Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Summer Fun

We are knee-deep in summer fun around here! The biggest headline is Issa chopped her hair:
She is loving it, and I think she looks like she's 20!

After several days of our kids taking turns sitting a cooler filled with water, we spent the best $20 ever:
 We have a limited screen time rule, and the kids are enjoying being outside before it's roughly the temperature of the surface of the sun out there. They have literally spend about four hours a day splashing around out there, and I'm soaking up these moments of kid. I have a feeling it won't be long before this isn't quite so thrilling, so we are enjoying it while we can.

The kids and I also enjoyed a weekend with some friends at their lake house:

There is nothing better than sitting on a boat and watching the sun set...especially when you are with great friends.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Happy Father's Day to the Best!

We spent yesterday celebrating the best daddy ever! The kids planned the whole day, and I was super amused by their thought process.

Of course, they started with the meals. They decided we should start with sausage gravy and biscuits, pack a picnic lunch of all gluten-free foods featuring a roast beef sandwich, and end the day with steak. They know their father.

They were also very pleased with their gift idea! They bought a small tackle box and filled in with peanuts, almond joys, gummy worms, and many flavors of swedish fish. On the top, they wrote a note that said, "Hugs and Fishes for Father's Day!" They're so punny.

After breakfast, they wanted to take Daddy fishing:
 Bless him. He spent his morning packing fishing gear, hauling fishing gear, setting up fishing gear, and catching nothing.

We did make a new friend:
This very long black snake joined our picnic! He was super cool to watch.

One day hardly seems like enough for the man that keeps us laughing on the rails. We love you, handsome!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

So Much Celebrating

We have had a few weeks of much celebrating--so much so I haven't even been able to blog! I thought I would do one quick recap...

We started the weekend after we got back from Italy with Issa's dance recital:
 For the record, I had on heels and she was barefoot in that picture. She danced beautifully, and I love celebrating a successful season with her.

Nana also did really well! Issa wanted a picture of both of them in their tap costumes:
 And Aunt Shannon wanted on of both of them in their sparkly costumes:
 Aunt Shannon made the trip in, and we were all grateful that the only thing we celebrated that weekend was the recital. It was lovely to not try to squeeze in a birthday for Evan, too!
Speaking of Evan, he humored me with a family picture:
 Last week, we celebrated Evan graduating to brown belt! Issa found her own little following during the testing:
 Littles are just drawn to her.

Brad did some coaching:
With all of his travels, Brad and Evan now graduate different months. The first time that happened, Evan wanted to wait. Now, no so much:
 A year from August he will be testing for his black belt!

Saturday, the boys had a video game night while we girls went to see Cats:
 Issa and I loved all the dancing!

And today, we are celebrating the end of the school year:

 So long fourth and seventh grades! Hello, summer!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

To Italy and Back Again

I am officially recovered from two weeks in Italy! 

Once again, I got to go with Jennifer, my favorite Italian partner in crime:
 Between the two of us, we know just enough Italian, people, and interesting tidbits to make the experience work for our students.

This time, I also got to take my favorite person in the world:
 Brad served as a third faculty member/resident dad/my sanity for the trip. I am so grateful to have shared my favorite place on earth with him.

Our first major outing was to Assisi:
 I have no idea how, but somehow I managed to get us there via the top, which made for a pretty striking entrance:
 Brad and I send the kids a picture everyday, and this was our first one outside of Sansepolcro:
 The kids in return sent us pictures of the dogs. So...we sent this one of Brad making a new friend in Deruta:
 This very clever dog has learned to drop his ball through the fence at the pottery academy:
 We found a great view of the duomo in Florence:
 And I love this picture Brad grabbed of me:
 I don't have very many pictures of me teaching, and at that moment I was talking about the history of Florence and Pitti Palace. This group really liked to stay with us, which was fun. Jennifer and I became famous for our tidbits of information. Brad became famous for making stuff up when we didn't know.

