Thursday, 20 May 2010
Where's Waldo? The Wonder Book
By Martin Handford
A few weeks ago, we were in the front yard, and Austin wanted to water the plants. Yes, he was wearing his pj's.. he's very into that still. Yes, he was wearing his "good" shoes.. Yes, the watering got out of hand.
Turns out, no surprise, that Buster cannot. stay. away. from. water. Period. So in just a couple of minutes, both of them were fully soaked. No use making them stop. So they just played and played and played.
Buster ended up getting some shampoo dumped on him and getting an impromtu bath. Might as well. He was that wet.
Chris ended up teaching Austin how to cover the end of the hose with his thumb and squirt the water really high.
(I think next time I'll dump some soap on the car, too, and teach Austin how to wash it----have to take advantage of these "learning opportunities".)
Fun was had by all.. except I did realize that the washing the dog idea ended up being REALLY alot of work!! So much easier to drop them off at the groomer and pick them up all dry and fluffy! He is getting so big. As in, BIG. There are no pics of the bath, b/c we were all soapy and wet and exhausted and the camera was in a nice dry place.
"MOMMY, take our PICTURE!"
Bonus pic #2: (and 3 and 4-ha!)
This is how I spent my birthday/Mother's Day. Eating cupcakes with this little face.
This is a kid who loves a cupcake. If you squint your eyes a little, you might get a glimpse of the man he will become someday, with a 5 day shadow or a beard.
Isn't this gross? But I wouldn't have wanted to spend my day any other way. And for the record, that was all brushed off of his teeth that same day! Ew.
Monday, 17 May 2010
Today, my Dad will be a pall bearer at a funeral for someone named Chet Floyd.
(pics are from 2007)
Chet was in his early 90's, I think, and his wife Paulette had preceded him in death several months ago. I believe she was in her late 80's when she passed.
They were a special couple. I think anyone who knew them felt that way. I didn't get a chance to meet them until my parents moved to Missouri in 2003. They were members of the Leawood Village Church of Christ where my parents have been attending since moving.
One visit was at Kentucky Fried Chicken, where they loved the lunch buffet. In that visit, I learned that they adored their Boston Terrier Sophie. And that Paulette brought a zip lock bag in her purse to take her scraps home to Sophie in.
I also got to hear the story of how they met. Chet was a WWII veteran, who served in France. That is where he met Paulette. He didn't speak French, and she didn't speak much English.. He fell for a young French girl, she fell for the American soldier. I asked how they communicated if there was such a language barrier, they said they just did. I asked them if they spoke the language of LOVE, and I think they both blushed. They were the sweetest elderly couple you could ever meet!
Another time we went to their house for a visit, and Paulette had made a plate of sandwiches and a cherry cake. They showed us pictures, and told us stories. It was so much fun. Paulette had a very thick French accent so it was hard to understand some words but such a joy to listen to. Chet told us that Paulette's mother hadn't approved of their courtship at first, and how she wouldn't allow them to marry until Paulette was 21 I think? So he stayed on in France after the war and waited for her.
Paulette told us of the Nazi's coming through the neighborhoods during the war and stealing from all of the families and just taking everything they had.. but how when they came to her house, she got soooo mad and she was so sick of the way things were, she shook her finger in this Nazi's face and said NO NO NO NOOOO! (in her accent is was more like .. noh noh NOHHHHH!) She didn't care if they were gonna kill her, she didn't want them taking their furniture and everything they had, and then a higher ranking Nazi came in to see what was going on, and told the other one to just leave her there, so they moved on to the next house. Can you imagine? She was a tiny lady, too.. and so sweet.. and kinda one of my heroes. I mean, she wagged her finger in the face of a NAZI.
We saw pictures, and learned that Chet was a race car driver after returning to Kansas after the war. So cool.
They told us about not having kids.. Paulette said, "I wait and wait for my baby, it never come." They told us of having a foster daughter that was about 13 or 14 years old, but that it didn't work out. And they didn't have much family left. But they had each other. And their church family was their family.
