Hunter Olli

From May 23 – 27…..

We ran into Paper Source one night, which is one of my favorite places because it’s just cute and pretty little things and it also stresses me out because all of the cute and pretty things are so breakable.  But these glasses were everything.


There’s a Hawaiian restaurant not too far away that we had always meant to try but always forgot about.  And then we tried it and realized we needed to forget about it forever.  Man, it was AWFUL.


America! Hats! Maybe this was at Michael’s?


I’m not even sure.  I think this is Elsa meets Harry Potter in the 4th of July parade.


One evening after dinner we were cleaning up the kitchen and just heading outside to play and enjoy the evening when there was a big commotion – the girls noticed Olli had caught something and he was running around with something furry in his mouth.  We thought it might be another mole and we were trying to get him to drop it.  Lilli and I got him cornered and then Abbi grabbed whatever he had in his mouth – which was the cutest little bunny you’ve ever seen! She just scooped him right up and then we were all completely smitten.  And he was named Bun Bun.


I don’t know much about rabbits but he couldn’t have been very old at all.  He was completely wet from being in Olli’s mouth but he didn’t have any sort of bites or any marks on him – once again Olli had found a friend to play with and was basically just licking him, chasing him, and playing with him.


Have you ever?!?!?


We really did want to keep him – but we knew better.  He belonged out with his bunny family.  But man, he was cute.


They had him up in the truck bed for a while since that was one spot he couldn’t squeeze out of.


This was right around the time Bun Bun decided it might have been better off to be in Olli’s mouth.  This rabbit was rocked, cuddled, and carried all night long.


They also had a bucket that they would carry him all around the yard in.  Eventually at the end of the night when it was time to head in and get ready for bed we made them let him go.  And as you can expect there were a lot of tears.  We see a ton of rabbits in our yard so every time we saw a small one we’d say it was Bun Bun.


We had a busy summer of yardwork as Brent prepared to tear the really old fence down and replace it.


We’ve hated these pendant lights since we moved in.  They’re ugly and just in the way and gross.




A few days later we saw Olli really rooting around in an area of the yard and knew he was after something.  And he brought us a turtle.  Out of everything he caught last summer the turtle was the most boring.  It was too scared to ever come out of its shell so we let him go pretty quickly.


When we let him go we did put the Ring doorbell out there on him so we could watch him go – which was definitely the most interesting part of our turtle experience.


Sweet sisters reading together.


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The Safari Home

From May 22.  I think.

Well, maybe over the holidays I’ll get a little blogging done.  Doubtful, but I’ve given up hope of ever being truly caught up again.  As long as everything eventually gets written for the girls to read about all the fun adventures they’ll never remember that’s totally fine! Outside of all the details I’ve already started forgetting at least it’s somewhat nice to talk about warm days on a pretty chilly day where we narrowly escaped getting ice and snow in Nashville.

It was time to load up and head back home, and man I remember it being a HOT and muggy morning as we loaded up the car and made sure all eight million stuffed animals we’d packed were accounted for.  Our little house was the perfect size for us and really offered everything we needed for a nice little vacation.  It would have been nice to have more yard and space between us and the neighbors, but that’s just a luxury these Florida resort areas don’t provide.  At least not in our budget.


The girls weren’t too happy to be leaving beach life.  They’d love to have a place at the beach, but honestly after about two days of the ocean life we’re all tired of the sand, the bottles of sunscreen required for us not to burn and the crowds.  While we all had the flu during the month of November we did watch a lot of Beach Hunters and enjoy watching people buy their dream beach house!


And the drive back from Seaside is so, so very long and boring.  We stopped for lunch in Montgomery and right near that exit we’d seen a sign about a Safari Park.  If there’s one thing (besides a Russell Stover outlet) that I’m pretty easy to talk into going off course for it’s a Safari Park.  We had all day to get back and so we backtracked one exit (after an awful lunch at Hardees that reminded us why Montgomery is one of the worst cities in the USA) to check out the Alabama Safari Park.  It had only recently opened so we were excited to visit.


There were very few cars there – we were there during the week and that area (and most others) weren’t out of school yet.  So the animals were VERY friendly and VERY hungry.  Aggressive was the name of the game.  We’d gotten buckets of feed for everyone thinking the girls would be all in.  But after the first few just about climbed through the window they were a little scared!


There was a lot of squealing, a lot of screaming, and a lot of animal spit coming in my side of the car.


