New neighbors

My husband and I helped our friends move today. Well, we helped them move all their boxes from their new garage into their new home. It appears that my friends aren’t the only ones on the move. This little family was right around the corner from their house.

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Weedon Island

I’ve been MIA for the past few days. I haven’t gone far; more posts to come soon. I’m now trying to play catch up. This photos is from Monday. We went to Weedon Island with my brother, Jacob, and his family. I love that little family so much. Here’s Jacob showing Molly (his daughter) how to jump for the camera.

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Kapok memories: old and new

This week’s Sunday Outing took us to the Kapok Tree (aka Sam Ash). Sixteen years ago Ken & I had our wedding reception there. It was the fairytale ending to my fairytale wedding. The Kapok Tree is a special event venue in Clearwater, complete with beautiful gardens off the banquet rooms. It was Ken’s idea to take the boys and show them where we par-tayed after we got married.

It’s no longer exclusively an event venue. The location also serves as Sam Ash, a music store. A huge music store. It appears that they do still rent out the rooms for special events though. To our disappointment, they haven’t kept up the gardens as I would have guessed. I can understandd why; it can’t be cheap to keep up all the flowers and fountains. It’s still a nice place to visit but just not as grand as it used to be. I’m including this post in my “Touristing” category and encourage you to visit it for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

These are the first gardens you enter:

For our reception, our guests entered here and were escorted into a smaller ballroom for drinks and appetizers while we had our pictures taken. It was so pretty lit up that night. 

This is a close up of the wall above. The fountains were not running when we were there with the boys but when Ken visited a few days ago, they were running.

This wall runs along the perimeter of the gardens. Beautiful, isn’t it?

There was a photographer taking pictures of a model in the gardens next to the Grand Ballroom so I didn’t get a wide shot of those gardens. And the Grand Ballroom wasn’t open but I put my camera right up to the glass & got these shots of the inside. Our bridal party walked right down that staircase to the head table.

This huge chandelier is right in the middle of the room.

During dinner, our guests were seated on the lower level as well as in the balcony. It was a dream reception. I sure wish I could have gotten inside the ballroom to take my pictures.

The wall opposite the staircase is one big, giant window so you have a view into the gardens from the inside. These columns are all along that window: 

While there, the family decided to have fun with my new camera remote.

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After a zillion pictures (with everyone getting a chance to try the remote), I went back to the camera to adjust the settings so that my mom & dad could join in the fun. We got a few shots with all of us. A nice one, one with “jazz hands” and this sophisticated one. Jackson thought this was hilarious (he’s on the left, cracking up):

We had a great time sharing a special part of our lives with the boys. I highly suggest you visit. Even though it’s not as pretty as it was in 1995 and now it’s also a music store, it’s worth a visit. And while you’re there, you can pickup a set of guitar strings!

You can check out the Kapok’s website here. The pictures are beautiful and you can get an idea of what it looks like to have an event here. Thanks, mom & dad for THE best wedding (and reception) ever!

Since this is the longest blog post known to mankind, I’ll continue. We left Kapok Tree and drove across the street to Kapok park. I had no idea this existed. I could tell you the story of how it used to be a mobile home park and now is a beautiful park but I’ll let you visit & read the story for yourself. This is another place I suggest you visit. It offers paved pathways, picnic areas and a boardwalk over wetland areas complete with ducks, mice alligators and many, many birds. And trees. Lots of trees. I’ll let my pictures do the talking since I’m nearing 1,000 words already.

 

And since I hate to leave my boys out…

 

 

 

Rock hunting

Went down south of Sarasota with my parents to look for some rocks. They’re installing a waterfall and small stream/pond in their back yard and need some rocks. Since they’re pretty expensive to buy, we thought we could find some along the road near the Myakka River. No such luck. But I did find a neat picture (after I doctored it up a little). It was so hot and humid. I was reminded, once again, why I don’t love Florida. I know this looks all peaceful but all I can remember was sweating. It was still a fun day, though. The boys loved being outside & didn’t seem to mind the heat. Although, I did hear Jackson say once, “It’s frickin hot outside!” From the mouthes of babes. 

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My own personal Groundhog Day

I don’t know how this keeps happening to me. This is the 2nd time my not-so-nifty-fifty lens has broken. It’s not an expensive lens but it’s the only one I have other than my kit lens. They only run about $125 and mine hasn’t lasted a year. It broke in February and I had it repaired for $60 and now this. And this happened IN my camera bag. What irks me most is the fact that I normally don’t even use my bag; I just carry my camera around with me ready to shoot at any given time. But I put it in my bag yesterday and when I pulled it out at home, this is what I saw.

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So what’s a girl to do? Until yesterday, I was trying to figure out what lens to get next year. What lens should I buy for our Europe trip? And now I’m trying to decide what lens to get now? I certainly don’t have any disposable income. I’m a stay at home mom and we’re not rich by ANY stretch of the imagination. We struggle like anyone else but one thing we don’t do is use credit cards. And I’m not using one for this, that’s for sure. So, I’m asking you, my fellow photographers, what is your lens of choice? What do you shoot with 90% of the time? Is it a zoom lens? A prime? What’s the aperture?

I really hate to move to a zoom lens (and stay under $500) and lose my wider aperture. What say ye? Any thoughts as I save up for another lens? I surely won’t have this one repaired again.

Kitty cat birthday

I had to keep this under wraps yesterday in case my friend, Steffie, read my blog. It’s her birthday today and I made these amaretto cupcakes especially for her. I found these cupcake decorations way back in January and I have waited all this time to use them. Here’s something you should know about me: buying in advance is something I never do. Sometimes I buy the gift a day or two in advance but I’m usually buying the card and gift bag on the WAY to parties. So purchasing something 5 months in advance is a huge step for me.

Since Steffie loves cats, this is perfect for her. It’s a good thing she’s married and has a child or else she’d be in danger of becoming that lady/old maid. That’s how much she loves her cats. 

Happy birthday, Steffie! I’m so blessed to know you & call you friend/freund. You make coffee and breakfast so much more enjoyable each and every week. Your sense of humor is unbelievably amazing and I’m only happier for knowing you. Enjoy your birthday and don’t count calories today.

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