Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bienvenido a Miami

Margie and Jeri are contemplating a summer sales job and were hooked up with free tickets to Miami for their trial run. I was SOOOO excited when they told me! We tried to work it out to where Debra could be with us too, but it wasn't meant to be. :( Don't worry though Deb, we thought of you often. Together again!

The girls actually spent most of their time in Miami either tanning or swimming at our rooftop pool area. They loved the view.
We, of course had to take the girls to the Everglades to see the gators. They were thrilled. They even got to see the little baby alligators!

The alligators were a bit more skiddish this time around and would bolt back into the water if we got too close. You see here Margie and Jeri keeping a safe distance.
We look the girls down to South Beach for some fabulous Italian and to do a little window shopping. We wanted to buy all of the shoes!
In the end though the only thing we bought besides dinner, was dessert. Gelato! You might notice that we are eating ice cream in several of these pictures. It was too good!
I also took the girls to the Bayside Mall. Brian didn't want to join us because it was going to be more than just window shopping. Not exactly his scene. You can kind of see the bay behind us in the picture below.

The girls also hit the Bayside mall by day. Scary!
And the final adventure that we shared...
USA vs. Puerto Rico!!!! It was such a good game!!!!
Please enjoy this video and our mad vocals. It was a fantastic weekend and it was soooo good to spend time with Margie and Jeri. We love and miss them much!

Brian was usually behind the camera taking pictures of me and the girls, but I was able to snap this one of him wearing Margie's souvenir sunhat. Looking good honey.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Best Game Ever

Ok, so the game between the U.S.A. and Puerto Rico the other night may not have truly been the best game ever but it certainly was the most exciting sporting event that I have ever attended. The U.S. took on Puerto Rico in an elimination game in the World Baseball Classic this past Tuesday and we were there for all of the action. I'll get straight to the most exciting part first, a video that shows the game winning base hit in the bottom of the ninth by David Wright.

I apoligize for the shaky video handling. I'm actually surprised I was able to keep it that steady, believe it or not. I actually over-extended my elbow earlier in the inning when Brian Roberts got a hit to put two runners on the bases with no outs. I jumped up and raised my arms too fast or too far and it was sore the rest of the night. Team USA has had about 5 players leave the team due to injuries and now even the fans are joining on the disabled list. Anyways, here is how the drama unfolded.

We bought tickets that day online. Two of Jackie's sisters were in town, Margie and Jeralyn, so they were there with us. I told them I would buy their tickets if they would let us go to the game that night (I wanted to go Saturday night but Margie wanted to go hit the scene at South Beach).

Since I was buying, I sprang for the cheapest seats I could find, $10 a piece. This was our view:

The great part about the crowds here is that there are no crowds. We only lasted one batter in those seats. We got there in the bottom of the first and watched the final out before we decided to try and move closer. We moved to the upper deck seats behind home plate and had this view:

A little bit better to say the least. Here is how the game unfolded:

2nd Inning - Puerto Rico hit a solo home run to go up 1-0. I was bummed we didn't strike first but I didn't worry because the entire day I had this strange feeling it was going to be an awesome game. I just sat in my cubicle, smiling all day, and daydreaming about a walk off dramatic hit to send the U.S. on to the next round.

In the bottom of the inning the U.S. scored two runs to take the lead. The highlight was the slide by David Wright to score the first run on a sacrifice fly.

3rd Inning - Kevin Youkilis smacks a homer out to left field. The U.S. fans are really starting to come out now while the Puerto Rico cheers are subsiding. We end up leaving a guy on 3rd base and 2nd when Mark DeRosa struck out to end the inning. It was our chance to really break things open. I began to think my daydream might not come true but that it might be our turn to blow out Puerto Rico

4th Inning - That feeling only last a few minutes, because Carlos Delgado came out and hit a two run homer to tie the game at 3-3. We actually didn't see it because we decided to try our luck and move down to the 1st level. We got denied by the lady guarding the section behind the plate but there was nobody guarding the section further down so that is where we made it.

The seats were great. For the next couple of innings I felt we had stumbled into the Puerto Rico wasp nest. There were scattered "U.S.A." chants but the Puerto Ricans were definitely more vocal.

