Friday, April 30, 2010

They Hatched!

So of course, I didn't get a photo yesterday, but I did get a phone call from the neighbor late last night telling me that the eggs had hatched!!

I don't know who is more excited, me, the boys, or the mama bird!! Without further-to-do, here are the new little ones!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

No babies yet...

I'm not sure if the eggs have hatched, Mama Bird doesn't want to get off of them, and didn't seem to mind me taking a few shots.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

More from the Bird Eggs

The eggs haven't hatched yet, and from the looks of the weather report, we might not get photos for a few days. Lots of rain headed this way (which I am looking forward to). So, here are a few photos of the eggs from yesterday and today. Mama was on them today, so I tried my best not to disturb her.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Life Lessons...

So yesterday, while he was playing in the yard, Rory came across a bird's nest in one of our trees.

We decided to make a lesson about birds and how they grow, so we are going to take photos of the birds and/or eggs each day until they hatch and fly away. I just hope no little critters get to them since they are so low to the ground.

Here is a shot from today:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Those unwanted, but needed visitors...

Today we had a snake slithering around the yard, he was in the side garden along the house, and looked like he had been eating well. I'm glad to see that he was plump and looked like a mouse might have been his last meal.

While I will never get over the first jump when I see a snake, and they will always scare me a little, I am glad they are here. I hate mice more.

So here is the little (or not so little, depends on how you look at it) snake that held my van hostage for an hour or so. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Moments that change our lives...

There are moments in our lives that change everything.

Some of those moments are the most joyous things we will ever experience, others are the darkest and most devastating moments that we could ever go through.

Jeffrey Allen Mayfield died 7 years ago today.

While I have come to terms with the loss, I still feel the harrowing pain I felt that day. The loss of Jeff was huge not only for me, but for so many people; losing him had a ripple effect which left emptiness across an entire continent. His death effected everyone from his family to his friends, to his colleagues, and even his students. We were all spread from one side of the country to the other, yet we all felt this loss and pain together.

If you want to read more about Jeff's death, and the struggle, I wrote about it a year ago today here on the blog: ; here is a thread from from the first responders:

A few months after his death I had this dream where he came to me... it was such a vivid, raw, emotional dream. Jeff came to our house, like he always had. He walked in the door without knocking, into my living room where my mom and I were talking. He introduced himself to my mother, chatted for a few moments, smiled at me, and walked out. In this dream, I looked at my mother and began to cry. She looked at me like I was insane, all I kept repeating was, "Mom, that was Jeff." After I had said that about 10 times, she said "I know, he introduced himself." To which I responded, "But mom, he died, he is gone. That was JEFF!" I was doubled over in unbearable pain from the tears and grief, I couldn't breathe. I heard the door open and looked up to see Jeff walking in the front door, into my living room again, he walked over and hugged me. He held me close and told me "I'm OK, it is all OK. I'm OK." Then he left again.

I woke up from that dream a mess. I was barely able to breathe, my chest was contracting in spasms from my cries and screams; I was crying and choking, my pillow was soaked in tears... and I was able to feel his arms on me still. Somehow, even with the agony I was feeling, I knew it was all okay, and that he was fine, that we would all be fine.

I have thought of him a lot through the years, but I have never dreamed about him again.

Where has that 7 years gone? Why did something that brought us all together, something that we all found so fun and uplifting have to become tragic and deadly?

Our lives have changed dramatically since then. Some of the changes are directly related to his death, while other changes were indirectly related. The biggest changes are because of that day.

His death caused me to question my faith for a long time. I just didn't understand. I still don't, and probably never will. Carl has been my rock, and explained faith, God, and how it all ties together in a way that brought me back to my faith. His view and strength has given me some clarity and as much peace as is possible.

The wounds aren't as open and raw as they once were. I can talk about Jeff with a smile, I can remember more of the good, rather then just the tragic end. But I miss him. His death changed so much, for so many of us. Honestly, I don't think it is ever far from my mind.

I need to go back out to the Big Sandy, out to Splat, and to the Rock.

