Thursday, September 25, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

I'm Thinking Of Changing The Name Of The Blog To "Star Wars Anecdotes."

I know you are used to seeing video such as this on the blog-



It doesn't get boring to me. After all, I spent 9 good months of my life growing that little person.

It excites me to no end that he is a skilled Padawan - the force is clearly strong with him.

However, what you haven't seen is this-


That's right, beloved reader(s).

Abby is now "brave of Darth Vader."

She told me last time we went to MGM that she was ready to participate in the Jedi Training Academy. But, she chickened out at the last minute and I really couldn't blame her. That Darth Vader dude is pretty scary.

I guess she got tired of being left out though because she was quite enthusiastic when they asked for volunteers. She earned herself a spot right on the front of the stage.


Drew is right behind her and our little friend Sherilyn is on the left side of the picture, also in the front.

Marci and I couldn't believe that all three of them were picked. We silently thanked Yoda that we didn't have to deal with the tears that would certainly have come if one of them had been left out.


Here, the Master is explaining to Abby that Darth Vader is a little bit taller than she is so she better aim high with her light saber.

My sweet, little angel didn't even flinch. She nodded her head and accepted her mission with a very serious look on her face.


This is where I fully expected her to back out.


But, she rocked it!



She was very proud of herself for earning her first Jedi Training Diploma.


It goes without saying that Drew has a whole new level of respect for his little sister.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What's Not To Like?

Drew has now been in kindergarten for about a month. And, I'm just so happy to tell you that he loves it! He has an amazing teacher, he's made several friends, he has learned how to write his name, he is a pro at cutting with scissors, and he loves his "specials" classes (PE, Art, Music, and Computers).

His teacher sent me an email yesterday about room mom stuff, but she also added that Drew has been very motivated this week.

Only, she referred to him as Andrew because that's what they do in kindergarten. They shun the nickname and insist that the children learn to write and respond to their full name. Now Drew tells us all that we should call him Andrew, and when he introduces himself to someone he does it as Andrew.

I should get the hang of this by 3rd grade.

Anyway, Drew has been thriving in all areas lately and this felt like a good opportunity to brag on him a bit.

Drew is a car rider (or, as he says, a van rider) and there are several teachers that assist with car line. His favorite is one of his PE coaches - he just thinks she hung the moon.

Last Friday, as Drew (sorry, I mean Andrew) climbed into the car she said to me, "You know, I've never seen another student that is so happy to be here." I replied, "Oh, well you are his favorite so I'm sure you get all the extra smiles."

"That's really nice," she said, "but it goes beyond that. He always has a great attitude and a smile on his face."

Then, on Monday I dropped him off with a different teacher. He jumped out of the car all smiles and said to the teacher, "Good morning! Are you having a great day today?"

After greeting him and sending him on his way with a pat on the back she leaned into the car and said, "He's always very happy to be here. It's so refreshing."

He's getting great feedback from Sunday School too. The teachers are usually different each week, but each one always comments about his manners. When we ask how he did during class they always reply with something like, "Oh, he's Mr. Polite." or "He has such great manners." And, one day I ran into one of the young helpers from his classroom in the church bookstore. She walked over to me and said, "I just wanted to tell you that your son is so polite."

It is the same with baseball - his sport for the fall. This is Drew's first team sport and he is loving it! He gives so much effort at practice both with the team and at home with daddy. He is learning and improving and very excited to be playing baseball. The coach sent me an email after the first practice that said Drew had "great enthusiasm and great manners."

And, finally, I took Drew for a haircut last week. As he was finishing up, a mother walked in with her two daughters (I later learned they were in 1st and 4th grade at his school). The older daughter said to her mom, "I like that boy's haircut. He is so cute." The younger one chimed in "Oh, I like his shirt. He looks cool." I smiled to myself as I eavesdropped on the compliments.

My baby is growing up faster than I can keep up with. The journey has been filled with many bumps in the road, just as it is for all children. But, it is a wonderful thing to see him embrace life with happiness, treat adults and children with respect, and to hear others admire him.


It's a good thing for this mama's heart.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Billy Blanks Taught Me Everything I Know.

Last Saturday, Matt went to Gainesville to watch the Gators beat Miami. I decided to take the kids to Disney during the day. I wanted them to have a very fun but very exhausting day. I had big plans about getting them home, bathed, fed, and to bed by 7 so I could read or scrapbook or sleep.