Of course we visited the chingale to ensure we came back to Florence:
 And Brad finally found truly amazing gluten free pizza:
 WE ended our adventures in Rome:
 And Brad and Jennifer took part of the group up to the top of St. Peter's for this view of Rome:
 I stayed solidly on the ground with those who share my aversion to heights.

Brad and I took a small subset to the Forum:
 This was my first time there, and it is my new favorite place in Rome. We spent 2.5 hours there, but we could have wandered so much longer.

The whole group toured the Colosseum:
 Most of our time, though, was spent in the little slice of Heaven called Sansepolcro. We could not asked for a better group of girls to travel with. They were fun, thoughtful, and eager to engage with each other, us, and the town. They even made us flower crowns while we were waiting on the bus:

 We had one sick kiddo who couldn't travel on the weekend, so she stayed with we grown-ups. Once she was starting to recover, we ventured out for dinner:
 And did things I've never done in Sansepolcro! We saw the lace museum, whose women are part of the UNESCO trust. It was amazing to watch them make lace. We went to the herb museum, which was super fun for me, and we climbed the bell tower, which was significantly less fun for me. See...this is my I'm doing it but I'm freaking out face:
 Brad was very proud of me:
We also got to see the famous flag bearers of the town in action that weekend:
 Once everyone returned we returned to Il Faggetto to learn to make bread, see how olive oil is made, and spend an amazing afternoon with a dear friend:
 And we got to to the archives to see written histories. These broke our hearts:
 Each packet is the record of a child left at the convent because the family couldn't care for them. Most of them had a trinket left, often half a coin. The family kept the other half in case they could ever come back for them:
 I loved sharing this little town with Brad:
 It has so much to offer, including hikes to the river:
 One of these kiddos might have grabbed stinging nettle on the way:
 And so much history and love. And I loved sharing it with them:

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Happy Birthday, Evan!

Our boy is officially ten!

He woke up to balloons in his doorway:
 That one really liked to spin!

He took cupcakes to school, and he went to the dojo, where he was flipped ten times to celebrate. Basically, the day couldn't get any better for this kid!

He asked for bacon cheeseburgers for dinner, and in a hysterical moment asked to save his cake for the next day because he was just too full. This is particularly hysterical because he asked for a Whitt's ice cream cake. I ordered it last week, but somehow the order got lost. Thankfully, they were able to scramble the cake and I made a second trip to pick it up. So glad everyone rushed for it to sit in our freezer overnight.

Last night, we finally did the whole cake thing. Mr. Man was good in his pajamas and towel:

Unfortunately, I had no idea he was not a fan of sparkler candles. Nothing says happy birthday like a little bit of fear:
We did enjoy the cake, and we will finish the celebrating Saturday with the Avengers movie. I'd say our boy has had a pretty awesome birthday, though.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Making friends with nature...

The end of last week brought a little drama. I already mentioned we are without AC and we had a dying tree. Well...Thursday night Issa woke me up because there was a bat in her room. I know he got in through my bathroom window; the screen was missing and I forgot to put the window down when I went to bed. Issa a super calm. She woke up because she heard it chittering and the wing flapping. He was doing lovely loops around her room.

I called Brad to help me think this through, and after consulting the google we realized we needed animal control to come get said bat since she had been asleep with it in her room--as had I. We got the cat out easily, but then I had to make many trips in and out in between his loops to get her clothes for the next day and everything else she needed. We closed the door and I called animal control in the morning. They were awesome, and they managed to locate the bat and remove it in record time. That said, I spent the rest of the day praying he didn't have rabies. I've never been so glad to get a call in my life! We are all clear, but I am still just a little jumpy around any noise that sounds like bat wings.

Friday afternoon, the tree guy called to see if he could come take out the tree before last weekend's storms. Yes, please! Our house looks so much bigger now:
 While the kids were with Mom Friday night, I spent the evening mowing, weeding, and pruning.

With that giant tree gone, we have regained our front porch! Just look at that view and sky:
Every night we have sat on the porch, and the dogs are loving it, too:
It's been a lovely way to make friends with nature again after our little adventure.