Sunday, October 9, 2016

Hurricane Matthew and Another Kind of Hurricane

A hurricane passed through our state this weekend. A big hurricane. An epic hurricane. Hurricane Matthew. Lucky for us, we live in the very northwestest corner of SC, and when you looked at the weather in motion map, even the outermost portion of the rain circle (let alone the eye of the storm) ended just to the east of us. 
Meaning that we got a puddle or two worth of rain one day and a bit of wind the next. Meh. 
This post isn't really about hurricane Matthew though. It's about the hurricane living in my house.
This kid. It's quite amazing how similar he is to a hurricane sometimes. Unpredictable. Capable of much mayhem, depending on his mood and direction. Irresistible to watch as he carves out his daily path. 
Not sure the hurricanes are as adorable as him as he does "tooty tah" at preschool though.

Lions and Tigers and October Bugs, Oh My!

You know it's almost Halloween around here when really weird bugs start popping up. Brandon found this guy in our upstairs bathroom. Really makes you want to take a shower over here, doesn't it? Weird!

There is a program on the local public radio station called "Nature Notes," where people send in pictures of straaaaaaaaange creatures and the host identifies them. That is so our next step. We will return and report!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Alyson's visit: Clemson vs. Louisville game

Last weekend, Brandon's sister Alyson joined us for a few days of football fun. That one team we root for was playing another really good team and since Alyson and Brandon are super-albeit-long-distance Clemson football buddies (via play-by-play texts as often as possible), we had a hunch this would be a really great game for her to come to. You know, over the river (Mississippi) and through the woods (Rockies), it's cool.
She arrived in time for a trip to the botanical gardens with Soren and me (not quite autumn around here yet, but not hot and sweaty as early as 10am anymore, thankfully!):
She also was fantastically brave and went mountain biking with these two die-hards Saturday morning:
But really, most of our time together was spent preparing for, participating in, or smiling about the big football game. Annie was over the moon about these nail stamps. I watched and watched and still don't quite have any idea how it worked, but I know that it scored Alyson points big time in the "awesome aunt" category.
Oh, the game! First of all, I feel like night football games are insane to begin with, folks having tailgated for approximately 12 hours BEFORE the thing even starts, then having to be enthusiastic for 3-4 MORE hours when really they should all be IN BED. Still, even I will admit it's quite a sight to see, up there in the upper deck, waiting for the magic to happen.
And magic DID happen, although again, if you ask me, it's all just a little too stressful. In fact, I had to turn it off mid-3rd quarter when things were going downhill. It wasn't until I heard celebratory screaming throughout the neighborhood around midnight that I ventured back to the live coverage, just in time to see our opponents almost get a touch down (incomplete pass in the end zone), then not make a fourth down conversion, and our boys take a victory knee. PHEW!
And then I went to bed.
And TWO HOURS LATER, my people returned. Traffic, yikes!
Next time, they are just going to walk home from the stadium.
Still.....pretty cool and all.
Alyson also came through with two delicious recipes for a brunch we were hosting Sunday morning for the young single adults in our ward. Can you say Sausage Breakfast Casserole and Apple Brown Sugar French Toast? Deeeeeeee-licious.

We loved having you Alyson! Thanks for your school spirit and your enjoyment of us and your all- around awesomeness.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

If an event doesn't make it to the blog, did it really happen?

Sometimes, pictures I take don't make it to the blog. Of course, if they don't make it to the blog, they don't get published in the blog book. And if they don't get published in the blog book, they get lost forever in cyber space. And that's not ok! :)
 Ok, so it's probably okay. There are a lot of memories already going on here. But I have a pretty terrible memory and usually don't remember anything unless I can go back and relive it, either by words or a pic of some sort. So, here are some moments in these last weeks I don't want to forget:

First, more knitting. Did I even show you my owls? Yes, I remember the first owl was created back in Utah and there IS blog evidence. I made another when I got home, a bright pink one who we named "Big Bertha" for her size and girth. Afterwards, we went searching for a new project. And by "we," I mean Annie because she is both the most supportive family member in regards to this new hobby AND the most likely recipient of the knitted treasures. She asked for leg warmers, I made them! It only took me five and a half years! They were supposed to be 26 inches but I stopped a few inches after this picture because with 52 of the same back and forth knit/pearl stitches in each row for 97 rows, IT WAS ALREADY ENDLESS ENOUGH. Annie didn't seem to mind, and word on the street is that her ballet buddies would all like a pair. Yikes!
Annie is spending more and more time at the ballet studio. Sometimes I wonder if this is what "normal" 8 year olds do. But Annie has never been very normal, and this place of discipline, grace, and hard work seems to fit her like a glove, so I'm happy to get her there. Here's a souped up picture I took of her sometime last week, practicing her variation for YAGP in January. New leg warmers included, woot!
 Next, Z's actual birthday. B was out of town, so we had to find a way to make it special. Someone thought up the brilliant-then-ridiculous idea of eating out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Bojangles, Chick-Fil-A, and Super Taco later, wow, we were spent. Oh wait, first we ate cake from Publix. Then we were spent. We also played an immense amount of games that day, while Annie Nutcrackered. When wondering what color my dining room it, please refer to the left side, below.
 (I asked for goofiness in this next shot. I received a teenage sulk, crossed eyes, and a third finger. Oopsie!)
 Happy real birthday Z! We can't do that eat out every meal again for a long while, ok?
 Finally, this third child of mine. He continues to fill my day with cheekiness, from his head to his toes (which sometimes find their way to the table).
 He likes to begin every (and I mean EVERY) sentence with,  "Mom, guess WHAT."  To which I have to reply, "What?" or else he will repeat, "Mom, guess WHAT" over and over until I can't take it any more. (I can just picture my grandma Mimi saying, "Don't say what, say yes grandma!")
 He also likes to express how he's feeling by saying, "My body feels like....."
For instance, right now it's 10pm and I just told him it's bedtime (he had a long car nap today) and he replied, "My body feels like.........3 more minutes of playing!" Who can argue with that?
He will also tell me his body feels like screens (as opposed to playing with his cars or books or any of the hundreds of other toys we have) and his body feels too terrible to clean up most of the time.  So in other words, he's a normal 4 year old and I love his guts. Especially when his body feels like a snuggle.
One night I tried to capture a pretty dusk-plus-bike experience. We went down to the end of the street, took one smile-y picture, then his body felt "uh-SAUCE-sted" and we limped back up the 25 yards to our driveway. Good thing he's so cute.
Okay, back up to date with pictures!

