Sunday, September 15, 2013

Gator Lake

#5 on the Alabama Bucket List.... See an alligator in the wild - Check

We stopped at Gator Lake this weekend on our way home from the beach.  We made it about three feet and Dean (our fearless leader) saw this sign...

Now Dean has been known to have some irrational fears in the past (sharks will never be in the Pine View Reservoir, babe) but I think most of you reading this will agree that a "Self Guided Nature Trail" is not the thing you want to hear in the same sentence as alligators.  We decided to press forward, past the signs warning us not to feed the alligators (I kid you not) and were pleasantly surprised by the mac-daddy of all gators.  Ten feet long and not six feet from the trail we were standing on.

Just before we walked back some crazy man decided to climb this tree so he could get a better picture.  His rationale was that alligators don't climb trees... an alligator doesn't need to climb if it's only three feet off the ground, buddy. Dean's wise advice to Ben and Alan was, "you only have to be faster than one other person."

We saw some lovely deer as we were leaving.  
Dean fondly named them Appetizer, Main Course and Dessert.

The Spanish Moss only grows in Florida, not Alabama.  I know it's a parasite, 
but it looks so elegant

My favorite picture of the day.  They really do camouflage themselves well.  We have a favorite song on a Tom Chapin cd about a cute little girl with an alligator under her bed.  It happened to be the very next song we listened to on the way home.  "Go to sleep now, Susy, you know it isn't true. What would an alligator be doing under you? Alligators live in ponds, they don't sleep under beds.  
Go to sleep now Susy, and rest your little head."  

I can't be sure, but I swear I saw Dean checking under his side 
before he turned the lights out. 

St Andrew's State Park

It's official, we can't get enough of the beach.  It seems almost magical that we can get up in the morning, decide to head to the beach on a whim, and be back in our own beds the same night.  I'm not sure if the novelty will ever wear off.  I hope it doesn't.
Even though it's Florida, most people refer to the panhandle as "LA"... Lower Alabama

Can't hardly wait

My favorite beach activity

making sure the crabs are still there

Who can resist the bum shot?

The weather cooperated perfectly and we even survived our first encounter with a jellyfish. 

We've decided the beach is a trip we must take at least once a month. And we can! I still can't get over how close it really is.  We've learned how "not" to do it these last two times, but with some keen observation  of the locals, we know an Easy-Up and a Sand Wagon are the next two purchases we need to make.  You should have seen us this time trying to stake down a tarp and some poles.  We looked ridiculous.  Actually, what we looked like were beach novices, which we are, but not for long.  I guarantee it! 

Under the Sea

Hoping to add some much needed culture to our life I purchased tickets for Dothan's SEACT production of The Little Mermaid.  The performances are held at the Dothan Opera House, a large old brick building with lovely molding and columns.  There were a ton of sparkly mermaids in attendance.   The bubble machine during the Under the Sea number was the hit of the evening, but I think the boys enjoyed other parts as well.  If nothing else, it gave us a night out together full of familiar songs we went home singing and an excuse to stop at Sonic for half price shakes afterwards.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Lunch on Foster

We took advantage of his morning off and had lunch together.  Foster Street is Dothan's version of lower 25th in Ogden. In a side by side comparison Ogden wins, hands down, but I'll take Foster Street over the alternative of no historic downtown anyday.    

      Pastries and cookies baked fresh daily and a roasted red pepper soup that boasts a "top-secret" recipe.  We also indulged in a creme brule cheesecake so incredible we finished it off before I snapped a picture.  Hopefully more shops and restaurants will come to this little street in the center of town.  I'm feeling optimistic.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Shiny new 2nd Grader

It's official, he's a big kid now.  I was really hoping to have both boys in the pics with their first day's of school, but it is what it is.  The newest addition to Highlands Elementary...

He's the one in yellow.  He wouldn't let me take a picture of his face.  
Neither of us cried, but I think we both wanted to. 

A place for me

     I think Dean sensed I was feeling down after everything our little family has been through in the last year and felt like he personally had to "fix" it.  He couldn't move my dear friend and her family across the country to live behind us like they did in Utah, but he could give me the breakfast nook, so that's what he did.  Drum roll please..... (ignore the photography skills..I so need lessons)
I thought it would stay in the garage forever, but
Dean suggested we flip it, and, voila...a coat rack too.
It's not very visible, but there's a binder over there.
Watch for "South Bound Bindery"
coming soon to an Etsy shop near you.

