Mother’s Day 2018

Mother’s Day 2018 was a bit of a disaster. In fact, I considered not writing about it at all this year.

We started the day with the usual cards and gifts cards. Which I completely appreciated. It was the first year all four kids were able to sign the cards themselves. That was kind of cool.

The night before Jack and Ben had gone out with Adam to buy the twins belated birthday gifts. Unfortunately everything Jack suggested, Ben though was bad. When they got home and gave the presents, Both twins liked their gifts but then Ben convinced Sam that his wasn’t good enough, that there was something better out there. Which really hurt Jack’s feelings. I had a long talk with Sam about the concept of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’. There is always something better out there, being happy in life is learning to appreciate what you have.

It’s a hard concept for a 6 year old.

In fact, it’s a hard concept for a 45 year old.

Because mother’s day this year I felt kind of awful.

I spent the first part of the morning helping Sam build a lego set he got for his birthday. It took us a good 30 minutes to complete. When we were done, Jack broke it in 1 second.

Down time at home on the morning, playing with some of their new birthday toys...

Down time at home on the morning, playing with some of their new birthday toys…

We didn’t go out to eat at a nice restaurant because I didn’t feel our kid with special needs could handle it. That he would ruin the experience for me.

When we tried an outing to the zoo Adam had to practically strong arm Ben into going. Adam kept telling him to be good! Remember it’s mother’s day and to be nice to mom! That depressed me even more, that the kids had to be yelled at just to be nice to me. Why weren’t they nice to me all year? How come I only get a day? And even then it’s too hard?

I almost left without Ben and Adam, but finally Adam managed to get Ben to come with, and he promptly fell asleep in the stroller meant for the twins. I worried he would keep us awake all night after sleeping the day away.DSC_0990Playing tag after the zoo…DSC_0008

We also stopped at Cummings Park…DSC_0009 DSC_0011

At one point during the day Adam told me to relax, take a break. But I knew if I didn’t finish the laundry, dishes, clean up, whatever it was, it would just be sitting there waiting for me on Monday morning when the house is quiet and I actually do have time away from the kids. It upset me that our lifestyles are so busy there really isn’t any time to relax.

While I work in the kitchen, Aaron likes to hang out and draw.

While I work in the kitchen, Aaron likes to hang out and draw.

Evening game of Slamwich, another birthday gift.

Evening game of Slamwich, another birthday gift.

While Adam was putting the twins to bed, Sam threw a stuffed animal and it hit the lego set we built that morning, that Jack smashed and I fixed afterwards. It was smashed to pieces again!

After the twins went to bed, Adam very nicely ordered from one of my favorite restaurants, Cheng Du Impressions, for take out. I thoroughly enjoyed that too.

Then this morning as I was driving back from dropping Adam at work, I turned on this week’s podcast of ‘This American Life’. It was about breaking up. They started talking about how many break up song there were. Then they played some classic ones. When they got to Bonnie Raitt’s “I can’t make you love me, if you don’t.” I started bawling right there, by myself in the car. The foggy, rainy day was a perfect backdrop.

That song brought me back to a very specific time in my life. When I was so distraught, lonely and rejected. My mind quickly ran through all the rejections in my life. The time that I would play this very song over and over again and lay on my floor next to my pink boom box in a miserable heap. Or the year in Hong Kong when I woke up every single morning for months with a pile of snotty tissues next to my bed and I wondered if I would ever go back to falling asleep normally instead of crying myself to sleep every night. Or the time I recently moved to Shanghai and I was sitting on the balcony of my new flat looking out and thinking, I’ve been dating half my life, where the hell is he?

I was very glad not to be in any of those times in my life. For every set of Joneses, there is another set of Smiths or whoever else. It can always be better, but it can always be worse!

And as most of my readers already know, he finally did show up and together we built this breakneck pace of a life together. I can’t say I haven’t been distraught, but I haven’t been lonely since. Or rejected!

So perhaps I should be listening to my own advice. Screw the Joneses. Look around, there is plenty to be grateful for, and everything in life doesn’t have to be perfect for you to find it.

I got home and carefully rebuilt the lego set once again. Sometimes you got to fix things more than once. Ah, yet another life lesson.

