We were up before dawn this morning for our manatee swim. After much research I settled on Air Tank Divers in Homosassa, Florida. The manatee flock to the warmer spring fed Homosassa River in the winter months. After an informative briefing of government rules & regulations we were fitted for our wetsuits. They were a must for us humans in the 72 degree waters.
After a few “tall tales” from Captain Don & his wife and we were there. A decent size cove, no bigger than a football field full and of manatees. With only eleven in our group there were plenty of manatees to go around.
In the water we surrounded by these curious and awkwardly graceful creatures. They approached with caution but with a simple scratch they would roll over and let you give them a good belly rub. We watched mothers nursing calves, cows cleaning the anchor lines & boat hull and big bulls just looking for some lovin. A sweet manatee loving named Chester the Molester won our hearts. It is thought that he lost his mother at a young age because he always looking for someone to cuddle with. And it’s no joke he literally wants to spoon with you and suck your neck. Matt and I both got an up-close and personal experience. At one point Chester wrapped his flippers around my waist and nuzzled my chest.
The entire experience was spectacular. The fact that these were wild animals in the natural habitat made it priceless.
To top things off we spotted a pod of dolphin on the way back in.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
We stopped off for a couple hours at Disney on our way to Ellenton. We didnt have the time for a park but we did take a loop on the monorail. We stopped off at Grand Floridian and saw the huge gingerbread house; the delicious smell fills the lobby.
Pony rides at Ft Wilderness. Then over to Wilderness Lodge for lunch at Whispering Canyon and a hidden mickey hunt.
Monday, December 27, 2010
We have enjoyed our stay in Mt Dora, Florida. We ate, shopped, and played tons of Uno & Skipbo. Last night we played laser tag and did the ropes course at Wonder Works before taking in the comedy and magic show.
Today the kids did the bungee bounce. Sydney was awesome, mastering the punch front double back tuck.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Happy Holidays!! We ventured to Mt. Dora this Christmas to share the holiday to Mom, Dad, Angie & David.
Santa delivered a Dip & Dot machine to Sydney and Mater Tall Tales DVD & Wii game for Andrew. I was very excited for them to open the Krazy Kar I found online. I had one growing up. Its sort of a cross between the Big Wheel & Sit and Spin. We played with that thing for years until the wheels were octagon shaped and full of gravel. They excitedly ripped open the "big present" and sulked with disappointment. It wasnt the trampoline they so desperately wanted. Andrew said "thats not what I wanted". My spirited were slightly dampened but no worries I will keep it all for myself.
We are headed to the park to enjoy the beautiful Florida weather. Happy Holidays Everyone!
Saturday, November 27, 2010
With Mom and Dad finally selling their house, I had the responsibility of hosting Thanksgiving dinner. But, all went well despite the fact that I forgot to begin thawing the 20 pound bird until 3 days prior. With Cheng joining us for dinner this year we decided to serve a very traditional meal; turkey, Mom's stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and cornbread. After we showed him how to decorate the tree.
Monday, November 08, 2010
Sydney & Matt along with their father/daughter group spent the weekend camping at Camp YNoah. As temperatures plummeted and snow began they were thankful to have a nice warm cabin to sleep in instead of a tent.
During their 3 day adventure they had campfires, went horseback riding, ziplining, conquered a climbing course, tried out the riffle range and made some crafts.
Monday, November 01, 2010
This year we shared our Halloween traditions with Cheng Cheng a Kent State student from China. We volunteered as a host family through their International Department. They match up international students with local families to help students learn about American family life. Cheng is a graduate student in Kent's Liquid Crystal Institute. Although he speaks excellent English, this is his first time traveling outside China & has been living on campus since August.
We decided a visit to Kingsway Pumpkin Farm would be pretty "Americana". Hayrides, corn maze, pumpkin picking, and hot chocolate were all new experiences for Cheng. We all had a great time then headed home to carve our pumpkins.
Although many of our caving tools broke we still created some great pumpkins and Cheng did an excellent job for his first time. Afterwards we had a delicious Italian dinner & Matt and Cheng went to the Cavs game.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
The kids took on new sports this fall. Andrew has been taking swim lessons at the Y since he was two. I will confess I did lie and say he was 3 so he could progress out of the Mommy & Me class early. Shhh!! I was in his best interest though and he did progress quickly through the levels. But, this fall he decided to give soccer a try. His team got off to a slow start but at this weekends final game Andrew scored 2goals!
Sydney also switched sports on us this year. After 3 years of NEO All Star Cheerleading she made the move to gymnastics. With all her tumbling skills the floor exercise came naturally to her but she now had to master the balance beam & uneven parallel bars. Grandpa helped out by constructing the necessary equipment and this weekend she had her first "mini meet". The judges score each gymnasts separately against the standard for their ability level. Sydney is currently a level 3 and received two silver medals on bars & beam and a gold medal on floor exercise. Hooray!
