Saturday, July 19, 2014

A birthday!

Also when my mom was here, I finally turned the ripe old age of 25. A quarter of a century! Am I officially a grown-up now? (I still don't feel like one)

Anyways, we had a really lovely icecream cake and a quiet evening at home with family.

Jesse is always so clever when it comes to my birthday, and this year he didn't disappoint. He decided to give me a Russian birthday this year, in which he showed me an old Russian cartoon with the Russian happy birthday song.  In the song, they tell that a wizard will come in a blue helicopter and give you a present and 3 wishes.

Lo and behold, a wizard in a helicopter appeared!

Not pictured: Jesse, holding a blue sock (aka Wizard's hat) on his head, presenting me with a book for a present and three wishes (one wish for myself, one wish for us to do together, and one wish for me to do less of [aka, chores that Jesse would start doing for me]). 

Honestly, my sweet silly husband doing a Russian dance and pretending to be a wizard with a blue sock on his head made all the presents and wishes in the world unnecessary. I laughed and cried and had such a lovely day!

Thanks Jesse, mom, and Niko, for sharing that day with me! I love you so! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sebright family history trip

A few months ago, my mom discovered that tons of my dad's family were from western Michigan--only a few hours away from where we live! 

It sounds odd that we didn't know this, but my dad was actually adopted by his mom's husband, Edwin Sebright, when he was young. From what I know (correct me if I'm wrong, Dad!) he knew some of his new extended family but not much, and we (and by "we" I mean my mom!) hadn't gotten around to doing the family history work on that side until very recently. 

So when we found out that there were lots of our ancestors buried just two hours from us, we knew we had to go check it out! 

We pulled up in Poplar Hill Cemetery and stumbled right into a set of graves with this great family grave marker:

At this point, we got so excited! We had found some family! Only some of the family were there though, so we then very systematically (those old German Sebrights would have been proud!) search the rest of the graveyard for the rest of the people we were looking for. 

Nikolai was pretty great--he mostly wandered around, occasionally sitting on headstones but mostly being respectful and well-behaved:

Some of these old family plots had little square monogrammed stones at the corners of a rectangle around the plots. This was one around one of ours!

After some searching we finally found the start of the Sebrights in America: Christian and Mary Sebright, who came over from Hannover, Germany in 1859.

Christian's gravestone is even in German!

We went to another graveyard after the first, where we found many more anscestors. All told, I think we came across about 80 Sebright graves (many of which we didn't have on our list to look for)--not a bad day's work!

We also came across this church, which we think is the same as the one that Christian Sebright donated property for to have built. Unfortunately, we were there on a Saturday so there was no one there to ask, but I hope we find information on it soon!

This was such an amazing excursion. I felt conflicted at first when we started researching the Sebright line--after all, they're not my biological ancestors, so shouldn't we research my dad's biological father's family first? But seeing all those gravestones (especially ones of deceased young children), thinking about the lives they might have lived, I felt so close to these people that I used to share a name with.  Even if we don't share the same genes, these people are my people, and I'm so glad to have gotten the chance to see many of their final resting places. 

Silly Niko/Happy Niko

Silly Niko:

Last week when my mom was here, we caught Niko walking around in the empty laundry sack. 

Little green monster! 

Happy Niko:

After checking with tons of stores, we finally found one that had cheap little plastic kiddie pools.  Nikolai thought it was the best! 

I couldn't resist dipping my toes either.

Let me tell ya, if this Michigan summer thing ever really happens this year (it's been extremely mild so far!) then we are gonna love using this baby! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

How we fourth-ed

My mom was here for the fourth of July as well. We spent most of our time at church activities--eating pancakes, having a potluck, and lighting fireworks!  

At the potluck, they had some baby pools and a hose, which was basically all Nikolai ever wanted (seriously, I don't think he ate a thing!)

Someone also brought a homemade bottle rocket, which was a huge hit with everyone.

Later we all trucked over to the church parking lot to light off whatever cheap fireworks people had brought. The pyro in me obviously loved this part (I mean, being allowed to set things on fire? So fun!) and it seemed like other people enjoyed it too. 

Nikolai, for his part, put the sparkler boxes on his arms and ran around being a robot. 


It was a lovely fourth of July! 

Grandma came to visit!

 I'm so ridiculously behind on posting--2 1/2 weeks ago, my mom came to visit! We had a really lovely time while she was here :) 

Nikolai loved getting chased and playing peek a boo!

Grandma brought a Thomas painting and coloring book, and Niko was determined to paint every single spot on the page!

We went to a local science center and saw some awesome birds of prey:

and Nikolai climbed on a rock and shouted "I climb a da mountain!"

We went mini-golfing (mom won!):

And Nikolai rode some of the local wildlife:

We went to the hands on museum, where my lovely mama wasn't afraid of being silly in public:

And Jesse and Niko pushed a gigantic spinning block!

More pictures to come! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A long while ago, we went camping

Last month (almost a month ago now!) we got together a group of people and went camping again! It was a little rainy that evening, which I was worried about, but there was plenty of treecover and our friends were great sports so it ended up being great!

One brilliant friend had the idea to make corn on the cob over the campfire, which turned out AMAZING. 

Other friends brought salad, hotdogs, vegetables, etc :) It was a fun and yummy dinner! 

The little boys had SO much fun wandering around:

Not long after dinner, the s'mores came out. We got a little creative and made cookie s'mores and brownie s'mores--and let me tell you, they were awesome!!!

Sometimes the little boys went wandering. We found Jesse bringing two of them back (he had been wandering with them):

I thought the campfire coals were especially beautiful.

Sleeping in the tents went fine for most of us (though I think one toddler had a rough time of it) and we all woke up in the morning fresh and ready for a little hike. 

We found this gorgeous (though admittedly mosquito infested!) trail a little ways from our campsite and gave it a go. 

It had been super wet out, and the water on the foliage was gorgeous! 

So was this view. I could drink in that sight every day. 

Nikolai loved running around in the woods (though he got more mosquito bites than all of us!).

We had such a lovely time! Thanks for camping with us, friends! 

We also went strawberry picking

Berries in Michigan are kind of a Big Deal. We loved going picking last year so we decided to do it again this year! 

Having friends along for the ride made it very enjoyable :D

I think we ended up with like 7 lbs! These strawberries didn't last long though--they got frozen to make smoothies, blended up to make popsicles, and then the rest were quickly consumed :)

We love our fun friends!

This little sweetie sat by her mama's basket and ate the berries almost as fast as her mama could pick them! I think she had the best time of all :)

Yay for fresh berries!