They doted on Austin, and sent a card when he was born.. I have a dishrag that Paulette knitted. . I will treasure those two things. They were just the sweetest, thoughtful couple who had lived through so much. They adored each other. Aww. I'm kind of sad. Sad that I won't see them at Leawood Village anymore, and sad that I didn't get to know them for a longer period of time. But with the hope of Heaven, I hope Chet has a grand reunion with his love, Paulette on the other side.
Friday, 14 May 2010
Fire! Fire! Hurry! Hurry!
By Andrea Zimmerman, Karen Barbour
I've been conflicted all along about Austin going to preschool. I can totally see the pro's of it all. Learning to be around kids, learning to sit still in a class-like setting, etc. I even posted a question about it on Facebook, and all of the comments I got were "YES" for preschool.
But one thing just nags at me... once he starts school, he will be going to school for years and YEARS. Can't he just be a carefree little boy while he still has time to? He goes to gymnastics, and storytime at the library where he learns to be in a group and follow a teacher's instructions.. fun things that he would have to give up, if he went to preschool every day. He knows his ABC's and some simple math like 1 + 2, using his fingers of course.., colors, shapes, including hexagon, octagon and oval.. I can't see him lagging behind in Kindergarten just b/c he doesn't go to preschool.
We decided, though, that we would probably send him, since it seems like the thing to do, but not until he's at least 4 or 4 1/2. I mean, some moms at storytime are really serious about it.. one told me that she had checked out all of the preschools in the area and had copies of their curriculum. Wow. I would have never even thought far enough ahead to do that. I don't even want to send my kid to preschool... Am I weird that way?
But here's where things just fell into place. Perfectly.
We happened to be near a Gymboree Play and Music play gym, and Austin was BEGGING to go and look inside. I told him no b/c he already goes to a gymnastics class..
(stretching at gymnastics with Bella and Talisa, twins who also have a Newfie, named Dylan, a Landseer )
(pull-ups with his teacher, Felicia)
(jumping kamakazi off of the cube)
(learning to balance on diff. things)
..and to storytime
(his storytime buddy Caleb)
and we don't need to sign up for something else.. but he persisted with wanting to go in, so I told him that we could just look in the window. And there it was.. a flyer in the window, at my eye level, announcing their new "school skills" class for 3-5 yr olds. ONE day a week, for TWO hours a day. Drop-off. So he could learn to be independent. And did I mention only one day a week? This makes me happy.. he can still be a little boy on the other days, w/o the responsibility of going to school every day. And it's really economical, and he loves it, loves being around the kids, and wasn't even upset about us leaving him there the first time. In fact, when we picked him up, I thought he'd be glad to see us, but he gave me a look and then looked away. As in, "If I don't look at her, she's not really here." OUCH. Because he didn't want to leave the fun.
This is his sweet teacher, Miss Grace..
We were talking about it at storytime, and one mom asked me how long we were going to leave him in that class, and when we would start "actual" preschool.. Wow, this preschool peer pressure is intense. ha! I think as far as we're concerned, this is actual preschool. It's just enough. It is the perfect happy medium for us. Something led me to that window.. and there was my answer.
They learn a new letter every week, and do some sort of art, read a story, have a snack, and play on the play gyms..
Here is his first day.. so proud to use his little backpack (that was a shower gift from Leigh and Kelsey --it is perfect for him now!)
His first art picture.. "alot of paw prints" .. guess what's on his mind?
One day we picked him up and he was playing with his backpack on.. he told his teacher he wanted to wear it while he played b/c he was "traveling".
And look Uncle Bryan! He made a necklace! You'll have to get together and compare your necklaces.
Oh, and did I mention it is right next to Rubio's, our fave place to eat? And a fountain that Austin loves to kick around at.. and some really great shops? Here he is having fun before class..
And beaming when we picked him up. He had planted some peas in a cup that he decorated with stickers.
