Thursday, June 12, 2008

Graduations and vacation!

Yes, both my middle nieces graduated this spring. It was a great experience to watch them both walk boldly across their respective stages and grasp the future and move on to the next part of the journey of their lives.

Then, it was time to head to Florida with Katy and her friend Shelby. (A trip for Allison and her family is scheduled for the fall) We left Sunday after church and this was a huge contrast to my expedition with Kristin & Kaylie a couple of years before.

First big difference - amount of luggage. When we took this trip with K&K in 06 - the car was packed so thick that I could not see out the back window. They took EVERYTHING they owned. They took Dresses!! They took 15 pair of sunglasses! It was aMAYzing!

K&S each had one piece of luggage. One. Piece of luggage. I had no problem seeing out the back of the car. There were no dresses and each had one pair of sunglasses. Hilarious. The trip started off great with my meeting Shelby's parents before I scampered off with the girls down 65 South. They were nice people and seemed to believe I was not going to turn into an ax-murderer. Or a slave-trader.

We hit the road and made our first stop just on this side of the state line for lunch... at which time Katy realized she needed to make a quick stop at a drug store and so we were delayed about 15 minutes. Then we made our second stop at the Alabama rest stop (with the big rocket) for a potty break and the first of the gift giving extravaganza.

We were tooling along rather nicely until we got just south of Birmingham where we (and everyone else on 65S) came to a complete stop because of a car accident. We pulled over towards the median to let emergency vehicles through and rolled down the windows and parked the car. Since we were stopped - it was time for gift two... the paddle ball! (It really doesn't take much to make people happy)

We stopped for gas and food in Troy, Alabama (with more gift giving) and then not again until we actually hit the beach! We rolled out of the car, in through the condo, out the sliding doors and onto the beach while the sun was just beginning to set! It was lovely. Great winds coming off the Gulf and lots of people still strolling up and down the sand. We spent a few minutes there enjoying the moment and stretching our legs before we went back to the condo to unload the car.

Then we sat down and went over the rules:

1) We don't do anything illegal. Which means we don't consume alcohol (they are both under 21) and we don't purchase or consume tobacco products (again, under 21)

2) We don't consume any illegal substances whatsoever.

3) We don't drink ANYthing that someone else hands us. We drink only our drinks or something we watch a waiter prepare for us.

4) We don't go into a boy's condo and boys don't come into ours. We can talk with boys at the pool or beach, but no going into another's area.

They were great with the rules and we hit the nearest Publix for perishable foods then came back to crash. I had the bedroom - they had the sofa that pulls out into a bed. They went back to the beach before bed and I crashed as soon as they returned.

We spent the days at the pool and at the beach and we spent the evenings playing putt putt or hanging on the beach. It was good times. We ate at Pineapple Willy's on Monday night - because you just CAN'T go there without eating at Pineapple Willy's. Then we ate at the Boatyard - which just was not a great experience. Katy & I had enjoyed it the summer before with all the rest of the family, but this time the food just was not great. The scenery is pretty and it made for a fabulous shot of the two girls - but we should have gone to the Treasure Ship (another fam fave) instead.

We went to the maze - and I won! Of course! The girls even decided that it would be two against one. The youth against the old lady and they entered the maze a full 60 seconds before me. I left the maze a full 7 minutes before them. It was great fun. I hope that when I am 80 I will still enjoy that family tradition. Of course, the walker will slow me down, but that's okay!

We did a little shopping before we left town. Not a whole lot. We all got henna tattoos on our right ankle of three stars. Katy had planned to get a tattoo similar to her sister's (who got hers here two years prior) but she lost a bet with her father as to who would win American Idol. So, we had to settle for henna ones with glitter over them from Alvin's Magic Island. Big fun there!

That was our trip. It was a lot of fun and without any drama. Plenty of memories to go around for a while. Now back to the grind of our daily lives!


Mary said...

Sounds very relaxing. I'm so glad you can do that with your girls.

Ashli said...


melissa said...

Hi there,

I'm a health reporter for, and I stumbled across your blog while I was researching a story on "henna hazards."

Dermatologists are saying they're increasingly treating people with skin reactions from a harmful chemical in some henna tattoos.

The allergic reaction causes your skin to redden, swell and blister, but only where your henna tattoo is. So, essentially, you're left with a big swirly, flowery BLISTER. In some cases, it's even bad enough to permanently scar or darken the skin!

I'd love to get your take on these freaky skin reactions. Ever experienced any itchiness or redness from a henna tattoo? Or, if not, after knowing this about the potential crazy reaction, would you get a henna tattoo again?

If you're interested, e-mail me at and we'll set up a time to chat over the phone.

Thanks so much!
Melissa Dahl
Associate health editor,