Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Florida 2012

We recently got back and made a video of our trip to Florida.'s a bit long with gratuitous shots of sunshine, amusement parks and smiling kids. If those make you gag, don't watch.

 I appreciate it if you hit the LIKE button above. I know lots about basketball so there's great content on the site...but know little about building a following online so I can use all the help I can get. Thanks.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

E- Killing time at the airport... kid style.

E- Florida to ice hockey in 24 hours

Blogger still seems to be out of commission when it comes to uploading regular sized we'll have to stick with iPhone ones for now.

Our month in Florida meant no skating or hockey for Lucas, and upon return, a quick change of focus from beaches to the ice rink. The day after getting back he had his first ever game against another team. He was a bit nervous but mostly excited to be finally playing a "real" game.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Happiness is...warm doughnuts on a cool December day. And picking up fresh tourtiere to eat while decorating the Christmas tree tonight.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

E- back to blogging soon

It's been a frustrating couple of weeks as far as our blog goes.  Les and I decided that writing this blog would be a good way to capture our family memories, both in terms of pictures and little stories that we would otherwise easily forget.

It's been better than we would have ever imagined for that.  We get to share our lives with many people that mean a lot to us.  We're grateful that people care enough to check in every once in a while and see what adventures our family is up to.

Each year we print up a book with all the entries and have an instant journal with all our best pictures in it.  I'm pretty sure that this will one day be our most treasured possession.

However, since the middle of our trip to Florida, a glitch in Google's system has meant that we haven't been able to upload any of our pictures.  Bad timing for us and pretty frustrating.  

Not that I've been carrying my share of the blogging for the last year anyways.  Instead I have been pouring my free time into making a website to help basketball players develop great habits.  

It's taken a lot of time (partly due to my lack of website building experience) but I am happy with the result.

Please take a couple of minutes to check it out....there's lots of good stuff there.  Also, it represents a big part of what I've spent my life learning and now am teaching to lots of young players.

The site is filled with good quality free information and I'd really appreciate anybody willing to LIKE it on Facebook or sign up for the newsletter.......because it all helps to spread the word.  

Anyways, check it out while Les and I wait for Google to fix their glitch!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Busch Gardens

The third park on our pass was Busch Gardens. Molly in particular was looking forward to this park, since it is very animal focused (as is she). 

Sure enough, our first stop was...elephants.

We were able to get very close to these lovely, grey ladies. Molly was over the moon.

There is an immense and impressive emphasis on education at both SeaWorld and Busch Gardens. We learned a lot over the course of our days in the parks. Moll soaked up all the info on elephants.

She was able to ask the trainers lots of questions about her favourite animals. Including why this elephant so loves to sniff her trainer's sneakers. Apparently, it's just her thing...

There were animals everywhere.

A lot of great rides, too. Lukey has a love/hate relationship with rides. He is pretty conservative in his interest. He examines each and every ride in detail and generally says no. Occasionally, he surprises us by being really keen on a specific ride we would expect.

One thing he doesn't love is getting wet. He and I stayed behind while the Eric and the girls went on a log flume ride. Even though it was a gentle ride, he wasn't sure he could handle the splashing. So, we watched. Sure enough, the three of them got a little damp.

Two minutes later, we turned the corner and saw another water ride. Eric said it was my turn to go this, the girls and I lined up and got on a larger flume ride. Lukey stayed back with Eric.

Hilariously, there is one spot in the spectator area of the ride that is absolutely drenched by a giant wave every time a log comes down the final hill. Lukey happened to be standing RIGHT THERE when we came down.

His entire back was drenched.

Luckily, he was able to laugh about it.

So, we laughed, too.

The irony was...the girls and I were mostly dry when we got off the ride. Lukey got far, far wetter by standing on the sidelines.

Here is a picture of the type of wave he got nailed by...

I think the water gave him some nerve, because he went on a few rides right after that.

...but he balked at this one. It looked pretty tame to me, but you never know what's scary for kids.

This one was fun for the girls because all I could hear was maniacal giggling. A lot of it. Especially from Moll.

Oh, and we saw this tiger. She is beautiful.

This is Lukey being a tiger, Molly being scared of a tiger bush and Finny...well, I am not too sure. It's less beautiful, but it makes me laugh.

The tiger (and tiger bush) were on our walk towards yet another water ride. This one, Lukey decided to go on, so all five of us climbed into one round raft and headed out.

We explained that it was possible to get a little wet and we wisely put our sweaters and bags in the centre.

But, we were pretty confident it wouldn't be that bad.

We were wrong. At least, some of us were. Eric and Lukey (poor guy) got SOAKED. Like they had taken a shower. Eric got nailed by someone shooting a water cannon from the side of the ride. When he spotted the shooter...he may or may not have shouted a threat that he would "hunt them down". He was laughing, but I felt like adding my own advice that the person should immediately leave the area. For real.

Molly, Finny and I were unable to control our laughter. We all got a bit wet, but man, it was funny when they got soaked.

Here is Eric wringing out his shirt.

Now, this picture needs a little explanation. This is Eric threatening Finny. He was yelling that he was coming for her in the bumper cars. It was playful. Look at the expression on the kid next to Eric. He was concerned. Very concerned. This might be my favourite picture of the day. In fact, I am laughing right now as I am typing.

