Thursday, June 30, 2011

Splash: Swim Lessons

Four years ago, Miss A could not get her head in the water.  She had holes in both ear drums and tonsils that looked horrid.  Three years ago, the tonsils were gone, but one hole remained, so again Miss A spent the summer above water splashing in the zero entry area and walking only chest deep in the lake.  Two summers ago, Miss A's hole in her right ear was so huge she had to wear a cotton ball whenever she was near any water.

Last summer, after her third ear related surgery, she was finally cleared for swimming; like real swimming where you actually go under water.  Swim lessons were a huge hit for Miss A last July and she jumped ahead two levels.  A fish was born.

This summer, we are at a new pool and at first Miss A was a little nervous.  Children under 11 are required to take a swim test to see where they are allowed to go in the pool.  On our first trip to the pool, she got a wristband that said she could only go where she touched.  No deep end. No diving board.

Miss A was bummed, but took it in stride.  Swim lessons started (twice a week for a month) and Miss A was again a fish without fear. At the end of her second lesson, she wanted to retake the swim test at the outdoor pool.  She passed to the highest level without restrictions.  The lifeguard was so impressed. 

Last night, Miss A told me she's thinking she might go out for the Junior High Swim team.  She loves swimming.  She's mastered freestyle, treading water, jumping of the diving board, and she's working on the back float (the only thing she doesn't like.)  Her teacher beams when Miss A practices before lessons even begins, and works on her strokes during free time at the pool.  She's mastered "breathing" and her strokes look fabulous.

I recommended that Miss A worry about first grade next year before she jumps the gun on being a junior high swim team member.  However, not to quash her ambitious spirit, I said that maybe it would be possible to go out for swim team next summer at our club.  She's thinking it through.

What I love about Miss A is that she's never let anything stop her.  She wanted to swim and she does.  Who cares that for years she was wadding in the shallow end with dry hair and ears and not able to get her face wet.  Once she's able, its full steam ahead.  Think that might be a life lesson.

Our Little Drama Queen: She Really Rocks the Stage

Miss M at Kids Shine Dressed for the "Hair Dance" ; Waiting her turn at Improvfest; Performing at the Summer Musical last August.

Miss M has a little bit of a drama queen inside. My mother would say she has a little bit of Sandra Bernhard in her, but considering I think Sandra died way before my time, we tend to compare Miss M to Sharpay from High School Musical.  Drama is her middle name and, while this is great when she's on stage, it can be a little much when she's just relaying a story from her day!

Miss M loves to perform.  Whether it's dancing, singing or acting, she is in her element when there is an audience before her.  She just does her thing.  For years, Miss M took only dancing classes and then, when her dance studio offered a Christian musical ministry option, she took advantage of this avenue to share her faith and talent.  While dancing is still her first love, she's really enjoyed venturing outside her comfort zone and trying new things.

Last summer, Miss M had the lead role in the Dance Studio's Summer Musical and she really blossomed in the opportunity to act and narrate.  She loved it.  This fall she tried her hands at Improvisation at the junior high and, as the one of a just a few 5th graders in the show, she just glowed with excitement.

When our church decided to bring in a performing arts summer camp for a week, I knew that this was just the ticket for M.  Last week was Kid Shine week and Miss M loved every minute.  Friday night, the campers performed a Christian Musical fashioned like an old fashioned Radio Program.  Miss M acted, sang, danced, and tried her hands at puppetry. She loved it all.  I think the Dance number with the crazy hair might have been her favorite, but she's thinking she might become a puppeteer someday too.

Miss M had a big crowd watching, in addition to Nana and Papa and our family, Miss M had invited our fabulous neighbors Mr and Mrs. C.  The audience had been prepped to hoop and holler during the performance, to cheer loud, and to show the actors a lot of support.  We did and it was such fun. 

