how to start your own family-action team

A Family-Action Team is a term I made up, but it perfectly explains what I was trying to go for: I wanted to create a group that let families come together, take action, and serve their community. My efforts were in response to a lot of the negativity I was seeing in the world. I wanted a way to show my daughter that not only are her parents active and striving to improve their community, but lots of other kids and adults are doing the same thing. I want my daughter to see that there are good people, making good choices, all around her. And of course, I want to be active in my community – though I am very active in volunteer work, it rarely involves the whole family, and is rarely even a visible portion of the organizations I’m involved with.

The Plan

  1. Find Your People: The first step to starting to Family Action Team if to find like-minded people. These could be friends from church, your neighbors, or a mish-mash of your social circle.My group currently has 15 families. If each person brings a spouse and just ONE child that’s already 45 bodies that you have to find space for. Fifteen is the perfect number of families, because you want to aim for 5-7 families at each event. If you only have 5-7 families in your group, then if too many people back out you won’t have enough support. Any larger than 15 and you may end up with 60 people crammed in to a small space feeling a little bit like their presence isn’t necessary. Find the right balance for the types of projects you want to do.I’d suggest trying to keep your group to a manageable size, as finding meeting space and age appropriate activities gets more difficult and requires more management-skill the higher your small group gets. It’s okay to have a small group, and to encourage others to start more small groups.
  2. Involve The Kids: As I mentioned one of my main goals as a parent was for Ginny to be involved. Part of what makes this possible is that my Team is made up of families with similarly aged children (though we may have a few outliers most of the kids are early elementary aged). This makes finding projects easier, as the difference between what a 4 year old and an 8 year old can do is astounding, and trying to engage and accommodate a wider age range can get challenging.
  3. Goal: Have some goals in mind – this will help guide what kinds of projects you choose. Our main goal as a Team is to involve our children in reaching out to under privilaged and under represented groups in our community. I’ll address the benefits of having a goal-oriented Take Action Team in a little bit.
  4. Meeting: We are busy people, surrounded by even busier people. But every one on my Team has committed to being involved, and to one meeting a month. How is this possible?! I set my group up in a way that means we only need to meet for the projects.We have a private facebook group where families sign up to host a project during a specific month. During that month the host family chooses the service project (we have an on going thread for ideas and to measure general interest and approval), they will let the rest of the team know what prep work needs to be done, and then at the end of the month the host-family either opens their home or finds a larger location for the Team to come together and complete the prepared project with the kids.
  5. Get it Done: Our first project involved making blankets to donate to a local emergency/short-term homeless shelter. The adults took care of getting all of the supplies, and on the day of our project we came together and the kids helped to make the blankets. And when the kids tired of sitting and tying blankets, they played – but they played in a room where their parents where doing something for some one else. Don’t get tied up in the details, don’t take on too much – this is a team, and every one takes responsibility for making it work. What makes it even better is that the time commitment for the non-hosts is a couple hours, once a month. We can’t change the world, but hopefully we can raise compassionate, kind, civic-minded children who will go out in to the world knowing that their actions have meaning and that every one can make a difference.

    Our first project was to make fleece tied blankets that we donated to a program called Warm Winters, whose goal is to make sure that the homeless members of our community have sufficient protection for the cold months ahead. We made sure to make the blankets big enough to cover a tall adult male, double layers of fleece to be extra warm.

If you are unsure of whether starting a group is really your thing – I hope I’ve assuaged the idea that it has to be complicated. By delegating the organizing responsibilities, the entire thing becomes very manageable.


The Benefits

  1. Lead by example: My daughter sees me do a lot of things. But one of the things she can’t see is what I do when I go to meetings. It’s difficult for her to grasp the larger concept of the value of time at this age. But when the three of us get together to do something for some one else, it shows her directly that I think helping other people is important.
  2. Opens the door to conversation: There are people who don’t have what we have. There are children whose parents can’t take care of them. There are people who have fled their home countries and are starting life with nothing. And we should love them all, regardless of how they look, or what they’ve done. Empathy, kindness, and a willingness to see past what separates us to see what connects us. These projects let us as parents address the perils and positives of humanity in a natural, powerful way.
  3. Empower our children: I’m teaching my daughter that her time has power, her thoughts have power, and her efforts matter. I’m showing her that we are not singular beings in a world, but part of a system and that it is our responsibility and privilege to take our bounty and help those in need – and that doing so will lead not only to a stronger community, but makes your own life more meaningful.

