Saturday, February 27, 2010

Still Winter Here

It's science fair time. Dr. Jack titled his project "Heart Beat Nice and Neat". We had fun taking his pulse at different times and predicting if it would go up or down.

Cole's class was working on bridges and Cole's bridge project "Eggselent Arches" held almost 20 pounds!
Here is Haven conquering the bunny hill. Love the smile on her face!

Here's our Winter Wonderland. We needed this snow after quite a long spell without it!

Neighborhood kids galore standing in their fortress.

Before Feb vacation we went down to Lake George for their Winter Carnival. The kids had a great time walking on the Lake and watching the helicopter repeatedly take off and land on the ice. It sure was cold, though.

The weather sure has been strange. On Wednesday we woke to quite a bit of snow and the kids welcomed the snow day and spent the ENTIRE day outside. We then hoped for more snow but Thursday and Friday brought steady rain and turned the beautiful snow slushy and brown. Funny because West and East of us got slammed. Tom had a slow drive here yesterday but made it in time for dinner. Now we again wake up to beautiful snow and are hoping to get to West Mountain today or tomorrow. Haven just finished her six week ski program and she took the magic carpet to the top of the tiny slope yesterday. She is so proud of herself. Here are some recent pictures taken in our winter wonderland.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Our New House and Our New Dog!

This picture was obviously taken in the fall. We haven't seen green grass since winter began. The kids love to explore the back woods where there is a great sledding hill and trails to hike.

Introducing KJ! Many of you know we had to find Opal a new home just prior to our move because she did not do well with small children. That was heartbreaking. We were not planning on getting a new puppy for a while because of all of the traveling to and from Massachusetts that we will be doing this winter and spring. However, a few weeks ago we were driving to Albany to bring Haven to Build A Bear on her birthday. My parents were following us in their car, and we got lost. Eventually, Tom pulled into a big empty parking lot and we decided to say goodbye to our parents and make our way back to the mall. While there, a car pulled up beside us and the driver rolled down her window. I jokingly asked her if she was lost too. She said, "no, I'm with Labs 4 Rescue". Peeking through the back window was a little black lab that looked a lot like Opal. He was on his way to a foster home and is now cuddling on the couch with the kids. He is 5 years old, playful, gentle, obedient, adorable, and ours! What a blessing we've received.

Winter Wonderland

It's been a long time since I last posted. We've had a busy Winter so far! I guess at some point I'll need to start a new blog site since we technically no longer are the VarneysonGuam :) For those of you that don't know, we are official New Yorkers now. Over the Christmas holiday we moved from Portsmouth RI to Queensbury, NY. We actually had to do it in two stages, as the first moving truck that showed up was too small. Our belongings are all here now and we're glad to have that move behind us. Now we are just waiting for Tom to join us here full time. He is finishing up with the Navy in May and then will be joining a practice here in Queensbury. Until then, he will spend many hours in the car driving here to be with us (and visa versa). The kids are doing great all things considered, though it is hard having daddy away. Cole, Jack and Haven are in school at the King's school, a small Christian School about 15 minutes from our home, and they all are happy and thriving. We are so thankful for the love and support they have received from their teachers and staff. I've posted a few winter pictures. As you can see, we have lots of snow here. We live around the corner from West Mountain and the kids have been spent quite a bit of time there already. Cole loves to snowboard and Jack and Haven are practicing "spaghetti and pizza" on the bunny hill. Well, we'd love to have visitors so give us a holler if you want to explore the Adirondacks with us!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saying Goodbye

It's been a hard week. Last weekend we made the very difficult decision to give up our dog, Opal, who has been an important member of our family since May of 2008. This is actually the second time we made this decision. The first time was last March after numerous snapping episodes, all involving children. A series of events brought her to a neighbor's apartment and then back home to us. She seemed to be doing well but then with the start of school came children into our home again. In a one week period she snapped at/bit two children and snapped and growled at a young neighbor (thankfully Tom had her by the leash and she didn't make contact this time). We are thankful that nobody was seriously injured. These events were hard to face but after much counsel we decided to bring her to the Potter League where we trust they will place her with a family without young children. Thankfully, Cole spent a week at the Potter League camp this summer and knows how much they care for animals there. We are all heartbroken. All three of our kids were so close with Opal. She slept at the end of Cole's bed at night and each morning the kids battled for a position closest to Opal on the couch. We miss her huge tail wag, the way she always greeted us with someone's shoe or sock in her mouth, the silly way she slept, and so much more. I am thankful for the gift she was to us. Cole doesn't talk much about Opal but I know he suffers the most with this decision. I often overheard him telling her that she was his best friend. He has been doing remarkably well. I love this quote from Greg Laurie, in his book Why Believe? : We usually don't know when one of life's storms will be blowing our way. We don't know when a crisis will hit- but God knows when the hardships are coming. Not only that, he also knows when we are ready for them. How true that is! Well, here are a few pictures of our beloved Opal.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A New Season

Gramma and Jack at the Cape

Grandaddy and the kids at the Harrison Family Reunion

Grampa loves his grandkiddos!

