Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Monday, July 31, 2017

Visiting Quechee Gorge, Vermont & Caleb's Encampment Graduation

I really can't believe how quickly summer is zipping by. And I reeeaaallllly can't believe that in less than one week, my first baby boy turns eighteen. Oh stop it. Don't make me say that again.

Last weekend was Caleb's graduation at Norwich University- we were joking that he now has a higher rank than my Dad did when he was in the army! We're both incredibly proud of his accomplishments. It was NOT an easy eight days. Not by a long shot. This isn't your typical recreational summer camp program; this is an intensive boot camp-type leadership training program, and while I was anxious and a little nervous for him, I knew he would persevere and succeed with flying colors. And he did.

The drive through Vermont is such a pretty one. We were near the famous Quechee Gorge, and thankfully traffic had cooperated, so we stopped to have a look and walk around a bit after a couple hours in the van. I will admit, the surrounding area has become more commercialized than I remember from my childhood, but I still think it's a great place to visit here in the New England.

Honestly, I cannot get over how grown up Caleb looks in these pictures. I think he is hovering around the 6'1" mark, possibly more. It's intense to have to crane your neck to look into your fourteen year old son's eyes!

Also, the trails were stroller friendly as well. A big plus in my book! (I thought I had a photo of everyone on the trail, including Bill pushing the jogger, but I don't. Trust me, it was an easy path.)

Here's a fun fact about me: I am not afraid of heights per se; I am afraid of standing at the edge of something very high. This just about did me in. Not even kidding. Ugh. Look down there! It is SO far beneath you! Beautiful and fascinating and all that, yes, but get me the heck off that bridge. I suppose I much prefer to watch the raging water from the sidelines of the trail instead. :)

 Beautiful, though, right?

Clearly Levi is uber impressed, ha ha

And here's me. Hanging on for dear life!

And Isabelle was just as fearful, ha ha - she probably would've walked that railing if we'd let her. Aaaahhhh!!

In love with those little wispy hairs of his. And that criss-cross back. Swoon.

This is a corner of the visitor's center- which is so clean and well-maintained I might add- and I thought it was so pretty. Plus, I'm a sucker for hydrangea. One of my very favorites!

Back on the road headed for Norwich University. They don't call Vermont the Green Mountain State for nothing.

Always such mixed emotions when preparing to drop one off at camp. This was so far away, and for longer than we're used to, and I was afraid of him getting yelled at all the time (he did, ugh), so I was feeling much more nervous and anxious than usual. I know I've said it before, but I am so proud of that boy.

Norwich University is a beautiful campus. We would have enjoyed walking around more, but it wasn't really the right time for that. We did stroll through just a bit, though. We learned that this place is considered the home of the ROTC, an interesting little tidbit. I love those, don't you?

This has nothing to do with anything other than it's too cute not to share. Those toes, that seersucker, the lashes...I am one hundred percent in love with every single thing.

And then it was time to say goodbye. Goodbyes are hard no matter how you dice it.

And here is is a full eight days later. I swear he grew another inch!! He just looked, well, grown up. Be still my Mama heart.

There, now it's my turn! So happy to see him! Of course, I have my dork face smile going on because I could not contain my excitement. Or maybe that's just true joy. Yeah, we'll go with that.

On a whim, I asked my parents if they wanted to drive over with me for the graduation, and of course they did. We had decided earlier that it was just too much of a trip for everyone to take again on the way back. Plus, it took Levi two whole days to recover from all that time in the car. Yikes yikes yikes! I'll keep that in mind for future travel plans!

I adore this photo. I think I'll frame it and give it to my Mom and Dad. Just look at that admiring smile on my Dad's face!

This was during the graduation. They all marched in and took their places with precision. I love the fanfare of it all, and I really enjoyed watching my Dad take it all in. I could tell that he was so proud of our boy, and it made my heart so happy.

So thankful for that gorgeous summer day! It's a day I will never forget.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Our Favorite From-Scratch Pancake Recipes

I haven't posted a new recipe in a long time, and I've been meaning to. But, summer. So I'll post this collection of pancakes for you instead. We make these at least once a week, often times more. They're simple. delicious, and generally a crowd-pleaser, so hooray!

Favorite Basic Pancake Recipe
This has been our go-to recipe for years and years. A friend gave me a recipe that a friend had given her and... I spent a few years tweaking it to make it our absolute favorite of all time.
Favorite Pancakes Recipe HERE

Best Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
 These pancakes have a slightly grainy texture because of the cornmeal, and let me tell you, they taste just as good for supper as they do for breakfast. :)
Best Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes Recipe HERE

Apple Pancakes with Sugar Sauce
 I can't even remember how this recipe came about, probably just years of experimenting. These pancakes are packed full of good stuff, but then again, the "syrup" I concocted is nothing but sugar sugar sugar. It's all about balance, right?
This is a fall favorite for sure, when the air and apples are crisp.
 Apple Pancake Recipe HERE

Baked "Puff" Pancake
 This pancake is baked in the oven so it can rise and "puff." It's really fun to watch as it rises, and then as it deflates within seconds of taking it out of the oven. It's light but also kind of dense. I just love it with fresh fruit and powdered sugar.

