Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunset Beach

Just a few miles south of Howard Park is another small island named Sunset Beach. We drove down for sunset again this evening, let the kids kayak around the island, collected shells and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.
Mazin walking up to the truck to help unload the kayaks.
Erin and Layla taking one of the kayaks out into the Gulf of Mexico.
Erin taking a solo run.
The cloudy evening made for a great sunset.
Erin and Layla taking the kayak back to the loading area after the sun set.

One last picture before heading home.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Recent BMX pictures

Just a couple of recent BMX pictures of my two racers since I haven't shared any here lately.
Erin, #21

Bren, #75

Both are now Expert racers, both are sponsored by Hyperforce, and both are excelling in an unbelievable way. Erin is currently ranked 1st in the state of Florida in her age group and 2nd in the district (there are two districts in Florida) in all age groups for girls. She is one place out of being in the top 20 NATIONALLY! Brendan is top ten in the district and 2nd in the state of Florida (many more boys than girls that race).


I am on Facebook! If you are find me under Michelle Harper Andrews. If you can't find me then let me know. So happy to hear from you!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Howard Park 7/29/11

Another trip to Howard Park, and it was as beautiful as always. This time we brought Paul, Bryce, Noah, Brandon and Kaitlin. Just after sunset the dolphins came close to shore, just like they always do. One dolphin in particular was coming about 20 feet from shore, and at one point swam underneath Sean and Kaitlin in the kayak, surfacing just feet from them. They were both ecstatic.
Brendan with Noah catching a ride on the back of the single kayak
Brian snorkeling

Kaitlin and Sean

Paul teaching Brendan how to cast the net
He hit it the first time!
A partial sand dollar
Erin searching for crabs and shells
Kaitlin and Sean watching sunset from the kayak
Erin's big treasure for the night-it was alive so she let it go.
A baby stingray

The end.

Sean and Kaitlin

Kaitlin has been spending a lot of time with us in the past couple of weeks, including several overnights. We stay up late playing Scattergories, they hang out in the jacuzzi, go to the mall together (since Sean now has his license) or just hang around the house. These two have been friends for several years, and I'm sure will be friends for many years to come.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Sean is officially a licensed driver. He passed his driving test on Tuesday, July 25. The woman in the DMV office gave me his permit to keep, and it's neatly tucked away with all of treasured belongings.

It's a big step as a parent to have a child driving on their own. No option to tell them to slow down or use the blinker. I trust Sean's abilities as a driver, and I trust that he'll make the right decisions. I just don't know how much I trust my ability to stay relaxed while he's out.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The lake

The lake behind our house is so beautiful at night.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Evening with the Leggs

We have been friends with Lars, LT and Tina since Lars and Erin were only 18 months old. That's when we moved into this neighborhood, and the two of them became immediate friends. We spend more time with their family than any other family, and it's nice that they live in our neighborhood and within walking distance. They just recently had a pool installed in their back yard, and already we've been over for several swim and dinner nights (we've always gone over for dinner nights with them).

Tonight we were invited over again. They grilled burgers and dogs, the kids swam, and Tina and I just got to relax. They just bought a new 3D tv, too, so after dinner and swimming we watched a few of the 3D shows.
Brian shooting Lars with the water gun.
Erin and Lars playing baseball in the pool.

Night time swimming is the best!

Erin and Sherry

We spent the day with Erin's godmother, Sherry, this past Friday. Sherry has always been so good to us, and with no other family in the Tampa area it is so nice having her close by. Erin, Sean and I met Sherry for lunch first, and then Erin rode back to Sherry's house with her in her Mustang convertible.

We spent a couple of hours visiting at her house before heading home. Aunt Sherry, as Erin and the boys call her, comes to the track to watch her race sometimes, too, and Erin always loves that.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Pears and apples?

Nope. Pear and cherry tomatoes, but up close they sure do look like the other fruit, don't they?

The four tomato bushes are providing a massive amount of tomatoes on a daily basis. They are mostly eaten by themselves, but we have used them in salads as well. I love having my garden.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Giant, chewy, chocolate chip cookies

I'm always searching for chocolate chip cookies that are chewy on the inside and crisp on the outside. I have a couple "go to" recipes, but Erin wanted to try something new tonight. So we found this recipe online, and it is superb! They are large (4 inches + in diameter), using 1/4 cup of batter per cookie.

