Summer Fun…

How is everyone coming along on their Summer Fun lists? Are you getting lots accomplished?   We still have a little over a week to mark off some more but we have done pretty good this year. Of course, next week will be filled with back to school registration and shopping for clothes and supplies. While I dread it as a parent because of the insane amount of money that gets spent, I remember how I LIVED for back to school shopping. Getting all of those new outfits and fresh school supplies.  There wasn’t much that made me happier back then. To be honest, I still get a high for picking up some fresh “school supplies” for myself. Anyway, I am trying to keep that excitement in mind for our shopping trips next week! Wish me luck! ;-)

Back to the summer fun list… being that we only have a week left I am having to prioritize the list. You know… narrow it down only to the stuff that I know or think we can get marked off before school starts. So here is what we have left to do… (I will be back to mark them off as we get them done).

  • family game night
  • amusement park 
  • make your own pizza night
  • go to the lake
  • fishing
  • family donut morning
  • family ping pong/pool competition
  • back to school clothes shopping
  • back to school supply shopping

I am really hoping that we can get these marked off. Did you sign up for the summer of free bowling for the kids? We did. And I bought the family pass for Eric and I to join them. We have gone once. :( I had this grand idea that we would go quite a bit. This summer has just gone by so fast.

The kids invited some good friends over to swim this week. We haven’t even had time to get in the pool much this summer. Between busy schedules, trips, cool days and rain… there just hasn’t been a whole lot of time. They sure do enjoy it though.

Summer Fun | www.sharianderic.com

Summer Fun | www.sharianderic.com

Summer Fun | www.sharianderic.com

Brooks is one of Noah’s best friends. They have so much fun when they are together or playing on xBox. I am so thankful that they have become such good friends.

Summer Fun | www.sharianderic.com

Summer Fun | www.sharianderic.com

Summer Fun | www.sharianderic.com

Summer Fun | www.sharianderic.com

This is Brooks’ little brother, Logan, who happens to be good friends with Kendall.

Summer Fun | www.sharianderic.com

Summer Fun | www.sharianderic.com

Summer Fun | www.sharianderic.com

Another fun summer day documented and enjoyed by all.  :-)

Take Me Out To The Ballgame…

I will be coming back to post more of our vacation, but wanted to take a minute to post these.  We have been working hard on crossing off lots of the activities that are on our summer fun list.  Earlier this week we headed out to the baseball game!

Take Me Out To The Ballgame | www.sharianderic.com

Take Me Out To The Ballgame | www.sharianderic.com

It was Rockey’s (mascot) birthday celebration that night so we got free t-shirts for being among the first through the gates.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame | www.sharianderic.com

Check out these handsome guys!!

Take Me Out To The Ballgame | www.sharianderic.com

Noah took this for me.  He was laughing at me because I kept making him take it at different angles trying to look better.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame | www.sharianderic.com

Take Me Out To The Ballgame | www.sharianderic.com

In the end, the Rebirds lost 0-4, but it’s not really about the game anyway.  For us, it’s more about the food.  ;-)  Logan got his favorite Nachos and he even shared a couple with is dear mom!

Take Me Out To The Ballgame | www.sharianderic.com

Noah and Logan both got funnel cakes.  We can’t ever pass those things up.  Noah shared a couple bites with me.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame | www.sharianderic.com

We also had coke icees, hot dogs, pretzels, and dippin dots ice cream.  I told you it’s about the food!

Coke also had their #ShareACoke campaign truck there giving away free persoanlized cokes.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame | www.sharianderic.com

I was super excited because as a little girl you could never find anything with the spelling of my name on it.  :-)

Take Me Out To The Ballgame | www.sharianderic.com

Kendall wasn’t feeling well and stayed with her Grandma, so we got her one too!

Take Me Out To The Ballgame | www.sharianderic.com

Oh, and before I forget… Noah found it quite hilarious when I got pooped on by a bird.  That was special.  My first time ever. I hope it’s also my last!  Nasty!

