Jessica took some absolutely perfect shots of Aubs and the boys. My heart is aching right now…
For my birthday on Thursday, Terry gifted me a voucher for a trip back to Orlando to spend some time with family. He knows how much they mean to me and how much I miss them and it was an amazing, touching, generous gift. Given that so much is going to be changing at work and how busy it’ll be for the next quarter, on top of it being uncertain mom is going to be living there, I cashed it in the very next day and spent the weekend with them.
I worked it out with Kevin to have the visit be a complete surprise: Aubrey and mom had no idea. I left Phoenix on Friday morning and, including the time change, I got into Orlando at 4:15 and Kevin picked me up curbside. There weren’t any solid plans crafted for the surprise. Since this was pretty close to the normal time he’d be coming home from the office, he suggested that he just stay back in the truck and send me to the front door to come in and they’ll just think it was him when they hear the key turn. Worked perfectly. I had to wiggle the key a little bit to get it to turn and Fisher heard me and must have said something to Aubrey… “Daddy’s home!” she said to him. I swung the door open and conveniently they were both in the living room as I announced “it’s not daddy!” She immediately recognized my voice and stood up, jaw dropped, eyes wide open as she started a string of about 10-15 repetitious “oh my god”s and “what are you doing here”s?
Sarah, one of her best friends, had gone into labor earlier on Friday so that was immediately the focal point of the evening after the shock of my presence had waned. She took a quick trip over there to see how the laboring at home was going and then met Kevin, the boys, and I at Dubstread for dinner. Mom was still working late and as we ate we planned that the surprising her with my presence would be an easy one: immediately after dinner Aubrey would be going to the hospital to deliver baby Brett and we’d invite Grammy over to their house to help Kevin put the kids to bed in Aubrey’s absence. Aubrey left for the hospital and Kevin, the boys and I went home to start baths and wait for Grammy.
Mom conveniently texted when she was leaving to come over and I was able to hide behind thin little wall by the kitchen that was in direct view of the front door for the surprise. When I heard her trademark knock, I ran for it. I gave it about 10-15 seconds for Fisher to have a moment to run and greet her just like normal. As soon as they finished hugging and she had stood back up, I peeped head out at the absolute perfect time. She was floored. After a pretty crappy day at work and emotions high already, she just threw her face in her hands at started to cry before I could even walk over there. “I gotcha!”, I snickered as she pulled me close for a long embrace. Mission accomplished.
We all waited up until about 1:30 am for Aubrey to get home from the hospital to hear about Sarah’s delivery and baby Brett’s journey here. Sarah did great and mom and baby were well.
Saturday morning Kevin, they boys and I went to the Winter Park Farmers Market and saw Linda and Karen and got some veggies, kettle corn, and flowers for Sarah. Later that afternoon, Grammy and I took the boys to the Orlando Science Center. Had a blast and so did I. That place is huge now. I remember it being a simple single story building and now it’s a sprawling complex with a new 6 story building with 4x the exhibits. So much for the boys to see, interact with and learn about. Fisher was so happy – it was an amazing afternoon. Later that evening, Kevin made an amazing steak salad; that dude knows what he’s doing in the kitchen. I always leave visits with Aubrey and Kevin inspired to try new things in the kitchen.
Sunday morning, Aubrey, mom and I woke up early and headed out to my first Barre3 class. Her good friend Amanda owns the studio. Barre3 is a mixture of ballet, Pilates and yoga; really, really cool. My legs were on FIRE and I learned some really awesome floor exercises for my buns and core. I really hope the studio grows and flourishes – it’s a beautiful studio and an amazing discipline. I’m so happy mom and Aubrey have it to share with each other. We came home and made scrambled eggs, bacon and cinnamon rolls. Fisher did such a good job frosting the rolls and beating the eggs.
Later that afternoon we booked 3 back-to-back haircut appointments with Raul – he’s been the boy’s barber their whole lives and even cuts my cousin’s hair; keepin’ it in the family. It’s significantly shorter than I usually cut it but I’m very happy with it. Afterwards we did a little shopping and came home for the evening. Kevin made a seafood soup for dinner. I was openly and candidly verbal about my hesitation with the plans. I’m okay with seafood in general, but usually only by themselves; those frutte d’marre concoctions I’ve seen out at restaurants usually look disgusting and smell worse. However, I have a lot of faith in Kevin in the kitchen and realize the sentiment was 99% fear-based so went with it. It was amazing. Mahi-mahi, shrimp, scallops, lobster base (guys boiled down) and a tomato sauce. I had 2 (and a half) bowls.
