TeSelle Reunion 2014

cousins 2

All the cousins!

cousins

The crazy cousins!

dad & gunnar

Gunnar & Greg

cousins

Tygar & Ana

cynthia&lily

Cynthia & Lily

eden & geese

Eden & a gaggle of geese

family_hike

A TeSelle reunion tradition – the family hike

fun with glow sticks

Glow stick fun!

gunnar_kayak

Gunnar relaxing

joan & cynthia

Joan & Cynthia – mother & daughter beauties

stone splash

Stone “rain”

sunset

Lake Anna sunset

teselle reunion 2014

The TeSelle Family

the boys

Cruisin’

tubing_with_grandpa

Tygar & Stone tubing with grandpa

shellfish allergy

Gunnar discovered an allergy to shellfish…

tygar_paddleboard

Tygar loved the paddleboard

windblown

windblown…

boat relaxing

Lily, Canon & Gunnar enjoying the shade with Grandpa

chef eric

Chef Eric!

ct & eden

My first time to drive a jet ski!

nail party

Nail painting party with Lily & Eden

ct_joan_cynthia

Before the “scream/laugh omg slow down Darrin but we can’t go any slower!” tube ride with Joan & Cynthia. Unfortunately, we do not have an after photograph. ;)

tygar swing

Swingin’ Tygar

shocked sons

“What? Mom just won?”

the "grandma"

“I won!” & from now on we will refer to this move as “The Grandma!”

Greg leading the kayak train doing "The Grandma"

Greg leading the kayak train doing “The Grandma”

alaina&ana

Alaina & Ana

cousins on the wow

Fun on the WOW

eric&cynthia

Cynthia & Eric lakeside chat

lake anna sunrise

Lake Anna sunrise

It was a beautiful week as you can tell from the photographs. We are extremely thankful to Greg’s family for providing the house & the boat & the jet ski & the kayaks & all the lake toys! We showed up with our swim suits & sunscreen & loved every minute.

Thank you Gale, Joan, Darrin, Peggy, Ana, Alaina Canon, Eric, Cynthia & Lily! Looking forward to the next time we can be together!

A Picnic on the Beach

beach picnic cousins

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably noticed that our family spent some time together at the beach last week. Once a year, we make the trek to South Carolina to spend time with some family, relax & enjoy the ocean air. My parents generously provide the accommodations and we provide the chaos!

beach picnic cousins_2

beach picnic tygar

beach picnic oldest boys

beach picinic wave watching

During the day we do our own thing. We spend some time at the beach & the pool & sometimes participate in a random activity offered by the resort. But we always meet up together for dinner & the adults take turns making the menu & preparing the meal.

This year I had a grand idea – let’s have a picnic dinner on the beach! Hot dogs & chips & carrot sticks & lemonade & s’mores.  Easy, right? I guess the meal itself wasn’t grand, just the location. It was something we hadn’t done before in all our years of gathering at the beach.

beach picnic hotdogs

Here’s why it seemed like a grand idea at the time, at least in my mind:

1. The grandparents can spend time with the kids without the crazy midday beach crowd & overwhelming heat.

2. For me, the photography nerd, it’s twilight hour – the perfect time for photos.

3. Eden & Stone could fly their kites that they have been saving since they received them as Christmas gifts without the fear of crashing them into someone sunbathing.

4. The relaxing ocean breeze & cool sand.

beach picnic kite

beach picnic watching

beach picnic family pic

beach picnic crazy family

beach picnic crazy eden

What I didn’t take into consideration when I had my grand idea to have a picnic dinner on the beach:

1. The amount of stuff you need to trek down for a picnic on the beach for all 9 of us – chairs, blankets, beverages, condiments for hot dogs, a hammer {to crack a coconut, of course!} a camera & a tripod {for the family group pictures & twilight hour photos, of course!}

2. The wind – yes, the wind was PERFECT for flying kites! but not so perfect for trying to spread condiments on hot dogs.

3. Even though I’ve done this before & I’ve read about the perfect settings for my camera during twilight hour, I still manage to forget all I’ve learned when I start clicking. I decided to not let it fluster me this time and just take pictures. Some came out with the right exposure, some didn’t. Oh well.

beach picnic G&C
beach picnic tygar laugh

The kids didn’t care that they had to eat their dinner in stages because there was no possible way to eat off of a paper plate in that crazy wind. They grabbed the hot dog bun, slapped on a hot dog & their favorite condiment and walked around in the sand and the wind and enjoyed every bite of that hot dog! Even if it had a few grains of sand in there.

beach picnic full moon

When the week comes to an end, to help ease the pain of driving away from the beach, we talk about our favorite things that happened that week.

