Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Fall 3

Annaliese's godmother came to Mississippi with her beau after traveling from Germany for Eliza and Charlie's wedding.  They were incredibly pleasant and easy houseguests, and Caspian took a particular shine to Christoph.  

Alexe asked me to get her something to wear for halloween.  She loved it.  Half a dozen times I heard her telling friend, "I finally look the way I feel!"

One of Caspian's hobbies. Finding necklaces, cutting them up into their component parts, storing them in a big box, and when he's particularly bored, sorting them.

This young lady has been at our house for several sleep overs in the past couple months.  Miraculously the three of them seem to get along, and on the most recent visit they invited Caspian to bring a sleeping bag in and sleep on the floor of Annaliese's room.  For a little brother who isn't allowed to have sleepovers until his next birthday, he loves the inclusion.

My daughter.

Who hd a terrible fall on the playground.  A call from the school, "You need to come get your daughter, and probably take her to the doctor, she's pretty" I drove rather quickly to the school, worried, and more than a little irritated at the complete lack of details about what had happened and how Annaliese was.

Poor little girl was in the nurse's office, she had slipped on the monkey bars and done a full face plant on the ground.  So happy to wrap her up and carry her home with me.  Nothing to be done while the swelling was so high, so we tucked her in on the couch.  She was in shock, and upset that it was Halloween and her costume was not going to work with her injuries and she might not be able to go trick or treating.

Alexe was amazing and talked her into going as a zombie.  We attended the same halloween party we've been going to for 6 years, and everyone had fun trick-or-treating.  Not sure why I have no pictures from the night...

In Jackson to speak at a conference, took some time to wander the nearly deserted downtown, and fell in love with this empty building.  Lamar Life Insurance building.  Built in the early 20s by a firm out of Texas, still straight and true, stone, with statues all over it!  

Another visit to the dentist.  Cavities in baby teeth.  We may need to look into getting some dental insurance.

The black eyes were impressive, and Annaliese did pretty well through her self-conscious healing time.  Her friends at school were very supportive and as far as we know didn't tease her, and there was no break in her nose.  

Caspian was home sick for a couple days.  This and his sister's face injury was the start of a series of unfortunate events. From the death of a student at Base Camp who had worked at the BTC for close to 3 years, to illness and injuries, (we'll cover the lovely Thanksgiving week later,) to the election, the world seemed to have a cloud hanging over it.  

It was a good time to remember our many blessings, and find reasons to smile despite the current events.

And maybe buy ourselves a present.  Not sure where these are going, possibly in the barn we are planning, but they're on that list of things I have always wanted.  Spent a day in Memphis removing these from an old warehouse that was about to be demolished. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Fall 2

A children's birthday party.  There's a healthy population of youth in this town, and these parties occur constantly.  Sometimes Alexe lets me off the hook, but not this time.

The kids showing off their cart-driving skills to their chess coach.

Caspian's current career goal is herpetologist.  He has other scientific pursuits for the time being, which his microscope helps with.  He also enjoys making potions in the kitchen that he hides around the house where they explode their containers or gently leak horrible smells.

Date night.

At a gallery opening.  With the kids.  But still a date!

Alexe turns 34!  

My spring chicken. Who has been both 15 and 79 since I met her.

Alexe outdid herself in finding the most obnoxious-to-make cake request so far.  A 7 layer Russian honey cake.

Another Friday evening at the brewery.  The pictures here may make it seem like we spend an inordinate amount of time at the brewery, but it's really just one evening a week.

We tend to go early, which means the kids are bored until their friends trickle in.  

Farm boy filling up the wood boxes.

In Greenwood for an overnight, full day of meetings for a board I serve on.  Bowed out of the evening activities, to enjoy a quiet walk along the river, and enjoy a great bbq place in the back streets.

a.Jenny and two of her young ones in town for a visit.  They were en-route from Colorado to Virginia for a.Eliza's wedding.

Nice to show them around our little world.

It was adorable watching Annaliese and Caspian show off their budding piano skills, and be blown away by Celeste's cello.  It seems like they're practicing more now...

Fall 1

Alexe was in the DC area again for some wedding-related activity with Eliza.  Our 11th wedding anniversary was just around the corner, and the new shelves for the store weren't going to make themselves.  Which meant the children were tasked with amusing themselves around the farm while I puttered in the workshop.  

This was my view out of the workshop door.

Nothing disrupts the schedule of pancake/waffle breakfast on Sundays.

Still going to the pool.  Because the country club redid the pool this year, it will be open all through the winter as the new materials cure.  We're going to see who keeps swimming as the weather gets below freezing.

Big kids in the baby pool.


