Sunday, November 30, 2008

First Sunday of Advent

Even though we were up late last night with friends celebrating our Post Thanksgiving Fried Chicken Bash, the kids and I made it to church for them to sing with the choir. Except that McIver decided not to sing and we brought Shannon with us who did want to sing. So, I broke even in the number of singers today, even though they weren't both my children.

Anyway, they sang a beautiful song in St. Bede's Chapel to mark the first Sunday in Advent. I really hate that McIver decided not to sing because he has been singing the song for the last week and a half at home, in the car, at school, etc.

Here are Shannon and Olivia waiting to sing.
After church, we went upstairs for the annual Advent Wreath making session in fellowship hall. I don't think McIver remembered doing it last year - or he was in the nursery so he actually didn't participate. Either way, he had a ball picking out just the right greenery and using the clippers to get it just the right size.

Olivia loves when Shannon and Reagan come to church with us. She enjoyed showing them around and really had fun helping Shannon make an advent wreath for their family.

Olivia ended up staying to play with Shannon when we dropped her off, so McIver and I headed home. I got busy cleaning up the kitchen and noticed that McIver had gotten awfully quiet which is never a good thing. So I put down my rubber gloves and headed off to find him. This is what I found in Olivia's room (where she decided to let him sleep last night!). GranGran gave us that Santa a Christmas or two ago.

It turned out that he was playing possum this time. But, later this afternoon, I went to see Australia (SO GREAT!!), and Will was doing some work when McIver did actually go curl up and fall asleep for a little bit. An afternoon nap for this little boy is the kiss-of-death when bedtime comes. But, with all the excitement we've had over the last week or so, it sounds like the Sandman has hit in Olivia's room (she's allowing her guest to sleep in her room again tonight).

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving 2008 was fantastic!! Here's a little play-by-play:

I was pleased that Olivia was actually into watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with me. Then, I realized that she was only watching until Miley Cyrus came on and then she was off to play.

Will made it home from rounds in plenty of time to get the turkey frier ready. He had some eager helpers again this year.

Humoring Mama by posing for a quick picture.
McIver helping to crush oyster crackers for the oyster pie (which turned out MUCH better this year than last).

Olivia took her turn, too.
Wendy & Jim, friends from church, their daughters, Julia & Liberty, and Jim's brother, Ian, joined us for Thanksgiving. They came last year as well so we all knew the drill. The kids played with every toy in the house, rode bikes and hung out while the grown-ups pretty much did the same thing, minus the toys and bikes.
The feast: fried turkey, sweet potatoe casserole, deviled eggs, oyster pie, asparagus, dressing, broccoli salad, cranberry relish and Will's delicious biscuits.
Will's plate
Liberty & McIver at the table - sadly, the kids weren't all that interested in the feast. McIver ate his weight in biscuits.

Wendy brought a delicious home-made pumpkin pie. I'm really sorry that there's not a picture because it was beautiful and delicious!
Nothing like sprinkles to fancy-up some ice cream.

Tearing into Nanoo's package of goodies.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I am thankful for...

Will and our healthy, happy children.

my family - Mom, Tom and Cacoo.

Will's family.

knowing, loving and being loved and remembering all of my grandparents.

feeling just as much love from Will's family as I feel from my own.

my YaYas - Dawn, Ashley and Sadie - and their beautiful families.

our Greenville friends.

our Myrtle Beach friends, those who live in Myrtle Beach and those who have moved away.

our Houston friends.

every single time we get together with the Stricklins (Happy Birthday, Gay!).

Olivia's godparents, Jane and John.

McIver's godparents, Ashley, Tupp and Jeddie.

great teachers who love and appreciate my children.

Palmer Church.

facebook - and reconnecting with so many old friends.

the roof over our heads and the food in our house.

a good night's sleep.

anticipation of our move to Columbia.

fresh fruit.

good books, good movies (or even only so-so movies!) and good music.

my iPod.

the internet.

Tukashaba Brenda, the little girl that we sponsor through Compassion International.

God's unconditional love, grace and forgiveness.

