Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Gavin's Birthday Party!

On Tuesday, the night before Halloween, we had an early birthday party for Gavin in order to take advantage of the Halloween spirit. He invited 4 little friends, Coleman, Ashley, Royce and Luka, and they all arrived in their costumes for a night of fun! The kids (well, mostly the parents) did some craft projects like making a Halloween picture frame, making ghost lollypops and decorating a pumpkin with face stickers. We ate pizza and cupcakes, and the kids mostly just ran around and played in the basement. Being the anal planner that I am, I didn't really take into account that these were, after all, two year olds and their attention spans are pretty dang short. All that mattered was that Gavin had a great time and as chaotic as it got, the kids didn't seem to mind at all. Happy Early Birthday, little one! See pictures below.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Birthday Party Pictures

Pumpkin Carving

What would Halloween be without carving a pumpkin? Last Saturday we took the kids to Buckland Farms, a little roadside stand with lots of pumpkins for the season, and we picked out the perfect one for us to carve. In the past we have been more ambitious and purchased several to turn into jack-o-lanterns, but leaned that less is more when it comes to doing this project with the kiddos. This year, I even bought one of those carving kits so that we didn't have to use the kitchen knives this time. Jeremy let Cameron pick which design (several came with the kit) to use for our Jack. Of course he picked out the most intricate one and I tried to convince both child and husband that we should just make a normal jack-o-lantern face. I guess we compromised by picking a slightly less complicated pattern, and Jeremy got to carving while the kids and I enjoyed some pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. Several slices of cake later, Jeremy was still hard at work and the kids were getting antsy. I pitched in where I could and voila, he was finished. Jeremy was pretty proud of his work and rightly so. I was just reminded of how grateful I was that we had only gotten one, that carving takes forever! Here is the finished product for your viewing pleasure.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Our Big Announcement :)

The time has come for us to leak the news of another baby on the way for our little family! The baby is due April 20, and we should find out if it a boy or girl the beginning of December. We have a feeling it's another boy, and I will be happy just as long as it's a calm, quiet baby. When we told Cameron he would be getting a new baby brother or sister, he told us he wanted a sister. I told him that we don't get to pick, God picks for us. To this he replied, "if it's not a girl then I don't think we should have another baby." He has been really excited about my pregnancy and every week we look together in my week by week book to see how big the baby is and what is developing, he excitedly tells people that the baby is as big as a lemon, or a peach according to that week. I think Gavin will be happy to have a baby in the house, he loves babies, if anything we will have to be careful of him showing too much love. I am just a bit nervous about having three, it will be interesting to see how the dynamic changes in our house. We feel so blessed to be having another and can't wait to meet this new member of our family!

Here is a photo of our ultrasound picture at 8 weeks:

Our First Campout and Pumpkinville

This weekend we took the kids on our first family campout! It was pretty last minute and with the leaves being at peak in the mountains this weekend, there were no available campsites in Shenendoah where we would've liked to go. We decided to go to a campground much closer to us, and to civilization, at Burke Lake Park. I was pretty gung-ho about going, I grew up on campouts as did Jeremy, but it seems they did not have the same positive impact on his childhood and he came with a "grin and bear it" attitude. We purchased a new, big tent, along with more camping gear and bags full of hot dogs, smores supplies, and hot chocolate. A couple of hours before we left, we found out that there was a fire ban for all of Virginia due to the drought we have been having. We did not let it bring us down, we just brought extra snacks that did not require heating. When we arrived, we picked out the best campsite and Jeremy and I began putting up our tent. It was a good thing that we brought the DVD player for the car, because it kept the kids entertained while we figured out the tangled mess that was our tent. We all breathed a sigh of relief when it was finally up and Jeremy and I hadn't even fought over the assembly! Needless to say, thte kids were beyond excitement and we had a fun evening (even if we did drive to the nearest Taco Bell for dinner). That night it was COLD, and despite our best efforts at dressing them warm, the kids woke up a few times and Gavin ended up in my sleeping bag by morning. My dad joined us for breakfast, well, actually brought breakfast since our bananas and pop tarts were not good enough for him, and also brought some much needed hot chocolate. He was a welcome sight! After packing up, we took a short walk/hike around the beautiful lake and enjoyed the colors of the changing leaves. All in all, it was a valiant first effort at family camping and the kids and I (maybe not Jeremy) look forward to our next outing.