Mom went back to her condo for the evening and Monday morning Aubrey, the boys and I went over there for breakfast before she had to go to work. It’s amazing to me that scrambled eggs can vary so. They tasted exactly, e-x-a-c-t-l-y like I remember from growing up. Scrambled eggs have never tasted so good. The plan at that point was to use their season’s passes and spend a few hours at Sea World before I needed to be taken to the airport. We made a quick pit stop at the Apple Store to replace her broken iPhone 4 with a 4S. After a long discussion, I convinced her to steer clear of the iPhone 5 until scuff-gate and batter issues were cleared up with whatever model is coming after this one. Once we got it in hands, I was more interested in playing Apple-dork-brother and getting it all setup for her and getting Ghost Armor put on. We aborted plans for Sea World and grabbed some lunch at the mall and headed back to her place to play techie and wash the unneeded sunblock off so I didn’t stink on the plane.
The trip was amazing. And it was exactly what I needed. I have the most loving, beautiful family and the trip was exactly what I needed. Batteries recharged. I miss them already. Love you guys.
Took some good shots today at Dartmouth Park with Aubrey and Drake.
Aubrey, Kevin, Fisher and Drake drove up from Orlando for a week to spend some time together before Aubrey goes back to work. Food. Family. Fun. Photos. Parks. Carousels. And some Team Umizoomi.
One word: fabulous. Got to meet baby Drake, spend time with amazing people, great gifts, saw some friends we hadn’t seen in a long time, and ate some amazing food. Everyone loved the boys – they were so well behaved. Terry and I are very proud parents.
Great night of fabulous pizza with awesome people.
Having a great morning, so far. Woke up early to drop mom off at Usher’s for the day so Aubrey and I could use her car while she’s at work. Met up with Leah to have a belated-birthday-breakfast at Flying Biscuit. Mmm, apple butter! Came back to the cabin. Fisher was watching Aubrey put makeup on and we did some yoga poses. He’s a PRO at Adho Mukah (down-dog). We also did Mountain Pose, Balasana, Urdvha Mukah, Chataranga and Utanasana. He’s so adorable. After that, we put Fisher on Aubrey’s back and went for a little mini-hike around the cabin.
Well, I have to say, Aubrey’s wedding couldn’t have gone more fabulously. The whole trip to Orlando/DeLand for her wedding was great and the trip to Eleuthera, Bahamas was absolutely amazing. We got some really great photos and video throughout the trip. As Terry and I went along, we’d open his laptop almost every night and jot down as much from the day as we could remember, bullet-point style. Rather than detail the whole event in every single detail, here’s the journal I kept along the way:
Got on the flight early Good Flight Mom and Aubrey were delayed getting set up because it was raining in Deland. Chris picked up me, Terry, Bob and his sister Sam, who I met for the first time. Went straight to Aunt Michelle’s house to stay. Had dinner and crashed.
Kevin picked up Terry, Bob and I and set out to get ready for the wedding in Deland. We grabbed some McDonalds breakfast and placed “Kevin and Aubrey” signs along the way for others to come. We got there and sorted out the tables, tents, audio equipment and place settings for the majority of the morning and early afternoon. The caterers arrived and got set up and it was just a few hours away. We all took turns taking showers and getting ready. We all came out as the guests were arriving and enjoyed a drink. Nice music was going and it was great to see my cousins like TJ, Cameron and Teron whom I haven’t seen in years and years! Just before pictures, I went up into the living room and saw my sister for the frist time in her wedding dress and I just couldn’t help myself and lost it. We got the cue the vows were about to start, turned on the new playlist and rushed back up to see Aubrey and Kevin exchange vows. After that, it was just chill.. eat whenever, hang out with folks and mingle. Kevin jumped in the pool with his clothes on and everyone cheered for Aubrey to get in, too, so off came the wedding dress and in Went a naked Aubrey. Perfect end to the night. Spent the night at MacKenzie’s parent’s gorgeous home. Stayed up until 3am with Kiersten on the patio. Crashed.
