Thursday, October 16, 2014

summer fun!

so now that it is october, i can kind of put an update on the books about the summer.  yah, i've been doing that in these last few posts, but this one is just full of random fun with the kids.
it was hotter than hades this summer.  HOTTER.  it was glorious and i loved ever single second of it.
so one day i can't remember where eric happened to be, but i had the kids all day to myself so i decided to take them to WildWaves.  i've never been there, but we've driven by it a million times.  and after danelle had come to visit and said that they took their kids, i was like, oooh!  that could be fun!  so yes, hotter than hades, so we opted to NOT go on the water slides!  the lines for the slides were so long.  so so soooo long.  but the lines for the non-water rides were virtually non-existent!  as we got close, we talked about how we would go on every ride at least once.  if it was too scary and horrible, we did not need to go on it again.  but we needed to try otherwise we wouldn't know.  the first one was the Ring of Fire.  and the looks on the kids faces as we went up and over in that circle and upside down was priceless!  those kids had never known anything so exciting as going upside down like that.  i on the other hand was about to puke.  this was new for me.  i have always loooved rides.  but this first one made me wonder.  i have talked to other brain tumor and brain surgery folks and even tho my doctor said it was structurally ok for me to do these types of things, after the ring of fire, i wasn't quite sure.  next we went to the WildThing.  and you know what -the kids wanted to be in the front car.  so we waited and those kids went in the front.  and they loved it!  we went on all the rides!  next we went to the wooden rollercoaster - the TimberHawk.  this one was SO fun!  so we went on it two times in a row!  there were a few that i opted out of because i actually did start to get sick... so sick in fact that i had to have us all sit for a while, in the shade, have a snack and just relax.  i was somewhat concerned that i was going to totally puke, but i held it together.  the kids went on the WildThing again, and the one where they got drenched in the water.  They went on some funny mine cart ride and the big swinging boat.  then we got some slurpies and headed home, about 7 or so hours later. 
later in the summer, aly, yes the same aly who allowed me to go to the Super Bowl with her invited us to her family's summer place along the columbia river in entiat to learn how to water ski.  she is an great water skiier and i really didn't have any idea what that meant until i watched her do it!  she did some barefoot skiing and it was intense and scary to watch! 
but she is a pro, and her dad is awesome and if the kids were going to learn how to water ski, i couldn't have trusted anyone else more.  we didn't get out there until late on friday and we got to sleep outside on the deck.  the kids were scared at first but we stayed up late enough that when it came time to sleep they passed out!  in the morning we were ready to get out there.  aly's dad towed sirus around to the boom and got him started.
sirus held on and then he was up!  we was a little wobbly and let his legs fall out the back but he did great and had a ton of fun!
seamus, too, was awesome!  she was up and holding good form right from the start!  so good in fact that aly and her dad figured she was ready to be pulled behind the boat.  that was a bit trickier and seamus got frustrated and cried, but aly got in the freezing cold water, helped seamus steady herself enough to get started and then she stood and was pulled for a while!  it was such a fun weekend and i am so thankful for the invite!
fuzy has continued to get bigger and bigger and more lovey with seamus.  he loves her.  he loves both kids actually.  he will sleep in both of their rooms but he is more apt to let seamus pick him up and cuddle him.  we are thinking about getting him a kitten.  but i don't know if i can deal with more puke, pee and poo. 
eric and the kids grew these giant sun flowers which is impressive since we live in WESTERN WASHINGTON where there IS NO SUN

first day of school - 5th and 3rd grade.  smile nice for the camera!
day two of school and sirus pulled out the bright blue skinny jeans!
walking through the hood, we live in a love filled hood.

one day when it was hotter than hades we went to grass lawn park.  sirus did some big jumps!!
and lastly, back to school means back into the cesspool of germs which resulted in a bad cold or something.  sirus has had breathing problems in the past but usually we give him some home treatments and he bounces back.  but this time it was a few days and it wasn't getting any better.  so we took a trip to urgent care and got an xray.  they were so good with him and he was so good back.  his lungs were clear, thankfully, but after an extra strong dose of his breathing treatment he was on the road to recovery in a few days.
and it has been the same old same old for the rest of september and this first 1/2 of october.
now we just have fundraisers, halloween and the rest of the holidays to look forward to!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

since i retired...