I want to live my life to be good, for the mere sake of being good – and this plan lets me share that endeavor with my little love. If you have any questions just let me know, and I’d be happy to help you organize your own Family Action Team!

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at the hospital – 07/13/2011

Prepare to be inundated with baby pictures. I wobbled back and forth about whether I wanted to post lots of pictures of Ginny, but when it comes down to it this blog is kind of like my life scrapbook, and I would most certainly have pictures of my daughter in my scrapbook. In an effort to make up for not blogging for two years I’m going to be posting old pictures, and trying to remember the stories behind them.

Our second family picture:


The numbers are iffy. But I count the first picture of her on my chest as the “first” one – but that one involves a very dirty baby and a lot of emotions on my face. I don’t actually like looking at it because it just says “motherhood is terrifying!”. Which may be true, but isn’t the important part. The important part is that my child was born with enough have to tie a bow in it. That right there is a piece of yarn – not a velcro bow. And it is actually tied around a handful of Ginny’s newborn hair.

Yes I had ridiculous heartburn the entire time I was pregnant, why do you ask?



Because of the few mishaps we experienced when Ginny was born (meconium, long labor, and that she stopped breathing the first time I tried to nurse her), we ended up staying an extra night. Technically I should’ve been discharged, but the nurse there said that my insurance would cover the second day and  it would be easier to have the room while we waited for all of the double-checks on the baby and stuff. During that day there was a lot of crying. For Ginny – not me. Shots, blood tests, breathing tests, hearing, etc. It was also a day of much visitation.

I’m going to be honest: It never occurred to me that people would send flowers. And balloons! But the morning after Ginny’s birth we had a beautiful display. Three from my husband’s family, and one from my Dad’s work. lol.

Daddy, Mommy, & Ginny

Especially in the beginning people would comment on how much she looked like me. I think they were thrown off by the hair. Apart from the hair all I see if B-man. Look at those cheeks! Those are most certainly my husband’s cheeks.

Next we’ll go down the roll:

B’s Dad

B’s Mom
My Mom
My Dad

Additionally my grandparents and then B-man’s brother and SIL stopped by as well.

My Dad was actually there in the afternoon as we were checking out of the hospital. He left work early to come and help us get everything back into the car, get home, and get settled. He was kind of the underdog of this whole experience. I didn’t think I would want my Dad there. When he showed up with my Mom I was a little weirded out – but I am so incredibly thankful that he was there.

She looked so tiny buckled into the carseat. Her head flopped to one side and the buckles seemed to encapsulate her. We drove home, then headed into our apartment. Since my family consisted of mostly minors at the time, and minors were not allowed into the maternity wing unless they were siblings of the newborn, none of my siblings were able to visit in the hospital. Instead we went home, got settled, and then called my Mom to bring everyone over.  We ordered some pizzas and every body took turns holding Ginny. I can’t find the pictures from this – but I swear it happened.

So that covers from the night Ginny was born, until we took her home. It’s just the beginning. 🙂

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a family motto

I am a thankful person. I have been blessed with so much in my life.

Currently Ginny is… trying to crawl? I’m not sure how this is going to work though. She keeps getting into this position…

(Yes, that is our Christmas tree with all of our opened presents under it.)

Which quickly results in this position when she loses her balance…


(We took it down on Saturday, btw.)

So I have spent the last 2 hours listening for that little “thud” and saying “yaaaah!” while clapping and smiling because if I don’t she starts to cry.

She doesn’t quite understand phsyics yet.

Ok… now that I think about it maybe she’s working on the next “step” of crawling, and trying to pick up her hand…. but instead she’s just flipping herself over.



Where was I? Blessings. So yes, a healthy, happy, rambunctious baby girl is a big blessing, but having a healthy, loving supportive husband feels like an even bigger one. A full apartment with heat and water and 2 devoted puppy dogs – check! Beautiful weather outside? What more could a girl want?

And then I really thought about… I don’t want anything else.

I love my life. Some times I get so caught up in the blogs I’m reading and the people I see in my life and I feel like “Why do they have xyz and I don’t.”

