Thursday, October 27, 2011


I noticed earlier today that Zoe was starting to shed. She had a large piece pulled back just below her head, and knowing that they like to have help to release the shed I grabbed it and pulled. The skin from her entire body came off in nearly one piece, including around her toes and fingers. It's such a cool thing, and perhaps I'm a bit weird that I have it sitting here next to my computer to look at.

You can click on each picture to see it in more detail.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Disney Cup 2011

We are home from Orlando. We arrived at the track on Thursday evening to setup our tent and chairs and familiarize ourself with the setup for this year. Already there were almost no spots left for tents, but our team had already setup in a great place right along the third straight. Erin and Bren had racing all day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We were at the track for approximately 12 hours each day, and it was a blast. We were together with all of our team families and the owner of Hyperforce, Don DiBucci. Erin placed 2nd in class all three day, and 5th in her mixed open that she raced on Saturday (for her first time). Brendan had a tough class all weekend, racing the world champion in his age group and 35 others that have been expert for much longer than he. He still had a great time and raced his hardest, and he knows that he'll be right up there with them in the nationals next year.

Here are a bunch of pictures of our weekend at the Orlando BMX track. We are so lucky to be associated with such a great group of people. I've never been to any sports function where there is such a feeling of family.
Erin, in the green helmet towards the bottom, getting ready to go up for her practice laps.
Erin (right) and her friend, Bailey (next to her). Bailey is 6th in the country.
Here comes Erin...
Part of team Hyperforce-(l-r) Madison, Erin, Bren and Jesse.

Jesse during a practice lap.
Donnie racing 46-50 cruiser class.
Cute little Zuri sporting her "BMX SISTER" shirt.
Our home for three days.
My baby boy on the track.
Tony and Maddox.
Bailey again. Such a sweet girl.
Here comes Jesse again.
This is my little buddy, Caden. He is five years old. Yes, FIVE. He started racing this past April and he is so darn cute on the track.

Jackson, aka Big Bear at our track. This boy loves to jump.
Oops. These are the pro girls racing, and it looks like the one that crashed is doing a handstand.

More of team Hyperforce...Jesse and Morgan.

Erin and Big Boss, Don DiBucci. He is our team owner.
Logan, our six year old on Hyperforce, and Donnie in the background, our 46-50 class rider and Team Hyperforce Florida leader.
Mark and Brian doing a few last minute adjustments to Erin's bike before her last race of the day.

The days and nights were long, and it caught up to Kara. She was with us for the weekend.
It apparently caught up to Don, too!
Erin practicing her gate before another race.

The next and last big race of the year is the Grands in Oklahoma next month. It's not far away!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Disney Cup

We are leaving tomorrow afternoon for Orlando. The last National of the year for my BMX riders begins on Friday and runs through Sunday. We'll get to the track tomorrow to set up our tent, and then spend the night with Tony since he lives so close to the Orlando track. The riders have practice for most of the day on Friday, and racing begins at 3pm. They race again at 11am on Saturday and 8am on Sunday. They'll each have three rounds of qualifying to make it to their main event, so if they make their main event each day they will race a total of 12 times this weekend. Erin is currently in 2nd place in the district, but if she has a good weekend in Orlando she'll take 1st place. District numbers are not by age group, so this means that she would be 1st among all girls in the state of Florida, regardless of age! We have confidence that she can do it. I would love to see my girl sporting the 1st in state and 1st in district plates for next season!

The races are all played live on if you are interested in watching any of the days. Erin races in the 8 Girls (Expert) motto and Bren is 14 Expert. Look for their green Hyperforce helmets and jerseys!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hand in the disposal prank on Bren and Kara

I love pranking my kids. I truly do. Sometimes they are funny, and sometimes they scare the shit out of them. Erin and I saw this one on a show last night and decided right then that we were going to do this to Bren and Kara. Sure enough they both freaked out. Pause the video and look at their faces. Brendan was telling me to stop, but you can tell by the look on his face that he thought something was really wrong. I love it!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Sean and Tina's new creation

Sean and Tina have been working on a new sewing project, and it is one of the most unique items I've ever seen. The pattern called for a couple of the Fedex or USPS bags, fabric for the lining inside and mesh to line the strap. The inside is lined with an orange fabric, and it is so neat. Sean now has a messenger bag unlike those owned by anyone else.

