Monday, October 14, 2019

A Rustic Hot Tub

A while  ago, Grace asked Bryce is he would make her a rustic "hot tub" to soak in.  After some YouTube watching, he got to work on it this past week and we were able to put it to the test this weekend.  While there are some tweaks that need to be made (it currently takes a long time to get hot) it was quite fun and Grace really enjoyed it!

The wood fire heats up the water as it flows through the copper coils.  There was a lot of science talk as this whole thing was put together.  Physics in real life!

Bryce also made a cedar topper for the tub (it's a feed/water trough that we picked up at a farm supply store).  

All in all, it's a fun addition to the farm!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019


For a while, it was looking as if the dahlias might not make it this year.  We've had a lot of insect pressure on the petals and we were a bit flummoxed over the short stem length.  However, here we are at the end of the growing season and the dahlias seem to be coming into their own!

The symmetry and perfection on some of these flowers just leaves me in awe.

The insects don't seem to bother the pom pom ones as much as the frilly, loosely petaled varieties.  Also, they last longer in the vase!

The Cafe Au Lait has been producing many blooms but it's interesting to see all the color variation on the same exact plant.  Here, it has a blush to it while many of the other blooms are super creamy.

 This pretty dahlia won me a first place ribbon in my garden club horticulture show!

While I love dahlias, I will admit that I think a few varieties border on a bit too much for me.  This one is right on the edge but I still like it :).

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

A Letter to Harris on How To Treat a Girl

Dear Harris,

As you know, Grace just broke up with a boy that sort of broke her heart.. twice.  She didn't want to break up with him but his attitude required her to for her own self respect.  I"m super proud of how brave she was to do that!  While there are many lessons for Grace to learn, watching (and worrying and worrying some more) this story unfold has reminded me how very important it is for me and your Dad to teach you how to treat girls and women (and frankly, anyone).  I fear that we've thought that surely you would just pick it up from your Dad as he has always treated myself and your sister with respect and care.  However, I've come to realize that with teenage boys (and girls!) one really has to spell it out in very plain and simple terms so here it goes...

1.  Tell her she's beautiful, not hot, but beautiful.  There is a difference and most girls know it.

2.  Don't be self absorbed.  Ask about her, about her day, her dreams, her hopes.   Ask them if you can come see them do something they love- watch a game, a show, a favorite concert.  Show genuine interest.  If you aren't interested in who they are, don't date them.

3.  Go out of your way and make an effort.  If a girl asks you to come see a sunrise, go see it.  Those extra few hours of sleep aren't worth what you will be missing nor the message that you will be sending.

4.  If you discover, after a few dates or even a few months, that you just aren't that into her, tell her.  Tell her face to face and with care and respect.  Don't start ghosting her, coming up with excuses, and awkwardly avoiding her.  That's nothing but disrespectful and says way more about your character than hers.

5.  Always come to the door and say hello to her parents.  Texting her that you are in the driveway is lame.  Also, say goodbye to her parents when you leave their home and say thank you.

6.  No means no.  For anything.  Holding hands, kissing, the list goes on and on.  Don't assume anything.  And don't kiss and tell.

7.  Don't listen to your friends, most of them are totally clueless and have the wrong ideas about girls completely.  Also, don't allow them to speak ill or disrespectfully of any girl.

8.  Be a gentleman.  Hold the door, take her flowers, write her a note, and don't be crass in front of her.

9.  Do what you say you will do and show up when you say you will.

10.  If you do something stupid (and you will), apologize for it.  A genuine apology can heal many wounds but being too proud to own up to a mistake can destroy a relationship.

11.  When your relationship ends, be respectful for a decent amount of time afterwards,  don't start galavanting around with the next girl immediately.  That's hurtful and mean.

Be prepared that when the time comes, I'm going to remind you and talk to you about all of these things.  It's not a one and done sort of venture because someday your relationship will be forever (we hope!) and it's so important for you both to get it right so you might as well start practicing now.  I can't tell you how many people have said over the past few weeks how stupid 17 year old boys are and can be.  I believe that there is something to that, but I don't think it has to be that way.  Be the exception, not an excuse.

I love you always,


Thursday, September 5, 2019

First (and Last for One) Day of School

You guys, I"m feeling all the feelings.  Our children are both in high school and one of them is a senior.  It's so cliche but I simply do not know where the time went.  (Also, how am I this old????)

This is the first time that both children have been in the same school in 7 years and it makes me super happy.  Harris had orientation starting on Tuesday, and they both attended yesterday for a school wide book day (summer reading themed day) but today was the first day of classes.

