A Denver Family's Adventure Through The Ups And Downs of Life

Monday, February 28, 2011

Our Southwest Florida Adventure (Very, Very Long)

Nailing down a date was the hardest thing about our entire Florida vacation.  Everything else was a breeze.
The condo that we stay at is owned by my mom and her siblings, so determining time when it is not being used is coordinated by my aunt.  That part was relatively easy, no one was looking to use it for the 3 weekends in February that we were figuring out when we wanted to go.  (We decided to go in February before Sam turned 2 in March because, after that, we will have to pay for a plane ticket for him.)

The tough part was waiting for Brian's work to give us the final okay on his time off.  Thank goodness flight prices didn't change very much while that was getting nailed down.

We decided that a Thursday - Sunday weekend would be short enough that we wouldn't miss too much work, but long enough to have a nice long weekend. 

I had Sam packed for a week, but didn't have myself fully packed until about 30 minutes before the shuttle picked us up.

The direct flight to SW Florida International airport was uneventful.  I scheduled our flight to be during Sam's lunchtime and nap which ended up going very smoothly.  As we were going through security and having them check Sam's milk containers, a family next to us had to have some medicine checked and the littel girl with them said "It's not a bomb."  Brian wished that he could have gotten her saying that on tape, but we were unprepared.

We were able to upgrade to a small SUV from a compact for less than originally booked through National.  Score!!

We got to the condo, dropped of some stuff, headed to the grocery store for some staples (milk, cereal, fruit, booze) and had a relaxing dinner.  It took Sam a little longer than normal to go to sleep, but he got used to his tent and crashed.

We decided to go to the pool the first day, so we had breakfast, packed up our gear and while I went for a 4 mile run, Sam and Brian headed for the pool and I joined them when I was done.

My grandfather stopped by when we were still at the pool.  We apparently didn't hear the cell phone ring while we were having a blast splashing around.  Oops!!  Sam really didn't know what to make of his great grandfather initially, but he is normally a little shy around new people.

We cleaned up and headed to lunch with my grandfather's wife at a nice place called Silver Spoon Cafe.  We were told that since the recession started, getting a table at the cafe has gotten easier.  Good for us, not for their business.  The food was really good and we were able to take leftovers back to the condo.

We decided to drive up the coast after lunch and take a look at the surroundings.  We first stopped at a tourist shop where we bought a few items (t-shirt and a toy for Sam, sunglasses and hat for Brian, etc.).  We then headed up the coast to Ft. Myers.  About 3 minutes after we left the tourist shop, Sam crashed in his car seat, which didn't surprise me at all.

There definitely weren't as many people around as there have been in previous years.  We also noticed a lot of "For Sale" signs on houses and condos. 

Dinner on Friday night was the wonderful leftovers that we had from Thursday night and lunch on Friday. 

I had it planned that I would be running 16 miles for my marathon training on Saturday morning and Brian would take Sam on the shuttle to the private beach that is part of the condo development.  I headed out before 9am ET (it was really foggy and muggy) and said that I would stop by the beach on my first half of my run.  It was just dumb luck that when I hit the beach area (5.4 miles into my run), the shuttle had just dropped them off.  I'm so happy that I was there to see Sam take his first look at the Gulf of Mexico, stick his toes in the water and play in the sand.  Brian said that the water was pretty cold (60+ degrees).  I'm glad that I didn't take my running shoes off.

I didn't stay too long, because I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get my mileage in before it got really hot, but that didn't matter.  The heat came, the shade went away and my energy was zapped around mile 10.  Luckily, I was about a mile from the private beach, so I hoped that I could meet back up with the boys and take the shuttle back to the condo with them.  I found out that they had left on the bus only 17 minutes before I arrived.  I gave them a call and they had just walked into the condo door when I called.  The came and picked me up and we went to a Doc's Beach House, a restaurant just down from the beach.  The food was good, but the service wasn't.  I don't think she smiled even once.

We had a very nice lunch and headed back to the condo for Sam's (and it ended up being Brian's) nap.  I took the SUV and headed to a nail salon where I got a very nice pedicure and had my toenails painted green (something I NEVER do). 

