Monday, July 24, 2017

Italian Friends at a North Carolina Lake

Last Thursday and Friday, the kids and I spent two wonderful days at the lake home of one of my colleagues. While a trip to the lake with her family is always fabulous, this one was particularly special because Laura, a teacher friend from Italy, and Michele, her husband, joined us! 

We had so much fun showing them a typical lake experience! The kids were pretty sure that they thought we were crazy if this was our idea of fun:
 When you think about it, pulling kids around behind a very fast boat is a bit odd.

I think everyone's favorite part was our boat ride to watch the sunset:
After such a lovely time in their home when I was in Italy, I was so grateful for the opportunity to return some of the love...and I don't think the kids minded one bit either.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

We are ready!

It may only be July 18, but we are ready for school to begin:
Well...we are still very much enjoying summer, but we are now officially supplied and packed for the first day on August 28!

It sounds so ridiculous, but ever since the year I ended up a complete sobbing mess in the Wal-mart aisle, we just get this finished early. There is a sweet spot right after the year-round kids go back. The stores think they over-purchased and cut prices, and no one else is even thinking about backpacks yet.

We ordered backpacks online last week, and they were here and waiting for the supplies we purchased this morning. We had the entire section to ourselves. We found everything we needed, and it is already packed and waiting for the next year of adventures. My August-self will be so happy.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

It Finally Happened...

Issa is over magicians.

We went to library for one of their summer programs, Fish the Magish, today. Last year, Issa loved the magician at the library. This year, well...

I thought he was hilarious. The magic was not amazing, but I was entertained. At the end of the program, Evan turned around, his face alight, "That was awesome!"

Issa turned around and rolled her eyes. 

And there it is. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Blueberries for Days

This summer, the kids and I are trying to do one fun thing a day. Twice, that fun thing has been venturing out to Hawk Hill Blueberry Patch. We love climbing through their 500 pushes to find the best berries:

 The bushes were prolific this year, and in our two trips we have picked 10 quarts without really having to search. Picking is really fun when there are berries everywhere you turn!

They are so good, too! We have made muffins, oatmeal jars, and a pie:
 But the best part has been the jam:
I finished batch three last night for a grand total of 10 pints! Evan took two little jars to the dojo today, we took one to Nana Sunday, and we are already a half pint down at our house! It made lovely thumbprint cookies and protein bars.

I think we will try to go picking one more time, but I think we might be finished with the blueberry jam!

Monday, July 10, 2017

A Return Home

I don't even know how it came up, but somehow on the way to Grandma Judy's party we started talking about Wittenberg. Before I knew what was happening, Brad was insisting we go to Wittenberg on our way home Wednesday. 

I haven't been back since before the kids were born, and it was a very different experience for me now. With some distance, I'm even more grateful for all that Wittenberg gave me and how it shaped me. And although this isn't the most flattering picture, I think this about sums up how I felt:
 Our first stop was 110 West Northern, where Tay and I spent our last year. I'm not gonna lie: it needs some love:
 Mom insists it needed love when I lived there, but the kids were a bit shocked I love that house so much.

From there, I realized the main street is now a pedestrian walk way. We found our way behind the student center and made our way through the main gates:
 We parked on the hill, and I loved showing the kids which room had been my window in Meyers Hall:
 We walked to the seal, careful not to walk on it:
 And we wandered into Blair Hall, the education building. I checked the listing, and only one faculty member from my time there is still at Witt, and they have completely gutted the inside of the building! Dr. T.'s old office is now all glass and is the department office. I couldn't even walk down the hallways. I want to remember the building that made me a teacher.

From there, we introduced the kids to Wally Witt:
The Student Center felt exactly the same, and the library is unchanged. I pointed out the old honors house, and we wandered Hollenbeck Hall, where seven of my professors are still in the same offices. No one was on campus, but it felt good just to touch their doors and remember with the kiddos.
We ended our tour at Mike and Rosie's, which is still just as yummy as ever.

I've been trying to find the words since we left. Maybe it's because I work with college students every day that I'm more aware of the impact those years have on a person. Maybe I've grown enough to be truly grateful for every experience I had on that campus. Maybe it's having my children there with me, telling them all the reasons they should be Tigers. I don't know.  What I do know is I still get teary everytime I think about that morning. I do know I will be forever grateful to the people who touched my life at Witt--professors and friends. And I do know I pray my children find a place that makes them feel the same way...

Friday, July 7, 2017


We spent a wonderful five days in Ohio this week. The main event was this lovely lady's 90th:
 In classic Judy form, her only large group remarks were, "I'll see you all at my 100th."

It was such a lovely evening with family:
 And her friends. I hope I have half as much energy when I'm 90. They all drove themselves, and one was lamenting her best score was a 42 on 9 holes of golf last week--she golfs every day.

Sunday, we all gathered at Carol and Todd's for swimming and a "family fun day." The kids actually spent the nights there; we stayed at Tyler's place across the street. They loved every minute of being spoiled and being with cousins. Aunt Carol and Uncle Todd did pull out all the stops, including silly string:

 And poppers:
 Issa took to her role as eldest beautifully:
 While the littlest just couldn't handle so much fun:
 We don't get to spend whole days together like that often, and I loved having the time with the whole crew.

On Monday, we headed to Brad's side and spent some time with Papa Don and Grandma Nancy. The kids love having their own space there with plenty of craft supplies and a candy stash.

On the fourth, we headed to Uncle Brian's camper with Grandma Pat. Hadley wanted festive hair like Issa:
 And Evan wanted to wrestle Alec:

 And we all went looking for ducks to feed:
We don't see this crew often enough, and it was so nice to have an afternoon to be together.

The end of the deserves a separate post.