Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Welcome Home, Bunny!

Last week we took our monthly trip up to Herndon for therapy on Monday and Tuesday. When we got home on Tuesday night, we realised that Avery’s beloved bunny had been left behind! She was heartbroken, and thought she would never be able to go to sleep (she normally sleeps with it draped over her neck and shoulder). She only finally managed to go to sleep after Gabe promised her that we would ask Aunt Jess to mail it back, and that when it arrived, we would have a “Welcome Home Bunny!” party, and she could invite 3 friends, and make bunny ears, and do fun, bunny stuff! Every night she was heartbroken all over again, so when the bunny arrived in the mail on Saturday afternoon, we knew we had a party to plan! So on Sunday morning, I called the 3 special friends (Kayla, Paisley and Sam) to invite them to Avery’s after-church party.
Since it was a very last minute party, Kayla was the only one of the 3 friends who was able to come, but they had a blast! First things first, they each made a pair of bunny ears to wear, and then they got down to the serious business of swinging while I finished making dinner.
On the menu for the special party – Individual Bunny Pizzas! With pepperoni eyes and mouths Open-mouthed smile The guest of honour sat with Avery, who was the only one still wearing her bunny ears! She wanted me to cut up the pizza for her, until I showed her that she could pull the ears off and eat it with her hands, and she thought that was pretty great! haha


We already had plans to have the missionaries over for dinner that day, so they got to join in the festivities. Whole carrots were the side dish to our bunny pizzas…it seemed appropriate!



After pizza, it was time for dessert, so we headed inside to make bunny cupcakes Smile We had chocolate or vanilla cupcakes, which we took out of their papers, flipped over and covered in frosting. Then we decorated them with chocolate chips, jelly beans, marshmallows and raisins.
Kayla and Avery with their bunny cakes. I had to take the pictures quickly because they were ready to eat Bunny
The menfolk hard at work on their delicious and cute creations Smile

Of course, Brogan (with his face still coated with pizza sauce, and a sweaty head from all the running around and excitement of the party!) was only really interested in eating all the decorations… He didn’t want to deal with all the unnecessary bunny nonsense!!

Elder Hansen with his bunny


Elder Stoker and his cupcake


Gabe decided to rebel against the bunny theme and made some kind of mutant pig instead. I think it looks quite a lot like an Angry Birds pig!

And that was the end of our special “Welcome Home, Bunny!” party! She (and her bunny) went to bed very tired and very happy that night Smile

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Claytor Lake, Day 3



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I had another early start after Oliver woke up too hot and sweaty inside my sleeping bag (better than freezing though, eh?), so by about 5:45am he was entertaining himself with a couple of toothbrushes while I got the fire started and ready for breakfast!

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Enjoying a breakfast of scrambled eggs and pancakes, Brogan with his excited face, and Avery with her grumpy face Smile

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Then it was time to head back down to the lake to try one more time to catch a fish for dinner Smile Both the children had been excited about the prospect of eating a daddy-caught fish, and we didn’t want to let them down! Brogan helped Daddy drive…Smile

Avery and Brogan ate chips and watched Curious George, and Oliver slept while Gabe went after the very same fish who had evaded him and cost him his keys 2 days before. He tried lots of different lures and techniques, and the fish kept on nibbling and spitting it out, but, finally…

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A 15 inch largemouth bass! Not bad for a first real fish, I’d say! And it certainly meant that we all left that campground on a high! It was very exciting, and we were all very excited to see how it tasted Smile

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I was pretty proud of myself for being able to fillet the fish. When I was a teenager, I couldn’t even touch store-bought raw meat of any kind, and thought that when I got married, my family would have to become vegetarian! But now I know that I am able to prepare a freshly caught fish, I feel quite capable Smile I certainly didn’t enjoy it though…and it wasn’t as easy as the video on youtube made it look… But I did it, and put it in a ziploc bag and put that bag into another bag of ice, and then we packed up camp!

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Avery and Brogan “cleaned” the styrofoam airplane Smile During the trip, Avery had made several churches in the gravel, making a pile and putting a stick in the top so that we could all go and learn!

Before heading home, we took Avery for a riding lesson at Easy Wind Stables. (We love groupon!)

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If you have followed my blog for a while, then you know that Avery has done several seasons of hippotherapy, and LOVED it. She is currently out of hippotherapy since she no longer receives PT locally. Even though she has had experience on a horse, I was still pretty nervous about letting her go out there. Her horse, Red, was a big horse, and she didn’t have any spotters, so I was nervous, but she did really great! She was comfortable and confident up there, even after I told her over and over to hold on tight! As soon as they were in the ring, Avery started talking to Leah (the instructor), telling her about stuff, asking her questions, responding to her questions, and I don’t think she stopped talking the entire hour! It was pretty cute Smile

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Brogan and Oliver enjoyed some down time on the blanket, and Brogan only begged to get on the horse a couple of times…!

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By the end of the lesson, Avery had both hands off the saddle on the reigns, and she was looking like an old pro!