(All pics except the last one taken with my phone)

St. Petersburg Vacation – Part 2

Ok, you guys I have to say something first. My WHOLE life I was taught to double space behind every period. Now that is a BIG no-no. I am trying to retrain my brain and hands not to do this anymore and it is KILLING me. Seriously. I can’t seem to stop. Has anyone else had to retrain their brain not to do this? I think I am too old to learn new things! LOL!

On our second day in St. Petersburg, the kids and Idecided that we were going to sleep in and then go to the beach.  As we were getting ready to go to the beach, Eric called and said that he had a couple hours break for lunch.  We took off to the Taco Bus.  It was on my list of places to visit.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

Noah bought those cool shades at the mall the day before.  :)

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

We all thought the food was ok.  Not our favorite mexican, but good for a gimmicky type place.  I will say that the queso dip was really good.  Noah said it was the best he has ever had.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

After lunch, we dropped Eric off at the hotel and headed to the beach!!

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

Kendall played in the sand for a few minutes, but I think she discovered that she was kind of getting too old for that.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

Noah and Kendall are such good friends that they spend most of their time on our trips hanging out together.  He was going out with her so that she could boogie board.  As you can probably tell, there wasn’t much boogie boarding going on.  There were no waves except for those little ones right at the shoreline.  It was also the season for seaweed on the beach and in the water.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

I pray all the time that they always remain close and such good friends.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

We bought a GoPro camera before we left on vacation so we played with it just a bit.  We found out that there is quite a learning curve to it.   I did manage to get a couple good pictures.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

Kendall begged Logan to go out and help her boogie board.  You might notice is wearing the GoPro on his wrist below.  We just couldn’t get that wrist strap to work out well for anything that we were trying to capture.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

Noah loves to skim board whenever we are at the beach. Unfortunately, this time it didn’t work out too well.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

These two went out and threw the football for a while.  I love how they are getting closer at Noah gets older.  Now that he is going into high school, they have a lot more in common.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

He is so handsome!

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

I am so lucky to be their mom.  They are my world!!  I was so excited for getting to have this time with them!

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

After the beach, we went to the hotel and got cleaned up.  Then we decided to get pizza for dinner.  We had read so many great reviews on Cappy’s so we picked it.  I am so glad that we did.  It was delicious.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

My husband Eric LOVES Trivial Pursuit.  He always knows all the answers. When we saw these cards on the table, we knew we had to send him this picture.  Sure wish he could have gone with us.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

We started off with some of their AMAZING cheesy bread!  Oh my goodness this stuff was GOOD!!

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

The boys ordered a pepperoni pizza.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

Kendall and I shared a half cheese & half onion, green pepper & tomato pizza.  So good!

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

The atmosphere was really great and such a cute place.  If we are in St. Petersburg again, we will definitely be grabbing a pizza!

St Petersburg Trip - Part 2 | www.sharianderic.com

More vacation to come…

St. Petersburg Vacation – Part 1

We recently took our summer vacation to St. Petersburg, Florida. Eric, Logan and I had been there many, many years ago when Logan was about three years old.  Needless to say, he doesn’t remember it.  It all started when Eric mentioned that he had to go to St. Petersburg for a week on a trip for work.  He said he really wanted all of us to go along with him.  Since he had been traveling a lot lately we really didn’t want any more time away from him either, so we decided to pack up and go along.  I am so glad that we did.  It was an amazing trip.  Since Eric was tied up with work stuff most of the trip, I got to spend some really great time with the kids at my favorite place on earth – the beach!

I have to be honest and say that I did not take very many pictures this trip.  At least not a lot in regards to my normal fashion.  What little I did take, seems to be all food and restaurant stuff.   I really just stayed in the moment and soaked up my time with these three awesome kids.  With one of them entering his senior year of high school, I have really come to realize just how fast this thing called life flies by.  It is so easy to get sucked up into the daily routines that you miss all the great stuff that happens along the way.  I was determined to be in the moment this trip and I am happy to say that I accomplished it.  This definitely goes down as one of my very favorite trips EVER.  If we had just had Eric with us for everything, I am pretty sure it would be favorite of all time.

