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Archive for May, 2011

Owen’s actual birthday fell on a Tuesday, and the Cardinals were at home.  We felt it was high time our boy went to his first Cards game.  To get him ready for the game, our birthday present to him was a Cardinals hat and shirt to wear to the game.  And he wore them proudly.

Despite the fact that we had an awesome view of the stadium (and these were the cheap seats!)…

Owen’s favorite part of the game BY FAR was the ballpark food.  He downed his hot dog and then we bought him his very own box of popcorn to keep him busy so Trav and I could enjoy more of the game.

He lasted until the top of the 8th and then we called it.  He probably could have stayed longer, but at that point the caffeine he’d ingested by drinking almost my whole diet coke had made him giddy and hyper (awesomely healthy birthday meal, huh?) and we decided to leave while everyone was happy.  The Cards were ahead when we left and held onto the lead to win against the Phillies.  Nice b-day present for Owen!

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To celebrate Owen’s fourth birthday he had his first ever drop-off party!  He invited 10 of his best friends over for a cowboy-themed party, and everybody arrived dressed in their best wild west gear.  We were really hoping for a nice day and after a week of 80 degree (and hotter) weather, it seemed possible.  Unforturnately last Saturday greeted us with lots of rain and chilly weather.  Bummer.  Instead of having our rowdy cowboy party outside in the backyard we are stuck indoors.  But we definitely made the best of it! 

Before the party we snapped some pictures of us in our cowboy gear.  This picture is the only time that Molly would wear her cowboy hat all day long.

Travis greeted all the children at the door in character…his  name for the day was “Pecos Trav”.

When the kids came in, I had them go to the dining room to make their own cowboy vests out of brown grocery bags.  We had markers, crayons, and some fun foam wild west stickers.

Here’s the finished product on our little cowgirl.  She didn’t mind posing for the camera to show it off!

By the end of our craft, all the kids were there and the parents had made their exit.  Pecos Trav came in and announced that someone had robbed the bank and hidden their loot in our basement!  All the cowboys and cowgirls made their way downstairs to gather as much loot as they could.  Here’s a picture of them mid-hunt.

Then we all gathered to count our coins and see who found the most loot.  I think our winner collected 30 gold coins!

Next we divided the kids into three teams for a stick horse relay.  Some kids got it, others not so much.  Owen being one who didn’t quite get it…he entertained us all with a little stick horse dance.

After this we settled everyone into a circle for a wild game of Cowboy, Cowboy, Sheriff (the wild west version of Duck, Duck, Goose).  When the cowboy hat gets placed on your head…RUN!

Snake Bite was next!  This is the cowboy version of Hot Potato.  I made a snake out of socks, glued on some button eyes and put a plastic Easter egg filled with rice in the tail making it a rattlesnake!  Trav was in charge of turning on and off the cowboy music and nobody wanted to get stuck with the snake!

Next we headed over to the big cowboy for a game of Pin the Badge on the Sheriff.  Abbey was kind enough to help out at the party and she got the job of blindfolding the kids.  Some kids got really close to putting their badges in the right place…

…others were a little off the mark!

After a while, the kids were itching to play with the toys in the basement so we gave them some free play time.  I love this picture…the girls playing with the princess castle and the boys playing with Owen’s guys.  I was thankful that we have both girl and boy toys so we could keep everybody happy!

While the kids played, Abbey and I took small groups of hungry cowboys and cowgirls upstairs to make their own trail mix.  I’d filled upside down cowboy hats with all kinds of different trail mix ingredients (cheerios, goldfish, pretzel sticks, rice chex, raisins, M&Ms, marshmallows, and yogurt covered raisins).  Each kid got to scoop their own favorite ingredients into baggies to create their own special mix.

After making (and snacking on) trail mix, it was lunch time!  My parents and brother were at the party to help out and they were on food duty.  My dad grilled up hot dogs and my mom served up mac n cheese and grapes…kid food!  We got the kids all settled at the table and snatched a quick group pic…and almost everyone was looking.  I had high hopes of getting everyone to pose together in their cowboy hats but our two hour party was a little too rambunctious for that!

And then it was cake time!  My mom and I had fun making Owen’s cowboy boot cake the night before.  I’m realizing that the more time I put into these cakes, the harder it is to cut them apart! 

Owen thoroughly enjoyed every last bite of his cake and ice cream.

After everyone was good and sugared up, we headed back downstairs for present time.  Everyone was eager for Owen to open their present and some even opened them up for him.  It was hilarious and he didn’t seem to mind.

