Thursday, June 18, 2015

A special Find

One of our Beach Angels "Taylor" had a rare find while on Captiva this year.  She found an Imperial Venus shell!  Thanks to "Shellady" for confirming the find.
                  "Taylor" A.K.A Beach Angel 

                                    Imperial Venus 2015

You might remember the story I told you all awhile back about Taylor's fascination at a younge age with collecting rocks.  To most of us just plain old rocks.  She would collect them from around my Koi pond, NaNa's garden or sometimes maybe in the middle of a gravel parking lot. 

                                                                PaPa's Koi pond

She of course turned her attention to shells as soon as we began taking her to Captiva.  Even now though she won't pass up a good  rock if she sees one.  Taylor's first shells on Captiva were usually broken or had holes in them, far from perfect specimens. While most of us would have smiled and most likely tossed them back in the ocean Taylor saw the beauty and collected them anyway.

Shells are alot like people we all have our flaws and most of us are far from perfect.  The beauty found for each of us comes from the perspective of the person making the find.  Every now and then we are surprised and blessed with a rare find.

The shoreline of Sanibel and Captiva are loaded with alot of shells with many choices to make.  By comparison the world around us also provides us with many choices. Finding that rare shell or person is not always easy.  Where you may pass it by the next person will pause find the beauty in it and collect it.

Like all proud grandparents I look at all my Beach Angels as rare finds.  Far from perfect but beauties to me. Truly something that NaNa and I both cherish.

I had a rare find myself last year with a Lion's Paw and a piece of a Junonia.  Taylor's find this year with the Imperial Venus just makes the week  even more special.  We will have to get a special box so Taylor can keep her special find safe.  You always want to protect a rare find!  I don't consider myself a hard core sheller.  I know people that put in much more time and effort than me when it comes to finding shells. Like a moth to a porch light I'm drawn to the ocean and automatically go into a search mode when this special place is within reach.

                                   Last years find Lion's Paw and piece of Junonia

I took an extra week off this week and the Beach Angels are at our house during the summer vacation during the day while their Mom is at work.  Taylor was excited and proud to learn about her find this morning.

I also wanted to share a picture of something on my kitchen counter this morning.  You guessed it a rock.  Picked up in the driveway by you guessed it Taylor.  The picture doesn't do it justice this one sparkles when the light hits it right.  Just like Taylor!

Hard to see in the picture but lots of sparkles in this specimen. 

Two years in a row with a unique find makes the anticipation of our next visit that much more exciting.

So remember take the time to cherish those rare finds in your life whether they be a rock, a shell or that special person in your life.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Field Trip Thursday

Thursday marked another day of first for us.  On Monday Don and I played a round of golf at Sanibel Golf Club.  We had planned on playing a couple of times during the week and also was going to play at The Dunes.  Unfortunately The Dunes was closed for aerification.  We found an advertisement in one of the island publications with an add for "Muscle Car City" in Punta Gorda.  Old cars is one of my passions so we decided to make a guys afternoon checking out the cars and having lunch while the girls did a little shopping.

So I know the next few photos may not be something you all consider to be photo op when visiting paradise but just picture yourself cruising accross the causeway in one of these beauties from the past.

Only thing missing is the surf boards

My Beach Cruiser

 How cool is that?

So if you love looking at old Muscle Cars I would recomend a trip to Muscle Car City in Punta Gorda.  Besides a fantastic line up of over 150 classics They also have a little 60's style diner where you can get a burger and a shake.  A gift shop full of car memorabilia, a speed shop and an area where they have cars for sale.  A good way to escape the heat and kill a few hours back in time.

Last year one of my blogging buddies Shellady A.K.A.  O2Binsanibel told us about  Wilford and Lees in Fort Myers.  They also have a smaller shop on Sanibel.  If you like beach items this is the place.  Since we most likely will never have a beach house at Sanibel seems like Carol is trying to bring the beach to our home.  She spotted some things last year and we made the trip back there on Thursday afternoon to bring some more of the beach back to MO with us.  Obviously the items on the mantel will now need to be replaced with more of a nautical theme A.K.A. future trips back to Wilford and Lee's

This years trip to Wilford and Lee's already above the fire place at home

Thursday was a stop at the Beach Angels favorite spot Cheeburger Cheeburger.  Then back to the beach for sunset.  

