Saturday, May 31, 2008

Every Kid Needs A Marshmallow Shooter

Sometimes you just have to know when to give in.

That's what happened with the marshmallow shooters. I have always tried to limit the ready-made weapons in the household to swords and the occasional decorated papertowel roll. Well, the school book fair sold this pretty neato book on how to assemble and decorate your own marshmallow shooter. It looked pretty harmless and a great way to pass the loooooong days until school starts again so I bought the book. Yep, Grayson and Monte got a hold of it while I was at work and peacefully unaware.

Problem #1 - the book only came with enough pieces/parts for one gun and only a few pieces of ammo (marshmallows).

Solution - The book tells you exactly what you need to buy to make all kinds of different styles of weaponry - you'd be surprised what people have made out of pvc pipe and pipe cutters.

The book came with stickers for decorating and several different targets. Grayson found Emma's picture and suggested we use it. =)

I don't know if you can see Emma's gun but it says "Girls Rule." I guess it's better than some NRA slogan. As I type this, the neighborhood kids are over begging Monte to make them one. Hmmm.... maybe I should call the moms first.

Only 81 days until school starts again!!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Summer is officially here ... and other timelines...

It officially arrived at 3:45 with Emma getting off the bus as her last day as a 1st grader. As soon as her feet hit the ground, she announced, "I'm in 2nd grade now." Wow.

As taken aback as I was, I was actually happy to hear that because this morning she was a little weepy about school ending. She actually asked if we could move somewhere where there is year round school. Yep, I'm looking into it =).

In the way of baby news, we went to the doctor today for the 28 week checkup, labs, etc. It's still a boy, he still looks happy according to the doctor, and he's on par to be another 9 lb baby. We've talked about the date already and it looks like we're planning on 10 weeks from today. That's 08/08/08 for anyone without a calendar handy. That was partly on purpose - I'm hoping I can remember this one's birthday pretty easily with that date. It's also a tad bit practical - it allows for a few weeks before school starts again and it also lets the doc squeeze in one last vacation with his family. Ten weeks from today. Yikes. I guess it's time to start seriously thinking about names. Any suggestions?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Happy 5th Birthday Grayson!!!

Well, he's actually been five for about two weeks but I haven't had time to gather the pictures from both celebrations until now. Prior to the Disney trip (I'm posting this weekend - I promise), we had a party with his friends from preschool at the Science Central Children's Museum. I didn't know how thirteen five year old boys would do with experiments and making crafts, but I was pleasantly surprised. They hung in there. They were able to explore the musuem (not long enough), listen to/participate in some demonstrations, then make a craft. Personally, I thought the Mastodon squirters were a little lame but the kids still play with them at home, so what do I know?

The party guy also made homemade liquid nitrogren ice cream to go with the cupcakes. THAT was pretty cool. The glint in Monte's eye made me a bit nervous - thankfully, Lowe's doesn't sell that stuff.

He officially turned five in Disney, so we had a little cake (Darth Vader - his favorite) for him in the room. He was soooo looking forward to chewing gum (our house rule - no gum until you are five), we ran over to the store in the hotel to buy him a pack. A fact I bet you didn't know - gum is NOT sold anywhere on Disney property. Walt made that request years ago due to the mess and they still honor it today. I respect that. But .... it was the first thing he asked for when he got home.
We also celebrated his day by going to Chef Mickey's for dinner in the Contemporary Hotel on property. I highly recommend it. The food was really good and the characters make a big deal over the birthday kids by singing and bringing over a cupcake. He even got an autographed placemat to take home. We bought a picture of all of us for a keepsake - I'll have to post that one later.

He had a great time turning five. Most birthdays, I can't appreciate the difference. This one seems a little different. He seems older. A little more mature. I said a little.

Happy Birthday Buddy!

Memorial Day Cookout at Our House

We've made some good friends here that came over for a few hours and we did a cookout pot luck style. It was a beautiful day and the kids (all seven of them under the age of 7 1/2) entertained themselves fairly well. It was the "typical" gathering - complete with burgers, hotdogs, smores, benchpressing daughters, retrieving balls thrown into the lake, painting the driveway (and themselves) and feeding the fish Wrigley's dog food. I only wish I had gotten a picture of the two three year old girls covered in paint. We were in too big of a hurry to rinse them off. The best part? Seven kids and noone missed the TV or any electronic games. They played. Outside. Together. Brilliant.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day Fun at the Pool ....

I was pretty excited that the preschool AND Em's elementary school fully prepared the kids for the meaning of Memorial Day and that they know that it is more than just a day off of school. They even asked to go to a cemetery to see all the flags. So .. we are there tomorrow.

