Sunday, December 31, 2006

Our Visit to Sea World

Well, it was an interesting day, with lots of lessons learned, and a good day of fun thrown in!

First off, get your tickets online if you are a Florida resident. The reduced price for residents is only available online, even though they don't say that online! Go figure. At least Brian and family got in free, being active duty military, and that made up for a lot!

Second, although wheelchairs are allowed just about everywhere, strollers aren't. Go figure. They do have "lots" at each of the shows and displays for strollers, and we found out later that some of the shows have security to watch them--isn't that sad? But, the regular displays don't have security. Bring a lock for the stroller!

The seals are loud! They love fish--like we didn't already know that. Many people are willing to pay money to buy little fish to throw to the seals! Some of the seals just bark loudly, unendingly, waiting for a fish. One was a master, doing a loud and very long bark --- count that in minutes!---in his quest for fish. Here is a photo of one of the seals!

The manatee pool had an outdoor section, and an indoor part, where you could see the manatees swimming around, etc. Here is a manatee from outside. I knew that they were big, but seeing them lets one see just how very big they are. No strollers, of course, for the indoor part. We did things in shifts, with some going in while others watched the stroller, then the watchers went in.

A lot (if not all) of the manatees at Sea World are rescued animals, that have suffered injuries. This manatee is one that had lost a flipper to a motor boat.

Michelle seemed to enjoy seeing them!

We had barbeque for lunch, and it was pretty good. There isn't much variety at the different food places, that is one thing I think they could change a bit!

We saw the Shamu show, and it was good. Michelle looked like she was going to fall asleep, as we were getting ready to enter the show arena. Brian declared that the stroller would go in with us, as we would be in the handicapped area with Anne anyway. And what to our wondering eyes should appear, but a whole section of "sleeping baby in stroller" seating, right behind the wheelchair seating. Naturally, Michelle didn't go to sleep after all, but we had niches for the stroller and the wheelchair, and had a fairly decent view most of the time. Here is a side view of Brian, Christine, Michelle and Anne at the show.

Here is another shot, taken before we moved Anne next to Michelle, after an extremely large woman who didn't understand (or care?) that the seat in front of us that she took was for a wheelchair companion---and she totally blocked Anne's view.

We took the long way back from the Shamu arena, which is so far out that it surely has a different zip code? This took us past a great number of kiddie rides that we hadn't realized were there (next time, when Michelle is older!), and past the Anheiser-Busch wagon, with the requisite Clydesdales.

We then boogied back to the front of the park, where Mike returned Anne's wheelchair (well worth the rental, as she never would have made it on the crutches the whole time) and we walked back to the cars. We were lucky enough to have arrived early enough that the cars weren't far away at all. Thank goodness!

We had a safe trip home, stopped and had dinner at our nearest Chinese restaurant, and went home and collapsed. It was a good day!

Friday, December 29, 2006

A Day at the Beach

I am sitting in the dining room, working from the laptop. I find that I can't access (I just don't know how!) the photos that I have downloaded onto the other computer and so can't add some of them to photobucket to put them in the blog. So, instead of talking about our trip to Sea World, I will post about our trip to the beach (since I have plenty of photos from that on photobucket!)

We made the trip to the beach on that last Thursday that the kids were here. It would be Michelle's first trip to the beach, and the kids were all looking forward to it, as were we!

The day was nice, although very breezy. Which meant that it was downright windy at the beach. The sun was shining though, and it was warm enough! Christine had brought Michelle's Winnie the Pooh swimsuit with its little pareo wrap and flip flops. She looked so cute!!!!! We went to the "stop light" beach, right across from the main gate of the base. It is a favorite with Anne and me, and it is easy to get back out of, since there is the stop light and one can easily turn left.

There was almost no one there at the beach---I guess most people were trying to finish their Christmas shopping? It was nice to have it so empty! We found a nice spot and put down the blanket. I am not sure what Michelle thought of it all! The beach hadn't been cleaned recently, or at least not since a lot of seaweed, etc, had been washed up. We saw plenty of Portuguese Men of War--which was a surprise as I hadn't heard anything about it on the news, and didn't till a couple of days later. Although, there weren't as many as there had been when we had a lot last year. Some of these were much bigger than the ones we had seen before though. Even so, Brian and Christine were surprised at how small they are, having gotten the impression (as we had before) that they were much larger. Oops,was going to put in a photo, but I didn't put one in photobucket. But, you probably remember what they look like!

We found some other surprising things on the beach, including a big cocoanut that had washed up!

Brian and Mike checked it out, and found that it had some very soft spots, so it was definitely left on the beach!

Michelle made a trip down to the water, holding hands with Brian and Mike. You will have seen some of the photos on the photo page! She didn't seem to be afraid at all, and had a good time in the water!