We've been pressuring Caspian to write more.  Periodically he decides to journal, but he's such a stickler he will throw out a letter or journal entry and start over. And over.  (Here's a game: see how many times you can spot Blokus pieces on this site.)

Shameless selfie.  Attending a gala for Innovate Mississippi in Jackson.

We held a voter registration drive.  Three locations, 8 hours each day.  Registering to vote takes maybe 2 minutes, and requires no id.  We registered maybe 10 voters.  The 6 that I did personally were folks I knew who were re-registering since moving to town. It was eye opening.

Another lovely evening at the pool.

What bedtime?

Snack time.

Friday nights at the brewery.

What a sight.

They were sitting on my lap in the kitchen when Caspian froze, eyes locked on something through the window.  He hopped up, raced outside, and plucked this little guy off a flower.  

A friend of mine with a construction company had been building a hotel in Oxford.  One of the subcontractors made some mistakes on the sourcing of materials, and they ended up with a large surplus of stone.  I was offered as much as I wanted, and spent a day ferrying loads of this stuff home.

There's a bunch of it.  I have ideas.  The first one is laying a broad stone stairway down the hillside to the dock.  We'll see what's left after that.

There are worse ways for a childhood to go by.

Eliza and Charlie get Married!

If you are hoping for lovely wedding pictures, this is not the place.  Eliza and Charlie had a great wedding photographer, and those pictures are available somewhere.  Alexe was focused on maid-of-honor duties, so the kids and I wandered the massive property where the wedding was held, and spent time with extended family who had congregated to celebrate the marriage of a.E and u.C.

The location was lovely, if massive and overwhelming.  The scale, from construction to operation to maintenance cost, was something that I couldn't quite wrap my mind around.  Just under 500 rooms in the lodge proper.  Pools, indoor and out, two golf courses, a shooting club, falconry setup, stables...  A favorite spot for celebrities, politicians, and generally the well heeled who enjoy a dining room with walls that disappear over the horizon.

We did our best to enjoy the facilities, and the time with family we too-rarely get to see.

Caspian and u.Ted went off to the fish pond.  They rejected the rods that were provided, cut down a sapling, combined the fishing line from two other rods, and caught crawfish in the creek.  And then caught three fish.

The rehearsal.  Eliza and Charlie's wedding party was substantial.

Hanging with the Colorado cousins.

Caspian's chess skills are coming along, and he's always game to show them off.  a.Jenny gave him a good run.

u.c.Nick.  Too little time with this chap, but we were very happy he was able to make the wedding on his way back around the globe.  (Literally coming from Japan or China, through DC, on his way back to Seattle.)

Getting ready for the big event.

Alexe was with Eliza most of the day doing bride-preparation stuff.  Annaliese joined them in the bridal suite in the early afternoon, and we didn't see them again until 4.

Pictures!  The photographer impressed with his speed and organization.  The wedding photos turned out so well, doubly impressive considering how efficient he was.  My family cleans up nicely...

Annaliese was in a funk, but still found time to micro-manage her brother whenever possible.  

And then there was a lovely wedding, wherein Eliza was gorgeous, and smiley, and Charlie was composed and dashing, and nobody contested their right to marry, and rings were exchanged, a short ride was taken in a cool car, (the same one that Alexe and I rode in the day of our wedding,) and the party commenced.  

There was a short wait while the bride and groom had their pictures taken on the mountainside above the lodge.  The kids practiced dancing, and I kept Alexe company while she worried about bustle-ing Eliza's wedding dress.  

We didn't see much of the kids all night.  Annaliese was upset about the wreath in her hair, Caspian was not looking forward to his bowtie and suspenders, but after they were suited up they both decided they looked great and ran off to dance/party the night away.  They even sat at a kids table for dinner.  

We tucked the kids into bed very late, and went back to the great hall to sit in front of a fire and share a bottle of champagne.  Not every day Alexe's only sister gets married, and all the family comes together with so much potential for fireworks and yet nothing untoward happening.  Alexe's a little single-minded, and this was probably the first time she relaxed all weekend.  The evening of dancing with a steady supply of old-fashioneds, followed by a bottle of champagne, may have helped her unwind.

We made it to bed around 2.  

The next day we spent most of the morning saying goodbye to family as they packed and slowly trickled out. When most of our goodbyes were over and the new couple made an appearance, we packed a picnic and hiked up the mountain.    

Nice to see my girl again.

That evening the kids had dinner in one of the restaurants by themselves, and went to the in-house theater to watch a movie.  We checked on them periodically, and found time to have a grown-up dinner in the tiny neighboring town.

We were in the car and driving home at 5:30 the next morning. We stopped for breakfast, back in our comfort zone.