The lucky recipient

My next door neighbor, Charlotte, has been a good friend of ours since we bought this house back in 2004. Her house is a piece of art, and we've learned a lot from her over the years when it comes to design and remodeling that we've done. In her spare time (very funny) she makes Santa's and witches. She travels all over the country to various arts and crafts shows to sell them, and it takes her working on them nearly every day all year long to make them fast enough to keep up with the demand. I've admired her art for years.

Last night she participated in one of our local art shows, so the kids and I headed down to show her our support. Just after we arrived the weather took a turn for the worse, the wind picked up drastically and it started to drizzle. The kids and I quickly helped her get the Santa's and witches to her car, get the tent down and everything stored for the next day.

When we got home Sean came to the front door (he wasn't with us) and told me to follow him to my bedroom. He opened the door and there stood this witch that I had been admiring at the craft fair before it started to storm. Charlotte brought her over to me as a gift. She said that she knew I had been wanting one, but she didn't know which one. Watching me admire this one at the show gave her the answer that she needed.

This witch is amazing. She stands about 3.5 feet tall, and there is so much detail throughout the entire piece. Every since piece is custom made by Charlotte, down to the detailed painting of the face. There are jewels on the fingers, a strand of skeleton bones hanging from her arm, a black spider sitting on her hand, and so many other neat little things that I just keep looking her over. I've been wanting one for years to put right next to the door during Halloween, and now I've got her!

If you are ever in the market for a unique piece for Halloween or Christmas, let me know and I'll put you in touch with Charlotte or take pictures of the others that she has. Her Santa's are absolutely amazing-complete with sheep fur that she has sent to her from a sheep farm in North Carolina that is used for the beard and hair of Santa. It's used for the hair of many of the witches, too. When Charlotte receives the fur she has to completely clean and prepare it for use. No two pieces are alike, and so much time and workmanship is spent on them that it's amazing she doesn't charge a lot more than she does for them.

Erin and her godmother

Sherry, Erin's godmother, celebrated her birthday yesterday (October 6), and because I had class Erin and I took her out for a picnic at the park today. We met at Largo park (one of the nicest parks I've ever been to), had lunch on the lawn, and played on the playground. We ended up having to leave because it started to rain after about an hour, but we hope to be back there with her next weekend.

Another animal

Brendan's newest pet...

The tiny little guy/girl actually belongs to Kara, but Brendan is taking care of him since she lost interest in him. He's only about an inch long.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


Erin is really thriving with the FLVS full time home schooling program this year. I'm so happy that we made this choice with her, and that she was and is as excited about it as she is. She is in all gifted/talented core academic classes (3rd/4th grade math, language arts, science and social studies), but she also has PE, art and an advanced test preparation class. She has already done multiple science projects, and she has four others going on right now. She's experimented with snails, ants, worms and plants. She's had WAY more hands on interaction with this program than she ever had in traditional school, and she seems to love this way of learning. She's learning about photosynthesis right now, and instead of just reading about it she has four experiments being run with actual plants in our house and outside. When she was learning about the different parts of an ant, snail and worm she got to inspect them in person (using live snails, worms and ants) instead of just looking at pictures in a book and reading about it.

In addition to her core academic courses she is allowed up to three elective courses each school year through FLVS. She has been wanting to learn Spanish for quite some time (probably since Victor started coming to our house), and so this year she has chosen Spanish I as her elective. I absolutely love that she gets to start learning a foreign language in elementary school instead of having to wait until high school. She is excited to start, and I have all of the confidence in her that she's going to excel in that just as she does in her other courses. She is extremely excited to be able to understand a little bit more of what Victor says when he is here twice each year, and she also knows that Spanish is something that will help her throughout her entire life.

I'm so proud of Erin and her accomplishments. She truly is a hard worker.
I took this picture of Erin in between my classes at USF. Since she's with me all day, every day she goes to all of my classes at USF with me. She works on her assignments on the laptop or reads during my classes, and she's already made her own friends in each of my classes. They all love having her there.

Monday, October 03, 2011


If you've read my blog for the past year then you know that I have an adopted son, Mazin. Not really, but he's definitely a part of our family and he spends a lot of time at our house.

This past weekend he was with a few other BMX friends at a biking trail/track in Ocala. On Saturday night he fell from one of the ledges at the park and ended up with a broken clavicle and some nasty looking damage to his face. He's been over at our house every day since then so that we can give him TLC and because he wants me to take pictures of him every day until it heals. Thankfully he didn't suffer any serious head injuries (he was wearing a helmet), but he won't be riding or racing for at least two weeks. He's not at all happy about that.