On Sunday, my husband and I picked up our good friend Diego for a fun cosplay photoshoot on the beach in Gulf Breeze, Florida.
Diego is a cosplay buddy from California (in fact, the last time I saw this guy, he was cosplaying as Hugh Maes from Fullmetal Alchemist at Ani-Me Con in Fresno, California), but as luck would have it, he moved here to Pensacola, Florida to attend Pensacola’s Christian College around the same month we moved here!
I’ve been itching to do a cosplay shoot with Diego for ages now, and I never fathomed we would eventually get around to it… on the Gulf of Mexico. Haha! Life sure is a twisty, turny, never-know-whats-coming-next thrill ride, isn’t it?
Anyhoo, check out the shots we got of Diego’s Kaito cosplay from Vocaloid. He made it from scratch with his mum. Whatcha think? ^_^
When Jonathan was in boot camp, he told me his best friend was a guy named “Mason”, and that I should look him up on Facebook and add his fiance Anna as a friend. So I did!
Mason is also going to Pensacola A School with Jonathan, so it’s been awesome already having a friend in the area before we had even moved here! Mason has been a great friend to our little family – he’s helped us move into our new place, he’s watched our house and babysat out cats, and has been an all around fun hang out buddy. Over the past few months, Jonathan and I have been super impatient to meet Anna.
Anna (who is also in the Navy) just graduated boot camp shortly after Mason and Jonathan did, and now that she’s all settled at her A School in San Antonio and acquired leave to come visit Pensacola, I’ve demanded they let me do their engagement photos.
So they let me! Today was our first day meeting Anna, and it was awesome finally getting to know her after all of the lovesick pining Mason has been doing these past months. “Anna this, Anna that, I miss Anna, waa waa waa!!” < —- (that’s how Cameron sounds)
So here are a couple of the photos we took of Anna and Cameron at Barrancas Beach at NAS Pensacola. Yes, that beach is on the Navy base. I still maintain this base is less a military training facility and more a luxury beach bum resort. But I digress. Check out the lovely awesomeness that is Anna and Cameron:
Guess who has two thumbs and got Sarah Palin’s autograph… IN PERSON?!?! Yeeeeah, that’s right. THIS GIRL!
The gorgeous Governor of Alaska was in Pensacola, Florida yesterday on her book tour for her newest work, “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas”. I finished reading it just in time for the autograph signing event. I don’t think you guys understand the importance of that. One of my biggest, biggest and I mean BIGGEST pet peeves is getting into the Christmas spirit before Thanksgiving. DON’T YOU ENCROACH ON MY FALL TIME SANTA.
So reading a book that is just chock full of warm and fuzzies for the holidays shows just how much I adore Sarah Palin.
My husband had duty on the base and it looked like he wasn’t going to be able to make it.. buuuut! He asked for permission to ditch out long enough to get the book signed, and against all odds the big wigs on the base said okay! So I picked him up from work at the very last minute, we ran to Books a Million, and we joined the 1000+ people crowding the building to meet the lovely lady herself (along with her family – Todd, Piper and Bristol).
I’m told she signed 894 books last night! And we’re but one itty bitty stop on her massive tour. Poor lady better have a hot bath and a masseuse on hand, amiright?!
So. There we were, a young mother, a young man in military uniform and a tiny newborn baby in a tiny little sailor suit, mingling among a crowd of what I’m willing to bet were 99.9% Christian conservatives. Jonathan was stopped and thanked for his service countless times. And the reaction to a Navy man with a tiny baby in his arms? PRICELESS. It was like a constant surround sound track of oooohhhs and ahhhhhs and “how old?” and “whats her name?” and “she’s so precious!”
They made us leave our phones and cameras outside of the autograph area, but Palin had her own photography crew there taking pictures. When Jonathan approached the table with tiny Tessa in tow, we just KNEW we’d be seeing that image again soon. And lo and behold, the very next morning, what do we find on Sarah Palin’s personal Facebook page:
Awwww yeah. That’s my sexy family. I am such a proud mommy and wife. I wasn’t in the picture because they were pushing us along single file and after my book was signed, they ushered me away. I turned around to see Jonathan chatting it up with Palin. I tried to walk back to the table but the Books a Million gal stopped me like I was some crazed wacko trying to go back to lick the pretty lady. (In her defense, the thought had crossed my mind. I’VE GOT SUCH A CRUSH ON HER!)
Anyhoo, I’ll follow up with a book review soon enough. MERRY CHRISTMAS YA’LL!!
When Jonathan and I had just met, the one event that launched us from “just friends” to “future mother / father of my baby” was a three day, 22 mile backpacking trip along the High Sierra Trail in the Sequoia National Forest in California. We went into those woods all prettied up, looking our best, full of energy and secretly crushing on one another, and came out rugged, dirty, exhausted and madly in love.