So, to recap: fun day for kids at Disney = early bedtime so mama can relax.

We met up with Marci, John, and Sherilyn - our favorite Disney buddies. We are pros at seeing these parks. We pretty much follow the same routine each time we go - especially with Magic Kingdom. We've got it worked out so that we rarely ever wait in line. Someday, we will write a book.

And, we might include funny pictures like this -


I just love tourists. These ladies were so busy taking video and pictures that they didn't notice when I began taking pictures of them. I thought it was fair after one of them took a picture of our kids.

No kidding.

We sat down on the boat (we're on Small World here) and next thing we knew the lady on the far right turned around, pointed her camera at our kids, and took a picture. Marci and I just looked at each other in shock!

I sure hope our kids make it into her photo album.

After we finished Fantasyland, we headed to Toontown to meet some characters. We didn't wait in line at all to see the princesses. This is usually a 30-45 minute wait so that's a big deal! I love Disney after Labor Day - no crowds!


A princess kiss for Drew!


Abby loves Sleeping Beauty - they talked about their favorite color. Pink, of course!


We love it when Minnie and Mickey are together! It's pretty rare that you get to meet them at the same time so it's really fun when it happens!


Drew, John, Abby and Sherilyn on the people mover -


They are such sweet friends!


Blah, blah, Disney, blah, blah - this is where the story gets interesting.

An important thing you need to know at this point is I did not have my house key with me. I had taken the car key off my key ring because I like to keep it in my pocket just in case my backpack gets stolen. I always have my ID/money and car key in my pockets because those are the things I couldn't do without.

And, you might think I'm paranoid about things getting stolen, but our double stroller was stolen from Disney many months ago, so you just learn to be really careful.

Like I said before, Matt was in Gainesville. He spent the morning doing some yard work and left several hours before we got home. He locked the front door on his way out. However, he had also locked the door into the house from the garage. Normally, we use a slide lock (high enough so the kids can't reach it) on that door when we are in the house - just so the kids can't get out. But, Matt had come in from the yard work and locked the door in the garage (out of habit).

In case you're lost at this point, all you need to know is that all entry points to my house are now safely locked.

We got home around 4:00. We (read: me) were so hot and tired and so very, very hot and cranky and tired and hot. Abby went to open the door and called out to me that it was locked. I went over to help her and discovered (much to my absolute horror) that it was indeed locked - with that darn slide lock.

Now frantic, I called Matt. It wasn't his fault, but I didn't know what to do. I should have had my house key with me but I didn't. He couldn't help - he was 2 hours away.

At this point, I could have called it a day and gone to my mom's house. But, I REALLY wanted to be in my house. I wanted to feed and bathe the kids and put them to bed so I could relax.

You see, I had these plans...

We walked around to check the front door and the sliding doors in the back. No luck. We walked back to the garage and I was so frustrated. The kids were crying to get inside and I felt like joining them.

Fueled on adrenaline, I walked up to the door and I kicked it as hard as I could. It opened with a loud bang.

The best part about it was that my kids didn't even flinch. They just walked in like it was no big deal that mommy had just kicked the door in.

On my very first try I might add.

I called Matt to let him know we had made it inside and he was shocked. He said he was about to call and tell me to try and bust in, but he didn't really think I'd be able to do it.

Later, I assessed the damage.


Not great, but not awful either.


Let this be a lesson to you all - don't mess with me.

I'm stronger than I look.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Please Don't Show This To Her Sunday School Teacher

I was at my mom's house for about 15 minutes yesterday. I had finished early with an important "business lunch" and had some time to kill before I had to pick Abby up from school. My mom's house is very close to Abby's school and it often has many chocolate options available at any given time.

It just seemed like the best place to go.

There wasn't much chocolate (where were the fun-size Milky Ways, mom?) but I did notice her camera out on the counter. Now, my mom rarely uses her camera so I figured something worthy of pictures must have happened recently.

I turned on the camera and found several pictures of my brother in a tux.

Doesn't he look handsome?


He had some fancy-schmancy party this weekend that was a black tie affair. I don't think I've ever been invited to a black tie event. In fact, I was sitting right next to Austin when he asked Anna if she wanted to go to the party with him. She couldn't go because she had a wedding to attend.

