Saturday, June 30, 2012


I love summer. I love the sun, the heat, the blue skies. I love wearing sandals and cool summer clothing. I love the food -- grilling, fresh fruit, ice cream. I love the activities -- swimming, playing outside, reading outside. I love the relaxed feel of summer.

Well, relaxed yet busy. Besides the obvious (working, schooling, cleaning, dishes, errands, groceries, etc.), here's a sampling of what we have been doing:

Saw Pixar's "Brave"
Participating in the library summer reading program
Kids have been playing baseball in the backyard with neighborhood friends
Playing lots and lots of board games - inside and outside
Reading "Holes" together as a family outside
Enjoying a sleepover -- a friend of mine and two of her girls -- food, fun, more games!
Volunteering at the library
Campfire, Smores, and playing in the woods at our friends' house
Playing some fun Wii games
Enjoying ice cream treats
Catching fireflies - one of our favorite summer traditions
Eating grilled burgers -- mmmmm.
Hanging out in our jammies on some days
Filling our bird feeders and watching the birds
Playing baseball
Making grilled Pizza - Philly Cheese Steak and more to come!
Playing at the park
Eating frozen lemonade pie
Enjoying our town's celebration with a booth for our business
Doggie play dates
Eating delicious grilled fish
Working on various projects
Dungeons and Dragons groups
Reading lots
Walking our dog
Driving around to look at the fields light up from all the fireflies
Getting together with friends to do L.A.R.P. (live action role playing)
Snuggling and watching the lightning show during summer thunderstorms
Eating a lot of fresh salads
Playing Capture the Flag, Ultimate Frisbee, and tons of other outside games
Library book bingo
Driving with the windows down and the music up
Family bike rides - with Scout in the bike trailer
Hanging laundry - love to do that in the summer!
Drinking green shakes - yum!
Participating in our bank's summer reading program
Having playdates with friends
Playing with our adorable dog -- we LOVE her!
Enjoying fruits and veggies from our CSA
Going to the pool as a family and with friends
Getting a 25-lb. box of fresh blueberries and eating them like crazy
Trying frozen cake pops - also yum!
Doing our homeschool portfolios and evaluations
Free summer kids' movies
Thing 2 and I went on a double date with his friend and his friend's grandma
Getting take out and watching the movie "Holes" as a family
Spending A LOT of time on our patio and in our backyard
Kids have been playing copious amounts of Minecraft with friends
Seeing our friend's play
And so much more . . .

It's a good busy. It's a happy busy. We enjoy ourselves and smile and laugh a lot. Life is good. We are all excited for the beach and visiting friends and having friends visit us. I love being a stay-at-home mom and feel extremely grateful that I get to do that. I don't take that for granted. I love spending time as a family.

I just mentioned to Mark the other day that I grew up with two working parents and my summers were primarily spent at my Vavô's (grandfather's) house. I loved visiting my Vavô and playing outside in his yard and under his gigantic grapevine. My summers had their own special magic about them. We lived out in the boondocks. Eventually, children moved into the neighborhood and I was very excited about that and loved to play and ride bikes with them. And my mom and dad did a lot of barbecuing and hosting on the weekends, so the delicious food stuff is not new to me.

But all this stuff -- summer movies, pool, park days, library reading programs, baseball, playdates -- is new to me. I didn't grow up with that. I mentioned to him that I hope I'm "doing it right" (not that there's a "right" way to do it - just trying to explain that I'm learning here, too) and helping to give our kids magical and wonderful summers. They are great, happy, wonderful kids and I love spending time with them.

I love that Mark has a fairly flexible schedule day to day and that he gets to join in on so much of what we do. I love that our little Scout is such a happy, fun, energetic, mischievous, snuggly part of our family. I love dreaming of possibilities for us, our home, our business.

I love our small town. I love that whether we're at the library, the grocery store, the park, the pool, the movies, the backyard, or just about any place, we see friends and people we know. I love our circle of friends -- amazing, positive, loving people who help me feel empowered, positive, hopeful. While we enjoy traveling and visiting new places, we do love our day-to-day, small town life here. 

I love the warm, sunny days. I love that I don't need to wear socks for my feet to be warm. I love that we can eat outside so much. I love the slower pace. I love that I can throw on sandals to go someplace and not deal with layers and layers of extra clothing. I love summer. Somehow, things that are normally stressful seem less stressful.

I've said before that I think I have some degree of seasonal affective disorder. Summer is a great cure for that, so I'm taking it all in. I enjoy all four seasons for different reasons and try to be mindful of the gifts and goodness of each one. Sunshine, blue skies, swimming, biking, walking, ice cream, playing, reading, gaming, hanging out with my beautiful family . . . I love summertime.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Father's Day Interviews 2012

Totally stole this idea from my SIL, Emily. I know Father's Day was over a week ago, but such is life around here.

