August 31, 2011


Let's interrupt this parade of family photos and natural disaster updates with a movie post, shall we?

Fact #1: I'm much, much more of a TV person than a movie person. Example: I haven't had a movie from Netflix in months (Just finished White Collar season 1 and loved it!).

Fact #2: About 95% of the time, you would have to literally drag me to the theater (or a friend's living room) to watch a romantic comedy. They aren't my thing. There are a few I like, but on the whole, not the genre I ever prefer. Ever.

Fact #3: I am NOT a John Cusack fan. I will pretty much avoid any movie that he is in. Blech. (sorry, G)

After stating those facts about myself, I will admit to you that I simply love this movie. 'Tis true.

I know. I know. It's awful. The plot is horrible. The writing is painful at times. The actors are trapped in this silly characters with no way of escape. I tell myself all these things....each time I put it back into the DVD player and recite the dialogue along with them. I can't help myself. There are so many quotable moments. And quote them, I do. Constantly. My roommate, thankfully, enjoys this horribleness as much as I do and quotes them right back at me.

Okay, so admit it. What is the awful movie that you can't help but love? The one you are embarrassed to tell your "indie loving" movie friends. I know you have one. Share. This is a safe place.

ps.... I want to see this, found tonight on IMDB.

August 30, 2011

Just for the record.... is 100% not fun to live several states away from your nieces and nephew.

No. Sir-rreee.

I miss you, little munchkins!

August 29, 2011


It's been a while.
Or maybe it just seems like that to me.

We just (and by just I mean an hour ago) got our electricity back on.
It had been off since Saturday night.
And when we don't have electricity, we don't have water either.
That's not toilets, no showers, no cleaning things.
Yesterday, we managed to get a generator hooked up to our water for an hour.
We flushed the toilet to our heart's content and all took showers.
Oh, happy day!

Since Irene left yesterday, we have had the most perfect weather imaginable.
Not humid at all.
Perfect for opening all the windows.
Perfect for outside cookouts and game nights.
Perfect for clean up.

Tonight, we had a "cook every thing you have left in your freezer" party.
Basically, we cleaned out the mostly thawed out meats that were still in our freezers.
Everyone brought what they had and we cooked it up on the grills (our only cooking tool).
It was fun to all be together, sharing in the annoyance of no electricity.
Then just as we were about to finish eating....
No better way to end a "no electricity" party than with the return of electricity, I say.
There was lots of cheering from everyone in attendance.

During the storm and aftermath, I read two(fun & cute) books(not so much) and made a good dent in a third (love, love, love). Mark Twain's autobiography is absolutely fascinating. No joke. I haven't been able to put it down. And it's quite the paper weight too. 760 pages of small type. But so fascinating. For instance, did you know that Twain was friends with Ulysses S. Grant? He was the one who urged him to write his memoirs. And Twain's sense of humor is one of my favorites. I've loved his writing style since I was very young (5th grade, I think?). Such a fascinating person.
I think I may have to buy this one though. I don't see me finishing this big thing before it has to be back to the library. I like to savor it and even underline my favorite lines. Such a great read.

That was about the extent of my electricity-less activities. Reading, napping, watching outside as the rain pounded down and the wind blew. We were so blessed in how the Lord protected us. Nothing like the destruction of Isabel. I'm happy it's over now and it's back to business as usual.

Over and out.

Cottage Girl

August 28, 2011

soft edges

You really should go to the Hirshhorn. Even if modern art isn't your thing. Even still, you should go. Just walk around the building. Eat lunch at a table or in the sculpture garden. It's fantastic. Beautiful. Peaceful. The soft edges. The sound of the fountain. The windows. The clean lines.

We ate lunch here sitting on the sidewalk ledge, in the shade, with the fountain splashing in front of us. And for some reason, this 30 minutes was a magic 30 minutes for me and my camera. I saw the light around me. I saw the angles and lines. I saw the shadows. It was one of those times as a photographer that it all just clicked. I knew I had captured what my eyes were seeing. It's one of the best feelings in the world.

August 27, 2011

Passing the storm with a little light reading. Already finished a silly, poorly written YA novel and an Entertainment Weekly.

Shock of shocks, we've had electricity all day. However it has been flickering terribly the last hour or so. Not much longer now, I'm sure. The worst of it is hitting us in the middle of the night. Storm surge included. The wind and rain are getting worse by the hour.

