Tuesday, December 15, 2009

is this what it would be like?

time for a political statement blog....I am not a fan of the government. seriously, less is better is my book. I might not know how to argue my views as well as my uber-intelligent hubby, but I CAN share my experiences. And they have often been frustrating and time-consuming.
I worked for the public school system for four years, so my stories are endless in that realm, but I had a recent experience that left me incredulous.....
I was attempting to get passports for my children. Sounds easy enough, huh? We are taking a trip in early 2010 and we will be flying south of the USA to a warmer, more desirable climate. I love a good project and was excited to begin planning for our trip. But passports take lots of time, so they were a priority.
First stop, FedEx Office for photos. That was an adventure, since both my boys do not enjoy having their picture taken. I know, really great for an aspiring photographer? But we got their pictures after multiple attempts, paid for our photos, and escaped before to much damage was done in the store.
I then called our local post office to see if I needed to make an appointment. After trying for a couple hours, I got through to a human who told me the first available appointments were December 30th.....what! That was a month away! And only a few weeks before our trip. I said no thanks and figured we would try another plan.
Then, I called the 1.800.United States Postal Service number, since that is the ONLY number they give for every location in Richmond. The "nice" lady on the phone told me a downtown location that takes walk ins. I got the address and asked for the phone number. She asked me if she could help me. I asked for the phone number again. She asked if she could help me, again. Yes lady, isn't it clear that you can help me by giving me the number? I know she gave me the address, but I was still going to call to "make sure" they could help me at this particular post office. She refused. At that point, I should have known that it was getting interesting.
So, next day at lunch we picked up daddy from work and headed downtown. I had all the appropriate forms completed and an envelope full of birth certificates, SS cards, and parental identification. No one can accuse me of not being prepared! We parallel park downtown after circling the block a few times and drag our two young children into the post office. I get to the desk.
me: "Yes, you can help me. I need passports for my two young loud children"(maybe if they see the urgency they will rush us through?)
overworked postal worker: "No, we don't do that anymore"
me: "nooooooo, arghhhh, &*%$, #@!* ahhhhh, this is *&%@ ridiculous!!!!!!" actually, I was thinking that, but I politely explained that the 1.800.USPS lady told me you did walk-ins.
opw: "I know, we try to get them to change that since we no longer have a passport specialist working at this location"(seriously, how hard is it to check my forms and stamp them approved?)"you can go around the corner about 5 blocks to the city hall and they can do it for you"

At this point, I am thinking about how I wanted the phone number for the location. Not such a stupid idea, huh?

Scott and I rushed out with our increasingly hungry children, drove around the block, found the building, parallel parked again, and ran up the city hall steps. While we were doing that, we were grumbling under our breaths and trying to scrounge enough snacks to keep tummies from grumbling while we made one more stop than planned. I have to admit that things got easy from that point on. The lady at the city treasurers office was very kind and helpful....but it cost us. We paid more for better service. At that point we were ready for whatever it would take to just be finished and be able to go feed our children.

Moral of the story:
If we let government run our health care.....we will have trouble getting service, there will be limited availability for basic procedures, and then we will end up paying more to get the job done.

Good news is....we get to go somewhere warm very soon!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Norman Rockwell

I have gotten more than one comment that my children have a Norman Rockwell look to them. I believe that translates into All American happy smiling children. Of course, my main example of Norman Rockwell growing up was this framed poster above our guest room bed with two elderly people. It was interesting. But I do get the fact that my boys are cute.
While riding the train in Blue Ridge, GA last week, we got the chance to hang out with Santa. Instead of asking for presents, Danny really wanted to know why he wears "glubes" (ie: gloves). I snapped a photo as Danny was chatting with the man in red.

A friend on facebook saw this photo and once again referenced the Norman Rockwell likeness.

Cute, huh?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

There's always one

yep...every time you try to take a picture of 8 kids with their Grandmommy you are bound to have at least one who won't cooperate. And Joshie's number was up this Thanksgiving. Our annual picture taking of the Gaskills and Smiths was fairly successful, minus the child trying to somersault out of the photo. Thanks Shaye for trying, but I think it was a lost cause.
Here is the best picture from the photo shoot...

and if you would like to see what lining up 8 grandkids after the Pink Pig looks like, then here you go. They are by age.....S-7, M-6, A-5, P-4, S-3, D-3, J-1, J-1

You can imagine that we got lots of attention as Scott, Mere, Grandmommy, and I tried to successfully work our way from the Pig to the food court at Lenox Mall. We were thankful to also have Melissa and Olivia join us for the ride and lunch. One more adult, but tipping the kids numbers to 9. ouch. Due to the mall's awkward design we had to ride multiple elevators to get there with our strollers. I wonder if Santa minds us yelling at him from the balcony every year? We are definitely continuing some fun traditions!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Seriously. You just did that?