While Owen opened presents, we got all the stuff ready for the kids to take home.  Each kid took home the vest they made, a cowboy hat, bandana, and a sheriff’s badge.

And then the parents were here!  It was the fastest two hours ever.  But before she left, we had Owen and Ella pose for a picture.

It was such a fun party.  Owen had a blast and has talked about it constantly ever since.  We were so thankful for all the help we had…my mom, dad, brother and Abbey.  When I was planning the party I wasn’t sure we would need all the extra hands but we sure did!  It was so fun, but I’m really glad we have 11 months before the kids’ birthday seasons starts up again!

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i love mother’s day!

For a lot of reasons.  My favorite reason being the Mother’s Day Tea that Owen’s class has put on for the moms for the past two years.  Saying it’s precious just doesn’t do it justice.  I’d been looking forward to this tea for months.  So you can imagine how happy I was when Molly decided to throw a doozy of a temper tantrum when she saw her brother on stage and I wouldn’t let her join him.  I had no other choice but to take her out of the room.  I was literally BEGGING her to stop screaming so that I could see her brother’s big moment when one of the teachers came out and offered to take her and play with her so I could watch Owen.  I probably would have given her to anyone right about then so I quickly took the teacher up on her offer.  I didn’t miss much and got these adorable videos.  Owen got really into the motions this year…I was so proud of him!  (He’s in the back row, second from the left.)

Here’s a shot of him with his class.  (The 2-year-old class is in the first row and Owen’s 3-year-old class is in the back.)

And I had to get a picture of Owen and his teachers, Miss Laura and Miss Patty. 

This memory was super sweet.  My actual Mother’s Day was great, too!  Travis and the kids made omelets for breakfast for me and I wasn’t allowed to do any work all day long.  It was a treat!  I sat outside and read a book all afternoon while the kids slept and didn’t feel even a bit guilty about it.  Later on we went over to my parents’ house for dinner.  Again, the moms weren’t allowed in the kitchen at all so these three took on all the meal prep responsibilities!

After the meal, my mom was a super grandma and didn’t mind a bit when the kids opened all her presents for her.

And what’s Mother’s Day without a picture with your mom?  Here’s my mom with her two kids:

And me with my two:

I am reminded every day what a blessing my two sweet babies are.  I’ve always wanted to be a mom and it’s the best, most rewarding job I can imagine!

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owen is four!

Yesterday my little guy turned FOUR!!!  Where did the time go?!?  Here are some things that are new for Owen this past month:

*He can write his name!  He’s taken a big interest in writing lately (finally!!) and loves to practice writing his name.  It’s cute to hear him talk about it when he writes his letters.  When he gets to the E he says slowly,” Down, across, across, across.”

*He can get dressed all by himself!  This is huge for Owen.  He’s been working on this for a while (and fighting me every step of the way) but he can finally do it!  I can’t even tell you how wonderful it is to lay his clothes out on the floor and then leave the room.  He still needs help with buttons, snaps and zippers but otherwise he can do it all!  He can even put on his own shoes.  Halleluia!

*He tells me everyday that he wants to marry Molly.  It’s really sweet.  This morning they were sitting at breakfast and he said, “Molly, let’s get married.  I’ll be the prince.”  Then she responded with, “Ok!  I be princess!”. 

Molly Moo is 25 months old!  Here are some things that are new for her this month:

*No more gaga (paci) for her except in the car and the crib!  I plan on taking it away all together in the fall but I want to reserve the right to give it to her on vacations during the summer.  When we’re done traveling we’ll work on saying goodbye for good.  The first day of removing gaga privileges was HORRIBLE.  She cried for about 5 hours straight.  My new rule became “If you want to cry, do it in your room.”  So all day I kept carting her back to her room and telling her she could come out when she calmed down.  After 5 hours, she finally caught on.  Now she says “Bye Bye gaga!” in the morning when she wakes up and we put it in the dishwasher together. 

*Now that the gaga is gone she talks SO MUCH MORE!  Her vocabularly has taken off!  Complete sentences, questions, observations…I love it.  My favorite is her interest in watching me get ready in the morning.  She’ll look at me and say, “Mommy, you cute!”.

*She loves to cook with me.  I don’t prepare any meals by myself.  I always have my little helper.  She pulls her chair up to the counter and “helps” in her own special little destructive way.  Our favorite things to make are mini pizzas on flour tortillas.  She loves to spread the pizza sauce, sprinkle the cheese, and lay out her own pepperonis.  There’s something really awesome to a kid about eating what they’ve made on their own.

*And she must be getting ready to cut her 2 year molars because she’s drooling like an infant!  I feel like I need to dig out her old bibs from her crazy reflux days because she’s soaking all her shirts. 

