Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Me box

Evan had his first school project due today. He had to create a "Me Box" and fill it up with things that told his class who he was and what he liked.

His included a book to symbolize his love of reading, a picture of him and his pet Dickens, a photo of him playing his favorite sport, a crayon to represent his artist side, Diego because he likes Diego and also likes to explore and be outdoors like Diego, a Star Wars guy because he loves Star Wars, a Bakugan and Legos which are his favorite toys and a dinosaur - need I say more?
Oh, and a dolphin. I have no idea why. He stuck it in there without me knowing about it.
Last night before he went to bed he told me that he could hardly wait until tomorrow. When I asked him why he said because that was the day he got to share his Me Box with the class. The next morning he reiterated to Spencer how much he was looking forward to class that day. This kid LOVES school.
Further evidence of his love of learning or maybe just his obsessive need to his collection of CREW tickets. A student gets a CREW ticket when their teacher or any other adult in the building witnesses them doing what they are told, being extremely good or going above and beyond the call to be helpful. At last count Evan had twelve. Spencer has two. On the first day of school they each came home with a CREW ticket and I posted them up on the door. I figured that we would have a sort of "race" and whoever was in the lead when we decided to go to a movie or go out to dinner would get first pick of the location.
I don't think Spencer has much of a chance in this race. Evan climbs off the bus everyday eager to announce to me if he got a CREW ticket or how MANY he got that day. I am so thankful that he likes school and seems to be adapting to Kindergarten so well!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It may be another eight years until it looks like this again...

My mind is going through an organizational phase right now. I say my mind, because I am determined to get rid of the clutter drawer by drawer, closet by closet and corner by corner. I think about it constantly. It is almost an obsession with me right now. My mind is there, but my body can't be fifty four places at once and unfortunately there are so many more pressing things that need to get done before the organizing - I have not gotten very far in my task.

But today...TODAY I started on Hailey's room. Her room was priority one since we are travelling to visit her little cousin at the end of the week. Her little cousin that at almost exactly a year younger than Hailey is the recipient of most of her wardrobe. We started by emptying the closet.

This closet has not looked like this in over eight years. Even before Spencer was born, we used it to store our baby gear that we collected. I found four diaper bags, some with packages of wipes that were dried up, a binky, a bag FULL of other plastic bags from Old Navy, the GAP and Children's Place and the sign that was hanging up at my baby shower. My BABY SHOWER! - that was held June of 2001. I wouldn't be surprised at this point if someone from A & E stops by to nominate me for an episode of "Hoarders".

We got the closet emptied and vacuumed out. It was pretty dusty in there if you can believe it? The closet looked great - the rest of the room looked like this.

I still have a lot of work to do.

And the hangers! Seriously, does anybody need any hangers?

She looks like she's workin' hard huh? I would prefer her like this instead of downstairs emptying every bin of blocks that we own all over the living room. That was what I got to come down stairs to after trying to organize her room. Thanks Hailey! You make my jobs so easy!

Blog note: I know my posts have been very Hailey heavy lately. You may be wondering where my boys went or why I am neglecting them. Since they are in school, I feel like they are hardly ever around anymore. Hailey is glued to my side all day every day. So that is why she is featured more than Spencer or Ev. I will try to even it out a bit. :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mumps, Beans and Polly Pocket

Hailey's success on the potty has reached a milestone. By going pee or poop on the potty successfully ten times, she was able to meet her first goal and receive her first Polly Pocket as a reward.
Polly Pockets are small. Very, very small.

I fear it is only a matter of days before she loses a shoe or two and we have to rename Polly - Cinderella. Tonight may be the fateful night since she is totally excited to take her "Polly Purse" (what she calls the plastic case that holds Polly and all her gear) to the soccer field to show Ellala (what she calls Ella) her new toy. Itty bitty Polly shoes in the grass do not go well together.

We made a new chart today with the promise of another Polly after ten stickers of success. For a more immediate reward, each time she goes she gets a couple of M&M's or Jelly Beans. What she calls "mumps and beans". It always makes me laugh when she says it and reminds me of how Spencer used to beg "One M!" when he wanted his M&M's for a treat.
The only drawback to our seemingly wonderful accomplishments thus far, is that she only goes without accident when she is pantless. And she can't really go out of the house pantless. We are still working on the going on the potty while wearing the big girl unders part of the plan. But for now we are both happy with how far we have come!

PS. Her favorite book now, the only book that she has ever requested over and over again is Everyone Poops! She calls it "Poopy" and cannot get enough of it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

This girl

Do you want to know what she did today?

She told me that she had to go and actually went pee pee on the potty THREE times! Can you believe it?

Will the trend continue? Only one person knows for sure and she doesn't look like she's gonna tell!

How Evan spent his first soccer Saturday...

Reluctantly looking at Mom's camera...

Waiting around with Matthew...