I am thanking the Lord that my new stage of life is two boys who will play happily together with limited help from mommy. I love my boys. I love playing with them, but I need to not play the role of police/referee constantly. My boys really like each other. Today I caught them sitting in the tent in Danny's room playing Legos together. I poked my head in and asked if everything was ok. "yeah mommy, we are playing." Simple as that. Music to mommy's ears!
Do you want to know what is NOT music to mommy's ears?
That would be the sound of a 1 year old entering the bathroom and hearing a splish splash.
Is that what I think it is?
Yes, my child did just stick his hand in the toilet. This is confirmed by the dripping hands and the waves that are forming in the toilet bowl as I peek around the corner. It was clean water, but are toilets ever really clean? After scouring my sons hands with antibacterial soap, I think I may allow him to touch the furniture again. Maybe.
Between touching things he shouldn't, climbing things he shouldn't, and eating things he shouldn't, this little boy is determined to be a challenge to his mommy. At least he has the cute smile, sweet dimple, and snuggly nature to make me forget the fact that he "pretends" to not know what NO means.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Danny and I spend lots of time talking in the car. I wish I had a tape recorder for some of the things he has said. Today we had a conversation that was priceless.

A worship song was playing and I was singing along.
Danny started to sing with me, but as usual, he got a few of the words wrong.
I told him the actual words. The line happened to be something about Jesus. I wish I could remember it exactly.
Danny then says to me "Mommy, I know Jesus. He is our savior."
I was tearing up as I looked in the rear view mirror at him. I started to tell him how excited I was that he knew that important bit of information, when he started giggling.

He then proceeded to tell me between giggles that "He pooted".


How do things go downhill so fast?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Want to Touch a Truck?

Like to touch trucks?
Sounds boring?
How about climbing inside and pretending to drive them?
Not how you would like to spend your Saturday morning?
Then, you must not be Age 1-4.

In Danny's eyes, this might be one of the coolest things we do all year. I thought it was pretty cool too. I loved seeing my children with wonder and amazement in their eyes. Josh had a hard time leaving one truck and going to the next, because he loved it so much. Thank you Junior League of Richmond for helping us have a day of fun!

Thank you Mr. Fireman for letting me ride in the fire truck!

My hat's a little big.

Our trip was made extra fun having our friends with us. Nathan is 2 and Matthew is 4. We had the 1-4 age group covered!

That is one big tire. As usual, it is hard to get 4 boys to look at the camera at the same time.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Playgroup Fun

Ever tried to get 5-10 kids to all smile at the same time?
Good luck with that!

I love getting my camera out at playgroup and snapping a few photos. Most of the kids love to pose for the camera.....EXCEPT when you want them too.

Typically, I enjoy candid shots more than trying to get a person perfectly posed, but every once in a while we need a group shot.
Here is the best of the bunch from our recent trip to the mall playground.

I really love this one from feeding the ducks with playgroup last week!

We love our playgroup/church community! The friendships we have built through it have been very significant in our feeling settled in Richmond.
This city really is Home to us now!

Now if we could just convince all the Gaskills to move here, it would be perfect!

Monday, October 5, 2009

I'm not crazy...ok, maybe a little.

ok. For the few of you who read this blog....please don't think I am going crazy. I know the background has changed more times than I can count. Just trying to find something different, but also one that Mr. GaskillRascal will like.
I need help.
I need one that represents us as a family.
I am the only girl in the house, so flowers are out.

So, the current background is kid friendly, minimal flowers, and gender neutral colors....but I am still not sure.

What do you think?

Should we stay with this theme or keep looking?
No, this isn't "the one"
Reminds me of Anne's job as a teacher. perfect
Did your kids design this? ughhh
Healthcare reform, what kind of sandwich to have for lunch....I have bigger things to worry about!
pollcode.com free polls

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Can we keep this up?

Our two boys are currently play in Danny's room together. I am downstairs, sipping coffee, playing on the computer. I can hear exactly what's going on through the monitor.
I even had time to read my bible this morning, all without the use of television to entertain my boys.
They are actually playing together
....by choice
....without me.
This is amazing!
Can we keep this going?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

maybe I shouldn't have said that?

"Bye, see you later"

I know I am not the only mom who has said this to your child when you are trying to get them to leave one place and go to another. Of course, you know you are not going to really leave them, but maybe you have run out of options. Or maybe it is just a part of the process of trying to motivate them to follow you. Deep down, maybe it is a little test to see if they will follow?
ok, when I look at it that way, I am motivated to never say that again to any of them. I do not like to encourage lying or play games when I am really asking for obedience. But when we were headed out of the ChickfilA play area yesterday, I was trying to get Joshie to join us. Danny was all ready to hop in the stroller. I love being able to walk to many restaurants and shops with in 2 miles of our house....but that is a story for another post. Josh was lingering and giving me that "come in here and get me" look.
I was ready to go.
I said those words and then started to close the door and turn away.

And the next moment surprised me.

It was not Josh that got upset, though he did head my way, but Danny. Danny started to cry and beg for me to not leave his brother behind. "Please mommy, noooooo, do NOT leave my brother!" As I reassured him that I would not REALLY do that, I made a guilty glance around for any onlookers. I really didn't want an audience as I tried to explain to my 3 year old that Mommy was kidding...uh, teasing....well, yes it was a lie, BUT I..uh...yeah.
I am sorry.
I will never leave your brother behind.

