Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Key Biscayne Community School

The main reason we moved here was for the school.
The kids have loved it.

Noah had 2 great teachers.

Ella Joy had a fun and Free preschool experience.

It was a 10 minute walk from our house.

It has been perfect.

Pictured above are the kids at the end of the year ceremonies.

Monday, May 30, 2011


The Miami Seaquarium has been another playground for us.
It is only 3 miles from our house so we have gone often.
Noah loves petting the stingrays.
Ella Joy loves watching Lolita--the killer whale
JuJu loves the dolphins.
Becky took the kids for one last hurrah.

Adios Lolita!

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Living in vacation destination brings lots of visitors.
It has been so fun to have so many visitors these past 2 years.
My mom has been the biggest fan of Key Biscayne.
I think she will miss it as much as we do.
Becky came this weekend and we had a great time.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Beach fun

These are the creatures the kids found when we went paddling.

At one point, Noah had 5 sea slugs and was yelling, "I'm a mother, I'm a mother!"

All creatures were safely returned to the sea.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sony Erikson Tennis Tournament

Every Spring for 2 weeks the island is flooded with all things tennis.
This year I got to go see a match with some friends.
We had a great time watching the stud from Serbia--Novak Djokovich.
The best was when he lifted his shirt to wipe his face and the girls went crazy.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

All of the Dogs

One of the good things about living in townhomes is that you get to enjoy pets without actually having them. Both Noah and JuJu are animal people. They love all animals but have a particular fondness for dogs. They know all of the dogs in our complex. Pictured above is the bulldog Gracie who inspired JuJu's "Gracie face."

Last month Owen, Maria, and Chi Cho moved into #23. JuJu is crazy about Chi Cho. We visit them every morning. JuJu plays with the dog and Owen and I talk about Cuba back in the day. He has great stories....had lunch with Ernest Hemingway, met Nat King Cole. It is always fun to talk to him. Thankfully all his swearing is in Spanish.....

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

3 in 1

I love that all 3 kids sleep together in the same room.
It looks like an orphanage.
There are 2 single beds on each wall and JuJu's toddler bed is in the middle.
When they are sleeping it is a beautiful sight.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


If only everyone could have a Nonna.
She is the grandma that every young mom needs.
She bakes lemon cakes for everyone's birthday.
She babysits and when I come home asks me why we didn't stay out longer.
She tells me I am pretty when I haven't showered and am wearing my mom uniform.
She likes my cooking.
She loves my children.
She cried when I told her I was pregnant with Georgia.
She likes the noise of children.
Ohh how I love her and will miss her so much.

Thankfully she is planning on visiting us in North Dakota.
We love you Nonna!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mrs. Durant

The most wonderful teacher, woman, mom, and friend.
She truly is amazing to watch.
She has so much love for everyone.
I am at awe of her energy and capacity in caring for others.
We feel so blessed that Noah was able to have her as his teacher last year.
We will miss her but will definitely stay in touch.
We love you Mrs. Durant!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Good Neighbors

#27 The DiMarchis--Amber and Stephano with their 2 teenage boys have been great neighbors. I have asked and apologized to Amber numerous times if our screaming, jumping, banging disturbs them and she always assures me that she never hears us--perfect next door neighbors for us.

#26 Judy Miguel and her 2 kids lived here then Noah's friend Chris--we have had lots of neighbors come and go or switch units

#25 Karen, Peter and their 3 kids--inspired me to decorate my patio with white Christmas light, also the owner of Mia, a yellow lab who the children love, now they live in #36

#23 Francesca, Steve, and Antonella--fun Italian friend who is so wonderful and down to earth, cooked out many times, Steve is a chef at the Ritz so that was always a treat, got stuck in the flood with her not too long ago
Now Owen, Maria, and Chi Cho live here--JuJu's new best friends

#22 Silvina, Salvidor, Sara, Azul, and Salvi-- wonderful Argentinian family who the kids played with, Noah and Sara played board games together, Azul loved pushing JuJu super fast on the skateboard all around the garden

#19 Christina and dogs

#17 home of Gracie the bulldog, JuJu's favorite dog in the fall and inspiration for Gracie face

Now going in the other direction

#29 quiet old man and the corner who I finally became friends with after a year of living here. I always thought he hated me because of my wild children who disturbed his tanning sessions at the pool but last September he left for a cruise and asked me to water his plants because he didn't think his other neighbors were reliable enough, well what a compliment, he had never even spoken to me and was now leaving his plants in my care, which wasn't necessarily a good idea since I forgot a few days and they drooped and I worried all night that he was going to be angry at me but luckily I gave them a little TLC and they rallied back before his return.Long story short-- now we always speak in passing.

