Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Archive for October, 2005

Home again

25th October 2005

We just got home from our trip to Clemson. It’s COLD here – in the 50’s! The house was cold, and I’m hovering under a blanket waiting for it to get really warm, but I think we’ve turned the corner from a/c to heat season, and I’d better start dressing appropriately. We went up into the mountains of northern South Carolina, just over the border into North Carolina to see some beautiful views and catch a glimpse of Whitewater Falls, the highest waterfall east of the Rockies. Very pretty! After our picnic lunch, we stopped in Atlanta at Ikea, the mega-Swedish furniture store. It’s a great store… We found a new floor lamp for $32 to start the living room redecorating we’re hoping to do over the next year:) I’ll post a picture tomorrow. It’s great to be home, but unfortunately, we found water under the bathroom sink, so hopefully we can figure out what’s up with that. There’s no major leak to be seen, so hopefully it’ll be easy (and cheap!) to fix. We just finished watching Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin special, and I’ll probably call it a night very soon. Busy day tomorrow with a couple appointments and our weekly home church here at our house that I’m not at all prepared for. We’ll catch up more later!

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Beautiful Clemson

24th October 2005

Hello from Beautiful Clemson, South Carolina!

We have had an awesome spir of the moment trip up here to my college Alma Mater Clemson, SC. The drive up was nice. The weather was beautiful and we had a tremendous tailwind most of the way. Shortly before driving through Atlanta, we stopped for a DQ break. Here’s my beautiful wife and daughter enjoying a Georgia Mud Fudge Blizzard in Georgia! Shortly after we made it through Atlanta on our way up I-85N, we stopped for a gas and happened upon a Citgo station turned into a cool little Fall Pumpkin Festival.

After a leisurely morning and a trip to the Express Lube for our 6,000 mile oil change (yes, I realize it’s supposed to happen more often than that), I headed out on nothing short of a biking adventure. Absolutely beautiful fall weather, a little on the breezy and chilly side, but awesome nonetheless. I’ve got a bazillion pictures and video to share, but I’ll limit myself tonight to just these three pictures. Check back sometime in the next couple days to hear more about this awesome adventure.

Beautiful South Carolina and North Carolina mountains. I drove Kristine and Analise here in the morning to the Oconee County Airport just outside of Clemson to show them this beautiful view of the mountains I would be riding in later in the day.

Much of my ride today was through roads lined with trees. This picture is from near the top of Sassafras Mountain.

I took this one just after I started my descent back down Sassafras. The road was so steep here that it took me close to 100 feet to stop. It was so steep that I had to weave back and forth across the road to cut off some of the steepness while simultateously squeezing the brakes as hard as I could.

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It’s raining peas and trees!

22nd October 2005

Yes, you read the subject right. Last night as Kristine and I sat down to eat dinner, we thought we heard rain. Then we realized that it was actually Analise dropping a number of her peas one right after the other off the side of her high chair and onto our hardwood floor. It sounded just like rain. It was hilarious, and try as we might, we couldn’t keep from laughing. I hope she doesn’t start doing that now whenever we give her peas! I’ll tell you about the raining trees soon (with pictures, too!)…

Ok, now for the trees… It hasn’t rained (water rain) for probably close to a month now here — which is very unusual for this time of year. So I got out our sprinkler and set it up in our backyard to water, when I noticed that there was a new tree in our backyard! I’m not talking about a 12-inch tree, but a 3-4 foot tree has planted itself right next to our house. We can’t imagine where the seed came from to plant this tree because it doesn’t match any of the other trees that we can find anywhere near it. It may have been brought in by a bird or squirrel! In any case, it’s in a good location, and I’ve got a few pictures of it to share. If anyone can identify what type of tree it is, please let us know! I’ve also included pictures of our other trees in the yard, but the first two are of the newly planted tree…


And now, here are a couple good ones looking towards the front of our house from the street. In the top picture, you can see four of the five really large trees (70-75′) in our backyward. In the bottom picture, you see our beautiful river birch that has already lost a lot of its leaves without them changing color 🙁

Finally, from left to right … a picture looking at our banana tree that was damaged from Hurricane Katrina (see the dead yellow leaf hanging off the side). In the middle, you can see the largest tree we have in our backyard. Notice all the large splits in the tree towards the bottom. This tree is at the lowest point of our yard, yet it rises a few feet above the tall one located at the top of our yard. So it’s by far the biggest and tallest tree we have. Lastly, here’s the large tree next to our driveway and basketball goal.

