Catch Up, in Pictures

About a month ago, we spent a while working in the guest room and fully transformed it into Ryan’s room. He’s been in there pretty consistently ever since!

Also sometime around then, we had a big snow. Ryan was thrilled, and I was excited that I’d noted the location of his snow gear when we had cleaned up his room.

She’s almost 8 months in this picture. Now she’s just a couple days away from 9!

Yeah, Ryan enjoyed it. I’m not as convinced about Levi though. 😉

The smolder… I’m 99% confident he was asking about “de boys?”

A boy and his stick.

A drooly girl and her Baymax hat!

He was setting up his soldiers into two opposing lines.

8 months old exactly here.

I feel like this one really illustrates life with these two fairly well… 😛

❤ Tired after a long day at the church building doing various things (smoking meat, cleaning, decorating, setting up) for Grace and Micah’s wedding the next day!

And she’s finally sitting up confidently on her own now. And army crawling all over the place!

And I’ll end with one from today. It’s been a busy month with far more going on than I’ve even alluded to here. Thankful for the approaching weekend, and some normalcy this week. 🙂

More Kids

Some of these are edited duplicates of ones I’ve posted before, but I wanted to go on and include them here.

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Lol! I love this one. Still not entirely happy with the edit, but it’s such a hilarious picture!

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After editing this one, I will warn everyone not to stare into her eyes too long here; it starts to get almost creepy… When viewed briefly however, it’s definitely good for a laugh.

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I’m sure I have way more pictures of this girlie than I do of Ryan, but how could I not?! She smiles, and it’s crazy ADORABLE!

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Also, dat hair tho…

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These two. Oh, my word.

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That moment when his expression just says it all…

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But hers just say “Do I smell bacon?!” (Disclaimer: No, the baby has not had bacon; we’re waiting for the teeth to appear – they seem to be fashionably late in this one – before introducing her to the finer things.)

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“Bacon?! FOOD! Outside?… Squirrel!”

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“They said I had to go potty again! I went last night! This is totally unreasonable…”

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 Oh, no, that’s not trouble waiting to happen at all!

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That tongue…!

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The Great Pontoon Boat Adventure of 2016

I’ve been trying to figure out how best to portray this story, and I’m still not sure I’m happy with it. However, I’ve decided I’ve got to write it out before life continues and I forget details of this epic day.

To set the story, the friends of Sam’s grandparents that live on St. George Island wanted to take us all over to Dog Island, and asked Mr. Evans to perform a burial at sea without much advance notice.

The day dawned beautifully. A little early for my vacationing preference, thanks to a cute, little missy who wanted to talk. But the sunrise was stunning. I posted a couple pictures of it in the last post. I was quite happy to be breathing in that fresh beach air, and excited to be going out on a boat! I had rather hoped we would get the opportunity to do that, and was thrilled when it worked out!

We spent the morning mostly as usual: Coffee, walk on the beach… Relaxing, and pretty much perfect. We gathered the gear we wanted to take, and headed out to the mainland to get to our boats. Finding the place was in and of itself something of an adventure, and, despite being only 15-20 minutes away, required its own bathroom stop. We eventually got there.

Now picture it. First of all, this is a relatively tourist-free part of Florida on the Gulf side. Because of that, everyone who lives there owns their boats, and no one really rents them. So, it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, though I can’t really say what I was expecting. We pulled off a 2-lane in the opposite direction of the water into a more or less dirt alley that ran next to what I thought was a dusty/sandy, abandoned gas station in a worn shade of that pinkish color Florida seems to like so much. In front, there were a couple of pontoon boats on their trailers in various stages of disrepair. It seemed pretty clear that neither were in working order, and probably hadn’t been in a while. Aside from our group’s vehicles, there was a car with Colorado plates and maybe another mostly out of my immediate field of observation. Across the street there was a large building and some sort of marina.

Several of our party went inside (the bathroom calls again!), and spoke with a very thickly-accented (Louisiana, maybe?), very tan, and well-fed man who seemed to be in charge. They heard him say something to the effect of “Only one of the boats will make it there and back,” called him on it, and he, of course, flatly denied saying that without offering a different explanation of what he HAD said. Needless to say, we were slightly on our guard.

To our relief (not the boats out front at least!), the man hopped in the Colorado car, took us down the street and over to the water. There were two pontoon boats waiting for us. Man-in-Charge and another guy, hereafter Sidekick, gave a couple of our group the run down on how to drive the boats. We split everyone between the boats, and we were off!

