Monday, June 30, 2008

Here's the apple, there's the didn't fall far.

When I was in about fourth grade, we lived in a great two story house in Hudson, Wisconsin, a small town within spitting distance of the Twin Cities. My room was situated just above the back porch overlooking a vast field and miles of forest. It was an idyllic place to grow up, full of exploration, sledding, and outdoorsy fun! Another cool thing about my room was the fact that I could climb right out my window and sit on the roof, or at least the part of the roof that hung over the porch. I did this on occasion feeling very rebelious and super cool. I'd sneak out there, sit for a minute, then hustle back inside before my mom caught me. I never asked if I could do this because I had the slightest feeling that perhaps she would not think too favorably of what I thought a marvelous idea. I had day dreams of sitting out there, reading one of my new Babysitter's Club books, breathing in the fresh air that whipped out of the trees and into our back yard. It made me feel just like the little girl in The Secret Garden, who always had a fun and unique place to sit while reading.

Well, one day, I got real balls and decided I wanted to explore further. I don't know where my parents were that I had such gall to give this a try, but they were apparently a safe enough distance away that all commen sense was able to flee my scrawny body and lead me into the way of stupidity - a common ailment of youth. I tentatively tiptoed down this stretch of roof, past my brother's window and followed the roof up to the right where it got really steep and really high. My goal was to make it to the chimney and survey the land around me, then go back to my room, victorious. My plan would have been fool proof had it not been for the nest of horse flies that I stepped in on my ascent. Suddenly swarm by giant, hungry creatures, their kaleidescope eyes surveying their next meal, my brain screamed, "abort, abort!" Biting my lip to keep from calling out and bringing undo attention to myself, I made a hasty retreat, nearly sliding off the roof to a certain hospital visit. Luckily, I caught myself and managed to get back into my room in one, albeit slightly swollen from the bites of about 500 flies (okay maybe not that many...) piece. I'm not sure if my mom and dad ever heard that story so if this is the first time, uhhhh sorry I did that?

Aaaanyway, my point is that today as I was watering my plants and Sloan was supposed to be having rest time, I suddenly look over and the little Houdini is standing in the landscaping outside his window all proud and beaming. He figured out how to unlock his window, push it open, push up the screen and climb out. Thankfully, we live in a ranch so this is not that big of a deal, save for the fact that I have no doubt he will do this again, and likely at a time when we are not watching because doggonit if the kid isn't just like me! And if we ever move into a house with second story bedrooms, you better believe there will be some kind of alarm attached to it because I know a little too much about what Sloan is thinking in that adorable little head of his. Of course, I've no doubt he will outsmart me at some point and that someday he will probably share a story with me of the dumb things he did as a child while I unknowingly went through my day thinking my little angel was in his room reading. What goes around comes around huh?

Friday, June 27, 2008

29 kids, 16 (ish) adults, a pinata and a sprinkler...Are you tired?

Fireman Sloan sliding down the pole.
Getting ready to run the relay. They had to run through a sprinkler, climb the ladder and rescue a cat from the swingset (tear off a picture of a cat).
Some of the kids waiting oh so patiently. The relay ran much smoother in my mind. They were all a little too young to understand the concept. They just mosied along - it took forever!
Taking a swing at the pinata.
Playing in the sprinkler

Well, I did it. I hosted the biggest birthday party EVER! Seriously, I'm still getting the hang of these party things. I think next year will be much smaller, and Chuck E Cheese will host. All in all, though, things went well. No major injuries, only a few tears, and a lot of fun! At least for the kids. I think they all had fun. They seemed to. I had fun too, but not in a "Woohoo this is so great wish I could do this every day," way. More in a, "Man I'm so glad my son is having a blast at his birthday party even though I'm enormously overwhelmed and dog tired," way. It was sweet to watch Sloan get so excited and have so much fun with all his friends. We have great friends. God has really blessed us. Sloan got a bunch of super fun presents that will excite him for about three days, at which point he'll likely return to wallowing in boredom. But those three days will be bliss. Aaaanyhoo. Tomorrow is Ballwin Days, Sunday we have another birthday party, Monday is packing day and Tuesday we head to Florida. I can't believe it's already here! Oh, and the cake, though not a work of art, was indeed delicious. Thank you Betty Crocker - the world is truly a better place thanks to you!