And I will definitely stop using that tactic to get them to follow me.

I guess that calls for a little brother love photo sharing!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Family Photo Time

It happened. We finally took the perfect family photo. No, not the perfect posed photo, but the picture that best captures our personalities.
I will set the scene.

Scott- annoyed at the fact he is having to stop enjoying whatever event we are attending to take a photo. This is reflected in his failure to commit to a positive photo taking experience and a half attempt at a smile.

Danny- REALLY annoyed at the fact that he is having to stop running around and being a wild man. He is usually being held down by a parent and being bribed with whatever we can think of to get him to smile.

Josh- not sure where the camera is and doesn't really care. He is already planning his escape from this picture prison and searching for the food table.

Anne- working hard to figure out the best way to hide double chins, squinty eyes, stomach rolls, fat arms, and whatever else makes my photos not look like the person I see in the mirror. I really have a positive self image, but I think it is my picture image that needs work.

Imagine that all wrapped up in a family photo. Our perfect family photo.

Add Pollack and this should be our Christmas photo!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I'm going to dance and wear a tie.

And he did just that! Danny kept telling everybody for weeks that he was going to go to Ohio and dance wearing a tie. We had a great time at cousin Lee and Kerry's wedding. Seeing family is always fun and we have pictures to post soon.

Here is a few pics of Danny busting a move on the dance floor. He even got asked to dance by a college girl!

Monday, September 14, 2009


Time for a cute photo of the boys!

Scott is not a fan of the arm reach photo. Never turns out well! But I think this one is kind of cute. Maybe it is the fact that our boys are stinkin' cute no matter what angle to take the photo.

I have had many recent comments from strangers at the grocery store and other outings asking if our boys are twins! really? They look alike, but the 2T versus 4T size kind of sets them apart.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I know it is a blessing, but sometimes....

You know those moments when you think to yourself: "I know ____ is a blessing, but sometimes I wish ____." I have regretfully been thinking that a lot more than I want to admit. I am so glad I chose to stay home with our children and I know it is a blessing, but sometimes I wish I had a place to go and feel like I contribute more than just feed, play, bath, repeat.

I know, you are probably mentally making a list right now of all the reasons why it is good to stay home with your children if you have the financial means.

I definitely know that list. And I agree, completely.

But sometimes it would be nice to talk to adults. I have plenty of outlets for conversations with people over 3 years old, but what I find is that so many times it is with other moms. We are distracted by our kids and so our communication never really gets to the next level. Being interrupted 50 times with "excuse me mommy" can be exhausting(at least he is polite, right?)

But I need to feel like I have an "end" to my job. As a teacher, I had a hard time turning off my mind from work at the end of the day. But at least there was a point when the bell rang and the kids left. I have a supportive husband. He is awesome, but sometimes I feel guilty when he does the parenting in the evening to try and give me a little break. Like someone is trying to do my job. And I hate asking for help. A moms job ever "ends".

But sometimes it is nice to dress up and have an important place to go. I was always one of those teachers who was miserable during the summer. I loved the break, but I needed some direction and a reason to get off the couch and take a shower. Now that I stay home, there isn't much stopping me from staying in my pjs all day. I am sure that will change in a few years as school and after school stuff picks up, but right now I have lazy days. I need a reason to get a shower!

But it would be nice to do a job and be rewarded for the hard work. Sounds selfish, huh? But I truly enjoy doing something well and being recognized for my hard work. Don't we all seek approval in many ways? "Mommy, this turkey sandwich is amazing. Great job on lunch." or "Mom, I think we all agree you come up with the most fun activities to do during the day. Josh and I have decided to give you a raise." That would be nice.

So, with all that said, I do feel like that it is a blessing to be home with my boys. Those difficult moments when all the children are crying and I want to pull out my hair are worth the satisfaction of knowing I am able to be a big part of my children's daily life. It really is a blessing.

I think I have some new bullet points to add to my resume:

Fluent in baby talk and able to communicate with two young children.
Able to buckle two children in car seats in under two minutes.
Skilled at diaper changes regardless of content or amount of movement from screaming 1 year old.

Time for bed......work starts at 6:30AM.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

August was busy!

Do we have some future golfers?

So, clearly you can tell we have been very busy this month by our lack of posting. Our weekends were Atlanta, Maryland, Maryland, Atlanta with a week stop in MD in the middle. I think our boys are recovering slowly...but mommy and daddy are taking even longer. I need a vacation! I have gotten used to the grandparent help lately. Time for the routine to start again.
I am really pumped about fall and a continuation of the amazing weather we have had lately. Richmond is full of breezes that make me love playing outside. I can't wait for football, leaves falling, pumpkins, brisk weather, trip to the mountains to pick apples. I think that I enjoy fall, but more than anything I am always ready for the start of a new season. It seems like as each season comes to a close, I am anticipating the next one.
But there is something special about fall. I wish I had a reason to go buy school supplies and a new backpack. Scott does though, since he will be starting his MBA at Virginia Tech next weekend. Don't worry, we still love our Dawgs. And living in ACC territory has renewed a passion for Georgia Tech too. I think it has more to do with my husband enjoying a good football argument, though.

