Sunday, August 31, 2008

Friday Night with the Stricklins

I can't even remember how long it has been since our family spent time with the entire Stricklin Family. Actually, it may have been my birthday. Anyway, thanks to a settlement in a case that Don had been working on, we were able to spend ALL night together on Friday night. It's fair to say that a good time was had by all!

McIver and Sam had so much fun playing with the K'nex and running around in the SpiderMan costumes. They also enjoyed swatting at each other with the swords, but that little activity was nipped in the bud pretty quickly.

The kids totally took advantage of the fact that the moms and dads were enjoying catching up and decided to make a 'concoction.' As you can see, McIver was very serious about it. By the time we realized what was going on, it was too late to control the chaos - we just grabbed the camera.

Abby & Olivia got in on the action - with whipped cream. We did eventually make them take it all outside.

Abby lost a tooth while they were here. Since the plan was for the Stricklins to spend the night, the Tooth Fairy was weighed down with quarters!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Can't take my eyes off him for a second

Or this is what happens - a swimming pool in the backyard so he can 'swim like Michael Phelps!' The good news is that he's capable of making up his bed - check this out! Of course, he's totally hosed now that I know he can do it by himself. We'll be adding that to his list of chores. Look how proud he is!

How is she supposed to eat!?

Olivia lost another tooth today. We think this makes #8, or #9, we've lost count. At least we didn't lose the tooth this time. Maybe the front two will finally start to come in now. And, Will is already home so he was able to see it. Bring on the Tooth Fairy!

And so it begins...

Olivia just asked again if she could call her friend Adrienne so she can tell Adrienne how she's wearing her hair to school today. She's already wanted to call her on 2 other mornings this week. Have we already hit the tween years?!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Children's Museum

McIver is enjoying being an only child this week (or at least, he did yesterday!). We met his friend Sam and his nanny at the Children's Museum for a fun afternoon visit. I'm totally getting my money's worth out of our membership renewal last week!

Fishing for pollutants in a stream.
Giving up on fishing with a pole and fishing them out with his hands.
They boys loved building with the pipes.
And, painting their faces. McIver's face got much more elaborate during lunch - our table was too close to the face painting station.
Looking in the pond for fish, turles, tadpoles and an American Bullfrog.
My attempt at being artsy - we saw some really cool caterpillars - they were red with black spikes on their backs. McIver told me that he would want spikes if he were a caterpillar.McIver and Sam working together to build a dam to stop the water in the trough.


McIver was already awake when I went in to wake him up yesterday morning. And, Olivia had already tapped me on the shoulder as I tried to run through my emails before heading into her room. So, I had two bright-eyed and bushy-tailed kids on my hands. What a blessing! (And so very different from the mornings that I have to drag them out of bed - maybe going to bed at 7:30 every night is the trick, after all!)

Anyway, after a quick breakfast and morning routine, the kids were ready to walk out the door with time to spare. So, what would YOU do with an extra 15 minutes?

McIver decided to make a volcano! First he got a bowl and some grass which he cut up with scissors.

Then, he wadded up sticky notes to turn them into rocks and added them to a bowl. He must be expecting a serious explosion since he decided to wear his goggles.

Olivia got in on the action ,too.
But, we did still have to get Olivia to school. So we all promised that we'd work on it together when we got home. McIver and I went to the gym and then to an evangelism meeting at church (that just ended up being lunch with friends with a side of 'business'). Anyway, by the time we got home, both kids had pretty much lost interest in the volcano. And I certainly wasn't about to bring it up! Instead, we played a few games of Uno Attack and the kids enjoyed somewhat cooler weather outside while I got dinner ready.

Monday, August 25, 2008

My Sister went to School today...

... and I got to help Mom at the recycle center. Really, it was not easy to determine who had more fun. McIver was more interested in the tractors digging in the bins than in sorting the bottles and sending them through the chutes. He got as close as he possibly could to the action and did not want to leave.