No, Cole is not really driving a boat full of children. It's anchored :)

Haven - It's hard to believe she'll be 4 in Jan. She is a sweetheart and quite the social butterfly. She loves everyone and always wants to be with her friends and family. She loves babies, real and pretend, and recently we had to convince her that she didn't have a baby in her belly. Last night she told me that when she has her baby she is going to take my car and I would get a new one. Now that's planning! She'll be in preschool this fall three days a week, at the same school where Jack will be in kindergarten. Conveniently, it's right across the street!

Jack still wakes with a smile each morning. As Cole says, when he laughs I can't help laughing tool. What a gift. He started kindergarten this week and came home with a smile on his face each day. He loves taking the bus, though it literally picks him up at our house and crosses over the main road to school, taking all of about 3 minutes. A friend up the street and two of his best friends from preschool are in his class, and this has helped to make the transition quite smooth. I look back to last year at this time, when we were deciding about whether to send him off to kindergarten or give him one more year of preschool. I am thankful we waited, for now he is truly ready. As you can see in the picture above, Jack LOVES stuffed animals. I'll have to post a picture of his bed sometime, as it really is quite remarkable how many furry friends occupy it.

Cole is ALL boy, and then some! This summer was truly a fantastic summer for him. He learned to kayak for the first time and one of my favorite moments was watching him kayak with my dad at the Cape. Cole loves water and nature and thus one of his favorite places is the beach. We spent many afternoons this summer at 2nd beach, where the waves are "huge". There the boys would boogie board for hours, grinning from ear to ear. Other than swimming, Cole did climbing camp at a local climbing gym, a week long camp at a local animal shelter, and vacation bible school. He turned 19 (I mean 9) a few days ago. Where has the time gone? This fall, other than the days he will be at Melville for art and PE, I will be homeschooling him. I am using the curriculum from the school he will be attending in New York after our move. He is playing baseball again this fall and wants to continue with cub scouts. Hopefully we'll be able to fit in some guitar lessons as well.

Here is a picture of the kids at their favorite beach in Newport. We have been blessed to be stationed near the sea for the last 3 years and truly have been spoiled. Tom submitted paperwork requesting separation from the Navy this spring and it has been approved and is making it's way through the various departments involved in the process. We are hoping to have orders by January. Tom has had a good life experience with the Navy, and if our family were more adaptable to the change and unpredictability that come hand in hand with serving the Navy, perhaps he would have considered serving longer. Yet our family is at the point where it is time to plant ourselves where, God willing, we will not be uprooted again after a few years. When Tom finishes his Navy commitment he will be joining a practice in upstate New York in the community where he grew up. Talk about coming full circle! We visited his parents in Queensbury this summer and also visited a few houses for sale. Long story short we decided to buy a house in Queensbury in a wonderful neighborhood filled with families with young children. We will be closing in November and the kids and I will be moving in December. The kids will be starting school at the King's School in January. We will see Tom on the weekends until he joins us early May. It will be difficult to be away from Tom on weekdays next winter and spring, but when considering the big picture our decision to move now is best for our family.

As for me, I am doing well. People often ask me if I have a desire or plans to return to medicine. Honestly, I don't really think about it much. I do miss it but I am in the right place right now. When I made the decision to leave medicine/psychiatry I had no idea I would then become (not by choice) an expert (so to speak) in ADHD. I needed to be home for this reason, among many others. And now, I never would have imagined myself in a teaching role for my child. It's funny because I have told many people over the years that if I had to choose a career over again I would become a teacher. Be careful what you wish for :) My decision to homeschool was multifaceted and not an easy one to make. I am able to do it for this season because of the incredible growth Cole has demonstrated over the last year and especially over the last few months. We started easing into school this week and it was a really good week. Cole is so bright and eager to learn and I'm already getting a glimpse into his learning style and his needs. I know it's not going to be easy and I'm asking for lots of prayers .

