Friday, February 23, 2018

A break from old man winter

Marco Island, 2018!!  First time the Lawrence Marshes got to visit Grandma as the owner of the Sunset House condo.  She was so happy, and so were we.

Two years ago, we visited when the weather was in the 60s and rainy.  This year, full sun and 80 degrees every day!

We spent most of our time enjoying the beach and the pool.  The shell collecting was super.  Not pictured are the dozens of tiny baby sand dollars we found that no one could remember seeing before.

One of the biggest highlights was when Ron, the Sunset House board president, took us fishing on his boat.  It was a super windy day, so Mommy came to see us off, but didn't brave the waves.

Yup.  Conner caught a shark.  We're just gonna leave that right here...

Some serious fishing commenced.  Ron was actually dissappointed at the amount of catching we did, but the boys loved it.  And what a gorgeous day!

Catfish, Snapper, Sheepshead, Ladyfish, and of course the shark...  Only one of the catches was big enough to keep, so we brought it to the fancy fileting station at the Marina, and who do you suppose was waiting to take care of whatever we didn't take home??

These fellas were within one or two feet of us, watching intently.  The poor guy in the far back right was an adolescent who had to wait his turn.

Lots of fishing, lots of shelling and lots of lovely walks on the beach.  This time we even did evenign walks, which was so cool because you walked by starlight. (if you could convince Carson to turn off his dang flashlight.)

Another highlight was the day we rented a kayak and a paddleboard (from family friend Tony) and explored Tigertail Beach.  Grandma and Daddy tried out the equipment too, and we had a really great time.

There were two KU b-ball games that were played during out trip.  Some Kansas friends who have retired to Marco invited us over for one of them.  We only got one picture of the fun party, but it is this cool picture of Mummy next to their beautiful India Song tree.

The area was hit so very hard by Hurrican Irma, but we were pleased to see how much they were already rebounding.  The palm trees were a little sad, but slowly rebounding to make the sunset pictures lovely.

The boys ate up every minute.  They would wake up just as the sun was coming up and go to the beach first thing with Grandma. Then come up and have breakfast while their parents slowly (and peacefully!) got ready for the day.  What a wonderful vacation.  Now bring on spring!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Cold start to 2018

Happy New Year!!  We celebrated our eleventh straight NYE with our Kras Connection, the Parracks.  Through the magic of social media, both families are still in touch with Yelena Zykina, who was our sponsor while in country.  She loves wishing us a happy new year from Krasnoyark each year.

This winter will be remembered for the bitter cold streak over the holidays.  When we have sub-freezing temps for over a week, the city floods the park in our neighborhood for skating.  The boys don't have ice skates, but loved slipping around the area even when the temps were in the single digits.

Much of the holidays were spent enjoying Christmas presents.  Here is Carson's most involved metal model to date.  Appropriately, it is St Basil's Cathedral which is arguably Russia's most recognized landmark. Click on the picture for a close up!

Another holiday gift was one we had to give away.  Mommy helped with a big school fundraisor, and she accidentally won a kids Tesla!  The CNMs are too big for it, so here they are presenting it to friends with two small boys who live on a dead end street.  Perfect!

We missed a chance to include this pic in our pre-holiday posts.  Conner continues to be a backstage head honcho for the St John's theater productions.  There he is, right of center in the back row.  In between his buddies Preston and Ben. 

We hope you are keeping warm this winter and enjoying the beginning of a new year.  One of our new years resolutions is to stop making outdoor fires so close to the old wooden fence...

Friday, December 29, 2017

Merry Christmas!!

It seems more than  a little odd to start today's entry with an outdoor pic, since it is bitter, bitter cold outside!  But this is from earlier in the month when Conner took advantage of the mild temps for bait fishing with his new net.

This is much more like it.  With weeks of temperatures below freezing, the city chose to flood the park a block from our house and make a skating rink. They didn't offer skate rentals, so we just shuffled along on our boots.

Even as the boys hit the teenage years, there is still a gleem in their eye as they first walk down the steps for Christmas. They are met by the stockings hung on the mantle in the living room, then they go to the "office" where the tree resides.  That's when the fun really begins!

There is also the tradition of going to Mema and Grandpa's for Christmas eve.  They are the stars of the show this day, since there aren't other youngsters.  That changes the next day when it is off to Grandma's with their aunts, uncles and cousins.  Carson whipped together a Titanic model after opening his pile at the Bailey's.

Conner is developing quite the "old soul," as depicted in the above picture.  The boys both got new robes, and he really looks like he's ready to get his morning coffee and curl up in the Lazy Boy with the NY Times, doesn't he?

We did indeed get a White Christmas this year, although it was only about an inch of snow.  Enough for the boys to try out their snowboards, somewhat successfully.  It was a great Christmas with family and friends.  The temperatures have been far too cold, but we will get to highlight a Kras Connection event and a Marco event in the upcoming entries.  Have a super start to 2018!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

fishing, running and other hobbies

Ah, a mild late fall in KS.  Thank goodness, because the best way to keep teenage boys away from electronic screens is get them outdoors.  For Conner, you know what that means. Here he is in a trout pond close to Clinton Lake.

For Carson it is a little trickier.  Cross Country season is over.  He did really well this year, and is already excited for next year. Here he is finishing 19th in a KU 5K.  Out of 300 runners!!!

Conner had a Bass Pro Shop birthday party this year.  They have a cool party room that includes a large aquarium.  His favorite gift may have been the one-man tent that he can use at scout campouts when his fellow scouts are less interested in sleeping.

He reached the rank of First Class this year, and is already very close to completing the requirements for Star.  This is farther than his Dad ever got, and both parents are really proud of his work.

First year that neither kiddo dressed up for Halloween.  While that is sad for Mummy and Daddy, it was fun to take Carson to teh Halloween night KU b-ball game.

The time of year has come that we won't be able to post fishing pictures every month.  That will be a sad time for our exceptional fisherman, but he has had lots of opportunities this fall.  It is great to see him so passionate about it.  Just wish we shared that passion!

Carson continues to enjoy a variety of art projects.  One of the most impressive is his metal model collection.  Mummy swears he could be a surgeon with the precision he demonstrates.  These models come in small sheets of metal and must be bent, curled and connected to create these amazing objects.  Now might be a good time to remind all of our reader :-)  that clicking on the picture, and then clicking on it again, allows you to zoom way in!

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.