DAY ONE:

We had talked about renting a minivan for our trip, but we all decided that we would like to have the Jeep down there.  I mean Jeeps are MADE for the beach right??!!  However, packing all of our stuff in the Jeep wasn’t easy.  I so thankful for Eric who is the master when it comes to loading a car.  It’s amazing to watch.  I wouldn’t have gotten half of the stuff in there that he did.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

By the way, see that yellow/green bag.  It’s a Vera Bradley that I bought right before the trip.  It is THE BEST beach bag EVER.  It fit everything we needed for the beach, including all of our towels. Normally, we are all struggling to carry all kinds of stuff, our towels, chairs, toys, etc.  This thing held everything but the chairs. Seriously, it was awesome.  Oh, and there are LOTS of bags behind the bags that you can see.  It is crazy how much luggage a family of five needs.  We also carry lots of little bags, rather than just one big bag for each person.  Not sure if that is better or worse.

We ran through Chick-Fil-A on the way out of town.  That is a family vacation tradition.  We usually choose Chick-Fil-A or donuts.  Since we did donuts on the last trip, they decided it was time for chicken this trip.

There was a lot of cell phone and tablet usage going on the car.  It was a LONG drive.  We split it up a little bit to help since the Jeep isn’t the most comfortable vehicle on earth for long trips.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

And there was a lot of this going on too…

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

We are blessed with really great travelers.  Up until this trip, I don’t think we have ever heard “are we there yet?”.  However, that all changed this time.  I think Kendall asked “how much longer?” or some version of that about 5,000 times.  I think she was just really anxious to get there.

When we saw a sign to my FAVORITE BBQ restaurant – Sonny’s – along the way, we had to stop.  It’s a vacation tradition anyway.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

My favorite… A Sliced pork BBQ sandwich and fries.  Yum!!!

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

Then it was back on the road for a couple more hours.  We had planned to stop in Valdosta, GA to spend the night.  So, that is what we did.  :-)

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

When we got to our hotel, we unloaded all 898 bags that we had and relaxed for a few minutes.  Then we decided that we weren’t really hungry enough to go to dinner so we would just go get milkshakes at Sonic.  It happened to be half-price milkshake day at Sonic too.  Of course, when we pulled in, the kids all decided that they were hungry and wanted to eat too.  Eric ordered the Chocolate Jalapeno shake which he says is NASTY. He said if it were just jalapeno flavor, it would be good.  But, he didn’t like the diced jalapenos that were all through it.  Every one was a tired and a little cranky so we headed back to the hotel to rest and get some sleep.

DAY TWO:

We got up pretty early and got back on the road because we were all anxious to get there as soon as we could.  We went through Dunkin Donuts for breakfast and ate in the car.  We only had about three hours to drive which was great!

Coming into St. Petersburg is just beautiful.  There is water EVERYWHERE.  If you know anything about my family, we love water.  I just think it’s one of God’s most amazing creations.  After this trip, I have to say that it is my goal to one day live in the St. Petersburg area.  I grew up on the beach on the East Coast of Florida, but this place is just breathtaking.  (By the way, you will have to excuse the quality of a lot of the photos.  I took most of the pics with my cell phone.  And this picture was taken through about 5,000 smashed bugs on our windshield.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

We arrived at our hotel and it was GORGEOUS.  We stayed at the Vinoy Renaissance.

Renaissance-Vinoy
(this picture taken from the internet)

My favorite sight were the palm trees out front!!!  The kids know how much I LOVE palm trees, so as soon as we started seeing them on the drive over they would point them all out to me.  So sweet!!

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

The poor valet guys were sweating up a storm as they unloaded all of our bags!  We were happy to have valet service all week.

When we walked into the hotel, we were greeted by a gorgeous modern lobby.