She also had fun with Mike and Anne

Brian and Christine took the time to play in the sand a bit!!!!

After about an hour at the beach, with the wind getting quite chilly, we called it quits and returned home to clean up for dinner. We were full of sand, and quite wind blown! It was a relaxing time, though!

Check back another time for a recap of our day at Sea World!

Monday, December 25, 2006


Hi Everyone!!!!

We hope you all are having a great Christmas! We have already had the best one we could possibly have had---with Anne and Brian, Christine and Michelle, all here with us! Even though we celebrated early, it was a really good time!

Brian and Christine are home already. Brian called at about 8 p.m. or so last evening to let us know they were home. They had a pretty good trip, and didn't have much trouble. Mitchie was a bit fussy the last bit of the trip, but that is understandable. It will all get easier the older she gets, so that is something to look forward to!

I will try to come back and post about our trip to Sea World,

(Can you tell we were all getting tired? This was taken not long before we left the park!)
the beach,

etc, the things we did while the kids were here. We didn't get nearly as much done as we all had hoped, and I hope Brian and Christine aren't too disappointed that we didn't get more done. Hopefully we will all be in good health, no one on crutches, etc, next time they come, and with Michelle being a bit older, we can more easily do more fun and exciting things! We will really have to check out more things in the area too, so we know the ins and outs of things.

It was neat seeing the manatees at Sea World. We haven't yet got around to checking out any of the local spots where they can often be seen, but will have to do that sometime, so we can take houseguests in the future! They sure are big!!!!!!

Well, I had best go, but really wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Jolly Good Time

We are having a great visit, here at Chez Walters. One of the first things Mike did was take Brian shopping on Monday and got the things to set up a wireless internet connection! It is the best thing ever! Of course, there has now been even more computer playing going on, but with the desk top computer and two laptops in the house, it makes it all easier than ever. Very little waiting, if one wants to get online.

That isn't all that has been going on though, of course. Mike and Brian have worked on the lights in the front of the house. The accent lights, which have been a bit of a bane lately, as one was broken a while back--we think by the guys who did the hurricane shutters. Mike and Brian found a replacement, and got it installed. They found the very exact kind as what is already in there, so all is good. Brian came up with a reasonable explanation of why the bulbs seem to burn out so quickly, and a solution. We will see how that goes! The outside looks much nicer with that light replaced and the lights actually coming on at night now!

I have made two huge batches of trash and it keeps disappearing! We ate the last of it last night, and I hope to get another batch made today. Michelle took to trash like a true Walters. Here is a picture of her sharing a bowl of trash with her grandpa.

I also finally got a batch of Mike's favorite "Merry Christmas Cookies" made, after two years (or more?) of not getting it done. I mixed up the dough one day, and baked the cookies yesterday. They are being enjoyed by all. Mitch gave them her seal of approval, and says they are very good with milk!

We plan to make a trip to Sea World tomorrow, the weather forecast is great! We will plan to take a camera, so we will have some photos of the festivities!

Monday Anne and I make the trek to Jacksonville to the Mayo to have them look at her hip. Her appts are in the afternoon, so we will make it there and back in the same day, and be home for dinner. While we are gone, Mike will take the kids to the zoo! That promises to be great fun and an opportunity for more photos too!

The sand hill cranes have cooperated and made appearances in our yard several times already since the kids have been here. Brian took some photos with his camera, and they still get a kick out of seeing them! We do too, truth be told.

Well, I had best stop, take care and more later!

Edited to add-----they made changes to photobucket, and I do not know how to make the photos thumbnail size as usual. I guess you all will have to suffer with large massive photos for now, but at least they are easy to see, eh? And you don't have to click to make them bigger and easy to see. I didn't have this problem when I did the other post! Oh well.

Edited again---well, I looked at the blog on AOL, and the one photo that I had gone back and done the old way now shows up as a thumbnail, as I had expected. I have done the same with the second photo. It should now show both as thumbnail shots on aol, and I am not sure what will show on Mozilla!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Busy Few Days

Well! First off, the launch was delayed till Saturday. Then that morning, Anne heard on the TV that they were going to scrub it and try on Sunday. Hurrah, we figured, as then Brian and Christine could see it. But, it turned out that was all wrong and they really were going to try to launch on Saturday, and they did!

Mike set up his camera on the tripod, out on the driveway, and waited for the shuttle to appear. Anne and I watched on the tv for a while, then she hobbled out since she knew she couldn't rush on the crutches. I watched the launch on the NASA station, and then boogied outside to see the shuttle going up---with the little camera! I felt at the time as if the shuttle was significantly "up" by the time I got there and in position, but from this photo, with the outlines of rooftops slightly visible, you will see it wasn't really very far up yet.

