Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig

I am my parent's daughter. Just like them, I always come home from vacation early!

We tried out a new place which had been recommended by a friend who is a Virginia native. We were quite happy with the location - we would definitely go back. If the kids hadn't gotten sunburned, Eric hadn't gotten a sinus infection and we weren't moving across the world in a few days, we might have stayed longer. But the kids DID get sunburned so they need to stay away from the beach for awhile and Eric DID get a sinus infection requiring a doctor visit and several prescriptions and we ARE moving in...5 we thought it best to come home.

I brought my camera along but never took a single picture! Partly because I wanted to enjoy rather than photograph, partly because I am beginning to think all beach photos look alike and partly because I didn't want to get sand in my camera. So, sorry but no photos.

We went to Emerald Isle, North Carolina. We stayed at a beach front motel that was very adequate but nothing spectacular. The location was perfect for a family -- steps from the beach, walking distance to mini-golf and a place with water slides (tame slides, like the old days) and close to restaurants. We sampled 3 different restaurants and each was excellent. The one that I must mention is called Rucker Johns. Among the things we ate: a basket of croissants drizzled with honey butter. I have seriously never had anything so heavenly. The croissants melted in your mouth and the honey butter made them seem like dessert. I think I will dream of those croissants while in Taiwan!

We played miniature golf at night, after the sun had gone down. The kids had never done it before. They loved it, absolutely loved it. It was fun to watch them. And, ahem, I won! Beat Eric by 3 strokes. Ha! Perhaps I have found something I do better than him. Of course, he is horribly sick, so perhaps I should not agree to a rematch.

The coming days will be busy so it is likely I will not post again until we are settled in Taiwan. But then again, you never know.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A very Skype-y Birthday

Bear with me as I continue to try figuring out how to post photos from my iPad into my blog. I feel like I might as well become a brain surgeon! I THINK I might finally be getting it, although at the moment it seems to be 1 photo at a time.

Anna's birthday was a few days ago. Since Eric was still in Taiwan he "skyped" her. If you've ever heard Eric sing you'll understand why Anna was laughing. ;-)

What a cool thing in our modern world! We were 1/2 way across the world from each other, but got to be together for a bit of Anna's birthday celebration.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

This and That

I actually have taken pictures in the past week; we've had a birthday and other picture-worthy moments. Just haven't had time to transfer them to the computer. I'm in the home stretch as far as packing, and trying to stay on task. Eric arrives on Friday, then we leave on Saturday for a few days at the beach. Crazy, I know, but Eric needs a vacation and this is honestly the only chance he's had or may have in quite awhile.

My Mom seems to remain the same, which is to say she is quite miserable but I still have the privilege of talking with her frequently. I now consider every conversation a gift. She is praying for me and my family, which seems so wrong given her condition, but that is my Mom. A prayer warrior, she is praying specifically for each family member and many friends.

The kids are taking turns sleeping in my bed. What a huge mistake! They wiggle, they kick, and they just generally invade my space. But in a weak moment several days ago I promised they could do this until Dad returns, and I must keep my promise. I am so ready for them to get back to school. Sometimes boarding school sounds good! But not for long.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

How Does Your Garden Monticello?

Can you stand some more flower pictures? I hope so, because I have a lot of them.

Last fall we visited Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.
It is located near Charlottesville, Virginia. The setting could not be more beautiful. You park a ways down hill from the home and walk up through lawns...
and vineyards...

along flower-lined paths...

and under arbors.

This vine-covered tree was along the route. I don't know, but I would guess the vine is very old.

Like everything some 200+ years ago, I suppose it was all self-sustaining. There were fruits...

and vegetables...

and flowers. Lots and lots of flowers.

The house was fascinating, too. Thomas Jefferson was brilliant. He designed the place and apparently would tear things down and build new as he experimented with architecture. There were interesting things inside. But, of course, I remember little of the inside. I was in heaven out amongst the flowers.
If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend a trip to Monticello. Even if you don't like flowers.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Old Favorites (D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival)

Here are some favorites that I took during the 2007 Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C.:

A Few Old Favorites and a New Favorite

I'm not sure who will kill me first for sharing the first of my "old favorites" - Eric or Ethan. Surely they will both want to.

