grateful for my family

* Liz and Dallas ~ taken January 4th, 2011 *

I am so grateful my son Dallas and his fiancée Liz could spend some time with us before heading back to work in Trieste, Italy. They arrived in the states from Italy on December 24th and flew to Florida January 2nd, after spending time in Maryland, Connecticut and Vermont-definitely a whirlwind trip for them! We drove them to the airport early this morning. They are bound for Liz's parent's in Maryland. They'll head to Italy on Saturday to finish their 3rd year of working at the International School of Trieste. Liz is an English teacher and College counselor for the High School Students there and Dallas is the School Librarian. When they finish the school year they hope to visit Norway before coming back to the USA. In the Fall, Dallas will attend Simmons College in Boston, MA. He's been accepted to a 2 year graduate program for Library Science with an emphasis in archival studies. They will be getting married October 1st in Northampton, MA (where they met while going to Smith and Hampshire Colleges). This means Steven and I will definitely be taking a trip up North around that time. We have not figured out our exact plans yet, but we are both so happy for Dallas and Liz - an exceptional young couple, as you can see above! They borrowed a camera from us and Liz even uploaded pics to her own blog, OatStrawTea -click to view some great photos!

My older son Decklin and his partner Tina were here about a month ago. They came right after Thanksgiving and stayed until the beginning of December; we had a really nice visit with them too. There's a photo of them below that I took when we visited the Village of the Arts, here in Bradenton. My sister Kathy was also here! She stayed with my mom & dad at the same time Dallas & Liz were with us. I'd say we've had a small family reunion!

* Tina and Decklin ~ taken Dec 4th, 2010 *

One of my fondest memories of Dallas and Liz's visit is when the 3 of us were simply hanging out in my studio the other day, all doing different things but together talking. Liz was making cards and stationary (while oohing and ahhing at my art supplies!) while Dallas was pinning up a pair of pants for me to take in (too baggy) and I was working on shortening the hem of a skirt for Liz. It had a rick rack trim at the bottom of the hem that had to be removed. We decided to replace it once the skirt was shortened, so that was a little tricky. But we did it and it looks so great, see below! Liz ripped out the rick rack & I shortened the skirt and replaced the rick rack at the bottom of the hem.

Isn't Liz just soooo cute in this short skirt?
I love that we kept the rick rack trim at the bottom!

Both Dallas and Liz had asked us about going sailing or canoeing -could we take them out? Well, it has been rather cold here for Florida lately. Steven, who loves to do both these activities, has not even been out in a boat for a couple of months. For one thing, the water is freezing from the cold temps we had! But, the kids really wanted to go and the weather warmed up yesterday to almost 70. Steven said the tides looked okay for canoeing. It was a little windy but we choose to go to the protected area of Robinson Preserve. It was beautiful!!! The dogs came too and boating was a family affair. Click on any photo for more detail.

my father made these boats by hand

Liz and Dallas take off!

we always see wonderful birds when we canoe.
The sunshine skyway bridge is in the distance (click to view)
We travel over it every time we go to the airport!

That's me, steven & the pups in one canoe,
with Dallas in Liz behind us

Robinson Preserve

me and the girls!
Yes, the dogs do rock the boat a little . . .
next time I think we'll leave them home (shhhhh!)

Dallas and Liz 

Observation tower at Robinson

(getting the boat trailer!)

Steven tying the boats on the trailer . . .
We always get lots of questions and many comments about
these beautiful boats my dad made. Speaking of him . . . 

After our canoe trip we went to visit my mom and dad!

checking out the boats . . . 

happy days
& good wishes to all!