Thursday, May 28, 2009

Post Party Bowling

After the 1st Grade Party ended, several friends decided to meet at the bowling alley for some post-party fun. The kids all had a great time just hanging out and bowling - they even know the rules now so there didn't have to be a whole lot of parental involvement.

Olivia watching her ball closely.

McIver got WAY into the bowling today. He tried to borrow some man's 14 lb. ball, but the man told him he'd need to start with something smaller and work his way up. So, every time McIver got a spare (he had quite a few!) or a strike (1!), he ran over to be sure the man was watching. The man told McIver that if he practices really, really hard, he can be a professional some day. When McIver was relaying the story to me, he was so excited that he could have jumped right out of his skin!
At one point, I couldn't find McIver because he was "busy setting up his Bowling Ball Pyramid and trying out all the balls."

I had two tired children when we got home this afternoon about 5:00. We watched some television together and just decompressed for a little while without saying a word (which was nice after a day full of parties and 7 year olds!). I made the mistake, though, of daring to tell McIver he really should eat his broccoli for dinner. He stormed off, yelling about what a bad mother I am, and went to sleep on his bed. I guess it wasn't a mistake after all!

1st Grade End of the Year Party

It's hard to believe that today was the last day of 1st grade. Olivia had a great year and has matured more than I thought possible over the last nine months. She looks forward to reading now and has a list of books that she wants to read over the summer. She was excited when I told her that I found a 2nd grade workbook for her to work in this summer. We've also got a plan to have a Summer Journal so that she can keep up her hand-writing skills and use her imagination.

The 1st Grade party was a big success today. The party started with a magician who was hilarious and kept the entire 1st grade in stitches. He did everything from juggle a bowling ball and saw a student volunteer in half to pulling the obligatory rabbit out of a hat - and had lots of corny jokes in between which the kids loved. McIver's eyes got bigger with each trick. I predict a magic kit on McIver's future Christmas wish list!

After the magic show, lunch and recess, the kids decorated water bottles, ate popsicles, had their faces painted and got their own tattoos. It was a hot day, but there was plenty of shade for everyone.

The water bottles came in handy.

McIver is so sad that he won't get to go to Kolter for Kindergarten. I found him sitting on this bench all by himself in the courtyard during the party. When I asked him what he was doing, he replied: Just sitting and enjoying nature.
When the party was over, we went back to the class room so Olivia could clean out her desk. Mrs. Hartman posed for one last picture with Olivia and her best buddies from Mrs. Hartman's class.

McIver ran through the lunchroom on our way out and found Mr. Royal, the head custodian. He's the sweetest, most gentle man and he loves each and every child at Kolter (and all of their siblings!). He is most definitely an integral part of Kolter - he even spent the night of Hurricane Ike's arrival at school to be sure everything was safe and secure.
Anyway, McIver met Mr. Royal on the first day of school last year and looked for him every Tuesday when we went to school to stuff the weekly folders. We're going to miss him, so McIver asked for a picture which Mr. Royal was happy to pose for.

Olivia's Gymnastics Awards

Olivia has loved her gymnastics class this year. The program is run by the same group who runs the program at McIver's school so I knew it would be good.

Push-ups are tough!
Shannon, Olivia & Adrienne with Coach Mark after he had presented everyone's medals.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Olivia's 1st Grade Awards Day

Mrs. Hartman called Olivia (and the rest of her students) to the front to receive her awards

Then, all 4 first grade classes joined on the stage to sing a few songs they had prepared for us.

Olivia and her silly friends

Olivia with a few friends - Adrienne, Hayley & Shannon, they were all in the same kindergarten class last year
WOW - I even made it into a picture!
McIver was super-well-behaved throughout the ceremony, but he was not interested in being in any pictures.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

McIver & the Rabbit

You may remember from a few months ago that McIver really wants a pet rabbit. He has been saving cans to take to the recycle center to earn money to buy a rabbit, hutch and food. I even made the mistake of telling him that if he caught a rabbit, he could keep it. Lesson learned: Watch my tongue!!

Our neighbor knocked on our door 2 weeks ago to see if we knew anyone in our neighborhood with a pet rabbit because one had found its way to her yard. I assured her that it wasn't ours and asked her not to let McIver know about it unless she wanted a constant companion until the rabbit returned to his home. The owners were found and the rabbit went home... until last week when he showed up in her yard again.