There was an Osprey nest at the house where we were staying we got to watch her throughout the week she usually had dinner on the dock next to ours and it was amazing to watch these skilled hunters swoop in and catch fish.

"Whacha lookin at Willis?"

See ya later Dinners waiting and I gotta fly!

         Scavenger Hunt strategy session!

So the scavenger hunt was going along pretty good but finding a starfish was turning out to be harder this year than usual.  Somehow somebody managed to plant a couple by the dock (Don't know who could have done that).  Then the next day Don comes through and scoops one up with the shell net.

      Starfish Friday happily returned to the gulf after posing with the oldest Beach Angel

  Mural on wall in foyer of the home we stayed at

So this year was a series of First 

First visit for our newest Beach Angel "Skylar"
First visit to Urgent Care
First time seeing more Sunrises than Sunsets
First drowned IPhone
First time Skylar rolls over
First time going to a car museum while in paradise
First visit to SS Hookers
Skylars first taste of carrots 
First time staying in a house on the bay side
First scavenger hunt
First rolling fort in the back of PaPas truck while traveling 
First attack of the sand flea

While this year had a series of first one thing for sure it won't be our last visit to this magical place.  The memories our family builds here will last forever and as the grandkids get older someday maybe they will share this special place with their grandkids and share some of the stories of their childhood visits.

I hope this place never changes.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Hey Mike,Mike,Mike Hump Days are not allowed on vacation!

So I have been a little behind in posting to the blog this year.  The time is flying by way too fast.  Wednesday's plan was a day at the beach.  I started off by getting a few shots of the sunrise from the dock.  Nothing like watching the world wake up in paradise.  I was then off to Baileys for some Doughsants.  This was another first for us.  We never heard of a doughsant before but thought what the heck lets give them a try.  I kind of envisioned the light airy texture of a croissant mixed with the glazed goodness of a doughnut.
The folks at Baileys are so polite.  The lady at the Bakery counter told me this batch came out smaller than normal so they gave me double the amount for the same price!

The outside was like I expected but there was some sort of filling inside a little like a cream cheese but with some sort of flavoring that was not sweet.  Sorry not a big fan of the doughsant  


Doughsants from Baileys

We headed to the beach after breakfast the ocean was rolling in with a bit more force today so we turned our focus on honing our skills on our Beach Art.  The Beach Angels and I built a Captiva Crocky.  The oldest Beach Angel "Lexi"  named our crocky "Coconut".

Captiva Crocky "Coconut"  She needs to invest in a good dental plan!

 So we made a couple of new batches of wine to bring down with us on vacation this year.  I thought it would be for medicinal purpose of course,   We heard about a carpenter from the Fort Myers area that caught some rare form of flesh eating bacteria. Best they can figure he contracted it while walking in the gulf and apparently had a wound on his foot. Strictly as a precaution I told Rachelle that it is a known fact that alcohol kills bacteria and there's alcohol in wine so I figured if we consumed enough we would be OK or wouldn't care one way are another.

Blueberry Beach Blast & Watermelon Crawl to be consumed for medicinal purposes only!
One of the Beach Angels "Taylor" found what I thought was a rather unique Shell this year.  It might be common but I have not seen one before.  I'm hoping one of my shelling experts can chime in and tell me what it is,  The Scavenger hunt has definitely made the Beach Angels pay closer attention to their surroundings this week. We didn't have any luck finding the drink umbrellas so they made a couple out of paper, toothpicks and chewing gum.  Great thinking girls!


What shell is this?

On Wednesday evening after dinner the Beach Angels and I took a walk back to the beach to check on "Coconut"(our beach art from earlier in the day) and while there we found a coconut that had washed ashore.  The angels thought it looked like a funny face.  We walked all the way down to Blind pass.  I left my phone at the house this time comfortably resting in a bag of rice.  Still trying to dry it out from my adventure on Tuesday.  I really enjoy looking for things on the beach and doing it with these two make it even better.

We also gave the girls journals on the way down this year so they could document their week.  Most of their entries have been about the Scavenger hunt but they also both wrote about their baby sister "Skylar" who decided to do a first of her own this week by rolling over.  Both of the Beach Angels thought it was important enough event to write about it in their journals.  Who know maybe someday they will be our next bloggers.

