Rose Holland 2016

Every year for most of my life, you can find me in the same place the first weekend in October- the Rose Holland Trout Derby at Montauk State Park.  We haven’t been able to go every year now that I am older, but my parents and family are always there.  I hold treasured memories from that weekend from many of my childhood, teenage, and adult years.  It’s one of my favorite places in the world- a place that I really feel like I am me.  And this weekend is always particularly great.  It’s usually wonderful weather and it’s delightful.  There’s music and activities and, of course, fishing and camping.



This year, Nick and Lucy and Spencer and I went with my family.  Nick has been camping before, but not in recent memory or in any memory of his, really.  So this was very exciting for him.  He caught two fish- more than anybody else that weekend- and he couldn’t have been more thrilled.  He was telling everybody that he got to fish in a real river.  And he has asked to go camping almost every day since we came home.



He also, of course, continued to hone is photography skills.  Here’s one of my faves from the weekend- aside from the 273,230,233 photos of the water he took.  🙂  What I love about this one is how the wood looks.


Lucy loved being outdoors all weekend, commandeering use of Nick’s scooter while he was busy fishing, and eating her first chocolate donuts and smores.



I think my dad was on cloud 9 with both of the kids.  He kept saying things like, Nick is the best boy.  It made me so happy to see my parents enjoying their grandchildren.  The stuff dreams are made of, I’ll tell you what.




We had campfires, hiked, told stories, laughed, played, ate more smores than I can count, and had a generally great time.




Good Ole Days

You remember the end of the show “The Office” when Andy says this:

Well, I was thinking about that recently.  I think that’s just a natural part of moving on, right?  For example, when I worked at North Callaway, I had a blast.  I had a lot of gratitude for my experience there even in that moment.  I knew it was something special even then.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t have bad days- sometimes even awful days.  But overall, I knew it was good times.

After NC, I moved on to FHHS.  It was literally my dream come true.  And I got to do so many amazing things there.  But I still always thought of my old NC pals.  I think sometimes I took some of my FHHS times for granted by the end because, well, it was just time to go.  Now I realize that.  I look back on that time and feel lots of love and gratitude for my experience there.  And even the negative aspects helped me grow and prepare so much for moving forward.  I am so grateful for all the learning I did while I was there, the mistakes I made and got to learn from, the life that happened to me while I was there, and most of all, the people who became part of my soul who I never would have known had it not been for Howell.

Now at my new school, I miss some things about my past places, but again, like at NC, I realize how special this time is.  I know I’m going to grow so much, hopefully have a positive impact, and make some great memories here.

At each transition, I look back on the previous and think about how good it was.  I think we naturally do that.  In relationships, in life, everywhere.  I still talk to my NC people who had such an impact on me, even a decade later.

I think we do always know it’s the good ole days.  Life just keeps getting better and better.  The kids get more and more fun.  Home gets more and more like home.  My job gets more and more exciting.  It’s just a matter of staying grateful.  That’s the lesson Howell taught me, I think.  How important it is to keep perspective on what’s important, what was, and what’s to come.  In the words of my wise friend Russell, to find the good and to do good.

Morning Hike

The weather is too delightful to do much other than be outside.  Fall and spring have a lot in common as far as their effect on me- I feel rejuvenated and ready to do something new.  Even though in fall, things are burning their last brightness and dying and preparing for winter, it feels like a nice, cool glass of crisp, ice water after a long, hot, humid St. Louis summer day.  It’s refreshing.  I love it.

I like fall more than spring, even though they have an equally energizing feeling for me.  My two favorite holidays- Halloween and Thanksgiving- are during fall.  The colors are also better- orange > pastels, says the lady with the light yellow kitchen and an affinity for mint green.  Anyway, the past couple days gifted us with some beautiful, cool breezes- a little hint of what’s very soon to come.  So we had to go enjoy it.

Normally, every Labor Day weekend, we go camping.  Not this year.  Not last year, come to think of it, either.  So I feel at a loss for what to do with myself.  Yesterday, I thought it would be lovely to go do an easy hike with the kids.  And then I thought it would be even better if it was followed up with some of the yummiest crispy-edge burgers and cheese fries in the greater metro area.  So we headed to Powder Valley this morning and ended up at Carl’s Drive In after.  Lovely, lovely.

Lucy was thrilled to be let loose in the “forest” as Nick called it.  She wasn’t scared and sometimes even ran ahead of her big brother!

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Nick is a natural explorer.  He found a perfect walking stick at the trailhead and was thrilled to be able to use it as we hiked.  He found spiders and squirrels, but we didn’t see any other animals.  He was so excited and he didn’t stop talking the whole hike.  It was delightful.