Since he started going to school skills, he has started sounding out all kinds of words when he's talking. He'll say, "Mommy are we going to the store? ... sssss-tore.....ssssss.... Hey! Stores starts with.... SSSSSssssss!!!!" So fun!! For now, I think we'll stick with Pretend Preschool.
Friday, 30 April 2010
Thursday, 15 April 2010
The Pigeon Finds a Hotdog!
By Mo Willems
A good friend once told me that motherhood and guilt go hand in hand. In a way, she was right.
You're always wondering if you're doing the right thing for them. If you could have done something better. Not to mention when they get hurt.. Ahh! That's the worst. We're all just learning and trying to do our best I guess. I'm lucky that my kid has such a hard head. He really doesn't cry very much. So that helps.
But still, I've had my share of "woops" moments... some I felt really bad about and learned from, and some were just accidents, which will happen, of course. And some just made me feel like a hair-brained, air-headed mom.
The first one was when Austin was about 6 mo. old. maybe? I was walking between the piano and the chair, at our other house, which was very small, and got my feet tangled up in his walker which was in the middle of the room. I was carrying him.. it was like slow motion going down. Falling out into the tiled hallway, all I could think of was how I was going to get him to not hit the tile with me. When I was almost down, I sort of chucked him onto some nearby carpet. He landed on his belly and was stunned. I landed on my elbow, which still hurts once in a while. I never had it xrayed or anything. He cried a little and was over it. I cried ALOT. I felt soo bad. It really scared me. Lesson: Don't carry the baby through a room that's that hard to navigate through.
Another time, I was sitting on the bed with him, playing before bed. I was getting his jammies on, and stopped to make him laugh a little. He was about a year old. He was sitting about 2 feet from the end of our bed. A safe distance, I thought. I was throwing his jammies in the air and catching them on my head. Sounds ridiculous I know, but he was laughing HYSTERICALLY. So I throw them up, glance at him, look up to catch them, blink and look back at him... and he's gone. Maybe a hundredth of a second we're talking about. I thought, "where..wha?" THUD. He flung himself backwards off of our bed onto the floor. Lesson: Two feet is NOT, in fact, enough room between a little one and the end of the bed to prevent a mishap. And maybe making your kid laugh so hysterically that he flings himself backward isn't such a good idea.
Oh, and kind of along the same lines.. playing on the bed, that is.. when he was about a year and a half, he was jumping on our guest-bed. Something he loved. He loved to jump in a pile of clean laundry on the bed. I mean, LOVED it. Plus, it always wore him out and got rid of his crazy energy before bed time. I was right there with him, though. Ready to catch him. He was NOT going to fall off the bed. In walks Chris.. "Kelli, you'd better watch him carefully, he might jump into the floor!" I glance away for 5 seconds!! To say to Chris, "No, I'm watching him, I'm right here." During those exact 5 seconds.. poof. Gone. Jumped, sideways, slow motion.. "Nooooooooo..." Reaching for him. Hit the floor. Lesson: When you're watching him like a hawk, NEVER ever take your eyes off him. Not even to look at your husband who comes in to tell you to watch him like a hawk.
Another time, he fell or something and came to me crying. Showing me his hand.. I didn't see anything so I was telling him that he's fine, everything's okay. Stop crying, blah blah. So he did. He stopped crying and kept playing. Later, I noticed some blood on his shirt? Hmm? OH. He really was hurt. I wasn't looking in the right spot. He was even BLEEDING. I felt so guilty. If I had known that he was bleeding, I would have given him some more love and sympathy! Lesson: Investigate more thoroughly.
(No one has called CPS yet, have they?)