Skipping and hopping around the field...

Going after the ball a little bit...

Getting possession of the ball and kicking it about fifteen feet into the GOAL...

Looking over to see if I saw his accomplishment with THAT look on his face...

Yeah....THAT look! I am so proud of you Voov!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What we did during our (last week of) summer vacation.

My first assignment of this new school year is to get the photos of our last fun filled summer week posted on to this blog. So here they are....

Spencer marching in the Roosevelt Park Day parade with the Cub Scouts. He was a little bit bummed that he had to pass out the candy and not get to collect it for himself. Evan and Hailey came home with bags bursting. More than Halloween. I am not even kidding.

A visit to the John Ball Park Zoo. We realized that the boys lives have been filled with visits to many different zoos. Hailey has not been to one ever. Or at least since she was itty bitty. She loved seeing all the animals.

This exhibit was really cool. For one dollar you could buy a stick with some sort of bird food stuck to the end of it and go inside the giant bird cage and feed the birds. They would sometimes even land on the stick and let you carry them around. Totally worth the three bucks we spent.

The kids were extremely excited to get to pet the stingrays but once we got there, Evan got a little freaked out. I love how in this picture you can see him just looking at the water like "should I do this?" We told him he didn't have to pet them, but he really wanted to. After a bit of coaxing, he mustered up the courage and did it. He was very proud of himself.

The best part of the zoo. The slushy drinks that they only sell in the souvenir cup that you have to shell out five bucks each for.

Come to find out all it takes is a play set to make them happy. We found this hidden in a total empty area of the John Ball Park. Trent took off geocaching and the kids played their hearts out.

This one is especially for Uncle Mark. Hailey has taken a liking to my not-so-great habit of drinking Diet Coke. She was thrilled to get the remnants from my can. I fear that I am going to have to give up my habit just to stop her from drinking it. Sadly since school has started, the caffeine is the only thing that keeps me going.

This picnic shelter was also in the "hidden" park. I talked the kids into posing for a few photos and in my excitement bumped my lens on the brick. I was sick to my stomach. I can see a mark on the lens, but the pictures don't seem to show it. I was so mad at myself!

Evan can be such a willing subject if he is in the right mood. Fortunately this day he was.

His brother on the other hand, was not.

This is not the work of some frat boys. This is our can pyramid that Evan and I made for the BB gun range. Have I mentioned this before? We bought Spencer a BB gun for his birthday and he is so good at it. I mean SCARY good! The kid hardly misses a shot. So good that he could grow up to be a sharp shooter or (hopefully not) an assassin for hire.
He only gets to shoot it at the cabin and only on the range. He has had training through Boy Scouts and Trent has also taught both boys and set up some very strict rules.

Apparently he gets his skills from Annie Oakley, his target blowing Grama because she is a good shot as well. I on the other hand, am awful.

While we we up north I forced the boys to give me a couple minutes of their time for their official yearly photo shoots. (Those pictures are for another day) I would have done Hailey as well, but since she is a mosquito beacon (even though you can't really tell here), I had to put hers off. Since her brothers were posing, she had to pose as well, so I got some shots of her anyway. Notice her cute new shirt? We totally left her overnight bag at home. She had no clothes but the ones on her back. No jammies. Nothing. I had to raid the Family Dollar for a new cabin wardrobe for her. I got her some jammies, this shirt that had a skort to match, a sweatshirt/pants combo and a cute clearance play dress for next summer for nineteen dollars.

There is a better photo of our little Sloth. I don't know why those darn bugs just attack her face!

We brought the cat with us up north and he loved every minute of rolling around in the dirt and chasing bugs. Spencer was all about putting his lease on and taking him for a walk. Sadly, the cat doesn't really get the "walk" concept all that much. He prefers to stalk around and pounce on things.

For the most part our last week was spent all together, enjoying each others company and
saying goodbye to a wonderful summer.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First day of school!

"There has never been a day that I have not been proud of you, I said, though some days I'm louder about other stuff so it is easy to miss that."
-Brian Andreas

The boys survived their first days of school with no tears (from any of us) and no major mishaps. I walked the boys down the street to the bus stop well before the official stop time of 7:58AM. I wasn't sure how long the two minute walk down the street would take them with their dawdling and short legs. We were WAY early and the bus was running about ten minutes late. We waited for a LONG time.

I used the wait time to fill Spencer in on his new job - to watch out for and help take care of his little brother at school. One of the highlights of my day was watching him do his new job. After seeing the boys off I had to come back home and drop off Hailey with the sitter. Then I had to hop in the car and head to school to be there for the first hour of Evan's day. When I arrived at school, their bus was just arriving as well. The school is supposed to have someone at the front door to "corral" the kindergarten kids and take them in through the building so they don't have to run around the school and find their outside entrance doors. Since the bus was so late, the "corral-er" was gone. What I witnessed walking up to the doors was Spencer with Evan in tow going up the the door and telling the "grown-up" that was there that his little brother needed to go to the kindergarten and he needed someone to take him. The "grown up" was a Mommy at the school for her own kindergartner so she immediately went into "mom panic" mode to find someone. That was when I walked up and thanked the woman for her help, sent Spencer on his way and walked Evan down to his classroom.