1. What is something Daddy always says to you?
THING 2 - "Maxim!"
THING 1 - "I love you" before bed
2. What makes Daddy happy? 
THING 2 - When we cooperate
THING 1 - When we do nice things
3. What makes Daddy sad? 
THING 2 - I don't really see him get sad.
THING 1 - I don't see him get sad. Maybe at sad movies?
4. How does Daddy make you laugh?
THING 2 - When he does a Chewbacca voice
THING 1 - When he does funny voices when he reads books to us
5. What was Daddy like as a child?
THING 2 - I don't know.
THING 1 - I don't really know because I didn't know him as a kid, but I'm guessing he was a good kid.
6. How old is Daddy?
THING 2 - 39
THING 1 -37
7. How tall is Daddy?
THING 2 - 6 foot 2
THING 1 - 6 foot 1
8. What is his favorite thing to watch on TV?
THING 2 - Baseball
THING 1 - Modern Family and Big Bang Theory
9. What does Daddy do when you're not around?
THING 2 - When I'm not around him, I don't know what he's doing!
THING 1 - How am I supposed to know what he's doing when I'm not around? :)
10. What is Daddy really good at?
THING 2 - Drawing.
THING 1 - He's really good at being a good dad and making us happy.
11. What is Daddy not very good at?
THING 2 - Ouch. Building robots.
THING 1 - I can't think of anything - he's really good at a lot of things. Oh, I know. Squeezing into small spots.
12. What does Daddy do for his job?
THING 2 - Acupuncture
THING 1 - Acupuncture
13. What is Daddy's favorite food?
THING 2 - Hmmmm. He doesn't have one.
THING 1 - Anything Mexican.
14. What makes you proud of Daddy?
THING 2 - When he tries his best at his job.
THING 1 - When he does the best he can do to be a good dad.
15. If Daddy were a cartoon character, who would he be?
THING 2 - Wile E. Coyote - he doesn't give up on what he does.
THING 1 - The Incredible Guy Who Pokes Needles in People
16. What do you and Daddy do together?
THING 2 - We do a lot of things -- we play D&D, we play Yu-Gi-Oh, we go to the store, we play catch outside, we play baseball, etc.
THING 1 -We read stories at night, we play catch together, we play games, and a lot of other things.
17. How are you and Daddy the same? 
THING 2 - We are both awesome.
THING 1 - We both have dark hair; we're both thoughtful and like to do nice things for people
18. How are you and Daddy different?
THING 2 - I'm not willing to go on high things; he is
THING 1 - He's a boy and I'm a girl
19. How do you know Daddy loves you?
THING 2 - I just know. I have this feeling when I'm around him. And he cares for me.
THING 1 - Well, he says that he loves us and he hugs us and would do anything for us.
20. What does Daddy like most about your Mommy? 
THING 2 - I don't know that one because I'm not you or Daddy.
THING 1 - I don't think he loves anything most, but I think he likes everything about you.
21. Where is Daddy's favorite place to go? 
THING 2 - I don't think he has a favorite place to go. He likes to be at home.
THING 1 - I think he likes going anywhere as long as we go all together.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Random Thoughts - Father's Day Edition

Even though it's been over 4 years,
I still have a split-second forgetfulness
when we're making Father's Day Cards for grandparents,
thinking that we need to make one for my Dad,
before I have that depressing
"oh wait" feeling. Bleh.


I think Facebook is stealing people's attention away from blogs
with its "quickness" and banality
and I think that stinks.


This past week, we took the kids to run "errands"
and surprised them by going to all fun places -
a really cool bird store we've been wanting to check out,
a huge comic book store, a gaming store,
a used comic book store, and ice cream.
They loved it and we all had a nice time.


Saw this in the news this week:

"The average American family's net worth dropped almost 40% between 2007 and 2010, 
according to a triennial study released Monday by the Federal Reserve.
The stunning drop in median net worth -- from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010 -- 
indicates that the recession wiped away 18 years of savings and investment by families."

Um, considering Mark and I have been adults for about that long, 
that means the recession has wiped out just about everything. 
No wonder everyone's stressed out. 
Good thing we can count on Social Security. 
Oh wait.


Mitt Romney was in town the other day -
what an obnoxious traffic inconvenience.
We have friends who protested and held up Obama signs. :P


The other day, a friend of ours came over and tearfully asked us 
if we'd be the guardians of his child 
if anything happened to him and his wife (which is very humbling).
This is the 4th family that has asked us this.
If all of our friends who have asked us kick the bucket,
we'll be the parents of 19 children.


We are so excited for the new Pixar movie.
It is our family's tradition to go to the movies
for the June Pixar release every year,
whatever it is.


We had SUCH a yummy brunch today
at a lovely seafood restaurant in Hershey.


I think it's weird when people take the time and energy
to add the words
"not sure if I spelled that right and I'm too lazy to look it up"
in an email rather than taking 2 seconds
to just LOOK IT UP and type it correctly.


We have a big, red, 2-story barn
and people always ask us when they see it,
"What do you do with the barn?"
I keep wondering what they're thinking.
We use it for storage of our lawn mower
and snow blower and stuff like that.
What else would we do -- any ideas?