So this year… we are going to be content.


We are going to relish in the outdoors…


and be thankful for the gifts mother nature gives us, and enjoy them to the fullest.

There is a deer in this picture. I didn't want to open the screen and frighten him away.


We are going to focus on being healthy…


and being the type of people we want to be.


I want to focus on being a good parent to my baby girl,


and be content in what I have, instead of constantly wanting for more.


So this is our family motto for the year:

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christmas 2011

If I had to describe Christmas in one word, it would be “busy”. I’m not going to do a blow-by-blow account of the weekend. We were all over the place. B-man and I exchanged presents on Christmas Eve-Eve, spent Christmas Eve with his family, and then Christmas day with my family.

This was the first year where B-man was able to actually *go* shopping, instead of just buying things online.

Her bought me several thoughtful gifts, including a blu-ray of the Sound of Music (one of my all time favorite movies), a new water bottle with a built in filter, and a stand mixer!

He also bought Ginny several things. I had mentioned that I didn’t want to buy her a bunch of toys, but I guess I didn’t say anything about him doing so. It was precious for me to get to open up several things that I had pointed out to him at the store. He bought her some bath toys (because chika loves her bath time!), and one of those doorway jumpers.

Here she is enjoying the jumper. The only problem? We only have actual doorways to bathrooms and bedrooms… so there are not very many good places to use it. She does hang out there when I do the laundry though!

I spend the majority of Christmas Eve-Eve finishing Ginny’s quilt. I wanted to have it for her to use at our families’ houses. The middle block has her initials on one side, and her full name/year on the other side.

It is the only thing I gave her, and it is going to be around for a while. I am so happy with the way it turned out!

At the B-man family Christmas we hung out, ate Swedish food, and put legos on my dog. Gretel is such a sweet, patient dog. 🙂

To be honest, there was nothing monumental about the day. It felt pretty normal. I don’t know why, but it felt like some of the magic of Christmas was missing – but I still enjoyed spending time with my little family, and with my extended family.

After writing about my desire to have a more tradition-filled holiday season, this post may come as a disappointment. But honestly, I’m happy. Last year was a big year for me. I graduated college, I got my first real job, then my SECOND real job! I was pregnant, then more pregnant, than super pregnant, and then I had a baby. I gave up sleeping and learned to love a new little person. But, above everything else I have learned, very slowly, how to go with the flow.

Did you read that?

Jessica is going with the flow. That… just so you know, is a big deal.

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Christmas plans

The holiday season in this shiny home is over run with trips. We drive to some one’ house for Thanksgiving (this year it was in New Jersery with B-man’s family, last year we split the day between the two families and ate twice), and then we have a few weeks to filled with holiday parties and church get-togethers, then we spend Christmas Eve with B-man’s family, drive to my parents’ house and spend the night there so that we can be there for Christmas morning. Then a week later we drive to New Jersey for another B-man family get together over New Years.


As much as I love family, mine and his, I can’t help but long for a simpler life. One where B-man and I get to spend the holidays creating our own nuclear family traditions, instead of trying to make everything work. Part of me is sad that I miss out on my own family’s Christmas traditions, which happen on Christmas Eve. The reading of The Forgotten  Carols, putting on a family Nativity, eating delicious lasagna, and opening a present, which inevitably is always pajamas.

Getting married has basically required me to give up a lot of my favorite traditions, and we haven’t made any of our own traditions.

I’m having a hard time balancing spending time with our family (who for the most part live in the same area as us), and enjoy my nuclear family with our own (not created yet) traditions. How do we make things special, with out essentially having three separate celebrations? This is something that will be an issue for as long as we live in NoVa, so while Ginny is little and won’t be much of a participant this year, the same can’t be said for the years to come.


Ideally I would want to finish earlier with B-man’s family, so that Christmas Eve is ours, and then go to my parents’ home later, so that Christmas morning is ours as well. I want to have a time, a part of Christmas, that is focused on us just spending time together, instead of “us spending time together to exchange presents”. We haven’t formally decided this, but we have talked about when to exchange our presents with each other, and when we will give our presents to Ginny (in the future). It just feels like too much, trying to find a different time. Three present-opening times. Mind blowing.