This time, we went to her house to visit the rabbit - he's adorable and quite tame. He didn't mind McIver's presence at all and we watched him nibble on some apples, carrot tops and her daylilies. We watched him hop across our backyard over the weekend, on the other side of our fence. This morning, though, he was in our yard. My sleepy-headed children went from yawns and dragging feet to tip-toeing across the backyard making rabbit noises (if there's such a thing). McIver actually got pretty close.

Then he ran off back to Mrs. Martin's yard. I'm sure the owners will be back soon to take him home again (and maybe they'll even get him a hutch so he won't escape again).
The good news (for me) is that McIver never mentioned keeping this rabbit as a pet. He saw how badly Murpphy wanted to get to this little guy and seems to understand that rabbits and Murphy might not be a good mix.

Friday, May 22, 2009

McIver's Last Day of School

And so it begins...

McIver's last day of school was on Wednesday. It was sad to realize that we won't be going back to Westbury anymore. We just feel so blessed to have found such a great school in Houston - I signed the kids up for this school before we even knew where we would be living. It ended up being so perfect for both Olivia and McIver and I loved the 2 years that I taught the Rabbit Class. I had a hard time making eye contact with anyone when I walked McIver into school that morning. The tears just kept welling up, as I'm sure will continue to happen over the next six weeks.

McIver had such a great year in the Monkey Class with Mrs. Hunter and Mrs. Jean. They love those kids and it is so obvious every time I saw them interact. The Monkey Class was perfect for McIver... they were active and busy all year. The teachers put together a fabulous scrapbook of the entire year. It has been so fun to sit with McIver and flip through the pages. He tells me something new about his class every time we look through it. I can't believe how much he has grown since the beginning of the year.

Mrs. Jean, McIver & Mrs. Hunter (Mrs. Hunter's daughter is going to babysit for us the night of Will's graduation and we hope to see them at the pool a lot before we move!)
McIver with Ms. G, one of the music teachers. I subbed with her a lot this Spring. She's so sweet and has so much fun playing music for the children.

McIver with Ms. K, the other music teacher. Ms. G & Ms. K manned the carline each morning and always started McIver's day off on the right foot. He loved taking something special in his bag to 'surprise' them when they opened the car door (like a toy snake or bug!).

GynOnc Fellows Field Day

We spent last Sunday afternoon at Tom Bass Park in Pearland with the GynOnc fellows and attendings from MD Anderson. Two of the first year fellows organized a great afternoon with games and great food. I didn't get a picture of him, but Murphy went with us and thoroughly enjoyed himself. There were several children who just loved on him non-stop!

It took Olivia a little while to warm up to the whole idea. I was glad that we had brought her scooter. She zipped off to the playground for a little while to get the lay of the land.

McIver, of course, jumped right in and started having a ball immediately. They were climbing all over the swing and looking for snakes. This little girl (the daughter of an attending) called me over to her and asked me to lean down. She whispered into my ear: That little boy (McIver) is crazy wild!
Will got in on the egg relay action. He was also a finalist in the water balloon toss!

Olivia and Will were involved in a serious water gun fight - she finally started having fun!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Olivia's Field Day

Olivia's school held Field Day a week or so ago. It ended up being a cloudy day so it wasn't as nearly as hot as last year. I missed the first hour or so (I hate that I missed the water balloon fight!), but managed to get a few good shots of Olivia enjoying herself.

Carrying the ball on the spoon required a great deal of concentration!

Mae's Birthday Party

Mae and Olivia have been buddies since the first day of preschool when we moved here. They were in the Owl & Fish Classes together. Lana and I signed them up for ballet class last year so that they could see each other regularly even though they attend different schools. Even though more time passes between visits, they are still good friends.

Mae's birthday party was at Michael's craft store. The children decorated their own aprons and had cake and ice cream to celebrate Mae's 7th birthday.

Gymnastics Award Ceremony

McIver was quite pleased with his gold medal from gymnastics this year. He loved going to gymnastics with Coach Steve every Thursday afternoon after school. They learned how to do cartwheels, walk on a balance beam and just how to control their bodies while waiting their turn. Coach Steve and his assistant coaches are amazing, enthusiastic and patient.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

McIver's story for Amelia

Several weeks ago, McIver called me into his room and asked me to bring my new Flip video camera. He told me he wanted to read a story for Amelia. It's one of his favorite Bearnstein Bears stories - No Girls Allowed! (It's also where he got the idea to tell his teachers that my favorite food is honeycomb and salmon for my Mothers Day card.)

