Sunday, August 31, 2008

Making Memories....Family Style!

Some of my favorite memories as a child are going out into the fields and picking strawberries. I know that we never had any berries in our buckets... but we sure managed to eat our fill, and have a ball while doing it. Carson, Wayne and I decided we wanted to do something along those lines as a family too. I can remember hulling the berries and my Mom making strawberry jam, and having frozen strawberries for a long time. I think we also picked snow peas...if I remember right. Anyway, we missed the strawberry season by several months, but we still had lots of fruit available to pick.

The Beautiful and Stunning Shenandoah Valley.
Some friends of our recommended a website click here to find local orchards etc, that will allow you to pick your own fruit. We missed cherry and blueberry season, but we hit the tail end of peach season. I have been wanting a peck or two of peaches to freeze and make a cobbler or two. So this morning we headed up to a small town off I-66 called Delaplane, Virginia. It was about an hour drive to the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains in the Shenandoah Valley. Very pretty drive and a great adventure as a family. This particular area has apple orchards, peach orchards, vineyards, cornfields... you name.... they grow it!
Today we picked two pecks of peaches, a pint each of raspberries and blackberries, and a couple dozen ears of sweet corn. We could have picked tomatoes, Kentucky wonder green beans, and dug potatoes. But we had more than enough with what we had.

Carson quickly mastered the peach picker!

Dad had to hold him up for a few higher up ones.

It took us about 20 minutes to fill our bags... there were about 10 different varieties, but we mostly picked the smaller Loring peach.

The blackberries were really sweet and plump!
Carson discovered that the red blackberries are very, very tart... and he won't touch any of them now.

The Raspberries were very sweet also... and there were tons and tons of them.

Carson and I picked a bunch of sweet corn too... I gave my neighbor a bunch and we will eat the rest for supper tonight!

All in all a memory I will treasure, and hopefully the beginning of a tradition for us as the various fruit and vegetable seasons come and go. We already have plans to go back for apple season, and most definitely for pumpkins and fall squash.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hallelujah!.... We got THE teacher!

A couple of posts back I mentioned how we had Carson's Kindergarten evaluation (here), and that there was one particular teacher that "clicked" with Carson. Mr. Ward. Yes Carson got a MALE Kindergarten teacher. I am beyond excited... and very grateful that my prayers were answered. We are looking forward to this being a fantastic year...we have a ton of stuff that needs to be done...Thank you God! Now I only pray that I survive the "first" day of the rest of his schooling.

Happy Birthday Hunter!!!

Special Birthday wish for my nephew Hunter!

Happy Birthday Hunter... Have a Super day...I can't believe that you are getting so old....10 years old right????

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sneaky Little Boy!

A few minutes ago, Wayne came upstairs for bed. He goes to Carson's room to check on him, and calls me. Carson isn't in his room .... and it is 11 p.m. Wayne and I head downstairs and try to figure out just where the boy snuck off too. Wayne thought he heard something behind the couch about an hour ago, but thought it was a cat. Anyway we look and don't see him... at this point I am starting to panic... thinking he got out of the house somehow. I run to the basement and look all through it, he isn't there... then Wayne calls down and says he found him. I get up to the den and this is what we see.Carson sound asleep at the end of the couch kinda under the end table....See that far couch... that was where Wayne was sitting. You can see from this picture that he snuck right behind the couch, Wayne was down there watching t.v..... he just thought it was a cat.Sneaky little boy...... He really makes me smile sometimes... and of course this one was one of those times... particularly since I had imagined him out in the rain somewhere...or worse.

Blog Candy!

I recently won a contest on my friend KARI'S blog. She held a contest for her 10,000th post and I was lucky enough to be picked as one of her winners. Yay! Here is a picture of the loot she sent me. I love it all... I got a bunch of images for cards...some Riley's (my first...the moose) and some Bella's and Fella's... and the Ladies. All awesome and greatly appreciated. She also sent me a bunch of flower embellishments and other little bling bling for cards and scrapbooking. Here is a picture of what she sent me. Thanks so much Kari

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Kindergarten Stuff!

