Monday, June 30, 2008

Tenth anniversary celebration - Sunday

Yesterday, after a leisurely wake-up time and then 'church' via two John Piper sermons Bruce had downloaded, we headed over to the beach for the day...

Note one of the few ways in which we are opposites. I love the sun...Bruce loves the shade! He was slathered with SPF 50, and I just worked on darkening my shade of brown!!!

I went between sunbathing and bobbing in the Gulf (see me, below?). Eventually, I talked Bruce into trying the water with me, and we had a blast floating together and enjoying the water. It's so lovely, both in color and temperature -- the bottom is ripples of clean white sand, and the water is a translucent greenish-aqua color. Wow! After a couple of hours, we headed back to enjoy low tide in front of our hotel, where we beachcombed and found several gorgeous shells. We went to dinner, visited a little gift shop, then headed back to the beach for sunset...Even though it was hazy, it was still lovely. We finished the day with a slice of pie at a beachside cafe and then another starlit stroll on the beach.

Tenth anniversary celebration - then and now

Our hands on our wedding day in 1998

Our hands now, in the Gulf of Mexico (with my new ring!)

Roosters-N-Rickrack Pinafore GIVEAWAY!!!!

Roosters-N-Rickrack Pinafore GIVEAWAY!!!!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tenth anniversary celebration - Saturday

Yesterday we had a pretty lowkey day -- we drove down the coast and gawked at all of the beachside homes, strolled through some touristy shops, and then picked up pizza from Gondolier's for dinner and enjoyed it back in our hotel room while we watched TV. Later on we sat out on our balcony for a while to play Boggle and watch the ships and boats come in and out from the Gulf. We were both asleep fairly early, and I slept until 8:45 this morning, which is a big deal for me!

Below is a picture especially for David and Abigail. This pirate ship sails past our hotel regularly. (Do you think there's any treasure on board, kiddos?!)
The next picture is one of Bruce down on the main pool deck, retrieving the Boggle dice that I inadvertently dropped from our fifth-floor balcony. At that point, Bruce decreed that I could be the hourglass-flipper, but HE is now the (permanent) official shaker. :) Any of you who know me can picture this scenario...!

(PS -- I finally added wedding pictures to our anniversary post...see June 27th)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Celebrating in Clearwater Beach

Bruce and I are in Clearwater Beach, Florida, just the two of us, to celebrate our tenth anniversary! I was feeling very torn about leaving the kids, but they were very excited to have Grandpa & Grandma Minota all to themselves, and at one point yesterday morning, David asked very sweetly, "When are you guys going to leave so we can go to the beach with Grandma and Grandpa?!?" Click here to see pictures of their first day of adventures with my parents.

(The picture was on the beach last night, after our starlit beach walk, where Bruce gave me a traditional gold and diamond anniversary band!)

Our hotel is very nice, the view from our private balcony is lovely (see picture at right), and we are so relaxed. I got a manicure/pedicure in the salon downstairs this morning while Bruce slept until 11 (this was our agreed-upon plan) -- we both thoroughly enjoyed it! We like to relax, be together, and not do much when we are on vacation, so that is mostly what we will do this weekend...

Last night we ate dinner at Watercolour. We ate out on the deck overlooking one of the inner waterways of the Gulf...we enjoyed excellent food and got to watch dolphins breaching as they meandered up the waterway!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Tenth anniversary

Happy tenth anniversary to us...
our marriage (and family) is such an incredible gift and we are so thankful!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hearing loss and other drama

Okay, I know I'm supposed to be on blogging hiatus, but I wanted to share a couple of things. First, the kids had hearing checks today. David had a little loss in a couple of frequencies, which is 'normal' for him. Abigail, however, had another huge loss in both ears, pretty much across the board. Her hearing is now worse than David's! Although we KNOW that CIs are likely in the kids' futures, I guess it doesn't feel like it's truly a potential until a quickly-progressing loss like this reminds us. We still know and draw comfort from the same truths, as always...that the Lord is in control, that He loves our daughter even more than we do, and that His plan is perfect and we truly don't want anything else but His will to be done in our lives and the lives of our precious kids. That said, humanly speaking, there is still some sadness in this very stark reminder of the loss and extra challenges our kids face! Now, on a lighter note, a little story that demonstrates Abigail's royal bent for drama. Tonight she and David were playing when a dining room chair tipped over on her tipped very slowly and gently, and only onto her lower legs, so it wasn't very scary and not at all painful...but she started to holler and carry on, and David beat me to her rescue. I went over anyway, to offer a hug. After a minute, she leaned back, put on her most woeful face, and with a very dramatic weak and wobbly voice, she asked, "Did God save my life?"