And much like the other saying about life and lemons, if life gives you a pile of legos, make something beautiful. Or at least rebuild the darn thing so you aren’t left stepping on a pile of pain.

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Twin’s 6th Birthday Party

Today we hosted the twins 6th birthday party.

Finally, after 6 years, they had their first birthday party!

We recycled the carnival theme from Ben’s birthday, adding a few more games.

Jack created this marble run with two results.DSC_0924I spent entirely too much time building this skeeball machine for the kids.DSC_0887

Match the ducks…DSC_0923And more…DSC_0892 DSC_0893 DSC_0894 DSC_0895 DSC_0896 DSC_0888 DSC_0891Kids were able to trade in their tickets from the games at the prize table, which Adam worked tirelessly.DSC_0963(Here is the secret to the prize table!)DSC_0925

We hired a bunch of Jack’s buddies from school, an older sibling of one of Aaron’s buddies, and my friend Laura brought a crew of kids (and also helped tirelessly the entire party!) to help run the games.DSC_0948

We also had a face painter.DSC_0944

And a balloon twister.DSC_0952DSC_0959 DSC_0962

And we rented a popcorn maker, a cotton candy maker, and a hot dog steamer.DSC_0938

I also put out some home made sushi, quinoa salad and guacamole.

And fruit. You see how much attention it got compared to the cotton candy…DSC_0939Balloon sword fight!DSC_0965

Our upstairs apartment is vacant right now so we had the carnival upstairs. The food was on the deck, the face painter and balloon twister were in our apartment and the prize table was outside on the ground level.DSC_0898

Kids also played in the basement so hopefully all that stair climbing counteracted all the sugar they ate?

Finally Adam brought out the cake. This is always his job for the birthday parties and once again it was a masterpiece.DSC_0970

Afterwards the kids got to stay up late to open ALL THESE presents!DSC_0983

It was a great day and I was so grateful we could do this for them. Also grateful that it didn’t rain! And that we had so many wonderful helpers, including our oldest carnival helper, Japo…DSC_0932

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Twin’s 6th Birthday

The twins turned 6 years old today.

Not being first in line for birth order is a funny thing. Everything is already established.

It was no surprise for the twins they they woke up to donuts for breakfast. It’s fast becoming our birthday ritual.IMG_8848

It was the first birthday they celebrated in school, so that was new. Unlike their siblings, this school has a ritual of handing out gifts on the kids birthday instead of bringing in a treat.

The twins handed out fidget spinners. They were a huge hit and afterwards I was accosted on the playground by older kids grabbing the leftovers.

And it was no surprise that they chose the same place the other kids choose for their birthday dinner, the Rainforest Cafe. Jack is starting to eat of the adult menu and slowly we are ordering more desserts but otherwise it’s the same.IMG_E0245

Here is the Volcano dessert that we got along with two key lime pies…DSC_0886

This weekend we will throw the birthday party for them. Stay tuned!

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Now that spring is here, I’m going to abandon all the reorganization projects that have plagued me all winter.

Before September this year, I never reorganized anything. I simply kept pushing things into closets until they were so stuffed that, every time I opened one, everything would come crashing down on me.

This winter I found so many things I have been looking for! So many things that I now have two of!

Some project were small, like kitchen cabinets.














And more cabinets…





Then I moved on to the bigger things, like closets and storage units (which I did TWICE). I must admit I forgot to take many before and after pictures. Reorganization often happened when I went to get one thing out of a closet, then started to pull more things out and, next thing you know I was knee deep and an hour into a full make over.

I reorganized both Jack and Ben’s rooms, but things still didn’t fit right.

Before. My first attempt at lego storage.

Before. My first attempt at lego storage.

After. My first attempt at lego storage.

After. My first attempt at lego storage.

One day I was so fed up with Jack’s legos, I went to Home Depot, bought new shelves for his closet, had my friend Nicole cut them with their circular saw, and make Jack’s closet into a lego showroom.

Before. Added shelves.

Before.  (Added shelves.)