Mark's mom told us that Thing 2's cousin Andrew's team 
just won their championship this past week.
They all went out to dinner to celebrate.
Great idea! Hopefully, we go out to dinner to celebrate this week, too.
So exciting!


Our female, spayed dog had a play date in our backyard
with our friend's male puppy.
And she humped him.


I love making new friends.


My uncle died this past week.
That is the 4th extended family member to die
in the past 4+ years.
It sucks being the kid of older parents sometimes.


We went to our friends' house the other night 
and they own several acres of woods.
The kids played a HUGE adventure of Hunger Games.
It was epic.


I love summertime.
Ice cream, lemonade, watermelon,
BBQs, pool, park, beach, sunshine, fun.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Our Baseball Star

Thing 2 is about to wrap up his second baseball season. Last year the coaches (and by coaches, I mean mostly I) pitched to the team and it was a decidedly relaxed season--no real scores or standings, just fun. It was a great way for him to spend his first season in organized baseball.

This year has been a bit different, but still great. He is now one of the youngest players on the team, and most of his teammates played together on this same team last year. They are mostly older and now the stakes are higher. They keep score carefully. They keep track of wins and losses. And at the end of the year there are standings, first through last. His coaches keep it fun, though. Watching some of the other coaches around the league makes us very glad that he is on the team that he is.

It's been a challenging season for Thing 2, but very good. He was sick for almost 2 weeks just prior to our trip down south, which also meant he missed a lot of games early on. Since being home he has been working really hard and his coaches have worked really well with him. Last week he had his best game yet. He had 2 hits, a walk, 2 stolen bases, and even scored a run. He was ecstatic. You can always tell because he does this little skip-and-a-hop before getting to the base when he's especially pleased. There was a lot of skipping and hopping. In fact, he did so well that his coach awarded him the game ball. It made his night for sure.

The Little Hero with His Prize
His team ended the season in first place and tonight the tournament begins. Wish him luck!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

An Introduction

Meet my wife.

You are already well acquainted with her since she does the bulk of the blogging on here, but take time to meet her again.

Stacy is the one in the middle of "things," right next to the guy who looks pretty happy

Anyone who knows us, whether through this blog or some other way, knows that our life can be a bit hectic. It's a good hectic, but sometimes it's crazy. We've always got something going, whether it be baseball games or practices, violin lessons or recitals, tae kwon do classes or tests, visits to or from friends, or amusement park excursions with our homeschool group. I do a lot of driving around, but that is the easy part compared to what Stacy does every single day.

We've been incredibly busy lately with lots of great things--baseball, violin, vacations, etc.--and it's at these times that I look at all Stacy does for our family and I start to marvel.

Her email box is littered messages from people wanting to join the homeschool group, lists of local activities, people willing to do drama classes for our kids, friends wanting to stay in touch with us or come for a visit, "virtual" friends that want to finally meet us in person, and so much more. I've actually heard people ask her, "What keeps you so busy?" It's all of this--the behind-the-scenes ways that she makes our family's life better.

It takes time to develop close relationships with our children, where they feel heard and respected, as well as loved and protected. It takes time to find ways to encourage our children's talents and abilities. It takes time to make sure that our children have the friends and social network they need to thrive and learn good interpersonal skills. It takes time to nurture relationships with friends so that we all have a rich and full life together.

A fantastic mother with two great kids

It takes time to plan the best birthday celebrations ever, to call and email and coordinate so that all the kids Thing 1 and Thing 2 want at their parties can be there. It takes time to plan awesome surprises that she thinks I will like, like weekends learning to cook with a professional chef, like a day at the spa for my birthday, like cramming over 30 people into the living room of a 400-square-foot apartment for a surprise party, like coming up with a creative way to celebrate my finishing the first set of board exams in medical school. The list goes on and on.

Stacy, with her life's work

It takes time to be the point person for a very large homeschool group, ensuring that not only every person who wants to know more about the group gets all of his or her questions answered, but also making sure every person feels welcome and important. It takes time to make sure that this homeschool group runs in a way that people will want to keep coming back, making our numbers and shared experiences grow exponentially.

It takes time, not to mention courage, to forge new trails and make sure those trails still feed our family in every way. It takes time to talk with me for hours about our family and shared goals, guaranteeing that EVERY step of the way we are on the same page and in sync. It takes time to drop everything to talk to a friend who needs a listening ear. It takes time to catch up on everything that fell by the wayside when some one needed Stacy.

It takes time to live your life everyday trying to be the best you can be for everyone with whom you interact. Anyone who has ever had the privilege to know Stacy knows that you always get her best. Always. She will toss her needs to the side, for better or for worse, to give her best to others. And she will do it without any expectation of reciprocation. She gives because she loves people, plain and simple.

Meet Stacy. Meet the most incredible mother I know. Meet the most supportive wife I've ever seen. Meet the love of my life.
She makes my life complete

Meet Stacy, and if you already know her, take time to "meet" her again. Her friendship is worth the time.