Thursday, December 17, 2009


December has been a busy month for us this year! We started out with a trip to Virginia to be with our good friend Kara after her dad passed away from a long battle with cancer. It was a sad visit in some ways but it was really nice to see our friend and meet her fiance! We also caught a pretty snowfall, so it was a nice change from the 80 degree weather too! Here we are outside our hotel:

Last night we finally got our Christmas tree (only about a month after we usually do!)! We'll just have to celebrate the season longer this year I guess! We also hung lights on the house for the first time this year. Last year we were painting the exterior so it didn't get done. It's a simple light display but it won't run up the power bill either!

And, this is a photo worth posting. Our dog never sits still for 5 seconds but she was so good for the camera!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving update!

This year we have so much to be thankful for! The last two days have been spent in the company of some of the most important people in our lives. Wednesday we hosted a celebration of the holiday with over 20 of our closest friends. Yesterday we journeyed over to Tampa to celebrate and eat again! with my side of the family as Rusty's parents and grandparents were in Alabama for the holiday. We felt so blessed for not only the company but also the abundance of food, our heath and wellbeing.

On another note, last week was Rusty's last week at Cubic Defense. He was laid off with all of the other contract workers. We are hoping for an offer for full time work from the company in the new year. In the meantime, he is back at Greenway Ford managing the Quick Lube on Friday and Saturdays. Thank goodness for nursing!!

We hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Surgery, remodel and more!

So, it's been almost a month since my surgery and everything is going well! I am back to work and getting around ok but still need to rest a lot and not yet ready for biking or rollerblading. I am having physical therapy 2 times a week and seem to be making pretty good progress! As happy as I am to be this far along, I can't wait to be pain free and exercising again!!

Flowers from my Dad and Jim after surgery!

As for Rusty, things have been going really well in school! He made a 96% on his first Biology test and a 92% on the lab practical!! I am so proud of him!!! Not only is school going well, he is also loving work. Most recently, he was chosen to test a product his company was trying to market to potential buyers. They got to choreograph a whole battle scene and dress up in full gear and shoot simulator weapons at each other. I don't quite understand the thrill it but he really enjoys it : )

Besides being busy at work and school, Rusty also finished our floor installation (all 3 bedrooms) with his dad in just 3 weeks! Talk about staying busy! But now the laminate is finally in and looks AMAZING!! It has been super easy to maintain and we are so glad it's finally done. Of course, we have several more projects lined up...but isn't that how it always is with a house? Anyway, they'll have to wait for the budget to grow and some time to relax and enjoy!

Earlier this week I also hosted a baby shower for my good friend Boni! She is expecting a baby girl right around Thanksgiving!! Can't wait to meet her!

The next thing on our agenda is a trip to Alabama to visit Rusty's grandparents (with a possible side trip to UWF?!) More later!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The living room is done!



Furniture's in!!

Well, not to say that installation was easy, but it's done!! The first 3 rows were very difficult for us but once we got the hang of things, it went fairly quickly. We had some pretty tough cuts up by the entryway and that took some time but in a week, it was done : ) Overall very happy with the results. Although, I never want to paint another baseboard again...oh wait, we have 3 more rooms to go!! (At least they are small...) Rusty is hanging in there with his classes and new job. His first Biology test in Monday so keep him in your thoughts!! Guess we better buckle down and study this weekend : ) As for Monday, I'll be in surgery for my knee. More later...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

...and then there was tile!

Starting last Wednesday we have been tiling the kitchen. When I say we, I mean the dog and me! While Rusty was lucky enough to be off at work I decided to tile the kitchen. Besides the temporary insanity and the nightmares about cutting and re-cutting tiles, it went well! The first day, I laid all the full tiles. The second day I spent 12 hours on the cut tiles and didn't even finish! Rusty helped at the end of the 3rd day cutting the more difficult ones then I mortared them in place. The 4th day was spent on the grout (only a couple hrs total!). Then Rusty and his dad cut and nailed in the baseboards and the following day I caulked them in place and touched up with some bright white paint! In exactly a week our kitchen is transformed. I've never been so happy to do laundry before (wonder how long that will last!?). Check out the progress in our photo album...laminate.