so seeing as i retired back in marchish, what better way to be retired than to do a bunch of things, ya know, like the hiking and the bare buns fun run, i also went did a few other races. 

like hood to coast!!  a bunch of my friends did it last year or the year before, not sure, but i wasn't able to commit since i was training and had other things going on and just couldn't.  but then kristine posted on the facebooks that her team was looking for some runners, so i said YES!!  so this was all fun and all except the whole part about i stopped training..  yikes.  i was still trying to run every once in a while, and what that actually meant was about once a week, maybe twice, and never more than 10 cumulative miles in a week.  so, i was a tit bit concerned how this whole 3 legs thing was going to work on such low volume.  but ya know what i decided i was going to be ok!  and why?  because back in april, thanks again to the facebooks, i joined a team for the Mt Si Relay. another race i had always wanted to do, but was never able to fit in.  for mt si, we each did two legs.  i was a pro.  i could handle hood to coast, no problem!

i met up with the rest of van 2 on friday morning and we headed down to our first hand off.  all the guys in the van were super cool and i really enjoyed them all.  most of them knew each other through work or many years of family vacations or whatever, but i only sorta knew one since he was kristine's husband.  i was runner #2 in our van, or #8 on the team.  i did legs 8, 20 and 32.  my first leg was listed as flat and easy.  that is bull shirt.  for being flat it sure had a ton of uphill.  it was hot but i was ok.  i was also encouraged because some dude on the side of the road told me i had text book running form.  i *think* that was a compliment?  i took it as one and went with it.  after our van finished our rotation, we boogied over to the next major transition, but not before stopping at the DQ for some frozen goodness, where we all turned in for an early sleep.  i curled up in the van and managed a few hours of sleep.  around midnight we got up and got ready for kelly to head out on his 2nd leg.  once he was off, we drove on up to the next hand off.  i was quite worried since my leg was listed as hard, almost 8 miles, all up hill, 1/2 on gravel road. and yeah, at 1am.  and THEN i re-read it and turns out it was not even 6 miles!!  this was like a gift from the heavens.  all of a sudden everything was going to be ok!! 

running in the dark was pretty fun.  the uphill wasn't that big of a deal, i think maybe since i couldn't see it, it didn't matter as much, i don't know.  the gravel road was dusty and with the headlamp on, the dust coming at me made me feel like i was in hyperdrive on the milenium falcon.  yep.  i also tucked my phone in my little pouch, with the speaker sticking out and played my music out loud.  i think that helped too.
there was a big traffic back up at the hand off, so dessie jumped out of the van as i was passing and ran to the hand off with me.  once we did the exchange, i headed back and got in the van.
there was a HUGE cluster when we got to the end of our rotation.  HUGE!  so huge that one of the best quotes of the entire weekend happened "wow, we have been sitting here for 3 Poison songs"  turned out we sat there for 22 poison songs!!  kudos to our amazing driver for staying on top of it.  when our last runner finished up, he back tracked the 1.5 miles to the van, we did a u turn and drove to the next major transition.  matt finally got the chance to sleep despite it being broad daylight, but he got in a few Zs!

 we each finished up our 3rd legs, mine was hotter than hades, i even threw up a little in my mouth after, and Mat brought it all in!  he got passed by the Nike1 team right at the finish, but he put in a super fast effort, the main collector of road kills for the team.  the whole weekend was a ton of fun.  i was happy to be part of the team, super grateful that they let me join them and super honored that they have invited me to be part of their ragnar team for next year!

AFTER hood to coast came Bike MS.  i did this for the first time last year, unless you call the MS 150 i did in high school.  but last year was so super fun that i HAD to do it again this year!  i didn't ride as many miles but i had fun, we raised a ton of money for MS and i got to spend some time with some of my favorite people.  what is crazy too is that i now have 7 people within my circle of friends who either had MS or have a direct relationship with someone with MS.  that is too many. riding in Bike MS is a small contribution, but one must hope that every little bit will help.