With so much focus on present giving I feel like it will be difficult to help Ginny remember the reason for the season. What I want to do is only keep gifts for other people (not me, B-man, or Ginny), under the tree. Then when we get ready to go to the Reed Christmas or the W Family Christmas it will be an exciting thing to dig through the presents under our tree and find the ones we are GIVING away. Then at some point our nuclear family gifts will appear under the tree in a smaller gift exchange. My parents have generally limited the number of gifts they gave to us to three. The number chosen because of how many gifts Christ received from the wise men. Also – having five kids can get expensive when you don’t have a limit in place. I like it. This year B-man has bought a gift (or two? I don’t know.) for Ginny, and I am making her a quilt.

We are very blessed to live so close to our extended family, and to have such generous relatives. I am sure that Ginny will never want for anything, and for that I am very grateful. But with clothes and toys coming from extended family, I wanted the gift she receives from me to be meaningful, and something that will last.


I’ve considered maybe going to Mass on Christmases that don’t fall on a Sunday, because the LDS church does not do a meeting specifically for Christmas. Maybe I’ll look at other local denominations and see what type of things go on around town. Do religions other than Catholicism typically have a Christmas service?


Some times I just need to put my big girl panties on and get over myself. This is one of those time. I think next year we are going to observe advent,  and I plan to make a daily advent calender with scriptures and more of the religious side of Christmas incorporated.

Do you try to incorporate more Christ into your Christmas? And how do you balance spending time with relatives, while still being your own little family?


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day 9: some one you love

On Sundays we visit my family. My grandparents, my parents, and four siblings all live together, and for the time being it is incredibly convenient to go visit every one. It’s the biggest reason we moved to Virginia… so that Virginia could be with her family. lol.

When I saw the day’s topic though, I figured I would just get a picture of my husband holding my baby… but then day 9 fell on a Sunday and it seemed like the perfect reason to take a family picture… a big family picture.

So I gather everyone on the front stoop, set up my tripod and made all of the adjustments on the camera. Then I set the timer and ran into the picture myself.

I did that about 6 times. After trying to find one where all of the dogs were in the right position, I gave up and just chose the one where all of the people were looking at the camera.

In this picture there are four generations and three dogs.

Zuko is the dog refusing to sit for the picture.

But there you have it, my big crazy family that I love so much!

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Happy Anniversary!

Monday was our 2 year wedding anniversary! It’s crazy how quickly 2 years has flown by, and how much our lives have changed!

We kind of spread out our celebration over the weekend. Last Friday we went to lunch as a family – Ginny kindly slept through it! Then we dropped Ginny off at my parents’ house, and B-man and I went back to our apartment. We did some cleaning, some snuggling… and some other things. lol.

On Saturday I went grocery shopping, and when I came back I asked B-man to go down and help carry up the groceries. When he returned, he was carrying this:

I had bought it for B-man last week, and kept it hidden at a friend’s house until Saturday. He came up stairs with a great smile! It’s a new TV for our bedroom. We had been using his old TV from high school in our bedroom, and it was too small and made this high pitched whiny noise and it was just time!

Yesterday we kept it low key, dinner at home, and some snuggling while watching netflix.

But trust me… I’m making bigger plans for next year!

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Things that make you thankful.

Just the other day I was moaning and groaning about how tight things are going to be – money wise – for a little while. I should just keep my mouth shut.

On Wednesday our car started fogging up. Our new one. The Jeep we bought this summer. It never has this problem. That evening the “COOLANT IS LOW” beep started (soooo annoying) so I got it topped off and went on my way.  Then yesterday it started beeping again. So I decided I should take it some where and get the system pressure tested to find the leak.

As I pulled into the parking steam started coming out of all my vents.

Let me tell you. That is not supposed to happen.


So I parked, walked into the little office, and told the lady at the front desk what was going on. She said “Sounds like the heater core.” Of course, this place is by appointment only. A friend had recommended the place, but when I called about an estimate they didn’t tell me I needed an appointment. Meh. My car was in no state to go anywhere any way. THERE WAS STEAM COMING OUT OF MY VENTS!

