Thursday, December 24, 2009

Charming Charleston

The biggest recommendation from friends was to visit Charleston, supposedly the most charming city in SC. It's location on the coast gives it the laid-back but elite charm of most any historical seafaring town. It has the attitude of a big city like our Boston with every imaginable upscale retailer down King Street and art galleries up Church Street yet lacks the congested traffic of cars and people you'd expect to find in a big city. Now I realize we were there in winter and not in the peak of tourist season, but we found ourselves in stores and on the streets without much other company. I will admit that Charleston was a tough city for us with three young children who didn't find much fun in the areas we visited. If it had been just Michael, Lauryn and I, we probably could have really savored every historical drop of Charleston along with shopping til we felt like dropping.

By the time dinner rolled around, the boys were tired, hungry and ready to go home (Reagan even asked several times if he could go back home and go to sleep!). We chose to eat at the Hominy Grill which had national rave reviews on their Southern home cookin'. It was pretty good, and I got to try grits for the first time which seems to be the South's version of risotto as there are as many different ways/flavors to cook grits as there are for risotto. And instead of the traditional dinner roll you'll find at every restaurant here, you'll be served cornbread (which we learned can be eaten with honey or syrup to make it extra yummy).

In our travels through downtown Charleston, we passed by the cutest little store called Cupcake and vowed to visit it before we left the city. So after dinner, we stopped by and picked up a few cupcakes which can I just say were the most scrumptious little mini-cakes ever?!? Lauryn just had to take a picture of them.
Just to give you an idea of some of the flavors they have besides the basic vanilla and chocolate, they have chocolate almond, peanut butter banana fluff and red velvet (which they're famous for but much to Lauryn's chagrin did not have any left). Yum-O!

The kids totally perked up when we told them we'd go visit the Holiday Festival of Lights (thanks, Peg!) which is a beautiful three-mile drive-thru with thousands of holiday lights set up in James Island County Park. Though pictures don't really do it justice, I'll share a few we took there.

It really was quite amazing and helped put us in the Christmas spirit being down South with no snow where we didn't even have a Christmas tree. Here's a video of just a tiny bit of our drive-thru which will give you a better idea of how festive and cool it all was:

Our visit to Charleston actually fell on Landon's birthday however we chose to celebrate the next day when we were staying closer to "home". Those pictures are up next...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On Vacation Down South

Yes, it's been ages since we've updated our family blog. Just coming back from our first family vacation in forever gives us a good excuse though to do just that. Our trip to Hilton Head, SC was quite an experience - some bad, lots of good, but mostly just what we needed. Friends of ours had a timeshare they weren't able to use this year and offered it to us. We just happened to end up in SC though we've realized from now on we'll push more for locations closer to the equator at this time of year! :) It was a bit cold being December and all; it rained mostly, but we did have our warm sunny days that helped redeem our vacation a bit. We had our encounters with wildlife, our day at the beach, eating grits for the first time, days visiting nearby Southern cities such as Charleston and Savannah and, of course, our long car trips down and back. I'll try to include our photo diary here and in the next couple of posts.

Do NOT feed the alligators!

Our One Day at the Beach

More to come...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Hey there! I will now be posting my pictures on my new blog. No worries, I'll still write here occasionally for thoughts and whatnot.

My New Blog

P.S. This is our 50th post! Ya, I know..over a year and only fifty, but I think we should celebrate in some small way. (hehe, anything for a celebration right?)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

To Go or Not To Go?