More on Owen’s super fun cowboy-themed birthday party coming soon!

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a precious day

Yesterday, May 15, 2011 was a day I’ll never forget. 

For the past several months Owen has had a lot of questions about Jesus.  We’ve had a lot of good discussions, and we could tell that he’s been doing a lot of thinking.  I teach the preschool kids on Wednesday nights at our church.  One Wednesday a couple of months ago I taught the kids about how Jesus died on the cross.  We made bracelets (many of you might know the kind I’m talking about) with the five different colors of beads that represent different parts of the Jesus story.  The black bead represents the sin in our hearts.  The red bead represents the blood of Christ and the sacrifice he made for us, dying for our sins.  The white bead represents the pure heart that we are given when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior and ask him to forgive our sins.  The green bead represents growth in Christ.  And the yellow bead represents the promise of eternity in heaven for all those who believe.  This bracelet has sparked a lot of conversation in our house, particularly about how Jesus takes our sinful heart and makes it clean.  As we’ve talked with Owen about these things, we’ve told him that Jesus can come into his heart and forgive his sins if he’ll ask him.  His response to that is always something along the lines of “Ummm…I think I’ll do that next year.”

But Sunday was different.  We have been attending the 8:20 service at our church as a family since I started my job in August.  We don’t offer a children’s program during this service so Owen comes with us to “big church”.  Over the past several months, he’s gotten so much better at participating with us in worship.  I love having him with us because of the discussions we’re able to have with him about what goes on during “big church”.  This past Sunday our church served communion.  While we took communion Travis and I whispered to Owen about what the bread and the juice represent and told him that this helps us remember what Jesus did for us on the cross.  As we were doing this, Owen looked up at me and said, “Mommy, I want to ask Jesus into my heart today.”  I got Travis’ attention and we told Owen that as soon as church was over we could pray together.

After church we asked him again if he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart and he excitedly responded “YES!”.  Travis and I took him up the balcony so we could have a quiet place to pray with him.  Before we prayed we asked him what it means to ask Jesus into his heart.  He said, “That Jesus died on the cross to forgive my sins”.  Travis asked him if he could help him pray and Owen agreed.  Travis had him repeat after him and Owen very enthusiastically professed his desire to have Jesus forgive his sins and be his Savior!

It was precious.  Travis and I have been praying for our children to understand their need for Jesus since before they were born.  Seeing Owen begin to understand, question, and then receive Christ as his Savior was one of the most amazing experiences.  He was absolutely thrilled and was very excited to share his news with Pastor Mark, our church’s pastor.  Pastor Mark gave Owen a big hug and then prayed with him.  It was all so special. 

It just so happened that I had my camera with me that day because I needed it for part of my job.  I love that these pictures captured the sheer joy and excitement on his face.

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deal of the day

Aren’t these great??

I’ve been wanting galoshes for the kids forever but didn’t want to fork out the $16 Target was asking for them.  But today when I was at Target I found these on sale for $3.94!!  The kids love them.  Owen even wore them to the post office today because he thought they were so cool. 

If you want a pair, they had a ton of them.  How can you pass them up for $3.94??  I sure couldn’t.

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During Owen’s rest time, he has 15 minutes where I have him read by himself in his room.  A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across a big box labed “Listening Center”.  Over my years of teaching I’d collected lots and lots of books on tape to use in my classroom.  (Those Scholastic Book Orders kids bring home from school have perks for the teachers as well…the more books the kids order the more points a teacher collects to buy books for use in the classroom.)  I was SO excited to come across this box, and for the last week I’ve been teaching Owen how to use a tape player…totally foreign to children these days.  We have a couple of books on CD which he’s figured out how to use quite quickly, but learning how and when to rewind is a challenge! 

Molly loves to read with him, too.  This morning I needed 15 more minutes to get ready and the kids were getting a little nutty.  I actually caught Molly in the act of giving her baby doll a swirly in Owen’s mid-flush pee water.  Awesome.  I asked them if they wanted to listen to a book and BINGO…something to occupy their attention so I could get dressed.  He gets a bit frustrated with her because he knows which buttons to push and which not to push and she doesn’t really care, but overall it has been a fun thing for them to do together. 

My new idea is to record my voice and the voices of other family members onto CDs so he can listen to his favorite people reading to him during rest time.  How special will it be for him to hear Nana and Bubba read to him any day of the week?  Now I just have to figure out how to do that.  I’m pretty sure Travis’ Mac can do anything so now I just have to get him to let me use it…

Anyway, those old teaching supplies are coming in pretty handy right about now!

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