Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I Don't Know Where I'm-a Gonna Go

I am blogging right now from my parents reclined leather couch at their Leesburg, Florida home. We flew from BWI airport to Orlando this afternoon.
Mackinzie did so good on her first airplane flight! Part of that had to do with the fact that we had a laptop to watch "Peter Pan" on dvd to pass the time, along with plenty of lollipops and M&M's. The cabin pressure got to her ears a little bit on our descent, but it wasn't more than she could handle. She's a tough girl!
As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, our first stop was my own personal 'magic kingdom', Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville restaurant!
We all had a great time and didn't even have to wait to get a table! We had cheeseburgers (in paradise) for dinner with my Aunt Pat and Uncle Art, along with my cousin, Artie.
After eating, we did a little souvenir shopping. Laura and I are coming home with more Buffett t-shirts and a couple of drinking glasses.
Of course, we had to get our picture in front of Jimmy's retired sea plane, the "Hemisphere Dancer" which sits just outside the restaurant.
By the time we got our picture taken on the fake surfboard and wave, we were ready to come home to rest for our big day tomorrow.
So tomorrow is the big day! We're getting up early for a long day at Disney World! Breakfast with the princesses at EPCOT, followed by lunch with Cinderella at the Magic Kingdom.
I'm sure there will be lots of pictures to share, so check back at the blog again soon!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall...

... who's the fairest of them all?
Mackinzie Joy, of course!
Here is Kinzie wearing her Sleeping Beauty princess dress.
Tomorrow, at 3pm, we begin another exciting week! Airtran Airlines is hosting Mackinzie's first airplane flight, along with mommy, daddy, Grandpop, and Mimi, to Orlando, Florida. Our first scheduled stop once we hit the ground is daddy's own personal "magic kingdom": Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville restuarant in Orlando!! But once, that is out of the way, the next stop for family fun will be Walt Disney World!!
Thursday morning, we have a breakfast date at EPCOT with all the Disney Princesses (minus Cinderella - which we were a little disappointed to find out). After some fun at EPCOT, we'll head over to the Magic Kingdom. We didn't think we would get to see Cinderella at all, until this past Sunday... Mimi got a phone call from her saying that she had a cancellation in her schedule and she was free to have lunch with us... at her castle!!! In Kinzie's words, "Can you believe it?!?" She is so excited!
Here she is in her very own Cinderella dress....
Our whole family is very excited for our third, and final, vacation of the summer. I will try to blog as much as possible while we're gone and post lots of pictures.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mackinzie's Baptism

Yesterday morning, Mackinzie Joy Sroka was baptized at Abbott Memorial Presbyterian Church by Pastor Paul Warren.
Pastor Paul also married Laura and me back on July 5th. He also inducted Laura as a communing member of Abbott a couple weeks before the wedding. Needless to say, its been a busy summer for our family so far.
Glory Joy Warren (Pastor Paul's youngest daughter) is one of Mackinzie's best friends at church.
We leave for our third and final vacation of the summer on Wednesday. Destination: Florida.... specifically: Disney World! Kinzie is so excited! I'll blog more on that tomorrow.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Home From The Outer Banks

We left our vacation home at 6:30am this morning. After a week in the Outer Banks, it turned out that our little family was the first to arrive and the last to leave. The seven hour drive home wasn't too bad. We didn't hit any traffic and the only delay was an extended stop at McDonalds. Here is a tip: don't stop at a McDonalds when they are transitioning from breakfast to lunch. ... you end up waiting about a half hour for a medium fries... Anyway, Kinzie entertained herself with multiple episodes of The Backyardigans, while I sang TV show theme songs with my iPod.
After a brief stop home to unload the car and turn on the air conditioning, we hopped right back in the car to visit Grandpop and Mimi, who were hosting a large cookout for our church's congregation.
I think Mackinzie ate about 5 corn-on-the-cobs. Grandpop helped himself as well.
We also took a boat ride. Some of the kids on the boat jumped in the water for a swim, while everyone else got pretty much soaked on the ride back.
Kinzie even got to drive the boat... (or at least pretend to drive the boat while sitting on Daddy's lap)
Mimi brought out Kinzie's slide and she shared the fun with Isaac Pittas.
Now its roughly 7:00pm and we're all exhausted from a long day.
Tomorrow in church Mackinzie Joy Sroka is getting baptized at Abbott Memorial Presbyterian Church by Pastor Paul Warren. We hope that many of our family members and friends will be able to attend and share this happy day with our family.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Survivor OBX: Finale

It was a dramatic final Tribal Council tonight. Each jury member had the opportunity to address the final two Survivors, John and Robin. They were drilled with questions such as: "Why do you deserve to win?", "What part did you play in voting me out?", "Why should I give you my vote?", etc...
The votes were cast, seven in total.

