Monday, December 19, 2022

Family Picture Day Video

 Here is our yearly video, enjoy!

Family Picture Day & Yearly Update

I will post a few of my favourite pictures from our recent photo shoot - and a little update about each of us. I know I don't post often enough on this space anymore, but I need to at least keep up with the yearly update, right?! Sorry it'll be a little long because I'm going to do it all in one post. So buckle up, here we gooooo!

Kennedy is 16 now, and actually, really close to 17. Wow. That went fast folks. She keeps us in line and on schedule. She no longer complains daily over the fact that she has brothers... but she does roll her eyes quite frequently, so while probably far from appreciating their antics (and gender), it seems like she's gotten used to them for the most part. She's pretty practical and good at figuring things out. The worst thing you can say about her really, is that she still won't eat anything made with mayo, or mustard. Which makes for some pretty dry sandwiches, and dip-less veggies. She has a soft spot for cats, and some pretty hefty allergies that we'll have to check out here soon. Even with a negative result I'm sure she'll vote to keep the cats and buy stocks in Kleenex. She loves her little sister and loves babysitting other people's kids too. I don't think she has any specific idea of what she wants to do after high-school - so I make her do a lot of filing and scanning for me, because I hate it, and if she does too, that could give us some ideas on a direction to go. And if she doesn't hate it, then the direction is settled. She'll just be my assistant forever and do everything I don't want to. This is exactly why you have kids, isn't it? And we couldn't be happier that we had this kid first.
She got her permit this year and is practicing getting her driving hours in.

As I type this, she is in the process of finishing up her braces - she did invisilign so they didn't seem like a big deal to the rest of us - but she's glad to be done, and it's made a big difference!

Our 2007 Honda Pilot was totaled in October (we had loaned it out), and that was the "kids car" for the teen drivers...we bought a 2011 Mini Cooper to replace it, and no one is sad about it, it's super fun to drive!

Kennedy Shea & Shaughnessy Vale - my loves

Brooks is 15, and getting taller by the minute. You know how they say you only grow when you're sleeping? Well, he's giving a lot of time to that endeavor, so he'll probably end up around seven and a half feet tall, or so. For now he's hot on the heels of his Dad, but just you wait. His musical talents are surfacing and he loves to play guitar, figure out songs, write some of his own music, and he's generally getting better and better, with help along the way from others at church, random strangers on YouTube and Grandpa Kennedy of course. He's been able to play with the worship band at church, which I am also in for singing, so that's been fun to do together. His humor is developing...quite strongly you could say. He's definitely a funny guy, and always seems to have a quip ready to go (remind you of anyone? *coughbrian*), and a dramatic flair for embellished storytelling (not unlike his Momma). He's kind and inclusive and popular, and sort of the life of the party.  Like, if you're having a party you probably want him there because he doesn't eat too much and he'll keep everyone talking and entertained. 

His braces should be off on Jan 5th! It's been 4 long years of orthodontic treatment, as he had "every negative" you could have. Light at the end of the tunnel - and then the "we're done, lets check with one last set of xrays" revealed that he will need 2 wisdom pulled surgically within the next year or two. So yes. We'd be ready to put a downpayment on the Biltmore by now, if not for this kid and his complicated teeth.

Da bruvvahs

Grey is 12, and is still the odd man out personality wise. He's thoughtful, conscientious, caring, dutiful and consistent. The rest of us, possessing few of these positive traits, wonder exactly where he came from. But we know we need to keep him around forever because he can do naturally what the rest of us struggle through. He has a lot of big, grown up, science & school type interests, but also still loves to play stuffed animals with Vale, and they have their own imaginary games together. He handles the grown up world equally as well, being even keeled, and for the most part able to keep up with Brooks and all the music & sports stuff they do together, and all the art & baking stuff he and Kenna do together, and all the cooking stuff he and I do together, and all the fetching stuff that is involved when helping Dad. Basically, if any one of us wants a second hand to help us or keep us company, Grey is all of our first choice.

He got to take his "big birthday trip" this year with Brian - he chose to go to NYC, and see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, among other famous sites, but those were his two must-sees. They caught a Mets game and did the Museum of Natural History too. He loved every minute of it!
For the first time ever, actually, we recycled some clothing from a previous picture day. Brooks wore this jacket for our session in 2017!

Vale is newly 4 years old, and the best of all of us. She's sweet like her sista, enthusiastic like her bruvva, and loves to help, like 'de uvva bruvva'. She loves to snuggle her Momma and read with her Daddy. She attends a pre pre k school three times a week, and loves it. She has many many best friends, but her pal Steven always seems to land the "best" best friend spot. In fact, he gets mentioned by name in her prayers and gratefulness lists more often than we do... it's always "my family and Steve", so it seems appropriate that he get mentioned by name here too. This little girl keeps us laughing and on our toes - she's smart, and mischievous, and loves to ask us all to buy her things and take her places. The park is her favorite, even if no other kids are there. It's been a joy for all of us to watch her grow.

Thanks to books and tv shows, she's quite into marine biology. She knows a lot about a lot of stuff none of us (but Grey) have any clue about. She is quick to inform us that "spahm whales are the lahgest toof predatuh on de earf" and we look to Grey to confirm or deny every claim (that one happens to be accurate). Sperm whales are, unfortunately for us, because of how loudly she speaks and how often she talks about them, her favourite animal. When she was a bit younger, she actually pronounced her own name as "Whale", thankfully she's got the V's down now.
It's hard to get her to smile, and she consistently looks exactly like Daddy when trying to do so.

We love to ask her the names of kids in her class, and figure out what might actually be their real names...Abagirl, Egna, E-sin. She's confident and indignant. It could NOT be Abigail. It's definitely Abagirl.

