Coming up for air.

30 06 2010

The last few weeks have been such a whirlwind that getting home from vacation and back to normal has been almost restful. Finally we are coming up for air. We always heard, and now know it’s true, that you need a vacation after a vacation with kids.  Getting everything back into place after the wedding and regrouping to pack a family of 5 for a weeks’ vacation in less than 12 hours was pretty insane.  We didn’t forget anything important (like diapers or a kid) but I did forget most of our toiletries.  I promise it was an accident (but it was nice feeling like I had an excuse not to do all the personal care stuff that I hate). My Mom bought us a brush so we didn’t look quite so rough.

The last few years it’s been on my sister-in-law, Cindy, to find our vacation homes.  She probably has the best taste, and makes the most informed decisions of any of us, so we’ve been happy to leave it up to her.  This year’s find was awesome and bizarre all at the same time. It’s interesting what you stumble on when you do a search for a vacation home, in the mountains with 5 or more bedrooms and a private pool.

The views were amazing.

Even at night.

Parts of the house were truly bizarre.

Especially the resident goat, named Angel.

But the babies were sweet.

Really sweet.

And there was plenty to do.

The activities were endless.

So the kids were never bored.

The I-Pad joined generations.

And the grandparents loved on the grandbabies.

There were waterfalls.


and naps.

We ate lots and lots of food.

And had lots of fun.

It was a happy time.

Very happy.

And because the company was so precious (though we missed Ken & Anna)

The memories will be lasting.

What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life –

to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories.

~George Eliot


I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice-cream.

26 06 2010

We don’t do this kind of thing very often.

But I think we’d have a lot more fun if we did.

Bennett sure would.

Always good to the last bite.

A Nemo big fishy.

24 06 2010

I heard this “sentence” from Bennett about 100 times yesterday and since he’s a little behind with his speech I didn’t mind a bit.  He’s at that stage where anything he says is precious.

I really like to blog in chronological order but we’re still waiting for image files from my sister’s wedding so I’m skipping ahead to our extended family vacation and the trip we made to the Georgia Aquarium yesterday. Otherwise, I’ll get so behind I’ll have to abandon ship. (I stole the photo below from the aquarium site)

Even though vacation is a nice break from the norm it’s not necessarily restful at this stage in life, so for lack of energy, the next few posts will likely be simple records of the “happening” with lots of pictures and just a few words.

I had a really hard time taking good photos in the aquarium.  I’m sure a real photographer could have done better but at least I was able to document the event. In most pictures everyone was looking up or pointing at something.  Oh well.

Atlanta is just over an hour from where we’re staying so it was the perfect opportunity to take a day trip.

Bradley, Bennett and my niece, Kaylen, are at a great stage to enjoy this type of activity. Dexter and my nephew, Chase, won’t remember it but they had fun as well. As for the adults, we don’t get out much, so getting to visit a world-class attraction wasn’t bad.

The exhibits were awesome.  Our general admission permitted us to explore 5 galleries/areas: Ocean Voyager, Tropical Diver, River Scout, Cold Water Quest, and Georgia Explorer. Ocean Voyager was the favorite but I think the kids liked Georgia Explorer just as well. It was highly interactive and had a touch pool where they got to pet bonnethead sharks and cownose rays. Disgusting if you ask me but it was all I could do to keep Bennett from jumping in.

Ocean Voyager is the newest exhibit and was designed especially to house whale sharks, the largest fish species in the world. The only two manta rays ever housed in a US aquarium were there as well, along with a bazillion other ginormous weird-looking fish and other fascinating saltwater creatures. The most amazing thing however was all the acrylic.  With 4, 574 square feet of viewing windows, a 100-foot-long underwater tunnel, the second largest viewing window in the world at 23 feet tall by 61 feet wide and TWO FEET THICK, the aquarium has 328 tons of acrylic. I was pretty obsessed with it and had it not been clear I may not have noticed all the fish. There were two seems that were visible in the large viewing window and two in the Tropical diver viewing window that were particularly interesting to me.  I kept moving around to see them from different angles but I couldn’t really capture them in a photo.