I haven't been back since the year after it happened. I took Rory (who was 3 months old) with me the first anniversary. It was a stark contrast to the days following his death. Rather than the sun and warmth, it was cold, and pouring rain. I went out early, to have time to be on the Rock by myself. The river was high, the highest I had ever seen it. Many of the rapids (including some 10+ft waterfalls had disappeared and were deadly river-wide holes and not "falls". As I hiked the path, the creeks began to come up quickly. I didn't stay long, I said my goodbyes and prayers quickly... and it was a good thing. I was hiking back to my Jeep when I came to the last creek. It had gone from ankle deep to knee deep and rushing. I fell twice with Rory on my back while I was crossing. Another 20 minutes and I wouldn't have made it back to the Jeep. I passed Jason on his way in as I was on my way out... they slept on the rock that night, in the rain and flooding.

My last memories of the Big Sandy were of a violent turning river... I want to see it again, with smooth clear green water, not the brown mud and white foam it was that day.

I want to remember it peacefully running, as something fun and beautiful.

I want to remember it the way it was before. I want things like they were before...

God, I miss him so much.

So much.

From Moments of Our Lives

From Moments of Our Lives

From Moments of Our Lives

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Granny ...

On our way back from vacation, we stopped at my Granny's house. Here are a few shots of her... Canyon didn't want to leave!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Man, these kids are lucky, not only do their grandparents spoil them, but so do the neighbors! This past week the boys were lucky enough to get to ride on a neighbor's zip line and tire swing. It was so neat for the kids to get to experience something like that! We are even thinking about making one at our house now, it can't be *that* hard, right? 

Friday, April 9, 2010

Memories Past...

So, I might be dating myself here, but do you remember playground equipment when we were children? Old wooden see-saws, merry-go-rounds, metal slides, wooden swing seats with heavy metal chains, those octagon shaped climbing bars, etc?

I think back on my days as a little kid, watching my sister play softball, and playing on those parks. I remember riding the merry-go-round until the whole world was spinning and my legs couldn't hold me up... I can still hear the joyous sequels of our friends, smell the honeysuckles growing on the fences, and still see how bright and vivid the world looked to me. Those might be some of the fondest memories I have of my childhood. I still think of them when I am driving with my windows down and the sweet smell of the honeysuckles comes in the car.

Now-a-days the parks are bigger, safer, and seem somewhat less unique. One of the coolest parts of coming out to the lake is the opportunity to ride our bikes down to the park, and for the boys to play on some of that "vintage" (yeah we can be nice and label it vintage and not antique) play ground equipment. They always have a blast, and seem to enjoy it more then the big, new, beautiful playgrounds we have at home! I really hope that these are some of those memories that will stick with them the same way they stuck with me.

Here are a few shots of Rory on the merry-go-round, and of them riding back together.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Enchantment...

We were lucky enough this year to spend Easter in the "Land of Fairies" with my in-laws.

Their home (which we have mentioned here on the blog) is a land of enchantment and magic for the boys. Every time we come here there is some sort of magic to experience.

Today's magic was Easter. The boys, Carl, and I got up early to go to church for brunch and Easter service. This was the first time that I had gotten to hear my Mother-in-law preach, and she was wonderful. The service was open, welcoming and really made me think about a lot.

We wrote a letter earlier in the week to the Easter Bunny asking if he would be willing to make a special trip to our Grammy and Dad-Dad's house AFTER church so that we would be able to enjoy our Easter Egg Hunt and basket with our Grammy (since her morning as pastor is a bit busy on Easter!). He wrote back to us and said he would come while we were at church and boy did he! He hid our eggs outside, along with the baskets. He hid Rory's basket so well that we weren't even sure that he got one!

Here are a few shots of the day:

We really couldn't have asked for a more perfect Easter Sunday! Aunt Dee and Uncle Dave were able to celebrate with us our meal was delicious, and the children were as happy as can be.

Happy Easter everyone! I hope your day was filled with as much love and joy as ours was.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Arden Baby...

Just a shot of Arden b/c he wanted one up since Rory had one up yesterday:

He is such a sweetie pie!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth...

Yup, this blog is about the tooth... the tooth that Rory lost today!

Well, he didn't so much as lose the loose tooth, but he asked me to pull it out for him...

He has had this wriggly tooth for about 3 months, and has played with it non-stop. Then today, I look at him, and the tooth is half hanging out of his mouth like a fang! It was gross looking! So, when we got home from school, we sat in the van and I told him that I would help him pull it out. We grabbed a photo first... (it isn't hard to figure out which tooth it is).

