Sunday, February 14, 2016

Flashforward to present's cold.  It snowed.  We played.  We shoveled.  Enough said.  

In the midst of all that, I had a birthday.  Below is the cake that Ethan decorated for me.  Gets the point across I guess!  What's the need of fancy flowers and other bells and whistles? Chocolate shavings....who needs 'em?

That's me opening one of my three pairs of boots this birthday.  Oh yeah.  Mama's toes are loving life this winter.  

Ethan has been expanding his talents in the kitchen after his semester in middle school Home Economics. We asked him to set the table and this is what we found.  Pretty impressive I must say!


Seems like a lot of time has passed.   Oops.

My life lately consists of school, home, basketball, getting ready for school, cleaning at home, going to basketball games, go to bed, get up and repeat.

Flashback Christmas 2-0-1-5

All three boys participated in the Christmas Eve program at church.  It was very sweet.  Will was so small that you couldn't see him at all only hear his little voice projected over the microphone.  Nice memories though.  If I were a scrapbooking woman, I would dedicate 2 pages to this moment in time.

Here are the boys in their Christmas Eve pajamas.  Ben has decided to no longer wear a shirt to bed.  What evs.  
We had the traditional shrimp and fondue Christmas Eve party with my family.  Then we were so excited to have some of Kevin's family with us on Christmas day!  The boys even waited until almost three o'clock to open their presents.  So proud of them.  
Finn enjoyed himself immensely! If you can put a dog to sleep does that mean you are talented or really boring??  I never did know for sure.  

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Winter Gala

As Kevin has assumed some new responsibilities on campus, along with that came the necessity for us to go to the Winter Gala celebrating 50 years of Penn State Fayette Campus.  Woo woo!  So for the second time in the last few months, my man and I dusted off our fancy duds, hired a babysitter and headed East.  We enjoyed cocktail hour and then were entertained by an "Emotion Artist" who painted to music as we watched and tried to figure out what in the heck he was making.  The first picture, I had decided early on, was going to be Yoda.  Then mid project, he flipped it upside down to display a rendering of John Lennon.  It was pretty fun to watch. 

Here I am with my date whom I dubbed, "Fun Kevin".  My typically reserved husband was dragging me out on the dance floor!

Halloween has come and gone

We had a beautiful night for trick or treating this year.  Thankfully the costumes were not bulky enough to bring on a full sweat (I am reminded of Ben in a Chewbacca outfit during on a 70 degree night!)  This year the costumes were not allowed to have anything to do with Star Wars.  They argued and pleaded, but I stuck to my guns (or light sabers) that we needed to BRANCH OUT and do something different.  

Introducing the MAD SCIENTIST.....aka Benjamin, complete with Mad Eye Moody eye from Harry Potter thrown on at the last minute just for good measure.  I do think it adds dimension!
 Ethan wanted to be an "English gentleman".  He is able to do a pretty good accent at 12, "Would you care for a spot of tea?"
 William wanted to be bacon or a volcano.  I opted for the latter.  His wig had battery operated orange lights and he carried a small tape recorder with erupting sounds so that he could erupt at any given moment.  It turned out to be one those costumes he is either going to embrace in 10 years or demand to know what we were thinking when we MADE him wear it.

We passed out candy and went to the local parade because Ethan was marching with the Middle School Band.  The English gentleman also plays the trumpet!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Long Overdue

The last weekend in August, yes, a wee bit back, Kevin and I went away alone together for the first time in twelve years.  Our lovely parents, Dick and Rosemary, stepped up to the task of tending to the little men (ahem, sort of little....Ethan is taller than me now).

My Mom's younger brother, Donald has always been a father to us.  The Varner cousins love spending time together.  So when a wedding invitation arrived for my cousin Martha's daughter, we really wanted to go. The timing wasn't the best...first weekend after school started, but somehow the planets lined up and we did it!

Kevin and I left right after school and drove until we got there around 2:00 am.  We sneaked into the beach house my sister and cousin had rented for the week and crawled into our futon mattress bunk beds.  Beggars cannot be choosers.

The wedding took place on the outer banks of North Carolina.  We had  checked into flying, but calculated that it would have taken the same amount of travel time to get there because the closest airport was almost 2 hours away.

Adult car trips are fun!  We listened to whatever we wanted, stopped when we wanted, chatted when we wanted, napped when we wanted.  Pretty fun stuff.   We were sad to miss the rehearsal dinner at the NC aquarium, but were lucky to be invited to breakfast the next morning.  Shrimp and grits in Manteo.  Super cool.

I have decided those southerners have it all figured out.  Seriously!  Life along the shore seems so lovely.

