Tag Archives: beach

CLE is the place to be!

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For once I’d like to say we were ahead of the curve!  With the RNC picking Cleveland to host the 2016 convention and today’s announcement of LeBron coming home to the Cavaliers, there is an awful lot of pride going on here in little old Cleveland.  Much of the charm of Cleveland that we’ve experienced is from the outside simply not knowing how great this city is, so hopefully this is a good thing (at least maybe some of you will be more excited to come visit!!)  Seriously, today I had to pick from going to the beach, the pool, or one of the many parks/playgrounds that are all within a few miles of us, many of them along beautiful Lake Erie.  (I’m very blessed by my hardworking husband who allows us to have this lifestyle – and with a 2 & 4-year-old in tow, the word relaxing you will not hear!)

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I figured I was overdue for an update – going on 9 weeks here – and this is as good of reason as any for just that!  See my first two updates here & here, keeping up that momentum, we’ve been keeping very busy.  1st order of business – we bought a house!  Very excited.  We’ve loved living where we are so much, that we bought a house just a few streets over.  1 block from Lake Erie, in quintessential small town America.  Lots of people have been here their whole lives and there is a lot of pride in living here (also evident in the almost 3% property taxes – yikes!)  I’ve also heard it referred to as a bubble – sound like another town GA friends??  We are set to close this week and move over the next few.  Very excited to get settled – also stay tuned for some house projects.  A deviation from what I usually blog about – but I think it may be fun to document.  Thanks to Houzz.com – we have lots of inspiration!

I’m so overflowed with pictures that yesterday my iPhone told me I couldn’t take anymore – so sorry for the photo purge – but we’ve just been doing so much AND it’s just so beautiful here.  (We’ll talk come winter!)  So here are a few more things to do in CLE!

Bay Days Festival.  An old-time carnival invades this picturesque small town around the 4th of July.  The kids had a blast on all the rides (which can also be described as old!) and this year we kept them up late to watch the fireworks.  An amazing display over Lake Erie made it a magical first time (and a lot of live up to!)

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.  I’ve mentioned before how impressed I am with the Metroparks system here.  The zoo did not disappoint, so much so, we bought a pass!  We first got to visit doing a 5k, then went back.  We could go a few more times before we see everything there is to offer.  But a beautiful zoo, easy to get to, and not for the out of shape – as there are A LOT of hills, but makes for some good exercise, especially with the double stroller!  There is tram for those who can’t keep up though!  And not to miss is the Circle of Wildlife Carousel – beautifully handcrafted – you can pick almost any of the zoo animals to ride!  (And you can also see LL on a real camel!!)

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Cleveland Botanical Gardens.  As a member of Atlanta Botanical Gardens, I was happy to learn we get reciprocal membership here in Cleveland!  We’ve been seeing adds for the latest exhibit – Nature Connects – a Lego exhibit – so we went for a quick trip.  In a really cool park of town – University Circle – the gardens sit among many other museums all around a circle!  Will definitely be back often to visit more of these cool places!

Local Beaches, Pools, and Splash Pads.  Kids completed two weeks of swim lessons at our local pool, which doubles as a small waterpark, really I’m impressed with it!  And growing up going to the Jersey shore, Lake Erie beaches don’t bother me, so it’s fun to mix it up and go there, and the kids don’t know any different!  I think I had mentioned before too – but there is a dog beach that the dogs have been loving too!  And even a few local splashpads for more water fun!  (Now if it would only get above 70 – haha my GA blood is already thickening – I have no idea how I ever survived in the 90’s!)

Last week we also wished our Zevon a Happy 10th Birthday!

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Anything peak your interest?  We will very soon have our own house, complete with guest room – so come visit!  All the cool kids are doing it! Thanks for stopping by today – have a FABULOUS weekend!