I finally managed to round up all the required school supplies for Carson to start Kindergarten. This year he needed 4 yellow #2 pencils, 12 glue sticks, Composition notebooks, 8 ct Crayola brand crayons, blunt tip scissors, two 180 ct baby wipes, 1 160 ct, kleenex, 1 pr of headphones, 2 large pink erasers, 8 ct Crayola brand washable classic color markers, 1 30 count gallon size ziplock bags, 1 50 count ziplock sandwich bags, an art smock and a kindermat. I finally found the last thing on the list... that was the 8 ct box of Crayola brand crayons. I literally went to 3 Walmart's, Staples, Office Max, and 2 Targets. I finally found them at the little Walmart right around the corner from the house. It is not a super Walmart, so I really don't think about shopping there much. When I found them I bought six boxes. I saw a million boxes of the 24 count etc, but no it had to only be the 8 ct box. I really wondered why only the 8 ct, then I saw somewhere that when working with little kids, the teacher can say get your blue crayon out, and they will all be the same blue crayon. Makes perfect sense now. But I was seriously thinking about just getting the bigger box and taking a bunch of crayons out to make it 8.
Not pictured are the Kindermat and the art smock...they were upstairs when I was ready to take the picture. This is just Kindergarten... I was reading what some of the other grades had to have... It only gets worse.... I think next year I will stock up on all sorts of stuff when they clearance it and hope I have some of it. I usually like to send extras too, so that the teacher never runs out of the the things neccessary to my son having the best possible learning environment.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Carson's Magic Star!

Last evening Wayne and Carson were out in the front yard tossing the football back and forth. Wayne tossed it a little too far for Carson one time and Carson had to go and get the ball in the neighbors yard. As Carson was walking back to the house he happened to look down on the sidewalk and there was a little ceramic star....kinda like a ceramic tile. Carson comes running into the house screaming that a STAR HAD FALLEN FROM THE SKY! He was so excited and truly believed that he had found a fallen star! So I tell him that this is a special, magic wishing star, you know when you see a falling star you make a wish. He was so proud that he found the star and he gets to keep it forever! We have to make a special star pocket (like on Dora) to keep his star in and we will have to make sure it is safe every night.

I love his sense of wonder and amazement and that he truly believes that this is a real star from heaven for him. I only wish that we as adults could grab a hold of that belief and amazement. Just think how much nicer the world would be if we all had something magical to believe in and weren't so cynical. If you truly think about it, wasn't the world a nicer place when we were kids and still believed in Santa, and the Tooth Fairy. That there really was magic, and make believe. Ahh to be five again!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Weekend News

I have to tell you a funny story that happened Friday evening after we got home from the Zoo. Last Monday I saw a posting on Craigs list for a nine drawer dresser with a mirror and a hutch. The picture looked great, so I called the gentleman that had it listed. He asked where I was calling from and I told him I was in Fredericksburg, turns out the dresser was too. Anyway, I made arrangements with Wayne to pick up the dresser later that evening when he got home from work.

Wayne ends up on a later than normal train so I call the gentleman back and he said no problem, come a little later. Not 20 minutes later the gentleman calls me back and asks me to come the next evening because he was having chest pain and was going to the hospital via ambulance. Of course, I told him go...we were in no hurry. Anyway, Friday evening his wife calls me and wanted to know when I could come get the dresser, they had to be out of the house by Saturday afternoon. I looked at Wayne, we were both exhausted, but I told her we could be there in 20 minutes.

We arrive and are told the dresser is on the 3rd floor of this townhouse. Yikes! Nice neighborhood, nice family. The gentleman is still in the hospital with two blood clots on his lungs. We walk in the front door, and I kid you not....there was literally inches upon inches of black dog hair (at least I hope it was dog hair) all over the floors, the carpeting had been ripped up from the stairs, and there was trash everywhere. The wife and her friend were the only ones trying to get the house empty. I felt bad for them because they saved this dresser for us, so We went upstairs to get the dresser. The dresser was decent, could use refinishing, but still very functional. Wayne and I took the drawers out of the dresser to lighten the load and removed the hutch. There was, I kid you not, a half inch of dust and stuff on top of the hutch. We get it all downstairs and loaded, and my skin is crawling, I itch, and I never wanted to be out of someplace so fast as that.

We get it home and it sits in our garage... most likely I will clean it up and free cycle it....Nothing wrong with it, will need a little cleaning and dusting...but I just don't know if I can bring myself to bring it into my house.

I told Wayne he had better NEVER, EVER complain about my house keeping...or I will remind him... of the HOUSE OF HAIR!

