Saturday, June 5, 2010

Trout Fishing

Today we got up at the crack of dawn to go fishing with the boys on the local delayed harvest streams here in WNC.

The cool thing about this is that these streams are catch and release only for months and stocked a number of times, and on the opening day only children are allowed to fish until noon. Children should be pulling in fish left and right. That wasn't the case today, while we did have a great time, only Rory caught a trout after hours of fishing. Carl had been fishing this stream routinely and catching (and releasing) fish (sometimes 30 in a day) over the past few months... this pretty much means that poachers have been taking the fish out over the last few days leaving very little for those that follow the rules. It is sad that the large numbers of children we saw on the river didn't get to experience the thrill of catching fish the way they should have.

Anyhow, that being said, here are a few photos of the boys having fun down on the river... (I couldn't for the life of me get them to all look at the camera at once, lol).

Monday, May 24, 2010

I just don't understand Better Homes and Gardens...

I'm a fan of breastfeeding. I do it. I have a kid who is over 2 years old and still nurses. I do it in church, at restaurants, school events, and honestly, anywhere that I need to. I don't think twice about it.

I know that here in the US, public nursing is deemed a incredibly taboo thing, but aside from the health benefits, emotional benefits, and the support from medical groups (like the World Health Organization), the plain and simple thing is, it works for us.

Recently Better Homes and Gardens author Heather W. wrote a blog about the 10 commandments of dining out with children. She is admittedly not a parent, nor does she really have a clue what it is to be one (as shown in her article.)

The entire article was arrogant, condescending and offensive, but what REALLY set off the readers and subscribers of Better Homes and Gardens, was the tenth commandment. "Thou shall not breastfeed at the table". She didn't suggest feeding a child with decorum, or even something like positioning yourself away from other diners. She didn't even say for moms to go to the car or waiting area. She took it as far as to say,
Yes, I have seen table-side breast feeding at a four-star restaurant. If at all possible, take it to the ladies room. (Note: most upscale restaurants have really nice restrooms!)
 WHAT? She actually said that? While working for a magazine whose entire base is women who stay home and work on their homes and families? Really? What is even worse is that the editors ALLOWED this to be published! The first commandments (as condescending and rude as they are) were something I could ignore and pass by... but the last one?

Here in the US it is illegal to force a mom to go to the bathroom to nurse. I have talked about how I think women should act with some decorum for the sake of those that are uncomfortable, but I have never thought a woman should remove herself from her meal (that she is paying for) to go to a bathroom to eat, or to feed a child. The thought is absurd, and quite honestly, it turns my stomach. I don't care what class of restaurant you are in, if someone takes a crap, it stinks. People change feminine products in restrooms, have sex, miss the bowl, squat-n-go, all leading to the point that a restroom can never be "clean enough to eat off of".

As for Better Homes and Gardens. A few different apologies have been written, but the article still stands, as the 9 commandments instead of 10. They admit that it is offensive, and that the article was not sent through the proper editorial steps before publishing.

The first apology was this:
Editor's Note: We sincerely apologize that this blog was posted! It was not vetted by our editors, and it reflects poor parenting advice and an offensive tone. We have removed the most patently inappropriate sections. We support breastfeeding moms -- and all moms -- in their desire to include their children in their public lives.

We pledge to do better in the future in both the tone and content of our posts. We will be posting our positive parenting tips for eating out soon. Send us yours at

--The editorial team at Better Homes and Gardens 
Then that was retracted and a shorter, less "real", more watered down apology was issued.

I for one will not renew my subscription to Better Homes and Gardens for no other reason than this: the editing staff allowed this article, allowed the comment about feeding children in a bathroom, and obviously doesn't find the entire thing offensive enough to remove.

A facebook group calling for the boycotting of Better Homes and Gardens has been started, and there is a lot of support for them on various breastfeeding and natural parenting sites... which is funny seeing as how these women are the target audience for Better Homes and Garden.

It is amazing that someone would put their job on the line and be this offensive to the millions of women who read their publication. I just don't understand.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Canyon!!

Today Canyon turns 2 years old! I can't believe it. He is still my little baby boy, but he is getting so big, and fast!

Canyon is talking up a storm, and is my most adventurous child! I swear he has no fear what-so-ever. He chases his brothers everywhere and tries to do everything that they do. He is genuinely funny, and he can make anyone laugh. His smile is bright and beautiful, and it melts my heart.

It is such a bittersweet day for me to see him growing up.

I'm very glad that he is growing up, and while I love babies, I am thrilled that we are out of those baby stages. As a friend of mine said "I'm a great mom to babies, but an even better mom to little boys." I totally agree with her, I much prefer the moments now, and the interactions we get to have as the kids get older!

I will always love the moments of holding them close, and cuddling with a baby who still has that "newborn smell", but there is nothing like those first bike rides, trips to amusement parks, and talks that you get to have with them as they get older.

I'm happy to say that we have made it 2 years nursing. While a lot of people don't understand, it is a wonderful thing to have a child extended nurse, and there are a ton of wonderful health and mental benefits to it. While he is 2 years old, he is still a baby, and still needs those benefits.

So, without further-to-do, here are a few shots of my (no so little) baby boy over the last 2 years. Some of these photos are take by Sonya Stone an awesome local photographer and wonderful friend. Others were by me.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all my friends!

Today we had a picnic to celebrate Mother's Day, and Canyon's birthday. Tomorrow Canyon will be 2-years-old! Can you believe it?!

It was a beautiful day (although a bit chilly) and we had a great group of friends come celebrate with us!

On a side note, our bird nest is now empty, apparently it was time for the littleones to be kicked out of the nest. We hope they all thrive and do well!

Here is a shot of Canyon and one of Arden, I should have more from a friend soon. It was great!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Another Bird Photo!

Edited to add: This turned out to be our last shot of the birds! We checked in on them over the weekend, and they had left the nest!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Baby Birds 5-3

It rained today, so the robins look totally different. Amazing what they look like without all the fuzz! 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye...

We decided to cut off Arden's long flowing locks.

This past week, Arden began asking if he was allowed to get a hair cut, so today, after church, we took him to get his first cut in almost 4 years... I think I will cry tonight.

Here is the cut, preserved in photos:

Birds 5-2

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Today's Bird Shot...

Rory is going to do a story board for class for his show and tell. I figure he can do it a few weeks in a row and teach his classmates about them :)

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!