So after a few attempts at getting a tissue on it, and getting a firm grip on the tooth, I finally got a nice hold on it, and gave it a pull.

The tooth went flying across the van, and we had to search and find it for the tooth fairy!

Rory was so proud.

Here is his little tooth pillow to hold the tooth until it holds the dollar coin that the tooth fairy will bestow on him tonight:

He really is getting so big! This is such a bittersweet milestone.

I look at this as the ending of true "childhood", not that he won't be a child for a long time to come, but in the fact that in nature, these are the "milk teeth" and children/mammals lose their baby teeth at the time that nature intends for them to wean from the parent and start to care for themselves...

So here my little baby boy is, with a gap in his smile, and growing up... pretty soon he won't need his mama for things like the tooth fairy, teaching him his school lessons, good night kisses, chasing away bad dreams, or reaching the tops of the closets. I'm already dreading the end of him wanting and needing me to help him with everything in life... and each milestone he hits is a reminder that it is getting closer to that time.

Anyway, I don't need to get all sappy over something he is so proud of. So congratulations to my big boy. I love you!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

And this is what 6-year-old boys are made of...

Rory is getting so big; as I watch his transformation from a little boy into a school boy, it is amazing to me.

This past week I noticed his increased frustration with his brothers. There is no wondering why he was getting frustrated; he had no place to get away from them, no place to play with his toys, and the younger boys kept breaking his things. I realized that he needed his own space, his own bed room. So I decided to take the playroom and transform it into a new bedroom for Rory.

Now, as for what little 6-year-old boys are made of...

Rory has begun to pick up on that "school-age potty humor" that little boys find so amusing.

Last night we were talking about the neighbor's dog (which is a Dachshund) and he says "Mom, I know another name for a Dachshund..." It didn't take a genius to figure out where he was going with this conversation.

"Oh yeah Rory? What?"

(Snicker, snicker.) "A wiener dog!" (Giggle, giggle, snicker.)

We let him giggle about it, and then made him tell us why it was funny to him.

Does this type of humor start this early? Really? Ugh, I am in for a lot more if it with 3 boys.

So, we went to get ice cream later in the day, and when we are getting ready to go, Carl gets my attention and shows me the chalk board that Rory is writing on. In big, bold, bubble letters, the word POOP appears.
We quickly had a conversation about how potty talk isn't appropriate where people are eating,  and we make him erase it, but honestly... it was a little funny. He still hasn't explained to me why that one was funny...

Is this what 6-year-old boys are made of? Potty humor and talk about their parts?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A week of changes...

This has been a week of up and downs for us...

It started out with Carl going to Washington DC for the week, and leaving me and the boys here in WNC...

A little later in the week, Blackie, the neighbor's beautiful old greyhound, had to be put to sleep. He began to go downhill quickly, and it was time to let him go in peace... We will miss him, he was a sweet dog and a great companion.

I then decided to reclaim my bedroom, and for the first time in 4 years, my bed is off the floor and on a frame again! It feels great to have my bedroom back from the children.

Then I decided it was time for Rory to have his own room, and to give him this, I had to take everything out of the playroom, take the beds and furniture apart to move them, relocate clothing, and put everything back into the room... but to do that, I also had to rearrange the other boys' bedroom, which meant more furniture dis-assembly and moving.

It seems that everyone is growing accustomed to the new living arrangements, Arden loves the top bunk in his room, Canyon is doing great in a big-boy bed, Rory is thrilled with his new room, and I have had a week of blissful sleep in my bed alone... I can't wait for Carl to get home to see the transformation of our house!

I can't believe how busy we have been this week, between school, after school events, and room changes, I am completely worn out!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What the Hail?!

Today we decided to meet up with some friends and take a nice fishing trip, hike, and picnic.

Our day started pretty early, even early for us... Canyon was up, Arden was up, and that combination meant Rory, Carl and I were not far behind. After being up for a few minutes, I decided to go outside and reinstall one of our car seats, and when I went out I was face to face with one of the most beautiful late-winter/early spring mornings that I have ever seen. The soft yellow light from the sun made the grass the most bright and beautiful shade of green, the sky was perfectly blue, and the light dusting of dew on the ground added to the effect. It was just amazing.

