Monday, July 31, 2017

A Grand Trip to the Grand Tetons

Twenty-one members of the Frank family gathered near Jackson, Wyoming for most of a week.  Our condos were right in the shadow of the mountains -- such a perfect location!  Every day we hiked most of the day, visiting various lakes and waterfalls, and then spent the evenings looking for wildlife or playing baseball.  There was also some fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and going into town for ice cream involved.

The first day we took a little ferry over to a more remote area to hike to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point.

The whole gang

Carter Lake

Our first day in Colorado was spent at Carter Lake - -paddleboarding, fishing, swimming and diving.  And only one of those activities made me shriek.

Took Strider a few minutes to figure out how to steer it

I loved seeing Strider play with Jinna!

She really liked it -- but she was keeping her
mouth tightly closed to not swallow water!

Strider went cliff diving with some strangers
And almost got eaten by a wolf

I tried to get a nice picture of everyone and told them all
 to "touch each other."  This is what Miles did.

Beautiful day!

Trip to the Rectangular States

Our big adventure this year was a trek out to Colorado and Wyoming.  The boys drove; the girls flew.  Definitely the way to go.

Setting out on their 4,000 mile round-trip --
the better part of 8 days were spent in this van!

Setting out on our 3 hour flight!

The big highlight of the travels: the St. Louis Arch --
 and some really good barbecue restaurants

We were all reunited in Denver, and then spent a couple nights at the Devlins' home in Berthoud before driving up to Wyoming.  For that almost 8-hour trip (each way), all 7 of us were in the car, and it strongly affirmed that it was a good idea all 7 of us did not make the whole drive from NC.  There were an awful lot of strong opinions in a very small space.

For part of the time Strider drove which added an extra element of terror.

But at least the views were pretty!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Miles' predictions for his future

Lately Miles has been throwing out some very definitive statements about what he will do when he grows up, so I thought I'd record them here so he can see which ones come true someday.

First, he has insisted for months now that he will live in D.C. when he is an adult.  This is a change from about a year ago when he was very sure that he would just live with Colsen forever.  (I think when Colsen started talking about moving to Japan, Miles began to realize that he might have an opinion about the location after all.)

His reasoning for wanting to live in D.C.: That's where the powerful people are.  😒

He's also very specific about what car he wants to drive:  a black BMW.  Tonight when I was verifying this with him he said, "Well, I WANT to drive a black BMW.  But I will probably actually drive a black Toyota Camry."   That's my boy.

I asked him what kind of job he would have and he answered, "A pilot, of course!  Well, I don't know for sure if I'll be able to, but.... Never give up on your dream!" -- with a goofy grin and a point.

He also added that he was "not going to marry anyone."

"Who will you live with then?" I asked.

"Colsen will come visit me," he said.  "And you can come visit me, too, while you're alive!"

Also, he wants to change his name to Thor.

So I guess he's got it all figured out.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Final home renovations (for now)

Last week I unpacked the final box from our move (11 months later)!  For the past year we've been storing boxes of books and miscellaneous stuff just on the floor of our office as it was waiting to be re-done.  At long last that project was moved to the top of the list and Pete worked his magic to create a new space for us!

The room used to have a fireplace... lots of pink and gray and white....

... but we decided 2 fireplaces were enough in this Southern home and we'd rather have the wall space back for storage and other things.

So, Pete ripped out the mantel and hearth, and did all the various layers necessary to board up that side of the fireplace (it's double-sided), and drywall the new area.

Then we designed a little table/desk and some shelves and now it looks like this:

It's not exactly neat and tidy, but it's definitely functional for what we need.  I'm looking forward to starting out our new school year in this space!  Well, I'm not looking forward to it quite yet... but will when late August rolls around.

Elsewhere around the house, we've painted both of the boys' bedrooms, but everything is still in progress there (read: total mess because we're in the midst of packing for a big trip, and plus, the boys are never neat anyway), so I have no good pictures of that yet.

The breakfast area of our kitchen got a makeover a few months ago when some friends sold us their old dining room set.  I repainted it and it works well in that space:

And I think that's all we'll get done inside the house for a little while!

Meanwhile, the outside has been undergoing slow transformations as we plant and wait for things to grow (and see what will die).... All kinds of experimenting going on here!

So far, the front of the house is pretty much a big mess of confusion.  I've planted all kinds of things to see what will work and what won't...  I'd like to think I'll be more organized next year, but chances are I'll forget where all the perennials are over the winter and we'll end up with more hodge-podge next spring.  At least gardening is fun!

Our Vegetable Garden experiment decided to rename itself the Marigold Garden.  We've harvested a few vegetables, but mostly the marigolds decided to dominate the whole area.  Who knew there was a  variety of Giant Marigolds?  Not me, because I don't read package labels.

And that's what's been going on on the homefront!  (and back)

Now we can just sit back and watch Entropy slowly undo it all...