Friday, January 31, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Baby Sea Monkeys!

Apparently our sea-monkeys are mating!

We have 3 babies, and the males and females are "stuck" together!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow Day, Again.

Well, the road crews weren't able to get things cleaned up today in time for schools, so we have yet another snow day.

Rory was willing to go out with me this morning in the bitter cold for a few photos. I love this kid.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Surprise Snow Day!

We got up this morning with a surprise of snow! It wasn't in our forecast, and wasn't much. The schools weren't called until after the parents and buses had already arrived at school. It was quite an icy mess to be honest... The kids enjoyed it, even though it was just enough to play in.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The end of a LONG day...

I am finally at the end of a VERY long day.

I learned a few things this week that may help all of you readers...

#1. If you haven't had a ticket in 10+ years, when you are pulled over, ask the cop to reduce it.
#2. If you are in NC, you CANNOT go to the local DMV to get a copy of your driving record. You must either have 3 weeks to wait, or drive the 4.5 hours to Raleigh to pick it up from the headquarters.

Last summer I went to visit my grandmother in WV. While going through Abingdon, VA, I was pulled over. I was speeding, not awfully, but was speeding. I had no idea it was ok to ask the officer for a warning! I thought it had to be offered, but apparently not. So, a few months ago, with four children in tow, I went to court to plead my case, and the judge agreed that upon completion of an 8-hour driving class before tomorrow, and the presentation (by tomorrow) of a certified copy of my DMV record after the class was taken (to prove that I had no citations in between), to release the ticket and not make it "stick" or go on my record, he even waived the fine.

The class wasn't as easy to get into as I had thought, and wasn't offered in my county. With the holidays, there were a few less classes offered... so needless to say, it was a last minute thing. I was able to take my driving class on Saturday (which my ticket was less that HALF of the violation of the other students), and found out I couldn't get my driving record locally. I spent 9 hours driving today, starting at 5am.

I made it back to Asheville by 3 to pick my kids and carpool up from school.

Supper has been cooked and consumed; now I can finally relax. I think I may head to bed after a nice cool drink. I'm completely wiped out.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

I'll admit it...

I am not a southern belle...

I have never cooked a pineapple upside-down cake. Even worse... I don't like them. At all.

But, my mommy was here, and she made one for my boys (cute hubbie included), and it was a hit... at least I think it was... don't you?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

She's Here!

Grandma (Mama Ann) came to visit today!!! Whoo hoo. We went to a nice dinner, and the kids got some pencils and Evie got a new shirt! Arden made his first pineapple upside-down cake! We even made it with vegan cake, so Rory will get some too!

Friday, January 24, 2014

The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire...

Ok, not the roof, or really much of anything except the Christmas Tree...

Tonight was the annual Christmas Tree Burn at the Gittings house. Rory started the fire, in typical scout fashion... but it was too cold outside to enjoy for long.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Kitchen Window...

What does your kitchen windowsill contain? Mine is what I would consider eclectic... It hosts a wooden rhinoceros (which in turn holds my wedding rings), a wooden carving of a pregnant woman embracing her mate, a random rock, a bird's nest, kaleidoscope,  an incense burner from New Mexico, and Rory's "New Mexico Jar"(the jar holds soil, rocks, cactus skeleton, and some random nature stuff from his trip to NM).

This window in particular, is never clean. Rain hits it on the outside, and of course the sink splashes on it regularly.

This is the one window, that overlooks my kids' play area. I love that I can stand and cook while watching them play in our back yard.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Not too much going on today...

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are typically my non-stop days. I run from here to there, carpool, sports, etc.

Today, my craziness also included Rory's performance at school. He was a Blacksmith during the colonial times. Here is a photo of my little man, in the costume he put together himself, along with the set he and his friends built at school. I'm quite proud of him!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Firsts, and Lasts...

So, with each child, they make their milestones, their firsts... first breath, first step, first day of school, first bike ride, etc...

Well, after 4 children, I am on my last set of firsts. While I am thrilled we are done having children, and love the size of our family, I am filled with biter-sweetness as I witness each of these last firsts passing.

Today was Evie's first day of pre-school. She turns three during the session, so she enrolled and started today... I may actually be in denial that she is growing up this fast... wasn't she born yesterday? Well, last week?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Nightly Routines

Everyone has routines. One of ours is that each night, I have to braid my son's hair. If we don't, his hair is a mess each morning. So here we are, after his shower...

