While H is away

The house is silent. (except for the crazy clock Holly bought for her bathroom.  Tick.  Tick.  Tick...)

It's raining.  The dogs are looking out the window.  (grateful they're inside, I suppose.)

Holly is in the Dominican Republic.  She's probably telling Luma about Tessa and her amazing "fwip" skills.  (translation = "flip")  And Tessa is with Justin's family in Marion.  Which means he is missing both his girls tremendously.

Above: Tessa mastering her fwips.  
Above: She's been Beiberized.  

Above: Not many of you know what I (Justin) do.
Here's a favorite snapshot of the year.  One of our dear students, Lindsay, has had a profound impact on Salem College.  Her legacy is proudly captured here. 

Above: Spring arrives with a little guest near our carport.  This little guy is a baby cardinal ...and every day MANY times each day Tessa wants to look at the bird nest and its occupants.
The sad update here is that a couple of days ago the baby and the egg were missing.  I looked for him around the base of the bush but concluded that only predator is to blame.
On a related note, it's probably not a good idea to put a bird feeder near a bird nest - my guess is that will attract unwanted pests rather than refuel momma bird.  ( :-(  - How can I explain this to Tessa? )

Above: Finally - you need a good family shot from Easter.

where did those 3 months go?

You probably think I forgot about the blog. And I did. Mostly. But for those of you who still check to see if we're posting (ahem...Barbara)...here we are.

Where have we been? Ending summer, starting the school year, back in the DR, and trying not to spend every waking moment behind a computer screen. But you don't care about that, you want pictures. Well, here you go.

yes, it's true. justin actually touched a horse and didn't die.

hayride and visit to the pumpkin patch


she really like picking her own pumpkin


For the first time in 5 years, yes count em 5 years, we decided to pay actual money to go on a real vacation. (Not one where we go visit friends and stay for free at their house which is what we always end up doing because we love our friends and free places to stay.) We decided to try our first B&B in Asheville.

It. was. awesome.

We walked downtown, had great meals, enjoyed the outdoors, shopped a little, met some interesting folks, and just enjoyed each others company.

The Beaufort House

Breakfast on our private deck

first course: blueberry peach cobbler

second course: 3 cheese quiche and fruit

kayaking on the french broad river

a blue heron

my arms were so sore by the end (7 miles)

a snack at the Woolworth counter

It was a short getaway, but so worth it. And we missed our girl, but she was in great hands with the Britts!


A few days ago we had our sad sidewalk removed since the nearby trees' roots were causing serious havoc on the concrete.

Today we went outside to play and Tessa joyfully found a nice use for the empty space: a sandbox ..."dirtbox".

Fun huh? She would grab small fistfuls of dirt and toss it in the air as though it was enchanted specks of love, glitter and magic. Well...it got me thinking. Specifically I was thinking, "this stinks, she deserves better." And furthermore, no matter how much she loved the dirt, I knew of something better. Something cleaner, blissful and wonderful. Something that she could really enjoy. (Yes, this will most like be a sermon illustration.)

So we called up a friend who had mentioned having an unused sandbox that we could have. Made a quick run to Ace Hardware for a few bags of you-know-what. And Boom! It was real play time.

I think she likes it. She was in it for a couple of hours at least. Eventually we were able to pry her away...but we had to use a cherry popsicle as bait. (In a related story, we're expecting to give Tessa more baths.)

First Pres Family DR trip

Here's a quick video of one of the many things the group did during their trip. In spite of the tropical storm that was drenching us everyday, we found moments of joy, hard work, and laughter. The video shows one of my highlights for the week. We wanted to have some time for the families to interact with each other as a whole. So, we thought of doing a "field day." But, with the weather and not wanting to invite mass chaos by giving specific invitations, we decided to hold the event in Club Cana (a covered outdoor shelter). As for the families, we decided to invite the Women's Co-Op and their families figuring it would give us a pretty good one-to-one ratio.

The afternoon came and we were literally in drenching thunderstorms. The event was to start at 2:30 which means 3 on Dominican time. At 3pm, it was still just the Americans sitting and waiting. I decided to go up to the gate and check. The rain had let up and as I walked toward the gate, I see all the families huddled under a covered area. As soon as they see me, they yell, "Holly!" I immediately wave them over and see that they are there and excited for the afternoon.

The rest, you can see for yourself. It makes my heart smile.

her favorite things


blue bear

strawberries and eating with a fork

playing dress up

the only reason i'm sad i missed the oscars...

If you don't already know this about me, I'm obsessed with SYTYCD. (Call it American Idol for dancers.) So, in my surfing the web for more about the choreographers and dancers on show, I came across the LXD. I thought I'd share my 8am inspiration of the day.

LXD from Bboy WIZ on Vimeo.