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Classic Mixbook

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Classic Mixbook - Page Text Content

S: 2008-2011

BC: To be continued...

FC: 2008-2011 Welcome Gavin | Jones Family Memories

1: A family is pieced together with hope and faith. A family is quilted and bound with love and grace. | These three years have been full of memories and love. Our family grew by one more beloved son. We welcomed Gavin Nicholas Jones to our family on August 28, 2009. He is a gift from God and is adored by his big brothers. Our house is full of testosterone and a loud, unbridled enthusiasm for life. You are all wild, rambunctious and boys through and through. I have resigned myself that you will learn a few lessons the hard way. I pray to God to make you more sensitive to my voice and to protect you. I realize that this is exactly how our Creator parents each of us. We all exhibit dangerous displays of independence and often ignore God's voice. Each person in our family is remarkably stubborn and tough. I want to exhibit grace in my parenting and always have a warm embrace. Dear Lord, thank you for these three perfect boys, help us to raise them with patience and discipline...and most importantly with unconditional love.

2: Mommy got her Masters Degree from Virginia Tech. A few days later, we found out we were going to have another baby... Gavin!

5: Christmas 2008 Family, Presents, Winkie, Preschool Pageant and Santa

6: Bowling Night | Aidan and Christian's first bowling trip was a blast | Uncle Kevin, Aunt Donna, Amanda and Brandon | Thank goodness for gutter guards!

7: Sledding at Long Park with Daddy

8: Christian got to do a science experiment and pretend to be a chef at Brain Zoom. Then he helped Daddy with his boot laces before work. He is a curious, smart and sweet little boy with a very strong bond to his Daddy.

9: NapTime | Wants to play baseball | Thomas Laptop | Playing with the camera | Helping Daddy remodel our house

14: First Tooth

15: Visit from Pa-Paw Dee and Great-Grandparents: Ma-Maw Bonnie and Pa-Paw Earl

16: Swimming lessons and fun at the pool.

17: CIRCUS!!

20: Aidan is Six! We had a Star Wars birthday party at the bowling alley for you and your friends. Aunt Donna, Amanda, Brandon and Uncle Kevin also came. Such fun! Your best friends Collin and Dominic were there.

21: Aidan loves hanging with his friends. Kindergarten has really brought out the social life. It is a total Star Wars obsession for you and Christian. FUN!

22: Dinner at T.G.I. Fridays with Mom, Dad and Christian. You couldn't stop playing with your new D.S. Here is Mommy's annual birthday letter to you letting you know what you were like as a five year old: Dear Aidan, as you turn six, here are some memories of you as a beautiful, curious, five year old: Star Wars is a new obsession; you have watched all the movies and can pretend anything is a light saber. You even have Christian into it now and you guys run around the house pretending to be storm troopers, Darth Vader, Luke Sky Walker, etc Kindergarten – friends, so awesome to see you interact with them and see the influence they already have on you. I can see the changes already. You come home with the little rhymes: Mommy and Daddy sittin’ in a tree.Mama Mia, Papa Pia, Baby got the diarrhea, all the same ones I used to learn when I was little. You love when I come to lunch or volunteer in your class. You run and hug me and hold my hand and want me next to you all day. I love this and know it won’t last long. You hold my hand so I’ll stay close to you as you walk in the line with your classmates. Fall '08: Letting your hair get long – so silky blond and full of curls Wiggling your teeth, so anxious for one to be lose. You finally lost one on the bottom and we had to work it for weeks. When Daddy finally pulled it you were so nervous, but SO PROUD when it finally came out (Feb. 2009). Then the other bottom one was loose a few weeks later. Your big boy teeth are already growing in behind and you look so cute! The “enforcer” (Christian is the “informer”) T-ball “The Sidewinders” loved to drag your feet in the dirt – got your first trophy – so cute to see you hit the ball and run with that big ole batting helmet wobbling and you try to catch the ball and tag the runner by throwing the ball at him Now in the spring of ’09 you are on a new team called “Storm”. You seem to be taking it a little more seriously, but you still want to play in the dirt and make the other kids laugh.

23: DisneyWorld – Thanksgiving 2008 with Aunt Donna, Amanda and Brandon. What a fun trip, you were so excited and rode every single ride you were tall enough for BIG coasters. We were exhausted, but we made wonderful memories. You still get excited about the characters and carried your little autograph book (same one from two years ago). You looked out for Christian and loved staying in the condo together. Independence. You are getting more independent everyday which makes me proud and sad at the same time. It’s now March and lately you are worried about what people at school think. You won’t run to hug me as much or say “I love you” when I drop you off. But you still like for me to visit at lunch or help in your classroom and you are still beaming when I get there. (spring 09) Lately you tell me (mostly at night), “Mommy I love you SO MUCH I can’t even have words to tell you”ME TOO!!!! Love to read and be read to – get wonderful scores in reading at school but you struggle with self control. You’ve made good friends: Collin is your best buddy. You like to make people laugh and have such “boy energy”, mischievous and daring. Love going to the library “That’s not fair!” is your favorite phrase. You love animals and nature. You went every Saturday for two months to a UVA workshop called Plants, Plants Everywhere and had such fun planting and learning about nature. We sometimes watch sunrises together in the morning and you always notice the shape and brightness of the moon. You were tested for the gifted program and school and were accepted with potential giftedness in Math! You certainly didn’t get that from Mommy ;-) You ran away for the first time. You were very upset with Mommy one morning, so you packed your batman backpack with your Pokemon cards and a few other precious treasures and headed out into the Winter air wearing only your pajamas. I grabbed the video camera and watched as you slowly inched out into the driveway. I asked if you would stay and you declined. Then I shut the door and Christian and I watched you out the window. You turned and looked with sad eyes and came back to the door, but oh that pride, you said “I just came back for a coat” I hugged you and convinced you to stay and live with us. Telling lots of little lies – quite the imagination! When you get caught, you try to play it off like you were joking, telling me “I was tricking you” The drawings you bring home from school are mostly about video games, shopping at target, and cartoon characters battling each other. Oh, I’m a bit worried. You are crazy about your Nintendo DS that Santa brought for Christmas (and the Star Wars Light Sabers he dropped off). You play Mario all the time, as well as Pokemon and Spyro. You love Bakugan and you trade Pokemon cards at school. Oh, that temper. “I hate you” “I wish I didn’t live here” “you’re not my friend anymore” Your 6 year old bday party was a Star Wars theme at the bowling alley. We invited four of your best “guy” friends: Collin, Dominic, Sebastian and J.T. and went to Cosmic Bowling with Aunt Donna, Amanda, Brandon, John and Uncle Kevin. We found out just before your party that we are having a baby boy. You seemed a bit disappointed, as you thought you wanted a little sister. You would tell me all the time that “if we have another boy, this house will be torn apart, ha. Haaa” But, I know you will love him and be the best big brother (again) that you can be. I got this in my email from a BabyCenter newsletter and thought it was a perfect description: “Now your child is 6! A.A. Milne, who wrote Winnie the Pooh and Friends, also wrote a book of children's poetry by the name Now We Are Six. Although it was written back in 1927, it's still a perfect summary description of 6-year-olds today: fanciful, adventuresome, silly, comforted by familiar things, and boldly curious about the new.” You are so sweet sometimes with Christian. He was sick today and you talked to him in this little baby voice and did things for him. I love that side of you. Now it is one week later and you are sick with the same virus. You came into my room about 11:30 pm telling me you felt like you were going to be sick. Such a big boy! You went into the bathroom and were very sick, but I held you for several hours and you went back to sleep. It breaks my heart when I can’t fix things and make you feel better right away, but you were a trooper!!

24: Lately, when I tuck you in and give you my three kisses, you grab my face and with all the sincerity in the world you tell me “Mommy, I love you SO much, I can’t even tell you!” and then you hug me so tight I might break, but it makes me the happiest Mommy in the world. You also ask a lot at night about me dying and I assure you that I will ALWAYS be with you no matter what and if something did happen to me, that I would live in your heart and would always be with you as your guardian angel. That gives you a big smile as you rehearse what it might be like, but you really just want reassurance that I’ll be around for a very long time, and that’s what I plan to do!!! The other day you asked me what does “sexy” mean? I was a little shocked and tried to explain that it is a grown up word. You said you heard it on tv (ugh) and you seemed satisfied with my answer. You are growing up so fast and I have to be careful what you see and hear. Your friend Collin at school has taught you a few curse words and you tell me them with a little red faced grin and ask what they mean. I love that you ask me. April 2009, Mommy bought you a big boy bike at a yard sale, and you got on and rode with no training wheels. Daddy helped you. You were scared, but caught on quickly and now you are so confident! I can’t believe you are six! Mommy is going to read a book to your class and spend lunch with you at school. You still want me around and get excited with I come to your school. I know one day I’ll drop you off at school and you will be so into your friends that you won’t even know I’m gone. So, for now, I’m relishing every time you look over your shoulder and make sure I’m still there, waving and smiling, wanting me to stay and walk you to class. Mommy’s favorite bible verse makes her think of you and Christian and how you came to us from God. It also expresses the overwhelming wonder I feel when I look at you and realize that you’ve only been with us here on Earth for six short years and it seems like life couldn’t have existed without you. I think of Grammy and how much she and Pa-Pa Dee loved me. There is reason in our lives and a sort of spiritual magic that sometimes defies reason – but I believe there is something bigger than this than us: For you created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalms 139:13-16

25: Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio. "To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more: 1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good. 2. When in doubt, just take the next small step. 3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone... 4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch. 5. Pay off your credit cards every month. 6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree. 7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone. 8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it. 9. Save for retirement starting with your first pay check. 10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile. 11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present. 12. It's OK to let your children see you cry. 13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. 14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it. 15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks. 16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind. 17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful. 18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger. 19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else. 20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer. | 21. Don't save anything for a special occasion. Today is special. 22. Over prepare, then go with the flow. 23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple. 24. The most important sex organ is the brain. 25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you. 26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?' 27. Always choose life. 28. Forgive everyone and everything. 29. What other people think of you is none of your business. 30. Time heals almost everything. Give it time. 31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change. 32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does. 33. Believe in miracles. 34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do. 35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now. 36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young. 37. Your children get only one childhood. 38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved. 39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere. 40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back. 41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need. 42. The best is yet to come. 43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up. 44. Yield. 45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."

26: Aidan's second year playing baseball. It was coach-pitch instead of t-ball. But, he still spent more time with his glove on his head than on his hand. He enjoyed running the bases and goofing off. Mommy thought he looked adorable in his uniform.

29: Life brings simple pleasures to us every day. It is up to us to make them wonderful memories. | Superheros! My little men like to let their tough guy imagination out to play.

30: Mrs. Wilkins class was so much fun, she had lots of hugs and you were so very shy. You made your first friends but still clung to Mommy everyday. I loved picking you up and seeing your creations. | Memories of Christian's First Preschool Year at Haymarket Baptist Church.

32: Rehoboth Beach July 2009 Long 4th of July Weekend with Aunt Donna, Amanda and Brandon

33: Such wonderful memories!!

34: Playing on the beach and in the pool in front of the Atlantic Sands Hotel. We watched the fireworks from our balcony and got ice cream everyday. Daddy couldn't come because he had to work, and Mommy was 8 1/2 months pregnant, so Amanda and Brandon were a huge help.

35: Fun in the hot summer sun!!

36: Christian had to get tubes in his ears because he was getting too much fluid in his middle ear and having hearing loss. He was so brave and Mommy was a nervous wreck. He came out with better ears and a new best friend and sleeping buddy: "Surgery Donkey"

37: Kings Dominion Aidan rode roller coasters with Brandon and Daddy. Christian loved the characters and games. Mommy walked around hoping she didn't go into labor.

39: Boys will be Boys. Fun in the mud on a hot summer day. I've never seen smiles so big....except when I sprayed you down afterwards with a cool garden hose. Love my little men.

41: Christian is FOUR!! We celebrated at Chuck E. Cheese and the party was a blast! All of your friends came to help you enjoy turning 4. Only a few more weeks until you are a BIG brother!

