Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Our first full day in Florida, we spent time at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.This is the home of Winter, the dolphin with a prosthetic tale.
The houseboat from the movie "Dolphin Tale"

If you know Isaac, you know he absolutely adores dolphins. He was the first to recognize the houseboat when we got to the aquarium.
We got there right at opening and it was getting crowded already! We wandered around, looking at all the animals, including leatherback turtles, river otters, the pelicans that played Rufus in the movies.

Then we found Winter and Hope's pools. They don't share a pool, but do stay next to each other. Hope came to the aquarium after being found stranded, I believe. Winter had left her other pool mate, Panama due to respiratory disease. Her son, Nicholas, is still at the aquarium. We were able to watch Nicholas show off his skills in the rooftop pool (pictures below). Isaac insisted on sitting in the front row so he and Mark got soaked! I wasn't able to get any good shots of him, though.

Winter! It was hard to get good photos as they have the bars, and you are about 2 feet back from the bars.

This was amazing for Isaac. He is so excited to see "Dolphin Tale 2" when it opens this week. It was awesome to see how in awe he was to finally see Winter and then Hope as we explored the aquarium.

The aquarium was the former water treatment plant before it was turned into the aquarium.

After the aquaruium, we headed to my aunt and uncle's. Then we headed to their son's home for a bbq. We had burgers, Iowa sweet corn that we brought down and ice cream with my grandma's homemade fudge sauce. It was great to see my cousin's again. Isaac was able to see their horses as well and he seemed to enjoy it! He also loved on their dog, Pepper!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Florida Vacation 2014...Day 1/2

We had saved up for this trip for over 3 years! When the 3 of us sat down to plan our vacation this past December, the plan was to do Disney in Florida with a little visit to my family.
Isaac threw a wrench in those plans when he told us he didn't want to go to Disney after all! He wanted to do a cruise!
Mark got busy researching cruises while I talked to Isaac about what else he wanted to do while in Florida. The only other big ticket item on his list was to go to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of "Winter", the dolphin with a prosthetic tale.

After some initial research, Mark found a cruise we thought we would enjoy. Now, I don't even remember what it was or even where it went! Then we discovered Disney Cruise Line. Disney AND a cruise?! Isaac was excited. So, we put a deposit down on a 3 night/4 day cruise out of Port Canaveral traveling to Nassau, Bahama's and Disney's private island, Castaway Cay.
We were 8 months out from our vacation but still excited!

Fast forward through the year. We had school to finish and almost all of the summer! In the meantime, we saved, I sold things to make extra money and put away whatever we could. We ended up deciding on a 10 day trip that included 2 1/2 days for travel. Through our credit card, we were able to book all our hotels in Florida with no money out of pocket. What a money saver! (Yes, I know we actually did "pay" for them at one time!)

August 8 finally came! We planned to be on the road that morning by 0600. By 0608 we were pulling out of the driveway! The drive was uneventful, with the usual stops for bathroom and gas.
We had lunch somewhere in MO at a McDonald's (the only one on the entire trip!)
I saw the St. Louis arch from a distance. Never seen that before!

The father south we got, the hotter it got. We ran into rain.
Somewhere in Georgia/Kentucky/Tennessee we were driving in the mountains. I was driving. It was raining, foggy and dark. I nearly had an anxiety attack driving! It was very nerve racking for me, as I've never done a drive like that. I chewed an entire pack of gum over that hour.
Eventually, we got through the mountains (beautiful scenery though!) and then realized that the air conditioning fan was not blowing. It was hard to get the windows to stay clear and it was getting warm in the car.

Our plan was to try to get to or through Atlanta that night. Sadly, we made an executive decision to stop for the night around 10 pm because we were hot and couldn't clear the windows. We spent the night in a Super 8 in Calhoun, Georgia. It was a short night it seemed! We slept, ate breakfast and got back on the road. That's when my cell phone decided to die also!

Atlanta has 7 lanes of traffic running through it. I am glad Mark was driving because it made me neverous just being a passenger! We drove across the Florida state line sometime after lunch time.  Called my aunt and uncle to inform them we would be to their place around 530 to drop of the Iowa sweet corn we drug along for them!

