Lucas’ Annual Birthday Interview, age 8

12345678▪ Favorite colors: “blue, yellow, pink, orange, green, clear, silver, gold and navy.”
▪ Favorite activities: “go to “Jump” (a trampoline park), ride bikes with Daddy, play Minecraft, and build things”
▪ Favorite toys: “Legos”
▪ Favorite friends: “Luca and Mira”
▪ Favorite foods:  “soy glazed salmon, peaches, pineapples”
▪ Favorite book: “Harry Potter books”
▪ What makes you happiest? “being with Gigi and snuggling Mommy Daddy and Mateo”
▪ What do you want to be when you grow up? “a scientist and an inventor”
▪ What new thing would you like to try this year? “algebra”
▪ Where in the world would you like to go on vacation some day? “Kyoto, Japan”
▪ What do you love to learn about? “science, physics and nature”
▪ What are you really good at? “math and also going into the woods by myself.”
▪ Which three words describe you? “fun, playful, happy”
▪ What will you be doing in 10 years?  “Driving!”
▪ Please give me a recipe: “mix flour, water and dandelions and smash it up in a tea holder and put it in the fridge.”
▪ Give some advice/words of wisdom to Mommy: and to Daddy: “you should make a torch.”
▪ Describe a perfect day: “I would have all the custom Minecraft mods I ever wanted and all my friends would be available for playdates and I would eat my favorite foods and we would go to a hotel!”
▪ How would you spend a million dollars? “I would buy a giant mansion and a cool car”
▪ What’s your favorite family/holiday tradition? “When Daddy dresses up as a gorilla at Halloween and scares all the kids from the front porch!”
▪ STATS: Lucas is 49.5 inches tall (40th percentile), 54 lbs (40th percentile), and he wears size 7-8 tops, 6-7 pants and kids’ size 3.5 shoes.

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The day after Thanksgiving was clear and bright with no icy blasts of wind like we had the past couple of days up on the mountain. We took advantage of our hillside location and went sledding! Sophie was too uncomfortable to stay out more than 5 minutes, but that was fine with me- I just wanted to watch the kids sled a few times and then hurry up to get some hot chocolate! 🙂

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A Wintergreen Resort Thanksgiving

CAT_0157sm IMG_4721sm IMG_4760bsmWe enjoyed some serious relaxation. And when the kids wanted to go bonkers, they went downstairs to the playroom/pool table area. With Sophie being in a quieter, less energetic state, I stayed upstairs with the babies and adults. It was so nice to spend time together!
IMG_4735sm IMG_4682smIMG_4700smIMG_4694sm CAT_0167sm IMG_4750smCAT_0160bsmIMG_4711smIMG_4717sm IMG_4708sm CAT_0096smIMG_4688smAll the cousins (minus the babies):


All Karen’s grandchildren:IMG_4785sm

Fun activities: Gingerbread man craft andCAT_0153sm Playing Go FishCAT_0136sm CAT_0134sm CAT_0131sm CAT_0119sm CAT_0114smTime to go play in the snow! Yes, we got snow! That’s the next post though… 🙂CAT_0104sm

Maybe the Last Time Lucas Puts a Cute Costume On?

November 24th…

CAT_0042smCAT_0039smLucas has been trying hard not to smile at the camera lately, and is thinking more and more about being a big kid and NOT a cute little kid. Laith and I were so thrilled when he decided (on his own) that he wanted to wear his giraffe costume after more than a year of not wanting to dress up cutely. Naturally, Sophie wanted to be just like big brother and wore her last year’s Halloween monkey costume and also the lion costume. I swear I’d dress them up like stuffed animals every day if they’d let me!

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November Misc

Our one and only family hike this autumn. We miss being able to do this, but are thankful we got out at least once. We picked a half-mile hike right off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Sophie wasn’t particularly happy about it so she and Laith bailed out as soon as we got to this view. She did enjoy the car ride views and small animal sightings though.IMG_4320bsmIMG_4310sm

A few pics of the kids looking cute!

IMG_4409smIMG_4568smIMG_4674smSophie’s Nutbutter recipe (she chose the ingredients, taste-tested along the way, and decided when to add more of something or something new!) We made this for Sophie’s starve-the-cancer-cells-of-sugar ketogenic diet so it’s super high in fat and soooooo delicious!

