Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gavin the writer

At the beginning of the school year Jeremy and I feared that Gavin may have ADD.  He had trouble paying attention in class and could get so absorbed in an activity that he was unaware of what was going on around him.  We even filled out an evaluation form and had his teacher do one as well for our pediatrician to look over.  Many people told us that he was too young and probably just needed to mature a bit, but we still worried.  Than a few months ago something happened.  All of a sudden Gavin decided he wanted to be an author and illustrator when he grew up.  Each day after school he rushed home to get his work done so that he could write.  And write he did!  It got so bad that we were actually rationing the paper he could use each day.  He wrote a whole series of books about a super hero named The Green Gavin.  He took them to school to share them with the class and something changed.  All of a sudden it was like school had a purpose in his life and he wanted to do well.  His teacher exclaimed about how different he had become and  we sighed in relief.  Well he still writes, in fact he has just started a new series about visiting and moving to the North Pole.  Here are the first few pages, but if you want to read the rest, you'll have to buy it at the bookstore :)
 A Family Story About Going to the North Pole- Number Two
 Once upon a time, my family moved to the North Pole.
When they opened the door, they saw elves working.

Bull Run Mountain

Jeremy and I have lived here now for more than a decade.  We've been all around the Manassas Battlefield on the many trails it has to offer and have taken the kids all over it as well.  There are also a few other hikes we like to take the kids on that we frequent.  A few weeks ago our family made a goal to hike 40 times in the next year.  So far we have done four.  A friend had mentioned hiking Bull Run Mountain a while back, but I didn't know any details about where this was or how long, etc until I looked it up when we were looking for a family hike the week before Easter.  To get to the top of the mountain and back is 5 miles, and although we knew Mason would never make it, we still set off to give it a try.  We were excited to find a whole maze of trails hidden not 5 miles from our home with historical significance as well.  That day we got about a mile from the top before we had to turn back due to the family member with the shortest legs.  Another day we went back in search of a letter box we heard was hidden and zig-zagged a different way than before, finding the old ruins of Chapman's mill, and cemetery, and well.  I still wanted to make it to the summit and yesterday my friend Kathie and I did it.  It was indeed a strenuous hike, but once we found the lookout there was no doubt it was worth it. You come through the trees to find a huge rocky cliff that jets out so that you can see about 270 degrees around you.  It was absolutely breathtaking!  Even the birds were flying down below us and a veteran hiker informed us that you can also look down on helicopters flying below.  I can't wait to take Jeremy.  Definitely a gem that I wish I had known about sooner.  Who knew?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Just one big, happy family

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Birth Part 2

"Do you remember the spring when we had all those kittens born in our house?" That is what I imagine my kids saying someday after this spring we are having. Hopefully they will not be saying, "Do you remember that spring when mom turned into the crazy cat lady??" I had big dreams of my children witnessing an animal birth in our home and a few months ago we almost made that happen with a Chow mama needing a foster home to deliver her pups in. Logistically that would've been a nightmare and so we waited. Then Prim arrived and I snatched the opportunity, thinking our bathroom would be plenty big for this expectant mother and her brood. Then there was Lily, who would be spayed if I didn't take her and her expanding belly and so we opened our arms a bit wider and allowed her in as well. And it couldn't have gone better. Yesterday Prim finally had her little ones after some worry on our part that she hadn't had them sooner. I actually found her yesterday morning curled up with all of Lily's babies nursing them! But she still was showing no signs of going into labor. I took her into the hospital to get another opinion and we scheduled a C-section for Friday. We came home and again she returned to the box that Lily and her babies were using, and all of them curled around each other keeping in the warmth. After I put Mason down for his nap I went to check on her and found her still in that same box with a little wet squirmy kitten she was licking. Her day had finally come. I removed Lily's kittens from the box thinking Lily would follow them but not so. Lily would not leave Prim's side. She purred loudly, comforting her friend and helping to deliver another baby. Two grey and white babies, just like their mama. We waited and there were no more kittens so pictures were taken, phone calls were made and we went on with our day, checking on this motley crew of cats every now and then. The boys came home to this surprise of new kitties and we loved on them and went off to various activities. We came home from swimming at 7:00 and found Daddy all excited that he had been able to see another kitten born! Miracle of miracles 5 hours after her second baby was born she had another, when we went to go see, we saw yet another being delivered. So four kittens in total for Prim and four for Lily. It was better than perfect the way these two mommas interacted with each other and all the kittens together. What wasn't expected was what came next. Yesterday someone had found four kittens abandoned with no mother to be seen. One of my coworkers was trying to bottle feed the kittens but they were not doing well. They would not take a bottle and were not going to the bathroom. Could we possibly see if they would be accepted by one of my new mommas? And so, late last night four more bundles of fur nestled into our ever shrinking bathroom, and were welcomed with many frantic licks from our dear Prim. After some time, all four were nursing on her. Lily is taking some time to warm up to this idea of even more babies, but it seems we have room for all of them. The kids giggles excitedly when the awoke to find twelve baby kitties rolling around two very exhausted mama cats. I'm not the crazy cat lady, I promise. I'm the crazy kitten lady. Big difference. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

4 year old Mason!