earlier in the summer when it was so nice out, i decided to go swimming in the lake.  aly had done a tri and was thinking about doing another one.  i was feeling like swimming and that is just crazy, but when the urge hits, i had to take it.  i was worried my wetsuit wouldn't fit, but thankfully i hadn't out grown it!  i swam once with janet, lauren and glen for just a tiny bit, and then twice with aly.  or maybe only once with aly, but i went to the lake with her twice.  and then once when eric and the kids were at the lake swimming themselves.  because i decided that this combined swimming effort of 7 minutes made me an awesome swimmer, i caved to peer pressure when aly suggested we do a tri.  i registered for a sprint and then i didn't ever get back in the lake.  hood to coast was my run training, bike ms was a bike training and i was going to rely on my wetsuit to get me through the swim.  the race turned out to be super fun.  the swim went well, the bike was not bad, but the run was terrible!  i walked the first 2 minutes and then every tiny bit that was even the slightest bit up hill.  regardless, i finished and i was 4th in my age group!  i decided i either need to just stop doing them or i need to do more.  

so next up was the Beat the Blerch 1/2 marathon.   !!!  i was so excited for this race!!  so excited!!
lookit!!  nancy and i got our photo with THE Matt Inman from The Oatmeal!!
 the race turned out to be terrible.  i was running how i felt and i felt pretty good for the first 4 miles and then i died.  omg, did i hit the wall?  did i not actually beat the blerch?   but what did work out in my favor was that i had switched to the 10k. 
 after i stood in line for like 2 hours to actually meet mathew inman for reals and he drew this totally fab cat drawling for fuzy and seamus mccat!!
last but not least, janet and i volunteered at the Seattle Brain Cancer Walk.  i first heard about the walk in 2012 when i did the Swedish Hospital Summer Fun 5k Run/Walk
it was my 2nd 5k after surgery, but i was talking to a few of the volunteers about how i had surgery and they told me about the Brain Cancer Walk.  this year i decided to volunteer for it and janet came with me.  we were course monitors which meant we stood at a corner by the start/finish and cheers and held a sign and answered questions.  it was so wonderful to see so many people out there walking!  but man, it also brought me to tears.  survivors and patients wore a special green shirt.  it was inspiring to see them out there.  but then there were the people who were walking in memory of their loved ones.  oh those made me cry.  and then the one that really made me cry was the young girl who walked through the start/finish into her mom's arms.  they stood there hugging for a long time before her mom helped her into her wheel chair, her dad tucked a blanket all around her, and i could see her 1 year survivor pin on her shirt. 

Sunday, October 05, 2014

bare buns

this summer - wow. lets start with this:
 i have always wanted to so this race ever since i heard that it existed.  so there was this event i went to that involved wine and i drank some and there were also race flyers there and one was for this race so while i was still a little buzzed i went right home and registered.  yikes!

so i went to the race, and then I had to come home and take a nap!
but lots happened. 

Since there was limited parking, they asked that you meet at a P&R and take a shuttle. 
i didn't want to talk to anyone, but a guy sat next to me on the shuttle and kept trying to talk to me even though I kept looking away.
Once there I crawled into the fetal position and tried to figure out how I could get back to my car right away since they weren't doing return shuttles for another 3 hours!
There are rules (thank goodness) that if they see you with anything that might be used to take photos, they will confiscate it.  because of this, i left my phone in the car.  this made planning my escape plan extra tricky because i didn't know my way back to the P&R.  
Nudists use a lot of sun block and rub it everywhere without a care in the world
When I was in the fetal position trying to figure out how to leave, two guys walked by and one said "oh, I forgot my minotaur book"
There is nothing quite like seeing a woman rocking out naked while playing the baritone sax
Ok, yes there is- watching a naked man play the bass drum while he walks straight at you so all you see is drum, penis and legs
The band was pretty good and made me feel more at ease
One of the drummers in the band was wearing shorts 
I was one of only two women in the run who was wearing bottoms.
Some women ran without tops!
Running butts aren't a complete horror show
The run was really difficult- straight up hill for the first half, then straight downhill. 
The race starts with a loop through the main area before heading out on the trail.  As I came through the start/finish area the announcer said "and here comes our first pair of..." and i was afriad he was going to call out that i was wearing shorts.  he did not, he was commenting on my white sunglasses. 
I felt weird being handed water by a naked man
At the turn around was an old man sitting on a giant lawn mower wearing a shirt but nothing else
There are many, MANY varieties of penises.  I had no idea.
There was a naked man in a turban
The current fashion seems to be totally hairless
After the race I swam in the pool- naked!! And it was enjoyable!
Nudists seem to really like going down water slides
There are not any safety rules at the pool other than you must be naked
The ratio of men to women was like 272622838 to 1
Everyone seemed really nice and it seemed very safe.
There was a handful of kids there, but no teenagers
I met a man who has been going there since the 1960s.  He had to stop for a while because his wife was "too uptight" but then she died so now he can go again
He kept telling me I was going to get tan lines and then lifted up his belly roll and showed me how he had a tan line under it. 
he thought my name was Terry.  I did not correct him.
I won my age group and was 2nd woman overall
They took podium pictures.  I was hugging two naked women.
I took the first chance I could to get the hell out of there
But only after scoring two free entries into Nudestock which is the weekend of hood to coast. 
I will probably do it again next year.