Clemson Classic 2016

Another swim meet is in the books! Zane shined once more, that kid is ridiculous. :) Speaking of Zane, can you find him in the picture below? 
This meet already showed the maturity of my now-twelve-year-old, as he left eeeeeearly to warm-up with the big kids, was okay when I had to miss his first big event to take his sister to Nutcracker practice,  and did a remarkable job with  his first (tough!) event, the 400 IM. When I picked him up to take him home for lunch, he laughed and said, "I was pretty tired after the first 100 (butterfly)." Well, later we found out that he put up a fast enough split in the 100 butterfly (1:16.70) to qualify for state. I guess that would make a body tired, eh?!
After lunch, I dropped him back at the pool and went to get my Annie. She is such an outstanding student over there at Foothills Dance. But I'll save that for another post.
I missed Zane's 7:00.03 500 free (sorry not sorry, hee hee), but heard the news that his made personal bests in his 50 and 100 splits (32.91 and 1:11.85). Phew! I did make it back for the next race, a 200 IM.
Now, break in the action. Have you seen the commercial lately where someone is taping something REALLY cool or REALLY important and at the last second, the "NOT ENOUGH SPACE" message flashes on the screen and they MISS IT?!?!
Yeah well, that exact thing happened to me. Zane swam a 2:41 race. I got 2:40 of it. Enjoy (shudder).  ;) Zane is in lane 5, from the top. (So he ALMOST catches up to his competition.....and then the video runs out.)
Splits were 33.25 (butterfly) (another STATE CUT!), 44.08 (back), 47.23 (breast), and 37.16 (free).

 I had every intention of getting back for his next event, but things were running long at the pool and it all the sudden bumped into getting Annie out the door to a touring production of Cinderella the Musical at the Performing Arts Hall on campus with our sweet neighbors. Soren and I pulled up just in time to get this text from Brandon (who was on-deck officiating all day):
" Zane got state cut in 50 back."
Now, I should explain. Zane has always thought of himself as a butterfly-er. NEVER a back stroker. Until today. When I saw him and his big grin, he said, "I don't know what happened! It used to be my least favorite stroke, but now it's definitely my second favorite!" Well there you go.
Time was 34.71.
Soren and I stuck around for Zane's final race of the day, 200 free. Bless the heart of this little brother, trying out new ways to block out the never-ending noise! 
Here's half of the race. I didn't learn my lesson from the first space fail. Double shudder. Zane's in lane 4 this time.
2:33.92 was the final time. 
Zane, you're my hero. Keep up the fantastic work, dude.
That was a long, detailed update! I'm either very cool or very ridiculous. :)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Labor Day on Lake Keowee

We had the super happy opportunity to join our good friends on their boat for Labor Day. It was a beautiful day and we all took turns on their beloved "Super Mable" tube. Yes, you heard that right, we ALL took turns, including me (usually the party pooper)! Sure, my turn lasted approximately 5 minutes and Soren was right next to me so you can imagine how hard core the ride was, but I was on and I made B take a picture so it was totally bonafide.
Speaking of Soren, he was a trooper! Usually we go swimming at these folks' house, so the whole time out, he kept asking "Please we find the pool now?" Luckily (?), he'd had a rough night the night before and went from Mable-ing to questioning to sagging to full-on sleeping about halfway through the outing.
I took a bunch of tubing pictures, but turns out they all look about the same and this was the best of the bunch. Both Zane and Annie had an absolute blast, tubing and falling (Zane) and tubing and falling (Zane) and tubing and ....well, you get the picture. 
We feel so grateful to our friends for inviting us to enjoy the beauty of our area in this way. Until next time!

Thursday, September 8, 2016


Guess who finally got to go to preschool this morning?!
He's a honeybee. He can't be more excited. When I asked what he thought he might do his first day, he said, "Maybe make honey?!" 
He will go twice a week for real, then one more time with me as music teacher's kid.  He's got his Mariokart backpack and he is READY.
He's also super darling and I love him to bits.
Oh, and here we are afterwards, with his first take-home activity. Honeycombs, anyone?
Hooray for onward and upward!
Oh, and speaking of onward and upward, we said goodbye to our red car this morning after 11 years of running it into the ground.
See that fellow in the passenger seat there? He was six teeny months old when we got this car. He's a little sad, but I'm pretty sure all will be well once he can spread out in the backseat of the Sienna.
(Yes, you heard right. I can't wait for extra seats! Now when you come visit, we will actually be able to transport you around! Imagine it!)