Sunday, June 30, 2013

Monsters University

Jon has been out of town for a week and we waited until he made it back so we could all see this together. We saw it this morning. It's actually not a very good movie, but I loved the clever photo op, so it warranted a blog post.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Andrew's New Birthday Bike

Andrew had outgrown his Cars bike, so he scored a new one for his 6th birthday at the beginning of June.
We made him close his eyes as Daddy brought him outside.
(Ethan, who had just been playing with the hose in the backyard, came too.)

Ready.... eyes open!  WHOA!

Thief!  Daddy is coming to the rescue...

The rightful owner gets crowned with his new helmet.

Ethan's about ready to give up his Harley for the Cars bike, and we hope we can get Andrew
to ride sans training wheels by the end of the summer.  Fingers crossed!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Andrew's Last Day of Montessori

This was Friday, June 7.  He had been in this program for three years, since he was barely three years old.
He's getting ready to head up those steps for one final morning.

Crazy mommy was beginning to get teary at this point, so he gave me a look which seemed to say, "It's alright, Mom!"

The door he boisterously burst through so many mornings at 7 sharp, often the first student there
 since Mommy usually rushed off to her school to be on hallway duty by 7:25.
After my school day, I headed back to pick him up.  I tried to hold back the tears, but it was impossible as the hugs and photos started happening.
This year's sweet new assistant Mrs. Estrada, who he saw first thing each morning.

The calm, patient Ms. Cleveland, who has been with the school for two years

And, Mrs. Fisher, his amazing teacher all three years.  She works wonders with all.

On our way out, I made him pose beside the beautiful school garden.

And, of course, our final photo was the sign at the school's entrance.
We will miss Spears Creek so very much, but the best decision for our entire family was to have both boys with me next year.  Ethan will be in the preschool program there and Andrew will be [gulp] in a traditional 1st grade classroom.  We are all excited about what 2013-14 will bring, especially the boys, who have talked about going to mommy's "big school" quite often this summer!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

tomato update (because I know you were wanting to know)

See the beautiful, healthy-looking tomato plants that have overtaken our window?  This was taken Tuesday, June 25.  The tomatoes are not turning red.  Remember that I said I was a total gardening amateur and I preferred to learn as I go, rather than research?  Well, after some research, I learned that the tomatoes need nitrogen.  So, Tuesday, I fed them some special Miracle Gro tomato food, right before another torrential downpour... hope the food didn't get too diluted.
Even though they are not red, I was happy to see my wee garden's progress in the following collage:
Broccoli is long gone, and I am getting ready to remove the lettuces, too.  The cucumbers, most herbs, and peppers are doing well, though!

And there you have it.... the most exciting blog post you will read today.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Virginia Beach Girls' Weekend, Year Two

Two weeks ago, I set out in Jon's little red car for a long weekend in Virginia Beach with my WV girls.  We had a good time, just like last year, but didn't schedule any kind of parasailish adventure this time, because, well, the adventure ended up being the trip itself.  There were a few challenges.

I took my DSLR but it stayed in the safe the entire trip because I didn't want to subject it to wind-blown sand.  So, these photos are all mobile ones, some borrowed.
Heidi (on the left) came this year!  This was the first time she has gotten away for something like this since her first baby was born five years ago.  It was awesome that she came.

The girls encountered some traffic both ways......LOTS of traffic, turning what should have been a 7-hour trip into over 9 hours for them.  They posted many staged photos like this to fb in an effort
to illustrate their frustration and also to make me laugh.

I arrived five hours ahead of them and the hotel was inflexible about me checking in since my name was not on the reservation.  So, I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  I know... there are worse places to wait, yes?

It was a little rainy and chilly the first day so we mostly hot-tubbed it
and hung by the fire in in the infinity pool.  Here are Heidi's feet.
When she posted this photo, she captioned it something like, "Kids?  I have kids?  What kids?"

The second day was beautiful, but we still found our way to the hot tub late that evening.

I ran on this boardwalk a couple of mornings.  I loved reaching this Neptune statue each time because it meant I had made it back to a block from our resort!

