Ships ahoy, and they’re firing at us, matey!

We’re plugging away at summer over here. Things have settled into a bit more of a routine, as they tend to do. Some weeks are harder than others, but we’re adjusting to the new appointment schedule and are finding space for a little fun, too.

Last week, friends invited us to go sailing on Percy Priest Lake. There wasn’t much wind, but it was a lovely picnic outing all the same.






Yesterday, we went to the early Fourth of July celebration at a church a few minutes away. It was such a fun event, with a community band concert, free Marble Slab ice cream and a pretty impressive professional fireworks display. The weather was surprisingly cool, and my parents were able to join us. Everyone had a great time…except Corin, who firmly believed in his intensely imaginative soul that he was under direct attack by the fireworks and raced to the farthest recesses of the church building as if his life depended on it. I guess we wait a couple years before we try that again.


Pre-fireworks, enjoying the music and free ice cream – That part, he admits, was fun.


High five!

Ice cream mustache:







And when we’re not at appointments or on fun outings, life looks pretty much like this:



I think we might make it through the summer just fine, after all.

On the man in our lives

It was another full weekend, with a celebration of our 13th anniversary (which is actually this coming Tuesday), and of course, Father’s Day today.

I’d love to be able to take credit for picking the man who has made such a remarkable husband for 13 years and a truly show-stopping dad for a little over five. But really, I’m not sure how much credit I deserve. I was a very young – and as a result, fairly ignorant – 18-year-old when we first started dating. I was a still very young – and still fairly ignorant – 23-year-old when we got married. A lot of those kinds of relationships don’t last, for good reason. Who really knows at 18 what they want from life or what kind of person they will become? When you start married life at 23, there is still a lot of growing and changing to do. How do you know you will continue to share the same values and want the same things from life?

The truth is, we didn’t. After five years of dating, we knew each other well, and we understood each other’s characters. But in the end, we took a gamble. To varying extents, marriage is always a gamble. We gamble that the person we’re marrying is who we think they are. We gamble that we are ourselves who we think we are. We gamble that the character and values we share with our spouse will remain constant enough to allow us to continue on the same life path together.

I was confident in my decision at 23, but Jon has surprised me. We have our daily frustrations, same as any couple. Sometimes, I mutter about murdering him in his sleep as I clip in the car seat he left sitting out. But as a husband and father, he has blown me away. In his steadiness and patience, in the depth of his love for me and our kids, in his wisdom and spiritual depth, in his incredibly hard work, he has far surpassed anything I imagined when we said our vows. Life has thrown us some surprises and will probably throw us a few more. But I believe deep down to the soles of my feet that God knew every twist and turn, and He brought us to each other, to lighten the load when it’s heavy and to multiply the many joys as they come. The gamble isn’t so scary that way.

Jon still makes me laugh. We still enjoy each other’s company above any other. And my kids are blessed beyond measure with a dad who is not only perfectly capable of caring for them, but who truly loves to do it. When I left them with daddy for five days last weekend, he looked forward to the time. I came home to kids who clearly thrived while I was away and a daddy who lit up when he told me about the fun they’d had together. He came away with a little better appreciation for what I juggle every day, but he loved that uninterrupted time with his kids, and they loved it, too.

That’s the man who has so surpassed my 23-year-old expectations. That’s the only guy who could live up to the very high bar my daddy set. That’s my husband, and the father of my children.

After all that, I’ll leave you with a few pics from our night on the town.


Goofy mirror selfie on our way out the door to dinner





If you’re going to San Francisco…

This week, I am coming off a fantastic long weekend in San Francisco with my best friend. Re-entry into real life has been rather rude (especially after that flight delay that got me home at 2:30 a.m.), but I have memories of our resort stay, city excursions and Napa Valley tour to sustain me. I won’t bore you with all our travel details but will share a few pictures and just say that I’m pretty lucky to have spent several fabulous days with a lovely friend who goes all the way back to high school, knows all my secrets and loves me anyway. I miss you already, Lila!

(All pictures taken with an iPhone – no digital SLR on this trip!)


Our historic cottage at Cavallo Point, at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, directly across the bay from San Francisco




A few of the famed “painted ladies” seen on our Victorian homes walking tour


Stained glass skylight inside a restored Victorian home, now a hotel



From the Golden Gate Park rose garden


Japanese gardens


From our walk back across the Golden Gate Bridge


Seen from across the bay, in Sausalito



Fabulous weekly farmer’s market at the ferry building in San Fran






Inside the ferry building


Chinatown, obviously




Ferry that took us from the city across the bay to Sausalito, where our resort was located


Alcatraz as seen from the ferry




Napa Valley train ride



Castello di Amorosa winery tour





Views from the castle



Roses and grape vines at another winery along the way



Our resort (partial view on far left, red roofs), the marina and bay as seen from our hike Monday morning


Yep… It’s a rough patch.

This afternoon, weeks of thunderstorms finally cleared, and I decided we should greet our long-lost friend the sun with at least a short walk in the neighborhood. It was a great idea…in theory. It unfolded in the following way: We made it to the end of the street, me pushing the stroller with Lina, Corin riding his balance bike (because he’s not quite confident enough to tackle that new big boy pedal bike). Then, Corin wanted to turn left, and I decided to go right. He dealt with this disappointment by running his bike into the back of my leg, whereupon he immediately lost the use of the bike and was required to walk the remainder of our jaunt. The end result was a five-year-old wailing his way around the neighborhood at full volume. You’re welcome, residents of Gracelawn and Woodside Drives.

This came after a late morning grocery shopping trip in which my children pinched, shoved and kicked each other, both wailing loudly, in the front seat of the race car cart (another theoretically good idea), successfully making me the object of either pity or scorn from one end of Publix to the other.

Corin is really struggling right now. I think there is definitely some kindergarten-related anxiety, and he also may be missing his teachers and friends from the Pre-K he loved. He seems insecure and unsettled, and I’m not entirely sure how best to help him through whatever this is. We’re working on it.

There are some definite bright spots, though. Lina’s hair pulling is so much better. We had our GiGi’s Playhouse group this morning, and she didn’t terrorize the room! She was rambunctious and a little ornery, in typical two-year-old fashion, but the locks of children and adults remained unmolested. She is walking calmly across parking lots holding my hand, and don’t look now, but she hasn’t thrown her milk cup on the floor in days. Of course, there is the new shoving-her-plate-across-the-dinner-table thing, but we’re celebrating the victories, my friends.

I will leave you with this photo of Ms. Personality helping out during the presentation at GiGi’s this morning. When I look at this, I feel relatively confident we’re going to survive the summer. (I also feel relatively confident the toy picture on the screen did not look that creepy in person.)