42: Mommy and Daddy got you Indiana Jones stuff, since that is your latest obsession. You had a full outfit and a whip that played music and made noises. Mommy’s favorite bible verse makes her think of you and Aidan and how you came to us from God. It also expresses the overwhelming wonder I feel when I look at you and realize that you’ve only been with us here on Earth for a few short years and it seems like life couldn’t have existed without you. I think of Grammy and how much she and Pa-Pa Dee loved me. There is reason in our lives and a sort of spiritual magic that sometimes defies reason – but I believe there is something bigger than this than us For you created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalms 139:13-16

43: Dear Christian...as you turn four, I have so many memories of you as a three year old... You are so stoic! You rarely cry when you get hurt and when you get shots at the Dr. and Aidan is wailing, you just sit there and look around. You are a tough little guy. Your first few months of preschool, you were so shy, and didn’t really take on a leader role. Now you have friends there and talk more and more of the activities you join in. Everyday you want to wear either a football shirt (you have a little Tom Brady/Patriots jersey) or soccer outfit. You like to pick out your own clothes already! You are really interested in sports and like to play anything with a ball. You also want to wear your “sweat jacket” everyday (zip up hoodie) so you can be “like Brandon.” You like to help Daddy and you call the lawnmower a “mow grasser”. You love gum, mints and chapstick. You will make a very good boyfriend someday with these hygiene habits You want chapstick (which you call “chopstick”) in your pocket all the time and raid my purse for gum regularly. You ask everyone: "you got gum?" "you got orange gum?" "you got gum in your car?" "you got gum in your purse?" You are relentless in your pursuit of chewing gum and it is ADORABLE! Everyday you tell us “my go to preschool with mine pack-pack” (backpack). You went pee pee in the potty the first time on 5/13/08 and you called everyone we know to tell them you are a big boy now. You are my little organizer you love to line up your toys and rearrange them. You are incredibly bright and articulate. People comment all the time on how well you speak and express yourself. You have a sweet, witty little sense of humor. You seem to know how to find the right word for everything and you are so observant. You don't talk as much to po=po and jo-jo, your imaginary friends. But you still love to play alone and you have a wondrous imagination. You love your time at Ms. Sandy's house with your friends. You get to run and play outside and take a long afternoon nap. You go for nature walks and do crafts. She is like a grandmother to you. You are taking swimming lessons and are fearless. You want so badly to swim as well as Aidan. You went onto the pool steps one day when Mommy told you to sit on the side while I got towels and when I got back, I was so upset with you and told you “what if you drowned and were dead and I would never see my Christian again?” and you calmly took my face in your hands and said “Mommy, maybe the fed ex man can bring you another Christian” I just couldn’t stop hugging you and laughing. | Your favorite song in the summer of 2008 was Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long.” Which is so funny, because it’s such a grown up song. You hold a microphone and just belt it out: “sippin’ whiskey out the bottle, not thinking ‘bout tomorrow, singing sweet home Alabama ALL SUMMER WONG”!! You are very excited about the baby. You have this incredible, mischievous full toothed smile, with this little squint in your eye -- looking so tough and determined! You end every sentence with “right Mom???” and you call hand sanitizer “hanitizer”. You hug me all the time lately and tell me “MY MOMMY” and I say “MY CHRISTAIN” and we just grin and giggle and love each other. You still want to cuddle a lot and like for Mommy to carry you. This is getting harder now that I’m pregnant with your baby brother. You also still have your little blue satin blankie, but don't carry it around as much. You love to watch Lion King. You LOVE to ride your bike and do tricks, like lifting your feet off the pedals. We ride in the lane and you always stop to feed the horses some clover and look at the goats in our neighbors yard. You worry a lot and stress if Aidan doesn’t have his seatbelt on or walks out of site in a storeI think I may have over warned you about strangers, because you are so concerned about you or Aidan “getting stoled” I still give you three kisses each night – it is our bedtime routine (I love you, I like you, and I’ll always protect you). You LOVE to dress up like a super hero. You love Indiana Jones, Star Wars and anything with a mask. You can't wait to play sports. You still love to cuddle with Mommy and listen to books. You get overwhelmed easily in Preschool. When you don't know something, you shut down immediately. You run to me in the afternoon and I love it. You have some trouble with your ears, fluid in the middle ear, which affects your hearing, so you had to get tubes put in which really helped. You are quick to say sorry. You are a planner and want an agenda to start each day. You love your toy tools and like to pretend you are helping Daddy when he is working on our house. You hammer and drill and measure with your tape and pencil. So adorable! You are becoming more independent, more adorable, and more yourself everyday. Mommy, Daddy and Aidan love you SO much!! Happy Birthday Snickerdoodle!!!

44: We can't wait to meet you Baby Boy!

45: Baby Shower. Aunt Donna threw Mommy a baby shower in your honor. It was full of family and friends all coming to show you love and gifts to welcome you in comfort. | Aug. 23rd

46: All things grow better with love.

48: Welcome to the world little one... Dear Gavin, You are a gift from God who joined our family at 3:47 pm on Friday August 28, 2009. You were already known to Mommy as we bonded while you were in my belly. I could feel you move and hiccupI loved you from the first moment I knew you were conceived. I’ll start with your birthday prayer: You are the sweet baby blessed at birth for your life. Just your breath is a blessing. You are welcomed by your family. You are welcomed by all the kind-hearted people of the world who wish to protect and guide you in your dependence to independence. Your needs are blessed. You are wanted. There is a family of man and woman, trees and growing things, creatures of the earth, welcoming you. You were due on the 23rd and were born 5 days late. We decided to get induced because we were afraid you were getting big in there. You are my biggest baby at 8.2 and 21 inches long! Mommy got the medicine around 8 am and you were here before 4 pm. I had an epidural and really felt no painI was anxious and couldn’t wait to meet you. I am glad it was peaceful. Your birth was a little rough, you were stuck and they had to use a vacuum device to help deliver you this left your head a bit bruised. The cord was around your neck so Dr. Fegley wanted to deliver you quickly. As soon as you were born, I held you and looked at that perfect face with those big red “bee stung” lips and thanked God for you. I was overcome with the most perfect peace and sense of responsibility and gratitude all at the same time. The emotion I felt most was unconditional LOVE. Each time they took you from me to go to the nursery, I was anxious. I wanted you with me in the room day and night. You would lie in your little plexiglass cradle and stare at me in my bed. You have those newborn gazes of just wonder and looking so slowly side to side they are so sweet and universal. I began nursing you a bit in the hospital and you LOVED it, you are a natural and seem so comforted. I hadn’t planned to breastfeed you, but I’m enjoying the bonding and am comforted by knowing I am providing you with immunities and the best food on the planet! Mommy absolutely loved the time in the hospital to bond with you. Just you and me staring at each other and me cuddling you. Your skin is like silk. You came to us trailing spirit and we know you are a gift from God. All the family was there to great you. Pa-Pa Dee drive six hours when I told him I was in labor with you. He wanted to be there to greet you. Nana, Aunt Donna, Uncle Kevin, Amanda and Brandon all took turns loving on you and welcoming you to our family. Of course, your big brothers, Aidan and Christian were over the moon excited to meet you. They wanted to know when you could play with them :)

50: Our first hours with you... | You had so many people who loved you there to greet you during your first hours alive | "For you are fearfully and wonderfully made..." Love, God

52: Amanda | Brandon | Big Brothers waiting for you | Gentle Hands | Being Silly | Well-deserved martini | Uncle Kevin | Cuddles with Mom | The tradition continues | Mommy and Daddy | Family | Going Home | First time in carseat | Home with Brothers

53: August 28, 2009 3:47 pm 21 inches 8.2 lbs

55: Gavin love...we have enjoyed every moment of your arrival. You are such a part of our family and each day you have a new expression or sound. Our sweet "Sugar Bear."

56: One Week Old

58: When Gavin was only a few days old, we were devastated to learn that his femur was fractured during birth. He had to wear a harness for six weeks. He was such a trooper!!

59: Gavin's first bath was a family affair in the kitchen sink. | First Bath

60: September 2009 Long weekend at Rehoboth | Gavin's first trip to the beach. There were no crowds!!

62: Such a sweet and handsome little guy. You love your friends and will learn so much this year. | Back to School! Aidan is in First Grade!! | Mrs. Licter is Aidan's new teacher. She will get married at the end of the year and become Mrs. Heisler and remain a mentor to Aidan throughout his time at Buckland Mills Elementary

63: Christian heads back to Haymarket Baptist for another year of Preschool. He is a pro at this now and enjoys performing in the Thanksgiving Program.

64: Fall 2009 Christian played soccer and Aidan tried flag football. Mommy and Daddy were very busy taking a newborn baby to practices and games. We were so proud of both of you!

65: Two trips to Pumpkinville. One with Mommy, Daddy, Aidan and Gavin and another for your Preschool field trip. Pumpkins, Camels, Hayrides and Slides. Mommy also chaperoned Aidan's first grade field trip to Cox Farms. We love fall...

67: It was a Star Wars Halloween. Boba Fett, Jango Fett and Baby Yoda. We trick-or-treated with Amanda and Brandon (as always). Aidan also had "Pumpkin Day in 1st grade and Mommy came to help count pumpkin seeds.

69: Aidan's first year of flag football on the Grizzlies. He was "Defensive Player of the Year" and loved to grab those flags!

70: Fall Fun

72: Gavin is growing so fast and is very curious about the world around him. He loves to be with his big brothers. He has these incredible bright blue eyes and full little lips. Our little "Sugar Bear" is the light of our lives and we can't imagine not having him in our family.

73: Another "Binkie" Boy | Our Little Man | Snuggly | So Cute! | Rockstar | One of the favorite toys for all the Jones boys is the "Jumpin' Jimmy" Gavin has his first taste of exercise and playful freedom before crawling or pulling up.

75: We had two record setting winter storms. Over two feet of snow on the ground. You two could barely walk. Built a snow fort with Daddy and made snow cream with Mommy. Lots of days off from school too!

78: So many memories: paper flying, wishes, watching Santa on NORAD, and remembering the true meaning of Christmas.

79: We had a white Christmas this year. Aunt Donna, Amanda and Brandon spent the night at our house Christmas Eve to share the magic.

82: Gavin's First Christmas Winkie's visit. Christian's preschool pet: Rascal

84: New Years Trip to Honaker to see Pa-Paw Dee The boys got to ride the four-wheeler and Gavin got to get his first taste of "real" food from Ma-Maw Bonnie...a Jones Family Tradition. We also got your first REAL SMILE pictures.

85: Guy Time with Pa-Paw Dee and his new Toy.

86: The second Blizzard this winter came and walloped us with over two feet. Aidan and Christian couldn't believe the amount of snow that fell. They tackled it with all they had and enjoyed their time off from school.

87: Winter Wonderland

88: The closest thing to heaven is a naked baby...

89: Another Birthday for Daddy full of cake, songs and cuddles

90: Days of Play

92: Ice Skaing in Old Towne Manassas

93: Growing, Learning, Playing

94: Ma-Maw Bonnie | Aunt Rita | Gavin and...

95: Pa-Paw Dee | Aunt Donna

96: Easter at Papa Dee's House | Gavin and Cousins: Estella and Christian

98: Easter in Honaker was magical. Baskets and coloring eggs at Pa-Paw Dee's. Egg Hunts at Ma-Maw Bonnie and Pa-Paw Earl's. Church on Easter Sunday. Rides on the four-wheeler and picnics in the grass. The boys absolutely love being in Honaker. They love to see their cousins and run and play. It is such unconditional love and safety.

100: Papa Dee had such fun taking all the grandkids around the yard on his four-wheeler. Even Gavin got to take a ride! "Papa" as Christian always calls him, always had fun and lots of life lessons to pass along. He adored spending time with his kids and grandkids. He pulled his own tooth this weekend. Me and Dad both tried and he just excused himself to the bathroom and came back with his tooth in his hand. We were all so proud. Papa Dee was so happy to see Gavin and wanted to hold him all the time. He was so happy we visited.

101: Aidan and his Pa-Paw. We had no way of knowing that exactly one month later, we would lose my Dad to a sudden passing. He went peacefully, sitting on his porch in the spring breeze. We cherish these memories. XO

103: text here

104: You are already the clown of the family We ADORE you Gavin!

105: Sugar Bear

106: Rub a Dub Dub

108: Aidan is SEVEN! We had an authentic Indiana Jones Adventure Party with all your GUY friends.

110: Face painting and a movie scavenger hunt. They searched through caves and forests to find clues. Shot nerf guns out the back door and wrapped each other like mummies. Mommy made a Temple of Doom Cake and the grand finale was a replica of the Ark of the Covenent. Of course Aunt Donna, Amanda, Brandon and Nana were there to help you celebrate. You got a DS and had a blast. XO my big boy!