After we’d feed something it would run right beside the car and sometimes jump right in front of it to get our attention.  Later we saw a pack of animals just stand right in front of a car and not move.  The staff had to come out and get them to move on.  The animals were definitely not scared of the cars! We’ve been to some parks where the lines were long and the animals stuffed and they couldn’t have cared less about you, but not the case here!


For the most part, Abbi enjoyed things with the window up.  They’d go for the smaller animals where they’d dump food out and then just watch.


No animals here were off limits, so we could even feed the zebras.  Most places don’t allow that because they can bite, but after the aggressive camels, emus, and ostriches these guys were fine.


The elusive zebra.  They were so pretty and it’s so neat to get this close to them.


The source of some major zebra spit in my car.


Abbi’s preferred animals to fee – short and sweet.


It was really a very, very overcast day where we felt like it could pop up and rain at any time.  As we were getting done with the drive thru it started pouring so we shopped in the gift shop for a little while.  Then when it slacked up we went to see the pigs and goats.  We didn’t realize you fed them the same food and we’d given all of ours away.  The ladies in the gift shop were super nice and gave us more so we’d have something to feed them.


And they were all starving, too! The baby pigs were so cute.


And they even had giraffes! We got to feed them lettuce.


So pretty! Giraffe tongues are so strange!


And then we headed up to the bird house.  I like birds exactly zero percent.  Especially little flying ones where you have a stick and they’re supposed to land on you.  Nothing about that seems like a good idea.  But yet the people I’m with find it hilarious and completely unreasonable that I find it extremely likely these birds want to peck my eyes out.


I didn’t stay in there for very long.  At all.


Tiny birds.  They were actually the only animals that really weren’t interested in eating that day.


I think they were really new and weren’t used to the whole humans/Popsicle stick thing yet.  They did eventually get a few to come over.


And then it started POURING.  Not just a little rain but a total downpour.  And we weren’t near any sort of shelter and couldn’t do anything but try to wait it out under some partial awnings.


We were basically in a humid rainforest.  While were in the slight coverage of the screens this bright green frog hopped up.


When we finally got back to the car we were all completely drenched.  A mile or two later this happened – and she rode the remaining 4 or so hours home like this (although not asleep the entire time.) Just another exciting vacation memory for the books…..


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Christmas Lists

Here is Abbi’s Christmas list : Abbi

Here is Lilli’s Christmas list: Lilli

Here is mine and Brent’s list: Grown Ups

I did them all on Amazon this year because it’s just easier and I can add/delete things more quickly as we think of things or as they mention things.  Brent really hasn’t given me much to work with so as he thinks of things he can add them.

Neither girl really wants anything big, they just don’t play with that many toys and they have plenty to play with already.

Abbi – She is really, really into the Piggie and Gerald books so I put several on her list.  They are really cute and pretty easy to read and she reads them to us every night as she is learning to read.  Those would be the things on her list she wants the most.  She also really wants that unicorn purse and she loves bouncy balls and all the shimmer stuff.  She wants choker necklaces, big bows (the kind that are like JoJo Siwa), jewelry and makeup.  Walmart also has really cute kid jewelry that I’m sure she would like.  She’s really into all the shimmer sequin clothes.  She wears a 6 for shirts and a 5 for pants.  She could use more socks (her shoe size is 11.) And mittens, they get lost a lot.  She also likes the cheap play makeup and lip glosses.  Her favorite thing right now is cash.  A bunch of $1 bills would make her very, very happy.  She likes coloring and doing art – we go through lots of drawing paper and she prefers markers (especially the smelly ones I have on the Amazon list, most of ours have been lost or dried up.)

Lilli – She is even harder to buy from because she plays with even fewer toys.  She also likes all the jewelry, dangly earrings, chokers, and play makeup.  They both like to get “fancy”.  She could also use some new socks.  Her shirt size is an 8 and she wears a 7 pants, shoe size is a 12.  She also really likes all the shimmer and sequin clothes and anything soft and fluffy and very girly.  She has a ton of earrings and could really use the jewelry box I put on here.  She’s also interested in sewing, all the spa kit stuff (I put a kit on here), crafts, she likes to draw fashion stuff, and she really likes Wheel of Fortune.  She also really, really likes cash and gift cards.

Gift cards for them – they love Sonic, Starbucks, McDs, Noodles, Target, Above All (trampoline place), Brentwood Skate Center (roller skating), Claire’s, and Amazon.

