Monday, March 23, 2015

Just Keep Swimmin'


Now that we are a Florida-based family, it was time for James to learn how to swim. Water is everywhere here and it is much more of a necessity than it ever was in Utah. Once we settled into our rental place, I started looking around for swim lessons. As it turns out, most people shut lessons down in the "winter" months here since it's too cold for backyard pools. I was directed to Southwest Aquatics by another swim teacher and we are so grateful to have found them. They are wonderful! They have an indoor heated pool and offer lessons year-round. James started in November with his instructor, Greg, and he did great! They start by teaching them to float on their back for basic survival if they fall in, and then they introduce the basic strokes for swimming. James loves the water and wasn't scared at all. When he was finished with the basic instruction/survival course, he asked if he could keep swimming and so we signed him up for weekly "stroke" classes with his new instructor, Drew. The pictures and video are from his time with Greg, who is fantastic, and there will be a future post showing his progress later this year. 
Kicking to the edge with his face under water.

This kid can really float!

James had a great time with Greg!

Enjoying his Twistee Treat reward for passing his
swimming test.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Starting the New Year Off Right

The holidays were a whirlwind of moving and madness, so the Traveling Shenks were looking forward to things settling down in the new year. That has not happened. It looks like our new life in Florida will be a busy one, full of fun activities with friends and family. That was a lot of "F's".

We celebrated our niece, Taylor's, birthday with some ice skating. It turns out we are not ice skaters. At all. Good thing that is not a requirement for having fun! Now, why do I not have any pictures of the birthday girl??
Kodey, James, and Jackson
James gets some help from Uncle Corey
Moving with a little confidence by the end

James and I enjoyed a rainy day adventure with our friends, the Paul family, at Wekiwa Springs State Park. It's very close to our house and I know we are going to be enjoying it pretty often. (Also known as, you will most likely see lots of pictures from there in the near future.)
James and Quinn. So cute!!
Have no fear. This was a supervised snake hold.
He did not just pick one up off the ground.

Our Christmas gift to Pop was tickets for he and I to see Phantom of the Opera at the Straz Center in Tampa. The show was great and we had an awesome dinner at Carmel Kitchen, which I HIGHLY recommend. The food was fantastic and they have a great wine selection. There are locations in Tampa and Orlando, so definitely give it a go.

Me and my Poppa

I was lucky enough to see another great show just a few weeks later. Our dear friend, Jen, got us tickets for Book of Mormon for our tenth anniversary last October, and the show date finally arrived! Chris and I were so excited to see it and it was hilarious! After living in Utah for the last eight years, we probably knew more about Mormonism than the average theatre-goer, but it was still quite the experience. My favorite part was the actual Mormon missionaries waiting outside to hand out the real Book of Mormon. What a wonderful sense of humor and taking advantage of an opportunity! 
Chris and I at the show. Date night, woohoo!
Because we can't get enough of the Paul's, James and I went with Stacy, Reese, and Quinn to the Florida Aquarium. They had some really great exhibits and we got to touch sea stars and stingrays which was very cool!
That kid with the crazy hair and sweetest of
 faces is just my favorite.
The kiddos watching the otters swim. 
Turtle time.
This one was giving me the eye.
Some very "friendly" turtles. I think one seems resigned to its fate...
I'd like to think it's smiling at me. 
I would rather this one not smile at me.
Adorable little seahorse. 
I love this picture.