111: Dear Aidan, This letter is to remind me (and you ) of what you were like as a six year old. The big event this summer (2009) was that we welcomed your new baby brother “Gavin Nicholas” on 8/28. You are so sweet and proud and helpful! You picked the name Nicholas, although it was your second choice, you really wanted to name him “Jack Sparrow Jones” from Pirates of the Caribbean you also suggested “Indiana Jones”. You told me a few days after we brought him home (in a sweet little voice) “I’m glad he came to OUR world”. You are playing flag football this fall on the Grizzlies. You are really good! Better than baseball because it keeps you running. 11-20-09 holding you on my lap in the rocker last night watching the movie “Up.” You cover my entire body now and there is no such thing as sitting on my lap. But you still managed to snuggle up and let me hold and rock you. My big, handsome, sweet boy! Mommy can’t believe how fast you are growing and I sat there remembering like it was yesterday when I could snuggle your whole little body in the crook of my arm. You say you hate school, that it’s boring and “they teach me stuff I already know.” Your teacher tells me you are very smart and creative, but you have trouble staying organized and using self-control. I think you get bored and mischievous! You do your homework every night, what a breeze for you! You are still in the gifted program and you are learning Geometry already! You still enjoy reading, but prefer video games, much to Mommy’s dismay. You are getting so big and it’s hard for me to carry you and wrestle with you now. You are so sweet with Baby Brother Gavin. You help take care of him and talk about how you will be friends for life. I tell you all the time that your relationship with your siblings will likely be the longest of your life. It is so important to treasure your brothersthey will mean the world to you when you are older. Christmas was magical as always. You bounded out of bed each morning to see where our little elf “winky” wasit was like Christmas morning everyday. I let you and Christian decorate your own small tree in the playroom with your handmade ornaments you were both SO proud. Plugging it in every night. We read books about the birth of Christ and discussed the magic of Santa. You and Daddy tracked Santa’s sleigh on NORAD and you got more and more excited as you prepared the cookies and mile and headed up to bed. You even worried to Daddy that you might not be able to fall asleep and that Santa might not come. I love the magic of this age and want it to last at least a couple more years. You got Jabba’s Sail Barge (Lego) and a fort kit, and lots of video games for your DS and Wii. Your skill with those games amazes me!! Two BLIZZARDS this winter. One in December and the other in January. You could barely even walk in the 2-3 feet of snow we had. We collected some and made “Snow Cream” for the first time and you loved it! You adore sugar in any form!! You watched the Superbowl with Daddy and wore your Colts jersey, but Mommy’s Saints won!

112: We played Parcheese as a family tonight and you won.. fun, you were so proud! When I put you to bed we read bible stories and you asked me, “Mommy, what color were Adam and Eve? How did people of different colors get born? I tried to explain that ancestors lived in different parts of the world and you mentioned that you had been wondering about a little boy in your class named Tailon (he’s black) and how his skin is so much darker than yours but he lives in North America, not Africa.” Your mind amazes me. Then you stroked my face and said “Mommy, I’ll love you forever, even when you P.A.” I looked at you confused and you explained “Pass Away.” I told you that I’ll always love you and be with you even when I’m dead because then I’ll be your guardian angel and live in your heart forever!! You love tomato soup and ask to eat it everyday! You also love all fruit, any type of berry and even kiwi, which you cut the top off of and eat with a spoon without even peeling it. You have started talking about a little girl in your class named Paige and how you helped her up when she feel and how you protect her. I can’t call her a girlfriend because you get embarrassed, so we’ll see what happens when we do valentines in a few weeks. Jan. 2010 I found a folded piece of paper with “push”, then you unfold and “boy or grle (girl), then “spit, marry, hug, kiss”, then on the last unfold it is Aidan or Paige. I asked about it and you totally denied even creating it, turning red! Then I asked if you liked Paige and told you it was okay and you yelled “No, I don’t”. Christian was sitting there eating cereal and told you very compassionately “Aidan, it’s okay to love a girl, go ahead.” I just smiled ear to ear. Your birthday is coming soon and you are so excited. We are having 10 guy friends over and doing an Indiana Jones Adventure Party in our yard. The boys were so excited when we gave them their invitations at school and you just beamed with pride and excitement. You would excitedly talk to Christian about how many days until your party on the way to school. (Your party was a blast. Mommy decorated the house and you dressed like Indiana Jones – you loved the cake I made - Temple of Doom. FUN!!! This morning I told you we should stop your birthday so Mommy could keep you six years old and you smiled with those little top and bottom teeth missing and told me “but I want to grow up and have a job and a family, like where I’m the Dad” and I told you that being a kid was way more fun to which you replied with a quizzical look “Mom, is being a grown up a little fun? I’m going to be an Archeologist, so my job will be tons of fun. I”ll send you a postcard from Peru and Paris!” This spring you are playing machine pitch baseball on the Red Wings. You are getting better at focusing and hitting the ball, but you still prefer to play in the dirt. You are riding a big boy bike with no training wheels and are so proud. There is a hole next to the driveway and when it was full of mud, you loved riding through it and splashing. One afternoon, you wrecked and ran over to me with a skinned shin and you asked if it was “serious” and then asked with a serious and panicked expression “should I go find my skin?”

113: I always tell you to “make good choices and be a good friend” when I drop you at school. This morning, Christian yelled out the door “Goodbye Aidan, I love you, have a good choice” You are growing up and are becoming more independent. You still look back and wave a few times when I drop you at school, and run to me if I visit your class, but you just do things now without even asking for help. You can get a snack, drink, play a video game, etc and I just think, wow, last year you would have needed help, or at least told me every detail. You are a great helper to me at home and you thrive on positive feedback. You are independent and headstrong, but also VERY affectionate and caring. We were laying in bed last night (you and Christian are temporarily sharing Mom and Dad’s old bed and you are so cute lying there together with all your stuffed animals) and you mentioned the earthquake in Haiti and how we could help the children who are sleeping in the street. You asked if we could send them food or a Mommy or Daddy. Then you asked me if earthquakes happened herewhen I said no, you went through a whole list of possible natural disasters to make sure we would be safe from tornados, hurricanes, floods, etc So sweet. One of my main goals as a parent is to instill you with a sense of compassion and empathyto always be willing to bestow dignity on anyone you encounter in life, no matter their situation or profession. We visited Honaker for Easter and you hid eggs at Pa Paw Dee’s and Ma Maw Bonnies. You pulled your own top tooth out in Pa Paws bathroom and he gave you money. You love being there and playing with Estella, Kamden, and especially Dalton. I love seeing you where I grew up and the love and security that surrounds you. There is no temptation to watch t.v. you are just too busy and getting all that boy energy out. You are having a lot of problems at school this year. You can’t seem to keep your hands to yourself and you like to be silly – the center of attention. You are very mischievous and we are struggling with you starting to tell lies to stay out of trouble. I am very concerned about you acting impulsively and not really caring about consequences. We are really coming down hard on you and also started to blend in rewards for bringing home all 2s and 3s on your behavior chart. I can always tell how your day was when I first see you in the car pool line or getting off the bus. Your little face tells the story. You LOVE Lady GaGa and ask me to check the radio in the car every five minutes to see if Bad Romance is on. You also carry around my iPod and sing “Paparazzi”. You have a little friend at school named Kirk, who has an even bigger imagination than you and you tell me stories about how he lives in a castle (which you completely believe) and how his Dad gives him $90 each morning. He called here the other day and when I handed you the phone and told you it was Kirk, your face was as bright as a light bulb. You were SO excited that a friend had called you on the phone for the first time. As I listened to your little 6 year old conversation back and forth, I just smiled and marveled at the wonder of it all. You sounded so innocent and yet tried to be so mature at the same time. You were mimicking how I talk on the phone and it was simply a moment to behold.

114: You told me the other day that college would be easy for you because “I’ve been training to be an archaeologist on the playground!” You love to watch cartoons and now you really pay attention to the commercials. Always telling me to go to websites and about contests we can win, or products we NEED from infomercials. The other day in the car you casually told me it was “rollback days at WalMart if I needed anything” Pa Paw Dee died on 5/4 and you witnessed Mommy receive the news from Uncle Kevin over the phone. I know you were confused and scared at my reaction and I’m sorry you had to see me so upset. We went to Honaker for the funeral (you stayed with Dalton and played with Christian) and you tried your best to make sense of the finality of it all and how we will see him again in heaven someday. You took a little explorers journal and kept notes about what you saw and how you felt and even illustrated it with pictures. I will keep it forever. I’m so sad that you won’t get to grow up with Pa –Paw Dee. You loved riding his four wheeler and helping him lay the brick in our kitchen. It was so fun to visit his house and you always asked if we could move to Honaker. You love playing with all the kids at Ma Maw Bonnies and I just hope it wasn’t a mistake to not move down there years ago. I am SO glad that Pa Paw came and stayed with us for all those extended visits the past few years. He watched you play football and baseball and took lots of pictures with you. He was so very proud of you, Christian and Gavin and loved you more than the whole world!! You hear me call Gavin “sugar bear” and Christian “snickerdoodle” and you want to know what I called you – it was “little love” and you just smile!! You are trying to reason with your awesome intellect mixed with your little boy common sense. When I punish you I am immediately called a “meanie” and you sometimes don’t know what to do with the temper you feel when things don’t go your way. You insist that things are not “fair” if it doesn’t go your way. You definitely want to be in charge and make the rules and win the games, etc Then I’ll see you let Christian win and you will just smile at me. You think anything to do with butts, farts, or burps are just hilarious. You check out Captain Underpants books from the school library. You are stubborn, sweet, willful, charismatic, outgoing, defiant, argumentative, personable, cute and just a plain old handful! You still love to cuddle with me and play with my hair at night. I love everything about you and hope I can shape your character during these formative years without crushing your spirit. I want to parent you and teach you self discipline in the way you need it most. It would be easier to just spank you and get a short term solution, but I know you are the kid who is just filled with rage and will become more inflexible with that type of reaction. I have to be consistent and talk to you and be calm and not overly harsh. I have to choose my battles and calmly intervene in situations that are out of control. I hope I am a good role model and constantly critique myself to stay accountable for not only what I “tell” you , but how I behave around you. You love to argue with me, your brother, anyone who will listen. But you are also easy to teach and easy to love. You are in our lives to teach us too and I want to learn. Please be patient with me and I’ll be patient with you. Just like our three kisses at bedtimeI will always love you, like you and protect you. You are a charming, funny and simply amazing kid!!

115: Here is something I believe and I want to pass along to you: George Bernard Shaw said, "People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, they make them." Well, it's pretty apparent, isn't it? And every person who discovered this believed (for a while) that he was the first one to work it out. We become what we think about. Conversely, the person who has no goal, who doesn't know where he's going, and whose thoughts must therefore be thoughts of confusion, anxiety and worry - his life becomes one of frustration, fear, anxiety and worry. And if he thinks about nothing... he becomes nothing. How does it work? Why do we become what we think about? Well, I'll tell you how it works, as far as we know. To do this, I want to tell you about a situation that parallels the human mind. Suppose a farmer has some land, and it's good, fertile land. The land gives the farmer a choice; he may plant in that land whatever he chooses. The land doesn't care. It's up to the farmer to make the decision. We're comparing the human mind with the land because the mind, like the land, doesn't care what you plant in it. It will return what you plant, but it doesn't care what you plant. Now, let's say that the farmer has two seeds in his hand- one is a seed of corn, the other is nightshade, a deadly poison. He digs two little holes in the earth and he plants both seeds-one corn, the other nightshade. He covers up the holes, waters and takes care of the land...and what will happen? Invariably, the land will return what was planted. As it's written in the Bible, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap." Remember the land doesn't care. It will return poison in just as wonderful abundance as it will corn. So up come the two plants - one corn, one poison. The human mind is far more fertile, far more incredible and mysterious than the land, but it works the same way. It doesn't care what we plant...success...or failure. A concrete, worthwhile goal...or confusion, misunderstanding, fear, anxiety and so on. But what we plant must return to us. You see, the human mind is the last great unexplored continent on earth. It contains riches beyond our wildest dreams. It will return anything we want to plant.

116: Christian at Preschool Mother's Day Tea Ms. Ritter

118: Christian | Aidan | Gavin | Four Years Old in Preschool | Five Years Old in Kindergarten | Six Months Old in "Homeschool"

120: Two years of soccer. Christian loves this sport!

121: Aidan's third and final year of baseball. Machine pitch this time and he decided it wasn't for him...too slow :)

123: and the trophy collection begins...

124: Christian Graduates from Preschool

126: Off to school | 1st big school project: SHARKS | New Teeth | Working Out | Playing at the baseball game | Rainy Day

127: Pulling Up | Playtime | Crawling | Swimming Lessons | Fun in our pool | Skipping Stones

128: Rehoboth Beach Summer 2010 We went twice again this summer. Once in June right after school for Father's Day weekend. Then again later in the summer with Aunt Donna, Amanda and Brandon. We always enjoy the boardwalk, Grottos Pizza, Thrashers Fries, Ice Cream, and, of course, Funland!

131: Happy Fathers Day Daddy! | Funland, running in the surf, playing in the pool. | Brothers are friends forever!

132: Oh how our little sugar bear loves to eat. Spaghetti turns out to be a favorite.

133: First Steps. Look out world, here I come! Gavin walked at 10 1/2 months. Once he got his footing, he was unstoppable. Always trying to climb, jump and keep up with his big brothers.

134: Mommy made a dragon cake and all the kids played dragon training games in the pool | Christian's Birthday! Our little Snickerdoodle is FIVE! We had a "How to Train Your Dragon Pool Party" | 5!