We wanted to go out to a seafood restaurant on our last night in FL, so we packed up and headed out to a place that looked really good (we checked it out online).  It was packed.  The 2nd place was packed too, so I saw a "decent" review for Rodes Fish House.  We walked in and I think there were only a few people that were younger than us- definitely the silver section.  I noticed on the door that the restaurant was only open until 9pm, which made me laugh.

We ordered Sam a chicken tender dinner with broccoli.  I haven't seen Sam eat a lot of fried chicken, but we couldn't keep ordering him grilled cheese sandwiches his whole life.  After chowing down on the broccoli he ate quite a bit of the chicken.  I was definitely impressed.  I ordered shrimp stuffed tilapia with a crab meat sauce and Brian ordered Mahi Mahi and thought it was pretty good.  It wasn't the best seafood we ever had, but it was better than we could have gotten at a decent restaurant in Denver.  I'm glad the place was pretty noisy because Sam was being very vocal and letting us know exactly what he was thinking.
Sunday came and we were all bummed that this was our last day in Florida.  We took another hour long dip in the pool and had a blast.  Sam loved when we were blowing bubbles and splashing all over the place.

We had scheduled another lunch with my grandfather and his wife, so we headed out to Bravo in Naples. We ordered Sam salmon and veggies which he ate very well.  I had ordered a panini and french fries so part of the time Sam was eating french fries one at a time and then was alternating eating green beans the same way, which was with his pinkie sticking out.  It was very cute and we were happy that he was getting some good nutrients (for the record, he only had about 6 french fries).  Sam was having a lot of fun with his great grandfather and warmed up to him very well.  He even gave him a kiss.  I couldn't help but give a big smile.

When we got back to the condo, Sam fell asleep on Brian, so I packed us up.  It wasn't too difficult since everything was pretty well packed up from the night before.  We said goodbye to the condo around 3:30pm and headed to the airport.

We ran into some difficulty at  security.  I had forgotten to take out the sunscreen from one of the bags, Sam wet through his diaper, his milk took a long time to be checked and the car seat was a pain in the butt.  We had to rush to get to the plane, which was already boarding.  I wish we took a few extra minutes to grab some real food in the airport, because the only thing that we had in our carry on luggage was Nutri-Grain cereal bars.  A very nutritious dinner (definitely read SARCASM).

Our flight left 25 minutes late because there was a head count issue and, because there were a lot of infants on the plane, 2 people had to take the next flight so that there would be enough life preservers for everyone.  If we would have know when the next flight was to go to Denver we would have volunteered and went back to the condo, but they didn't give us that info until 2 people were already off the plane.  Because of the delay, were were give free live TV for the flight.  Another SCORE!!

Sam wasn't the least bit interested in sleeping during our flight.  We was interested in everything else that was going on around us, including the free TV.  We pumped him full of about 3 cups of milk so the Sandman finally found Sam with about 45 minutes left in the flight.  He crashed hard.  I think that we could have lit him on fire and he wouldn't have woken up. 

We landed in Denver around 8:45 (of course Sam woke up), we verified our ride home Super Shuttle, then headed to baggage clain. 

Sam had a ball in the van on the way home.  He didn't fall back asleep until after we got home around 10:45pm.  Brian and I didn't get to sleep until after 11:15.

And Monday started at 6am for us all.

Have a great week everyone.  Hopefully we will be able to catch up on sleep later this week.

I will post pictures (hopefully) tonight.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Operation Minimize- Week 8 (197-230)

On Tuesday night, I went through a cabinet and a drawer in our bathroom that had a bunch of junk in it.  It was worse than our "junk drawer" in our kitchen.

Before (Back story- 3 years ago I grew out my hair so that I could have an up do for my sister's wedding.  My hair was chopped off shortly after and has not been allowed to grow back)

What Got the Heave Ho (Trash)
  • 1 EPT Test
  • 4 Types of Barrettes
  • 3 Types of Hairbands
  • Around 20 Bobby Pins
  • 6 Buttons
  • Old Makeup

34 More Items Out the Door

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Operation Minimize- Week 8 (Scheduled)

I'm planning on cleaning out a cabinet that is in the bathroom when I get home today.  I know that it has a bunch of stuff that I will never touch again, since I haven't touched things in it since before Sam was born.