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I had brought my camera to take some photos of the kids.  Of course, when Nick sees my camera out, he thinks he’s entitled to take some photos.  With good reason, really.  He’s a better photographer than I am, I think!  I let him take some photos.  He took some of the trees, the rocks, us, but my favorite was this one of Lucy.  I’m telling you, he’s got some talent.  🙂


After the hike, we went to the little nature center.  Nick had a wonderful time looking at the animals and making a new friend he called only “girl.”  They held hands and went through the place with Lucy trailing along- a preview of the future, perhaps?  🙂  There was a pond outside that had a big window inside which was Nick’s favorite thing.  He’s been asking us to go to the aquarium lately, so he was thrilled.  It was a sweet time.

PicMonkey Collage

After we went to Carl’s, which I’ve always thought of as sort of a pain, but it’s actually charming and delightful, not to mention the awesome food.  I love taking the kids there for some reason- it just feels like a place I want them to remember going to as children.  Spencer’s elementary school principal used to take him there, and it’s very special to him.  After that, we headed back out to St. Charles county where I guess we belong, and I finally got to start changing the colors of the interior walls at our new house.  I cannot wait until it’s all done!  Bye-bye, every shade of tan one can imagine!  Hello, gray.  😀

Our New Home

Our new home is very lovely.  It’s everything I ever dreamed of, really.  I always thought, both growing up and as an adult, that all I ever wanted was a typical, sunny suburban home.  As an adult, I got more particular- a four bedroom ranch with a laundry room with a window and a kitchen island.  If I was extra lucky, maybe a wall oven and a high ceiling or two.  More than anything, I wanted a yard where my kids could run and explore and play.  A place where we could have family and friends over.  This house has all those things, and even more that we didn’t even know we wanted.

I don’t feel quite at home yet- I think it’s the previous owners’ paint colors still on the walls.  But Spencer and the kids seem right at home.  Lucy was so thrilled with her big girl bed.  And Nick with his room.  They both love the play room in the basement.  And they enjoy the yard so much.  Our neighbors have a swingset with a few swings they let my kids use.  It’s right on the line between our yards by the woods.  (Woods!  We have trees!  And woods!)  Lucy will swing forever if you let her.  Every evening, we take a family walk through our quiet and pretty neighborhood.  It’s seriously idyllic.  But again, it’s not quite mine yet.

I miss my little cottage.  I never, ever thought I would.  It’s where I brought my babies home.  It was our very first house.  We built it.  Everything in there was something we chose.  We learned to cook there.  We had some of the greatest ups and downs we’ve faced as a married couple there.  And now somebody else lives there.  It’s hard for me some days.  But it makes it a lot easier seeing my family so happy in our new home.  When we cook dinner as a family, when we had Nick’s birthday party, when the kids set up “dinosaur park” in our living room which is actually big enough for furniture AND playtime.  Family home evenings at home.  Nightly porch-sitting with Spencer after the kids are in bed.  Waking up to a view of our big backyard and the woods as opposed to our little bitty yard which backed up to Tommy and Megan’s little backyard and their home.  I burn my fall candles, and it smells like our house.  Taking out our fall decor and putting up our family photos.  All of these things makes it easier.

Everyday in our house, it becomes more ours.  And we’ll bring our new baby home here.  And our babies love it and Spencer loves it and really, I love it too.  I’ll just love it more when it’s painted gray and yellow.  🙂





An Illinois Evening with Lucy

The past few posts have been very Nick-centric with his birthday and party and everything.  This one has lots of Lucy photos, and I’ll take some time to talk about her and do a little update on her too.

We went over to Illinois for a family dinner/party with Spencer’s family.  Spencer’s uncle and his family were in town from Germany, and we always get together when they are here.  It was a rainy day, but the rain didn’t stop Lucy from wanting to play outside!


The rain ended right around sundown.  There was a gorgeous double rainbow and lots of golden sunset-y light goodness.  I had to take some photos!  Nick was inside participating in a giant multi-cousin wrestling match, so Lucy and I went outside and while she explored and danced, I snapped photos.





Lucy is nearly a year and a half old.  She has a huge personality that seems to get bigger every day!  She’s a very passionate baby.  Dramatic, silly, and fun.  She is a happy and loving girl, but when she loses her temper, boy watch out!  She is fiercely independent, intent on doing most things by herself.  It makes for messy and hilarious days with this girl.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

She really likes to dance.  She loves music and is very interested in the piano.  She wants to do anything and everything her big brother can do, which results in a broken heart sometimes when he’s doing big boy stuff that she just can’t do yet.  But she gets along just fine and does a lot of things that he does that I probably wouldn’t have had Nick doing when he was her age, but this time is different.

She’s an absolute delight, a light of our life.  Lucy is the perfect name for this sweet, independent, happy, and adventurous girl.