138: Dear Christian (Snickerdoodle), This letter is to remind me (and you) of what you were like the year you turned five. You were an awesome 4 year old! Soccer! You finally got to be on a sports team and soccer is your first choice. You always talk about Amanda playing. We went to get you a real uniform with cleats and shin guards and you were thrilled! You want to wear the socks, cleats and shin guards all the time. You listen so well at practice and love going to games. You tell me you want to be a professional or (“real”) soccer player when you grow up. Indiana Jones is your new favorite character and you and Aidan are watching all the movies. You got the costume and pretend whip (complete with theme song and sound effects) for your 4th birthday. You pretend to be on adventures all the time and make up the most outrageous stories. You also love to put together the little star wars lego men – like clone troopers – with their weapons and ships. You carry them around all the time and they are always in the floor and in your pockets – keeps Mommy busy! Preschool at Haymarket Baptist Church as a 4 year old (Mrs. Ritter) Very clingy the first few weeks! But, that’s because of all the changes at home. You enjoy coming home with your letter and number pages. You call your backpack (pack pack) and it has Lightening McQueen on it. We welcomed your new baby brother “Gavin” on 8/28 and you are so sweet, kind, and gentle with him. You love your new role as big brother and are Mommy’s helper when Aidan is in school. You were trying to calm him down the other day and he wouldn’t stop crying, so you looked at Mommy (very exasperated) in a sweet voice and asked “Mommy, why did you order a boy and not a girl”? You were so serious and I couldn’t stop laughing! | You call him “Baby Gabin” instead of GaVin. You ask everyday when is he going to grow. You want him to be big enough to play At the hospital, after he was born, you came in and put on dr gloves and said “I’m the incision man – get me a wrench” we were all falling over laughing – I have no idea where you heard the word incision! You tell me, Aidan and Daddy in a little sing song voice “Goodbye Mommy, I love you!” and you say it several times whenever I drop you at preschool, or when we drop Aidan at school, or Daddy leaves for work. Over and over: “I love you, goodbyegoodbye I love you!” The same thing at bedtime with the sweetest eyes and voice “Goodnight I love youI love you, goodnight” You like to go without a shirt and lately, whenever you go potty, you completely undress and leave your clothes in the floor. You LOVE “tie shoes” and usually refuse flip flops and crocs (even when it’s warm outside). You like your little sneakers that look like Converse with the Dinosaurs on the side. You are adamant about wearing tie shoes and will even go back upstairs to get socks so you can wear them. You think everything is a “baby thing” now. You are picky about your shoes, cartoons and toys and want to do everything Aidan does. You are growing too fast! You are finally interested in learning your letters, but you are very easily frustrated. You have started to write your name at school and call yourself “Christian J.” all the time, since there are two Christian’s in your class. | You play very independently with all your little figures, Ninja Turtles, Star Wars, Transformers, etc Aidan was never like this and I enjoy seeing you use your imagination. You will play by yourself in the playroom for hours. I just watch and smile – and, of course, I join you sometimes. You have a wonderful imagination and you make up lots of stories and tell them with such convictionlike you really believe them. Today, on the way to school you asked “Mommy, do sharks only eat bad guys?” and I told you they don’t know the difference between bad and good guys, they just eat everything in sight. You then told me you had a pet shark that slept with you last night. I asked if he nibbled on you and you told me he always slept at the bottom of the bed and you slept at the top. You told me he was going to school with us and didn’t need a seatbelt because he rode on top of the car. Mommy just nodded and smiled You are really into the hero thingyou always stress good and bad/evil. You just came in from playing outside in your sandbox with a Ben 10 alien and told me very matter-of-factly “Mommy, I’m the guy who saves the world.” I watch you jump and chop and get this serious look on your face, like you are defeating the bad guys with your little four year old body and I just smile. Maybe too many Star Wars movies (Oct. 2009) Picked you up from preschool early because the teacher said you had your head down and didn’t feel good. When I took you to the car and we talked, you told me it was only because the teacher “asked me to write my name with no help and I can’t.” You have a lot of pride and didn’t want to ask for help or admit what you saw as failure. You are easily frustrated with those types of things. It broke my heart and I promised to take more time to work with you at home writing your name! Good news, by November, you are writing your name and you are so proud. Everywhere we go you point out letters that are in your name

139: Nov. 2009: getting dinner ready, you walk into the kitchen like you’ve just figured out the secrets of the universe and with all the excitement in your little voice you tell me: “hey Mommy, before God put our heads on and made us human, he put juice in our body so we could pee” you smile like you are the smartest little boy on Earth and nod your head like, yeah, I know stuff. Me and Daddy just laughed so hard!! When you eat, you make these little noises, like “ummmm, ummmm, ummmm” with every bite. You love cheese pizza, chicken nuggets, fruit, yogurt, pancakes, bacon, cereal and doughnuts. I still call you “Snickerdoodle.” You are very loving and tell me and Daddy that you love us all the time, with big hugs and kisses. When I had to go to Austin, TX for work for a few days, I called three times a day and you got on the phone and said “Mommy, it’s your snickerdoodle!” It made my day! We call Gavin “Sugar Bear” and you sing him songs and love on him constantly. You are home with me and Gavin on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I see no signs of jealousy at all. You are such a proud and loving big brother. Dec. 8th, Daddy just left to go to the Vet with Stella to have her put to sleep. She is 13 and we’re pretty certain the huge tumor on her leg is cancer. I’m trying to explain to you that the Dr. will give her medicine and she won’t feel any pain and then she’ll be with Jesus. You and I are both crying and sad. You tell me, “Stella will be with Jesus and Chelsea now Mommy, and they will tangle their necks up in love.” I look at your little tear filled eyes and realize that you watched Lion King today and the lion cubs showed love and connection by rubbing necks. You are trying to apply your limited reality to the situation. You also looked at me with tears streaming and smiled and said “now we can get another dog.” Oh Lord, I can’t even imagine! Not until Gavin is at least two Mommy had Stella for 11 years and she was the BEST dog in the world. She was so, gentle, loyal, protective and a giver of absolute unconditional love. | She loved you boys so much and enjoyed being a part of our family. I think of the times she would always follow us down the lane because she knew the “mean dogs” lived next door, and I know she was in pain walking, but she was determined to protect you guys. It was a great Christmas! You really got into opening your presents. We had you, Aidan, Amanda and Brandon in a circle taking turns and as soon as you opened something, you would jump up and throw your little hands in the air and proclaim “this is just what I wanted for Christmas!!!” They you would choose your next gift and put your finger under the corner of the paper and wait breathlessly for it to be your turn again. At one point you even pulled Amanda’s clothes out of her gift bag and said “that’s what you got, now it’s my turn!” but in the sweetest way possible! We spent a lot of time talking about Jesus and giving and you always show your little compassionate heart when you talk about others and sharing what you have. You got lots of legos and minifigures (which you spend hours putting together and taking apart) Indiana Jones, Ben 10 and a rock star set up complete with microphone/stand, guitar, and flashing lights. You have the most amazing imagination always coming up with inventive creatures and scenarios to entertain yourself. Everyday you ask, “where am I going today?” Since you have preschool three mornings a week and then go to Sandys. On Tues/Thurs you stay home with me and Gavin and we love those days! Jan. 2010you and Aidan are eating cereal talking about a paper he made a school with a game about picking an action (kiss, marry, spit, hug) and a girlI asked Aidan if he liked the little girl which he loudly denied with great embarrassment and you said “Aidan, it’s okay to love a girl, go ahead”like you were giving him permission. So cute!! | You followed me into my closet after work and asked if you could sit on the stool of my dressing table where my make up is and told me “Mommy, it’s okay if I sit here because you are already painted for today.” You told me after preschool today that Ashley was your girlfriend. She is a beautiful little girl with long brunette hair and wears pretty bows in it everyday. She was in your three year old class last year and you are so sweet talking about giving her a valentine. Two BLIZZARDS this year. You and Aidan could barely even walk the snow was so deep (2-3 feet!) But you tried to build and igloo and we collected fresh falling snow and made “snowcream”. This spring we made a firepit in the back yard and made smores after dinner which you loved! You ask all the time if we can go to the beach. You love to pretend you are a rockstar. Playing your air guitar and contorting your face as we ride in the car with the radio blasting. You stay home with Mommy on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I treasure those days with you. I love to watch you playing when you don’t know I’m there. Listening to you create voices for your toys and having them interact. “Someone needs to tell Uncle Kevin to stop smoking” you blurted out at dinner. You then said “I already told him, but he didn’t listen (looking rather contemplative), then you look to Gavin sitting next to you and say, Gavin is too little, Daddyyou are the same size and “number” (age)you tell him! Watching the SuperBowl with Daddy wearing your jersey and calling the Colts “The Bolts”. You are very good at playing by yourself and you have an amazing imagination. I need to be careful about making an effort to spend one on one time with you during the days we are home together. One day I came into the playroom to check on you and you got irritated with me and told me “I was having some alone time” You crack everyone up with the things you say!! You can be easily frustrated and will storm off if you are upset.

140: You had to get tubes in your ears early last year because you were having trouble hearing. Mommy was so worried about you being put under anesthesia, but you were so stoic and unafraid. You put on your little gown and they gave you a stuffed donkey (which we promptly named Surgery Donkey) Mommy has never even had any surgery, so I was nervous when I took you into the room with all the machines and you’re your hand as they put the mask on you and counted. You were out and back in my arms in less than 10 minutes. Your hearing is so much better! You love to carry things around in backpacks and to wear Aidan’s old baseball hats sideways – SO CUTE!! You had button shirts and I really had to convince you to wear a tie for the Preschool Mothers Tea. You told me “I’m not wearing that thing!!” You and I have such enjoyable days together on Tues and Thursday. Then Aidan comes home and it’s like you are a different kids. You feed into his aggressive energy and the two of you are a due to be reckoned with!! Pa-Paw Dee died on 5/4 and you were sad and confused. When we were packing the car to leave for the funeral, you asked me “Mommy, how old will I be when you die?” I answered that I didn’t know but that you would be very old. You wanted a number and needed security. I broke my heart. You didn’t understand what was happening and I’m so sad that you won’t have your Pa-Paw to grow up with. You love visiting Honaker to play at Pa-Paw’s and Ma-Maw Bonnies with Dalton, Estella and Kamden. You adored when Pa-Paw would come to our house to stay and he loved you more than life. | You always want to know everyone’s “number” which is what you call age. You can’t figure out why Mommy’s number is bigger than Daddy’s but he is taller than me You are very GIVING and will usually let Aidan have something if you both want it. If his headphones are not working in the car and you are watching a movie, you will actually take yours off and give them to him. Just like your Mommy, you have a strong desire to please – such a middle child already You and I were playing in the yard one spring day and I picked up the hammock to hang it up and there was the cutest little field mouse giving birth on the batting she had pulled out of the hammock. We both marveled as she tried to protect her two newborns and we picked up the baby she dropped with a spoon and put it in with her inside the hole in the tree where she was hiding from us. You love nature and were amazed at the whole experience. You go around the house all day making noises like “cha, slam, bam, huh” and kicking your legs and arms like you are fighting. You are pretending to be a Ninja Turtle or Star Wars Jedi. Still taking swimming lessons and getting better. Playing soccer and just being your sweet self. You get so tired still in the afternoon that you often just fall asleep after a long day of playing and practice. Something finally clicked with preschool and by Jan. you are WANTING to do worksheets and learn your letters. You even asked me to take out the Indiana Jones movie in the car and put in Talking Words Factory. You write letters everywhere, paper, chalkboard, even with your fingers in the carpet. You are suddenly curious to learn and want to write your name and count. Your preschool teachers are so proud and love having you in class. | They tell me you are a good friend and very respectful. You had the opening line in your preschool graduation program and you practiced daily “Hello everyone, welcome to our preschool graduation program. Today we are celebrating our great county America, and how blessed by God we are.” Well, when you were learning it you just kept saying “how by God blessed we are.” We would just roll with laughter and I half hoped you would say it that way on the day of the program. You didn’t, but you did stand there and speak it loud and clear, not a hint of nervousness (which Aidan would never do). You came up at the end with your little paper graduation cap on and they announced that you wanted to be “Fireman” when you grew up – the first Mommy and Daddy had heard of that! Spring 2010. You are so witty and smart. People are always commenting on how calm you are (mostly when you’re not round Aidan ) and how funny you are. This week you’ve been telling me that you are 9 . That’s your “number” as you like to refer to age. You are naked and getting ready to shower (by yourself!!! At age 4 wow!!) and you tell me as I bathe Gavin “I’m 9 , that means I have money and a phone.” Then you tell me your name is Anakin. Then you get out and you’re playing in the bedroom with Gavin and I hear you say “well, THAT backfired” I was laughing so hard. You use these grown up words and mostly in the right context and with this resolved voice. It is so amazing. Then you stare out the bathroom window naked and calmly tell me “Mommy, I sense the Ninjas are coming”. Then you tell me, “they’re here, swimming in the pool!” and when I don’t really react, you grab my face in an excited voice and tell me “now’s a good time to retreat.” I laugh in constant amazement at how you know these words!!! I see no jealously with you and Gavin. You are adoring of him and always wanting to keep him safe and make him laugh. I tell you all the time that he and Aidan will be your best friends forever.

