Sunday, August 29, 2010

I'm Old

See the little girl in the center there? The one my baby Jake is looking up at so adoringly? She's Kasey. And the other day I took her senior pictures.

That's right, she's not ten anymore. She's seventeen. And me? I'm old.

More shots from Kasey's shoot here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Indisputable proof that my boys do, in fact, love each other very much. You better believe this is coming out next time they start to fight.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Great Experiment

We've been working hard on fixing up our front yard, which is a pretty steep hill. It used to be a mass of weeds, dead ground cover, and more weeds. Really attractive. Our neighbors justloved us. (In our defense, it was like that when we moved in. And it only took us two and a half years to do something about it...)

We put in stone walls to create a terraced rise on the hill and decided to plant ivy as a ground cover on the lowest level, azaleas and a flower garden on the middle tier, and... well, we are still deciding what to do with the top, which rises a bit to the rest of our grassy front yard.

Over the Fourth of July weekend, I planted over 150 baby ivies. I love them. And someday they will grow to be big grown-up ivies. Did I mention I love them?

While I planted each individual baby ivy, Dan was working on the tier just above me, planting the baby azaleas. He loves them. Today, when he discovered some buds on them - a year before we expected any flowers - well, let's just say he was pretty excited.

And the top... I bought a packet of pumpkin seeds a couple years ago, but we never planted them. So we figured, hey, let's just see what happens! The boys planted six seeds straight across the top of the hill...

... they grew.

We are, again, the talk of the neighborhood.

We're planning on buying back the neighborly love with pumpkins come fall. But this one - our first-born - is ours.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Guess What!

All of my family is on US soil!

My dad and my brother both arrived safely back in the US today!

For the first time in almost two years,
all my men are here in the good ol' US of A!

At the same time!

And I'm pretty happy about it!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Thanks Poppa!

My boys went to a Nats game...

... and all I got was this picture of a sidewalk.

But the happy faces I saw when they got home more than made up for the lack of photos. They met a few presidents (of the big-headed, racing variety), ate hotdogs and cotton candy, and saw several home runs.

And best of all... they got to see Strasburg (the Nationals' new wonder-boy) pitch. And... the right team won!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer Swimmin'

Summer swimmin' had us a blast;
Summer swimmin' went by so fast.
I had two boys, crazy for laps;
I had two boys, never took naps.
Summer days practicin' away;
To uh-oh those summer night meets!

They swam by me, never got cramps;
They swam daily, kept their suits damp.
They're great swimmers, not gonna drown;
They show off, splashing around.
Summer sun, pool's lots of fun;
But uh-oh those summer night meets!

It's not yet colder, but here's where it ends;
So I told them, we'd still be friends.
Then we made our coach a vow;
Next year she's gonna say wow.
Summer dreams, all 'bout the team;
But uh-oh those summer night meets!

This summer was Jake's first time on the swim team and he LOVED every minute of it! We're so proud of all his hard work! He practiced hard, learned a lot, and can beat me in a race any day of the week!

Camden continued lessons this year, in preparation for his team debut next summer. After a rough start last year (he repeated the same level through all four sessions of summer swim), he blew us all away with his determination and progress this year.

Way to go Wahoos!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lest you believe I play favorites...

I'll have you know that my boys' fits aren't the only ones I photograph. You, too, can be added to my fit collection. That is, if you can measure up.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Personal Preference

Personally, I like my marshmallows perfectly toasted - lightly browned and crispy on the outside, warm and ooey-gooey on the inside.

I understand, however, that some have other preferences. Like on fire.


Okay, so I have this sister-in-law named Maria. She's beautiful. Gorgeous hair, skin, smile, body... You get the idea. I'd be okay with all that if it weren't for one other thing. She's nice, too! Show-off.

At Granny's Cabin

At Granny's cabin, there's always plenty to do. All at one time you can find a group playing a game or doing a craft,

someone blowing up a balloon,

someone making balloon faces of the people she loves,

a group of booby-ballers,

and somebody just trying to find a quiet spot in the middle of it all for a little reading.