A Baker, I Am Not

We're having Sloan's 5th birthday party today. His birthday is not for a couple of weeks still, but since we're going to be out of town we're throwing a party early. One thing that drives me nuts is my complete lack of ability to make a nice cake. Martha Stewart would probably melt into a puddle of bitter tears if she saw some of the dreadful concoctions I've made, including this one:

which is Sloan's cake for today. Even with a super duper cute cake pan that bakes a giant cupcake, I still manage to come out with a lopsided mess. Oh will taste good because I was smart and just went with good old Betty Crocker. I'll update more later with pictures from the fire fighter birthday party!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Lion's Choice Small Dipped Cone...

$.29 well spent...

Why eat from the top when you can bite off the bottom?
Or the side?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A new word and a terrible excuse

At lunch today, I told the kids that after naps we would spend a little time cleaning up. Sloan's response:
"Mom, I don't think I can clean up today. Sorry. My knee hurts, and it's telling my tummy to hurt a little bit too and I think my heart is also a little bit hurting so I just think that I can't help you clean up today. I think I will just go play outside and ride my bike and you can clean."
Me: "Well, if you have that many things that are hurting you, I don't think you should go outside. You should probably just lie in your bed all day."
S: "'s just hurting me to clean, not to play."

Later, when Lee and the kids were wrestling, Lee gave Sloan a good shove. He fell over laughing, shook his head and said, "That's phenobulous." What a kid.

Monday, June 23, 2008

In the spirit of full disclosure

I am overwhelmed. "Why?" you ask. Well, to start, my house is literally a pig sty. Seriously, we are living in filth. And I am frustrated that it's so totally nasty in here. "Well, why don't you just clean up?" you say. My answer to that is this: I don't know how to clean with three screaming kids under my feet. I really don't. I am a person who gets overwhelmed easily. Too much noise stresses me out. I can't have a conversation if music is too loud. TV commercials make me feel like I need a dark, padded room to escape to. And crying kids make me crazy. I just don't handle too many sounds meshing together very well. And for me to concentrate on a task, I need some peace and quiet. Thus, my severe issue with cleaning. I just can't get my house cleaned with the kids around. Vacuuming is fine and I can clean the occasional bathroom. Dishes are okay, though not easy, and getting dirty laundry into the washer is pretty basic. However, getting said laundry out of the washer, into the dryer, folded and put away is not my strong suit. I blame it on the basement laundry - I don't know what I'll do when we live in a house with a first floor laundry. Mopping - pretty much out of the question unless I can have a few solid hours of no kids. Which leads me to this post. I don't remember the last time I mopped my house. There-I said it. Here is a picture of what my pile of dirt looked like after sweeping the kitchen last night.

"Not too bad," you say. Well, thanks, but the picture doesn't do it justice - there was a crapload (pardon my french) of dirt and that was just the kitchen pile. That was not the piles from the other three rooms I swept and I didn't even get to the bathrooms or our bedroom. Combine all the dirt in our house together and I think we could re-landscape the front yard.
What were the kids doing while I swept? Well, the older two were actually, miraculously, playing together in the basement. Although Tia ended up wetting her pants for the umpteenth time. I think she's digressing in potty training. Landon sat in his high chair and screamed his head off as I frantically swept, feeling like crying the whole time myself.
Lee, trying to be so helpful, got a bunch of laundry out and started folding and putting it all away. What I really wanted him to do was hold Landon so he would stop crying. But that's the difference between men and women isn't it? A crying baby does not phase Lee. He just tunes it out. I, however, literally feel like I'm going insane. I ended up grabbing Landon and holding him while I ran the vacuum through the house, at least getting some of that nasty dirt up off the floor. But then I couldn't get the vaccuum back into the closet because it looked like this: So I just left it sitting in the hallway.