Another new favorite activity for Scott? Ruining a picture! I love taking pictures, but I have a family of boys who can't stand being in pictures. Ironic right? Here is one of his latest attempts.

It's too bad. He is a hottie and I love having great pictures of him....Maybe posting this photo will make him stop?

We have lots of great-nonruined photos of our family and recent photo shoots at our smugmug site. Take a few minutes to check out all the new galleries!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dear Fellow Sams Customers,

Thank you for your concern today.
Thank you for your helpful stares and scowls at me as I discipline my 3 year old.
While it may seem like I am a bad parent letting my child scream in the corner, really I am trying my best. Yes, I am willing to do a time out here a few feet away from where you are drowning your hot dog in mustard. Yes, I am going to let him cry as you attempt to have all your over-sized items counted at the door. No, I promise he will not suffer any long term issues from his mother leaving him on the concrete floor for 2 minutes to "think about his behavior". In fact, I would like to argue that by being willing to follow through with discipline in any location is proof that my child will be a positive contributor to society. Unlike your child who gets what he wants in order to make him behave, my child is going to understand the consequences of his actions.
Don't let his cuteness fool you. He is 3 years old and certainly acts like it. I would even like to claim that the threes might be worse than those terrible twos.
This might not be the last time you see his sweet little blond head sitting in the corner.
I apologize for any inconvenience my children might have caused today....or in the future.
A Tired Shopper and Mom

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It wasn't me officer!

We hosted the National Neighborhood Night Out Ice Cream Social on Tuesday for our neighborhood. We had a blast being social over ice cream. Danny thought all his friends were coming over for a birthday party....how do you explain buying ice cream on a kid's birthday, but not for him? We even had a police officer stop by to talk about safety with the kids and he let them check out his fancy unmarked car(yeah, isn't that everyone's least favorite cop?!) Josh was a sticky ice cream mess and I snapped this photo of him with a "who me?" look on his face.

"Nope, I didn't touch the ice cream and m&ms....really, officer!"

Monday, July 27, 2009

100th post!

In honor of the 100th post, I was going to give you a list of 100 things.....not sure what that list was going to consist of, but I had grand plans. haha! I can't even sit down long enough to do one post, much less one with 100 things in it.

But I do have a list in my head that needs to be shared. Having boys has introduced me to a whole new set of toys and activities that I did not experience as a little girl. Our house is definitely overloaded with toys that are geared towards little boys and that means lots trucks and tools. I can't say I am disappointed at all by the fact that I have little boys. I do recall one Christmas being very jealous of my boy cousins and their Lego sets they received. Finally, mommy gets to play with all the toys I never had!
But I do find it interesting how children at an early age start to pick out certain things they enjoy more than other toys. And here is a list of things Danny has started to become very interested in lately.

1. Topping the list is the movie Cars. This is Danny's first full movie experience. We accidentally found it one day and recorded the second half on our DVR. Every time I turn on the tv, Danny has asked to watch it. I think it is a great movie and has a really good message. It is funny for adults too. Now I just need to get the DVD, so that we can actually watch the first half!

2. Tools. We love tools. I catch Danny "fixing" stuff around the house all the time. And Josh is happy to hit anything with anything, so tools are a Josh pleaser too. Danny used to say that he and his brother were going to grow up and be builders together. Maybe?

3. Doctor stuff. We don't have a Dr. set(yet!, hint hint wink wink) Every time we go to someone's house for playgroup who owns a Dr. set, Danny will put the stethoscope around his neck and proceed to examine his friends. Maybe another future profession?

4. Matchbox cars. I am sure that all little boys like them, but mine carry them around like it's their job. And how cute are the sound effects? hilarious! "vroom, vroom" and "mmmmrmmmmrrmmrm" are a large part of their daily vocabulary. There isn't an inch of my kitchen that hasn't felt rolling wheels over it at some point.

5. Of course, balls. Grandmommy once stated that she had never met a little boy who liked to play ball as much as our Danny. 75% of our playtime during the day is spent with either a glove, a bat, a ball, a golf club, or basketball goal. Scott and I love sports and am happy that our boys seem to be picking up a love for it too. scholarships?

I am sure the favorites will change, but these five things are a solid top 5 right now! I am excited to see what this leads to for them in the future.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Brother Love

I know my boys love each other. They share the same genes, which means that they will protect and have concern for each other no matter what. And I say that knowing "love" doesn't always mean "like". But fortunately, I think they are entering the phase where the genuinely like each other. And I have some proof.

Danny is currently smoothering his brother in a wrestling hold on the couch yelling "I got you". That's love right?

Now Danny is helping his brother climb over the back of the couch. I see some injury in our future. He really is there for him!

After bath time together they like to do "brother love" which consists of lots of naked hugging and running around together. I know, I need to get photos of it. Good blackmail later.

