

Ok they're kidding right??? This one is wrong...on so many levels that all I can say is that this is a pretty darn good John Travolta imitation.

Hmmm....not sure what to say...


Nice polyester shirt...stay away from open flames please!

Bruce sooooo had that hair cut!

my achey breakey....MULLETT!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Some Florida Sunshine!

Welcome to Florida! This post is part of the Blog Around the World series ...I actually feel a little more qualified to post about Maryland, where I lived for about 13 years or PA, where I lived for close to 30, but I'll give it a go! We moved here a few months ago and even though I've already posted this blessing, now that I have a Florida summer under my belt, I thought I'd leave a few thoughts along with it!
~ Florida Blessing~

Bless this house, oh Lord, we cry.
Please keep it cool in mid-July.

July I can handle! August and September are definitely the HOTTEST months in Florida! I have to say that living on the Gulf side of the state does provide a nice breeze most days which makes it a little more bearable!

Bless the walls where termites dine
While ants and roaches march in time.

Almost everyone down here has a "bug guy" who comes and sprays every few weeks. We even have some kind of weird pipe system in our walls to keep us bug free...and I have to say that inside the house, I really haven't seen any bugs...outside is a different story!

Bless our yard where spiders pass
Fire ant castles in the grass.

See Exhibit A and this post

and Exhibit B

Jonah got bitten the very first week of school and Evan not long after that. Most homeowner yards are treated, it's the open areas and grassy areas that you have to worry about! The mounds aren't usually as obvious as this, so it's best to just stick to walking on concrete. Once you're bitten, apparently the ants send out some kind of signal that says "DINNER TIME!" and they swarm!

Bless the garage, home to please

Carpenter beetles, tics and fleas

Fortunately the only thing I find in my garage are nosey geckos...and I'm sure even
they don't survive too long because it's about 500 degrees hotter in my garage!

Bless the love bugs, two by two,
The gnats and mosquitoes that feed on you.

AHH yes...the love bugs. They come twice a year for about two weeks and require an explanation to young children about WHY two bugs are stuck together! They usually only appear for about two weeks, twice a year so it gives me time to expand my explanation! Gnats and mosquitoes aren't so bad, as long as you aren't outside at dusk or later and you have several cans of Off!

Millions of creatures that fly or crawl,
In FLORIDA , Lord, you've put them all!
notice the miniature gecko on her shirt? they're usually ten times that size!

But this is home, and here we'll stay,

So thank you Lord, for insect spray.

We've lived here almost five months now and it IS starting to feel like home! We've always wanted to live in a warmer climate and to be near the beach, so when our four oldest children went off to college, we packed up the three youngest left at home and headed south baby...and never looked back! Being a native Northerner, Florida seems to get a bad rap! It's really not all hot weather and bugs! We're about 20 minutes from the gulf coastline, which has some of the most beautiful beaches I've seen and rival the crystal clear blue green of the Caribbean! The sand is soft and white and the abundance of sea life is always intersting! After the kids get on the bus, I'm always up for a day at the beach!

We live very near the Tropicana Orange Juice plant and if you drive a little north and roll down your windows on a cool evening, you can smell the sweet scent of oranges in the air! It amazes me that even with the abundance of orange groves here, they still sell CA oranges at the supermarket!

We're about halfway between Sarasota and the Tampa/St. Pete area, which are cities where there is always something going on! One of the biggest reasons we moved here was the weather and even though the last month has been pretty brutal, I'm sure we'll be getting calls from our friends up north looking for a winter getaway! Please! Give us a call! You're always welcome!