Last evening Wayne and I had the opportunity to actually go out to eat with some new friends from the church. We all drove up to Fairfax and left Carson at their house and shared a sitter, while we went to an adult restaurant and had adult conversation, and ate adult food. It was BLISS! We enjoyed ourselves immensely, and are planning on making it a regular thing with this other couple.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Carson and Wayne on the VRE this morning.

We have been trying since we moved here to get some time to go to the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington D.C. Today we finally managed to get the trip in. Wayne took the day off from work and all three of us decided to take the Virginia Railway Express into D.C. and transfer to the metro so that we would not have to fight traffic in D.C. We took the last train out in the morning which was the 7:56 train, and we were at the Zoo by 9:45. Carson really enjoyed riding the train this morning and Loved the Zoo. Honestly, the National Zoo is a good Zoo, but I really think that I prefer the Fort Worth Zoo. The habitats and variety of animals at the Fort Worth Zoo was just so much nicer. Most likely my preference is because the Fort Worth Zoo is not smack dab in the middle of a metropolis. It seems larger (of course EVERYTHING in Texas is). The only thing that the National Zoo has on Fort Worth Zoo is the Panda Habitat, the Big Cats and that it is free admission.

We spent about 4.5 hours there and then took the Metro to Union Station (NICE NICE train station) Think the nicest airport, but for trains with fine dining and high end shopping all rolled into one. This is the final station on the VRE and there are one of two runs available, the Fredericksburg line or the Manassas line. Amtrak is also run out of this station and it really seems like a fun way to travel.

We really enjoyed ourselves and came home on the first train out of Union at 3:35. Good thing that we got on at Union station because with it being a Friday, the trains were running quite full, and there was standing room only from Crystal City to about Quantico as people got off the train.

For some reason Blogger is not letting me upload any photos out of photo these are all straight out of the camera.

Throughout the Park, they had misters to cool you off... Carson thought that these were awesome sprinklers.

The National Zoo Big Cats Habitat is the BEST I have seen, the Cats were visible, and not sleeping.

When we asked Carson what his favorite animal was at the Zoo... he always answered the elephants......could it be because he was fascinated that the elephants had really, really, big poop?

Nahhh, a little boy wouldn't be fascinated with that.............................would he?The American alligator was awake and real closeThe Orangutan's were also pretty eye catching, as they have these high O Wires as they call them that cross over the park, and you can see them climbing and swinging back to their play yard when they finished lunch. You DON'T want to be underneath when they cross over...

Just a Pretty Hibiscus Flower.....

The Invertebrates Collection was nice... they had some really awesome bio luminescent jellyfish. Carson wanted to know where their batteries were...Plus their coral tanks were nice as well.Then there were the Pandas!!! I was a little disappointed, because Tai Shan was asleep outside behind glass and was difficult to see. Mei Xiang on the other hand was awake but she was also inside the Panda house instead of outside. The scientists just recently released that she is not pregnant again. They were hoping that a artificial insemination a few months back had taken, she was acting as if it had, but all tests came back as a false pregnancy. CLICK HERE to see more info along with real time Panda CAM that you can see what is going on at any time in the Panda house. Here are some pictures I scanned of Mei Xiang and her son Tai Shan

These are the only decent pictures I took of Mai Xiang... they say she likes to lick milk crates....

This is a picture of part of Union Station.. real big, and like I said real nice.

Video for Papa!

Here is the video we promised Papa.


We are back from the Zoo!... Had a great time... will post some pictures and tell of our day later one... I am beat, and I have to get supper going for the family.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Happy Birthday! DAD!

Happy Birthday... I know it is a little late in the day to post this, but I want to wish you Happy Birthday again.... Miss you and Love you... Will see you in 3 weeks. I have a video Carson made for you... but I can't get my video to load... so I will post it tomorrow or Sat.

