Monday, June 30, 2008


(Although the blog is showing I posted this Monday night, I didn't actually finish it and post until this morning - Tuesday. Blogger is weird that way.)

It's hard to believe yesterday was only Day Three of our vacation. It seems we've already done a lot, and we still have several days left. We headed out in the morning for Daytona Beach, and little did I know we were going to drive right by the Daytona Speedway where, of course, the Daytona 500 takes place. The racetrack is so close to the street we were driving down, that we really got a sense for how ENORMOUS it is! I've seen professional stadiums and arenas but nothing comparable to the size of this place. This picture won't do it justice (and I'll forewarn you that my camera lens was dirty ALL day yesterday):

A few miles down from the speedway, we arrived at the beach and showed Bailey and Taylor a picture of what we were about to do - parasailing! It's been fun to not tell them what we're doing until we get somewhere, but this was the one activity that I was a little worried about how they might react. It was really awesome though, and they loved it! As soon as you take flight and start ascending, you notice how quiet everything gets. Alan and I saw a dolphin swimming beneath us during our flight. I'll admit I was a little scared and holding on pretty tight for the first few minutes because I'm a little afraid of heights, but I'm so glad we did this!

Daytona Beach was very clean and free from seaweed and visible jellyfish (Bailey and I think we felt a couple stings though). But really, it was just a perfect day at the beach.

After we got back to Orlando, we got cleaned up and went to a dinner theater called "Capones." It was a pretty cute show and just something different to do. However, when we arrived back at our condo, we discovered we were still having a/c problems (and have been since we got here Friday night). So around 10:30 p.m., we started packing up and moving to a new unit. That's been the one glitch in our stay.

This morning everyone will have a chance to sleep in a bit before we go bike riding, followed by some afternoon shopping at the Mall of the Millenia. The girls have been really good sports about everything so far, so I hope the bike riding doesn't get bad reviews. Disney World and parasailing are hard acts to follow!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Weekend pics

Yesterday on the airboat:

We only saw one alligator surface briefly, but it was still pretty cool to be cruising along in 3 feet of water knowing that there are swarms of them around you. The coolest part of the airboat ride, however, was when we rode down this creek of Cypress trees. This is what I picture when I think of the Everglades:

I can't say enough about Disney World. There's something about that place that makes you feel like a kid again.
And who didn't grow up with a few Disney characters they loved? Though at first I wasn't interested in going to the parade, I'm so glad we got "stuck" watching it anyway. I think Taylor summed it up perfectly when she said, "this is my entire childhood" (passing by us):

Addison, this picture of Mary Poppins is for you!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

It's alright here, I suppose.

Just kidding - we are loving Orlando and have been here less than 12 hours (we arrived around midnight, but thanks to the efficiency of Avis, we got to the hotel around 2:00 a.m.). Here's a picture of the property, which doesn't do justice to the amount of greenery surrounding it.

All the buildings are different colors and the individual units are HUGE - complete with two bedrooms, full-size kitchen, living room, two bathrooms, big walk-in closets, and three t.v.s. And on the way to your car, you get to pass things like this:

I can't remember if I've ever seen a Bird of Paradise in person. Cool!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Goodbye, Texas!

Hello, Florida!

No time for subtleties

Yesterday I went to the doctor for my annual visit. Yeah, you know the appointment I'm talking about. And throughout the entire visit I was reminded of my age.

"Let's that YOU'RE FORTY, we do this additional exam."

"Well, since YOU'RE FORTY, you'll need to keep an eye on this."

"When women reach FORTY, LIKE YOU, they also have to have this done."

Basically what I learned is there'll be much more poking, prodding, and pinching now that I'M FORTY.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Remember this episode of Friends? They all go to Barbados and Monica gets "humid hair." It's one of my favorite episodes and the first time I'd ever seen a show or movie acknowledge humid hair. I can totally relate! Junior high was a difficult two years anyway, but walking to school and/or waiting outside for the bus was enough exposure to the moisture to give me a sizable helmet head every morning, which didn't do wonders for the self esteem. So this episode had me rolling, especially when Monica remedies the situation by getting corn rows and beads ("it's a treat for the eyes AND the ears!") I'm not one of lucky ones whose hair falls silky and smooth on humid days, so I'm preparing myself for some pretty bad hair days in Florida. I'm packing an arsenal of ponytail holders, headbands, and bobby pins and am assuming I'll be having too much fun to care!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Although I'm eating a little healthier, I am in no way a health food nut. I like flavor, which usually means adding some butter, salt, and yeah, the occasional pat of bacon grease. And I'll admit it, I tend to make fun of people who are health food nuts. You're not like me, i.e., you're kinda weird.