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,and I will glorify your name forever. (Psalm 86:12)

Say It Ain't So

Believe it or not, the kids were playing with the hose today... and they weren't particularly cold. As much as I love Houston, I will be glad to get back to SC with the hope that there will at least be a chill in the air for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Although it doesn't look like it, McIver was actually having fun, too.

I thought Olivia was sound asleep in her room, but when I went in, the bed was empty. After a little bit of deductive reasoning, I got the camera and found her... in her new favorite hiding place (her closet floor), watching a video on her iPod. Good thing she can sleep late tomorrow - she didn't look the least bit tired.

Thanksgiving Placecards

Olivia made some cute tee-pees at school last week so we decided to make more and use them as placecards for Thanksgiving tomorrow. She was very serious about making the 'tracers' (tried to teach the word 'template' but she assured me that tracer was the correct word - good thing the SAT is still years away!).

McIver got in on the action, too. Here's the tee-pee he made for Will. It's 'a camel in the desert, a red hot sun and a cactus because they live in the desert, too.'

Thanksgiving Guest

Our little squirrel friend came by for a visit today. We haven't been making as many sandwiches lately so we have been leaving much crust outside for them. But the kids both had sandwiches today so we put their crusts out on the fence and it didn't take long for this little guy to show up. Bet he's looking forward to Thanksgiving tomorrow!

By the looks of him, it doesn't appear that he's missed many meals!

McIver in the Kitchen

Kids were both busy doing what they do on lazy mornings, I was curled up in bed reading the 2nd book in the Twilight series. McIver came rushing in because he needed help in the kitchen "right now." He would not be put off so off we went...

Step 1: Put toast in the toaster (mom's job because the toaster has to be plugged in).

Step 2: Cut up a banana.

Step 2 1/2: Finish cutting up the banana on a cutting mat b/c Mama doesn't want to have to clean up a mess in the kitchen before she makes one herself getting things ready for Thanksgiving. Place "banana circles" on the toast.

Step 3: Don't like the smell of the raisins so opt for craisins instead. Place exactly one craisin on top of each banana circle.

Step 4: Enjoy!

Wouldn't it be great if he ends up loving to cook as much as his Daddy!?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Reading with Olivia

Olivia has begun reading a chapter from Junie B. Jones each night. I don't want to jinx it or anything, but maybe I'll have a reader on my hands!

Lunch with Olivia

Since McIver doesn't have school at all this week, we decided to bring lunch to Olivia today at school. She loved showing us where the 1st graders sit. McIver thought he was big stuff buying his own slushie after lunch.In other news - check out the price of gas (and the still-hurricane-damaged sign). This is the lowest I've seen so far. Of course, I don't have a CITGO card but maybe it's about the same at Sam's. I've gotten to the point that I don't let my tank get much less than half-full b/c I just don't have the stomach to pay more than $100 to fill it up.

Friday, November 21, 2008

McIver's Artwork

Today was McIver's last day of school until December 1 (please God, help me to keep him entertained all day, every day next week!). He brought home a ton of artwork from the last few weeks at school. Here are some highlights...

Turkey puppet and headband for the parade.
Mayflower Project - not quite as detailed as Olivia's but still pretty great.

The requisite turkey made out of a handprint, but with a twist.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Olivia's Mayflower Project

Olivia had a Mayflower Project for school. Since I was in bed with a miserable eye infection all day on Sunday, Will took over. They talked about the project and did some internet research (gotta love Google!). And, the good news is that it turns out the project isn't due until next Monday - so we're done WAY ahead of schedule!

Olivia with her Mayflower and written report
A few facts (her spelling, not mine):
He save a long time.
He had 70 men on the ships weh hem.
He fawd land he fawd Indians on it.
He was a nis man.
(Since I wasn't part of the project, I didn't challenge that last fact.)
Thw Pilgrims Journey on the Mayflower
The captain is an important person of the Mayflower and his name was Christopher Columbus.
They left from Southampton England and sailed to Plymouth Massachusetts.

There were 102 passengers and a baby was born during the trip.
(Bet you didn't know that!?)
They left on September 16, 1620 and sailed for sixty-six days.