Riding Lesson

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When we eventually got home, I looked up some ideas on how to prepare the bass, and this is how it turned out.

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Gabe trying the first bite Smile with tongue out

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It was scrumptious! Both Avery and Brogan finished every last bite on their plates and loved it. All in all, it was a very successful and enjoyable trip, and the fish was the icing on the cake Smile

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Claytor Lake, Day 2

Day 2 started out earlier for some (ahem, me) than others! Avery and Daddy ended up transferring to the van in the middle of the night because Avery woke up with a sore side from sleeping on the pads we brought, and Gabe was freezing, so they took some bedding and slept in the back of the van. After I fed Oliver (who spent a good portion of the night in my sleeping bag with me because I was worried about him being cold) at about 5am or so, I managed to rock him back to sleep, and then decided that I was too cold and awake to go back to sleep, so I got up and got the fire started. We enjoyed a yummy breakfast of pancakes (made at home and warmed up in the pan over the fire) and scrambled eggs.

2011-05-06 004After breakfast, we went and explored a little 1 mile hike called the Bent Tree Trail. The woman in the visitors center had obviously not been working there very long, because she didn’t know it existed, and gave us incorrect directions, but we were able to find it on our own Smile One of the many things we had forgotten to pack was the baby carrier, so we got creative and made this one out of Avery’s backpack, a small pillow and two bungie cords!! 2011-05-06 003


Not far into the hike, we came across this dead tree, and Gabe saw an opportunity to use his big knife to carve Avery’s name into the trunk!  (Can you see it?)



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The Big Knife was used again to harvest this mushroom for the children to examine (overkill maybe? Winking smile) They were pretty fascinated.

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The trail looped through a forest, some parts were mostly pine and in other parts we were surrounded by beautiful, big, tall trees like these. (I thought of my cousin Natalie as we were trying to guess the names of all the different trees!)

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Brogan liked all the tiny wildflowers along the way. The rest of us were given many pretty little gifts Smile

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Super Strong Brogan, Daddy and Avery!

Avery and Brogan doing pull-ups :)

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There were a lot of these in one area along the way, they just spouted straight out of the ground like this. We didn’t know what they were…any ideas?

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A few hundred feet before the end of the loop, Brogan’s energy levels plummeted to zero! All the excitement and running around took its toll, and he couldn’t take another step!

After the hike, it was time to leave the park for a couple of hours. Avery had an appointment with her (former) physiatrist. So we made a stop at Walmart to pick up a few essentials (we wrote lists of things we need to bring next time, so hopefully next time we will be much more efficient and prepared), and made our way to her appointment, smelling like campfire and dirt…! I think that all I’m going to say about the appointment is that it was probably the last time we’ll ever see Dr Brown. But at least we got prescriptions for a new walker (she’s too tall for her current one), and bigger wheels for her wheelchair (again, too tall!).

Then we went back to Claytor Lake, and tried again to catch a fish for dinner!! We were going to go back to the same spot, but there were lots of people there already, so we went and found a quieter location near the cabins.

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Brogan was still exhausted from all this camping nonsense, so he relaxed a little and watched Curious George while Daddy fished. When we set out from home the day before, we were undecided about whether we were going to stay one night or two, but after several failures that first night, we decided we had better stay two nights because it could only get better! So, although we had thought that we weren’t going to fall back on movies or any electronic entertainment for the duration of the trip, we decided that 24 hours was enough, especially if it meant that Gabe was able to get some quiet time for fishing!

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Oliver enjoyed some pureed sweet potatoes, and after spending some time playing with her new airplane (from her Arby’s kid’s meal at lunch time), Avery went to help Daddy. Gabe decided to call it a day after a while though, because there had been no nibbles, so he and Avery threw rocks in the water for a while, until Avery somehow managed to hit herself in the face with one.

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So they went “for a little walk”, which is often what Avery needs to help her feel better when she’s hurt or upset.

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Back at camp, you could see Brogan’s exhaustion in his slump as he watched the fire Open-mouthed smile

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It was Gabe’s turn to gather firewood, so he dragged this entire fallen tree back to camp, just because he could! Of course, we had also forgotten to pack Gabe’s hatchet, so we couldn’t use this wood, but I’m glad he’s so big and strong anyway Red heart 

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With no fish to cook, our back-up meal that night was hotdogs and chips, followed by some nice smoky hot chocolate! For the second night in a row, Brogan was begging for bed Smile The one hurdle to sleep was the big lump he had acquired on the back of his head when he fell backwards of the picnic bench onto Oliver’s carseat. The boy is an accident magnet. it was a really big lump too! Poor boy. As we were walking back to the tent from the bathroom, he was asking me over and over to move the lump! “Mama, move ah hit! Pleeease! Move ah hit!” If only I were as wise and powerful as my children seem to think I am…

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After Avery and Brogan were asleep, Oliver woke up and spent some time helping us roast marshmallows before we turned in for the night. It was another chilly night, but we were more comfortable than the night before.