Thursday, February 25, 2010

So much for spring?

Well, we were given a slight taste of what the normal weather pattern this time of year is... and then it was yankd from us! We went from 60degrees to snow, all in one day.

The weather here in WNC never ceases to amaze me. It changes so quickly and without warning.

Yesterday, Carl built a ramp for the neighbor's dog. Poor Blackie has lost the full use of his hind leg/hip on one side. He is a beautiful, old, greyhound rescue. He wasn't able to get up and down the 3-4 steps from the door to the yard, and this was the solution. Carl's skills never cease to amaze me :)

While Carl was working on the ramp, it really began to snow! I have to admit, it was gorgeous, but I am ready for spring.

The woods, rivers, and just all of nature is calling me. I can't wait until all the access roads to our favorite hiking areas are re-opened. I heard that the National Forest Roads will be open this week if they didn't today.

Thanks to Deb that treated us to dinner as a thank-you! It made it easy to go to bed early.

On a side note, is it wrong that I love that my child had a two-hour-delay today? I got a nice long night of sleep for the first time in a while!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Giving Thanks for a wonderful fellowship dinner...

Last night I was lucky enough to have a wonderful fellowship dinner with some couples from church, at the pastor's home.

Dinner was delicious, and the company was great. I hope we get to do it again soon!

Thanks again to Jim and Jane for a wonderful evening.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

And this is why you listen to mom...

So, over the weekend WNC had perfect weather. I think we even hit 60degrees on Sunday...

Well, we took the boys for a hike and picnic at the river, and while I was making lunch I kept telling the boys to stop throwing rocks into the water. I had a few reasons for stopping it, one was because they would scare away the fish, two was because the beach was really sandy and they needed clean hands, and third was because I didn't want them to fall in...

I was making sandwiches as we sat, and handed them out according to age, with Rory being first. I reminded him again to stop throwing rocks.

As I was finishing making all the sandwiches and handing them out... I hear Rory start crying.

I turn to him and see that he has a rock in his hand and no sandwich.

It didn't take long to realize what happened. Rory threw his sandwich in the water instead of the intended rock... That definitely wasn't the reason I was telling him not to throw rocks, but hey, it works as a reason to listen to mom!

Here is Rory right after throwing his lunch away:

And here is the floating sandwich (which became fish food):

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The warmth is here...

And not a moment too soon!

Today we went hiking in what I hope was the last of the season's snow. It was perfect out. The temperature held in the 50's, the boys played in the water, the fish were jumping... it was great.

I hope that this weather is here to stay, we were right around the normal temps for today...

Going for these late winter/early spring hikes do so much to lift your spirit! I love that feeling you get as you inhale that first breath of pure mountain air, and smell the creek, trees, and the dirt... There are very few things that I love more.

The boys had a blast. We ate lunch on a cobblestone beach, sat on a tree, and took some photos. Rory is getting the hang of the camera!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

An awesome mini-vacation!

We had an awesome set of friends who invited us to Wilderness in the Smokies and since Rory had a snow-day on Monday, and no school on Tuesday, we decided to take them up on their offer and to go.

It was AWESOME. Probably one of the coolest things I have ever been to. They have a HUGE indoor waterpark with anything you can imagine!

Arden and Canyon got to play in the kiddie pools (there were 2!) and Rory was tall enough to go on all the rides except for one waterslide. I found out later why he couldn't go on that slide... it was HUGE and like nothing I have ever be on!!!!

They also have an indoor wave pool, 3 other big slides, and an awesome surf wave. Rory rode it all, and rode hard all day. He got on the surf wave and body boarded!! He was so good at it that people stopped, watched him, and cheered!!!!! He would start to wash out, and then paddle back down it with his hands to get back into the sweet spot, it was great. I didn't get any photos of him or me, (but we hope to order them) I did however get a few good ones of Carl! He had a blast, he wiped out trying to do tricks... So here are a handful of photos, I was too busy having fun to get many.

And again, Steph and Chris, thank you SO much :)









Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Long week!

We had a long week last week that kept us from getting to blog!

Canyon dislocated his elbow, I got mastitis, and the list kept going on... talk about busy and long ;)

Here are a handful of photos from this week, I will post another blog tonight with a few more!