We made that time and pulled into my Aunt Sharon's driveway at 530! Hadn't seen her for a couple years and hadn't seen my uncle since Isaac and I were down there when he was a baby. We stayed for about an hour then headed out to Clearwater/Indian Rocks Beach where our hotel was.

I could have stayed here all night!

"toes in the water"

The hotel was beautiful! 2 blocks from the beach! Had it's own marina! It reminded me of the resort from "Dirty Dancing". Walked down to the beach and it was beatutiful! I could have stayed all night! We had some dinner in the hotel restaurant and then got Isaac in the pool for a while. We slept well that night!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014



Just checking! The last few times I tried to post I got errors and it wouldn't let me! Hopefully I can get back to regularly blogging again!

Sunday, November 10, 2013


10th day of November already! These last few months are flying by quickly!

*I ended October with no trips to Wal-Mart, just the .99 Kindle book and no music downloads. No shoes or clothes purchased for me. I did, however, have to buy a pair of pants for Isaac to wear to his great-grandfather's funeral.

This month:
*Bring meals/food from home to work so I don't spend money in the cafeteria (I did spend $1 on Friday for a soda, though. I usually buy 1 12-pack of pop and leave in my car to take a can to work. I was out. I think I will keep it that way!)
*Drink water at restaurants. Not only is it cheaper, it is way healthier for me! (DUH! This will be a hard one to do, but I am determined!)
*I traded in some books/DVD's on Amazon for a gift card. I then purchased the songs from last month that I wanted! Even had some left over to purchase a case of soup from Amazon. Turned out to be .37/can so that is cheap lunch or supper!
*I learned how to check out library books for my Kindle! It seems as if the Kindle version will be quicker when reserved, rather than waiting 2 plus months to get the hard copy from the library!
*Renewed our zoo membership before prices went up $10.
*Staying home more to prevent mindless, unnecessary trips to Target! (Want to continue to stay out of Wal-Mart as much as I can. I do have a $50 gift card from last Christmas though).
*Find more things to take to consignment (over $40 in my account right now!) and also things to sell on the FB swap sites.  I split this money between our Disney Fund (hopefully, next summer!) and my school loans. I want to get them paid off ASAP!

***It has almost been an entire year and I have not had any Mountain Dew!! YAY!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Mid October!

Where has the year gone? It seems as if it just started and we are nearly at the end!

*This month, I imposed a personal "no spending on books, music or clothes/shoes". I have enough of all and it's a good way to save some money. I did buy a jacket off a local swap for $10 for photos, but then turned around and sold it for the same. I did buy one .99 cent Kindle book, but otherwise, I am pursuing the free list on Amazon and checking out "real" books from the library.

*I have lost count of how many books I have read this year. I know it has been many.  I have about 4 started in various states of completion right now!

*I have not had any Mountain Dew since giving it up mid-December 2012! I have almost succumbed to a craving a time or two, but didn't give in. Go me! (Wish I could do the same to chocolate...)

*Work is going well. Now that school has started, I have an average of 3 patients each time I work. We have filled our adolescent unit a few times (7 patients), which keeps us busy!

*Have started Christmas shopping!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

TKD Tournament

Isaac had a TaeKwonDo tournament on Saturday, October 12 in Sioux Falls, SD.
We left Friday afternoon to allow him time to swim at the hotel. They had a nice indoor facility and there were lots of kids around to play with!

Getting ready to head over

Getting instructions

Getting his medal, certificate and "You showed great confidence".

All Tiny Tigers in his belt group

Proud of his medal!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sister's Trip.....Las Vegas.....September, 2013

My sister turned 30 in September this year. So, we went to Vegas for a weekend to celebrate! We left Friday afternoon and returned Monday evening. It was quick, but FUN!

Fantastic show!

A little surprise at the Coke Store

Free meals for military folks at Toby Keith's I (Heart) This Bar and Grill. Fun!

Breakfast before At Hash House

Finished at Hash House

Smores Latte at Hash House

Yeah, that's the Big Shot.

My big win
We ate. We shopped. We walked. We gambled. Oh yeah...the BEST PART? Riding the "Big Shot" on top of the Stratosphere Tower!! WHAT A RUSH!!!