Victoria and Butchart Gardens

Yesterday we explored Victoria and Butchart Gardens on our way to Vancouver. Both are located on Vancouver Island. There is much more to do on the island and we only got a preview.

Victoria is a historical city with lots of old buildings. Our hotel was about a block away from the parliament building. This building was very impressive.

The next stop was Butchart Gardens. We stoped on a whim, but it was so worth it. The place was absolutely amazing. I highly recommend the sunken gardens. The view is one of the most breathtaking things you will ever see. A photo simply doesn’t do it justice.

They also had a carousel that was really cool. Abby had to take a ride. The carousel itself was very well crafted. Each of the animals had its own unique details. It was so much more impressive than the theme park carousels back in Florida.

They also had gelato. We had to have some and we are glad we did!

Here are some other photos.

Exploring The Olympic Peninsula

We are on vacation this week at my parents. We spent Monday driving through the Olympic peninsula on our way to get to Canada. It was a good drive with lots of good scenery. Here are a handful of photos.

St Augustine Weekend

Last weekend Michelle and I took a little getaway to St. Augustine. It was only two nights away, but still a nice little trip. We stayed at the Hilton Bayfront, which was perfect since it was so close to everything. Our weekend was extremely wet, but it was at least a little cooler and the crowds were light.

One of our favorite activities was the distillery. We definitely recommend taking the tour if you are in the area. Also, be sure to stop in at the Ice Plant Restaurant if you do make it out to the distillery. Their service and menu is outstanding!

Irma Outcome

We were very fortunate through hurricane Irma. Despite 100mph+ winds we are all safe and sound, had no damage to our home and miraculously never lost power! Other parts of Lakeland, Florida and the Caribbean were obviously not so fortunate. Please pray for those who sustained damage or loss to their homes and especially those families that lost loved ones from this storm.

In the end I think we fared much better than was expected, but there is still lots of cleanup to be done it the coming weeks.

Hurricane Irma

For anyone reading, be sure to say a prayer for Florida. We are hunkered down in Lakeland. So far things aren’t bad, but we are expecting 90-95 mph sustained winds at the peak early tomorrow morning.

Student From China

We just finished hosting a student from China! Anna, age 10, stayed with us for the last week and a half. We had so much fun with her, especially Abby. As much fun as it was, this morning was very sad for all of us as Anna had to leave. I think Abby will have the hardest time, but we will definitely try to keep in touch.

Here are a few photos of our time with Anna.

Abby Swimming

Over the last few week, I have been working with Abby on swimming.  When we took our trip to Hawaii, we realized pretty quick how much Abby needs to learn to swim.  Basically everything we did on that trip involved water of some kind!  In the weeks since that trip, Abby and I have gone to the pool at least one time each weekend to work on swimming skills.  It's really cool to see how much Abby has taken to it in just a few weeks time.  When we first started, she wasn't confident holding her breath or even doing basic swimming.  Since then, she has started using her swimming motions much more and is even using diving rings.  She has a long way to go before being able to swim the pool on her own, but for now we have been leaving the life jacket at home and just using the kick board as her only flotation device.  I'm really excited to see how she is doing in another 6 weeks or so!!  

Mom and Dad in Town

This week we got to have my parents stay with us for a few days. Abby and Lucky both enjoyed the time very much. We got to have a character breakfast at Disney one day and then went to downtown Disney afterward. Breakfast was really good. Mom really enjoyed it and I think Dad did too! Lilo, Stitch, Pluto and Mickey were all there. 

Blog in the cloud

I have successfully moved this blog to a VPS! 

The morning we left for our Hawaii trip, I had a hard drive failure in the server hose ring this blog. The server happens to be a machine I have sitting at home. My goal was to keep the blog updated while on the Vacation, but with the hard drive failure, that simply did not happen. I ended up finding a cheap VPS provider that will serve the needs of this blog just fine. The added bonus is that I no longer have any ports open coming into my home network!

Hawaii Vacation – Day 7

Well, 7 days in Hawaii was all we got to enjoy. Abby and I spent the last morning at the resort pools while Michelle packed. We left at checkout time, got lunch and headed to the airport. 

It was a fantastic Vacation and definitely something we would like to do again!