In all honesty, that was very likely the high here today. Florida has been experiencing some cooler times over the past few days, and the weather men make a point to announce "freezing temperatures overnight" to all the natives... around here, that's the cue to get out the old parka. However, we from Illinois are out at the pool every day without fail, mid-50s or 80 degrees. Bring it on. If the sun is out, so are we.
Actually, let me paint the truth-- over the past couple of mornings, since it has been a bit cooler, we have had fun with some other activities that didn't require a swimming suit right off the bat. For instance, yesterday morning we went to the zoo. I was heartbroken because we went directly after breakfast spontaneously, and I was caught off guard without my camera (a rare occasion, I know right.) Anyway, my favorites were the brightly colored and LOUD parrots, and the flamingos. The parrots were awesome, they just squawked very loudly and looked at me funny when I tried to whistle back. There were a lot of them, though. Noah loved them, too.
At one point, we were on a path that opened up into a big, sunlit grassy field, and all of these flamingos were just hanging out. The purple hat ladies were there (or is it red hats? I don't know, but whoever they are, I want to be in that club when I meet the age qualifications) checking out the pink birds at the same time as us. So it was like double entertainment. The flamingos were SO COOL. First of all, up until this point in my life, my only encounter with flamingos has been seeing their picture in children's books or on some National Geographic TV special. But this was real life. About 30 of them, surrounding us! They are very tall (taller than me!) and are a bright salmon pink, with very long, skinny necks that twist in all sorts of directions to get done whatever it is they need to get done. They stand on these very skinny sticky legs that literally look like they will snap under the bulk of bird they are carrying up top, but to my amazement, a lot of them stand on one foot a lot of the time. When they walk around, they have this attitude that's like, "Alright, OUT of my way! I'm coming through, and I don't know who YOU are, but this is where I'm going." I just love them.
I told my friend about my love of flamingos tonight and she said, "Taryn, you really are the bird lady." Well, shoot. They always told me I was the cat lady. So then I decided when I'm old and gray and about 90 living in some house, I'll just have lots of birds AND cats, and I'll just let the cycle of life continue on as it may.
Anyway, I feel I am getting off topic. My real reason for this post has yet to be introduced.
I was sitting here tonight thinking about my first FL post, which really wraps up the first week of my stay here. It was a nice intro to the sunny state for me; a real relaxing time observing all the pleasures of the beach, some fun times spent with my friend, and a great vacation with my parents.
Then came week two. Enters the Steffen family with Tom, Tasha, Noah, Oliver, and Naomi. Silas stayed home. Although, he is the sweetest boy ever, and about 3 times a day the question gets brought up, "I wonder what Silas is doing right now?" So it's almost like he's here.
So my plan is to devote the rest of this post to the cool kids that I am vacationing with this very last week. We have had some good times, and tomorrow is my last day with them. It's going to be warmer so I expect some sufficient pool/beach time.
Let's start with the boys.
There they are. Noah and Oliver. They are 2 years apart and are such great buds. They get along great most of the time, and love to run, laugh, play sports (with more athleticism than me, I might add), and tackle each other (and sometimes me).
Noah is the oldest. He's the leader of the pack and pays attention to what's going on. He's a very sweet, sensitive boy. He is also quite clever and athletic and fun. On this trip, we have one white car to transport us all, so I have had the great pleasure of sitting in the middle back seat whenever we go to and fro. Naomi is always on my left, and often, Noah, sits to my right. His favorite activity has been tickling me while we are driving. I am the most ticklish person on earth. All you have to do is tell me you are going to tickle me and I start laughing. So you can only imagine how much fun he has with that one.
Oliver is the next in line. He's a lot of fun, too. He has a smile that melts your heart and he is my little helper. Often, it's Ollie who notices that you need a hand and he immediately and willingly jumps in to assist. The other night I was watching the 3 and we popped pop corn and watched a movie. The boys and I were going to town on the pop corn, so I told them if we ran out, I'd just go pop another bag. He told me, "You're the best baby-sitter ever." Why, I asked. Because I let you have popcorn? "Yes," he said. "You let us eat pop corn, as much as we want, and you let me drink pop." I had to smile, but then I bit my lip. Pop, before bed? What was I thinking? Oh well. It maybe caused me one more tackle session to break up before the boys finally drifted off to sleep, but hey. It bought me the "best babysitter" award, and if it's as easy as popping 2 bags of pop corn, I'll hang out with Ollie every night.
The boys have had so much fun running up and down the beach and finding sea shells and stars. They are quite the explorers and have zest and excitement for about anything out here. It's great to see their bright-eyed youth!
Naomi, also known as "The Princess," or "Nomi," is a definite girl among an all-boys family. She is a tiny little ball of energy, always dressed in pink or purple, with a spry gait, fast movements, and a low, husky voice. She loves attention although you have to choose your attention-giving wisely, or else you hear her famous lines, "Don't listen to me! Don't HEAR me!" She's a complete riot. Her talent lies in humanizing every little toy or object you give her. She makes up stories and conversations with anything from miniature fairies to water torpedoes to forks & knives. Although, again I might warn: It's best not to let her know you're listening to these imaginations, or else she'll reprimand you with, "Don't listen to me!" She is a lot of fun and loves to have fun. Any sort of twirling or running is a good time for her.
I once heard a comedian say, "When I was a kid, my only goal in life was to get candy. That was all I thought about. Family, school, play: these were all just obstacles in the way of me getting... more candy. I'm serious, my brain just thought GET CANDY GET CANDY GET CANDY all day long." I think of that a lot when I'm around Naomi because she has a similar goal in mind (as do all of the world's 3-year-olds), but it's humorous to watch. Anyway, she's an energetic little girl with a sweet heart and an adorable face.
I don't want to leave out Silas. He will be spending a few days at our house because I am getting home before the Steffen clan, so I'll maybe feature him in an upcoming post. Also, I don't want to neglect Steffen baby #5, which is in FL with us, as well. He/she will be arriving in August sometime, and I'll give proper introductions to that little one when the time comes!
Also, one last thing. It's been great hanging out with Tom & Tasha out here... they are great parents and a lot of fun. We have had some nice times together over the past couple of nights... especially once the kids have drifted off to sleep and the place quiets down. :)
There are so many blessings in family!
Love you all!