I had to take a photo of Spencer's shoes. I can't believe what an effect advertising has on this kid. We went back to school shopping last week and he couldn't have cared less about anything that I picked out for him. It is beneficial for me because I don't have to buy much. I think I spent less than two hundred dollars total - for all three kids. I am sure that I will have to spend more as the seasons change but for now, if they don't care, they can wear last years duds. The only thing Spencer had an opinion on was his new shoes. He was insistent on Sketchers Airators. Though he called them "Air Heaters" and told me how his feet sweat a lot and they would help to cool them off. The "Air Heaters" cost about fifty dollars and there was no way that I was going to spend that kind of money on a pair of shoes that he will in no time turn into "shoe sandals". What? You never heard of those? That is when you are too lazy to put your shoes on the correct way so you just slide your foot inside and force the back part down with your heel. Eventually the shape will stay. That is what the fate of last years Sketchers is.

I watched for the "Air Heaters" to go on sale but I never found where they did. I used a devious Mom tactic and told him while he had a buddy over that I was going to the store to get him a pair of shoes. I asked if he wanted to come along. He had a buddy over - no way was he going with me. I told him that I would buy him a pair of Sketchers but they would most likely not be the Airators. Then I asked him if he had a color preference. His request...not pink. I told you, the boy is particular - NOT! The end of my long and boring shoe saga is that I found him this pair of Z-straps for thirty five dollars. It still seems like a lot for a kids shoe but I can't help thinking back to my Guess jean jacket that I had to have in high school. Seventy five dollars. My Dad really got his money's worth though because I still have the jacket. Shocking! I know....

Evan was not skittish about me leaving him at all. The parents stayed for an hour at the beginning of class and then when the kids went out for recess they had to say goodbye to their parents and give hugs and kisses. I was one of the last parents out of the room and when I got outside I could see Evan bobbing around looking for me. When we made eye contact he lifted up his hand and waved and yelled "Bye Mom!" and was off to the playground. When I asked him what his favorite part of the day was he said "recess". When I told him recess didn't count he said he liked when his teacher read a story to them.

Spencer's favorite part of the day was "lunch". When I told him that lunch and recess didn't count, he said it was when they went to science.

The only other back to school snafu was when the bus brought Evan home at noon. I was under the impression that the bus would come to our house like it used to do with Spencer. Hailey and I waited and waited. I was starting to get a bit panicked that maybe he didn't get on the bus or maybe he got off at the wrong stop. Then I saw the bus pull up to the end of our road. It was just sitting there. I grabbed Hailey and started walking down the road waving so she wouldn't leave and bring him back to school where I would get a phone call and have to go and pick him up. She didn't leave. I told her where my confusion was and she said that she would ask her supervisor if she could drop him at the house from now on. (She told me today she could not - so Hailey and I will be hoofing it down the street everyday to the stop - stupid budget cuts)

I am still in awe that they are both in elementary school now. What really blows my mind is thinking of next fall when they will both be gone all day and Hailey will have preschool two days a week. There is just no way that they can be that old! They have grown into such amazing little people that fill my life with tremendous joy and it has happened in a blink of an eye.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fishing boats and barges...

My Dad mentioned to me that he wanted me to take some pictures of the kids by the smokestack on his boat. He and his brother had posed for similar pictures back in the day and he wanted some of the next-next generation. I say that because I don't recall my sister and I posing for shots by a smokestack, but I also don't think we had a fishing boat in our possession back then. I could be wrong though. It has been known to happen.

Anyway, eager to shoot some photos that had a purpose, I loaded up my family and headed over to Grampa Paul's marina. The light was good, the kids were kind of willing, the backdrops were plentiful - I was giddy with joy! I shot so many photos that I absolutely LOVE. I don't think I barely said a word to anyone, (sorry for that!) I was all over the place drooling over location opportunities and little things here and there to take artsy shots of.

So be prepared for photo overload, but come on - how could I not post these?

The planets were aligned just right or something, because Evan was the only kid who wanted to pose for me. Normally, he is the last one that wants anything to do with the camera. I think it had something to do with being able to check out all of Grampa Paul's cool stuff.

There were so many cool things to photograph. I may have to do a whole series on my photo blog titled "Rope".

And some of my latest favorite photographs EVER! Face-in-hole shots! These are going to have to go up on the wall somewhere!

Grampa Paul and his Mini-Me's!

The kids had a great time running around, and so did I! We will be back soon!