I ended up with a massive migraine. I think my brain was swelling in an attempt to break away from the craziness of overload. So I went to bed early with visions of dirty floors plaguing me all night long. And now I am awake, still with a headache and still with dirty floors. What will I do today? Probably go somewhere to escape the mess. Out of sight out of mind right? In other news, we've had tons of fun the last few days, though that's what's contributed to my messy house and headache. Lots of playtime at the park with friends, plus a trip to Six Flags water park for me and the big kids (so fun!), plus a trip to the Zoo yesterday, combined with Lee being out of town for the weekend makes for one tired mama. So, I'm off to start another day, but I think it shall be a little more low key because I need a break from all the fun!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A different sort of date night

*update: A few have asked how we found out about this - We got a random email from someone we don't even know that they were shooting in the area and needed extras. We applied and were accepted. Lee's application words were something to the effect of, "ruggedly handsome man, 6'2", athletic build. Has a beautiful wife who would love to be a part too if needed." When I talked with the lady to confirm, she asked if I was the beautiful wife with the athletic husband. I hope they weren't sadly disappointed when we walked up...
Last night, Lee and I dropped our kids off at my parents house and headed out for an evening away. This, however, would not be the ordinary, boring, gogetsomedinnerthenseeamovie type of date. Oh no. We had something much more interesting and random set up. We drove to the set of a low budget film (veeeeery low budget) shooting in the St. Louis area and for the evening, we were peasants in Rome circa A.D.411. The shoot started at 8:00 last night. It ended at 3:30 in the morning. We're tired. Let me tell you a little about what it's like to be a movie star.

We arrive to the park where the shoot is to take place. It's in an area of St. Louis that I would classify as slightly scary. We drive all the way to the back of this park, which was beautiful, and pull into a river overlook with a large monument built in honor of Louis and Clark. It's an impressive structure and becomes the focal point of the funeral scene which we will shoot. We immediately get fitted for our costumes. We are "upper class" peasants. I know, I found that description a little random myself. Lee's costume was actually really cool. I wish I had a picture but we weren't aloud to bring cameras. He looked quite authentic. He even got to carry a sword, which he thought was super cool. I, however, looked like the wicked witch from the West on crack. The clothes themselves were not horrible, but the wig they put on me was horrendous. They oooh'd and aaah'd about how cool I looked, but I didn't buy it. I looked really frightening. Next was makeup - there wasn't much needed. They just dabbed foundation all over us to make us look tan and dirty.

Anyway, we were dressed and ready by 8:30. We started the actual filming at 11:00. Whew. This movie business is tough. There were a lot of interesting characters there. Many who were self professed "actors" and took it very seriously. There were a few children, who impressed the socks off me. They had awesome attitudes and were angels throughout the whole thing. I got to thinking of bringing my own kids on a shoot like this and shuddered at the horror of it.

The confirmation of my awful hair came when the director was placing us in different spots and looked at me and said, "Your hair is suspicious." I replied (in my best Monica Gellar voice) "I Know!" Alas, no one told me to take the monstrosity off my head, so I found a piece of wire and tied it back a little, crudly taming the beast. Sigh. Finally, after all night of shooting and reshooting the same scene over and over, they called that's a wrap and Lee and I jetted home and fell exhausted into bed. All in all our acting debut was fairly fun. I mean, the two of us really rocked our roles. We were stellar. We were filming the funeral of the king and let me tell you, we will move you to tears. It was worthy of an Oscar. Now all we have to do is sit back with a cold drink and wait for Speilberg to call...should be aaaaaaany minute now...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Long Lost Friend

I recently reconnected with a dear friend who I've not seen in many, many years - like nine? Wow. My sweet friend Wanida and I had very little time together, but God knit our hearts in a special way and I'm thrilled to be back in touch with her (thank you Facebook!) Wanida and I attended Baylor together and met our sophomore year when we were a part of a touring group of singers. We travelled all over Texas and a few other southern states singing and worshipping the Lord together. At the end of that year, our group did a two week tour in Spain - totally amazing! The first semester of my junior year, I packed up and headed off to Ukraine for four months. Wanida left with a group doing a semester long backpack through Europe. About midway through our semester's abroad, I got a message that Wanida was going to skip part of her group's time in Poland to come stay with me in Kiev. We had a blast for those few days, romping through the streets of Ukraine, hopping Metro's, exploring cathedrals and museum's. We even sang together in one of the Metro stations just to see if anyone would throw money at us. I think we got a couple of kopeks. It had been two months since I had contact with an American and I was so grateful for that time. A couple of weeks after that I decided I wanted to meet Wanida and her group in the Czech Republic. Thus began one of my greatest and most terrifying travel experiences ever.

