Sunday, December 1, 2013

::{ This and That }::

A little bit of this and that from Team Adams.

In case you didn't notice, we locked the blog.  We occasionally look at who visits the blog (we don't actually stalk you, but we check to see where people are viewing the blog from....) and we've noticed a lot of visits from random places where we don't know anyone.  So, per usual, we're making it private for a while.  I'm sure we'll go public again, but wanted to keep our VIP readers in the loop.


wait for it....wait for it....



(we don't subscribe to the child-every-two-years plan)

We received the exciting news this weekend - an Irvine baby is on the way and will be joining my brother's family in April.  I'm going be an aunt!  Technically I'm already an aunt, but it's different when it comes by way of your own family, and I couldn't be more excited about AJ getting a new cousin to run around with.  Let the mayhem begin!


Thanksgiving is behind us, but over the last few months I've been thinking of one thing in particular that I am very grateful for.  It's not a typical item that pops up on "I'm thankful for" lists, but I've been acutely aware, especially as of late, of how thankful I am that I know how to type.  Of all the classes that I took in junior high, my typing class is at the very top of the list for useful courses.  Spanish, geometry, trig, biology - useless.  However, I use the skills from my typing class EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I consider it a huge blessing to be able to streamline paper-writing, note-taking, general communication through proficient typing.


An update on AJ:  Her vocabulary is expanding at an alarming rate.  She hasn't conquered her "R" sounds if the word doesn't start with that letter, which makes for some very entertaining moments.  We try and keep it G-rated around these parts, but what can I say?  Sometimes she blurts out a word that sounds remarkably similar to more explicit language.  Again, we're hoping that she figures out the "R" thing soon, but I'd be lying if I said we didn't enjoy the results of her burgeoning language skills.  "Applesauce" is the longest word she can say these days, but it's pretty adorable to hear our little parrot mimic whatever we say.  She grabs our hand whenever she wants something and she does not hesitate to demand that we vacate whatever chair we occupied so that she can sit in it herself.  Precocious doesn't even begin to describe the Bug.  I think she is on an advanced placement path in life and has already approached the terrible two's.  We're hoping that means she'll reach the end of that stage much sooner.


Yesterday was St. Andrew's Day.  We still miss Scotland like crazy on a regular basis, but even more so on days like yesterday.  America does not know how to host a dance party.  Until you've experienced an authentic Scottish ceilidh with a live band and every man dressed in a kilt, you haven't lived.


When I'm not studying or hanging out with Steve and the Bug I've been spending my time doing some floral design stuff.  Why?  Because in January I will get to design the flowers for what is going to be the wedding of the century.  A good friend of mine is getting married in Utah and he and his fiancee are probably the artsy-est (I think I just made that up) and most talented people alive.  All I can say at this point is that this wedding is going to be stunning.  I feel honored that they're trusting me with the flowers.  Imagine, if you will, a classic palette of gold, cream, and black with floral heavyweights such as orchids, freesia, garden roses, and anemones.  I will definitely post pictures when I finish this project.  The other bonus (aside from doing something I love) is that we get to hang out with family and friends in Utah for a week before school starts next semester.  It's a win-win.


Funny story about Steve (shared with his permission of course).  He came home from the library one day with the book Big Appetites: Tiny People in a World of Big Food.  You can look it up online if you wish, but we both enjoyed looking at the hilarious pictures.  Steve then decided that he liked looking at these kinds of books because the pictures were very creative and the captions were clever.  He decided that he wanted to find more such books and had the brilliant idea of looking up "adult picture books" on google.
Fortunately, he didn't actually do that because his logic kicked in almost immediately after he thought it, but we both had a good chuckle when he recounted the experience of almost searching for adult picture books online in order to find more innocent images like one man saving another man who is at risk of drowning in a bowl of cereal, or two guys checking out the situation of a mysterious hole in an eggshell.  Never a dull moment with the Mister.  It's apparent that spending inordinate amounts of time reading and re-reading picture books written for audiences under the age of three causes one to feel the need to differentiate between children vs. adult picture books.  Welcome to parenthood?  You really should check out Big Appetites though - it's very entertaining...and completely appropriate.