Blogging hiatus

And now I take my leave, at least for a few days, while I get ready to leave for our tenth anniversary trip to Florida. We plan to drive to my parents' on Thursday and then Bruce & I will head out on Friday for Clearwater Beach.
However, Bruce has declared that we must take the laptop, so maybe I will get to post while we are on our trip...!

At the pool with friends

Saturday morning my friend Greta and her kids came over for some play time at the pool...

Bathing beauties David, Lauren, & Abigail

Christopher & Charlie swimming
^Alexander eating...
the previous few nights had been down into the 50s,
so the water was too chilly for him and the moms!
I now realize that there isn't a picture of Greta & me...I didn't think to have one of the kids take one for us. Whoops.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Happy birthday, Dad

Happy birthday, Dad/Grandpa Minota!

We love you and are looking forward to

giving you birthday hugs in person in a few days!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Superhero David and other kid-moments

This was David, playing superhero yesterday morning with his blankie clothespinned around his neck to be a cape...note his was only 57 degrees outside at this point!

...and here are the kids playing "church" earlier this week. Bruce and I had to sit with hymnals and sing or listen to the "preaching" as appropriate. One theological issue, though...David was the song leader, but Abigail was the pastor! :)
Our curriculum for the upcoming school year has started to arrive and the kids are both so excited! (phew!) They have spent quite a bit of time poring over the new books. David will be in first grade this year and I handpicked some K5 work for Abigail, although she will not officially start K5 until fall '09. She won't turn five until March, and we want her to enjoy one last year of being a kid...but since she is such a "sponge" as far as learning goes, I know she will want to have some schoolwork of her own for a little while each day!

Friday, June 20, 2008

And finally...she's off!

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

Pool fun and ice cream on the first day of summer

We went to the pool with the kids' new waterproof HAs...after David's first jump in, he came up yelling, "Mommy! I can hear a sound when I shoot in!" Then I realized...he was hearing the rush and gurgle of the water around his head for the very first time! It was exciting and a little sad all at the same time -- but mostly exciting!

When it was almost time to leave the pool anyway, we heard the ice cream truck nearby, so we hurried to get home and get our money out before the truck made it to the back of the neighborhood and drove back past our house -- it was a great way to end a great day!

Waterproof hearing aids have arrived!

The kids' waterproof HAs arrived yestersay afternoon and we are really anxious to try them out! It's still only 60 degrees outside, though, so despite David's enthusiasm, I am NOT ready to go to the pool quite yet. :)

I wish I had captured a picture of David's face when I told him what they were. When I said that he could wear it in the pool and it would help him to hear the other kids better, he had such a look of absolute rapture -- joy, excitement, amazement, and even relief -- that it sprung tears in my eyes, literally. Like Bruce said last night, sometimes the kids' hearing loss feels so normal to us that we forget that it causes some unique struggles. We are very grateful to be able to ease their struggles in any way available to meet their waterproof HAs:
It's hard to see in the picture, but the HA, a Rion HB 54, is shaped like a dolphin, which marks it as a waterproof aid. Thanks to RaDora who (as usual) patiently answered our million questions and explained a lot of things while we were making our decision about these!

The yard's latest showing

My white lavendar is now in bloom. It's in the foreground; behind it is the purple lavendar, which is about done blooming, and behind that is my climbing rose, which has finally gotten established and is covered with new buds. These lovely climbing petunias were from an old root I had thrown down from a hanging pot two years ago. They surprised us by rejuvenating and spreading among the landscaping...they are so pretty!The garden continues to flourish, although it's looking like the beans' first havest will ripen while we are in Florida...bummer! Excuse the black plastic pile in front...I am in the middle of more fine-tuning. I thinned the corn a bit more yesterday and felt like a murderer pulling out those big, lush green plants!!!

