Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Archive for July, 2007

Mom time!

29th July 2007

Sorry you haven’t heard from me this week!  Recovering from the beach vacation was incredibly exhausting for some reason.  My mom flew in on Wednesday for 8 days with us, and we’ve been keeping busy with the kiddos (who were much more of a handful this week than normal) and craftiness.  Hopefully, I’ll post some pictures of our fun crafting projects soon.  She made a cute board with ribbons on it to hang bow clips. Now
she’s recovering my dining room chairs. And she’s hanging random things
that I’ve wanted to hang for a while, and helping me redecorate parts
of the kids bedrooms. Love it when she gets things done that I can’t
seem to!

Mom and I got out to Kohl’s last night… 8:30-10pm. Love Kohl’s hours and shopping with my mom. I did remember my wallet so I could pay for my own stuff on this trip, unlike several other shopping trips this week!  Good thing she was there to save me at Michaels, the grocery store and the Dollar Store:)

She babysat Josiah this evening, while Brian and I, and
Analise went to church for a meeting. The two of them were playing until
it was time for bed, and they came into the family room just as he was
about to go to bed. He looked up at the mantle and saw our family
picture, and started pointing and sobbing. He was inconsolable, poor
boy. My mom turned on Baby MacDonald, which took his mind off things,
and he went to bed for her with minimal fussing. But I can’t believe he
would recognize the picture and put together that he missed us. Love my little man.

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Birthday Party Summer

25th July 2007

It’s been quite a birthday party summer with Analise having three of her own parties, Josiah having one, having fun at her friend Jacob’s birthday party, and finally a great big family party at the beach in South Carolina. Here are some pictures from her Chuck E’ Cheese party in early July after we returned from our Minnesota/Wisconsin vacation.

Analise and Kristine pose with the Little Einstein cake.

Kristine found these cool Little Einstein toys but they were a little too heavy to sit on top of the cake.
Note how Quincy has sunk down to his waist and June is sort of stuck on front of the cake.

Jacob and Analise jumping and dancing in front of the TV camera.

Josiah enjoys playing with the table cloth.

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Sensory Activities for Toddlers – I won!

23rd July 2007

I love reading parenting blogs that have ideas for things to do with the kids.  I came across Z Recommends recently, and it’s got interesting reads like reviews of toddler/kid products, creative activities and other parenting ideas.  They recently posted about a DVD series called Brain Candy.  I submitted a sensory activity of playing with colored rice, and it’s listed in their top 10 list here, and I won a DVD!  Fun!  Good ideas, too!  Enjoy!

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22nd July 2007

I’m just picking up toys this evening, and I came across Analise’s play-doh in her kitchen area. She loves play-doh, and she got a bunch of it for her birthday right before we left for vacation.  It was one of the exciting things she found when we arrived home last night. But play-doh drives me crazy. She loves to squish it through her fingers, mash the colors together, and make little murky-colored balls, which she passes on as muffins or cakes. Everything in me wants to keep the beautiful, bright play-doh colors separate so we can create pretty little colorful creations when we play together. But inevitably, play-doh ends up all mixed together, all the colors lost into the swirly little balls.

It’s kind of a picture of my life… I’d love to keep my house neat and orderly right now, everything picked up and in its place. And there is a time for that… between about 9pm and 7am, and the 15 minutes before we get company. But the rest of the time, there’s a little chaos and disorder, blocks and Little People jumbled together. Play kitchen pieces cluttered with play-doh. And though it looks a bit messy, it signifies creativity and fun, imagination and busyness, and in the end, I give in and let that take precedence. There will be a time for a neat house, with everything in its perfect place. The play-doh will stay in its separate colored containers, waiting for little fingers that have outgrown it and are off doing things and going places being too busy to clutter up my house. So now we’ll mash our play-doh together and make cakes, and when I crave a little brightness, I’ll pull out a new container from Mommy’s "secret place".

We’re home again! Lovely, wonderful, relaxing beach vacation. Brian’s working on pictures right at this moment, so maybe you’ll find some tomorrow. It was really a great time, and it did wonders for me. It is nice to be home though, after living with all 4 of us in a room for 12 nights. And to make this week even more wonderful, my mom is flying in on Wednesday! Yeah!

[From Brian] – Here’s the promised pictures…

Josiah explored a lot on the beach and had a great time, but most of the time
he had a frowny face because of the bright sun, cool water, and sand everywhere.

Uncle Matthew takes the little guy for a walk. My mom and me (Brian) are in the background.

Josiah also got to play in the pool some.

When we weren’t playing in the ocean or at the pool, we relaxed on our balcony and enjoyed the view!

Our one major excursion of the trip was a visit to Brookgreen Gardens. I’ll let the pictures below speak for themselves.

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Two Thumbs up for my Land’s End Swimsuit!

18th July 2007

Ok, Dena commented on the last blog that she liked my suit, and I’ve been wanting to rave about it, so here’s my chance.  I haven’t bought a suit since I was in Nicaragua before we got married, essentially 5 years ago.  Needless to say, 2 kids later, it doesn’t fit, and the thought of swimsuit shopping was really disheartening.  Several people recommended Land’s End, telling me that though they were expensive, swimsuits from there were well worth the money. 

