Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Archive for June, 2010

Where it all began…

29th June 2010

Happy anniversary Kristine – thank you for an amazing seven years!

We just got back from a 4,000 mile road trip that passed through 11 states, included 8 bike races, and included 90+ hours in the car. The trip culminated with us driving through “Billboard Alley” in north Alabama at exactly midnight when the date rolled over to June 28, 2010 – our 7 year wedding anniversary. You’ve got to go back 8 years and 3 months to Easter of 2002 when I proposed to Kristine to see where it all began… That trip was so big I’ve got to use two maps! The first shows an overview, and the second shows the details of the road trip portion – a mere 2,787 miles.

  1. I took vacation over spring break while in grad school at UC Davis in the spring of 2002.
  2. Kristine took vacation from her missionary work in Nicaragua with Mercy Ships.
  3. We both flew to and met at the Dallas Fort Worth airport, and picked up a rental car to begin…
  4. …our 2,787 mile road trip to introduce Kristine to my family and get engaged.
  5. We returned to Dallas and then flew to Chicago for me to spend Easter with Kristine’s family.

  1. Meeting in the DFW airport in Dallas, TX and renting a car together.
  2. Going to a movie with Mercy Ships friends in Tyler, TX.
  3. Spending the night with friends from Mercy Ships
  4. Driving on I-20 to Birmingham, entering Louisiana
  5. Driving on I-20 to Birmingham, entering Mississippi
  6. Driving on I-20 to Birmingham, entering Alabama
  7. Kristine meeting my parents for the first time, going to church together before driving to Clemson, SC
  8. Exploring Birmingham, rocks on top of Shades Mountain
  9. Driving on I-20, entering Georgia
  10. Stopping for lunch in Buckhead north of Atlanta, GA at the Cheesecake Factory
  11. Driving on I-85, entering South Carolina
  12. Clemson, SC – quick botanical gardens visit, proposing to Kristine beside Lake Hartwell, going to church together afterwards
  13. Driving on I-85, entering North Carolina, spending the night with my college friends Darol and Donna
  14. Driving on US-29, entering Virginia, and passing through Lynchburg, VA where I cooped for a couple semesters
  15. Lake Monticello near Charlottesville, VA where Kristine got to meet my grandmother
  16. Driving back to Birmingham on I-81, entering Tennessee, stopping near Johnson City to phone Nicaragua to relay engagement
  17. Spending another night with my family in Birmingham
  18. Spending another night in Texas with friends from Mercy Ships
  19. Returning the rental car at DFW before flying to Chicago
  20. Flying from Dallas to Chicago
  21. Easter service at the chapel at Valpairaso University
  22. Easter egg hunt with Kristine’s family in La Porte, IN to finish our engagement trip spanning 12 states and two countries

And here are photos that correspond to each of the numbered items. Hover over each photo in the gallery to read a caption about the picture. Read the photos from left to right, top to bottom. There may be more than one photo for each numbered item in the list above.

Posted in Adventure, Travel | No Comments »

The highs and lows of road trips

12th June 2010

The start of this road trip has just been one bump-in-the-road after another. Believe me, no one is looking forward to 15 days traveling to Wisconsin/Minnesota to see friends and family than me. But it’s been hard to keep a good attitude about all the miles that lie in front of us with all the problems we’ve had since before we even started.

Analise has had Girl Scout Day Camp all week, and Friday was to be the camp program at 2:30. We were going to go together, and leave for our trip right from camp. Thursday I got tons of cleaning and laundry done, but no packing, because a friend had invited Josiah to play for the day (and she was going to bring him to the camp). I was thrilled at the thought of 4.5 hours to myself on Friday, tons of time to get all the packing done.

Analise woke up Friday morning with a large bug bite on her leg, so we gave her Benadryl and rubbed some itch cream on it, and iced it while we drove to camp. I dropped Josiah off, and 10 minutes after I’d gotten home to get started on my day, the camp nurse called. She was bothered by how swollen her leg was, and it was really bothering her. So I headed out for another 50-mile round trip to camp to pick Analise up. We spent a bit of time finding her group and saying goodbye, since she wouldn’t be at the program. Then we zipped over to the doctor’s, who agreed it was probably a spider bite. He gave us a prescription for an antibiotic (just what I need… a bottle of medicine to keep cold for 10 days, and battle with Analise to take. UG!). We got home at 1pm. I got started packing, and Josiah came home at 1:50. Thankfully, Grandma came to play with the kids at 2:30, and after a stop at the pharmacy and one quick trip back home for a forgotten item, we were on our way by 3:50pm, actually about the same time as if we’d left from camp. But my packing was rushed and disorganized (and one set of DVD player headphone was accidentally packed buried in the back), and I was a tired, frazzled mess who had already spent over 3 hours in the car to camp and back twice yesterday BEFORE we left on an 8 hour trip to St. Louis.

It was a long trip, with tired kids, forcing Analise to take her medicine, and lots of grumpiness by everyone. We finally arrived at the super cool Moonrise Hotel at 1am, tucked into bed at 1:30.

