Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bull Run Mountain


This summer we did a lot of hiking up Bull Run Mountain because the weather was so mild.  It is about a 5 mile hike roundtrip with tremendous views at the top.  We took some of the Wilkinsons and also went with friends, and Cameron and I even did it by ourselves once.  Fergus came when he was just a bitty thing and made it pretty far before we had to carry him.  The kids do great as long as they have someone new to talk to to keep their mind off how steep and long it is.  And playing in the creek on the way down gives them something to look forward to!  And we always see a turtle or two!  Can't wait to go up when the leaves are changing!













First Lost Tooth

All last year in Kindergarten Mason watched longingly as all his little friends lost their first teeth and had a visit from the tooth fairy.  His teacher had a chart to show how many kids were losing teeth and I'm pretty sure Mason was the only one who didn't lose any.  It was with great delight that he told me he had a wiggly tooth and even more delight that he bit into an apply to try to break it free.  It worked!  He has been carrying the money around for days that the tooth fairy left him.  Now the one next to it is loose and he wiggles it every chance her gets!  Fergus also lost a tooth the same day and we kept it to leave under his pillow for a treat :)


Hungry Mother





























One of my favorite traditions as a child was heading up t Granny and Pop Pop's house every December and sometimes in the summer as well for a mini family reunion.  My mother and her brother would come with their families and we would exchange gifts at Christmastime, but more importantly we would see the cousins that otherwise we would never have really known.  Granny would have it no matter what, even when our families swelled so big that we could not comfortably fit into their home, she still cooked for weeks beforehand in preparation for the big get together.  It did not matter if her house was perfectly clean or if she would have ample seating, she just wanted us to get together.  I wish I had more of that attitude.  It's getting together that counts and family is everything.

This was the second year that my sisters Lisa and Kristin and their families met our at Hungry Mother State Park.  It's mid-way between northern Virginia and Nashville in the middle of nowhere with plenty of trails, a lake and really nice cabins that each of our families can rent.  Best of all, my kids couldn't wait to get there and see their cousins.  They played outside even though the first day it was a bit rainy, they played outside even though the next day was quite chilly, they played outside with the cousins that they only see a few times a year and they loved every second of it.  And the adults got together and played too.  We are making Hungry Mother a tradition- something that our kids will look back on with fond memories just as I do with Granny's house.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Marvel Universe Live!

Jeremy surprised Mason with a date to Marvel Universe Live at the patriot Center.  This kid is really into Super Heroes so this was perfect for him!  Jeremy tried to trick him by telling him he wanted him to go on errands with him but he threw a giant tantrum because he didn't want to go.  Once I told him it was his date then he calmed down, but he does not love surprises!  All the Marvel Heroes acted out a plot where they have to save the city from various villains.  Mason loved every minute, but he was quick to tell me it wasn't really real, they were just guys in costumes :).  Jeremy bought him a $20 sword that broke the very next day...  And they went to Wendy's from frosty's afterwards.  Hopefully it was a night to remember!



Friday, September 12, 2014

New School Year

Everyone in our family was looking forward to school starting- except mom.  This summer just flew by too fast and we didn't get to much of what we wanted to do.  But I was glad the kids were excited, and hoped that my nervousness for Cameron to start middle school did not show.  Cameron has to get up earlier now and on the first day he shot out of bed with joy all over his face.  I prayed it would last.  He gets to ride his bike to school this year and actually has to do that, walk or get a ride fro us since the school is pretty close by.  He could not wait to get to ride with his friends.  I felt like I held my breath all day waiting for him to come home.  Since he leaves earlier he also gets home earlier and I cherish that time we have together.  He had just as big of a smile on his face after school as he did when it started.  he says he loves the independence of being able to walk to his classes on his own and sit wherever he wants for lunch.  Thankfully, he has friends in most of his classes, but I have been impressed that he wants to do chess club this year, something that his buddies will not be doing.  I'm glad he knows who he is and what he wants to do.  And he loves his teachers, especially language arts which is such a blessing.

Gavin and Mason started the day off on a positive note as well.  We had cinnamon rolls for breakfast and I think Mason was ready over an hour before the bus came.  He has Mrs. Brown this year who we are thrilled with and Gavin has Mrs. Horvath who seems very sweet as well.  His friend Charlie is in his class and he has already made friends with another new little boy that just moved here.  They are both so social and outgoing I have no doubt that they will do just fine.  After school everyone was wiped out!  Mason almost fell asleep at dinner- we went to Qdobas, one of their favorites.  I hope we can keep the positive momentum going!







Thursday, September 11, 2014

Utah!

























































































It's hard to know where to start about our fantastic trip out west to Utah this summer.  I have been back a time or two since graduating and moving in 2001, but Jeremy hasn't and Cameron came with me when he was an infant, but obviously doesn't remember.  This place is so near and dear to our hearts considering it is where Jeremy and I met, fell in love, and got married 15 years ago.  It is where the most amazing school is located with the most beautiful surroundings and great places to eat.  So sharing all of this with our three kids was kind of spectacular.

