On March 18, 2011 I had no idea I could make it to 10,000 views. Thanks to you all we did it. During the past year, I’ve received many comments: The overwhelming majority have been 100% positive with much encouragement. However, there have been a few negatives. Someone near and dear to me said several times, “I don’t understand who would want to read your blog.”, or “How did you get 50 views today?” . I’ve always enjoyed criticism because it makes either me or what I am working on better. It’s nice to say that this particular person does compliment me more now and encourages me to follow my “writing dreams” . LOL

In conjunction with my blog writing, I was receiving some wonderful feedback from Parents magazine (2 million subscribers) regarding an article where Carter and Ammon engage in learning activities as we travel. God has not blessed me with a published article with Parents , and the two assistant editors I was corresponding with BOTH left the magazine for new opportunities in their careers. I am planning one more round of “help” from a Parents editor then I am moving on. After reading through the magazine several times, I’m not sure if this is the conduit by which God wants share my work with millions of people. As I have asked a handful of you all, now I am asking all of you to please pray that the Holy Spirit guide me where I need to be in writing articles.

The novel I mentioned to you all back in June of 2011 is still “brewing”. The way I see it I need a fan base to help me sell the book, and as I just mentioned, I don’t have enough exposure to help me sell it. The publishing and advertising fees cost a lot of money, and I don’t think I could recoup my investment money nor make a profit without a fan base.

However, I love writing about my life with Ammon and Carter, and I will continue to do so in this blog. Carter and Ammon are such blessings, and I am honored that you all want to read and share such blessings with me. Take care and God’s blessings on you. Haven

Carter: Our photographer & Ailments

We are coming out of 3 weeks of household ailments. Over 3 weeks ago, Carter had a viral infection that simply had to run its course. Last week, Ammon got an ear infection coupled with a horrible cough (not croup or whooping cough but horribly congested cough) that kept her/us up during 5 straight consecutive nights!  Praise the Lord (once again) for medicines: cough expectorants, suppressants, steroid cough medicines, antibiotics! Oh, well, so is the life of a 3 year-old. We’re just about all well now.

As I've mentioned before, we've started a 5th Generation of dog lovers!

While Ammon was catching up on some sleep Monday with a nap ( a VERY RARE occurrence these days but after nights without sleep), Carter and I were out on the patio. I had decided to grill Carter and Ammon’s hamburgers outside this afternoon, so I was flipping burgers while Carter played with his cars. Katie, Ferd, and Sissy (the coon hound family) had been out on the mountain, returned, and were milling around the house, and Sissy had been watching me clean the grill and begin flipping burgers. As I was finishing a round of flips, I noticed Carter coming from the garage with a 22 oz. cup of dog food. He then proceeded to moisten the kibble with the water spigot from near our back door. After preparing the food, he placed in front of Sissy’s nose!  She ate it.  I was surprised and proud that Carter could help feed the dogs. I took some pictures then decided to let Carter take some pictures as well. Once again, he is a great, 3 year old photographer.

Taken by Carter Caylor-Brown: 3-26-2012
"Sissy eating dogfood"

Have a Blessed Tuesday Everyone.

Carter, the hair-cut pro!

He was the best behaved 2 year old they've ever had when he started! Carter is excellent when getting his hair cut.

Carter had just turned 2 when we first went to Hixson to get his hair cut at the Classic Barber. They have always been AMAZED  at what a great client he is. He has never flinched once, and he is so kind, respectful, and courteous.

Carter’s latest, spring haircut went great on Wednesday. After our trip to the barber, we went to Logan’s Roadhouse where Carter and Ammon chose corn dogs for lunch.

Carter & Ammon Moments (Back to back)

Our holding hands evening, and the 1st Day of Spring
March 20, 2012 (Tuesday)

The two sweet things happened minutes apart but both meant SO MUCH. With the onset of Daylight Savings Time,  our chore schedule inside and outside the house shifts.  Since the time has changed and it so warm in the evenings, we have returned to jogging about an hour before darkness sets in. We also eat dinner earlier and feed the Coonhounds earlier.

After dinner, Ammon, Carter, and I had gathered up the Coonhounds’ dog food, and we headed to the barn.  The three dog food pans with the moist kibble, bread, and lunch meat probably weigh approximately 5 pounds in total, so I carry them. Ammon and Carter were lagging behind playing, and I was headed to the dog lot. I turned around to see Carter running up behind me. I thought he was going to ask to carry a pan; however, upon reaching me, he went to my left side with my free hand and placed his hand in mine so he could walk with me to the barn. I smiled, and My Daddy H heart was thrilled and soft. Ammon joined us in a few seconds, and we entered the dog lot.

Upon feeding the dogs, we three exited the lot. Carter ran ahead to the swing set, and this time Ammon joined me and took my hand. I smiled again and thought about how 3 minutes earlier Carter had taken my hand, but this time, I had some dog food grease on it. I looked down at Ammon, and I said, “I’m holding your hand lightly because it’s dirty after I fed the dogs.” Without saying a word, Ammon took the back of hand, kissed it, and looked up and smiled. My dirty hand did not matter to her. As Carter, Ammon, and I approached the swings, I said a quick, silent prayer. “God thank you so much for my Carter and Ammon! They are such blessings!”

