Saturday, April 30, 2011

Florida Oranges

This is George. George let us sample some of the in season oranges before we started picking.

Picking Florida Oranges-4

Nathan loves oranges. You can kinda see him licking his lips waiting for the samples. We tried Valencia oranges, tangerines, and grapefruits.

Picking Florida Oranges

Even the greenish oranges taste sweet but you gotta twist, twist, twist them off the tree.

Picking Florida Oranges-5

Or you can just sit in the shade and look pretty.

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If you need to get oranges way up high in the tree, you need someone taller. Daddy will do.

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Lugging the fruits of his hard labor.

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...and tasting the fresh squeezed juice from a ripe Florida Orange.

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And to top off a fabulous trip to the orange, tangerine, grapefruit, cattle orchard...some homemade Working Cow ice cream.

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What's mine is Nathan's.

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What's daddy's is also Nathan's.

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Magic Kingdom

Figured a slideshow of our day in Disney yesterday would be easier than inserting the code for each image.  We had a blast!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Just some photos | Our first day in Florida

Backyard baby pool.
Florida Day 1 - 04

Florida Day 1 - 02

Florida Day 1 - 03

Florida Day 1 - 01

Fun in Uncle Will's house.

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Candy airplane fan, that has more to do with candy than anything to do with cooling.

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Really cool wooden park only 10 minutes away from my brother in law's house.

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Florida Day 1 - 10

Extremely hot, sweaty boy.

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A giggly girl who apparently knows how to make the swing move all by herself by rocking back and forth.

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Daddy can push her in the swing, but she can still spot her mama a mile away.

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Florida Day 1 - 15

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First experience with sand between her toes.  Almost too hot to care.

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...but intrigued by the feeling of the sand.  She didn't even try to eat it, she just kept picking up the sand from in between her legs and putting it behind her over and over.

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Grilling with Uncle Will.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Airplaning to Disney World

I am so glad my mother in law helped us find a great deal on both flights to Florida and a rental car.  It ended up being way less aggravating and way less money than traveling over 20 hours by car with two children and an over packed car.

It was Nathan's first airplane experience.  Well, it was Teagan's first experience as well but she won't remember it.  I am wondering if Nathan will remember, I hope so.  It was so special seeing him so excited.


We had no problems taking Nathan's vest and suitcase full of medications and nebulizer on board the airplane.  And thanks to the cooling pouch I didn't even have to worry about keeping his Pulmozyme cold.

We arrived at the airport nice and early just in case we were to encounter any problems going through TSA security and so Nathan could watch the airplanes take off and land.

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He just hung out near the large window and shared cookies with his sister. It made my heart melt.

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I was so proud of how he was treating Teagan. Even when she tried to grab the entire container of cookies he just snatched them away and told her she had enough.

I love how he makes her laugh.

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Nathan has always been very good at sharing food, even Grover was lucky enough to get some cookies.

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Look, I exist!

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Teagan was good on the plane. I nursed her during take off and landing so her ears wouldn't bother her. And the only way Nathan would keep his seat belt on is if Grover had his on too. When the plane took off, Nathan said "Good bye everybody, Good bye Big Bird, see you soon, Donald, Mickey!"

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Airplane soda and snacks.

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Daddy's luggage.

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...and my luggage on the right. And to think that this all fit into a small rental car.

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The rental car was a bit of a disaster since the shuttle brought me and Teagan to get the rental car but I left my license with Jay. So the shuttle had to go back and pick up Jay, Nathan, the rest of our cargo, and my driver's license. What a pain, but we are here! And now we are going outside to swim and go grocery shopping.



Monday, April 25, 2011

A Colorful Easter

I don't know what I was thinking when I let Nathan get a red mohawk the day before Easter, especially with our current shower/bath situation.

Actually, I do know what I was thinking.  I know Nathan loves his friend, Ayden, who always has spiky hair.  I often use the term "Ayden hair" to distract him and let me wash his hair in the bathtub.  All I do is spike it all to the center.  He really gets a kick out of this.

Hair cuts are equally torturous events.  But luckily he was give the option to pick a colored hair gel if he got his hair cut.  He chose red and he woke up Easter morning with a red mohawk.  Therefore, the Easter photograph of our children looks very colorful, to say the least.

nathan and teagan on easter

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A few thoughts

Cold tap water is much much colder when there is no hot water at all, I mean ice cold, frozen fingers after washing the dishes cold.