I even made a wall for him to display his collection of almost 200 lego figurines. IMG_8767It’s completely empty because, after painstakingly adding all of them to the wall, he rediscovered them and now that are all scattered across his bedroom actually getting used.

Since the lego display, he spends many hours in there with the door closed, on his Ipad, binge watching shows and creating. It’s like he’s got his own private lego studio!

And Ben’s toys kept growing until cleaning them up became a nightmare. Every bin was overflowing and when it was time to clean, we would pile them up then try to shove them into spots that were too tight.

His room is much smaller, but I finally realized there was a small sliver of room, behind his bed, that wasn’t taken yet. Just 18 inches wide. I found a 16 inch shelving unit and it made all the difference!

Empty spot.

Empty spot.

New storage shelves.

New storage shelves.

Wa La.

Wa La.









Now I’m giving myself a break from all this clean up. In a few months it will be summer. The kids will spend those months off of school turning the house inside out and I’ll have to start again in September…

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Trip to NC

Last week for Spring Break we drove TEN LONG hours to North Carolina to visit my sister.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for time with family. I will jump huge hurdles to spend more time with them and I’ve yet to find an amount of time that feels like too much.

And this was a very special visit because not only did I get to see my sister and her entire family but my father was going to be there as well!

Grandpa with all his children, their spouses and all of his grandchildren.

Grandpa with all his children, their spouses and all of his grandchildren.

The entire week before the trip Jack woke up every day counting down the days until he could be with Grandpa Devensky again.

We packed up the minivan full of our stuff, games, iPads, movies and snacks and headed out last Wednesday for the first of 4 days of driving.

The kids love to sleep in hotels, mostly because of the free sugary breakfast and the hotel pool.

Hotel wrestling.

Hotel wrestling.

Hotel Pool.

Hotel Pool.

We used the pool the morning before the second half of the drive down and I think it calmed them out and made the drive much more manageable.

When we arrived we went straight to Aunt Lara’s. There the kids were entertained with the few toys Lara had left in the house.DSC_0613 DSC_0616 DSC_0617

Some of the toys were Lara and Brent’s toys that they use now!DSC_0584 DSC_0576

Ben was waiting for weeks to see Uncle Brent’s shark tooth collection.DSC_0607

Brent had the kids in rapture with all the fun things he showed them. First he started exploding things.DSC_0603

Then he decided it would be fun to launch Ben’s Imaginext toys out of his leaf blower. They competed to see whose would go the furthest.DSC_0618

And he had other uses for that leaf blower too. They were begging for more ‘wind showers’!DSC_0628I think this was the moment when Brent took over as favorite family member to spend time with. Sorry Grandpa.

After a meal at Aunt Lara’s, we headed up to Brent’s family’s cabin, where we would be staying for the next three days. DSC00483

We selfishly took Grandpa with us.

The kids settled right into playing pool with Grandpa in the basement.DSC_0635

Really it didn’t matter what they did, Grandpa can find ways to entertain them with absolutely no props!DSC_0608

That next afternoon we had lunch on Main street, then hit the Mast General for some old fashioned candy.DSC_0640

Afterwards, we walked off that candy at a hike called Water Knob.DSC_0641

Last time we were here it was fog as far as you could see. It was great to actually get a view this time!DSC00339

That evening Adam and I hosted a Passover Seder. We forgot the shank bone and the Seder plate but it was really nice to just have a meal with so much family around.

Making Matzoh Ball Soup

Making Matzoh Ball Soup

Saturday we hiked again, this time around Lake Junaluska.DSC_0662 DSC_0671

Sam threw up the night before so we dropped him at Lara’s and took the rest of the kids. Sam got Brandy all to himself.

That evening Lara organized a major shindig at the cabin we were staying at.

Saturday Night Party

Saturday Night Party Goers

I even managed to have my college buddy, Jennie, and her family over.DSC00423

Her boys are close in age to mine and they quickly took up a game of hide and seek.

When Clay showed up it turned into a different game – college aged cousins and significant others verses the kids. The college aged cousins were done for, except for Clay who wrestled in high school and could miraculously hold off 6 growing boys at once.DSC00438

Brandy handed out Easter Egg baskets to all the boys.

Brandy handed out Easter Egg baskets to all the boys.

