Tuesday, July 19, 2011


The day after we were to arrive home from Key West, we planned to head out on a 3 day camping trip to Yogi Bear Campground.  Well, bad weather wreaked havoc on planes flying into Baltimore and a long story short, we got a bonus night of vacation in balmy Baltimore.  So that meant the day we flew home, we also were departing on a camping trip.  In hindsight, perhaps allowing 48 hrs. in between would have been wiser, but live and learn.  Borrowing my brother's awesome camper(w/potty and running water, and even air conditioning!) we braved the great outdoors.

Just what we all needed to re-bond together after our 5 day getaway.  The campground is great for kids.  Water park, boats, pedal carts, pool, miniature golf, all in a not-too-big but not-too-small campground.
Plus, we got to go with another awesome family.  Rylie and Adalyn just happened to be born on the same day and here they sit on the docks looking for fish.

The older 2 girls loved playing with their good friend Camryn.
And I loved playing with my very good friend, Kerrianne.

Cody(aka:  Doo-Doo  I'm not kidding, that's what Rylie started calling him one day and it stuck), now 16(!), was such a help with the little ones and such a cool guy to hang out with.  It made me want to rent my own teenager, though I have heard that if they belong to you, they are not always so helpful.
Daily we went on Heyrides(seriously loud person leading camp songs as they drive a large trailer full of overtired kids and underslept parents).
And to keep the whining to a minimum, we even rented a golf cart to ferry all our little tired legs to and from the water park back to our campsite.

It was a perfectly relaxed enjoyable weekend with some great friends.(Notice that all of the Bader's children seem to love getting close to Yogi.  Not so for the Kelly crew, who barely got within touching distance before turning tail and running.)  It was full of S'mores, and campfires, and no schedules, and easy conversation.
Sadly, a day after we returned from our camping adventure, Kerrianne's father, at age 64, had a major heart attack.  After a 4 day coma, he passed away.  I have known their family all my life and remember her Father with a big smile on his face and a booming voice.  It is so hard the way life can be so simply wonderful one minute and so devastating the next.  But I suppose without our lows, we would never be able to truly appreciate the highs.  My heart goes out to my dear friend and her family.  I feel like we are too young to lose any of our parents, but I suppose life does not hand out any guarantees.  I know they will all miss him terribly and that the days and months ahead will be so challenging.  But their family is full of strength and their attachment to each other is palpable.  I wish them peace as they go forward from here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Key West

Last week Wayne and I took off for a four day getaway to Key West, sans kids.  I hate leaving my kids and I swore to him as we left for the airport and Denver was crying that I wouldn't be doing this for at least another 6 years.  But once there, I could see how much a trip without our little darlings was needed.  Conversations uninterrupted.  Energy to focus on each other.  Activities not even remotely possible with wee ones along.  Like our marriage had been a long distance runner and had stopped on an enjoyable run, to take a drink of water.  

 Key West was lovely and had a few quirks that made it feel unique.  First, the island has a ton of free roaming chickens.  We started counting and got up to 54.  They do not, however, know how to tell time as proved by their excessive crowing.  While eating at a restaurant(outside of course, like so many tropical places, everything happened outside), it was not unusual to have a chicken pass under your table.  There is even a stiff penalty in Key West for harm caused to the little creatures.

Every night in Mallory Square there is a Sunset Festival.  Street performers, craft people, and tourists all gather to watch the Sunset and get a little entertainment as well.  Including this crazy dude known as the Catman.  Seriously had a few marbles loose but has trained his little herd of cats to perform.  

 We took a day trip out to the Dry Tortugas National Park.  Leaving very early in the morning on a high speed ferry we motored for 2 hours 70 miles West of Key West.  My stomach was not a fan of the boat ride but the trip was still a big highlight.  While there we went snorkeling off the island and saw some very cool fish.  The fort was very interesting to walk around and although there was heavy cloud cover and rain throughout much of the day, we still ended up a little sunburned.

 The pylons you see sticking out of the water were where we saw the coolest fish.  A couple hundred year old, they have started to turn into a reef of sorts.  I think the biggest fish we saw was about a 4 foot tarpon.
 This boat held 22 Cubans seeking asylum in the US.  If they can reach the Tortugas, they have made it. It was said that they even knew the Rangers name when they arrived.

 Our last morning we spent on this little scooter touring the island, which is really not that big.  Wayne is now convinced we should buy one.  We drove past Hemingway's house, but did not go in.  It was just too fun on the scooter.

Then home, sort of.  We ended up getting a bonus night in Baltimore due to weather and missing our connection by 20 minutes.  Maybe waiting 6 more years to do this again might be too long.  The girls missed us, Denver in particular had a hard time, and we missed them but it was magical to be away with the love of my life.