Enough about the acrylic. Bennett was also really taken with the beluga whales and the animals (penguins & sea otters) in Cold Water Quest. His favorite book is Baby Beluga and even though I’d never sing in front of anyone I know I broke out into “song” and sang the entire book to him from memory. As you’ll see below, he was taken with them that he couldn’t even look my way for a picture.

It wasn’t as crowded as it may have been on a weekend but it was still difficult to keep up with three kids excited to see the next thing. Fortunately my mom went with us.  I don’t think we could have done without the extra set of hands and eyes. We may have come home with one less child.

We had a fabulous time but Joe was exhausted by the end of the day since Dexter and Bennett both wanted to be held by Daddy the entire time.

And we tried to snap a few family pics before we left.  Kaylen wasn’t to excited about it…

And we quit trying after the first failed attempt but I’m pretty sure this will be my only cameo on this vacation so here it is.


21 06 2010

I think I mentioned a few posts ago that June is a crazy month for us.  It’s been weeks since we’ve had any sense of normalcy and it’s been great. I’m sure I’ll be glad to get back into a routine when the time comes but for now I welcome the break from the dailiness of being at home everyday with three bored kids.

We haven’t really seen anyone in a while so unless you’re reading my blog you might think we’ve slipped off the face of the earth. We’re still here, just busy, busy, busy. Two weeks after playschool let out we hit the ground running. Last Friday we celebrated my Dad’s birthday, Saturday and Sunday we went to Lake Lure to celebrate Bradley’s birthday, Monday was busy in preparation for Joe’s mom’s arrival from Colorado on Tuesday, Wednesday my brother’s family arrived from Germany, Thursday we celebrated my nephew’s and sister-in-law’s birthdays, Friday wedding guests began to arrive, we had the bridesmaids luncheon, and the rehearsal dinner, Saturday was the wedding, Sunday we said goodbye to Grandma, took her to the airport, packed up for the week and made the 5 hour drive to Dahlonega, Georgia. Needless to say I forgot it was Father’s day. Last night we slept so well and woke up this morning ready to kick back and relax…well as much as we can with 5 kids under the age of 5.

Our Nephew, Chase, turned 1 on June 3rd (the day before his Mommy, Cindy, celebrated her 31st birthday).  Cute, cute, cute.  We had a little family party for him the day after they arrived but poor little guy had some major jet lag and an ear infection.

We tried to get him to stay awake but all he wanted for his birthday was a nap…so we let him sleep.

He was missed but it didn’t keep us from enjoying his ice-cream cake on a hot summer day!

Happy birthday sweet boy!

Déjà vu.

19 06 2010

I had it tonight pulling into the driveway. It was late so maybe I was just recalling the last time I pulled into the driveway that late…it had been a while. I was also listening to music and I imagine music is a likely trigger for deja vu. It’ such a bizarre experience. There’s this convincing sense of familiarity but it’s eerie and strange…hardly comforting in the way familiar things usually are.

So I pulled up, sort of in a daze, exhausted from a long day. My gaze locked on the wreath on the door of my cookie cutter house, and in a split second I had a flood of thoughts and emotions that I can not clearly articulate but that ranged from “wait…is this really my life?”…”how did I get here?”…”who am I”…”what? I have three kids.”… “my life is too good…my children…my husband”…”why me?”…”what am I doing?”…along with other strange thoughts that remain captive in my mind. It’s amazing how our minds can think so much more than our mouths could ever say.

My previous “experience” involved a decision to step away and into….to break and to embrace. I am on the other side of that now and while I know that there was a supernatural event that took place in my life it was a torturous battle on my end that felt like hell day and day out, for too long.

So rather or not deja vu is a neurological anomaly or a real thing, I had it tonight and it made me wonder about the choices I make.  Did I choose this life I’m living? It’s so changing, so unpredictable. It ebbs and flows. It begins and it ends. Parts of it are so intuitive and others more intentional.