So I found one I liked and ordered it, just in time for our beach vacation.  Yes, it was expensive, and I couldn’t believe I was going to pay so much for a swimsuit.  Unfortunately, I was in between sizes, and when it arrived, it was too big, and we were leaving for Pennsylvania the next day.  AG!  I found out that Land’s End is in Sears’ stores in some states, so we planned a stop in Pennsylvania on our way to New York. 

At the Sears’ Land’s End, I returned my suit for a full refund, and I found this cute pink one that fit.  It was marked at the same price as the one I’d returned.  But when I checked out, it was on sale for 40% off!  AWESOME! 

All that to say, I *LOVE* my Land’s End swimsuit.  It’s very well made, and I’ve worn it twice a day to the beach and pool here on our vacation.   Very comfortable fabric, and most of all, I feel very comfortable in it.  It’s so nice to have a suit that fits, looks cute, and I know I won’t have to worry about getting one for a while. 

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Vacation Update (with photos)

18th July 2007

New River Gorge bridge, West Virginia

Part 1: Birmingham, AL to Somerset, PA
748 miles, 17 hours

We left Birmingham early Friday morning and made it all the way to Somerset, PA just after midnight. It was definitely a long day in the car, but a beautiful drive through the Appalachian Mountains. One of the highlights was a surprise trip across the New River Gorge bridge. I had always heard of the bridge and we saw on the map that we were close to it, but we didn’t realize that our route was going to take us right over the bridge which is the second longest steel arch bridge in the world.

View from the scenic overlook near the New River Gorge bridge

Analise and I at the same scenic overlook

Part 2: Somerset, PA
3 days

For the next part of our trip, we spent three days in southwestern PA where I was registered to race in the US Masters National Championship race on Wednesday, July 11. On Tuesday, we had a picnic at the Seven Springs ski resort after I picked up my registration packet. Then on Wednesday was the race, which started out really well, but ended up somewhat of a disappointment as I fell behind on the last lap and ended up 27th. After the race, though, we had a great time exploring the area. Here’s some photos from all that we did.

First, we visited the Flight 93 memorial which was only 10 miles from our hotel.

Still very poignant to visit here even 5 years later.

A close-up of the memorial

Next, we visited Ohiopyle State Park and saw the waterfalls and rapids.

Even though it was raining a little bit, we still had fun walking around.

Kristine, Analise, and Joisah were even ventured out into the icy cold waters.

Just a few miles away was Frank Lloyd Wright’s "fallingwater" house which was very cool to see.
Since a tremendous thunderstorm and rainshower passed over us as we were visiting, we got to
see lots of falling water at Fallingwater. They also had little umbrellas which Analise was excited to carry.

Part 3: Somerset, PA to New York City
316 miles – 7 hours

Then on Thursday after the race, it was onto New York City to see Radu and meet Claire
and their 10 week old daughter, Violet. Here’s a picture of Violet on our walk through Central Park.

We entered Manhattan at the south end of the island via the Holland Tunnel and then drove
all the way up the island to 110th Street to Radu and Clare’s house in Harlem. Along the way we
drove by the World Trade Center reconstruction site — nothing more than a hole in the ground right now.

We also drove right by Grand Central Station.

After we made it to their apartment and Radu got home from work, we walked over to
Central Park, played on one of the playgrounds before embarking on a hiking adventure.
I had always imagined Central Park to be flat, but instead it was rugged and heavily forested.

Josiah was exhausted from all our traveling and fell sound asleep in the backpack.

The next morning I biked with Radu down to the financial district. I continued on to the tip of
the island and snapped this picture of the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park.

Here’s a picture of the George Washington bridge which crosses to the north end of Manhattan.

Biking through all of Manhattan during morning rush hour was very fun. This
bike path was right along West Street. Pedestrians were very conscientious
of bikers so you could fly along the bike paths and people would get out of the way.
When I made it back uptown to about 95th street I started to make my way
over to Central Park, but I was thwarted by a one-way street. I turned left
and saw a lot of green lights ahead of me so I sprinted up to about 30-35 mph and
flew alongside all the taxis and negotiated my way up 15 blocks in just a few minutes.

Part 4: New York City to Williamsburg, VA
399 miles – 11 hours

After I got back from my bike ride around Manhattan, we loaded up the car and
headed for Williamsburg, VA to meet Kristine’s family for a quick visit. The trip was
supposed to take about 7 hours, but took us 11 with all the traffic on I-95 south of
Washington, DC. Surprisingly, there wasn’t much traffic at all in DC itself as we
took I-395 right through the heart of the city seeing the Capitol, Jefferson Memorial,
and the Washington Monument. Our tired travelers took turns sleeping through most of it.

When we finally made it, we had a wonderful pasta dinner with Kristine’s family.
Here’s Kristine with her Aunt Carol and Uncle Jim.