Sunday, February 7, 2010

13 Days of Love... Day 7

We are completely blessed to have such a wonderful church family.

I really don't have much to say other then I love our church, I love our pastor, and I love our church family.

Every time we go to church, I sit and listen to our pastor preach, and am reminded how good he really is. It is incredibly hard to find a minister that really preaches the bible in a way that feels right and touches your heart. We must have visited 5-6 different baptist churches before we found our perfect church.

Each week that Jim gets up to the pulpit, I know that we are going to hear a wonderful sermon. He is well educated, worldly, and has both an open heart and open mind. (Which is surprisingly hard to find in many Christians now-a-days).

He reminds me of listening to Carl's dad when he was the pastor at our old church, and makes me want to go to WV to listen to Carl's mom (who is now the pastor at the old church).

Our church family is so generous, and so loving. It is amazing that we found a church where we never feel judged, or looked down on.

When life get's hard for me, I tend to back off a little, and seclude myself. It makes it easier for me to deal with the problems and situations. When Canyon got sick, I felt the need to back away from a lot of things (my blog and church included). We have recently started to go back to church, and it is wonderful to see how much we were missed, and how much people care. Everyone was respectful of our space while we were away, prayed for Canyon and the family, checked up on us, and then welcomed us back with open arms. We couldn't ask for more.

Today's service impacted me pretty hard, and I am spending time thinking about the real reason things happen here on Earth... but that is another discussion.

Today's love is my church family. Thank you all for your love and support.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

13 Days of Love... Day 6.

My love today is Asheville and it's local commerce and food...

There are a lot of places in the country that don't have available local stores and local food. We here in Asheville are blessed to have both all year.

This morning I got up, and took Rory to the "Toy Box" store down the road from our house. He was able to pick out a gift for a friend, and look at a ton of toys that ToysRUs or Walmart wouldn't have. Every week we go to local restaurants to eat, and many of those use local foods as much as possible. We do our shopping at neighborhood grocers and even at the local farmer's market.

I think that shopping locally for both food and other items is one of the most important things we can do for our planet, our economy, and our children.

Here in Asheville, we have Walmarts, McDonalds, ToysRUs, and even a mall, but you want to know a secret? We don't need them. We have such a great local selection of small family owned stores and restaurants, that you don't need those big chains and discount stores.

We get our hair cut at a local salon, we get our food at small local stores, we get most of our clothes from local stores, and even our toys and gifts come from 2 small toy stores in town.

I LOVE ASHEVILLE and the opportunity it gives us to eat and shop locally!

Friday, February 5, 2010

13 Days of Love... Day 5

I have spent a lot of time traveling around, and living in different places. One thing I have found is how much I love the mountains.

As a little girl, I grew up in the Potomac Valley in Maryland. There were hills, and mountains near by, but we never got to see them or to experience what they had to offer us. I used to go to visit my Granny Eva in southern West Virginia. Her home is in this beautiful location, and when I would stay, I would tell her that someday I was going to live there. I did for a while, and someday, I probably will again.

I have lived in river valleys, in the "low country", close to the beaches, in the midwest, and somehow, I always come back to the mountains. They literally pull at my heart. When we take trips to visit friends and family on the beaches, and in other parts of the country, I miss the call of our mountains. As we travel back over the foothills, I can feel the mountains, and I know we are coming home. I feel at peace knowing that we will soon be able to see them.

We have been blessed to live here in Western North Carolina. Both the Appalachian and Smokey Mountains run here, and offer us their life and their beauty. The mountains here thought smaller then the ones out west, are breathtaking.

They offer us clean water, fresh air, naturally grown fish, and the opportunity to explore and "disappear" into the wilderness. They offer the chance to kayak, ski, hike, fish, bike, and really to do anything our hearts desire.

I still desire to travel, and to leave the mountains for a brief time... but I know that I will always come home.

My love for today is the mountains. They hold a special place in my heart.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

13 Days of Love... Day 4

As much as I love the moments that I shared yesterday, there are moments that I covet and protect like no other.

Those moments are the few moments in the evening when my children have gone to bed, the dishes are done, lunches are packed, and I finally have time to spend on me.