Swimming and sewing

My friend Karen comes over regularly so that we can sew together, but yesterday we added a summer twist...swimming! It was great for the kids, too, who love Karen and just don't get why she'd choose to sew with Mommy when she could be playing with them...! She always makes time for them at some point during our times together, but the pool afforded them some real play time with her, so they were more willing to let us then sew in peace for a while! (Unfortunately, I didn't realize that I took the picture just as they both looked away at something!)
Abigail also decided that she not only tolerated the water, but she LOVED it, so off she went on her tube, floating all over the pool. Karen helped her to get the hang of kicking to propel herself, and now there's no stopping her! I'm very glad she decided to like the pool sooner than the week before it closes for the year...!
For our sewing time, Karen worked on a very cool quilt that she is designing and making, and I worked on several mending projects that really need tending. Not very glorious work, but all of the clothing items were things that we really needed back in circulation, so it was good to get it done! One of the things I did was to sew the applique on a shirt for Abigail. My mom made the adorable skirt and sent me a swatch of matching fabric so that I could sew a piece onto a T-shirt to make the outfit more 'wow'.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

She never ceases to amaze us...

...Abigail continues to surprise us with just what's going on inside that pretty little head of hers!

Lately the kids like for me to write choices on slips of paper and then let them draw one slip out of a cup to decide things for them. A couple of days ago, just before bedtime, Abigail brought me this piece of paper that she had written on (without any input from any of us) and she wanted me to put it in the cup for her:

"Abigail gos t bed"
[i.e. "Abigail goes t'bed"]

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Little Miss Spitfire goes swimming

Now remember, the first couple weeks of the pool, Abigail got hysterical at the mention of going in the pool at all and so I backed off and let her stay out...last week she shrieked and carried on while I took her in with me for a quick dip...over the weekend, she didn't scream, but she clung to my neck with a death-grip, in the pose that our family refers to as "spider monkey"...earlier this week, the same...and then today, she's sitting in the pool on the steps, happily singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" as if I'd made up the stories about our previous experiences just to be dramatic. Go figure.
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Home and poolside

Well, after 2+ hours at the pool, the kids are already in bed and the only sounds I hear from them are sleeping sounds!

It was really nice not to have anywhere to go today...those days are too few lately and I crave them! I got housework done, the kids enjoyed uninterrupted play time together, and then we went to the pool. We came home just in time for a quick dinner and then bed and here we are. I am trying to decide whether to get a little more housework done or to answer my bed, which is already calling me...!

Below are pictures of the kids sunning...well, Bruce's daughter is actually in the shade, of course. (No, she is not really asleep...she has worked on perfecting her fake-sleep and she's quite good at it!) You can't really tell in the picture, but David is already Bahama-brown, as he always is in the summer!

Bits and pieces of life

It has been a busy week already, but today is a stay-at-home day -- hooray! I will try to do a brief catch-up on everything, with a couple of pictures thrown in, too.

~Monday Abigail had her first OT summer session. She will go once a week, for an hour and a half each session. She is with one other little girl who also deals with CP. M.K. is five years old and the two of them seemed to hit it off very well -- already they have created some positive peer pressure for each other when doing some of the tougher exercises with their affected hands.

~Yesterday the kids had piano lessons (which are going very well; both kids are practicing daily and are learning and improving already), then we went to the pediatrician, who sent us to another facility for an x-ray, then we came home for naps so that we were ready for church last night. Instead of our usual Wed. night service this week, we had one last night and were treated to the Maranatha Baptist Bible College String Ensemble -- they were very talented musicians and very pleasant people as well. We really enjoyed the music, and the kids were enthralled. It was a great opportunity to point out that THAT is why Mommy makes them practice their piano every day...because that's the only way to play like that! I did have to note that it seems like college students are getting younger and younger every year... :)

~While I'm on the subject of music, Abigail was recently singing "London Bridge is Falling Down...My Bare Lady"! Hmmm...!