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Filed under Canines, Celebrations, Children

2013 Summertime Fun!

LL and I were just going through pictures from this summer and I started to write down all the things we did.  It didn’t seem like a lot at the time, but we kept very busy this summer!  I thought I would do a post to document, highlight some local attractions, and ofcourse breakout more pictures!

Our summer started off in May with our trip to Hilton Head Island, SC.
Check that out here!

Also in May was the Senoia Memorial Day Festival.  Always a fun one!  (I think this also kicked off the summer of face/arm painting, a new favorite of our LL)

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June brought lots of outdoor activities around the house/yard at home and with friends:

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Strawberry Picking at Adam’s Farm in Fayetteville, GA

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Summer Fun Days at LL’s Preschool

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Walks around Lake Peachtree for me, LM, and Bax

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Newnan Utilities Splash Pad – See that and other activities in my first
Summer Fun Post!

Southern Ground Senoia Social (didn’t get any pictures – but fun times listening to good music, supporting a great cause, and even a surprise on-stage appearance by Zac Brown!)

More Berry Picking at Whitely Farms in Sharpsburg

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Doggie Swimtime at Drake Field in Peachtree City

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Grant Park Playground with old friends (and a sighting of our old neighbors from Grant Park – the APD Mounted Patrol)

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Shenanigan’s Toys Indoor Playground (awesome addition to PTC – but don’t tell too many people it’s a hidden gem that is never too busy!)

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Exhausted yet?  That was only June – now on to July, which kicked off with our trip to
ARKANSAS!

Neighborhood Garage Sale (to earn some nice spending $$)

LL’s 1st Haircut (and LM’s 5th!)

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North Carolina/South Carolina Trip
(Finally documented late HERE!)

The Rock Ranch Summer Fun Days

Blueberry Picking right up the street from us

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My niece’s 9th birthday party (camping in her backyard!)

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VBS at New Church (kids attended, I helped lead up the Craft area)

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AND finally there was August!

We always enjoy Newnan Market Days

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Uncle S’s 20-something birthday

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Giant Snake on our Front Porch (ok this was NOT fun – but I documented.  It was seriously 4 ft long and I had to get some neighbors to come “take care of”)

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Oakland Cemetery and Six Feet Under with city friends

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August Kids Photo Shoot to support our neighbor’s daughter – Erin Spruell

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Turin Tractor Parade & Pull

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Too much rain in August!

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Starlite Family Fun Center Toddler Time

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Grant Park Summer Shade Festival (and more Six Feet Under)

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Devon’s 10th Birthday!

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LL’s 1st Day of 3-year old Preschool

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AND finally it was Labor Day weekend.  Rainy for the most part, but we enjoyed some time outside at the Power’s Fest.  See some pictures from my last Sunday post.

And how could I forget – my LM’s first day of Mother’s Morning Out.  Seems like just yesterday LL was starting this.  Time is flying. 

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Thanks for stopping by.  Hopefully we’ll have lots of fun to post about in the Fall – the BEST time of the year!  But this year it may be hard to compete with such a fun-filled Summer!

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Book Review: South of Normal: My year in paradise by Norm Schriever

South of Normal; my year in paradise
By Norm Schriever
Downloaded free on 6/28/13

Finish time:  1-2 weeks?  This is a long book or maybe I’ve just been exhausted and going to bed earlier and not reading as much at night.  That is not a reflection of this book.  It was a very enjoyable read.  I don’t read memoirs (biographies, true stories?) often, in fact, this may be my first review on this blog of one.  But that is exactly why I chose this book, it’s something different and that is my goal, to stretch my reading away from my usual, comfortable, less-rewarding chick-lit.  (Although I’ve been straying away from a lot of that lately out of embarrassment to admit I read that!)