Watching Miss M on stage performing gives me great joy and pride.  I can't wait to see where our actress will stretch her "wings" this year.  I know her role in this year's Summer Musical at the Dance Studio is going to be another success.  Way to go Girl!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On the Knitting Needles: Blythe Blanket Almost Done

I'm almost done with the Blythe Baby blanket.  Its off the needles, but now I'm debating how much work I want to do to finish this project.  The blanket is adorable and I loved everything about the pattern, the yarn, and how cute it looks on both sides.  I should take a picture of the back as well.
Amazingly, I didn't really mess up. There are a few blemishes where the yarn was slightly frayed or knotted and I just went ahead and knitted with it instead of cutting and starting over.  I know a professional would have cut, but I was too nervous.

The blanket measures 30 by 30 so perfect for a snuggle blanket for a baby. 

My dilemma is that the edges roll a little.  Both the top/bottom and the sides roll in a little since there is no real edge to the pattern.  My knitting shop wants me to "block" the blanket, with wool wash and pinning to a board to train the yarn not to roll.  It's not something I've ever done, and I'm nervous that the blanket won't be the soft and cuddly lovey it is now if I mess with it.

I've also been told I could crochet around the outside and create a border.  Great idea, except I don't know how to crochet.  I've ruled out fringe on the outside as I think it would distract from the adorable pattern, and be a chocking hazard for the baby.

What to do?  I'm not sure.  I'm leaning towards nothing.  Just wrapping the blanket up and shipping it to my friend.  I don't want her to feel like it has to look perfect every time that little Mikey uses the blanket.  I want her to wash it and feel like he can spit up on it and drool over it without worry. 

We will see which part of "me" wins out the perfectionist who has to follow the rules and blocks it because I'm suppose to or the I just want to shower this baby with love and get this blanket in his cute little hands today.

Let me know your thoughts?  To Block or Not to Block that is the Question.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Eagle Scout Project: Take Two

Saturday was gravel moving day on the Eagle Scout project.  We'd planned a morning of moving the gravel from the area of the playground that we are installing the new equipment to the other side in hopes of creating a level surface area.  Our hope is that we can now assess how much dirt we need to move into place and where to plan for the digging of the holes for the structures.

Let's just say that when both my husband and I woke up at 4 in the morning to the sound of pouring rain and thunder, we were less than optimistic that the day was going to go off as planned.  When it was still raining at 8 a.m, we started coming  up with plan B.  Thankfully, Boy Scouts have the motto of "be prepared" because most of C's fellow scouts were prepared to move the project back an hour and work in messy conditions.

A great group of boys and dads came up to help with the project and they made steady progress of getting the area cleared and wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow moved across the playground filled with gravel.  Let's just say I'm thinking there were some sore backs and muscles the next day.  Playground gravel is not light, and add a few inches of water to the ground and it's down right heavy!!

While Miss M and I thought we were just on snack duty, we even got our hands dirty and moved some gravel too.  Sweat equity. Of course our snacks of Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars and Pretzels seemed like a great idea when the event was scheduled for 8 to 11, but as the lunch hour approached we soon realized that hungry boys don't work as hard.  Little Caesars to the rescue with their Hot and Now Pizzas.  We got at least another hour off those full stomachs and the project is now ready for the next step; the digging of the holes and installation of the playground equipment.

I think the fact that by Saturday night we were all tired and ready for rest is evidence of the hard work we put into the project.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ready to Root you on to Victory!

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Even though my husband favorite team was eliminated from the CWS early on (I'm sure they will be back next year), we still love to watch the games, experience the ballpark, and take on Fan Fest and all those crazy challenges. 

Friday afternoon, while Miss M was still at camp, we went as a family of four to the afternoon game between Florida and Vanderbilt.  With a packed picnic basket, Mr. C's wallet filled with umpire money, and a beautiful afternoon breeze, we were having a blast before we even entered the ballpark.

Miss A is easily swayed with mascots and cute color combinations and quickly decided she was  a Gator fan.  It is hard to beat those blue and orange colors and the adorable Alligator.  Even if her brother was doing his best to talk her into rooting for Vandy's black and yellow so there would be an extra game this weekend, she's not easily persuaded.  I think the fact that most of the Florida fans were sitting in our section might have had something to do with her loyalty and the fact that she got to love on the Gator too!

