Family Vacation 2003

Ok, this is waaaaaayyyyyyyy outdated, but I found a random cd while packing and just got around to looking at it this morning. These are pictures my brother, Kevin, took on a family vacation to Marco Island Florida in 2003. We stayed in this great house called "Big Pink" which was right on a tributary, had a pool, and was a block from the Gulr of Mexico and just north of the Everglades National Park.

We spent time on the beach, of course. It was difficult to drag ourselves out there, let me tell you. Beaches in southern Florida are drastically overrated (note dripping sarcasm).

Beach pictures…

Yes, this is some sort of giant bird eating a fish…


Collecting shells… This part of the western Florida coast is known for amazing shells that wash up after storms.


Cute one…


Reason number one why I loved my grandmother so much. She was such a trooper. She couldn't walk very well at this point in her life (I believe she was 92) but dang if she didn't plop herself into the fat wheeled beach wheel chair so she could get out with the family.

Of course being so close to the Everglades we did a touristy day-trip where we took a pontoon boat tour, an air boat tour, and a bus tour. I think we might have also gone to an alligator park but I could be making that up. Pics of the family, activities, and beasties…

Pontoon Boat – it was raining like crazy when we got there, but it's Florida so it stopped and got beautiful an hour later.


This pelican landed on the roof and got fed by the boat owner. Trained, of course, but still cool. Look how big its beak is!

My older brother and his wife. He hasn't made too many appearances on the blog because he lives in San Francisco and we don't see them much as we'd like.


Reason number two why my grandmother was awesome. The pontoon owner had a baby gator on board that we all got to hold. Her face is priceless…


My turn with the gator… I looooooooovvveeeeee animals, so this was as fun as Christmas.

Air boats… by far the highlight of the day. They were AWESOME. I highly recommend it if you get the chance.


Air boat video… Wheeeeeeeeee…

We saw the most "wild" animals on the bus tour. I put wild in quotes because yes, they do live in the wild, but they were clearly trained as well as Pavlov's dogs to come running when they heard the bus motor. All of them. Even the gators knew to swim to a certain spot so they could get their treat.

Wild boars… Furry isn't he? I wasn't expecting that.


Running to meet the bus at the designated treat spot…


Wild bears… Waiting patiently at the designated treat spot… Nope… Nothing there yet.


Racoon eating its treat… Marshmallows… We got to feed it. Don't tell the Humane Society.


Feeding the racoons video…

And gators, of course… Also lured and fed marshmallows. We did not feed them.


Me thinks this one's had too many marshmallows…


The bus…


It was a great vacation. The Florida sun is HOT. I got burned after being in the sun for *minutes*. Crazy. The sunscreen industry must be booming. At least I hope so.

One thing I noticed after looking at the pictures… I'm still wearing a lot of the same clothes now. Ha ha.

One of my favorite memories was how much Kevin & Jean's kids loved my brother Rick. The climbed him like a ladder, beat him up, followed him around like puppies. He just has the "big kid" kind of way about him. Plus, it seems he tastes good too…


Fun times… We should do it again soon.

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Mini Family Reunion

My brother and his family (his wife is Vox-er Jean) came east for vacation in July. I got to go see them for an afternoon in a park.

My nephew, Frank, showing one of his many talents. He also plays piano, trumpet, and is taking up trombone.

My neice, Sarah. Jean blogged about her pretty purple hair last month. This is what it looked like after too much exposure to the sun and chlorine. I love it like this!


Nephew #2, Logan. We look like twins in our matching JMU windbreakers. It was raining like crazy which is why we also look like drowned rats.


The twins, Langdon & Trevor. This is one of the very few moments they were both stationary and together long enough to get a picture.


My brother & Jean…

We celebrated my brother's birthday while we were all together. TODAY is his actual birthday. Happy birthday, Kev! Frank made the origami flowers on the cake.


The highlight of the day was the recycled tire playground. It was awesome! So many fun things…

A giant fish piano…

Lots of swings and things to climb on…


But the best part was a zip line. Everyone rode it, even the babies. It was a hoot.

My niece, Marin.


Even though it looks like my brother is doing a lot of helping, it was just the timing of the photo. The twins both rode it all by themselves a bunch of times.

Finally, two videos for your viewing pleasure. The first is called "Frank Goes Flying". Things got a bit rambunctious on the tire swing. Please notice my teeny tiny niece and nephew down in the center of the tires. Also please notice my much bigger and stronger older niece and nephew on the corners of the swing. Please notice the violence with which Frank goes flying. Oh yes, people got hurt, we just didn't get those on tape…


And last, my personal favorite. We managed to convince my mom to try the zip line. Hee hee. Sorry, mom. You know I love you!

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Currently ignoring my PhD apps and trying not to feel guilty…

Today was supposed to be my day off anyway, but my original plans fell through. So I slept in extra late for me (10am – woot woot) and have been poking around, avoiding my application files, and feeling guilty ever since.

To be honest, I only feel guilty because I know how frustrated I will be later if I don't make good use of this week. I have plans all day Friday and Saturday, so they are out. That leaves today, tomorrow and Sunday to make some good progress. Once normal life kicks back in next Monday I know I will have a hard time dedicating much time or energy – physical or mental – to the process.

So, maybe some realistic goals will help…

Let's see…

Today I want to:
1) Compile the instructions for all the personal statements into one place;
2) See how much overlap there is and start a rough draft; and
3) Drum up 2-3 people to read and provide good criticism for my personal statement.

Hmmm… I think I can do that.
Go team!

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