Just How Many Oysters Can You Eat?…..

As usual, we’ve had a busy and fun filled couple of weeks – Walkies! Grandchildren! Granddogs! Birthdays! Ice Storm! Fish Fry!

Weather…Spring?  We’ve been spoiled by being in Florida.  It appears we did NOT bring the sunshine back to Ontario.  You can usually expect wet, rainy weather in Spring, I get it. But Snowstorms?  IceStorms?  Ugh.  Most weather does not keep us indoors.  We believe there is no bad weather, just bad clothing…except when it comes to ice.  Ice and people over 60 just don’t mesh well.  A fall could take us out of commission for a while…so I’m feeling a bit of cabin fever at the moment….On a more positive note, lets start with our walkies…

I try and capture the beauty each day,either with my trusty Iphone or just in my thoughts..

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Check out Tammi and Kya…believe me; they are FULL of mud.  The weather doesn’t stop Suz from walking these girls (Kya is having 10 sleepovers at Suz and Trev’s) and giving them 2 baths per day!

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Our granddaughter, Tessa loves to walk with us.  Her little “Chug” (pug/chihuahua), Jax can keep up with the best of them…

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oh…and then there’s this…yikes!  She is growing up way too soon!

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But the little kid in her, still exists (whew!).  Brody LOVES this child.  And yes, he did go down the slide with her!

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The Florida gang missed our fresh seafood so badly, that we got together for our own fish fry!

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Ready?  Set?  Shuck!

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The ladies did as well as the gents!

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Oh man were they ever GOOD!  Fanny Bay Oysters from Diana’s Seaford in Toronto

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Oh Suz…that looks like a bad cold…..lol

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That’s a happy lady awaiting the oysters, shrimp and grouper fingers…OH MY!

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We surprised Suz with a cake for her birthday!

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We had a little sleepover after the festivities..You know the saying..”there’s no rest for the wicked”…tee hee!

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Speaking of Birthdays……I cannot believe that I have a gorgeous THIRTY EIGHT year old daughter…Love you Michelle Ann.  She was born on the first day of Spring and lights up my life!

We are celebrating a lunch with our daughter, Melissa and her girls.  I am proud to say that my girls are the best Auntie’s around.

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For Hannah’s birthday, she wanted to spend some one on one time each week with Neema and Peepa.  We decided to take her swimming every Tuesday at the community pool close to her home.  What a hit!  She loved it and we look forward to going again! P.S.  We were exhausted and had to have a nap when we got home…on the up side…WE CAN!

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I know that it was International Puppy Day this week, but our kitty Dexter Ben makes sure that he gets the attention he deserves…especially when I’m editing photographs…it does make it a bit difficult at times!

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Yes.  He is sitting on my laptop!

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International Puppy Day you say?…..When I come back, I want to be a cat and live in our house!

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However, Brody thought IPD was a tad bit exhausting!

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Our Granddog, Lucy, came to stay a few days and brought with her an icestorm! (I know, you thought I was going to refer to another “storm”…)

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I think she settled in nicely…

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Ice on the bushes at our local park..

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Well, the grass began to turn green….

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Lucy even took up Neighbourhood Watch with Brody!Wordpress-26

Well, that’s about all for now.

I’ll leave you with this…..

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Life is Good…..

“Give a Little Bit”….. Please

…ah Supertramp..love that song….

My blog is about our life.  Our family.  Our friends.  Our fur babies.  Our travels.  But today, I’m going to talk about a very large part of our lives.  A very important part.  Giving back….

Mike and I are proud to be part of Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep . Our mission is to provide the gift of professional portraiture due to infant loss.  Volunteer photographers around the world provide their services to devastated families,  who  will not have the privilege of bringing their precious babies home from hospital.

Our journey started with one emotional, heartfelt statement:-  “Auntie Robin, it was what helped us heal”…….

From that moment, I knew what I needed to do when I retired.  Although I initially took this calling on by myself, my wonderful husband Mike (Mikey) also understood the  importance and the lack of volunteers needed to assist the too many families in need and joined the crusade as a Photographer Assistant.  He is the light of my life, both literally and figuratively, providing assistance with lighting and much more…I’ve got the vision, Mikey has the technical genius.  But most important, empathy.  Together we work toward capturing the raw emotion of the moment – love.

During the darkest, most tragic time of a bereaved parents early days, they allow us into their  lives; not to capture death – but to capture love.  These moments, forever frozen in time will be a lifetime reminder of a little one that, decided by a higher power,  will live only in their hearts.