Once, at his Nana and Papa's house, he fell and hit his head and made a goose-egg right over his eye brow. About a week later, we were walking into the garage from the backyard with the dog, and as I walked in, I swung the door closed behind me, thinking he and the dog were already in. Well, the dog was in, Austin was RIGHT behind me on my heels, little stealthy kid. As I swung the door closed, the door knob hit him in the head... right ON his already existing goose-egg. I felt soo bad for him. It is so awful to accidentally hurt your kid. Lesson: Put a GPS on him? And look behind me before I shut a door. You never know what or who might be there these days.
Oh, and once, at church he was sitting on the bench, he was about a year old, and he was swinging his legs back and forth. Which might have been okay, but he was a CHUBBY baby! Each time he swung his legs, his center of gravity shifted a little further forward. Of course, I wasn't aware of that at the time it was happening. All of the sudden, he swings his dangling legs and flies off the bench into the floor on his face! Uggghhhh! Talk about feeling like a loser! Lesson: Don't let him do that again!
I don't know. Writing all this down, I feel like an air-head. And a bit like a terrible mother. BUT, the fact is, I never had a baby before.. and no matter how much you think you're prepared.. unless you're OCD and put your kid in a helmet, accidents will happen. Everyone is learning and doing their best. The fact is.. I would THROW myself in front of a BUS for that kid. There have even been a couple of times where something's happened, and I have wanted to come out SWINGING in protection of him. Which shocks even me. I am generally not that assertive.
So how about you? Have you had any "woops" moments in motherhood? I promise not to call CPS!!
Saturday, 10 April 2010
Little white duck
By Walt Whippo
Well, this morning, Buster was watching Austin play in the living room and jumped up on the kiddie-gate that keeps him out of that room.. (like this-this was last weekend when he was watching Austin get into his Easter basket-he was dying to get over there and see what the hoopla was about!)
The thing he doesn't realize, (yet anyway) is that he could probably get over it if he tried hard enough. He is getting huge.. probably 70 pounds now, but such a puppy and sooo sweet.
Anyway, this morning, his foot got caught in the tension bar, and he was crying out. Chris was right there and helped him get it out, and he even wimpered when Chris was helping him. There is something sooo sad about a dog that's crying in pain. At the time I thought, wow, that's almost worse than a child crying. I know! Can you believe I said that?! I think just the actual sound they make is sooo sad. Poor Buster. He's fine, though. No injury or anything.
Last week, we took Buster to Lake Camanche for a couple of hours to see if he would swim. (I already posted some of these pics on FB, but my in-laws don't do FB, so I'm going to post them here again.)
He pawed at it a little bit, at first.
After pawing at it and checking it out, I guess his instinct took over and before he knew what he was doing, he had walked out and swam about 5 feet. Then, like a lightbulb came on, he paddled in a U-turn and came flailing back for the shore. Like he suddenly thought, what am I doing? It was kind of funny! The closer he got to shore, he started trying to walk on the bottom, making his feet splash like crazy!
He fetched sticks the rest of the time and loved it, but if they went too far out, he would walk out as far as he could without starting to swim, and stop and wait for them to drift back in. He did actually swim a tiny bit to get the stick a couple of times but wasn't sure about it.. Think he kind of scared himself.
He and Austin loved kicking around the lake. And it was a beautiful day for it.
Austin's really into wearing his pj's everywhere.
They were both worn out on the way home! We even passed the little antique church where we got married. Almost 5 years ago! Such a pretty day.
And one parting picture.. "MOMMY!! Take my picture with Buster!!" Buster's not looking so sure!
Thursday, 08 April 2010
This is the first year that Austin really got the whole "Easter" thing, with the egg hunt and everything. He wasn't really into it last year. So this year, we planned to go to church in Auburn (thanks again, Jennifer for inviting us!), so Austin could be reunited with his little cousin Karli who he made friends with when my parents were visiting a few months ago. And so he could meet his other little cousins Jayce and Garrett. Also, this is the first time Kristi and I have spent Easter together since we were kids. (Somewhere there are pics of us when we were little kids in our Easter outfits-haven't located them yet.) We were really looking forward our visit on Sunday! And to visiting with lots of people we hadn't seen in ages, and many that Chris hadn't even met.