My host family bought my train ticket to Prague and assured me that it was an express train that would deliver me to Prague in 12 hours. They were wrong. Just in case you're wondering, there is no such thing as an express train in Ukraine or Russia for that matter. After a fairly decent night's sleep on the rocking train, I packed my stuff up and looked out the window, only to feel my heart plummet. The signs at the station we were stopped at were in Ukrainian. This was when I began to suspect I was in for a long trip. I stopped the conductor, a very jovial fellow with rosy Ukrainian cheeks and asked him how long until we got to Prague. He informed me that it was actually a 36 hour train ride. I had not brought any toiletries with me, figuring I'd just borrow Wanida's and I had no snacks and was now completely famished. To make matters worse, they put a young Iranian man in the small compartment with me and he kept trying to get me to sleep with him. Literally, all he could say in English was "I love you," and "Will you sleep with me?" Oh and "Kelli, come down please," which he said over and over in the hopes that maybe I would change my mind and hop in bed with him. Creepy little man. After fighting off his wandering hands for about an hour, I climbed up onto the top bunk and parked my butt there and did not get down for another 8 hours when I thought my bladder would bust. When we finally arrived in Prague he tried to kiss me. I managed to turn my head fast enough to only get a bunch of slobber on my cheek. Then began the adventure of finding Wanida and her group. I had no way of contacting her. But first things first, I had to buy some food, toothpaste and shampoo. I purchased the items and went into the bathroom of a Kentucky Fried Chicken in the heart of Prague and washed my hair in the sink. I've never felt better! Long story short (or shorter, at least) I finally found the group after a full day of wandering, being accosted twice more by foreign men, one who forcefully grabbed my butt (jeez!) and had the time of my life running through that magnificent city for a week. The train ride back was less eventful as the woman in charge of my car was more sympathetic and let me have the room to myself the whole time.

After that semester, Wanida did not come back to Baylor. At least not for school, she did come to visit. But God had a different path for her. And now, she is on another journey with her husband of four years and I am so in awe of what they are doing - that's why I've shared all this - well, that and I've been reminiscing. Wanida and Joe left the US in Feburary and have been travelling the globe, searching their hearts, feeding their minds, chasing their dreams and pursuing God. They have now settled down for a little while in Amman, Jordan. You can read about their journey on their blog, In The Company of Humanity. I would encourage you to visit it and be blessed. It's really cool what they are doing. Wanida, I'm so grateful that the Lord gave us precious times together. I can't wait to see you again someday and hear first hand all the things you are learning!

Monday, June 16, 2008

The weekend in vignettes

Friday morning: I pile the kids into the car and take them to Best Buy to get Lee the Tiger Woods Wii golf game. Taking three kids into Best Buy by yourself is not very fun. Of course, two seconds after we get in there, Tia has to go to the bathroom. I'm seriously questioning the potty training thing...Afterward we head to McDonalds for playgroup since it's raining.

Friday afternoon: Lee is on the couch and Sloan says, "Oh Daddy, guess what? We got you a present today." I quickly shush him and remind him it's a secret. "I didn't say it was a golf game," he protests.

Later that day, we decide to go to the mall to let the kids play and get a bite to eat. I tell them to go to the bathroom before we leave. I hear them giggling in the bathroom and look in to see Tia sitting on the toilet peeing and Sloan standing in front of her, peeing in the toilet between her legs. That's disgusting.

Saturday: Tia wakes up with pink eye, which I can only assume she picked up at McDonalds. I head to a blogger's guild meeting (more on that later) and then pick up a prescription that the pediatrician calls in, thank God, because when I get home, Tia's eye is swollen, very red and almost crusted shut. My doctor calls in a refill just in case one of the other kids gets it. I love her.

Saturday night: we go to the Chesterfield Aquatic Center, which is the greatest public swimming place I've found and I snap this picture of Landon. What a stud.
Incidentally, my baby is 6 months old today. Where does the time go? What a joy it's been to have him these last 6 months - what a bigger joy it's been to have him sleeping through the night this past month! Here is a picture of his mad sitting up skills!
Sunday morning: Sloan is in the shower and suddenly remembers that this is the day he can tell Lee what his present is. He comes running out naked and dripping wet and shouts, "Daddy we got you Tiger Woods golf! Can we play it?"

