Monday, October 30, 2017

This is gonna be a long one

What a beautiful Fall we have had in 2017!  Lots of outdoor activities for the CNMs.  So many that this might be a longer entry than usual...

Ok, sometimes outdoor activities lead to injuries.  Conner has already experienced a broken arm, so it isn't fair that he has suffered a second.  This one came on the school playground when he got pushed while playing b-ball.  We feel like the kid who did it should write and type all Conner's homework for two months!

This dude became a teenager last month, but humors his Dad with childlike activities still.  Here is a perfect example:  reading the Hunger Games while high up in a tree. (see the car?)

Conner doesn't let much phase him.  And don't you dare get in between the boy and his fishing opportunities!  Here he is catching baitfish by the KS River with one arm...

And here is his brother watching from the comfort of his Camp Birchwood hammock.  This area is just two blocks from our house and serves as a lovely mild weather getaway.

Throwing football with Dad and generally goofing off.  Not sure who enjoys it more!

We promised info on Carson's delayed b-day party.  He asked for a nerf gun party, and boy did he get it.  We found a semi-secluded place on campus where he and his buddies could run themselves ragged with some pretty impressive sci-fi artillery.

Fishing season is nearing a close.  Not even the weather can deter the fish whisperer.  Yes, this is Conner with an impressive bass caught while there was frost on the ground!!

While the pond was not frozen over, this was the morning after the famous annual Parrack bonfire, and the thermometer read just over 30 degrees.

These four have been enjoying the bonfire, each others b-day parties, and New Years Eve for over ten years.  We kinda wish they would stop growing up so fast.

And then they give us reminders that they haven't reached adulthood yet!!

The Cross Country season concluded last weekend.  Carson had a great season and has really begun taking it seriously.  He finished top ten in each race, and almost every runner ahead of him was an eighth grader, giving him big confidence for next year.

Oh, and the races usually included 70 runners, give or take 10.  He is good buddies with his teammates, who got the top spot for 7th-8th CYO teams.

We have had our share of exciting weather this season.  Including a microburst just blocks away from our beloved neighborhood!  Conner is surveying the hollow trunk of a tree that came down not too far from our house. 

With the Bonfire falling on Conner's b-day weekend, his party will be pushed to November.  He has asked for a party at Bass Pro Shop.  Surprised?!  Should be a nice haul of fishing equipment for this studly guy in his last year before high school.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Running, fishing, and teenager--ing

Picture day for the CNMs.  The 8th graders get to dress up super fancy, since it is their last year of middle school. 

Yup.  Teenager.  This dude turned 13 in quiet fashion.  We had a couple small family parties for him, with some things yet to come.

Carson loves his nerf guns.  He is deprived of the fancy stuff, religated to small weapons to be discharged outside only.  But he has found some creative ways to do target practice.

He also has a pretty significant love for soft blankets.  Quite a collection of them!  This one wins the prize, though.  Mommy found him a blanket that we think was made out of a cloud and puppy fur.

Second ever picture off the highway with car trouble.  We'd be ok if this is the last one too!  On the way back from Aunt Heather's lake, we had to wait for an hour for the tow truck.  Made the best of it, and the CNMs were totally cool while we waited.

Fishing season is winding down, which will be tough for Conner.  He would rather fish than breathe, we think.  Here he is casting with his left hand, because his right was broken in three places during a playground scuffle!!!

Here is a fine catch from pre-wrist break.  Such a tough kid, this one.  He rarely complains and just finds other ways to get things done without his right hand.

Carson's cross country meets have begun.  He had picked up where he left off last year.  In the first race, he came in 11th out of 78 runners.  Second race, 8th place out of 59 runners.  And he is running against 7th AND 8th graders.  In the above picture he is in a yellow shirt, black shorts.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Last days of summer, 1st days of school

Whew!  Barely squeeked in an August entry.  We're in our 2nd week of school, and the last year that both CNMs are in middle school.  What?!  That can't be right...

Yep, it is right.  This young man is an 8th grader and will rule the school this year.  Here he is reviving his reading skills with a little bit of help from Thneed, the cat who adores him almost as much as she adores Mummy.

To close out the amazing summer of travel for the boys, Carson got his turn with Grandma for a Road Scholar trip.  These are some of the friends he made.

They went to Sanibel Island, Florida to learn about the island ecosystem and do some fun snorkelling.  The boys (and Grandma) are treated so well during these trips!

We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.  Anytime Carson gets to climb or run, he is a happy kid. 

They even left their comfort zone a bit and got upclose and personal with some Florida swamps.  No aligator sightings, thank goodness.  A huge thank you to Grandma for these amazing adventures!

School is in full swing, the summer is fading away with some lovely, unseasonably mild weather, and we're looking forward to a great acadeic year.  It is a little too intense to think that this time next year will be our intro to Free State High, but we really think this fine young fella will be ready!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Harvey's Lake 2017

Ah, the glorious annual getaway to our northeast PA lake house.  This year, it came just one week after the boys returned from Camp Birchwood.  Didn't slow them down!