#30 Lucia and family

#31 Angelone Family, Mauricio, Terry, Ricardo,and Virginia--they were the first people we met when we moved in. It was storming--David was unpacking the truck, the kids were running outside after being in the car for 12 hours, EJ slipped split open her chin, Terry held Julia while David stitched it up. Noah and Ricardo became bestfriends spending all day outside catching lizard, climbing trees, digging through the dumpster to find treasures. The first summer we were here Noah was outside from 8am-8pm everyday. He was so dark that my friend Jen thought he hadn't a different father. Terry and I spent many nights talking on the patio after the kids were in bed. They moved to a house nearby.

My friend from Church Amanda moved in with her husband and 2, now 3 kids. We spent our first year running together most mornings. She would drive from Coral Gables and we would run the bridge. She decided to move out here and we were so excited that early morning runs would be so easy--then we both got pregnant so most of our year together we have both been in survival mode. Recently we started running together. Ella Joy and Zoe are great friends, JuJu and Liam hate and love each other, Georgia and Adelaide like third and fourth children sit happily and watch all the chaos. It has been great to have a friend so close. We have gotten to enjoy Amanda's and Derrick's delicious cooking. We will miss them a lot.

#36 Patti Porro and Gigi-played in the afternoons together, taught Mommy Boot Camp at the park, lots of fun to hang out with

#38 Camilla, Paul, and Bodey-our oh so convenient pediatric resident and water polo husband and their beautiful and perfectly behaved golden retriever. We had Thanksgiving with them this past year. She also was my lifesaver when I was certain that I had lice when EJ had it. My head was itching all the time and I didn't think David was checking thoroughly enough..oh the things good neighbors will do.

#46 Boris and his mom--Noah's friend from basketball

#48 Chuck the repairman and by mishap the LePhare therapist

#52 Sharon, the most fit and active 70 year old woman I have ever met, and her dog Chester

I am sure I missed someone but these are the people who we interacted with often. Although I am really looking forward to our home that will have space and a backyard, I will miss the fun, convenience, and entertainment of having friends and neighbors so close.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dinner by the Sea

Recently we have been taking picnic dinners to the beach.

It is so much fun.

We have a beautiful view.

The kids eat, run around and play.

David and I get to talk.

One of the best parts--easy clean up, no dirty kitchen.

Tonight David used his new constellation app to point out the stars and planets to the kids.

Friday, May 20, 2011


After David insisted that our mode of transportation was not acceptable,

And then the policewoman added "the law" into the scenario...

I went to KB Green and rented a golf cart for our last 6 weeks here.

It has been so much fun to have.

It really is a lot cooler and easier than riding a bike.

The kids love it.
Noah likes to drive to the end of the parking lot.

Ella Joy and JuJu get to take turns parking it once we get in our parking lot.

David likes to take night time spins around the island just for fun.

I think he must go pretty fast because Ella Joy told me she has to hang on more when Daddy drives.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


One thing we love about our location is how easy it is for David to get to and from work.
It takes him 20 minutes and he is always going against traffic.
This is huge in a city where traffic can make a 20 minute commute into an hour long drive.

Happy Birthday Becky!
JuJu can't wait to take care of you!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


The best de-stresser for me is sitting in the sand.
I love the feel of it under my feet.
I love digging into with my hands and making castles.
I love the view of the ocean, the salty air, and the cool breeze.
The combination of all of these things seem to reset me.
After my visit I am relaxed and calm.
I can return to my responsibilities refreshed.
I love how it makes me feel.

I wander where or what that place will be in North Dakota?
Where is your place?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I have loved watching Noah play on all the different sports teams here.
Everything is close so practices and games are very convienient.
Tonight Noah had his first elimination game for baseball.
The field he plays at is in Crandon Park--right next to the beach.
The weather at 7 pm is perfect.
The sky is blue.
I will miss these perfect evenings of sitting in the grass all year round at dusk.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Our new favorite place.
It has the best frozen yougurt.
Lots of unique and yummy flavors.
My favorite coconut.
The set up is great--you serve yourself.
Get what you like with the toppings you love.
They weigh it and then you pay for it.
The best part -- the price.
We bought big sundaes for the whole family for $12.
If I wasn't moving to ND I would seriously consider buying a franchise.
Love it, love it, love it!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


This is Church--Miami style

Ours is the white minivan and we are blocked in by 5 other cars behind us.

It took 40 minutes to leave.

Parking rules just do not apply in this city.I love our Church.

No matter where we move we have instant friends and wonderful support.

The ward we currently attend is in Little Havana.

It is 90% Spanish speaking so those who don't speak Spanish wear headsets to hear English.