Sunday, January 19, 2014

While Daddy is away...

The oldest gets to be my date in the evenings.

Tonight, as a reward for helping me fold laundry, we watched a scary-ish movie and enjoyed peanuts together, without all the siblings bothering us (since they were in bed).

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Night Sky...

Well, rather, Rory's perspective of the night sky from his loft...

Rory and I spent an hour tonight putting up stars in his loft... he now has some real constellations, and some of his own adorning the ceilings of his loft... if it weren't for the lack of a closet, bathroom, and having to climb up there all the time, I would steal his room for my own!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Game Day!

It is game night! With dad out of town, we have mixed noodle spaghetti (think rotini and spaghetti noodles together), and play board games!

Tonight we started with Apples to Apples, but realized we do need dad for that one, and moved on to Pirate-opoly!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My yard...

With three little boys, and honestly, the girl too, my yard is constantly covered in a city of forts. The forts change regularly, and the building materials vary...

When we cut down a large pine tree last summer, we had a pine "lean to". We also had a log cabin, made from the logs of our old poplar trees, and plywood... scrap wood, pipes, and rocks are often the most used materials.

Currently, the kids have a teepee style hut that they use as a fort...

While I love the creativity, and the fun, I don't enjoy the fights which ensue when the children are told the forts have to be removed, or the dead grass in the yard afterward!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Leavin' on a jet plane...

Carl left on a plane this morning.

I miss him when he leaves like this, and am so happy that he doesn't work on the road the way he used to...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


I love Scouting.

Tonight I hosted my Wolf Den, (second graders and their siblings), in my home; we worked on a cooking requirement... I was happily surprised that it wasn't as much chaos as I expected! We had a lot of fun. We had a rainbow of colors on our plates, the boys prepared the meal, and even tried a little of everything we made. No one even missed the fact that we "only" had fruit for desert! Arden loves being with these boys, and I love getting to watch Arden grow.

Rory had a great night tonight too! Rory is incredibly dedicated to scouting. He comes home from school asking to work on things, he attends every council event offered to him, and even every pack event! Because of his dedication, he made the decision to move through the Webelos program in one year instead of two! He has all of his requirements for his Arrow of Light, and is just waiting on his Age requirement. This means he will be in Boy Scouts in the fall!

Tonight was his first meeting with the Webelo II den. Until now, he was with the Webelo I den. His night went great. He came home giddy and happy. Apparently, they are designing their flag for the annual Snow Shoe Competition, and his flag design was chosen! His happiness last night took away any worry that I had about the path he has chosen with scouts. Moving him with the boys who are on a Boy Scout target for this year was a great choice. The difference in my son last night, compared to weeks prior, was heart warming and great to see.

Next year, I will have TWO boys in Cub Scouts, and one in Boy Scouts. Pair that with Carl and I both holding positions in the pack, and it means we are going to be one BUSY family. I'm hoping in a few years (once Evie is in school) to take a full time volunteer postion with the Council. By then, we will have her in Girl Scouts too...

Dear Hubbie was a Cub Master for two different Cub Scout packs before we had children... Some of his best memories as a young boy are from scouting, and he still, as an adult, is proud of his Arrow of Light and displays it on his uniform.

I volunteered in the 90's (back when I lived in the DC area) to help the Cub  Scouts during their summer day-camp (long before having children who would be in scouts was on my radar). I still have and wear my patch I received for volunteering. 

The fundamentals of the Scouting program are things that every child (girl or boy) should be involved in and learning. If you have a pack or troop in your area, volunteer! I have never heard of a pack or troop who didn't need the help! If you can only help once and a while, do it! Everyone has a special skill that they can teach to these kids. Use your skills, and help a child grow!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Oops moment...

Moms have oops moments too... probably more often than we like to admit...

Evie is potty trained (I hate that term), just not during her nap time. Over night, she wakes dry, with pants, she goes on the potty every time, and can even hold it when needed...

Typically her nap time is during the afternoon carpool, which works great for me... until I forget to put her in a diaper... then I end up having to deal with the task ALL moms hate, cleaning the car seat and cover.

It is a chore. Car seat covers cannot be washed in a machine, nor dried in one. They have to be hand washed, with mild soap, and air dried. If you don't follow those instructions, you decrease the fire retardant qualities, and often will end up shrinking or shreading the cover (ask me how I know, lol)...