Meet Norm.  Normal (pun intended) almost 40-year-old dude.  Tired of corporate life in the US, he moves to Tamarindo, Costa Rica.  Another reason I chose this book was because we spent our Honeymoon in Costa Rica in 2007.   Let’s just say I’m glad I read this book after our trip!  Seriously, I may have been a little more aware of my surroundings or just felt more in-the-know learning all I did about the local culture, but would not have changed it and nothing happened to us.  While I felt we over-paid on certain things at times (the tourist rates), I now (6 years later) am comfortable with that!  It seems to be a love-hate with tourism.  On one hand, it’s bringing money into the country (their city), on the other, it disturbed their previous quiet life.  While I would still argue for most it still seems like a life of leisure, people are still scraping by and it’s not a lifestyle I would choose.  But then again I’m a Type A, borderline OCD, accountant!

I can honestly say I was laughing out loud at certain parts.  Like when Norm was daily ordering “pinga” thinking it was pineapple (look that one up!).  Or when he was taken down by 9 terriers and a pig with earrings on the beach.  I really felt like I was sitting at a bar or coffee shop hearing his stories first hand.  His writing is so casual, yet descriptive, that I have a vivid picture in my head of Tamarindo (it also doesn’t hurt that we spent time in a similar town!)  The cast of characters that he encountered daily, is just so absurd, it could only be real.  I found myself invested in what was happening with his friend, Pistol, and rooting for his release.  I also really enjoyed the end where he did a “where are they know” update (as a reader, I did want to know, especially about Bella!)

What I also liked was his discussion and thoughts on certain issues.  One that stands out is around marijuana.  It’s a plant, one of 400k+ plants in the world, yet illegal.  (The reason Pistol was in prison)  But then going a step further to ponder if you get in trouble for something illegal and then that something becomes legal (think pot in CO), is that the justice system (government) admitting they were wrong? Were you wrong in the first place?  Just questions like that really kept my mind engaged in the book and had me thinking long past putting it down.

There is so much more I could mention, but I really did enjoy this book, and it was good to have one that kept me occupied for so long (maybe not for blog content, but for my own personal entertainment!)  Pick it up, you’ll like it.  I did!

One last note, in trying to take things back to MY calling, I really enjoyed meeting Norm and watching him live out his calling.  It may be an unusual one, but that just confirms my belief that God has purpose for all of us, and even a sense of humor.  I wanted to leave you with a paragraph from the last chapter (don’t worry – it won’t spoil the book!)

“What I am doing still makes no logical sense, to me or to anyone around me.  People still look at me funny and question what the hell I’m doing.  I don’t know, exactly, but at least I’m doing something.  You should do the same.  Go on a journey.  Do something that rings true in your heart, even if it doesn’t add up in your mind.  It doesn’t need to be a geographical journey, but a journey toward your dreams.  Take one little step in that direction, that’s all I ask.  OH, but remember to smile, and believe”

Thanks Norm.  I look forward to hearing about your next adventure!

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Good excuse to breakout one of our honeymoon pics from the beach in Costa Rica!

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Hilton Head Island Fun!

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School’s out, vacation time!  I cannot think of a better way to kick off summer than a week at the beach!  After much research (seriously for me to commit to a place is a LONG process) we decided on Hilton Head Island, SC.  I know most GA people swear by the Gulf Coast beaches.  Maybe the Atlantic isn’t as pretty as the Gulf, but let me tell you, I am sold on Hilton Head and plan on returning next year!  Thanks to Sarah (over at Small Town Love) and her hubby Ike – our fur babies were taken care of too – which is always a big plus knowing they are in good hands!

Once the location was picked, accommodations was the next challenge.  After even more research, we decided on a 2-bedroom villa in Harbour Town in the Sea Pines Plantation.  Due to a little bit of last-minute booking, this may not have been my first choice as it was a bottom floor unit with no view.  But the location was great and other than some loud upstairs neighbors and an uncooperative A/C unit, it suited our family well.  I seriously am thinking about looking for next year’s digs very soon!  Amenities of the area included a playground (which the kids loved), pool, fitness center, tennis courts, and a trolley to the beach.

