Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Don't Stop

(That's what I keep telling myself when I own up to my blog negligence)
And now, I've got the song stuck in my head..
Don't. Stop.
...thinking about tomorrow!
And of course, that applies to this post as well, because a lot of things are on the horizon!

First off, we celebrated Stephen's 29th birthday on July 13th with some friends at a Thai restaurant he likes called Lemon Grass. It was very tasty... and pretty, for that matter.

Here's us... from left to right we have:
Jon Kananen, Jeremy Kaneer, Sherry and Nick Tobin (freshly back from their honeymoon and on their way outta town moving to Washington!) Katie Kananen (lucky Jon's wife,) me and Stephen. This also served as some nice bonding time for the guys who have (due to marriage and moving) recently lost their status as roommates .

Stephen and I FINALLY found a place to get married! Whoopie! After much searching, we found this place, Riverpoint Park in Daytona Beach. It's just perfect and I am very relieved we can stop looking and start planning! Just imagine chairs set up facing the water and with an aisle in the middle.

AND we have also found a place to live!!! This is another big relief to me, as I will be moving in here mid-August. Then we'll have a nice long while to get everything fixed up and ready to go for when Stephen joins the party in January. This is a picture of our cute little place in historic Avondale (an area of Jacksonville on the river). We are really looking forward to moving and getting settled!

I was driving around downtown Jax a week or two ago, and I found this awesome tree. It's called the Treaty Oak and it's a Southern Live Oak Tree. They say it is over two hundred years old... and it's cool because most of the big limbs rest on the ground, they are so big! You could make a tree-mansion out of this place!

Anyone from Orlando will recognize this place... it used to be a Sports shop for Orlando Magic Memorabilia. And I guess they have new plans for it... to be used as a airplane hangar or something... no, I don't know what they're doing with it, but it always stuck out in downtown and no one really likes the Magic anymore... so hopefully it can rest in peace.

This past weekend, we went down to Tampa for Stephen's last former roommate's wedding. The apartment-mates were Jon (married June 30), Nick (married July4), and James (married July 29)! Whew! That's a lot of weddings. And next (and well, last) of the roommates to be married is...

Here is the new couple: Mr. and Mrs. James McCafferty! Lucky Liz- following the ceremony, James whisked her away to Hawaii!

And since I never posted pictures from Jon and Katie's wedding... Here are the Kananens:

So, everyone keeps asking me how the wedding planning is going... and well, it's going. At times it is fun and exciting and at times it is overwhelming and aggravating... And most of you who know me well know I'm not really a bridezilla-type girl. But, at the end of the day, it's worth it because I have this to keep me company:
(sorry, but I can't help but brag on how cute he is!!!)

While we were down near Tampa for the wedding, we stayed with my awesome former roommate, Casie and her very cute dog, Lucy. Lucy was extremely excited to have visitors and she seemed to like keeping Stephen company every chance she could get! Good thing I'm not very jealous...! Hahahaha.

And here's a little memento from our travels this past weekend. Just remember, you'e welcome.
Aw, dang it...

Friday, July 6, 2007

on the road again

not only is that a really great song (see above), but this post is also dedicated to Stephen, my partner in singing this song over and over again while driving... even though we don't know most of the words. (everybody with me now: awwwwwwww...)

Soooo, think real far back. Really FAR. Like back to my last lonely post. I was in Memphis, remember? Well, as soon as I got back from TN, Stephen picked me up and took me back to Lakeland (well, Plant City) to meet up with Casie, her dad and Stephen's brother, Dani, to go deep-sea fishing. Ooh. We left very early in the morning. See?

Once we got the boat in the water, we stopped en route to our "spot" to catch some bait fish. Although, it turned out to be more like stopping to let the poor, confused bait fish leap willingly onto our fishing lines. Seriously! Not to downplay the boys' skillz, but this kept happening as soon as they put the poles in the water! These lines had four little hooks on each line, so it didn't take us very long to stock up on bait!

We caught some other smaller fish and Dani had a little "heart to heart" with one to let his friends know we were coming for them. Mean, I know. ;-)

Once we got out to "the spot" (which turned out to be a shipwreck-reef where the fish like to congregate about 20 miles out) we turned our sights to the big fish. This was a fish Stephen caught pretty early, I forget what kind of fish it was though. We ate it later, so I'll just call it tasty-fish.

Yes, that's right, we strike fear into the hearts of fish everywhere.

This is the very pretty (?) grouper that Casie caught. It was about 17 inches long and they have to be 20 to keep, so he got to live to swim another day. But, not before his close-up.

After a while, Dani got something BIG on his line. Seriously, he is a really good fisherman and it was totally working him. But, of course, after a while Dani tired the fish out... and as he finally was able to reel it out of the water, we were shocked to see that it was....
a SHARK! It was just a regular looking sort of shark (grey shark? nurse shark? sharky shark?) that was about 3.5 feet long! Crazy! Well, we threw him in the ice chest with the others to join us later... for dinner! Mwa-ha-ha!!!