Mason's much anticipated birthday was Monday and it was a thrill from start to finish! We ate Curious George cake for breakfast and then hopped in the car to meet our cousins at Kings Dominion! This was Mason's first time there and he loved every bit of it. We rode the scrambler, the flying Eagles, the big ferris wheel and the Avalanche roller coaster, as well as some of the smaller kiddie rides. He would have gone on everything if he could've, he was not afraid at all this year! After the park we went to a local pizza place with everyone and stayed too late enjoying each others company. The birthday boy passed out on the ride home and woke up only enough to brush his teeth and get his PJ's on. He was worn out! It pains me to even think of how old he has gotten, seemingly overnight. Today at preschool they celebrated his birthday and one of his teachers said it seemed like yesterday I was pregnant with Mason. No kidding. No matter how old he gets, he will always be my baby.

Easter 2012

The weather on Easter was picture perfect. The kids woke up and found their Easter baskets, we got ready for church, came home and made rolls, and then headed to grandma and Jeff's house for the rest of the day. Kristin and her family were there and we sat outside all afternoon, cousins playing and adults chatting until dinner was ready and we feasted. Then there was an egg hunt with candy and money filled eggs and then cake. Mason's birthday was the day after Easter this year and his cousin Rachel was celebrating her 9th birthday on Easter so we had a big cake and sung to them both. It was relaxing and perfect and everyone had a swell time. I'm just realizing how fun and awesome my family really is. It only took me 32 years...

Spring Break 2012

At the end of April it will be a year since I returned to work. I remember before this transition happened in our lives that I would often seek out opportunities to get out of the house and away from the kids whether it was book club, Bunko, Enrichment night or just a girls night with friends to dinner or a movie. Now things feel quite different. I have become something of a homebody seeking out excuses to just be home with the kids even if all we're doing is snuggling up watching a show or playing board games. So it was no surprise that I was super excited for spring break because of all of the family togetherness time it brought. And I was more than happy to just stay here, at home surrounded by the chaos that is my children. We did have a short bucket list of things to do, go on a hike, go to the park, have a picnic, sleep in the tent, have some play dates, dye Easter eggs and go to Kings Dominion for Mason's birthday. We checked it all off and then some. Every single day Gavin was eager to play dress up with Mason and he came up with some pretty creative combinations. He begged me to take some pictures to "put on the blog" so here you go. We dyed our eggs trying some with rubber bands for a different effect, and made a peeps diorama for the Ward Easter party. We even had our first glow in the dark egg hunt at night with eggs filled with glow in the dark bracelets. The kids loved hunting in the dark! Even though we did nothing extravagant, the week was just right for us and we had some much needed bonding time. I can't wait until school gets out and we can do it more often.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Baby Easter Bunny!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Very Pinteresting

I finally caved and joined Pinterest. I knew it would suck me in and it totally did! After spending several hours pinning amazing ideas, I finally had to make myself stop just so I could work on some of the things I found. This week I went to town and made a few things. I made each of the boys matching bow ties for Easter and I can't wait to see how they look in them tomorrow. I made this cool egg garland to hang on our big mirror. That sure was a messy project! We dipped strawberries to make them into "carrots" but they didn't turn out nearly as cute as the originals. And finally I started on these neat bookshelves that I hope to be able to hang in Mason's room. I still need to paint them and the second one still needs some work, but they're getting there! Phew! Pinterest sure is a lot of work but I'm hooked!

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Before I begin, I need to explain that a few days after we invited Prim into our home we took in another pregnant cat that Jeremy named Lillian after his grandmother who by the way was allergic to cats and hated them. Lily was another one of the cats brought into the clinic from the animal shelter to be spayed and you could tell just by looking at her that she was pretty far along. We already had one cat in the bathroom, what difference would two make? We waited and waited, and waited some more. There were many false alarms and a lot of disappointed and impatient family members, myself included and for a while we thought these cats would never give birth. Jeremy and I actually tricked the kids for April Fools day and told them the kittens had been born this morning. Looks like the joke was on us! I found Lily in a different spot than she usually is and she was breathing pretty heavily. As I watched her I could see her abdomen contracting and I quickly got the kids to come and watch. It wasn't long before the first kitten emerged, a little orange one and Lily knew just what to do. The first was followed by three little brown tabbies all wet and perfect, and looking to nurse immediately. Cameron thought it was awesome and he never left her side, except to go and get the camera for me. We all agreed the part about her eating the placentas was pretty gross, but it was so amazing that she seemed like she had done this many times before and it all came so naturally. The boys didn't make her nervous at all like I thought they might. She is such a sweet cat, I think she knew we were all there to help. Now we all feel like pros and when Prim decides to have her babies, we will all know what to do. The miracle of birth is amazing, whether it is a human baby or a kitten, so amazing to be able to witness.