This weekend we plan to FINALLY start on the laminate. It seems the leaks are fixed...cross your fingers! I put so much caulk on those stupid windows. I'm learning houses are literally held together with nothing other than caulk...who knew?

Other than that..nothing much going on. Rusty is busy with this new work/school schedule. He is finally understanding the fatigue and exhaustion that comes with rising before 5am : )

Keep your fingers crossed for us for a smooth laminate laying weekend!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

BIG News!!

Oh where to begin!? So much has happened in the past few weeks it's hard to keep up! Most importantly, Rusty has a new job!! He has been searching hard for the past few months and had a bite with Disney a few weeks back but no positions were available. Finally, he has found something! His last day at Greenway Ford will be Friday. He starts with a company called Cubic on Monday morning!

Cubic is a company that takes weapons, guns, etc. and disassembles them and converts them into simulator training weapons for use in the military, police academies, ect. The starting pay isn't bad and there are opportunities to advance, good retirement, great benefits and once an employee for some time they will reimburse 90% of the cost of tuition to the school of his choice! The hours are 6am-3:30pm 4 days one week and 5 the next week to make his 80 hour paycheck. He doesn't have to work weekends or holidays (where can I sign up??)! Keep him in your thoughts as he starts his new job AND his first day in school both start Monday!!

Next, I spent a few days traveling to Pensacola to see my sister at the University of West Florida. Who knew you could drive for 8 hours and STILL be in the state of Florida? I was lucky enough to stay with her and her roommate in the dorms, helping her get settled in and checking out the town! Her major is Exercise Science and she started classes Monday. From what I hear she has also joined the swim team! Never and idle moment... Makes me think back to my time in college and hard to believe that ended 2 years ago!

...Now I'm grown up, own my own home and am dealing with the disaster that is our home right now! After paying to have the leaks diagnosed on our back door and window, we spent hours caulking and hoping that they were fixed. Although, after a hard rain we were STILL leaking! Yesterday, they came back out and found still more leaks and potential future leaks. Looks like there is still a lot more work to be done : (

While we await the drying and testing of the new caulk, we have started work on the tile. We decided since the house is already a disaster, why not tear up some more while we're at it? The kitchen is the next on the list. Dannis so nicely came over and showed us how to tile the foyer area. As of this morning it's DONE!!!! We have successfully completed one of our many projects! Next week we will tile the kitchen and hopefully the week after the leaks will be fixed and the laminate will finally be laid in the main living area. Keep checking back for updates on the madness!

In the midst of all this, my bum knee that has been a bother for the past year and a half, is finally going to the OR. After another visit to the doctor, my knee has continued to crack and grind, and hurt! We decided surgery is the best option. It is a simple outpatient procedure that will happen on October 5th. I will be taking a week and a half off from work to recover. Keep me in your thoughts and hope that this fixes the problem!!

Our next trip will be the end of September up to Tennessee to visit our friend Kara. Looking forward to some hiking (gotta get that in before surgery...haha) and catching up with my friend!

Friday, August 7, 2009


First, we have come and gone to the Bahamas on the Royal Caribbean cruise with Rusty's parents. We really enjoyed ourselves and got in some much needed sleep and relaxation (and tons of delicious food)!

Second, I have, once again gotten a wild hair and decided that now is the time to replace our carpet with laminate. It is such a good thing that Rusty understands my madness....or puts up with the insanity is more like it. In any case, the carpet is gone...yay! I spent the last 2 days tearing up carpet, pad, tack strips and baseboards from our main living area and entry way. It was strangely therapeutic...somehow I don't think the install will be as easy! Besides 2 huge piles of dirt and sunflower seeds behind the walls, I also discovered 3 areas of rotted tack strips from water leaks. We think some of these were repaired from painting the house and re-caulking the windows but didn't really expect to find all that : ( Good thing we started early.