We are taking a family adventure tomorrow. We are heading out bright and early to catch the VRE train into D.C. We will then transfer over to the Metro and head to the National Zoo. The weather is supposed to be only in the lower 80's with low humidity (Hallelujah!!!). So I know it will be fun. Carson is really looking forward to riding the train and wants to sit on the upper deck so he can see how fast we will go. I am looking forward to it as well. I want to see the Pandas the most I think, but they also have a huge exhibit of Poison Dart Frogs right now too. I used to keep those as pets, and they are such amazing creatures, so vivid and beautiful. I am sure that I will have a million and one pictures tomorrow. Brace yourself for the onslaught. I might even have to pick up a new chip or two for the camera....I have about four gigs of space now... so hopefully that will be enough.
Well gotta get to sleep early... for the train waits for noone!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Social Butterfly

Today Carson and I had some errands to run and wanted to grab a quick lunch. So we head to a local burger joint called Five Guys (out of the world burgers by the way). I order, and Carson occupies himself by shelling peanuts and talking to anyone who walks by. Most particularly kids, asking what their names are, that his name is Carson, and he is five years old and that he moved here from Texas, and lives in a big house with stairs and is going to go to kindergarten. A young mother comes in with her two kids and of course Carson asks the kids their names, and gives them the whole run down. The mom starts talking to me and before you know we were chatting away like long lost friends. The little boy was 5 and has red hair a shade darker than Carson, and the two of them were like peas in a pod. Silly little boy noises soon filled the restaurant, and we had a great time. The mother is a scrapbooker, works at the church literally around corner from our house, and knows a lot of kids in the area. Her hubby also works in D.C. The weird part about this whole thing is that she lives about 25 miles from us, but works right around the corner from us. She wasn't going to eat out today but her tires took longer at the repair shop so they came in. We exchanged email and phone numbers, and are planning to get boys together soon.
Divine? Most definitely!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kindergarten Evaluation

Yesterday, Carson had his Kindergarten evaluation. In our county all children entering Kindergarten are evaluated to determine placement in a particular classroom. Now I was expecting them to ask him if he could write his name, letter identification, colors etc. I was expecting them to see how high he could count etc.

This is what they wanted him to do. Recognize all the letters of the alphabet....easy peasy... Carson he knew those by the age of two. Recognize various shapes....I was expecting a octagon and pentagon...but all they wanted to see if Carson knew what a square, circle and a triangle are. Then they wanted him to count to ten.

I am a little puzzled, maybe it is because Carson has had two years of preschool and did so well both years. The fact that he can count to 50...sometimes higher if he wants to. He can write his name, my name and Wayne's name. I can tell him how to write something and he remembers and can re-write it days later with no help. He can recognize that a stop sign is an octagon. I truly think that he will be reading shortly....he is able to sound out words on his own right now. Heck he can navigate the Internet, almost better than we can. expectations are too high... I know he is a smart boy.. we have had numerous tests done telling us this, the only think that really concerns me is the social aspect of Kindergarten. This is where we are lacking, this is what I am hoping he will overcome in the next year.

The teacher that evaluated him was really good, and good with Carson....I can't help but hope that Carson gets placed in his class. That's right, a male Kindergarten teacher. He has only been teaching for 4 years. He is very young and I have heard from some other moms in the area that he is fantastic, and really connects with the kids. We will find out on the 28th of this month the placement for this year.... Please pray with me that Carson gets placed in the BEST situation for him.

Monday, August 18, 2008

We Have a Winner!

My purely scientific "random" draw. Dad held the bowl and Carson drew a name.
Congratulations Til.... Drop me an email at with your address and I will get some good ole Virginia goodies out to you!

Forgive the half dressed boy... he and Daddy were playing with the super soaker and Carson lost.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Liver Incident ...explained....

**Disclaimer**As a parent now I do find myself trying to encourage healthy eating habits, however, some things are so repugnant... that no matter how healthy they are for you... there is no way in heck I am gonna make my child eat it. That being said... I will explain the Liver Incident from my point of view. I am sure my sisters, and father can expound on any points they deem necessary, however, I "may or may not " take license and embellish it a little. Just a little...

I grew up in a family that ate dinner together every night. While this did provide me with some rather fond memories, there are a few that were quite unforgettable, and others that were the stuff nightmares are made of. I kid really. My family was and is very close knit.... like I said dinner every night together. We rarely ever ate in front of the television or any other distracting device. My mother is a very good cook, and we never left hungry. Always a hot meal, always from scratch and almost always something that we kids would eat. Menu rotations often include family favorites such as spaghetti, goulash, tacos, beef stroganoff, mustard steak, and every ones favorite when living in Virginia Beach, steamed blue crab, tautaug (fish) flounder, etc.

