Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas 2009: Part I

For Christmas 2009 we went to Massachusetts to visit Luke's family. We left Wednesday and returned the following Monday. Here are a few pictures of the great time we had. Allison, Jason, and Ruby also drove up from DC. It was nice to have more siblings around.

Here is the traffic as we got into DC. It took us about 18 hours to get there and 24 coming home. It was a very long trip, but we always enjoy visiting family, so it is worth it.

Ruby was really funny in the snow. She is trying to catch all the little pieces.

We went hiking. There wasn't much snow in Massachusetts, but because they live higher in the mountains, we were fortunate enough to have a white Christmas.

A very photogenic Ruby.

Luke is trying to tell a story with Newton upside down trying to get his attention.


Luke's Mom made me this really cute hat last year.

This was the beautiful Christmas tree. It was covered in presents, but I forgot to take a picture. Luke's Dad made the chest in the front of the tree for our wedding present. It is beautiful and lined with cedar. It will hold most of our blankets I am sure.

A fridendly game of wii bowling.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Honeymoon: Day 4

Wednesday, August 26th

So while we were shopping yesterday someone told us about the Butterfly Conservatory. It is a large glass structure with butterflies. It is similar to Callaway Gardens or the one in Gainesville. we had a great time watching the butterflies. There were some many morphos flying around it was kind of crazy. We did have a few land on our heads too. Here are some pics from the butterfly conservatory...

They had these great butterfly benches.

Blue Morph

Luna Moth. Check out his antaenne.

This is the Southern most point. We did a drive-by and I took some pictures. There were always people in front of it, but you get the idea. However, there is a lot that is more south than this point including the Naval station and Fort Zachary, so I'm not really sure why it is called the Southern Most point, but whatever.

I was trying to take a picture of the marker, not the kids fighting.

Corner of Duval and Front St. This is a fairly famous corner and the location of the Conch Train Tours.

A typical house in Key West.

Me trying to get out of the heat for a brief moment. We headed back to Islamorada to our hotel. I think we are going back to Bahia Honda tomorrow to snorkel some more.

Honeymoon: Day 3

Tuesday, August 25th

Today we made it down to Key West. It is about a two hour drive from where we are staying. We made it all the way to Mile Marker 0.

We went to Ft. Zachary State Park first. They are suppose to have great snorkeling. It is pretty much the lowest point on Key West and it is where the Gulf and the Atlantic meet. The visibility was only fair, actually it was less than 5 feet. We couldn't see the bottom very well so we didn't snorkel very long. The beaches here are very rocky. There is no such thing as a sandy beach in the Keys. This is what has surprised us the most so far. If it is a sandy beach then it is manmade and there are very few of those.

View of Naval ship from Fort Zachary Taylor. You had to go through the Naval Station to get to the state park.

Overview of the Fort.

Rainbow we saw driving down to Key West.

After the fort we walked around town at the shops. We went to the Little White House where Truman spent a lot of time plus several other Presidents. We also drove past Hemigways House several times, but we didn't go in.

This is one of the best Banyan trees (Ficus) that we found.

We went to the Conch Republic for dinner in the historic harbor. It was really nice and they had good live music. We also went to Mallory Square at sundown. This is where all the street vendors go. It wasn't as large as I expected, but we saw a fire breather who was getting ready to preform and watched an acrobat guy. We are spending the night in Key West so we can explore a little more tomorrow.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Honeymoon: Day 2

Monday, August 24th

We decided to go down to Bahia Honda State Park on Big Pine. Big Pine is the group of Islands jsut above Key West, so it is pretty far down there. We were supposed to go on a snorkel trip to Looe Key which I was super excited about, but after my steller performance on the glass bottom boat yesterday we decided not to go. I didn't really want to be stuck in the middle of the ocean with motion sickness for 2.5 hours with no relief. We decided to rent a tandem kayak and paddle to a small island and snorkel around it.

Luke after snorkeling. We went back to this beach after snorkeled off the island. The light colored water is sand on the bottom and the dark areas are sea grass. Both had little fish.

Me getting ready to snorkel for the second time. Because we weren't snorkelling in bouyed areas we had to have a divers down flag which Luke so wonderfully lugged around all day on his ankle.

View of ocean.

This is the little island we kayaked to and snorkelled around. We snorkelled on the left front side. It wasn't Looe Key, but we did see a lot of different fish. Some were small and bright pinks, yellows, and blues, and others were spotted and looked like the ocean floor. Most of the waters we were in were less than 5 feet and most were more like 3 feet.

Coconut palm.

Island again. These are views from the Bahia Honda bridge.

Views of coean and island in the distance. We kayaked from the somewhere on the left you can't see. It was a pretty good paddle.

The gulf side of the Key that we did not swim on.

More coconut palms. We might go back and snorkel in this area.

Our island one more time! Isn't it pretty!?

I was very proud of myself for snorkelling. I actually did very well. It is much easier to snorkel when you don't have a broken elbow or are in the middle of the Indian Ocean. These were my two previous snorkeling experiences. The ocean current was strong, but it was fun.

View of Bahia Honda.

We kayaked over that!

More coconut palms. I miss coconut palms.

The happy couple.

Our little island again.

One more time.

Views from the bridge.

The bridge is only open for a small strech. The rest was left. It was kind of spooky. We did see some very, very large fish at the bottom of the bridge. I think they were probably lemon or nurse sharks. They were moving very slowly and had large heads.

The top of the bridge. It looks like it has been left for a while.

View looking back at the island.

Another view of Bahia Honda.