141: You are very much like me in personality. You have a streak of defiance and won’t do anything you don’t want to do, but you are also very sweet and empathetic. You are quick to care if Aidan or Gavin get hurt and you cry easilysometimes telling me if I raise my voice that I’ve “hurt your feelings” which breaks my heart. You can be a rough little guy and take pride in acting like a big boy. But you are also easy to discipline and you seem to get great joy from pleasing us. You like to sleep LATE! I love seeing you come down the stairs in the morning and peek around the corner with your crazy bed head and spider man web p.j.s and I always say with great excitement “Snickerdoodle’s Awake” like now we can start our day. You like to sleep late and when you come downstairs with your little bedhead and peek around the corner, I always smile and announce “Snickerdoodle’s Awake!!” and you SMILE! When I give you cozy tucks and three kisses at night, you always give the kisses back to me and tell me the same thing – holding my face with your little hands – “love you, like you, and ALWAYS PROTECT YOU” You emphasize that last part and just smile. I know that someday you will!! Last night you spontaneously told me at bedtime: “Mommy, you’re the BEST Mommy in the WORLD!!” I couldn’t have smiled any bigger!! You are easily scared of strangers and bad things happening to one of us, but you could care less if you walk up on a snake in the yard and you’ll play in the woods with your little boots without a worry in the world. You will run with that little arm pumping (just like when you were a toddler) and get this tough little look on your face like you are such a barbarian. | You are so different from Aidan in many ways. You were a breeze to potty train and you are already showering by yourself. You love to plan things and know who’s coming and what’s going to happen next. You like to have an agenda. You hate to be interrupted and Mommy sometimes cuts you off. Once I finished a sentence for you and you got so frustrated and told me “Mommy, you don’t have to use so many words, you could just LISTEN” Boy did that hit me hardyou were so right!! You are in my life to teach me and I want to get the lessons and parent you in the way you need. I worry about “middle child syndrome”, being one myself, and see all those qualities in you. Aidan gets attention for being mischievous or getting in trouble at school and Gavin for being the baby, you are just so easy and I don’t want to overlook you or make you feel slighted in any way!! You will remind me if I’ve already said something or I’m talking too much – I think it gives you a headache You are not as articulate as Aidan and you struggle sometimes to get your thoughts and words to cooperate. I need to be more patient with you and just be in the moment. You talk about your “minions” and I just laugh so hard. You picked that phrase up from a cartoon. You tell me your “minions” will do it when I ask you to clean up. Once when I came in the play room and tried to clean your little star wars figures, you told me “Luke and Leia are spending time together Mommy.” | I hope I can be the loving, disciplined parent that you need. You are a joy and blessing to me and Daddy and you cannot even imagine how much we love you. I adore when I leave that you want to hug and kiss me a million times and say “Goodbye Mommy, I love youI love you, Goodbye!” Or wave to me as you are walking into preschool. You are my precious gift from God and I am forever grateful to be the one he picked to be your Mommy!!!! I love you more than all the words in all the books in all the world!!!

142: Amanda took these awesome pics of you boys playing in the yard. She really captured your spirit. The "little boy" in you. I cherish these photos and am so grateful she took them.

144: Annual Trip to Rehoboth Beach with Aunt Donna, Amanda and Brandon | Summer 2010

145: Fun in the sun and sand

146: Future Lifeguards

147: Gavin was a HANDFUL. Running everywhere, kicking sand, splashing, just couldn't imagine what to do with this place!

149: Rides at Funland, riding bikes to the park, and strolling on the BoardWalk eating junk food. The long lazy days of summer. Gavin's actual birthday fell on the last day of our trip, so we went to our favorite beach ice cream place and he got a balloon to celebrate.

152: We hired a photographer for some family pictures. Gavin is turning one and we wanted to remember this special year. We drove a few miles north to a beach and national park in Lewes, DE. The photos were phenomenal. Gavin ran in the silky white sand with the biggest smile. Aidan and Christian were skipping stones in the ocean toward the lighthouse. Christian found some great seashells. Daddy's favorite picture is the one of him and his boys walking into the sunset.

156: Gavin is ONE!

158: Cake and Presents

159: Pinwheels and Ice Cream IWe can't believe our baby boy is ONE YEAR OLD already! What an exciting and eventful year you have had little one. Aunt Donna, Amanda, Brandon, Uncle Kevin, Grammy and Nana all helped you celebrate turning one. You got trucks and blocks, but you really loved playing with the cake, paper and balloons!

162: Dear Gavin, Your first year was so special and went by in a flash. Here are some special memories. On the second day in the hospital, the nurse pointed out that your right ankle was very bruised and swollen under the bracelet. The Drs. checked your ankle over the next 48 hours and couldn’t find anything wrong. But, I noticed you would hold your little leg up and cry if it was straightened. You kept it bent up next to your body and I knew something was wrong. That next Friday we went to a Pediatric Orthopedist and he told me the bad news (that I already suspected)your little femur was fractured. This was a birth injury and a very rare one. Your leg must have been contorted into an awkward position as you descended through the birth canal. I was devastated at the news. They put you in a harness for three weeks and they were the longest weeks of my life. The first few days I cried a lot, grieving the loss of being able to snuggle you, feed you skin to skin, bathe you in a little tub, and just hold your little legs and feet. I felt sad that you could only wear the little gowns and not any of your sweet newborn clothes. It’s a Mommy thing It was a full body, Velcro laced Pavlik Harness and it was tight and prickly and you really didn’t like it. It went over your shoulders and kept both legs up like a little frog. But, you were such a trooper! You had such acceptance and courage right from the start. You taught me a lot those first few weeks. And the day it was removed, we celebrated. You couldn’t stop kicking and straightening those little legs. Looking back it really wasn’t that long and you were still a precious little newborn at four weeks.I definitely made up for lost time playing with your legs and feet and cuddling you and bathing you. The doctor reassured us that it was just a freak accident and you did not have any sort of bone disease or anything that would impact you long term Praise God! Some people tell me they don’t like the “newborn phase” because new infants are not interactive enough. I LOVE it in fact, I had forgotten how much I loved it. I love to snuggle and cuddle and brush my cheek against your hair. I love to smell you to gaze into your eyes as you look up at me with all the trust and wonder in the world. I love the newness of you. The tiny fingers and toes the first smiles the grunts and coos and gurgles as you enjoy your first experiences in this big world. I love the nurturing, the protecting and the caring for you. Even the middle of the night feedings are special (once I wake up completely) because the house is quiet and it’s just the two of us. I love that you can’t really move much right now because I know soon enough you will be pushing me away to get to a toy or crawl and explore. I want to hold you all the time and treasure these first few weeks. I know now, since you are my third, to treasure each phase and live each moment completely because it goes so fast!! I don’t worry about the little stuff as much with you because I feel more confident as a Mommy in your care and safety. I spend much more time just looking at you and rocking you, and wondering who you will be. There were days the first month home from the hospital when I would just be so overcome with the most tremendous JOY!! I felt as if I was the luckiest person on Earth to be blessed with three beautiful, loving boys.

163: (7 weeks): You like your tummy time and are starting to “talk” to your toys especially the bears on the mobile above your swing. You are smiling now when we ask in a high pitched voice and you look so proud of your accomplishment. It’s nice to have the positive feedback kiddo!!! You can roll over from your tummy to your back ALREADY!! Wow, it won’t be long before you are mobile. You listen to your brothers running, playing and fighting with these big eyes you must be wondering what you are in for or maybe, you can’t wait to join them. (3-4 Months): Oh my, your personality has arrived along with a shrieking cry and some very interesting diapers. You started rice cereal and I blended in some applesauce, oh you just dive your face into the spoon and grab with your little hands to get it in your mouth. You know Mommy and Daddy and your face lights up when you see us or even just hear our voices. You are smiling, trying to “talk” and even out right laughing at times. I call you “Sugar Bear” and “Gavin Bear” and sing made up little lullabies with your name. You grab Mommy’s hair when I hold you and you can hold your little soft toys. You can bat your hanging toys around and you love to draw your feet up and kick them. Flashing lights and music are favorites and your brothers are a constant source of entertainment. They want to play with you and hold you and constantly love you. You like to sit in your swing and watch them run and play. Your first Christmas was so sweet. You had on these little plaid pants and a precious little white collared shirt and vest. You refused to nap amidst all the excitement. Mommy got you “Sophie the Giraffe” as a chew toy although you’re not teething quite yet, you love to hold her and look at her face and spots and squeeze her to make sounds. You got other little toys, but your favorites are still your little lovies that you can snuggle up to your face and stroke with your little fingers. You are getting into a good schedule now with little naps in the morning after your bottles and then a long nap in the afternoon. You go to bed around 8 (with your brothers) and sleep through the night. Daddy feeds you a bottle at 11 pm and snuggles with you while you sleepily enjoy your late night snack. You still sleep next to Mommy and Daddy and usually around 4 pm you get a little restless wanting your binkie and Mommy puts you in bed next to me and we snuggle for two more hours. You are such a little wide-eyed angel. Our precious gift from God. You are the star of every family get together and a constant source of joy to our lives.

164: New Years week 2010: Mommy is home from work this week and I’m trying to spend every precious moment with you and your brothers that I can. We are packing to go “home” (Honaker) to visit with Pa-Paw Dee and Ma-Maw Bonnie for New Years. I’m rocking you to sleep and my mind starts to drift to laundry and packing and I quickly pull it back and remind myself to be in the moment. I love rocking you and know all too soon you won’t want me to anymore (or at least you won’t fit in my lap!). As you drift off, you look up at me with sleepy eyes and smile behind your binkies if you are making sure I’m still there and thanking me for the TLC. As you finally close your eyes, I notice all the little veins and capillaries in your little eyelids and I’m overwhelmed by the reminder of what a little miracle you are. God’s handiwork is truly amazing! Blood runs through every little inch of your body and that you are such a perfect little being who will grow up to be a kind and loving man. I want to hold you like this forever! You started crawling around 6 months and then pulled up and walked by 10 1/2 months. You are so curious and into everything. Your eyes are this deep ocean blue and they shine. You have a sweet little smile and a personality that just keeps us all on our toes. You love your binkies and your blankies. You like to climb on everything, especially Daddy and your brothers. I always joke that you were born with an "escape plan" because you always seem to be on the go and get out of any sort of containment we attempt to keep you safe! You love to eat and will use those four little front teeth to eat anything we give you. You really love juice, yogurt, corn on the cob, spaghetti and sweets. You love to put your foot on top of things...like your highchair tray, your stoller tray and your crib wall. Your hair is so blonde and people comment on it all the time. You walked around 10 1/2 months and you are just unstoppable. You always know what you want and you are getting the words to tell us. You blow kisses and bring your yogurt and a spoon to me when you are hungry. You wave at everyone in stores and when you are super excited, you clench your fists and shake your whole body and SMILE! You have made our family complete and we can't imagine life without Gavin!!

165: My favorite Bible verse: For you created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalms 139:13-16

166: Labor Day Weekend Trip to Honaker. Our first trip back after Papa Dee died. It was bittersweet, but we had fun with Ma-Maw, Pa-Paw, aunts, uncles and cousins around the campfire. Aidan and Christian loved picking apples out of Aunt Joyce's trees. Racing cars down the driveway with Dalton and Estella was fun too. Goodbye Summer!

168: Back to School! September 2010 | Christian was so excited to join his big brother at school. My little man and his "surfer" dude haircut is going to school. | Aidan was the perfect big brother, walking Christian to class and showing him around. Aidan took an apple for Ms. Licter and Christian gave a big hug to Mrs. Odedra. | Another year at Buckland Mills. Christian is in Kindergarten and Aidan is in 2nd Grade.

170: The tradition of ice cream with Mommy after the 1st day of school continued. Christian got to ride the bus to Ms. Sandy's for the first time on day two.

171: Sweet little Christian had a great first day, but had a bit of a hard time adjusting to the long days and long weeks of full-time school. He would often want to stay with Mommy. I gave him a "love rock" to keep in his pocket and he would hold it when he felt sad. We read The Kissing Hand the night before the first day and gave the symbol all year when I would drop him off. It seemed to reassure him that he would be okay.

172: Aidan Tyler Jones 2nd Grader Buckland Mills Elementary

173: Christian Matthew Jones Kindergarten Buckland Mills Elementary

174: Gavin's first haircut. All three boys went with Mommy to the Barber Shop. | Brave Boy!

175: On his feet and ready to battle. Gavin never backs down from a challenge. | PLAY | Inflatable swords left over from Christian's Dragon Party were the perfect weapon for a little brother vs. brother dual

176: Fun times at Ms. Sandy's, in the pool and playing. Gavin loved to put things on his head and sit with his foot on the tray of his hi-chair

177: Awards day at school. Aidan got an award for being a creative writer. Mommy helped with Flag Day activities. Aidan was so excited to have me there. He ran to me and wanted me to play with him and his friends. One of Aidan's best friends is Dominic. Aidan also performed in a play.

178: Flat Stanley Project Aidan's "Flat Aidan" doll traveled to L.A. and NYC with Mommy's former student Katrina Wan. He was so proud!

179: Picking Raspberries at Great Country Farm with Mommy. Nice summer day out together.

180: We went to Honaker to spend Halloween with Ma-Maw Bonnie, Pa-Paw Earl and all the cousins. First time Mommy had been there for Halloween since she was a kid! | Two Ninjas and a Spider. Mommy and Daddy even played dress up. Amanda and Brandon were SPOOKY too! | Ma-Maw made caramel apples. We all dressed up - even the grown ups. Uncle Tony made a big leaf pile in the yard and we blasted scary music and danced to Michael Jackson's Thriller before trick-or-treating all around Fairmount.

