Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday Nathaniel!!

Happy 4th Birthday Nathaniel!!
A Year In Pictures:
September 2011:
It is much more fun to play with Fall decorations that to decorate with them.

You know a little boy needs a haircut when you can put his hair in pigtails.
October 2011:
Smore's night. Hmmm....hmmmm good!!
Finally old enough to help carve pumpkins!

The ever-present goofy grin when I ask him to smile for the camera.
November 2011:
Tonsil surgery so he can breath better.
A warm Thanksgiving Day
December 2011: 
Cuteness in corduroy makes the frowny face in the Christmas program that much cuter.
 We are understanding presents and Christmas really for the first time.

January 2012:
First day of pre-school. He is so excited to be a "big boy" and go to school with big brother!

The one and only very wet snow. We made a snowman quick enough that when the snow turned to rain, the snowman at least stood for a few more hours.
The "cold winter days" weren't so cold this year.
Much of the time was spent playing outside and this day it was using sticks as belts because, well, little boys can!

Hanging out with brothers and friends.
March 2012:
 The fun of Mother/Son Bowling lasted about .5 seconds.

After that, it was all about keeping track of every one's scores....or erasing them.

More crazy "smile for the camera!"
April 2012:
This really is a year of "firsts." First remembering what a holiday is about.
I thought it would be fun to see just how much he likes this pose!!
May 2012: 
He is on the far left crying, "take it off!"
He didn't want to wear the "dress."
His brother on the other hand, is fully enjoying the limelight.
First day of Summer Vacation we declared "Crazy Hair Day!"
June 2012:
Little buddies philosophizing about blueberries....or something like that.

First ever rodeo.
Note the extreme excitement on his brother's face behind him and the concern on his.

He has NO FEAR of the water!!

 July 2012:
This is the first year he didn't totally flip out at the 4th of July fireworks.
It has been holding ears, covering eyes and crying.
This year is was holding ears, yelling "ahhhh!!! look mommy look!"
"Helping" momma' put down new floors.
Can I say that I'm still seeing the chiropractor? 

First ever Olympics. He got pretty excited.
August 2012:
Yes, I love to smile for the camera!

He's in my face and snugly whether I like it or not.
Most days, I LOVE it!

 Hanging with Uncle Matthew because he's just so cool!

County Fair days get really really really long.

But the unlimited access to all the big equipment, is well worth the lack of sleep.

Best place in the Fair Grounds to chill for a few.

Grandfather's Love: getting into a Ferris Wheel with 3 little grand kids and the attendant saying, "oh, I'm not so sure you aren't above the weight limit on this" and still going on the ride.

Another Fair Plus: unlimited access to the petting zoo for 5 days straight.
They were sleeping on his shoulders after he stopped shaking them to "rescue" the grasshoppers that had hopped into their tire.

First Day of School: 4th Grade, Third Grade, Kindergarten and (next year) Pre-School.
(since my camera was a little off-light).

Our sweet little guy: You bring joy, adventure, tears and laughter to our lives every day. We are so thankful God has blessed our lives by giving us you!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Life's a little hectic right now.
It's August and we are gearing up for school, County Fair, back to babysitting and this year homeschooling.
I feel like I need about 10 clones of myself over the next 2 weeks just to keep it all straight.
But, on the brighter side, have you been enjoying the Olympics?
Luke told me this week he feels like an Olympic Widower. My children are either Olympiholics or Olympic Orphans...depending on what event is being broad casted.
Good Lookin' has asked for 10 days now why he hasn't seen Kenya. He has repeatedly asked me to show him where Kenya is on the map that we have taped to our basement wall. A couple of nights ago he was rewarded with seeing David Rudisha set a new World Record and win Olympic Gold in the men's 800. He was curled up on the couch clutching his paper flag that he has so carefully kept and biting his fingers watching the Kenyan sprint ahead of everyone else.
That night when I tucked him in bed he sleepily whispered, "mommy, when I grow up I will be black, move to Kenya and run like him." I smiled, told him if he worked hard he could maybe go to the Olympics one day and kissed him goodnight. I didn't have the heart to tell him that his hopelessly white skin will always be white. I love the Olympics for all it's exposure to other cultures and the dreams it can inspire us to dream.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Summer Olympics 2012

In celebration of the 2012 Summer Olympics, a good friend and I decided to hold our own little family Olympics on opening day.
Sarah had printed up several country's flags and put them in a little bucket for the kids to draw out. This way they picked countries they were most likely to see when watching the games.

Each family brought plain white Dollar Tree T-shirts and Sarah had a large box of fabric markers to draw the flag on the child's shirt.
                         The kids all intently concentrated in drawing or coloring in their flags.
Nater Mater was not fond of staying in the the lines on his Thailand flag, but he was so ridiculously cute and proud of himself when he finished.
Good Lookin' was so excited that his Kenyan flag had a shield and spears on it. That night when I tucked him in bed wearing his dirty T-shirt that he refused to take off and holding his paper flag, he asked if he and I could move to "that State where they let kids have spears."
Mr Smiles did a great job with his flag, but the poor boy wanted to write Sweden underneath and got so frustrated when he turned the d into a b. Hmmm....Sweben is a new country now. Whoever made up the English Language and thought it was a good idea to put in b, d, p and q anyway? He is constantly turning them around.
Sarah took the kids around the side of her yard and I led the other adults in the best rendition that we could hum of the Olympic Anthem on a blistering hot evening. They all marched around the side of the fence holding the paper flags over their heads that matched their T-shirts.
The word cuteness doesn't even begin to describe their little faces and the pride written all over them.