Fan Fest had everything that a kid could want; a soccer kicking game, which A is sure she had the highest score, a home run derby game where Mr C proved that all that weightlifting has produced stronger arms than he thought, and of course the chance to "slide" into home plate and try to beat both mom and dad in a running game.  Mr C thinks that next spring he'll be joining the baseball team in High School since he was a champ at Fan Fest.  I think we should just get through football camp first.

There is something fun about going to a game in which you have no real personal "investment" in the outcome or the teams.  You go for just the pure joy of rooting for the "home team" of your choice and, of course if you are my kids, for the snacks too.  I thought it was hilarious when Miss A returned to the seats with her snack choice for the day only to be shunned by her father and brother for daring to purchase Nachos and not have the jalapenos thrown on top. 

Maybe that's why Mr. C threw out his idea of having a ice cream treat and ended up with nachos smothered in jalapenos.  Guess you could say he's easily swayed too!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Scenes from Daily Life: Photos from my Phone

I realized today that I have over 300 photos on my cell phone.  Granted, I've sent myself copies of most of the photos, but I found it was such a great snapshot of what is happening in daily life that I just wanted to capture a few of the recent moments.

We went to our Garden Plot today to do a little weeding.  Correction, I went to weed.  Mr C and Miss A walked around comparing our plot and "produce" to other's and trying to figure out what everyone else had planted.  A fellow gardener had offered us some of his Spinach and we took full advantage. In fact, the kids ate some right in the garden.
Mr C has decided he's going to purchase his own plot next year and just plant "salad" fixings.  He wishes there was a way to plant all you need for a BLT, but realizes you can't really plant a pig!  We are farmers, can't you tell.

It will be a few more weeks before we are picking produce from our garden as Miss M likes to call it.

It's been a crazy weather week around these parts. In addition to the flooding that's happening all around us, we had a bad storm on Monday night that caused some damage to our neighborhood.  We were thankfully spared, but our neighbors lost a tree.  A few blocks away, a tree fell on a house.  Thankfully, there weren't any injuries.  The girls and I were home alone and enjoyed a peaceful night in the basement by candlelight as we lost power for a few hours.  I knitted by candlelight, while the girls watched Annie on my laptop.

The scariest part of the whole evening was knowing that Mr C was at the baseball fields umpiring while my husband was at the Boy Scout meeting talking up Mr. C's Eagle Scout project.  The nervous mother in me was not thrilled that C was all alone (all the parents left the field once the sirens went off and it was just C and the Snack Shack manager.) But I knew God had it under control and the girls and I were praying for P to make it fast to the fields. 

We were thankfully spared any damage beyond the electricity and by 11 p.m. that night, the lights were back on.  The funniest part was the next morning when Miss A came downstairs and asked me if we had power yet.  Sadly, I was watching Good Morning America at the time and she didn't see the irony of the question.

Yesterday and today is was so cold that we needed blankets to keep us warm at Miss M's softball game and while Miss A loves to hang out with her friends, I think she was even a little chilly. It was too cold yesterday to go to the pool so we headed to the Library to stock up on some more reading. 

I love this photo of Mr. C with War and Peace.  The story goes that my husband and the admission director for C's high school had Mr. C going for a few weeks that he would need to read War and Peace along with Crime and Punishment over the summer in preparation for the Fall.  Let's just say that Mr. C did not inherit my reading genes and was dying inside over the thought of that much reading.  I think this photo is the closet Mr C will ever come to this deep and big book, unless he's under duress.

Here's a photo of my Knitting Spot on Sunday afternoon.  Notice the adorable knitting bag and how I'm almost done with my latest project.  I love the pattern and can hardly wait to give this to little Mikey.  I think I'll be making another ones of these soon, but first I have to finish my Basket weave Blanket I'm making for myself.

I promise to post photos of the completed blanket when it's all done.  Soon, I hope.

This final picture needs a little explanation unless you've been a passenger in our car lately.  My kids and my husband are obsessed with the game "Yellow." This is where you scream "yellow" whenever you see a yellow car or bus.and then you get to punch the person sitting next to you. Very similar to the slug bug game of childhood.