One for Robin....

... another for Robin....

... one vote for John....

... another vote for John...

... a two-two tie, so far....

... a third vote for Robin, she needs just one more....

... the fourth vote....


Congratulations to Robin! She survived the entire week without winning a single Immunity Challenge. She made the right alliances, while not making too many enemies. She was pretty much silent, but deadly.
It was a fun week all around in the Outer Banks, North Carolina. We just returned to the house from Dairy Queen for an evening snack. We might try to squeeze in one more family board game before we go to sleep. We'll be getting up early tomorrow morning for the long drive back home to Baltimore. Hopefully the traffic won't be too bad.
Wish us safe traveling! If the drive isn't too demanding, we will try to make it to the Triple F cookout at my parents house tomorrow afternoon.

Survivor OBX: Day 5

So technically there was no Immunity Challenge on Day 5 of Survivor: OBX. Yesterday in the Outer Banks was a busy day for everyone. We took a drive to Nags Head (where we hit up Sonic - see yesterday's post). It stormed most of the day. Some of us ended the day with a trip to a small movie theater in Corolla to see The Dark Knight.
The final Immunity Challenge just wrapped up a short while ago... and wouldn't you know it, the battery on our camera died! John, Laura, and Robin faced off in a game of billiards. John picked off both of his daughters one-by-one. First Robin, then Laura, and immunity was his.

(like I said, the camera wasn't working, but the challenge looked a little something like this)

Because we were down to the final three, and this was the final Immunity Challenge, it was up to John to decide who to take to the final two with him. He struggled briefly with his decision. Should he stick with Robin, who he had been aligned with since Day 1, or should he take Laura, making himself the easy choice for winner by the the jury?As you can see, he made his choice. So the final two are the oldest and youngest. John and Robin. The jury of seven will participate in the final tribal council tonight to vote for who should be the winner of Survivor: OBX. Check back at the blog later for the results!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Survivor OBX: Day 4

Day four of Survivor: OBX brought two Immunity Challenges. The first was a card game called "Dutch Blitz". Once again, we allowed everyone to participate, even those who had already been voted out. If the winner of an Immunity Challenge was won by someone who had already been voted out, the next active runner up would win immunity.
Laura won her second Immunity Challenge with Dutch Blitz.
Tensions were high before the voting took place. In another stunning blindside, Emily was unanimously voted out.

Directly following Emily's boot, the next Immunity Challenge began. This time, it was the card game "Apples to Apples" and again, everyone was allowed to participate, but only Laura, Robin, John, and Josh were eligable for immunity.
In a strong power move, Laura won her second consecutive Immunity Challenge and her third overall.
The final four voted and Josh was voted off with a 3-1 vote.
So here we are... our final three: a daddy and his two daughters. John, Laura, and Robin. The final Immunity Challenge will take place today and it will involve the billiards table in the game room downstairs.
Check back later to find out who the final two competitors for Sole Survivor are.
Also, today, we finally hit up a Sonic!!
I had a breakfast burrito and Ocean Water drink. Laura got chili cheese fries and a Reese's Cup Sonic Blast! Kinzie got chocolate milk and popcorn chicken.... all at 3pm in the afternoon!! Only at Sonic!! I love it!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Survivor OBX: Day 3

