Friday, December 11, 2009

Let the Snow Days Begin

10:00pm Wednesday night:
Blizzard and gale warnings for our home town.

6:00 AM Thursday morning:
Phone call from the school saying it was a "snow day"

6:30 AM Thursday morning:
I see T rushing in the house with his pj and boots on, carrying a ruler: "Mom, we got eight inches of snow last night. I measured in three places, not counting near the house. 'Cause it's warmer near the house and all the snow doesn't stick -- there's only six inches there."

The beginning of a great day.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November in a Nutshell - H1N1 Attack and a New Sport

That H1N1 virus grabbed a hold of my family. Everyone except T got it. R had it for four days; I had it for 7 days; and M had it forever, then got pneumonia plus another virus on top of that. He's been sick for five weeks. M was feeling a bit better last Saturday -- he was almost like himself. He was so excited to feel better that he volunteered with the Cub Scouts and went to church with us. It was great! The bummer was that the next day, he felt totally cruddy again! So, he's recouping again and will hopefully feel better soon!

R is having fun with hockey and has his first game on Saturday. Hopefully he can play. You see, the poor boy has a sore back. His back has been hurting on and off for about eight months or so. We've been taking him to a chiropractor for three months now. X-rays show a misalignment in his lower-middle back and his neck. His neck is a lot better and we expected to see progress on his back by now. He was in so much pain yesterday that he was in tears when M picked him up from school. So, we kept him home from school today, got him a massage and adjustment. He also has a MRI appointment on Friday and an appointment with the pediatrician tomorrow. We need a referral from the pediatrician to see a specialist, so we're getting that going. Please keep this poor boy in your prayers.

It isn't ALL pain and sickness, though. About four weeks ago, both boys were honored at school. They each, individually, were given the Moral Focus Award for the month by their teachers. Each teacher gives one award per month. This month's moral focus is Wisdom. I'm so proud of them! Also, we had parent-teacher night and saw that both boys are getting nearly all A's (one B each.) Not bad at all! All that we ask is that they do their best in school. And they definitely are doing their best.

Another new thing going on in our house is that T has a new sport. He's taken up lacrosse. I know, strange sport. The only thing that I associated with lacrosse before a month ago was the polo shirts! He has practice every Thursday and loves it! Here he is all in his gear, giving me a fashion show in the kitchen.

I don't know if you've ever seen lacrosse in action, but it's quite physical...almost like football, but with sticks. I can assure you that I didn't realize the physicality of the sport before we signed him up for it. I pictured something that sophisticated, rich people played, after which they had a spot of tea. Anyway, he's just learning the skills right now -- like how to catch a ball with a basket on the end of a stick. He loves it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dances With Squirrels

There are a few things that really drive our dog crazy. Specifically, I'm talking about the Lady with the Schnauzer (or probably just the Schnauzer itself) who walks past our house four times a day (twice up and twice back); then there are the deer; and finally, in the Fall, her arch-rivals, the squirrels.
Mackie's gotten a bit used to the deer. After all, they are in our yard nearly daily and definitely nightly. If they get really close, she runs back and forth from one window to the next. But, in general, she realizes that they are a part of her life. They are here to stay.

The annual surprise are the squirrels. They show up mid-October and scour our backyard for nuts (I suppose) and anything else that they can hide away for the winter. These animals drive our dog CRAZY. She stands at the window and whines. She moves her feet up and down, back and forth, trying to magically get through the window.

If we let her out the door, she rushes down the stairs of the deck and onto the lawn. She always thinks that she has a chance. She's so busy rushing out that she doesn't see that they are out of the backyard before she even gets onto the deck. When she gets outside and sees that they aren't there, she sniffs around and follows their tracks throughout the yard.

I wonder what she plans on doing if she catches them? Bite them? Play with them? Run around with them? Or maybe she wants to show them her little dance that she practices at the window?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I guess it's not summer anymore

I'm just going to pretend that I have been blogging every week and haven't really missed six weeks...