I forgot the diaper today... it was a mess. On the plus side, I found 42 cents, and some missing toys in the abyss of her seat...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Art, as far as the eye can see...

Every where you turn in my house, there is kid art. Cute little things my kids make, and then beg for me to display to the world. My kitchen is covered, inside and outside of all the cabinets, on the walls, and even in and on the pantry doors.

I will admit that a disproportionate amount of the art has come from Arden... he just loves to draw so much, that I have to find somewhere for every little scrap of paper he bestows on me...

Cute hubbie also has art displayed... our first generation "lil-huckers" adorn the tops of our pint glass collection above the cabinets.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

So, I have been told...

That putting clothing on backwards is a sign of a genius... Lord, I hope so, otherwise this kid is in for a difficult journey through life... rarely are his clothes (pants included) on the proper way...

 Here is Canyon, after getting ready to go out tonight...

My question is, how does one put a button-up shirt on backwards, WITH the buttons buttoned?!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Monkeys on MARS!

Rory has asked for 'sea monkeys' for the past few years, and this year, for his birthday, his Grammy got them for him! We started the growing process a few days ago, but with the weather, we wanted to start the monkeys themselves after the cold-snap... so we put them in yesterday...

Today we have a few little white flecks! This will be cool to see how they grow and develop.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


In the evenings, there are these few moments that are pure silence and beauty...

Very little in life gives you the peace, and feels so good as seeing a sleeping child, comfortable in her own bed, surrounded by the stuffed animals and things she loves.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Fun in the frigid temps...

So, the kids were supposed to go to school on-time today, but the roads here on the North side of town were still a bit icy, and I decided to send them in later (our car-pool decided not to go in either). So at 9am, I got the kids ready to leave, and got a call that all students were to be picked up immediately, that the transformer near the school blew out, and there was no power or heat... I am soooooooo glad I didn't drive 30 minutes each way, just to turn around and do it again!

So... with yet another day off (my kids have been home since the 16th of December) we had to find something new to do...

We decided to blow bubbles in the -3F temperatures, something none of us have ever done! It was freaking cool! The bubbles would freeze and when they popped, the sides would peel apart like tissue paper! Or they would sit and slowly deflate. We are totally doing it again tomorrow morning!

We also did that cool boiling water trick, where you throw a cup of boiling water into the air, and it freezes before coming down! Neither of those things can be done in Asheville often, maybe once every 20 years!

Here is to hoping there is school tomorrow, and that our 2-hour-delay doesn't make yet another snow-day!!!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cosmo, The Offender.

This is him. Cosmo, the offender.

He hasn't been too bad today; we have taken him out in intervals, and I have only had to change my socks three times...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

What we do for our animals...

We have two dogs, a snake, and the 9 chickens...

With the temperatures reaching -25F tomorrow and Tuesday, we have to help the animals make it.

I spent yesterday and today getting the chicken coop ready, and this evening, I blocked all the girls in the coop/chicken house, and they aren't allowed out until Tuesday, after it starts to warm up.

Then we have the snake, M.C. Scales, which I just need to check his heater and water him... maybe throw a blanket over his cage.

Then the dogs. They are outdoor dogs.

Charc, is a 12 year old female Norwegian Elk Hound, who is easy to care for, would be fine outside, but with her age and easy temperament, I don't mind letting her in. She is a smart, sweet dog, who only hurts squirrels and rabbits. The kids love her, she is sweet, and just lays on her bed. She never goes to the bathroom in the house, and you can leave her inside when you are not home.

Sir Cosmic Chaos, AKA Cosmo, our 11 year old Jack Russell is another story all together. He is why the dogs live outside. He is a sweet dog, has a loving temperament, but has a little problem... he pees on everything. I mean EVERYTHING; it doesn't matter if you are watching or not. Within 5 minutes of being inside, there will be 2 puddles somewhere, and not only puddles, but he lifts his leg to go, which means you find it about 8 inches up on everything. 8 years ago, when pregnant with Arden, I decided that when you clean up more pee or poo from a dog, then you do a 2-year-old, the dog needs to live outside. A crate doesn't work, he will poo or pee in it, within minutes of being put in, just so you let him out!