Guess what? This year, the hot dog picnic dinner on the beach was one of their favorite things.

Sometimes, as adults, what we perceive as an inconvenience can become a lifelong memory for your kid.

Here’s to more “inconveniences” this summer!

Pass the mustard!

 

inconvenience

What I Do All Day {if you really want to know}

cotton_candy_cloudsSo, what do I do all day now that my kids are all in school? I know you’re all dying to know. Well, maybe not all of you but it has come up in conversations and emails and text messages.

Those 6 hours do go by quickly.

Can I just say that I am blessed to have a husband who works hard & supports our family & has made it possible all these years for me to be a stay at home {& now work at home} mom.  I know what a huge blessing that is and I do not take that for granted.

My new schedule has allowed me:

  • to catch up on my stockpile of books to read {here are just a few}
  • to write more in my journal & hopefully some of those thoughts can be shared on here one day
  • to practice my photography
  • the flexibility of returning to my Body Pump classes
  • to have lunch or coffee with a friend
  • to volunteer my time to harvest & work in the i Grow Lemont gardens & participate in their book club
  • to do a little more freelance virtual assistant work for 3 to 4 bloggers scattered across the country
  • to find a theater that’s showing a matinee {I haven’t done this yet but I want to!}
  • to be spontaneous with a random act of kindness
  • to play uninterrupted 80s music radio on Pandora

swingsObviously, that isn’t an exhaustive list of everything I do, just some of the new stuff.  If I really listed everything, you’d be completely bored.  Maybe one day I’ll do a “day in the life” post just for fun so you can see how completely exciting my life is that day! {wink}

I wouldn’t be completely honest with you if I didn’t tell you that there have been a few times in the past few weeks where I sit alone on my couch, surrounded by quiet & do nothing.  I am refreshed by quiet.  I know there are 100 things that I could do that are within arms reach of that spot on the couch but I choose to sit.  To listen.

I do have to be careful though.  If I sit there for too long, that quietness & stillness can transform into laziness & sometimes depression.  When that starts to creep in, that’s when I text a friend to meet me for coffee or go out for a walk.

neon_shoesRarely do I get on a soapbox but here it goes:  What other profession {and yes, stay at home moms and/or dads is a profession!} gets asked the question “What do you do all day”?  Can you think of one?  I can’t.  If I asked my friend that’s a doctor, “What do you do all day?” they’d laugh.  Am I right?  The job we’re doing of raising babies to toddlers to kids to teenagers to young adults to adults is a profession.  The hardest one in the world. Just because we have the privilege of staying home doesn’t make it less difficult.

Off of my soapbox now.

bumper_carsThanks for sticking with me on this journey and reading my random thoughts & daydreams.  I am truly thankful for you.

Tell me about your day.  {See how much better that sounds?  Oops, back on soapbox! Sorry!}

 

Summer 2013 :: Our Top Ten

cottage_collage1. The Cottage. Our 3rd annual trip to the mountains of North Carolina with the Smiths. {Read about our 2011 & 2012 trips}. Chad & Myquillyn have friends that let them borrow their convertible for the weekend. Clearly, we enjoyed the ride. The Cottage is a beautiful place & each year we come away with lifelong memories.

iGrowLemontHarvest2. iGrowLemont Harvest. The seeds that were sown in the Spring are producing a lovely harvest.

3. Greg surviving an emergency landing on a United Airlines flight from Charlotte to Chicago but it was diverted to Dulles because there was a hydraulic leak or something crazy like that and it caused the landing gear to malfunction. This is a story that you must hear in person from Greg & how he was disappointed that he didn’t get to slide down the inflatable emergency slide. Yep, he’s crazy.

4. HeartFriends weekend. Ahhh.

5. Dreams. Dreams. Dreams! Cheering on these dreams: The Smith’s, The Dobie’s & Reeve’s.

whit&jonathan2

whit&jonathan6. A wedding. Congratulations to Jonathan & Whitney!

family reunion7. Family reunion!

mini_golf

homemade_icecream8. Grandpa’s visit & homemade ice cream!

bacon_icecream9. Brown Sugar Maple Bacon ice cream! {If you’re in the Asheville, NC area, find Hickory Nut Gap Farm & hopefully they’ll be serving some when you visit}.

Chicago_fire10. We went to our first Chicago Fire MLS game. This has been on Stone’s wish list for about a year now & thanks to the generosity of some good friends our entire family was able to go.

What’s your Summer 2013 Top Ten?

Our Summer 2012 Top Ten

The Past Week

last_week_of_summer

In the past week we have been plagued by pink eye, fevers, coughs, a fainting spell, a busted lip, a pinched neck nerve, tear duct irrigation surgery, a migraine, a sore throat, a cavity, hives, a cracked iPhone, emotional stress of job pressures and that’s just what’s happened in our family!

It has also been a week of hearing the good news of grandpa’s PSA #’s being really low! A week of meeting new teachers & the brief burst of excitement that brings.  A week of falling in love with the new stash of school supplies {ok, that was just me!} A week of watching the first steps of a dream going from being a dream on paper to “oh crap this is happening!” for some friends.  A week of having a conversation with a friend that lives far away & being able to pick up where you left off.  A week of celebrating birthdays over shared meals with good friends.

All through the craziness of the ups & downs, I am reminded that God is always in control & I’m thankful that I can trust in Him.

For this God is our God for ever & ever;
He will be our guide even to the end.
Psalm 48:14

 

Things I Learned in July

driving dreaming1. Driving & Dreaming ~ long road trips are the perfect time for Greg and I to discuss dreams. We talk about BIG dreams. Then ponder for a while then come back to it. Dreams sessions while driving make long road trips seem shorter.

motorcycle nap2. Also, apparently some people can fall asleep while riding on the back of a motorcycle going 70 mph – that’s a whole different level of dreaming!

lost tooth3. Another “Last First” ~ Eden lost her first tooth. She is my youngest child so this is another “last first” of many for our family.

4. I finally fell in love with making & drinking Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Iced Coffee ~ it is easier than I thought it would be & SOOOO good! {Thanks Nester & Karrie!}

5. Pancake Cafe closed ~ one of my favorite places to eat in our town has been Pancake Cafe. Breakfast foods are one of my love languages. While we were in NC last month, it closed. Without warning! And while I was out of town! Womp, womp. I guess I’ll be making my own #7 at home…egg whites with hash browns (they were by far my favorite hash browns…better than Cracker Barrel!) with a toasted English muffin. Humph. I’ll miss you Pancake Cafe!

stainless steel tip6. Stainless steel can remove the smell of onions, garlic, etc from your hands! Where has this little snippet of knowledge been hiding all of my life?? Thanks Brad & Embassy Suites for this tid-bit of knowledge hanging up in your hotel elevator.

Someday Someday Maybe7. Lauren Graham {a.k.a. Lorelai Gilmore a.k.a. Sarah Braverman} wrote a book! Someday, Someday, Maybe – it’s on my Amazon wishlist now. Have you read it?

beet love8. I have fallen in love with beets all over again! We planted them in the iGrowLemont garden & last week I purchased some from our first iGrowLemont harvest. I followed a simple recipe for roasting them in the oven and they were DELICIOUS! Do you have a favorite beet recipe?

ct tour de france love

9. My love for Le Tour de France grew this year! Despite the controversy that has surrounded this sport in recent years, I love to watch it. It’s on my bucket list to be a spectator one year! Or maybe I was there this year…

tear duct10. Did you know that your tear ducts can become clogged? I’ve heard about it happening with infants but not as an adult. What I thought was my emotions making my eyes water was actually a tear traffic jam! This will be a “to be continued” for Things I Will Learn in August. I have another appointment with my ophthalmologist in a few weeks to see if they can fix it. Let’s hope it’s a simple fix!

I am linking up today with Emily & her community over at Chatting at the Sky. Be sure to click over & share with us what you learned in July!

Things I Learned in June

fathersday2013

What I learned in June revolves around: Family. Fathers. Friends. Fun. Faith. In no particular order {& with a few too many pictures}:

teselle beach

cousins

family reunion1. “Everything will be O.K.” was the theme of our family reunion vacation this year. Spending 5 days with this beautiful gang of 16 was full of good food, man-of-war jellies, crazy wipe-out waves, a ton of laughter, reminiscing & reminding each other that despite some of the hardships we are facing right now, that everything will be o.k. Already looking forward to next year!

greg & caroline

 

bath2. My kids love to take baths at their grandparents house.  Maybe it’s the bath toys? Or just that it’s summer and the pace of life is a little slower & they can take the time to soak in the tub for a while.

