past posts

December 16, 2014

Netta's advice

This was from a while ago, can't remember if I posted it so doing it now just in case! Best advice ever.


December 13, 2014

Here's a delicious cake Jessica made (and decorated) for Art

A photo posted by Ben Garvin (@bengarvin) on

Gingerbread constructions

Jessica took the kids to make gingerbread houses this morning and sent me these photos. So there you go!



Netta's snack invention

Wasa cracker, cream cheese, strawberry jam. Topped with pickled herring :-)

December 03, 2014

Chapter 11: Cottage Dance Party (final post on our big epic vacation!)


After St. Louis we headed back north but not home. Jessica's aunt Aunt Nance and Uncle Brian threw family dance party at the cottage in Hancock, Wis., to celebrate their 60th year of life almost as many years of marriage. Here's the happy couple:

The cottage is a peaceful little place on a lake Jessica's family has had for years. Here are some random photos from our two days at the cottage:

Lewis and Bailey on a super high swing my brother and I built a few years ago.

Lewis getting casting instructions from Zach.


Many small hands touched many small fish.



Chapter 10: The St. Louis Arch

In all honesty our time would've been better spent at the City Museum for another day but, like the good tourists were were, we visited the Arch. The best thing from our visit there is this cool photo!

Jessica and the boys stuffed themselves into a tiny elevator and rose the 630-feet to the top as I napped with the girls in a nearby park.

Happy boys in a demo elevator:

Jessica said she could barely look our the window fearing she might throw the arch out of balance.

Chapter 9: St. Louis and the City Museum

In St. Louis we visited one of the singular most amazing places on earth, the City Museum. An "eclectic mixture of children's playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel."

If you've not been it's hard to explain. Built inside a former shoe factory in St. Louis, the museum is an inspired place to explore and crawl and slide and disappear and feel constant mind-bending awe and wonder. For instance, I was walking along a room with a massive life size whale and I noticed a little fireplace on the wall. Lewis walked over and said, "Papa, look, a hole!" and he slide down and disappeared into some tiny little tunnel to the basement. I tried to follow but couldn't fit. He was gone! Here's him coming out of another hole in a cave-like part of the museum with tunnels and dinosaur teeth and all kindsa crazy:

This is a random video I found on YouTube that captures some of different spaces pretty well.

They have big huge stuff just laying around, like this chain Jessica tried to pick up:

I was walking around some welded complex of wires and walkways and looked down and there's Jessica and the girls!

Here's the no-skate park. A complex of skate-park-like ramps that are slippery. Some spots were real high and kids could sorta freefall down to the ramp. Such a fun and simple idea. The kids played here forever.

At one point Art and I were exploring a hanging tunnel system and we found a little hole in a whale's flipper and went down a level. And suddenly there was this incredibly long tunnel (like more than a hundred feet) we followed that took us to an entirely different part of the building. There are spectacular slides in every direction, some 10 or more stories high. It's WACK! Next time we will return with at least two full days, we only explored a tiny fraction of the huge place. And they're building new stuff all the time.

Art (or Lewis) going down on of the dozens and dozens of slides.

Outside the had a series of walkways and stairs and tubes and tunnels networking across the sky. They had a couple REAL airplanes suspended real high and kids could just go in and fiddle with what was left of the controls. There wasn't some sorta reduced airplane-like cockpit to inspired pretend play.... There was the REAL THING! I just love that. Look closely in this photo and you can see kids crawling up from one airplane to another in some welded tube suspended high above the ground. Scary stuff!

Bailey and Netta take the controls.

Chapter 8: On the Road

We did tons of driving on our epic vacation. We had tried setting up little TV screens for movies in the backseat in years past but went movie-free on this trip. It was miserable at times but in the end our kids did wonderfully. Lots of books, music and many many stops to play at parks and move our bodies. We also tried to avoid feeling rushed as best we could, scheduling plenty of travel days and nights in hotels (with pools!). Here's the general route we took:

And a collection of photos from the road:

In Arkansas we saved this turtle from being squished.


On the way back from Devil's Den State Park.

Bailey in the backseat after eating Netta.

While in Fayetteville we tooted around on a couple superfun scooters.

Chapter 7: Nanna's party in Fayetteville

While in Arkansas this past summer on our 'Epic Vacation' we spent a few nights at my ma's in Fayetteville. She threw a big party in part because my dad and his wife Cynthia were in town from North Carolina. It was a big fun time and there were some old friends from years past who showed up, including this longtime family friend I love, Johnnette!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my Pa and Ma were kind towards eachother and it touched me deeply. The little boy in me just loved seeing them together and expressing such good will and friendship.

And the same was true of Cynthia (my step-mother) and my ma. They've been friends for years but have naturally lost touch after my father married Cynthia and moved away. So nice to see those two amazing women together sharing memories and friendship.

My Aunt Jenny, right, with Cynthia.

My father meeting one of my mother's best friends ever, Melody.

The kids were so excited to see Grandpa Tim. So hard to live so far apart!

Our childhood friend Tate Neyman (center) showed up. So fun to see him.

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