Vinoy_Lobby

StPetersburg_RenaissanceVinoyResort_Lobby
(
these two pictures taken from the internet)

After we got checked in and our bags were delivered to our room, we walked around the hotel for a few minutes to check everything out.  Then we headed down to get the Jeep and go exploring.  First on the agenda was lunch!  We had been reading reviews and taking in all the recommendations from friends and settled on lunch at Ted Peters.  It was a pretty famous place in St. Pete Beach.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

I have to say that the kids were all very disappointed when we got there because their menu is SMALL and not much the kids would eat at all.  The kids and I ended up cheeseburgers, while Eric ordered fish.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

After his fish arrived, Logan was wishing he had ordered that instead of a cheeseburger.  The menu said “whole fish” and he saw someone eating a “whole fish” and he just couldn’t do it. Apparently, they weren’t all WHOLE fish with bones and all.  Oh well.

The best part of the meal was definitely their Key Lime Pie.  I LOVE that stuff and there is no other dessert (usually) that I eat at the beach other than this one.  It is just so light and cool.  I had Key Lime pie at several places while we in FL and this was by far my favorite.  I didn’t think to take a picture BEFORE it was gone.  ;-) Logan helped me eat it and Eric had a couple bites too.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

After lunch we were all ready to explore and see the sights.  Like I said, there is water EVERYWHERE in this area.  It is paradise I tell you!

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

We drove up and down the main strip in St. Pete Beach for a while. The kids and I wanted to find out where the best beach access was. We ended up LOVING the Pass A Grille area so that is where we planned to hit the beach the next day.  After we had checked out the beachside, we decided to head over to Tampa to do a little shopping at the Outlet Mall.

This was the COOLEST bridge.  Water everywhere around you.  It was just breathtaking.  Click here to see another view of the bridge that really shows you just how breathtaking it is.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

It was a really long and high bridge too so the view was just spectacular.  We all said we HAD to go over it again a couple more times before the trip was over.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

After a little shopping, we were all starting to get a little hungry for dinner.  Kendall’s orthodontist receptionist had told us that we HAD to go to Shells while we were there.  She said it was their favorite place.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

The atmosphere was really nice and casual.  Perfect for families.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

Of course, there were some cell phone games while we were waiting on our food to arrive.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

Then the food came and man alive did that stuff ever look GOOD!!! The kids and I ordered the Snow Crab Legs.  Aren’t they beautiful?

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

Eric got soooo excited because they had a special that night on Lobster.  A whole lobster for $14.95.  He said that was way too good of a deal to pass up.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

He was wishing he had ordered two of them.  LOL!  The food was excellent and we were so happy that someone had recommended this place to us.

We were on vacation so of course we had to order dessert too. They had Key Lime Pie so that was a must.  It was good.  Not as good as Ted Peters though.  This one had a slight metallic taste which happens sometimes with key lime pies.  Not a real big fan of that.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

The kids ordered their Salted Caramel Cheesecake.  Oh my goodness is that thing ever DELICIOUS.  So good that we ended up ordering more pieces of it.  LOL!  The owner came over and joked how we must really like that cheesecake.  They were telling us how they were the only place in the area that has it.  We immediately said that we had to come back to Shells again during this trip if for nothing else than the cheesecake.  I am DETERMINED to recreate this at home.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

Then it was time to make our way back over to St. Petersburg to our hotel.  The sunset was absolutely amazing over the water.  I wish my phone could have truly done it justice.  It made us all sit back and marvel at this amazing place that God made.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

This is the view from across the water of our hotel.  It sits right on the marina.  So pretty.

vinoy

When we got back, one of the hotel staff told us that they were showing the movie Frozen down at the pool.  We decided to go down and check it out.

St Petersburg Trip - Part 1 | www.sharianderic.com

A great first day in St. Petersburg.  Sadly, it was one of only two days that we would get to spend with Eric.  :-(  He was going to be stuck in a conference during the day and dinner meetings at night. Boo!  I was excited about the time I was going to have to spend with the kids though.  Be back tomorrow for Part 2…