Sunday we planned an Easter Egg hunt for our boys.

DSC_0768 DSC_0769 DSC_0771 DSC_0774

Checking out the spoils.

Checking out the spoils.

Lara and Brent also had lots of other stuff ready for us to play with – fishing, feeding the ducks and the donkey, and Frisbee. I was surprised my kids wanted to fish but I think it’s because Uncle Brent suggested it. I’m pretty sure if he told them to cliff dive they would do it. DSC_0719


Feeding the ducks by sling shot. They balled bread up and slung it into the pond!


IMG_E0178It was a beautiful trip. Watching the kids explore nature, having so many family members around me, and forcing Adam to take some time off work. It was a trifecta of holidays.

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Business Trip with Adam

Last week my father and aunt came to town to watch the kids so I could tag along with Adam on his business trip.

He had two stops, one in LA and one in Boulder.

In LA we also managed to see his sister and niece. I’m still kicking myself that we didn’t get a photo together.

It was a quick one night’s stay then we were off to Boulder for a few more nights.

After Adam finished all his meetings, he cleared his desk for Friday so we could have one day to go snowboarding and skiing together.

“Wait, are you a really good skier?” I asked.

I was having trouble processing the fact that we had just passed our 12 year anniversary but still had never skied or snowboarded together.

“I’m okay, not great.” Adam replied. Then, thinking out loud, “Maybe I’ll try snowboarding?”

You see, I only every learned to snowboard. It was one very painful week in Whistler that left me with knee bruises so big I could not bend them by the end of the week.

In the end Adam decided he didn’t want to slow me down, so he got skis.

Still I was worried. It had been almost 20 years since Whistler. The night before we had dinner in Denver with a mish mosh of friends, Adam’s friend Brian and wife Virginia as well as with my friend Holly and her hubby Jose.IMG_E0072 IMG_E0073

“Ah, it’s just like riding a bike.” Holly reassured me.

The next morning we donned our newly acquired winter hats from Adam’s friend Andy’s company.IMG_0075Then we were off to the nearest mountain, Eldora.

IMG_0081Adam took this picture then showed it to me later that day. “See, you can barely see the ski lift that you just fell off of from this angle.”

Sadly, I have no idea which lift ride this is because I fell off the lift every single time I rode it. I would fall then drop to my knees and crawl to the patch just outside of the way, dragging my snowboard, pigeon-toed on my left foot.

The first run of the day took me almost an hour to do. Holly lied. I could NOT remember for the life of me how to snowboard. I fell down every single turn.

Adam would tell me which way to go and I would just go whichever way the snowboard decided. If it was the same place Adam was pointing to, it was mere coincidence.

I had bought a new face mask at the bottom of the mountain that I was so happy with it on the ski lift, protecting me from the 30 mile an hour winds. But now, on the way down, it became a device for torture. I was sweating so badly from exursion, the cap kept all the warmth in. I could feel the sweat pooling and sticking to the hair matted between my neck and face mask.

On the second run of the day, I finally remembered that, when you are right (normal) or left (goofy) on a snowboard, it means that foot is actually BEHIND. That foot is steering, not in front. I switched my position. This time I was only falling half the time. Usually on the turn from back to front.

Meanwhile Adam is skiing backwards, with one hand on his phone, filming me.

I can’t believe how much he underestimated himself and I over estimated myself.

We managed a few more runs then I asked if we could quit and just go home and take a nap. Adam agreed.

Now I’m scared to ride my bike.

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Jack’s 11th Birthday

Jack officially turned 11 yesterday.

We gave him the option to pick where he wanted to go out to eat. Usually the kids ask for Rainforest Cafe. But we also suggested the Safehouse, in continuing with the Spy Theme, or his favorite food – sushi.DSC_0508Our little creature of habit decided to keep the Rainforest Cafe tradition going for another year.

It wasn’t totally without change. When he sat down to read the kids menu he noticed that it no longer applied to him. That menu was for kids 10 and under.

So he asked for the adult menu. It was full of very adult type menu items which looked icky so we came up with a compromise. He would order off the kids menu but ask for an adult size portion. Growing up, but with baby steps.

