Tag Archives: family

My Antique Book Kick

I love books and I love reading and I love antique books …oh, and I love reading.  Did I mention that?  Bob loves reading too and I think it’s safe to say that we came into our marriage with a lot* of books.

*this may or may not be a slight understatement

Real talk: we have three large book shelves in the living room alone.
This is my favorite section in our collection:20120624-224513.jpg
Several volumes handed down to me by my great-grandmother.  (and an adorable picture of my oldest two … Awww, so cute … right?)


My great-grandmother’s name inscribed and then my great-aunt’s note to herself that the book might some day go to me (those are my initials under the signature).

My favorite has always been this book:

It’s such an old-school, sensational fairy tale with kidnapping, mistaken identities, tiny Bavarian kingdoms, Europe before the first world war …ah, I can’t even help myself. Look at these illustrations!


Okay, I’ll stop … Except, oh wait, I didn’t stop … I actually Googled the author a few weeks ago and found out that he was quite the prolific writer. And … SCORE! … Most of his books are free downloads for my Kindle!  (insert shameless Amazon plug here)

I downloaded … never mind.  I won’t even tell you how many I’ve downloaded.  It’s embarrassing.  Nor will I tell you how many of them I’ve stayed up late to read.  That’s even more embarrassing.

I don’t know what is more intriguing for me: the late-nineteenth century drama or the early-twentieth century social commentary.20120624-224833.jpg

See?  I’m waxing historical. I can’t even help myself…

Happy Summer reading to me!

What are you reading this summer?





The 87 Hour Day

Today was an 87 hour-long day in which bedtime was always 86 hours away no matter what time it was.  It was a day when the last person standing was the winner, and if only one person was crying at a time, the winner was me.  Even as I attempt to compose my thoughts here [writing in real-time!], I have been interrupted to 1) answer the question “Mom, am I being quiet enough in bed?“, 2) deal with the child who doesn’t care if he’s being quiet at all – in fact, the louder, the better, and 3) answer the evening questions from the training potty: “Yes, that is where you go to the bathroom.  Yes, that is where you take a shower.  Yes, that is where you wash your hands.  No, you may not read a magazine.” (still unclear if he actually had to use the facilities or wanted a quick round of bathroom-style ’20 questions’).

Still, despite the giant cup of crazy that is my life right now, it’s a great place to be.  Here are just a few of the reasons why:  (Just so you know –  I’m writing these down as much for myself today as for anybody else…)

  • I live in a land where the phrase “Who wants a popsicle?!” makes me a national hero.
  • I live in a land where all injuries, real or imagined, are healed with a kiss and hug.
  • …where playing play-dough makes me cool.
  • …where flights of fancy are celebrated and even required.
  • …where “therapy” is a fuzzy baby head pressed on my shoulder.
  • …where just because my name is “Mom”, I am invincible. (and can even resuscitate the caterpillar that Chase ate) (not really) (but they thought I could)

Thinking about what a fun land I live in reminds me to be thankful on these long days.

Now I’m back to real-time.  I need to go tell them to put their heads on their pillows and be quiet (again) (you’d think they’d be tired after 87 hours) … and maybe kiss them and snuggle them in … just one more time.  :)

Good Night.



Finding My Voice … Again

5 months. 

The longer I wait to write again, the harder it becomes to (re)find my voice.  I have posts and stories rolling around in my head endlessly – many of which end up like a punchline on Twitter* – but today is THE DAY.  No more procrastinating – back to writing I go!

In these months that you’ve been languishing without a good E-FAMILY read (see? I’m rolling in the jokes already!), we’ve coalesced as a family of six, we’ve completed a first year of classical school, many various and sundry activities, and lots of time with family and friends.

I can’t wait to share much of our time with you!

Reader warning: this will probably mean that you’ll be reading about our January in July.

Yes, we’re so out we’re in.

Have you missed us?  Here we are!