… Or so we thought.

The boat I was on, pulled away just fine, and was about to head out of the bay, when we noticed the other boat with the rest of our party was already shipwrecked. And again. And again. (Right about here, we found out later, Jacob more or less threw Victoria’s phone in the ocean. ;)) Ah, there. Now they’re on their way! Let’s go!

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Everything seemed great. I was on the boat that was supposedly the better of the two. It wasn’t impressive, but I was ready to forgive the ripped cushions that fell into the compartments when you sat down in order to better have an excellent ride. Once we made it out of the no wake zone we could go fast, and get to the island!

Uh-huh. Right…

Our supposedly better, faster boat immediately started to bog, so we were constrained to a speed barely over no wake speed. The other boat, with the rest of our group, quickly passed us, nearly sideswiping us in the process.

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Nevertheless, we were going to have a good time! So bring out the food!

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That was funny. Ryan had a kid-sized life jacket on, but when he was sitting he almost couldn’t move. He kept trying to get his hand to his mouth, but would end up kind of tossing the pieces of fruit in because he couldn’t quite get there.

Despite it taking a good bit longer than we expected, our boat did eventually make it to the island, and we hiked over the squeaky sand to the other side (The power lines in the picture below show approximately the midpoint, so hiking is probably overstating a bit.), and set up for the afternoon. It was lovely.

At this point, a few of our party went back out on one of the boats for the burial at sea.  The rest of us walked up and down the island and enjoyed to view. Then, suddenly, there was a low fly-over by a couple of military jets! That was cool, but unfortunately we didn’t get any pictures.

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After a little while, Sam noticed that it was taking them somewhat longer than expected to return. He walked over to the other side to check on things. I was laying on a blanket with Gloriana, enjoying the sun, drifting in and out of sleep, thinking Sam had Ryan. I was awakened by Ryan arguing rather loudly, and suddenly noticed he wasn’t with Sam. I didn’t know where Sam was. Eventually he and the rest of the party came back.

Turns out they had turned their boat off in order to do the service, and it wouldn’t start again when they were ready to return! So there they were, stranded out there, and all of us on the other side of the island with all of our phones left on the boats. Thankfully Sam noticed the time, and went investigating. He took the working boat out, and towed them back to the island.

We stayed there for a little while longer, but eventually it was time to head back.

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And the story only gets better…

Because there was now only one working boat (Oh, look! Guy-in-Charge was right!), we had to decide what to do. We were in communication with the owners, and they said someone would be along shortly to retrieve the stranded boat, and bring back some of our party. Meanwhile, there were several of us who were cold, tired, hungry, and in need of a bathroom, so we hopped in the working boat, and marooned the rest of the group on the island.

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Well, about half way back to the dock, we passed Sidekick in a fancier pontoon boat headed out to fetch the rest of our group. A little further along and our working boat died. Yep. Dead. So there we were, in the middle of this bay, on a rather sketchy pontoon boat, with the tide coming in. Bigger and bigger swells. It really wasn’t an ideal situation since we had Sam’s grandparents and a 5 month old. I wasn’t really too worried about anyone else, but I just wasn’t sure what to do about a baby should a swell come along that was actually strong enough to throw us out or tip us over.

We knew Sidekick would be along eventually, so we just rode it out as best we could. And then the presumed-dead boat with the rest of our group in it passed us! Thankfully quickly followed by Sidekick in the fancy boat. He and Sam swapped boats, and Sidekick tried to figure out what was wrong with our boat, eventually handing the wheel over to Jacob while he climbed around the engine. At one point he was heard to say something like, “That’s why it ain’t runnin’ right! You got a gas leak!” followed shortly by “Oh, and that plug’s on fire. Don’t worry. Just keep goin’; it’ll burn itself out.” Gas leak, fire. Fire, gas leak. I was not liking this picture. However, Jacob is thrilled to now be able to claim driving a flaming boat. His version of the story sounds something like THIS.

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After a little while even Sidekick gave up, and decided towing was the only way our boat was getting back. But it was a pretty ride back in!

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As we were almost to the dock, we noticed a Florida Coast Patrol (or something like that) truck up on a hill overlooking the bay.

Sure enough, he pulled up right as we docked. I, for one, was cold and tired from the somewhat stressful end of the trip, so I went and sat in the heated van while the remaining shenanigans occurred.