182: Fun times as Gavin explores Honaker. It is food, relaxation, and complete unconditional love. There simply is nothing like visiting there. We all adore little Gavin and enjoy watching him play.

183: Football in Ma-Maw and Pa-Paw's front yard. Dalton and Josh were there and it was a perfect fall day. Of course we all sat on the porch and watched and cheered you on. Such wonderful memories. You all love Honaker so much and can't wait to run around at Ma-Maws, just like Mommy was when she was little. I guess it is the circle of life.

184: Christian gets an award at school for being a good citizen. Playtime in the jeep. Gavin loves his trucks, his baths and his brothers.

185: Helping Daddy dig holes for our new front porch. Gavin stood upstairs and watched out the window. All you boys absolutely love helping Daddy. You love to use his tools, to dig, hammer, get dirty and feel like you are helping with our house.

186: Christmas 2010

188: Winky and cookies and gingerbread houses. Aunt Donna, Amanda and Brandon spent the night again on Christmas Eve and Nana came on Christmas Day.

190: Gavin's Dedication at Park Valley Church December 2010

193: Dear Ma Maw, Your touch will live in my memory. Your unconditional love, your gentle adoration. You are in my soul and I will always love you. Gavin

194: Aidan and Christian played Basketball for the first time and LOVED it! Daddy coached Aidan's team.

195: Daddy's Birthday at The Homestead | We went with Aunt Donna, Amanda, Brandon, Uncle Kevin and Billy | Tubing and Snowmobiling Ice Skating and S'mores! And, of course, Birthday Cake!

196: Aidan is EIGHT! Your birthday party was planned to happen in Honaker with your cousins, but Ma-Maw Bonnie was very sick so we just did a Pokemon Battle cake on her back porch. When we got home we had an Easter and Pokemon Birthday Bash combined with the usual suspects!

198: We went to Great Country Farm and adopted some baby chicks for Easter. You guys really loved playing with them and chasing them... We named them eenie, meenie, minie, and moe. peep...peep!

199: Dear Aidan, This letter is to celebrate and remember you as a seven year old! You are 7 but still so innocent. Just when I think you are so big, moments remind me of just how little you still are – like watching you shower all by yourself – learning to shampoo your hair while telling me with such conviction about the leprechaun than visited school today. You love to cuddle at night and play with my hair and tell me all that’s on your mind . which I ADORE May 2010, you read your first chapter book all by yourself. Magic Treehouse Eve of the Emperor Penguins. I’m so proud of you and hope you will love reading forever. You are working on a shark project for school – doing “research” and filling me in on all the facts. You can remember so much! Except now you are a bit scared to go to the beach and get in the water You went to school today dressed as Indiana Jones. It is “Career Week” and you want to be an Archaeologist. You were so excited getting your digging tools and brush together this morning. When I let you out of the car you started to get a bit self conscious in your little hat and costume, but then you marched into school with pride. I love this part of childhood and know that probably next year you will not be so comfortable expressing yourself. We saw on CNN this morning that a British Archaeology Team uncovered a Roman Gladiator Cemetery and could even tell that the skeletons had bite marks from a lion or bear. Perfect timing, you were so excited to learn more. | You are into combing your own hair all of a sudden. You like to comb the front over the side and make it really flat with lots of water. I always giggle and try to “fluff up” your curls. One night after bath, you asked me “Mom, how come you don’t like flat-haired people?” Another night after bath, you came in and asked “do you like my hair? I used some of Christian’s gel and I shaved!” Before bed you told me with big eyes and raised brows “I BETTER get some energy out! Then you began doing gymnastics and break-dancing on the floor” We went to meet your teacher for 2nd grade, Mrs. Coblentz, and deliver your school supplies. All the other kids had theirs just piled on their desk, not you, though you stacked yours up and arranged them into a stadium. You also pulled yet another tooth that morning – all by yourself. You brought it to me and said “betcha can’t do that!” then you informed me that night as you climbed up to put it under your pillow that “there is no tooth fairy, Mommy’s put money under kids’ pillows.” I reassured you that I didn’t, but you didn’t seem convinced. I wonder how long I have with Santa . The first week of 2nd grade went really well. You are so sweet with Christian. Holding his hand and talking so sweetly to him about kindergarten. You see him at lunch and always make an effort to see how he’s doing. We had ice cream the first afternoon – our family first day of school tradition – and you told me all about your day. At the end of the week you told me your teacher was the “awesomest in the whole world!!” I am so happy to hear it because I want you to have a better year and make good choices. | You did get in a little trouble the first week for tying both your shoe laces together – I had to laugh to myself. You’re such a little boy!! You still like when I come for lunch, but I see such a lower level of excitement compared to Kindergarten and 1st grade. Makes me a little sad, but I know you are growing up. You seem much more concerned about being embarrassed. None of your closest friends are in your class, so I hope you make friends with some really good kids. You have a new language in your Encore rotation, Chinese! You are excited since you spent most of last summer pretending to speak Bulgarian. Your good friend, Kirk, in first grade was from Bulgaria and he taught you a few words. Then you just made up words and told me they were Bulgarian – so adorable. The night before school started I was reading “The Kissing Hand” to Christian and you acted like you didn’t want to hear it, telling me “that’s not real.” You try to act like you don’t want the fairy tale, nurturing, “little kid” stuff, but you really do. The next day you said “give me your hand Mommy – and you kissed it and then let me kiss yours. That night you brought me the book and asked me to read it to you.” My heart was so full. A typical weekend day for Mommy on the weekend is building train tracks, sorting legos and referring pokemon card trades with you and Christian. Keeping Gavin safe is your first priority and you are on top of him all the time making sure he is okay! We went to Honaker Labor Day weekend and you had SO MUCH fun with Estella and Dalton. You love being there and we all miss Pa-Paw Dee deeply. You don’t really understand, but I see the sadness and try to answer your questions in a way that eases your mind. It makes me so sad that you have lost Grammy and Pa-Paw Dee. I want you to spend as much time as possible with Ma-Maw Bonnie and Pa-Paw Earl. I want you to know that unconditional love and acceptance that comes from those “country grandparents.”

200: We had a big party at Aunt Joyce’s house and you guys played all day. That’s the special thing about Honakeryou boys can be free, and just be boys, running and playing with little supervision. Just like my childhood. No worries, just wide open spaces and lots of love surrounding you. We had a bonfire and Ma-Maw played with you guys while we all sat around and shared stories and laughed. You are obsessed with your DS. You love your Pokemon game and are always commenting on who you’ve captured or defeated in “pokemon battles.” You know all their names, read the books and watch the cartoons. Your favorite thing to say to me when I don’t give you what you want is “your mean” or to call me a “meanie.” You must say it 6-8 times a day. I pretend it doesn’t bother me and try to explain to you how to express your feelings and understand your emotions. You are getting much better about not lashing out and trying not to loose control of your reactions. But you still like to be mischievous and pick on Christian just for fun. Nothing malicious, just silliness. I miss you so much when you are at school. I’m always sad the first week and feel guilty that I didn’t spend more quality time with you during the summer. My job keeps me busy, but I do try to spend lots of time with you guys. I still work from home on Tues/Thurs and we went to the beach for a week in late August. It was SO much fun. Riding bikes, building sand castles, collecting shells (fragments ), going to Funland. Having ice cream and Grottos pizza. We did puzzles and played Twister. Spent time with Aunt Donna, Amanda and Brandon. We didn’t want to come home. You were tanned with that blonde curly hair – all the little girls running around talking to you. So cute!!! I wish I could freeze you at this age and not let you get any older | You decided to try soccer this fall and you seem to be enjoying it so far. Your team name is the Hot Rods and you like all the movement. You seemed bored with baseball. You also want to try basketball this winter and I’m enrolled you and Christian in the Chess Club – so every Thursday morning before school, you can play chess (which you LOVE) from 8-9 am. We went to Honaker for Halloween and you guys dressed as NinjasGavin was a spider. So very cute. We had a costume party at Ma-Maw and Pa-Paw’s house and Mommy, Daddy, Aunt Donna, A and B dressed up too! Uncle Tony played music and there was a huge leaf pile in the front yard. You guys jumped in the leaves while we danced to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. Ma-Maw was so happy. We trick or treated around her neighborhood on Fairmont. It was great fun and although we didn’t know it at the time, it was our last good visit with Ma-Maw Bonnie. I found a Christmas list you started (in September) and the first entry was “A Real Time Machine” – only you Aidan, only you. You questioned Santa for the first time this year. Out of the blue in early November, you declared “There is no Santa, Mom!” And when I looked surprised and asked why you would say that, in typical/thinking outside the box Aidan style, you declared “there is no man who flies around in the sky with a sleigh full of toys.” You could have finished with “geez, Mom”. I looked stunned and argued you back to reality with the threat of no gifts and explained it’s the spirit of believing and giving. Of course, Christian was right there taking it all in. It didn’t come up again and the entire month of December, you were fully on board. Making lists and singing and of course, waking every morning to find our shelf elf: “Winkie.” | His arrival the day after Thanksgiving is one of the highlights of your year and you couldn’t wait to find him that morning and each morning after. You are first up (after Mommy) and it’s the 1st thing on your mind. You cuddle with me then on the couch with your sleepy eyes and bedhead in your footie jammies and I adore that sweet time, before the morning chaos of the house begins. (You also questioned the Tooth Fairy, but enjoy putting those teeth under your pillow and collecting the loot – in fact, you had to get three baby teeth pulled at the dentist, because you have very large teeth and no room, and you couldn’t wait to see what you got. You were SO brave at the dentist with the “laughing gas” and novacaine shots – wow!) You complain about taking a shower at night and protest loudly if I try to tear you away from the tv or video games. I want to help you learn how to calm your emotions and react better, but I know I’m fighting some pretty strong “temperament” DNA. We have had some real battles this year. You have often tried to physically wrestle away from me when I grab your arm and even pulled your hand back once like you would hit me. It was an impulse, but I spanked you, and it broke my heart. You seemed to really learn that you cannot ever cross that line. Mommy and Daddy are also working VERY hard on controlling our reactions and not yelling – it is hard and we have no excuse. Sometimes the frustration gets the best of us, especially when we are trying to get you guys in the car for school or church. “Butt humor” reigns in our house this year. You and Christian constantly banter back and forth working the word butt into every conversation. Especially at dinner, which drives me and Daddy crazy! You still run around naked, ready to wrestle, show of your latest karate moves, or just be silly.

201: I love the inhibition and know it won’t be long before you are intensely private and shut down. Your exuberance is amazing in all it’s forms – good and bad. Common questions I have after you have a bad day at school: “Who is in charge of you?” and you answer “I am”. You have difficulty controlling yourself at school. Touching other kids and being silly. Mrs. Heisler (from 1st grade) is mentoring you this year and the best tactic so far has been to let you work with other kids. You need to be the “C.E.O. of something” and you are very motivated to help her in her class or to help the autistic boy who sits next to you. I love that. Another favorite saying in our house, as you argue about required homework, dinner, baths, getting dressed, etc is: “Do what you have to do, so you can do what you want to do.” Since you are a big brother to two now, an observation made by me and Daddy is that you have become the “enforcer” and Christian the “informer”. You often take things from Christian or Gavin, as a parent might, and remind them of my requests if they are ignoring me. Unfortunately, all too often, you will physically enforce what Mommy is saying to Christian, by tackling him, grabbing his shirt to stop him, or using a (teeth-gritting) not so nice tone with him. Daddy is coaching your basketball team this winter. You are called the “Hot Shots” and you seem to really enjoy the sport. Feb. 2011 Well, you agreed to be my valentine for one more year – score for Mommy!! You are SO TALL!! I keep telling you to stop growing and you just smile with those two front teeth with nothing but spaces all around them | Last week you decided instead of showering in Mom and Dad’s room, you wanted to take a bath, so you Christian and Gavin all got in your tub and I LOVED IT. I know those moments won’t happen much more. I just sat and looked at the three of you laughing and playing – Gavin didn’t know what to think about you two being in there! You are all still so innocent and impulsive and just playful. You really started to question the Easter Bunny this year But you loved the candy, toys and hiding eggs. Easter was the day after your birthday and we had all the family over for a combined Easter dinner and birthday celebration. You didn’t have a party with your friends this year, just a Pokemon family shindig complete with two cakes, balloons, banners, and a piñata shaped like the number 8 hanging on a tree in the front yard. You, Christian and even Gavin took turns whacking it blindfolded – so fun! You got games for your DS, Star Wars Legos and gift cards. You also got some new BeyBlades, which are these little spinning metal tops, that you battle in a plastic arena. You and Christian know all their names and strengths and love to battle each other. We had planned for months for you to have your 8th birthday party this year in Honaker in Ma-Maw Bonnie and Pa-Paw Earl’s backyard. You and Christian LOVE it there, playing with your cousins Estella, Kamden and especially Dalton! But two weeks before your birthday we learned Ma-Maw Bonnie had lung cancer. I couldn’t really explain it to you, but you knew she was sick and by the time we arrived later that week, she was in bed, on oxygen and not well. You drew her a Mickey Mouse picture in the car on the drive down and she hung it above her bed. She was weak, but so excited to see us and say goodbye. | I tried to shield you from the graveness of the situation and you guys played outside. I still got you a birthday cake that we decorated with lots of Pokemon characters to make it like a battle arena. We sang and ate cake on Ma-Maw’s back porch and your eyes sparkled. I still wanted you to have that memory. The next night, she died, and we went to her funeral before coming back home. It was your first funeral and you had lots of questions, but you handled it well and seemed to appreciate that she was with Pa-Paw Dee in heaven and that you got to say goodbye and thank her for all the wonderful memories. Ma-Maw Bonnie’s house has always been filled with a spirit of love and grace. It represents unconditional love and the memories of my childhood are consumed by her ability and willingness to always show us goodness, kindness, generosity and abundance of spirit. It was the place where we ate, played, shared, and loved. I’m so glad you got to have seven years of visits with her. She will always be one of the most special people in our lives. You have really matured with school this year. Ms. Coblentz works with you to complete all your assignments and stay on task. You are so very smart and learn easily, you just still have some trouble controlling your impulses. I see you growing up though and realizing the consequences of your choices. You also don’t like to write in school, so far, that seems to be the only academic area of trouble. But, it’s really just a lack of interest and discipline. You like to write Pokemon chapter books at home and illustrate them, you just don’t like being told what to write about. Your best friend this year is a little Korean boy named “Joon.” He rides your bus because he lives in Sandy’s neighborhood and he has a similar personality to you.