And... Grace went to school with a fever so she says she looks poor in these photos.  However, I still think she looks beautiful!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Camping in The Catskills

We got back a couple of days ago from a quick Airstream trip to the Catskills.  We stayed at North/South Lake Campground and had a fantastic couple of days.  It was so nice to just be together and unplug.  As a bonus, the weather was so much cooler and nicer than at home!  Harris made us a fire each night! We also took Rosie, who has turned out to be a fantastic camper.

Our first full day, we hiked to the Kaatterskill Falls and had the best time swimming in the pools at the base of the waterfalls.  It was so beautiful!

There were lots of hiking trails surrounding the campground and we hiked up to see a beautiful view of the Hudson Valley.  Later that day, we drove to Colgate Lake and went for a swim.  Grace kept saying that it was like out of a painting it was so quaint.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Summer Blues

I haven't posted much this summer because frankly, I haven't felt like it.  While our trip to Alaska,  several smaller trips and having family visit were absolutely fantastic, I've struggled a bit this summer.  My motivation is super low, I feel out of my depth and overwhelmed trying to start a business and I've spent a great deal of time worrying about our children.  They are fine but that doesn't mean that I have found a million things to worry about- being a parent to a teen is absolutely no joke.  And the fact that we only have one year left with Grace at home is definitely weighing on me.  It's not about her, she has so many exciting and new things to look forward too, it's about me.  I've spent 17 years parenting our children and I'm finding it difficult to start to redefine my "job."  Plus, I"m going to miss her tremendously!  I worry that I'm already feeling this way as we still have senior year to get through!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Vacation With the Parsons

We recently met up with some of our very favorite people to spend a few days camping together in Virginia!  We've known and loved the Parsons since our college days and our children are literally each other's first friends!  The only really unfortunate thing was that Harris was not with us as he is currently at camp!

Jack loves to boat and so he made sure to get us on the water both of our full days together.  The children (and the guys) went tubing and had a blast.  Since moving from Atlanta , we really never get to go boating so it was a real treat for us.

On our way home, we stopped for a bit of a college tour at UVA.  The Parsons are big fans and were happy to show us around.  Grace has always thought she wanted to go to a small school for college but we think it's a great idea to look at all sorts of schools.  We parted ways at UVA but Kathleen and I both agreed that it was not nearly enough time together!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Family Visit

This has been the summer of family visits and we love it!  Bryce's sister, Leah and family, came to visit from Iowa and they even convinced their brother, Ben to join for a couple of days.  It was wonderful to visit with them and for the children to see and visit with their cousins.

We spent most of our time on the back patio (we got lucky with weather for July!) but we did manage to take a day and go to the beach.  It was so crowded but it didn't seem to make a difference in that it was still loads of fun and a beautiful day!

One day we went down to the creek and played and floated down the (very) "lazy river."  It was such fun and we are so glad they made the effort to visit us.  We are already looking forward to the next time we see them!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Seward, Alaska

For the last part of our trip, we traveled to Seward, Alaska.  This part of Alaska is on the coast and we were excited to see the water and hoped to catch glimpses of some sea life!  There was a major forest fire in the area so while we were there, there was often a layer of smoke settling in and obscuring the mountains.

We took a boat out for the day and were lucky enough to catch glimpses and observe sea otters, sea lions, humpback whales and orca whales (plus bald eagles and lots of sea birds!).  We were super lucky with perfect weather and smooth seas!

 sea otter, how cute is he?

 a pack of orca whales

 a humpback whale 

 just hangin out...

sea lion and his ladies

The scenery was beautiful as we made our way to the Aialik Glacier.

The Aialik Glacier dumps into the sea and I wish these pictures gave some perspective for just how massive and awe inspiring it really is.  It was fairly active while we were there so we saw a fair amount of calving (when the ice falls off into the ocean).  

That evening, the boat stopped at Fox Island where we had a tasty dinner of crab legs!

That evening, after getting off of the boat, we had some downtime at the river.  With it never getting dark this time of year in Alaska, there was plenty of time to enjoy all it has to offer!

The next day, we did some sea kayaking.  We kayaked 8 miles and hiked 4.  It was a tiring, but beautiful, day and I didn't take many pictures at all.  

Before we headed back to Anchorage to catch our flight home, we visited Exit Glacier.  On this trail they have marked the location of the glacier through the years and it was a stark reminder of how much is melting and fading every year.  In fact, our whole trip was a good lesson in how we must take care of this planet of ours and start to make hard, but important, choices that may be inconvenient for us but life saving for the planet.

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