Sunday afternoon,:Lee wants Lion's Choice for lunch. Not what I would pick, but whatever, it Father's Day. Lee plays Wii golf all afternoon, until the US Open starts, at which point he parks himself on the couch and proceeds to whoop and holler at the TV all evening - taking a short break to go play a Volleyball game for a recreational league that he joined. Random, I know. My parents join us for dinner and watch with us as Tiger Woods manages to pull off a putt at the 18th hole to force Rocco Mediate into playing again today. After that ends, Lee flips over to the NBA championships to watch LA defeat the Celtics and force game 6. Eight years ago I would have known nothing about either of these events, nor would I have cared. Today, I'm excited to see who wins the US Open. That's what love's done to me.

It's a beautiful night last night and we sit on the front porch for awhile. I go to bed and Lee falls asleep on the couch on our front porch. He wakes up at 3:00 am and comes to bed. All in all, it's a good weekend.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day and Happy Birthday

Happy Father's Day to all you daddy's out there, particularly the three that most affect my life. To my husband, who is such a great dad. God has so greatly equipped Lee with the goods for fatherhood! He loves playing with the kids, chasing them around endlessly while they squeal in both horror and delight. He reads with them, loves on them and cherishes them. He tells them over and over how much he loves them and how proud of them he is. He teaches them about who God is and His grace in their lives. He prays with them. He's just a phenomenal dad. Today Tia had pink eye and could not go into the nursery at church, so she stayed with us. While we were in our small church class, she snuggled up on Lee's lap and held her arms out for him to rub them. She looooooves it when you rub her arms. (There's a good chance, she inherited that from me.) And Lee loooooves to oblige because when you rub her arms, she sits really still and leans back against you and it's so sweet. I could see his face melting as he shared that special time with her. I'm grateful for him.
And of course, to my own dad, who spent his share of time rubbing my arms in church as I grew up (and who recently has started rubbing Tia's arms for her - seriously, if you want to get on her good side, rub her arms!). How grateful I am for such a wonderful father who poured into me as a child, who was always there, cheering me on, building me up, laughing with me and loving on me. He is a man of honor - a man of God who loves my mom and has no problem showing emotion toward any of us. My dad is a giver and has given so much to so many over the years. What an example he is to me! My dad was my role model for what kind of husband to find and he was a most excellent model. He is still a voice of wisdom and grace in my life and in Lee's life and I'm grateful for him every day!
And then there's my father-in-law, another amazing man to whom I am indebted to as he himself raised three godly young men, his middle one being my dear husband. I love sitting and talking with Herb and listening to his wisdom and knoweldge. He is a blessing in my life.
And finally, a big Happy Birthday to my nephew Cade who turns eight today! Cade was born just four weeks before Lee and I got married, so he holds a special place in our hearts. What a fine young boy he is turning out to be - smart, helpful, funny and a sports nut! We love you Cade. Glad you had fun at your party! Enjoy the day everyone!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Truth is Hard to Find

A new issue has recently cropped up with Sloan, which isn't really fair because we haven't fully broken him of his other issues. One behavioral problem at a time please! But he's recently discovered the art of lying. For instance, the other day, when I asked who brought the baseball bat in the house, he told me the wind blew it in. Nice try, but not true.

So last night, after Russian school, he came out with a very sour look on his face. When I asked him what was wrong, he said his teacher, Miss Katya, was "bad" to him. Apparently, she had to get on to him for some reason, but he would not tell me why. Sloan does not handle other grown ups telling him no very well. He gets very offended, which is good in the sense that it usually shapes him up pretty quickly. But bad in the sense that he makes such a big deal about it that whoever told him no feels terrible about it. This is what our coversation went like in the car on the way home:

Me: Sloan, what happened?
S: Miss Katya got mad at me.
Me: Why? What did you do?
S: I didn't do anything!
Me: Honey, Miss Katya would not get mad at you for nothing. What happened?
S: Nothing!
Me: Were you not paying attention.
S: I was paying attention. I was listening and everything.
Me: Were you not trying to speak in russian?
S: Yes! I said all my russian words and even sang the songs.
Me: Sloan, something must have happened. I need you to tell me.
S: Nothing happened. She was just bad to me.
Me: Sloan, either you tell me what happened or I'm calling Miss Katya to ask her.
S: Well, you might get mad.
Me: I'm not going to get mad. I just need the truth.
S: Well, I didn't do anything. I didn't push anybody.
Me: Ohhh. Who did you push?
S: No one. Not Bolya.
Me: Why did you push Bolya?
S: I didn't!
Me: Are you telling the truth?
S: No. I pushed Bolya. But it was an accident! I was just playing.