Thursday, October 02, 2014


this summer was nutty.  since i was taking it easy from the training and the exercising in general and i was busy gaining tons of weight, i took the opportunity to go on some hikes.  and of course i can't hike by myself, so eric and the kids came too.  other than hiking around out in ellensburg, or exploring the trails while eric is racing, we haven't done too much hiking since the big colchuck trip in 2010.
seamus is a crazy hiker, never stopping, never slowing down.  go go go.  sirus on the other hand tends to complain a lot.  he can totally do the hikes and funny how when things get fun he will run up the hill no problem, but he likes to complain.  but he does also appreciate the view.  like when we hiked rattlesnake ledge above - he was in awe of the view.  i think his exact words were "wow, this view is amazing!"  kind of funny.  we also made a bunch of trips up to Poo Poo point to watch the para gliders and made a few trips up west tiger summit.
while i was out of town one weekend, eric took the kids out to leavenworth and they did a pretty epic hike out towards the enchantments.  they started at the snow creek trail head, hiked past nada lake and to the water cannon.  the whole trip for them was about 15 miles with about 5000 ft of elevation.  they were moving for about 5 and 1/2 hrs and took a total of 7 or so hours.  crazy.  those kids are amazing!

so then of course, since the kids were all fit from their extreme hike up that part of the enchantments trail, a week or two later, we decided to hike again, this time starting at the stuart lake trail head.  this is the same route we took in 2010.  can i just say hiking that trail without a pack is SO MUCH EASIER!!  and the kids were amazing!!  granted for them, it was easier too, seeing as on this trip they were 8 & 10 compared to the 4 and 6 they were last time.  amazing what a few years can do!  it also helped that we had loren and amy and kathy and ryan and bob and marty with us.  sirus looooves to hike with amy, so he lead the whole way up so he could be up front with her. 

we had talked about doing the entire 18 mile traverse of the enchantments with loren and amy a few weeks later.  that was the original plan but we wound up having a conflict.  we wouldn't have taken the kids on that.  while i think seamus could probably have done it, i think they need a few more years.  i'm not totally sure i could have done it, but i hope to at some point!

super excited for more hiking next summer!

ages 10 & 8
same spot in 2010, ages 6  & 4

this was Sirus's idea

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Oh LAWD its a FARE!!

what's the plan?  we were going to spend the weekend at our new property outside of ellensburg over 4th of july weekend.  we invited christie and her bf and his son and my mom.  my mom hadn't ever been camping before, so she was pretty excited.  i was excited too!  eric, being the perfectionist that he is, made several trips out there before hand, continuing to improve the tent spot - flattening, removing rocks and tufts of grass and laying down gravel and sand.  he made it big enough for two tents and then made an additional area for the picnic table that he built!  i love the picnic table and when he said he wanted one for up there it never occurred to me in a million years that he would build it, but duh, of course he would!
And of course not only did he build it, but then he carried it around the whole place.  it eventually found its home in the "kitchen" area, and wow, it sure was a nice addition!!
since it was 4th of july weekend, we had grand plans of watching fireworks from so high up!  we stayed up way after 10pm to see them, anticipating greatness.  instead we saw tiny blerps of color..  that's ok.  now we know.  and now i will no longer think about how awesome it must be to be flying in a plane while fire works are going off.  because, its not that awesome.  it was fun to stay up, all cozied in our blankets though.
our gargoyle making sure that only authorized personnel are let onto the land!
it was quite warm, so plenty of time was spent lounging in the tent relaxing.  there is a nice breeze up there, so although it was hot, it wasn't unbearable, and the shade of the tent was relaxing.  that white bump in the distance is mt rainier.
Another view from the campsite.
rock formation that we are trying to figure out how it came about.  is it natural or man made?  
we are still trying to determine the actual boundaries of the property.  there are metal pins the size of thumb tacks out there that mark the location of the corners.  we have found one!  in the mean time, its been fun to explore and see how varied the terrain is.
just another view and stuff.
eric somehow spotted this tiny horny toad sitting on a rock!  can you find him?  i had never seen one before, but after this one, i saw another on our hike that afternoon.
we found this.  is it deer?  cow?  elk?  i dont know.  but we are always finding some sort of remains out there.  crazy and cool!  we heard the wolves howling during the night, too, which is cool and scary at the same time!
 by the 2nd night, sirus was going to rest his eyes just for a little bit.  he crawled into the tent.  i convinced him to brush his teeth and put on his jammies, just in case.  and good thing too because he was PASSED OUT for the night after that.  it was a fabulous weekend!

