Gucci Girls

I ran across these great pics tonight too.

They reminded of Gucci ... which was cute.

But the shots of Kait really made me think about how old she is getting, and how old she looks. MAN - it happens quick!

The good part about all of it is ...

They didn't get too many of their looks from me:

Mostly, it looks like God just gave them my best parts, and He spared them from some of my idiosyncracies.

Strange Fruit Tree from Oregon

Looking back through some of our old pictures from home - and I came across these pictures of a strange fruit tree out in eastern Oregon.

I thought I'd share, just in case anyone has grown anything similar to it near them?

At first ... when you're approaching the tree, it's hard to tell what it is that's growing on it:

And so, you try to get a closer look.

And you realize ...


That's what I thought it was. What a very strange fruit tree.



Junior Rangers - National Park Patches

I'm not sure if you remember ... but a little over a year ago, we did a cross country road trip with out kids.

As part of that trip we hit a BUNCH of national parks. At each park - we tried to get enough time for the kids to get the Junior Ranger Park patch.

Until now, we hadn't showed the huge stash of patches they were able to collect along the way. But, the other night, they had them out ... and so we grabbed a few shots.

I thought you might want to see:

Collecting these patches, from each of the National Parks, was a favorite part of the trip for the girls. And it gave us something cool to do at each of the parks.

I highly suggest hooking up this past-time if you travel to any parks across the U.S.



We did it ... Disney World

We actually gave a bit of a teaser about this place ... almost 3 months ago. And now here I am finally adding a post about it.

We made a stop to Disney World to check out what all the hubbub was about. Pretty much, this place is just about every parent's worst nightmare ... spend a TON of money, and get nothing but hassles and stress in return.

Yep - that almost sums it up.

Here's a few of the shots from our day:

Here's a few of the darker side of Keeley. Get a look at her face here.
Notice ... she's losing.

Also notice ... how serious she is while she's losing.

And now ... you can see the smile and enjoyment on her face, here, as she pulls into the lead.

Here's a few shots of the Disney parade. Check out all the characters we got to see. This first one is a classic Disney persona ...

Oh, I guess it's actually just Kait.

Sorry about that!

Here are a few Disney characters though ... Aladdin, Mickey, Cinderella, a rather foxy Cruella Deville, some pirates, plus a whole bunch more we didn't even add in here:

We even grabbed a few, very hush-hush pictures, of Walt Disney himself - fresh from the cryogenic chamber. He was really looking quite young and healthy. Rather dashing - I thought!

Something I haven't seen in a long time, if I've ever seen it at all.
Airplane sky writing:

It says... Jesus 4 'G' - I think it ended up saying Jesus 4 Gives, or something like that. It was neat to see.

There was a cool looking, but fake, water mill house.

If you want to see what real mill home pictures look like, check out this site:

And last, but certainly not least ... was Peter Pan holding Tink's house:

And, I just have to say ... if you haven't read the 'Peter' series with your kids ... YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST!

Peter and the Starcatchers
Peter and the Shadow Thieves
Peter and the Secret of Rundoon

Not only will your kids love them ... I guarantee it!

But YOU WILL TOO! I also guarantee that, as well.

I've read hundreds of books in my life, and these are some of the best I've ever read. Reading them with your kids is just an added bonus, to bring your family a little bit closer together. It never hurts!



Real American Hero

Hi guys,
We were messing around at work several days ago, and someone sent me this picture.

It's a reminder of my younger days ... playing around with G.I. Joe - A Real American Hero. Some of you might remember that?

Those were some of my 'good ol' days'. Ahhhhhhh ... The Memories!

Mostly, I love the picture, and the way they've re-created the character.

By the way, I have no idea where this pic came from. If you know, let me know and I'll give proper credit here.

All right, so much for the trip down memory lane.



National Park Gems... Get them while you can

I'm pretty sure we grabbed pictures of this gorgeous National Park Monument, but I can't find them right now.

If I do - I'll put them up.

Here's another reason to visit your National Parks NOW - and not to wait until you're older and have 'more time' to do it.

They're falling apart, literally. Every moment, every hour, every day, every storm drives them closer and closer to extinction.

And if you don't go there now, you could miss some of it.

Check out this National Park arch catastrophe.
From USA Today, and the Associated Press.



Location... Location... Location...

Have you ever thought about your retirement years?

Where will you live?
Will you be close to family?
Or mobile, so you can see things you always wanted to see?
What things will you do to stay busy and active?
Are there life goals you plan to accomplish?

In Hillsboro, one of our biggest frustrations was the fact that we were still 1 hour from the coast, and at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours from Mt. Hood. Which was WAY TOO FAR, for convenience' sake, to easily get to the mountain and get active. One of our family goals is, and always has been, to be able to be more active - quickly. When I say quickly, I mean like... walk out the front door and be engaged in an activity.

So, when the Speer Clan decided to come down to Florida, one of our top considerations and beliefs was ... no matter where we were in Florida, we would still be close to the water. We'd be able to get out and canoe, kayak, wander the shores, or swim, or surf pretty easily. That was a key for us wanting to come here, because we knew there weren't any mountains for us to go out and climb, or hike, or snowboard, or snowshoe. It was vital to us that we have some kind of outdoor
activities that we could enjoy, so we wouldn't be trapped inside all the time.

Although I do like A/C and Wii-ing, and the TV, I'm not really that excited by the thought of sitting on my rear-end all day long.

Fast Forward one year...

Now, here we are with gas prices sitting at just below $4. And we are sitting in the middle of Florida, instead of on the coast.

And I am starting to realize something ...

So many times we put off what we want to do, for what we have to do. Or, maybe I should say... for what we 'think' we have to do.

Honestly, I don't know why or where that belief system ever got started, but I am starting to find it sick and twisted and disenchanting. Now, I'm not suggesting we just drop whatever it is we are doing at this exact moment, and just run out and do whatever we want. BUT - I am saying we need to start re-focusing and using our lives for things that are gonna help us get where we want to go.

Once I start to realize, and dream about, where I really want to go... my mind starts trying to figure out ways to get me there. AND my mind also becomes occupied with thoughts of hope, of plans, of dreams, of things that are good for me (or you) to think about - RATHER THAN ... "crud, I HAVE TO get up and go to work today doing something I can't stand."

It's a very invigorating and exciting mental image, and not a defeated, downcast mental image. Just that fact alone can make all the difference in the world.


All of these ideas had me thinking about the future over the weekend. However long our time here, in Florida, ends up lasting for - our next stop along the way is going to lead us somewhere that is WAY CLOSER to the activities we've been putting off for so long.

And I don't mean an hour away.

That's too far!

I mean - within a 15 minute drive, or a short bike ride, or a few minute's walk.

One thing that definitely became clear to me during this last gas price hike was the shrinking of our local area. If, and when, gas prices do go back up to the high point they were at (and even higher), it's is going to shrink our local sphere of activities. And whatever is within your sphere MUST be something that you want to do 'all the time'.