I hope to trash at least 7-10 items, one of which is an EPT pregnancy test. 

Does anyone want it?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Operation Minimize- Week 7 (Nada, Nothing, Zip)

Week #7 = BUST

No, not that kind of bust.  I haven't been able to reduce any items from our home this weekend.

I was planning on cleaning off an unused dresser in our loft and having Brian put it downstairs and starting to go through our son's clothing for consignment, but I had other, pressing things going on.

I do still have several items for sale on Craigslist, but they have not sold.
I'm going to reduce the prices to see if I can unload any of these items this week.  Please contact me at wilberta2006@yahoo.com if you would like to buy anything listed above.

Items Still For Sale

I still have quite a few items that I'm selling to support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. All proceeds are 100% tax deductible. 

  • Restaurant Gift Certificates
  • Marathon and Half Marathon Entries
    • Denver, CO
    • Pasadena, CA
    • Laramie, WY
    • Albuquerque, NM
    • Garden City, UT
    • Mesquite, NV
    • Albany, GA
    • Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

  • Triathlon Entries (Sprint and Half Ironman Distances)
    • Longmont, CO
    • Orlando, FL
    • Austin, TX
    • Pleasant Prairie, WI
    • Sandy Hook, NJ
    • Seattle, WA
    • Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Please click HERE to view the details of the sale items. 

Contact me at wilberta2006@yahoo.com if you are interested in purchasing any of the items currently for sale.

Friday, February 18, 2011

5 Questions Friday

We have a couple of trips coming up this month and next, so here is a "5 Questions Friday" to go along with "packing."

1.   How far ahead of time do you begin packing for a weekend trip?
I usually pack the weekend before or the night before.  There is no middle ground with me

2.   What was your most recent purchase of a six-pack?
The last 6-Pack that I purchased must have been over 2 years ago, before our son was born.

3.   What do you look for in a good everyday backpack?
Padded straps, multiple pockets, sturdy zippers, good construction.

4.   Among people you know, who’s the worst packrat?
I would have to say myself.  Of course, with "Operation Minimize" that is changing.

5. How do you know when it’s time to pack it in each evening?
I start to get jumpy and wiggly.  That's my cue to head to bed.

Please copy these questions to your blog. Answer them there, then leave a comment below so we’ll all know where to check out your responses. Please don’t forget to link me from your website!

Thanks for participating, and have a nice weekend!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Very Special Anniversary

Today is the 4th Anniversary of the first day that I quit smoking after 16 years.

I used a product called Chantix by Pfizer for 10 days and I never had another cigarette ever again.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

MGM and Disney VHS Movies for Sale

If you still own a VHS machine and are in need of Disney or MGM Family movies, these movies are in excellent condition as are their cases.
$3 obo for each.

I live in SE Aurora (Tower & Hampden) and work in DTC (I-25 & Belleview). 

  • Wizard of Oz (2 copies)
  • Peter Pan
  • 101 Dalmations
  • Toy Story
  • The Fox & The Hound
  • The Jungle Book
  • Hercules
  • The Lady and the Tramp
  • Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs
  • Aladdin
  • Monster's Inc.
I'm going to use the proceeds to put more money in Sam's college fund.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

6 Weeks Until Toddlerhood

Sam (my son, my baby, my prince, my little guy) is turning 2 EXACTLY 6 weeks from today.

We have been off pacifiers for over a year, but he still takes at least 1 full bottle of milk before bed (usually almost 2). 

Considering he was a very easy baby (no problems with colic, no fights about pacifiers, etc.) I'm okay with him still getting bottles at night.  My husband really wants to get him off the bottle before he hits 2, but I'm okay with keeping him as "my baby."

Of course, I will always picture him like this:

Is This Romantic??

Instead of flowers, candy and dinner out, my husband and I rented Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Are we romantic, or what???

What did you do for Valentine's Day!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Operation Minimize- Week 6 (190-196)

This weekend I was able to sell 2 items that were used while Sam was younger that we don't need anymore.