The lady told me they could look at it Monday. Like I had a choice. lol. She was very nice though. And very helpful. She said they could do the diagnostic at 2:oo, but couldn’t work on it until Monday. Okay. She also told me that if it was in fact the heater core that it’s a rather big job. Requires removing the dash board and the steering wheel and moving the engine. It could be upwards of 10 hours of labor at $82.50 a pop. That’s $852 plus parts and whatever else.


My mom came and picked me up. We ran some errands and then she took me to costco. I needed to buy toilet paper. Then we did a bit of shopping (she shopped, I just gave moral support) but I was probably the worst shopping buddy ever.

“Yeah, that’s cute!”

2 seconds later

“I dooon’t have a thousand dollars!” *cry*

And it went back and forth for the next few hours. I’m sure I was miserable company. But my Mommy loves me.

The car place called. Said it was the heater core. But that with everything it was going to cost $600. That’s not quite $1000. I can handle that. Right? RIGHT?! I convinced myself I can.

By the way – through the whole thing my hubby’s phone was on silent. Boo.

My mom lent us a car while that one is getting fixed (the license plates on my civic expired and I haven’t been able to get the testing done on it that is required before you can get VA plates). She also offered to help us pay for part of the repairs. And she bought me lunch. And she listened to me whine and cry all day. That last one probably deserves a medal.

By the end of the day I was emotionally spent. It sucks that our car is having issues and is getting expensive, but I am so overwhelmed with gratitude for my family. I had been a little worried about living in this area. Worried I might not like living so close to relatives – but then I am smacked with the humble stick because I know that when things get rough they will be the first people to step up and help. Despite still needing to pay to get the car fixed I am left feeling incredibly thankful and completely loved.

Yesterday was a hard, long day. But it was also a beautiful day.

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My little soap box

If I could change one thing about every one it would be to make them more tolerant. Ha! This is a two fold blog post.


Recently my sister has had some really big issues. Like, most people would probably break down crying for weeks on end if they were in her situation. But she is coping – and doing really well. I am so proud of the way she is dealing with life.

This is facebook drama – you have been warned.

My sister made a facebook status – and it read “Keep throwing those curve balls, ‘cuz one of these days I’m gonna hit it with the broad side of my bat, and slam it out of the park. Then there will be nothing anyone can do to hold me back or stop me from scoring that home run.”

Rather inspiring, no? Well, an older acquittance of the family – who was clueless – made a rather rude, sarcastic comment in response – something about “or you could end up hitting yourself in the head and spend the rest of your life in a coma.” Classy. I know.  But it really drove me crazy. It was obviously meant in fun, but it really hurt my sister’s feelings because she really in struggling. So internet, here is my message for you:

Life isn’t lived on the internet, and honestly, the majority of it happens offline. So before you post your snide response, consider that maybe you don’t have the full story. Err on the side of being positive and supportive, because you never know how that “funny” comment will affect some one.

(Naturally, if you’re best friends with some one, or know them in real life, that’s a little different – but for those “I knew this person 5 years ago, but added them any ways type people – tread lightly. People change.)


I am very grateful for diverse friends. Perhaps some people are satisfied with being surrounded by a bunch of people just like them – but I don’t. Growing up in Germany, in a small high school I made a lot of friends who have stuck with me, even after we all graduated and moved out separate ways. Surpsingly, the people I have stayed in touch with, were not necessarily my best friends in high school. I know often times we hear in church “surround yourself with people who uplift you” and that is good advice, I’m not going to knock it. but I hope you also surround yourself with people who inspire you, people who challenge the way you view the world, and people who make you laugh.

I think if people step outside their comfort zone, and are friends with people they might not normally be friend with, they will learn a lot about themselves. I have a friend from high school who is the perfect example of this. She has changed a lot since high school, and I think a lot of the people from HS would probably think she’s crazy (at least the people I hung out with then). But she is facinating, and different, and challenging. Most of the things she’s done I could never see myself doing – but it doesn’t matter, because she is not me. But she is always helping me to challenge the way I think about things, and challenging me to think about why I think certain things. If I went with what all of my hs/church friend though – I probably wouldn’t be friends with her, and that would be a detriment to my life. I’m sure she would get a kick out of this – but I’m thankful that we have kept in touch E.

Another example is my husband. I was raised in a church that told me “only date members of our church” and if I had done that, I would not have the amazing sweet husband I have today.