Our 50 boxes of laminate have arrived and install should start next Sunday. In the meantime we are touching up our paint job (finally) from when we moved in last year, cutting back the drywall and trying to repair the areas that might leak and ruin our new floors! Keep checking back for updates : )

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Florida Keys and more...

So we finally packed up the car and headed to the Keys with Paige and Brooke. Well, we maybe should have waited longer, like until the winter! While we had a good time together it was unbearably hot and humid! Although, we did have a beautiful view of the ocean right on our campsite! Each morning we woke up to the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore, and the buzzing of mosquitoes in our tent (haha)! After settling in our first night we experienced a torrential downpour which flooded the girl's tent. A typical camping adventure for us, this was all new for Brooke! We promised her it wasn't always so miserable!

Sunset in Key West

The next day we hoped in the car and headed for Key West. We spent the day sight seeing and stayed for the sunset celebration on the pier. We returned home late that evening. The next day we drove around in the car and enjoyed the AC mostly. We finally found a "beach" that got deeper than 2 1/2 feet deep! Actually, it was more just a pull off on the side of the highway, but we enjoyed the water and even a picnic lunch. We all decided that we would leave late that night instead of sweating out another night in the tent. Little did we know there was 40 miles of bumper to bumper traffic awaiting us that night! Honestly, all in all we enjoyed ourselves. However, next time we camp in the Keys it won't be in June!!!

View of a water spout from our campsite!

I started on night shift last week and so far, I've survived! It's going to take some time to adjust to the creative sleeping pattern but it's definitely going to work out for the next few years. It has been nice in a way, giving me more time at home with my family. Mostly, I am able to exercise Layla a lot more and be home with her in the daytime, even though I am usually asleep.

One thing I have been able to enjoy is my mini-garden. While my bean plant didn't make it, my tomato plant is doing well and is producing yummy cherry tomatoes! It is so nice to go outside and pick them fresh for dinner! Also thriving are the basil and oregano plants. Along with the extra "me" time, I've also decided to give back a little. I toured the shelter that brought Layla to us in preparation for volunteering with them a few days per month. I'll be helping out with the dogs, bathing, walking and whatever else needs doing!

This summer we are learning the joys of home ownership! This winter we painted the house and thought that would be all the home improvement we'd be doing for awhile. Last month we came home from the Keys to a sauna, inside the house! Luckily, Dannis works with an AC company on the side and they were able to help temporarily fix the air. Unfortunately, we need to replace the outdoor unit this summer. Not to mention the hell Layla has put our carpet though in the last few months she's been a part of our family! Replacing the carpet is a close second our our list of home repairs this summer! Yikes! Looks like that extra cash from night shift will be put to use sooner than later!!

This weekend we are looking forward to a vacation with Rusty's parents. We are taking a 3 night cruise to the Bahamas!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Since our last posting we have done some exciting things! Paige graduated high school at the end of May. We were happy to come together as a family and watch the last of the 3 siblings graduate! Paige plans to attend the University of West Florida in Pensacola in the fall! We were also happy to spend a few short days with my dad during the weekend!

Rusty celebrated his 26th birthday on June 1st. We had a small get together with friends to celebrate. Rusty has also done a job shadow at the hospital with a respiratory therapist. He plans to attend Valencia Community College in the fall to begin work on his pre-requisites for the Respiratory Care program at Valencia the following January (2011). This program lasts 2 years. In the meantime, he will have to quit his job at Greenway Ford as early as this spring. As a result, I have taken a position on the night shift on my unit starting in July. This will be a nice change of pace but I am still a little nervous about the change in sleep schedules. However, my friends and co-workers (and Rusty of course) have been very supportive of me during this transition.

Next weekend, we are taking Paige on a long awaited trip to the Keys. We will be camping there for three nights to celebrate her graduation from high school....Can't wait!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Disney Cruise

So, our long awaited vacation has finally come...and gone! We left town on my birthday after a great night at Bahama Breeze with friends. On Saturday, we left Cape Canaveral on the Disney Magic for our Western Caribbean Cruise.

Here I am in Key West!

