There are certain people in this world that you meet and become instant and eternal friends with and this is one of them. This is Brandee. She and Alisha Johnson were two of my very dearest friends in Germany. Brandee has been in Florida visiting her mom for a couple of weeks. I was able to drive down with my two kids to stay with them for one of those weeks. We had such a great time. It would have been even better without the kids, but you gotta do what you gotta do right? :) It was fun to see her kids again. I taught her three oldest kids piano lessons when I was in Germany so I got to know them quite well.
This is Josh, her oldest. I love this picture because he is almost 12 years old and so he never wants to smile for anything or anyone. Well, if you look at him, he's trying so hard not to smile and he just can't help cracking a little one for me. He's such a great kid. He's a lot of help to his mom and I genuinely love this boy.
Brandee's mom lives in a retirement community outside of Tampa. She's got a crazy neighbor who feeds all the birds and pretty much any other kind of animal that wonders about (including this really huge raccoon). This is in Brandee's mom's backyard. She has a pond with alligators and lots of turtles. It was pretty cool. I felt like I was living in a wild jungle.
One day we went on an airboat ride. I would like to say it was awesome, but it just wasn't. It was 105 degrees and you could cut the humidity with a knife. My kids were really miserable and I was very cranky. By the end of the boat ride, I was tempted to throw them both in with the alligators!
These two pictures of the alligator were in the pond in Melissa's (Brandee's mom's name) back yard. Pretty cool huh? I felt like he was staring at me. Kind of creapy.
One of the days we were there, we went to Anna Maria island to the beach on the golf coast. It was absolutely beautiful. The water was terquoise (spelling?). The sand was very white and soft. The water was so clear you could see everything on the bottom and the waves were great for body serfing. We had so much fun.
On the last day we were there, we went to a cool science museum. There were lots of fun things for the kids to do. They had a wheel chair with a ramp and a gate. You had to sit in the chair and try and wheel yourself up the ramp and thru the gate. It was really hard and it puts things into perspective how hard people in wheelchairs really have it. Eva however, thought it was pretty fun.
They had a bed of nails for you to lay on. When you lay flat, you have to press this button and the actual nails come up and you are lifted up entirely by the nails. It was pretty cool. I even did it. Eva wanted to try. Am I a bad mother for letting my child lay on a bed of nails? She didn't have a problem with it.
The dinosour got hungry and ate Gabe.
This was my favorite part. Caleb, Brandee's third child, did the velcro wall. He was totally stuck and couldn't get down himself so the guy had to come and pull him off. We were all laughing so hard we had tears running down our faces. I wanted to try but I was too big. Not fair!
This is a wind tunnel. When you close the door on it, there are a few fans that start blowing and go all the way to 80 mph. It's supposed to simulate a hurricane. It was pretty embarrasing for me. As you see, the doors are see-thru. There were a ton of people waiting their turn to go in so everyone just stands around and watches everyone else in the tunnel. Well, I didn't notice that my shirt had blown completely down. The top of my shirt had gone way below my chest. I was horrified. Brandee started cracking up and told me to look. I then had to hold my shirt from the bottom and the top so it wouldn't blow up or down. We were both laughing. When I got out, some lady said, "don't worry, I'm sure no one noticed". She said this as she was laughing. Pretty embarrassing, but too funny.