Let's just say the mother does not love this game.  I don't love that we punch each other ( you can never punch the driver or the mother regardless of where she is in the car) and I'm tired of hearing "red one, green one, yellow" in the car at all times.  Often, I'll be in the midst of talking about a life lesson, or just telling an important story and out of the blue they will yell "red one!" Yikes.  OK, I might be exaggerating the life lessons, but remember I'm the mother and everything I say is monumental.  At least in my mind.

But I had to laugh when Miss A screamed "Yellow One" when she saw this little motorcycle man the other day.  I think that's taking the game a little over the top.  He's only wearing yellow.  The motorized vehicle he's on is not yellow. No fair!

Guess you could say that as crazy as our life is, it's full of laughs too!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Digs Same Old Game

CWS 2011 at TD Ameritrade: watching the game on Father's Day;  Dad and Mr. C at the opening game of Texas and Florida on Saturday.  I think Mr. C's face was in sorrow over the Horn's loss. 

I've been attending College World Series Games for nearly all of my life.  As a young child, I was even in command of the binoculars when a "streaker" ran the bases.  Now, I'll admit that there were years that I had my head buried in a book while the action happened around me (There was netting to protect me, I'm a book nerd, and I'm fine with that) and then there were those years when I had a huge crush on the cotton candy man.  I might even have written him a love letter!  Thankfully, my aspirations for a "boyfriend" got  a little higher and my appreciation for the game grew too.

Now, I have the pleasure of watching my kids gain a love for college baseball and experience all that is the CWS.  I tease my husband that he might have married into the family for the CWS season tickets, but in all honesty, he just loves his "Horns" and even I'll admit they make the Road to Omaha more than anyone else.

Spending Father's Day at the new ballpark was my husband's favorite gift.  He even was willing to cheer for that other team from Texas.  Miss A was very confused that not all Texas teams wear Burnt Orange and she wondered if maybe they were sponsored by a bank since their shirts all said ATM. 

I'll admit that I actually spent "game time" at a nearby hotel lobby knitting away. We only have so many tickets to go around and having Nana and Papa share this father's day with the kids and hubs was more important than me watching another baseball game. 

I already have my "cotton candy man" and it's rude to knit while watching a "real" game.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Top Four Least Favorite Animals and Other Things

I think sometimes that people think I exaggerate the nuisances of Miss A and that I expand on the funny things she says, but I really couldn't make this stuff up.  Last night, on our way home from the CWS, it was just Miss A and I as the rest of the crew makes it a little longer.  They actually watch baseball and are not just there for the snacks.  Needless to say, it was an hilarious road trip home when you combine an exhausted little girl, the opportunity to talk without anyone interrupting, and a willing listener.  Miss A was in rare form.

My husband had warned me that Miss A was looking for another snack, and when she entered the car, she told me that Dad said you might get me something on the way home,  "You know Mom that Dipping Dot was a rip off, so small you couldn't believe it."  She was starved. 

Rarely, do I fall for the McD, but it was close and I knew they had $1 drinks and chocolate chip cookies, so I fell for the plea.  I think that cookie got her talking so it was worth the money!

Miss A asked me if I knew her four least favorite animals in the world.  No, I didn't.  Her list includes bugs of all sorts (especially those poisonous spiders and tarantulas), tigers (cute when they are babies, not so much when they are older), jaguars (while they are really cute, they are so fast and scary to meet in the dark) and finally snakes (especially those killer ones).  When asked if she'd ever run into any tigers or jaguars in the dark, she laughed at me saying, "Of course not, she lives in a neighborhood."

After we discussed my least favorite animals and figured out that all but one of them rhymed:  cats, rats, bats and bugs, we moved onto various other topics.  Not to leave anything out, we covered her birthday in August, gift ideas, party ideas and, of course, why she thinks we should consider getting her another American Girl Doll.  She'd like a "Just Like Me AG Doll," but not the one with short hair or the the one with her eye color.  According to Miss A, she's changing.  Her hair might be growing longer again and, while her eye color might stay the same, "it's OK if it not exactly like me." 

I'm thinking those cookies were a cheap way to get her to talk.  I wonder if they'd work on Mr. C on those days that he thinks more than speaks, especially early morning rides to workouts when my husband says he's barely awake.