  1. Baby Bjorn baby carrier and cover (Black)
  2. Motherlove - Goat's Rue- 8 oz. (safety seal intact)

The funds that I received from the sale will be put into Sam's college fund.

I was also able to thin out my magazine collection.  I took 5 Parenting, Parents and Budget Travel magazines to work, so that one of our co-workers could give them to our franchisees for their lobby's.

7 More Items Out the Door

Monday, February 7, 2011

Photo Session Sale

Make Me An Offer!!!

Kelsey Bigelow (our family photographer) has generously donated a 2 hour photo session at the local location of your choice (home, local park, etc.) and $50 in print credit.

That's a $200 package that I would like to sell to raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
$100 obo.

The sale price will be 100% tax deductible.


Fine Print- The session needs to occur from now to February 20 or February 28-March 12.

Please contact me at wilberta2006@yahoo.com to make me an offer.

Operation Minimize- Week 4 (179-189)

During this past week, I went through the dresser that has been in our loft and found some clothing that hasn't seen the light of day for years.

I took this stuff to Goodwill yesterday.

What Got the Heave Ho (Donation)
4 Sweaters
1 Sports Bra
1 Men's Swimsuit
2 Long Sleeve Shirts
1 Pair of Jeans
1 Sleeveless Dress Shirt

I was also able to sell an item of Sam's that the sale price will go into his college fund.

1 Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat Base

11 More Items Out the Door

Friday, February 4, 2011

Organizing Papers

I have been participating in "Operation Minimize" and organizing the space that is left using suggestions from the I'm an Organization Junkie blog.

This week, I have altered the way that I write my daily lists to reduce the amount of papers that are lying on our counter.

Tip #47 in her book, Clutter Rehab: 101 Tips and Tricks to Become an Organization Junkie and Love It!, she suggests to Utilize notebooks and lists.

"Use a notebook to keep track of detailed lists, rather than have Post-it Notes and little scraps of paper all over the house."

I used to keep my "To Do" lists on my Outlook Calendar at work and print out the page at the end of each day.  What a waste of paper.  Now I have an 8.5" x 6.5" spiral-bound notebook where I keep the long term list on the left side of the page and the daily "To Do" list on the right side which can be discarded nightly.  This lets me always see what is on the long term list without having to re-write it every day.

This has reduced the amount of paper all over the counter and all of my long term organization goals are together and can be added to as I see fit.

Also, I spend less time trying to find the page with today's list, since they are all together in the notebook.

I'm so proud of myself.

5 Questions Friday

Hello. Welcome to this week’s Friday 5. Please copy these questions to your blog, answer the questions there, then leave a comment below so we’ll all know where to check out your responses.

1.What’s your favorite kind of cracker?
I'd have to say Ritz.  I don't keep crackers in the house very often, but if I did, that would be the one.

2.What part of your residence gets the best natural lighting?
Our living room.  It faces south and it's the brightest.

3.What song have you frequently listened to lately?
Dive In The Pool Lyrics from the Queer As Folk Season 1 Soundtrack.  It gets me pumped while I run.

4.What could you use a little break from?
Work.  'nuff said.

5.What’s going on in your town this weekend?
There is a free day at the Denver Zoo on Saturday, but the high is supposed to be 32.  Definitely not the best day to be outside for an extended period of time.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

11 Days Left to Solidify your Valentine's Day Plans

I still have discounted restaurant gift certificates. 
Please e-mail me at wilberta2006@yahoo.com if you are interested.

100% of the sale price will benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. All proceeds are 100% tax deductible.  These certificates do not have to be used on Valentine's Day.

Make me an offer.

Cork House Denver Restaurant Gift Certificate (Value $50 or $100)
  • Asking $35 obo for $50
  • Asking $70 obo for $100
The Broker Restaurant Gift Certificate (Value $50 or $100)
  • Asking $35 obo for $50
  • Asking $70 obo for $100

Venue Bistro Gift Certificate (Value $100)
  • Asking $70 obo
Root Down Gift Certificate  (Value $50)

  • Asking $35 obo

If you aren't the one that is making the plans, forward this posting to your SO as a not so subtle hint about where you want to eat on V-Day.