Many of you reading this will remember the times when we didn’t talk about babies born still.  They were whisked away from their mothers, never allowing the time to cradle, whisper words of love, to properly grieve the most emotional, important time needed for a parent to validate this little life that ended too soon.

With permission, this loving family has allowed us to share with you this intimate moment – saying good-bye…

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Sometime when others discover what we do, they often ask..”How can you do this?”… We respond…”How can we not?”

Here are a couple of thank you notes from our parents –

“(We) wanted to thank you again for your increditly generous gift.  Words cannot express the deep emotions we experienced in receiving both the beautiful photos and your visit to the hospital.  The kindness and humanity of you, as complete strangers during our time of loss overwhelmed us, and we will always remember you both for that wonderful gift.  The photos are stunning and will be with us forever, as will your kindness.”
“Words cannot express our gratitude and appreciation for you both.  We hope you realize that what you do for families of loss is so precious.  We only have pictures to look at of (our baby) and they mean the world to us.”

We need your help!  Not a photographer?  No problem.  There are many other ways to volunteer :-

“Whether you are a skilled photographer, professional photo editor, a parent who has suffered a loss, or you have a heart for our mission, there are many ways to be a part of supporting our mission!”

 If you are in a position to volunteer your time to these families, please peruse this website and contact us; either through this link or email me directly @ robin@ahamomentsphotography.com.

Count your blessings, gather your inner strength and offer the gift you have to others…you won’t regret it.  This is your call to action…If you are not in a position to help, please pass this on to others you know who may consider providing this priceless gift.

Through most of my life, I have often wondered “what is my purpose?”  I’ve finally found it…

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I’ll leave you with this…..

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Life is (still) good……

 

Reflections….

Reflections of an amazing get away at Barrier Dunes, Cape San Blas:-

On our drive home from Florida, we reflected on the best times we had at the Cape.  First it was friends…both new and old, then walking on the beach with the pups.  Nothing makes a dog owner feel more wonderful than seeing their fur baby having fun frolicking and swimming with the other dogs.

 

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…and those Sunsets…oh yeah…

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March 2nd – Well, here we are at home in Pickering, Ontario and we still haven’t quite settled back into our routine.  We are pinning for our new friends we quickly made and our existing reconnected friends, our condo that was just perfect (thank you Wendy Jackson!), the sunshine and the BEACH during  the month we stayed at Barrier Dunes, Cape San Blas.  The drive home was perfect, except the weather in Kentucky, which was blustery and rainy.  Could be worse..could have been snow.  Speaking of which, we dodge a huge bullet once we entered Ontario.  We missed a nasty snowstorm just over the border by one day. Problem was, they had  shut down the highway to pull seventeen tractor trailers out of the ditch!  We were in “park” on the 401 for just over an hour.  Not to bad, unless you had to pee…and I had to pee!  Thank goodness for the Tim Horton’s right there on the side of the road when the highway opened.

 March 4th – Not all doom and gloom as our grandchildren (we have six, 1 boy and 5 girls!) were over the moon to see us and vice versa.  They were so happy we were home that they decided they needed to stay overnight…4 of them!  We need more beds!  Tessa, Emma & Hannah in the king bed and Abbey and I in the queen…poor Mikey was relegated to the couch downstairs. At 11:30pm and after “Neema, I’m hungry! Neema, I’m thirsty.  Neema I have to pee , the youngest of the 4 (age 2) finally went to sleep!  Love them to pieces.

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Oh, I forgot the other body in the queen bed…the bed hog Brody.

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Thursday, March 3rd – We were greeted with quite a lot of snow upon our return…it was white stuff, but not sand!  Brody was reunited with his girlfriend, Daisy and they tore up the town.

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Our grandson, Jordan LOVED his souvenir…

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Saturday , March 5th– March Our granddaughter, Maddie had her final swimming lesson and we surprised her to watch her progress.  What a fabulous swimmer she has become!  We won’t have to worry about this little mermaid in the pool this summer!

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For our friends over 50 – Get your Colonoscopy!  I did this week and no longer full of …well you know.  The prep is so much easier these days.  I could save your life…just do it!

Our walk is a bit different, with some of our new friends missing and the wonderful beach, sand and sea – but this place is one of the places it all began with our dearest friends…

Our new friend Kaya…Suz is dog sitting this beautiful fur baby!

(you will notice ((hopefully)) that these pictures below are not the best quality, as I’ve left my trusty Nikon at home!)

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Another fur baby that is dear to my heart…Dixxie!

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We’ve replaced the white sand beach with yellow grass…but at least no snow!

