Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mountain Vacation

Strider is at camp this week, and since we were going to make the drive up to the mountains to drop him off, we decided to just make a mini-vacation out of it for the rest of us.  So we rented a cabin in Black Mountain, a town we had been wanting to visit.  When we arrived, we were told there was something wrong with the cabin we had reserved, so the realty company essentially upgraded us to a beautiful home at the top of a mountain!  Once I got over my anxiety driving up a very steep gravel road for a mile, we found the views to be quite lovely.

We spent today hiking all through Montreat, including a rigorous hike up to Lookout Rock.  It wasn't a very long route (only about 1.2 miles), but the incline was rather steep and there was a lot of climbing on big rocks.  The kids all did great, though, and it was a lot of fun!  It was the first time we didn't have to carry anyone for any of the way, and no one even really complained.

This made me chuckle....  Last year at this time, Miles had just climbed a mountain in the Alps, with a lot of help riding on Daddy's and Uncle Al's shoulders, and when he got to the top, he did this:

Today, he climbed the whole way himself.... In fact, every time I tried to help him, he would say, "MOM!  I got this!"

And when he got to the top, he did this:
Deja vu.

Afterwards, we had a picnic by a waterfall, and then went wading in the stream...

...And we rounded out the day with some shopping and ice-creaming in the town of Black Mountain.

My only complaint was that no matter how many times I go to Kilwin's, nothing is ever "on sale!"

Other than that, it was an almost perfect day -- we were just missing Strider!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A week of solitude, animals, debate, and grandparents

This past week Pete took the kids to my parents for 4 days.... and he only lost one kid one time.  (And since the child was returned within the hour, it hardly counts.)  So his status as Father of the Year still stands.

Colsen and Miles attended a camp each morning there in Huntersville, and since it was animal-themed, they LOVED it.  They were able to hold creatures, paint things, get wet, play in the woods, etc., so it was a big hit.

Strider meanwhile attended a 3-day camp about Speech and Debate.  Now ever since he's been home, he's been talking about the syllogisms involved in whatever I say, and the fallacies he spots, thereby "refuting" most of my claims.  This camp may have been a bad idea.

Rayna stayed home with me for the first day, and we had a fun Girls Day, shopping and going out to lunch.  Then she, too, joined the crew at Nonna and Poppa's, which meant...

For the first time EVER I found myself in our house by myself for 2 days!  I worked at a rapid pace, organizing rooms, ordering books, planning school schedules, signing up for classes, and writing more for the GateWay program we've been designing.

  It was weird being in a quiet house for hours on end.  The strangest part was that I kept finding things exactly where I left them!  I found myself talking to the bird a lot.

So it was a thrilling week for all of us... with the exception of Pete, perhaps.

(But before we all start the all-too-common "Poor Pete" refrain, I will note that he took most of the day Friday off to go hang out with some friends from college.  He's also out at Lowe's this afternoon-- all by himself.  He tried to tell me he couldn't take even one child because it was raining. Hmmmm.  So he's getting some of his own solitude time.  : )   )

Due to my error when I sent the camera with Pete lacking a memory card, we don't have any pictures of the kids' camps other than these couple I caught yesterday.

Friday, July 26, 2013

....And speaking of cousins...

Out kids have a new one, as of yesterday!  Elise Tabitha was born early in the morning to Katie and Graham, just a few short hours after my sisters, cousin, mom and I were at their house for Book Club!  Katie kept saying, "I think I'm in labor," but she was laughing and joining in all the conversations, eating and carrying on like normal, so I didn't expect anything to happen to imminently.  I was wrong!

And she is quite lovely.  I went to visit her today --such a little peanut!

As usual, Katie makes the whole childbirth thing look like it's natural or something, and really no big deal at all.

Thankful to be an aunt again!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cousins Tuesdays

This past week our kids have been able to spend a lot of time with COUSINS!  Since Cousins Camps aren't happening this summer, we made plans to have all the in-town cousins over at various times last week. The Clarks came on Monday and the Wrays came on Friday -- but I failed to get pictures either time.

The Dreschers are the ones we have the hardest time getting together with during the school year, so we made specific plans to see them a few times this summer, dubbing the days Cousins Tuesdays.  Last Tuesday they came here, and this Tuesday our kids went there.  Next Tuesday we may have Cousins Tuesday:  Mountain Edition!

Scenes of the fun so far:

What a blessing it is to have cousins close by.  I never had that growing up.... although I do now and will see that cousin tonight for Book Club!    Blessings all around.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mint Hill Thursdays

For a few weeks this summer Rayna has been taking a yoga-esque class in the town of Mint Hill, so the boys and I have found ourselves with some time for exploring there.

Sometimes we went to an old-timey hardware store, full of all kinds of fascinating things for boys to look at and try really hard not to touch.
Outside the hardware store
 Sometimes we went to an adorable little bakery, and could never leave without a couple cinnamon rolls.

Love these two together.
Don't love Colsen's ripped shorts

And most of the time after we picked Rayna up we ended up at the big park, hiking in the woods.

Pretty much my ideal ways to spend some summer mornings!

Saturday, July 20, 2013


The Timberlakes loaned us this book recently and we enjoyed reading the story with our kids.  Based on the DISC personality profiles, the characters are a lion, an otter, a golden retriever and a beaver.  Together these "four best friends" go on a quest for some keys, and each animal plays a "key" role in helping to find them.  As they go about the adventures, their individual personalities become clear.

About half-way through the story we stopped and asked the kids if they could tell which of them were like which animal.  Colsen immediately nailed it for all four of them:  Strider is the otter, Rayna is the beaver, Colsen is the golden retriever and Miles is the lion.

I get a kick out of realizing we have one of each type, and it's also been eye-opening as we realize what motivates each child.  I look at them all a little differently now.  And I hope they all continue to go on adventures together as friends, appreciating each other's special gifts and quirks.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


 This animated little guy amuses us with his stark and transparent feelings;  he's not one to leave any thoughts unsaid.

For instance, a few mornings ago Pete and I were awakened to this lovely scene:

Miles, at the side of our bed, at full volume started yelling,

"I'm HUNGRY.  Make me breakfast!  Make it now!  I'm HUNNNN-GRY!  Make me breakfast!"

Slowly Pete and I started to come to, completely flabbergasted by what we were hearing.  Once we could assemble our thoughts enough to form sentences, we muttered something about how we were not going to be running down to make him breakfast right now.

Upon hearing this, Miles took his little show to the floor in the form of a tantrum, and started yelling,

"I don't love you because you're not making me happy!  Make me happy!  I'm not happy!  So I'm not going to love you.  I'm not going to love you all the way until I die.  Even in Heaven I'm not going to love you!"

All I could think about was how obvious human nature is in the form of a 4-year old.

Another time, when he was being much sweeter, he was hugging my neck hard and telling me he loved me (I guess I didn't have to wait all the way to Heaven for him to finally love me again after all!).

I told him I wanted to tell him a secret and then I whispered in his ear,

"I think you're the very best hugger of all the Franks."

Never one to miss an opportunity, he immediately turned his head to whisper in my ear,

"So are you going to take me out to get ice cream?"

This is also the boy who often tells me he loves me "so, so much," tells me I'm beautiful and the bestest mother ever, and says, "Hello, Dear" when he walks into the room.....  so we'll keep him.  :)