December 27, 2018

The birthday girl #23

My baby is offically grown up.
It's kind of painful, but it's also pretty awesome.

Lindsay was such an easy baby and toddler....
 I think she knew her sister wore me out....she was going easy on me. 
Well, until she turned about 12. :) 

She danced most of her childhood and that kept her (and her family) very busy. 

She's now doing her own thing, working, living, making plans for her future. 
Wishing her nothing but the best today and always-we love you Lindsburger!!


December 26, 2018

Christmassy 2018

Party, party, party, 
We always hit the ground running in December. 
Let's just see how much we can cram into 31 days?!

Shopping, cooking, planning, eating, drinking, laughing, shopping, cleaning....I suppose it's the same thing most people do, but I take it all personally.

We threw a big blowout party for our employees on 12/15. It was a great success; we had 105 guests and everyone had a fabulous night. 

The Coach thought it would be a great thing to wake up realllly early on 12/16 and cook for the homeless. 
Yes.He.Did. He, along with lots of friends and family fired up his big ole' smoker and cooked until 4pm. 

The following weekend we hosted our annual cocktail party at our house for 45 people. It was a GREAT night!! Both of our girlies were able to join us this year. Some years we're running the a/c, this year it was SO cold and we still had all the sliders open; I was standing in our kitchen and I could see my breath....time to shut the doors people!

My babies. 

Me and my peeps

Then on the 23rd we hosted Christmas Eve-eve for the family. We had 16 for was great. We made it pot-luck so not AS much cooking this was great seeing all the family. We decided to play the Double-Dice, oven-mitt game and it was a huge hit!!

FYI, my great Niece is the only one allowed to stand on my counters....

Linds and Lolo's beau. 

My girls with my teeny, tiny nephews and their girlies.

I'm so very thankful to have enjoyed, survived and loved another Christmas season. 


November 28, 2018

Thankful, thankful and not so shank-ful

We had a great Thanksgiving week. So great, that I never even ONCE threatened to shank anyone. 
My aunt, uncle, and cuz Patrick came down from wayyyyyy up north. You know, north Atlanta. 
I always love having time with my family. We're a rarity nowadays with so many gone. 

Lolo and Linds are both always so busy with work so I planned on Monday night for all of us to go to a painting party. AT, UJ and Patrick had never been.

*Well, wouldn't you know that our sweet Cocoa became very sick that afternoon and I ended up at the emergency hospital with her. Apparently, she didn't want me to paint.

But, my people had a nice time and that made me happy.

You know what else makes me happy? People cooking while I watch.

The Coach disassembling my turkey and his dad's ham.
We had an early dinner because Lindsay had to work that night.
Lolo had to work the night before and Thanksgiving night, so we didn't see her on Thursday; our very first time not having both kids at the table. I guess that means I don't need a kids table anymore?

Since the girls were little, this Naked Kelly doll has shown up in some weird places.....She's always been naked, but now she only has one shoe. This girl is living some sort of wild life and I hope my pilgrims don't take after her lead.
On Friday Lolo came over as did Linds and we had some family time. The kids ate some leftovers, called it Thanksgiving, then we went to the marina for a nice dinner. But first, Christmas pictures.
Lolo + Nathan = 2x popo

Lolo and MaxMax


We had a great week and now we're moving onto the next holiday hoopla.

*Cocoa had a bad case of pancreatitis and stayed in the hospital for two nights. During an ultrasound, they found she had some tumors near her pancreas. We're not doing any more digging. It's a wait-and- see kind of thing. Right now, she's eating, drinking and seems pain-free. Hopefully, that will last a little while.


November 15, 2018

Queenstown to Mt. Cook, NZ ~~They said getting there would be the most fun.

Our first adventure after enjoying a few days in Queenstown was a drive to Mount Cook to see the famous Tasman glacier.

We'd noticed the day prior that it was getting REALLY windy as we were exploring the area. Someone in a shop mentioned something about a cold front coming through the next day, hence the wind.
We didn't think much about it. We woke up in the morning and started getting ready when I opened the curtains and noticed some snow flurries.
It's spring in NZ.
I put on the tv and the local news said that a lot of roads would be closing as well as the airport.
I was thinking: These people are really's just a few flurries.
Again, I'm a Florida native, so I know winter weather.

By the time we were dressed and we ate our breakfast, it was FULL-ON WINTER.

I don't have any photos of the full-ON winter because I was FULL-on driving on the left side of the road in the right side of the car while it's FULL-ON snowing.
It was at least 3 /12 hours before we arrived in clearer weather.
I was stressed to say the least; both hands on the wheel the entire time. My body so tense it would take at least 3 glasses of wine and a full body massage to get back to my normal.

We were about an hour short of our destination when we the weather cleared up and we found a spot to stop, stretch our legs and thank the good Lord that we made it through the snow storm.

We couldn't believe our eyes when we came around a corner and saw this huge BLUE lake; we had to stop and take it in.

After about 10 minutes we were back in the car towards our destination: Mount Cook.
We didn't know what to expect at a hotel that was located in a national park, but we loved our quaint little bungalow.

It was really overcast and dreary again by the time we arrived at our room, then the sun went down. The next morning we opened the curtains and were able to see the view from our window.

It was a beautiful, clear and crisp morning and we were ready for our glacier tour.
We were driven to a national park, and had about a mile walk till we reached the boating area.

We were so happy for clear skies!

They loaded us onto small boats/rafts that held about 15 people and we zipped around the lake and learned all about glaciers and icebergs. 


How did I make it on this planet for 51 years and not realize that a glacier and an iceberg are two different things? Apparently, my Florida public school education didn't focus on such things.

mountains behind us


Behind us here is the Tasman Glacier. The huge lake we were boating on was once part of the glacier, but like everything else, it's melting. In about 40 years, the (very large) glacier will most likely be gone. 

We got up close and personal with an iceberg. Inside it are rocks, dirt, debris....whatever the glacier picked up from the earth as it formed. When the iceberg breaks off of the glacier, it floats around, melts and drops all the debris into the lake. Our tour guides said that every day (sometimes by the hour) the view of the icebergs changes as they melt and others come off the glacier.

It was a really cool (brrrr) learning experience and also a bit sad. This is proof that our ecology is changing at a really rapid pace and it appears that we're not going to be able to halt it the way we (humans) live. 

I skipped a great day on our wine tour on the Southern part of the South Island before we moved onto Mt. Cook, but I'm going to combine it with our wine tour of the Marlborough region. 


November 03, 2018

The one where I can't stop gushing about New Zealand and SHEEP {pt 3}

For the last few weeks, I keep coming to my blog page and I attempt to write/document about our super duper fabulous once in a lifetime trip, but then my brain goes

The burp was from a ginger ale. 

There is so much to write and share it becomes overwhelming. 

We started our trip on the South Island so we could drive north while seeing all the good stuff prior to meeting up with Lindsay in Wellington. 

Our tour people set up some good stuff for us. One was this boat cruise to a working sheep farm with a beautiful dinner. Sadly, this was on our first night....although we really weren't jet-lagged, we did want to go to bed at 9pm {NZ time} 

But, when you get on a boat, you can't just willy-nilly walk back to your hotel when you want to go to bed. 
You'd have to swim, but the water was really cold. 

beeUtiful views for days. 

We watched a sheep get all its hairs cut.
It was awkward. for me and the sheep.

New Zealand is known for it's Merino wool which comes from Merino sheep.
You knew that.
Merino wool is unlike most wool. It's soft and fine. It doesn't make your skin feel like it's going to itch until you insist on one of those white straight jackets.

So, this night was our first encounter with NZ sheep.
During our next 13 days, we encountered eleventy billion sheep.
Around every corner on our drive were fields and fields of sheep.

"Does this wool make my butt look big?" 

Kelly and Suz with some sleepy sheep. 

Something else that was interesting. They sell items everywhere made from Merino wool; sweaters, socks, hats, scarves....all very soft and lovely.
We also noticed lots of these items that were a mixture of Merino wool and possum. 


Possums in NZ are not native and they've become very invasive pests. Mostly because they kill all the flightless birds in NZ. Yeah, the poor Kiwi bird is a dying breed and possums are one of the reasons. 

So the NZ'ers have found that while trying to reduce their numbers, they can use their coat for clothing items.

Pretty darn smart if you ask me. 

Now, I'm off to find another gingerale and gather my thoughts. 


October 15, 2018

The one where we fell in love with New Zealand {pt 2}

When Kelly and I started talking about a trip to NZ, we really didn't know where to start. For a minute, we thought we'd fly into Austrailia and spend a few days there....but upon further research, we found out that wasn't such a great idea. 
You really need a few weeks in EITHER country and not a few weeks in BOTH countries.

Did I mention that Linds (my youngest) was already going to be in Wellington, NZ? Well, that was the main reason for our trip and Linds already had her flight home booked, so we planned OUR trip to end where she was and to fly home together. 

We went back and forth about where to fly into NZ, what parts to focus on, etc....
After much reading, we figured the south island really had more of what we enjoyed. 
Nature and wine. 

We found a great travel site that would put together a 'self-drive' tour customized to our dates, budget, and interests. I didn't want to just go it alone....nor could you pay me to be a part of a group tour. 

I can't recommend them enough. They booked our rental car, all the hotels and some of our excursions too. Everything went smoothly; no hiccups. (aside from a weather issue-hello surprise snowstorm and one hotel that we didn't love, but because of the weather issue, we were only there for 10 hours)

We had 13 days to visit and see as much as we could and end with 3 of those days with Lindsay in Wellington. So we flew into Queenstown and spent the beginning of our trip there. 

Queenstown is a super cute small has a really nice vibe to it. Lot's of outdoor restaurants, water activities, skiing in the winter and very safe for two women to be out and about. 
We walked everywhere for the most part.

Did you know that they drive on the left side of the road?
On the right side of the car? 
And they have different driving rules. Our tour package included a little book...thank goodness I read this. (after the first time I drove!) It was very helpful. 

They have mostly roundabouts there, not like our four-way intersections with traffic signals. 
They have a lot of one lane bridges. 
Both of those have specific rules and I'm proud to say I knew them by reading that little book. 

So, yes, I'm a professional NZ driver. 

October 14, 2018

The birthday boy #53

Where would I be right now if not for him?
I don't even want to think about it.
We've practically grown up together...I met him before I had teeth.
Ok, I might have had a few.

I was just about to turn 18 when we had a chance meeting/date. {it was blind actually}
I think the good Lord knew I needed some stability in my life; some normalcy. Well, not 100% normal, that would be NO fun.
I got all that and more.
I've got an amazing family.

Happy 53rd birthday to my favorite person
My main squeeze.
My blessing.


October 09, 2018

Racking up those frequent flyer miles. {NZ}

I know I fell off the blog again, but with good reason.

Kelly and I had a fabulous two weeks in New Zealand.
We loved every minute; the people, the wine, the scenery, the sheep, the snow. (I wasn't expecting that!)
We were home for exactly 5 days when we again departed for 7 days in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Boots, jackets and snow.....right into flip-flops, bathing suits and major heat.

Anyhoo....I'm not complaining.

At least once a day we looked at each other and exclaimed: "We're IN New Zealand!"
Something else we said at least once daily: "I wasn't expecting that".

Let's start with the flying part. I'm not a happy flyer. I generally like to avoid it, but taking a boat to NZ seemed a tad daunting.

We had a short flight out of Fort Lauderdale into Houston...from there we flew Air New Zealand for almost 16 hours into Aukland, NZ. Then another short flight (2 hrs) from Aukland to Queenstown where we would start our trip.

The longest flight actually was better than we expected. (I wasn't expecting that!) We splurged and booked business class on the way over and it was really comfortable. The flight was mostly at they fed us a really nice dinner and after a glass of wine, they turned your seat into a comfy bed. I think I might have slept 7 hours total during the long haul, plus watched a few movies to kill the time. We were able to get up and move about as much as we wanted, so you never felt like a prisoner.

 Flying into Queenstown we had a birds-eye view of the Southern Alps---again, something I'd read about, but didn't know what to expect. Just gorgeous!

We learned that most of NZ is uninhabited; part of it's beauty.

I'm going to do a few posts about our trip there so I can go back and visit myself when I miss it in a minute or two.

I DO hope all my blog friends are well. I'm gonna catch up soon....but first I must unpack and pay bills.