Archive for August 2011

Reunion Vacation: The Final Week

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

As I sit here looking at the photos below, I have decided it's time to upgrade to a new camera. Sorry the images are so poor. And since we're poor, I doubt I'll get that camera.......anyway, back to the vacation.....

On Monday morning of our final week, we bid goodbye to Aunt Nancy and Uncle Jim and heading north to Hotlanta. And boy was it hot alright. Atlanta is a different kind of hot than Florida. There is no ocean breeze. In fact, nothing even resembling a breeze exists in this region. But since it's home to Chick-Fil-A we won't hold a silly thing like a sweltering outdoors against them. Plus, it's also where my cousin and her family call home. As much as I loved seeing all of my hubby's family, I have to admit that I was looking forward to being with "my people." And meeting the newest member of their family, Mr. Ty.

We spent all day stopping at Trey's customers and got an hour south of Atlanta just before rush hour. Fortunately this was where our friends, Mike & Karen currently live. We wanted to try and see them if time allowed but were a little unsure since 12 years had lapsed since our last meeting. You just never know. I'm happy to report it was a wonderful reunion. The four of us became friends back in Charlotte in 1995 B.K. (before kids) Shortly after our firstborns arrived in 1997, they left for Iowa City and never looked back. We kept in touch through Christmas cards and now thanks to Facebook we communicate more frequently. Their three boys are pretty much in sync with ours in terms of age, personality and athletic interests. You'd think the six of them were separated at birth. We reminisced about our younger days and concurred that we were all clueless back then and at our current maturity level, we still don't know much more--we're just more willing to admit it. It was a gargantuan feat to tear our kids away but by 8:30 we were on the road again to Todd and Natalie's.

Tuesday we enjoyed getting to know sweet little Ty and his charming personality. We all loved being around a baby and everyone took their turn at feeding him his rice cereal and making him smile--which wasn't hard to do. Wednesday we got out of their hair and spent the day at Six Flags over Georgia. Their neighbor, Savannah, whom Ian met last summer during his stay, joined us and showed us the ropes like a true frequent visitor. (pictures are on Trey's phone and he hasn't downloaded them yet). After a full day of "high thrill rides" as they call them, we headed north to have dinner with a childhood friend of Trey's. The kids weren't thrilled about another 90 minutes in the car until we arrived to find a fellow middle school guy and a beautiful "Georgia Peach" the same age as Quinn. Let me just say that the 3,000 miles between them is probably a very good thing.

On Thursday morning, Natalie's younger sister Andrea came over to spend the day with us. She recently relocated to the Atlanta area after a recent mission trip to Cambodia. (Again, pictures are on Trey's phone since my lame camera's batteries died for the 10th time) We left in the late afternoon and made a pit stop back at the Koenig's. We enjoyed dinner and more reminiscing and got talked into staying overnight.

Friday we hit the road back to Amelia with some detours visiting Trey's customers and two Chick-fil-A stops. We arrived safe and sound after braving two hours of horrendous thunderstorms and turned in for the night.

On Saturday the boys hit the beach and Mimi and I hit the movie theater to see "The Help." We had both read the book and were crazy about it so it only seemed fitting to share a day watching it on the big screen. If you haven't seen it yet, plan to. One of the best screenplays adapted from a book I have ever seen. Uncle Mike and Jenn joined us for one last dinner together which was perfect.

Our last day found us parked at the beach and playing to our heart's content. By 3:00 a thunderstorm made its way overhead and we were forced to leave. We ended the day grilling burgers and playing a family game of Farkle.

We flew out the next day with very large pieces of our hearts left behind. They say you know it's a good vacation when you don't want to leave. Judging by the fact that no one said "I can't wait to go home" I'd say it was pretty fabulous.

We love our Iannuzzi family.

Ian showing Trey the ropes of badminton.

Sweet baby Ty.

Mike & Karen who look the same as when we last saw them.

Ian tries his hand at the morning feeding and Ty is amused.

The lovely Koenig family--including Miss Shelby


Catch a wave and you're sitting on top of the world.

Waiting for a wave.

One big, happy beach-loving family.


Reunion Vacation: Week Two

Monday, August 22, 2011

Even though we've been home for a week, I am just now getting a post and some photos here. As you read, you will understand the reasons why.
Week two began with hubby and I having a little anniversary getaway which I referenced in the 19 and counting post. The day after our celebration dinner in Orlando, we continued east to Lakeland and visited our friends John & Ashlee. They live in a quaint historic district on the outskirts of Central Florida University's campus. It's the kind of neighborhood one would expect to see at the movies. Big front porches and sidewalks abound along with friendly neighbors who are friendly with one another. In fact, they included us in their monthly neighborhood block party and we had the pleasure of meeting many of these nice folks. It was also "National Night Out" so the police chief, the fire department and several city council members made an appearance. I didn't have my camera with me because I didn't want to intrude on their good time snapping pictures but they probably would have just thought I was the local paper's photographer--and would have offered me a hotdog just the same.