So what are your four least favorite animals?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Life Lessons: Judge Not!

Field of Vision : photo courtesy of NBC

It's so hard not to judge first and act later.  My first instinct too often determines how I react to a situation or how I look at a person.  Try as I might I know that it's true that I, like most, seem to judge harshly and forgive slowly.  As a preteen, I used to quote the Bible verse: "Judge not least ye be judged " to my older brother when he tried to correct my behavior.  Yep, I used the Bible to shame someone which I am pretty sure was not God's intent!  Blame it too much bible knowledge and not enough maturity.

Over the past few months, I've been working on changing my judging ways.  I'm trying harder to realize that too often my thoughts on people or things would be much different if I knew their circumstances first.  If I understood the "why" behind the ways, I would be less judging.

This was the discussion we had on Saturday night as we watched the Walmart Family Movie Night presentation of Field of Vision.  This is a story about a high school football star who has the courage to stand up against a good friend who is bullying the new kid in school.  We also discussed how we need to summon up that kind of courage when we see bullying/evil happening and don't want to say anything or rock the boat.  Standing back and not getting involved is not any better than actually committing the wrong.

VBS is this week at our church.  I was involved in pre-registration for the past few months so I was not planning on working much this week.  However, on Tuesday, I was asked to be a buddy to a little boy who was struggling with discipline issues.  Now, I'll admit I'm not a discipline expert or a child psychologist, but I have been a mother for fourteen years so I was willing to give it a try. 

Come to find out this little boy was prejudged.  He wasn't a discipline problem.  He was little boy who is hurting, afraid of loud noises (imagine 300 plus kids singing VBS songs), and just needed a little attention.  He's really a sweet little boy who now that he knows someone has his back and is really having fun at VBS. Yesterday, he even sang the songs and did the actions after a few moments sitting on my lap talking it through.

What a beautiful lesson about finding out "why" of a circumstance of a child who outwardly appeared to be a problem.  A lesson I'm hoping to learn myself as well as pass onto my children.  Everyone has "Stuff" that impacts how they behave and act. 

That's what we loved about the Family Movie: Field of Vision as it showed both sides of the story. You saw the perspective of the football star and "innocent" bystander along with the viewpoint of the boy who was bullied.  Not only did we get to sympathize with the victim, but you could understand why it would be easier to walk away and not get involved.  What a life lesson for our kids and me.   We need to look beyond the surface to really see the person and then to stand up for those we see who are suffering.  In the end, you'll never regret standing up for someone else.

How great it is that God always sees past the surface and sees us only as fully loved child.

Oh to have His Eyes.  Can you imagine that ?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Splash! Summer Bible Study Gathering

I know I've sung the praises of my Mom's Bible Study group before.  I love these ladies, not only for how they hunger for learning more about God, but for what wonderful mothers they are.  In years past, we've tried to get together a few times over the summer at our lake house and this year we tried a new adventure; swimming at one of the mom's backyard pool.

Since it's summer and harder to get everyone's schedule to mesh, it was a small but mighty fun group.  The weather had looked a little questionable in the morning ,but by the time we got together it was perfect for jumping into the water.  I'm not sure that the kids were out of the pool for more than 10 minutes and only then to grab a few cheese balls and snacks. 

It's so much fun to watch Mr. C take on the role of fun older brother to the littler kids. In fact, I think he might have added two new families to his babysitting Rolodex. I love to see what a nice young man he's becoming and, at times like this, I can really see him blossom.

Miss A showed off some of her new swimming skills and not only tried the slide, but jumped off the diving board and had not problems.  She is really becoming a fish.  I think the peer pressure of seeing all the kids having a blast got her psyched up.  When we went to swim lessons that evening, she jumped off the diving board at the pool at least ten times to the shock of her swim teacher and mother!

Miss M was in her element mothering one of the little boys in the group.  He doesn't like to swim so they played a game where he would tell her to dive or throw balls and she was in heaven.  Her compassion and loving ways are a joy to see and gives me hope on "those" days that nothing is going just right.  Guess we need to get that babysitting class organized with the Girl Scouts soon and she might give Mr. C a run for his money.