They are already in a band together that frequently performs on the stage in our living room. Danny plays guitar, Josh is the lead singer or plays the drums. They are really good. Maybe they have a future together?

When one is not in the room, the other wants to know where he is playing and what he is doing. It never fails that Joshie's first words up from a nap are "Da?" which means "Where is that crazy big brother Danny?"

Danny has a little shadow in his brother Joshie. Everything he does is copied by the baby. And he takes the opportunity to do lots of things that he knows are not on the approved list of activities in the Gaskill house. How many times am I going to have to get up from this computer to tell Josh that "no you can NOT climb over the top of our 3-4 foot high couch and Danny stop trying to take him up there"?

I hope that my boys stay close. As an only child, I am learning that a little fighting between siblings is ok and also healthy, but I love the happy moments. It is true that brothers are protective of each other. And though they might not always like each other, they will always love each other.

Oh, and Danny decided the other day that he need a little sister. oh golly!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pastor Dan

Our big boy has a wonderful imagination and is always entertaining us. One favorite activity is when he gets up on the "stage", otherwise known as the 2ft by 6ft space of brick in front of our fireplace, and pretends to be a worship pastor. He gets his guitar, hands Josh an instrument and sings us songs about "Jesus died on the cross, now He is alive" and other sentences he puts to a worshipful tune. Often he does this when I am busy doing something else and he is tired from trying to get my attention. I will look up from whatever had my attention and catch him singing these songs and leading his congregation(little people?) in worship.
But today was even better...
Not sure what I was busy working on. Maybe reading blogs. Or emails. But I look up from whatever I was doing and catch him pacing the bricks and wringing his hands like he is trying to convey an important message. He then turns to his audience(Joshie?) and says "WE NEED TO TRUST GOD. GOD IS IN OUR FAMILY" He is sort of yelling and talking forcefully, but not angry. He adds in a few fist shakes for emphasis.
I tried not to laugh, but it was just too cute. The only pastor he has ever watched is at my parent's church where he sits in Max's lap. Normally we do nursery at Hope Church, but when we are in Maryland all rules are out the window. So, he has quietly snuggled and listened through a few Pastor Guy sermons at Mountain View Community Church. I asked him if he was Pastor Guy.
He first nods and says yes, but then quickly says "no mommy, I am Pastor Dan."
oh boy.

I really think Danny gets it. He has caught me off guard many times lately with answers for me that are beyond his age. He has told me many times that we can trust God when I was worried about something. And he has decided that God healed his mouth sores since we prayed for that and now they are gone.
Now I know what He was talking about when He said we need to have faith like a child....
"At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:1-4
I pray that his faith will grow strong and deep in truth.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Monday Musings - Independence Day

For this week’s Musings, instead of posting on one single topic, I’ve got several little nuggets this week relating to Independence Day. You may wonder what some of them have to do with Independence Day, but trust me, they do in my head.

  • After the results of last week’s survey, we decided to finally get a Wii yesterday. It’s awesome. I’ve already dominated Danny and Josh at bowling so bad they left crying when we were done. (Actually, they were probably just hungry, but I take my victories where I can get ‘em.) Question though - is it normal to wake up with sore arms and a hurt back just from playing a video game? Perhaps I’m just a little out of shape?

  • I want to publically applaud my sister on finishing in the top 24,792 runners in Saturday’s Peachtree Road Race. Before the race Anne boldly predicted you would do no better than 24,795th place, but I knew better.

  • Actually, after reading about the Peachtree again, I see that the third place guy was disqualified. So congrats again. You move up to 24,792 place!
This is a picture of the disqualified guy, not my sister. She's right behind him though.

  • Speaking of races, few people that know me would ever guess that my favorite non-football-related sporting event of the year is the Tour de France. I can’t get enough of it. I look forward to the Fourth of July every year because it marks the beginning of another three-week TDF. Not sure why I love it so much because I’m not a cycler myself. Don’t even own a bike. And I don’t really care for France much either. Maybe I like it because it’s yet another opportunity to see the French lose at something. And it always reminds me of this, which makes me laugh every time.

  • Something I think about sometimes: If we could get rid of one state in the union, which one would it be? In other words, if we could play Survivor with the 50 states, who would be the first voted off the island? I’m pretty confident it would be a toss-up between Arkansas and South Carolina.

  • If I were to ever run for president, I probably won’t win. Just lost 14 much-needed electoral votes when my opponent digs up this blog post.

  • And I’ll end on a rare serious note. We’ve all read it a million times, but have you ever stopped to really think about what this sentence in the Declaration of Independence means: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Our pastor made an off-hand comment in his sermon yesterday that there has never been a more significant line written in modern history than this one. I’ve never thought of it that way before, but he’s right. Go reread that line again and think about what each word means. Has there ever in the history of the world been another country founded on such a principle? How lucky we are to live in such a time and place as we do.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Indeappendix Day

In case you are wondering, we have not bought the Wii yet. Still looking for that great deal! That is how Mr. Gaskill likes to shop. We probably talked about buying our flat screen television for 5 months before we actually bought it. Maybe we will have our Wii in time for cold weather and so mommy will have an indoor exercise plan.
Summer has been fun for the Gaskills. I have photos from our trips to Atlanta in May and Maryland in June updated on our smugmug, so check them out anytime! I will attempt to do a little updating and then also try to stay up to date with our blog.

