The End of an Era

This will probably be my last post on this site since it’s no longer fitting. I haven’t decided yet how I’ll share my stories/pictures with family yet. Too much stuff to figure out. I’d just like to thank all of my family for their unwaivering support. I’m so appreciative for all of the love and prayers. How does anyone survive without? Thank you!

David and Damien waiting for 4th of July parade to start this year. This picture is what family is all about…spending quality time together 😀

Summertime Fun

Damien has been on summer break now for almost a month! We signed him up for an 8-week summer program that runs Monday through Friday for a few hours a day and it’s been perfect. He gets to run around and play with his new friends and goes to the pool twice a week.

Fun with filters LOL
Scott bought a fancy new wedge pillow designed for side sleepers to help with the GERD. And the best part–it works!
Scott took this picture. It’s like he’s looking right at you.
The birthday girl and boy! (From back in May)
I found another picture of us on Scott’s phone from March.
We bought Luke some salmon to enjoy on his 1st birthday this year. Damien has some boundary issues lol
Luke drags his string around the house and cries!
Luke’s own personal jungle
Luke was terrified of this at first, but now really enjoys it!
The things we put up with for our pets…Luke has ripped up several areas. We did buy some carpet protectors designed for doorways which seem to have helped. Lately Luke has been waking Damien up in the early hours of the morning to feed him so we bought one of those motion sensor air things and that has worked amazingly well. Damien needs his sleep!

I don’t have all of the pictures from the trip, but Grandma and Tom paid us a visit earlier this month! It’s the first time we’ve had visitors here at the house and we finally got to use our guest room. We had such a nice time and we all wished they could have stayed a little longer. Can’t wait to do it again! If only flying/driving wasn’t such a pain…

Damien and Great Grandma 😀

We went to the Grand Forks Fair this year. I believe this was Damien’s first carnival and he had a great time. We saw a pig race with the cutest little piglets, ate funnel cake, and rode rides (well Scott and Damien did). The weather was a little bit hot when we arrived, but ended up being perfect later in the evening.

Scoping out the rides
One of those spinning rides. I watched safely from the side, of course.
This was the most intense ride that Scott and Damien rode. Damien was scared at first, but by the end of the ride he was okay with it.
Damien won a prize at one of the carnival games!
Damien and I on the ferris wheel 🙂
Pic from the top of the ferris wheel

Recovery and More

At the beginning of the month I had surgery for the first time ever. The hospital staff was amazing and I was able to go home the same day. After almost two weeks of recovery, it’s been an overall positive experience. Although it did solidify in my mind that I would never want elective surgery, such as plastic surgery. No, thanks! Well, unless I was deformed in a horrible accident or something…Anyways…

Hospital selfie – before surgery
Luke keeping me company while I rest.
Scott got me some flowers for Mother’s Day this year 😀 Makes me feel special! He’s also been doing a great job keeping up on the household chores while I’ve been recovering.

Earlier this week, Scott and I got to visit the middle school that Damien will be attending next year for 6th Grade. I think it looks like a great school and that Damien is going to like it, as much as he ever likes school. It’ll be a little bit of an adjustment dealing with lockers and switching classrooms, but I’m confident that Damien will do just fine. It’s really been hitting me lately how fast Damien is growing up. He’s not a little kid anymore and I wasn’t expecting to feel so nervous about it.

Scott and Damien have been playing World of Warcraft together when they can.
I had Damien try on my bathrobe and it’s not as overly big as I thought it would be lol
The moment I realized that Damien’s 10 year old feet were catching up in size with mine!

Luke continues to be a rambunctious cat.

Super cute cuddle time 😀 Why do cats always look so comfy?
We continue to keep that ugly box in the living room since Luke still uses it.
Luke LOVES his neck and chest rubbed so he makes sure you get good access, haha
Damien working on a video game, with Luke’s assistance.
Luke supervising Damien’s creations.
We bought a bird feeder for the back deck.
So Luke can sit and watch the birds. He likes it!
I’ve been opening up windows in the evenings to try to cool down the house and Luke has been doing a lot of sprinting around, sometimes even growling and jumping off of furniture. Scott says it’s the fresh air lol

Happy Easter and Anniversary!