202: You boys are very rambunctious and sometimes have to be separated. I love to see that big smile on your face though. You had to have three of your front baby teeth pulled, so the two middle front ones could come in straight and that big smile with those two “lonely” front teeth is gorgeous. You have this wonderful thick, wavy, blondish hair and sun-kissed freckles on your nose. You love getting PAWS stickers at school for doing good things for others and you love to hula hoop. You are handsome, smart, funny, protective, loyal, kind and wonderful. I can’t believe how fast you are growing. I remind myself every day how quickly this is going and how much I want to capture every memory of your childhood and remember it forever. I want you to experience adventure, to love nature, to be fearless but also loving. Spring is here again and you are back to running and playing outside with Christian and Gavin. Loving life and watching over your little brothers. I just love to sit and watch you and wonder how I deserved such a blessing. You are so optimistic about the life you have ahead and your desires far exceed your doubts! That makes you joyful and fearless and such an inspiration to me. Oprah Winfrey says that children come into the world trailing vapors, still carrying so much from the world they came from, I still see those “vapors” in your little 7 year old spirit. You are quite simply magical!!!

203: Christian loses his first tooth. He was so scared and Mommy and Daddy both took turns wiggling it with the washcloth. When it finally came out, he was SO proud and promptly put it under his pillow for his first tooth fairy visit! Not long after, he lost another one, right next to this one and then no more for long time.

206: 4th of July Cookout BBQ, Swimming, S'mores, Croquet, and a theatrical and patriotic reading of the Declaration of Independence from Amanda and Brandon. Then...FIREWORKS!!!

207: The many joys of being

208: Christian is SIX! | We celebrated with a martial arts party for your friends and a family dinner | You got a new DSi with Pokemon White Game and a Razor Scooter | You are so excited to turn 6 and start 1st grade in the fall!!

209: You got to cut your cake with a real sword., break blocks, swing nunchucks and run around and have fun with all your friends. You had a Dragon Ball Z Kai cake and had a blast!!

211: Dear Christian, Here are my memories of you as a five year old (Aug. 2010 – Aug 2011) You had a “How to Train your Dragon” 5th birthday pool party and had all your friends over. You were so proud and had a great time. Mommy made you a custom “dragon cake” and we had a great time. You couldn’t wait for our week at the beach this year. We went for a long weekend on Fathers Day (just you, Aidan, Gavin, Mommy and Daddy) and then we didn’t go until the last week of August for 7 days with Aunt Donna, Amanda and Brandon. We rented a house (as usual) and rode our bikes each morning, played in the sand, went to Funland (your favorite), spent lots of time on the boardwalk playing in the arcade and eating junk food. Your number one request was mint chocolate gelato from “Grottos Gelato” on the boardwalk. We played twister and did jigsaw puzzles and just relaxed together. You lost your second tooth while we were there and the tooth fairy came to our beach house! Great times!! You were excited to start kindergarten. You got a “How to Train your Dragon” backpack and met your teacher: Mrs. Odedra before school started. Mommy walked you down the first day and helped you find your name and made a big fuss when I picked you up. Aidan has been wonderful, holding your hand and teaching you all about school. It is a forever memory watching the two of you walk into school holding hands with your little character backpacks. You had a lot of anxiety the first month. You were scared you would miss something. You worried about riding the bus, thinking you would miss your stop (which I vividly remember worrying about when I was in kindergarten), you worry about the teacher leaving you in the library, about buying lunch, etc. Sometimes at night you cry, worrying about the next day. It breaks my heart, but I read you the Kissing Hand and we do the little symbol each day. I also gave you a love stone to keep in your pocket to rub during the day and think about Mommy’s love. You have 30 kids in your class AND you just turned five, so you are young. I hate to see you overwhelmed. You still argue with me about what you will wear and dislike shirts with buttons.it makes Mommy frustrated and warms my heart at the same time. 2nd week of kindergarten you tell me “I have a girlfriend” – her name is Madison. Two days later “I have another girlfriend” Me: “what happened to Madison?” Christian: “I dumped her – she hit and pinched me” I was laughing and scolding you all at the same time. Where in the world did you get the term “dump”? Two months later, you are much more confident and are excited to tell me about your day. Never any behavior problems and I see you really progressing with your letters and numbers. You are proud to have homework and feel like such a big boy. I see such a difference between you and Aidan. You are shy and sweet and like to FOLLOW THE RULES (at school anyway). Aidan is loud and risky and likes attention. You prefer to fly under the radar. Such a typical “middle child” and reminds me so much of myself. If I come to school to see you I have to be careful not to draw attention. Aidan used to get up and practically leap across people to get to me and ask me to stay after lunch and come to his room and play at recess. He never thought about what his teachers would think , or if it was breaking the rules. You, however, really want me there, but I see you looking around and sometimes you tell me to go because other Mommies are not going back to the classroom. During an assembly, Aidan is making faces, waving wildly and bravely communicating with me. You are stealing glances, but wanting me not to draw attention or do anything out of the norm. You are very self-conscious and want to follow the rules. Being a middle child is special though and since Mommy is also a middle child, I remind you often that you are the only one who gets to be BOTH “big brother” and “little brother.” I do not want to let you fall into the typical middle child role where you don’t get as much attention. We have a new little saying, Mommy tells you in a whisper, “we’re specialyou and me and me and you” You always grin in a way that makes me know you feel a special connection to me. You are absolutely fascinated with the word “butt” and anything to do with farts. Ahhh.it’s come early with you because you have a big brother. All day long you say butt and laugh so hard, sticking your butt in the air and telling silly jokes. You are very sneaky! You like to sneak toys, candy, games, etc and see if you can get away with it.

212: Fall 2010: You are often very grouchy in the mornings and when you’re hungry, you can be a bear! You love to sleep late and you come downstairs with the cutest bedhead – now that your hair is longer. I adore your little “surfer” hairit really suits you. You still play with all your “guys”. Figures of all types, everything from star wars to Indiana jones, to ninja turtles, bionicles, misc. McDonalds toys, and characters of all types. You carry them around in backpacks – another of your favorite things, and hide them all over the house. I find them in the refrigerator, cabinets, behind furniture, in drawers, just about anywhere your little hand will reach. You are obsessed with backpacks. You gather things up and put them in and carry them around the house, pretending to play school (another obsession) and then dump them everywhere. I complain as I pick everything up, but also love getting to see what you chose to put in there, that collection tells me a lot about your little mind and what you treasure Your imagination is astounding. It’s amazing how much you are still the same little you in terms of personality quirks as when you were a toddler. You like to organize and reorganize – but always leaving a mess behind. You can go into a perfectly clean playroom and make it look like a tornado came through in about 10 mins. You still prefer to play alone and will just disappear and play for hours by yourself. You don’t like tv very much and you are just now starting to get into video games – DS mostly. John got you one for your birthday and you want to play all of Aidan’s games. You argue over Pokemon the most. I sometimes find you sitting on the steps with your backpacks and a notebook and pencil pretending to write cursive and playing school. You are talking to imaginary friends, instead of watching tv with Aidan. (makes me smile) You love, love, love to play school. You are always pretending to be one of Aidan’s friends (since you haven’t had a chance to make many of your own yet) and asking Mommy and Daddy to be the teacher. You are so sweet and caring. If Aidan wants something, you usually give in, and sacrifice. You always go to your brothers if they are hurt and gently console them. You also have a temper and it usually comes out in the morning. Since you turned five you are very picky about food and having things your way. You like to push the boundaries and you think you can ignore Mommy and Daddy and do want you want as long as you smile and make those little eyes sparkle. It is tough to discipline you because I know you have a HUGE heart and you are so darn cute. Oh, the things I find in your pockets when I do laundry!! Boys sure are fun. Rocks and wrappers of candy you’ve snuck, gum and crayons and mulch. Various other things you may have collected during your day. You played soccer again this fall on the “Dinosaurs” and you are really getting good. You are aggressive with running, you just don’t get in the middle and take over the ball enough. You also played kindergarten basketball at Buckland Mills. So cute! You had your hemophilia clinic check up this year at Childrens Hospital and you were so brave! They drew your blood and you just watched, not even a worry or wimper. While we were waiting, I tried to distract you by teasing you about what color your blood would be. I told you it might have pink sparkles and you laughed and told me it would be “dark red MOM!!!” And when it flowed out into the test tube, you just smiled and said, “told youno sparkles”. All the nurses were in love with how well behaved and charming you were. I hate that you have this disease and just pray to God that we are able to manage it well and you never get a serious injury. I am so thankful that you have a mild version and can still be a boy, running and jumping and wrestling. Food. All of a sudden you’ve decided that you dislike sauce. You won’t eat ketchup on your chicken nuggets or sauce on your spaghetti. You have, however, taken a liking to dipping carrots in ranch dressing. You like strawberry milk, not chocolate so much, and you love cereal. You always want me to pack your lunch because you are scared to go through the lunch line. The lunch ladies are a bit grouchy and I can imagine it’s scary to be so little and look up and see those hateful ladies in hair nets rushing you through the line without giving you a chance to get what you want. Mommy tries to have lunch with you often and reassures you about how to ask for what you want. Daddy finally finished the house this year and you and Aidan have been SO patient with us during this process. I know it is hard not having Daddy to play and wrestle with every evening. He is working all the time, but he does try and spend time with you guys and goes to most of your games. He plays ball with you in the yard when he can and wrestles in the evenings. There is a song that is really special to Mommy because Pa-Paw Dee died this year and he built the house that Mommy grew up in (and where Aunt Rita lives now). We stay at that house when we visit Honaker and I think of all the memories there. It is called: “The House that Build Me” and it’s a country song by Miranda Lambert. I think of the lyrics and imagine that you and Aidan could find meaning in it someday related to this house. Mommy and Daddy want you boys to have great memories here and to live here for many years to come.