This year will be remembered for several things, not the least of which is the most family members ever assembled!!  27 people and 6 dogs.  (Not all sleeping at the house, but still...)

Mur-ca!  We had an impressive array of patriotic shirts this year too.  And because the 4th was on a Tuesday, there were lake firework shows for 4 consecutive days!  Why Monday?  Don't know.

You know this happened.  Conner paddleboarded on the orange kayak all over the place, catching yellow perch, pickerel, catfish and bluegill. Read on to learn of a historic fish story.

The dock was busy throughout the day.  Swimming, kayaking, tubing, rowboating, etc.  Several new inflatables made for awesome games.  Winchester and Faith are concerned for Carson's safety in this pic!

Conner caught this handsome fella, then showed Daddy where another one was located.  "Wait!  The other one is guarding a nest of thousands of tiny babies!"  He dutifully returned this guy to the nest.

If you look closely, you'll see Carson sporting several life vests at once.  He has on six, to be exact.  And he entertained us all by jumping in from the dock and shooting up out of the water because of super-buoyancy.

The extended family is really growing.  Two little ones joined us for the first time this year.  Rutherford Marsh and Genevra Dalton (pictured here being expertly fed by Alex and Faith).

It is a challenge feeding such a crew.  The Lawrence Marsh family has traditionally offered a pasta bar for dinner one of the nights.  Reminds us of a picture from two years ago! Nate is pictured just behind Conner, and he brought 40 lbs of halibut he caught on a trip to Alaska.  One fish!

A few of the young NY Marshes families are cool with sleeping in tents out back.  That helps so much with evening elbow room!  This playset has been the highlight of many, many family photos dating back to when the NY Marshes were as young as these kiddos!

Closing in on elder-statesmen status, Daddy and Uncle Ted love the Lake like crazy.  Here they are on the 4th.  Daddy has an mildly patriotic shirt on, and Uncle Ted is sporting...the opposite.

It is always a bit of an adventure traveling to the Lake.  This year we flew to and from Phili and rented a car. It was nice to return home in a new Impala.  Comfort and style, baby!

Saturday, July 01, 2017

A big deal for the Marshes

Taking a quick break from summer adventure posts to offer some perspective on what seems like ancient history:  our family's adoption experience.  The Russian adoption story has reached the news again with highly political underpinnings.
We've watched over the last five plus years as international adoption numbers have shrunk significantly.  It is sad to think of all the children in other countries desperate for families, with prospective parents unable to bring them home.

It is pretty clear that we lucked out bigtime when you consider our timing.  You can see from the chart that we started the process of bringing the CNMs home just as the decline in Russian adoptions to the US began.  And they sure did plummet from there.  We had heard many success stories in the years leading up to our adoption experience, and many more unsuccessful ones after we were done.

Adoption is a complicated process that seems to be inextricably linked to societal and political issues.  It is difficult to legally create a family through adoption, and even harder when two different countries have to agree on legal documentation.  We hold out hope that Russian orphans will be given opportunities to grow up with parents, somehow, some way.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Camp Birchwood!!

Definitely a first for the Marsh family.  The boys have headed north to the Boundary Waters for a two week camp.  It is called Birchwood for Boys and as far as we can tell, they're loving it!

Yup.  You know this is happening.  Pretty sweet pike there, Conner!  Fishing is one of the bigger activities at camp, so Conner is probably one of the instructors by now.

There is also riflery and archery, which we figure is one of Carson's favs.  Not sure this was a safe thing to do as the photographer, but maybe it was a drone camera.  :-)

It is clearly a gorgeous part of the country.  Lots and lots of activities on the water.  We feel pretty sure the boys are well prepared for all of the outdoor and wilderness activities.

They have lots of cool water toys.  It was seven years ago that we visited the girls camp as a family.  Both camps are run by a family with ties to Lawrence.

There are indoor activities too.  Conner is doing leatherwork with what might very well be his grandfather Marsh's tools that we donated to Birchwood.

Couldn't help but smile when we saw this picture.  Carson is playing Mancala with some other campers.  He is very skilled at that game, and regularly beats both parents.

During the first week, the campers went out in groups of four to six for an overnight in the woods.  In the 2nd week, they are scheduled to do a multi-night trip.

There are many rituals at the camp.  Here is a pic of Carson earning his Birchwood touque.  Very Canadian, eh?

More water toys.  There is a chance they struggle to keep Carson away from that trampoline.

And there is a chance they struggle to keep Conner away from the fishing holes.  This group looks like they mean business.

It has been an adjustment to have both parents seperated from both boys.  But we watch the new set of pictures posted each day and love the idea that the boys are having a blast.  Can't wait to hear their stories first hand!!