Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Cousins Day, the Sequel

The gang was here again today.  Such excitement!

They were superheroes:

 They sang enthusiastically:

 ... did crafts diligently...

 And got a little messy....

Plus there was plenty of time for hanging out -- and challenging one another on obstacle courses:

In the end we got a little rained out -- the slip-and-slide didn't even need a hose connected to it.

Most of all, everyone just enjoyed being together!

The girls

The boys (minus Strider, plus Ava)

And the Snuggle Bugs

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The kind of woman I wanted to be

I just happened to come across something in one of my journals that I forgot I had ever written.  It was a page entitled, "I Want To Be A Woman Who:"   When I checked the date, I noticed that I wrote it in July of 2000, exactly 15 years ago this month.

So at the time that I wrote this, I had been married for less than 2 years and had just had my first baby a few weeks before. He was likely taking one of this famous 20 minute naps when I sat down to do this.  I don't remember what prompted it -- whether I had been instructed to do so by a book I was reading, or just thought it would be a good thing to do.

Finding the list this month made me inwardly groan as I was sure I was going to see all the ways I had failed to live up to my goals.  There are 6 elements listed on the page and I was sure they were going to say things like, "Love God above all else," "Be completely and utterly unselfish," "Pour self out for the good of others continually."  And I would close the book in shame and failure.

But AHA!  The very first bullet point says, ".... has lots of plants in the house."  AND I DID THAT ONE!  I have actually accomplished a goal from 15 years ago!

I am not sure why that particular goal is on the list -- I probably just wanted to be surrounded by more of nature, and while human relationships have always been daunting for me, maybe the idea of sustaining a non-human life was appealing and self-affirming.  I'm pretty sure I didn't even know about the healthy, air-purifying benefits of houseplants back then!

Regardless, over the years I have amassed several plants, rooted some even to make new ones, and have generally kept them alive.  They're not necessarily thriving, but they're mostly green.  Just about every room in our house has a plant or two in it (because they are good air purifiers I now know!)

This one was from Jen Averill -- thanks, Jen!
Now.... the other 5 bullet points on my "I Want To Be A Woman Who" list are not slam-dunks like that one.  That first one was definitely the low-hanging fruit.

Some of them are the kind that make me groan.

But, I figure if I was successful with one of the goals in 15 years, then I just need another 75 years to master the other ones... right?

The takeaway here is:  Always include at least a few simple, very achievable goals when you make ridiculous idealistic lists of personal endeavors. 

 Your future self will thank you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Dining room furniture makeover

Here was one of my projects this month...



Now we'll get new colors on the walls and a new chandelier and that room will be done!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Changes are afoot

We've been busily researching, brainstorming, sketching, deciding, running to Lowe's, getting quotes, second-guessing ourselves, shopping at antique stores, running back to Lowe's, painting, sanding, cutting, measuring, running back to Lowe's, hiring, re-brainstorming, and running back to Lowe's.

And finally we're beginning to see the first steps of progress in our home renovations.

For example, this was our foyer yesterday:

Meanwhile, I have been re-painting our dining room table and chairs.  Here is what I have been doing for a large portion of my day, every day, for lo this many days:

Since we have been without dining room furniture for a few weeks, we have been eating on our card tables.... but one of them was so bad, I decided I should go ahead and give IT a makeover, too.

That one was MUCH easier.  Only 15 minutes.  :)

Will post more pictures as we have them....

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Cousins Day

We wanted to find a couple days for all the in-town cousins to get together this summer, but it actually proved impossible to find days that they ALL could play!  Between travel schedules, sports practices, camps and mission trips, there were no days in June or July that they could all assemble.  But we decided to schedule a few Cousins Days anyway, and Thursday was the first one.
Cousins -- just missing the oldest one (Strider was at camp) and the ones in Japan
 We sang songs, played games, did a little shaving-cream-puffy-paint painting...

 Aunt Katie helped the girls coloring inside...
... but mostly it was good ol' messy outside time!

I love them all!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Chincoteague Island Vacation

The Boyers invited us to go with them to Chincoteague this summer, and since both of our families have some horse lovers, it was a great location to explore. Assateague Island, right across from Chincoteague, is uninhabited and a wildlife preserve where wild ponies have lived for a long time.  Aunt Sue and Grandpa and Gee-Gee also came along, so it was a mini Frank family reunion.

It turned out there were two beaches we could choose from:  one you could drive to, which, according to the Boyers, was completely packed, OR one you could only bike to (about 2.5 miles).  That beach was completely empty since you had to be pretty devoted to get there, so that's the one we chose!  Biking back and forth was lovely because it was all through a wildlife preserve;  when it was windy it became slightly arduous, but overall was nice.  Our hotel was located just 1/4 mile from Assateague Island, so we could just bike from the hotel.

Grandpa and Gee-Gee made the the trek everyday!
Biking selfie

Rayna took it all in stride

We got to the beach and found this sign.
Poor Miles -- he sure loves to be naked!

So beautiful there!

Strider and Nate did a lot of wakeboarding

At night we had dinner together -- and had the opportunity to hear some more episodes of the Carol Thompson Cooking Show!  Those kids sure are not lacking in personality.

And, of course, the highlight of the whole trip, especially for Colsen, was seeing the wild ponies!

We had read "Misty of Chincoteague" before the trip, so it was really neat to see all the places mentioned in the book, and picture Paul and Maureen spotting the Phantom and Misty.  It was a memorable adventure!