We arrived on a Tuesday and left the airport around 2.  We drove straight to Provo.  The kids could not get over the size of the mountains!  It was cloudy that day and some of the mountains were covered in clouds at the top which the kids thought was the coolest thing ever.  This day we just hung out at BYU, walking around and reminiscing about old classes.  We drove to our old stomping grounds and to our old condo.  We went to Brick Oven for pizza and home made root beer and then had ice cream cones at the creamery.  The next day we had an official tour of BYU on one of the golf carts.  I have to admit, I got a bit teary eyed driving around campus, man have I missed that place!  I hope the kids loved it and could feel the spirit of that school.  I hope so much that they can go there and have the same experiences we had.  We also hiked the Y and my family thought I was killing them taking them on such a steep hike on such a hot day.  But we made it and it was awesome.  Today we tried some of the Swig sugar cookies I had heard so much about and ate at a new hot dog place where they put all sorts of toppings on them.  Kids were in heaven!  We also went to the Bean Museum, snuck into the football stadium and checked out the paleontology museum and the athlete display they have down my the Smith fieldhouse.  We lucked out that there was a football kick off event taking place and Jeremy was just a little excited that he was able to get a poster signed by the head coach.  We also tried a mega sized snow cone place- so many cool new treat places!
Thursday we hiked up to Timponogous Caves.  If the kids thought the hike to the Y was tough, this was much harder.  The most difficult part for me was not being freaked out that there was no guard rail to keep you from plummeting to your death off the steep side of the mountain.  We held tightly to little hands and made it up.  The caves were amazing, very different from Luray, but just as beautiful and cold!  Today we also drove to Vivian park which holds so many great memories, to Squaw peak which holds some even better memories :), and Sundance where Jeremy proposed.  We ate at Gandolfos and then stopped in Heber on our way to Park City for some amazing shakes at the train place there.  Today we moved fromr hotel in Provo to my dear, sweet friend Cara's house in park City.  Cara and I met our freshman year when she was assigned to be my visiting teacher and we hit it off instantly, especially as we discovered we had so much in common.  We were bridesmaids in each others weddings and have stayed great friends through the years.  Her family has a beautiful home in the mountains and I'm sure she must pinch herself every day waking up in that paradise.
Friday we headed to Olympic Park which was the highlight of the whole trip for the kids.  They rode the Alpine slide, did zip lines and two ropes courses.  Cara's son Merrit came for the afternoon, we wish they all could've come but school had already started.  We spent the whole day here and then went to the Jones' favorite place El Chubasco for dinner.  They love this place so much they named their cat after it :)
Saturday we had a really special treat.  The new Ogden temple had just been redone and they were allowing visitors to come and tour it before its dedication.  The Jones' got tickets for all of us and it was so cool to take the kids.  Cameron cannot wait to turn 12 and be able to go and do baptisms here in the DC temple, so to get this kind of a sneak peek was priceless.  The beauty of the stained glass and the architecture was simply stunning.  Afterwards,  our family headed to SLC to be tourists at temple square and see another breathtaking temple.  This one had more meaning since Jeremy and I were married there and holds so many memories.  Perhaps the thing about this day that my kids will remember the most is feeding two homeless men.  We walked by the first one without a second glance, but the kids got our attention and asked what we could do to help.  With only a moment's hesitation I pulled out some snacks we had brought and the three of them went to give him our offering.  Those boys beamed with pride at what happiness a granola bar and some applesauce gave this man.  So later in the day when we passed another, they wanted to help again.  Our bag was empty, but I scrounged around in my purse and found some airplane peanuts and Mason's Twizzler that he had not yet eaten which he happily gave away.  Not the most healthy, but hey, at least it was something.  We had dinner at the Lion House and found a Leatherby's near by for some serious ice cream.
Sunday was a much needed rest day.  We went to church and came home for naps and a hike just in their back yard.  It was perfect.  Cara made a delicious dinner and our kids just played and had a great time.
Monday we ventured to the Great Salt Lake.  We drove to Antelope Island and saw dozens and dozens of buffalo.  Nobody wanted to get in the water because of the brine flies but it was a beautiful day and a part of Utah Jeremy and I had never seen.  Afterwards we went to visit Jeremy's aunt Vicki and introduce her to the kids.  It was a short visit, but we're glad we did.  One last time we drove through Provo, soaking it all in and then back to Park City for one more night with dear friends.
We usually do the beach in the summer but no one was sad that we didn't this year.  Every single one of us had a great time and enjoyed every moment.  Utah is an amazing place and it was a blessing to be able to share that with our kids.  We hope to be able to visit again before too long.