An automatic dishwasher, ours at least, requires hot water to function.  Why... hello, arthritic fingers.

Teagan's hair is getting really long.  I must remember to put a clip in her hair to keep her bangs out of her eyes, and sweet potato out of her hair.
teagan almost 8 months

I found a great way to wash faces and hands after meal time {and me in general, these days}.  In the battle of the boiling water vs. the cold bath water, the cold won so I have to get even more creative.  Even though I had a close friend very generously and persistently offer me her shower and bath supplies, I am just not in the mood to leave the house {I kinda wanted to say "take care of myself" but that's just not right}.  So what works is microwaving a wet wash cloth.  30 seconds equals steamy hot, spa like warm cloths that make me {and Teagan and Nathan} super happy.

Now, even though our water heater is still under full warranty, the company policy is to reimburse the clients weeks after the purchase of a brand new water heater.  Why are we not replacing it like yesterday?  Well, you see, some other very close and caring friends invited us on vacation with them next week and all we need to do is to get our butts down to Florida and enjoy the sun, warm air, and friendship.  If we splurge on an $1,100 water heater now, then we won't be able to get to Florida at all.

Once you add up the cost of new tires, 2,600 miles worth of gas for our car, 2 nights in a hotel for the trip down and back...a good deal on an airplane flight becomes very attractive.  That is, of course, if the payment processes.

If it weren't for that fact that canceling the trip would not only disappoint Nathan but our close friends who invited us on vacation with them, we would totally be staying in New Jersey trying to figure things out.

So while I spend most of my time worrying, planning, emailing clients and potential clients, editing photos, trying to keep our family afloat, I get this look from Nathan.


...and he tells me, "Mama {or princess}, close the computer, put the phone down, turn off the camera, etc..."

Dammit, why does life have to be so hard.  It's at the end of the day, when the kids are in bed that I see a photograph of them and realize how much I am missing just trying to provide for them.  It makes my eyes well up that the most quality time I spend with Nathan is when I am holding his nebulizer cup or sitting next to him during his treatments.  ...and Teagan, well she is practically ready to stand on her own without holding onto anything.

If only we could sell our house.  Maybe it's time I start researching what a short sale entails.

So, here's to the hoping the payment processes for our flight to Florida, our one last hoorah, and to coming home and trying to work things out.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Boiling water for baths

I'm not going to complain.  I've been doing enough of that lately.  The hot water is gone, for good, for now.  Until we can afford a new one that's the way it is going to be.  I will be bathing the kids at my in laws house tonight, but my scalp is itching, my hair desperately needs to be washed so ... I am boiling water to take a small, non frigidly cold ice bath. I am so happy that we still have natural gas!

boiling water for baths

And as to not waste 5 large pots of boiling water for the sole purpose of warming up the bath water I decided to sterilize some of Nathan's nebulizer cups and boil a dozen eggs.  Good thinking if I may say so myself, like killing two birds with one stone.

Now, off to wash my hair and eat some more chocolate to forget about stuff.  (Another reason why I will never lose weight).

Monday, April 18, 2011

Where in the world

is Gappa Luigi?


My dad is on his flight home from Spain, well actually from France.  We've been telling Nathan for 3 weeks that grandpa will be coming home soon.  Today I told him that Luigi (his real name is Frank, Nathan is just completely obsessed with Mario -- I'm referred to publicly as Princess, Daddy is still Bowser, and Teagan is now the yellow mushroom, whatever that means) is on his airplane and will be home today.  I even downloaded the FlightStats flight tracker android app for my phone so I can show him exactly where Gappa Luigi is in the air.  Look at his cute little finger following grandpa's airplane!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I'm looking forward to...

I'm looking forward to my dad returning from Spain tomorrow. He has been visiting his family for over 3 weeks and Nathan doesn't understand why he hasn't been around.

I'm also looking forward to photographing a few week old preemie on Wednesday. I tend to schedule newborn portraits during the first 10 days after delivery primarily because they are still very sleepy and easy to work with. There is no doubt in my mind that this little boy will be tiny but as far as alertness we will soon find out.