~We head out for my parents' place in Florida a week from tomorrow, and then Bruce and I voyage out sans children the next day. I am alternately very sad to think of leaving my kids for that long and very excited to spend that long just me and my husband! We'll have a wonderful time, I know, and I expect we'll also be very ready to have our babies back by the end of our time away. We have found a couple of special things we plan to do while we are away, along with spending lots of time in R & R on the beach or on our private balcony overlooking the Gulf. Ooh, now I'm excited again! :)

~I am looking for some fiction books to take on my vacation...does anyone have any favorite authors or titles to recommend? I feel ready to discover an author that is new to help me out here!

~We have taken the plunge (ha ha) and ordered waterproof hearing aids for the kids, so they will have some hearing help at the pool and in other water situations. We are really excited and anxious to get them and will share more about them when they arrive.

Below are a couple of pictures from Friday night, when my in-laws came for dinner and a visit. The kids treated us to a "show" (it was very entertaining!) and then they each got to read with Grandpa & Grandma. In her picture, Abigail is holding her current favorite book, Cinderella.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Annual houseguests

I LOVE our front porch, which is a partial wraparound. It was one of the things on my wishlist when we were looking for a house down here.

Someone else that loves my porch is the barn swallows. Every year for several years now, two pairs come in spring and raise a new group of babies, one "family" in each of the front corners of the porch. This year both pairs had "bumper crops" -- I counted seven or eight in one nest and eight or nine in the other -- they sure have been crammed in tightly in those relatively small nests! Right now they are perfecting their flying skills, and the first ones into the nest at night get the prime spot...and the rest have to perch on the ledge all night!
It's fun to watch the parents revamp the nest when they first arrive, then lay their eggs, and it's especially fun when the babies hatch, to watch them go from featherless, ugly little things to lovely, mature birds. It's a pain to get dive-bombed every time I step out the front door (they are very protective of their nests!), and it's a pain to have swallow poop all over the porch floor and railing under the nests, but it's worth both of those things for the joy of watching the cycle of new life that happens just as God designed it!

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads in my life

Bruce, both Dads, Grandpa O'Gorman --
we love you very much
and are so thankful for you!
We are sending you hugs & kisses,
especially from the kids...!
(Bruce, you get yours in person. :)
Abigail, David, & Daddy eating Father's Day Strawberry Shortcake

Friday, June 13, 2008


The kids completed our library's summer reading program by reading twenty books each -- they both earned a free Chick-Fil-A kids' meal and they also got to choose a free book to keep. In the picture they are holding the book they earned as well as their logs showing what books they read for the program.

It has been such a joy to listen to them read their books (they each read their twenty on their own, either to me or to Bruce) -- it is exciting to watch them beginning to taste the delights of the world of books and reading!

Quintessential Brittany picture

Garden update

Yes, Bruce and RaDora, I needed to update the garden picture -- you people show me no mercy!!! :) As you can see at right, it is incredible what a huge difference there is after ten days of rain, sun, and tending. Below are some closeups of what's growing...

The cucumbers are reaching up and grabbing the support-twine as if they had eyes (it has really reminded us of the amazing design and attention to detail of our Creator)! They have several blossoms now (I forgot to take a picture of those), so the vegetables should be following soon. I know we have several people who will be clamoring for the first sweet fruits...maybe we should auction them off to the highest bidder. (just kidding -- the first ones are ours!!!) :)
The beans are loaded with blossoms. It looks like we will have a bumper crop -- time to get out my canner! Okay, well maybe not quite yet, but I'm getting excited!The tomatoes are coming along nicely. We got some new hybrids this year and it has been interesting to see how differently each of them are growing. As usual, the Sweet 100 cherry tomato plant (far left) takes the prize for getting the biggest fastest! The corn is taking off. The tallest plants are just over three feet tall. These are all Ruby Queen hybrid this year -- every year we've been here, this has been our best producer out of every hybrid we've tried, so we decided to go with this one for the whole crop. The kernels have a lovely purplish-red hue, they are very sweet, and they freeze well. (In the foreground are the kids' zinnias)And with that, I am off to work in said garden! The corn needs a little more thinning in a few spots, I am going to lay down some more plastic for weed control, and I am also going to finish mulching around my sunflowers. In the meantime, David is going to pick up the yard so that I can mow, and after that's done, we are headed to the pool for a few hours!!!