Baked Puff Pancake Recipe HERE

My literal stack of pancakes when I feed this hungry crew of ours. Hope you love the recipes as much as we do. :)

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday Favorites: Summer Loves

I feel like I'm still a bit "off" from last week's festivities, so add in this week's, and... well that's what so great about summer. Who cares? No real schedules anyway.
Jonah arrived home from the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) soccer camp in Atlanta safe and sound last night, so we are all under the same roof again. Always makes my Mama heart feel so much better. He says he had a great week but is so, so tired. And a little crispy. My Mom kept informing me that the UV index was the second most dangerous in...Atlanta. Like every day, in case I'd somehow forgotten. ha ha Thanks, Mom.

So here are some favorites:

Technically, the first one would be the one up above- having everybody together at home.

There's nothing quite as magical as lingering summer nights under the stars and beside the fire with friends and family
And of course S'mores :)

 Peaceful mornings
This is dependent on the baby, yes, but I treasure quiet mornings in the Word
Exploring things together  
This is from our adventure to York, Maine earlier in the week

Pancakes with berries and cream simply cannot be improved upon. (Recipe HERE)
Except for summer's relaxed schedule- that's when they taste even better! No mad rush out the door, no hectic clean-ups before drop-offs (I can't leave the kitchen a mess- can you?). Just time time time to sit and enjoy.
With earplugs at times. Because kids.

We tossed the FCA camp laundry in last night so I don't even have to tackle that this morning! I'll take it! My Mom is coming over for lunch today and we're eating dinner with my in-laws tonight, which is fun and also means that I don't have to cook. Insert all the dancing emojis!! We head over to Vermont on Sunday to bring Caleb to his Armed Forces camp, and it's supposed to rain today and tomorrow (and it did yesterday too) so I don't know what we'll be doing. And it's summer, so I don't care! ha ha

Hope you have a great weekend!

Today I'm sharing with:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Fifteen Months

My baby boy is growing up so very quickly, and while I love to celebrate his milestones and accomplishments, there's usually a bit of grieving involved in the process as well. It's all so bittersweet. Last week, he officially turned fifteen whole months old! 
He is so sweet, sleeping muuuuch better in his own room (until about 4 or 5, and then he transfers to our bed until about 7), is beginning to stand more independently, and is rather opinionated...and not so shy about sharing his opinions, ha!
He still loves to cuddle with Mama, gives the BEST wide open kisses in the world, has a smile that melts stone, and really enjoys visiting the library and reading all the books. Or maybe scooting around and tackling the ginormous stuffed animals there and yanking dozens of books off the shelves. But who can be certain? It's probably because he's a genius. Of course. ;)
Levi can also put on quite the show to get all the laughs (and all the attention, duh), and he still can stare you down to the point of wearing you down and making you look away- this one makes me laugh the most, actually. Strangers always think they will be the one to get him to crack a smile, but no. They are no match for his poker face antics. ha ha ha

I took these on Saturday morning when we were just lounging around after breakfast and having the best time. They make my heart so happy.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Ten on Ten :: July 2017

Monday was the 10th, so I'm sharing ten pictures from our day. It was a very busy and full one!
I love having these posts and looking back on them. I always think I will remember all the details, and I just don't, so I'm glad to capture these moments of our life. 
 A super early morning, and I couldn't get him back to sleep.
He was wired but not super happy...look at that furrowed brow, ha!

 Our big adventure for the day was to drive to Maine to spend the day at York's Wild Animal Kingdom. We had lots of fun!

 I don't know why I have a slightly deranged look on my face, but Levi was semi-happy about riding on the long as he was in my lap and not on a horse.
 To hear her talk, you'd have thought she just stepped off the world's biggest, scariest roller coaster ride, ha ha! So, so funny! I'm glad she had such a nice time. We were getting tired and sticky hot midday, so we got ice cream and sat on a picnic table in the shade.  She went on the kiddie coaster once or twice more and then down an alpine slide a couple times, and we called it a day. 

Crossing back into New Hampshire. I've loved this bridge since I was a little girl.
Which is extremely odd, as I am terrified of most bridges. Terr-i-fied. ha ha

Signs of a good day.
 He was out before we'd even left the parking lot. Little guy was wiped out!
 Oh he would kill me if he knew I was posting this!
It probably doesn't mean a thing to anyone else in the world, but it means the world to me.
He was at his grandparent's house for dinner and he was sending these random and rather hilarious snaps. Then of course he was asking for stuff. Typical. #teenagers ha ha ha

Watching the homerun derby and reading a bit before calling it a night.

Not pictured: we had a late dinner, and then it was my turn to host Craft Night, so it was a bit of a mad rush in there. I was so thankful Levi went to bed without fussing, and with all the noise- these craft ladies are LOUD! My aunt made a cake for our friend's birthday, so we celebrated her before everyone left. Caleb and Bill had been up in our room watching the derby, because now that there's not a baby in there at night, you can do that. (Exactly one month ago, Levi slept in his own room for the very first time and did great. It has taken me this entire month to begin to get used to our new arrangement. Change is so hard.)

  Jonah has been in Atlanta for FCA soccer camp and training since Sunday, so I've missed him- he comes home Thursday night! Hope you're having a great start to the week as well!

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