This has been a long post, but it has been a long time and a lot has happened since I last wrote. I will try to be more consistent with blogging this fall. We'll see how much free time I have :) Right now we are in NY for the Labor Day weekend. Tomorrow we see our new house for the first time as a family. It is really exciting. I'll post a picture of the house, as well as some pictures from the end of the summer when I get back to RI. Have a wonderful start to the school year and to fall. I love the change of seasons, and I find this verse particularly meaningful in my life right now: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow December 19th

After the big snowfall I took the boys up the street and we stomped across a local potato field to this stone wall where the kids ate snow and admired the beautiful snow covered
land. Here is Jack, Sarah Nolan and Cole taking a little rest.

Our little snow angel. She's still getting used to the cold.

Raggedy Andy at his holiday show. He was so proud.

Jack got to hold the American flag for the anthem.

I'm not kidding, this picture was taken the night before the snow storm. The kids wanted to eat dinner outside in the freezing cold. They are nuts!

The kids are playing together in the next room and I don't hear screaming, just laughing. So I'll take this gift of a moment to update our blog. We were blessed with a snow storm yesterday and wow it is beautiful. I had missed the experience of snow during our two years in Guam, so today I am extra thankful. The kids have been outside more than inside since the snow started at 2:24 (yes, they were watching the clock) yesterday. Cole went right outside and began to try to scrape the small amount of fallen snow on the deck into a pile. I had to laugh, knowing that in about an hour the deck would be covered. After helping Tom shovel after dinner we all sat on the couch and enjoyed a Christmas movie. In our house that is a rare occurrence (all three kids sitting in one place for more than 2 minutes) so it was extra nice. The next morning at 7:30 they were back in their snow gear and out the door to play. The sleds came out and the boys and I went sledding up the hill with the Nolan family. These are the days the kids will remember always.

School was canceled on Friday morning due to the impending snow, but fortunately it didn't start too early and we were able to enjoy Silveira School's annual holiday show. Jack had a special part in it and was so proud to be Raggedy Andy. He and Raggedy Ann sang a flopsy song together. Priceless. After all was said and done Jack told me that when he volunteered to be Raggedy Andy he thought that his costume was a jet pack. Don't ask me where he got that idea. Instead he got to wear red pants, long socks and a red wig and hat. He was such a good sport about it. Cole was happy to be able to watch his brother and he manned the cameras.

We're looking forward to Christmas. Tom will be on call for two weeks starting on Monday, but we will still be able to travel to Annie's house where we will see my entire family! Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!! Hopefully Kristin's dog Yankee, who is Opal's daddy, will be OK by Christmas, for he had emergency surgery yesterday because a sock ball caused an obstruction. As many of you know, we had our own sock experience with Opal, so it must run in the family. Opal, poor thing, is recovering from two bad experiences. First, I tried to cut her nails for the first time and went a little too far. She's been wearing our socks on her paw for 2 days now. Then, she helped herself to Haven's HUGE bowl of grapes, which are poisonous. We had to induce vomiting yesterday and today she was understandably very sad. She is suspicious of dog food now, looking to see if it's mixed with hydrogen peroxide. Tom hears her upstairs as we write this and is asking me if there is anything up there we need to worry about. Oh, the joys of pet ownership.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy Holidays

This past Sunday Cole woke us at 7 AM to tell us about the snow and we were out playing in it by 7:15 (minus snow boots which I ordered yesterday). Haven has never seen snow, and Jack doesn't remember it, so it was extra special for everyone. We were able to make a snowman before church, but when we got home he had fallen to the ground. So sad. We're waiting for the next snow so we can rebuild him. Jack isn't in this picture because he doesn't like to be cold. Poor thing only remembers warm sunny Guam :)

Tom found Opal's surprise as he rolled Frosty's body :)

I love this picture because I have a black and white picture of Cole doing this very thing at age 4.

Jack before the cold got to him.

Haven enjoying her first snow ever!

We took this picture on the way home from getting our Christmas tree at a local farm. I stopped the car and had Cole get out to take it. He did a pretty good job!

The owner of this Christmas tree farm built this Santa out of old WWII buoys. Took him 8 months to complete it. Santa and also Frosty the Snowman greet us every day as I drive Jack to school.

Finally, here are the kiddos at Cole's insect project demonstration at Melville school. He made a model of a leaf insect and did such a great job!