Archive for May, 2009


I wanted to post pictures of our trip to the National Arboretum. It was beautiful and full of delicious and sweet/savory smells! An extensive herb garden, perennials, firs, and ferns welcomed us and spread their scents across the breeze for us to enjoy.


Toward the end of our visit, though, a storm rolled in, and I got some cool pictures of historic Capitol columns against the stormy grey backdrop. 


Coincidentally, I named this blog “Storm” in part because of the stormy Arboretum pictures, but also because earlier this evening I experienced some stormy emotion. It seems my difficulty in coming “home” (from “home”… very confusing) finally peaked. The straw that broke the proverbial back? A letter from our homeowners association.


Apparently, having herbs and vegetables planted in your front yard is against some statute within their bylaws, and we’ve been notified to move it.  So with my precious little porch garden now threatened, I burst into tears.


For those who are “regular readers,” you know how I have fallen in love with this porch garden! I tell the plants good morning and goodbye as I leave for work in the morning (just ask Mike), and I water them with care every day, then sit quietly, picking out dead leaves and twigs and watching them mature. It’s been therapeutic in a lot of ways – a welcoming path when I come home, a tropical(ish) retreat… I’ve taken pride in their care, growth, and use.


When I read the Homeowners Association “Architecture Inspection” letter, I was angry, and I cried like a baby. I’m not naive enough not to think that it also had something to do with the fact that I never allowed myself to be sad about leaving Florida… I told my Care Group ladies that I was afraid it would boil up at some point, over some other issue. Sure enough, I think that was partly why I reacted so strongly tonight. Still, the garden itself is worth every tear!


So, “storm” describes my mood quite well.




Well, enjoy these pictures nonetheless. I know I had fun taking them!












IMG_5695Handsome dude.










Who needs a bed when there are acres of soft grass to lie down in?


IMG_5719Cue: Storm





IMG_5721Dozens of BRIGHT blue dragonflies were flitting above this pond. They looked electric!











IMG_5735Dandelions caught in a fountain basin…








Boy, that red pops!


IMG_5745This tall grass reminded me of the opening credits for “Little House on the Prairie” 🙂


IMG_5752Thank you, weird storm light!


IMG_5754Descending into the “Fern Valley” – one of my favorite spots because of its quiet, dark, peaceful tranquility…

(I think living in a metropolitan area has increased my sensitivity to wide, open spaces and quiet, green places)



Goodnight, blog.

Goodnight, readers.

Goodnight, porch garden (*tear*)





May: Gardens, Graduation, Goodbyes (and a little in between)

I feel like it’s been a while since I posted; if anyone is a faithful reader, I apologize for the dry spell. Grab some coffee and settle in… Let’s catch up.




As I mentioned in an earlier post, Mike and I planted a porch garden – herbs and vegetables, galore! This is my first time trying to grow these, so I was measuredly and cautiously excited. Here’s the original post: Porch Garden

The above picture is from our second venture when we added to our herb family to include veggies (and more herbs).  Some pictures of our plants are below.  And, as you will read much further down, Mike and I took a trip to FL because of Mike’s brother’s high school graduation (Matthew). When we got back, our plants had grown so much! Watch the growth…


IMG_5552That, I believe, is the cilantro…



 Above: Cilantro when first planted

Below: Cilantro 2 weeks later (basil on bottom stair)




IMG_5554From bottom left to top stair right: tomato, [something], cilantro, basil, rosemary, and {unpotted} string beans


IMG_5556Above: tomatoes and peppers when first planted

Below: tomatoes and peppers 2 weeks later




IMG_5567Little plants…


IMG_5570Above: String beans when first planted…

Below: String beans 2 weeks later






From bottom to the top: Mint, Chives, Yellow Pepper, Red Pepper, and the pot of the cherry tomatoes




IMG_5578In other news, we had Bailey neutered, so he had to wear this cone for 2 weeks. He was hilarious, because he had no concept of depth perception. He ran into walls, doors, stairs, etc. Poor little guy.


IMG_5670But now he is fully recovered and cute as ever. 🙂



In other news, Matthew Icardi is now a high school graduate! How awesome is he?! Mike and I flew down to Florida and padded the trip on either side of graduation with days filled with family time. We got in to Orlando on Monday night (the 11th), spent the week with family, and drove to Tallahassee (well, RODE with Stephen Icardi) on Saturday to spend Saturday afternoon, Sunday, and Monday morning with family and friends. We flew back to Virginia on Monday the 18th. The trip was awesome, but soooo fast. We felt like it was over before it began. Cliche, I know. But it’s true. Here are some highlights:


IMG_5579Mike and me in Reagan Airport, waiting to board. Florida bound = big smiles!


IMG_5580On Wednesday, my brother Robert came to see me and play disc golf. We played 9 holes while Mike took a conference call in the Icardi’s garage apartment. Then we gathered up Mike and set out for 18 more holes. 


IMG_5581On this course, we met the course designer, who offered to help Robert design and develop a course for Vero Beach, and we saw two gopher tortoises (torti?), one of whom let me pet its scale-y little head!