We’ve had an eventful month so far, starting with Easter 😀

Dyeing Easter eggs
Damien decorating one of his eggs
We made shark eggs! Here’s Damien’s Great White Shark egg! So cute!
Scott’s cyclops egg lol
Our school of sharks. The glitter glue I tried to use actually took off the dye so a couple sharks didn’t make it…
Our shark egg display
For Easter this year we got Damien a Star Wars basket, a solid chocolate bunny, and Monopoloy for the Nintendo Switch (Scott was supposed to take a picture but forgot). He also received a cute card and a McDonald’s gift card from Great Grandma and Tom–thanks!
Damien was super excited to use some of his money to buy a book at the school book fair.
Lazy bums lol
Damien got a haircut! Unfortunately I’m only able to do one-length haircuts with clippers so Damien has to go to a barber for this style.
It snowed earlier this week lol It’s okay though, we still had a mild winter and it’s already almost melted.

Today Scott and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary! We both took the day off from work and spent the day shopping around town. We didn’t see too much out there that we wanted to buy but it was nice to just wander around and spend time together. We also ate lunch at Red Lobster which is where we had our first date–yum!

While walking around the mall we saw that the elementary schools had artwork displays so we decided to see if anything of Damien’s was posted. His piece is the reptile eye 🙂

Spring is here!

It feels like so much has happened since the last time I posted. Feels like there’s always a long to-do list, whether at home or work. I’m also spending more time in the office now and things are starting to move towards normalcy (although not fast enough). I’m definitely ready for a relaxing vacation of some sort. Still kicking around ideas.

I’m very happy spring is already here. For the exception of two weeks of windchill advisories in Feb, the winter was mild. Unfortunately there was never enough snow to go sledding and try out Damien’s new sled, but there’s always next year. We’ve already watched Star Wars Episodes 1-5. I’m not even sure how many more movies there are…4 maybe?

Damien is doing well academically in school, but is having some issues behaviorally. I’m very impressed with the teachers at his school so I think he’s in the best environment he can be. We’ll probably be trying a new medication this summer to help more with focus for when he starts middle school next year. He’s also been spending a lot of time working on his comic books. I’m told he’s writing a story on his school chromebook that I’ll need to get my hands on at some point. I know the word “cat” is in the title so I’m very interested!

Damien doing his treasure shark dig that he received for Christmas. I don’t know what happened, but the pictures and videos I took for this are GONE except for this one. It’s very upsetting because now I think I may be missing more.

Luke is like the cat version of Damien lol. Super energenic, clumsy, playful, and demanding. We’ve had his claws trimmed twice now and it’s definitely something we’ll have to continue. It saves the furniture AND our bodies from daily scratches.

My favorite way to spend the evening
On high alert
He’s getting so big! He’ll be 1 years old in May.
Lounging around
Damien and Luke love to play around
More playful fun
I found some new coasters!
Nosy neighbors
Scott and Damien surprised me for Valentine’s Day!! So sweet!!
Damien, the actor
Such a character, haha
Damien’s Valentine’s box for school
Can you spot Luke in this picture?
How about this one?
A little harder now…How about now?
Damien is sometimes exhausted after school and takes long naps
Cute little spy 😀
Luke still loves his string. He pulls hard too!
Luke’s new toy. We’ve NEVER spent so much on cat toys before. He’s so spoiled.
Decided to try out “cat tv”. He seems to really enjoy hearing bird sounds too.
Grandpa Hanks sent Damien a shark mask and he LOVES it!
Sizing each other up lol

Happy New Year!

We’re almost two weeks into the new year and things are great. We’re having such a mild winter and I’m loving it so much. I’ll start off this post with highlights from us enjoying many of our Christmas presents!

Starting off with Star Wars Episode I using our Disney+ subscription.
Yeah…Damien fell asleep during it LOL He only slept through maybe 20 minutes of it. We’ve already watched the first 2 movies of the series.
Damien’s been using his new reading pillow to play games on his phone. I will say I totally expected him to be texting more than he does. Guess he has better things to do.
The awesome burrito blanket–washed and dried!
The shark cup works great to keep his toothbrush off of the counter.
Damien asked MULTIPLE times a day to eat his giant Hersey’s kiss. He was OBSSESSED!
In case you wanted to know what it looked like on the inside. Much to Damien’s annoyance, I didn’t allow him to eat it all in one sitting lol
Trying out the VR headset with some sort of treasure game
Now for the adults! Our entryway doesn’t have storage or a closet which leads to everything piling up by the door. It especially makes it hard in the wintertime with all of the winter gear and I have to store the majority of it in other places around the house.
Ta-da! A new “closet” and shoe rack! I don’t have to look at the mess AND I can store everything together by the entryway! 😀 We also bought some things like new pot holders, pots and pans and cutting boards that we needed.
I would argue that Scott did NOT need a new computer, but try telling that to Scott.
I made a meme of Luke “troubleshooting” haha!
Finished building the new computer. I think he’s still waiting on one more part? Honestly I can’t remember…

