Friday, July 30, 2010


So - with Michael back at work in the movie business he has been unusually busy and away from the family a lot lately... in order to make his long days a little easier I have gotten into the habit of sending him daily pictures. Just as in film-making all the film that is shot during the day is printed for quick viewing I have been trying to keep Michael up to date on all our happenings while he is away. What did we ever do without technology? This from the girl that swore I would never have a digital camera and pledged permanent allegiance to my 35mm film. Well... it has been a long time since I have been in a darkroom, and I am really thankful that Michael can get these pictures on his phone. That said - NO - I will not add a texting plan to my phone, and I am not going to get a facebook account. (Although if I have learned one thing from parenting - it is never say never!)

Friday, July 23, 2010

What A Wonderful World

Last weekend (7/18) we celebrated Yia Yia Linda's birthday. She said the greatest birthday gift was the fact that Miles spent his first night away on Saturday at her house.
We had an impromptu birthday dinner at our house on Sunday, and Yia Yia Liz came up for the celebration. It was a nice way to honor a very special woman in all of our lives. As I set the table I grabbed the "special occasion" silverware that we got when we were married. When I was a little girl I remember my parents always pulled out the "fancy" silverware to mark special occasions. When I saw them bring out the wooden box it was held in, I knew that we were in for a celebration. Each meal enjoyed with the family silverware was made more exceptional because of this simple addition to the table. As a little girl it never occurred to me that one day I would be setting my own dinner table, and I would need my own special dinnerware.
Before our wedding Michael and I engaged in all the normal planning and preparation. This included the very consumer oriented practice of registering for gifts. It was almost overwhelming to make a list of things we wanted/needed our sweet friends and family to give us. I remember one day we were rushing around busily checking things off our list. My head was swimming and I was exhausted by all the options. The idea of finding something that would last a lifetime and hold that sentiment that I carried from my childhood for our own dinner table seemed impossible. Michael and I had separated in the big store we were shopping in (I'm pretty sure he was busy tagging EVERY picture frame they offered :-) and I was wandering through the dinnerware section. Then suddenly, like I was in a movie, I saw them... I don't mean to sound melodramatic - this is just silverware we are talking about - but really, it was intense! As if on cue the music that is piped in to "accent" your shopping experience did just that. The beginning notes of "What A Wonderful World" sung by the very grandfatherly voice of Louis Armstrong filled the air...

I see trees of green, red roses to.
I see them bloom, for me and you.
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue, clouds of white.
Bright blessed days, dark sacred nights.
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty, in the sky.
Are also on the faces, of people, going by.
I see friends shaking hand, saying how do you do?
They're really saying I love you.

I hear babies cry, I watch them grow.
They'll learn much more, than I 'll ever know.
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.
Yes - I think to myself.
What a wonderful world!

I wandered over to the Mother of Pearl silverware as the music played. As I ran my hand over the display set I imagined all the special dinners we would serve. All of the holidays, and birthdays, and just for fun pancake dinners where we would use these knives and forks and spoons. I imagined the little hands of our children learning to hold them. I thought about the fact that when they saw these utensils they would know that it was time to have a memorable meal. Needless to say Michael found me crying over the silverware display. Also on cue a salesperson appeared to help us add them to the registry...

...the rest is history. We have begun the process of enjoying the many meals we will share as a family using our "fancy" silverware. As you can see Miles is learning what to do with a spoon.

SO today as we celebrate our five year anniversary I can't help but find myself looking back at how far we've come. I know one thing for sure, that with Michael and Miles in my life, this is truly a wonderful world!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Greens from the Garden

As the summer goes, so does our garden continue to grow and grow. We have had some major problems with rabbits this year causing the beets, peas, spinach, chard, and head lettuce harvest to be almost non-existent. However, we have a new system for staking our tomatoes and this has been the best year for green beans so far. I guess it is a give and take, and every year we learn something new as we overcome some other challenge. With all this learning, one day we might be really great gardeners :-)
Dill beginning to blossom - dilly beans should be coming soon!
Basil is thriving, we have already frozen several batches of pesto in addition to lots of pesto pizza being served at our house lately!
Blossoms and baby beans.
Flowers and fruit... I can almost taste the tomatoes!
Greens, greens, and more greens!
We bagged about ten gallons of leaf lettuce, and four of arugula. We gave lots away to tenants at the apartments, used some for a dinner party this past weekend, and we have been eating salads constantly around here!
Miles helped from the stroller - talking to me all along while I washed and spun lettuce in the garden.
One of my personal favorites is this "Freckles" lettuce. It adds color and a soft little leaf to any salad. Unfortunately the rabbits seems to love it too - it has been a fight to let them get large enough to harvest.
Rabbits do not like arugula however. Lucky for me because I love it! We have had a constant supply since early spring and I cannot get enough. Some of the plants have bolted and sent up their sweet little spires capped with delicate flowers... I am happy to let them go to assure next seasons harvest!

Miles sat with me towards the end of the harvesting and I can hardly believe how big he is now. He is so inquisitive and he loves to be a part of any and all activity taking place around him. As Yia Yia Liz says, "He doesn't miss a thing."