Anyway, it went on and on like the the whole way home. I finally got the story out that he was being a little too wild and pushed Bolya and made him fall down and Miss Katya got on to him to calm down. We went through the same song and dance when we got home too as he explained it to Lee. Lee and I finally told him that we were not mad at him, just disappointed that he was not paying attention in class and we wanted to know if he learned a lesson. His answer: "Yeah - don't push so hard." Hmmm...close. How about don't push at all. Anyway, we also told him that he needs to be truthful with us and have trust in us. So we're now working on learning to tell the truth. One more life lesson for the little man!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My first Fling

Yesterday we went to the zoo with my friend Nicole and her boys. It was a blast and it wore us all out. Fun times. Today it's off to the pool with Suzanne and tomorrow we'll hang out with our lovely neighbors, Carol and Julie and their kiddos. Summertime and the livin' in busy! But oh so fun. Because I don't have too much interesting to share regarding kids, I'll follow in Nicole's footsteps and list a few things I'm not so crazy about and a few that I am. Dana from Mamalogues calls it a fling. So here goes:

Thing's I'd like to fling:
- Landon spitting up on me right as I walk into the gym. And not just any old spit up. He yacked his prunes all down my white shirt - prunes he'd eaten two hours earlier. Nice. Luckily I had a tank top on underneath - a female wife beater. I was lovely.

- Sloan's "quiet" rest time, which he's supposed to be having right now. Everytime he drops one of his cars on the hard wood floor, it sounds like a gunshot through the house and sends waves of frustration up my spine. His idea of quiet and mine are very different. We're working on a comprimise.

- The hole in our roof that's been there since the ice storm of January 2007! Birds have nested in it and had babies now. But we just don't want to shell out the money to get it fixed.

- People who pick their noses while driving their cars. Uhhh, I can still see you!

- The stench in our basement that I keep trying to ignore because whatever is causing it will probably cost money to fix.

Stuff I'd like to keep around:
- Landon's wet, sloppy kisses and the way he thinks it's funny to suck on my chin. Only when there aren't regurgitated prunes in his mouth, that is.

- The way Tia is saying new words every day and it's about the sweetest thing I've ever heard. My favorite is the way that she says Sloan's name. "Hol." When she says it she sounds like a little bird cooing. The other day Sloan spit at her and she placed a prissy hand on her hip and said, "Hol, don piss." (translation: Sloan, don't spit) Awesome!

- The pride on Sloan's face when he manages to get himself going on his bike all by himself. Priceless.

- Ingrid Michaelson. I just love her coffee shop feel and her breezy voice. It makes me smile and bob my head like a fool.

- This tea. I drink it almost every night and a lot of mornings. It's the best tea I've had in a long time and it makes me feel all girly and sophisticated, even if I'm sitting in my pajamas with psychotic bed head. It needs no additives. Simply add hot water and enjoy!

- My husband, who is just awesome and so much help around the house. Last night he could tell I was exhausted so he made dinner, then cleaned it up and helped get the house in order and pretty much did everything. He rocks! And babe, just so you know, Brad Pitt's got nothin' on you (wink).
Okay, those are the things I'd like to fling and the things I'm crazy about. What about you? Do share!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Wedding Montage

The pictures in this post will definately make their wedding video's one day. I made attempt number two at finger painting this afternoon. We used the paints up. I'll not be buying more. As they happily painted away, I decided to run inside and quickly throw a load of laundry into the dryer. This is the sight I found when I returned. I was not all that surprised really. I mean, seriously, leave two kids alone with finger paints and what do you think will happen? Anyway, they had fun and I got good pictures. And I'm also throwing in a picture of Landon because he's just so yummy.
This is Sloan's Incredible Hulk shot.
Tia had paint down to her toes, in her hair and in other places...I have a picture of Sloan in this same outfit. I need to find it and compare the two. This picture just makes me smile.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Invest in Yourself...And Gain Interest

That was the phrase on a bracelet that I saw in Branson this weekend. What a fun weekend we had. Very relaxing with a bunch of fun thrown in. But visiting Branson is a trip. Right next to the bracelet mentioned in the title was another one that said Give Unto Others and Much Shall be Given To You. The dichotomy between those two phrases cracked me up.