David teaches Sunday school.

I do music for the Primary children.

Noah pouts and looks for junkfood.

Ella Joy sings and runs around.

JuJu loves nursery.

Georgia gets cared for by someone in David's class.

Every Sunday is an adventure.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Easy Shopping

One thing I have absolutely loved about living here is how easy shopping is for me
My grocery store is right down the street--a 5 minute walk or 2 minute bike ride.

Even closer is our CVS which is right next to our complex which we use when we run out of milk or icecream or medicine.
Here JuJu is busy shopping at the CVS

Friday, May 13, 2011


3 little girls swinging in a row

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Getting down at Monty's.

This is the place we always meet our friends the Dandoy's.

We celebrated my 33rd birthday here in March.

And last night we celebrated Chris' 34th birthday.

It is perfect for kids because it is outside with a view of the bay.

There is a one man band that the girls can dance to.

I honestly do not know where Ella Joy got some of her dance moves from.

Is she watching MTV in the middle of the night while I'm asleep?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Girls on Trikes

I believe when I think back to our time here in Key Biscayne one of the things I will miss the most will be seeing these two little girls peddling (and in JuJu's case Fred Flinstoning) as fast as they can to the park or the community center.

This was our routine most every afternoon.

Ella Joy was always in front so she could make sure that JuJu stopped at intersections.

JuJu of course says lola (hola) or lo (hello) to every person or dog that passes us by.

Notice JuJu's water fountain sticking up from the middle of her head.

She recently started wearing hair ties.

This particular style was inspired by her Aunt Shey Shey who used to wear the same water fountain for a whole week. I can remember washing her hair and seeing dust that had collected around the tie.

Kitchen Tree

This is Ella Joy's kitchen tree.

It is located in the middle of the park.

It is quite a majestic tree and unfortunately my pictures don't do it justice.

This has been one of our favorite spots because at the base of this enormous tree are all kinds of nooks and crannies that Ella Joy has made into her home.

She has assigned everyone a room.

There is a bathroom for big people and a bathroom for little people.

The rock pictured above is the kitchen where she makes me brownies and muffins.


One of my favorite things about living here is getting up early--before the sun, before the kids and going on my beach run.

It is an absolutely perfect run.

It takes me along the boardwalk of Crandon Beach.

At the end of the boardwalk I stop for a few minutes, stretch, and take in the most amazing view.

This morning was particularly spectacular as my friend Amy and I arrived the sun started to peek up over the horizon just above the ocean. We were in awe. It was a beautiful pinkish orange. As it came up there was a rainbow of color all the way to the sky.

I wish I had my camera so I could have taken a picture to share the beauty.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Happy Mother's Day to all moms everywhere who keep pushing along.
You are doing a great job!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Paddle Boarding

Tara and I coming in from paddle boarding.
It was a perfect morning.
The water was like glass and you could see clear to the bottom.

Noah and I both found starfish

that we of course put back in the water.

As we examined them I kept thinking about the starfish in Nemo that knows how to read.

Ohhh where your mind goes when you are surrounded by children and all of their things.

Nemo has been JuJu's latest obsession.

Friday, May 6, 2011

When it Rains it Floods

So it doesn't rain much here on the island.

After 2 years of living here I have learned that the weather predictions are usually wrong. The storms seem to pass over the island and head to the mainland.

However when it does rain the island floods.

Our parking lot becomes a swimming pool.

Pictured above is the area surrounding the school.

Because I didn't think my golf cart could handle 2 feet of water- my kind friend drove me to pick EJ up. However she got nervous that the water might ruin her car so we parked it in someone's driveway, left a note, and began a 4 block trek through the water with 5 children in tote. It was quite the adventure.

In classic Miami style no one offered a ride or asked if we might need help.

Imagine my friend who is 8 months pregnant carrying Georgia, I was carrying JuJu and her daughter and EJ were walking along side us--it was a sight. All the kids in the school yard couldn't believe that the water was up to our knees. It really wasn't that hard but just the fact that no one asked at least to help out my pregnant friend?

Better yet, when we finally made it through the swamp we were walking along the sidewalk a man in his Mercedes stopped in the middle of an intersection to ....see if we were OK....ask if we needed a ride... of course not, he first stated that he had been a surgeon for 30 years and he just wanted to let us know that it really wasn't a good idea to let children walk on sidewalks barefoot, they could get all kinds of bacterial infections that are really hard to get rid of and once again let us know that he had seen some really bad stuff....

Really. Thanks for the FYI, next time just throw a pamphlet out the window and spray us with the rain water as you speed away.

Is that really what 2 moms with 5 children really want to hear about after what we had just waded through.