We then spent the day sitting on the beach, chatting with cousins galore and once even draggin ourselves away from our beach chairs to hike to the pier.

The wedding and reception were out of this world.  So beautiful and in such an incredible setting.
Uncle Donald and Kathryn riding their rickshaw to the reception

We chose to walk to Roanoke Island.

View of the bay from the reception
Under the big top
Meredith, Grant and Uncle Donald 
A sprinkling of Varner cousins
Uncle Donald and me
Some other random wedding guests :)
AND to top it off it was the night of the supermoon.  I mean, could they have planned it better?  

We arose at 5:30 am and started the trip home.  I worked on lesson plans while Kevin drove most of the way.  We were fortunate enough to find a little town in West Virginia having a farmer's market right around lunch time, so we stopped for a veggie wrap and quinoa salad.  Delish.
Goof balls, giddy on the town

 Second shout out to Dick and Rosie.  
I KNOW there will be an extra couple of jewels on your crowns in heaven.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Well well well

Look who is sitting down to post.  Moi!

Sorry to the two people out there who read this.  Ha ha.

Here is a whirlwind tour of the last month or so of summer.
Ben ventured off (alone!) to a 5 day overnight church camp.  Below is a picture of the brave soul playing gaga ball.  He had a wonderful time and I am so impressed with the fact that he wanted to go and went by himself.  Such confidence for a 10 year old boy!  

Will and I had a date at Ohiopyle one day when the big brothers were elsewhere.  My hiking boy was hard to keep up with.  The mountain laurel blooms were so pretty they looked like silk flowers from Joann's had been spread all over the forest floor.

The boys joined forces to save and earn enough money to buy a Wii U.  They went to the bank and had their change counted.  It was a nerve racking moment when we discovered that they still needed 21 dollars.  We went home and they earned it by cleaning out the van.  It was nice to have such eager workers in the house for a while.  

A picture from the annual Rain Day Run.  Kevin and I (again) barely could keep up with them for the mile long run.  I am sure that we are leaning against a tree or something to take this picture.
 We headed to Blackwater Falls, West Virginia for fun.  We stopped in Thomas, WV at a great little restaurant with awesome food and live music.  We enjoyed it so much we went back for local ice cream later.

Check out this view!  Wow!  Needless to say, I spent most of the time holding onto the boys' shirts for fear of them toppling over the edge. 

I have been consumed with Kindergarten.  I am in a classroom at least until January for a woman on maternity leave.  It has been fun, but a bit overwhelming at times.  Of course, I want to be a seasoned veteran teacher of Kindergarten the first few weeks that I am there.  Ridiculous.  I am always judging myself and thinking that I am not quite up to snuff.  Still working on that one!  I try to remember not to take it quite so seriously and to enjoy the time with the little buggers.

One of my favorite stories so far is a little boy who came in late and said, "Sorry I'm late Mrs. Maxwell.  My Mom saw someone in the parking lot she doesn't like and we had to wait in the car for 20 minutes!"  There are no secrets with 5-6 year olds! 

Most of the day so far is spent tying shoes (who invented nylon laces that don't stay double knotted!!) and trying to get them to face forward when walking in a line down the hall.  Small steps.  Small steps.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

and wait for it....part two!

We traveled to the "Thickly Settled" regions of Massachusetts to visit my brother Jay.  Between rotaries and the road signs that say "Thickly Settled" you realize you are not in Kansas anymore.  We ventured out to see the local haunts and ended up at a butterfly sanctuary.  The boys were really freaked out by all the butterflies flipping and flying around.  

 Apparently I was the lucky one as one wildly flapping fella landed on my arm.

Here is a picture of me and Jay.  We snapped it at the last second before we left to prove that we were indeed there!

 Next stop, Concord, Massachusetts to see where the British were coming.  Below are the boys on the Old North Bridge.

We headed east until we couldn't go anymore and landed on Cape Cod.  Even though it was a bit chilly and we were the only ones on the beach, we dipped our toes in the sand for a bit.

 Ethan has always wanted to try sushi so we found a reputable Japanese restaurant and muddled our way through the menu.  Ben and Will absolutely love Mi so soup.
 Ethan absolutely loved the sushi!
 On the way home we stopped in Newport, Rhode Island to walk along the mansions on the cliff walk.
 For some reason this sign made me laugh.  "Stay on the path.  Steep cliffs.  High Risk of Injury"  I am especially fond of the illustration.  Ahhhhhhhhhh!
There is a total count for states visited and miles logged.  I will ask my statistically oriented spouse and fill you in later.