Junior Geologist

Today I would like to feature a guest post by my favorite Junior Geologist, Patrick. The text that follows in italics are his words. He will describe the fun project we completed while the twins were napping one day.

Patrick and the rock collection

I like to collect these: shells, rocks, and minerals. They are from my great-grandfather and my grandmother.

Patrick and the rock collection

One day I brought a small box with a lot of minerals and Continue reading

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Newgrange in our living room

I will miss our Baton Rouge house when we move to North Carolina. Of the three houses we’ve owned, this one is my favorite. The floor plan is a wonderful use of space for us. It has an abundance of natural light (which was *absent* in our last house). The kitchen has a ton of cabinet and counter space, and the closets are spacious. The neighborhood is beautiful; next door is an open field with stately live oaks that has served as my portrait studio for the kiddos. But the funny thing I’ll miss the most? Newgrange in our living room.

IMG_8807The house has an interesting astronomical feature that we refer to as “Newgrange”. It’s a circle of light that shines on the living room wall at sunrise during certain months of the year. In October and February, the house is positioned just right relative to sunrise that light shines through the peephole on the front door and makes a rainbow circle on the back wall.


It’s the perfect height on the wall for Patrick to reach up and touch. It’s fun to be the first person in the house to shout Newgrange! on the sunny mornings that make it possible, especially when we haven’t seen it for a while.


It moves on the wall over time, and I’ve considered charting its path with Patrick as a fun science project. Since we haven’t charted it, I’m not sure that it’s only in October and February. Those are the only months when I have photos of it.

photoDoes anyone else have interesting images made by the peephole in your front door? We named ours Newgrange after the 5000-year-old passage tomb built in Ireland which is aligned with sunrise to illuminate the inner chamber for only a few days around winter solstice. We know about Newgrange (and think it’s a cool feat of Neolithic ingenuity) because we toured the tomb on our 2003 vacation to Ireland.

knewgrange jimnewgrange

To our friends who will be the next owners of the house, we’re very excited that you will be living here! And feel free to check out this National Geographic – Tomb of Newgrange video and enjoy a fun bit of astronomy in your own living room. Maybe I can recreate something like it in our next house?!



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Carolina in My Mind

Have you heard the news?


The Balhoffs are moving back to North Carolina in 2014!


It’s really happening: both of our jobs are in NC, the kiddos are Continue reading

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Valentine’s Happy

Wishing you and yours a very happy Valentine’s Day! It’s been too many months since I tried to take pics of my crew. The last photo of Claire has stolen my heart forever. ❤


Image Continue reading

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Loved muchly

I am fondly remembering my grandmother today, one year after her death. To use one of her phrases… I loved her muchly. I am grateful for all of these memories with our family:

Maman Family

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The Twins: 8 months old

Twins 8 monthClaire and Edward are 8 months old. I’m cleaning out their closet this week of everything they’ve outgrown, and it’s amazing. We have graduated from infant gear like swings, swaddle blankets, tiny bottles, extra burp cloths, and tiny onesies and pjs. They’re already almost too big for our double Snap-n-Go stroller. The second baby’s feet can’t fit under the first baby’s carseat any more. Since I use it as my cart, I’m not sure how I will grocery shop without it.

Twin 8 month 2They’ve moved on to taking walks in a jogging stroller and sitting in high chairs for Continue reading

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The Twins: 6 months old

Claire and Edward are six months old today.

They are *precious* and more interactive every day. I love to see their smiles when they see me for the first time in the morning, and while they watch the hand motions to “itsy-bitsy spider”, and when I pepper their cheeks with kisses. They each have the cutest laugh.

The twins sleep eleven hours each night, like to play with Continue reading

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