Josiah was up at 6:30, and of course, pretty much the only bag Brian didn’t manage to unload was the snack bag, but the kids played quietly until 8. We had a good morning at Panera and then the kids and I went to Forest Park and played on the playground.

I let them ride their scooters for a bit, until Josiah tumbled and cracked his lip open. He screamed for 15 minutes, when a sno-cone finally calmed him a bit. But his poor lip and cheek have been bothering him off and on all day.  It looked jagged and ugly to begin with, then it looked better for a while, but by the evening, it was looking ugly again. Is that normal for split lips?

We headed off to the bike race this afternoon, and arrived in time for the kids to do their first race without training wheels. They did AWESOME! Josiah won (his group of 2), but he was so fast! And Analise was 2nd, and the first girl! They got t-shirts, ribbons and even teddy bears as their prizes. We then had a couple bike tumbles, which I guess is to be expected.

It rained 3 times during Brian’s 1-hour race, and we eventually ended up soaked, and the car got wet bc we left a window open (when it wasn’t raining it was quite hot!). Poor Brian raced well until he flatted with 2 laps to go, and then he ended up 2 places out of the money after chasing the group to the finish. We were all drenched and exhausted and quite grumpy after the bike race. But we drove down to see the Arch, and even saw a rainbow over it (barely visible in the picture below). The last plus was that we enjoyed two trips to our favorite Noodles & Company today, and our hotel is really comfortable and cool.

The sunset from our hotel room window was a lovely reminder of God’s grace and faithfulness. Thank goodness His mercies are new every morning! Tomorrow is another (BIG) bike race, a 6hr drive to Dubuque, IA where we’ll spend the night before driving on to Shell Lake on Monday. I know this trip will be worth it, though! I’m just praying God would grant a huge heaping of grace for each other and anything else “exciting” that happens!

Posted in Travel | 1 Comment »

Four years ago today..

9th June 2010

Four years ago today, I became mom to a boy.  I had no idea how messy/sweet/fun/loud/exciting life would be!

At Josiah's front yard splash party, with a surprise visit from the sno-cone truck!

Josiah, you touch my heart in a way I never could have imagined.  You’re still a sweet snuggler, loving to climb up, curl into my lap and lay your head on my chest, just like you did when you were tiny.   You’re still holding my hand most days, and I’m clinging to the moments, trying to burn those soft little boy hands into my memory.  You’re polite, quite a conversationalist, and full of curiosity.  You’re an amazing little cyclist… just like your daddy and your sister. You love Analise so much, and you call her, “my friend, Analise”.

I know I rush you on our errands, in and out of the car, but I so enjoy your company. You’re fun to be with, and I love seeing the little guy you’re growing into.  It’s been a big year for you… 2 days of preschool a week, potty-training, learning to ride a bike without training wheels, giving up your pacifiers, leaving your little bed for a BIG bunk bed, and the top bunk no less!  I can’t believe you’re 4 already!  It’s going to be another busy fun year!

At our last bike race in Atlanta, looking cool in the bike cap.

Posted in Parenting | 1 Comment »

What’s Cookin’ – Doughnut Muffins

8th June 2010

Man oh man… so much going on here.  Summer is totally wearing me out.  Overnight Girl Scout camp with Analise on Friday, birthday parties for both kiddos last week, Girl Scout Day Camp everyday this week (including 1.5+ hours in the car each day!), getting ready to leave for St. Louis/Wisconsin/Minnesota on Friday…We won’t mention the state of my house in the crazy life!!

BUT!  These muffins were the PERFECT choice for one of my favorite ways to spend a morning… with a favorite friend, drinking coffee, chatting over the crazy chaos that is 4 boys playing.  These are DELICIOUS, and they absolutely need a nice cup of coffee or tea with them.  And a good friend 🙂

Doughnut Muffins by King Arthur Flour (the source of all my favorite baking products, flour and recipes!!) Click over for a picture!

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspon vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup milk


1) Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin. Or line with 12 paper or silicone muffin cups, and grease the cups with non-stick vegetable oil spray; this will ensure that they peel off the muffins nicely.

2) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars till smooth.

3) Add the eggs, beating to combine.

4) Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla.

5) Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.

6) Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups nearly full.

7) Bake the muffins for 17 to 20 minutes, or until they’re a pale golden brown.

8) Remove them from the oven, and let them cool for a couple of minutes, or until you can handle them. While they’re cooling, melt the butter for the topping (this is easily done in the microwave).

9) Use a pastry brush to paint the top of each muffin with the butter, then sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar. Or simply dip the tops of muffins into the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar.

10) Serve warm, or cool on a rack and wrap airtight. Store for a day or so at room temperature.

Yield: 12 muffins.

Posted in What's Cookin' | 1 Comment »

Deep and spiritual… through a 5-year old’s eyes

2nd June 2010

Nothing profound to share, really, except that Analise and I spent some time this evening reading this wonderful little book, “Born Again” in the I Can Read God’s Word series.  It’s the perfect level reading for her, and it’s gently paraphrased scriptures about salvation.  Besides great reading, it led to a good discussion about Jesus’ words to Nicodemus about how we must be born again and how God gives us new life.  I loved it, and I treasure the chance to see God’s truths growing roots in her heart.

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