DSC_0511Ben insisted we get blind bags from all the kids for Jack for his birthday.

DSC_0514We kept electronic free by playing a game where the person behind you pretends to be your our hands.

DSC_0521Happy Birthday, Jack!

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Jack’s 11th Spy Birthday Party

As Jack gets older, the types of parties the kids have start to change. They no longer feel the need to invite EVERY SINGLE kid to the party. By 11, you know your friends and who you want to hang out with.

This year I asked Jack if he’d like to do a smaller party with just his good buddies. Perhaps something longer, a bigger treat but for less people.

I suggested we take his buddies to his favorite water park for the weekend. The hotel room fits 4, so he could invite 3 other kids.

To my surprise, the response to this amazing suggestion was a shrug.

Jack isn’t much of a complainer so if he doesn’t like something, trying to figure out what is wrong is like trying to solve a 1000 piece puzzle. It takes days to sort it out and sometimes it’s just too complicated and time consuming to sift through.

Adam finally cornered him on the way to school one morning and found the true source of his discontent. He said, “I don’t want to exclude anyone.”

It was so sweet, I melted right there and then. Whatever he asked for next he could have had.

He asked to invite his entire class to his house for a Spy Themed party.

The next day, I was a flurry of google searches, pinterest boards and online shopping at Amazon and Oriental Trading.

It was quite possibly the most labor intensive party I ever threw for Jack. But it was so much fun I didn’t mind a minute of it. Basically, I created an 11 year old escape room.

The kids entered the party and were immediately asked what the password was. I stole this concept from the Safehouse Restaurant. Since there wasn’t an actual password, they were given tasks to prove they were spy worthy.

These two guests had to recite a tongue twister and pretend their pants were on fire.

These two guests had to recite a tongue twister and pretend their pants were on fire.

I had a bunch of different tasks. Some kids were asked to prove they were masters of disguise, to pick a task from a bucket – they became ballerinas, frogs and old ladies. Some had to pretend their pants were on fire and one girl pretended she could not stop dancing even though she wanted to.

It came in handy when the next crew had to pretend they were a spy rock band and she started dancing and yelled, “I can’t stop dancing!”

Other kids were given pool noodles and battled me.

I even had a set of kids showing their dexterity by hopping on one foot while clapping, ending an a 70s style disco move.

Finally it was time to start the mission.

To receive their mission, the kids had to pass a laser field.

Jack's siblings went first to show the other kids how to avoid the lasers.

Jack’s siblings went first to show the other kids how to avoid the lasers.

The mission envelope had the mission inside, “Find the Alien”. It also had the first clue, a trivia question about their school.

DSC_0497Once they answered all the questions correctly, they used the numbers in the lines above to get to the next clue, “Golden Eggs.”DSC_0434

The golden eggs all had messages in them, either they had the message, “try again” or they showed a picture of a blue lock with a door. Kids had to figure out where the lock was, then how to open it.DSC_0425 (1)

The lock showed 4 spaces, each with a sour patch kid in it in a different color. Then below, a bunch more sour patch kids. The amount of sour patch kids equaled the number to unlock the door. Inside the door there was a decoder ring. Which led them to the next clue.DSC_0432

Decode the clue, which said, “Jack’s bookshelf”.DSC_0395

Jack’s bookshelf looked like this. When you pulled a clue out, it read:

So far your spy skills are tried and true.
How much more of this will we have to do?
This is a very good question
Perhaps I can offer a suggestion.
It’s back to the kitchen for you,
The Polybius Grid is your next clue.

DSC_0437The Polybuis Clue decoded said, “Thomas the Trains”.DSC_0392

These were racked downstairs.DSC_0393

When you turned them over you either got “try again” or a picture of a fingerprint. The kids had to find fingerprints somewhere…

DSC_0421The fingerprints decoded said, “Popsicle sticks”.DSC_0428

The Popsicle challenge unscrambled looked like this.DSC_0430

The four fruits were scattered in picture frames throughout the house with numbers on them.

DSC_0389The numbers gave you the code to the lock box.DSC_0422

Once you found them you could open the box to find this…DSC_0498

I bought plain jigsaw puzzles from Oriental Trading and wrote on them in different color permanent ink. The puzzle said..

