The Archives

Monday, July 8, 2013

the busy week

The first week of July is always a busy one. Our anniversary is on the third, and the next day is the fourth of July which also happens to be the middlest son's birthday.

Usually we incorporate some cake and possibly a present into the usual Independence Day celebrations, but last year was the first year that Xander said he kinda wished he could have a party that was just for him. Understandable. I think it would be a huge bummer to have a birthday on a major holiday.

This year on the sixth, we celebrated his eighth (!!!) birthday with family and friends from church. At first it seemed like most people weren't going to make it due to previous plans, feeling under the weather, etc. But in the end, nearly everyone came. We've also been having some real nasty weather lately and I prayed the rain would stay away--partially because a rainy party is a bummer, and partially because the idea of that many kids cooped up in my house made feel a bit anxious. But the weather stayed nice, the bigger kids spent most of the time in the pool while the parents and babies hung out inside.

pool time

kiddie pool

give a little love



Ooooh isn't my little nephew just chubbalicious? I just want to gnaw on those pudgy little arms. 

holding court

xander dander


xander and johnny

All in all a good time was had. The kids had some nice unstructured fun, the babies rolled around on the carpet, and the adults ate chips and talked. When asked if he had a good birthday, Xander grinned the biggest grin and said, "It was AWESOME."  


Wednesday, July 3, 2013


How many days in a fortnight?

How old was I when I had my first awkward kiss?

How many times a day do I have to say, "Turn off that light!"?

What is 2pm in military time?

How many years have I been married to this guy?

love of my life
best friend
one part tinkerer and one part mad scientist
closet goofball
obsessive sander
Bible studier
amazing father
fire starter
hugger, kisser
swing dancer
computer fixer
tree feller

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

a wedding in the smokies

ladyhawk castle, N.C.

This past weekend we drove up to North Carolina to attend my stepsister Alissa's wedding. We drove pretty much all day, and arrived at my dad's house unscathed--unless you count the chunks of puke I had to clean up from the backseat. In our family, a road trip ain't a road trip until somebody barfs. Fortunately the puking happened right when we were getting there, so we didn't have to drive in a stinky car for hours...small blessings.

We got to stay in a cabin that my dad is doing some work on, and it was so nice. The kids were fascinated with the loft and the elk skull and--of course--the tractors.

Hanging out in N.C.

Hanging out in N.C.

The next morning we headed back up to my dad's house to kill time before the wedding, which included Ilya and Xander practicing a bit of archery and me and Mal playing with my dad's dog, Zoey.

Hanging out in N.C.

Hanging out in N.C.

Hanging out in N.C.

But soon it was time to go to the wedding itself. The ceremony and reception happened in a beautiful place called Ladyhawk Castle, which was a private residence until the owner decided to rent it out for weddings. The grounds were gorgeous, the views perfect, and the house itself full of fun little nooks and interesting details. Since we had to get there early I entertained myself by taking lots of pictures.

Alissa's wedding

ladyhawk castle, N.C.

Alissa's wedding

ladyhawk castle, N.C.

Alissa's wedding

Alissa's wedding

It was nice to be outside, and even nicer to get to spend some time with family.

Alissa's wedding

Alissa's wedding

Alissa's wedding

The boys seemed cool with dressing up (such as it was), especially Mal. He couldn't stop talking about his "wedding shirt and wedding bow tie" for the whole week leading up to the wedding.

Alissa's wedding

Alissa's wedding

Alissa's wedding

Alissa's wedding

I can honestly say that I didn't enjoy driving all day Friday and then driving all day Sunday--the drive home was particularly miserable as we were all starting to feel really sick and Mal was chattering incessantly for HOURS. But we did have a nice day in between, with a nice break from the already steamy weather here in Florida. And oh, those gardens! It's hard not to covet thy neighbor's flowers.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Art turns the big four OH

Last week we celebrated Art's 40th birthday. I personally think it's ridiculous and macabre to make jokes about how ancient 40 is, so we focused instead on how grateful we are to have had Art around for all these years, and all that he's accomplished and meant to us.

We were a bit silly with the balloons and tassels and the birthday crown. But that just made it more fun.

Zac, Rachel, and the cousins were all present to help celebrate.

All in all a good time was had. We love our Art.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

the stats

With the advent of getting a good camera, there followed the advent of taking two hundred pictures and all the silliness that ensued.

Ilya bio

Xander bio

Mal bio

Monday, April 22, 2013

The slightly Great and kind of Amazing Race

This past weekend me and Ilya (who just turned TEN--oh where has the time gone? And how did I move into the 35-40 bracket so quickly? And where did all these wrinkles come from?! Ahem.) participated in a parent-child obstacle race. They called it the Great Amazing Race, and it was supposed to be patterned after the "Amazing Race" show. Ilya was really excited, and I was excited for the chance to do something fun with just the two of us. We worked out our strategy on the way over: to have fun, not care about winning so much, and for Ilya to be in charge of figuring things out. Perfect. 

We arrived at the park an hour before the race. The sky was heavy with dark clouds, and the unmoving air was thick with humidity. Kids and parents were crawling the place like ants, and as I gazed out onto the soccer fields that comprised the course, I couldn't help but think, "This is IT?" But I kept my opinions to myself for Ilya's sake. Until he said, "This is IT?" and then I felt free to add my opinion. It looked so...easy. Kinda boring actually. But I figured hey, this is for kids, right? They can't make it too hard. 

Art and the other boys met us at the park after church, and Ilya and I waited for our wave to start. At last it was time to go. We sprinted to the first station, which required us to traverse a loop by getting into a tiny laundry basket, then putting a second in front, jumping into that, and then pulling the first one in front and repeating. Didn't seem like it would be that hard except they were so small. And people kept grabbing me to keep from falling over. But finally we got out and ran to the next one. We had to putt tennis balls into circles, I had to wrap Ilya in fabric like a mummy, we had to use tiny fishing poles to cast foam lures into a circle, touch all the baseball bases in order while blindfolded, and I had to carry Ilya and a soaking wet sponge back and forth between a cooler of water and dog bowl as we wrung the sponge out to fill the bowl. 

I got very wet. 

Ilya is heavy. 

That "easy" course was harder than I thought it would be. 

I am now very apprehensive about the Mud Run I'm doing in a few weeks. Ha.

Waiting to start.  Also: this is the third year in a row I've worn that junky Earth Day shirt on or around Earth Day on accident. I only wore it cause they said we might get dirty and it's my yardwork shirt. I swear I'm not a hippie. 

Second lap. 

Ilya's favorite was the fishing pole part. I'm not gonna lie: I hated it. Tangled fishing lines are not my favorite thing ever. 

Running to the finish. 

Sashka and Mal want to finish, too. 

Done! And I have no idea why I'm standing like that. 

It would have been nice (ART) if the person with the camera/iPhone-cause-I-forgot-the-real-camera (ART) could have gotten some pictures of us actually doing the tasks, but apparently it was more interesting to take pictures of Xander and Mal entertaining themselves while waiting for us to be done.

The final verdict was that Ilya had fun and we made a memory. And even if the title "Great Amazing Race" had one or two inaccurate adjectives too many, it was still pretty great to get to do that with my great and amazing son.