Monday, September 20, 2010
The whole family attended Korean Culture Camp this past weekend in Columbus. Culture camps give adopted children the opportunity to learn about their culture directly from the source. They broke the kids up by age group and Korean counselors led them through various activities. They painted Korean masks on rice paper, learned Korean games & drumming, wrote their names in Hangul, took a Tae Kwon Do & language classes. We also enjoyed a traditional meal. Yummo!
We were also had the opportunity to see Claire again. Matt and I escorted her to the US last February. She was just as bright and beautiful as we remembered her. Below is a picture of Sydney & Claire dressed in their hanboks.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Boy, I am late getting this posted but Happy 34th Birthday Matt!! Wish I could say Matt celebrated in grand style. Unfortunately, he worked all day then came home to a vomiting 5 year old. Poor Andrew was sick all evening and Matt stayed with him while I shuttled Sydney to gymnastics and attended Andrew's kindergarten parents night. What a good guy!
He did get some very nice gifts though. I venture to guess the vuvuzela was his favorite. He has really enjoyed sneaking up on the kids and giving it a blow.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The first day of kindergarten has finally arrived!!!! Andrew has been anxiously awaiting this day for months now. His preschool teacher said he was more than prepared to take on the challenge.
I am not sure what was more exciting for him; starting school or riding the bus. He hopped on, gave us the a thumbs up and off he went.
North Canton Kindergarten is still half day / everyday so Andrew was back home by 12 noon. His bright smile told all as he pulled up. He told us all about art class, playing with Claire at recess and the Kissing Hand book at storytime.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Sydney started third grade today! She was so pleased to be assigned to Mrs McDaniel's classroom. She has been teaching for 31 years and runs a pretty tight ship so Sydney should thrive in that structured environment.
What she was wearing was a big concern this year. She picked out this shirt with Grandma Franny and we found the cutest polka dot lunch bag.
When she returned home she was not overly chatty about her day (not unusual). We are just happy to get anything more than, "fine". She was excited to tell us about changing classrooms for science and social studies.
Friday, August 20, 2010
What an exciting day. We joined my mom this morning for a trip to the Akron Zoo. Sydney looked adorable all dressed up in her zookeeper outfit that aunt Leah gave her.
After a hearty lunch at Luigi's we headed over to the school to find out what teachers they had. Excitement was in the air as they raced to the doors and frantically searched for their names. Andrew got Mrs Steepleton for kindergarten. Sydney is in Mrs McDaniel's third grade class. Both were very happy, thankgoodness. :)
Sunday, August 15, 2010
On August 15th South Korea commemorates its victory over Japan Day, which liberated Korea from Japanese rule. To celebrate the Korean American Association of Greater Cleveland hosts an annual picnic at the Brecksville Metroparks. This is a great opportunity to amerce Andrew is his culture as 300-500 Korean Americans from all over Cleveland attend.
The addition of entertainment was a nice touch this year. There were musicians, taekwondo demonstrations, bouncy houses, and karaoke. The raffle is our favorite; we won some hot pepper paste, half gallon of soy sauce and 40 pounds of rice!
I was thrilled to see the Lim's also in attendance. Matt and I escorted their daughter Joanna home from Korea in February. She was beautiful and brings so much joy to her new parents. :)
I want to extend a big thank you to the KAAGC for the warm welcome to all the adoptive families in attendance. And to our friends, the Choe / Lubin Families who spoiled my kids all day.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
School supplies, haircuts, new shoes. We are getting ready to head back to school. Andrew is ecstatic and ready to jump on the bus at this very moment. For Sydney on the other hand, school does not come easy, compounded by separation anxiety makes her very apprehensive. In an effort to eleviate some of her tension we decided to throw a back to school bonfire for her & some of her friends.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
A big thank you to the Wood Family for the tickets to this years Hall of Fame Game. For Andrew and I it was our first NFL game. The weather was hot and we were very thankful to be on the shaded side of the stadium.
Sydney spent quite sometime searching the field for Chad Ochocinco from Dancing with the Stars. Andrew had Claire! :) Both were ready to leave once the snacks ran out.
Sunday, August 08, 2010
Bonfires & smores with the neighbors has become beloved weekend tradition. Last night we decided to expand the idea and erected four campsites spanning across the yards and had a camp out. The kids had a blast pitching tents and piling in all the sleeping bags, air mattresses and flashlights.
Sunday, August 01, 2010
The Lavelle side of the family ascended upon our home this weekend. Matt's sisters, boyfriend Bill and beagle Ry from Chicago arrived for opening night of "Jake's Dilemma". A play written by Matt's Dad, Greg that was produced and performed by the Dover Players in North Olmsted.
Jake’s Dilemma is a fantastic little comedy that takes place in a 50’s style diner in Arizona near “Area 51”, known for its alien sightings. A paranoid old man, Jake (played by Greg Lavelle), the owner of the diner, holds hostage a young couple who he believes to be from outer space.
The weekend festivities continued with a BBQ, Hall of Fame Balloon Festival and bonfire!!!