1st Day of 1st Grade

Olivia's first day of school got off to a great start. She woke up excited and ready to go. Breakfast wasn't all that interesting to her, though; I think she was just a little too nervous to eat. We had plenty of time to take a few pictures before loading up to go to First Grade!

Here's Olivia showing off her Hannah Montana lunch kit - also looks like she's practicing for a future on The Price is Right.
Yea! Dad was still home this morning to take a few pictures and send Olivia to school with a good luck hug and kiss.
We ran into friends on our way into school. This lightened the mood considerably - Olivia's grip on my hand had tightened by this point, but seeing smiles on her friends' faces eased her anxiety.
It didn't take long to find a seat. Here's Olivia waiting for Adrienne to arrive.
Now look how excited she is!
This does a mama's heart good - more smiles after school! That's Mrs. Hartman over Olivia's shoulder.
Last year after the 1st day of Kindergarten, we went to TCBY for an after-school treat. When we drove up today - it was closed. Never fear, we rounded the corner and enjoyed a quick ice cream from the Marble Slab. Dad was NOT AT ALL happy that we went without him!
We took McIver to KukSool (I didn't forget that today was the day!) and then headed home. Olivia's homework assignment was to decorate a paper lunch sack and choose three things to take to school in it tomorrow that will tell her class a little bit about herself. She decorated the bag with her trademark 'flying princess crown' and wrote "I Love You" on the bag (I'm assuming she meant that part for Mrs. Hartman). She included a picture of herself in her elephant dance costume, a Barbie doll and a Hannah Montana CD insert.
Check out this homework desk set-up!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Meet the Teacher

Finally! We made our way to Kolter for the Meet the Teacher Ice Cream Social earlier this afternoon. It was a bit of a zoo (read: the whole thing made me absolutely crazy!), but we managed to find Olivia's name on the class list (with some help from Adrienne's mom) and then head to the courtyard to find Olivia's teacher - Mrs. Hartman. We don't know much about Mrs. Hartman, but Olivia was glad to find some familar names on the class list. Adrienne (the one we had lunch with yesterday) is in her class, along with a few kids from Mrs. Hoyos' class and some other kids that she played with on the playground last year.

I had been getting more and more anxious as the time got closer for this meet the teacher event. Like I told Pop in an email (venting!) earlier today, I just want Olivia to have a teacher who is excited to be there every day. Someone who has the energy to keep up with a class full of 6 & 7 year olds. Like I said, we don't know much about Mrs. Hartman, but she's young and seemed friendly enough when I spoke with her this afternoon. Now that we know who she is, I think I'm ready to just settle in and see what's in store for this year.

We found some friends in the hallway who were eager to pose for a picture.
(L-R: Adrienne, Olivia, Tomer, Shannon, Reagan is in the front)

Just the girls.
(For the record, in case you noticed, those are stickers on Olivia's ears - NOT earrings!)

Catching up with Friends

Adrienne was one of Olivia's good buddies last year at school. The last time we saw them was our ill-fated trip to Galveson when Adrienne was stung by a jelly-fish. We have not seen them since we returned home fro mour travels, so they invited us over for lunch yesterday. Everyone had a great visit - McIver loved playing with her big brother's legos while the girls had a tea party, with actual tea, sugar and lemon juice.

Such sweet girls all ready for the tea party.
Olivia being ever-so careful not to spill the tea.

New blog added

Thanks to the wonders of Facebook, I have reconnected with lots of old (former!) friends from high school and college as well as new friends from Houston. One friend that I 'found' is Linda Latchford Nelson. She and I were in the same sorority and lived in teh same dorm for at least one year at Sewanee. She has lived in Chattanooga for the last several years where her husband was a priest. They have just moved to Hawaii where he is now the rector at All Saints Episcopal Church, Kauai. They have a blog to keep friends and family updated on their new life there. It has been so much fun to read about their new life, the hospitality of their church and the adventures they are enjoying. Check it out . . .