Left Mackenzie’s and went to Aubrey’s to go to Ft. Lauderdale Drove and had a nice time Got to the airport Kevin got mad at the attendant We were taking off late Ate Sabarro Dunkin Donut iced coffees Small Plane Nice view Landed Small room for stamp and customs No real inspection which was surprising Got our rental and some vague directions Drove on the left side of the road for the first time
Went to Grocery Store as a group in Governors Harbor Got to Bhton Hill Very dirty Shocked but not prepared for ‘roughing it’ Called Aubrey and went to her place Went to sleep with her that night Alltogether happy to be in Eleuthera
Woke up and talked to Judy about issues with house Met Jon and Bernice at Brighton Hill and had them clean the problem areas Went driving around for some groceries Went to Ronnie’s for some beer and found Lord Nelson Went snorkeling at the beach behind our house
Picked up Gavin and Mackenzie Brought them back Found Kiersten, Austin, Sam and Charlie waiting on us for over an hour Brought them home Had some PBnJs Went to Aubrey’s for the first night’s party and met everyone Slept at Brighton Hill for the first time
Ate breakfast Met up with Jay and Sarah and went to Rock Sound for a larger grocery store Went to Grocery Store and Liquor Store Kiersten tried to bring in a stinky conch shell from the dock we stopped at – smelled so bad Came back and unloaded groceries Took a nap Went over to Jay and Sarah’s house Hung out on the patio I swam in my underwear because I didn’t bring a bathing suit
Left and drove home as a group for the first time Put the boys down to bed and stayed up on the patio talking for a while – talked about religion Went to bed
Woke up early and Austin made eggs for everyone – Two coffee makers brewing Walked on the beach with Gavin and Austin to Aubrey and Kevin’s house to borrow two of their two-person Ocean Kayaks Went out for a nice stroll around the water – got a small blister Walked back and came back inside for some lunch – Aubrey stopped by to hang out while Kevin was fishing Went to the store: Got water at the Beverage Store in Jugs – Went to the grocery for few last items for tomorrow’s planned dinner Came back – Aubrey, Kiersten, Austin and the boys went back over to Sarah and Jay’s house for a swim. MacKenzie, Gavin, Terry and I stayed home and took a long nap Terry and I woke up, made brownies and then went and did some actual, awesome snorkeling on the reefs right out in our beach – great videos Took a shower and made the table up for our first dinner at the main table as a household for the trip: spaghetti Felt a little hot so we cleaned up and all watched DVDs in our rooms casually Went to sleep
Woke up Had breakfast Sat at the beach for a while Went out on the kayaks with Terry and Austin and Gavin – I got a blister Came back to the house and chilled for a while Terry and I went snorkeling Gavin scored his first fish MacKenzie and I went out snorkeling for a little bit Thought of making plans to join folks at Big Ten However, Austin and I drove to Governor’s Harbor to see Lord Nelson… Got back in the ocean – Gavin scored three more fish and Jason snagged a huge lobster! Right in front of Brighton Hill! The house was busy working on “You’ll Remember Your Meal… at Brighton Hill” Aubrey, Kevin, Jason, Lindsay, Greg “Doo Doo” came over for dinner Hung out and had a great night – party! Tidied up with Kiersten and stayed up for a while talking and going over writing signatures
Woke up and had a waffle with Terry Went to Governors Harbor for gas, trash drop off, water and groceries with Terry Came home and decided to go out snorkeling Gavin was ‘chumming’ for fishing and caused Aubrey and I to encounter a 7-8 ft blacktip shark Went inside and did some laundry Back outside for a double-kayak ride with Terry around Double Bay Got ready to go over to Jason and Lindsay’s at Silent Quays for dinner Got there and Greg “Doo Doo” dropped a six-pack of glass botles on his foot causing it to gush out Aubrey got there in time to assess and Terry and I drove back to Brighton Hill quickly to get a first aid kit Had dinner Tried to connect to internet – I’m glad we coulnd’t ;) Came back home crashed pretty quickly
Friday: (last full day)
Woke up casually Aubrey called MacKenzie and invited people to go on a drive up north with them – it was the large group so Terry and I decided to go solo and check out Rock Sound Drove to Rock Sound and went to Ocean Hole – saw the fish
Came back and went back to the ocean with Austin and the kids The girls came back as the rest of the group took a ferry to Harbor Island Austin and Kiersten went off to find a hotel for Saturday night and Terry and I took Aubrey and Kevin’s Ford Explorer out to Tippy’s on the Atlantic side of the island and had a lovely meal – the one and only meal we had at a restaurant the whole trip! It was quite good, however.
Came back for a big party (Jason, Lindsay, Raj and Jay) and got pretty trahsed – stayed up probably the latest we had the entire trip MacKenzie and Gavin watched Titanic at Warp10 Volume; I slept right through it, Terry didn’t
Woke up and brewed 2 pots of coffee and went onto the porch and saw the carnage from the Friday night’s party
Austin made Terry and I eggs Aubrey and Kevin came over and we all went down for a last dip in the ocean Jason and Lindsay followed – and Mike, Kelly, Jay, Sarah, Madison and company joined, as well Terry and I had Austin drive us up all the way to North Eleuthera Airport to catch a flight that should have left earlier than Governor’s Harbor Lynx decided to screw around with the flight times and would have made us miss our connections Purchased new tickets to Ft. Lauderdale on Twin Air – made a stop at Governor’s Harbor and was able to sneak out and surprise-hug Aubrey Got into Ft. Lauderdale okay – Fire Alarm at Customs was going off, delaying things Had to take a cab, not to mention blow a $20 on the fare, to the main part of the airport Hopped on Conteniental to Houston and connected into Phoenix
My sister, Aubrey, passed her state exam to become an RN! Mom flew down last weekend to surprise her. Aubrey, I’m so freaking proud of you. ;-)
Old school. Aubrey and Ming. I love this shot of Aubs. One of my favs. Kevin took it.
Classic Christmas in Orlando with Dad.