fast forward one month - eric was supposed to be at a mountain bike race this weekend, so i was thinking of taking the kids to camp on saturday night.  we've been having a heat wave and eric said it would be too hot and he didn't think it would be safe for us there.  he is a wise man! sure enough on saturday around 5:30 pm lightning struck not far from where we would be camping and a fire started.  there have been huge fires in eastern washington this year, and this is just another one.  although almost 4 days after it has started it has burned over 2000 acres, destroyed several homes and out buildings, is only 10% contained and continues on.  we are lucky that we don't have a house up there yet but are worried for all of our Sun East neighbors and the rest of the region.  I pulled the below photo from the Yakima Herald Republic website.  its of a tanker dropping fire retardant.  the small grove of trees on the left side of the photo, about 1/2 way from the top is where we camp. 
as of Tuesday morning, it looks like the fire retardant has helped.  and they say the western flank, where we are, is mostly contained.  the fire keeps pushing north and north east.eric has a friend who is a fire fighter who not only worked countless hours on site at the Oslo Mud Slide, but now has worked more countless hours on the Carlton Complex Fires.  Nature is crazy and keeping our rescue workers busy this year.  hoping they and all the families are safe.
more information about the Snag Canyon Fire can be found HERE.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

june is a good thing

lots and lots happened in june.  more than anyone can even remember. but here are some things!
i met Lauren Fleshman!  who is Lauren Fleshman you ask?  only a prime example of women's running awesomeness!!  she runs for Oiselle and runs a performance bar company called Picky Bars with her fabulously hot triathlete husband Jesse Thomas.  and then they have a cutie pattootie baby called Jude the Dude.  Anyway, I got to meet Lauren, and whipped out my sharpie and asked her to sign my arm.  She obliged, signing me with the most perfect penmanship ever!  Adorable, fast, inspiring AND good penmanship.  Life is so unfair! 

Aly and Janet went with me to meet Lauren.  Aly had already met Lauren in Boston, but they became reaquainted, Lauren even recognized Aly, and she wasn't even afriad!  We had to travel ALL the way into Seattle.  But lucky for US that where we met her, was super close to my ne favorite guacamole location - Poquitos!  

Father's Day happened.  As many who know Eric already know, he is an amazing dad!  I am so lucky to have met a man who is such a good man to both me and our children, showing such patience and always helping the kids to learn how to be good people themselves.  so of course, what does any dad want for father's day?  Drinkers from Glassy Baby of course!!  ok, so he also got a big old hunting knife and a french press coffee contraption for camping.  he was going to get an 18inch machete but i felt weird about buying that, so i went for the big old knife instead.

