Wednesday, May 21, 2014


What started off as a normal, rainy night and morning at The Pinery soon changed drastically to a flood!!! For family & friends who know The Pinery and the area around us, you won't believe these pictures. It's unbelievable how quickly the water rose today. Never before have we seen anything like it. A flood like this has not occurred here since 1935. Yup. No joke.

Jim was off getting our car looked at by a mechanic, while I started my solo afternoon by walking Ian in the stroller to bring on his afternoon nap. The water has been high since we got here, but not too bad. As I pushed Ian in the stroller, I realized that the water was much higher than I'd thought. It was up below the swing by the river.

The County Emergency Department sent a truck to tell us all that we should either leave today or plan to stay stuck for the night, since the water would be high. What? I've never experienced that before. And Jim was out?! Oh no.

I called the mechanic and asked to speak to Jim, since I couldn't reach him. I explained the situation and offered that if he couldn't get home, then he could probably stay with my aunt Beth.

After returning to the cabin, I left Ian to sleep on the porch, being serenaded by the birds. The weather is very mild here. As I sat writing and reading and gazing at my sleeping baby, I noticed that I could actually see the water from where I was sitting; this is NOT normal.
 After he awoke from his nap, I found the swing like this!
 And walked down the road to find it covered!!! Soon after I met and joked with a few of the neighbors (Simko & the Riggs), the knot in my stomach vanished as I saw Jim pull into Ella's driveway and wave as he walked toward me. Whew!

When he got to us he explained that he'd been unable to come from the other side because it was blocked. He was the last car allowed across the bridge by Cooksburg because water was starting to come over the bridge!!! The ranger said they expected the water to rise to 21 ft, but it was only at 13 ft then.

 Creeping up...
 Dad's earth oven!
Whoa! Stop right there, please!!!

We moved everything we could to the upstairs, just in case the first floor flooded. Bikes and kayaks were moved up the hill, but Bob's incredible wood pile floated away.

 Rigg's backyard...
 Yup, it's right there!
 Your eyes are not deceiving you. I promise!

 Because the breaker box is in the barn, we turned the electricity off just to be safe. Tonight we're sleeping in the Riggs' home.
 This is The Pinery's yard... you know, where we normally play games?
 No joke.
 The road...

 The Riggs' basement flooded, but there was still time for a beer.

You know, sometimes you just have to laugh, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

What a day! A perfect capstone to our wild week. Haha.

Best Laid Plans

No AC in the car on 90 degree days, fire ants and no-see-ums, a coughing baby, freezing night temperatures with no heat, paperwork, rainy days, quickly rising river and likely to flood the road... do we know how to vacation or what?! Sheesh!

Thankful for our happy kid... what a trooper!!! Concentrating on the blessings today and watching my babe sleep peacefully, occasionally smiling in his sleep.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

MAJOR Catch-up

One of my new favorite pictures. Jim snapped this one morning!
It reminds me of Lyle Lovett's song lyrics, "You can have my girl but don't touch my hat."
It's been a busy week and a half, since I last posted. We've had many picnics and goodbyes with friends, Papa's basketball tournament (which Ian enjoyed!), Papa became a doctor (see previous post!!!), Aunt Phoebe graduated from college, we had some changes in plans, and Ian has had some major developments (BUT, name a week he hasn't!!). 

We've spent much of this time being his human Jungle Jims! He would rather climb all over us, sometimes, than anything else. We spend a lot of time lying on the ground or allowing him to walk himself along our arms. In the kitchen, he likes to pull himself up on our legs and smile up at us from below. And, I finally caught this picture of him munching on those meaty, adorable toes. If only we could maintain this kind of flexibility throughout our lifetimes... I wonder how many injuries we'd all be able to avoid!!

Ian continues to love walks when he gets to ride in the backpack. His vantage point seems to be like that of an elephant or camel ride. We are so grateful that he loves to be outside, enjoying hikes, walks, saunters, or crawling and rolling around in the grass. If he's not already outside, he can be found peering outside through the windows. 
Since he was born in the early fall, he had the long winter to cuddle and slowly learn how to become mobile. Now that it's getting warmer and easier to play outside, I'm grateful that his development has sprouted as well. He's on-the-move during a time when we're all itching to get outside and enjoy the dandelion puffs, the budding trees, and the feel of green grass between our toes.
Ian has started growling, occasionally. It's funny to hear him experiment with new sounds! He's also starting to sing along with me during our bedtime ritual, sometimes. Not hitting any of the same notes, he'll lean back into my chest and hold long pitches, sometimes with a few notes up or down. It brings a smile to my face each time and there's normally a point where I have to stifle a little laugh.
"Here's looking at you, kid!"
Perhaps one of my favorite moments from this week was when I found him as seen in the picture here. He was quiet, not making a peep, which is not like him very much these days, while he's awake. I came around the corner to find him leaning over his little photo album and looking in the mirror!! He'd sit back, moving his face out of the mirror, and then lean forward, observing his reflection. He did this multiple times while I ran and got Jim and the camera!