We then lined them all up for a quick photo shoot before The Games began.
Precious Jewel was giddy to have pulled out Australia for her flag. She began an obsession with Australia when she started watching a Mermaid show on Netflix that was filmed there. She has been begging to visit there "because mom, they have beaches and maybe there are real mermaids!"

Both Sarah and I looked up different blogs on celebrating the Olympics with your kids and a lot of people had fun ideas, but they were more carnival-type games and we wanted to play games that the kids would see while they watched over the next 2 weeks.

Then The Games Began!
First up: Discus
We had several Frisbees we used for this event since well, none of us owned a discus.
Even the youngest members could get in on these events and they were hilariously serious.

The dads helped to measure where every one's "disc" landed. I think Luke has 3 different spots he's trying to track. We told him he could be part of the gymnast team for his contortionist skills. Flexibility is NOT his strength. Haha!

Then "Mr. Nick" brought out the tape measure to help out; only to realize the kids were throwing it farther than what the tape stretched!

Next: Shot Put!
Yes, this picture is upside down and yes those are croquet balls. I couldn't get the picture to turn and croquet balls made great shot puts.

After a quick lesson in how to throw a shot put, they lined up for the event. I think Mr. Smile's good form came from him never having played baseball. Several of those who have played T-ball or baseball simply threw it like they were launching it to a team mate. Mr. Smiles amazingly did the whole past your chin and shot put form!

  How do I do this again?"
        Some of them did a more bowling type of technique. : )
                 Mr. Nick kept score on is handy dandy i-pad.

Some were just too hot to participate.
Third Up:

We split the kids into bikes and all others with trikes or training wheels.
Then Sarah sent them about a block's length down her road to the starting line.

I'm pretty sure Precious Jewel was glad she had finally decided she wanted to learn to bike ride this year and not be stuck with the tiny tots.

Tiny Tot race. They were all so cute and antsy! Poor Good Lookin' was such a great sport. His chain fell off about 10 ft into the race and he walked his bike all the way through the finish line just to say that he had raced. He won a medal for good sportsmanship and attitude on that one.

Nater Mater crossed the line intently leaning forward and laughing manically. He came in about 3rd of 4th but I don't think he really noticed. They had pulled out the tape again and he got to break it and was ecstatic.
                                                            Then onto Gymnastics:
We weren't entirely sure what to do on this one since some of the kids had taken real gymnastics and some of the others had just learned how to somersault.
We came up with the idea of the balance beam to represent the event. This way, it evened the playing field for all involved and no one looked truly ridiculously uncoordinated.
We scored on the ability to just get across and then gave extra points for jumping, walking backward,
skipping, or spinning around.
Mr. Smiles really got into it and hopped and spun the whole way across our rickety little beam without falling off once!
Just before breaking for dinner we added some more of the Track and Field Events.
I think this was just a race of the older and younger groups to see who was the fastest. Some of our kids could really sprint!

We also divided up the boys vs. girls only to realize the Precious Jewel was, once again, the only girl her age. We should have just let her beat the boys, which is what she would have done because she is fast, but instead Joy hilariously volunteered to race against her.

Long Jump:
Keep those toes behind the line!

                                                         Some of them could really leap!

Some of them were just interested wearing "cool" sunglasses and were content to let the others do the hot workout in the heat.

Last event before dinner: Basketball: aka PIG
PIG is much shorter to spell the HORSE and the whole game is much easier to play when it is NOT hovering near 100 outside at just shy of 6pm in the evening.

I think next year we just might sign Precious Jewel and Mr. Smiles up for basketball. They had decent shooting form at least.

Everyone was ready for dinner eaten out under the huge shade trees on the front lawn. We wanted to invite more families, but between 4 of us we counted 15 kids.

Then on inside to watch the real Olympic Opening Ceremonies where the kids were exclaiming, "The Shire!" (Lord of the Rings) and "There is Mr. Bean!" I think Mr. Bean was the highlight for them.
They thankfully had all ran back outside to play when the scary bedtime stories section came on.

      Lined up and enjoying the Ceremony and the cool air-conditioning.

After they got bored (it was after all a nearly 3 1/2 hour ceremony), we took them back outside for one more event and our own little closing ceremony.
                                           And what is the Olympics without a Team Relay event?

                                           Go Kenya!!
Sweden would have beaten Australia if he hadn't gotten confused as to who the pole was that he was running around.
                                  Thailand just had a giddy silly streak all night.
                                                               Go Team World!!!

The kids and I had spent a better part of the week making 36 medals for everyone. Mr. Nick did a little bit of fudging on who exactly won what event and since we had divided up age groups and sexes on several of the events, the kids were a little confused themselves.

That was a good thing because if we'd given some of them ALL the medals that they deserved, some of the tinier ones would have received nothing. You can't explain that to the numerous children we had under the age of 5 and 6.

Each child got a chance to stand on the medal podium and have his or her picture taken with at least 1 Gold Medal adorning their neck.
 For some, the paparazzi was just a little too much. : )

We finished off The Games with a box of Popsicles...much to every one's delight.
                                        Happy 2012 Olympics!!