The last two games of the regular season for Abby’s water polo team were tonight and it was also Senior Night. It started off with a ceremony where Abby was congratulated by the principal of her school. The first game was against Bishop Moore where they eked out a win 9 to 8. Abby scored a goal. She lobbed it right over the goalie’s head. For the second game, they beat Lake Brantley 11-9. Abby said they hadn’t beat that team in four years. Poppy flew in to see Abby play water polo and was glad he came for such great games. Congratulations to Abby on a great season. I’m so proud of her.
Jennifer finished up the painting of our room just in time for the new bedroom furniture to be delivered on Friday. The whole room looks really nice. Jennifer summed it up perfectly with her statement, “I feel like a grown-up now.” It’s funny, it’s such a true statement.
The mattress is a Tempur-Pedic. So, it’s a little different than we are used to. We’ve slept on it two nights now and I can’t say that it’s the most comfortable bed I’ve slept on. We’re hoping that our bodies get used to the new mattress soon.
If you follow Jennifer’s Facebook stream, then you will know that we recently bought a new bedroom furniture set. It’s actually our first set. We’ve been married for twelve years and we finally decided to spend a little money on our room. I bought a new TV a couple of weeks ago and last Friday Jennifer was shopping and found a set she loved.
Well, they deliver the new furniture on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. So, with her school work (mostly) done, she bought some paint and started to paint in preparation for the big day.
The first day of school is finally here! Jennifer is especially excited because the girls will be out of the house for a week before she has to start up school herself, continuing towards her Bachelors in Interior Design. The downside for me is I have to wake up a little earlier to get the girls out of the door since I’m on breakfast duty.
Abby is going into 5th grade this year, it being her last year in elementary school. Next year she’s going to be responsible for getting herself on the bus. Emily is going into the 2nd grade and Izzy into the 1st grade. We were happy to find out that Izzy got Ms. Owens for her teacher this year, who was Emily’s reading teacher last year. Izzy isn’t showing any signs yet of the same reading issues that Emily has, but at least Ms. Owens can help diagnose it early if that is the case.
It’s funny how the anxiety of sending them off to school now is totally gone. I remember that day five years ago when we put Abby on the school bus for the first time. Now we are practically shoving them onto the bus and waving goodbye.
Earlier this month, Nana and Poppy finally came for a visit. Poppy had never visited since we moved back to Orlando and Nana was last here just a few weeks after we moved back. It was nice spending time with them and giving them a tour of Orlando. We decided to do what Nana likes best: shop. While we were at one of the outlet malls, we tried to see the final space shuttle lift off, but it was too cloudy to see it from Orlando.
Since Nana & Poppy were in town, this gave Jennifer and myself a chance to escape to one of the Disney resorts. We had a nice dinner at Portobello in Downtown Disney and then went back to the Bay Lake Towers, where we were staying. At the top of the tower, was a Disney Vacation Club exclusive bar called Top of the World where we were able to watch the fireworks from across the street at The Magic Kingdom. The show was amazing. They even had speakers for all the music that plays during the fireworks.
We enjoyed Nana and Poppy’s visit and hope they will come back soon.
The following Tuesday, July 12th, was the launch of NCAA Football. The studio was decorated with NCAA Football banners and they served the whole studio breakfast.
Finally, July 24th was my birthday and we had big plans. For my 30th birthday, we were still in Austin and celebrated at Dave & Buster’s. Well, they finally opened one in Orlando, after saying that this would be a great place for one after moving here. They just opened this past Monday and it appears they are still working out the kinks. While the food was good, it wasn’t all that hot when it came out. It was also pretty crowded. It’s good to see we can start this tradition back up after 9 years.
Our second stop on the birthday was Blizzard Beach. We decided since we were down south at Dave & Busters, we might as well use our passes to the water park and we spent the whole day there. There was a bit of a scare when Jennifer misplaced one of her bags in the ladies’ changing room, but it turned out okay when she visited the Lost & Found. Phone, driver’s license, and credit card were all still in there.
Our final stop, even though it was 9:00 p.m., was Mellow Mushroom for some pizza. Hands down the best pizza in Orlando and it didn’t disappoint. We were so tired from the whole day, everyone pretty much collapsed.
It was a great birthday and thanks to everyone who wished me a good day on Facebook.
We used to have this tradition of going to see fireworks in Sanford each year. However, since we moved back exactly two years ago this weekend, we haven’t gone back to Sanford. Well, instead of trekking up to Sanford, we decided to try out the Fireworks in our local Oviedo.
The event took place at the newly renamed Oviedo Mall, which hasn’t been doing well economically. Hardly anyone visits the mall and there’s a lot of empty stores as you walk along the mall. The irony today was that there were a ton of people there today for the fireworks, but someone thought it would be smart to close the mall at 6:00. So, the mall has the most people I’ve ever seen, but all the stores were all closed.
Like many others we just hung out near the truck and waited for the fireworks to begin. Expectations were low, but it wasn’t too bad. We had a good vantage point from the back of the truck to watch the fireworks. They handed out these 3D glasses which made the letters “USA” appear next to any light source. They were pretty cool.
The show lasted about twenty minutes and then we tried to get out. It was a mess as all the cars tried to pile out of the mall parking lot with no police directing traffic.
Overall: the fireworks were a hit, but everything else was a bust. The concert and booths in the parking lot were cheap and the mall was closed. They need to get real vendors (like ones in the mall) to either stay open or man booths at the celebration. Also, is it so hard to ask for funnel cake at a 4th of July celebration?
What a relaxing week. Took the whole week off from work in order to rest and recover from the push to get the NCAA Football client ready and off to manufacturing.