Please disregard whatever Easter candy it is that’s sticking out of Chase’s mouth. (I clearly did)


*shameless self promotion: if you’re not following me on Twitter, you should be [@eurofiedchic]

And He Made It to Age 2…

There are only so many times you want to find yourself staring at a positive pregnancy test in shock.  Frankly, that number would probably be a big fat “zero” for me.  Yet, that’s exactly what I was doing in the late winter of 2009.  A pregnancy test in one hand and a 3 month old in the other…

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” ~Proverbs 16:9


At exactly 3:02 PM on December 12, 2009, we welcomed our precious Chase into this world.


Overwhelming at times? Yes.  Humbling always? Yes.  Would I have it any other way? No.

Happy Birthday, Chasey-Bear!  We love you!

**Note: Whether it’s an afternoon of being born or playing around the house, his mouth is almost always open and there’s usually [loud] noise coming out of it.**

The July That Wasn’t

July 2011 was going to be about recovering and preparing for the Fall.  We had a wonderful time with family and summer activities throughout June and July was to be the recuperation month.  But it didn’t happen… which is completely fine because we ended up having much more fun the way it went down.

This is my sister Abby and her husband Trevor. 

They live in Maine.  Someday, I will write about her unusual wedding -which may or may not have been in a remote location in North Carolina and may or may not have involved me holding a shot gun in a bridesmaid’s dress, or not jumping up and down like a complete dork- but for today, I will tell you that they live in Maine and they are preparing to go to Kenya as missionaries, which is where Trevor grew up.  Trevor is my African brother-in-law … of this, I am quite proud. 

I’m also very proud of Abby who is carrying her first child: due about 6 weeks after my 4th.  I’m a little less proud of how totally un-pregnant she looked in July.  This is most likely due to her sick enjoyment of working out and running marathons.  (I sometimes ponder how genetically connected we truly are)

Along with her delusions of fitness and health, she is clearly struggling with hormones during pregnancy because she likes the name “Elvis” for her unborn son.  I prefer to call my in-utero nephew “Thing 1”.  Po-tay-to; po-tah-to … you know?

During the two and a half weeks they were here, Trevor built bookcases for my parents’ living room.  This was a source of CONSTANT joy to my boys as there was a steady stream of tool-usage all over the house.  (They remain both petrified and enthralled by the screech of a circular saw)  Not that they needed any further reason to be in love with their Uncle Trevor … Uncle T is their motivational force on almost everything.  Standing over six feet tall, he is a monument of … well, incredible tallness to both my little midgets.  A standard conversation in our house goes like this:

“Bud, you have to eat your beans.”

“I don’t want to!”

“But they’re healthy and they’ll make you grow big and strong!”

“Big and strong like Uncle Trevor?”

As a parent, it is very hard not to use this weakness in them (Aidan especially) as an excuse to get them to do, well, anything“But, I’m sure Uncle Trevor would eat this”, or “Uncle Trevor would wear shorts like that”, or “Uncle Trevor would never talk to his Mommy that way”.  Don’t worry, I said it was hard; but impossible.  To date, I have never used this paragon of brother-in-law-hood to talk my kids into doing anything other than eating their vegetables … and getting their hair cut … and maybe once I got Aid to wear his camo pants because it was the only pair I had for him at the moment.  But that’s it, I promise!

Sidenote:  Aidan also asks me if he’ll someday be as big and strong as his Aunt Meg (my diminutive, loud-mouthed, 5 foot tall sister) … not sure at ALL where that one comes from.  And Meg, if you’re reading this, I apologize for slightly mis-representing you … I know you’re really a little over 5 feet tall.  (insert snide older sibling laugh here)

Here are a few pictures …

My sister is a great photographer.  The kids especially love that she lets them take pictures with her camera.  …something their own kill-joy of a mother rarely lets them do.

We spent a lot of time outside, both running through the sprinkler and swimming.  While searching through the garage for appropriate outdoor toys, Aidan found this car brush … which -not knowing what a car brush is- he referred to as his “toothbrush”.  …wow, so close … and yet so far.

How many small children can YOU fit in one paddle pool?  In other news: Darcy is the best and most patient older sister ever.