Day three in the Outer Banks was a lot of fun! We made our own makeshift volleyball net out of a long pole and two patio chairs.
Later in the evening, while John and Bonnie were out on the town, we had a no-holds-barred boys versus girls volleyball deathmatch.... the boys won.
During the day, some of us finally learned how to play Settlers of Catan. Its a fun game and very addicting. I just want to keep playing until I can finally win. I know Laura feels the same way.
Now onto Survivor business.....
The Immunity Challenge was a splashing contest in the pool. It came down to Josh and Laura, but Josh made the biggest splash and won immunity for the first time.
Several hours passed between the end of the challenge and the actual vote. There was even more time than usual for sneaking around and making alliances. John and Bonnie arrived home from their date just before the voting started, but to make things interesting, John started making enemies with everyone. There was a lot of bickering back and forth and some people said they were changing their votes at that point.
Josh read the votes.... one for John, one for Laura, four for......
... Mandy! The second blind-side of this season came out of nowhere. We were all sure John was done-for, but in a shocking twist Mandy was booted from the game.
All of the couples are now broken up. What was once John & Bonnie, is now just John. What was once Bert & Laura, is now just Laura. What was once Matt & Emily, is now just Emily. And after tonight, what was once Josh & Mandy, is now just Josh. ... and Robin is floating somewhere around there in the middle of all this.
We had originally planned on having two Immunity Challenges on Day 3, but we ran out of time, so that will probably be made up today. Check back on the blog for more on the continuing saga that is: Survivor:OBX!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Survivor OBX: Day 2

There might be a lot of lying, back-stabbing, conniving, blind-sides, and secret alliances going on here at Survivor: OBX, but that doesn't mean we all don't know how to have a little fun.
... just ask John!
Last night's Immunity Challenge was a variation on Uno. Despite being voted out, me (Bert), and Bonnie were still allowed to participate. If one of us were to win, then the second place participant would win Immunity. We started off with three tables of three players each. The winner from each player would combine to one table for the championship. I (Bert) won my table, Mandy won her table and Emily won her table. After three tough rounds, Mandy came out victorious and was immune from the voting for tonight.
There was a lot of sneaking around before the voting began. People were wondering off to different rooms of the house and whispering among themselves. Paranoia was at an all-time high. It was kind of nice for me and Bonnie. We just got to sit and relax and let everyone else stress themselves out.
After the votes were cast, Mandy read them outloud. The final result, with 4 votes read: Matt was elminated from Survivor: OBX.
He was crushed....
So here is where we stand now. Three down. Six left to compete for the title of Sole Survivor.
I will update later with the results of today's Immunity Challenge. Rumor has it, it might be another "Double-Elimination" Day.....
Check back later.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Survivor OBX: Day 1

The first Immunity Challenge started on Sunday evening. A game was devised where a torpedo pool toy was dropped from the top of our deck, two stories up, into the backyard pool.
The goal was to get your torpedo to go through the small hole on the left side of the raft in the pool.
After two rounds, Laura landed both of her torpedos to win the first Immunity Challenge of Survivor: OBX .
There was a short stressful period of time when everyone began to strategize and whisper quietly with their alliances.
Nine votes were placed. Seven were read. One vote for John. One vote for Matt. However, with 5 votes, Bonnie (Mom), (GiGi) became the first person voted out of Survivor: OBX - and the first member of the jury.
Immediately following Bonnie's departure, another Immunity Challenge took place. It was a "Double Eviction Night"!
The next challenge included a child's bowling toy set. The goal, obviously, was to knock over as many pins as you could.
The final round came down to me (Bert) and Emily, but Emily knocked over more pins in the finals and won the second Immunity Challenge. In a shocking move, Emily gave up her immunity to her husband, Matt.
It was a close Tribal Council. There was one vote for Robin, but by a four to three vote margin over Emily, I (Bert), was voted out of Survivor: OBX.
To be honest, I knew I was going to be targetted early on, but I was pretty comfortable with my alliances and I was completely blindsided. Oh well!
So here is how we stand right now.....
The game continues tomorrow. Check back on the blog to find out what happens next time on: Survivor!

OBX: Day1

Sunday morning in the Outer Banks, NC brought sunshine, warm weather and the perfect opportunity for some beach time!
The water was very cold, but Kinzie enjoyed getting her feet wet..... only for a minute though.
She was much more happy to just play in the sand.

The game of Survivor hasn't "officially" begun yet, but some strategizing has already started. There is a lunch time briefing this afternoon and the games will begin.
I will update the blog with the first boot tonight.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

This Season on.....

This Saturday, the entire Sroka clan is heading down to the Outer Banks, North Carolina for a weeklong vacation. We are staying in a huge house called "The Lady of the Lake".

Throughout the week, we will be participating in immunity challenges (various games - Rock Band, putt-putt, Uno, etc..), Tribal Council voting, alliances, back-stabbing, and all-around good-time family fun!
I will try to update the blog each day with the results until the champion is crowned.

Seven Days

Nine People


Who do you think will win?