I'm so looking forward to Florida, Disney World, and Fort Lauderdale next week. Packing everything we are going to need for over 2 weeks into a small sedan...not so much. Nathan's medical stuff will occupy most of the trunk. If we are lacking space we may forgo his Vest and opt for manual CPT instead. I purchased 2 boxes of the XL Ziploc Big Bags so hopefully I can remove some of the air to make more room.

I'm looking forward to a fully functional hot water heater. I have no plans to fix it before vacation because our small car desperately needs new tires before we drive across, or down the coast of, the country.

It will all be worth it when I see the look on Nathan's face when he meets Donald Duck, his favorite, in person.

And to top off a list of things I'm looking forward to...the month of May filled with photo sessions including my first newborn girl and several outdoor on location sessions.

Life is tough but it is good.

Friday, April 15, 2011

We've been managing

For almost a week we've been managing to keep our hot water heater heating our water so we went ahead and made our mortgage payment just in the nick of time. Couldn't have cut it any closer actually.

The hot water heater does require daily maintenance these days and we have to carefully plan how we use the tank of hot water. Jay fixes it on a daily basis by drying up the water which is allowing the flame to ignite.

I usually wake up and take a quick shower while Jay makes sure Teagan doesn't crawl off our bed then Jay takes his 30 minute shower.  He doesn't time his showers but they are almost always exactly 30 minutes long.  Unless I fell asleep on the floor of the shower, I wouldn't know what to do with myself for a half hour.  Anyway, we either do that or if Teagan is making too much noise I bring her into a half filled bathtub with me, to avoid her waking Nathan and my dad's black lab that we are still watching.  Jay then gets to shower at the same time as I am occupying Teagan.

But today Jay waited too long to hop in the shower and ended up with cold water.  After I filled our large bath tub half way, I turned off the water.  I am pretty sure the tank then replaced that hot water with cold water which would normally get heated if the flame could ignite.  But since running the hot water causes the tank to leak, the flame doesn't ignite, and Jay gets a freezing cold shower.  Lesson learned.

Who would have figured showering could be so complicated.  We are driving down to Florida in a little over a week to visit family and friends so I am sure we can make our current system work until we get home.  I am just praying that the tank doesn't spring a huge leak because 50 gallons of water would really make a mess.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

No hot water

We first started having problems with our water heater two months ago. The plate underneath the tank was corroded so when Jay scraped that off the flame ignited and we got a temporary fix.

Now the tank is leaking from both the top and the bottom and keeps dripping and putting the flame out or covers the plate and prevent the flame from igniting in the first place. Jay has been drying the plate every day so that we can continue to shower and wash dishes however it is only a matter of time before we have 50 gallons of water all over our basement floor where we keep much of our belongings including most of our computer components, and server.

The tank is still under warranty however whenever Jay calls the company he gets the runaround. A.O. Smith first told him to call local distributors to get the water heater tank replaced under warranty but when we called that company they said they couldn't do it because they weren't the ones who installed it in the first place. Then Jay called the manufacturer again and complained, then A.O. Smith gave him the telephone number of another distributor. That distributor said they could replace it under warranty but it is going to cost us close to $1,100 out of pocked up front to get the actual heater (not including the cost of installation, which hopefully they will let my father in law do for free) and $75 processing fee. The $1,100 we should get back within a month but the $75 is gone forever.

So, now we just have to figure out where we are going to get the cash to put down. The mortgage payment is due tomorrow, I mean two weeks ago, so perhaps I'll use that money and be late so I can keep our hot water and prevent soaking everything in our basement with 50 gallons of freezing cold water. Decisions, decisions...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ride-on toys | Indoor fun?

Whenever I see a ride-on toy on clearance, I almost feel the urge to splurge.  Why?  Because ride-on toys can occupy Nathan's attention for hours.  Like everything else, including the inflatable bounce house, we keep our ride-on toys inside the house.  This is great because they don't get all muddy and destroyed by the outside elements however I am going to lose my mind if I trip on or bruise myself on one more toy.

The ride-on toys take up so much room so that may be one of the reasons why I feel my house is always a disaster.

ride on toys

If I can get my act together and clean out our garage, I'd like to make the executive to move all of our ride-on toys out of the house and store them in the garage.  This way I can have some sort of control over how many enormous ride-on motorcycles, cars, and scooters I have sitting around.  Oh, and we have another ride-on power wheels Jeep not shown in the photograph.  I am going to go crazy!