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Rough Day

20th October 2005

I started coming down with a cold last night feeling miserable. I must have a touch of the flu, too, as my stomach has been in bad shape. Ag. It’s hard to be the mommy when you’re sick. I even tried to call my mother-in-law to see if she watned some Analise time, but she’s not feeling well either. Bummer. Analise has managed pretty well with graham crackers and Baby Einstien and sporadic intervals. We’re both looking forward to afternoon naptime here in the next hour.

On a different note, here’s a great site to practice carving your pumpkin for Halloween. Happy Halloween from Theo Worlds We’ve got a pumpkin carving party next weekend, so I’d better start designing:) After our nap, maybe…

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The Slurps

18th October 2005

This is called mindless blogging. But I had to share Analise’s favorite website with you, particularly useful for cleaning your screen: Happy Tuesday!

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Happy Fall, Y’all!

15th October 2005

We had a great pumpkin hunt today.

Kristine, Analise, and I joined up with my parents on a

drive out into the Alabama countryside to find Baker

Farm. They provide quite the pumpkin patch experience!

The first fun stop was the Cotton Bounce, where Analise

got in a truckbed filled with cotton, fresh out of the

fields. She enjoyed it, but probably more due to all

the kids bouncing around her.

Then we visited the pony, though Analise

was too young for a ride. She was excited to sit for a

bit and pose for a picture! The pony looked just like

the rocking horse in her room, same color, same pattern.

We spent some time checking out the farm

animals – turkeys, ducks and ducklings, chicks and

chickens, bunnies, goats and calves. It was hard to

catch Analise smiles today, but we got a quick one while

she was pumpkin sliding!

The hay bale maze was very fun, and we

just barely made it through:) Good thing, since were

weren’t prepared to camp in the fields! Then Analise

found the kid-sized tractors, and she couldn’t get

enough of them. Another highlight of the farm was the

large cotton fields, which were ripe with blossomed

cotton bolls.

Then we met our friends Steven and

Medley for a hayride to the pumpkin patch. There were

plenty of “perfect” pumpkins, but we found the best:)

Now we’re ready for a carving adventure in 2 weeks.

We capped off the evening with a

campfire, freshly roasted hot dogs and s’mores. All in

all, it was a great way to celebrate fall!

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Pictures and yeah for the weekend

14th October 2005

I just found several cute pictures on our camera that I thought I’d post really quickly. This one is from this afternoon, as she was playing in a bin with her toys.

I’m still in an unmotivated mood. I’ve got several fun things I could be doing with my down time – like working on a fleece blanket or scrapbooking, but I’m awfully tired and not in the mood to get into anything big. Brian’s coming home a little late tonight, and Beverly’s itching for some Analise time, so maybe we’ll drop her off while we have a drive-in Sonic dinner and run a few errands. This weekend should be quiet… no travel! We’re going to the pumpkin patch tomorrow afternoon/evening, church on Sunday morning, and my dear friend Mark Thompson will be joining us for Sunday afternoon and evening as he’s driving through. We’ll keep you posted!

Here’s the Analise for the day! The top three are strolling up and down our front walk with Raggedy Ann, who is very floppy. Analise is never happy with how she’s settled in the stroller, so she’s always stopping to rearrange, and there’s the occassional dumping. The next pic is from this afternoon, as she was playing in a bin with her toys.

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La Cucaracha

13th October 2005

I’m going to admit something here. It’s taking quite a bit of courage, but I think there are people out there will appreciate and commisserate with me… hopefully. If not, I’m just going to scare off all future dinner guests, as you’ll see from my story.

I hate cockroaches. I think they’re so gross and ugly. When I lived in Nicaragua, they were a part of life, though, and I managed to deal with them. I can’t kill them – something about the crunching, ew. Anyway, I kept my room clean and pretended that they didn’t encroach on my personal territory, though I knew they frolicked right outside my door. It was part of life, because things just weren’t as clean and most of the homes are an indoor/outdoor mix of rooms and courtyards. I figured it was impossible to keep them out, so I’d just ignore them.