Here we are in Atlanta picking strawberries with Meghan, Shaye, Arden, and Grandmommy. Yummy!

Brother Love feeding each cake!

We celebrated Arden's birthday at her party, along with Joshie's first, Mommy's, Daddy's, Michelle's, Shaye's, and Grandmommy's. Lots of spring birthdays!

We loved playing with cousin Jada and look forward to going back in August for her birthday!

Danny at Nana and Max's house playing with my old train track.

Joshie and Nana at Mountain View's Community Church VBS at the fire house.

Max dressed up as Ranger Rob. I think Joshie and Danny were a little surprised to see their Max in rare form.

Sharing a cupcake with Caroline, Joshie, Danny, and Mommy. We walked to the cupcake place in the wagon and Danny rode his bike. Mommy was worn out when we finished!

Happy 4th of July!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday Musings - Wii Edition

It's Monday so you know what that means. We finally get to stop hearing about Michael Jackson? Unfortunately, no. It means it's time for another edition of Monday Musings, where you get to read about all the nonsense that rattles around in my head on a daily basis.

This week we're going to do something a little different. I'm actually going to be asking for help from my loyal readers. And I expect a reply from both of you. Yesterday was our 6-year wedding anniversary and I need help in deciding on a gift (late as usual). The 50th anniversary is for gold, the 25th for silver, but what is the 6th? Being the helpless romantic that I am, I think I'm ready to go out on a limb and proclaim the 6th year anniversary as the year of the Wii.

Normally, when it comes to gadgets, toys, and technology I'm one of the last one to get it. We finally upgraded a few months ago to HD television. I think I'm the only one in America not on Facebook. So up until recently, I've kind of been against the idea of getting a Wii. But they really are a lot of fun. I've really thought this through and have gone back and forth on this issue. Here's the three typical conversations that I have to convince myself to get one:

Point 1: It's really a great investment. For only $250, I can play unlimited Wii golf. That pays for itself in just a few days when compared to real golf.
Counterpoint: Investment? I knew there was a reason your an engineer and not a financial advisor.
Counter-Counterpoint: It has to be at least as good as my other investment accounts over the last year.

Point2: We'd get so much exercise through the Wii Fit, boxing, and tennis. We'll be so healthy.
Counterpoint: Has it really come to this? Go outside and run you lazy sack of [inaudible].
Counter-Counterpoint: It's really hot outside.

Point3: I should definitely get it. It's something the whole family will enjoy together. In fact, I'd be a terrible father and a failure of a husband if I didn't get it. That's it. It's all about quality time with the family.
Counterpoint: Yes, just what our family needs. Another reason to sit in front of the television/computer/OtherGadgetThatWastesARediculousAmountOfTime
Counter-Counterpoint: Oh be quiet. Jesus died to free us from guilt so take that somewhere else please.

You can see I'm really torn here. So here's what I'm going to do. We'll conduct the first ever Gaskill Rascals blog poll and let you decide whether we get a Wii or not. Whatever you decide, that's what I'll do.*

*unless you vote NO, in which case I will ignore the results and get one anyway.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday Musings - Literally

This is Mr. GR back for more Monday Musings, where I get to write, chat, or rant about anything I want. Last week we discussed the absurdity of naming an air freshener after something that, while maybe appealing in theory, actually smells disgusting in practice. This week, I’m going to shift the focus a little bit to talk about what may be my number one pet peeve in life: the misuse of the word “literally”.

I’ll preface by saying I am certainly no master of the English language and I don’t want to be throwing stones (figuratively, not literally) here, but this is so simple I just don’t understand how people don’t get it. It’s like they go out of their way to sound stupid. Or go out of their way to make me angry. Either way, I don’t like it.

Put simply, the word “literally” is a word that tells your listener to take what you are about to say in a literal sense instead of a figurative sense. So if I were to say “The misuse of this word makes my blood boil” then you would know right away that I mean it in a figurative sense and that my blood was not actually going to begin the evaporation process any second now. If so, I would be dead of course. However, if for some unknown reason, my blood really would start to boil, then I would need to insert the word "literally" to say “The misuse of this word literally makes my blood boil.” Then you would know that I was not merely using a figure of speech, but I meant it word-for-word. Pretty simple, right? Apparently not. In fact, a recent study shows that in the course of normal conversation, you are likely to hear this word misused an average of 2.7 times per day*.

Don’t believe me? In the middle of writing this blog post, I decided to take a quick break and check the latest news headlines. One of my favorite reads every morning is Nealz Nuze, the talking points for the Neal Boortz radio show. Sure enough, you can guess what word I found just a couple paragraphs in:

“When Aunt Joyce or my grandparents would drive me over there for the afternoon I was literally beside myself with joy.” What? Did you have an out-of-body experience? Did you magically sprout an evil twin like in that movie Multiplicity (btw, I hated that movie) and have him follow you around all morning? C’mon, Neal. You talk for a living, for goodness sakes! I might as well start listening to Air America if you’re going to do that. Okay, scratch that last part.