My birthday (I'm sure Christpher Columbus took that into account when he decided to set sail.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wabash Antiques & Feed Store

My friend Margaret told me about the Wabash Antiques & Feed Store in Houston. It's an old feed store that also sells a few different kinds of animals. Olivia was spending the day with friends so Will and I decided to take McIver.

The yard was filled with all kinds of old gates, yard art and a small pond.
It was really hard to convince McIver that he would NOT be coming home with a pet bunny.

Look mom, a giant hand chair!

Checking out the baby chicks.

Nutcracker Market with Gay

Every year the Houston Ballet puts on a shopping 'extravaganza' called The Nutcracker Market. Reliant Arena is FILLED with vendors selling all kinds of goodies for your shopping pleasure - gourmet sauces, knit wraps, wine stoppers, stocking stuffers, yard and home decorations, notepads, pillowcases, clothes, you-name-it-they-sell-it. Anyway, Gay and I made after-school arrangements for our kids so that we could shop all day. We met in the parking lot a little after 9am, knowing that the doors didn't open until 10am. Believe it or not, there were women TAILGATING in the parking lot before the Market opened. It was so unbelievable I had to take a picture as proof!

The good news is, my Christmas shopping is done!

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Few McIver Stories

Most nights that I tuck McIver into bed, I sing the Doxology for him - sometimes he joins in. The other night, just as I finished "... Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost," McIver shivered and said, in a quivery voice, "Oooh! The Holy Ghost SCARES me!" Of course, I didn't want him to be scared (by his own mother!) just before bed and I understand that the Trinity is complicated for grown-ups, much less 5 year olds with a limited attention span. So, I did my best, on the fly, to explain that God is the Father, Jesus is the Son and the Holy Spirit is the part of God and Jesus that lives in our hearts so that we always feel God's love. McIver seemed relieved and told me I could "leave my room now."


Tuesday after school, I took the kids to see about getting flu shots. Olivia's buddies had already gotten the flu mist so she had pretty much decided that, if given the option, that's what she would go for. All the way to the office, though, McIver kept saying he wanted to flu shot. Olivia and I were able to do the mist - it was quick, easy and totally painless! McIver, true to his word, still said he wanted the shot - even though ALL of the nurses just couldn't believe it and kept asking him if he was sure. I held him in my arms and panted like a puppy dog with him, and then it was over. He didn't flinch, not a tear was shed. Then, he proceeded to FILL UP a lunch sack with toys from the treasure box and bask in the accolades of all the nurses in the office. And, he's still milking it three days later.


For as long as I can remember, McIver has said that he wants to be a construction worker when he grows up. In the last few weeks, he has mentioned being a marine biologist and even a paleontologist (after our visit to the Leonardo exhibit). Out of the blue the other day, he told me he didn't want to be ANY of those things. He wants to be a spy. I told him that would be fine - he'll just have to study hard in school and probably learn a few languages because spies usually travel a lot. He said: That's fine, I already know Spanish and Koneechewa (which is really just japanese for hello, NOT an entire language).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Olivia's Ribbons

Olivia's first report card of 1st grade came home last week. She did great and really seems to be enjoying 1st grade. She also earned a few ribbons which, in turn, earned a Free Dress Day. Since everyone normally wears 'school clothes' (khaki, navy or denim on bottom, red/white/navy shirts), it was especially fun to be able to wear whatever she wanted. Somehow we managed to get out the door without a picture, but rest assured, she was happy with her attire for the day!

Tortillas Make Him Happy

Last night was Olivia's school night at Los Tios. A percentage of the night's proceeds are given to her school so we HAD to support it. McIver was a bit grouchy most of the evening. But, he finally managed to crawl out from under the table and asked one of the waitresses if he could have some tortillas. All was right in his world from then on...

Artwork by Olivia

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Kook Sul Won Martial Arts

McIver has been taking Jook Sul Won Martial Arts since the beginning of the school year. He goes once per week and loves it. Some days he's really focused and other days he needs a little bit more instruction from his leaders (don't we all!?). At the end of each class, he has received a 'stripe' around the edges of his plain, white belt. Today was the big testing day and he was so excited to go and test for his white belt with a yellow stripe.

Here he is stretching before class. The instructors let them "yaaa" during some of the moves. These, of course, are McIver's favorites.

Showing off his new belt!