I kept taking photos until the shuttle was so small that it was silly to keep doing it, which means that I took photos much longer than it made any sense to keep doing it. It was really neat to watch, and what you don't see in my photos is how much it lit up the sky. I don't know how Mike's photos came out. I hope he posts some of them! Meanwhile, I taped the launch, so the kids can see it.

Brian and family arrived about 5.30 or so on Sunday. It was so good to see them again! Michelle wasn't at all shy with us, and came right to me. She is such a sweet little girl, and cute as can be! She has been spending good time with Anne and Mike too!

I don't think I have a photo yet of Michelle and Mike, I guess I have to correct that!

And, Michelle finally got her giant Winnie the Pooh that Anne crocheted for her ages ago. It is kind of big to mail, so we just held on to it till they came for a visit! As you can see, Michelle approves of him!

So, we are all having a great time, although we really haven't done anything yet. That will change soon, as I know that Brian and Christine really want to go to Sea World, and some other places too. Time will sure run out if we don't get started!

Take care and more later!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Oh Dear,

Is this becoming a weekly blog? It looks like it, doesn't it? I hope to do better after the holidays.

I am taking a break from dealing with the house, laundry, etc. Things are looking better, but I still haven't made nearly as much progress as I would like. Oh well.

The kids will have left Texas this morning. I wonder how far they will get today, and if they really will get there tomorrow? I know there is still a lot of construction, etc, because of Katrina, so that might slow them down a good bit. I guess we will see.

The launch was delayed till today, and Anne heard this morning that it had been scrubbed for today. It is 70 degrees and sunny, at 1.50 p.m., but it is to get cloudy tonight and there is a good chance of rain. There was only a 30% chance of good launch weather. We don't mind too much, as the longer it is delayed, the greater the chance that Brian and Christine will be here to see it! It is a night launch, so should be pretty spectacular!

I have been knitting stocking--Christmas stockings, that is. I have had trouble getting a pink that I like for Santa's face. The first I ordered has too much of a blue/lilac tint to it, and poor Santa would look rather funny? I have ordered two other pinks, and hope that at least one of them will work out. Amazingly, I don't have any other scraps of pink here at the house that would work, and almost no pink anyway. I worked on Christine's stocking till I got to the face, and have now started working on Michelle's. Once the pink yarn comes, I will go back to Christine's and get it finished first, since Michelle is still young enough not to know or care. Now if I can just get Christine's done before Christmas?

Mount Union is playing in the playoffs still, Division 3 football, that is. They are playing a school today, St. John Fisher, that has worked really hard at becoming a good team, and feel that playing Mount is a huge milestone for them. They are holding their own so far, the game has not been a pushover for Mount. The game started at noon, and at almost 2 p.m. they are already in the 4th quarter. Mount is leading by about 5 points. Not as much of a lead as we would like, but better than being behind! We are keeping our fingers crossed, etc, knocking on wood, etc. I am wearing a Mount Union shirt, as usual. Yikes! I will be glad when the game is over, and I know Mike will be too.

Well, I had best go, take care and I will try to write again before too long!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

It's Been a Whole Week Already?

I know they say time flies, but this is getting silly.

The week didn't end up as tied up with appts as expected. Anne saw Dr. Dunne, the podiatrist, on Monday. When he heard about her hip problems, she said that the hip trumped the ankle, and he really didn't think there was any hope of making any progress with the ankle till the hip is dealt with. He didn't have us make a follow up appt, but asked that we keep him posted on what we find out, and come back and see him if the ankle is still bothering her after the hip is sorted out. He felt that there was no sense in continuing the pt, either.

We saw the orthopedics guy, and he is referring her to another doc.

I called and canceled the rest of the pt appts, and we will see what happens.

Meanwhile, Anne's whole leg is giving her fits, the knee still hurts a lot (she has tendonitis in the tendon along the side of the knee) and the hip hurts and her ankle still hurts. The poor kid is a real mess.

Still, she is hanging in there and making the best of things.

We have had some rain---I dumped over an inch of rain out of the gauge the other day. I think that was Wednesday. We have had a number of cloudy days, and some light showers/sprinkles now and then that didn't do much. It has been warm again, and that has been nice! I think it was up to 83 yesterday, the warmest day in a bit. It is 80 degrees right now, at 1.30 p.m. I am not complaining a bit, especially since we are avoiding the snow that so much of the rest of the country seems to be dealing with.

All the bushes and trees seem to be doing well, and the butterfly garden is still blooming (most of it--some of the plants are taking a break!), and I am still seeing butterflies around the house. Really is cool!

I am making some small progress on the house, trying to get ready for Brians' to come. And to get ready for Christmas. I guess I will have to pick up the pace!

Well, I am out of news, so will go and more later.