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Brody and Kaya

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It’s been forever since we’ve seen my sister, Lea Ann and Bro-In-Law, Don (Ducky).  We’re normally joined at the hip, but with their winter vacay in the Dominican for a month and ours in Florida, a good dinner and sleep-over was definitely in order!

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Sisters!  Love this woman.  She is an amazing Sister, Wife, Mother, Friend and Nana!

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Back to Gramma duties, or as our Melissa’s girls have named me – Neema and Mikey – Peepa (don’t ask..).  Friday was our daughter, Melissa’s and Son-In-Law, Lucas’ “date night”.  We try and babysit for them at least once a week.  So Friday, we enjoyed having the babies for dinner and a good visit.  Saturday was their dance recital.  Oh my goodness, CUTENESS OVERLOAD!

This is Emma, our youngest grandchild.  She is a wanna-be ballerina and her amazing Momma stayed up late to make her, her very own tutu as she watched her two older sister’s dance recital….

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Hannah

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Abbey…

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So Proud!

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What a great job!

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March 12th is my Mom’s birthday. She’s in Mexico for three months, so we couldn’t celebrate together.  However, her new friends in Mexico made her birthday pretty special!

Normally on Sunday’s, we all walk at Claremont Conservation…our little hidden gem North of us.  This is actually where Mikey and I met…AND he proposed, so it’s pretty special!!  Here is a few of our iphone shots…

No, we aren’t showing off our boobs – we are showing off our “Life is Good” t-shirts we bought in the Cape and happened to wear at the same time!

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Steve, the stick guy…and the rest contemplating how to get across the bridge without being taken out!

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We call our Sunday morning walkies at Claremont – “Going to church”, as it’s absolutely soul cleansing!

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March is FULL of birthday’s in our family.  Mom, Granddaughter Maddie, Daughter in Law, Tiffinie, Niece McKinlea, Daughter Michelle, Bro in Law, Ducky, Suz, Jann, Nancy!…whew I guess I know what the national past-time is in June!  ..well, here’s Maddie’s birthday celebration –

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Our one and only Grandson with the Maddie is sister and the Birthday Girl!

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Grampa and his boy

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Two of our beauties!

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My girls – Melissa and Michelle….sigh…can’t find an emoji for my love…

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Happy Birthday Madpie!

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I just had to add this picture.  It’s of Otis, the new puppy next door.  How cute is he?

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So..that’s it for now.. and I’ll leave you with this….

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Life is Good…..

 

Cape San Blas(t) – #100happydays – February 24/16 – Don’t Panic….it’s the beets!

This one accidentally went into the trash….yikes!

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HOLY SMOKES!  What a ride last night!  House shaking, bed shaking, dog shaking! Thankfully all here at Cape San Blas Vacation Rentals: Pet Friendly Beach and Rentals are safe and avoided the devastation that Pensacola and other Gulf states endured.  Prayers going out to all the families affected.

The sea was very angry this morning!  It also took away our beach, so our walk this morning ended shortly after it began –

This is one angry sea!

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Check out these waves!

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It was so windy and you can see just how so with this guy!

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Just one more sea picture…I was fascinated!

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We got bandana’s!  Yay!  Brody and Tammi thank you Jann!

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..endless pocket of treats!

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My treat hound and our fabulous friends!

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We just couldn’t walk the pups on the beach as the sea claimed it, so we decided that on our way to Apalachicola to shop, pick up…

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Good-Bye Cape San Blas(t) – See you next year!

As I type this last Barrier Dunes – Cape Escape Blog, we are driving into Port St. Joe’s for the last time this year.  What a ride we have had!  We take with us these very special moments….

Amazing new forever friends (Jann, Nancy, Christine & Phil, Carol, Jan, Lissa, Pat & Rick, Julie & Mitch, Margaret & Steve, Jana Wendy Jackson, Kim & Claudio)  .  Amazing old forever friends (Trevor & Sooz, Ken & Ruth, Steve & Diane).  Lots and lots of fury friends (Clover & Magical, Journey, Olive, Andi & Hope, Maggie, Charlie, Jackson, Tammi, Pearl & Boji, Scout & Cabo, Mecca, Rory & Seamus and all the others that names escape me, but not their beautiful faces.  Oh the beautiful beach.  White sand.  Long walks. Dogs playing   Sea shells. The sea.  Sunsets (thank you Jan, Carol, Christine).  Fantastic sea food (St. Joe Shrimp, The Owl in Apalachicola, The Sand Bucket!, The Indian Pass, The Dockside). Horse Back Riding on the Beach!  Dog Mardi Gras in Apalachicola!  Golf @ St. Joseph’s Bay (didn’t see the three legged alligator, but did see one with 4 legs and BIG TEETH).  Singing on the beach.  Cigars on the beach watching the sunset. Turtles.  Fishing. SUNSHINE!  Dolphins!