And the take home message here? Step outside your friendship bubble. Meet new people! If all you put into the soup is potatoes, it will taste like potatoes. So spice things up!

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When did this happen?

I know my posts recently have been short and some have even been cryptic. I am sorry. I have something that I have been blogging about privately, and I will be sharing all of that soon enough – but right now I can only go day by day.

Tomorrow I am being initiated in to Omicron Delta Kappa. It’s a National Leadership Honor Society. That should be exciting. I will (hopefully) get to wear the stole and cords at graduation! I know it seems silly, but that was something I didn’t get to do in high school. But I have worked my butt of the last few years, and my grades have been excellent!

B-man and I went home for Thanksgiving. We got to spend some nice time with  my family for Thanksgiving. On Friday we went apartment hunting and I think we found a place. It is pretty nice, new, has a 24-hour fitness center, and we can afford the 2 bdrm w/ den – so practically 3 bedrooms. The rooms are small, but that’s apartment living for you. It also comes with washer/dryer in unit, and a dishwasher. If we don’t find any place better than this we will probably go for it.

On Saturday we went up to celebrate B-man’s brother’s birthday. He turned 40 and the party was a hoot! We made him an “old man kit” with prunes, a cane, and Worther’s original hard candies. The box it all came in was the real present – as we figured he could use it for geo-caching.

Sunday I went to church with my family and met up with a potential employer. We chatted for a little while, and it looks like I have a job all lined up for after we’ve moved! I’m half nervous, and half excited about it. I know the company does a lot of college classes and k-12 classes too, both of which I feel relatively comfortable interpreting. I’ll keep everyone posted!

After church we drove back to Tennessee. I drove for about 2 hours, but I was so tired, so B-man took over the driving. The normal 7.5 hour drive ended up being a little over 10 hours – and he did most of it. I am so thankful, because it gave me a chance to relax, and to sleep.

So I need every one’s help:  how should I decorate my cap for graduation? Please, leave me a comment with suggestions!

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It’s almost 2 am.

We just got back from a wonderful Thanksgiving trip to Virginia. Our house is cold, but not as cold as outside. It’s below freezing out there!

I am so happy that I got to see both my family, and B-man’s family, as well as celebrate a birthday while we were up there! It will be so nice to be up there and close to family soon enough!

The graduation countdown 14 days.

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A Two Week Summary.

I’ve been absent… a lot. lol. But I can explain. B-man and I went up to Virginia to house sit. I recently read this article about people who mention their travel plans online, and then some one breaks into their house while they’re gone. So I didn’t want to be like “HEY! My house is sitting empty for two weeks so bring your truck over and steal everything!” But then I didn’t have anything to blog about because everything we were doing was Virginia related. Trust me, it was rough. But, I have some pictures to share.

Brandan’s brother and his wife have four cats, and a dog. Then we took our two dogs up there. Needless to say it was something of a mad house. I’ll start with my bad pictures, and then the good ones will look really good.

This is Odin… he didn’t want to sit still for a picture. Every time he sat down I would back up to take a picture, and he would get up and walk towards me… he wanted some petting… he is a very demanding cat. He’s also a rather large cat, as demonstrated by… Zuko… next to him.

Next there is Loki. He’s very soft, but he’s also very vocal.

Towards the end of our visit, Loki and Zuko were starting to… be friends? lol. I don’t know if I would go that far, but Loki wasn’t hiding any more. Once I was sitting with Zuko on my lap, and Loki jumped up on the chair with my and the dog.

Next is Scooter. He didn’t start coming out until the last two days before their parents got back.

And then Scooter’s sister Cricket. She spent a good part of the time hiding under the litter box. Then one night, she decided she wanted to come hang out. She’s super soft too!

And then of course there was Gizmo, Zuko, and Gretel. I didn’t take pictures of them, because they didn’t want to pose for me. So there you have it! I’ve been hanging out with the cats and dogs – but I am back now! I also have some exciting news – so hold onto your horses!

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What did I expect?

This is not a sappy Father’s day post. No, seriously it’s not.

I don’t know what I expected to happen when I called my Dad’s fancy iPhone to wish him a nonchalant “Happy Father’s Day.” It’s almost 10 in the morning. The man I grew up with is an early riser. Man, oh man was he an early riser! I didn’t want to wait until later in the day when things would inevitably get crazy at my parents house, so I got up this morning, just to call him. I should’ve just sent an e-mail! lol.