Today Cameron's preschool had a field trip to a local pumkin patch- Pumpkinville at Leesburg Animal Park. The kids got to feed and pet all kinds of animals, go on a spooky hayride, and play on all kinds of slides and bouncy things. Gavin was still petrified of and animal that got too close and we had a little goat that kept following us around trying to eat my camera bag. Cameron was not scared at all and even fed the big, slobery camel. It was the perfect day and the kids had a blast, and we even got to come home with two little pumpkins for Halloween.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Check out our Hoe Down!

Star in Your Own JibJab! It's Free!

You will have to wait for the music on my blog to stop before playing our little skit or the music will overlap and it doesn't sound too pretty.

Visit to our local Nursing Home

Way back last St. Patricks Day, our church put on a party at the nursing home nearby. Cameron got up and sang songs and had made some rainbows to give to some of the residents and I still remember how happy he was to make these elderly people smile. Ever since I have wanted to go back and I finally got on it this week. We decided that for our family night on Monday we would dress the kids up in their Halloween costumes and go hand out candy and some little pumpkins Cameron had made to the residents. The Candlands, Porters, and Jensens joined us there and we went door to door meeting the people. I could not believe how fearless Cameron was, he went right up to these peole who looked, spoke and smelled so different without any hesitation. We also sang some little preschool songs that Cameron and his friends had learned which really seemed to brighten the mood. Gavin even tried to chime in on some of the songs. As depressing as it is to see people in this condition, I really felt like we were making their day a little bit better. I was so proud of Cameron, as much as he loves candy, he was anxious to give every last bit of it away and I really think he learned an important lesson- it is better to give than to receive.

It has started to feel a bit more fall-like here although today is is in the 80's again, but for a stretch there it was nice and cool and we could really enjoy that briskness in the air. The kids have just been so happy to be able to play outside. Gavin has become interested in Cameron's battery powered Jeep and the two of them are quite a sight driving up and down the street. Maybe, finally, they are learning how to play together.

As promised, here are some pictures of the ghost luminaries Cameron and I made for our front porch. They really turned out darling and the kids are the first to remind me that it's getting dark and we need to turn them on!

With the weather turning cooler, here is my favorite (and 2 time chili cookoff champion) recipe for chili.
Creamy White Chili

1 pound cubed chicken
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 garlic powder
1 T oil
2 cans great northern beans
1 can chicken broth
2 cans green chilis
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream

In pan, saute chicken, onion and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilis and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream and cream.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Getting Ready for Fall

I had heard that today was going to be a nice, cool fall day and was so excited to get the kids in their new, fall clothes... And then at breakfast when the kids and I were already dressed, I hear on the weather that it's going to be 80's and humid. We had to hustle and change back into shorts. And we got one more good use out of the Hawaiian outfits grandma brought back from her recent trip. Where is the fall??? We are here, ready and waiting for it to arrive and every few days we're teased with some cooler weather, but it seems like the next day is summery again. Our AC gets switched off and on every day it seems.
Regardless of the weather, it is October and for us that means it is time to start putting up some holiday decorations. Cameron is finally at an age where he can help make some decent holiday crafts and this year we made pumpkins out of TP and paper towel rolls, covering them with orange pattered fabric and adding a stem and leaf. They turned out really cute! We have also been saving milk cartons to make ghost luminaries- stay tuned. Gavin was so excited to see me hanging up the new decorations, he went around pointing out all the pu-kins and leefs. He is especially fond of a scarecrow that is about the same size as he is and at first, I think he thought it was real, but now it is his good buddy that I find in various places around the house. The autumn decor has put us all in a holiday mood and these next couple of months are my favorite time of year.

Speaking of autumn, some of my favorite recipes I get to dig out at this time of year. Here is one for soem yummy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread:

3c. flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Combine above dry ingredients in medium bowl.

4 eggs
2 c. sugar
2 c. pumpkin
1 1/4 c vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips

Beat together all wet ingredients and then gradually add the dry. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into 2 loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 60 minutes. Serve slathered with butter or my favorite- cream cheese!