Finally, it was a blast for me.  I brought along my knitting and just so enjoyed the fellowship of these new and old friends.  It makes my heart so happy to have these great Christian friends that I've found in the midst of my everyday world.  They are so fun, kind, and grounded.  We missed those who weren't able to join us sitting around the table enjoying casual conversation, but trust that next time, we'll have even more join us and we'll be able to enjoy anther sunshine filled afternoon with great friends.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

She's A Little Bit Rock N Roll

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Monday night, Miss A's Daisy Troop went to a local "party zone" for a Rock N Roll Dance Party.  The girls did such a great job selling GS cookies this year that it was time for a celebration and, knowing these girls, they didn't need much of an excuse to party.

Miss A was so excited for the night that not even an exhausting day at VBS could deter her from getting her groove on.  We tried to make her new shorter hairstyle rocker style, rather unsuccessfully, but cute none the less.  Of course, she also insisted on wearing a dress that could twirl a little. 

The Dance Party was a blast. The hostess did a great job of engaging the girls and having just the right mix of oldies and new songs for dancing.  Watching Miss A and her friends perform YMCA and La Bomba was a riot.  These girls really know how to shake it.

I told one of the other moms that this was perfect for this age. They can shake and shimmy as it's still cute and adorable.  Swinging their little hips and wearing cute little skirts and dresses is easy for six and seven year olds. It's the preteen years that get tricky.  I'm not sure that M's friends would have had nearly as much fun due to too much peer pressure to get it just right.

Miss A cracked me up dancing, limboing, and just have an old fashioned good time.  On the way to the party, she had told me she hoped it was more ballet type dancing than hip hop. She didn't wear the right kind of shoes or have the right moves for all that jazz. 

Miss A, I think you have all the right moves whatever you do! 

Celebrating Mid Summers Night: Early

We are trying to pass along both a Norwegian and English cultural heritage to our children.  When opportunities to impart some traditions from our backgrounds to our children whether in the form of a Royal Wedding or at a Mid Summer's Celebration, we dive in fully.
Mid Summer's is a big deal in Norway. Bestemor has stories from her childhood celebrations in Norway and she and Bestefar had often participated in a Mid Summer' s Celebration in the states.  When we heard that the local Scandinavian clubs were uniting to put on a local Mid Summer Festival, we decided it's something we just had to try out.

It was a perfect evening for the event, except for the crazy Chicago-type winds.  The poor May Pole took a little bit of a hit with the wind, but the Scandinavian Flags were waving proud.  Miss M and Miss A loved seeing the festive native dancers, they enjoyed the kids activities including the face painting, and the fishing for "Swedish fish."

Mr C was most excited to see the Viking Reenactors duke it out and we all enjoyed learning about the various weapons and uniforms the Vikings wore based on their status and wealth.  It was amazing to watch them battle.  Miss A said that she's just glad no one was actually injured in the process.  I love that Mr. C is not afraid of a little Troll.  I'm not sure his youngest sister was so easily convinced he was a good troll.

I think my Norwegian husband loved singing the Norwegian National Anthem in Norwegian and meeting the Norwegian Consul who lives in his hometown Houston. What was most impressive of the ceremony, however, was that while we celebrated the culture and the countries of our "homelands," we also sang the US National Anthem and the American Flag was prominent in the festivities.  . 

Because the Swedish meatballs looked somewhat dry and to continue our cultural experience, we had dinner out at Qdoba and ate fajitas and tacos.  Just call us the multicultural family! 
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Monday, June 13, 2011

Eagle Scout Project: Phase One

It begins.  Mr C's Eagle Scout project is now underway. Thanks to some generous help from a local waterproofing business the Tires are no more. 

Mr. C and my husband had spent a couple of hours a few weeks ago trying with all their might to start removing the tires. Tires that we soon realized weighed about 300 pounds and were firmly planted in the sand and dirt.  Uncle S to the rescue, we contacted one of his clients who owns a big waterproofing business and as such has crew of guys with tools and equipment that could quickly do what our own muscles could not. 

Mr. C contacted the contractor, shared his power point presentation with the company, and expressed his need for help with the project.  Not only were they generous with their time, they complemented Mr. C on his professional plan for the playground.