Brian has been running Woodard Group for a few years now, and has assembled a really great team. They work hard, they get stressed, but they get it done, and can enjoy each other's company in the process. There's something of value in that for sure. In an effort to find some relief from all the stress in recent years, he's found a few hobbies that he doesn't hate. Boating is fun - and something we all love to do together & with friends. Driving his little MG Midget is sort of a solitary adventure... unless he takes 1 of us along, which he always does. Cooking massive breakfasts for us on his Blackstock seems to be a big hit too, for all of us who love eating! And, as seems always to be his m.o., even in his "me time" hobbies he is giving to others. And what better character quality is there than serving & giving to others? This guy does a lot, for so many, and we appreciate him for all of it. He's the one you want in a group text because he's hilarious, and he's also still a Patriots fan, so he's used to being given a hard time and dishing it right back out.

And lastly, I guess it's my turn. It's fairly difficult to be objective and do an update about yourself, but I consider myself to be quite self aware, so this should be accurate enough. The thing my family likes least about me is my ever-evolving ideas on how to rearrange the furniture to fit more people around the table. Actually, they probably least like the chore lists I require to be completed, and second to that, moving the couches. It's rough being the Mom. But they like my cooking and don't hate their names, so  I'll consider that a general win. I still work at Faith Bible College, and that is a fun challenge for my mind, and my scheduling abilities (which often lack), but wow, we sure do fit a lot in in a week, with homeschooling, extra classes, lessons, sports, etc. I love to grocery shop, and make special coffee. I'm still bad at hair and love makeup, and hate laundry and love vacuuming. It probably goes without saying that I love picture day best of all, I'm amazed in the end, how much things change while all remains the same.

Thanks for hanging with me until the end, I know it's a lot! If you'd like to see our picture day set to music with all the pictures included, click here! We love you all, and are grateful you are in our lives.

Friday, August 26, 2022

1975 MG Midget

Brian had challenged the kids a few years ago - telling them when they went to buy their first car, he would match their money. So if they saved 5k, he'd give them 5k for a 10k car. Being the schemers that they are, Kenna and Brooks decided if they combo'd their earnings they could get a better car, and share it. But they didn't have a whole lot of money, so Brian began looking online to show them, as an example, what two or three thousand dollars could buy.

It was then that he discovered his long lost love...or new found love...of old British automobiles. Because they are TINY. And CHEAP. It turns out two or three thousand dollars can get you an antique car that still runs!
So he's been trying to convince them that they need this car. They are not convinced. "Wait, what?! It doesn't have air conditioning?!" "How safe can it be when there are no airbags". We have raised modern, practical children who see zero value in sweating while you drive, and have a very high view of safety concerns like seatbelts and air bags 😂

Also, knowing they are not about to become car mechanics, or know how to drive a standard magically overnight - "Is this thing going to break down every day?" But Brian persisted in checking Facebook Marketplace and showing them all the cool ads for the cool tiny cars out there. 

All this did was fuel HIS interest in the tiny cars, trying to convince them to buy one. Somewhere along the way it just became Brian's mission. Find a cheap little British car to play around with. 

Well. He found one. Cheap, runs great, but will start to run too hot if you go 65-70mph...It's sweet spot is 55. Perfect. It was originally Red, but painted Mitsubishi Lancer Yellow by the former owner. He had it and tinkered around with it from 2002 until getting it road worthy in 2019. It's been to a few auto shows. 

Runs fine but can use work (drivers seat vinyl worn in places, needs a spring in the front wheel area bc that's looking a little low etc...but small stuff). 
I haven't driven it yet - no power steering, no power brakes. We ordered custom tags for it..."MIDGET1"...and the way he's talking, there might very well be a MIDGET2 in our future as well 😂

 We have not decided on a name yet, as we each like something different. Vale wants Taxi. I like Barmy Fotheringay-Phipps. Brian likes Jeeves. Kenna like Bingo Little, and Brooks like Barney (Luc used to call Brian Barney). I'm not sure which one Grey likes - might be a minute until we decide on that one.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Kennedy's License!

Guess who's in phase one of her driving experience? We'll post again for sure in a few months when she's logged all her hours, and passed all her tests. I CAN'T BELIEVE we are here. Wooow. Time is running away and leaving me behind it feels like:-)


Micro Burst Storm?

 A few weeks ago we had the craziest storm. It popped up out of no where and really started raining! I peeked out at one point, and noticed the hammock had blown off the deck, so I headed out to catch it before it wound up in the lake. While I was out there, I noticed the lid was blown off the hot tub! This surprised me and I moved quickly to get it covered again and locked down. It was POURING torrentially, so I was moving fast and not really generally observing. Once the storm blew over, we went out to assess the damage, and WOW. Pics uploaded backwards, so now scroll to the bottom and then back up for the rest of the narration:-)

We did panini's another Sunday lunch. 2 times we have done fried rice and some sesame chicken but I missed pics of that I guess. Oh, and we did steak for steak sandwiches this past Friday. It's SUPER fun to use and cook on. Highly recommend. We've been so in love with using this, we still aren't even sure if the old bbq will work again...or if it will, if we'll ever use it again;-)
We did breakfast for lunch last sunday!
We made some breakfast - Lupo sauce from the Handsome Biscuit made our hashbrowns out of this world!
Our first meal after seasoning it was smashburgers with pineapple and crispy fried a Red Robin Whiskey River burger, diy style. They were SO good!
We decided to try and refurbish our thrown-about grill, and instead of buying another normal bbq, get a blackstone cooking griddle. 
One of the kids, or maybe Brian paddleboarding on our little lake. Don't know why that one uploaded, but it's pretty:-)
It also picked up our BBQ and threw it! Yikes!
The storm blew all our furniture EVERYWHERE it was so crazy!