We let the dogs in when it gets too cold. We are not cruel people... but in order to allow the dogs in, (well, in order to allow Cosmo in, Charc can go anywhere in the house) this is what we have to do:

No one can say that we don't love him... look at all the work I put in, just to let him in for two days!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Cold Days and Goofy Kiddos.

It was cold today, not as cold as yesterday, but cold... after reading that we will be having -20F temps in a few days, we decided we needed to jump to getting a few things done! I fixed the chicken coop, and weather proofed it. Carl worked on adding insulation to the 2nd floor (although there is a lot left to do there), and we had some septic work done.

Through all of it, our kids were their normal goofy selves.

Big A and Rory decided to pose when I yelled from the bottom of the stairs.

But -20?! Really?! Please read my previous posts, WE LIVE IN THE SOUTH! Heat pumps here do not support those temperatures!

Friday, January 3, 2014

A thing or two about living in the South...

We live south of the Mason Dixon. A good bit south of it actually. There are a few things I have learned after moving down here...

Number One:

People do not have mud rooms. At all. Nor do the homes here have foyers. I don't understand. I know that we don't get as much snow as up north, but we sure as heck get as much or more rain, and for longer periods! I will never understand why there are no mud rooms, and why people are expected to leave their muddy boots on in the house, or why kids are expected to wear them all day at school! We keeps our wet boots behind the door... in our dining room. Otherwise, they are in the kitchen or right in the middle of the living room, there are no other options. It drives me insane. This is a shot from this morning, all the kids were in the snow, and our boots have to sit somewhere to dry...

Number Two:

The snow here is minimal, but you would think the inch which fell was a blizzard! Schools are closed, roads are closed, and even stores are closed! The reason is the roads... they are ice. Honestly the worst I have seen in winters, and I lived in the Ohio snow belt! Apparently, even though we are in the mountains, and do get snow, it doesn't matter. The state legislation doesn't make allotments for salt/road treatment, or even snow days from school!

There is a lot more about living in the south that I have yet to learn, but those two things drive me crazy every time it rains, or snows.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Let it Be, Let it Be...

In a household of 6 people, 4 of whom are 10 and under, life gets crazy... and dirty!

I spend so much time after each child, trying to make them clean and help me. I swear my life consists of only a constant rotation of cooking, laundry, dishes, brooms, and dustpans.

My oldest is pretty good about helping, but the others, you would think the world is ending when you ask them to put up folded clothes!

Today, in the midst of the fighting to get the house straightened up, my oldest blessed me with a good chuckle.

I love this goofy, pain-in-the-butt kid.

Today, I am done cleaning. The laundry is going to sit, and beds will remain unmade... he made me realize sometimes, you just have to 'let it be'. One day won't hurt anyone, and if someone comes to our house that cares... well, too bad.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Chickie Chickie...

We have hens. 9 hens actually. Everleigh calls them our "chickie chickies".

Part of our daily routine involves these hens. They need watered, fed, let out of our coop, and loved.

I typically leave these jobs to the children. As a chore, it is a simple, yet fundamental one that needs done, and they are able to do. It gives the children some responsibilities, and teaches them things about life (love, care for animals, responsibility, and compassion for all things).

Today, the kids had other things going on, and I was left with the care of the girls...

This is a photo of Mary Kate. She has a twin sister, Ashely. (Yes, if you have figured it out, they are the Olsen Twins) To be honest we can't tell them apart, and really it doesn't matter, as long as we have two of them.

They are both sweet, will allow the kids to handle them, and give us nice brown eggs.

Our other girls are named: Henryetta, Isis, June, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosie (because as the song goes, she is a whole lotta Rosie), Yetti, and Chewy (yup, from starwars). All are various breeds, and we tend to get about 7 eggs a day now that the girls are a bit older and not all are laying daily.

A New Year, a New Undertaking...

This year, I am going to try to blog our lives again.

Each day, I am going to take a photo, and tell a story (hopefully both, and not just one or the other). I have moved away from telling our family stories, and sharing our lives, and I want to get back to that.

I believe in preserving our lives, and our moments, right down to the simplest thing. For some reason, over the past few years, I have stopped doing that, and I need to return to what makes me love photography, and life so much.

So please, stay tuned, comment, and enjoy the new blog and memories. I hope the small window into our lives is entertaining, and offers each of you something for your own lives, or just to remember.