So, I'll just keep merrily spending the evening with Mark Twain and praying that the Lord won't let a tree fall on our little Cottage (or get swept away by flood waters either).

Thanks for all the kind words and prayers everyone. They really do mean so much.

See you in the morning, friends.

Cottage Girl


Being their auntie has been one of the greatest things in my life. I adore these two. I can't wait until their little sister is old enough to play along with them.

Oh, and silly face photos are the best distracter/time waster in the world. (We were at street corner waiting for lunch from a food cart.) You end up with gems like this one. Ammunition for future embarrassment. Even Luke, who goes through the "don't take my photo" phase will take a picture if you say "scary face: go." They can't resist.

August 26, 2011

Irene, Irene


I think we're ready.
Right now it's looking like it could be not quite as bad as Isabel.
But they didn't think Isabel would be as bad as it was.
Either way, everything is tied down, put away, moved or re-enforced.

And we had this beautiful sunset tonight.
The colors were amazing.
A peaceful calm before tomorrow.

For all of you riding it out as well
(basically if you live anywhere on the East Coast besides Florida)
Prayers and happy hurricane to you.
We're gonna have some stories to share come Monday, I'm sure.
If we have power....

See you when the power comes back on,

Cottage Girl

August 25, 2011

a little too close

Living on the water is one of the coolest things in the world. I've always wanted to do it. When I moved to camp 10 years ago, I couldn't believe that I would be living just a stones throw away from it. I never, ever get tired of the changing tide. I never get tired of the occasional smell of salt in the air. I never get tired of walking on the beach after a long day and just listening to the ripples on the sand. I love it.

But there is also a danger that comes with it. When I hear the words "storm surge" and "50+ mile an hour winds," my stomach drops and I get a little tense. Because, you see, there was this one time that I experienced those things a little too close for my liking. Hurricane Isabel in 2003. We were hit pretty good.

So, now that we are just about to be put under hurricane/tropical storm watches and warnings, all I can think about it this....

The entire beachfront under water. The river swollen beyond recognition and filled with every type of debris that can float.

The county pier engulfed. It's the same pier as the first photo.

And then there is the little Cottage. My roommate and I were up most of the night before this watching the water rise hirer and hirer getting closer to our house. I really don't want to do that again. Once is more than enough for me, thank you.

Earthquake note: we had an aftershock last night that woke me up. The earth is talking rather loudly around here. Earthquakes, hurricanes, thunderstorms galore. It's like a Left Behind novel.

August 24, 2011


I've taken so many photos in the last week. Most of them of these two rascals. And I managed to get a few of my favorite brother as well.

This precious. They only get to see their uncle maybe once or twice year. But still they just love him. And he is so patient and kind with them.

On a different subject, I'm loving black and white right now especially with these city photos. Big change for me. Usually I'm a bright colors girl all the way. But these...these moments just seem sweeter and more timeless without the distraction of crazy colors.

Nerd moment: My favorite action of choice for making photos black and white at the moment is Totally Rad Actions BAMF. TRA the Original and the Revenge are still, years later, worth every penny I spent.


Earthquake yesterday.

Hurricane this weekend.

Did I really just type that?

August 23, 2011

What was that?

I was sitting on the couch watching No Reservations
Typical lunch break
Then the floor started to move a little
Kinda like the dryer was running
But it wasn't
My roommate and I looked at each other confused

"What is that?"
10 long seconds later, after looking out the window to check the river
"Seriously! What is that?!"

Then the walls started to shake
That's when it got scary
I completely forgot what I'm supposed to do in a situation like this
We don't have earthquakes on the East Coast
What could it be?

But after 15 more seconds of rough and tumble ground trembles...
And me running around yelling,
"What do we do?! What do we do?!"
We finally ran outside
(let's be honest. our tiny brick cottage would be the first building to go.)

Then it stopped as suddenly as it started
Except my shaking hands
And knees
My pounding heart

Everything was fine
Over in just 60 seconds or so
But still...
An earthquake
It was the craziest

Just for the record:
I don't like earthquakes
No, thank you
Take them back, West Coast
Me no likey

***Post Script: Good crazy week is over. you can expect more regular posts from here on out. Hip, hip hooray!

August 21, 2011

my excuse

They are my excuse for being absent.
I have been ridiculously busy as well.

Anyway, the moment I saw this photo on my camera I knew I had to share it here. We went to the Hirshhorn while we were in the big city. It is a beautiful building on the outside as well as being filled with tons of cool, modern art on the inside. It's one of our favorites. (and it's free!)