He knew if I put them away
I probably wouldn't get them out that often.
Now they're ready at a moment's notice.
Because Sewing IS fun!!
Thanks, Babe!  You made my day.  Who needs a breakfast nook anyway?

Starting Over

     It's come to my attention that I've been moping.  I've had a few weeks with time to myself due to foster care drama and unfortunately it has caused me to reflect on what we/I left...

- family
- sunday dinner at Gma JoJo's
- "besties" through the back gate
- knitting club
- savers/Deseret Industries
- Winco Pizza dough
- mountains
- cool nights and mornings
- friends who know what other friends are looking for for their homes, children, etc and pick it up for each other when they find it. (awesome, I know)
- a treehouse
-an alley
-a backyard with trees
- KUER 90.1
- having roots

And yet, there are some things we/I've gained...
- a flat street ending in a cul-de-sac for bike riding
- frogs, lizards, geckos, and other "friends" to keep young boys curious
- a dad who's home with us so much more and who LOVES his job
- a fantastic school
- armadillos and possums

I/we may need some time to wrap our heads around this move, but we've done hard things before.

     In honor of my new found perspective I visited the Dothan Welcome Center this very humid morning.  I was greeted by a giant golden peanut.

Fun fact..Dothan is the Peanut Capital of the WORLD

I found peanut shaped christmas ornaments, tie tacks, magnets, and other kitschy peanut shaped doodads, but I also found things to do...

I know your curiosity was peaked as much as mine by the pamphlet entitled, "Holiday Entertaining With Peanuts."  You can bet we'll be giving those ideas a try, because, who wouldn't?  We'll hit the "Alabama Civil Rights Trail" and the "Civil War Trail" running.   I think in my moping I forgot how much American history we're living in the middle of.  Consider this your invitation to watch the Marturello Family slowly slide out of their comfort zone and have some new experiences.  I can't promise it'll be pretty, but it will be entertaining.

The Dothan Thrift Scene

     Upon arrival I was given a little yellow pamphlet with a listing of all the antique and consignment stores in town, and while fun, thrift stores are more my scene.  There are a few in town that I've gotten to know..which ones have better furniture, which ones barter, which ones have better shoes.  It sounds crazy but some of you reading this know it's true and when you figure out the "system" you know where to go to look for things.

     Among my favorites are The Re-Store, a store that sells all the leftovers from Habitat for Humanity projects and Smith's Trading Post, a metal shed (Sarah, yes, even Dothan has a "Shed Guy") filled with boxes of dusty, rusty pieces any junk collector would love to have.

    After unloading TWO, yes, two moving trucks from the Ogden house we still had so much wall space and floor space to fill.  It's not that the house itself is bigger, just more spread out, and filling space is expensive. So, though they require a little more muscle and dirt tolerance than your average antique store, I'll continue to indulge in Dothan's thrift scene.

Some recent finds...

Costco stools for the bar

I loved the red in the barn

It came painted like this and at $15 I couldn't leave it there.

Yellow love seat?  yes, please.
It's not just for Grandma anymore..perfect in the bedroom

vintage game boards will look so good on a wall.

New chair and ottoman to fill an empty corner

Without our dads around to borrow a truck from,
we had to buy our own.

Playing Catch-up

Hi friends,

     It's been a while and I can already tell I'm not going to be great at this.

A- I usually forget to bring the camera and I haven't yet mastered the art of the cell phone photo
B - Let's face it, I still struggle with throwing my words, thoughts and life experiences out into the internet void, but I know we're far away and so, "yes, mom, I will be better at posting things."

That said, I need something to keep my mind off foster care drama, so I'll play catch-up in the blog world today.

     I'd like to dedicate this post to our first official ROAD TRIP.. We made a bucket list and one of the first items was to hit the beach. So, last Saturday we loaded up the truck and headed to the Gulf.  It was beautiful.  The water is SO warm even I got in, and stayed in, and for those of you who know me that is HUGE. I fell in love with Panama City Beach, FL. Their downtown is more of what I wish we had here in Dothan, but more on that later. (Dean promised a full weekend with time to visit all the "thrift-vintage-chic-industrial salvage-antique-flea market-junk" shops I could find...challenge accepted!)   Some beach pics for your viewing pleasure...
The Marturello Family Alabama Bucket List...#2-visit Panama City Beach, FL.-check
What's #1, you ask?   Harry Potter World, obviously.

Even ice cream wouldn't lure him out of the water.

Dean, conquering his "now that we live closer to the ocean it's not so irrational"  fear of sharks.