However, there was one item on the menu rotation that not one single kid in our family liked....that's right LIVER. I shudder and retch a little thinking about it to this day. My mother loved fried liver and onions, so it would show up occasionally. The four of us kids (and my father now I am finding out) would be at the dinner table for what seemed liked days, because we grew up in the era that you eat what is on your plate before you are excused, and you would sit there until you did. Because you know that there are starving kids in Africa that would love to eat this stuff... we all heard that so you know what I mean.

On this particular night, liver and onions was on the menu, and I can vividly remember the wallpaper in the kitchen, the white corelle plates, and the four of us sitting at the table trying any which way we could to choke down the liver. I don't think I was over the age of 10, so Holly would be about 9, Brad about 7 and Wendy maybe 6. We used all the tricks you could think of... you know sneaking the liver off the plate and into the napkin trick, the hide under the potatoes trick, the scoot everything around on the plate to make it look like you had eaten some of it. 9 times out of 10 we got caught, and were made to sit there and eat. Crying, screaming, and torture would ensue as we were tied to the chair and forced to chew and swallow each piece of liver on our plates.....not really but it sure seemed like torture, and there definitely was crying and screaming from all of us kids. This evening, fortunately for us, Brad my brother took one bite of liver and tried to swallow it. He swallowed it and then started gagging, and threw up right in the middle of the table. This started a chain reaction... before we knew it we were all violently retching and gagging at the table. Now I am not for certain who if any of us actually threw up after the fact, but the gagging was going on, and my mom and dad were up and out of the seats pretty darn fast trying to get Brad away from the table and to keep us from throwing up too. Needless to say we did not finish our meal that night. I can't remember if we had something else or not... but we NEVER had to endure eating liver again. Holly, Wendy and I often joke about this to this day... and we each claim that we paid my brother to throw up.

Oh look for the 5000 post winner later this evening.....

Friday, August 15, 2008

Long Sappy Post...lots of pictures!

Carson starts Kindergarten on the September 2nd. I cannot comprehend that he is that old and really will be gone everyday from 8-3. He will be learning and expanding his horizons...and I won't be there to see him do it. I have been there for Every. Single. Major. Milestone. I am having some difficulty in that while I am sad to be missing out on so much of his life....I am secretly glad he is gonna be gone during the day. I almost feel guilty for feeling this way. I will be able to go to the bathroom without having to explain why I want the door shut. I will be able to leave the front door open and not worry about someone slipping out to play without telling me. I will be able to go to a store and actually try on clothes without a five year old in the same dressing room, trying to look under the dividers into the next room. Or answer fifty thousand questions about body parts I have that he doesn't. Or explain again for the millionth time that the dog does not like his teeth brushed, or why underwear and cowboy boots are not proper clothing for the day. Perhaps I will be able to actually cook a meal with out the fear that some strange spice will be added when my back is turned. I won't have to sit through another episode of SpongeBob, or Dora, or Deigo, or heaven help us the awful Yo Gabba Gabba. I will miss the sneaking up behind me and grabbing my neck in a hug, and smelling the sickly sweet smell of little boy sweat. I will miss the kisses that turn into tickle fests and I most certainly will miss him telling me that he loves me and that he wants to marry me.

Hopefully he will develop a "crush" on his teacher, and strive to please her. Hopefully, he will make some awesome new lifelong friends. I hope that his teacher will understand that he really is a loveable, sweet, kindhearted, giving little boy, who really only wants to please. That she will overlook the little quirks that make Carson Carson... and see that he really just needs to fit in with the rest of the kids in his class and be accepted and welcomed.
Then I keep thinking over and over that this is the end of having an unstructured life. From here on out he is on the "mans" schedule. He will have to be in school from such and such time to such and such time, then after school it is college (hopefully) and then work. From here on out to retirement he is on someones schedule. Bye bye carefree days, hello structured life.
Bear with me as I post some of my favorite pictures from the past five years.
Carson right after birth

Dressed and waiting to go home from hospital

One month on Aunt Holly's shoulder

About 2-3 months.

One Year

18 months.

Two Years

Three Years... First Beach Trip Virginia Beach 2006

Four Years... and a new Bike!

Five Years...almost six.... last week!

I know I will survive...most likely I will really enjoy the freedom. But I am a little one and only baby is almost all grown up. sigh