I’m apalled to find that there are cockroaches here in Alabama, or “palmetto bugs” as Brian’s grandma in South Carolina calls them. (I say a cockroach by any other name is still gross and ugly.) Anyway, we occassionally see them in our house. Hiring a pest control company is EXPENSIVE, but I think every day we see one, we get closer to justifying the price!

On to my stories… Saturday evening we had a friend over for dinner. As we were enjoying conversation and dinner, I spied a cockroach running across the wall to our guest’s left, staying just behind her vision. It was out of Brian’s eyesight, too. I sat there watching it slowly move across the wall, agonizing about what to do. Interrupt dinner to kill a cockroach? Unthinkable. Ignore it, and hope no one else notices? This appeared to be the least painful option, especially as the intruder dropped out of sight. And in fact, that’s what I did, and we made it through dinner without event or embarrassment. I told Brian later that evening, after the cockroach made his appearance again, and Brian took care of him.

Last night was our weekly home church, where we host 13 people for dinner, fellowship and discussion. As everyone was hanging in the kitchen doorway, saying goodnight, a cockroach ran across the wall above everyone, largely in my eyesight, though I’m not sure anyone else saw it. This was the largest cockroach I’d ever seen. I couldn’t ignore it, and was mortally embarrased to move everyone away from the wall into the foyer to finish our goodbyes. Everyone consoled me that it happens every now and then, and tried to reassure me that it probably had come in when someone opened the door. Still, I wonder if they’re going to come back next week… I’m so embarassed. Can anyone commisserate with me??

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A Looney Toone Beach Vacation

12th October 2005

I find it very comical that the weekend we would be able to get a free condo to vacation at the beach, a hurricane would be blowing through the Gulf of Mexico. We had a good trip down there in Brian’s dad’s new car. It’s a Ford Freestyle, that I helped pick out:), complete with a DVD player and wireless headphones, upon which we watched a total of 3 Einstin movies and 2 non-Einstein movies on the trip there and back. Oh – Why did we go to the beach during a hurricane, you ask. Brian had been cycling with some people from Samford who were participating in the MS 150 ride to raise money for multiple sclerosis. We hadn’t planned on going to Orange Beach, Alabama until someone from Samford offered us a condo for the weekend. Who would pass up on a beach weekend?

As we arrived on Friday night at 9pm (see Brian’s post here), we were driving along the beach road to get to our condominium, and it was raining so hard and sand was blowing across the road making it nearly impossible to see. We carefully perservered, though, and hoped the morning would bring better weather.

Saturday dawned grey, windy and rainy. They shortened the ride from 75 to 45 miles, and while it downpoured at our condo, Brian said they missed most of the rain. We had a nice lunch at a seafood restaurant and retired to the condo for naps while Brian’s parents shopped:) How else would you spend a rainy beach weekend?

By late afternoon, the weather had dried out a bit, so we decided to go check out the beach. In spite of getting a face full of blown sand on our way across the street, we had a good time. The waves were rough and the sand was hard-packed from all the rain. Analise enjoyed raking with her rake, going from one place to another all the way down the beach. She was determined to catch a sea gull:) I like the beach with my little one… some day we’re going to have a sunshiney beach weekend!

Sunday was definitely drier, but the wind was between 20-30 mph. The ride was the full 75 miles, and Brian rode out in front of most of the riders and returned before we expected him. He told us, though, he’d been in his 2nd lowest gear because half the ride was into the wind. It had been HARD WORK. Below is some of the flooding from the heavy rains of Friday and Saturday.

We stopped at an Alabama tradition, Priester’s Pecans, for some samples on our way home. We returned to Birmingham to find the remanants of Hurricane Rita tossing tornados and severe weather our way. We got Rita coming and going, how ’bout that? Still – it was a fun weekend! These last pictures are ones that Brian took of some beach homes and the damage left over from Hurricane Ivan more than a year ago.

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Building Blocks

12th October 2005

Analise and I were just enjoying some “floor time”. She’s so good at playing on her own. Just recently she’s started stacking blocks, and I was quite impressed with her creation (with my hand to steady as she was making it higher).

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