We don't just go places...we have ADVENTURES!!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Not sure how it's possible...

But it's true.  The Katie-bug has turned 18, striding confidently into legal adulthood with slightly more grace and lots more beauty than her mother did.

The year that she was born, it was our social group's "Year of the Baby"...more births than weddings for a change!  Several friends and co-workers had their babies earlier in the year and a few of them preemies.  Bill & I started speaking with "Biscuit" while in utero to remind her that her due date was July 14th.  At 4:20 am on the appointed date, I awakened with a start only to realize that I was pretty sure I was in labor.  (Probably the last time she listened to me so very well!)  Childbirth classes had taught us that first babies usually take their time, so I headed out to the couch to time contractions, leaving hubby snoring in the bedroom.

I remember watching the 4am ABC news...and laughing through contractions as the goofy newscaster read strange headlines from around the country.

After 8 contractions 10 minutes apart, I figured it was time to wake the Daddy--who promptly went back to sleep!!!!

Mom & Dad beat us to the hospital, then panicked when the staff told 'em there was no one there by my name.

We got locked in the delivery room without a nurse or doctor, just as I was ready to deliver.

Katie arrived at 12:54pm at 9 pounds and 8 ounces.  Thankfully, a 12 pound boy had been born shortly before...so they wheeled her bassinet into the nursery next to him.  May have been the last time she looked petite, my darling tall girl. ;-)

She's been an adventure from the beginning.  Hard for this Momma to believe the time has passed so quickly, but we are all looking forward to Katie's new adventures as she heads off to college and begins the next stage of her life.

Happy birthday, kiddo!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Graduations Galore! (or: A Plethora of Promotions!)

The end of the school year is always a busy time for the Zoo Crew.  This year, we juggled the activities and schedules of 4 different schools; not sure I can even calculate all the hours of homework the kids have done (or NOT done, hee hee hee).  It's been an Adventure in true Zoo Crew fashion. We've all learned a lot this school year, but I admit the kids aren't the only ones who are excited to see the summer come.

It's been a big year for Beastie #1 and her final year of pre-collegiate academentia came to a close in spectacular fashion.  Break out the cap and gown!! Grandmother & Grandfather Bolingbroke joined us for BHS' graduation festivities, too.  Our college-bound Katie was lovely as usual. The ceremony was warm, friendly and personable...and very focused on the amazing, supportive community from which they come.

We've always loved our little one traffic light town, and that love was reinforced by seeing the dedication and true happiness of the many Valley Elementary staff who attended the ceremony.  A young teacher in her first year at Valley, Crissie Traugott was Katie's 5th grade teacher; she made a promise to her students that she'd keep tabs on them and join them for graduation...no empty promise there!  She was there at the appointed hour, as were many folks without familial ties to a graduating student.  

As a parent, it was a special pleasure to remember the kindergartners who started school together in the faces of the confident young men & women who received their diplomas last week. 

Congratulations, Katie-bug...may you always know how much we love you.  Want to see more photos?  Click here!

Katie hit the road for Senior Week in Ocean City a couple of days after graduation.  She'd probably better get used to the trip, since she'll be attending Salisbury University (which is just 30 minutes down the road from there) in the fall.  While Katie has been sunning herself...

The rest of the family prepped for two more promotions, starting with Beastie #4's "Celebration of Excellence" in moving from 5th grade to Middle School.  Again with the Valley wonderfulness!  Ben's had a strange year; his first teacher left mid-year for a new job.  Ben had a terrific relationship with his initial teacher and she was keeping him motivated and on track.  The new teacher turned out to be pretty awesome in her own right, so it all worked out...but not before he struggled for a bit.  He came out the other side of the transition in good shape and so very ready for the challenge of sixth grade.  Couple more pics here:  Ben doesn't like having his picture taken!

Last, but NOT least...Beastie #2's turn!! Sometimes, there are no words.  How much prayer and hope and effort has gone into Patrick reaching this milestone? (NOT that those same things weren't there for the other beasties, mind you!)  MSD always does an incredible job with their promotion ceremonies, and this year was no exception.  No matter that it seems like yesterday we were celebrating his move from elementary to middle school...Movin' on to Middle School. But before I digress too far...

We arrived in Columbia, received a program and opened it up to see Patrick's name listed as a speaker for the 8th grade class!!!  Kid kept it a secret from us, can't you believe it?  He had a lot to say and he said it quite eloquently, too. I took video, but was so emotional that I forgot to focus the camera, so all you see is a Patrick blob on stage. *sigh*  I will share the text of the speech in a different blog post.

