florida 2015


wow. it’s been a long time since i last blogged. i’ll catch you up on all the events of the past year and a half in a separate post. today though i’d like to share our adventures on a little two-week trip we just took to florida.

we drove down to visit family in the villages—yes, we now have family living in florida!! score! if you haven’t heard of the villages, you really need to check it out. go ahead and google it. i’ll wait.

we drove down on a saturday pretty much in time to get in the bed. sunday morning, tripper and i got up and drove a little farther to st. petersburg (tripper was speaking at a conference and i tagged along). y’all—we left the boys! they were in good hands with papa ger’, mamalin, and pompa. and for the first time in seven years, tripper and i had a little weekend recharge.

while we were alone, tripper had a fantastic idea to drive even farther—down to miami—but we needed to pick up the boys for what he had planned. so we headed back to the villages, spent a few days having fun with family and then loaded up the car and drove south.

what was in miami?? well, here’s a clue.


still no idea? here’s another hint. the thing in the blue bag just ate a live chicken.

if you happened to guess snakes, go ahead and pat yourself on the back. you are looking at not one, not two, but three burmese pythons plucked from the wild and safely secured in nothing but 200 thread-count pillow cases. #yikes!

yes. we drove all the way to miami for snakes. you see, alex has developed an infatuation with snakes. he knows everything there is to know and hopes to one day become a herpetologist. um, goody? his favorite tv show is a series called swamp wars. it’s about the miami/dade fire rescue’s venom one response team—a group of very brave souls whose job it is to hunt down deadly snakes in south florida. so we headed down in hopes of laying eyes on them.


we got to meet captain jeff fobb from the show and also got to spend two hours (!!) learning all about the fire rescue team. it was fascinating and so very nice of them all to take us in and show us around.


behind the boys you can see the pharmacy of antivenin ^^^. they had a collection for pretty much every venomous creature you could think of. the boys liked the cobra antivenin the best. naturally.


^^^ that’s the snake that was in the middle bag from above. captain fobb had caught it that morning. my apologies for the shaky picture—i’ve never been that close to a huge musking (read: STINKY) constrictor before and was a little jittery! all four of us touched that snake. omg. for alex.

alex had about a million questions and we all learned a ton. captain fobb was so patient and kind and pretty much showed us everything there was to see. in the next picture captain fobb is explaining a tendon in the snake’s jaw that allows it to spread it’s mouth wide enough to eat an entire chicken.


it’s kind of pretty, right? the snake, not the tendon.

we also got to hold a ball python that lives at the station (he’s used for training). and when i say we, i mean tripper. tripper was the only one brave enough to hold him.


while we were there, we also got to meet the helicopter pilots and the emts that jump out of the choppers into the ocean to save people. amazing.


and finally, the boys got to check out the venom one response truck. happy boys! even max, who is way more into soccer than snakes, loved it!

truck1 truck2 truck3 truck4 truck5

and that was our trip to miami!


we also spent some time at the beach …

beachShoes10615357_10152940102198616_7548424344023004885_n 11401174_10152940103263616_3555036482742778462_n 10494818_10152940106353616_4747301711695815786_n 1613797_10152940105563616_4329783269038194074_n southBeachWaves beach

… caught up with a dear old friend who got to meet the boys for the first time. this is eric …


… and swam like little fish at the insanely beautiful pool at the national hotel …

nationalPool rainShower

then we drove the four (really six) hours back to the villages for another week of snakeless fun. though we did see a slug.




happy christmas 2013

christmas2013santa was good to the allen boys again this year! here’s hoping everyone had a fantastic holiday and that 2014 is filled with great things for us all. beedo, beedo, beedo.

everyday beautiful.

maxBWtripper took this picture of max last night after karate with his new iphone 5. amazing. makes me want to get a new phone, too! max is growing crazy fast right now. he’s eating a lot (note: i have never written that sentence about max before!!) and has been having some growing pains. he seems long and lean these days. way to grow, maxie!!


class pictures.

the boys’ teacher loves to send pictures of the kiddos at school. i love that she loves doing that. these just came today …


a monster truck came to the school on wednesday. the kids were thrilled! look at max INSIDE the tire. ha!easterHatsClassand an easter hat roundup. classic alex right there.

master bedroom before and after.

it’s been seven months since i posted that our room needed an epic makeover. we did not win that contest, but i got motivated to do it myself. i measured twice, went out and bought supplies and then let them sit there on the floor of our bedroom for six and a half months. nice, right?

well, two weeks ago the boys had a surprise spring break. the surprise being that we didn’t know until right before that they didn’t have school. so, i took off a week and got busy. i installed board and batten behind our bed, filled holes, caulked, primed and painted. when spring break was over, i had the wall behind the bed finished and two of the other walls painted. and that’s how it sat for two weeks. not wanting to wait another seven months, i did what anyone too busy would do. i hired someone to finish the job. $80 later and i’m happy to show you our new master bedroom.



i’m so proud that i did that {mostly} by myself. i got inventive and used my noodle in ways i hadn’t in a long time.


the sheep stayed. every bed needs a sheep on it. it’s just funny.


nook shot.


and in case you forgot what it looked like before, here ya go …



of course i’m not quite finished. i want to buy an upholstered bench for under the windows. and maybe something different with the curtains. and some photos around the tv. oh, and a fiddleleaf fig. then it’ll be all finished. i’ll post again when it is.

and speaking of posting … i’ve really been missing doing the blog. my dad suggested perhaps updating weekly. i just might—once i find a new blog home. posterous is closing. sniffle. did you hear? any great blog hosting sites you know of that you’d like to share??


a bedtime story.


tonight for the first time ever, max read the bedtime story out loud! he did it *almost* all by himself.


alex enjoyed listening and is getting excited to try it, too, though he tends to guess at the words based on the picture. those stories are good, too. he is super imaginative. 😉


after carefully sounding out the words, max would go back and re-read the sentences with a little more confidence—enough confidence to make alex squeal with glee!