Ode to the Frying Pan

This post is a simple ode to Frying Pan Park! If you are new to the area and haven’t checked it out with your kids it is a must do! This little farm is tucked away behind our neighborhood. We pass it on the way to preschool and Owen calls out to the big bull with the ring in his nose. If you have never been it is a public park (thanks, Fairfax county!) but also a working farm. It houses horses, pigs, bunnies, horses, chickens….. the barns are open so that people can walk through and interact with the animals. There are tons of activities for families. One of our favorites last year was the Thursday night concerts in the park.  We pop over every so often and our kids never grow tired of it. While we miss the Aare River in our neighborhood in Switzerland, I think Frying Park is our mini local attraction!

A couple of weeks ago before the crazy artic weather came we went over to the park to get some energy out. The boys ran freely and loved checking in on the animals.  MaryAnne had her first farm experience. She mostly just enjoyed the experience of outside air…since she has been holding up in the house most days!

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Y’all. It’s snow day 3, Day 4 at home because of MLK Day, and Day 5 of the nastiest cold I have had in years. And somehow by the grace of God all three of my children are alive, well and we are actually enjoying these days together. Having a newborn has made me discover that deep within this fast-moving, extroverted, long to-do list girl, is a homebody. The other day I wore jeans and a pretty scarf and Seth said “wow you look so nice today”- read: it’s amazing what getting out of yoga pants does for you! He’s right, clothes aren’t a bad thing but pj’s sure are nice when you are sleep deprived and you know the snow will keep away unexpected visitors!  I am pretty sure this cold has disabled my reaction mode enough that insanity has not been able to set it.










No really, for the first time in a long time I have pulled out crafts and puzzles and card games and in between feedings and baby bouncing the boys and I have unplugged a bit. We’ve made homemade granola bars and eaten many a bowls of hot soup. I have enjoyed our moments of calm and the inability to make plans here and there. It’s all here. Today we will brave Target and I think it’s safe to say I will come home to this haven so thankful to be home and I will have gotten my fix.












And now for something that will rock your world (slight over statement) after a whole lot of nothing to share. If you are needing a cozy winter dessert try this yummy treat I saw on Pintrest (there are a few versions out there) ….mini cast iron skillet, sprinkle with broken chocolate bar or choc chips, topped with marshmallows! Pop in the oven on low heat then turn on broiler for a min or two to toast the marshmallows. Use graham crackers for dipping! You’ll never go back to attempting to bite into a s’more…you get all the s’mores goodness without the mess!    20140122_204752For those of you that insist on reading a real recipe here is one of the links from pintrest. 









Hope you are all staying warm and cozy!  Here’s to maintaining sanity until the temperatures relent!



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In an effort to sum up our year….here it goes. Disclaimer: if you aren’t a grandmother of our children you might just be bored to pieces. Consider yourself warned :)

most well read









2013 was a great year of reading for Jackson. He went from not being very interested in writing classmate names on valentine’s in feb to writing short books and loving reading! It’s been fun to watch his confidence grow. Jackson turned 6 this year and lost his first tooth. He continues to enjoy school, soccer and added choir to his list this past fall. He is sweet, energetic and has shown great maturity this year.  He loves to lead Owen in back yard expeditions and raids.  We are working through the process of learning to be a kind leader :) Pretty soon he’ll be smarter than me!

early bird









Owen continues to hold the award for earliest riser and show no signs of being conformed. He is up in the 5 o’ clock hour and ready for his day. Owen turned 4 this year and loves life. Unless of course he is unhappy in which case…not so much. He has grown up so much this past year. He loves being a big brother and tolerates being younger than Jackson. He holds his own and steps up to the plate to keep up with his older brother.  He enjoys doing homework along side of Jackson and has shown lots of interest in art this year.   He is still our cuddly guy and jumps at any chance for a hug or back scratch.

newest, sweetest and most high maintenance!! 





















MaryAnne wins this by a landslide! This girl has stolen our hearts and rocked our world. With tears and smiles, peaceful cuddles and late night screaming she has graced our home with her presence and for that we are so very thankful.   Early on we discovered that MaryAnne had some issues with her soft spot on her head, her airway (she has laryngeal malacia) and some pretty severe reflux. We are so thankful that gradually all of these things are resolving and are looking forward to them all hopefully resolving fully with her growth and maturing.

most productive









Seth plowed through projects this year on the house. While I do get credit for growing a human, that was minimal compared to him continuing to make progress with the project list on top of keeping us afloat.  Seth continues to take his long commute in stride and jumps in when he gets home to help with the kids, house etc. He coached Jackson’s soccer team again this year and enjoyed being out on the field with the kids and parents.

most likely to fall asleep during a conversation and most recent coffee addict

that would be me. I started the year intensely studying for boards to jump back into work and ended the year with a newborn! It’s been a wild year. I spent much of the year adjusting to life juggling kiddos at home and patients at work. It was exciting in many ways to get back into the work place but also challenging to keep things going at home. Our wonderful sitter Rebekah nurtured our boys on the home front.  I had some complications with my pregnancy that caused me to end work a bit earlier than expected in late October. We rode the wild roller coaster of waiting for sister to finally arrive…not early as expected but a week late! I have been humbled by the generosity of our awesome friends here who have popped over with delicious meals and have picked up boys and have been so supportive of us in our tired, crazy transition!  The holiday season in addition to recovering from a c-section and an uncomfortable baby nearly did me in.













hottest trip

And by this I do not mean some romantic, exotic getaway :), I mean our family vacation in Texas in scorching July weather this summer for a Kolb reunion and to meet our new niece Grace!  We also got to spend some time with my grandmother!

























most growth despite us

our garden was our family project of the year. It brought me great joy to see it grow, despite our experimenting! We left it for 2 weeks in July and came back to a jungle. Thankfully, it continued to thrive late into the summer. And by the end of the season when I threw in the towel from being hot and big pregnant it kept on…even when we were tomatoed out!




























most likely to overthrow the parents…and gentle giants

partners in crime, double trouble, two peas in a pod, best friends and sometimes worst enemies. These guys love each other well and combine forces daily! While I find myself completely knocked over by their exuberance and combined energy it has been a pleasure watching their bond grow this year. I hope their friendship continues to grow and that they will be with each other through thick and thin. They also get the gentle giant awards this year. Their tenderness with MaryAnne is surprising to watch. While she might get suffocated or trampled by their enthusiasm she will not go unloved!












most likely to charm the teachers

Owen began preschool!





















most likely to be out numbered in 2014

We celebrated our 8 year anniversary in December and in November we officially became out-numbered with the addition of a 3rd child. Pardon the grainy phone pic…it may just be the only picture of the two of us we snapped in year 8! Here’s to more pictures of us together and on dates in 2014!













most unexpected gift of 2013

MaryAnne takes the cake on this one too! We started 2013 with adoption on our hearts and minds. Little did we know that God was preparing us for a daughter!









Once again as we reflect on another year for our family we can see God’s faithfulness and provision. We are thankful for you, our friends and family and think of you all often. The Christmas cards from 2013 have been tied together with twine and it is our goal to pray for you in the coming year!



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