I called, he answer – not sounding like Dad usually sounds when he answers my random and obscure phone calls. I say “Oh sorry, are you at church?” He responds, negatory. I say “I was just calling to say Happy Father’s Day!” Wow, I sound happy for having just woke up. Then he says “I’m in Europe, trying to get over my jet-lag.”

lol. I told him to go back to bed.

How was I supposed to know? Plus! It’s like afternoon there! Oh well. I tried. I should’ve just sent an e-mail.

But seriously… in the olden days… like, when I was in high school – my Dad woke up at crazy and completely unbelievable hours! I was supposed to wake up to my alarm, ya know… at the same time he woke up I guess. But I would stay in bed longer. Then, when I heard his boots stomping across the house to come check on me, I would jump out of bed and scurry my lazy bum into the bathroom before he had a chance to see I was still in bed.

I don’t think he meant to stomp… it was just those darn Army boots.

So, I think a little tribute is in order…

To the man who tried to take my food when I obviously didn’t want to share!

To the man who inspired, supported, and encouraged my love of music…

I'm on the left.

To the man who walked around Sea World with children on his feet…

To the man who dressed me in orange from the very beginning, thus brain washing me into going to my current university…

To the man with shorts shorter than mine…

And the man with the crazy hat… Happy Father’s Day! I have so many fond memories of growing up, skiing, traveling, hiking the Appalachian trail with strangers, and going to a two week long camp with a bunch of Germans. I’m pretty sure I owe them all to you!

Love ya!

(See, I think I got all the way through without being sappy – quite the accomplishment.)

My Dad on the other hand has been known to get sappy… on occasion. <3

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Back Tracking: Easter in Nashville

B-man and I have been planning on visiting Nashville for a while. It was on my list of 23 things to do before I turn 23, and it was part of expanding B-man’s horizons. I can now say I only have 22 things left to do, and B-man can say the furthest West (in the US) that he has been is now Nashville! We also got to see extended family, and B-man got to meet relatives that were unable to make it up for our wedding.
We arrived Friday afternoon. I love visiting my Aunt & Uncle’s home. It’s always so beautiful, and every one is so welcoming and kind. I don’t know how we managed to draw the longest straw, but we ended up sleeping in a room that felt more like a hotel than most hotels I’ve stayed in.
We also snagged our own bathroom! Both were so spacious and beautiful. It definitely felt like a vacation, which is wonderful – because I was in desperate need of a comfy bed, and a bigger bathroom.
On Saturday Brandan and I made a trip to Franklin (which get’s its own blog post). We did a bit of touristing, and then went back to the house for…
Some quality swim time. The pool was so nice and refreshing. See! Just like a hotel, but with better company!
After church we opened up Easter baskets! Ours was German/European themed!
My Aunt The Easter bunny also include these for me!
Because I’m One Shiny Star! I’m also a big fan of post-it notes. Yes!
Then every one had a job to do…
Some how Brandan got the best job, but I think he ended up playing video games any way. I think he really enjoyed getting to be around some guys his own age!
As people started arriving, my cousin’s boyfriend decided it was a good time to try and rescue this kite… again. They had tried on Friday with little success.
So every one trounced out to the field, and with a bottle of some car fluid tied to a rope, they put in their best effort to get the kite down. It had only been there two years!
Oh well… I’m sure my Aunt’s dog Rocky enjoyed being out there while the fun lasted!
Then it was dinner time!
The food was delicious and the company was fantastic.

My Dad’s brother’s family was not able to make it up for the wedding, but they finally got to meet B-man, and I’m glad we got to see them (well… almost all of them, once of my cousin’s had to work).
B-man in a food coma!
I was nervous about leaving the dogs, but everything turned out fine… better than fine! I am really glad we went! The dogs were happy to see us when we got home, but Zuko had chewed off his harness…. gah! I had bought the one that was a little more sturdy and expensive, in hopes that it would last… but apparently puppies left to their own devices will chew on ANYTHING. At least it wasn’t his bed! Now he has a new, blue collar. I prefer the harness… it’s like a puppy-handle!
We really did have a fabulous time though, and I’m hoping it won’t be too long until we see every one again!
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