This was captured just seconds before Aidan put the bucket over his head, tripped over the side of the pool, and unceremoniously fell in.  If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred time, but in light of this photo, I think it bears repeating … he might not be college scholarship material.  I’m just sayin’…

Here is Uncle T working on the bookshelves in the driveway.  Sidenote: like many craftsmen (is it part of their union contract?), he listened to the radio for background noise much of the time, and I can honestly say I’ve never heard anyone who could cover so many Bon Jovi songs … in a falsetto voice.  Hey, T, if that whole wood-working thing doesn’t work out, you might have a back-up plan…

And finally, here is my father … pretending to work on the bookshelves with Trevor.  If you don’t automatically get Village People’s “Macho Man” in your head when you view this; you should.

Just a few brief glimpses into our fun July.  At some point, I will print a retraction and/or full apology for the last image shared. 

Family is the best. 

Wow, and I still have the chorus to “Macho Man” in my head … wonder how long that’s gonna last …

A Wednesday in December

Wednesday: the first week in December, 2006

I walked out the door to the babysitters with a heavy heart.  I could still hear Darcy screaming inside, but there was nothing else I could do.  Not quite 8:00 AM; it had been an insane morning already!  My mom had been suffering shortness of breath for a several weeks and was in the hospital for heart tests that day — a thought that I was trying desperately hard not to consider the ramifications of as she was Darcy’s primary care giver when I worked — so I had to get Darcy to somebody else’s house, and get her settled and still get to work on time. 

There seems to be an unwritten law of human nature that it’s the morning you most need things to go smoothly that they absolutely do not.  Late alarm, crabby child, one too many stop lights, the necessity of a different babysitter, an early meeting at work, and the far too common freight train blocking the only road I could get to work by.  On top of the full and difficult morning, it was also the week of the Christmas concert, so I had two rehearsals before Sunday.  By the time I finally sat down at my desk to work that Wednesday, I could feel the tension in my temples.  Great, just great.

I was in the process of scrolling through all the morning’s emails when I saw something from Bob.  Smiling at what was sure to be an interesting and encouraging diversion, I opened it.  The email covered a variety of topics … his years spent in Africa, his parents continued ministry there, and a few other topics random topics.  However, the last paragraph was anything but ordinary.  I stopped, read, and re-read… He asked if his friendly email banter was bothering me, and then …”I want to ask you out on a date…”

He went on to outline how he didn’t know where I was at or if I was potentially already in a relationship with somebody else, but he had put his intentions very clearly.  He wanted to go on a date.  As I write this now, it seems ridiculous that I could have been so unaware of his intentions at the time, but I was …and so I was shocked, and not at all sure how to respond.  My eyes focused on the last line “…so feel free to slap me down” …

I couldn’t handle this today.

But how could I not handle it?  I was going to see Bob at the concert rehearsal that night!  There was no escaping this.

A little annoyed at his insensitivity (How could he not know what a crazy day I’m having?”), I shelved the email, determining to come back to it later that day. 

Later on, I called my mom to see how the tests had gone.  She explained to me through a fog of drugs that the tests went well and that the results were encouraging.  I’d never heard my mom so … high.  However, she wasn’t so drugged that she didn’t question the strain she heard in my voice.  Moms are special that way.  Responding to her query, I mentioned the email I’d received. 

Should I?

Why not?  He’s a nice guy.  Just don’t keep him waiting.

Don’t keep him waiting.  Thanks, Mom. 

I silently wished that I had more time.  Maybe I could stall just a little bit.  Not to a mean or cruel level, just to an “I need to catch my breath” level…

I emailed him back later in the day with a polite acknowledgement of his question and the response that “maybe we can grab coffee sometime”.  Not quite a slap down, but at least a slight stall that could save rampant awkwardness at the rehearsal.

I should have known better … characteristic of a trait I now greatly respect in Bob, he demanded the same upfront behavior of me that he did (and does) expect of himself… 

The reply to my email was almost immediate:

“So … was that a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’?”

So much for my stalling technique …

Family and Fun: The Rest of Our June

Yes, I did say “June”.  Someday, I’ll address my disappeared Summer in another blog, but not today. 