However, I decided to try the new Egg Beaters with yolk and was pulled a little further over to the dark side where those people who do good things for their bodies live. If someone had scrambled up and served these "eggs" to me with a little salt and pepper - I would have never known they weren't the real thing. And when you compare the nutrition numbers, it's so worth it.

Monday, June 23, 2008

If only I had a label maker

I feel like a kid before Christmas waiting for our vacation to get here. Alan and I spent yesterday morning planning more things to do (even though I vowed not to overplan), and now I'm thinking eight days is not enough! Sometimes Alan makes fun of me for being like Monika from "Friends"....I don't know what he's talking about. Doesn't everyone put together a folder containing printouts of all the travel and trip information, neatly hole-punched and organized with dividers and tabs? Life is just better when you're prepared. I would have made an excellent boyscout.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Salmonella be damned!

I don't care. I went as long as I could without tomatoes. It was slim pickins' at the grocery store, but I managed to come up with enough tomatoes to make a batch of salsa. (We only go so long in this household without salsa.) So I made a batch Wednesday night, and the next day I had a dentist appointment. That meant I couldn't have chips and salsa for breakfast Thursday morning because come on, you can't have onion breath when you go to the dentist.

So far, I seem to be feeling fine. I am not, in any way however, encouraging the rest of the world to take such chances with their health. I just have needs and had to satisfy my salsa addiction.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Man, he's purty. And check out those whiskers! I wonder if they get on his nerves. I bet in the cat world his whiskers are likened to the eyebrows of Andy Rooney. Little over the top.

There's a lot of concentration going into watching those birds, because let me tell you - he does NOT like that camera pointing at him. I wasn't able to snap many shots before I got "the look." By the way, I've been doing a little research on his poor behavior and found that a possible "cat whisperer" show is in the works (although it won't legally get to be called that). I already know I'll be a regular viewer.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Three shows made me teary today:

Evan Almighty
The Dog Whisperer
Jon and Kate plus 8

No idea what's going on with the waterworks, but I think it's clear I had a couch potato day. I feel it was well-deserved since I first mowed and weedeated the front and back lawns with our wonderful Sears mower whose self-propel mechanism went out. And then there's our weedeater. Oh, the expletives the neighbors must hear when I'm weedeating! Probably got it from Sears, too.

Maybe I'll make tomorrow a reading day. Actually that still means spending an excessive amount of time on the couch, but in a few short months I won't remember what a lazy day felt like.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Breakfast with Daddy

Something I'll always remember about growing up with my dad is how he started every day in a good mood - whistling, singing, ready to start the day. And forget IHOP or Denny's! Daddy's breakfasts were the best: eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, tomato slices, and avocado wedges. Maybe I should credit (or blame!) my love for food on my dad. Every meal was important and was a highlight of the day. Dinner was at the table, if you can believe that, and not in front of a TV. What seemed insignificant at the time are memories I'll always treasure.

Hope you're having a big breakfast this morning, Daddy. Love you, and Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Five Exclamation Point Post

I got an email confirmation that our Disney World tickets have been shipped! That's pretty darn exciting, for people who spend most of their vacation time going to visit family. And while that's always memorable and fun and we LOVE it, there are just times you want to do something a little different. Last night I was watching the episode of "Jon and Kate Plus 8" where they went to Disney, so I told Bailey we MUST get Mickey ears!

We leave in a couple weeks for Florida, but this isn't really a Disney World trip, it's a Florida trip. We're going to do Florida things. We're also not telling Bailey and her best friend Taylor what all we're going to do. They know the big things - Disney World one day, Universal Studios another, and a couple days at two different beaches (Alan had the idea of visiting both the Atlantic side and the Gulf side).

What they don't know is that we'll take an airboat ride through the Everglades. This only lasts about an hour, but I'm really excited about it! And they don't know about visiting Gatorland where you get up close and personal with the alligators. I've read that you can even sit on one of them! I looked into going to Discovery Cove, where you spend several hours swimming and interacting with dolphins. Um, no. We're the Schaeffers, not the Trumps. And that's why I'm okay with boasting about this trip. We don't spend a lot of money. We live modestly and drive old cars, and honey, it's TIME!

So who knows what else what else we'll do there. I'm a planner. I like to know things in A,B,C order. So I'm getting out of my comfort zone and allowing for some spontaneity and some simple leisure time. I gotta say though...I did see Alan's eyes light up when I suggested parasailing. Hmmm.