I know that some of you are thinking: "A two year old and a four year old and a 2 month old in a art gallery?! What in the world?!" Well, their dad is an artist. He is a professor who teaches the arts. He has a degree in ceramics. He was not in this photo because he was at a show for some of his own pieces. These kids know how to be around art. They know how to be quiet and respectful. They were perfectly fine. And baby Eliza just wants to be held no matter where she is, so she was right as rain. We had a grand time.

And this photo....I think it's gonna have to be blown up big and put up in my house. I'm totally in love with it.

August 18, 2011

Just need some time away.
Be back soon.

I won't stay away forever.

I'll have lots of photos to share.
Stories to tell.
And hopefully have gotten some sleep.



Cottage Girl

August 11, 2011


6am sunrise this morning.

Taken whilst driving the boats while the "kids" aka staff did some wakeboarding.

Taken with my crappy phone.

Imagine how stunning this site was to behold if a yucky camera photo is this pretty.

Yup. It was amazing.

The rest of the's not talk about it, shall we?

But there were beautiful moments.

Great talks and chats on the beach with new friends that are leaving in 2 days (sob/sniff/cry).

Hugs from friends.

Encouraging texts from the dear sister.

And a folded up Romans 15:13 in my pocket all day to remind me that everything will be ok.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

August 10, 2011

to you

Happy Birthday, dearest friend.

I'm so blessed to have you in my life....and in the cottage bedroom next to mine.

i ♥ y-o-u.

August 09, 2011

Summer reading update

I checked another book off my summer reading list. Let's review, shall we?

1. Decision Points. (Loved, loved, loved. Everyone should read it.)

2. The Kite Runner (Tried 2 chapters and just couldn't do it, especially not after finishing #1. Too much for me to handle at the time.)

3. Sophie's Heart (I tried. I really did, but I just couldn't make myself like it. I just can't do Christian Romance, which is crazy because I devoured it in high school. It was badly written too.)

4. Screwtape Letters (Loving it, but like all Lewis, it's slooow reading. I have to contemplate and re-contemplate each part. It's really good though.)

5. 13 Reasons Why (Add-on to the list. And a wonderful addition. Really enjoyed it.)

6. If I Stay (Add-on as well. And what a find it was. I'm still thinking about this one. Imagining the characters and the story. It will be a favorite for a long time, I think. The story just swept me away.)

7. Where She Went (Add-on because of #6. I didn't love it as much as the first, but still. The story is stuck in my head. I think about Mia and Adam all the time.)

8. Bossypants (Finished yesterday and loved from the first sentence. No make that the back cover before beginning the first sentence. Tina Fey is a comedic genius to me. There are so many great lines in that book. Truly. If you like her, you have to read that book)

Still left to check-off:

*To Kill a Mockingbird
*Autobiography of Mark Twain Volume 1

Currently reading (or beginning next, I should say)
* Paycheck (recommended by my brother. He knows what I like. Ex: Ender's Game. Loooved it.)

Ok, your turn. What have you been reading this summer? What else do I need to add to my list? There's still a few weeks left to squeeze a bunch in.

August 08, 2011

Dear Week 8,

Dear Week 8,

Please be kind to us.

Let our boats run and not break down in the middle of the river on a strong current day. No more sailboat rescues, please. Two times is more than enough.

Don't continually remind the staff that you are the last, the very last, week of the summer. Let them enjoy each moment. Let them live each moment.

Give us opportunities to encourage each other, love each other, laugh with each other. We need those so desperately.

Give the campers the best week of summer camp of their lives. Let them have no idea that we are exhausted and whispering "only __ more times this must be done." Let them see only joy and Jesus and fun.

Shower beautiful, non-humid, non-100+ degree weather upon our peninsula. We like the 80's. We love the 80's, actually.

Bind sickness from our gates. No more sweeping plagues. No more colds and sore throats and doctor visits.

And if you decide that you need an extra day or two....well, I think there are a few of us here (ahem) that would be quite alright if you stayed a little longer than you are supposed to. Because, you see, when you say goodbye, well, so does the summer. And so does our little community. And that....oh, that is just too much to bear right now.

So stay.
Be kind.
Let us live the moments.

If you would be so generous.