Here are some of the photos from the end of our June and our last couple days with Bob’s parents.  We loved our time at the arboretum!

“There are TADPOLES in here, Mom!”

Aidan and Chase had virtually no idea what tadpoles were before this day, but there was parental approval for getting dirty and wet in the stream, so they pretty much assumed that frogs are synonymous with heaven.

Aidan attempted several times to drink from the fresh water stream.  Darcy thought it was humorous.  Bob and I were just thankful it hadn’t occured to him to try it in the tadpole stream. 


“I go swimmin’ now.”  5 seconds before we read the “If your kid wears a diaper, don’t let them sit in the stream” sign.  Oops.

Splashing: Chase’s favorite water activity.  Heck, making that motion with his hands (or feet) is one of his favorite activites.  Period.  It works much better with water than it does with a peanut butter sandwich on a highchair tray.  I’m just sayin’ …

“Grandpa On Duty”

Chase sat down in a giant pile of mulch to eat his pretzel stick snack.  I feel more mentally secure as a parent if I assume in moments like this that YES, my child CAN tell the difference between a wood chip and a pretzel stick.  Though, who am I kidding?  It’s Chase.  He had a pretty high fiber diet that day. 

Last, I leave you with this … evoking all the beauty of Monet.  (the scene; not my amature photography)  Do I sound like an art snob?  On second thought, don’t answer that … just look at the pretty flowers. 

The July That Wasn’t

Have you seen the month of July?  Last time I checked, it was June, and now it’s about to be August.  Yikes!

In truth, the only part of our July that’s been missing is my ability to post blogs.  The month has been full of visiting family and lots of outdoor fun … when it’s not 105 degrees outside. 

Stay tuned this week for more of what our July turned out to be.  It doesn’t disappoint, I promise, and it may, or may not include this:

A little too much?  I agree.  Here, refocus … this is FAR less disturbing:

Ah, less disturbing … Oh wait … yes, that is a car brush, and yes, Aidan did think it was a giant tooth brush.  Okay, so scratch that … we might be slightly disturbed. 

Hey, but we’ve had a fun July, so tune in next week regardless!

Am I the only one whose summer is passing far too quickly?  Please feel free to share some of your summer activities in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!

Family and Fun: the “We Are A Zoo” edition

We went to the zoo this week.  We are a zoo this week … but that is somewhat beside the point.  We probably could have skipped the zoo entirely and taken the kids to a local splash park, but we didn’t.  We are all about giving our kids culturally and naturally diverse experiences … all the better if it’s 90+ degrees and all naps are cancelled … right?  It builds character.

Mesmerized by the dolphins; Chase kept screaming at them.  I’m sure the other patrons really enjoyed this part.

Note: the shadowy blur with a hat is Chase.  Also note: I didn’t adjust the camera settings for a dim interior.

So begin the splash park pictures.  Have I mentioned … ? I’m really not sure why we took them to the zoo at all.

“Aidan, what was your favorite animal to see today?” Aidan: “Um, the water!”

Uh, does anybody need any water?”  [Chase brought his water bottle to the party after we told him that it was inappropriate to take and soak his sister’s hat … I know, we’re out to take away the fun.]

Aidan demonstrates to Chase how to “properly” stick your head directly into the sprinkler.  Ah, those boys …

Darcy (not so much into the splash park antics) had more fun in the Great Bear Wilderness.  “Am I an eagle yet, Mom?”

Darcy: “This is a dumb idea, Mom.” … Aidan: “I want to do it too!”

“Aidan, can you tell the camera what a wolf says?” … Aidan: “Nooooooo!” [at this point, mom and dad realize we might be almost done at the zoo]

But not before we see the polar bear …

Why is Darcy the only one pictured here?  Mostly because the boys were sitting in the stroller, more interested in their pretzel snack.  Hey, we tried …

Next up? The Arboretum!

Family and Fun, pt 2

Family walks are the best!  …the more grandparents there are, the more fun the walk is …

Love this picture more than I can say … Chase between his two grandmothers.

Being a kid is the best!

I might miss it …


The Overgrown Kid

**stay tuned for our zoo adventures**