Priceless!

Friday – Trev and Sooz offered for Mikey, Brody and I to extend our get away for another two day by sharing their condo!  We gladly accepted their gracious offer, as we just weren’t ready to say good-bye to The Cape and all our friends just yet.  The four of us invited our precious Golden forever friends for a luncheon at our place.  Well, it was more a leftover and get rid of everything in the fridge and freezer lunch.  It was wonderful….

Jann with Magical…she made herself right at home!

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Sooz and Trev

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Nancy and Mikey

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Journey looking for a hug!

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Brody and Journey playing tug of war with Journey’s new stuffy

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Brody, as the only male on four legs, need to survey the street

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Trevor, the stiff upper lip Brit is really just a teddy bear when it comes to 4 legged fur babies

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Nancy, Jann, Sooz and Trev

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….and Mikey!

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To Jann’s surprise, Nancy brought brownies and candles for her Birthday on March 5th!

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The girls left and then it was time to get it together and clean the condo, pack, and get ready to move over to Sooz and Trev’s for a couple of days…


Saturday: – It’s moving day!  After the morning walk (without the camera), we moved over to the Lewin’s condo for the weekend.  The pups were over joyed!

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The men decided they wanted to golf and I politely declined as I was more than tired and didn’t sleep well at all.  As a matter of fact, my mind was so busy – I slept only 3 hours that night.  Sooz and I decided to take the pups over to the Hammock Trail at St. Joseph’s Penninsula National Park, which was very relaxing.

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Only thing missing on this beautiful but dead tree is an Eagle!

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Check out the turtles and their “friend” lurking…he was huge!  This is right outside of The Lewin’s condo!

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And some feathered friends….
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saturday-2Trev made us a curried chicken and rice for dinner…it was delicious!

Off to bed to bag some zzzz’s in anticipation of our last full day at The Cape.


Sunday – Lovely walk in the morning.  Found THE SHELL!  The beautiful clam shell that looks like a heart…Problem.  The clam was still alive in there.  Snif, snif…Mikey suggested that I should put him back in the ocean to set him free.  He was right of course.  I would have felt soooo guilty had I have kept him.  Met our Golden Girls – love walking with them and their fur babies.  Sooz and I were then off to Port St. Joe for some shopping and lunch.   What we didn’t know is that downtown Port St. Joe rolls up it’s sidewalks on Sunday.  So we went off for lunch at The Dockside.  We ran into Margaret and Steve.  It was quite busy, so they suggested we share a table with them.  So glad we did.  Lovely couple that have been coming to Barrier Dunes for the past 5 years.  They gave us some fun things to do next year when we return.  Steve suggested we try the Oyster shot…Raw oyster in a shot glass filled with a Bloody Mary.. Oh yum!  Off to St. Joe Shrimp to pick up some grouper fillets and oysters for our last fish fry while in The Cape.  The boys cooked up the most fabulous Grouper fingers and fried oysters.  So fitting for our last vacation dinner together.  Headed down to the beach (actually RAN) to catch the sunset.  Mikey caught some great shots on his iphone and Trev with his camera.  Cigars, wine, sunset, pups and FRIENDS…..  I LOVE MY LIFE!!!!

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Catching some rays while Sooz and I head to shop in St. Joe’s

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When we returned home from shopping, we found this guy in the backyard…

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Amazing sunset!

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Tried to watch the Oscars, but fell asleep..awakening at 4am. Ugh….


Monday – Couldn’t get back to sleep as too much to do!  Early morning walk was scheduled for 7:30am and not the normal 9:30 in order to get a head start home.  Met with our Golden’s on the beach and didn’t they buy us all a “Life is Good” t-shirt and beautiful cards!!.  Of course they didn’t forget Brody and Tammi either by including a couple of oyster bones!  We spent the walk telling each other how much our vacation was enhanced by each others company.  So blessed to have met these two fabulous women.  THEN….Sooz found “the clam shell”…intact, but with no clam inside….We were both jumping up and down like school girls.  She proudly gave it to me telling me that “I told you we would find it today”….Gladly, she was right!

Journey wanted to get in on the hug!

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Beautiful Clover

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Tammi

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“Look what I found Robz”!!

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Beautiful!

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One last swim!

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The Pups didn’t cross the line!

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My special friend…

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See you soon Jann!

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See you soon Nancy!

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I will leave you with this….

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”

Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

 

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Until we meet again…..

LIFE IS GOOD…..