I think I now know why they call it a passion vine. Man, does this vine have some passion! It wants to touch, fondle, and basically get initimate with anything (and anyone, I might add) in the near vicinity. It's cute but sort of annoying at the same time. Kind of like Pepe Le Pew.

And although it loves to bathe in the sun, it's decided to take a new route this year and get lovey-dovey with the light string inside the porch.

Get a room, already.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Well said

Warning: This post requests that you participate. Come on, you anonymous readers out there!

Yesterday Alan made reference to the lyrics of a country song by Diamond Rio called "Beautiful Mess." So it got me thinking of other song lyrics, and I bet most of us have a particular song that we declare as having THE BEST lyrics ever. For me, that song is Shenandoah's "Ghost in This House." I can't remember when it was released, probably around the early 90s, but it's such a clever yet sad way to describe a relationship that has deteriorated. Another one along those same lines is "Sail On" by Lionel Richie. (Yes, I am showing my age!) I also like "Difficult Kind" by Sheryl Crow, especially:

"There ain't nothing like regret to remind you you're alive."

Awesome! Anyway, the lyrics don't have to be serious to be great (I'm thinking of a line from "In Da Club"), so what's your favorite?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Deprivation is not for me.

In my quest for eating healthier, which for me has meant eating a LOT of fruits and vegetables, I've also been trying some low calorie foods. I don't typically enjoy "light" or "fat free" varieties of anything, but here are some substitutes (mostly snacks) I've tried lately that are so close to the original fattier versions that I might as well go the lighter route:

Lay's Light chips
Ruffles Light chips
Baked Flamin' Hot Cheetos
Aunt Jemima Whole Wheat Pancake Mix (and use egg whites instead of the whole egg)
Triscuits Reduced Fat

The one I was most surprised by was the Cheetos. I love Cheetos and was pretty sure the baked version wouldn't stand up to the original, but they're pretty good! What I'm waiting for however, is Baked Fritos. Come on, Frito Lay!

By no means am I eating as healthy as I should. I like food and I like food that is bad for me - mexican food and pasta are my favorites. But I am eating better, drinking more water (bleck!) and getting some exercise. Will I see a difference when I put on my swimsuit? No. I'm no longer delusional. But surely my body is getting something out of adding the good things and cutting back on the bad.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Maturity smurity - who needs it

A few months ago I had to go back out into the working world and be an adult. Now it's time to be a kid again! Or more specifically, a teenager. This morning I am parked in front of the computer catching up on all the episodes I missed of "The Hills" and "Rob and Big." I don't think there's any other show that can put me in a good mood like "Rob and Big." And "The Hills" - well let's just say that looking at all those young hotties gave me the incentive to get off my butt and go for a jog. Heck, I might even catch up on "Life of Ryan." Dude.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Over spring break I planted three potato vine plants. I planted one in a flower bed about the same size as this potted one, and blogged that I expected an "explosion" of growth in a few weeks.

HOLY POTATOES! They did not disappoint. This is part of my problem as an inexperienced gardener. I don't anticipate how much the plant will actually grow. I always assume that it won't grow as large as the label says, because I live in a partial desert climate. We'll potentially have had at least ten days with temps between 100-108 by next week. (You know it's hot when you walk outside and your body is so shocked by the heat that you get A CHILL. Weird.)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Vacation begins!

Last Friday was the last day of school, and most of our week was spent doing fun things with the kids: Field Day, Water Day, Movies, Talent Show, Awards Ceremonies, you name it. But the best thing we did was take them skating. This is an annual event at my school, but my first time. I hope they never do away with Skating Day. It was the most fun I've had with these kids! This is one of my fellow third grade teachers helping some novice skaters. She is awesome and let me bug her constantly with questions during this first year of teaching.

Below are four of my students, and I didn't realize it at the time I snapped the photo, but these are four of my lowest students as well. They're also my students who have "special" problems - difficult home lives, academic struggles, etc. Therefore, I've spent a lot of time with these four kiddos and have gotten to know them pretty well. I'm sure I'm a little bias, but aren't they cute?!

It was a challenging semester and way too stressful some days (weeks), but I'm already pumped about next year.

Pretty and Not Pretty

Bailey left for church camp yesterday morning and arrived at Lake of the Ozarks, MO around 1:30 a.m. this morning. She's sharing a room with six other teenage girls, including two of her best friends. I'll consider the week a success if those three can stay out of trouble. Here's where she's at:

Here's what she left:

She may never come back.