Our planned stops were Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Castaway Cay. Due to the threat of swine flu we lost of Mexican port and visited Nassau instead. In Key West we explored the city via a walking GPS tour. It was nice to walk at our own pace and were able to stop at the shops and eat lunch. We even walked a total of 2 and a half miles to the southern most point of the US! In Grand Cayman, we were on a bus tour to "Hell" a unique rock formation, and a stop at the turtle farm. We later discovered that the turtle farm harvests the turtles for meat! Yikes, wish we didn't participate in that! But all in all it was a beautiful place to visit!

We celebrated our third anniversary with a special dinner at Palo.

In Nassau we swam with stingrays and laid out on the beach. At Castaway Cay, our favorite stop, we snorkeled and enjoyed paradise! Overall, we did a lot of relaxing, laying out by the beach and sleeping!! As always, check out our photo album!

Sunset on the boat.

Now that we are home we are back at work...woo hoo! We are excited however, about Rusty's future career path. He has decided to start back to school in the fall to study Respiratory Therapy. He will do a shadow at the hospital next week just to make sure this is for him. He is really looking forward to this change in careers.

Rusty's birthday is coming up the first of next month! Looking forward to that!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A day at the Dog Beach

Here we are trying to get Layla in the picture too!

Last week Rachel and I took Layla to the beach for the first time! It was a beautiful day with a nice breeze. The beach is located on the intercostal waterway at New Smyrna beach. We saw dolphins, sting ray and lots of other sea life. Layla seemed to have a good time, although she would have had more fun if she could run free! Can't wait to go again soon!
On Friday we'll be leaving for our cruise! Only 5 more days!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Easter and Prom

On Easter we enjoyed spending time with both families. First we visited my side of the family and enjoyed a nice brunch. We also decided to let Layla swim in the pool. It took some encouraging but she finally got dunked by Rusty and then decided she liked it! Then we went over to Rusty's family's cookout at the lake. It was really good BBQ from the slow cooking grill Joe made...yumm!

This past weekend Paige went to her senior prom! She was so pretty and grown up and brought back a lot of good memories!

Today I took Layla to the dog park but we got rained out after only a few minutes. She has been doing really well playing with other dogs. Her favorite thing to do there is play fetch with the ball in the water!

Right now things are tough with Rusty's job since the economy is so bad. We are still saving up very slowly for a new car for me (hopefully mine will hold out long enough!) and our carpet desperately needs replacing. We are considering laying hardwood this summer if time and the budget permit.

Less than 2 weeks until we leave for vacation (and my birthday!) More later...

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Last weekend Rusty and I went camping with a few friends in Ocala. This is the first trip we have also brought Layla along! It was a lot of fun and I think Layla enjoyed the outdoors but was also really happy to get home!! Mike and Michelle were there with their son Michael, now 5 months old. It was really cute to see the two of them interacting. Layla was wild and crazy as always but surprisingly gentle with the baby! Michael was just trying to grab the dog's nose and eat it!

Friday night was nice and we enjoyed some time at the spring Saturday. We also went hiking and as always, enjoyed great food! Saturday night we awoke to a storm with thunder and lightning! The campsite was drenched by morning and we headed home. All in all it was a pretty typical camping adventure! When we got home we discovered Layla was covered in ticks (and I had 2 on me too!) Gross!

Last week we learned that Jim's father passed away after a battle with cancer. Nolan, Paige and I attended the funeral and enjoyed hearing stories about his life. Although it was a sad day, it was nice to see our family.

Random thoughts: Today I spent some time in the backyard planting basil, oregano, tomatoes and green beans. I have them in little starter trays and haven't quite decided what to do with them when they are grown yet! I am excited to see some green sprouts on my pineapple plant I thought I surely killed in a frost this winter! Today is truly the perfect Florida day. There is sunshine, blue skies and a nice cool breeze!

That's all for now. As of today, less than 1 month until the cruise! (26 days, but who's counting?)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Trip to Vermont!