Lets just say there is no way we could have done this part of the project without them.

On Friday, our "knights in shining armor" aka a Bobcat arrived and spent about an hour removing all six of the tires, and then as my husband explains a "God Thing" happened and they ran out of diesel fuel meaning the equipment was sitting there waiting.  This gave my husband and the principal time to brainstorm about the removal of the Zip Line while the crew went and got more diesel. 

We hadn't even figured out how we were going to remove the huge poles planted in concrete six feet down.  After a few minutes spent unscrewing the support beams, the bobcat knocked down the poles in just minutes.

What a huge blessing.  To top it all off, it was quickly determined that the school district would need to remove and dispose of the tires and poles, a job that we figured we would be left to handle.  Thank you God for going ahead of us in this project and working out details that we hadn't even thought to ask help with.

This is only Phase One of multiple levels and there is a lot of work ahead, but Mr C is moving along.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Final Days of Girls Only: We Add Dad!

With only two days left before Mr C returned and the days of just being the girls went away, we decided we needed to pack in all the fun we could.  Thankfully, Dad was able to join us for the final day of fun though, as he likes to point out, he is not a girl.

Friday, the girls and I got our hair cut which, for Miss M, meant cutting 4 inches off the bottom and for Miss A it means, for the first time in a very long time, she's sporting bangs.  A few months ago, we switched our hairstylist and we now go to a good friend from Dance who cuts hair in her home.  What a fun way to support a mom who wants to stay at home with the kids.  Both girls are loving their new cuts and they look adorable.

The weather was perfect for a trip to the Zoo so we packed a picnic basket and took in a few of the highlights of the zoo.  The joy of Zoo membership is you can come and go for a short time and not feel bad if you spend more time on the Carousel and feeding the fish than actually looking at the animals.  Just saying.

Saturday, after Miss M's softball game, we decided to capitalize on the perfect weather to go to an outdoor art festival.  While we aren't really in the market for Art, we love to wander about looking for deals and will take any opportunity to have some fun.  That's just what we did.  Have some fun. We made our own "art," enjoyed a snow cone, and, of course, did our favorite thing; people watch.  The most unique part of the whole show had to be the Quick Artist who made a "masterpiece" in five minutes time. 

Now that's talent.

All in all, we had a great time just us girls and dad, but we were thrilled to welcome Mr. C back home on Saturday night.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

When Mr C is away the Girls Will Play

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This week, Mr C went on his 8th Grade Trip with my parents to Mall of America for three days.  He returned last night in time for football practice and then headed out again this afternoon for a few days at a friend's cabin. 

You could say it's been a little lonely around these parts.  Both my husband and I have commented that besides missing Mr. C, we are even more thankful that we have a few more years with him around.  Guess the boarding school option is really out for us!

Lest you think that we've been sitting around moping, the girls and I have tired to make the most of our girl only time.  We know that there are just some things Mr. C is unwilling to do as fun as we think they might be.  We've painted our nails, watched some "kids" shows, had dance parties in the family room, and today we went to the mall.  Miss A started swim lessons and, since the heat was near 100 degrees on the first day, we met dad for a before dinner swim at the outside pool. 

Each summer, I have the kids write up a Summer Fun List.  On the list are some ideas of things the kids would like to do; library trips, lunch at a park, shopping at the mall, swimming party at the lake, etc.  We knew that were a few things on our list that Mr. C would balk at; the mall and pampering at home among them.

Today's trip to the Mall, however, might just be one for the memory book.  You see we had no agenda, nothing we really needed it was just an old fashion trip to "window shop" and while Miss M came armed with cash, Miss A had only three dollars and a dream.

We pulled up to the Mall and, as we exited the car, Miss A says "Let's do this!" and off we went.  Only minutes later, Miss M was hit with the reality of just how expensive it is to shop when it's your own money.  At Justice, she gushed over a few things, but quickly saw the price and declared that it was outrageous.  At Claire's, she wished for pierced earring's and was even willing to swallow the price: free until I showed her that you had to buy the "starter set" which wasn't free. No fair says Miss M.