As much as I love being a mom and being with my children, I love those moments of silence and solitude.

Those few moments keep me both grounded and connected to myself. I usually spend them curled up in my favorite blue chair, and can be found knitting, having a glass of wine, studying midwifery, or blogging. I spend them doing what I love, that time is for me. They are not moments that I have to spend doing things for others, they are moments that I save just for myself. Every mom needs to have time for her.

We live our lives for our children. I choose to be home 24-7 with my babies, and that choice is one of the best decisions I have ever made. It is not something I will ever regret, it is the most important thing I have ever done.

The thing is, we don't realize when we make that decision, that over time we begin to lose who we are as individuals. Little by little, that person we used to be before children begins to slip away, and unless we do little things to protect that, we lose sight of ourselves.

I have a degree in English, with a concentration in Journalism. I am an outdoors person who lives for the next adrenaline rush. I have spent my adult life before children taking photos, writing, living minimally (in a tent or on the road) and doing extreme sports. After having my beautiful children, I realized that adult contact began to decrease (more so with each child) and that self expression was no longer easy to come by, I no longer get to go rock climbing, skiing, or kayaking on a regular basis, I no longer can live minimally (not in the same way I used to) and sometimes I wonder where those parts of my life went.

In order to keep that part of myself, I take those few moments each night, and I make them mine. I think that all moms need to do the same :) I encourage you moms to take this "love" of mine, and to take those moments and make them your own. You not only deserve them, but you need them.We are people outside of our children, and we need to remember who we were/are, and hold onto that.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

13 Days of Love... Day 3

Those precious moments...

Every day, there are little moments that I will always cherish and hopefully never forget...

With each of my children there is a special time that we spend together each day, and with each little one, that time is different.

Almost every morning, I get to drive Rory to his morning car-pool for school. This is our "private time" where (usually) his brothers are not accompanying us, and when he can just talk to me... and he does! Rory will talk non-stop about different things that are important to his 6-year-old mind, and I am learning to see the whole world through a different set of glasses recently. I love my time with Rory, and can't believe how old and mature he is getting!

Arden and I spend time in the kitchen almost everyday. I love that he helps me get food prepared for meals and then after meals when everything is calm, he still climbs up onto my lap and hugs me. It is such a sweet time to get to have with him, and as he grows older, I know I will miss it. He is such a sweet child who wants nothing but love, and I love that about him.

And that brings us to the Can-Man.

Canyon, because of his age, still monopolizes much of my time and my life. But the time I will always cherish with him are our afternoon and evening nursing sessions. When he gets hurt, upset, or sleepy, he come to me, smiles really big, and says "Nur Nurs". His smile and excitement is so endearing as he gets lifted to my lap. He is getting so big, but is still able to curl up in my lap and be comforted in the way only a mom can do. It really is sweet, and I love those minutes.

I know that as my boys grow older, that the precious moments I love are going to get further and further apart. I just hope that my boys will remember them as fondly as I do.

A first hair cut...

To me it is kind of funny that Canyon has now gotten a hair cut before his brother! The resemblance to Rory and his first hair cut at about the same age is amazing!

Without further to-do, here is the Can-man before:

And after:

And here is one of Arden just because he wanted a photo too:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

13 Days of Love... Day 2

Carl, my husband, my partner, my love.

I met Carl when I was in 2001 while I was finishing college. I had just turned 20, was just a few months out of an extremely unhealthy relationship, and wasn't even looking to fall for anyone.

I decided to drive from Kent, OH. to Ohiopyle, PA. to go kayaking, and was just hoping to be able to bum a shuttle ride from someone.

When I arrived at the put-in I was excited to see a couple of guys there getting ready to run their own shuttle. I jumped out of my car and begged for a ride. I think my exact quote was something to the effect of, "I just need a ride, I can get all my own gear if I swim, and don't need to follow you guys or anything... what do you think?"

Carl and Lad readily agreed to go down the river with me, and give me a ride back to my car at the end.

Looking back on it, I must have been quite a sight to see. I had been out partying for Halloween the night before, still had on my makeup, my hair was a disaster (in curls with so much product it was crunchy!), I was sick to my stomach from the prior night's activities, and was gulping pepto as we made our way down the river. (I actually had the pepto in my kayak along side my water bottle!)