Finally sitting down to write about our trip to Vermont! Earlier this month we traveled to Vermont to visit my dad. It was a nice get away from the routine we'd been falling into. When we first arrived we checked out a house dad was listing and helped take pictures. It was a plain house with the most spectacular view! It was right off of the (now frozen) Lake Champlain! Dad finally convinced us to go out on the ice which was "at least a foot thick!" In the end I'm really glad I went out there!

In our visit we also spent time in downtown Burlington and traveled to Stowe, a local ski town. We checked out a lot of the little stores in town (much to Rusty's delight...!). I even convinced Rusty to eat at a local diner called Bee's Knees who served the best burgers we'd ever eaten! Everything there is organic and fresh. The restaurant used produce from the local farms in their dishes. Other than that we spent a lot of time relaxing! After a rainfall mid-trip we had a few inches of snow to wake up to the morning of our departure! As always, our trip was great!!

Other than that, not much has been going on with us. Layla is a challenge and a joy at the same time! She is a very high energy dog that requires lots of exercise, more than most I'm pretty sure! But I never knew how nice it would be to have someone waiting for you when you come home (besides a wonderful husband : )! She is getting better with her training and has really turned into quite the swimmer! She goes crazy for the tennis balls at the dog park and would run for hours if we let her!

We are eagerly awaiting our next May we are leaving for our long-awaited trip to Mexico! Can't wait!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Keeping Busy

Well, it's hard to believe it's already half way through February! Rusty and I have been very busy already this year. At the end of January we enjoyed a visit from our friend Kara from Tennessee. Since we are all working people it was a short visit but we hope to go up for our own short visit soon! Here is a picture of us sunbathing in January....oh how I love Florida!

Rusty's grandfather was recently hospitalized for a heart attack. He was flight lifted to ORMC, not Florida Hospital where I work. Working in a cardiac ICU, of course I was right up there nosing my way into things making sure he was getting the best care. After repairing the blockages with several stents, he suffered a small stroke! The nurses at ORMC were great and his care was excellent there. He is home now and doing well. It was nice to see how everyone came together during his week in the hospital.

Each Sunday night Rusty and I are attending FPU (Financial Peace University) at a local church. Our friends Mike and Michelle urged us to come to this 13 week course on financial management. The class discusses basic concepts of paying off and staying out of debt, building an emergency fund and building long term wealth. Some things we knew and were doing, some things we knew and weren't doing and others things we have learned have helped us tremendously. It has been great for not only our finances but also our marriage. Opening the lines of communication about money has really decreased stress and increased our feelings of teamwork!

During the past few months the economy was worrisome but not overly so. It was always just a news story on TV. This week Rusty had a mandatory meeting at work and we were almost certain he would be laid off. Luckily, Rusty still has a job but has had to take a 10% pay cut from an already decreased income. Later that day there were many people that did lose their job. Everyday, I am more and more thankful for my job. No matter how hard of a day I had, I can rest knowing I HAVE a job that many do not.

Lastly, we attended a wedding of a friend of mine from nursing school, Erika. It was a beautiful wedding and we had a great time. I was also glad to have the company of my friend Boni and her husband otherwise we wouldn't have known anyone there! Here is a picture of us at the reception near the beach!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Finally...a cold day in January

Not much happening this month. Right now I am enjoying a day off sitting in front of my friend Michelle's fireplace. Really one of the few days in Florida to enjoy one! I am watching her baby Michael, while she sleeps after a long night of work. I am feeling surprisingly capable...haha. I have 5 close friends who are either pregnant or have just had babies (Happy Birthday Kaitlyn!). So, there will be plenty of babysitting opportunities in my future!

Also of importance, my dad came for a visit early this month and stayed for a week. We had a great time and it was kind of fun to play grown up and have a place to offer your dad to stay! We spent a lot of time visiting family while he was here and really just relaxing! In March we will be visiting him!

Rusty is eagerly awaiting next week since he will be taking some vacation time. It's one of those, use it or lose it deals. He plans to clean up the garage but I have some time off next week too so I think we'll end up just goofing off! Kara comes into town at the end of next week so that should also be a lot of fun. That's all for now!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year and a great 2009. Also, I finally have a picture of our house painted! I also placed it in the before and after folder so we can track our progress!