Nov 20, 2021

So They Say {10}

Cora heading over to the cursive board with a card in hand to sign: I'm going to write my name in Irish. 

Cora: Do people at all the stores go home at night?

Listening to "Rockin' Robin"- Heidi: This sounds like the Beach Brothers.

[Gags while eating] Cora: I was choking horribly!

Thoughtfully, in the middle of dinner- Cora: I wonder what they're doing in heaven now?

Looking at our All Souls' candle- Heidi (matter of factly): Dad, someday your name will be on the candle.

Running off with a wad of trivia cards- Cora: Heidi! I have some jokes for us to do!

 Humming "Sixteen Going on Seventeen"- Cora: Mom, what is that number song called again?

Cora while flexing: I have little muscles and if bad guys come, I would be like "wham!" in the face of them!

Cora talking about before she was born: I couldn't come because God was still making me. He was making my dresses and clothes..."

Oct 31, 2021

Life Lately {Autumn}

I'm quite proud of how our little garden fared this year! We grew some California poppies, zinnias, cosmos, dahlias, and Tim and the girls planted sunflowers along our fence line. For edible goods we had lettuce, black winter mustard greens (which I left from last year and it amazingly survived the winter, along with the parsley plant!), some bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, a few herbs, and one lone tomato plant that limped along. 

I'm kind of an unfortunate gardener-personality combination of "I'm just going to do this and see what happens", plus no mental energy to actually read up on things properly, so I consider ANY growth or produce a success! 
I do think our garden bed isn't deep enough for the tomato plants, so next year I'm going to try them in big pots. 

First zucchini!


All the girls are taking an Irish Dance class this year and right after lessons started their school participated in a local Half-way to St. Patrick's Day parade. It was a hot day and they were out for a good few hours, so we rewarded their efforts with lunch at a local restaurant afterwards.:) I was so proud of them!


Heidi turned 7 at the end of September! We celebrated the day before with a family brunch and made bacon, eggs, this ham and cheese croissant bake, two kinds of scones, had apple cider donuts from Aldi,  spiral apple slices, and my sister made a gf coffee cake. And, of course, pumpkin coffee from Trader Joe's!

She requested a vanilla cake with blue frosting

We love our seven girl!


This year the girls started at a new school. Last spring Tim and I talked about the criteria for what we needed this school year to look like. We prayed a lot about it and voiced our views in letters, phone calls, and petitions. As a mom it was a difficult several months for me. There were lots of tears and sleepless nights on my end, and I really struggled with feelings of hopelessness at times. The school we had been at for several years finally came out with the information of what the school year would look like the day before we left for the beach, and Tim and I felt at peace that the writing was on the wall for us to un-enroll the girls. We had no concrete backup plan; Tim called a few schools on a whim to ask about the what their plans were and if they had room. Then, while we were on vacation, we got a call that a school we had heard was full months ago could fit all the girls and it fit what we were looking for, so here we are! It was a God-sent crazy whirl-wind of events, and I would never have expected this outcome even a a few months ago.


A few weeks ago we attended the funeral for my dad's cousin Jane who passed away unexpectedly. She got married later in life but was blessed with a daughter; it was so heartbreaking to see her husband and daughter at the funeral!
It was special, though, to be able to meet her siblings who were the children of my paternal Grandpa's brother. They all grew up in Minnesota so we never knew them and Jane was the only one who moved out to the DC area. Our family's last name isn't common at all, so it was pretty great to hear the name mentioned several times and feel, "hey, there's more of us!".


The girls had the day after Columbus Day off so we made the trek out to one of our favorite places, along with my sister and niece. It was a fun fall day. Orchard apples are just so good! And I made it a point to buy a decent amount of apple cider donuts- they're seasonal, after all.;)

Happily sat in the wagon and munched on an apple the whole of picking time.

Oct 7, 2021

Beach 2021

We took a vacation to the beach in August- one week just our family on Topsail Island and the following week with my family at Holden Beach also in NC. Tim and I kept the first beach week a surprise from the girls and told them the night before we left- it helped that they all attended a girls' day camp (really cute, headed up by two high school seniors) so I was able to stealth pack and shop the hours they were away each day!