Lately, we've had a fair amount of rain. We're grateful for this adorable raincoat from Äma! It has matching pants, too, for when he's a bit bigger and desperate to play outside in the rain.

 In the last two weeks, Ian's movements have continued to take off! He's extremely adept at moving from the crawl to the sitting position and back to crawling. He's pulling up on furniture and transferring himself to the next piece of furniture with hardly any difficulty. Ian uses ottomans as "walkers" and moves himself to where he desires to be. When he is on carpet, he has been seen to crawl while up on his knees and hands, but most locations we've been have slick, linoleum or hardwood floors and he has maintained the army crawl.

Life has definitely changed for us! Baby-proofing was in the works at home, but that doesn't stop him from speeding quickly into the fridge the second it's open.... among many other things you don't think about until you have a baby teaching you what mobility REALLY means!!

Below, Ian is showing us yet another yoga pose. The strength of this boy, I tell you. No wonder babies need so many naps... he never.stops.moving.
"And now, for my next trick!"
 The face below was quite common for a while. This is his straining or working hard face, as well as his "I'm cute" face. Sometime he'd just look up at us and close his eyes and smile this way. Most often it was because he was trying to get to us and was really, really working at it!!

During the week before graduation, Papa had some time off. We got a few chairs for a steal from the YMCA and he was refinishing them for our new home. The weather was quite warm that week, so we decided to have a little family play session in the water! Ian splashed with his hands, with kitchen utensils, with rocks, and loved it! He especially loved it when Papa dipped his head in the water. He kept reaching for the stream of water cascading off of Papa's head.

Other than the pictures of graduation that I already posted, I don't have many of that day or the visit from Gramee & Grandpa. We had a nice time with them and went for a beautiful walk on the Huckleberry Trail. Thank you for the adorable new outfits for Ian & the froggy beach towel!! We also enjoyed some delicious Sal's Pizza, Jim's choice, to celebrate the big day.

Sunday (Mother's Day!) was a big day of packing and organizing for our beach trip. We were so excited for our trip and exhausted, but we were thrilled to be getting out as our family of three.

Without AC ($1500 is just not pocket change for us!) we hit the road for Edisto Beach State Park, in South Carolina. Ian enjoyed playing games where he'd stick his tongue out. We got there late and set-up camp in the dark, quickly hopping in the tent because of the no-see-ems and mosquitos. The next morning we were met by more of the same.

The campsite and state park were absolutely gorgeous! We felt like we were in a jungle. We were surrounded by huge live oak trees that were just covered in Spanish moss. It reminded me of my childhood in Savannah, memories I don't often have surface, but I welcomed them!!

The beach was awesome, empty, beautiful, and comfortable in our great little set-up. Ian LOVED the sand, the shells, the water, and the walks in the stroller along the beach (until he fell soundly asleep). We enjoyed experiencing the beach with him for the first time, the soft waves, and the walks and time we had reading during his naps.

Our beach set-up was much-improved from our trip last year. We enjoyed having this canopy to protect us and our active boy from the sun. Thanks to Äma for the spf 50 long-sleeved swim shirt, we only had to cover Ian's legs, face and hands with sunblock!

Unfortunately, we decided that after three long stretches at the campground of Ian (and ourselves) getting bitten by bugs, suffering from being sick, and not being able to be mobile and crawl around on the ground because of pestilent fire ants... this vacation was not the right one of our family at this phase and time. We knew it was going to be hot (and HOT is was!), but the bugs were what made it difficult. We will definitely go back in the future... the place was too awesome, beautiful, and pristine.

Thanks for the warm fleece onesie, Aunt Sherri!
So, grateful for another option, we hit the road for The Pinery in NW Pennsylvania!! Yes, quite a fair distant away... but worth it. We've filled our last few days with visits with family, croquet, bocce, hiking, walks on river road, reading, eating/making good food, and enjoying our sweet boy.

We've been playing a lot of peek-a-boo with Ian with a blanket during the last few weeks. If he was getting restless in the car, I'd cover his face, ask where he was, and wait for him to pull it off with glee. Throughout one of the car rides in Pennsylvania, Ian started playing the game back to me!! He'd cover his face, I'd say "Where's Ian?" and he'd uncover his face with a huge smile and squeal. Wowweee! That is so much fun. A whole new level of interaction and relating!

Ian still has a horrible cough, but he's trooping through it and it seems to be improving. Jim's listened to his lungs a few times and says they're clear. It hasn't stopped him from crawling and pulling up on furniture whenever he wants.

We visited the Koskers and Aunt Beth for a delicious venison meatloaf dinner on Saturday and then went to church with Grandma on Sunday, then out to eat, and for a tour and visit to her new lodgings. It was a nice, long visit and Ian was a hit with all of the folks in the lanes around her room.
He was kind of a hit with her, too. Wink, wink.
Back at the cabin, we've stayed warm by wearing our warm pajamas at night. Ian's newfound mobility proves to make Leif's life interesting. "Gentle" can be heard multiple times throughout the day as we coach both Ian and Leif through their interactions. Both are doing really well!

Since we have a bathtub, we've had fun with baths each evening. They have been a great way to wear out his extra energy and then to calm down with a nurse before bed. He's figuring out how to scoop water with a cupper we have for rinsing his hair and then to pour it out... this boy is catching on to everything!
In catching on to everything... separation anxiety has started full swing! If he sees me leave, he's not happy. I try to tell him when I'm leaving and if I'm coming back, but he doesn't understand yet. If someone else tries to soothe him, he spends most of that time crying and searching for me. This is definitely a new phase and one we'll both have to navigate together.

Today we went for a nice hike along Longfellow Trail and then Toms Run Trail in Cook Forest State Park. These trails take you through Cathedral Pines, which are gorgeous, huge pine trees... you do feel like you are in a cathedral. This picture doesn't actually show that stretch, though. We love this trail because there's a blanket of pine needles, ferns everywhere, and moss.  In the heat of the summer, Toms Run follows right along a creek and we often go creek-walking, but today was too chilly for that! That's May in Cook Forest for you!!
The best part of the hike was snuggling with this little guy.
We are so grateful for our happy traveler, trooper, and fun-loving little darling! The last couple of weeks could have been very difficult, but he went with the flow (even while sick!). Thanks for being a good sport!

I'm so grateful to share my favorite place with this precious little one. There are pictures of me playing in this yard during my first summer, too. I love this place and am sure Ian will love it, too.

Happy 33 & 34 weeks, darling boy!
(8 month post to come)

You bring so much light into our lives.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Someone tell me how it's possible that my "little" sister graduated from college on Sunday. 

University of Richmond was one lucky place to have her for four years. She's one incredible, passionate, intelligent, and athletic gal.

To say that I love my siblings would be an understatement. 

I love this girl soooo much.

I am so proud of the woman she is, 
the compassion she shows for others (especially her Redhot teammates and as a writing consultant), 
her scholarly pursuits as a writer, reader, language enthusiast, and writing consultant,
and her determination and resiliency through trials.

Next year she's off to France to teach English for the French Embassy with James, her boyfriend.
How cool is that?
I think a visit is in order.

We love you, Phoebe!!!

Cheer loudly for us today, as you watch James compete in Nationals for frisbee!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Graduation Day

We're on-the-go right now, but I don't want these days to slip by without a few pictures of graduation!!!

Processing into Burrus Hall at Virginia Tech!

Dr. Wolfe made sure each graduate had their spot in the limelight. 
They did work super hard for this day, after all. He also provided some comic relief... here I think he's talking about how he hoped people brought their snacks! (The ceremony did last 3.5 hours!!!)

Getting cloaked... officially a doctor!!!

Introducing James David B., DO!!!!
Such an exciting (and weighty) day!
Soooo unbelievably proud. What a huge accomplishment.

When I think about all of the hours of studying, the all-nighters, the late nights, the months apart, the new attendings (supervising doctors) and expectations, the forever long boards, the sacrifices he's made.... Whew, this day means a lot. Tears filled my eyes as I thought back through the last four years. 

Jim, I'm amazed by your perseverance, determination, and passion. 

Ian woke up from his nap just in time for me to be able to snap the pictures above. 
Thanks, Gramee, for taking such good care of him! 

Jim and his parents!! Thanks for sharing this day with us.

Just the three of us.
What a big day for our family.

May 10, 2014

Thank you to all of our family & friends for walking this road with us, no matter your part.