St. Patrick’s Day & Dublin, Ireland

St. Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin, Ireland: June 13, 2011

I’ve always enjoyed all the “wearing of the green” and the leprechauns on St. Patrick’s Day. However, it wasn’t until our day in Dublin, Ireland June of 2011, that I felt a “spiritual conncetion” with Saint Patrick.  I had even read several times yet without absorbing much history of Saint Patrick to really know his story.

St. Patrick

He had been taken from  homeland in Wales (Great Britain) to be a slave in Ireland. He was approximately 16, and by his early 20s he had made it back to Wales. He then became a minister and returned to Ireland.

He writes that he “baptized thousands of people”. He ordained priests to lead the new Christian communities. He converted wealthy women, some of whom became nuns in the face of family opposition. He also dealt with the sons of kings, converting them too.

Carter, Nana, Haven, & Ammon (admiring the vaulted ceilings)
June 13, 2011: St. Patrick’s Cathedral Dublin, Ireland

My favorite building in Dublin, Ireland was St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It had such a warmth and “spirit” about it. It wasn’t like other cathedrals I have been in where it was like a museum instead of a place of worship. St. Patrick’s work was filled with love and giving, and his spirit seems to permeate his cathedral.

Here comes Spring!

First Mow of 2012

Wow, totally different from last year’s 1st mow (https://havensideals.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/mowing-time-already/) ! On Thursday, I wore shorts, kept a hat on, and had a t-shirt on. It was a good and warm day to cut the grass with a whapping 78 degrees. I also have a praise report that the lawn mower did great.

Our only, small cherry tree is so beautiful right now. We also have the red bud trees brightly budding as well. The coon hounds, Katie, Ferd, & Sissy had a great day Thursday out of their barn as well. They stayed on the mountain for about 4 hours then spent the afternoon lounging around outside the house.

Carter and I just got over some infections: Carter’s was viral, and I had a sinus coupled with a bladder infection. It’s hard to ask a 3 year old to explain how he feels, but I felt AWFUL  for about 4 days!  We could not believe that Carter did not “share” his virus with Ammon. It was a small miracle because it was a first for them.

I hope everyone is blessed with a great Friday.

Dog Sledding: March 2, 2012

Waiting to go out on the run.

Oh, it was cold! I think the high on Friday March 2, 2012 was only about 18 degrees or so. As we journeyed to the area of Leadville, Colorado, the thermometer had dipped to -2!

Ammon, dressed for the snow!

This was our morning to dogsled. When Sean and I went to Breckenridge in 2005, we dog sledded, but we also ran (mushed) with the team. However, we knew this time that neither Sean nor I could balance 4 people while mushing and the other folks staying in the basket. We chose this place because we did not have to run. Ammon and Carter got to sit in the basket the whole time, and they enjoyed it tremendously. The first time the guide stopped to allow the dogs to rest Carter called out, “Let’s do it again.”

As you can see from the photos, we also got to “hitch-up” the team, and then later we un-hitched them. Except for our faces being cold, we had a grand time.

Haven taking the dog, Tuxedo, to his place on the team.

March 1, 2012: Haven’s ski and evening sleigh ride

Sleigh ride and Dinner night

“Where is your Youtube video”, Mamaw (my mother) asked me last week. I replied, “No one will be videoing me, sniff, sniff!”  HOWEVER, I CAN SKI!

My first lesson was on Monday went fairly well. Jenny had devoted most of our private lesson to Carter and Ammon, and I made a mistake of wearing my ski boots all day. I also put on my skis a time or two. By the time it was my time for a lesson, I was already TIRED! Booooooooooo! I was having trouble making my “pizzas”, and my legs were wobbly.

The next lesson was the following Thursday. It snowed the whole morning I skied. Jenny and I were the first people on the slope, and I went immediately to the run. I had been awake and thinking since 5:00 a. m. (it was now 8:30), and I told Jenny, “If I fall, I fall!” The new, “controlled” snow was great.  I did, indeed, fall again on the learning slope, but it was the ONLY time until the Discovery Run that is a practice segment of Keystone’s beginning green run. When I finally got my balance and my pizza down real well, I really enjoyed the skiing.

The snow kept falling and falling, and we went up to the Discovery Run for the last 30 minutes of the lesson. There was a narrow turn at the very top of the run, and I fell all three times. LOL. Carter, Ammon, and I are ready to ski after Thanksgiving this year. Sean will take more snow boarding lessons as well.

Thursday evening sleigh ride was cold but AWESOME. Carter kept singing “Jingle Bells”. We rode out to a cabin , had a delicious dinner with a great singer (guitar and singing) as an entertainer, then had our sleigh ride back to our bus.

Ammon in the sleigh ride. I think it was about 12 degrees!

Carter in the sleigh ride

Vail, Colorado 2-29-2012

Such a quaint town!

The following 3 photographs were taken by Carter!

We four were only there for about 4 hours, but we enjoyed it. My favorite part was watching Carter and Ammon have a good time. They still had “Christmas trees” lit and all sorts of decorations. It was also a treat to have Carter take some pictures: It’s innate that Carter is a great photographer.

We ate at an Italian restaurant called Vendetta’s. The spaghetti was delicious, and Sean enjoyed his lasagna. Honestly, it tasted better than the majority of Italian restaurants we’ve eaten at in Italy (Venice, Rome, & Florence).  Goooo,Vendettas.

Ammon and Carter also enjoyed running in the streets and following the bear claws. It reminded Ammon of the puppy paws from the television show, Blue’s Clues.