Little Dragons

McIver's first Little Dragons class was on Wednesday. (It was supposed to be Monday, but I totally flaked and forgot - no excuse, just forgot - so they let him make it up on Wednesday.) I hate that the pictures aren't more clear, but they don't let parents into the gym during class sessions (imagine that!) so I had to take them from behind a big window.

He received his white belt. After the first class he received a green stripe - not really sure what the stripes mean yet, but he was super excited about it.
Here he is preparing to block that black thing the girl is holding.
Here he is not blocking it.
Toward the end of the class, I heard McIver tell his instructor: Excuse me, but I don't want my mom taking any more pictures!
He loved the class and has three more before we have to make the real committment (6 months worth of classes). He was jumping up and down after class and telling anyone who would listen all about it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Day with Abby

Phew! It felt like the day would never come - it seems like we haven't seen Abby in ages, but it really has been about 6 weeks since the girls last saw each other. Abby's summer camps have ended and school hasn't started yet so she spent today with us. The girls were so excited to be able to spend today together. McIver was sad that Sam was at his school, but, truth be told, I'm not sure that I could have handled all 4 of them! Gay and I had lunch together last week, so we got our 'fix' before the girls did.

Olivia & Abby hugging each other in the parking lot at church when we picked Abby up.
I had planned on taking the kids to the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston. It's free, we have never been there and it would have been a fun train ride from the church. But I decided against it for several reasons - it was raining this am and I didn't want to have to explain any crazy/explicit art that I didn't even understand. So, we headed to the guaranteed-benign Children's Museum of Houston.
I told McIver to put his shoes on. I guess he just grabbed the first 2 that he found. Check out the rainboot (which made much more sense for today) and the croc.

Mac 'on the phone with Grandma Janet.' He loves the operator switch board.

The girls went straight for the face-painting table. What kid doesn't love seeing herself on TV!? Here are Abby & Olivia in the fake news station reporting on the weather.

McIver donned the mail carrier jacket and astronaut helmet to give a birds-eye report from outer space complete with a countdown to lift-off.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Apprentice

Apparently, McIver has been watching reruns of The Apprentice. Any time I ask him to do something that he doesn't care to do (then I tell him to do in a kind voice, then in a progressively more firm voice, until I finally DO the thing myself - like turn off the TV), he runs out of the room yelling: YOU'RE FIRED!!

(Olivia asked him last night what I was fired from. When he told her I was fired from my job of being his 'other mom' she just laughed at him which sent him into complete hysterics!)

It would break my heart, if it weren't such a funny thing to hear from a 4 year old!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Schlitterbahn - Galveston

Since Will has been on call for 5 weekends in a row and we were out of town for so long, we decided to spend the day at Schlitterbahn Water Park in Galveston. It wasn't nearly as crowded as we expected, but there was still sufficient people-watching to be had. The lines were bearable and we all had a great time.

O & Mac were so excited they couldn't even wait for a big ride, they had to jump on the kiddie slide first. Still, it did not disappoint.
Will & Olivia taking a lunch break.
McIver getting the 10 second boogie-boarding tutorial. He has a BLAST!! His ride lasted longer than most of the grown-ups we saw. A full set of bleachers and everyone in line were cheering and clapping for him.
He had a great run - until the end, when his board finally flipped out from under him, he went spinning around and lost his pants! I worried that he would panic from getting so turned around, but the cheers from the crowd won him over. He pulled up his pants and began telling everyone: You've never seen a surfer as good as me!
Not to be outdone by his 4 year old, Will gave it the old college-try....
Now that is one tired kid!

Paper Dolls

In an effort to turn OFF the TV and get back into some sort of school-type rhythm, the kids and I made paper dolls the other day. I think I ended up having the most fun. We used a template from Famimly Fun magazine and cut the dolls out of paper grocery bags.

Here I am, so proud of my work!
Olivia worked hard on 'dressing' her dolls for about 10 minutes.
McIver was pretty much finished after completing one outfit. He was more interested in figuring out how to hold them up straight for the picture.