As I was driving to work yesterday, I had the heater on in the car and the seat warmer. It was 44 degrees outside. I've always thought that October seemed like the coldest month of the year in the midwest. After the warm summer, your blood is still thin and you're not ready for cold weather. Today had a high of 48 degrees and sunny. The sun made it seem warmer, but I still wore my "fall coat." (Growing up in California, I never had a Fall Coat. I just had a coat. Now I have a Fall Coat, a Winter Coat, and a rain coat. I've had my eye on some pretty, bright colored Spring Coats.

So, here's some highlights from the summer...

We never saw the balloons go up in the air because there was either no wind or too much wind, but we did see the Balloon Glow. So beautiful.

While my mom and dad visited, all the men and boys began to build a wooden sail boat. They didn't get it finished, but got a good start.

R, Dad, T, and M enjoy a nice ice cream break.

One of the highlights of going to Shady Shores on Labor Day is watching the moon rise. This night had a great reflection on the Lake Huron.

I can't believe how big my baby is getting. He grew 4 and 3/4 inches last year. He's such a great boy-- so caring, smart, funny, creative, and compassionate. I'm so blessed to have him as my son.

T has done a lot of growing up this past year also. Tonight he looked at me and said, "I like spending time with you mom." I've definitely been blessed with this one too! R and M are camping with the Boy Scouts tonight, so it was just the two of us. We made fondue for dinner as a treat -- cheese fondue with Italian bread and apples for dipping. And, of course, chocolate fondue for dessert with pound cake (my favorite), donut holes (his favorite), strawberries and raspberries for dipping. Yummo! We had a great time, talking and laughing. What fun!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Two Digits

The birthday boy...

For R's big 10 year old birthday celebration, he had a few friends over for a water fight, nerf gun fight, and a camp out. He had a great time. He grinned from ear to ear all night long.

Silly string became a part of the water fight. Of course, the most fun was to attack the birthday boy, who quickly dunked his head in one of the tubs of water to "hide" from the silly string.

R is preparing to get more water to throw at his buddies.

After the fun fights between friends, the boys each made their own dinner - something that M made in Cub Scouts when he was a boy. He calls them Chief Tinfoils. We had ground beef, onions, potatoes, and different seasonings for them to wrap up in the aluminum foil. Then, we all went to the back yard to cook them over the hot coals.

We also roasted biscuits on sticks over the coals. I think that each boy had two or three of these biscuit snakes before they ate their dinner.

Going along with the camping theme, M and I did our best to make a cake with a tent on it. We thought that we'd somehow be awesome after all of those Ace of Cakes and Cake Boss that we watch on TV. Apparently, the skills didn't brush off on us, but the kids loved the cake.

Blowing out all ten candles on his cake. R requested red velvet cake. It's not my favorite, but he loves the intense colors.

The boys all got glow swords and glow necklaces in their goodie bags. T had fun with the sword

One boy had a great time putting on as many glow necklaces as he could.

All in all it was a pretty great birthday for my big boy.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pack Campout

M plans an all-pack camp out each June. I help set up on Friday and then go back all day on Saturday to help out. The theme was outer space (that was the theme all year -- remember the cake auction?) There were four activities to do: Frisbee golf, Rocket launch, Nature Hike (look for alien life), and Fishing (not space related, but a whole lot of fun.) They all wore their "class B uniforms" which means that they didn't have to wear their regular uniform, but could wear their Cub Scout t-shirt that they all received at the end of the year.

When I arrived on Saturday morning, I was greeted by R, happy, healthy, and filthy. (You should have seen his FILTHY feet after two days of wearing Crocs!)

Each boy decorated their own visors. (The pack was divided up into four teams, with matching colored visors for identification.) R's visor above says that he's the Commanding Officer of Cosmic Blast.

T used scissors to decorate his visor and wrote on it that he was the King of Cheesecake for the Neptune team (don't ask me, I just really don't know.) In this picture M is teaching the Neptune team how to play mini frisbee golf, with the flying saucers (frisbees) that they decorated themselves.