Then Stephen caught another BIG nice-looking grouper... Sadly, it was like 19.25 inches long- still just shy of the limit! We even tried to stretch him out to be longer... but no such luck. However, it turned out to be a tremendous stroke of luck for the grouper. He rejoined his friends in the gulf.

Aw! Isn't he cute?! I mean Stephen, of course. The fish just mostly looks scared... but then again I would look scared too, under the same circumstances!

Just to prove I was really there, here is a picture of me and Casie. And you want to know what I caught on our trip? I caught it all on film! Or, well, microchip I guess... Anyways, I fished for a little bit but did not catch anything. I was totally okay with this, however.

Now, the following Friday Stephen and I drove to Atlanta to visit with my sister. I think we took some pictures during this nice weekend, but they must be on someone else's camera. Then on Sunday after church, the three of us headed up to the mountains of Western NC for our annual family reunion. Woo hoo! It was Stephen's inaugural run, and it was so fun having him there. He played golf every morning with the guys and then we did fun stuff in the afternoon with my cousins. Stephen actually had the good idea to play croquet, and it was very intense... intensely funny, that is. Here is our official Dart family croquet photo. It's definitely one for the record books.! PS- I know I look very small, but this is just an illusion. I am standing on the downhill slope. I just wanted you all to know, I have not shrunken. Nor are my cousins giants.

Stevie and I at family dinner (all 20+ of us) at Fat Buddies. Yes, it's really called that. No, it's not named after us. :-P

The next day we went out to the stream where we used to go when we were kids. The water level was pretty low because of the drought, but we still had a fun time... even though it was raining most of the time. When I started moving stones around in the stream, Kevin asked what my objective was... and you all know the answer: dam it! (Har Har) But seriously, we spent a good 25 minutes working on our little dam (you can see the pool we were making just to the left of Stephen and me) and it would have been awesome except a storm came and brought some pretty fierce lightening and so we couldn't finish. But it was fun while it lasted.

This is Stephen as a younger, maler, nakeder, wetter version of Mary Poppins. Hahaha. But, you can tell he had definitely had his spoonful of sugar that day. :-)

After dinner on Tuesday, I needed a little consoling. Why, you ask? Let see if you can guess!
A. Because I got a really bad mullet hair cut.
B. Because Stephen is choke-holding me
C. Because I am full from eating family dinner at Granny's Chicken Palace.
D. Because no one believed me when I told them there was a place called Granny's Chicken Palace.

Well, the answer is C. Although D is often true and from this looks of this picture A is a possibility. But neither A or B are true in actuality.
For the reunion we all stay near a house my grandparents own in a lakeside community and it is pretty there. Exhibit A:

My family is pretty funny... especially Kevin. We were more than happy to make him a member when we figured out he is as nuts as the rest of us. NC was having a hot spell and Kevin was up for using any means necessary to cool off. (For anyone who can't tell, that's a fire blower/stoker thingy.... it pumps out air)

Yay for family good times! Dad and Shelly, looking sharp!

It was kinda of foggy and overcast this day, but the trees up there are just so lush (that's for you, Shelly) that they take good pictures anyway.

Then, on Thursday, Stephen and I drove back to Jacksonville where he met up with friends to ride down to West Palm Beach for his roommate John's wedding on Saturday. I went back to Lakeland to finish moving out of my apartment and then drove down on Saturday morning to meet up with everyone for the wedding festivities. It was a very lovely wedding and we all had a good time. (It was also very helpful to get wedding ideas while I was there!)

John and Katie Kananen- June 30, 2007!

Stephen was the best man, and as such had to give a toast. He did a great job, even though John is totally not paying attention. He's actually looking at the cake in this picture. Geesh, priorities people! Hahahahaha.

Cute man in a tux+ me= pretty sweet!

On Sunday, as we drove back to Jacksonville, Stephen and I stopped in the Daytona area to scout out a few potential wedding locations. Sad to say, we had no luck. You'd think for Florida we'd have more gardens... but no. Just jungle.

On my first day as a Jacksonville resident, it rained. And it has rained every day since then. BUT, on my FIRST day in Jacksonville, it also rainbowed.

One of the great things about being in Jacksonville so far is that I have been able to catch up on my sleep some. This is Olivia and she is MUCH cuter than me when she sleeps, so she can be my sleep-representative in this picture.

In another sign of good fortune, Stephen found a lady bug on my car. And he looks like he might eat it! Thankfully, he didn't. And then it flew away.

Whew! Just writing about my adventures has tired me out (TLC how do you do it???) but I hope you have enjoyed our travels. Also, I'd like to say a big shout out to two other friends who recently got married: Nick and Sherry Tobin! (Nick is one of Stephen's other roommates and they got married on the 4th of July!) Yay! Okay, TTFN!