Endless Summer

This summer has flown by. I say that now, but then in the next moment it feels like we've done so many things and have spent so many mornings and afternoons and nights together.

I still don't want summer to end.

June held the end of school for the two older kids, a bit of finishing up for me, Lila's first ballet recital, her seventh birthday, the arrival of her long-awaited mermaid tail and then exciting pool days, lazy mornings together, all the peonies, playtime with neighbors, nighttime hide-and-seek (the boys call it Manhunt), and video games and Minecraft until I'd get frustrated and confiscate all the screens. (I know I'm not the only mama to do that!)

Lila's School Concert
Charlotte at Lila's school concert
Lila's first ballet recital
Birthday Brownies, Stacey Woods
FinFun Mermaid Tail, photo by Stacey Woods
Stacey Woods, Photographer
Stacey Woods Photographer
Mermaid Hair, Stacey Woods
Diving Board, by Stacey Woods
Lazy Mornings, by Stacey Woods


July brought a trip for Parker and Lila to North Carolina and Kentucky, and lots of one-on-one snuggle time for Charlotte. We hosted visits from both sets of the kids' grandparents, visits from neighbors and friends, and visits of fleas for Ace. July marked the start of gymnastics classes for the girls, and rain every day of the month except six. Honestly, we trekked through rain everywhere we went, and lightning scattered us from our neighborhood pool on several occasions.  We ate ice cream, played board games, watched movies, read books, went to the zoo and splashed in puddles. 

Parker & Lila, by Stacey Woods
Just Dance fun, Stacey Woods
Music Lessons: Upright Bass, by Stacey Woods
Reading to His Sisters, by Stacey Woods
Neighborhood Pool, by Stacey Woods
Rained Out
Lowry Park Zoo flamingos, by Stacey Woods

So far, August has rained every single day, and has flooded our little neighborhood as well. Our retention ponds overflowed, and our neighbors with full-to-the-brim pools had to drain them into the street to keep their homes from flooding. Parker saw a duck swimming across our street. Frogs and tadpoles were displaced onto the grass, the sidewalks, and everywhere you looked. Tadpoles swam down the sides of the road where the puddles were deepest. There were even catfish walking in the cul-de-sac. Crazy. Town.

Tampa Bay Flooding 2015, Stacey Woods

Ace and Charlotte

From this morning... 

Rescuing Ace, Stacey Woods Photography

I walked into the kitchen to find Charlotte stooped down over Ace, giving him another hug. My office is just off the kitchen, so I doubled back and grabbed my camera. He was perfectly happy to lie there and let his littlest girl love on him. 

Rescuing Ace the Labradane, Stacey Woods Photo
Stacey Woods Photography, #rescuingAce the labradane

For those who have asked, Ace is a labradane. I didn't even know there was such a mix, but he has the friendliness and coat of a labrador, and the size and temperament of a great dane. We rescued him back in December from the Pinellas County Animal Shelter, and he had just turned four years old the week prior. I don't know his history, but I can't imagine why his previous owners would have given him up. He's a gentle, amazing friend to the kids and makes us laugh all day long. He doesn't really love to fetch; instead he'd much rather run down the street to chase squirrels. We have to watch the screened porch door (the kids are forever leaving it open!) because he slips out behind them and sprints down the street at lightning speed. (Have you ever tried to chase a 140-pound dog on a squirrel mission? Forget it.) His sheer size absolutely terrifies the small dogs in our neighborhood, and they all go to pieces yapping when they see him coming... but in all reality, he's the gentlest giant you could imagine and he only wants to sniff them. Not eat them. :)

If you want to keep up with our adventures with Ace, I'd love it if you followed me on Instagram. You can also click on the hashtag #rescuingAce to read our rescue story from the beginning! (Also, don't you cringe a bit when others hijack your hashtags? Bah.)

Rescuing Ace

If you follow me on social media, then you already know.... we got a dog. :) But not just any dog. We rescued a sweet boy from the Pinellas County Animal Shelter on Friday morning. He'd been there for a little over a month, and I know in my heart that he was just waiting for us to come get him and take him home. We visited him Thursday morning and Thursday evening, and the kids cried when we had to leave him there. So I went back first thing Friday morning and stood outside the doors for 30 minutes until the shelter opened. 

Ace the Labradane, #rescuingAce

And I brought Ace home. 

He is our Clearance Puppy. He was $12 on sale during a promotion the Pinellas County Animal Shelter is having all month long. Twelve dollars... that is all it took to change his life. I've bought candles that cost more than that.

Rescuing Ace

And he couldn't be more perfect for our family. He's about four years old, and seems to be a Labradane, a cross between a Labrador Retriever and a Great Dane. He's massive, but he is a love. He wants to ride everywhere with us, and he lets the kids hug him a thousand times a day. Lila fell asleep in the floor with him, his first night home. He woke up but refused to move because he'd have to disturb Lila. He sleeps quietly by Parker's bed at night, knows basic manners and commands, and he walks really well on a leash. It amazes me that anyone ever let him go. 

But we are glad they did.

Rescuing Ace
Rescuing Ace
Rescuing Ace, Rescuing Us
Rescuing Ace, Rescuing Us

Prepare for an influx of dog photos here on the blog, and on Instagram and Facebook. And maybe even a hashtag. ;)