For the past two days though, we've done nothing but play. Everybody needs that every once in a while right? Yesterday we had swim lessons in the morning, came home to eat lunch, then headed over to Fort Wayne Children's zoo (with the Gardner clan) then continued on with them to their neighborhood pool for some more swim time. It was a full day - completed with a friend of Em's sleeping over. We are slept pretty well.

Today we headed over the their pool again and met up with the Ellis clan. I think 7 kids aged 7 and under did pretty well today. Claire learned she can float in the pool by herself (with floaties and a swim ring), Emma learned to dive off the diving board (sort of) and Grayson learned he can retrive items off the bottom of the pool - even 5 feet! Making progress for the first swim weekend!

Everyone, enjoy your holiday weekend and say a continued prayer for all our soldiers and their loved ones.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Happy "Retirement" Janet!!!!

I'm a little bummed today. One of my closest friends is making a major life change and I would love to be there with her to celebrate it. I'll have to settle for taking her out to dinner and a blue thing (our code for those yummy blue margaritas at Chilis) when I am in town next month. If I could be there, this is what I would say, while blubbering more than a few tears...

"I remember the first time I met you in the 150 office - thinking "Who is the chic in the purple tunic and animal print pants? SHE'S the school psychologist? What kind of district have I gotten myself into?" Little did I know then how much your personal and professional demeanor (not to mention your fashion sense) would influence me and my oldest child.

We pretty quickly fell into an easy working relationship. We didn't always agree but I always respected your opinion and filed it away - knowing that chances are, you'd end up being right. Thanks for never rubbing that in.

I've never met anything with such a sixth sense about kids. Or grownups. You seemed to know, or at least suspect, things about people way before I did. Again, I learned to trust your judgement.

Professionally, you have always been a mentor. Along the way, you became a sister I wasn't born with. A friend I could trust with thoughts, feelings, etc. You were there for all three children being born. The kids consider you an aunt. I couldn't love or value you any more than I do.

So - this "retirement" thing gets mixed reviews from me. You deserve a bit more personal time to do the many other things you are talented in. And I can't wait for you to come visit us and get to stay a while. Then I think of the kids .... and the team ..... who won't get the same chance I was lucky enough to have.

You will be missed. Have a blue thing for me my friend. Love you. Happy Retirement.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Kindergarten Shots

It was drama to end all drama. There are earthquakes in China, killer storms in Myanmar, and gas is now over $4.00 per gallon. None of that quite compared to Grayson getting his kindergarten shots. Now - I should preface this by telling you -word is out on the street about the shots. Seemingly, every preschool boy and girl at our preschool has either lived to tell the tale or has heard the horror stories. I suspect these stories are greatly exaggerated by the ones who have "gone before" so I tried to be realistic in my explanations to him today. Didn't matter.

I was prepared for a little drama (I remember Emma's experience pretty distinctly) but I didn't really expect the same from Grayson. I won't go into all the gory details because he'll most likely read this someday, but suffice it to say that the small toy I promised him if he was at least a little good didn't happen. We all got ice cream cones instead. Then, after he stopped crying, he recalled the Disney lollipops waiting in the pantry. After four shots, two doses of Tylenol, and a borderline diagnosis of dehydration from all the crying, I relented.

I can't believe he's all ready to go to kindergarten.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We're Back ... and Still Alive!

Yeah! We are home and successfully completed a week at Disney. No pictures yet - mostly because I took almost 300 so I haven't sorted them out yet. Also... I am coming back to two very part time jobs (almost 15 hours per week total - doesn't sound like much but it is killing me just now) and a load of laundry and the last 8 days of school. Also - Grayson did turn five while we were there and he had a party before we left. No thank you notes done yet either. I have a bit of backblogging to do prior to all the Disney stuff.

The biggest reason to put off blogging a few more days.... season finales. Yep... NCIS is on now so I am pouring myself a major league decaf iced coffee and locking my bedroom door. Stay tuned - it was a really fun trip.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Thanks Uncle George and Glenda !!!

According to Emma, "Simply the Best" surprise came in the mail yesterday from my uncle George and Glenda in Georgia. It was a "sequel" (sort of) book to one the kids already have and immensely enjoy. The books were written by a friend of my uncle's - they were classmates and polevaulting buddies back in high school. The first one Emma received was autographed because the author still lives near my parents and the heroine in the book was named Emma.