We were happy we had gotten everyone out safely to the other side. I mean if you want to lecture us at least throw open the door, let us hop in, and lecture us on the way.

And the whole no shoe thing.

I get so many bad looks from nannys as they pass by and once again JuJu has taken off her shoes or didn't have any on to begin with. "Sin zapatos" (without shoes) they scowl as if I am the worst mom in the world. Seriously how many of you ran around without shoes on outside when you were a kid and amazingly enough you have lived to tell about it.

Happy 5 months to Georgia.

Amazing that she is still alive.

She has never warn shoes.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Key Biscayne Community Center

This has been a lifesaver.
The first year I didn't have it because it was too expensive.
The second year my mom bought it as a gift and we have definitely gotten her money's worth.
It has a gymnasium, gameroom, nursery, and indoor jungle gym.
I have spent almost every afternoon there letting the kids play.
The girls that work in the nursery are wonderful.
They love my kids and are always excited to see us.
Alexa Ray babysits for us some and the kids absolutely love her.
When I asked EJ what she loved most about Key Biscayne,
one of her responses was: Alexa Ray.
Georgia always gets lots of attention when we go.
And it is like JuJu's other home/preschool.
It is only a 10 minute walk from our house so after Noah finishes his HW he walks over on his own and we meet up with him.
Our membership has definitely kept me sane.
And the kids happy and cool.

Thank you, Mom!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I love that we can swim throughout most the year.
Our complex has a nice big pool that the kids love.
We just have to cross the courtyard and we are there.
Ella Joy and JuJu can slide their little bodies through the gate.
Noah usually jumps it.
Then I come with the key and walk through with Georgia.
We have spent many hours trying to stay cool...in the pool.
And there isn't a better way to tire out kids right before bedtime than with a nice swim.
It makes them hungry for dinner too.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I love the mornings here --that would be 6-9am.
The weather is perfect.
The air is cool, the sky is blue, and there is a nice breeze.
I love all the plants, flowers, and birds that are here year round.
I love taking the kids to school whether in the stroller, on the bike, or the golfcart-- once we are in motion I always think how grateful I am to get to enjoy such nice weather everyday.

However by 10 the sun is beating down.
And it is hot, very hot.

Next January when I am freezing in ND I will need to think about the oh so hot days when I was sweaty all day, the kids were whiny, hot, and thirsty, and all you can think about is cooling off in the AC.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Our favorite Cuban restaurant.

When we first visited Miami our friends took us to this restaurant in Little Havana. Whenever we have visitors who want good Cuban food, we go here.
Tonight a friend from residency was in town so we loaded everyone in the mini van to eat some super delicious, fried, and surely very fattening Cuban food.

Now I like this restaurant for a several reasons.
The food is so good (i love the platanos fritos and shredded chicken with onions), there is lots of it (for David the disposal), and they have the classic kids favorite (chicken tenders and french fries). The prices are inexpensive and they have an amazing bakery that you walk through on the way out where you can pick from a large variety of delicious desserts. The atmosphere is very family friendly--it is pretty loud so other patrons don't notice Juju screaming. Like always they seat us in the very back corner of the restaurant which makes me even more comfortable because we are as far as possible away from everyone else.

Tonight was a pretty typical crazy night.
JuJu, who since potty training never wears more that undies, was mad because she had clothes on. Within the first 5 minutes of sitting down she had spilled freezing cold ice water on me and herself. So off went the dress. The food took longer than usual and the kids got bored and started making salt and pepper castles. It wasn't too messy til JuJu added the sugar and it became a huge sugar mountain. Once the food came I scarfed it down as quickly as possible knowing that soon something would erupt. Noah got in trouble for not listening, Ella Joy was singing to herself and trying to build more sugar mountains, and JuJu went to the bathroom twice--both times sat on the floor (yes I was cringing) to take off what little clothing remained, her shoes and undies. Then climbed on the potty touching every square inch of the seat. I know its gross, so gross. But the girl wants to be independent. Despite the craziness we had a great time and were able to visit with our friend.

Thanks Chris for a great meal.
Glad we could help you feel right at home.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Taking it all in

So it is hitting me that we are leaving in 6 weeks.
I am excited to move.
I am thrilled that David is finally done, did I really say that.
Done with training.
But our little island paradise has made a wonderful home for us the past 2 years and I am starting to feel nostalgic. So over the month of May I am going to try, yes try to post each day, something I love about our life here on Key Biscayne. Just for history's sake I may also post things that aren't so great so that when I am freezing in Minot next January I can remember that it wasn't all beaches and bike riding. Hope you enjoy reminiscing with me.