I casually mentioned to Austin that he had forgotten to invite me to which he replied, "Well, like I said, it's black tie..." and then he burst into laughter.

I'm thinking maybe I should take back that "handsome" comment.

So, I scrolled through the pictures taken just a few days ago all the while contemplating Austin's extensive social calendar and wondering how I turned out to be the most boring member of my family.

Next thing I know, I see this -


These pictures are from June.

I've never seen them.

I'm assuming my mom was babysitting Abby and they got a little bored. She obviously didn't have the Wii yet or they never would have been bored.

I laughed out loud as I looked at these funny pictures of my sweet girl that I had never seen.


This devil costume belonged to Austin. My mom made it for him to wear for Halloween sometime in the early 80's. I actually remember her sewing that costume for him at our dining room table. I can't believe she still has it after all these years.

Well, I guess I can believe she still has it since I recently made her throw out dozens and dozens of magazines from the 1980s that she said had "really good articles that I still want to read someday."

Ahem...

Back to the issue at hand.

I knew I had that Halloween picture so I looked through photo albums last night and found it!


So, who do YOU think is the cuter devil?


I think the answer is quite clear...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ballerina Girl


Back to school also means back to dance class for Abby. She LOVES ballet and tap so she's really excited!

A few weeks ago we had a special morning out and went to the dance store to get new ballet and tap shoes and some new dance outfits. She had outgrown everything from last year. Abby had so much fun trying on all the leotards and tutus. She twirled around the dressing room as she proclaimed each one "my very, very favorite!"

This outfit did end up being her true favorite so we had to bring it home with us. And if I would let her wear it every minute of every day then she certainly would.

Here, Abby demonstrates first position...



And, arabesque...


Here she is mid-twirl...


This, she tells me, is her "sassy pose."


Enough pictures for now - we're off to ballet class!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Good Life

Matt and I went to the first Gator game of the season on Saturday. It was a 12:30 game vs. Hawaii.

12:30.

End of August.

Oppressive heat. Sudden rain showers. Then it becomes muggy, oppressive heat.

So, we attended the game the only way I'd be willing.

That would be indoors with some air conditioning.

Oh, I love the screaming fans and the atmosphere of the stadium - we experienced it for years as students there. But now I'm old and tired and not willing to start drinking at 10 in the morning on game day.

For the past few seasons we've been able to sit in the box (courtesy of Matt's company) for one game each season. It's not quite the same as sitting in the stadium, but in my book the pros easily outweigh the cons. So with tickets in hand we lined up Grandma and Grandpa to babysit and headed to our Alma Mater.


The box is a pretty fancy way to watch a game. There's lots of yummy food, snacks, desserts, and drinks. It's all free and it's all you can eat! The view is great and the air conditioning is like heaven on earth.

How many more times do you think I will mention the air conditioning?

Anyway, Ed (the man who organizes the company box for our little group - he's awesome) caught me walking back to the box with my second plate of food and asked me if I was having fun. I'm pretty sure I replied, "This is the life I was meant to live."

I'm nothing if not straight to the point.

Another great thing about the box is there are several tickets available that allow friends and family to come sit in the box during the 4th quarter. Matt was able to grab two, so we invited Anna and Kyle to join us for the 4th quarter of the game.

The arrangements were all made through about a dozen text messages - my first attempt at ever texting anyone (sad, I know). It was quite exciting and I'm sure it will soon be a new addiction. I was using Matt's Blackberry and at one point I looked over at him lovingly and said, "Yeah, I'm going to need to get me one of these things."

We had a great time with Anna and Kyle. They were ecstatic to be out of the aforementioned muggy, oppressive, I feel like I can barely breathe heat.

They were also more than a little pleased to have access to free beer.

Oh, to be young again.



Oh, and yes, there was a football game. A little one. Involving our beloved Gators and the amazing Tim Tebow. The final score was 56-10 so there were lots of reasons to cheer. And sitting next to Matt is fun because he knows all the player names and backgrounds so he fills me in on all the good stuff.

I used to know all of this important Gator information and then I gave birth to my children. And now I'm required to remember their names and background and stuff.

Child rearing is very complicated, you see.

Anyway, we've got an awesome team this year and Matt is thrilled because he'll be spending lots of Saturdays up in Gainesville this season.

It's great to be a Florida Gator!

Always has been and always will be.