At the Beach

Somehow, amid all our other fun, we managed to squeeze in lots of beach time, as well. Some of that time was spent in the sand. But most of that time was spent in the water, doing things like this...

(Yes, that's me. And yes, my husband is cute and strong.)

(Okay, this picture is pretty bad compositionally, but I sure do love it!)

Saturday, August 7, 2010


I've heard there are street performers in big cities like New York and San Francisco who make giant bubbles. And people walking by are so impressed by the size and beauty of these bubbles that they drop some money in the hat (or bowl, or whatever they use).

Well, we make giant bubbles, too. (Granny knows how to do all the coolest stuff!) So I'm thinking, maybe these boys can start earning their keep. Think there's a call for street performers in Stafford?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Before Dinner

You may wonder, now that you know what we do after dinner, just what we occupy ourselves with before the family meal. (I realize the thought never crossed your mind, but humor me, kay? Thanks.)

Well, once the beach closes and the lifeguard forces us out of the water, we send our children to the playground and hit the volleyball court until dinnertime. (I love only making dinner one night a week - think I can arrange that at home?)

Not too long ago, about half of our volleyball players were pretty much in the way. Now, they're big and really good and Old Aunt Jen has to stay out of their way! When did these cute little kiddos grow up?

Oh, and by the way... Dan says I'm pretty good. But he's my husband and I cook his dinner, so he has to say nice things to me every once in a while.

After Dinner

Our after-dinner soccer games were a highlight of the reunion for many. All ages, from Camden to Granny; all skill levels, from Dan to me.

(I'll let you guess which of us was at each end of the spectrum. But I'll give you a hint. I scored a goal and, as my shocked husband said, "it wasn't even an accident!" Just sayin')

Post Edit: I feel I would be remiss if I don't mention my boy's soccer skills. Camden is a beast! The boy is fearless and has some serious natural talent. Now if we can teach him to play with shoes on, my old age could be very comfortable...

(Still on the reunion memories. Sit back and relax, this could go on for a few more days...)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Still Scraping My Jaw Off the Floor

My boys eat their dinner. Every night. Whatever is served. It just takes a l-o-n-g time. And a lot of whining. Every night. Whatever is served.

However - and here is indisputable proof that there really is something magic in the air in our mystical little "ville" - on vacation they ate white chicken enchiladas, chili, salad, and more. No whining.

Okay, so there was whining on chili night, but just from one. I'll let you draw your own conclusions as to which boy whined that night. I'm not telling, but his name doesn't start with a "C." And the whiner of the evening did in fact end up eating some of that horribly offensive chili (actually, it was pretty great).

We're back home and back to our l-o-n-g sessions at the dining room table, complete with plenty of whining. But as I sit there trying to convince my children to eat their spaghetti (yes, they even complain about spaghetti), I just take myself to my happy place. And I think about all the food they stuffed into their dirty little faces last week. And I hope these memories will be enough to get me through the next 51 weeks of l-o-n-g, whiney dinners.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


It's good to have a brother.

A brother will invite you into his tube when you when you flip out of yours.

And when you flip him out of his, he'll laugh and love you anyway.

Then the two of you can spend the next mile or so floating along in your life vests while your parents attempt to hold onto your tubes along with their own.

Like I said, it's good to have a brother.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Meet Mic

This is Mic.
According to my boys, Mic is the primary reason to go to our family reunion each year.
I'm so glad they have cousins. And that they enjoy and love their cousins so much.
Even when those cousins shoot me with water guns every chance they get.

Monday, August 2, 2010

That's a BIG Smile

We went tubing on the New River.
Dan and I got sunburned. We didn't care because we had fun and it was totally worth it. Our boys brown up like little biscuits in the summer, so they were fine. Where they got their skin, I'll never know. But I will forever be grateful.
So, back to the tubing. It was pretty great.
The End.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

We're Back!

We're back from a wonderful week of family, food, and fun. I'll be posting all week about our reunion adventures, but today I'm focused on laundry and the 68 tomatoes that ripened while we were away. See you soon!
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