For months, Miss A has been hinting of wanting a new Build a Bear and since I'm not one to give in to such requests and my husband had given the green light to spoil just a little, we finally made our way to bear heaven and both girls picked out their new friends; Sugar the Bunny and Cinnamon the Bear.
Miss M was even willing to fork over the money herself for Cinnamon, but I know how hard she's worked for it and told her it was my treat. 

I'll admit I'm not really a "shopper" I normally go to the store, get what I need, and get out. But today, I enjoyed lingering with my two favorite girls.  We giggled, we enjoyed laughing at various outfits, we dreamed big and bought small, and to finish off our day, we even enjoyed a cookie in the food court.

It's been fun to just be girls for a few days, but I'm looking forward to having our entire family back together later this weekend!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Our Type of Camping

We spent the night at the Lake on Saturday and it was the perfect way to end a hectic week.  Relaxation.  No computer or phone to interrupt our peace and quiet and mom even left all her VBS registration materials at home. We needed this time away as it had been a week filled with dance rectal rehearsal and performance, a great aunt's funeral and VBS preparation.  It was a week, according to my husband, in which you could tell I was otherwise occupied.  The laundry and the dust piled up!!

At least I told my husband, you could tell that I wasn't on top of my "home" game.  That at least implies that normally I am on my game.  Yeah me.

Thus, by the time we arrived at the lake on Saturday after A's last soccer game, M's softball game and the end of season soccer party, we were ready for downtime.  I'm not even convinced it took ten minutes for us to leave our burdens at the door and just enjoy freedom and family time.

Mr. C fresh off his Boater Safety Course was itching to drive the boat, Miss M and Miss A were anxious to catch waves at Sand Mountain and the parents were looking forward to just relaxing.  When we came upon the new Sandy Bottoms, a little cove that was recently excavated at the lake with sand volleyball and perfect sandy beaches, it was waiting for us to grace it's shores.

This is what we love about the lake so much, it's as if on that thirty minute journey we leave behind all that has weighed us down.  By the time we get the boat out of the dock and headed to the Marina for both gas and snacks, we've taken on our Lake Persona: No Worries, No Cares, Just Fun.

I tried to explain this phenomenon to my husband on Saturday night over our first s'mores of the season; it's like our way of camping.  We are roughing it for the weekend and just enjoying the simple things of life.   To which P said it was hard to call it camping when you go around the lake on a power boat, enjoy all the comforts of home, queen sized beds, indoor plumbing, and, of course, air conditioning. 

Some might call that living the high life, I call that camping for our family!
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A Whole New World

I don't really think of myself as a nervous Nell, however, I'll admit when I got an email a week ago from the football coach at Mr. C's future high school about the start of summer conditioning, I really wanted to throw my hands up and say "not my little boy, he's not playing football!"  You can get hurt playing football.  Why couldn't golf be a fall sport?

You see, at Mr. C's all boy high school, you are required to participate in a fall sport as a freshman.  It's a way for the boys to bond and become a part of the school community.  It also serves to boast up the number of player of the team.  At his school, your options are football, cross country and tennis and, since Mr. C has never played tennis and doesn't love running long distances, his choice was to try his hand at football.  He's never played team football, unless you count the neighborhood backyard teams that he's created and played on. 

In other words, he's new to the world of competitive football making me a nervous mother.  Mr. C however is excited yet cautious.  This summer, he'll be participating in conditioning (weightlifting) four days a week and football mini camp once a week.  He'll learn the basics of the sport while making new friends.  According to the coach, a number of the players are out for football for the first time, and he'll be taking them through all the drills to get them ready for fall.

Last week, one of Mr. C's friends who is also going out for the football asked C what he bench presses.  C's response was "that's the position I hope to play." 

I told Mr. C that maybe we could get the doctor to send a note to the Coach saying that Mr. C should not see a lot of action.  I even volunteered to "pretend" he had a history of concussions and shouldn't get hit.  He wasn't interested in getting an out, and, while I love his integrity, I must confess I've been praying for Mr. C to see no more than 1 minute of real action on the field. 

I think he'd make an adorable water boy.  Don't you?