We drove down on a Saturday and it was probably one of the most arduous drives to the beach we've ever had! Traffic was heavy most of the way on 95 and to top it off it we drove through a torrential downpour for hours. Thankfully we arrived without incident!
Our rental was a little duplex near the Sound and a few minutes walk to the nearest beach access. The next day we went to mass at the local parish- Tim happened to have been in the seminary with the visiting military chaplain- small world! Father was able to meet up with us at the beach later that afternoon and then came over to our place for pizza. 

That Monday was Evie's 10th birthday. Lucky kid to have another birthday at the beach! The day before she had picked out a cereal to have that morning (chocolate Lucky Charms- sugar rush!), then she opened her presents. We got her some books, her own beach towel, a basket bag also for the beach/ pool, a little retro kitchen timer, this Candy Creations STEM kit (the price has definitely gone up since!), and some crafting/ sewing supplies.

Then we took a walk on the beach and headed to the NY Corner Deli for lunch.
After that we made a quick stop at the grocery store so Evie could pick out a cake and some ice cream, and then it was back to the beach for the afternoon!

The next day we headed to a place called Bear Island, part of Hammocks Beach State Park. I had heard about it from a friend a few years ago and had been wanting to visit. It was finally time! It was about a 50 minute drive, and once you arrive you buy tickets for a ferry that takes you to the island (about a 15 minute ride).

Once we disembarked we had a bit of a trek to make it to the side with the beach. I really felt for the girls because it was hot and the air was stagnant!

There are bathroom facilities there and a sometimes open concession stand. People are also allowed to camp overnight. One thing we'd heard was that there were supposedly lots of great sea treasures- conch shells, sand dollars, etc. We did find some sand dollars halves, but I was kind of bummed not to find anything else; I know tides/ weather/ timing all play a role in that.

After a few hours we were all ready to go (we didn't bring chairs or an umbrella since we knew we'd be carrying everything we brought) and huffed it back down the trail to try and catch the next ferry. 

Overall I was glad we explored a new place but don't know if we'd go again when we're staying where a beach is just a few minutes' walk away!

During the rest of the week we enjoyed visiting all of our favorites- the pier, "treasure store", Duck Donuts, and Island Delights for ice cream.

Chocolate peanut butter- the very best!

Why ride when you can sit for free?

One thing that was so sad was that many restaurants were short staffed, some so much so that wait times were really long or all the food was prepared to go. So many businesses are desperate to hire!

That Saturday we checked out of our rental, got a bite to eat at a diner on the North Pier, and then headed to the local Fantastic Sams for haircuts (we knew we would have to eat up time before checking into the rental with my family at three and four of us needed cuts- win, win!). After that we moseyed on down to Holden Beach and stopped at some used bookstores on the way. One of the ones in Wilmington was SO good and had a great selection in the kids' section. 

Unfortunately just days before this beach week my dad had some health issues flair up that necessitated a scheduled MRI being moved up, so he and my mom decided to stay home. It was so disappointing for all of us but in the end it was a wise decision, as he was able to get the rest he needed. 

The girls were so excited to spend time with lots of cousins. We had the same rental house as last year but with new owners. A little toy area was added since last year which was a BIG hit with all of the kids (and subsequently spread out over most of the downstairs😆).

One of the days it rained most of the day and you could see a water spout in the distance!

My oldest nephew did a lot of fishing and caught an abundance of fish- even some small sharks.👀 Two different times he cooked fish that he caught. I was able to sample a bite of one of them and it was delicious!

crab sighting

customary shot of the Florida plumeria

One new discovery this year was a local bakery that specialized in cinnamon rolls- everyone enjoyed those immensely!  

A successful (parental opinion) trip to a gift shop with no stuffed animals or dolls purchased thanks to Tim's smart thinking.😉

The day we were to leave was our 11th anniversary, so my sisters offered to watch the girls so Tim and I could go out the night before. We found a local farm to table place to eat at and enjoyed a good anniversary meal! 

Thankful for another summer beach trip in the books.:)

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