This book is extra special because she is collecting autographed books (I think she is up to five or so) and subsequent books by the same authors. Being an author is on her "potential occupations" - one we are actively encouraging since she loves to write. She enjoys reading books to the little ones now - she even does the voices better than I do!

Thanks Uncle George and Glenda. What a thoughtful gift (and extra special hardback book) and a piece of local flavor.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Last Day of Preschool

I admit it. I cried. Alot.

Because of our upcoming vacation, today was Grayson and Claire's last "official" day of preschool. They will return for camp the week after we come back (not to mention we attend church there) so they will see familiar faces in about 10 days or so ..... still - after today, they graduate to another class. I wrote the teachers thank you notes and the kids got to give them chocolates but it is tough to adequately express our gratitude for the type of year our kids were blessed to have.

When you are able to send your children to a Christian environment where they feel safe and secure - where they are loved and disciplined - and when EACH day (yep, Saturdays too) they ask "Is it a school day today?" - you are indeed blessed. We couldn't have asked for more from these teachers. Deb, Mig, Chris, and Michelle - thank you...thank you.... thank you. Tissue please.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Muffins With Mom Day at Preschool

It's funny how God steps in and teaches you a lesson just when you need it most.

We leave for Florida to "worship the mouse" as my doctor puts it. I've been spending more than a little time digging out all the Disney character T-shirts, looking at websites, buying a new video camera, etc - thinking I had to do "all the important things" before we left.

Muffins With Mom was important - just not at the tippy top of my priority list. It was, however, at the top of Claire and Grayson's list.

We had a great time. We planted flowers, had muffins, opened gifts, did crafts, and had "chapel" with our church pastor who led the whole group in kid friendly songs.

The kids just beamed. They were so proud to show off their friends, teachers, classrooms, and moms. EVERY kid had someone show up to be with them. EVERY kid just floated down the hall with anticipation and excitement.

They really don't care if their shirts match the theme parks or if you found a coupon for a discount stroller rental. They just want to be with us. I'm so thankful God took time today to show me that.

By the way - that picture is Grayson's portrayal of him climbing a tree with me underneath cheering him on. For those of you who know who much he HATES to draw pictures - you understand how precious and photo-worthy it is to me.

Blinging the Blog!

My friend Sarah graciously gave the blog a new spring/summer look and I totally love it! I sure hope she and Rebecca and the gang over at Blogovers With Love are ready for some business because several friends have asked if they could design their headers. Get ready girls and thank you Sarah!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

To All My Crackpot Friends .....

We all struggle with something in ourselves we perceive as imperfect - our weight, ability to make decisions, math prowess, etc. The irony is - those around us either don't see the things we see - or see it and love the very quality we despise. That is so obvious to me as I see my children dislike something about them that makes them so endearing to me. A friend of mine sent this to me and I hope you enjoy it.

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house." The old woman smiled, "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

SO - to all of my crackpot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Divide and Conquer

So - as many of you moms can relate (dads too), Saturdays can be a little hectic - with kids events and coveted "family time," it can be tough to fit it all in - especially when the spare room needs to be mudded and taped, the lawn needs to be mowed, and the laundry is piling up. Well - we solved the problem and accidentally started a new Savage tradition. Ready?

Divide and Conquer. Yep - it is really that simple. This morning, I took the three to swim practice (can you believe the YMCA brilliantly devised a schedule that allow ALL THREE of the kids to take swim lessons AT ONCE?) then took Emma to Girl Sports Day at Girl Scout Camp.

All the kids were clamoring for "quality time" (if I ever find our who invented that phrase .....) and "just me and you time" so .... Monte and Grayson set up to see Iron Man (I KNOW it's rated PG 13 - sometimes you just gotta let it go) armed with movie candy and the girls set up camp in the king size bed with Nancy Drew (so cute - highly recommend it - very clean and charming) and lots of snacks.

Everyone got to do what they wanted - there was candy involved - and nothing involving the house got done. It can wait. Nights like this can't.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Claire and Phoebe

Claire and Phoebe are best buds from preschool - well, most of the time - they ARE three years old after all and life is TOUGH when you are three. Just ask them.

Truthfully, we are thankful they get along because the moms are good friends. Jennifer is also a transplant and has been so helpful in helping us get involved.

The girls just happened to show up at school dressed in the same shade so we had to get a picture.

Don't they just look like trouble?

Batter Up!

So this has been an exciting week for Grayson. He officially started t-ball practice this week and struck a few poses for me after he got his "uniform." The first practice was low key and he plays his first "game" this Monday. He just looks so darn grown up. I'm not sure I like this.