There's a lot to update you on, mostly just little odds and ends.

I will start with the patio chairs. Tom did not like the white arms so he spray painted those and then we assembled the chairs. They spent some time in our living room and got a lot of use before we moved them to the sunporch for Winter. We look forward to many evenings enjoying the glider on the front patio. The irony of the glider is that Tom only wanted to get it, and no individual chairs. Maasen insisted (correctly) that we get some individual seating since sharing the glider with Tom seemed a bit awkward. Apparently Big Cassie feels the same way about sharing the two-seater.

This is Tom telling Maasen he's waiting to share the glider with her, just to make her feel awkward. Not really...
Thanks Gigi and Papo for a great patio set. I'm looking forward to Tom finishing the little chairs so it's complete. Oh, and some sunshine and flowers.


Cassidy sleeps the last hour or so in bed with us on a somewhat regular basis, and with Tom being gone it's no different. Yesterday morning as we were cuddling and talking I noticed she had the hiccups. I asked her, "Where did you get those hiccups?"

She looked at me, unflinchingly, and said, "From Maasen. She had free samples."



Right about now Tom is getting on an airplane and flying off to Houston, the last place he would choose. But then he will board another plane and meet his friend Jim in Guatamala. They will be spending 10 days in Jim's second city, Antigua, where he owns The Refuge Coffee Bar. We are praying for a great trip, a time of close connection and for Tom to learn how to make some wild latte art.

In the meantime Cassidy and I are hanging out with my family. Yesterday: Turkey. Today: Bar-b-que. That's right, JackStack and Nebraska football. Surprise! Though I married into a soccer family and have enjoyed almost every minute of my soccer journey, I was raised on football. American football. Nebraska football. I realize there's controversy over them leaving the Big 12 but it doesn't matter that much to me. Watching those boys in their red and white uniforms takes me back. How many Orange Bowls have I seen? How many times have I watched the Huskers win in front of a sold out crowd? I can't tell you, but I can tell you that although I attended KSU for school I have attended more Husker games than Wildcat games.

And as a side note, because something should be said, I went to my first KU basketball game! Maasen has taken me under her wing (get it?) and exposed me to all things KU. Tom went to KU, and so did my sister Rachel, and Big Cass for that matter (and a slew of other people), so you might wonder why this Missouri girl is the one taking me to KU games (we went to the KU/NU football game last year). Let's be honest, Maasen is like Ms. Kansas City. She can't go anywhere without knowing someone and that means she knows someone everywhere. And some of those people have KU tickets. The Jayhawks played Emporia State (the Hornets) and beat them handily. It was quite the experience. Walking into Allen Fieldhouse I was a bit giddy, and while it was initially a little awkward to sit bum to bum with a complete stranger, it was the drive and the tight conditions. We stayed until the end, of course, to hear the classic "Rock Chalk Jayhawk KU" that everyone in America knows.  If you don't get the chance to go out there this season you can come over and have Little Cassie do the chant for you. She's known it since she could talk, thanks to Maasen.

Just for old times' sake...

I remember putting Wyatt in this outfit at my folks'. We had forgotten about it so for the Championship we pulled it out and put it on him. It barely fit and he wore it for about 5 minutes. But that was enough. Rock Chalk!

 This one is a classic.
How I miss the days of her being this little and pudgy. Now she has calves like Wyatt and curls down her back. I suppose she still has the cheeks.


The Day

Thank you to everyone for your prayers, words of encouragement and gifts throughout the last few weeks, and well, months. Wyatt's 5th birthday was not what we expected and I suppose every year will be different. The joy was missing, but there was a peace throughout the day that I am thankful for. On Wednesday I went to the toy store and got a gift for Cassidy. We decided that at the very least for the boys' birthdays we will get her books; we will always celebrate the days the L-rd gave us those boys and we want them to be reasons for Cass to smile, not sad days. Her relationship being what it was with Wyatt we also wanted to make this birthday special.