Many years ago Anna received a makeup kit for Christmas. Ethan has always adored his sister, and he has always been jealous of everything she gets. I don't know if adoration or jealously was the root cause of his actions this day, but I found this:

So I'm sorry if the men get all in a tizzy about this picture, but Ethan was only probably 2 years old and the joy on his face just gets me every time. And just for the record, do you see that Tonka truck in the background? He played with that ALL THE TIME. Far more than his sisters makeup.

I don't think the next favorite requires any explanation.

This one might require explanation. The kids LOVE to steal Dad's t-shirts to sleep in. Did then, still do today. Along with that, the way Anna always has her arm around Ethan in pictures touches me a lot. These kids really love each other, and I love that.
Here we have Anna on her first day of Kindergarten with her teacher, Mrs. Merkle. In case you cannot tell, Anna was a bit nervous.

Here they are again, Anna and Mrs. Merkle. This was on her last day of kindergarten. Obviously, the relationship had blossomed.

And Mrs. Merkle segues perfectly into my NEW favorite. It's not the photograph, it's the object of the photograph. It's a Pannekoeken. What does Mrs. Merkle have to do with a Pannekoeken?
You see, Mrs. Merkle has a daughter-in-law who has a great blog (see Amoretti). I was perusing her blog the other day when I found many fabulous recipes in the comment section, as entries for a giveaway. The recipe which grabbed me immediately was for German Pancakes, AKA Pannekoeken's. I made one that morning. It was scrumptious.

I made several more this morning. Rachel and the cousins spent the night with us last night, helping me sort through "stuff". I didn't ask if they might LIKE Pannekoekens, I just told them they must try them. I think they were loved by all. So this is my new favorite breakfast. Easy, yummy, and fun. What more could I want? (Well, a side of bacon or sausage would have been nice. Maybe next time.)

Monday, July 12, 2010

How does Your Garden Grow?

There is not much picture-worthy going on around here lately. We alternately sort through our "stuff" and go to the pool. No big adventures for now. For that reason and because I have so many old photos that I never shared, I will post some old pictures.

Today's were taken two years ago in my sister-in-law's garden in Oregon. She has a whimsical garden in a beautiful setting. They have it all - pasture, creek and mountains. I love these photos, hope you do too!

Our new bed arrived on Friday. Are you dying to see it? I'm sure you are

Well, here it is:

You've heard of Build-A-Bear? This is Build-A-Bed! We'll actually only be shipping 3 of the cartons - they make up the mattress. The other 3 are the platform which will be left here. (We are having one made in Taiwan, but the bed was more expensive WITHOUT the platform so I bought it. Go figure!) In case you're counting, there are a total of 7 packages. The 7th I got to open. It contained the new bedding. It is killing me to leave it in the packages, but I must.

On another subject, I realized today that I have a zillion pictures I should have shared but never did. Here is just one, from the April visit of Eric's Mom and Aunt. I'll post more soon.

For now, we have finished going through the kids closets to determine what fits and what must be gotten rid of. We also sorted through the boxes under Anna's bed. SCARY! Actually, it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected.
We've done our work for the day, now we're off to the pool.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Garden

My garden isn't much this year. I wasn't here to plant new flowers or to keep things waters and treated against bugs. Though you cannot tell now, there are 2 peonies and 1 rose bush in this photo. I was gone when they bloomed, and I was very sad about that.

It has been a strangely dry year and recently extremely hot. My hostas aren't loving it.
I don't generally count hosta flowers as flowers at all, but since I am so bereft of real flowers this year, I decided to count it. It brings my total (that I get to see) to 4.

One of my favorites: purple coneflower or echinachea. The bumble bees are loving these flowers too. On a side note: in Taiwan we bought the kids some oil pastels. One day the kids and I sat and drew pictures. I had never used oil pastels. I rather successfully drew some coneflowers. I was impressed with myself!

A lone rosebud. I have old English roses which I love. They bloom profusely in the spring. (I assume it did this year.) But as summer progresses the heat and Japanese beetles take their toll and I just hope they'll LIVE through to the next year.

One of my daylilies. I don't like common yellow varieties. I had hoped for something purple but I believe I bought this at the end of the season, on sale, when there wasn't much left. I rather like it, even if it's not "my" colors. (By the way, if you look closely there is a small moth deep inside and another bug on the stamen.)

Sadly, this beauty is not in my garden. It is at our community pool. It is a crepe myrtle. I love them. If I ever live here at the proper time I will plant one in my yard.