Friday, November 30, 2007

the raking of the leaves

it took only one night of below-freezing temperatures to usurp our golden, dangling maple leaves and wither them to the earth...leaving us with a yard full of leaves! our land-lord left us only one rake (and who wants to buy another one when that means that she would have to help!), so landon spent several hours of wooing the leaves to the curb.

we have the coolest waste management system here than anywhere else i've ever lived! it's great: we have the opportunity to recycle EVERYTHING recyclable for only $4 a month! and beyond that, during the weeks of november, the WM guys come around in this special jumbo-vacuum truck and suck up all of the trees in the neighborhood - if they're swept to the curb.

landon and i have decided that we're pretty sure that we had the most leaves of anyone in our neighborhood. oh yeah, and what is really awesome is that our neighbor, whom we have never before spoken to, came over into our yard with his leaf blower and let landon borrow it - then he came with his rake and helped landon before it got dark! what a nice guy. that was surely a blessing. the more i get to know our neighbors, the more i like living in this neighborhood.

one thing my colorado-born-and-raised mind can't understand..... why is our grass still green and my mums still blooming purple?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving in Gurnee

Some pictures from our thanksgiving holiday with justin, anna, and their boys! click on any picture to catch a (much) larger glimpse!
The Shedd Planitarium in the Chicago moonlight

The Field Museum, next to the planitarium

The man-eating lions of Tsavo, KENYA, who ate 140 men! wow.

Patrick partying-out in the museum

Landon in front of Mt. Kenya! He has conquered this mountain!
Uncle Dooney with Aeneas. (Landon was smiling on the inside)
Justin on the bed of an ancient Egyptian

Patrick after his blue lolli-pop
Downtown Chicago at night

Landon and Justin carving our fried free-range turkey. These guys made an AMAZING Thanksgiving feast!

Aeneas is playing with Landon's stubble and asking him for a cousin to play with!

Justin, Anna and Patrick in front of the light-house on lake Michigan in Waukegan

Patrick is SOOOO excited to be on the train!

Walking on the Des Plaines trail on Thanksgiving day. We had our first snow!

Momma Anna with Patrick

Aeneas all bundled in the stroller

Patrick - master pianist. Wow, he REALLY loved to play on my keyboard. great little player and composer.

We had SO much fun with Justin, Anna and the boys on Thansgiving! What a blessing and a treat to have them come visit. I hope you enjoyed our several pictures and that you also had a blessed Thansgiving with family.


Each year, it is tradition in my mother's family to decorate my grandmother's Christmas tree. Each year my grandmother and my mother give us Christmas ornaments to put on our own tree at home. Here are some pictures of us with our new ornaments this year!
My Georgia boy proudly displaying his Coca Cola pride! He also got an ornament from Grandma Marsha that is a Santa in full camo and a rifle!
here is a picture of me with an angel ornament Grandma Marsha gave me. I also got a Precious Moments ornament from my mom and dad (keeping with tradition).

Duvick also thoroughly enjoyed opening Christmas ornament presents!

Thanks Mom, Dad, and Grandma Marsha!

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Those of you who followed our blog while we were in Kenya, or who know us more intimately, know that this little boy was a constant source of joy and heartache for us! While Landon and i were in Kenya July 05 - June 06 we fell in love with Daniel. We had strong hopes of adopting him, until his mother returned to the orphanage 2 weeks before we left, claiming that she wanted him back (we were so surprised to see her - everyone thought she was dead). Daniel had no idea who she was, and had asked us to take him home with us and never return him to the orphanage. I remember our flight to the US from Kenya, i just cried and cried, feeling like i had abandoned him back in Africa, feeling like leaving without him was so contrary to everything within me. And every special moment the next year, every holiday, i felt a loss for not having him to be a part of our family, to be with us in those special moments. Anyways...that's beside the point except to say that somehow in my mind, i was going to be this precious boy's mother and am not, with no hopes of soon having him for my son.

Well, Kevin, our friend and fellow missionary from Africa had a chance to return to the Limuru Children Centre as he was preparing a missions trip for the youth in his church, and his wife, Cori, sent me this current picture of Daniel.
I thought that some of you would really enjoy seeing this picture of Daniel. Hasn't he grown so much since we last saw him in June of last year? He is still at the orphanage. His mother is unable to care for him because she is dieing of AIDS and can't keep a job or acquire a place to live. I'm not sure the current story about her, as after my last email to the orphanage, i sort of threw in the hat. Patrick sent the sweetest reply to my email, saying that his extended family would not be against our adopting him, but the mother is. Of COURSE, she is. She is a dieing woman with one precious thing in the world - of course she would want to hold onto this sweet boy as long as she has life! I don't blame her for this, though, as i love Daniel, it is my ethnocentric and selfish perspective to wonder if her wanting to keep him at the orphanage for her every-once-in-a-while visits is not the best thing for him.... But he looks happy, and with his now 3 years at the orphanage, it seems he has found a family and a home there with the workers and the other kids. If we receive an email some day from the orphanage indicating that Daniel is available to be in our family, Landon and i would jump at the chance!
Here is Landon with Daniel a few days before we left...

Friday, November 16, 2007

The grind

here are some interesting pictures from our life...

This is the extent of my Thanksgiving decorations - and i actually burned the ceiling of my house with the candles. oops!