Sidekick was asked to locate certain safety equipment and registration papers, and questioned about a missing registration number that was supposed to be on the side of the fancy boat. Some of our party were asked to identify where and how to use certain required safety measures. Once they were unable to do that, we were all allowed to leave. And back to our comfy Sea Rose for some much needed relaxation!

It was quite a day. Thankfully everything ended just fine, and it really was a nice afternoon despite it all. However, I think next time, when it comes to renting boats, we’ll stick to the kayaks. 🙂

Thanksgiving Trip to TN

We’d just gotten back home from Florida after a very long, almost 17 hours on the road in one day. We were all SO tired of being in the car! And yet, somehow, we still decided to head back out, less than a week later, to go to Tennessee for Thanksgiving.

I’m actually really glad we did, but I can tell you we’re all still sick of the car (brought home even more by the 2 hours we drove to Andrew Peterson’s “Behold the Lamb of God” concert last night. A concert which, if you get the chance, you should try to go to; it was awesome, and the more I think about it, the more awesome it was!).

It was wonderful to see my family again, as well as to have the Thanksgiving food I grew up with. Just hadn’t quite realized how much I’d missed dressing and giblet gravy! So, naturally, after gorging ourselves on the amazing food (Oh, that smoked turkey!!!), we decided to have wood-fired pizza in the evening! I’m still not sure how we managed to eat, but that pizza was delicious, and the experience was SO. MUCH. FUN! I can’t wait to go back down and do it again!

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The oven was amazing!

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And we all spent the evening out on my family’s new deck, which is AWESOME!

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The pizza night wasn’t planned, so they were thrown together with random ingredients. They were so good though!

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Grammy Evelyn spent the night on Thanksgiving, and it was so nice to have a chance to catch up some! Also, my family now has a fire pit to make the deck even more awesome!

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So cool!

Saturday Sam and Paul constructed a box for the back of the suburban. It’s been pretty great so far!

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And, of course, Ryan couldn’t be there without playing around on the 4-wheeler.

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P.S. The day of adventure from our Florida trip is all written up and laid out. Just need to do a bit more editing before it gets posted. I thought I’d go on and put this one up in the meantime though.

#FirstRealEvansVacationEver2016

So, the Evans clan spent the week before Thanksgiving in Florida, on St. George Island, and it was fantastic! I really can’t wait to go back!!!

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There were a ton of shells the first day on the beach. Didn’t see them to quite this extent the rest of the week.

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Oh, yeah. He had fun. Until he came down with a fever the next to the last day there. 😦

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We rented a couple of kayaks, and they were so much fun! So glad we did!

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Ryan did really well with the water. He liked it coming to about his knees, but would then run back up, and continue with his more important work of digging. I was fine with this; I didn’t have to worry about him around the water. 🙂

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The off-season beach life… TAKE ME BACK!

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Not the greatest picture, but I had to include it. I’m not sure I know anyone else who would actually take boffers to the beach. Love my family!

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See? The WHOLE beach to ourselves. It was amazing!

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It was chilly the first couple of days we were there, especially in the mornings, but the water was too captivating to stay in side!

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Shot looking down from our third floor balcony.

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Gloriana had me up earlier than I would have liked on vacation, but I did get to see a couple of beautiful sunrises!

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— And here I skip a day of adventure which deserves a post of its own, and involves rather more story-telling than I have time or inspiration for at the moment. —

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Morning walks on the beach, coffee in hand, were one of my favorite things. One morning Sam and I saw the dolphins playing about 25 yards out. It was amazing to watch!

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He loved running up and down the beach as we walked slowly along behind him.

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A couple of the days were really still, and the water was amazingly clear. I actually braved the water (without a kayak) those days. The other days were breezy enough for me not to want to get too wet.

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❤ my dork!

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The last full day came with the biggest swells we’d seen all week. They had a lot of fun playing in them. Sam and I were dealing with a sick moose, but we made it down to watch a couple times, and Sam went out when Ryan was napping in the afternoon.

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I may have preferred the calmer, clearer days, but the wind did make for some picturesque waves!

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Looking down to the beach from our balcony.

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Postcard worthy.

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Our lovely rental, Sea Rose.

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I’m ready to go back. Can we please go back?!

Florida Critters

Mostly pelicans, to be totally honest.

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That’s how they land when they’re catching fish… Somehow I didn’t realize that until this trip! I was fascinated, always almost expecting them to have trouble recovering or something.

