Tamales, Kittens, and Lizards, Oh My!

That’s not how it goes, I know.

This is the absolute last day you will read about my adventures in Florida— promise. Dad and the rest of my family left for home yesterday, and mom and I are headed home via auto train today! I must admit that I’m quite excited to be going back to New York, even though Florida has been awesome. T-minus 20 days until it’s time for Boston!!!

MiMM

Sharing the marvelous Florida finale on Katie‘s blog!

My awesome 10-year-old cousin, Amy, asked me every day this weekend: “Did you do your moves and grooves today?” She’s now my youngest blog-reader (to my knowledge), and this is a little shout-out to her and our countless games of 2048 on my phone.

photo 1

Watching the favorites vlog

Friday

When do most people like to go to the beach? When it’s hot and sunny, right? Well, my family likes to hit the waves when the sky looks like this:

DSC_0253

So ominous

The last thing we wanted after a grueling, hot day at Universal Studios was more sun. These clouds were pretty intense, but once the lightning cleared, we swam in the ocean while it was raining. At one point, we were the only ones in the water, which was both concerning and awesome. Moves: fighting the waves and running back and forth from the car to the ocean. 😀

Afterwards, the beach hunger monster hit us hard, so we went to dinner at a waterfront restaurant called Milliken’s Reef. Mom and I shared the crab cakes and broiled scallops. So delicious!

millken's

We went home to celebrate Uncle G’s birthday with some ice cream cake!

DSC_0290

I don’t like Chips Ahoy, but this ice cream cake was pretty darn good to someone who’s not a huge fan of chocolate. Happy birthday, Uncle G!

Saturday

The healthy family and I started the day off with some outdoor (HOT) stretching, a little bit of kung fu, and indoor core work. I’m serious about the kung fu. They taught me some basic kicks and jumps, and I basically felt like Mulan. Later in the afternoon, we went to the Mall at Millennia, where my mom and aunt shopped. Meanwhile, in the Microsoft store…

microsoft store

Attempt at advertising + #operationbeautiful note

Who thinks someone will actually visit my blog after seeing that? Because I don’t think I would visit a website someone wrote about on a Microsoft tablet. Too sketchy. I do hope someone believes that #operationbeautiful note!

After eating fantastic Thai food for dinner with our other family friends, we went to Downtown Disney for a lovely nighttime stroll.

Sunday

Mom, Dad, and I went to a wonderful (and wonderfully early) morning Mass before dropping off Dad at the airport. Then we took our guests to the final attraction of their Florida vacation— the Orlando Farmers’ Market! I had just eaten breakfast before we went, but when there are free samples and your family wants you to share tamales with them, you gotta eat.

DSC_0309

Tamales + fresh pineapple mango juice (so good)

I’ll consider it one huge brunch.

Oh, we also found free kittens.

DSC_0319

Uncle G should be called the cat whisperer.

View this post on Instagram

Free kittens anyone?

A post shared by Alison (@alison_grooves) on

These were the only cats I’ve ever met that made my heart melt. And no, we did not take one home, because although they were free and absolutely adorable, the cost of raising them is through the roof. College tuition says no.

Mom would also not be a fan. She resents cats for reasons of the past.

I did the most intense moves I’ve done in a while yesterday, and it was so fun! I did Lori and Michelle’s latest workout. Eventually, the sad time came to drop off my cousin and her parents at the airport…and then there were two. Mom and I have been wrapping up household cleaning and maintenance, which is like the depressing part of movies when all the fun is over and everyone has to go home.

In other news, a lizard made its way into our house. Eeeeeeek! Mom and I had our back door wide open to take in the patio furniture. I guess a lizard was inside the screen covering the patio (that is meant for blocking out wildlife……), and it decided it wanted some AC. We didn’t want to kill it, but Mom ended up smacking it too hard with a broom in an attempt to hold it down for a second. Poor fella.

DSC_0294

I took this picture of a lizard inside the screen covering on Saturday. This very well might have been the one that came in. Eerie, eh?

So that’s our odd weekend for ya! Swimming in the ocean while it’s down-pouring, holding kittens, and chasing lizards.

New York, here we come!

So tell me:

What did you do this weekend?

Are you a cat person?

What is the craziest creature that has been inside your house? 

Am I Smarter Than a 5-Year-Old?

Hello, hello!

Can I just thank you all so much for your well-wishes on my post about my family’s near-death experience? We are feelin’ the love. ♥ We’ve just been taking it in these past couple of days, but we’re a-okay!