Seriously, where else in the world would you be able to go to a movie theater and also shop for straw woven purses, tacky head scarves and other worthless and meaningless trinkets that likely litter a majority of the landfills in our state? Oh, and while there you can also hear a little history told by a creepy looking statue of an old man who speaks with a weird southern accent. And before you leave the theater, don't forget to check your weight on a large scale which likely displays the number in letters bright enough for all to see - ummmm...I'll pass thanks. And then, of course, you can sit on The Love Throne and measure your ability for affection. Good times.

We also attended a show which was very fun. But you know you're slightly out of place when the MC starts asking if anyone's celebrating a special occasion and the guy sitting at your table says he's there to celebrate his 80th birthday. He was followed by two people celebrating their 50th birthdays, one celebrating 55, and two couples celebrating 50 years of marriage. Barbara looked over at Becke and I with her eyebrows raised, wondering if we wanted her to announce our birthdays. We both hastily, and perhaps a little too loudly, said that's okay. We're good. The show did turn out to be good, though. I was a little worried at first because the MC was a ball of cheese who was apparently vying (sp?) for a Ryan Seacrest actalike trophy. We kept waiting for him to say, " Ammmmericann Idol."

The best part of the weekend was, naturally, the shopping. So many stores! And while I could have spent pretty much every penny we have, I was good and restrained myself, but thank God for birthday money! Shopping's a lot more fun when you can actually leave with a bag in hand, rather than wallowing through each store lusting over items you'll never get to own. Me likes to shop and really likes to buy!

To top off the great weekend, I came home and Lee had done several loads of laundry, changed the sheets on all the beds, done the dishes and ordered pizza for dinner. What a guy! Did it matter that the kids were playing outside in nothing but their underwear? No. It did not. At least they weren't naked. We have more class than that. Just slightly more apparently. Seeing what a great job he did made me realize that I can, and probably should, go out of town more often. What a great bonding time for him and the kids. I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, it was a really fun weekend, although a little too short. It was nice to get away and have some girl time and do fun girly things and not feel rushed or guilty. Thanks Barbara and Becke for such a fun time!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Russian American School

One night a week, Sloan attends the Russian American school here in St. Louis. This is his second year at the school and I am just so proud of how well he is doing. He is by no means fluent in the language, but obviously that's because he doesn't hear it every day. I try to speak to him when I can, but my language skills are just not what they used to be. For those who don't know, I minored in russian in college and have spent a fairly significant amount of time in Russian and Ukraine, both studying and travelling. The semester I studied there I was about 90% fluent. I would now put my flency at about 70%. I'm kind of like a dog. I understand pretty much all that's said but I can't speak that well. Anyway, when I found out a school was opening here in St. Louis, I though I'd enroll Sloan. He is doing great. He understands a lot - probably 70-75% of what they say, he can read short three-four letter words (he actually reads better in russian than in English because I work on it with him) and he knows a lot of songs. Tonight was their summer concert called Hello Summer! It was conducted in typical russian form - shove as many people into as tiny of a room you can and for two hours have different kids come up and do their thing. Super cute, but it was hotter than Hades in there so we left a little early. Sloan had a blast - Landon and Tia, not so much. The kids did little skits, recited poems and sang songs. Even Sloan's teacher said at the end that she was so proud of how well he did. He is the only child in the whole program that doesn't have at least one russian parent, so he's at a major disadvantage. Anyway, here's a couple of pictures. I got some cute video and tried to download it but blogger was being weird. Next week I'll put it on YouTube and then post it so you can see his awesomeness! I'm off tomorrow to Branson for a girl's weekend with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. I'm looking forward to some R&R and retail therapy.