Miss these girls and enjoyed my time with them.  Here's to next year's girls' weekend!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

10th Anniversary in Asheville: Tale of a Trip on a Hot Air Balloon

Item #47 on my list of 66 things to do this summer: something that scares me.  This was it... for Jon, as well. :)  We had the ride planned for months, booked as soon as we knew we'd be venturing to Asheville for our tenth, and wanting to celebrate the milestone with something pretty special.  Jon is not a huge fan of heights, and I am not a huge fan of potentially orphaning our children, so, um.... a hot air balloon ride seemed like a good idea. ?

We awoke at 5 am to arrange to meet the shuttle driver at the corner of Wall and Otis just after 6. We were the first ones on the shuttle, having not made time for breakfast.  We questioned the size of the giant bus, as we were expecting maybe one more couple to accompany us on the ride.  Surprisingly, there were ELEVEN of us on there by the time the thing pulled out.  Questions were swirling in our heads: HOW big is this wicker basket?  How much do all these people weigh?  Has the balloon pilot even considered all of this?!?

Hungry and caffeine-deficient, we were delighted that the driver stopped at a convenience store to allow us to head to the bathroom and get a snack.  When our coffee/chocolate milk/little chocolate donut total rang up to $6.66, we got a little edgy, once again.  But, the clerk helped us laugh it off.

The drive to the launch site reminded me so much of WV: rolling hills, crazy curves taken a little fast on a two-lane road, and occasional feelings that we would never actually reach our destination.  After about 15 minutes, though, we were there.

We were doing this.  No turning back now.

The pilot and crew were setting up as we carefully inspected the equipment and their mental faculties from afar.

Jon checked out the floor of the wicker basket to which we were about to trust our lives.

Simple.  Air blown in by fans, then heated.  And when I was a kid, I thought helium was involved.  Duh.

Addison, the gentleman in the basket, would be our pilot and told us this was the largest balloon in NC.  We were thankful about this because of the eleven people that were about to be hoisted into the air.

A member of the crew snapped this right before take-off.  Nervous = understatement.
Up, up, and away!

This was approximately the moment when two very obnoxious outspoken passengers asked our pilot how many patches he had put in his balloon to this point, to which he awkwardly answered, "A couple."  NOT THE TIME OR PLACE for those questions, peeps.  Nervous passengers up in here.

Our pilot, Addison

Handsome Jon was relaxed by this point.  So was I.  Nothing swayed or rocked or felt bad at all.
We just went about 4 mph, wherever the wind wanted to take us.
It was peaceful and beautiful.

These are major close-ups because it was crowded in there!
No one wanted to lose their camera or phone or sunglasses.

This was taken at about 2000 feet, right after my phone rang.  It was Grandma Diana's number.
I answered (weirdest place I have ever been on the phone, btw), and Ethan replied, "Mommy?  Hi! What are you doing?"
 I could barely hear him over the burners.
Mom then grabbed the phone and let me know he was the one who had called, not her.
We considered his sweet little random call to be a good omen.

I was comforted by the fact that Addison's equipment looked very new and shiny and up-to-date.  And I couldn't help being moved by the fact that my dad would have loved observing the science involved and experiencing it.
He so would have done this.

Addison had been radioing his ground crew about our approximate landing site and after about 45 minutes, we began our descent.  I hung over the side (a little) to snap a photo of the tops of trees.
It felt as if we could reach down and grab them.

I also snapped the top of a house that we rookies feared we might land upon.  Surprise!  Big hot air balloon on your roof!  But, Addison knew his stuff and we glided on past it.

We landed perfectly and peacefully in a hay field.  

The crew was amazing.  When we landed in the hay, the three of them grabbed sides of the basket while Addison heated up just enough air to get us to glide.  They then dragged us to a grassier part of the field.  Then, as pictured, they grabbed a rope on the end of the balloon and gradually pulled it down as it deflated.

The eleven passengers... Addison served us "landing champagne"
and entertained tons of questions about his business.

So, the justification of the tenth anniversary balloon ride is thus:

Any marriage of ten years will have had its ups and downs.

Ours have mainly been ups.

Up, up, and away!