Friday, January 29, 2010

Building fun

This past Saturday, Bruce took the kids to a kids' building workshop at Lowe's.  They built a cool little box that has a tic tac toe board printed on top and stores its wooden tic tac toe pieces inside.
After they came home, we enjoyed several rousing games of tic tac toe!


...didn't kill the cat, but it did singe her eyelashes.
Mindy learned not to get too close to candles!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Friday field trip

Yesterday the kids and I went to Fernbank Museum on a field trip.  We went there once before, but this time we added a visit to their IMAX theater to see the movie Deep Ocean (it was very cool!), we saw a new exhibit which included a collection of stunning gemstones...

...and then we re-visited our favorite exhibit, Sensing Nature.
The bubbles are definitely our very favorite part of the exhibit!


They liked making colored shadows.

It was fascinating to watch a tornado form...

...and to attract lightning.

Abigail loved standing in front of the green screen and watching herself on television!


Last but not least, here are my two beautiful babies in front of one of the aesthetically-pleasing circular windows overlooking the atrium (David liked pretending to climb it to make me break out in a sweat...isn't he cute?!).

We always enjoy outings together, especially when we can all learn something new!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Imaginary lands...

Since my earliest memories, I have had a vivid imagination, and it's thrilling to me to see that both of our kids have wonderful imaginations, too.  Yesterday's big attraction was the remainder of our mulch pile.
I remember fondly those days when a mulch pile was a mighty ship...

...and a driveway was enemy territory.

It's a joy to watch my kids discover the same faraway lands that my brothers and I traveled to more than twenty years ago!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stay little for just a little longer...

Yesterday David was waiting on the porch for me to refill his bucket with clean rinse water.  I looked up from the sink and he had his nose pressed against the window to check on me...and I had a sudden, involuntary flash-forward to the young man he is becoming.  My heart squeezed as I looked at that bare, skinny body with the faint muscle definitions of a strong young boy and that wet, tousled hair and I willed time to slow down just a little...

Warm January days

Yesterday was a lovely day with temperatures in the 60s.  I threw open my windows and enjoyed the fresh air while I cleaned inside the house.  Mindy has gotten big enough to use the cat door to the basement, so I moved her litter box from our master bathroom to the basement and then used the opportunity to clean our bathroom top to bottom.  (This picture has nothing to do with my cleaning kick, but it is a cute picture of Mindy.)

While I was busy with that, David wanted a job, too, so I sent him outside with a bucket of hot water and PineSol and a sponge to clean the mildew off of the porch swing (a normal occurrence here in the's just something we live with, and it's worth it for our beautiful January weather!).  He got really wet...

...and was thrilled to have an excuse to strip down to minimal clothing.  That's my hot-bodied boy!

(Incidentally, he did a great job on the swing; now we can sit in it again and enjoy the beautiful weather!)

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Tennessee getaway

Our friends Jon & Karen invited us to go on a weekend getaway with them to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, so on Thursday my parents-in-law arrived to take care of the kids for us, and on Friday morning, we headed for Tennessee.  We had a wonderful couple of days of conversation, laughing, game-playing, good food, and touristy stuff.

On the way up Thursday, the guys indulged us with an impromptu stop at a needlework shop near this mountain.

The weather was lovely and the shop had rocking chairs on the front porch, so we sat in the sun and chatted for a while before continuing our journey.  (My mom will be pleased to hear that I bought of skein of yarn as my souvenir!).

In town, the guys graciously hunted down a quilt shop for us and then wandered around with us there and let us buy some souvenir fabric.  I am not sharing pictures of my selection yet, because it is destined to be a pieced creation for my female offspring, and I don't want the recipient (who looks at this blog) to see it yet!

After the quilt shop, we went to a huge knife shop.  It had every kind of knife, sword, battle weapon, and related paraphernalia you can possibly imagine.  Technically,  this was the guys' stop, but I thought it was quite fascinating, too!

 And of course, there was an abundance of gorgeous scenery everywhere.  We had a lovely view of a mountain range from our windows/patio.  It looked different each morning we were there.

The trip through the mountain pass didn't give us any widespread views of the mountains, since the Great Smoky Mountains lived up to their name on Sunday and there was a lot of fog!  However, the snow and ice was beautiful, and what we could see of the mountains was beautiful, too, even in the fog.

We had such a nice weekend!  Thanks to Jon & Karen for hosting us...and thanks to Bruce's parents for coming to keep the kids for us.

Here is one last picture of the four of us -- taken on our patio at twilight, with the mountains in the background...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Happy birthday, Dad McKee!

My dad- and mom-in-law were here for the weekend (more on that in the next post), so we got to celebrate Dad's birthday with him...

Happy birthday, Dad -- we love you!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


This week has been one of mundane, everyday-life moments, which are pleasant in their own right!  Abigail and I are both on antibiotics and are feeling much better.  The snow is mostly melted, although we still have some in the shaded areas of the yard and the rain barrels are still solid ice.  Yesterday's low 40s felt downright balmy after our recent cold snap!

We are busy doing school and enjoying being back into the regular routine after the harried pace of December.  Mindy enjoys school, too; she likes that we all gather in one place so that she can be by all of us for her morning nap.  Once she's done walking on the kids' desks, batting their pencils, and sitting on their papers, she settles in on this bookshelf by my gets morning sunshine and has a great view of our high-traffic birdfeeders.  She naps, stretches, naps, takes a bath, and naps again.  Ah, life!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Still cold!

It has stayed cold around here...although the roads are mostly clear and the southern-facing lawns have melted off, anywhere that shade dominates, we still have snow sticking on the ground.  That's the first time we've seen this since we moved here in 2003...usually any snow we see melts by the time the midmorning sun gets to it.
Did I mention cold?

Here are a couple of earlier pictures of the snow.

Mindy and I have been happy to stay inside and find the warmest spots we can!

Together, we also conquered that last couple of post-holiday chores in the kitchen:
packing away the Christmas dishes for another year...

...and cleaning out the last of the leftovers from the refrigerator!

The kids have been enjoying more traditional snowy fun.

All of that outside-playtime in the bitter cold makes for some sleepy kids by evening.  Last night we let them stay up to watch the Lawrence Welk show...but despite their best efforts, neither of them stayed awake until the end!

Last few Christmas pictures

These are my last few random pictures from Christmas!
Here are Abigail and 'Lindsey' in the matching dresses that Grandma Minota made for them.

Every year we get an ornament for the kids that reflects something that happened in their life in the past year, or something that reflects their personality and current interests.  This year, Abigail got an ornament that says "Nutcracker Suite" on it -- it plays part of the Waltz of the Snowflakes and the ballerinas twirl around in a circle.  Very fitting, since we took the kids in December to see the Nutcracker Ballet for the first time, and since Abigail got her first 'real' ballet outfit from Grandpa & Grandma Minota this year, too.

David got a reindeer made of various tools, since most of his free time is spent using tools to build things, and since we gave him his very first real tool set for Christmas!

My mom also brought a couple of 'family-history' ornaments for me to add to my collection.  I remember these ornaments hanging on our tree for all of my growing-up years.  Thank you for sharing, Dad &