This is Sloan waving at us, which he did about 500 times that night. So cute.
The kid beside Sloan was annoyed because Sloan was clapping and apparently it wasn't a clapping song. He lept shushing Sloan, but Sloan was like whatever man, I feel the rhythm!This is Katya trying hard to entertain herself.

At the end was a puppet show and Sloan was the main character. That's the video I tried to post. It's a long story, but they all had a little part to sing and Sloan got to destroy the house at the end. Right up his alley!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I'm Thirty Today...

And I don't feel at all different than I did yesterday. My kids are still fighting, my house is still a mess, my hair still needs to be cut and colored, the laundry still needs to be put away...

Huh. I guess I am getting old. Ten years ago I believe I was thinking "WOOOHOOO! Just one more year till I can officially drink," and "I wonder if Lee will propose to me this year," and "How many papers do I have to write this week?" Oh, and "Daddy, can I have a little more money?" Hmmmm...Time's a-changin'.

*ammendment: Ten years ago I had just met Lee and was quite smitten with him. He did not propose until the next year however. Sorry. Apparently when you get old your memory fades...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Joyful Landon

My sweet Landon is by far the most joyful baby I've had. He giggles and grins all the time and has been doing that for months. While Sloan and Tia weren't unhappy babies, I do not remember them being this smiley or giggly. I just adore Landon's little laugh. Before I put him to bed we have a little game where he buries his face in my neck and I kiss his cheek over and over and he just laughs and squeals. It's seriously the greatest thing EVER! So here is a little video I took of Tia making him laugh yesterday. Don't you just want to eat him up?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Milestone weekend

On Friday, we went to the park to play with some friends. Two of the little boys there, twins Zach and Kohl, were riding their bikes without training wheels. Sloan was totally in awe and came home determined to take the training wheels off his bike. The second Lee got home, Sloan was all over him and within 10 minutes, the training wheels were off and Lee was running back and forth next to Sloan. I'm so proud of how quickly he got the hang of it. I got some really cute video of him learning, but I can't figure out how to rotate it so I took another video this morning. It's short, but you can see what a pro he already is! He only needs help getting started. Once he's going, he does really well. What a fun milestone to hit, not only for him, but for us as parents. It kind of makes me get a little pang of mommy sadness because it's just evidence that my baby is growing up! But on the other hand, it's so fun to see him so determined to do something and stick to it until he get it. Here's a picture of Sloan first learning, followed by a video clip I took this morning.

Last night, we celebrated my own little milestone...turning the big 3-0. Actually, my birthday isn't until Wednesday, but Lee had a party for me last night. It was so much fun. What a blessing to be able to celebrate with people who mean so much to me. The weather was perfect and the kids did awesome. That's another thing...a 30th birthday, when you have kids, is almost like a 5th birthday. There were toys everywhere, a coloring and play-doh table - I even debated getting a pinata for them, but decided that I didn't want to clean up that kind of mess after my own birthday party. My mom got tons and tons of food and it was all so awesome and delicious - just FYI, Dierbergs makes a killer birthday cake! Thanks mom for all the work you put into it!

Turning 30 is not that big of a deal to me. My dad always says that the older to get, the younger old looks. Boy is that true. When I was in high school, and even college, I thought 30 seemed soooooooooo old. Like, ancient. But I don't feel old. Of course, I do still have two days to go. Maybe I'll feel old on Wednesday. I'll let you know. But when you have three kids, turning 30 is just not that big of a deal. It's actually kind of nice because now I won't get those looks of pity when people ask how old I am and see me with a baby on my hip and two more hanging on my legs. I had my first at 25 - that's not exactly colonial. So, in two days, I will officially be able to say I'm a grown up. I'll finish this post with a picture from last night. It shows the extreme fun the kids were having. I think I counted 34 for of them! That's a lot of kids. But they all did awesome! Thanks to those of you who came. It was ver special for me to have that time with all of you. I am blessed indeed. Oh, and Happy Birthday to my sister-in-law, Becke, who turns 31 today! Thanks for paving the way for me! Love you. Sorry this post has been so scattered. Tia is running around like a little hellion getting into everything. I need to get off the computer now before the house is destroyed.