We'll see if we get around to mailing out Christmas cards this year, and if we do, we hope we have your address (if not - please leave your address in a comment or get it to us some other way)!  We love keeping in touch with family and friends and we hope your holiday season is off to a great start.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

::{ 18 months }::

This little lady is 18 months old.

Multiple people told me in the early stages of motherhood (the sleep deprivation stage, to be precise) that it gets better and better.  I'm only 18 months into this parenting thing, but I whole-heartedly agree - it just keeps getting better and better.  There are still hard days - anyone who disagrees is lying - but as this little person and her accompanying personality continues to grow, explore, and discover her world, we realize again and again that we're the lucky ones to be her parents.

She's a handful, but anyone less bubbly, friendly, energetic, wiggly, noisy, independent, or curious simply wouldn't entertain us and teach us in the ways Bug does.

So here are some things to remember about AJ at 18 months:

1) She has two speeds: sleeping or running.  This is only problematic when we're playing chase and she's having too much fun looking back to see who's coming after her and she runs into things.  Sad, yet hilarious.  We try and keep her from smacking into hard surfaces, but sometimes it's impossible - this kid is fast!

2) She refuses to eat anything unless she feeds it to herself.  She's not very picky, but she's adamant that she be the one in charge of the utensils.

3) She loves to twirl in the front room, especially if she is twirling to any and all songs from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker.

4) She loves looking at pictures of herself, or seeing herself in the mirror.

5) She speaks in sentences.

6) Kidding!  Just seeing how closely you are reading.  She doesn't speak in intelligible sentences yet, however, in her world she makes perfect sense and always has something to say.

7) She CAN say the following words: cracker, bottle, car, ball, mama, daddy, book, shoes, cheese, Jesus, bye-bye, happy, please, no, bubbles, baby (that's all we can remember at the moment).

8) If she could spend every possible second outside, she would.

9) She prefers trains and dirt hills to dolls - any day.

10) She's pretty good at drinking from a regular cup, i.e. she doesn't dump liquid down her front.  Not sure why I'm still surprised by this, but I am.

11) Steve is her personal jungle gym, and she gets in a good workout everyday.

12) She's got a really good arm - she throws balls around our back porch and you have to duck if you don't want to get smacked.  We're pretty sure she's a lefty, but she throws with her right arm (just like her dad).

13) She doesn't sit with us at church.  The only way she'll be quiet is if someone besides her parents will entertain her.  Bug's old nanny and her husband like to sit with her (and about five other couples in the Bug rotation), but whenever Malcolm is playing the organ in church, it takes many pairs of hands to restrain Bug from running up onto the pulpit area to climb into his lap.  They're best buds.

14) She rocks an adorable pair of pigtails almost daily.  The blonde color came from Steve, but the curls came from moi.

15) It's pointless putting on her shoes and socks (though we still do) before a car trip anywhere because by the time we reach our destination she will have undoubtedly pulled off both shoes and both socks and chucked them somewhere in the back seat of the car.

16) She folds her arms when we tell her it's time to say a prayer, but her reverence only lasts for about three seconds.  Baby steps.

17) She still has her killer smile.

18) Her kisses are...well...something special.  We'll say, "Ainsley, can I have a kiss?" to which she'll respond in the following way - a wide open mouth, and she sticks her tongue out at the last second to lay a big wet one on you.  HA!  I laugh, cringe, and love it all at the same time.  Her hugs are the best though.  She snuggles into our shoulders with her head and pats us on the back multiple times.

Here's to a fabulous 18 months!  Can't wait to see what's in store for this munchkin...

Monday, September 2, 2013

::{ Deluge }::

WARNING: If you don't like pictures - lots of pictures - do not proceed.

This is my last ditch effort to document our summer adventures someplace other than on our external hard drive since school has started and life is already crazy busy.

