December 16, 2012

DPP 12/16: Calvin and Hobbes

Catching up on recent pictures. But here's the one for today.

Three cousins were entranced.

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 4:04 PM | Comments (1)

DPP 12/16: Calvin and Hobbes

Catching up on recent pictures. But here's the one for today.

Three cousins were entranced.

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 4:04 PM | Comments (0)

December 6, 2012

DPP Day 6: Air hockey with Grandma

...in our 1970s style, fake wood paneled, brilliant red carpeted basement.

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2012

Family camping

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Went on our annual family camping trip a couple weeks ago. So fun! The kids are at a great age for it. They're at the point where we can give them a little more freedom--especially when hanging out with older cousins--and they can be trusted to obey basic rules.

I think their favorite part was chilling out with their cousins.

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But they also loved hugging a bear cub.

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And their first fishing trip with grandpa.

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Calming down with grandma.

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And being bumps on a log.

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 10:35 AM | Comments (1)

May 5, 2012

April, Come She Will

Our April was bookended by two trips to Western Pennsylvania. At the beginning, we received word that Tim's grandma had a heart attack, and that we should come up to see her. We spent a long weekend in a cabin we rented in Pittsburgh, along with Tim's immediate family. We all got to be with grandma, and spend time with each other in the cabin. It was Easter weekend, and everyone worked to make sure that the kids had some bright spots in the midst of a serious trip, like an Easter egg hunt across the cabin.

Three weeks later, we got the call that Great-Grandma had passed away. We were blessed by her long life (97 years!), and are so grateful that the kids had the chance to know her. They both loved to snuggle with her in her comfy brown chair. And Elanor especially loved talk-time with Great-Grandma: they would chatter away happily together. We always joke that Elanor is like Great-Grandma in her talkative nature, and Ian is more like Pap (doesn't say much, but when he does it's either straight-to-the-point or hilarious).

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Elizabeth Smolko (1914-2012)

Posted by Tim and Jo at 9:03 PM | Comments (2)

December 20, 2011

DPP 20: Grammy the Red Nosed Reindeer

She's gone through a lot this year, but she hasn't lost her rollicking sense of humor.

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)

DPP 16-19: Family and cookie time

Cousins...another cousin overnight...more cousins. Lots of family-time this December. And lots of cookies!

Got behind because of technical difficulties (hello, crashed laptop!), but here are a few moments from the past few days.

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 10:58 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2011

DPP 10: Busy day

Today was lovely, a string of fun things together as a family.

First, a trip to family morning at the art museum, where we listened to Christmas carols, the kids accompanied the choral group with jingle bells, followed by crafting Christmas cards. Ian was proud of his gingerbread conductor.

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Then a nippy picnic and trip to a playground.

We held out the third event of the day as a surprise--a visit to Santa (pics forthcoming), storytelling, and more crafts.

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After which, a nap was taken by all before Grandpa & Grandpa drove out to see the newest muppet movie with us.

Pizza, gelato, and an episode of the Pickwick Papers concluded the jollities.

It was a happy, sparkly, almost-too-good-to-be-true day.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 10:13 PM | Comments (1)

May 31, 2011

May has flown by like a dragon

Exciting, fast, more than a bit unwieldy, a bit overwhelming, and a bit magical.

Every week we've had some Really Big Thing going on, usually multiple things.

Tim graduated. We celebrated. Hurrah!!!!

Elanor consorted with a "real princess." Or we went to our dear cousin's wedding. However you'd rather look at it.

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A recital--so proud of all my students.

Moms! And Grandmas!

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Strawberries. In jam, in syrup, in jars, in our mouths.

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Gardening.

Piles of cousins.

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And the grand finale of a family camping trip. Pictures to come!

Posted by Tim and Jo at 9:29 PM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2011

Snowments #1

Thought about calling it "precious snowments," but that takes the title from cheesy to nearly nauseating. Here are some snapshots from our little bout with snow a week or two ago.

What kind of mom would let their kids eat snowballs for breakfast?

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After that, they pretty much wanted snowballs for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.

Happy boy!

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Wheeeeeeeeeee!!!

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Oh look! We finally have a family picture where everyone is looking at the camera!

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 3:30 PM | Comments (2)

January 8, 2011

Pap's Princess

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 5:24 PM | Comments (1)

September 17, 2010

Mosaic of life

I feel like I have too many little fragments to my life, and I'm trying--often unsuccesfully--to make them fit into a coherent whole. The pieces are lovely, for the most part, but sometimes I feel like have too many of them, or I don't know how to lay them out to make them create a unified picture. That sounds like a Ministry of Reality post in the making.

But for now, here are some incoherent thoughts on the bits and pieces in my life, and a few pictures for illustration.

*We went on a weekend trip to North Carolina with friends a couple weeks ago. Definitely want to write a longer post about that, but loved basking in nature and fellowship, and chasing kids around the farm. Just a couple of my favorite pics for now...

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*I made tart tatine for the first time. It made me feel peculiarly accomplished, and nostalgic for Paris

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*Speaking of apples, we brought home lots from NC. Still figuring out what to do with the last bits, but I have a couple kinds of apple butter canned and in a mahogany row. (I've loved the word "mahogany" since I was a little kid, and it was my favorite brown in the box)

*Editing work is keeping me busy.

*Started making menu plans so that I can use my pantry supplies more efficiently, instead of losing track of what I have on hand and buying more. This has been really helpful for us. Maybe I'll post this month's plan (unless that would be too yawn-inducing). My goal is to eat out of our pantry/freezer for the rest of the month, just getting a few things from the grocery store to pair with what we have.

*Also, the kids' attempt to give up their naps during Tim's busiest semester is driving me absolutely up a wall. Any helpful hints would be welcome

*Trying to do more creative, structured activities with the kids to help these very long days pass more smoothly. Would love ideas for that, too. Their favorite new activity is using "blue 'ticks" to glue pictures from magazines onto paper.

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 5:07 PM | Comments (0)

September 1, 2010

Hilton Head

Tim: Despite the craziness of the begining of the semester, we somehow squeezed in a vacation in Hilton Head with Rich, Deb, Jon and Beka and their kids. We didn't spend too much time at the beach because of the heat and the jellyfish. We brought some beach toys for the twins but they were delighted when they saw that "the cousins" had Toy Story and Cars beach toys. I can see the plot for Toy Story 4 forming in my head now: Buzz and Woody get toynapped by a posse called "the cousins" and are left for dead on an abandoned beach (after getting trampled on by 12 little feet).

I dug a hole in the sand right at the waterline so Ian, Elanor and Andrew could have their own "baby ocean," or "baby sauna" as we called it. The three older kids could swim well so they were racing with the waves and hunting for sand dollars. They also helped their dad build sandcastles (complete with ramparts and moat). After the beach we hit the fountains at Coligny Circle to wash off the sand and get squirted in the face with jets of water. The combination of the cousins, Pixar movie beach toys, the beach itself and running through the fountains afterwards was almost too much fun for the twins to handle.

One day we stopped at the Tybee Island Lighthouse and let the kids climb on the big gun there that was used in BOTH world wars (as Gabriel, an authority on WW 1&2, informed us). Another day we climbed up the lighthouse on Hilton Head in the Sea Pines area. Gabriel, Nathaniel and Ian made the trek up. (It was one of the first grand adventures he went on sans Elanor. He loved it, until he looked down at her standing below the lighthouse with grandma and Aunt Beka, and then the whole rest of the time, he was begging to go to down so he could "see my Elno.") It was only 90 feet tall but we still had a great view of the sun setting on the ocean and on the harbor filled with boats. Near the lighthouse was a playground with an amazing tree house, which the kids loved.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 1:44 PM | Comments (2)

May 11, 2010

Pittsburgh: Friends and Family

TIm: Every time we come to Pennsylvania, we realize how much we miss our friends and family....such as....

My 95-year old Grandmother who is as sharp as ever, and is back home from the hospital after battling pneumonia for two months

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My Dad who always gets into mischief with the twins

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Uncle Kevin

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"Grandma Pam" complete with snuggles and blankies.

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And Aunt Kim, who is coming to visit us in August (yay!)

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If you look carefully, you can see the two dolls that Aunt Kim gave Elanor. At first, Elanor named them "Gul P'incess," and "Boy P'incess" but with a little prompting, they were renamed "Queen El'nor" and "P'incess Kim."

Posted by Tim and Jo at 11:11 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2010

Wow! A garden!

Tim: : This week, our horticulturalist friend Hillary came over and helped us plant a little garden under the deck at the back of our apartment building. We planted red and green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, a tomato plant, mixed greens, rosemary, basil, chives, and parsley. We are feeling all green thumby and have high hopes that our black thumb days are behind us.

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The twins "helped" also and were quite intrigued by the project.

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Can you tell how excited we are to have a garden?

Posted by Tim and Jo at 12:48 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2010

Fun in Savannah

Tim: This past weekend, we decided to take advantage of the recession (university furlough day on Monday) and boost the economy with a trip to Savannah. We left Athens in the morning and in just over four hours we were parked near River St. We explored an old ship, the Peacemaker (Ian loved ringing the bell), stopped into a candy shop (where we got some gelato, saw a choo-choo and sampled some "margarita-flavored" taffy fresh from an antique taffy-making machine), listened to a gospel singer (singing "Amazing Grace" and "Swing Low Sweet Chariot"), and rode on the trolley. The twins were loving all the sights and sounds, especially the bells ("ding-dongs") from the trolley, the ship, and the old exchange building.

For dinner we went to the Six Pence Pub for some excellent grub (shepherd's pie and bangers and mash) and grog (Boddingtons). We walked through Chippewa Square and met a saxophonist who played "Pop Goes the Weasel" for the twins. So we had lots of fun, even on our first day.

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We spent the next day in downtown Savannah and on Tybee Island. The weather was so nice that we didn't even need jackets. We stopped into the Paris Market on Broughton St., had a latte and mocha, and explored all the quirkiness of the shop (it even had a Metro sign, the Art Deco design, not the Art Nouveau Guimard design). We bought each twin a lollipop and that became their word for the day.

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We walked down the street to the Savannah Bee Co. which sells many types of honey in all shapes and sizes. We sampled five different varieties and bought two - Tupelo Honey (one of my favorite Van Morrison songs) and Orange Blossom Honey. In the store was a play area for kids shaped like a giant beehive. Our two little bees buzzed inside it for a while and also found little bee shaped riding toys which enthralled them.

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We then hit a tea store, bought a "Vivialdi" Panini from Gelatoooooh!, and had lunch at Johnson Square. This square had a fountain and flautist. He played "Three Blind Mice" for the twins.

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Then it was beach time on Tybee Island. Sand was thrown at mommy and daddy, seagulls chased, kites and helicopters spotted, rocks climbed upon, sea shells inspected and thrown into the ocean. For dinner we went to the Crab Shack and had crab legs and a low country boil.

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The next day we went to a French bakery for lunch and got a croque monsieur and a loaf of brioche with creamy butter. They were sooo good! We sat in Telfair Square which has benches laid out in circles. We didn't meet a street musician here but the twins still had a grand time running around our circle and jumping off the short stone monument in the center. We spent the afternoon at the Roundhouse Railroad Museum. We played with Thomas trains, visited a model railroad, climbed on a "baby coo-choo," played in a caboose that was full of toys for kids, and went on a train ride.

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For dinner we went to Loves Seafood, and had crab soup, crab balls and catfish. The restaurant sits on the bank of the Ogeechee River and has a fabulous view. Joanna got a picture of the river at sunset with beautiful trees and Spanish moss. Not only that, the picture was the reflection off one of the windows of the restaurant. A classic! Every vacation, Joanna is able to take a photo that crystallizes our trip, and this one fit the bill.

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 8:20 AM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2010

Snow day!

Tim: We had fun in the snow last Friday. Work let out early so I got home before 3 pm. We bundled the twins up and went outside. They loved having snow balls thrown at them and also eating the snow. We made a little snow man and Elanor liked to pat his head. On Saturday we drove to Atlanta and the twins got to eat Grandma and Grandpa's snow, and make another snowman and pat his head. Grandpa made it extra fun by attaching a bungie cord to an old box and pulling the twins around in their "sleigh."

Thanks again to Karen for the "Jayne" hats. They're shiny!

Posted by Tim and Jo at 9:40 PM | Comments (1)

January 7, 2010

Jordan Trip II: Petra

Tim: If you take a trip to Jordan, you must see Petra, which was recently chosen as one of the "New Seven Wonders of the Ancient World" along with the Colosseum in Rome, the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal in India. We boarded our bus in Amman for the three hour ride to Petra and as we were making our way through the crazy traffic, we saw a shepherd herding about 100 sheep right on the streets with the traffic. A startling sight for westerners!

The ancient Nabataeans built their magnificent city at a main juncture in the trade route from China and India to the Mediterranean Sea and Europe and taxed commodities going through. This, and their ability to build water conduit systems (modeled after Roman channels and cisterns), gave them a flourishing culture in the desert and enabled them to construct the city chiseled out of rose-colored rock faces. The rock cut architecture is a combination of Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Assyrian styles and was done roughly between 600 BC to 300 AD. The Nabataean culture fell into decline when the Romans annexed Petra in 106 AD and trade routes shifted from caravans through Petra to shipping on the Red Sea. The Romans later abandoned Petra, an earthquake shook it, Muslims and Crusaders sacked it, and from the 12th century on, obscurity claimed it and it became known as the "lost city." The first modern European to see Petra was Johannes Burckhardt, a Swiss geographer who travelled there in 1812 disguised as a Muslim pilgrim.

The narrow gorge leading to the city was not created by water and large scale erosion, like the Grand Canyon, but mainly by tectonic shifts. Everywhere we looked in the mile-long siq, we saw magnificent swirling designs in the sandstone, in an abundance of colors and shapes. At times the passage was so narrow that it blocked the sunlight. As we walked through the gorge, we were passed by horses, camels and horse-drawn buggies. We chuckled to ourselves as we watched tourists bounce up and down in the buggies as they bumped over the cobblestones, thinking it would be a smooth ride and a pleasant alternative to walking. The way the horses' hooves echoed and reverberated though the gorge was fascinating, a remarkable sound to remember along with all the glory that met the eye. Just when we thought the gorge would never end, El-Khazneh (the Treasury) appeared through a crack in all its rose-colored, Corinthian-columned glory. We walked for about another mile past dozens and dozens of facades carved into the rock faces, some small, some over hundreds of feet high and wide, some intricate and detailed, some eroded beyond recognition by wind and sand.

We stopped at a cafe/souvenir stand near the amphitheatre for some Arabian coffee and were entertained by camels passing by and two feral kittens wrestling on the ground. The walk back through the gorge was quite a different experience from the walk in. We saw rock formations we missed and the sunlight played differently on the rock walls in the late afternoon than it did at mid-day.

So we got to see a wonder of the world, felt very small and insignificant, but relieved that our civilization doesn't have to chisel its cities out of rock anymore.


Posted by Tim and Jo at 6:10 AM | Comments (0)

January 5, 2010

Jordan trip I: The kids

We flew with the twins and Joanna's parents to Jordan to spend the holidays with Joanna's brother's family. They have four kids five and under. Let's stop and do the math: six adults and six kids. Yes, it was quite chaotic, but lots of fun. Even though on paper the two groups were equal, the adults often felt outnumbered and overrun.

They have a basement which we named Funland. This glorious land included tents filled with magical balls (which can instantly transform into M&M's at a three year old's command), a "wheeeeeee!" (jungle gym) that can transform into a pirate's ship at a five year old's whim, and a swing that can become an enchanted street car ("All aboard!"). Shrieks of delight could be heard all across the neighborhood.

The kids' grandparents did a very good impression of a jungle gym. They often had all six kids climbing on them.

Our kids had the time of their life. They were quite impressed with the amount of Winnie-the-Pooh items, the choo-choos, the cars and the baby dolls.(Elanor must have been having a sweet Pooh dream one night. She started to mumble, then suddenly shouted out, "Winnie da Pooh!" She also woke us up at the crack of dawn one morning reciting all of the characters, "Pooh...Tigga'...Kanga...Roo...Eeyo'...") Our twins learned lots of new words from their cousins and got more exercise then they have in their entire life. Ian yawped for joy at having three other boys to play with, and Elanor didn't mind being her girl cousin's live baby doll.

Another night, Joanna thought her parents were watching Ian, Elanor and their youngest cousin. Mom and Dad thought the same thing. Soon, we realized that there were no two year olds to be found. Then we hear some chattering and giggling from the bathroom. Go to check the door, and it's locked. When we finally got the door open, we found three soaked two year olds drowning a wise man (and it wasn't in the sink). They have now been nicknamed "The Three Stooges" for their collaboration in mischief. We apologized to the wise man and sent him on his way, hoping he could catch up to the other two after his most unfortunate, and wet, delay.

Christmas was especially fun, with six excited preschoolers tearing into their loot. Enjoy the pictures!

Posted by Tim and Jo at 8:53 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2009

A twin birthday and more from Pa.

Make a wish!

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The unmitigated glee of ripping into presents....

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...and the rich rewards!

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Pizza anyone?

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Fun with the family

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We got so worn out, we failed to disrobe before retiring to bed...

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 8:05 AM | Comments (4)

December 1, 2009

Pittsburgh trip I

Tim: So we took a trip to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving and we have lots to report. Don't expect any type of linear narrative here; life with two year old twins is a series of crazy fragmentary episodes such as this one about my sister Kim trying to convince Elanor that leftover turkey and mashed potatoes is yummy...

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Elanor: "I'm not so sure I like this..."

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Kim: "Okay, will some crackers make you happy?"

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Elanor: "Mmmmm...crackers... the ultimate Thanksgiving meal..."

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And Ian with his 95 year old Great-Grandmother's jewelry box. Just call him "Bling Boy."

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And for a grand finale, a bath in Grandpa's sink....

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 10:16 PM | Comments (2)

November 7, 2009

Fall fun

'Cuz we've been too lazy busy to blog about all we've done this fall, here's a slideshow.

It's really fun to have them at the age where they actually understand and enjoy the things we do with them...a fall festival with a petting zoo and a bouncy thing, a pumpkin patch, our neighbor's graveyard (don't ask!), their transformation into a pumpkin and a "raaaaaaaaaa!" (with their best bud the white kitty). Busy, busy, busy, and we're only getting busier!

Posted by Tim and Jo at 9:27 PM | Comments (4)

October 8, 2009

PTWOHWMTS

I'm guessing that's the acronym for the new stage of life I'm entering, part-time-work-out-of-the-home-wife-mother-teacher-and-scholar.

I'm still processing the changes this is making in our family, but overall, it's a really good situation. As I alluded to in another post, I'm teaching piano lessons in Atlanta two days a week (technically, a day and a half, but throw in some commuting time, and it makes for a couple of days, though I'm with the kids for good portions of each day). It's busy, but I really enjoy teaching. I still feel called towards scholarship, but part of that call I sense inside myself is a call towards teaching, the sharing of music and ideas, and the building of relationships that happens through this. So, that's where I am for now. I'm still looking for adjunct teaching, and I have some pots on the boiler (a few encyclopedia articles, and I haven't made a public announcement yet, but I'm seriously pursuing turning my dissertation into a book. There. I said it.).

It's nice, though, that the kids get to spend time with grandma and grandpa on one of the days, and I play with them in between lessons. And on the other day, they spend a day with my in-law-in-law's, who have twins (nearly grown up now!) themselves, and love kids. So, after a couple of bumpy weeks, the kids are pretty happy about the arrangements. Love the extra attention they're getting, and the time with their family.

There are definitely some adjustments to make. To avoid an extra round-trip, I've been spending the night at my parent's house one night each week. Elanor isn't too sure about this, she's always had a habit of processing her stress through night-time wakings, and I'm a little tired out by single night-time parenting (yes, I'm spoiled rotten by Tim usually, who is a fabulous night-time parent, and gets up with them at least as much as I do, if not more). This week was better, but we're still working through it.

There's also cooking. I've been pulling out some of my simplifying tips from the eating like an immigrant series, and making at least one enormous pot of food (usually a crockpot meal) over the weekend. We eat it on Monday, Tim eats it for lunches and Tuesday night dinner, and we might even have it for dinner on Wednesday night. So, I'm trying to keep it interesting and well-balanced enough to eat for a few days. I think I should get a couple of meals going, and start working them in and out of the freezer to keep things more varied.

And there's parenting in the car. I have about four hours in the car with the kids. I would love tips from you on how to use this time intentionally. I have some children's catechism/Bible songs CDs that we listen to, a Pete Seeger CD set (that unfortunately has met with some mixed reviews from the kids--"nonono," tears, "off," and "button"--as in push the off button. They're finally warming up to it), and occasionally some of my music (Bob Dylan and so forth), if they'll let me listen to it (little critics!). We sing in the car, songs like "Old MacDonald" and "The Wheels on the Bus," though Old MacDonald was a matter of debate yesterday--"yie-yie-yo" and "no-yie-yie-yo" were the two positions vehemently taken in the debate. I was a strictly neutral party.

They repeat their ABC's after me. And I have a bag of books and toys that I distribute judiciously throughout the trip. And snacks. But it's a looooooooong drive. I do want to take advantage of the time we have together, though, so I would love any suggestions that you might have to help the time pass.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 4:55 PM | Comments (3)

August 20, 2009

The twins meet the great Poseidon

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We stayed in a lovely condo on Hilton Head Island about two blocks from the beach. The pathway to the beach was lined with palm trees, which was great for entertaining the twins on the walk. We stopped and gave them a piece of branch or some of the fuzzy grass that grows on the trees. The twins would turn it in their hands and investigate it with their fledgling botanist sensibilities. Along the path we saw some bunnies being all bunny-like and the kids were excited. As we passed them, Elanor said: "bunny numnu byebye" ("goodbye to the rabbits who are snacking on grass").

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The beach was beautiful. We called it "bath" for the twins, to provide some context for their little minds. With a little trepidation, they watched the water fill their sandals. Soon they were loving the sensation of water on toes and started giggling.

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Elanor, especially loved playing in the sand.

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Dinosaur and Kangaroo watched in dignified disbelief as Elanor dumped sand on her Grandma's knee. I say, old chap, the manners of kids these days!

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Daddy loved it, too, as apparent by the ginormous holes that he dug and the artwork he did with the gooey grey goop he brought to the surface.

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Then we found another beach a mile away that was even better. Nearby there was a "run through" fountain for kids where spouts of water would shoot up intermittently from the ground. They loved it! Lots and lots of giggles. The twins would try to "catch" the water with their hands. Then they got brave enough to put their fingers right on the spouts and the water would spray in their faces. The fountains were also a good place to wash off the sand after being at the beach.

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Once we had familiarized them with the concept of beach, we tried to teach them the word. We worked hard (and not too successfully) on making sure that they used the long "e" sound in beach. Oh well, can't be worse than when they tried to imitate their Grandpap's, "oh shucks" (mess up either end of that word and you're in trouble!).

Next up...some random adventures we had on vacation (including "aaaaaagators" and boats).

Posted by Tim and Jo at 8:12 PM | Comments (0)

August 7, 2009

Visitors from up North

Tim: On Sunday we picked up my Dad and niece Jessica from the airport. They were here until Thursday. It didn't take my Dad long to ingratiate himself to the twins. On the ride from the airport he sat in the back seat of the car between them and instantly picked up their dialect. Elanor soon started saying "Jess" and by evening it was her favorite new word. Ian fell asleep in the car but Elanor stayed awake the whole trip and carried on a one syllable conversation with Dad. We have no idea what they were talking about.

Dad continued to ride in the back seat with the twins on every trip we made, even though it was difficult for him to get in and out of the car. He did a stellar job of keeping them entertained. There was a constant stream of giggles and cackles erupting from the back seat. Joanna said, "I could be wrong, but I think there are triplets back there, instead of twins!"

We went out to eat twice, went to Chuck E. Cheese, had a picnic on the UGA campus and took a trip to Helen. We stopped at Nora Mills and watched ducks and fishes, always a must on a trip with twins to Helen. We also stopped at the toy store and got them a spinning top and some balloons.

On Thursday, we dropped them off at the airport. They'll miss their Grandpa until we see him again in November. They loved playing with Jessica. She read them books, let them pop bubbles she would blow with her gum, taught them to say "go!" and "stop!" at traffic lights and let them wear her sunglasses. In the past two days we've been hearing lots of "Jess" "Jess" "Jess"!!!!

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 7:33 PM | Comments (0)

July 2, 2009

First tea party at (Great) Grammy's house

Complete with water (which promptly was poured out), and rice cakes (which were devoured).

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 1:11 PM | Comments (1)

April 1, 2009

Double Bday wishes going out

We know you've had your fill of birthday pranks throughout the years, so we'll just be nice and sweet here.

Happy Birthday Grandma!!

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Happy Birthday Aunt Kim!!

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 9:20 PM | Comments (0)

Fun with Family

Ian and Elanor: Don't be fooled by that last post, about us getting restless on the plane. It's all a fabrication! Our parents were the ones who had trouble behaving (they were so squirmy!) But the trip was worth it because mommy did good at her defense and we got to see lots of fun people, like our awesome aunts, uncles, grandpa and great grandma. Here's what we did:

We wore bunny ears...

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We ate crackers with Aunt Kim...

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We swept up Aunt Marge's house...

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We got rowdy with Aunt Lorraine...

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We visited Great Grandma, who is just great...

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We took a a bath in Grandpa's sink....

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And played with puzzles with Aunt Kim and cousin Jess...

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We read books with Aunt Martha...

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And when we were all tired out, we sat on Grandpa's lap.

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 9:18 PM | Comments (2)

February 8, 2009

Menagerie

A random assortment from our last fun, crazy playdate...

A sabre-tooth tiger. ROOOOOOOARRRR!!!

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Off with his head!

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Giddyap!!

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Gonna rassle me some cattle!

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And a sweet little hug, awwwwww!

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 2:16 PM | Comments (0)

February 4, 2009

A winning hand

With a trio of aces, a pair of threes, and a four, we'd win at poker.

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It certainly does make for a full house!

(hehehe)

This is a picture from our last play date with the cousins, Jonathan and Beka Hastings' kids. I'll put up a few more soon--of cowboys & girls & firemen.

We're going to miss you!!!!!!

Posted by Tim and Jo at 9:38 PM | Comments (1)

January 31, 2009

Family fun

Our brother and sister-in-law Jonathan and Beka Hastings have been visiting us. Alas, their time with us is near an end, as they live far away.

Over the past few weeks, we've gone to the zoo (for the first time for all kids), visited the aquarium, celebrated Christmas, took spontaneous trips to McDonald's (using all of the high chairs in the restaurant for our combined six kids four and under), and had many other adventures. We had decided that for Christmas we would give each other time, and try to create beautiful memories for our children as they began to know each other. It was a precious time for all of us, and I hope that we continue it as a tradition, giving each other memories and time.

So thankful that our children are developing relationships with their cousins, and for the blessings of family

Posted by Tim and Jo at 9:08 PM | Comments (7)

January 30, 2009

Home!

After a very long week, with Tim in the hospital for an unexplained fever, we're back together again. The kids (and mommy!!!!) were thrilled.

Yayyyy, daddy's home!!!

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I felt like a puzzle with different parts of me scattered all over the place, and now I've been put together again. Or better, we've been put back together again.

I wouldn't have made it through this week without our community here. People have made meals, watched kids, prayed, called, e-mailed, listened. We've only been here a year and a half, and I didn't realize until now how deeply we've become imbedded in our church and community. Thank you to everyone!

Talking about togetherness... (*trying hard to make a segue so that I can show a cute picture*)

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 12:57 PM | Comments (1)

January 10, 2009

First trip to the zoo

We went with all the cousins, Jonathan and Beka Hastings and their kids, to Zoo Atlanta the other week. It was the first time that any of them had been to the zoo.

We saw monkeys.

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Oh wait, there they are!

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And lions and tigers and snakes and elephants.

But I think our kids loved the petting zoo the best. I love Elanor's magic finger touch here. These days, the magic finger gets combined with the more sign on a regular basis, as in, "I want more of that. NOW!"

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And I love Ian's slightly mischievous curiosity in this picture.

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And the way Ian and the goat are looking at each other like they're long lost friends!

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 2:45 PM | Comments (0)

January 5, 2009

Cuddlin' cousins

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A moment of tranquility in the fun craziness of Christmas with six cousins four and under--Ian and Jonathan and Beka Hastings daughter, Ellyse.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2008

Herding Cats: The Christmas Edition

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

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Disclaimer: Okay, with six kids four and under between my brother's family ( Jonathan and Beka Hastings ) and ours, it was great to have any pictures with all kids semi-motionless. Smiles and everyone looking? Good luck with that! Here's a picture that more fully reflects the reality of six kids in my parent's house this Christmas. It's kind of like Where's Waldo--you can find all kinds of things going on. Who can find the angel flying away from the manger? Where's the number five? Which kid is getting a little extra fiber in his diet? Who's getting bonked by a bottle?

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It's the best Christmas present ever to have my brother and sister-in-law and all their kids around for Christmas. Hope you all have as much fun as we're having!

Posted by Tim and Jo at 8:59 AM | Comments (2)

December 17, 2008

More from the GA Aquarium

For our presents to each other, my brother's family and ours are taking our kids together on outings. Our first, a week and a half ago, was to the Georgia Aquarium. All the kids were squealingly excited over the fish! Enjoy.

In the pictures are our kids, grandma and grandpa, Jonathan and Beka Hastings and their kids.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 4:15 PM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2008

December Photo Project #7: Fun with Family & Fish

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We finally have our camera back, so stay tuned for some more Christmas themed pics!

Posted by Tim and Jo at 11:18 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2008

Grandpap and Aunt Martha

Tim's dad and Aunt Martha have come over to our place to celebrate the twin's first birthday, coming up later this week.

The kids are having a great time. Playing and laughing and getting spoiled by all kinds of attention. Aunt Martha sings them songs, and Grandpap plays bouncing games and walky games and any other sort of game that nearly-one-year-olds might love.

Ian has found a special affinity for his Grandpap, in their looks, but especially in the same spark of mischief in both their eyes.

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Aunt Martha brought fun clothes and toys for both kids. Elanor loves her Christmas dress!

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More on the kids' upcoming birthday soon!

Posted by Tim and Jo at 7:07 PM | Comments (2)

September 15, 2008

There and back again

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 8:46 PM | Comments (3)

August 14, 2008

Other memoirs from our time with "Aunt" Jess

Thanks to Aunt Jess...

Ian sticks his tongue out.

Elanor waves bye-bye.

They both (sort of) give us five.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2008

Fun with dad and "Aunt" Jessica

A few more pictures from last week...

They loved sitting in grandpap's lap.

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Jessica made the kids laugh soooo hard! They would just squeal with laughter.

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Everyone's smiling!

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Tired after a long day...

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 9:32 PM | Comments (1)

August 3, 2008

Peek-

A-

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Boo!!!!!!!!

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 9:43 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2008

Vacation: The Kids

Tim and Joanna: This past week, we spent a little mini-vacation with the grandparents at Tybee Island with little jaunts into Savannah.

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The first morning before breakfast we took the kids down to the beach for a taste of the old briny. Elanor liked playing with the sand but Ian was a bit skeptical of the whole ocean thing. "What is this grey watery stuff and why is there so much of it and why am I in it?" They would grab some sand in their hands and stare at it as if they were thinking "what...the...heck...is...THIS...stuff??" Ian remained somewhat wary of the ocean for the rest of the visit.

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Tim was sympathetic--considering all of the unknowns in the ocean, a healthy skepticism was not an inappropriate reaction on the part of our little guy. Between the sun, the sand, and pondering the incomprehensible forces of nature, Ian soon tired himself out.

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They loved their beach toys. Even though they had no conception of their proper functions, the brilliant colors and unusual shapes amused them.

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Elanor loved the water in every shape and form. The pool was her favorite, though. She would laugh, cackle and shriek for joy as she kicked in her little floaty. She also loved looking at water, especially if it had bright little fishies swimming around in it.

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We buried the twins in the sand up to the waists and they didn't seem to mind, as long as we kept the waves from creeping up on them. They took a few tastes of sand and found that it didn't sit well on the palate.

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The apartment was equipped with a double sink that was just their size. Some days they seemed to have more fun getting the sand and gunk off of them as they had had putting it on themselves.

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 8:02 PM | Comments (2)

Family portrait

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 3:47 PM | Comments (1)

July 5, 2008

More 4th Fun!

Elanor wore a festive bow (her first).

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Ian found his favorite perch--an uncle's head!

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Their cousin gave them dolls. Actually, these three look like little dolls all in a row.

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Ian loved his boy dolly.

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Maybe later I'll post some outtakes!

Posted by Tim and Jo at 8:24 PM | Comments (1)

July 3, 2008

Happy Fourth!

Yeah, yeah, I know it's the third.

But it's our fourth!

Four years ago today, we were at a big party.

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For a brief moment, our communities collided, our past and present, friends and family, childhood, schools, churches, the North and the South.

It feels like this tangle of communities is a huge part of what marriage is about. My friends are his friends. His family is my family.

And then our communities literally collided in the festive mosh pit otherwise known as the Slovakian Bridal Dance.

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This year, we've learned to know each other as parents. Though we had a couple of wiggly but self-contained sweet potatoes this time last year, this year we've had to wrestle with the realities and responsibilities of parenthood.

It's been hard at times, but it's also helped us to get to know each other at a deeper level, to work together as a team, and to realize more and more how dependent we are on God for getting through each and every day.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 12:56 PM | Comments (1)

June 30, 2008

discipline

Ian's new skills have brought us into new realms of parenting. He can get into everything. Sometimes what he is trying to do is amazing, his combination of physical strength and problem-solving skills are mind-boggling at times. Sometimes, it's a day full of moving him across the living room away from the "no," and having to repeat that process ad nauseum. Elanor doesn't get as many no's because she's not nearly as mobile, and in general she can be redirected more quickly than he can.

So far, we've only set up a very limited number of no's, some of them of a more serious nature than others: don't touch the DVD player, don't turn over the living room table, don't pull your sister (or brother's--we've realized Elanor can be the silent but deadly instigator here) hair.

Jonathan's post really made me think through some thoughts that have been bubbling through my mind lately.

With pregnancy, there are variations, but most of the advice can apply to most pregnancies. Don't drink, smoke, etc., eat well, and so on.

When it comes to parenting advice, especially in regards to discipline, advice runs the gamut. From people we know in real life, to blogs I've visited, to parenting experts, there are so many conflicting voices. Plus some of the books by experts subtitle their works to indicate that this (and only this?) is parenting "God's way." Some say that you should "always" discipline this way. Others say you should "never" use this technique. And sometimes I feel like we're fumbling our way through the always and nevers trying to find what's best for our family.

The thing is, though, every parent is different, every child is different. Though there are principles that can be applied across the board, I don't think there will ever be one system that fits everyone into it. Already, we're seeing that Ian and Elanor have very different personalities, and that we'll have to handle them in different ways. It's hard, even when tone of voice and redirection are the main discipline tools we're using right now. It's trying to find the right tone of voice that shows I'm serious (no, this is not a game!) without breaking his heart. There are certain tones of voice I use that just crush his little spirit. I want an obedient child, not a squished one!

I really like this. About how it's too easy to idolize having the perfect family, and putting that in the place of Christ's work.

I also appreciate those who remind that the goal of discipline is part of discipleship. Not that punishment won't eventually be part of that, still thinking through all of that, but that discipling and training our kids is the focus, rather than punishing them.

And our old pastor's reminders that believing in the covenant, we have no place treating our kids as "vipers in diapers." He also said, right before our children were baptized, that apologizing to our kids when we make mistakes is one of the most powerful discipline tools we have, and that it's best to get a behavior to change using the gentlest means possible to accomplish that change--anything else is overkill.

And after a discouraging days of no's and redirecting, when I was greatly longing for immobile babies, I appreciated Tim's reminder that Ian's mad skillz aren't things to be discouraged about, they're things to rejoice in. He's growing up!

And, the other day, after telling him "no" as he crawled ever closer to the DVD player, he stopped, looked me in the eye, and turned around. I was astonished--he had a choice, and he used his will to make the right choice.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 11:59 AM | Comments (3)

June 22, 2008

Cousins!

Recently, our kids got to meet their cousin Andrew and their dear aunt.

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Ian loved snuggles with his Aunty.

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The kids had lots of play time with their cousin. They played together on the floor. In the pool. On grandpa's lap. And so on.

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This one pacifier got passed around to all three kids.

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Spit-cousins instead of blood-brothers?

Posted by Tim and Jo at 7:03 PM | Comments (1)

Saturday in the park

Yesterday, we took the kids to a little local park.

Among our recent realizations as parents is that many of our activities are going to revolve around our kids' activities from now on. I know, pretty obvious. But going to the park and watching the geese hasn't been on our top to-do-list in the recent past. But now, it's one of the fun perks of parenting. Anyways.

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While we were at the park, we took the inevitable two-in-one-swing pictures. A twin forum Joanna is on had a whole series of these pictures awhile ago, and we're just now catching up. Enjoy!

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 6:55 PM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2008

Happy First Father's Day!

The kids are blessed to have two fun grandfathers,

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One great-grandfather,

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And a daddy who adores them!

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A daddy...
-who wouldn't ever miss a play time with them
-who can't keep his hands off of them in the morning before he leaves for work (because he's missed them so much overnight), even if they're still sleeping
-who has changed at least as many dirty diapers as mommy
-who got up with them almost every night until they started sleeping through the night
-who makes them smile and laugh just by walking into the room or saying hi
-who prays for them each day

Happy First Father's Day, Tim!!!

Posted by Tim and Jo at 6:05 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2008

Pittsburgh Trip: Lots of family!

Getting into mischief with grandpa...playing with cousin Jessica...fun with Aunt Kim...reading with Aunt Martha...twins with twins...snuggling with Great-Grandma...and the list goes on.

Even though we couldn't fit everyone's picture here, the kids loved spending time with *all* of you!

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 11:47 AM | Comments (2)

April 2, 2008

Grabbing grandpa's beard

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 9:26 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2008

Happy bday from twins & daddy

So....I got my first birthday present from the twins. They picked it out. Really. Look how exhausted they are from shopping.

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Their daddy has been busy. He planned out a whole week of birthday surprises. More importantly, he kept these surprises secret, which is quite unusual for him. He's usually too transparent for subterfuge.

On Saturday, my childhood best friend and my cousin Melissa made a surprise appearance. Jennifer brought me candy in quantities of 30 each (I had forgotten how fun pixie sticks were!), and Melissa brought me a purse full of fun Bath & Bodyworks stuff, as well as anti-aging cremes (haha). Elanor stole the purse.

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On Monday, another pile of friends came to visit! Ruth made me a chocolate and apricot birthday cake--we share the same middle name and the same birthday.

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Elanor found a new friend in Kaitlyn. Kaitlyn was part of the baby countdown last fall. Unfortunately, Elanor said something that Kaitlyn didn't like, and Kaitlyn burst into tears. However, it appears as though they patched it up in the end. I hope they have as much laughter over the years as I've had with her mother and all her wonderful aunts and uncles.

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Apparently there are more surprises on the way, so I'll just have to wait...

Posted by Tim and Jo at 4:59 PM | Comments (4)

July 3, 2007

Three Years Ago

Three years and two sweet potatoes later....

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...we're still having just as much fun. Actually, more! I never realized marriage would be so terrific--to have your best friend and best pal right there every day.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 2:30 PM | Comments (0)

June 2, 2007

'Way down south...

Weeeeeel....

It's official--we've now moved down to the sunny south! We drove down over the past few days, and a whole troop of teenagers helped us unload today. A whole troop of people helped us load up, too, on the other end. I don't know what we'd do without our church families.

I wanted to write some posts about my favorite things about Pittsburgh, but I miss it too much right now.

I'll write more when we get more settled.

Tim's reaction to southern culture, "Well, I like barbecue. That's about it." Hee! I think he's going to have some adventures adjusting to life down here.

Posted by Tim and Jo at 6:24 PM | Comments (1)

May 1, 2007

Soon their duet will become...

...a quartet!

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Yo-de-lay-he-yo-de-lay-he-two!!!!

Posted by Tim and Jo at 6:36 PM | Comments (2)

April 23, 2007

pregnancy stuff

Well, the semester is almost over (hurrah!). And the trimester is about two-thirds of the way through (hurrah!).

babies

Posted by Tim and Jo at 8:28 AM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2007

Where we parked today...

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 11:45 PM | Comments (4)

August 15, 2006

Back from vacazione

Here's a preview of the triple shot of cuteness that deluged us on our family vacation. More later!

Little twinsies

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And big brother, luxuriating in the local handcrafted furniture. "A high quality, one-of-a-kind piece" he ruminates, "but will it enhance my decor?"

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Posted by Tim and Jo at 4:31 PM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2006

Hands full!


Posted by Tim and Jo at 1:59 PM | Comments (0)