3. Listening to dreams of others excites me & telling others about my lightbulb moment is a little exciting & a little scary.

4. Planning for unplanned time is ok. Read this by Nester.

5. Even though they are at each other’s throats at times, the time spent together in June, away from the regular day to day stuff at home, my kids remember how much they love each other.  Sometimes that love comes through the form of a tickle fight or tossing a frisbee or playing a game.

6. Sometimes what you learn during June can last all year.  This post from last year has sent ripples through the past 12 months.

 

7. I’m a little neurotic when I find something that I really like, so I think I need to buy 2.  My love for v-neck t-shirts is out of control because of this neurotic behavior.  I think it might start again with these sunglasses {above}.  The reasons I love these sunglasses: 1) they do not move off my nose when I smile because of my big cheeks; 2) they fit wonderfully behind my ears & do not hurt after wearing them all day; 3) they’re from Target; 4) they double as a headband.

8. You are going to think I’m an idiot but I used the word “throwed” in a sentence the other day.  It sounds right until you hear someone else say it.  I guess it’s my southern background but my friend Reeve pointed out that it’s not a word.  Say this sentence out loud and tell me what you think: “You throwed it all away!” Yep, even spellcheck says it’s a misspelled word.  Normally I’m a stickler for grammar. For some reason, “throwed” seems right.

grainger co tomatoes9. I love tomatoes.  Especially the Grainger County tomatoes that I can only get when I’m in Asheville during the summer months. Ingles grocery stores stock their shelves full of them and I got teary-eyed when I saw them on the shelf last week.  They are that good.

dahlia10. I really love Asheville, NC.  Not only because my parents live here or because I was born here. It is a beautiful city with beautiful people, full of activities & natural beauty.  Last week we packed a picnic lunch & decided to check out The North Carolina Arboretum!  If you are in the Asheville area it’s worth the $8/per car to explore the gardens and walking/biking trails.  I have a ton of pictures that I want to share with you so check back sometime next week for that post.

11. I really have learned a ton in June! Geez, I didn’t realize it until I started writing this post.  I also realized that it’s O.K. to go almost an entire month {my last post was May 31!} without writing a post.  I have been soaking up all that June has shared with me & I kind of love that about her.  Thank you for being patient with me & still being here!

I wonder what July will bring?

I am linking up today with Emily & her community over at Chatting at the Sky. Be sure to click over & share with us what you learned in June!

Twelve Years

tulips

12 years.

12 years of raising babies into kids.

Now, we have 12 years ahead of us of raising kids to teens to adults.

This next stage makes me have heart palpitations & night sweats.  Not the fun flutters of excitement but the anxious excitement as you approach the first hill of a roller coaster and then the adrenaline rush that follows & sends you immediately to the nearest bathroom once the ride is over.  What?  That only happens to me at the end of a roller coaster ride? The need for extra calming factors as we enter this next stage of parenting is essential.

The first 12 years has been about keeping our kids alive.  Seriously. It has been our responsibility to feed, bathe, clothe & shelter them. Survival & life training.

The next 12 years they will put into action what we have taught them along the way.  We will still provide them with food, clothing & shelter but they are taking the survival skills  & life training we have taught them to the next level.

It is still our job to protect but it also our job to let them fail.

spring

This past weekend our family went through one of the first tests of survival of this next stage because of a bad decision by one member of our family. We ALL learned the lesson of “your decisions don’t just affect you, but many people.” We survived, but not without consequences.

We know the next 12 years will be a challenge.

Our survival skills & life training will depend on us:

  • staying calm & focused – honestly, when things get tough, I retreat & become silent.  I think that’s ok at first, because it helps me to not do or say something that I would regret later.
  • communicating – just because my husband & I  have 20+ years of hanging out teenagers under our belt doesn’t mean we know everything. We need to be in constant communication with each other.  This goes hand in hand with staying calm & focused.  Communicate calmly with each other & our children.
  • remembering priorities - there will be sports & friends & school activities & sleepovers & jobs…Remembering that God comes first, then family, then friends, then the rest.
  • saying sorry when we mess up as parents – as parents we must not be afraid to apologize for our mistakes. We are two imperfect people working as a team to parent 4 imperfect children, there will be mess ups.
  • noticing the good – “Your decisions don’t just affect you, but many people”.  As I mentioned earlier, last weekend there was a bad decision that was made and our whole family suffered.  On the flip side of that, we want to emphasize that when a good decision is made, good things happen. We must notice the good & reward accordingly.
  • praying, praying, praying
  • being consistent – consistently communicating, prioritizing, saying sorry, staying calm, noticing the good & praying…

bert

We’re not claiming to be experts. Clearly this is new territory for us. Scary and exciting at the same time.