1/2 cup of pecans, 1/4 cup roasted salted cashews, 1 Tbsp coconut oil, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 cup of Lily’s (sugar-free) Chocolate chips.  Combine in food processor until the ball of ingredients rolling around in there starts to become smooth and uniform. Don’t over-blend. Chill in fridge for a more solid consistency.

She actually picked to add a 1/4 tsp of salt too, which she thought improved the taste but that made it too salty for the rest of the family. We omitted that ingredient the next time we made it. 🙂

IMG_4638smAre cats really like this? Gigi’s personality totally cracks me up.IMG_4643smIMG_4451smIMG_4457sm
A cool art installation at the Architecture School:IMG_4485smIMG_4501smIMG_4489sm IMG_4491bsm Art has become an increasingly favorite activity for the kids as it’s often too cold (and wet) outside to play or too bright for Sophie’s sensitive eyes (even with sunglasses). Plus it’s one of the few things the kids can still do together.IMG_4335smIMG_4417sm Sophie has made one of these bracelets for herself, Laith, Lucas and I and has moved on to making more for our extended family. We’ll give them to you when we see you (or mail them) 🙂IMG_4413smOne of Sophie’s last hippotherapy sessions before the winter break:
IMG_4359smI see you Kitty!
IMG_4329sm Lucas loves his rock collection and arranges it often. (Thanks Meemom!!)IMG_4327smA nd I’ll leave you with this:  …I bet Laith likes the first picture the best 😉Untitled-1sm

October Miscellaneous Plus Halloween

This package of mustache stickers (a present to Laith from some friends) got some serious mileage 🙂sm IMG_4235sm A lovely visit from our friends (of 25 years!) the SuttersIMG_4233sm IMG_4228sm IMG_4225sm And a lovely visit and dinner with our friends the MooresIMG_4170sm More mustache action:IMG_4116bsmLaith’s ‘stache looks scarily realisticIMG_4125smSophie has been doing hippotherapy- similar to therapeutic riding but with a licenced occupational therapist leading the session and implementing strategies that challenge Sophie’s particular weaknesses. After 3 weeks, Sophie had enough core-strength and stability to ditch the highchair and sit safely in a regular chair at our table!


ABC_0379smIMG_4005smIMG_4109smIMG_4100smIMG_4096smIMG_3911smLucas has been able to resume Tae Kwon Do and after a month back in it, tested for his orange belt! Good job, Lucas! I still can’t get over the cuteness of seeing 3-6 year olds doing martial arts 🙂IMG_3905sm Sophie and Gigi are so sweet togetherIMG_3896sm And Lucas exploded my heart with this sweetness: he gave me this clay jar he made with little yellow balls inside and told me he was giving me the last drops of sunshine before nighttime.IMG_3865sm Yay, a visit with Jill! Sophie almost never smiles like this and it made us so happy to see HER so happy!IMG_3858sm IMG_3851sm IMG_3847smIt’s so nice to do regular (non-hospital or intensive Sophie-care) activities. Laith is back to building and creating. He made us a beautiful farm table with benches for our back porch!
IMG_3825sm IMG_4840smIMG_3820sm IMG_3816sm IMG_3794b ABC_0188smHalloween: Ladybug Sophie and Black Ghost Lucas (he came up with the costume on his own).IMG_4287smIMG_4288smMira recognized him right away- and to his chagrin, wasn’t scared of him at all. This photo is so incredibly cute! Sorry Lucas, you’re still huggable and adorable no matter what you look like!IMG_4292sm

More Pictures From the Kids’ Birthdays

Lucas had a Halloween-themed party and asked his friends to dress up!IMG_4202smIMG_4208sm

We played a game where the kids tried to wrap eachother up like mummies


And I did a game where the kids put their hands in covered bowls to guess the monster’s body parts (packaged cherries were eyeballs, candy corn was teeth, spaghetti was intestines, etc). It got a little out of hand and the kids started stuffing the food in their mouths! That was my clear signal it was time to move on to pizza and cake!


Lucas picked this Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Cake and wanted this written on it. 🙂ABC_0388smABC_0392smIMG_4189smSophie was so excited about her birthday. She played birthday pretend games and sang to herself and all her animals 100s of times 🙂
IMG_3832sm Gigi seemed to enjoy it too! 🙂IMG_4079sm Pink Hello Kitty crocs with Thomas & Friends accessories!!IMG_4186smIMG_4190sm