Take one black piece of paper from the pocket of the lock box. Decode.

DSC_0499 I loved this clue. The box was black and the clue was black so it was hidden in plain sight. Right under the jigsaw puzzle.

DSC_0387The Spy Lab was a re-purposed box that you may remember from Hannukah.

DSC_0388I added a black light inside and used black light ink to paint Morse Code on the side.


DSC_0460While this half of Jack’s team were busy decoding, the other half were outside of the lab, guarding their partners. (They used these very serious looking blow up swords.)

When the kids decoded the black light clue, it said, “pop bombs”.

DSC_0391When they went to pop the bombs (which were actually black balloons), they either got the message, “try again” or “wooden box”.DSC_0427

The wooden box was really hard to open. So I gave them 3 clues. to help figure it out.

DSC_0500Inside the box it said, “Check under the stairs”.

DSC_0502Under the stairs there is a little door and inside, another clue.

DSC_0503Framed pictures of Jack with empty lines underneath. When you found the framed pictures of Jack around the house they had letters on them. The letters spelled, “Ask a sibling”.

DSC_0450Jack’s siblings were all wearing these stickers.

DSC_0501Inside their pockets were mazes with letters in them.

The correct path spelled out, “Check the Laundry Room.”

Inside the laundry room…

DSC_0397After the mission the kids wrecked the house, drank all the sugary drinks and ate through the entire snack bin while simultaneously playing a weird boys vs girls territory game.

DSC_0471Pizza arrived shortly afterwards.

DSC_0472Then we sang to Jack’s cake.DSC_0486 Adam tried his best to keep the cake small this year. But there is still half the cake in our fridge. (Too bad none of it is the yummy chocolate bomb on top.)DSC_0492When all the kids left, Jack examined his new spoils. Lots of gifts cards that he can use to buy more stuff that I’ll have to find a place for in the stuffed house!

DSC_0496He managed to put together a lego set and play a couple of games on his new Foosball set before bed.

DSC_0494Also, we set the party up again so Jack’s siblings could do the mission themselves.

I had a ton of help. After I created this mission, I had Adam go through it one night when the kids were in bed to make comments and improvements. Then, the night before the party I asked my father and aunt to do it again to see if there were any more snags. DSC_0465 DSC_0447Once the three adults understood the mission they were stationed in different areas to help the kids along.

DSC_0458Even Aaron helped re-rack the trains.

I could not have done this party without them. My Dad and Aunt were in town at my request. I took full advantage. In addition to all the help they gave for the party, the week before I left them with the kids and tagged along on Adam’s business trip. But that blog will have to come later. As always, the kids come first!

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Snow Day!

Ah blog, how I’ve been neglecting you lately.

It’s not because I have nothing going on. It’s the opposite. I have too much going on!

I didn’t want to bore you with the week I spent de-cluttering the house. Okay, I would have bored you, but I was so focused on it I forgot to document it. If you want a taste, I got rid of two whole cabinets of electronics that were left here from the last people who lived her. TEN YEARS ago. By the time I finally got around to getting rid of them, I was furiously ripping cords from the back of them. Why did I wait 10 years to get these two cabinets back? We have been paying for them for TEN years!

I also spent about 20 hours working on Jack’s birthday party this month. That blog is coming soon. We just have to have the party first!

And I’m taking a writing class. My second one since the kids went back to school. I’m hoping to start some new and interesting work right here on this very blog! But I’m not quite ready yet. Stay tuned for it.

Today I had planned to work on a bunch of the above projects but Chicago had other plans for me. A snow day for the kids! Jack was super excited until we explained to him that, instead of going to school today in the bad weather he would have to make up this day at the end of the school year when the weather is actually nice.

Still, the boys enjoyed the copious amounts of snow just outside our door today.

There was so much Sam was yelling, “I’m stuck in quick sand!”

DSC_0297And then they took turns burying each other.DSC_0308 DSC_0311 DSC_0317I think they thought they were still on the beaches of Florida!

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Florida Trip

We managed to escape the cold Chicago winter for a week over the kids winter break. Sort of.

