Friday, December 15, 2017

Last Mango in Paris

 Each morning, we enjoyed breakfast with the resident rooster and chickens at the hotel.  Turns out that they really like Cheerios!
 Six of our group set out for Stock Island.  Dad, Kevin, Todd, and I kayaked, while Mom and David hung out on the shore and waited patiently.
 We loved paddling through the mangroves.
 And we were only lost for a little while.
 Paddling (and being lost) made us hungry, so we went to Hogfish Bar and Grill for lunch, where I had possibly my favorite meal of the trip - an overstuffed Maine lobster roll.  Makes me hungry again just seeing the picture!

 We walked around the harbor, finding great ideas, like this tiki hut with a motor.  Wouldn't that be fun out on the lake?!
 I think I could live in this tiny house if it meant living in the Keys.
 Once we returned, it was about time for Krista and Kendall to arrive.  We played a little cornhole while we waited to head out again.  Mom and Todd won this round!
David and I insisted that the Key West experience wasn't complete without a stop by Captain Tony's.  It's a great dark cool bar that was in a Jimmy Buffett song - AND they have ski ball!
 We have heard that if you get a quarter in the fish's mouth, you get a free beer.  No one was successful, so we didn't get to test out that theory.
Back at Mallory Square, the sun set on another wonderful Key West day.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Havana Daydreaming

I've said I wouldn't do it again, but on our second full day in Key West, I found myself climbing the 88 steps to the top of the lighthouse.  I arrived at the top huffing, puffing, and sweating.  David has been to the top, but wisely stayed on the ground.  See him down there in blue?

 Once we'd enjoyed the views from the top, we returned to the ground to see the Banyon tree.  A museum volunteer told us that before the hurricane, you wouldn't be able to see through the canopy.  It's much less dense now, but still beautiful.

After the lighthouse, we hopped on our bikes and headed to B.O.'s Fish Wagon for lunch.  B.O.'s looks like it was assembled by a hurricane, and appears to be no worse for the wear.
After lunch we walked over to the Key West bight area to check out the Christmas trees and boats.

 By the time we rode back, we were ready for a lazy poolside afternoon, complete with frozen mojitos and cell phone viewing. ;)

 Once we were revived, we biked out to Fort Zach to see the sunset from a less populated place.
I think Todd is dreaming of sailboats.
 This didn't turn out to be the best picture, but I still love it!

The sun put on a great show as it set on another day of fun in Key West.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Have Wheels, Will Travel

After walking a lot the afternoon and evening before, we decided that we might like to rent bikes to get around, so off we went to a nearby bike rental place, where I demonstrated by incredible talent by falling backward into the giant chair in an attempt to sit in it.
 Mom wasn't too sure about this whole bicycle/tricycle thing, but she was a trooper and agreed to try it out.  Spoiler alert...she ended up liking it!
 Our first 2 and 3 wheeled destination was Fort Zachary Taylor State Park to visit our favorite beach.  The trees were definitely more bare than usual, but otherwise the hurricane damage was pretty minimal. 
 Some of us walked to the other side of the beach to check out a leaning sailboat - another indication of the hurricane in September.
 After some beach time, we checked out the fort, which is always interesting.  I suspect it's also haunted.

 It was sure windy on top of the fort!
 Sarah and David C. arrived that afternoon, so we took them to see sunset at Mallory Square, where we lost Dad to a vicious shark attack. ;)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Back to the Islands, Back to the Seas

I've flown about 20 times.  On average, those trips have required at least one layover.  And so far, I've returned from each trip.  That all adds up to about 80 take offs.  Yet still, looking down through the puffy bits of cloud, it all still seems not like physics and engineering, but more like magic.
 In 2007, David and I chose Key West as our honeymoon destination.  We were hooked.  When we returned for our 5th anniversary, we talked about how much fun it would be to come back with friends and family to celebrate our 10th.  Then we blinked, and it was 2017.
 David and I, Mom and Dad, David's sister Sarah and her husband David, and four good friends who are more like family - Todd, Kevin, Krista, and Kendall all met up to spend some time in the lower latitudes.
 From our hotel pool, we had a view of the Key West Lighthouse.
 Our first stop after dropping off our luggage was to Caroline's, which is a favorite spot of David's and mine.  I didn't have to think twice about ordering the Macon and Bacon salad.  Todd made tentative friends with the pigeons, thanks to Dad's accidental feeding of them.

 From there we made our way to Mallory Square for sunset - a must at least once while you're there.
 We checked out Duval and walked from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean.  Turns out that night is a pretty good time for a photo with the recently restored Southern Most Point.  Not much of a line!
Having already accomplished a couple of Key West must-sees, we were ready to set out the next day!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Sneak Peak

Our lives will soon be filled with fur and puppy kisses.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

 The Snoopy tree is up with a new Riley ornament.  The Woodstock on the top just makes me laugh.
 This tree remains one of my favorite Christmas decorations, and I liked how the sun was coming in this window.

 And a new-to-me addition this year - this ceramic tree was a gift to my Mom from her Dad and step-mother.  Seeing them in magazine and catalogs this year made me think I might have a perfect spot for it. 
I really like it next to this choir boys who belonged to David's mother.

The house is fully decked out in lights and decorations - most posts to of these days.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Mulberry Mountain Camping

 In October we spent a weekend camping at the Ozark Mountain Rendezvous at Mulberry Mountain. 

 We headed down just after work on Thursday, with the intent (get it, inTENT) of camping 3 nights, which would be a first for us. 
 Unfortunately the weather forecast sent us home Saturday evening, but we still had a great weekend camping and driving the trails.

 When I tried to take this picture, my phone battery was at about 50%.  When I took it, my phone went black and I could not get it to turn back on for a bit.  When I did get it turned back on, the battery was less than 10%.  I plugged it in the Jeep to charge, and as we drove away from the old cemetery, the battery jumped back to 40%.  Kinda spooky!