Brent and Me – I couldn’t come up with too much fun stuff for us – we could use the trash can and light vacuum most of all, then I added a few other fun things. The pizza stone and password book would also be pretty high up on the list.  Gift cards for us would be for places like Blue Coast Burrito, Uncle Julio’s, Nordstroms, Target, Kroger, Starbucks, McDs, Wendy’s and Blaze Pizza.



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Last Day of Third Grade/Chorus Performance

From May 18th….

I knew my Chorus recital pictures had gotten filed in the wrong spot (by me) and I finally found them.  These are the ones from my camera from that day.

We always make a sign for the last day of school – something Abbi was so proud of on her first day this year!


School’s out for summer! Since it was chorus recital day she had to wear white and black!


The chorus spring performance theme was Movies.  They sang songs from top movies of the year, including Lego movie and Greatest Showman, Lilli’s favorite.  Last time she was hard to see so this time we told her to make sure she stood out – which she definitely did!


A broader view of the group – the blue shirts are the people also in Dance Team (4th and 5th grade).  You can do both Chorus and Dance and they just ran back and forth between songs.


Lilli didn’t end up with a singing solo/duet but she did get a speaking part which she did great with.  We’re proud of how bold and brave she is to go in front of the whole school, cool as a cucumber, for her lines!

She enjoyed Chorus last year but didn’t want to do it again this year, or Dance team.  Since she’s taking dance lessons she didn’t want to also do dance at school and be “too busy” which is fine with us. She does want to be part of “Stage Crew” next year which is only open to 5th graders, so we’ll enjoy this year off from school recitals!


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Shark Hunters

From May 21…..

We woke up and did the usual – as we were waking up the girls splashed in the pool before breakfast – there’s really no better way to vacation than with your own little pool.  A pool this size is all we’d really ever need!


It was another really rainy, really cloudy day.  After breakfast we decided to walk down to the beach just to see if we might see any good shells or animals washed up. We had it pretty much to ourselves since it was such an overcast day.


We didn’t find any fun shells or anything exciting so after exploring for a bit we walked back.


On our last trip (3 years earlier) we’d visited a local park/state park that had this shallow lake full of little minnows.  Since we didn’t know about it we hadn’t taken nets, so we wanted to revisit it this time but really weren’t sure where we’d been before.  We drove to this park, thinking it was it but it didn’t end up being the same place.


As we got there the rain and clouds were getting thicker and heavier.  Brent and Lilli went exploring to see if it was the same place and we finally decided it wasn’t.  Schools of fish were jumping everywhere and Brent decided to venture out in the water.  It was really raining – and another family came up to me and said they’d just seen a shark out there near him.  I thought I’d seen a fin myself but wasn’t sure.  We yelled at him to come back in and definitely saw a fin out there.  At this point it was pouring so we ran back to the car and headed back to the house.


After lunch it cleared up again and we enjoyed the afternoon playing around in the pool.


Little mermaid.


After dinner we walked back down to the beach for one last sunset.


So many cartwheels everywhere we go! (This one is Abbi).


It’s hard to beat those pretty ocean sunsets with a thin layer of clouds.


Sunset selfie


While exploring Brent found this really cool fish.  We looked it up in Lilli’s book while we were there but I can’t remember what it is now.  He definitely knows how to camouflage!


And at dark we found this really, really cool snail.  After enjoying observing them we let them all go.  We really hit the jackpot on ocean life on this trip! Seaside is so wonderful for really cool ocean animals.


One last sunset.


It’s tough to be the little sis! So much sand, sun and swimming to wear her out! Hopefully this area survived Hurricane Michael last week.  This area isn’t too far from Panama City, but hopefully was far enough not to sustain a lot of damage.


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Beach Fairy

From May 20 –

Our beach routine is pretty simple – I’m up first (always) and I grab some coffee or iced coffee (it is hot in Florida…..) and head outside.  Abbi woke up next and hung outside with me while the rest of the crew was waking up.


From there the girls would splash around in the pool and swim while Brent was starting to wake up and making us breakfast.  Also Lilli is apparently a teenager.


They’d splash around for a while before breakfast and have fun in the pool – which was really just the perfect size for us.


They’d play games and splash and get along so much better than they do on dry land.


Teamwork is the dreamwork!


After breakfast we’d load up entirely too many possessions into the beach cart and walk up the street to the beach.  I remember (vaguely) the days of having enough that a human could reasonably carry without the use of a cart.  All you needed was a book, a chair and a towel.


We dug and splashed and explored.  Lilli spent more time under the umbrella this day, her sun tolerance is just lower and she gets a bit more sun than the rest of us, despite using SPF 100 on her and only needing 50 on Abbi.