She woke up Thursday morning and came into our beds. When Wyatt was around she wouldn't get out of bed until he did; he was an early riser. Since he's been gone she snuggles a lot more with us and this morning it was a nice gift. We talked about Wyatt a little bit and then we hinted that there might be presents for Wyatt's birthday. When she approached the table and saw the gifts she was shocked. "What's this doing here?" she said pointing to her chair. Our birthday tradition is to put the presents at their place at the table so when they get up in the morning they can open them. Last year we also blew up balloons and that was a real thrill for them. "Look at all the balloons?!" he said to her. A beautiful thing about Wyatt and Cass being so close in age is that they always shared everything, so much so that birthdays were almost joint celebrations. This year it took on a new meaning.

She opened the little present first and was very happy to get One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. In keeping with her musical gifting she has found a new love with Dr. Seuss and his rhymes. In the last two weeks we have read this book over and over, with Cass finishing most of the rhymes.
Then she opened the large bag and pulled out a bittersweet gift. I stood in the Toy Story aisle for a long time, loathing the experience. When she pulled out the box with Jessie, Woody and Bullseye I realized why I went through the pain of Toys-R-Us. These toys remind her of Wyatt so much. She asked me if they had Wyatt's name on their feet, since I wrote his name on the feet of his Buzz and Woody. I showed her that they didn't have any names on their feet and then got out the big black marker and put her name there. She sat in her chair after breakfast for 45 minutes playing with those guys, reminding us of Wyatt and his creative imagination.
We spent the rest of the day together, going to the coffee shop, eating chilli and cornbread, Wyatt's favorite meal. Some people popped in to give us hugs and love, and we, well, we made it through the day.

Again, thank you, everyone. Part of our pain is knowing how much everyone misses Wyatt, and Zeke for that matter. There's a hint of sadness around the edges of every moment of joy, but we are thankful to share all those moments with so many wonderful people. And truly the L-rd has blessed us. Our Sweet Pea Cassidy anchors us in the truth that G-d is good. Her voice, her curls, her arms, her squeals -- they are a salve to the wound. Though there is pain, in this life (as in the life to come) there are many things to smile about...
like Cass enjoying her tiara and making food with the clay from Aunt Rachey. It's a little over the top sometimes, but I love how girly this girl is.


Happy Birthday, Wyatt

Instead of blowing up balloons and wrapping presents I went through our family photographs. Looking at these pictures makes me thankful Wyatt is my son.

I spent last Sunday on my knees, little broom in hand, dusting off the excess sand and packing a few loose stones. I watched the leaves tumble down from the blue skies, the air cool and refreshing. I enjoy manual labor when it means I get to enjoy the outcome. Watching the leaves reminds me of the autumn when I was pregnant with Wyatt and I went to town raking the leaves one day. It was a day like last Sunday, just begging me outside. It didn't matter that I was ready to give birth, it felt good to get something done in the fresh air. I suppose I will have many fall days ahead, filled with falling leaves, fresh air and a longing for something more. I anxiously await November and the memories it will bring. Until then...
because in this life of waiting, something's gotta give.

thanks to maas for the kick in the pants to do something new. challenging, but new.


Fun at Family Tree

(new stuff on eat & drink)

Last weekend I took Cassidy to Family Tree Nursery to enjoy some free fun. There were animals and a lot of free food. It was a nice little outing and if I had been thinking I should have walked since it was just down the street.
Cassie enjoyed the bluegrass music, especially the woman playing the washboard. When we came home she pointed to the one on our mantle and said she wanted to get it down and play it. 
 She loved jumping in the moonwalk bubble thing. She waited in line very patiently and jumped like Neil Armstrong on the moon.

 That is one happy little girl.
 She decorated a free little pumpkin with stickers and puffy pom-poms and glitter (thanks Big Cassie). She even drew a crooked smiley face on it.
 Unfortunately one of his little eyes didn't make it back home. He is a one-eyed happy harvested pumpkin and she doesn't mind one bit.
 Can you see the satisfaction on her face?
 Then she potted a beautiful purple and orange pansy. She has no problem rolling up her sleeves and getting dirty. Well, maybe she didn't roll up her sleeves...
 The pansy is now in our new flowerbed out front. Wait for that post.
 Then we met up with Noah and played in the box of corn. This is a really smart idea and the kids enjoyed it so much.

 I asked them to look at me for a picture and this is Cassie posing for the picture but trying to see if Noah was smiling for the photo also. Silly girl.
These are their silly faces. Mima was pretty sure Noah had corn kernels in his pull-up. I would put money on it, since he intentionally put corn in his pockets. I hope Paul had fun finding that.

It was a bittersweet adventure. It would be nice to have three cute little pumpkins to show off and three beautiful pansies in the front . I wonder what harvest time is like for Wyatt and Zeke.


Tom hasn't had work for the last month and though he's been working diligently on his thesis about the New Covenant, the doer in him needs a break from the computer. He looked on Craig's List and found some sand and flagstone and decided to build a patio. He had some amazing help from Sam, the handiest man I know next to Tom (Neighbor Jim doesn't count) and they pounded it out in about a week. Here are some photos from along the way. 
The dirt pit.
Leveling out the dirt pit.
After the gravel was poured. This was our one big expense, about $30.
They have laid the stone and put sand in between each but it's still setting so I will wait a few more days to post the final product. We are on the look out for chairs, hoping Big Trash Day will provide some great finds. With Big Cass and Sam on the look out, and Maasen to help I think we should have some success.

I'm thankful for Sam and the silliness he brings out in Tom. The stress in our house is so thick but having people around that can make us laugh helps a lot. If it was easier to post videos I would post one that goes along with this photo of Sam and Tom on the board. They were shuffling around like dorks. It would make you laugh, trust me.


New stuff on the Read and Eat and Drink pages...


i'm sad all over so i am posting a photo from our trip that makes me laugh. 
sam is one of those guys you can't help but love because he has a heart of gold, but sometimes he is just plain hilarious. i like that.


The river brings out the silliness in Cassidy.

It also brings out the silliness in the boys.
Even after we've left the river it continues in the car.
Something about the cold water and warm sunshine.


Yesterday while the guys golfed Susan, team Cass and I went to the Blue River. We found a great spot that required brave maneuvering downhill, little Cass in arms, flip flops on Susan's feet. It was worth the awkward trek, both up and down hill. I found some beautiful stones that will be a nice reminder of the day.

Little Warrior Cassidy, she loved every minute in the cold cold water. This was one of the glorious days that rain didn't interrupt our outing.
 A great place to splash and play. Big Cass went way out and swam around. She rode the tide back to us, and returned like an ice cube. It took her a while to warm back up.
The perfect playground: Little loved gathering rocks, turning the big rocks into challah.
Though a bit dark I like this photo: Team Cass getting in the deep end. Little is monkeying around a bit, which isn't so surprising.
I couldn't resist adding this one. Eliana didn't think she wanted her picture taken but then I smiled at her and she changed her mind.


Our adventure started Saturday night, packing up in the smothering heat, making several stops in order to gather all of our goodies for our trip to Colorado. We drove through the night, Tom and Sam staying up for the large portion, Cassie and I taking the hard pre-sunrise drive. We arrived tired but thankful for the cool weather. It is very cool here, and we are loving it (sorry).

If you're interested in coffee and food adventures check out the food and drink tab. Otherwise stay tuned for our small but enjoyable adventures. (Again, mostly out of order because of the annoying blogger photo upload set-up. Please fix this blogger.)

We hit Rocky Mountain National Park, a treat for all of us. Little Cassie did not sleep on our way up there but she pushed past the need for a nap, for the most part, and climbed up the waterfall with some help from Papa. She was very brave and enjoyed the cold, gushing water.
Wildflowers. Wildflowers. Everywhere.
E.J., Sam and Big Cass getting ready for their first day of fishing.
Horseshoe Falls. This is where Little Cass learned (after falling on her bum on the hard rocks) to get low on the harder parts. Now she crouches down to stay safe a lot, even when it doesn't seem completely necessary.
This is Cassie on the cusp of a breakdown...
but Papa does a great job cheering her up!

This is Sam being a rascal at Rachey's. I think this is an ornery face, but Big Cass says this is a real, and rarely captured smile, of Sam. Sam in the wild or perhaps just on vacation.
Team Cass hanging out in the playhouse in Rachel's backyard. There's a good chance Big is telling Little a story. The same story of the moose with the thorn in her paw that has been told so many times Little can tell it herself. She keeps asking Big to tell her the story again anyway.
Skip to today and fishing in the Blue River not far from our house in Silverthorne. It took quite a while to convince her to try fishing, but she eventually gave it a try. She caught as many fish as Sam and Cassie. Nada.