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!!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Welcoming summer

Happy birthday to Mummy!  Also the last day of the month, so we barely snuck in an entry before June!

So that means it is time for summer.  We had a nice time at Aunt Heather's lake on Memorial Day.  They have a new floating thingie that Daddy and Uncle Ted enjoyed as much as the kiddos.

Nice bass!  Conner is so happy that fishing season has returned.  He is a real fish whisperer, so we expect to offer several more fish pics this summer.  (in fact, wait for it...)

What a sweet ride!  Carson went with Uncle Ted and Daddy to a fancy car show where we all decided this is the car we wanted to take home with us.

A high school friend of Mummy and Daddy's stayed with us while we said goodbye to Bill Fowle.  This picture was taken right after we went with John Fox to a bbq place and took down a huge meal!

Cousin Nate is biking cross country this summer and we got to see him on the first leg of his trip.  Both boys were very impressed with his ride, but their parents were only barely cool with them sitting on it while parked.

Are you kidding me?!  We would have put this picture first but were afraid it would scare you right off the blog.  This monster Carp was caught at Clinton Lake, and is definitely Conner's biggest catch.

Carson for the SIXTH straight year completed 100 miles during the school's marathon club.  They went all out for him this year with multiple tapes he had to break through.  Click on the picture to see his funny expression.  (a little embarrassed by all the attention)

Conner was the Prop King for the school's spring play this year.  You see him propped next to his prop room which he ran with precision. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Running and scouting

Hi there!  Spring in KS is a beautiful time.  Here is a picture of Conner's scout troop on one of their monthly campouts.  He was chosen to be Patrol Leader this month!

The rain stopped just long enough for Grandpa to plant hint after hint in their backyard for the boys to find their Easter baskets.  Nice that the CNMs are still willing to hunt for the baskets, but the chocolate may have a lot to do with that...

Meanwhile, back at home, after the boys tore throught the bounty of their other baskets, Smink the Cat chose Conner's basket as her naptime spot.

Carson is rather reluctantly running track this season.  We are surprised that as much as he enjoys Cross Country, even running the 1600 is not high on his joy list.  But he is still powering through it, and came in fourth in the race pictured above.

Conner was on the technical crew for the school play this year.  He kind of got a face full of mermaid tail in this picture, but his obsession with fish made him perfectly comfortable with that.

The cats have a hierarchy of humans they are willing to cuddle with. Mummy is clearly at the top of the list, followed by Conner.  Carson is a distant third and Daddy is at the bottom of the list.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

March is Marsh month

Ah, spring has sprung!  And then it got cold...Kansas weather at its most predictable!  We didn't get much more snow this winter than what is pictured above.  Not enough sledding!

Oh, and there was some basketball being played.  KU had a historic season, and Daddy took some credit for that, opening the DeBruce Center almost a year ago this month.

Conner was invited by a neighbor to go trout fishing.  Hip waders and everything!  Here he is with his first trout.  It was a super cold day, but that didn't dampen his spirits.

The three CNMs borrowed some kayaks and went on a bit of an adventure to a neighbor's lake house just north of town.  We did secure the boats a little better than what is pictured--promise!

It was a blast.  One day, the winds were so high that we felt like we were braving rapids.  Which was pretty intense since the water was so cold that we would NOT have wanted to tip over!

Of course there was fishing.  Both boys were successful even with the cold water temps.  It was a really fun few days of lake activities during spring break.  Fun overnights too!

As things begin to wake up and bloom in our yard, Conner is proving a talented snake hunter.  The snakes in our yard are harmless, but...they're snakes!!  And several are larger than the one pictured, so a big thank you to Conner from both his parents.

There was definitely some focus on b-ball this month, even though the Jayhawks missed the Final Four.  What a great season, and the family showed great patience with Daddy's increasing focus on the team, and the story of KU b-ball in general.  Happy Spring everyone!!