Neal, this is what it looks like to be literally beside yourself

I came to realize my hatred for this word because my former boss was a habitual offender. Once before what was to be a particularly long and boring meeting he claimed that “This meeting is literally going to be death by a thousand cuts.” Um, can I please be dismissed then? In fact, I haven’t told anybody this until now, but that’s the real reason I had to change jobs and move 500 miles away. I didn’t want to be associated with this guy’s Tuesday morning massacres.

I’m about done here, but just one more thing to add. I think I've realized the problem is that people try to use the word for emphasis instead of thinking about what they’re actually saying. Going back to my earlier example, I can say “The misuse of this word really makes me angry.” Or I can emphasize it by using a figure of speech instead: “The misuse of this word makes my blood boil”. But some people feel that they need even more so they try do so by saying it “literally makes my blood boil.” What they mean is it “really, really, really makes me mad and I need to do something to make sure you understand how serious the situation is even if it requires adding unnecessary and useless words to my sentence that make no sense whatsoever. Please listen to me, people! We’re all going to die!”

Okay, I’m done. Feel much better. I’ll literally get off my high horse now.

*No such study was actually done, but if there were I’m positive this would be the result.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


ok...so I know I need to get better. I haven't even posted photos from Atlanta or Maryland trips. It has been a busy, fun summmer so far. Two big things that have definitely affected my free time(ie: blogging time) are Danny dropping his nap and officially being a potty trained boy. We are putting him to bed earlier and so the nap is not needed, except on those busy days like today when he crashed on the couch watching golf. I guess I know where he got his genes from....
And on that note.
Happy Father's Day to Daddy
Happy Father's Day to Max
Danny has wonderful male role models in his life(lounging in front of the tv aside) and I know he is going to grow up to be a outstanding young man.
I often tell him he will always be my baby. Sometimes I tell him that I don't want him to grow up too fast. So now he has gotten in the habit of telling me that he is a big boy, but that I don't want him to grow up. I clarify...just don't grow up too fast! I will post pictures soon. And I will share my story of potty training soon for those of you entering this stage of your life in the future. We are so happy to be down to one diaper boy. YEAH!!!
Hopefully Scott is coming up with a really great post right now!!! He is so funny, don't you think?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday Musings (by Mr. Gaskill Rascal)

(I've been asked to start doing regular guest posting on this blog and in an effort to appease the Mrs, I’ve agreed to post about once a week about various topics. It will mostly consist of things in the world I find humorous, annoying, or just plain dumb. I am, after all, the smartest person I know.)

This past weekend we were up visiting NanaMax™ and as we were leaving, I made a quick stop into the restroom. Now, NanaMax have a lovely restroom filled with all the things you would normally find in there…hand towels, soap, TP, and of course a bottle of Febreze (for Max not Nana, I’m sure). Now, usually air fresheners have all kinds of lovely scents associated with them – I’m thinking something like “Summer Breeze”, “Mountain Fresh”, or maybe even “Vanilla Spice”. But this particular bottle of Febreeze was labeled as “Moroccan Bazaar”. Uh? Admittedly, I’ve never actually been to a Moroccan Bazaar, but couldn’t they just have easily called this scent “European Flea Market”? And why
would you possible want your bathroom to smell like that?*

The first thing that came to mind was this time in college when I used to referee basketball. There was this one team made up entirely of guys from the Greek Student Association (why they needed an association, I'm not sure, but I digress.) I’m sure these students were very nice people, but holy cow these guys smelled horrific. Like they hadn’t taken a shower in weeks. Seriously. At first, I thought it might have been part of their strategy to keep people from playing close defense on them, but the more I thought about it I was convinced this is just how these particular students lived. We used to make the freshmen referees do all their games, until we were told to stop because of the school's hazing policy. That’s what I’m pretty sure a “Moroccan Bazaar” would smell like.

In my bathroom? No thank you. (In Nana's defense, she got it because the brown bottle matched the rest of the bathroom, not for the scent. Fair enough. The impracticality of house decorating is a blog post for another day).

Anyway, as I did a little investigative research, I learned that Febreeze also has a complimentary scent called “Brazilian Carnival”. Are you telling me that the makers of Febreze have so exhausted the list of scents in the world that they best they could come up with is that of a South American fair? Really? Do they at least serve cotton candy at these carnivals? Because that would smell good, but then why not just call it “Cotton Candy”.