The only substitution that I made was to use 1 cup all purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour instead of 2 cups of all purpose flour. They are delicious!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


We've had the two purple bougainvillea planted in the back yard for several years, and I love them. Brian has wanted to remove them many times, but I keep trying to convince him not to. They are one of my favorite flowers, no matter what color.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Chocolate chip cookie brownies with gnache

A combination of rich, gooey brownies, chocolate chip cookies and decadent chocolate gnache. Seriously. Most of it comes from box mixes, but you could certainly substitute your own homemade brownie and cookie dough. Instead of using a container of icing I prepared the gnache using 16 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips, 6 tablespoons of butter and 3/4 cup of heavy cream. They are delicious right out of the oven with or without the gnache, and my neighbor, Steve, said that they are now his favorite brownie. Since they are so easy you have no excuse not to try them.

The recipe can be found on the Betty Crocker website here.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Is it you checking in on my blog every day from New Jersey, Sue? If it is I would love to hear from you. Please email me at


I took this picture with my phone just after she removed her helmet at racing tonight. Even all sweaty she is so beautiful.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

New grass

I posted a picture last week of the yard all dug up, ready for the new sod to be put down. Brian spent the entire day last Friday laying the sod, and it looks so much better now. It's the first time since we bought the house that it has had to be replaced so I guess 7.5 years isn't too bad. Once it all fills in it'll be back to normal, and I cannot wait.

Erin with straight hair

I love Erin's curly hair. I love it so much that it makes me sad when she wants it straightened (which, thankfully, is not very often). However, this past weekend while Liz and Sidney were visiting she asked Liz to straighten it. It had started to curl a bit by the time I took this picture (around her face), but it's amazing how different she looks without her curly locks.

Monday, July 04, 2011

4th of July

We watched fireworks at Channelside in downtown Tampa, and as always they were great. Sidney is in town visiting and joined us. We were invited to and attended a 4th of July party hosted by one of the BMX parents (and our announcer at the track) on Sunday night, and that was a great time, too. In the middle of the party yesterday I had to leave to pick Sean up from the airport, arriving home after traveling for the past five weeks. We went straight back to the party and enjoyed the rest of the evening.

I hope you all had a great holiday weekend. I've got pictures from Sean's tour of the western part of the country and I'll upload those later this week.
Red, white and blue at the top of the Suntrust building in downtown Tampa tonight.

Sean and Sidney waiting for the fireworks tonight.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Summer days

There has been a lot of hanging out with friends around here so far this summer. Lots of kids in our neighborhood, and this means that there is always someone to play with. Yesterday we had eight of them out in the street playing between our house and the house across the street for the majority of the day and night. These kids have all grown up together for the past 8.5 years.

At one point there were a couple riding bikes, a few doing fireworks and a couple playing catch with Brian in the street. Within just a few minutes there were three balls down in the sewer/drainage ditch, and when Steve (across the street) retrieved a crowbar to open the hatch the kids all came running over. It's amazing how something adventurous can stop all of them in their tracks. When Steve acted like he was going to put his son, Aiden, down into the hole he freaked out. We all thought it would be a great way to get the balls!

Brian the lumberjack with the shovel.

(l-r) Madison, Layla, Erin and Dannica

It's nice that the kids all have friends close by, and it gives me time throughout the day to study without having to worry about keeping anyone occupied. Although they are all in and out of our house all day long I'm still able to get a lot done. It's great.

The new sod went down in the yard today, but here's a picture of it yesterday. It was all dug up and ready to be redone. Looks nice, doesn't it? Brian spent the entire day laying the sod today, and it already looks so much better. My garden is huge, and I already have about 60 tomatoes (4 different varieties), cucumbers and corn that will be ready to be picked within days. We also have scallions, carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, peppers, spinach, lettuce and sunflowers growing like crazy. I'll take a few pictures of the garden this weekend.
The yard with no grass-all dug up.

Just a random picture of a bottlebrush flower. I love them.

I finished up one of my summer classes last week, and have two more that will end on July 20. I'm looking forward to the 30 day break that comes after that before my FINAL semester of pre-med begins. Sean will be coming home from his summer travels the day after tomorrow, and I'm excited to see him. He left on June 1, and it seems like it's been so much longer. He had the chance to visit two places he had never visited (Denver and Los Angeles) and spend some time with grandma and grandpa in Oregon. Although I know that he's had a great time I'm ready to have all three of my babies home together again.