Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas Carol

Forgot to post this earlier this month:
Jakob and I were in the Abbeville Opera House Player's performance of A Christmas Carol. We both played townspeople. Jakob did a wonderful job of listening to the director, following stage directions, staying quiet backstage, and being his fun, energetic self on stage. I'm very proud of his debut performance!

An encounter with Santa

Jakob had a girl in his class who told him that Santa wasn't real. She told him that his mom and dad just wrap the gifts. Even though we did our best to convince him otherwise, he still went to bed on Christmas Eve with a little doubt. So last night's events couldn't have had better timing.

Just after midnight, I (Matt) heard noises in the living room. When I went to investigate, I discovered Santa in our very own house! I woke up Tracy, and we grabbed the camera. We watched him work for a few minutes, and we were able to take a few pictures. But then he discovered us: he looked over his shoulder at us, grabbed his bag, and (rather than go up the chimney) he walked right out of our (locked) garage door. By the time we made it across the room to the garage door, Santa was gone, but he had left more presents in the garage. (we figured out later that he still had more gifts to leave, but didn't want to continue to work while we were watching). And here's the amazing thing--when we reached the garage door, it was locked. Somehow he opened and closed the door while it was locked! He really must be magic.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


The kids had a great time this Halloween. When we asked them what they wanted to be, they each knew right away. Ava wanted to be Rapunzel and Jakob decided to continue with Star Wars and be Yoda (last year he was Obi Wan.)

Monday, August 16, 2010

1st day of school

Summer's over, and it's time to get back to work.
Jakob's starting 2nd grade, and today is Ava's very first day of kindergarten.
They were both excited, and both really like their teachers. We were a little worried that Ava would be scared, but when it came time to walk her to her class, she just said, "ok, bye" and then walked off. Tracy and I were devastated that she didn't cry or want us. She just simply walked away. We both spent the day in a quiet house in disbelief that Jakob is another year older and that our little girl is growing up.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

It's finally done!

It's finally done. After days in the high 90 degrees heat, several pulled muscles, two bee stings, dodging carpenter bees, and multiple trips to Lowes, it done. And the kids love it. Unfortunately it's been too hot for them to play outside. Hopefully, it'll cool down soon for them.

Ava and Jake in front of the treehouse.

Ava climbing up ladder to the "hatch"

Monday, June 7, 2010

Two Good Lessons

Today, we spent the day in downtown Abbeville. We needed to run some errands, so we decided to make it fun.
First, we checked out the historic opera house. It was too gorgeous inside NOT to take pictures to share. There is a community theater that still runs out of it here. Tracy is trying to persuade me to audition for a play here sometime. ... ... ... It's been a LONG time since I've been on stage, but maybe someday once the new job settles down and the kids are too cool to hang out with me anymore. This picture doesn't do the theater justice, but you can see one of the side, private boxes for the audience. The stage is off to the right.

Then we did a historic walking tour (complete with a stop for ice cream) that took us past some gorgeous old homes--all the while we learned about the Civil War history here in town. Turns out that it all began here on what is now called "Secession Hill" where leaders of South Carolina decided to secede from the Union. And there are stables downtown that were used by the Confederacy, and the fountain pictured here was used as a trough for Confederate horses.

Also, the area used to be a non-combative hospital area, and we visited a cemetery where both Union and Confederate soldiers are buried. These here are place markers for Confederate graves (CSA=Confederate States of America).

Then there is the Burk-Stark mansion where Jefferson Davis's generals convinced him to surrender to the North, which he did, officially ending the Civil War. They give tours of the mansion, so stay tuned for a post when we actually take the tour.
So all in all, you could say that the Civil War began and ended here in Abbeville.

So on to the real story-- as we were walking on the tour, Matt decided to give Jakob and Ava one of his famous "history stories"--to tell them about the Civil War, so that they know why these sites are important. No sooner did he get past the idea of state's rights, when suddenly Jakob took over, telling us all about the Civil War! And in a lot of detail too! We found out that he learned all about the War this past year in school. What they don't teach kids in first grade anymore! When I was his age, I think I was just learning to master coloring and spelling my name. And I'm still working on the coloring. And then the boy asks to go to the library to get books about the Civil War. Man alive!

Lesson Number Two: In the middle of our discussion on war, Ava looked at Tracy and ever so innocently said, "Mommy, instead of fighting, they should have just *talked* about it?" It's amazing how clear kids can make things. (then Jakob, realizing that half of his cousins live in the North, added, "yeah, then you wouldn't have cousins fighting against cousins.") Quite an amazing discussion to have with kids.

Ok, this post is getting long, but it was a great day! And a good history lesson from Jakob, and a great lesson on peace from Ava.

Friday, June 4, 2010

testing 1,2,3...testing, testing...1,2,3...

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Belk Hall, where my office is