213: We have a very LOUD house. When you get mad, you can scream with the best of them. Mommy put a sign in your new bathroom that reads: In This Home...we do second chances, we do grace, we do real, we do mistakes, we do I'm sorrys, we do loud (really well), we do hugs, we do family, we do love. You still love to snuggle, and I love holding you and playing with your hair. You chew your nails constantly and I try to break of you this habit, but it’s impossible. You are kind of nervous and the chewing seems to be a comfort. I’ve also caught you chewing your toenails on occasion You keep your fingers and your shirt in your mouth. You are such a brave and good swimmer this year. You will just jump in the deep end and don’t stay in the hot tub (aka: kiddie pool) as much as last year. You love to jump and play and practice swimming. I see the confidence in your eyes and love to see you having so much fun and being proud of yourself. We went to Honaker for Halloween and you guys LOVED it. You even told me you would rather spend Halloween there than at Disney World! We partied at Ma Maw Bonnie’s, where everyone dressed up, even the grown ups, and we ate caramel apples and trick or treated around Fairmont Hill. You and Aidan were matching Ninjas and Gavin was an adorable little spider. You love playing with your cousins, Dalton, Estella and Kamden. It reminds me of growing up and playing with all my cousins in the same house and yard – you guys get to run and use your imagination and play with abandon. You don’t even think of TV or video games, you just play all day and come in exhausted and dirty. I love it!! You wrote a letter to Santa this year asking for Thomas the Train stuff, DS games (Pokemon), and and IPOD, hahaaa! You see Amanda, Brandon and Mommy with theirs and you want one. You always loved music. I tried to explain to you that Santa doesn’t bring IPODs to little children, that they are for teenagers and grown ups, but you insist that he will see you being good and will bring you one. Winkie (our family elf) arrived the morning after Thanksgiving and you and Aidan ran downstairs to look for him. Such fun and magic watching you talk to him. You are good with Gavin, but sometimes I catch you doing little things to trip him or make him fall, or taking something from him to make him cry. I know this is normal and Grammy used to tell me I did the same thing to Uncle Kevin when we were little. Those jealousies are perfectly normal. I feel I have a kindred spirit to you being a middle child myself and I don’t want to lose sight of making you always feel special and important. You are SNEAKY!!!! This is the year that your sneakiness has peaked and you try to sneak food, toys, and anything else you are not supposed to have. You sneak things to Aidan (like contraband). You will either be a trash collector or a CIA spy! You are very mischievous, always trying to get away with something and trying to impress Aidan in the process. You have also started telling lies and trying to get out of consequences. Mommy is working really hard to help you understand the importance of always being truthful. Basically, you are doing things as a five year old in kindergarten, that we didn’t deal with until Aidan was 6 and in 1st grade. You are picking things up from him and growing up too fast!! You have become known as the “informer” in your relationships with Aidan and Gavin. You love to tell us everything Aidan does at school or on the bus, especially if you know it was wrong. And, Aidan has taken on the role of “enforcer” with you, often taking things from you, or physically hurting you to enforce Mommy and Daddy’s rules. This makes you very angry and Mommy is really working on making sure you both know not to behave this way. You drew a picture of our house with markers (and of course, colored your hands and clothes in the process) and next to the house was this long boxy zig zag drawing with people in it and when I asked what it was, you looked so matter-of-factly and said “that’s my limousine” Christmas was so fun and magical. You got a “shake and go” MP3 player and you love it, walking around playing the Pokemon song and Lady GaGa. You also got a Playmobile school and gym, lots of hotwheels stuff, DS games, BeyBlades and lots of other fun things. You are having a blast walking around carrying all your new goodies in your backpack. We got all your hair cut off right before Christmas and you look so much older and such a little man. I can’t stop rubbing that little head of yours. I ADORE you and can’t get enough of your little smile and loving disposition.

214: 2/15: you got up first this morning, which is VERY unusual. I came downstairs and you were on the chair SMILING and telling me proudly “I was first and you were second”. Aidan is almost always up first and you like to sleep late. You had just been sitting there waiting to get permission to turn on the tv or play wii for about 30 minutes, just bursting to tell someone. I enjoyed that moment so much listening to your sweet little voice. You still have that little baby voice sometimes and I adore it. You also showed me this morning that you know how to button your pj top (red with polar bears)! Yesterday, you wrote out all your Valentines and loved giving them out. You got in the car after school and promptly informed me that your girlfriend Allison had given you a special Valentine You are “Star of the Week” this week and Mommy had lunch with you and gave you a special gingerbread cookie with an icing heart for Valentines Day. Of course, I also made you and Aidan promise to be MY valentines! You tell me often lately when you are going to school: “Mommy, I just want to be with you all the time” and ask me when I’m coming to school to visit. It breaks my heart to see you sad, but makes me so happy that you want to be with me. When you walk into school each morning that I drive you, it is a sure thing that you will blow me at least two kisses and hold up your fingers in the “kissing hand” sign. Then you walk next to brother with a confident step, two little “dragon and Mario” backpacks side by side, ready for a day of adventure. You bring home papers each week where your teacher lets you doodle and they always read “Mom Love” BIG SMILES April 2011: Mommy was feeling sad today thinking about Pa Pa Dee and missing him. You came into my room and saw me crying. When I told you I was just sad about Pa Pa Dee, your sweet little face looked concerned and you told me “but he’s still in our world Mommy.he’s right here (pointing to the center of your chest) and all you have to do is this (you kissed the tip of your finger and placed it on your heart), then you can hug him (wrapping both of your little arms around your chest real tight. I realized again what a wonderful, caring little boy I have in you. I felt better immediately – then you brought me your Pooh Bear stuffed animal and your blanket. You are so energetic and loving and tough! Everyone in Honaker talks about how stoic you are. When we were there in early August, you got stung by a wasp at Ma-Maw Bonnie and Pa-Paw Earl’s house and you didn’t even cry. Dalton brought you in to us and told us as you just calmly told us what happened. You are always walking around with this little strut and making fighting noises and jumping, hopping and pretending to be a big boy. You came up and asked if you could borrow my car, pretending to be in college, the other day. You tell some whopper stories! You have quite the imagination and they are always about being grown up. One was about taking your “girlfriend” Allie on a date on your motorcycle and being chased by three bad guys. You pretend you have a cell phone and that you are texting Allie. Your birthday party this year was at a martial arts school. We did a Dragon Ball Z Kai cake and you and your friends did all kinds of tae kwon do tricks, breaking boards and even nun chucks. You got to cut your cake with a real sword! We bought you a new DSi with Pokemon White game and an Electric Scooter. You are my snickerdoodle and still love being chased and tickled and kissed. You still ask me to lay with you at night. You are a light in my life and I can’t imagine being without you. It is an honor to be your Mommy.

216: REHOBOTH BEACH DE AUGUST 2011

218: Funland Sushi Sunrises Sun Fun Family

219: Go Karts Rock Walls Carousels Surf Sand Ice Cream

220: NO SEAGULL WAS SAFE EARLY MORNING ON THE BEACH THE DOLPHINS ARE PLAYING THE SAND IS SILKY GAVIN WAS DETERMINED TO CATCH A SEAGULL

221: Uncle Kevin Gets Married!! Kevin and Billy 8/27/11 | Aidan and Christian were Ringbearers and Daddy was a Groomsman. We danced all night...especially Gavin!

226: Pool Party! | Pool Volleyball All the cousins had a tournament FUN!!! | The day after the wedding the whole family game to our house for a BBQ and Pool Party. It was also GAVIN'S 2nd Birthday!!

228: Gavin is TWO!! We had a Bob the Builder Birthday Party with the whole family.

229: Happy, Happy Birthday my little Sugar Bear! We all celebrated and you got lots of tools, trucks and all the things you love!

230: Dear Gavin, You are two! Your first words came in March 2011: “ball” and “car” You love trucks!! Loves to wrestle and do everything your brothers do Some of your favorite things are: Tools, Bob the Builder, Finding Nemo, Shrek (especially Donkey). Helping Daddy is also a favorite. You love having your Gummies (vitamins) You show me love by patting my chest and saying “Mama, mama, mama!” You blow your food when it’s hot and try to blow your nose. You pretend to play football and squat with a ball and say “downsethut” so precious! You LOVE your binkies! You call Aidan “A, A” and Christian “Coco”. “I’ll do it” dragging the chair all around the kitchen and climbing to take care of yourself. So self-sufficient and determined. Your second birthday was the day after Uncle Kevin’s wedding so all the cousins and family from Honaker were here. We had a big pool party and you had a Bob Builder cake. You got little metal versions of scoop, muck, lofty, dizzy and rolly and you loved them. Your favorite activity is “digging dirt” with your plastic shovel. Good thing we live in the woods and have lots of dirt and mud. You adore running out in your little fireman boots and digging up a mess. Want to pee in potty much earlier than your brothers. You were only about 26 months when you first used the potty. I was pulling up your swim diaper and you said “pee pee” and I grabbed the potty chair. You sat on it and peed right away, very aware and loved it when I gave you m&ms as a reward. You’ve decided you hate your highchair and want to sit at the table on your own. You ride a little tricycle around the house with your feet on the floor like a pro! You literally fly around the circle of the hall and dining room, cutting corners like a NASCAR pro, without even slowing down. We just sit and watch in amazement. You bring Aidan and Christians coats and shoes to them in the morning and order them to get ready to go to the car. You call yourself “Gavi” and you carry around this big plastic baby doll that Mommy had when she was little – you call it your “baby”. You LOVE to sleep and will stand at the bottom of the stairs and yell “EEEP!” or “GO BED” when you are tired. You never cry or fight to go to sleep. You like to carry around at least three binkies and often carry your blanket and pillow around the house for spontaneous rests. You didn’t get any teeth until 15 months, then the two top ones came in and you had the sweetest smile. Now you have a full set and you have this little overbite and a bit of a lisp that is so adorable. You give this big grin where we can actually see your teeth sometimes and I picture you as a big boy! You love to gallop and run.

231: You really loved the beach this year. The sand was your playground and you would run straight into the ocean without hesitation. You have a big temper and sometimes pull my hair out of frustration. You also try to throw things at Aidan and Christian and they run and scream, which you think is playing. You like that you are in control for that moment! You don’t really like milkyou prefer orange juice, which you call “un goo” The other day, I was eating and you climbed in my lap and said, “Mommy, you done eating?” I said “yes” and you promptly replied “good girl!” So CUTE!!! You like Thomas the train and you say “Bye Bye Tommy” as it goes around the tracks. Christian is learning to read and his first book is called “Hot Dog” and you dance around squealing “Hot Doggie!!” You always know exactly what you want and your favorite phrase is “right dere”. Soon after you turned two the words just started flowing, you tell us “I’ll get it! “ and want to do everything yourself. We love you so very much and know you are our last, so each moment is all the more precious and I can’t wait to spend every day with you. We are buddies on my days home (Tues and Thurs.) and you always hug and kiss me when I arrive to get you from Sandy’

232: Gavin wants to be involved and brings his brothers their coats and shoes each morning. | First Day of School!! Aidan is in 3rd Grade and Christian is in 2nd Grade.. So exciting to start a new year. Aidan has a Basketball backpack and Christian has a Spiderman backpack. Aidan's teacher is Ms. Norton and Christian's is Miss Burchard. Mommy is proud but a little sad.

233: Arriving at Buckland Mills you were both a bit nervous. Aidan knows that in 3rd grade he will start getting "real" grades and Christian knows that in 1st grade he will have more responsibility. It was a rainy morning, but a nice afternoon as we went for ice cream. A few weeks later, Mommy chaperoned Aidan's fall field trip to Bull Run Park.

234: School Pictures Neither of you showed your great smiles and those adorable teeth, but still great photos. You both look so big and I am very proud of you!!

236: Boys Will Be Boys | You were all thrilled to have permission to jump in the mud Amanda took these awesome photos

238: One of my favorite pics ever! Amanda snapped this spontaneously after you guys were done playing on our bed. I think it captures candid joy and I can look at it and see each of your spirits. THIS is how I know you!!

239: No more monkeys...

240: Surprise Party for Mommy's Birthday at Aunt Donna's House it was a 70s party

241: Christian loves to play football. He wears a jersey most of the time and will play all by himself if he has to. He tells me which teams are playing and the score.

242: Gavin and his trucks...scoopers, diggers, dozers and such.

243: Disney World 2011 Halloween Trip

245: We went to Disney with Aunt Donna, Amanda and Brandon for 10 days. We visited all the Disney parks, Universal Orlando and Legoland. It was halloween, so you got to trick or treat at magic kingdom! You were dressed as "earth wind and fire"

246: Legoland was fun so was digging for fossils and all the 3d rides

248: Ch | Christian got to be a jedi in training and fight darth vadar, just like aidan did a few years ago. He had a blast and went after darth with a fearless lightsaber.

252: The boys also had scary costumes that they wore at home and at the Disney Character Breakfast. I love the black and white picture on the front steps. Right after I took this, there was fog in the lane and you walked like zombies while I videotaped...BOO!

254: Christian's first time playing flag football and he was a defensive pro, getting LOTS of flags. Aidan's first time playing tackle and it was intense! Aidan lost his little friend Reign, who went to kindergarten with him and was on another team, in a terrible car accident. He was on his way to a scrimmage. Aidan and Mommy were so sad. The teams put a sticker on their helmet in memory of Reign.

256: Thanksgiving 2011 Christian has a performance at school. Aunt Donna makes another wonderful dinner. Winkie arrives the night we put our tree up, which is usually right after Thanksgiving

257: Christmas 2011 We drove to the North Pole and rode the Polar Express. You wore PJs. The elves served hot cocoa, and read the story on the train. Santa got on board when we arrived and gave each child a bell.

258: This Christmas we got two new family members: Carly and Oliver. Labradoodle Puppies

259: Cookies for Santa | Big Boy Bikes | Pokemon Cases | New Puppies | Kids Table | Kids Tree | Rib Roast & Twice Baked Pot. | Carly & Oliver | School Bus Driver | Christmas Morning | Is this from Santa? | Being an Elf | THANKS! | Uncle Kevin & Billy | Brandon | Put it together Dad

262: We have had such fun together. New experiences and continued traditions. We grew our family and Mommy and Daddy couldn't be happier (or more tired). Our family is full of loud joy, tireless fun, and never ending grace. We are grateful for each other and all the memories we continue to make each day. Through birth, love, loss and change, we stick together and continue to LOVE.

267: All things grow better with love.

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  • By: Gina J.
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  • Title: Classic Mixbook
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  • Started: almost 6 years ago
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