We took the SkyRide to the other side of the park so we could ride the Cheetah Hunt. This was Lukey's piece de resistance. We talked the ride up all day. He loves cheetahs...they are his favourite animal and we knew he would love the ride. It was super fast and smooth and only goes upside down once. I was confident that if he went on it, he would love it.

Sure enough, he did. He even bought a little cheetah cub to commemorate the event. He named him Ralph.

And Molly tried on sunglasses. Love the tag on the nose. Very 2012.

We took a final walk around the park as the sun started to set.

We visited the lions.

We rode a couple of rides in the dusky light and all acknowledged that our passes to SeaWorld had been fantastic. It isn't the same as Disney, that's for sure. But the differences were also valuable. We enjoyed to animals and the bigger kid rides. We liked that our days at these parks were a little shorter and more relaxed. The Disney passes really urge you to squeeze the most out of each day, whereas this one felt more leisurely. Every extra day you went on our unlimited pass felt like a happy bonus. We learned a lot and had a lot of fun.

I was sad when the sun set on our last theme park day. They are consistently awesome ways to spend time as a family. Who knows what we'll do if we travel to Florida next year.

Butlers in space

There was a booth at the Kennedy Space Centre. We made astronauts of ourselves. Cause it was easier to do it this way than, you know, going to school and learning all that space stuff. That sounds hard.

Me on Mars.

I don't think Eric has "the right stuff". He looks scared. Tentative. Really nervous. Mars is going to eat him alive. He's lucky I am there, too. I seem to be as cool as a cucumber. It's alright, Eric. I got this one.

On our way back to Earth, we can swing by the space station to say hi to Molly. Her head may be tiny for her body, but she's an she's brainy.

Alright. Enough of that.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Home Sweet Sarasota

After a fantastic week at Cocoa Beach, we headed out across the state to a week in Sarasota. We were sad to leave Cocoa Beach behind...but excited to visit the Gulf side of Florida again.

Our condo in Sarasota is huge and beautiful. Bizarrely, the condos we rent are generally more spacious and better appointed than our home. Ahh, Vancouver. You are lovely, but your real estate is preposterous. 

Just outside our door here is a little basketball hoop and a nice tennis court. We learned two things: basketball is a fun sport for our is not. The kids lasted about twelve minutes with tennis rackets in their hands. 

Here is Lukey playing a little one-on-one against Eric. 

I am looking forward to the day when these games are competitive. I don't think it will be too long...

Sarasota is home to Siesta Key, which is consistently rated one of the top beaches in the United States. We were a little skeptical. For us, Cocoa Beach is perfect. Great surf, great sand, no crowds.

But, we were open minded (tough job, right? Beach open mindedness...?).

Yep. It's pretty awesome.

The big draw here is the size of the beach and the quality of the sand. I have never seen sand this fine. Or this white.

There are no waves here to speak of, but you can wade out a long way. And the sand...I mean, really. Look at it.

We played a couple of soccer games, bumped the volleyball a few times, and read our books.

Oh, and then the girls played powered donut. How do you play? You turn your face guessed it...a powered donut.

Fun, right?

Kennedy Space Center

We didn't make it to the Kennedy Space Center when we were in the area last year. This year, we got excited because there was a rocket launch scheduled for November 13th, right in the middle of our stay in Cocoa Beach.

Unfortunately, the rocket launch was postponed until the 27th, but we decided to head to the Space Center regardless.

And look how close we got to a (picture of) a shuttle launch...!

Incredibly, woefully underfunded NASA maintains and improves this facility purely from ticket and merchandise sales. Our admission was well-spent.

There is tons to see. There was a lot of information about the now dismantled space shuttle program. Some displays heralded the current Mars missions, but we couldn't help but feel the glory days of the shuttle were sorely missed by NASA and its enthusiasts.

Another thing we found interesting was the "home craft" feeling of the construction of parts of rockets, boosters, shuttles, etc. It looks like the merger of a very technical AND creative process. Because they are innovating at every step, each component looks cobbled together and randomly (though I am sure it is not) stuck on. I mean, look at the...thing...behind us in the picture below. That's a lot of...stuff.

See how much I learned...?

One of the highlights is standing below the retired Saturn V rocket. It. Is. Big.

There were tons of incredible things on display, including this landing module.

I think the highlight for Eric and me was the truly incredible IMAX movie about the Hubble telescope. It was 3D and the images from the Hubble were mind-blowing. They were both beautiful and brain cramping in their magnitude. It was mostly over the kids' heads, but we were impressed.

For the kids, highlights included the Space Shuttle experience, which simulated a take-off. Lukey was very apprehensive, but ultimately really happy he did it. Unlike a lot of rides, it wasn't intended to be scary. It was realistic.

They also really loved the opportunity to touch a rock from the moon. Apparently this moon rock is 3.9 million years old. Older than 99.99% of the rocks on earth. Don't ask me how that works. I have no idea. But I trust NASA. It's an old rock.

We are still hoping we might see the rocket launch on the 27th of November. Even if we don't, our experience at Kennedy was already out of this world (sorry...!).