I love hiking. And backbacking. And camping. So so so much. So does my handsome husband. It’s one of our many “things” we share, made even more special by our earliest memories forged together – trudging mile after excruciating mile over rocks, rivers and meadows, savoring campfire coffee while laying out under breathtaking starry night skies, talking about God and grace and cosplay and fantasy novels and everything in between. Sparks flew as we chopped firewood, dried out socks, purified alpine spring waters to fill our canteens, tended to blisters and hoisted 80 pound packs in the towering trees so the bears couldn’t reach them. We fell in love with our hiking boots on.
So now that baby Tessa is here with us, and I’m finally feeling up to being active again, I’ve decided to hike on one new hiking trail (or two) every week. I am a sucker for National Parks, and since we’re an easy 30 minute drive from the Gulf Islands National Shoreline, I’m making it a fun challenge to hike as much of the 80 miles of Florida District trails as I can while we’re stationed here in Pensacola.
I so want my little girl growing up feeling at ease and a fondness for nature and the outdoors. I don’t want her to be a stranger to the beauty of God’s creation, from the macro to the micro. And I figure, she’s never too young to start, eh? Wrapped up snug and warm on my chest with our ring sling, my baby girl has seen more of the world than most two month olds! It’s a habit I don’t want to break.
I started this little challenge just four weeks ago, and have had the joy of hiking with my tiny baby girl on the Trench Trail, the Woodland Nature Trail, the Brackenridge Trail and the Fishing Trail. That’s 5.9 miles down! Can I get a w00t w00t?!
These trails are far different from the giant redwood, majestic sequoia, waterfall lined, mountain vista views I’m used to. While part of me longs for the crisp alpine air of the John Muir meadows, I must say I am quickly growing fond of these new sights and smells on my outdoor treks.
The air is humid and salty, with the sound of ocean waves mingling with the sounds of tropic insects and palms fronds swaying in the gentle breezes. Exotic seashell fragments and stark white sands line the trails underfoot. Spanish moss and tropic vines hang from oak and hickory trees overhead, and every once in a while you can catch glimpses of brightly colored lizards and vibrant green tree frogs in the foliage. Everything is so tropic here (it is a stones throw from the Caribbean, after all) that I often find myself exclaiming asinine geeky things like, “That tree with the mushrooms on it looks like something out of Ferngully!” or “The moon over the waters looks like Pirates of the Caribbean!” or, most often, “OMG, this looks just like Jurassic Park. I keep expecting a dilophosaurus to jump out and spit at me!”
This park is chock full of history and mystery – more than 80 percent of the park is submerged lands teeming with marine life. It’s America’s largest National Seashore and one of the oldest “discovered” portions of America.
Europeans first visited the northern Gulf of Mexico in the early 1500s. Spain, in 1559, established a settlement in Florida on Pensacola Bay, but the place was abandoned soon afterward. Spaniards revived the settlement in 1698, surrendered it to the French in 1719, regained it by treaty in 1722, ceded it to the English in 1763, and repossessed it by force in 1781. The park is cluttered with historic forts, buildings, relics, and historic points of interest. I mean, how could it not be?!
The Gulf Islands are vibrant and fascinating in a very energetic way… far from the serenity and absorbing nature of the Sequoias. They’re two different beasts, and each appeals to my sense of adventure. (Though in my heart of hearts, I am a mountain girl through and through.)
I’m excited for the many more miles to hike before the Navy whisks us away to who-knows-where. And I’ll keep posting our adventures here on my blog. But in the meantime, here are some snapshots of the trails we’ve trekked thus far:
The Woodland Nature Trail by Fort Barrancas:
The Trench Trail by Fort Barrancas:
The Brackenridge Trail by Naval Live Oaks:
The Fishing Trail by Naval Live Oaks:
I took to the beach with some new friends from the Pensacola Costumers Guild for a mini cosplay photoshoot this morning!
The beach we were at was called Chicken Bone Beach in Gulf Breeze, here in Pensacola. It was freezing cold, there were jellyfish EVERYWHERE and I stepped on a bunch of evil devil stickers that I STILL have in my feet. (First I mash my finger with a screwdriver, then this? I’m a rugged man-woman… lady. Or something.)
Anyway, we had a lot of fun taking pictures of their characters from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Aren’t these gals LOVELY?!?!
By the way, I just learned that the name Chicken Bone Beach is derived from the practice of Pensacola’s black peoples inability to pick up their chicken, but instead leave the bones spread around the sand in a most ignominious tomb. However, prior to knowing this interesting and highly racist factoid, I had the song Chicken Bone from the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack stuck in my head. Still do, as a matter of fact.
Dreamin’, dreamin’, dreamin’ of the chicken bone…. happy, happy, happy with the chicken bone….