I imagine next summer he will have a little trowel and help me plant the seeds. For now he seems content to oversee the work that needs to be done.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

First Swim

Just a few pictures from Miles' first swim in the pool. We jumped in on the 4th to beat the heat and to celebrate the holiday with a quiet afternoon at home. At first he was a bit tentative, then he seemed to really love sprawling out in the cool water.

We ended the evening the same way we have the last few years since we discovered we can view the downtown fireworks magnificently right from our bedroom window. All that swimming must have worn him out because Miles slept through the entire display. He continued to slumber even as the popping and bombing extended throughout the night in the neighborhood. So - maybe next year he'll catch his first glimpse of the fireworks. This year swimming was the highlight!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Childhood Friends

So - this post is a bit overdue because - this reunion actually took place back in June (6/4). We had a wonderful visit with our friends Josh and Monica and our boy got to meet their boy Anthony who was born on February 28th.
The proud parents took many a photo as we enjoyed a beautiful evening together, and a delicious meal prepared by Josh's mother.

Michael and Josh have known each other since they were kids. Their friendship includes their shared musical talent, and now they can add fatherhood to the list!

We loved watching our boys play together. I think deep inside we are hoping that the children of these childhood friends can become childhood friends themselves :-) I think they will - despite the distance - with a little extra effort from their parents.

Besides - I think Miles thinks that Anthony has some really cool toys at his Grandma's house, so he'll come over to play whenever he can!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Just Married

Alright - finally - the "Wedding Post" has arrived. Wow - what a week of fun we had! Miles met his cousin Sloane for the first time and got to spend a little time with him and Uncle David watching the World Cup before the rehearsal.
The rehearsal dinner was delicious; all the food was provided by the amazing Marie Catrib! Marie loves babies and I am happy that Miles gets to receive some of her kindness & love. I look forward to the day when she can nourish him with her cooking too.
The soups she made were so yummy, and they tasted especially great because they were served in the one-of-a-kind mugs my mother had made for David and Sarah to commemorate the event!
This group loves to throw parties - every detail was perfect and I think that both the Van't Hof and the Laughter families really enjoyed sharing some quality time before the big event!
The next thing we knew the wedding day had arrived! The bridal party met at the church for hair and makeup. That included Miles, as you can see. I love this shot of his little outfit hanging next to our dresses!
My Grandmother came early and got to spend some time with us before the wedding began - didn't she look so beautiful! Then the time we had been waiting for arrived. Sarah made the transition from bride-to-be to gorgeous bride. While the groom raced out for some last minute paperwork :-) we took some family photos in the parlor.
Guests arrived for the ceremony that was like none other I have ever attended. I love weddings. I love to look at the groom the moment he sees the bride. This time it was especially touching since the groom was my little brother, and my brother Matt and I were both standing up for them as Best Man and Matron of Honor. When they shared their vows I fought back tears, but they were tears of utter happiness. I am so thrilled that both my brothers have found the loves of their lives and I am so incredibly ecstatic for them! The service was thoughtful and highlighted by both mothers reading versus and prayers that were part of their own wedding ceremonies. However, the true pinnacle came when the bride sang a love song to the groom - in German! WOW! That is all I can say. Sarah's talent was awe inspiring, and although I think everyone enjoyed the performance it really seemed as though she was singing just to David, and we were just lucky enough to get to listen in. Throughout the service I could hear Miles babbling. He loves to wave his fingers in front of his lips lately and entertain himself with the sounds he can make. I found myself thinking that I wish for him such happiness one day. Right now it seems a million years away, but I know the time will come that he will fall in love.

Here is the first official family photo taken with Aunt Sarah and Uncle David - the newlyweds!
Here is the picture that will be used as the Laughter Family Annual Christmas Card.
Uncle Matt gave a really marvelous toast that was a perfect blend of sentiment and humor and it made everyone laugh and then cry.
I love this picture I snapped of Sarah with J.P. and Charles - the lighting was perfect, and as the sun dropped towards the horizon laughter and celebration filled the air. Dinner was served, and dancing began.
Then the Full Strawberry Moon rose high into the sky marking the end of a party that this family will reminisce over for years to come! By then Miles was fast asleep at home, thanks to Yia Yia Linda.

So here's to the three most wonderful people who have been brave enough to join the Laughter clan! I have the best husband and sisters a girl could ever ask for.

Other highlights of the week included Miles meeting his cousin Chelsea (also for the first time). It was so good to see her, but much too short a visit!
We also found time to celebrate Sloane's graduation and upcoming attendance at Texas Tech - an accomplishment he is darn proud of - as he should be! We are so proud of you too Sloane!

As we ate dinner we passed Miles around the table and everyone got a chance to love on him. Just wish family was not so far away - we feel your love from here, but it would be so much fun to go out to dinner together much more often.

It was a true week of celebration brought on by the love of Sarah and David. We really do count our blessings daily and we are forever grateful for the love of family that we share! Now that both my bro's are married we are going to have to find some new reasons to throw a party around here.