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I call it: “Bird on Water” in the style of the Impressionism’s great masterpiece names…

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Yes, that’s a leaping dolphin in the background there. Sam and I saw them so much closer than that, but were too enthralled to remember pictures until they got farther away.

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Some friends of Sam’s grandparents live on St George Island, and they have one of the cutest dogs!

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Review Time!

Let’s see… Since my last post in the first week of SEPTEMBER (!!! So much for my once a month goal…), a lot has happened. Gloriana passed 3, 4 and 5 months. She is getting heavy, can almost sit up, rolls over easily (and then gets mad until she rolls herself back over), and is teething like CRAZY. Ryan’s vocabulary is improving by the day, and he’s to that amusing stage where he says things that in theory mean the same as what he actually means, for example: yesterday I went Christmas shopping, and I told him I was going to drop him off with “The kids.” Ever since then, he’s been telling me that I “put him down with the boys.” Can’t believe he’s going to be three in less than 2 weeks! Sam got a new (his old?) job at SMI, and he’s loving it! I’m so glad; it’s a much better fit for him! I had my 26th birthday, which struck me as incredibly weird – not bad, just weird – being closer to 30 than 20 or something. I’m still taking everything day by day, and I’m very much enjoying my life these days.

We had an awesome Reformation Day event where one of the families hosted the church, and the whole day was full of games, dancing, food, and fellowship. We’ve been to TN a couple times. Once for my amazing friend, Tricia Ann’s wedding. For that trip, Ryan, Gloriana, and I rode down with Daddy and stayed the whole week before, and Sam came down the day before the wedding. That was a strange week, to be away from him for so long. Ryan was desperate for some daddy-time when we got back home! The other trip was this past weekend, for Thanksgiving, but I’m getting ahead of myself. A couple weeks before Thanksgiving the whole Evans clan headed down to St. George Island, Florida for some much needed rest, relaxation, and family time! We had SO much fun, and have already started planning next year’s trip! 😀

We’ve not been great about taking a lot of pictures, but we’re going to keep trying to do better. Moments around the holidays always tend to remind me that next year’s events may look very different, and I want to remember all the good times.

With that, I’ll end this post, since that teething baby has me typing one handed at the moment. Hoping to get another post up with a few pictures from our FL trip, ones that don’t require much, if any, commentary. 🙂

 

 

 

A Day in the Windy City

Creative title, eh? 😉

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Our first destination! We carpooled with friends from church, and thoroughly enjoyed exploring the Shedd Aquarium.

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It was Melinda’s idea for all of us to go for her birthday! An excellent idea; I hope she had as lovely a time as we did! We got to the aquarium a few minutes before it opened, and, by the look of the lines when we left shortly after lunch, I’m sure glad we did!

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Ryan enjoyed watching the fish. In one section they had it set up so you could touch lake sturgeon, and I’m pretty sure that was his favorite part. He’s been talking about it quite a bit since we left that area!

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Reflections!

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I enjoyed this tank. Those tiny, blue fish were captivating.

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Spider crabs. Those things were HUGE!

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A very big snapper!

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“It was dark.”

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Ryan enjoyed all the turtles; so did I.

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Y’all know I had to. 😀

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The skyline was fascinating!

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So we got a family picture. (Gloriana was in the ergo most of the day, and did wonderfully!)

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Such a skyline, on such a lake! It was beautiful to visit!

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After exploring the aquarium, we walked to The Bean. On the way, we passed this beautiful fountain.

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Streets like this always fascinate me!

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The scale of the big city had this country girl staring up and feeling a bit of vertigo!

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Obligatory Bean picture.

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The architecture…!

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More skyline interest. I was intrigued by the way the old and the new were all there, mixed and mingled in a way that made the city feel unique, new, and historic all at the same time (as it is, I suppose).

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We rested in the shade around The Bean before Justin drove us around some of downtown (where I gawked at the gorgeous buildings, but didn’t take any pictures), and to our final destination: dinner at Connie’s Pizza. I finally got to try real, Chicago-style, deep dish pizza!!! It was really good! Unfortunately, I was so hot and dehydrated by the time we got there, that I mostly filled up on water, and couldn’t eat much pizza. That just means we’ll have to go back. 😉

I had a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to go back sometime (sooner than later please?)! I want to explore some of the museums and restaurants, and go back to The Bean (for a keychain, from the shop I didn’t realize was there), and see the amazing buildings again! Maybe we can find somewhere to go up and look down and out over the city; that would be cool!