A few weeks ago, the fire people were coming around through the neighborhood and "flushing" the fire-hydrants. This was shooting 3 times as far when i ran to grab the camera. This is also a picture of our front yard.

Landon's most recent instance of Grilled chesse blasphomy.

Back to it. Life. I haven't had the chance to read in awhile. I've been drinking coffee a lot more lately. I woke only 3 hours after Landon went to bed this morning. This is life. Landon's been cranking out the hours on his first of 3 majors papers this last month of the semester. While he's at his computer, I am frantically busy at mine, trying to catch up with sponsorship matters, as my trips out of town put me majorly more behind.

It was Landon's idea when we first moved here to put our desks in different rooms. Mine is in the main room, which gets the most sunlight. landon's is in the "study" (the smallest room in the back of the house), which gets the least sunlight. But i guess that's appropriate, as i work at my desk during the day and he works at his desk during the night. But on days that Landon is not at school or Erehwon and we are both at our desks, i guess he had great foresight in putting our desks in separate rooms. As I am easily distracted and he needs quite and structure.

So, nothing new here, just back to our jam-packed days of nothing too exciting. Though, this week has been COLD! My mornings working at the drive-thru at Starbucks in the dark have been very challenging because they have been SO COLD! it is difficult for me to make change, when my fingers are so numb and hard to nimble-out the change. This morning when i arrived to work at 3:55a the sprinklers were going, and before the sun came out, our customers were sliding through the drive-thru on patches of black-ice! That makes for happy customers: not only are they sleepy, without caffeine, on their way to work, and freezing cold, they are challenged by black ice! Sometimes our customers are so uninspiring. Oh, except yesterday - i had two customers purchase the coffee for the cars behind them! Wow!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Dirty Duvick

This is the look Duvick gives us when he's in trouble. Only, in this picture he is not in trouble, but he IS very dirty and landon is giving him a "bath" (just rubbing him down in the river). Duvick actually never gets a REAL bath, because he's an outside dog and the oils on his fur take a long time to build up and they are very valuable in keeping him warm and dry in the winter. so, we just love our stinky, dirty boy.

Wow, look at him book it toward the water to get that retrieve!

Dirty toes.

Super boy!!! and he is not carrying a roll of toilet paper.

um, there was a puddle of leaves here in the calm of the river and Duvick through it was land - he jumped right in and was covered in whatever it was that was floating on the water - gross!

Walking beside the river...

Well, i guess we're not really WALKING... but enjoying the leaves

MMMmmmm, just love the smell of autumn!

landon and Duvick are out looking for Mr. Beaver - we've missed him since last time we saw him!


The river and the leaves

Big, strong, Duvi-boy

Rock Climbing in the autumn of Illinois!! (finally)

Sorry for the lul in postings - i have been in minneapolis, MN this entire last week. Got home last night, so there should be plenty to post about his next week before i leave for Dallas.

When i got home from Minneapolis last night, i drove home in the dark to a newly discovered radio station that only plays Christmas music! And when i woke this morning, i was overjoyed to see that the leaves outside of my house are in their autumn hue! yay! very beautiful. Even my mums are in full bloom one last time before our first great freeze.
We went to the park today after we went to "the point" for breakfast (a not-so-cheap over-rated local breakfast joint), we went the the forest beside the river to walk around. we FINALLY discovered a much hidden and awesome bouldering spot.

This is the closest thing Landon has found to climbing since we arrived in Illinois!

Even Duvick wanted to join in on the fun...

Friday, November 2, 2007

Fun with Duvi

Our little puppy is such a delight! Tonight within 10 minutes, he had me cracking up 3 different times! I was reading a magazine at the kitchen table, when surprise took me from my reading - That sounds like bubbles, I thought. I look over, and Duvick is blowing bubbles in his water bowl. He wasn't lapping at all, just sticking his head deep into the bowl and blowing bubbles! but a few times, he quickly rose and shook his head and pawed at his nose while water gushed out - it hurts to get water up your nose! but that didn't stop him from amusing himself (and me) by sticking his face into his water bowl once more and blowing more bubbles - what a cute and clever puppy we have!

One really cute thing about Duvick is that he loves to see his reflection. Ever since he was a little puppy, Landon would carry him to the mirror and Duvick barks at himself and at Landon. We also have full length mirrors in the house and he perplexes himself when he can see us in the mirror and then turn around and we are behind him! He loves it! Well, anyways, right after he was done blowing bubbles, i caught him barking at our pot-rack. He caught his reflection in the hanging pan and was frantically barking! (see his reflection in the picture above)

He became easily unamused at himself in the pots when he noticed a little Halloween toy on the fridge that we've let him play with a few times. It's this little creature that has 2 eyes and lights up inside when it is violently smacked against something - we gave it to duvick in the dark a few nights ago to see how he would react... he was terrified, but now, he begs for it because he thinks it is so fun. It's made from a very elastically plastic, so when he holds it in his mouth, it extends and retracts, extends and retracts, kind of like a slinky. So he's standing there with it in his mouth, bouncing up and down, and he is just so adorable! I even called Landon to tell him of the cuteness that our doggy has been capable of tonight.

the hair pictures

For those of you who requested some pictures, here are the only ones i have...