At the end of these 12 years, all of our children will be adults and I’ll be, um, 53.

That’s a whole new level of roller coaster, right?

Or maybe that’s when I try sky diving??

Our Favorite iPhone Apps Right Now

fav appsIt’s no surprise how much I love Instagram but today, I thought I would share with you a few of the Apps that are the TeSelle favs right now:

dining room1. PicTapGo :: definitely worth $1.99! take your Pic, Tap {choose your filter with the option of layering several filters} & Go {share via the social media platform of your choice!}  This app also allows you to post to Instagram full frame like the picture above. AND p.s. In their next update they will be adding a Cropping/rotating/straightening option.

2. Cozi :: We use this exclusively for the grocery list option.  Since we have 4 iPhone users in this house, this is a fabulous way for us to add to the grocery list.  Gunnar needs deodorant, he grabs his phone, opens up Cozi & adds it to the grocery list.  Greg wants hamburger helper for dinner this week, he adds it to the list.  It instantly syncs with the other phones.  How is this useful?  When I’m at the store, I know what our family needs just by checking Cozi.  When Greg is on his way home from work & offers to stop by the store for groceries, he doesn’t need to ask for me to text him the list.  I just say, “check Cozi”! Also, if the kids complain that they are missing something in the pantry of if they are out of soap or socks, all I have to ask is “Did you put it on Cozi?”  There are other great things about this app that are very useful (calendar, to do lists, etc.) too but for right now, we only use it for the grocery list.

3. Netflix :: this isn’t a new App but it has quickly become a favorite at our house.  The kids can watch their favorite shows {& mom too}.  You have to have a Netflix account & we have the online streaming that we can access on our iPhones as well as our Apple TV. A big plus for me – there’s a Parental Control setting that allows you to block “mature” titles.

walgreens4. Walgreens :: again, not a new App BUT with their most recent update last week, now you can print your photos from Instagram with their Quick Prints option. Upload your pics & pick them up in an hour.  Love this!!  They come in size 4×4 right now, but maybe they’ll offer different sizes in the future?? The quality is great too!

5. Flickr :: their latest update allows you to add a hashtag to your photos & instantly see all the photos related to that hashtag. Do you have a Flickr account?  I do! Find me here & let’s be friends.  The people who I follow on Flickr are the ones that I go to for my photography inspiration.  Who’s inspiring me now :: Justine Gordon, White Peach Photography, K_W Daddio & jeffconlin.

6. Minecraft :: for those rainy, snowy or bitter cold days this winter {& hello, it’s the 1st day of Spring & it’s 10 degrees outside!}, our kids have enjoyed playing this game together.  I personally do not understand the fascination, but they are virtually building & destroying & building & enjoying this game.

7. Stack the States :: the geography nerd inside of me loves this educational game.  You answer various trivia questions about the capitals, flags, shapes, etc. to earn more levels.

What are your favorite Apps right now?

Random Moments

mohawk

This random moment is actually two moments brought to you through the eyes of Tygar.  No, not the 80s Rocky theme song.  Our Tygar.

I was doing a little purging of documents on my computer and found two of Tygar’s drawings.  I scanned them because they were priceless.  When big things happen to him, he draws them.  It’s something he has done for a while now.

savingmylifeFebruary 2009 ~ Tygar was in Mrs. Smith’s 1st grade class.  One of his classmates decided to bring in some round peppermint candies to pass out for his birthday treat. Tygar popped in his peppermint candy treat and after a few minutes, who knows what happened, Tygar started choking on the peppermint candy.  Really choking.  He managed to get the attention of his teacher and she quickly pulled him out of the classroom into the hallway and gave him the Heimlich maneuver! Mrs. Smith really did save his life that day!

When he came home and told us the story {don’t worry – the school nurse had already told us what happened, my nerves had calmed down by the time he got home!}, he decided to draw Mrs. Smith a picture/thank you note.

Then last fall, Tygar wrecked while riding his bike:

comic strip

He drew this picture/comic strip the day after he broke his arm last fall.

I hope he never stops documenting his moments, however random or life-threatening they may be.  These drawings are priceless memories to this mom.