Now for a very naughty kitty! Oh boy. Luke still excessively uses his claws, not only on the furniture, but on our skin as well. So many painful cuts! We’ll be getting his claws trimmed soon. He also chews on paper, cardboard, strings, and some plastics. He also out of nowhere started playing in his water bowl. He basically splashes most, if not all, of the water out of his bowl. We’ve tried different dishes and raising the bowls up a little bit but nothing has worked so far. So dumb. Doesn’t he know he needs water to live?!

I stopped recording only to stop him for completely emptying his bowl…
My new computer chair I just bought last year after we moved here 🙁
The living room curtains from Luke’s many climbing sessions…

But of course, there is some good too…

They say cats are liquid.
This string is the only toy that makes Luke pant from exhaustion after playing with it.
Licking Damien’s hair after school
On Damien’s first day back to school after winter break (and first day back to face-to-face learning after over a month), he was VERY tired and cranky so he wrapped himself up in a blanket on the floor. Luke brought him his tabby and was checking up on him!
The best cuddles
Luke was all cuddled up with me until Damien sat down and then he left me…Traitor!
Cat fishing LOL!!!
The rowdy brothers
Damien made me a picture for Christmas with paint and markers–so cute! I love it!

Merry Christmas!!!

What an end to a crazy year! It didn’t really even feel like Christmas until Christmas Eve. Truthfully we’ve been very fortunate given the circumstances. We’ve stayed healthy, we’ve kept a steady income, and Damien has really grown and matured this year. I can honestly say that I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Damien and I making sugar cookies 🙂
We had a lot of fun cookie cutters to use
Ready to decorate!
Plates from left to right: Sarah, Damien, and Scott. Damien mixed red and green frosting together to try to make brown for his “poop” emoji cookie LOL
Mmmmm
Rob and Robin sent us a cute Balsam wreath this year. Looks great on the front door! Thank you!
Sleepy Christmas kitty
On Christmas Eve, we had root beer floats.
Christmas morning has arrived! We couldn’t put out the gifts the night before because Luke would have ripped up the wrapping paper.
I started taking pictures, but ultimately decided to just do a video of Damien opening his presents. Here is Damien opening up computer speakers from Great Grandma and Grandpa Whitehill.
Damien just wanted to wear his VR headset…even though he can’t play anything yet.
Damien with his first cell phone! That’s not an error…it was 0 degrees on Christmas Day lol
First order of business–be wrapped up like a burrito!!!
He’s so happy!
Luke didn’t know what to do with all paper at his disposal.
The gift breakdown for Damien (Thanks!):
From Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Whitehill: Computer speakers, a squishy soap making kit, and a giant Hersey’s kiss
From Great Grandma and Tom: A shark treasure dig and a snow sled (can’t wait for more snow to try it out!)
From Grandpa Whitehill: A VR headset and a GooglePlay giftcard
From Grandma and Grandpa Hanks: A reading pillow, a shark bathroom cup holder, and a burrito blanket
From Mom and Dad: A cell phone with a case and 6-months of Disney+ streaming service with a box of movie snacks
After we got contacts entered into Damien’s cell phone, he really enjoyed texting 😀
Immediately following the excitement of gift opening, Scott fell asleep for about 2 hours…He can sleep through just about anything.
The reading pillow outside of the box. Looks great!
Luke was investigating the strange noises coming from the computer speakers.
Damien playing around
Damien wanted to wrap Luke up like a burrito too, haha

We had such a wonderful Christmas this year. Thank you to everyone who sent something! Damien absolutely LOVED everything he received. Merry Christmas!!!

BFFs

I take sooooo many pictures of Luke and Damien and I just wanted to share some of them.

Evening cuddles
I bought new storage bins to store all of my holiday decorations and it turns out that Damien LOVED hanging out inside of it…like for hours…
Watching TV
Luke in one of his weird sleeping positions
Snuggled up
So cute!
Damien has had this little stuffed tabby long before Luke so I think it’s funny that they look alike lol. We also found out that Luke has been stealing the tabby and Damien’s Creeper from his bedroom at some point during the day and dragging them downstairs. I actually got video today of Luke taking off with Creeper, haha!