Our path to the beach this week

Daddy helping our newest Beach Angel  "Skylar" get aquatinted with the ocean 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Time Out Tuesday

S0 I have been up around 6 all week.  This morning was no different except I needed to be extra quiet because sometime during the night I got room visitors.  There were two Beach Angels sleeping on my floor!  Why they would give up their bed for the floor beats me.

    Looks Comfy doesn't It

So with camera in hand I headed down to the dock to capture some shots of the Sunrise.  I would normally have my photographer in tow but due to her bum ankle I'm on this mission alone.  I wanted to also head over to the Beach and walk down to Blind Pass.

Another First this year capturing more Sunrises than Sunsets

For some reason when it comes to the ocean I'm like that kid you tell to stay out of the water puddle.  If I'm near it I'm gonna get in in it.  What usually starts out as ankle deep ends up being knee deep in no time.  Just me and the relaxing sound of the waves to serenade me as I put on my best "Shell Whisperer" impression and begin scouring the surf line for treasures.

That gentle rolling wave sound is better than an Ipod in  my opinion.  If you close your eyes and put your ear to the computer speaker real close you can hear it!  What! You say it didn't work?  Well for those of you that know that sound I'm sure it now in the back of your head for the rest of the day now.  Your welcome!

I should have put on  my trunks but I was wearing shorts when I embarked on my mission and of course I had my wallet with me.  No way will I turn back I'll just make sure I don't get in too deep and keep my wallet dry.  OK, sounds like a plan go for it!  Well remember what I said about the kid in the water puddle?  I did manage to keep my wallet dry but also forgot that my phone was in my front lower pocket!!!!!  Ooooopppppps!  So my phone gets to spend the next two days sitting in a bag of rice to see if it will dry out.  Nana has put me in time out!  Oh well Life Happens we'll see if it turns back on in a couple of days.

Nana did go to Urgent care on Monday to get some meds for the ankle.  Going to urgent care while on vacation is another first for us.  Looks like it was a good decision because she has a little more giddy up in her limp today.  So on Tuesday she finally got back down to the beach.  Monday afternoon I came back to the house to help her get in the pool and she reminded me how strange it was for us to be at the pool while the other are down at the beach.  Shes right it is usually the other way around.

We made our own Beach Canopy this year to help provide some shelter from the sun while on the beach.  Our old one had an alunimun frame that didn't hold up well to the constant breeze coming off the ocean.  This new design actually relies on the ocean breeze to keep it aloft and seemed to work out very well.
                                                                                                     New Beach Canopy

                                               New Beach Canopy Beach Angel #3 "Skylar" approved

Scavenger Hunt List

The other Beach Angels continue to knock off items from their scavenger hunt.  Still no drink umbrella!!  When they collect or spot an item on their list they get a star by it.  The Beach Angels have also discovered breakfast this year.  They usually sleep in with the rest of the group while Nana and I sneak out.  Our little breakfast excursion on Tuesday led to some advanced souvenir scouting   at Sun Catcher Dreams.  Guess they are feeling pretty confident about completing their Scavenger hunt.

On Tuesday Rachelle and Don had a date night so Nana and I had a date night with the Beach Angels and went to Doc Fords for dinner.


The week is going by way too fast and I still have a couple of days to catch up with.  More to come.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Exploration beyond the beach

So the theme this year is about new experiences and first for us while here on Captiva/Sanibel.

Our house this year sits on the water up the channel from Blind Pass.  This is a first for us usually we are trying to get closer to the gulf but the island is narrow down by Blind Pass and it is a pretty short walk to the beach.

The house is not much more than 30 foot off the water and has a dock which has led to many new discoveries for the Beach Angels.  I put together a Scavenger Hunt for the Angels this year.  They are getting older and I wanted to open their eyes to the wonderful world of nature that surrounds this island.

The Scavenger hunt has about forty items.  They either need to collect or spot the items while here this week.  Lexi  and I spent quality time this evening sitting on the dock and watching nature in all its splendor.  From Rainbows, Osprey eating a fish and a alligator we got a little of everything tonight.  Best part was just sitting there sharing the time together.