So our day started bright and early!
Drawing on the dry erase board after the morning church service. Then everyone had lunch together-yummy potluck!
After the potluck, Kristi showed off her music teacher-y skills and taught the kids a funny song.
Oh, and funny it was!! LOL She will kill me for posting that one, but I love it! I love Kristi!! I can feel the happiness jumping right out of the picture!
Someone else read them a book.. (I think during these things, the adults were outside hiding the eggs.)
Ready for the hunt!! (I forgot to bring Austin's basket!)
Holli gave a fab speech to the little ones about sharing and not fighting over the eggs.
At one point, he had his own personal secretary holding his bag.
Karli has a basket full.. I don't know how Holli's boys managed to escape my camera. I'm sad that I didn't get a picture of them or a group picture of the kids. They are some ADORABLE boys!!
An egg shaped like a carrot!
..and more running..that's him in the background.. And I gotta hand it to Kristi. It was cold, and by cold, I mean FURRRRR-EEEEEzing! And she still went with the springy Easter outfit with sandals. Topped off by her winter coat! When we left to come home later that afternoon, it had started spitting rain, and I half expected it to snow!
I love you Kristi! Can't believe your toes didn't snap! I went for the boots and jean jacket and still froze! Sandals? NO WAY. Not freezing my toes off, I need them to walk!
A sample of the loot.
All the kids sat around opening their eggs, and trading with each other if they wanted.
A little temporary tattoo!
Thanks again for all your hospitality, guys. We had soo much fun. Austin fell asleep on the way home, he was so beat. We'll have to come back next year, and bring the little plastic eggs we brought home.. refilled with some new little treats!
Thursday, 01 April 2010
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?
By Jane Yolen
Well, I meant to blog more in 2010. Yah, right. It is already April. I can't believe it!
Our 2010 got off to a busy start and seemed to fly. Among the many reasons that we were so busy at the start of the year..
Maybe we will have some time to stop and catch our breath now that it's spring.
I managed to finish Austin's "I Spy" quilt a few weeks ago.. blue dots for the border, and I found a little "I Spy" fat quarter at a quilt shop in Joplin last time I went to visit my parents.. I cut the logo out and tacked it onto the corner.
And now, my next fun project is rehabbing this old quilt top. It came to me from my Aunt Shirlena, who got it from my grandmother, who I think may have gotten it from her mother, my great-grandmother.
At first glance, it looks like a pile of fabric, a few holes here and there, some seams coming un-sewn, and some rust/water stains. (It was all sewn together by hand and everything, but some of the seams have been gone over with a machine) But turns out, it's a "friendship" type quilt, with names and sentiments (some scriptures) embroidered on the blocks. The middle block says "Goodwill Club, Dormis, MO Nov. 1st, 1949. (the family moved to CA from MO back in the day) It seems that the only obvious name that's missing is that of my great-grandparents, so I wonder if it was made for them. Maybe that's how they ended up with it in the end. Who knows? It is a family mystery.
It has names of lots of family members that are passed on, lots of them I knew though. And some other names that I don't recognize. But I can't bear to throw it away. And I don't want to just leave it in a closet as a pile of falling apart fabric. Somewhere, sometime, lots of people cared enough to embroider their names and make something for someone, even if it was never finished. So my goal is to finish it, fix it up a little, dress it up, quilt it and find it a good home.
Plus, I found this REALLy great fabric, and the colors are perfect!
(The chicken picture is kind of yellowy, they are the same bright colors. From the Wilmington Fanciful line of fabrics.)
I colorful happy fabrics!! !! I have another idea that I hope turns out as cute as I think it will. And I love the yellow and the red circles. Oh I hope it turns out!
The End. (for now. If it turns out, I'll post another picture, if not, it may go back in a bag in the closet.)
Saturday, 06 February 2010
The Night Angel (Heirs of Acadia #4)
By T. Bunn, Isabella Bunn
Going to ride AstroBlasters..