Carl kind of hung back, and was quiet. He was respectful of my space and really polite. He was really a nice guy and I assumed unavailable because of his age and behavior.

After paddling the river, Carl and Lad decided to go out for drinks and dinner, and since I was going to be paddling for a few days, I agreed to go out with them. We went to the Black Bear, and ate and talked. We had a great time. Lad left early from dinner, and left Carl and I to talk at the table.

Carl and I shared some bacon-cheddar fries, and had a great conversation. Carl was so sweet; he was kind, and cute, and nothing like most of the men I had dated! It was a welcome experience, and wonderful to meet someone so "good".

We agreed to go kayaking the next morning again and to meet at 10am.

10:30 rolled around and I decided that I was going to get my gear on, and at 10:45, I was leaving to paddle. I figured he was one of "those guys" who can never be on time or care enough to call someone if they are going to be late. I was pretty hot under the collar by this point and figured he wasn't as nice as he had seemed.

At 10:44 Carl came screeching into the parking lot, jumped out of his car and was apologetic. He had slept through his alarm. He was so relieved that I hadn't left. I actually felt bad for him with how rushed he seemed and how tired!

We had an awesome day, and at the end agreed to boat the next weekend again... little did I know that this was the beginning of something real, and life long.

A few months later, during a pool-game at the BrewPub in Morgantown, Carl pulled me aside and told me he loved me... The almost school-boyish smile on his face as he shared that secret, is something I will never forget. I was in love with him too.

Over the following years Carl and I have grown closer together. We have dealt with a lot of turbulence and stress, but in the end, we have always come out closer and more in love. Now, with 3 children, and almost 7 years of marriage under our belts, I know that our love is real and substantial.

I don't love Carl the way I did when we first started dating. I love him more. The more comfortable and safe we feel in our relationship, the more I love him. Each day that passes shows us trials, tribulations, and more ways to fall in love and to support each other in life. I love my husband, and cannot imagine our lives without each other.

He is my partner in life, my other half, my equal, my love.

So, if you read all of that, I just wanted to say, I love my husband! He is the first love in the "13 Days of Love" that I wanted to share with you.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Just got home...

From the Red Cross Donation Center.

Please, think about going to donate blood or platelets as often as you can. It is a simple procedure that can save 3 or more lives :)

Rory and I (obviously he just keeps me company) are going to try to donate platelets every 2-3 weeks and blood in between. :)

13 Days of Love... Day 1


What is love? What does it mean to be "in love" or to "love" something or someone?

Wikipedia describes love as:
"any of a number of emotions related to a sense of strong affection[1] and attachment. The word love can refer to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from generic pleasure ("I loved that meal") to intense interpersonal attraction ("I love my husband"). This diversity of uses and meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, even compared to other emotional states.
As an abstract concept, love usually refers to a deep, ineffable feeling of tenderly caring for another person. Even this limited conception of love, however, encompasses a wealth of different feelings, from the passionate desire and intimacy of romantic love to the nonsexual emotional closeness of familial and platonic love[2] to the profound oneness or devotion of religious love.[3] Love in its various forms acts as a major facilitator of interpersonal relationships and, owing to its central psychological importance, is one of the most common themes in the creative arts."
For me, love is not one thing; it falls into different categories, and depending on the context, it means different things. For instance, I love my husband, I love my dog, I love my kids, I love meatloaf, and I love the color yellow. Not one of those "loves" pulls the same emotion from me as any other on the list. The interpretation is the same, but the meaning and emotion behind the word in each sentence is different.

My heart yearns for my husband and children when we are apart; when I come home from a trip, I feel immediate peace and comfort when I walk into my home and see the yellow walls that hug my home in warmth and love; when I eat meatloaf, I savor each bite and yearn for more long after I am full.

Each of those scenarios are types of love. Over the next few weeks, I am going to pick things from my life that I love, and I am going to blog them.

Tomorrow, my first blog will be about my husband, my love, my equal, and my other half.  

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rory's Weekend with Ruff...

Rory's class at school has a "class pet" named Ruff. He gets to go home with a different child each weekend and he keeps a journal of all his adventures.

