Monday, November 29, 2010

The Old Mill

Down the road from Vance's parents' house is The Old Mill. It really is old...I think there's a legend that General Cornwallis ground his corn here during the Revolutionary War. It has a lot of history in its old walls.

I have a little bit of history here, too. I visited the Old Mill on my first visit to Vance's house, before we were dating. It was the summer of 2003, and Vance had just graduated. His parents threw him a birthday/graduation party, and I was invited.

I was mentally going round and round in my head that summer, trying not to obsess over whether Vance liked me or not. He was leaving for MN that August, and I was not going to sit around wasting away for someone who didn't like me. So I decided that it was time to fish or cut bait. If I couldn't tell that he liked me when I went for a visit, I wasn't going to like him anymore.

Easier said than done. I left his house with no hard evidence that he liked me (in fact, I thought maybe he had a crush on one of the other girls there), but I still couldn't get over it. I buried myself in Burroughs' The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment. It was a great book, but it didn't cure me of Vance.

Fast forward 2 months: we're dating. 3 more: we're engaged. 6 more: we're married. And the rest is history.

But every time I drive by the Old Mill, I remember being there 7 years ago. Hanging out with friends, having fun, but all knotted up inside because I wanted something I wasn't sure I could have.
Isaac and Claire got their first visit to the Old Mill last week. Isaac told the miller all about how the corn gets ground.
My first picture with Vance was taken in front of this gate. And now my children are playing on it. Life is sweet.

Photo Credits: Vance Whitaker :)
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

November in Raleigh

Isaac on the swing Dad made for me growing up

We took a whirlwind trip to NC for Thanksgiving, since it's too tight for us to come up for Christmas--too many strawberries vying for Vance's attention. Sorry to all our dear friends in Raleigh: it ended up being a stealth visit, since we were only one day with the Stolldorfs. It was a short visit, but we packed it all in.

We spent the morning and afternoon with the Bragdons, and it was so much fun as always to see the cousins playing together. I was too out of it to actually pull out the camera, unfortunately. That evening we saw AJ & Julie, and Melia met her new cousin. Again, not enough brain cells for pictures.

I did get some the next morning, though, before we left for Thanksgiving with the Whitakers:
Papa and Claire
Noni and Eve
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sleeping Beauty

Tomorrow this little lady will be 8 weeks old. Can I still get away with calling her a newborn? I'm realizing that I've already missed my window for some of those ultra-cute newbie shots: she's getting more alert now, and won't sleep through any crazy poses. I do take pictures of her...I just haven't found as much time for an elaborate shoot. Maybe soon :)

She's still happy, sweet, and loved to pieces around here. She can now hold her head up by herself, and she is getting more alert and smiley by the day. She's pretty easy-going, as long as she's held. That's the key. And the reason why I have to do almost everything one-handed these days. Naptime is amazing because, as much as I hate to put down my little bundle, it's an INCREDIBLE feeling to suddenly be able to use both appendages.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

More Saturday

The double piggy-back: a new necessity in the Whitaker household.
I haven't posted much about our little garden. In Florida, we plant when the rest of the world is harvesting. It's strange, and it's still hard for me to get excited about planting when everyone else I know is canning and freezing and eating winter squash and other mythical items we don't grow around here. But I'm grateful to have a garden, and it's growing! This year we just have a little plot--green beans, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, and lettuce. Isaac quickly commandeered it: it's now his job to water it and check obsessively for new growth. As you can see, that takes up a lot of his time. He likes to just sit down and spend some quality time with his plants. I wonder who his daddy is?
Two more people I love.
And one more.
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Hooray for Saturday!

Last Saturday we went to a friend's 3rd birthday party. They had won a birthday party at Planet Jump as a prize from our church's fall festival--I was secretly jealous, but then they invited us! Isaac had a blast going on all the bounces. Claire wasn't quite as enthused, but it turns out she's the reigning queen of the 2-year old division of air hockey. Really, it was pretty impressive. Maybe she has her daddy's coordination after all (pleasepleaseplease :).
This Saturday has been a bit more relaxed and lazy. I like mornings like this.
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Friday, November 12, 2010

A New Season

Vance brought these little beauties home today. It's the beginning...

I'm looking forward to strawberry jam, strawberries and whipped cream on waffles (one of my favorites!), strawberry shortcake, strawberry salad, strawberry ice cream, and strawberry smoothies. If you have any strawberry recipes, send them my way! I'm sure I'll be running out of new ways to deal with strawberries by the time spring rolls around.
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First Beach Trip

Vance surprised me by taking Veteran's Day off and taking us all to the beach! We went to Santa Maria Island, and the kids were excited. Well, the older kids were. I'm sure Evie would have been excited to be there, had she been awake for it. She was in a mood to be lulled to sleep by the susurrations of the waves. :)
I didn't see much of Isaac and Vance. They were running around on the beach while I was holding down the fort with Sweetie Bee (Isaac came up with that one :). Claire came to visit and work on drip castles every once and awhile.

I had to wake Eve up to feed her before she left--otherwise I don't think she would have seen the beach at all. I think it was a bit bright for her. But she looked very cute in her little sunhat (thanks, Joy!).

Nothing says "November" like the smell of Coppertone and the feel of sand between your toes. Happy Fall, everyone!
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Sunday, November 07, 2010

First Haircut

Today we did it. I took Claire in for her very first haircut. It was time...her curls were mostly grown out, she's been resisting ponytails, and there was just too much damage for it to look decent. At first she said she didn't want to go, but after I talked to her in hushed, reverent tones about the wonders of the hair salon, she was ready to get her hair cut and be a big girl.

She did it, too, without getting scared. It was so cute to see her sitting stock-still in the chair: she knew this was a big deal! She is very proud of her new do. Now for the million dollar question: will the curls come back, or are they gone forever?
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Eureka Springs

On Saturday we checked out a botanical garden close to our house--and I'm so glad we did. I've never really thought of Florida as a beautiful place (except the beaches of course, which are breathtaking). It's easy to see the interior of Florida as just an overgrown jungle of weeds. But walking on the boardwalk through the bald cypress swamps and landscapes of native plants reminded me that there IS a lot of beauty here. I don't know exactly why I found it so comforting. I guess I just love to be somewhere where I can enjoy being outdoors.
We all had fun. Claire got a little tired, but she stuck with it. Isaac embarked on one trail, saying, "Do you think there are wolves and bears in here?" Pretty sure he was pretending to be Pa from Little House on the Prairie.
Claire also insisted on holding Isaac's hand during most of the hike.
What cheeseballs.

Such a fun little outing. And amazingly enough, we still got some stuff done during the remainder of the day. We organized the disaster zone that was the garage. We balanced the monthly budget. I tried my hand at Julia Child's hollandaise sauce, and we had Eggs Benedict for dinner. We built the first fire in the fireplace. It was a lovely day.
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What should our pumpkin look like, Claire? Scary? Silly? Funny?
Isaac has obviously voted for scary.
Striking resemblance, don't you think?
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