We put our new season passes to the Disney water parks to good use, going to Blizzard Beach on Tuesday and then Typhoon Lagoon on Friday. Our verdict: Blizzard Beach is much better. The lazy river takes you around the whole park and you can jump off at a few different points in order to go on various rides. At Typhoon Lagoon, the rides just aren’t as good and aren’t logically grouped together. We rode a “family” tube ride, which sat max 4 so, we had to divide up into 3 and 2 per tube. We then waited in line for 30 minutes for what seemed like a 5 minute (or less) ride. Not worth it. If you have a choice between the two water parks, Blizzard Beach is the one you want.
Fixing our master bath shower progressed a little this week. We had to replace the marble shelves and then order glass for the outside and the door. It should be installed next week. We also fixed the sheetrock in the closet on the opposite wall that we tore up looking for the water leak. Almost done. Jennifer has been busy texturing and repainting the closet wall.
Finally, Father’s Day was on Sunday and we started it out with a trip to The Townhouse for breakfast. This is always my favorite thing to do on any occasion. Besides that, it was a pretty lazy day, not doing much of anything. We ended the day with barbecuing some kabobs on the grill. The marinade we used was excellent and they whole meal was really tasty. Probably the best thing we’ve grilled in a long time.
I would have loved to have slept later this morning, but the girls did a drive-by “we’re hungry” which woke me up. With the stress of shipping NCAA Football weighing heavy on my mind, I haven’t been sleeping well. I rolled out of bed and tried to wake up enough to make some waffles in our well-used waffle iron. When Jennifer woke up I almost relented going out to the Townhouse for breakfast, but figured it would be packed for Mother’s Day. Jennifer was greeted with a bunch of “Happy Mother’s Day” from the kids and we gathered in the living room to open presents. She received some earrings from James Avery from me and a special Filled-Pancake pan from the kids. The girls also piled on a ton of gifts they had made in school and girl scouts. It made me realize that I miss out on all this stuff because they are out of school once Father’s Day rolls around. Oh well.
In the afternoon, we headed over to the Carbone’s for lunch and some swimming in their pool. Jennifer made an awesome spinach and cream cheese ball. We tried to make some toasted bread to go along with it, but while trying to hurry up and get out the door, they got burned to a crisp in the oven. We had to settle on swinging by Publix while driving over to the Carbone household.
There were plenty of appetizers that we filled up on while Tom smoked some chicken in his smoker and made some hamburgers on the grill. We stuffed ourselves and then filled the rest of the afternoon with pool volleyball, a tradition at the Carbones’. It was great to get out of the house and hangout with friends. By the end of the day, we were exhausted. Emily even more so as she fell asleep with a cheese stick wrapper in her mouth.
I’ve continued to be busy at work as we near the end of our Finaling period on NCAA Football 12. The game is looking great and now we just have to stabilize the game and get it out of the door. Because I’m working so much, the weekend is the only time I have to do any of the normal stuff around the house. So, this weekend was my chance to “catch-up” doing yard work, washing my truck, getting a hair cut, etc.
While I was doing all of that, Jennifer took the girls to Disney World. Jennifer’s sister and her family are coming to visit us at the end of the month and since Disney is offering a deal on 4 days worth of tickets for Florida residents, Jennifer thought it would be cool to go ahead and buy the special 4 days tickets since they were almost the same price as just buying 2 days. The catch is that the tickets expire at the end of May. So, she decided to go ahead and use of the days on the tickets today. We didn’t realize how long it had been since Izzy had been to Magic Kingdom. She didn’t remember any of it. It was like a first visit to her. I got periodic updates through Facebook, but for the most part they had fun and were exhausted when they got home.
The new lawn finally arrived! Last weekend we had a stalled out bobcat tractor in our front yard and I’m sure our neighbors were thrilled with that. The tractor just died while ripping out our old lawn. They fixed it on Monday and had the rest of the old grass ripped out. On Friday, the new stuff was laid down and then today we noticed the grass was looking dry. Turns out they only set our sprinklers to 16 minutes. I jacked it up to 45 minutes. I’m going to water the hell out of this lawn. There’s no way I spent this much money on grass to just let it dry and and die.
On Saturday was EA’s annual “company picnic”, which is basically tickets to our choice of Universal parks and lunch. We chose Islands of Adventure because we had yet to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I’m not a big fan of the books or movies, but Jennifer and Abby like them. Jennifer has read the whole series and Abby just started the first book the other day. We entered the park and headed straight for Hogsmeade at the back of the park. We had some Butterbeer which tasted like cream soda with extra cream on the top.
We knew that we needed to get back to the Harry Potter Ride because the line would be crazy. We got there and the sign said a 75 minute wait and to top it off, Izzy was too short to ride it. Fortunately they offered what is called “ride swap”. We got in line (which took about 60 minutes) and when we got to the front, Jennifer and Emily rode while me and Abby waited with Izzy in a waiting room. When the ride was done, we switched with Jennifer and Emily. It is a very good ride. Like the Spiderman ride, it’s part screens which give you a sense of flying through the air and part fake dragons and spiders that drop down at you. Very well done.
For lunch EA had bought out Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville for a couple of hours. We had a few drink tickets for margaritas and Cheeseburgers in Paradise to eat. I was impressed that we reserved the whole place for lunch. It was roped off to the public and you had to show your tickets in order to get inside.
The kids were tireless. We walked all over that park riding stuff in Jurassic Park-land and getting soaked in Toonland on a Popeye ride. We kept threatening to leave, but the kids kept dragging us to different areas of the park. Finally at 7:00 p.m., we gave up and did a force march to the front of the park, Izzy crying the whole way. I guess 9 hours at Universal wasn’t enough for her. She promptly fell asleep when we got to the truck.