So here you go, a glimpse into said adventures to carry you through the months of May to September.


Home of the Hoosiers.  I don't think the pictures do this campus justice - it is exquisite.  However, in the name of full disclosure, I'm glad I was only there for two months rather than for two (or more) years for a graduate degree.  The campus?  Awesome.  Bloomington?  Not so awesome.  The city itself is tiny and I think I would feel claustrophobic if it was my permanent residence.  But, like I said, the campus is stunning...

Lilly Library

Some of the grounds

Scenes like this are found all over the campus

A building I walked by every day on my way to class (my building...not so pretty)

The main entry to the University looking out onto a street in downtown Bloomington

Steve and Bug came to visit one weekend, so we headed to Nashville and went on a pretty hike in Brown County

Seeing the sights in downtown Nashville (Indiana, not Tennessee).

Showing Steve and Bug around campus.

I hope we end up somewhere where the soil is good for hydrangeas.  They're some of my favorites.

"It's nine o'clock on a Saturday..."


Steve's parents came in June, and we loved having them here.  We wanted to take them somewhere new, so we decided to show them Hocking Hills State Park.

Beautiful people, beautiful scenery!

Teaching the Bug how to skip rocks.  Steve skipped, Ainsley chucked.


AJ loved spending time with her grandparents.

No comment.

We felt compelled to introduce Bug to lemons while she had an audience.  She didn't love it, but we sure did!  If you haven't seen the youtube video of one-year-olds tasting lemons, YOU MUST WATCH IT!


The Irvine clan met up in Pennsylvania in July to take part in the 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle at Gettysburg.  We decided to break up the drive and spent a day in Pittsburgh before joining the rest of my family.  Steve is the travel guide for these jaunts and he found an awesome building that we spent a few hours exploring on the University of Pittsburgh campus called the Cathedral of Learning.  It's hard to explain, but each room represents a different nation, and each room's decoration reflects their culture, heritage, history, etc.  These are working classrooms too, which we thought was pretty cool.

This is the Hungarian room.

And the room representing India (one of my favorites).

This building is located across the quad from the cathedral of learning.  I liked the architecture (Gothic) so I thought I'd share.  =)

The other must-do in Pittsburgh was to take a ride up the Pittsburgh Incline and see the lookout over the Monongahela river.  Three rivers converge here, and we thought the sight was pretty spectacular.  Pittsburgh has one of the more colorful downtowns we've come across.  We bet the Autumn leaves would look phenomenal against this backdrop.

We took a small detour on our way to Gettysburg to see the Flight 93 memorial in Stonycreek Township.  It was....somber.  You see it, but you still can't really comprehend it - at least that's how it was for me.  I was in NYC two weeks after 9/11 and even though I saw smoke, dust, debris lingering on the air, and the wreckage (from the distant boundaries), I still couldn't wrap my mind around what happened.  This memorial, however, is a beautiful tribute to the lives that were lost.  This walkway wraps around the flight path, and the line of trees you see in the distance is the farthest boundary line of the plane wreckage.

The passenger's names mark each segment of the stone memorial.  The names have been colored in black, as you see above, and some of the names also contain their titles (not colored, just carved into the stone) like the captain, the flight attendants, etc.  One of the passengers was pregnant, and they mentioned the unborn child beneath the mother's name.

I didn't really have a good concept of what exactly happened on Flight 93, but it is remarkable what the passengers and crew did when they figured out what was happening in a very short amount of time.  The panels at the memorial were informative and touching, but not over-the-top.

We made it to Gettysburg, and enjoyed listening to talks by Union and Confederate generals and soldiers when we weren't watching the battle reenactments.  Here we have the actor playing General Robert E. Lee on the right.

A taste of the battle preparation.

It was smokin' hot, in case you couldn't tell from our sweaty faces and red cheeks.

We were all a bit surprised that Bug LOVED the cannons!  She wasn't phased at all by them (we thought she'd be freaked out), and we were sitting fifty feet away from them.  She's a champ.