The scavenger hunt does come with a reward.  I told them if they spot or collect everything on the list they would get the maximun reward.  To me the maximum reward is the knowledge that comes from the questions and observations they come up with this week.  But for them it will be whatever souvenir NaNa and PaPa let's them go home with this year.  They are both knocking off the list and the prize is within reach at this point.  There is one item though that may be a little harder to come by. "A drink umbrella"  This is apparently something that has run its course and maybe shows just how old PaPa is getting.  (Nothing wrong with old school in my opinion) apparently drink umbrellas are not that common anymore.  They have asked at a few resturants but no umbrella yet.  This could turn out to be just as elusive as the sought after Junonia.  Lexi told me today she knows what a Junonia now looks like and she will be going after one.  If anyone knows where the elusive drink umbrella is on Captiva or Sanibel please nudge me in the right direction.  While PaPa won't collect them himself he will help to create the environment for capture!!

So apparently Sand fleas are attracted to 30 something year old females or Off Skintastic because my daughter ran into a bunch. (like over 100) Like I said earlier, this year has been all about new experiences and first.  Don't know about you but I'll pass on the sand flea experience!

Another first this year tomorrow will be Tuesday and NaNa has not spent a full day at the beach yet.  Were going to try and remedy this tomorrow.  Shes sore but hanging in there.  The rainbow tonight offers us the hope of a new day tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Not So Welcome Mat

 So we're back! Time to blow some dust off this Blog and share another week of "paradise" A.K.A. Sanibel/Captiva Island.

New experiences in store this year for starters we got a new "Beach Angel"  Skylar, she's our newest grandchild. She, her two sisters and Mom and Dad are with us this year.  At four months old she now takes the title of the youngest to share this special place.

Today Skylar and I spent some quality time on the Lania (also known as the screened in porch for you folks back in the midwest).  As you can see Skylar thinks PaPa is a hoot!

A long drive which started at 2:45 a.m. Friday Morning.  Our first leg of the trip was quiet because the Beach Angels rode with their Mom & Dad till we met up in Kentucky for some Smiley face pancakes in Paducah. 

We started a routine years ago when the Beach Angels were little where NaNa would give them surprises along the way. It was typical five & dime type stuff that was meant to occupy them so we could make it down the road in peace.  Well the've grown up now and you probably couldn't find a Woolworths 5 & 10 if your life depended on it.  Now days its more like "Five and Below" (as in dollars) We've gone from crayons and sticker books to sunglasses, flip flops, and Ipod chargers.  They grow up so fast.  As grown as they are we still had a new experience this year.  We have built Forts in the Bedroom, the Living Room and even the Dining Room. but we have never experienced a rolling Fort till this year.  With all the pillows and blankets in the car they decide to build a "Rolling Fort in the back seat of PaPa's truck.  Hey I wasn't complaining it was just as good as having one of those windows between the front and rear seat like you would see in a limo.

The house this year is nice, much larger than we anticipated but the house hasn't welcomed NaNa very well and it greeted us with another new experience this year.  Today we are preparing for our first day at the beach and as we we're getting ready NaNa and the Welcome mat at the front door decide to do a little two step tango.  The Welcome mat won!

Carol = 0 

Welcome Mat = 1

After further review by the judges the Welcome mat has been penalized for unsportsman like conduct and has been removed from the field of play.

When it first happen I was airing up a raft to take to the beach.  I looked up to see her sprawled out on the ground and her first words were "I think I broke It"  my first thoughts were "OH S_ _ _"  She had a large goose egg under her Knee and I thought yep she broke it.  After getting settled down it looks like a rolled ankle and some new bruises.  She's determined not to let this spoil her vacation.  Needless to say NO BEACH for NaNa today.

On the bright side NaNa did score her first souvenir from Sanibel this evening.  It came from that place we all shop for souvenirs when on Sanibel.  CVS

I was very thoughtful in the selection process I got one with blue and purple to match her bruises.

All kidding aside we got a bit of a scare cause you know what happens when old ladies fall.  Hey, Lexi said the cane made her look older than she already was and she did fall!

I may or may not be reporting more tomorrow it depends what happens once NaNa reads this!  

When given Lemons make Lemonade!  Hang in there NaNa we all love you