Your humble friend,

Cottage Girl

August 07, 2011

World of Denial

Forget stress.
Forget that everyone is leaving in a week.
Forget that retreat season starts in a week.
Forget that both boats are broken.
Forget that the tube popped.
Forget that all those personal woes that are keeping me up at night.
Forget it all.

Instead, I'll spend a few hours in Mystic Falls.
I like the world of denial.
At least for today.
I'm sure it will come back to bite me tomorrow....

post script in regards to the world of Mystic Falls:

Who would have thought I would end up loving Caroline? Not I. She's quietly wormed her way into my heart this season.

What TV show are you using as your denial world lately?

August 06, 2011


"My God, My God, why have You forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning?" -Psalm 22:1

Sometimes it's really nice to know that when you have a really crappy day, people in the Bible did too. David and God were like "this." And yet he still felt abandoned at times and alone in his misery. He didn't hide it from God. Instead, they talked it out.

So, on days like today that go from "not great" to "bad" to "even worse," I can go to the Psalms and remember that I'm not alone. And I just need some reminding of what He has already done for me.

"Our father's trusted in You; They trusted in You and You delivered them. They cried to You, and were delivered; They trusated in You, and were not ashamed." -Psalm 22:4-5

That just makes it bearable even if my circumstances don't change in the slightest.

August 04, 2011

Island Days = done

We finished our last Island Day today.

It rained.

I got soaked.

It was cold (or it felt cold because it's been 543 degrees here until the last 2 days).

I've been in sweatpants,
and wrapped in a blanket
while catching up on Nikita.

(thank you, dear brother)

post script:

I saw the first jelly fish yesterday. It was dead, floating in the seaweed that had washed up on shore. I can't even believe that we haven't had jellies this summer. It has made my life 1,000% easier at the waterfront. The kids want to get in the water and play. I want to get in the water and play with them.

Even if they come with a vengeance this last will be the best jellyfish summer ever.

Additional post script:

Our house has been Shark Week hangout this week. I've heard "no way!" "gross!" "aaahhhh!" "you are kidding me" quite a bit. Mostly I just scream and cover my eyes. Repeatedly. Or go to bed early because this week has been an exhausting one.

August 03, 2011

That one time we played Quidditch

There was this one time this summer we played Quidditch. And I use the word "we" very loosely. I played only if you count standing on the sidelines dodging quaffles and taking photos. If you do count that, then yes! I was playing!

It was amazing to see how creative our programming staff was in making this Muggle version of the game. They went all out.

We had an entire tournament that went on all week. Cabin against cabin. And then it all ended with a big staff vs winners game.

The staff played valiantly. They even found the golden snitch. Golden snitch = a kitchen staff kid who was hiding somewhere at camp and had to be found and caught.

But alas, the kids trounced the staff. They had been playing all week, which gave them a slight advantage.

Mostly, it was just fun to watch a bunch of people run around chasing and dodging soccer balls and kick balls while having to ride a broom (or hockey stick because we ran out of brooms to use). It was a grand time. time, last week, I was in the pool. I know...shocking, right? Well, it was about 237 degrees that day and I had been on the boats all afternoon so I headed to the pool with my cohort right at the end of senior swim, which is the last swim of the day. We jumped in and didn't want to leave those cool clean (read: not yucky river) waters. The lifeguards were clearing the pool and made this announcement:

"Any one under the age of 18, please exit the pool. Time's up. Out you go."

As I was enjoying my cool dip, I hear one of the counselors behind me:

"Aaaaprillll, that means yooooouuuuu. Get ouuuuuttt of the pooool."

He is now my favorite.

Just for that statement.

I told him so.

And I told him he can never, ever leave camp.

I don't care about this so-called "college" thing he has to do during the year.

This story had nothing to do with the photos.

The end.

August 01, 2011

this house

A while ago I saw this house on an episode of TV show.
It was one of those houses that made me gasp slightly and say "no. freakin'. way."
Only part of it was visible, but that was enough for me.

Those abundant sets of french doors.
That pool.
The huge pots of flowers and shrubs.
The fact that it was in a climate (California, of course) that the windows and door were all open.
The ivy lazily crawling up the walls.
The brick stairs and white trim.
The top floor porch connected to the master bedroom.
The tiny and intimate backyard.

I was smitten.
And I couldn't find a photo of it anywhere online.
Until this weekend.
It wasn't the best photo, but it would do...

Dear God, can my mansion in heaven please be like this?
Or if you want me to try it out here on earth,
well, this here girl won't complain.
Not one little bit.