I miss my thoughts. At this stage in life thinking is a pleasure I infrequently dabble in, but when I do, I touch down and I feel like me for just a moment.

BFF. B+Kr5.

14 06 2010

If we could make it so, we would.

They’ll likely end up having entirely different interests and pursuing different paths. They may live in different states or even on kdifferent continents.  And even though they both have brothers of their own their closeness is special. They are just five (already?) but I can’t imagine a day that their hearts will be far from each other.

Born just 31 hours apart these boys don’t know life without the other.

This weekend we celebrated Bradley’s and Keller’s 5th birthdays at Camp Lurecrest.  There are perks to being the son (and friend) of a camp director….like a destination birthday adventure with real pirates, ice cream cake, and buried treasure.

We started off the day at the zipline. It’s a place Bradley & Keller feel very comfortable. This is their fourth year doing the zipline together. The first time was just after they turned two. At least they both love adventure.

When Bennett wasn’t busy zipping down the line he stood watch next to the water barrel. He took his position very seriously.

Next we had a change in course.  Some of the ship mates had to set up in the tent while waiting for the captain to deal with some official business but there were plenty of activities to keep them busy. Ping-pong anyone?

Once everything was under control it was off to the lake for most of the crew. The cooks and the baby pirates headed to the galley to prepare some grub for the hungry ship mates.

And then…

I realized I forgot the candles. But who needs candles?

The cake was a hit but what came next took the cake. First Mate Lindsay organized a treasure hunt with clues leading all around camp ending in front of the Walled Off (the Captain’s Cabin). X marked the spot, and once everyone grabbed a shovel (or spoon) they began the digging.

When the chest was uncovered all the little pirates went crazy grabbing what they could. The chest was full of t-shirts, pirate silly bands, eye patches, gold coins and precious gems. I have never seen anyone so excited over anything as Bradley was over the plastic jewels.

We made just one attempt at getting a group picture.  We documented the moment and settled for having everyone in the frame instead of trying for smiles.

Then it was off to bed…sort of.  Everyone chose a bunk in the cabin and after several hours the excitement settled, the sugar wore off and the little pirates fell asleep.

Everyone slept soundly and just like any good pirate would, they all woke with the sun ready for a hearty breakfast of high fructose corn syrup and food coloring fruit loops.

Happy birthday Bradley & Keller.  I love you boys so much. It has been my greatest joy to watch you grow (joy is not the same as happiness) and I love that you have such a special little friendship.

Cannoli with The Tiny Chef

9 06 2010

How did we get so lucky?

A few months ago The Tiny Chef contacted me to do some design work and I jumped at the opportunity since logo deign is my forte. I prefer designing typographic logos but I dove into this character illustration and was thrilled with the way it turned out.

About a month later she was featured on Charlotte Today making cannoli so of course Bradley and I tuned in. Bradley loves watching anything on television so I knew he’d be excited.  He was absolutely taken with her. How could he not be. She was on television making a dessert…his two favorite things in the world. As a thank you she offered to come give us a lesson.  I took her up on her offer and as soon as I told Bradley he started counting down the days.

She was a little taller than he expected, a disappointment that he quickly got over as soon as she pulled out the brightly colored maraschino cherries.  Somehow she worked her magic to capture his attention for at least the next hour as we got to work measuring, pouring, mixing, rolling, chopping, filling and decorating.  I even got involved and got to try my hand at deep frying…something I’ve never been willing to do before. I also learned that I had been mispronouncing mascarpone my entire life.  I always thought it was maRscapone instead of maScarpone.

Be sure to check out Susanne’s site.  She’s super busy these days (and now I know why) but I know if you get on the books early you’ll be glad you did.

Thanks Susanne. What a great experience you gave us. Maybe next time we’ll do an adult lesson and have a wine & food pairing party to take advantage of her expertise as a Sommelier.