Patrick was so excited about his graduation that he invited some of his important people to celebrate with us.  We were happy to have Bryan, our new helper-friend, and Megan, signing bus assistant (who has been with Patrick for 6 years of bus rides), join with us for the festivities.  What always strikes me about this school is the obvious care, concern and genuine love the MSD community has for their students.  The folks there truly KNOW these kids and are clearly invested in their success--not to mention that they've got a tremendous talent for building a cohesive community among all the students.  Patrick's Facebook friends list is a testimony to that sense of belonging and acceptance. (Well, that and the fact that he has Facebook at all...one of his dorm pals helped him sign up!)  Patrick is really looking forward to high school. This mom is looking forward to him being closer to home!!!!  More pictures here: On to High School.

Congratulations to ALL my kids on the move.  Matthew says he doesn't feel left out because his birthday is coming up.   In the meantime...here's what he looked like on Ben's birthday.

And Abbey...wait!  Did I forget to mention that she had a birthday this week??  There isn't much else I can say 'bout that.  But you can check out the pictures by clicking here.  My baby turned 9.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Our Family Has Grown

Welcome the newest member of the Zoo Crew...Cooper!

Scoping out the front yard.
 He's a Shi-chon...a mix between a Shih-Tzu and Bichon Frise.  What that really means is that he's a puffy, fluffy, super soft ball of fur.  He'll top out at around 12 pounds, making him the PERFECT lap doggie.

He was born on February 8th, 2013.

Since this mommy is terrible at picking things, his name was chosen from a selection submitted by my FaceBook friends (THANKS!) and then trial and error with the adorable beastie himself.  My favorite option was Wicket, after the Star Wars ewok, but he would have none of it!!  Even gave me a funny look like "what are you THINKING?" 

Considering retaliation with a Nerf gun already!
So Cooper it is!!  With Chaos for a middle name.  Seemed too risky to give him that for a first name!  (just asking for trouble, methinks!)

He is already learning to put his toys away in the bucket.

That, and, learning to avoid Dakota, who has yet to truly accept his co-residency in her domicile.  She allows him within a few feet of her now, so I suspect they will be fast friends before too much longer. (silly & optimistic of me, I'm sure)

If you think this puppy makes me very happy, you are correct!  With all the insanity and change around here, Mommy has been feeling a wee bit bereft.  Let's face it...what mom doesn't feel sad when she looks at her 12 year old beginning to sprout 'man feet'??  My babies aren't babies any more (See, Kids, I CAN admit it!!)

I had gotten to the point where I told my beloved and oh-so-forebearing hubby that I needed a baby or a puppy.  Shockingly, he chose the puppy. ;-)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Welcome 2013!

The New Year got off to a great start with a visit from our Uncle Dave & family.  The cousins had a chance to reconnect and hang out.  Matthew, Jacob & Ben overdosed on video gaming and Nerf wars.  Abbey & Laurel giggled themselves silly.  The grownups had a wonderful time traipsing around Ikea...and finding even more projects for Dave to do before he went home!

Aunt Carrie shared the tastiest recipe for Almond Butter Brownies.  We made them and were foolish enough to share with the children.  Next time: two gals, one pan, two forks.

New Year's Eve found us graced by Piggs.  More Nerf wars and general mayhem ensued...in the traditional fashion, of course!! Photographic evidence can be found here:

Any year that begins with Family & Friends is destined to be fabulous...we hope your 2013 is terrific!

It's true...Patrick is 15!!

Yes, I know you were wondering...

                         "HOW IS IT POSSIBLE?" 

Sunshine boy turned 15 in November.   I continue to be amazed at his progress and his capabilities.  His big gift was an iPhone...we had promised our boyo that he'd get a phone for texting when he turned 15.  Surprise, surprise, that day rolled around.  We were delighted to find that his dream phone fit within our budget.  Apologies in advance if you receive oddball texts (or repetitious "hi" texts) from him.  He has become a master with texts, iTunes and crazy apps....who knew that you could eat a virtual pizza?? Yes, there's an app for that.  As I type this, he's leaning over my shoulder and wants you to take a quick detour to the Apple Store. (Like they need my free publicity!!)

Long about then, we started really thinking it was time for a shave...Bill had been telling me we needed to wait because once you start, you can't really stop.  Can I just admit that, between the "man feet" Patrick gained over the summer and the blossoming beard, this Mom has been getting a bit freaked out?  (Thank you for indulging my moment of panic.)

For Christmas, he received an electric razor, guaranteed to return my baby faced, non-hairy kiddle to me.  We let him live with the razor, charge it and practice for a bit, but eventually, SHAVING DAY had to arrive.  

Check out the before & afters:

Now, if only we could figure out what to do with the eyebrows....still a handsome guy, no matter how you slice it!   

(Click here for more birthday & shaving pics.)