The following morning Ashlee took me on a tour of downtown and the surrounding area. I could see why she loved calling this place home. We did a little bit of shopping and then met up with Trey to head back to Amelia. When we returned, Quinn & Mimi had just come home from playing a round of golf and Ian, Ben and Papa Jim spent the evening riding horses on the beach. Again, no pictures of either since I wasn't present but it sounded super cool.

Thursday: Trey's cousin Dane took the day off work and came up with his kids to play with us. Amelia Jane and Wynn were so much fun to have around. The boys loved playing with the little guy and I enjoyed some girl time. So did A.J. When we got back to the house she said, "let's have dinner outside, just you and me. There are too many boys in there."

Friday: Trey's cousin Lisa flew in from northern Virginia in the afternoon and we all went downtown to "Sounds on Center"--an outdoor concert. Unfortunately the breeze that was there when we arrived, decided to go elsewhere once we plopped down in our chairs. The concert going was short-lived and we all ended up at The Doo Wop Diner for burgers and fries. Just as we finished, Aunt Nancy and Uncle Jim arrived--also from the greater D.C. area--to join us for dessert.

Saturday: The Jacksonville cousins made the trek back up and we all played at the beach and pool for most of the day. The evening found us at the quieter neighborhood pool for a family picnic and more swimming and sun.
Sunday: One last hurrah before cousin Lisa left town and all 18 of us enjoyed brunch together. Some of us went to the beach and others stayed behind for some downtime.

Amelia Jane and Trey

Baby Wynn loves his watermelon

A 14 year old feeding a one year old. Yes, really.

Quinn tearing up the surf.

Brotherly love.

Screams of joy--or terror. Not really sure.

Cousins trying desperately to keep the water out. Hard to do when you are at sea level.

Uncle Jim and Baby Wynn

My two favorite Nancy's.

Aunt Nancy and Trey

Sun avoiders

The Iannuzzi/Carpenter family

Cousins and watermelon--what is my 12 year old posing for???

Trying to get a group shot while a kind gentleman waits patiently for us. My camera battery died right after this so I have no final shot.


Reunion Vacation: Week One

Sunday, August 7, 2011

In 1995, at Trey's brother's wedding reception, all us third generation cousins decided it would be a great idea to have a family reunion combining both the Sturgeon and Carpenter sides. Lo and behold 4 months later we made it happen. There was always talk of trying to duplicate the success of pulling off getting 20+ people together from around the country but as we all grew up and had families of our own, it just didn't happen.

When we decided to spend 3 weeks here, Papa Jim got on the horn and let the east coast family members know and put a bug in their ears about trekking down (or up) this way. The result was this first family reunion. Unfortunately we weren't able to get everyone here but Trey's cousin Billy and his fiancee Jess flew up from Fort Lauderdale for 12 hours, Aunt Barby saw the activity on Facebook and, not willing to miss out on any of the fun, booked herself a flight from San Diego. The other two Sturgeon cousins live an hour away and drove up for an 8:00 dinner on a weeknight--with small children. It was like no time had passed. I think that when you don't live in close proximity to one another and you don't know when you'll see each other again, you really make the most of these moments.

All the Sturgeon boys sans Sharon (we missed her terribly)
Trey and Uncle Mike's sweetie, Jenn

Uncle Mike, Dane and Quinn

Jess, Billy and Aunt Barby

All the cousins and their "significant others"


19 and Counting....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Isn't this the new title of the Duggar's TLC show now that they've added another babe to their ever growing brood? I thought it sounded familiar. Regardless, I am stealing it for my title in honor of our 19th wedding anniversary.

Back in the spring when we booked our tickets to Florida and knew we would be spending August 1st in the "Sunshine State" I had only one request: we must have our anniversary dinner at Stonewood Grill. Our friends turned us on to this restaurant 8 years ago and I've hoped to return ever since. We left the kids behind (thanks to Grandma and Grandpa) and I joined Trey for some sales calls between Jacksonville and Orlando. Fortunately there were 5 Stonewood Grill's between here and there. It was absolutely divine. Excellent service (our waiter was stunned that we'd stayed married as long as we have. We told him we were too. ) :) Don't tell our kids that we stayed practically across the street from Universal Studios. Out of respect for them we refrained from spending the evening riding their favorite coasters. (Honestly, we were too stuffed and tired to entertain the idea but don't tell them that either.)

Before we stuffed ourselves with rosemary lamb chops, blue cheese ribeye and decadent chocolate cake with Hagen Dazs ice cream.

I think this is the first year we didn't exchange formal cards and, oddly enough, these were my favorite. We wrote them to each other while waiting for our food to arrive.

It's been almost two decades of highs, lows, joys, sorrows, wins and losses but I honestly wouldn't trade a minute of it for the what we have as a result. Happy Anniversary, Baby!!!

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