thank goodness for the time saving BJ's app!!
 another big thing in June was Seamus's and my trip to San Diego.  Actually, SD was an extra special bonus to a trip we were already going to take.  I belong to a support group for craniopharyngioma patients and caregivers.  for the past year, they have been getting together for a picnic in southern california.  i wasn't able to go last year, but i made it a priority to go this year.  i asked seamus if she would like to go with me since she helped last year to make key chains and necklaces for everyone, and she helped this year to make key chains, and she said yes.  i was excited to have the special time with her on a special girl's trip.  and LUCKY for us Jennifer was in San Diego already for the summer and she said we could stay with her!  oh i love Jennifer!!  so i was super excited and couldn't wait for the trip to get here.
seamus and i woke up super early on friday and flew to san diego.  i slept on the plane, seamus did not.  as we were landing, the pilot told us it was 64 degrees out, but as we stood outside to catch a shuttle to get our rental car, seamus commented that it was the hottest 64 she had ever felt, and that was the truth.  it was very much hotter than hades.  we picked up our rental car and drove straight to the Safari Park.  after a short while there, we got ready for our safari caravan.  we all loaded onto a truck that drove us out and around several types of giraffes, rhinos, dear, antelopes, and other cool animals.
 after a while, this giraffe decided to walk up to our truck to get a snack.  everyone on the trip had the opportunity to feed the giraffe several times.  it was pretty neat, their hair is kind of prickly and their tongues are very long.  the guide answered all kinds of questions and it was really a very cool opportunity,
 we also got the chance to feed the rhinos!  they don't always say you get to feed them, because they aren't that interested in a few apple slices apparently.  but we were lucky and got to feed them and pet them.  they are bigger than hippos by about 1000 pounds - i know this because i asked for a comparison, and their teeth do not really look like marshmallows the way that hippo teeth do.
 after the safari was over, the park was pretty much closed, but seamus and i booked it trying to see eveything we hadn't already seen.  we went into the aviary and seamus stood like a tree to see if any birds would land on her.  we also got to walk with the lemurs but the keeper told us that they lemurs can pretty much tell time and they knew it was getting close to 5 and they know that they go in for the night around 5 and if they go in without a fuss they get treats, so they were all huddled over by their night night spot, ready to get tucked in.
 after the whole adventure, we headed over to jennifer's.  we got hugs and kisses and then headed out for dinner.  seamus and jennifer hung out waiting for a table while i went to get some beverages.  seamus could hardly believe it when i came back with this giant strawberry amazingness all for her!  and she finished the entire thing!  she had already had a busy day, but then after dinner she jumped in the pool at jennifer's and swam until past 10pm!

saturday was the picnic.  i wasn't sure what to expect and i was happy that jennifer was going to come with us.  we made the two hour drive and found the park.  we found every one quite easily and settled right in to meet with everyone.  it was so wonderful to talk with all these people who i had only previously exchanged email and facebook posts.  it was great to meet their parents and families.  there was only one other person there who had been diagnosed as an adult, everyone else was either diagnosed as a little kid or by the time they were a teenager.  every story was so different and everyone has different struggles ranging from blindness, learning disabilities, hypothalmic obesity, excessive hunger, strokes, and the inability to produce life dependent hormones.
me, trevor and elizabeth

Matthew, Matthew, Kathleen, Alex, Marian, Elizabeth, Hiran, Jason, Trevor, and me
 after a busy day of picnicking, we headed back to jennifer's, introduce seamus to In and Out Burger and then swam again until super late.  seamus never once complained about being tired, hungry, hot, or bored.  she was an absolute pleasure to be with!

sunday morning came way too fast.  jennifer had an appointment so she dropped me and seamus off in Encinitas.  seamus at a huge breakfast and then we headed to the beach!
 she played at the park for a short while and then went into the ocean.  i wasn't about to get in with her, and i was a nervous wreck watching her float around, jumping waves and having the time of her life.  she was only in up to her knees, and sometimes wading in a bit further, but i now know what it was like for my mom so many years ago, watching us at the beach in florida, convinced that we would be caught off guard by an extra strong under current or a drop off that would send us into the big ocean blue.
 after a while, seamus came out and buried herself in the sand.  i tried to give her a mermaid tail, but the sand was too dry to mold, but she still posed like the best of them!
my two girls!!

after a few hours at the beach, we went back to jennifer's, got seamus showered up and then headed off to the airport.  only moments after finding our gate, the long weekend finally started to catch up with the little one.  she curled up and instantly passed out.  and she was OUT for sure.  such a sweet one.  and such a wonderful trip!!  she did wake up with plenty of time to get on the plane, and once on it, i was asleep before they were even done loading it, although she was awake the whole flight.
eric and sirus were there to pick us up.  sirus was being a little mopey, which i was a little afraid me might be.  he just sorta said hi and didnt hug me or anything.  then i asked him if he missed me.  he half heartedly said yah, and then i told him how much i missed him to which he quickly warmed up and gave me a giant hug telling me how much he really did miss me.  gosh, how did i wind up with two such amazing kids??  i am the lucky one!