Saturday, May 30, 2009

Has it been two years?

I was just thinking today that we arrived in Belmont, MA two years ago today. In so many ways, that seems like just yesterday, but also a lifetime ago. We've been back in Alabama for almost a year, and I'm just amazed at how quickly the time has gone. The kids have all graduated into the next grade (Jamie into 8th, Rachel into 5th, and David is heading to Kindergarten!), Sonja has completed another course towards her Master's Degree in Elementary Education, and I'm still trying to connect the dots about how to apply great MBA theory in an unconventional setting.

Last week, we were thrilled to host one of Rachel's friends from Belmont. Arianna and her mother flew down to spend the Memorial Day weekend with us, and I think they were pleasantly suprised to see that Alabama does indeed have running water, electricity, and high speed internet (though the last one doesn't compare to the fiber optic service I had in Belmont). Here are a couple of pictures of the girls on our outings:

Monday, August 18, 2008

Finally, something new!

August 18.
Well, it's been awhile. We've had a whirlwind of a summer!! We spent our days having sleepovers, swimming at the Hartselle pool, visiting Happy Hour at Sonic, eating at our favorite local haunts, and reconnecting at church. It's good to be home.

Jamie and Rachel started back to school on August 6 - the earliest we've ever started here. David will start preschool in September. We've gotten into a pretty good routine of taking the kids to school and then going to walk each day. I will also be starting school this month. I'm going back to work on my Master's in Elementary Education. I'm almost ready to get back into the classroom. I will take it pretty slow, though. I don't want to go back before David finished Kindergarden.

Rachel is playing soccer and will begin playing handbells next month. Jamie is playing drums at school and Rock Band on the Wii at home. He went on a Jr. High mission trip right before school started. I think it was a good trip. He'll be getting more involved with the youth at church this fall. David and I entertain ourselves playing "wonder pets", "buzz and woody", and "action fingers". I have enjoyed the extra time with him, but I am ready for him to go back to school. I don't get much done during the day with him around. I still have a huge storage container of stuff from the home remodel to go through!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sweet Home Alabama!

We have been back in Alabama for three weeks, and are just about back into a routine. I returned to work last week, and I can honestly say that it is good to be back. The kids are having the time of their lives, sleeping over several times a week with friends and cousins. Things are MUCH more spread out here in 'Bama - the thirty mile drive to the next town tends to really eat up the petrol!

It has been a busy two months since the last post - since then, I've gone to India and South Africa, both David and I have gone through commencement ceremonies, we've driven 1200 miles across the Eastern US, both Sonja and James have celebrated birthdays, the kids have gone to Vacation Bible School, we've moved into our new house... the list is long, and it's all good.

Here are a few pictures from the last few months:

Grannie (Brenda) visited for graduation, and brought us all presents!

The obligatory cap & gown pic...

David and Ethan's favorite painting at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts:

We took Grannie to the Sky Walk observatory at the Prudential Center, and found that yes, indeed, Boston is the hub of the Universe!

David and Ethan graduated from Trinity Covenant Preschool:

And we finally got a picture of Sonja and Susan!

Sonja thought we needed a picture of the family from the BACK STEPS as we departed (since our arriving picture was on the FRONT STEPS - see the post last June...)

We're getting ready for a three-day, 1200 mile Odyssey:

The kids REALLY liked the truck! Too bad only James could ride down the road with me!

We arrived in Hartselle, ALABAMA at about 5pm on Monday, 16 June, and found our lovely remodeled house. Sonja loves her new kitchen, and comes to me about every other day and says, "Have I mentioned recently how much I LOVE my new kitchen?"

We even got entirely new rooms - the dining room was not functional before - remove a couple of walls, a fresh coat of paint, and TA-DA!

James was thrilled to have a music room to continue his pursuits (he had a similar keyboard in Belmont...)

Rachel LOVES her new room - great for a growing girl:

Complete with a chandelier and canopy!

James thinks he has the coolest room in the house; with a four foot long red-eyed tree frog, he wouldn't get much argument from me:

All of you guys in Alabama have already seen this - but here's a picture of Taj McKelvy for our Boston/global friends:

Michael C. - you thought BRIAN had a lot of grass to mow!

For my non-Southern friends - yes, those are Crepe Myrtles and Magnolias planted in the flower beds, mulched with good old Southern Pine straw...

Another shot of the front yard - somehow the picture above doesn't convey very well how big this yard is!

And the back yard of course - this is where we watch the sunset everyday. Tough, but somebody's gotta do it :-)

For his birthday, James had a sleep over with the guys, and they rocked out on the Wii "Rock Band" - until almost 3am !

Of course, when DAD came in to wake them up at 0700, they were not happy campers!

David, the quintessential morning person, seized the opportunity created by groggy big brother to join the band, putting his own style into the mix. Of course, the big guys really didn't want to rock out to the Wiggles!

All in all, it has been a great, if hectic six weeks. Time to catch a deep breath, enjoy the last few weeks of summer, and get ready to kick off another school year in early August.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

While the Fellows are away, the Partners will play!

The Fellows left for their international trip on Friday, May 16. They are going to India and South Africa for 2 weeks. While they are away, the partners have made big plans to enjoy our last weeks together.

Our first outing was to Kimbal Farms to eat lunch, play mini golf, and eat yummy ice cream. We actually got rained out on Saturday morning, so had to go on Sunday after church. It was a great day!!

Happy Birthday, David!

We had David's birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's on Sunday, May 11 (yes, Mother's Day). We had a very good turn out for his party! He had two friends from school: Narmada and Joshua, and several friends from MIT: Madeline, Ethan, Tom, Nora, and Owen. He had a terrific time! David chose to have chocolate cake at his party.

On Tuesday, David helped me bake cupcakes to take to school for his actual birthday. He selected chocolate with chocolate frosting and rainbow sprinkes, of course! He is a good little helper in the kitchen (even though he got a little wild with the sprinkles).

On the big day, we let David choose where he wanted to go for dinner. He punched a fist up in the air and shouted, "McDonald's!" So we had birthday dinner at McDonald's and then came home to open presents. He got a Wonderpets Flyboat, the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, a Ben 10 "watch", a Little Einstein's conductors baton, and the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything pirate ship.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, Rachel!

Monday, May 5

Rachel turned 9 today! We celebrated by going to Rainforest Cafe for dinner. Rachel saved her family presents to open today, and she was thrilled with them all. She got a Webkinz snake, a Littlekinz mouse, a littlest pet vet set, Enchanted , an American Girl's activity book, & My Sims for the Wii. We finished off our meal with a vooooolcanooo.

Rachel's Birthday Party

Saturday, May 3

This year Rachel decided to have a bowling party. So, I got online and searched for bowling alleys in the area. I found a cool one in Needham, MA - the Needham Bowlaway. It's a small bowling alley - only 8 lanes - in Downtown Needham. They have Cosmic Bowling there - candlepin bowling with music, black lights, neon, and glow-in-the-dark balls. It was really a fun place for a party! (Candlepin bowling uses smaller balls with no holes. You get 3 balls per frame, and the pins aren't swept away between balls.) The only wrinkle in the party was that the sewers were backed up, and there were no bathrooms. Arrgh!

We had an excellent turnout! Rachel invited Esther, Kia, Madeline, Hannah, John, Chloe, and Kaylee from MIT and Lori, Arianna, Kristina, Philip, Cullen, Emily, Mia, and Pauline from school. We bowled for the first hour, and then had cookie cake, chips, and juice in the party "room". The treats Rachel selected for her treat bags were great in the black lights!! It was a very busy, but very good birthday party!