Here’s all the kids together … Hailey, Lily, Analise, and Josiah. I got to go for
a bike ride while Kristine caught up with her cousin Kimberly and their kids.


When we were ready to leave for the last part of our vacation, we started out by taking the
ferry across the James River … fun, fun, fun! Here’s a few pictures from that part of our trip.

Part 5: Williamsburg, VA to Myrtle Beach, SC
373 miles – 7.5 hours

For the last (and most fun) part of our trip, we are currently in Myrtle Beach, SC enjoying a fun beach vacation. Here’s some pictures from our first couple days here. We’ll be here through Saturday and then back home to Alabama.

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We’re on the road again!

11th July 2007

Sorry you haven’t heard from us!  I just got caught up from the trip and now we’re on the road again.  After a crazy busy weekend that included Wisconsin friends visiting, working 2 services of child care at church and the final 3rd birthday party for Analise (pictures and more to come!), we left early Monday morning for western Pennsylvania.  Brian raced today in the USA Cycling’s National Road Master’s Championships (30-34 age group) race.  I’ll let him tell more, but though it started well, he didn’t feel so good by the end.  Not surprising as it was 6500′ of climbing in 50 miles.  WHEW. 

We’re in Somerset, Pennsylvania, and it’s been a really great trip.  The kids have travelled well, including a marathon 800 mile trip on Monday, arriving here at 11:30pm.  It’s been nice to be in one hotel for 3 nights.  We visited the Flight 93 crash site and temporary memorial yesterday, and today we visited Ohiopyle Falls and a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home, Fallingwater, appropriately in a rain storm:)  Very fun day.  Many pictures to come… I promise.  Western PA is beautiful, heavy rolling hills covered in farms.  I love it.

Tomorrow morning we’re leaving early for New York City!  Since we’re "so close", we’re going to visit an old friend, Radu, who lives just 3 blocks from Central Park, though he assures us that E 110th St. is actually Harlem, so we’ll find free parking.  Good to know.  We’re going to explore Central Park, have dinner with Radu and his family.  Friday, we’re heading down the East Coast to stay in Williamsburg, VA where we’ll visit with my aunt, uncle and cousin and her family for an evening/morning.  Saturday, I’m so very excited… finally, at long last, we’re heading to South Carolina for a long-awaited beach vacation.  I’ve never spent a week at the beach, and Brian’s family has a 6-bedroom beach house reserved for the week in Myrtle Beach. 

We’ll check back in late with pictures…

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**I’m changing my email!

6th July 2007

I’m having some problems with my other email address, and
it’s not working right now.  This is my new address, and the one I’m going
to be using permanently, 
Please change it in your address book ASAP, as I’m not getting *any* mail from
my other address. 

All my other current contact info is below as well.  Thank you!

Kristine Toone
3517 Laurel View Rd.
Birmingham, AL  35216
205.492.4069 (cell)

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A few more random photos… playgrounds and baby birds

6th July 2007

These were some fun pictures from a great Hardee’s playground in Madison, Wisconsin.  Let me tell ya… with 2 restless kids, we made use of restaurant playgrounds along the way. 

Josiah is a master slide climber.  It’s his favorite challenge on the playground.  Gotta watch for kids coming down, though…

Or this will happen!  They were both smiling and laughing, thankfully.  Not always the case!

Josiah also really enjoyed the tunnel.  He was giggling and squealing the whole time, going back and forth. 

Peeking at me from the bubble section. 

This is the only picture I got in Wausau when we met Jen and Dena. 
As hard as it is to get my 2 kids to be good for a photo, it’s impossible with 4!
Callie (Jen’s pretty little 2-year old), Josiah, Derek (Dena’s tall handsome 3 year old) and Analise.

This is Jen saying, "Look at me, I can do 2 kids, no problem!"  An hour later, she was testing it out for real
as she and Dena took care of Analise while Josiah and I were at the urgent care clinic with Brian.

We came home to 2 fluffy baby birds in our hanging basket.  They grew up FAST, and they’re already gone. 
Glad my little ones don’t grow up and leave the nest so quick!

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Up North Adventure – Photos from along the way

6th July 2007

Of course, we had to celebrate birthdays with Grandma Sandy and Poppa Dale! 

We found 2 cute little personal sized cakes.  Josiah dug into his before we could get a picture of it.

He’s gotten the hang of eating cake!

…And waffles!  At the hotel in Wausau, he found a whole waffle on a plate within his reach and while we were all busy with something else, he dug in.  Obviously, the little pieces I’d set out for him just weren’t good enough!

In St. Paul at the Harriet Island park, we played on the playground (the Twin Cities has AWESOME playgrounds!), had a picnic,
and then lured some ducks up to visit us.  They were down about 8 large steps in the water, but when we tossed crackers their way, they slowly came up to snack with us.  Analise was really excited.

Sweet picture of Analise in the daisies… don’t mind the Sport Beans tattoo on her arm. 
When she got it at one of the bike festival booths, we had no idea it would last 10 days before we finally took it off with rubbing alcohol!

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