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When I made our reservations, the booking agent asked if we wanted to reserve bikes.  Apparently that is the preferred method of transportation on the island.  I went ahead, still a bit skeptical, but after our first day there, that was a suggestion I am glad we took.  We rented 2 bikes, and Steven’s pulled a kiddie cart, which the kids loved!  The bike paths were very easily accessible and we took them every chance we had to meals, activities, and even just for fun/exercise.  And how did I almost forget the best part – the island is so FLAT – that even someone out-of-shape can manage a few mile bike ride without too much struggle!  It doesn’t hurt that the paths, like the streets, are all lined with big trees and Spanish moss (shaded and beautiful).IMG_3030

The island seems to boast a bunch of little “towns” or harbors, each with their own set of shops, restaurants, and activities.  As mentioned, we stayed in Harbour Town, home to the famous Harbour Town Lighthouse (which we all, even LL, walked 114 steps to the top).  While there we ate at The Crazy Crab, Harbour Town Grill, Lowcountry Produce, Guiseppi’s Pizza, and Harbour Town Bakery & Deli.  We also took an afternoon Dolphin Cruise on the Vagabond.  (Which I was SO excited there was a Living Social Deal for at the time we were there – saved us 50%!)  I also spent a nap-time or two wandering the many shops of Harbour Town and admiring the boats and view!

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Top of the Lighthouse

South Beach Marina Village is another little town.  It was a 3.7 mile bike ride down.  Home of The Salty Dog Cafe.  We went down there twice.  The first night we were there, they had a Low Country Boil, live music, face painting, and a special appearance by Jake the Salty Dog, all to celebrate his 25th birthday!   Then we went back later in the week to buy our shirts (I think I saw somewhere this was required – haha!), presents for our pups, and to eat in the actual restaurant.

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The next little “town” we visited was Shelter Cove Harbor, home to Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort.  I had looked into this for lodging for a few minutes before moving along due to price (seriously like $500/night), I know LL would have loved it, as even seeing the Mickey logo brought a huge smile to her face.  Maybe someday…but this had another group of restaurants and shops and was home to the big Neptune statue.  We ate at Scott’s Fish Market, which was probably my favorite meal of the week.  It had an open-air patio on the harbor and had a guy with a guitar playing many enjoyable classics that had us all dancing and singing along!  As Steven pointed out – it was very fitting that the name was Scott’s (like my father) as the music came straight from his record collection, a nice little reminder/message to discover.

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I cannot forget to mention the beach!  We spent 4 mornings playing on the beach.  It was nice and flat and hard (perfect for riding bikes – which we’ll do next time), and had little shallow wading areas that were perfect for the kids to play in without waves.  Steven got the kite out and the kids really just had a blast digging, building, catching hermit crabs and various sea creatures (ok – maybe that one was me!), and watching for birds and dolphins.

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A few more activities to note were mini-golf.  Maybe not the best idea with a 1 & 3-year-old, as we had to throw our competitiveness out the window, but at least we tried!  The Sandbox: An Interactive Kid’s Museum, cute for the little ones with various sensory activities.  And Lawton Stables, where they had many animals to pet (goats, sheep, pigs, deer, llamas) and LL got to take a pony ride on Romeo the blue-eyed pony!

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We even made it to church on Sunday.  And I have to point out that they have a Publix there, which really makes shopping a pleasure in an unknown place as it feels like home to me!  Sounds silly, but with trying to eat breakfast and lunches in, I like to know and be comfortable with what I am buying and eating!  Speaking of eating, this week was a bit of a break from clean eating, but I am looking forward to jumping back in as I really have felt much better!

So overall – a wonderful week, now back to reality (not without posting a recap and some pictures first though!)  Next year, the dogs are coming along (or at least a few of them).  My research neglected to uncover just how dog-friendly the island is.  But we’ll check this off as a scouting trip and make next year’s even better!

052413 (15)LL bringing the dogs their presents!

Happy Memorial Day weekend and may you have a GREAT summer filled with special memories like ours!

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Filed under Celebrations, Children