Thursday, October 30, 2008

She's here!

We are pleased as punch to introduce you to Miss Eliana Rose, born on October 22 to overjoyed parents Eric & Tessa. She is a perfect, cuddly bundle and we are thrilled to know her and to be able to watch her grow.... and to see how well she wraps her Daddy around her little finger :)

Look at her cheeks!

Oh, those cheeks!

Big stretch!

Happy, beautiful, very blessed family

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Busch Gardens

We spent our last Florida day at Busch Gardens in Tampa. We enjoyed seeing the animals (although the Gatorland extravaganza from the day before was nearly impossible to beat), but really the highlight of the whole deal was the rides. We spent half the day soaking wet from things like the Congo River Rapids and the other half drying off while whizzing through the air on roller coasters. A super way to end our super fun, very unforgettable vacation :)

I don't think either of us had even seen a baby rhino before. And even better than that, we were lucky ducks and saw one RUNNING across the grass to its parents. It was clumsy and awkward and adorable and an absolute treat to witness.

We saw real gorillas but none of them would pose with me.

The Cheetah Chase is about as wild as a regular old ride at a county fair, but you'd never know it by looking at my face. Absolutely no one was riding this, so we rode twice in a row, without even having to get out of the car. We walked past it again later in the day, and still nobody was there. I think the poor kid operating the ride was bored to tears.

On our second ride, Jan thought we should actually pretend to be chasing a cheetah, but I had my hands full just keeping my eyes open.

This is Shiekra. It has a 300 foot vertical drop and was the craziest and best coaster we rode all week long. And because of it, we are planning our 11th anniversary trip next May to Cedar Point in Ohio. It's the roller coaster capital of the world (there are SEVENTEEN!)- we can't wait!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Somehow in the midst of riding roller coasters and sitting on alligators, we found time for two rounds of putt-putt at a really fun course just down the road from our condo. We both think it's the best one we've ever played at, and we've played at quite a few - putting is in our blood, I think :) And we love Washington in the fall, but looking at these pictures makes us pine for the Florida sun. Sighhhhhhhh.

Monday, October 20, 2008


One of our very favorite things about our entire trip to Florida was Gatorland. A little while before we left, I read a review describing it as one of the tackiest places in the whole state. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. It is an amazing, amazing park. We have some fun videos of our adventures there, which Jan will post as soon as I'm finished sharing all of the pictures.

This is Johnny, and he wrestles alligators.

Here's Johnny again. He also feeds whole chickens to very large, very hungry alligators. Look at the size of that thing's head, for goodness sake!

This is Noah the boa constrictor, and Jan Michael loved him.

Holding him was one of the bravest things I have ever done. I mean it.

This is a mama gator who was guarding her nest. She was not pleased to have us hover around with our camera, so we took only a few pictures instead of our customary 500.

Maybe, just maybe, this will be our Christmas card picture.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Somehow we didn't take as many pictures at Epcot as at the other parks, even though we were there for a good 8 hours or so. There are lots of things, from the world showcase to the crazy attractions, that we thought our families would really enjoy, so maybe one day we can all go together :)

We ate lunch in Germany at the Biergarten. Any place that serves all-you-can-eat sauerkraut & has a leiderhosen- wearing band gets enthusiastic reviews from us! In keeping with German tradition, you share a table with other diners, and we had fun getting to know a family from Wisconsin and a couple from Spain.
This is at the entrance to Morocco, and we noticed afterwards, as we were looking through our pictures, that the couple on the left is the very same couple we ate lunch with at the Biergarten! A small world, to be sure.

This is just outside Tokyo Dining, which is where we ate dinner later that night. We had very tasty tempura & sushi and also a decent view of Illuminations, the fireworks spectacular that is put on every night over the lagoon.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


We began our happy day with a ferry trip from the parking lot to the park entrance. It was a very pleasant little ride.

It was also quite windy.

This is in front of Splash Mountain. I was almost hysterical with fear when we rode it, which is absurd because first, it's not a scary ride, and second, we'd ridden Krakken twice the day before, for Pete's sake. It's a good thing Jan Michael puts up with my nonsense.

On Tom Sawyer Island we had great fun prowling around caves...

and exploring forts...

and shooting canons.

Tomorrowland was one of our very favorite places, mostly because of Space Mountain, which we rode twice, and...

Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin! Jan Michael practically keels over with laughter every time he looks at this. I take target practice very seriously, it seems :)