I’m sorry that I was MIA from MIMM yesterday (I’m not even trying sound cool), but I was spending some quality time with my aunt, uncle, and cousins who spent the night at our house. Getting to see them is so fun, and you’ll see why when you read on about my cousins. I also always love talking with my aunt (my confirmation sponsor) and uncle (my godfather).

Mom and I got to cooking and baking while we were waiting for our guests to arrive. I love any excuse to bake, so I decided to make brownies (using this recipe) that everyone seemed to enjoy (thank God— I’ve never used anything but box mix before).

DSC_7108

Hors d’œuvre spread.

DSC_7115

Yum.

Our guests (which also included my great-aunt, who lives near by) arrived Sunday night at around 5 PM. My 5-year-old cousin, Angela, and I did not hesitate to start getting crafty with some Do-a-Dot art and drawing. We had a contest to see who could make the most pictures, and she cranked out about five while I only had four. She doesn’t mess around.

DSC_7119

This cutie, Joseph, was the biggest ham for the camera. He really knows how to work it! Just point the camera to him and he is all smiles for ya.

DSC_7151

Before we knew it, my mom had set out a feast for all of us. We decided to go Sandra Lee-style with the semi-homemade method. 30% of the food was made by my mom and the other 70% was takeout from a Chinese restaurant. 100% of the food was fantastic.

DSC_7121

It’s like Thanksgiving again.

DSC_7122

DSC_7123

DSC_7124

Spoons ready!

DSC_7129

We were all like happy, full babies.

We had to opportunity to have a very technological conference with my other aunt, uncle and cousins through FaceTime while our grandparents were on the phone line.

DSC_7169

Angela slept in my room for the night, so we had a super awesome slumber party looking at the glow-in-the-dark stars on my ceiling, admiring my multi-colored night light (listen, those are just conveniently there from like, 5th grade), and talking about not being able to sleep and other deep things such as what we would wear to the princess Grand Ball. And let me tell you, Angela is one of THE most intelligent 5-year-olds I’ve ever met, so I can seriously converse with her about this kind of stuff. She speaks more articulately than a lot of my friends even. Juuuust sayin’. She was hyper on half a brownie too, so we talked until 11:30, which is pretty late for Angela. Girls just wanna have fun! 😉

Some tidbits from 5-year-old Angela:

“I want to go get socks from my mom’s room, but I don’t want to go downstairs and bother her…I guess I’ll just have to manage.”

“I was up for an hour after midnight and I just couldn’t go back to sleep so I prayed a decade of the rosary… I also helped Mommy and Daddy clean up the kitchen, open the curtains, and move the shepherd closer to the stable….Yes, I know it’s so frustrating that I couldn’t go back to sleep!” 

“You know what? If you want to fall asleep, DON’T have chocolate before bed…The only time you can drink hot chocolate is if it’s super cold that not even ten blankets can keep you warm! You’re so cold that you HAVE to drink the hot chocolate and then put another blanket on top of you.” 

Do you see how bright this child is?  I definitely did not know how to use “frustrating” in context or how to pray a rosary at five years old. Her parents are fabulous teachers.

I woke up bright and early to make breakfast for everyone. I also will take any excuse to make big breakfasts for other people. ‘Tis my absolute favorite meal to make AND eat!

DSC_7172

Waffles or pancakes? (This recipe for the waffles + this one for the pancakes)

Eggs, fruit, and congee were also included in this bed & breakfast service. 🙂

DSC_7176

DSC_7182

DSC_7184

You know they’re good when you have pancake on your nose!

We immediately used up our energy from breakfast for running around the house playing bus driver and tag and walk-the-baby. The Game of Life also happened. And yes, Angela played— counting money and all.

DSC_7191

After a while, we were hungry for lunch! My mother just threw together another feast in about 10 minutes flat. Typical madre.

DSC_7187

DSC_7188

DSC_7189

The woman can do wonders with leftovers.

I so wish our guests could have stayed longer, but they have other family members to visit this Christmas— they’ve gotta spread the love! Every minute spent with them is such a blessing.

DSC_7194

Lazy eye.

DSC_7196

DSC_7200

The one time Joey doesn’t look at the camera!

Goodbyes were sad, but hugs and kisses make everyone feel better.

DSC_7161

Today is Christmas Eve! *jumping of excitement* We’re taking advantage of our vicinity to NYC today by going down to see the tree and other festive sights of the season!

So tell me: What are some funny/thoughtful things you’ve heard from a child? What did you do this weekend?