That night we went to dinner with Grandpa, otherwise known as “Grambo.” Grambo told our waitress that if she overcooked his seafood, he would hit her. That’s my grambo!!



IMG_5582On Thursday night, we went to Seasons 52 for Matthew’s graduation. We got seated at this “Chef’s Table” in a sort-of private room/area. Behind us was this cool montage of spices that we would love to copy in our house!




IMG_5584The BEST mother-in-love ever!



That’s my sister-in-love, Natalie, and mom.  We are “the girls.”




IMG_5599The boys… it’s hard to get them to stand still! Btw, anyone notice… Timothy is now taller than Mike?? Wow!



This is right around the time I remembered who introduced Mike and me to Seasons 52… Lisa Brown! Thanks, LB!


IMG_5605Circle students have a reception at the Circle Community Church to honor their graduations. Each student sets up a table that represents him or her. This is Matthew’s table. That quilt? “Mrs. George” (I call her Lynette) made it for all the seniors! Matthew’s quilt has soccer balls all over it. It’s awesome.


IMG_5606This is Matthew pre-graduation…


IMG_5634This is Matthew post-graduation (and the rest of us). So, does Matthew look older or more mature in this picture? I think he looks very high-school-graduate-ish. 🙂


IMG_5643Ahh, beacon of all things beautiful. How I missed thee.

(For my Virginian/Washingtonian/Marylander friends, this happens to be the. best. grocery store. EVER.) This is only one reason why Florida is superior to all other states.


IMG_5644This is BFF #1 (I am numbering them only according to length of time known… so my other 2 BFFs – don’t get mad! hehe…). I have known Heather since 2nd grade, and she has the biggest heart. I *heart* her.


IMG_5646BFF#2 on the left – Lois. Who got ENGAGED on Thursday night!!! On the right is another great friend, Lisa. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding, and spends more time on helping other people than on herself. Thing is, that makes he happy. 🙂



On Sunday night, Jill (BFF#3) and Michael (her husband) and Mike and I played Cranium – a newer version. We laughed SO hard that night…


IMG_5650“Umbilical Cord”

During “Cranium” – this one had to be sculpted… so here is what was made :



The making of:


IMG_5657“Milking a cow”

During “Cranium” – this one had to be acted out with Jill as the puppeteer, and me as the puppet… so here you go:



Mike and I had SO much fun on our trip! It was pretty much packed-full days of laughing, hugging, smiling, and being “home.” I had a breakfast date with Mom (Icardi) one morning, and Mike went to breakfast another morning with his dad. It was so sweet to have undivided time with Mom. I loved seeing my grandpa, my brother, my family-in love, my parents, and almost all my friends. I loved being back at Four Oaks Community Church and worshipping under Josh Hughes’ leadership.  I visited my old office on Monday morning, and got lots of hugs and had a great visit. I miss them so much!

This is where the “goodbyes” from the title of today’s blog come from. It was very hard to say goodbye to everyone, but we have plans for various family members to visit us in the coming months, so that definitely helped! 


I got this question a LOT while in Florida: “So, are you loving Virginia?! {big, hopeful/expectant smile}” (or some variation of that question).

I have a hard time knowing how to answer this. How honest should I be? Is there such a thing as TOO transparent? Apparently my cheery blogs have led many people to believe that I just love it here. So let me just say this: I am learning a lot here in Virginia about contentment. I am memorizing Philippians 3 (Karen Gwaltney, this is a holdover – or rather a re-effort – from last summer’s Bible Study), in which Paul says at the end of the chapter: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” Earlier in the chapter he discusses “the loss of all things” and how he counts them “as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”  It’s a good thing to remember that my contentment and joy and my ultimate hope and goal are not this life or temporary comforts. Instead, it is heaven and the glorification that will take place there. It’s also my joy to bring glory to God in this life. So – my citizenship is not in Virginia – thank heavens. (Does that answer your question?). But it’s not in Tallahassee, either. I am trying to learn how to be in this world, but not of it, and how to lean on God for all my joy. I appreciate any prayers for this season. God has been good to me, and I know that on the other side of this struggle, my faith will be stronger. 


In other news, what does this picture say to you?

IMG_5671I will tell you… It says: “WARM WEATHER!!!” 

Haha, yep, that’s flip-flops and sandals. No boots, no warm shoes. Just open-toed goodness. Praise God for spring/summer!


And, finally…

Yesterday, at Giant (the wannabee Publix of the “North”), crab legs were $4.99 a lb. I checked with Mike, and bought a bag. So tonight, not having ever boiled/steamed/otherwise cooked crab legs in my life, I served us up some crab legs for dinner! Mike wouldn’t take my picture while I was proudly cooking the little arachnid-y shellfish, so here’s the shot I got:


IMG_5671See the pink-ish-red-ish in the pot? That’s my crab legs! Look at that steam… yumm!


IMG_5672The “treat” of having crab legs for no reason at all was juxtaposed with the unclassyness of drinking crystal light out of a reused McDonald’s cup, and letting Bailey rest his head on the dinner table. But, in true Icardi fashion, we loved it (possibly even more because of our weird setting).

Newspapers, mallets, and brute force = great dinner.



And if you made it this far, you are a true friend. Hope you enjoyed it