To commemorate this new found knowledge of the sweet aromas of the world, I’ve come up with a list of fragrances that I’d like to recommend to the smell-improvement industry. No need to send me the royalty checks. Just a simple thank you will do:

Wet Dog, by Old Spice
Diaper Genie in the Sun, from Yankee Candle
Crusty Fishing Boat, by Lysol NeutraAir
Scented Tide Laundry Detergent, now with new homeless man stench
Sunday Morning Frat House, by Ralph Lauren

*Yes, I realize that Morocco is actually in North Africa, not Europe. But it’s on the Med and was under Spanish and French control for a long time (thanks, Wikipedia!) so I’m lumping it in with the rest of Europe for the purpose of this blog.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Never too early

I have to admit that I haven't felt inspired to write lately.
Traveling this past week, giving up the paci, and dropping the naptime has drained us a little. Lately, Danny fluctuates between being a loving boy and a 2 1/2 year old(can you guess what that means?). Last night he asked for mommy(not daddy..gasp!) to put him to bed and wanted to cuddle lots this morning. I am hoping this means the early bed time and the dropping all naps is helping him with his daily grouchiness. I can't imagine where he gets his grumpy-when-I-wake-up gene from. Who am I kidding? With Scott and I both, the odds are against him in that area.

I have discovered that it is never too early to share truth with your children. I never doubted this before, but seeing it in action is so exciting. I explained sin to Danny the other day and just a few minutes ago I overheard him talking about it. He was saying "I do something bad and then I have a timeout and tell God I am sorry for yelling at people." I had explained that there has to be a punishment when people do bad things and used the timeout to explain it. I am amazed that he knows stuff like God listens to me and He is always with me and Jesus was God as a man. In one breath I am frustrated with the sin nature that is manifested through his interactions with us and his brother....but in the next breath I see the fact that our hearts do have a desire for God and worshiping our creator. We were eating in Sams(how many times do I type that in my blog?) and he breaks out in "This is the day that the Lord has made....". God has great plans for Danny and I can't wait to see how He is going to use our sweet, sensitive, smart little boy.

I can't wait to share our trip to Atlanta with you, but I first need to get on the ball and load the photos. Yeah....maybe giving up nap means I give up some other activities too! Don't worry. I will do it soon!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Top Five

Top Five Reasons Giving up a Pacifier is Hard Work.

#5 Who can resist those sweet blue eyes looking up at you and saying on the verge of tears..."I NEEEEEEED my buuuuuubee!" What parent doesn't want to provide all that their child needs? focus, focus, we have an end goal.

#4 Good intentioned observers will often say "Don't worry, he won't go to Kindergarten with the pacifier in his mouth." But what if my child is the first? Will that ruin his Kindergarten reputation? Who wants to share the coloring table with a kid who has a piece of plastic hanging out of his mouth?

#3 Waking up at 11pm, 2am, 3am, 5am, and 6am because of teething babies, little boys who can't go back to sleep, and dog needing to potty after eating giant clump of homemade play dough is enough to wear down a mommy's nerves. Worn down mommy is more likely to "give in" and make the pacifier reappear.

#2 Having to bring the firetruck, front loader, and matchbox garbage truck to bed is almost as bad as the pacifier. And don't get me started about what happens when you can't find one of the crucial bedtime trucks.

#1 Trust me little boy, I have heard it all now. Needing your blanket pulled up, pillow fixed, sippee cup moved, fan turned on, stuffed animal kissed, bible read, blanket fixed again, nightlight brightened, top of head kissed, questioned answered, etc., etc., are ALL just stalling tactics to the task at hand. And that is GETTING YOU TO SLEEP!

May you rest in peace dear pacifier/bubee.
We will miss you greatly.
May the day when we forget you come quickly!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sorry, he's taken

I am going to be very careful to not influence choices that my boys have to make in their teenage years. Of course, we will help guide them to make good choices, but when it comes to who they like, what they wear, how they wear their hair....it might be better for me to not make my preference known. Or else, they may decide to do the opposite! My policy will be to not major in the minors and trust that they will make good decisions. Don't get me wrong our house is not a free-for-all environment, but I think most parents get my drift. Gentle urgings are much better to get the right "ideas" in their head and then let them "think" that they are the ones coming up with the great ideas.
All this to say, I think I better back off in one area. Do you think he will remember that when he was two and a half, his mom and her friend had their two babies paired up. Every time we take a cute photo of Danny and Caroline, we joke that we are putting it in the rehearsal dinner file. Maybe it is rubbing off, because Danny will tell you that Caroline is his girlfriend and that he is going to marry her. uhoh. Girls, he's taken! But he does have a handsome younger brother!
Here are a few pictures from our trip to the Lebanese festival with Danny's "girlfriend" and her family!

Friday, May 8, 2009

our trip to VA Beach

"Like Panama City Beach without the rednecks and trashy bars" or something like that is how my husband describes one of our favorite beach locations. Richmonders would have no idea what PCB is like, since nobody here travels to the gulf coast. It's all about OBX and Myrtle Beach for our neighbors. But we really love VA Beach, too. It has a great board walk and lots of fun places to eat. People who know me well, know that I have a love for little beach bars that serve decent food and great drinks while you sit on a patio overlooking the ocean. AHHHHHH! And this past trip was proof that we can: vacation with out grandparents(though having them there is a huge plus!), stay in one tiny room, get sick, have horrible weather, AND STILL have a great time with our boys!

And here are the pictures as proof: