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Paul Andrew's First Birthday Party!!
Posted by Tina on Sunday, February 15, 2009 - 06:56 PM
(619 Reads)
Events Stuff Tina writes " On January 31st the Armand's celebrated Paul Andrew's First Birthday with a big Country Western themed birthday party!! The weather was picture perfect- not a cloud in the sky and 70 degree weather. It was fun dressing up in western garb and seeing everyone at the party! For the special event a petting zoo was provided for the children. I expected maybe a dozen animals but was I surprised! About 6-8 ducks, 10 or so chickens, 2 large domestic geese, 2 piglets, half dozen baby bunnies, 2 baby goats, 1 puppy, 2 kittens were set loose in an enclosure. With the constant motion as the barnyard critters moved about it was difficult keeping count... We had a blast feeding the farm menagerie and trying to video all the clucking, honking, squealing was a hoot. Two very sweet ponies were also brought in for pony rides and Alexa thoroughly enjoyed her first pony ride at her Buies home. Paul Andrew enjoyed the Bounce House and all the animals but he was not interested in a pony ride and let his wishes be known. His expression as his Dad fed the goat a bottle I will never forget. Paul encouraged Alexa to feed the ducks and 2 geese and I was amazed how well she did. Those geese were almost as tall as her!! What a wonderful experience this was for all the children and for the big kids as well!


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January Visit to the Florida Keys!
Posted by Tina on Sunday, February 15, 2009 - 05:56 PM
(355 Reads)
Fishing and Boating Tina writes " Old Man Winter decided to descend on even South Florida! On January 22 we woke up to 31 degrees in Estero! Before heading down to Marathon we uncovered our orchids, praying the evening temperatures that night would not go as low. Our first night at the Hammocks in Marathon we turned on the heat- got down to the 50's. I guess if we lived in Pennsylvania we would have opened up the glass slider doors out to the balcony and enjoyed the 50 degree night air ..... On Friday morning we drove down to see Bob, Tom, and Anita. The skies were a beautiful blue and the air was dry and in the sun quite lovely. After looking at several of our family videos Bob and I headed out on Anita's front porch and we began to wrap- jewelry that is. Heh, Heh! As always Tom and Anita's plants looked ever so robust in their yard and their tomato plants were so lush and heavily festooned with some really large- baseball sized tomatoes.
On Saturday Gloria and Paul arrived with Alexa and Paul Robert . Paul Andrew had woke up his parents before 6am that morning so we gave Paul and Gloria an hour to nap while we took the grandchildren outdoors to check out the hammocks , iguanas, and the resort grounds. Afterwards, we headed down to Sugarloaf Key and it was instant giggles for Paul Andrew when he saw Corkie playing tug of war with her toys.Bob suggested we go down to the canal and feed the fish some bread. Alexa soon discovered Tom's smaller boat sitting on the dock and decided climbing in and out would be such fun. Of course Paul Andrew had to go on the boat and join his big sister!
Sunday we headed down to Key West and rode the Key West Conch Train and got to play tourists! Paul Andrew and Alexa enjoyed the ride and we were glad we did not go on it late Saturday because the air was still quite brisk even early in the afternoon. We took some pictures at the Key West Aquarium- reminded me of our first visit to Miami and the Florida Keys in 1987- 3 years before we made Florida our home! On the way back to the Hammocks we stopped to see Bob, Tom, and Anita and said our goodbyes to Bob. Next year will be our turn to visit him!"

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Happy Holidays and New Year!
Posted by Tina on Tuesday, January 13, 2009 - 01:54 AM
(395 Reads)
Events Stuff Tina writes " Welcome 2009 and Goodbye 2008! As expected the 2 week holiday from school passed ever so quickly. And also as expected the temperatures were warmer than Thanksgiving.Before heading over to Paul and Gloria's for Christmas we celebrated with our neighbors with a Christmas Party at our home. Patty Campbell and her girls drove down from Nashville and joined us and the Olive family brought their 2 week old son Hogan for all of us to coo over.. it was truely a wonderful evening to party with our friends !
On December 23rd we headed over to Miami to spend Christmas with all the family. Gloria , Alexa, and I got busy making homemade sugar cookies and using cookie cutters and homemade colored frosting we created stars and trees and cookie men. Even Daniel decorated a few- he has always loved the soft sugar cookies from Publix- my recipe was not the best so must keep experimenting!Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas morning breakfast was as always delicious thanks to Yoyi's culinary skills! Paul Andrew was constantly pulling himself up to investigate everything and chew on whatever he could get his hands on. Alexa was trying to quickly grab her favorite toys and hide them from his view as he scoped out her interesting toys. Maybe Paul Andrew was tiring her out because as Gloria told me Alexa settles down quickly when she is is tucked in to bed , says her prayers, and kissed goodnight. Now could that Minnie Mouse blanket I got Alexa have magical powers.... For Christmas I got Paul Andrew and Alexa a Mickey Mouse plane that I just loved- the safe whirling prop with flying lights was hypnotic! Dave and Lori arrived Christmas afternoon - it was wonderful having all the family together. The day after Christmas they sailed out of Miami for a 3 night Bahama cruise on the NCL Sky. Cruise ships are so beautiful decked out for the holiday season.
On Dec. 29 my dear husband and I flew out to Denver, Colorado. Nancy Avalon a dear friend and coworker at Ft. Raleigh National Historic Site had contacted me in September after 28 years and invited us to come visit! We were in our early 20's and had the time of our life conducting living history programs portraying the life and times of the English colonists who attempted to settle in the New World in the 1580's . 400 years later it is still a mystery what happened to 100 men. women, and children....
We spent 5 glorious days with Nancy and her boyfriend Aeron. Our first evening we visited an Irish Pub and over some delicious beer we listened to many fine musicians playing celtic music I so dearly love.The next day we headed to Golden, Colorado - enjoyed all the trains in the Colorado Train Museum and nearby in the Lookout Mountain area saw Iguanodon and pteropod dinosaur tracks all over a mountain side. On December 31 Aeron drove us out 160 miles on I-70 to Glenwood Hot Springs. Nancy found a lovely B&B called Lavender and Thyme for us to stay at for 2 nights. Built in 1898, this lovely Victorian styled home was simply enchanting. And maybe ghostly as well... supposedly Doc Holiday is buried under the house. Due to a very icey road he was buried in a vacant lot at the bottom of the hill where our bed and breakfast now stands.
Did not see his ghost. Only delicious food each morning, beautiful decor in the house, and our wonderful innkeeper Jan who made us feel right at home.New Year's Eve we headed to the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool . This 405 X 100 ft.pool
contains 1 million gallons of water. The spring that feeds this pool has 122 degrees water and is cooled to 90 degrees . A smaller pool has 104 degrees water. It was an amazing experience surrounded by the dense mist hovering in the 25 degree air above the water! We headed to the 104 degree water last to heat up before getting out into the chilly air. Polar bear I am not....
On New Year's Day we snowmobiled at Sunlight Pass Mountain and had a blast!!
The trails and views were fantastic! Our last day in Glenwood Springs we headed up to the Glenwood Caverns and viewed some really unique formations. Nancy and I glided down the mountain on the Adventure Park roller coaster and at top speed we screamed and later sang a few old ballads as we acted like a bunch of kids! Though Nancy and I had not seen each other for 28 years it did not seem like all that time had passed. Needless to say we had a wonderful visit to Colorado and look forward to Nancy and Aeron's visit to our bit of paradise....


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Thanksgiving 2008
Posted by Tina on Saturday, December 20, 2008 - 01:24 AM
(333 Reads)
Events Stuff Tina writes " It was Thanksgiving in Estero this year. All sons agreed to head to the homestead for the celebration. Paul agreed on the condition that I would make his favorite breakfast of homemade waffles, turkey, and gravy. Of course I agreed.
On Wednesday, Dan arrrived first then Dave and Lori. After some lunch Lori and I chatted a bit and later Dave and her left for some shopping before she flew out of Ft. Myers that evening for New York to visit her sister. From the weather report we would be seeing the upper 40's . This has definitely been a cool November in SW Florida. Thursday morning Paul, Gloria, Alexa, and Paul Andrew arrived a bit after 9am. Paul in his college days would sometimes surprise us arriving at the crack of dawn. Always the early bird of the family.
Charlie and Mary joined in the cooking. Charlie did his usual deep fried turkey and I roasted a turkey. Alexa and Paul Andrew had lots of fun playing in the bounce house set up in the foyer. Dan and Dave kept them entertained and got plenty of exercise keeping up with these pint size powerhouses! Alexa enjoyed feeding the Goobers, our parrot cichlid fish and playing out in the lanai in her new sandbox. Paul Andrew was crawling everywhere and pulling up. He would always
look our way and smile before crawling off to his new destination.
I woke up Friday morning around 7am with Paul returning from Best Buy. He was the only family member to get up early for Black Friday. All of us headed out later to shop at Miromar Outlet and later thet evening Dad and I watched Alexa and Paul Andrew when everyone went to the movies.The temperatures were in the low 70's - just lovely in the daytime. Alexa enjoyed playing at the clubhouse playground and as usual had lots of fun swinging. Saturday's menu switched to pizza- time for a break from turkey and we watched the Gators beat the Seminoles. Urban Myer is a great coach and I have to say I like him as much as Bobby Bowden....
In closing, it must be told that the three sons really surprised their Dad. On Thursday,tucked away in a cardboard apple box was a Macbook Pro , a computer
their father hoped to eventually purhase. The sons conspired and purchased one for him - needless to say their Dad was overwhelmed by their thoughtful conspiracy! My three sons..."

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Autumn 2008
Posted by Tina on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 - 11:03 PM
(374 Reads)
Events Stuff Tina writes "Cannot believe it has been a full two months since I last posted a story. So, let's get started!!!On September 26th Gene and I flew out to Portland, Maine and for 4 glorious days we became official Leaf Peepers in New Hampshire! Yes, that it what nature lovers are called that take literally hundreds of photos of trees decked out in red, orange, yellow and every shade in between! Even though Hurricane Kyle threatened to ruin our long awaited visit to New England, we experienced just periodic rain that dampened only our rain jackets and definitely not our spirits. Nova Scotia was Kyle's aim and according to the weather channel on our first night in our cabin it has been 17 years since a hurricane brushed the coast of Maine! I am starting to feel like I am a hurricane magnet. We had a wonderful time searching for moose( no luck) and spying on roadside turkeys. The White Mountains were dressed in absolutely stunning fall colors- the best color in the last 3 years according to locals. We walked up trails where the balsam fir fragrance was like 100 yankee candles and gathered red maple leaves that were so beautiful a color that red will never be the same for me. The Flume Gorge and the forest service road to Watervilles Valley will not be forgotten. And the 2 nights in our cozy little cabin in the White Mountains was very special in so many ways.....
In October we visited Gloria and Paul twice. The second visit Daniel made it down from college and we all got a chance to play with Alexa and Paul Andrew and see and hear all their new " learnings ". Alexa newest words from preschool were " no way" ! She definitely said it with plenty of enthusiasm and gusto and got her message across. She still loves horsey rides and greets us at the door ready for a hug and kiss. She follows her Mom everywhere around the house and probably I was the same with my Mom when I was Alexa's age. But when it comes to horsey rides her Dad is like no other. Dan saw how much his godson has grown and how easily Paul Andrew is pulling up and crawling all over. Grandpa was busy as well taking photos of the cuties! I got to join Gloria and the grandchildren for a fun halloween party which was a wonderful party for all!
Over the Veteran's Day Holiday Gene and I headed down to the Florida Keys and stayed at the Hammocks. With the minor cool front boating and snorkeling was out but we had a wonderful beach walk at Bahia Honda and visit down to Sugarloaf Key to see Anita and Tom. On the way back we stopped in Miami for a quick visit before heading home.
We have had many nights already in the 40's and this has been one of the coolest November's I remember in years! We do not have the glorious fall leaves like up north but the beautiful yellow flowers of our Cassia trees have been dazzling and remind me that summer's heat and humidity has been swept away for now....


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