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas…Not Really

Less than one week until Christmas! We’ve had an abnormally warm winter so far. It’s only snowed a little bit with some rather warm temperatures for this time of year–I love it! Of course I know the bitter cold is right around the corner, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

I’m happy to report that Damien has been doing AWESOME this round of distance learning. After figuring things out for the first week, Damien is pretty much able to work independently for the school day to include completing/submitting his schoolwork and attending his scheduled zoom sessions on time. He’s even able to keep track of the time himself! So impressive!

Luke hanging outside of Damien’s bedroom door while Damien’s “in school”

After some back and forth, Damien has officially quit Taekwondo. He had wanted to quit twice previously, but both of those times he decided to stick with it. This time though we decided we’re done after about 4.5 months. He was two weeks out from belt testing for his camo belt and had two belt stripes on his yellow belt. He did really like it and his new class was way more interesting and upbeat, but I feel like it was scheduled at the time of day where he just wanted to relax. It’s unfortunate because it was great for exercise, conditioning, coordination, precision, and focus. He was getting really good too! Sometimes his form would be better than some of the higher belts in his class. I’m disappointed, but I understand. The last thing I want to do is to fight with Damien every time we go.

Damien’s last class

The struggle continues with Luke. Luke the Destroyer. I originally erected the big tree sans ornaments to see if Luke would leave it alone. Nope! I even put some lemon zest underneath the tree thinking it would deter him since cats are not supposed to like citrus scents. Nope. So I took it down and decided to try for the smaller tree instead. Scott suggested putting aluminum foil underneath since it worked so well to keep him off of the kitchen counters. It surprisingly worked, which is still weird to me. Wish I would have tried it with the big tree!

Luke investigating, but that’s as close as he gets 😀
Damien reading his Christmas card from Great Grandma and Tom. He also got a McDonald’s gift card for a treat–yum!
Luke’s new toy
Cat beds aren’t designed for Luke’s preferred sleeping style.
I finally got a picture of Luke’s lower lip. It’s funny to me because it makes it look like his mouth is open sometimes when it’s not.
Relaxing after Damien’s evening shower
BFFs
I thought it was a cute pic of my boys 🙂

Since the pandemic kicked off back in March, I really haven’t been exercising like I should. It’s really been a huge challenge for me. Plus, I haven’t changed my eating habits and have been eating more than I should, so I’ve been steadily gaining weight this whole time. Ugh! Going to the gym is more of a hassle than ever because of all of the extra COVID19 requirements, and I work from home a lot so it doesn’t make sense to drive to the base. After much consideration, I finally bought myself a VERY basic treadmill. I’ve only walked on it so far, but I hope to build up to running soon. The AF has pushed their PT tests back to April 2021 so I need to be ready by then.

My new treadmill

The Fall Season

We’ve had two holidays since I’ve last posted, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Both were low-key and uneventful. We didn’t go trick-or-treating this year or hand-out candy because of COVID-19, but we allowed Damien to buy a new video game he’s been wanting so he was perfectly happy spending Halloween evening playing Pikmin 3. We did make Thanksgiving foods for Thanksgiving with minimum leftovers and played a civil game of Monopoly after dinner.

Damien is getting to the age where he’s developing his own sense of style. He’s very proud of his new winter hat and vest. He wears them to school daily.
Taekwondo allowed the kids to wear costumes around Halloween. We bought Damien a onesie instead of a costume this year. Cheaper and multi-functional! He even got to wear it for pajama day at school!
Look out! It’s a ninja creeper!
Getting around to using a birthday gift
Playing around

Due to an increase in coronavirus cases in the area, Damien will be starting distance learning on Monday through the rest of the calendar year. If everything goes well, he’ll be able to start in-person learning again in January. I really hope he’ll be able to go back to in-person learning. It was very hard on everyone when Damien did school from home at the end of 4th Grade. We’re making a couple of changes this time though such as moving Damien’s desk into his bedroom instead of having it in a common area.

Right before Thanksgiving week, we received notice from the school that Damien was in close contact with a person who tested positive for corona. It really only means that we’re supposed to monitor his symptoms for the next two weeks, but we decided that Damien should take advantage of the Taekwondo zoom sessions that are offered.

Getting ready for zoom class
Luke and I watching class