5th Inning - pretty uneventful

6th Inning - Walks given by our pitchers continued to bite back at us. Puerto Rico scores a run to go up 4-3. They threaten to score more but I calmed down when USA brought in Scot Shields. I knew he would get us out of the jam and sure enough he did. Go Angels in 2009!

In the bottom of the inning Brian McCann smacked a home run to tie the game 4-4...or at least should have. Carlos Betran, center fielder for Puerto Rico, made a great play and robbed McCann of his home run. I couldn't believe it. Pure disappointment. I could only pray that wouldn't come back to haunt us.

7th Inning - Scot Shields dominates and needs only 10 pitches to get three outs.

The U.S. once again appears it will even the score when they have 2 guys on base with only one out. Jimmy Rollin was at the plate and I yelled, "Jimmy, I got you on my fantasy team! Don't let me down!" The girl in front of me wearing a Puerto Rico hat turned around and was laughing. I actually enjoyed their fans because they cheered for their team but they weren't hostile. Well, Jimmy did let me down but he did advance the runner to third. Youk came up next and grounded out to end the inning. At this point I couldn't get McCann's home run out of my head.

8th Inning - We replaced Scot Shields with J.J. Putz and he dominated just like his predecessor.

McCann came up with a runner on 2nd and two outs but he struck out. D'oh! I still can't get his should-be home run out of my mind but I rejoice in the feeling I had the entire day at work, I new we could do something in the 9th inning.

9th Inning - Puerto Rico scores another run to increase their lead to 5-3. Oh man. A few fans started to leave and I couldn't believe it. It was a couple in their 60's and since it was late, I decided to give them slack, although I couldn't believe they would leave with the top of our order coming up.

We started the inning with two base hits. This is when I hyper-extended my elbow. Jeter came to the plate representing the winning run and the U.S. fans came alive. He flied out but got Shane Victorino over to third. A few pitches later Brian Roberts stole second base and my heart almost stopped when he took off. When the ump said he was safe, I was jumping up and down, while nursing my elbow. Rollins then walked, so did Youkilis, and then Wright stepped up to the plate to send the U.S. to the semi-finals. It was awesome.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Everglades: Part II

We made our way back out to the Everglades National Park this weekend. The park has several different entrances, each one a little different from the other. This time we headed to the entrance at Everglades city, located on the gulf side of the park. At this location you can rent a canoe and float through the park. For day trips, they recommend two different routes. One route takes you out to the "10,000 islands" while another more safer route has you going up a little stream. We opted for that route.

Go cougars. On the back of the shirt it says something like "I cheer for BYU and anyone playing against UTAH." We got ice cream after and one of the locals came up to me in the parlor and said, "Oh the runnin' utes ain't that bad. I was hoping they'd play Florida 'cause that would've been a helluva game."
Jackie took on the roll of being the front canoeist and boy did she do a great job
We started out on a bay but then made our way to the river

The video is of Jackie giving the tour through the mangroves

I spy a little turlte, do you?
It was actually very beautiful canoeing through the river, especially when we got to the "mangrove tunnel" section
At a couple of points, it got a little tricky. We ran into the trees and I thought it would be a great time to get a picture, so you guys could see how thick it truly is. Well, Jackie is smiling in this picture but about 4 seconds later is a different story. As I was putting the camera down, she started yelling to back up. I looked up and she just looked me dead in the eyes and kept yelling "BACK UP!" At first I imagined that we had run into an aligator nest, or something like that. As scared as she was, I knew an aligator couldn't do that. Nope. It had to be a spider. When she had turned around, she saw the biggest, scariest spider in her life. The spider varied in sizes the rest of the day but at one point it was as big as her fist and at another time she compared it in size to our nephew Jack's face (2 year old Jack can be seen skiing here).
Florida is home to the best lawn decorations in the world
The fish were biting
This stork flew over our boat not with a baby, but a fish in its mouth. You could see the fish still jumping around in his mouth. When we paddled downstream, we ran into him again. He was still working on the fish. If you click on the picture you should be able to see the tail of the fish sticking out of his mouth.
One way to tell the birds are big around here without actually seeing one