Bug finally experienced splash pads this summer.  She was too little last year to get anything out of them, but she had a blast this year.  The water was frigid, but she still loved getting soaking wet.

Bug's favorite activity is pushing anything and everything around the house.  For the sake of our ears one lovely afternoon we decided to take the noise outside.  We're also trying to cure AJ of her fear of the (real) vacuum, so we figured a little fun would go a long way.

We found Bug like this one afternoon and laughed.....and then cried.


There are a million festivals in Ohio during the summer and we wanted to check out some new ones.  The following pics are of Peach Daze and a side trip to Clifton Mill.

I'm not a huge fan of peaches (I prefer's a peach fuzz thing), but the ones we brought home were super tasty!

Outside Clifton Mill

GoRGeoUs!  We loved this place.  

Marysville Hot-Air Balloon Fest
We'd never been before and had no idea what to expect, but this was really fun.  They probably launched around thirty hot-air balloons, and they had all of the usual (and unusual) festival food, drinks, games, etc.  I say unusual because I don't think I've ever noticed fried alligator at one of these festivals until now.

Bug loved it.  She couldn't take her eyes off of the balloons.

Evidence (from inside the screen...hence the crazy gradient) that our tomato plants grew taller than 5'3".

Because sometimes, you just don't have the patience to climb the stairs in order to jump in the tub.

She's obsessed with shoes right now - hers, mine, Steve's, it doesn't matter.  Not even two and she's already workin' the heels.  Nice.


My brother and sister-in-law moved to Delaware last year, and I wanted to see their new digs and spend some time with them in their new city.  Steve couldn't take time off from work, so this was a girls-only trip (until we got there, then Cullen ruined our streak).

They took me to one of the most beautiful gardens EVER!  If you ever go to Delaware, you must visit Longwood Gardens.  C'est Magnifique!  I'm a bit obsessed with flowers, so I was in heaven.  Bug had a blast too.


Because they had a KID AREA with WATER!
Pure genius.

She literally painted the town.

And herself.

Aside from the cool sights, it was really nice to hang out with my family.  My siblings live all over the place now, so it's nice that we could spend the weekend with two of them before summer slipped away.

Cullen is a pretty talented pianist if I do say so myself (and I do!) and Bug always enjoys listening front and center.

Need more proof?
Only now she wants her own seat to get in on the action herself.

In case you were thinking that our lives are all rainbows, teddy bears, and ponies - that's not the case.

This happened a week or so ago.  Sad day!  Steve was hit by a lady who didn't stop at the intersection.  Fortunately, this happened after work before he picked Ainsley up, so she wasn't in the car.  Her spot in the car is behind the passenger seat - the area that got hit - and while she would have been okay, it would have been pretty scary for everyone.  We're so grateful that it wasn't worse than it was, but it was still bad.  You can't see from this picture, but that tire slants into the car - we think the axle got messed up in the accident.  There's a part of me that is really sad about the fact that my car might be totaled.  =(  This is truly my "first car."  I've had it since 2004, and we've seen many miles together.  We'll find out this week how bad the damage is (inside and out), but again, we're grateful no one was injured.

Somewhere in the middle of all of our summer adventures Bug grew into an adorable toddler.  Who knows when that actually happens - eighteen months? two years? - but she has changed so much in so little time it's almost scary.  I am starting to appreciate why my dad still tells me that he's going to turn me back to four.

Managing the playground stairs and slides all by herself.

As much as I wish that I could say AJ takes all the credit for her wardrobe selection, I can't.  We did that to her.  Hehehe...

Check out those wings!  BAHAHAHA!  She will likely make fun of us in our old age, but we can always pull out the evidence and give it right back. =)  Family is the best!

This is probably my favorite 'do - she sports this right after nap-time.

This was from May, but since July just passed (sort of), we'll pretend that this was for the Fourth of July, even though it wasn't.

And there you go - our summer 2013 adventures.  Even though it slipped by too fast, we made the most of the time we had with the most normalcy Team Adams has seen for awhile.