Sorry I haven't been on for a while, blogging hasn't been on my mind lately. Haha, I might as well just call this 'Lauryn's Blog!' I started school last week - more like unfinished schoolwork from last year. What has preoccupied my mind is college. Everyone always asks you "So you're going to college?"and "What are your plans for next year?". My automatic response is "Yes" and "College", but I never stopped and thought why I really wanted to go. College, as I knew it, was a must. It was the next step, the buffer between school and reality, the place where you found life-long friends and trained you for the job of your life - and gave you a good reputation. I thought I knew what I wanted to do, I thought I knew what career was for me, but when I got a taste for it, I realized that's not exactly what I wanted. I have an interest in many things, I know what I like and what I don't like, but I don't know what I want to do. There are a lot of jobs out there that I haven't discovered yet, and I understand that a lot of jobs require a college degree. So why am I rethinking this whole college idea? First - money. Yes, I know you can get financial aid, or student loans. But why be years into debt for classes I don't even want to take? I think if I wanted my own business, my money could be used for that. Second - I like the idea of having alternatives, like taking individual classes. Or why not travel? Have the world be my classroom (not that traveling is a cheaper option). I could do mission trips, for example. The thing is, I know I probably won't be motivated in college. If I teach myself what I want to learn (which is what homeschooling is anyway), I will be a whole lot more motivated and it will most likely stick in my head longer. When I think of people who haven't gone to college, I somewhat look down upon them. Not that I was brought up that way at all. My mom wasn't able to finish college, and I think she is a very smart person. But I think that I feel that way because I have high expectations of myself and feel like others have of me too...whenever someones asks me those typical questions. So I'm weighing the pros and cons of college - which I should have done like two years ago. The good thing is my parents have no qualms about me not choosing college, as long as I find my path.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Flower of a Different Name

I like to call them the 'fuzzy-brained' flowers.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


is a beautiful and dismal day. I miss my friends. New and old. All of them. Terribly. Now I'm thinking of ways to not miss them. Instead I'm just driving myself insane. I should probably go finish my fashion design homework..maybe I'll be back in a better mood. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


This is it! This is where I have been going Mondays and Wednesdays the past few weeks, taking fashion design classes at School of Fashion Design in Boston. It's very small, four stories and about one hundred students. I'm thinking of becoming one of those students..


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Oh! The Sea

Can I just tell you how much I love the sea?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Days of...

playing hide and seek,

or peek-a-boo,

making fun of unexpected signs,

finding acorns,

tree hugging (lol),

frolicking in a field,

being silly,


some tomfoolery,

and more..

. . .

beach walking,

lovely friends,

and star-spinning.

We looked crazy, but it was fun!


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'll Follow the Sun

I invite you to look into the sky at least once a day. :]


Monday, July 20, 2009

The Box

Hey! I am back from NTS Camp; it was awesome. The theme this year was living outside "the Box." I guess the "Box" is different for everyone. My box is a combination of things. I think I view myself as a shy, insecure, not-so-smart person and because I believe that about myself it, in a way, has become somewhat true. Also factoring in what others view me as or have said about me. Sometimes I wonder why people think I'm "cool" or "funny"or "pretty". Probably because the people who know the real me, I tend to erase the 12-year-old image of myself..the person I was in 6th grade has shaped me and I've put a distorted image on myself than who I really am. Sixth grade was full of embarrassing moments and misunderstandings. When 7th grade came around I became homeschooled and pulled away from public school with that image fixated in my head as a geek and it never really changed because I didn't have a next year to redeem myself or grow with the people who thought I was dorky. So, really it's me who's holding myself back, hiding, not connecting with others as easily, not living to my fullest potential. And I've learned shyness is a form of selfishness in order to be viewed perfect, and we all know no one is perfect. I truly want to start living outside my box and not be driven by my own fears, but by God. And thanks for reading, I just needed to get my thoughts down.
The old life is gone, a new life begins. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Grandma's Garden, July 4th

On the way home I caught this huge rainbow arch.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Oh, she was just seventeen, and you know what I mean


p.s. I'm in the midst of doing a post about fab music finds, soon to come. =) (Edit: shown below)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Music of the Night

Yes, I have had Phantom of the Opera music stuck in my head all week thanks to my friends. I just need to watch the movie again. Speaking of music, I've been really trying to broaden my tastes with interesting finds and diving into some alternative/indie rock music. I don't know about you, but sometimes I go through short periods of time where I want to dye my hair a really funky color (like a bright orange or deep blue) wearing brightly-colored jeans and rock out to some loud indie music...must be an alter ego of mine. Anyway, whatever music you're into I just wanted to give someone a fresh taste with some of the music I've found in hopes that it broadens your tastes too, because sometimes we all have a thirst for a new great song...

1. The Decemberists - my newest favorite band, I highly recommend their song Valerie Plame, it has a very beatlesque "Hey Jude" sound at the end.
2. Of Montreal - they can be a little weird and may wear interesting clothes but everything on their 1998 album, The Bedside Drama: A Petite Tragedy is really awesome. I love listening to the lilting mellow tunes and the strumming of a guitar. (If you have iTunes be sure to look it up!)
3. Slavic Soul Party! - a marching-band-meets-european-flair sounding brass band in NY that has some great party music and makes you want to dance.
4. Belle & Sebastian -just a good band overall. They appeared on the Juno soundtrack.
5. The Apples in stereo - their song "Energy" was featured on American Idol. I think they also have a cd for kids.
6. She & Him - an awesome band consisting of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward. They have great music with 60's sounding pop melodies.
I think this is it for now. Let me know what you think. :)
p.s. NTS camp is coming up in a couple weeks! We are Team Black this year. Woo!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Little trees with buzzing bees...

I took this last year on the wagon ride with the co-op group for apple picking. How I do love little trees...they just seem so whimsical to me. Anything miniature is way cuter in my opinion. Especially these cupcakes for Father's day. yum :)
love love,

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Planned Reading

I came across one of my friend's facebook notes regarding her Summer Reading List. It made me stop and consider such a thing. A summer reading list? I thought that was only for kids in school - you know, a program put on by the local school or library where they offer incentives for the number of books they'll read over the summer. I think these are wonderful programs and agree that summer reading is a worthy time filler. If you know anything about the Ortlieb house, you know we've got plenty of books on our shelves to fill every bit of our time. If only! {sigh} I'm a constant reader, and I love books. It can be quite the addiction for us actually - a couple clicks on and voila! But the thought of actually compiling a reading list for the summer had never occurred to me. I'm a whim-reader - someone who picks up books based on one's whims and reads the next best thing that looks interesting or valuable. So besides being part of a book club or something, the idea of planning what I would be reading was very foreign to me. But since I've got a book or two (or twenty) on my bookshelf that I have yet to read, I thought it might be a good chance to sit down and plan on reading the books I actually have rather than buying or borrowing more books that I don't have. So here's my list so far:

Helen of Troy by Margaret George (one of my favorite authors)
What's So Amazing about Grace? by Philip Yancey
So Much More: An Invitation to Christian Spirituality by Debra Rienstra (finish reading)*
The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
Ya-Yas in Bloom by Rebecca Wells
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The Midwife's Song by Brenda Ray
SexGod by Rob Bell (finish reading)
Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis (read again)
The Shack by William P. Young (finish reading)
Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare (one of my all-time favorite movies)
Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens by Paul David Tripp
Jesus for President:Politics for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw (finish reading & summer book club book)

This list is only after I actually finish reading the library books I've recently checked out which are: My Jesus Year by Benyamin Cohen, Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming by Bjorn Lomborg, How to Fit a Car Seat on a Camel and Other Misadventures Traveling with Kids edited by Sarah Franklin, Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts About Alternative Medicine by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst, MD and The Art of Conversation: A Guided Tour of a Neglected Pleasure by Catherine Blyth . I don't have high hopes about completing these books, but so far I've enjoyed My Jesus Year and The Art of Conversation. I guess I'll be renewing some of these if I have half a chance at reading them.

I may have been a bit ambitious with my list; this may actually be my entire 2009 reading list as opposed to just summer. I'm not sure if I can stick to a list, but I'm certainly going to try. Wish me luck!

Do you have a reading list? Have I inspired you to do some planned reading for the summer? If so, please share! What's on your list??

*You'll notice I've marked some as "finish reading" since they're actually books I've started but for one reason or another never finished.

Monday, June 8, 2009

In the Sandbox

Edited with Picnik
Taken on Saturday at Bohdan's birthday party.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Landon's Swing

Edited with Picnik
Lauryn :)