This time our trip to Florida had unusually cold temperatures.

At least the cold was bearable. Unlike Chicago, we could still be outside during the day. It just wasn’t warm enough for endless days of beach visits and pool swims.

So what else is there to do in Florida beside get your bathing suit on? Stay tuned, dear readers…

Our first day we visited Sugar Sand Park in Boca Raton.DSC_0001 DSC_0005 DSC_0008 DSC_0009

The last time we visited this park was closed for renovations. We were planning on running around for about an hour but the boys were enjoying the relative warmth so much we ended up staying here almost 3 hours.

Afterwards we enjoyed the $1 carousel rides. Aaron asked to go again and when he got his gold token to ride he said he wasn’t riding, he’d rather save his shiny coin. Adam very nicely let him ride and keep his coin.DSC_0033 DSC_0034 DSC_0035

We also got to see both grandparent’s right away. First, Japo’s house were she had yummy Publix sandwiches waiting for us.DSC_0041

They were all fascinated by her huge collection of coins from her extensive travels.DSC_0045

Aaron’s favorite part, however, was discovering the ‘butt picture’ in Japo’s study. DSC_0047

Afterwards we spent time at Grandpa Devensky’s.

He took us on a tour of the complex searching for iguanas. I didn’t realize the iguana population has exploded in Florida and because they don’t have any natural predators they are becoming a real problem. In his complex alone we saw four of them!

Aaron almost stepped on this before Jack pointed it out!

Aaron almost stepped on this before Jack pointed it out!

The next morning we visited the Everglades Holiday Park. Ben requested this visit that we see Alligators. And Sharks. We tried our best to accommodate him.DSC_0071 DSC_0075 DSC_0081

We bundled up in our winter jackets for the airboat ride. We had 2 alligator spotting and one iguana spotting.DSC_0090 DSC_0094 DSC_0098

The ticket also included an alligator show. We didn’t realize it at the time but the show was run by Gator Boy’s own Paul Bedard. Apparently he used to have an insane alligator rescue show on Animal Planet.DSC_0104

We also got some good Dim Sum in while we were still in Fort Lauderdale at the Gold Marquess.DSC_0107

We were lucky to be able to join Grandpa Devensky’s weekly family dinners with his wife Susan’s family. DSC_0111

Auntie Doris was there too. DSC_0108

One thing about having four kids is that you can never give them as much attention as they want or need. So many people around giving the kids so much attention was worth all the hassle of traveling to get there.

Susan draws for Aaron while her daughter, Tammy entertains him.

Susan draws for Aaron while her daughter, Tammy entertains him.

Other things fun things we did included mini golf.DSC_0127

Sam even managed a hole in one!

We took the older boys to see the latest Star Wars movie while the twins got time with Grandpa.DSC_0114

Both Adam and I have fond memories of visiting Lion Country Safari as kids. So it was really cool to be able to take them back to have the same experience we did. DSC_0150

We saw so many animals up close!DSC_0153

This Ostrich was particularly aggressive, tapping on our window with his beak.DSC_0158

One night we went with Japo to Chipotle. Japo brought me a magazine she found at the supermarket because it had an article about Hong Kong. But I never got a change to read the article because the kids took over the magazine and wouldn’t give me a turn.

The magazine was Maxim’s, a girly magazine. Ben said it was the most interesting magazine he had ever read! Once again, Japo delivered ‘butt pictures’!IMG_8471

We did manage to swim one day in the pool. It was too cold by my standards, luckily Adam braved the water for me.DSC_0120

I could only manage the hot tub.DSC_0125

We also tried to have a beach day on our last day, the warmest day that we visited. When we arrived at the beach there were 15 mile an hour winds and the red AND the purple flag were up at the lifeguard stand. Red is for rough water with riptides, purple was for dangerous marine life. DSC_0185

It was too rough to swim but I thought it would be okay to dip our feet in. After a few minutes, a Portuguese Man of War washed up on the shore! DSC_0206

We checked out the pier, looking for those sharks Ben wanted.DSC_0191

Sadly, no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t see any.


Ben hoping to see a Shark through a hole in the pier.

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