So after eating our breakfast, we packed up and decided to head out to the river. As we were leaving, we talked about maybe grabbing some rain coats, but decided against it because of the beautiful weather. It was sunny, and very warm, warm enough that I wore shorts with my thermals.

Very soon we realized that we may not have made the best choice (and by we, I really mean Carl because I was going to get the coats when he said not to). It was pouring. By the time we arrived to the park, the rain had let up to a sprinkle, and soon stopped.

When we got there, it didn't take long to see that the roads we were going to travel were closed because driving was unsafe from the snow that is still on the mountains. So we changed our plans and found a nice area at a lower elevation.

We had a great lunch with our friends and hung out for a few hours.

Pretty soon after lunch, Arden decided he needed to poop, so Carl takes him to the composting toilette. Arden wouldn't go, so I took him, and he did. As Arden and I walk back out of the outhouse to the trail, I noticed it was much cooler, almost cold enough that I needed another layer.

When we got to the table, everyone had packed up, and I realized why, the sky had turned black. We quickly walked back to the vans and chatted, as soon as I got the trunk opened the skies opened and the precipitation began to fall.

It took me a minute to figure out what was happening, it was hail. Pea sized hail, falling hard and fast. It continued to fall for almost 45 minutes! It was crazy... there were an inch of hail stones on the ground when we left. It went from 55 degrees to freezing in a matter of moments.

I took a few photos of the hail as we left, I cannot believe how long it hailed and how much!

On a side note, our thoughts and prayers go out to our friends and family dealing with the severe flooding in WV. Stay safe.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Rain Comes Home...

Today was a wonderful, rainy, stormy day. We were blessed to sit here this afternoon enjoying the first thunderstorms of the season.

I have mentioned in the past how much I love the rain. There is something special and wonderful about it. I love to see the clouds come over the mountains; I love to smell the rain approaching; I love standing in the rain; I love feeling the coolness running on my face and in my hair, and more than the rest, I love to feel the cool wetness and mud squeezing under my bare feet.

I'm so happy the warmth and wet are finally here.

Here is a photo from a few hours ago:

On a side note, I am so thrilled that one of my best friends just found out she is having a baby girl! I can't wait to make her some cute hats!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New Nature Center Friend...

Today we went to the WNC Nature Center for a picnic and to meet a new Nature Center creature!

Olive the Otter finally has a new partner, and he is quite handsome. He doesn't have a name yet, is a little bashful when it comes to the camera, but he loves to swim and play! We planned on getting a lot of photos while we were there, but mom forgot to charge the camera. (You would think that I know better by now, the darn thing barely holds a charge, lol.)

We sat for about 30-40 minutes and watched as he and Olive became a little more accustomed to each other. They had a great game of chase going on, and were playing in the water a lot! He seemed eager to play and interact, she was less sure. Olive ran around rubbing herself on everything she could, I am assuming to leave her scent and to "claim" the items? It was very amusing to listen to her calls and screams at her new friend when he would get close to her or an item she had claimed.

Without further-to-do, here is our newest friend at the nature center:

Arden also really likes looking for the turtles, and over the last week, the beautiful weather has drawn a few out to warm in the sun... Arden insisted on having me take a photo of this one, luckily my camera held on long enough.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Heart Stopping Mothering Moments...

Have you ever had one of those moments as a mother where your heart stops?

Well, I just did. It was one of those moments where you can't find your child and begin to freak out.

About 30 minutes ago, I sent Arden to his room to go take a nap while I got Canyon to sleep. When I went to put Canyon into his bed, I looked for Arden... but he wasn't in his bed.

I looked over to Rory's bed, and he wasn't there either.

I started to freak out. I knew he hadn't gotten out, I was just out side of his room, I saw him go in...

Then I heard a snore... and I found him.

Where you ask?

Well, take a look: (he was well hidden!)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Another Perfect Day!

Today was another perfect WNC day. We had the windows open in the house and we stayed outside all day!

I love these early spring days, the brisk (yet warm) air, the outdoor trips, the hikes, and the time with family. It doesn't get any better!

Here are a few shots of Canyon and Arden at the Nature Center, while Rory was in school.