This weekend, he had a good time playing in the snow by the fire, watching Houdini in his cage, and even becoming a pirate!

Here are a few shots of Ruff while he stayed at our house:




Friday, January 29, 2010

And so it begins...

Yet another storm has begun to hit us here in WNC. We are projected to get over a foot of snow tonight, and we are hoping the power is going to hold out for us...

The good news is that Carl is home for this storm, we are prepared, and we know what to expect!

I ate lunch at school with Rory today and decided to bring him home a little early instead of trying to drive in traffic if the storm hit... and it is a good thing! About an hour later the snow started falling and there is no sign of it stopping!

Here is a photo as it began to snow (after about 15 minutes):


And here is what it looked like just a little later (about 2 hours after it started): 

The boys were excited to play in the snow, so we let Rory take "Ruff", the class dog, out into the snow for a photo...
And then we started hitting him with snowballs:

And then we decided to sit by the fire and enjoy what was left of the day light... 

An ironic fact... we were sitting by a fire that was made from the aftermath of the last snow storm...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Something a little different...

A really nice mom who owns a small company challenged me to a blog posting "contest".

It really isn't so much of a contest as it is a way to show love and gratitude. I did something very similar on November and am happy to do it again!

It is called the 13 Days of Peace and Love

Starting on February first, I will be posting about one "love" of mine each day!  I encourage you all to do it too, and to check out her blog to see what others are posting: (Oh, and if you are the mom of a little one, check out the carriers! We love the becco and a few others she carries!)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A little clumsy...

I'm not really that clumsy of a person. I am sure footed on wet river rocks, walking in strong currents, and standing on wet rafts... so can someone tell me how that all changes on a little bit of ice?

I was running carpool this morning and when I stopped to get one of the girls, I fell on the sidewalk. I fell HARD. My hips, back, foot, and knee are all sore! I can't believe how ungraceful I was. I did get by without ripping my jeans though.

I think I might be getting a little old. A few years ago, I would have either caught myself, or at least not looked like a flailing elephant when I fell ;)

Here is my foot... I haven't had the nerve to take a look at my back and hip yet.

Monday, January 25, 2010

After the rain...

It has been raining for a few days here in WNC, and really, I have no complaints about it. I love the smell, the sound, and the feeling of the rain, and after a few years of droughts, it is very welcome!

Our home has mountains on all sides, and most of our weather comes from the western mountains. We can see the clouds and rain start long before it gets to our house. After the rain leaves, there is this small window of time that is absolutely perfect to me...

The clouds start to clear, the sun comes out, there is a light mist, and a wonderful smell over everything. I can't explain that smell, but it is one of my favorites, and makes me miss the days of living in a tent on the river, and waking to the fog clearing off the water.

Here is a shot this morning of the western mountains as the rain and clouds cleared, I could not ask for a more beautiful place to live:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Keeping my children safe...

I have seen some horrible misuse of car-seats lately, and I never cease to be amazed... I have seen people try to put 2 year olds in boosters, use expired seats, and forward face infants...

I am a huge advocate of car seat safety, and I wanted to post this because so many people are misinformed. Please remember that car seats DO expire, and it is a safety issue. Keeping a child rear facing as long as possible is the easiest way to keep them safe in a car.

The 20lb and 1 year suggestion is out of date, and the pediatrician recommendations are being changed in the following year or so.

There has never been a documented case of broken legs in a child facing the rear, but internal decapitation happens to children who are forward facing.

Children don't mind sitting with crossed legs, or with their legs up, and studies show it is better then having their legs dangle in front of them forward facing.

It is never too late to start, we flipped Arden backwards again after he was forwards because his weight changed and he had more time in his seat rear facing. He didn't mind at all! It helps him sleep better on trips, allows him to be more comfortable, and he likes to tell me about what is behind us in the car.

Both Arden and Canyon are rear facing, and I am looking into buying Arden a new seat that will be safer longer, the . He is getting close to outgrowing his seat in the current position. This is the seat I am looking at. It will let him be rear facing until about 6 years old.

Here are Arden and Canyon:

Please think about keeping your child rear facing as long as possible, and don't just do the minimum for their safety :)