Tag Archives: sisters

Of Sisters And School

Today, Darcy started first grade.

Bob and I couldn’t be with her, but I want to take a moment to acknowledge this amazing girl. In many ways, the recent changes in our family have hit her the hardest. All I can say is that she tirelessly adjusts SO WELL. Last week, I watched her follow Chase all over the house, carrying his IV bag over her shoulder so that he wouldn’t be hampered in his play.

Just today, as we talked on the phone after school, she heard Chase fussing and -rather than finish our discussion about her class- offered to have me put him on the phone so she could “settle him down”. (she did indeed settle him down…)

Our precious girl made an awesome decision to trust Christ as her Savior this past summer and has had to bravely face several significant things going into the school year.

For these, and so many other reasons, we are so blessed to have her in our lives.

Enjoying these precious moments …

Happy First Grade, Sissy!


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 …

Tomorrow: Carrie’s Summer

Okay, so I’m really excited about tomorrow.  I have been writing a post about Carrie’s summer …

This is Carrie, by the way … in case you forgot….

[Not sure who that gigantic blur is next to her …]

Anyway, I’m really excited to share with you what I’ve been learning about in regards to Care’s summer.  Because she’s cool …

And she puts up with a lot from my kids …

Oh yeah, and she’s cool.  Did I say that already?

Hope to see you tomorrow!

Chocolate Mint Layer Cake

Chocolate … ah, chocolate.  Chocolate makes me happy.
My sister made this fabulous chocolate cake for us last weekend and it was A-Maz-Za-Zing!  The recipe comes from Epicurious.com (there’s a link below), and I would have posted gorgeous pictures of the beautiful finished product, only … well, it’s gone.  Already.  Don’t judge me.  Make this cake.
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup corn oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) mint-flavored chocolate chips


  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons (about) milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (about 6 ounces) mint-flavored chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup red-and-white striped peppermint candies or candy canes (broken into pieces)

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. Mix 2 cups cold water and sugar in large bowl until sugar dissolves. Gradually mix in corn oil and vanilla extract. Whisk in dry ingredients. Divide cake batter among prepared pans. Sprinkle 1/2 cup mint-flavored chocolate chips over cake batter in each pan.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack 15 minutes. Cut around pan sides. Turn cakes out onto racks and cool completely.

For frosting:
Combine powdered sugar, cocoa powder, unsalted butter, 6 tablespoons milk, peppermint extract and vanilla extract in large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat frosting until smooth. Thin with more milk by tablespoonfuls, if necessary.

Place 1 cake layer, chocolate-chip side up, on platter. Spread 2/3 cup frosting over. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Top with second cake layer, chocolate-chip side up. Spread 2/3 cup frosting over. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Top with remaining cake layer, chocolate-chip side down. Spread remaining frosting over sides and top of cake. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome; let stand at room temperature.)

Place striped peppermint candies in heavy plastic bag. Crush with hammer. Sprinkle candies over cake.

Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chocolate-Mint-Layer-Cake-1572#ixzz1MXb3tnFw