Archive for June, 2009

June 29, 2009

the brothers K

i’m not the best writer and don’t really know how to write a book review, but in any case i should’ve written this a week ago.  i hate that i’ve already forgotten so much about the book.

on the back cover of The Brothers K (by david james duncan), there is a quote that calls it “ambitious”.  it is that, to say the very least.  it is an extremely detailed, personal, enveloping story of an American family during the 1950’s/60’s/70’s as told by the youngest son, kinkaid.  papa is a warm, talented baseball pitcher with a seemingly bright future in the majors.  mama is a religious loving mother with a troubled past.  they have a quick romance, marry, and then bring forth 4 boys and twin girls (in that order). 

the story that kinkaid tells is one of simple life pleasures and complicated family hurts.  duncan’s character development is astounding, as he knows each of the 8 central characters unbelievably well….knowing even more than kinkaid (as a memeber of the family) could’ve known, had he been real.  duncan follows each character’s involvement in the story’s themes which always seem to have something to do with church/God, baseball, and, well, family.

duncan successfully draws many emotions out of the reader (at least he did out of me): happiness, anger, relief, hurt&despair, confusion, triumph, and even fright.  thanks to his outstanding knowledge of each character, and of the details of the times and places in which they live, the book feels like a really really good movie.  the title is derived from “The Brother Karamazov”, a classic novel by Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  i’m embarrassed to say i’ve never read it, but from what i’ve read about it, Duncan was definitely highly influenced by it.  (Wikipedia says that “The Brothers Karamazov” portrays a patricide in which each of the murdered man’s sons share varying degrees of complicity. On a deeper level, it is a spiritual drama of moral struggles concerning faith, doubt, reason, free will and modern Russia.  This is definitely extremely similar to the story kinkaid tells.)  however, i think that by naming the book “The Brothers K”, Duncan was referring to the fact that the boys’ father was a long-time baseball pitcher.  “K” in baseball is the character used when a batter strikes out, which, for a pitcher, is a good thing.

like i said before, i don’t know how to write a book review, but i wanted to write something about this book because I LOVED IT and i want everyone i know to read it and love it too!  it does contain some language and some brief sexual references, but much of the story is about 4 teenaged boys, so i thought it was just authentic.

now go get it and start reading!!

June 28, 2009


it’s weird to be at home on a sunday morning…  ryan went out on the drift boat early this morning, so i’m waiting on him to get home and we’ll go to the late service.  layne loves this plan because she actually gets to nap in her own bed as opposed to not napping at all like most other sundays.  here are some random things going on right now:

  • on friday my friend kristen watched layne all day so i could drive harper up to gainesville (to my sister’s).  mom had driven down with owen (my nephew) and was picking up harper, and hannah and justin (my sister’s kids).  on the way home i stopped at an outlet mall in orlando for a few hours.  it was so nice to just wander around for a little bit and take as long as i wanted in each store.  everytime i saw a stroller with a kid in it (which was like every 4 seconds), i would gigle silently out of sheer delight that i wasn’t pushing one.
  • i just stumbled upon this article and it made me so incredibly sad.  i am scared to death of what America will be like when my girls are old enough to marry.  sometimes i feel like the most important parts of our lives are being chipped away and there’s nothing we can do about it.  i hate living in such a selfish indulgent world.
  • ryan’s off work on friday and then saturday we’ll be driving up to the beach house in melbourne/sebastian for a week.  i can’t wait!  this is the first year we’ve had a repeat for the BFR (buerke family reunion) location and it’s so much fun to know where we’re going and what to expect.  it’s also fun to think about where we were last year at this time.  crazy that it’s been a year already.
  • since coming back from NC a week ago, i have had ZERO motivation to do anything.  cleaning supplies have been sitting on the counter in the girls’ bathroom for a week.  i cooked no meals last week…seriously.  everything was either frozen or from the pantry.  i should be ashamed of myself letting layne set one finger on our filthy kitchen floor, much less letting her crawl all over it.  i just dried a load of laundry that sat in the washer for 3 days.  i have no idea what’s gotten into me (or out of me, i guess), but i don’t like it.  granted, i wasn’t feeling great for the first 2 or 3 days we were back, but man i need to snap out of it.  i need to go work on my bible study right now, actually. 


June 25, 2009

NC pictures IV: random

IMG_1110this is us on a walk around the “neighborhood” where the house was.  it was a paved road with huge steep hills.  layne LOVED riding in this carrier thing (thanks, charlene!).  i think harper was a little jealous, although she was piggyback on me for much of the walk…she even ate a snack while she was riding.  here are a few more of the same walk/hike/whatever:

the next one is a picture of my toes after harper painted them for me.  can’t remember if it was her idea or mine, but she had fun.  the excess came off after like 2 showers.  looking at this picture, i’m thinking: my feet are SO different than they were before i had kids.  why does pregnancy change EVERYTHING?


this is ryan trying to pull a huge splinter out of harper’s big toe.  she was absolutely hysterical…i’m sure it hurt, but it was her first splinter, so i think she was more scared than anything.  look how white her little knuckles were…i told her to squeeze as hard as she could and it wouldn’t hurt so bad…i was trying everything to get her mind off of it.  i pinched her arm (which just made her madder), shoved a popsicle in her face, and something else that i can’t remember now.  when he finally got that thing out i burst into tears.  it was so hard to see her freaking out and being held down like that…i have so much sympathy for moms with sick kids…i cannot imagine watching doctors work on my kid all the time.

this picture is pretty self-explanatory.  i love harper’s new carseat, but it’s one disadavantage is that it doesn’t recline unless the seat it’s sitting on does.  this one didn’t.  it hurts my neck just to look at her.

June 24, 2009

NC pictures III: the house

IMG_1107the house we stayed in was great.  it was fairly secluded, cozy, roomy, and had everything we needed and more (there was a ping pong table in the basement that we really never got around to using).  here are some pictures of the happenings at the house and of the views from the house.

first, a pancake breakfast.  we ate GOOD while we were there.

next, a smokey mountain sunrise.



sunset from the deck

another view of another sunset

this picture didn’t really come out (why can i still not figure out what ISO to use when?), but it shows another view from the deck…

the girls had fun watching the sneaky squirrel…he was alot more persistent that i think i’d be…that birdseed must be really good.

harper’s tent and the awesome porch swing (looked out to the lake).  i miss that swing!!



shooting gordon’s pellet gun.  they set up some “targets” in the yard (mostly trash…pizza and cereal boxes).  it was alot of fun to shoot…even harper tried it.


playing with some “shooters” (water guns).  i think this was one of harper’s favortie things we did…maybe because when her clothes got too wet i let her take them off.  she kept telling erin and i to get naked too.


“exploring”.  she really did figure out how to see through them.  i think in this picture she’s trying to look at what daddy and opa are shooting.


one night as we were going to bed there was a crazy lightning storm.  it was so cool because we went out on the deck to watch and take pictures and it took a good 20 minutes for it to reach us…after that we went in a turned off all the lights and watched it from inside.  i’ll never forget that.


i like this picture.  i think he looks like a little garden statue.


June 24, 2009

NC pictures II: fields of the wood

this is one of the wierdest places i’ve ever been (in america, at least).  yes, i am a christian, and yes, i love God’s word.  however, to see the 10 commandments written in 4 foot tall concrete letters and laid out on the side of a hill doesn’t move me to feel…anything, really.  we stopped here on our way home from the waterfall (that’s why, you’ll notice, harper is still only wearing her Jane Fonda getup).


(at the bottom of the hill there was a replica of the tomb that didn’t look AT ALL like what i think the real tomb did, a hill with 3 crosses, and a pathway up the other hill that was lined with Psalms monuments or something…we didn’t go over there)



there were stairs inside the big “book” at the top…we climbed up on top of it, but you couldn’t get close enough to the edge to get a picture of anyone looking down.


June 23, 2009

NC pictures I: the waterfall

this place was called coker creek falls.  it took us about an hour and a half, two stops, and some time on the internet to find it, but when we did it was well worth it.  these types of places are pretty much ideal to me…running water, big rocks, and no crowds.  it was so fun to get to share it with harper…she loved it (as you can tell from the first picture).

ryan told her to stand on the rock and not to move.  she obeyed.  🙂

the girls on the trail…this place would’ve been cool even without the water…the trail was very well worn, but still a little challenging…parallel with the side of a hill.



wedgie.  🙂2009_06_16_1207

coming in from testing out the current speed for us.  (yes, i’m kidding)2009_06_16_1162

June 23, 2009

NC vacation, (belated) part 3

thursday morning i woke up still not feeling so great.  gordon, erin, and ryan had been gone since 7:00…we’d rented a pontoon boat for the day and they were trying to do some early morning fishing.  didn’t catch a thing.  the rest of us joined them for lunch and we rented a tube to pull behind the boat.  we cruised around and stopped at a little waterfall that we’d been directed to on wednesday (by the marina staff).  harper hated riding on the tube…she was scared to death…surprised us all.  we parked the boat and all went back up to the house for a nap/rest.  after naptime and an early dinner, sherry stayed home with the kids (thank you) so the rest of could go back down to the boat.  we tubed and rode around until 7:00 when the boat had to be back.  it was alot of fun…very relaxing to just sit in the front of the boat and feel the wind on my face.  after the kids went to bed that night, we played uno spin.

on friday morning, the guys stayed with the kids so erin, sherry, and i could go into town (about 30 minutes away) to some antique stores.  we had a good time browsing, but made no major purchases…i got an antique postcard for ryan (monkeys riding a tricycle) and erin got harper an adorable pair of slip-on keds at a consignment store.  as soon as we got back to the house, ryan and gordon and i all threw some sandwiches in a bag (thanks once again to sherry!) and took off for the nantahala river.  erin decided not to go because she did something to her knee on thursday and it was really hurting her.  we missed her, for sure, but i think she made a wise decision.  we went rafting for about 2 hours (great time…wish i’d have risked taking my camera because we never got wet above the waist) and then headed back through town to pick up some zaxby’s for dinner.

saturday was the drive back to orlando.  i hardly slept on friday night because layne was up alot and i was coughing all night so i was TIRED and grouchy, but the trip went pretty well.  we got back around 6:00, had some pizza, and harper got in the pool for a little while.  ryan and i headed home on sunday morning.  my house is a disaster, still, and i really shouldn’t be blogging, but layne is asleep and harper’s watching a movie…

next post: pictures!

June 21, 2009

sunday night

we got home today around 1:00.  i’m planning on uploading pictures and writing part 3 of my trip journal tomorrow.  just put both girls to bed and i’m planning on reading for the rest of the night…this book is incredible and i am so close to finishing it!

June 17, 2009

NC vacation, part 2

everybody else is at the pool.  i’m not feeling well today…started to lose my voice last night and this morning i just woke up all achy and feeling beat-down.  it sucks to be “sick” on vacation, but honestly, i’d rather be sick here while i have help than at home when i have to be a sick mommy.

i’m “lounging” on a loungechair on the back deck, once again taking in the fantastic view.  i was out here for about an hour before i went in to get the computer, reading, and not reading…just lounging.  it’s so nice just to sit and listen to the many many birds and to watch the boats paint lines on the lake.  there’s a hummingbird feeder and a seed feeder about 10 feet in front of me and lots of birds are taking turns getting a snack.

the expedition just pulled up, so i need to wrap this up (time for dinner and the kids’ baths), but here’s a re-cap of what we’ve been up to since my last post:

  • yesterday morning we headed into “town” for a flea-market that i’d seen on the way here saturday (we figured a tuesday flea market had to be good for antiques and what-not).  turned out to be crowded and hot, but fun…good for a change of pace.  [all i bought were some “pop-it’s” that harper is now popping on the deck next to me.  she throws them as hard as she can, and then if that doesn’t work, she pounds them with a fly swatter.]  erin got some really cool gold owl bookends for $5. 
  • after lunch and naps (everybody but layne…UGH), we headed out in the expedition to find a waterfall to hike to.  when we finally found it (after about an hour), the trail and the waterfall were SO much fun.  i can’t wait to post pictures, but even they won’t do it justice.  it was a wide creek littered with huge dry rocks to climb on…i seriously morph into a 10 year old anytime i’m around a combination of running water and rocks, but this time it was even more fun because harper was wading in the calm water and jumping across the rocks just like we were (with help, of course).
  • we’ve played rummikub the past few nights….once we figured it out, it was alot of fun.
  • this (late) morning, we set out to go fishing on the lake…thought we’d get a canoe or two.  sherry stayed here with layne…she doesn’t care much for fishing.  i was close to staying here, but figured i’d go and help with harper, even though i didn’t really feel like fishing.  i was so glad i went because gordon ended up renting a pontoon boat for an hour.  it was so fun just to cruise the lake and watch harper swim with aunt erin.  we’re renting it for a full day tomorrow…hopefully i’ll be feeling up to going out on it for a few hours.
  • we came home and took a nap and i’ve pretty much felt like crap since i woke up.  luckily there are eager hands helping with the kids (thanks guys!!).  off to dinner.

love to all!

June 15, 2009

NC vacation, part 1

this is my third try to post from the NC vacation house.  i’ve tried twice from the desktop computer they have here, and both times i’ve given up on waiting for my dashboard to load.  i think the internet is satellite, but for some reason ryan’s laptop is much faster.  so, here i am and of course the batteries are about to die.

okay we’re good…i’m plugged in.  unfortunately, needing to plug in meant i had to come in to the couch instead of posting from the porch swing on the deck with the INCREDIBLE view.  i don’t have the capabilities to easily post pictures, so i’m just going to wait until i get back and then i guess add them in later.

we’re finishing up day two in the NC smokey mountains.  the house we’re staying in is nestled (cliche’, but the only word i can think of to really describe it) high on a hill above a lake.  the back deck lends an amazing 180 degree view of 30 different shades of green, the glassy lake, and layers upon layers of blue, charcoal gray, and dark green “mountains” (they’re small mountains…more like huge hills).  the entire back side of the a-frame house is a wall of windows.  it’s been so calming to constantly be hit in the face with such a view…to wake up in the morning and barely be able to see across the lake due to the “smoke” that covers everything, and then to see it descend again around this time of night (8:30…and it’s still light out).  layne got up early yesterday (around 7:00) and it was the first morning in forever that i was actually happy to be awake and outside.  we sat on the swing for probably 30 minutes, just watching the light grow and listening to the birds.  the birds have been one of my favorite things so far…actually, i guess i should say the QUIET has been.  it’s so quiet [so ironic that as i’m typing that harper is screaming crying because she doesn’t want to be in bed] that you constantly hear bugs buzzing everywhere.  both yesterday and today i’ve taken a nap on a lounge chair on the deck and both days i’ve been woken up by the buzzing.

here are some things we’ve been doing:

  • eating yummy food (if you don’t indulge on vacation, it’s not a vacation)
  • walking/running along the steep roads around the house
  • trying unsuccessfully to blaze a trail through the woods to the lake, and then finding one already there like 2 hours later (erin and i and harper)
  • harper swam in the lake for about 10 minutes.  after she got out, her panties (impromptu bathing suit) looked like they’d been soaked in brown dye.  ick.
  • when we got back from the jaunt down the lake, both erin and i found ticks on us (erin’s was crawling down her face!).  when harper woke up from her nap, the first thing she said was that she’d seen a tiny black crab in her bed.  ACK!  we’ve checked her 3 times for ticks since then..another one dropped on ryan’s arm today.
  • gordon (dad-in-law) brought a pellet gun.  i didn’t realize how much fun it is to shoot one of those things.  there are about 5 homemade targets in the yard right now and he’s already gone through one tin of pellets.  even harper tried it (with help, of course).
  • last night while playing barefoot on the deck, harper got her first real splinter.  it was about a half inch long stuck in her big toe.  i was the only one not really into helping get it out, so i took a picture of the ordeal.  it is a picture i’ll never forget and i can’t wait to post it.  she’s all white-knucked and red-faced while being held down and worked on.  i didn’t realize how calm i stayed until that darn thing was out and i started gushing tears.
  • forgot to mention this: the trip up took almost exactly 12 hours.  that included 3 stops (one at chick-fil-a for lunch/playtime, one at a gas station for gas/potty, and one at wal-mart for groceries/sanity just before we got here).  the kids did great except layne toward the end who was exhausted, but decided she’d rather get ticked off and just cry instead of sleep.
  • today we went down to the development’s pool and playground for about an hour.  it rained on us, but it was still fun.
  • erin loaned me a book that i am LOVING:  “The Brothers K”.  she’s been reading it for awhile and just finished it and  kept it out for me to read this week.  it’s really long, so i don’t know if i’ll finish it, but it’s been nice to just sit and read for an hour at a time.  i never really do that at home without feeling like there’s 20 other things i should be doing. 

i’m off to get some ice cream.  can’t guarantee it, but i’ll try to post every few days.