Abbi and I went on a walk and really found some (living) treasure – this sea sponge was floating around in the surf.  I’ve never seen something like this!


We also saw this floating around near the beach – I sent her back for the net and we scooped it up.  I thought it was going to just be a stick or something but we were surprised to find a living sea cucumber! We really hit the jackpot on ocean life on this trip.


We headed back around lunch and afterwards did more swimming in the pool.  Rain came in later in the afternoon so we just relaxed and rested indoors for a while and ate dinner.


Some of us rested more than others.  The beach life is a rough life.


As we were eating dinner Lilli’s 8th tooth was barely hanging by a thread.  She didn’t want us to pull it, but she was having trouble eating.


She went in the bathroom and eventually got it out herself – tooth #8 and our first out of state tooth fairy visit!


Later that night we went into Seaside to walk around and explore.  It had been raining off and on, but we ended up walking around the shops and down to the beach at Seaside.  We found a good Audubon book on Florida for Lilli of all the animals there and we went looking for a good dessert shop but never found anything we wanted so we just stopped and bought ice cream at the grocery store and headed back to our little beach house for the night.


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Birthday Beaching

From May 19th –

We woke up on Brent’s 41st birthday at the beach! Not a terrible way to spend a birthday, at all!

I woke up first and was doing some quiet reading on the back deck as the girls started waking up.  I told them if they were fairly quiet they could do some swimming before breakfast.  Our house was super cute, but the houses are right on top of each other and I didn’t want them waking up the entire neighborhood with cannonballs.  They were more than happy to get in some floating and swimming before breakfast.


We ate every meal out on the cute little front porch, I think.  It was a really nice little screened in porch and across the street was a wooded area so it was really pretty and serene.


After breakfast we loaded up and walked down to the beach.  It wasn’t too far of a walk, just down the street and across 30A.  The tougher part was just getting our beach cart down the hill.  Abbi was so excited to see the beach in daylight and of course they ran ahead to get some sand in their toes.


It had been 3 years since we’d been, so of course she didn’t remember it and was SO excited to get down there.


And she was super thrilled to get her feet in the ocean.


We saw a LOT of wildlife on this trip – which of course Lilli loved because she loves looking animals up in her Audubon guides.  We saw these washed up everywhere and googled them – they’re a blue button jellyfish.  Very pretty – but also a jellyfish!


And we found this guy – first time we’ve ever seen something like that living in a shell! So neat.  (and of course we put him back).


Just enjoying the pretty scenery.  It was crowded, but not miserable.  We had plenty of space, although we could’ve done without some of the loud and competing music that various groups had.  You’d have country music to your left and alternative to your right, it seemed like everyone had some sort of something playing.


Cartwheels by the ocean…..


And of course little sis had to get in on some of those cartwheels, too.


41! (And 40……)


This is the first beach trip where they’ve both just played and played and played.  We got to sit and relax a little – we didn’t get to read a lot of books or take naps – but we can start to see a day where we can relax a bit at the beach while they play.  We did have to use a TON of sunscreen though. It was a bright, clear and hot day so it seemed like we were constantly lathering up to keep them from getting burned.


Sweet sisters.  Lilli burns so easily that she usually wears one of the shirts to just keep from having to mess with as much sunscreen.  And Abbi just turns golden brown and doesn’t seem to ever burn.  We just couldn’t keep enough on Lilli’s face and even with the hat she got a little too much on her face.


Brent wanted to get buried.


And then Lilli did…..


Abbi looks pretty guilty here……


Around lunch time we headed back to our little house – you can see the two giant houses on either side of us.  Our house was all we needed – 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, and its own private pool.  The girls were jealous of the big ones – but they come with big prices, too!


After lunch we enjoyed the pool…..


And then someone got very sleepy from all that sun……


We cooked some dinner and then headed back to the beach for sunset.  We took our shovels and buckets and Brent was wading out on a sand bar when he started finding all these sand dollars! We’d never seen living ones and they were SO neat! You could find dozens of them.  We put them all back, but it was so neat to see.


Beautiful sunset……


We were looking for these little crabs – they were hard to find this time, but we did find a few.


And two of these HUGE crabs!


Afterwards we went back to our little house and celebrated with some cake! Since Publix is all over the place in Florida we had no problem finding Brent’s favorite birthday cake.  The girls said it was his best birthday ever because it was at the beach – and I’d say it’s pretty hard to argue with that thinking!


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