Austin loved LOVED this..
A dry family is a happy family..
(the steam engine)
Met some characters, happy not only to see them, but to get inside for some shelter!
Waiting to watch the Playhouse Disney show at CA Adventure..
Waiting for Daddy to ride CA Screamin'..
The Poncho Family.. on Toy Story Midway Mania..
And a couple of the crazy rain! And how wet we sometimes got, even with ponchos! It was NUTS but SO MUCH fun! Wouldn't trade it.
We were lucky to just be hanging out in the Lego Store when this happened.. it was by far the heaviest rain of the trip..
Friday, 05 February 2010
I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track
By Joshua Prince
In January, Austin experienced his first (hopefully of many more) taste of Disneyland.
It rained the day we left, started when we left home, and rained ALL the way there. Half the length of our state, never stopped raining, not once! A sign of things to come? Yes.
We stayed at Paradise Pier which is right across from the Grand Californian and California Adventure.. it was fun having this view.
When we had to dash back to the hotel to dry out and stay warm, we could still see the park. Our room was a free upgrade since it was Austin's first time at Disney (and probably b/c not a lot of people go to Disneyland during a monsoon-), otherwise we probably would have been looking at a parking lot.
We were determined to make the best of our trip, even in the rain, and not let the weather get us down. It was challenging and frustrating at times but in the end, the weather made for some great, funny, and unique experiences.
For instance, have you ever ridden Dumbo when Dumbo had an inch of water inside? I guess wet shoes can be a trade-off for riding the rides two or three times in a row without getting off. Austin LOVED making it go up and down by himself:
Daddy was game to ride, too:
We probably rode this ride a total of 9 or 10 times during our trip. I think it was one of Austin's favorites. That's us in the orange one..
And in the purple one:
His other favorite ride.. Casey Jr. Circus Train..
which is right behind Dumbo.. very convenient to go back and forth between the two. This ride we also rode quite a few times. It played a little jingle during the ride.. I think Austin knows the words to the jingle. That's how many times we rode it.
The first time, in the caboose..
The next time in the pink cage.. then the orange cage.. we rode it a few times in a row the last night, too, the dark. He thought that was great.. Once we found this ride, it was the go-to ride. We were all humming that jingle on the way home.
Another hit was Autopia. The first time we didn't get any pictures, b/c it was a DOWNPOUR, and Austin insisted on driving.. so he steered, I did the gas pedal, and tried to man the umbrella, which was trying its best to blow away. We could barely see the track, b/c the rain was pelting us in the face, and the wind was blowing and I was trying to keep the umbrella as low as possible. It was a definite challenge. I wouldn't call it driving, I would say that it was more that we careened down the track banging from side to side until we reached the end. I was kind of sore after that one. The second time, it was only a light sprinkle, and it was at night, Chris drove the one in front of us, and it was alot more fun!
Oh, I forgot the carousel. That was his other favorite. The trifecta: Circus train, Dumbo, and Carousel. And they were all right next to each other which made it easy to go back and forth and ride them bunches of times.
He loved ridin' the ponies.
Other random rides:
luckily we got to ride them once. They were closed the rest of the time for rain. And Austin had seen them and kept begging to go on them. Coincidentally, or not.. it started pouring right after we rode them, and they closed the rest of that day, too.
Watching in awe:
the boy loves to spin.
We got to ride in the nose of the monorail.. I guess b/c we were the only people waiting to board it at the station. All of the sudden, the driver gets out and says, "You wanna ride up here?" I didn't know you could ride up there. ? It was great, and Austin was very excited. Bryan tells me that when it's really crowded, people wait in LINE to ride up there. Who knew? Later that day, due to the HEAVY rain and wind, the monorail closed b/c a tree blew down on the track! Crazy. It was reopened by the next day though.
This was the FIRST ride..happy to be riding a train!
Even happier to be riding in the front!
Until next time.. we miss you Disneyland!