Here's an example of one of the frisbees --this one is decorated by a friend.

M proudly shows off his "flying saucer" with a big CM for "Cubmaster."

M designed and R helped him make all of goals for the mini golf course. R gets ready to send his saucer flying through the fourth hole in the 14-hole course.

Each team decorated a rocket ship to identify their picnic table -- this is Neptune's rocket.

R had a good time fishing, trying out his new bamboo pole. He actually won the award for catching the most fish. He caught fish. Too bad I didn't get a picture of any of them! He won a fishing pole for a prize. Since he already has two fishing poles, he gave his prize to a boy who loved the fishing and doesn't have a pole.

T is working on building his rocket. He's pretty excited to launch it.

Ready for takeoff. T minus 5-4-3-2-1

Take off!!

I tried over fifty times during the day to get the rockets coming down, finally I got one!

R gets ready to set his rocket off. He loves doing rockets!

Another successful blastoff!

Here's some of the tents all set up.

Campfires are always great.

We made "candy apples" which were apples with raisins, brown sugar, and marshmallows.

Here's the whole group with all the kids and adults.

After dessert, the boys brought down the flag. At this point, I went home and slept in my comfy bed, while M and the boys stayed the night in the tent. They were home after breakfast on Sunday, just in time for church.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sand and Water - Good Old Fashioned Fun

R dug a big hole in the side of his sand pile and decided to stick his head in it. T thought that it was a good opportunity to pour water all over his brother. Evidently, the water was pretty cold. I just call this good old fashioned fun.

I just love good old fashioned fun!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Crazy Hair Day

I was cruising through my photos from the year and saw these from Crazy Hair day at the kids' school. I could name the pictures "Fun with Hair Gel."

T went for the spiky clumps effect.

R said that he had "bed head" to begin with, so it wasn't that hard to add the hair gel.

Too funny, huh?!?!

Sailing Solo

This is the first year that either of my boys are able to handle a sailboat by themselves. R has been crewing for M for two years now. T has reluctantly crewed for M a few times, but he's never really liked sailing. It all goes back to that unfortunate capsizing incident a few years back. For some reason, though, T decided that he does like sailing if HE is in charge. Sailing solo is the perfect thing for him. We have a little Sunfish that is perfect for the boys.

A few weeks ago, we borrowed another Sunfish from our sailing club and the boys were able to compete in a regatta. They were the only two Sunfishes racing (there was also another type of boat racing in the regatta. It was great to watch from the "Committee Boat" where I had the job of being the race official who signed the boats into the race and recorded what place they got when they finished. Being in the middle of the lake made for some good photo opportunities.

Earlier in the day, T said that he wanted to go sailing. Now, he had never sailed completely by himself before. His dad was either on the boat with him or out on the lake with him in a different boat nearby. M knew that T was ready to go solo and helped him rig the boat and sent him off to "learn how the boat worked with the wind." My baby out on the lake by himself? My mama bear instinct kicked into high gear and I stayed way out on the dock keeping an eye on him while M smiled and shook his head. M knew that there was hardly any wind and that T would be fine. I didn't take that for granted an watched him and I got a lot of pictures.

Here is T trying to get out of the marina area. He's pumping the tiller so to try to get some movement out of the boat since there was no wind.

He's making some slow progress. He sure looks like he knows what he's doing.

The boy who doesn't like sailing looks like he's having a pretty good time after all.

Here's his bro coming out to race!

They catch some wind and begin the race, neck and neck.

T got an early lead in the race and kept it for more than half of the race. He even rounded the mark ahead of R. How good that must of felt for him, to be ahead of his older brother! I hear from R that T kept turning around and shouting "tips" to R the whole time that he had the lead.

His lead didn't last the whole race. Here is where R is taking the lead. It looks like T is looking back wondering why R isn't still back there. R did win the race.

In the end, both boys were thrilled with their own performances. T was so proud to have the lead for so long, and R was so proud to finish first. What a great race!

Taking the boats back home, R stands up like he's seen his dad do.