(Since it was his idea and he was in such a good mood, I decided against picking the battle of making him put on a shirt for the video. He was squeaky clean from a bath and on his way to bed and has decided that he likes to sleep 'just in boxers, like Daddy.')

Murphy Update

McIver was so well-behaved the morning we took Murphy to the hospital for surgery. I didn't know that it would take 2 hours to drop him off so I had not brought anything to help keep McIver entertained. We saw a few interesting x-rays in the waiting area, so when we made it back to the exam room, McIver decided to draw a picture of what we had seen.
This is McIver's rendition of an x-ray of a dog who has swallowed a spoon and some sort of coin. He just couldn't believe that a dog would swallow a spoon. Kudos to the vet who took the time to take a close look at the x-ray and tell McIver the story about the dog who swallowed the spoon. (His owner had offered him the last lick of her icecream and the dog just took the whole spoon!)

Murphy's doing fine. His symptoms are a bit better; he doesn't seem to have the urgency to go out in the middle of the night like he had been. I haven't been sleeping well, though, so I'm also letting him out in the middle of the night before he has a chance to become uncomfortable and bark to be let out. He'll go back in for radiation next week.

McIver Feeds Swimmy

I don't usually walk McIver in to school in the mornings because we go to the gym between dropping Olivia at school at 7:45 and taking McIver to school. But, this week I've had to be up and dressed before the children because of the work going on in our shower. Anyway, McIver loves when I walk him in and wanted to show me the school fish, Swimmy.

Mrs. Edge, the director of the preschool was standing by the door, and saw McIver show me to her office window to see Swimmy. Then she heard me tell McIver that it was time to head to his classroom. McIver followed my instructions the first time I said them and Mrs. Edge saw it all! To reward him for obeying on the first time, he was asked to feed Swimmy that morning. Apparently, Mrs. Edge is always on the look-out for someone who deserves the privilege to feed Swimmy.

Clearly, McIver was way proud of himself. He even spent quite a long time that afternoon drawing a picture for Mrs. Edge to tape to the side of Swimmy's aquarium.

Monkey Class End of the Year Party

It's so hard to believe that the end of the school year is so close. McIver only has three days of school next week. The Monkey Class has been a perfect fit for him this year. His teachers are wonderful and oh-so-patient!

The End of the Year Party was last week and it was great fun! I particularly loved that I just showed up with a bag of cheetos, the ultimate snack choice for a bunch of 4 and 5 year olds. They had fishing games, a slip and slide, water balloons and bouncy ball races, not to mention Monkey Class hats and a picnic lunch.

McIver was more interested in popping the balloon than in winning the relay race.
It took a turn or two, but he finally got the hang of the slip-and-slide.

He was pretty good at the bouncy ball race.

McIver's new belt

McIver tested for his next belt in Kuk Sool last weekend. After a session with the instructors to be sure that each student knows the forms, the Little Dragons class made their way to the front of the room to receive their new belts. All levels were watching, including those who had just earned their 2nd degree black belts.

First, they had to shout their student creed in front of the very large crowd... I'm smart, I'm strong and I have a good heart.

Then they received their new belts. McIver moved from the white belt with a blue stripe to the red stripe. (Hanging the belt around his neck was not part of the ceremony!)

Olivia's Spinning Supplies Holder

Olivia came home from school with an 'invention assignment.' The invention had to have at least one moving part, be made from materials from around the house and the challenge was to invent a simple machine that would be helpful in the classroom. I immediately turned the assignment over to Will (to the point that he could not play golf one weekend until they had finished the project).

Olivia thought about the project for a few days and was ready to get to work. Will was about to throw out McIver's old training wheels, but Olivia told him they should use it for her project...

"Olivia's Spinning Suplis Holder" (her spelling, not mine)
Will helped her hold the drill, but she really did do most of the work. They screwed the wheel into a block of wood, then attached a cardboard circle to the top of the wheel. Olivia covered the cardboard with pieces of construction paper. Then they attached the cups to hold the school supplies (markers, pencils and crayons). You can tell by the look on her face how proud she was of her invention!

Friday, May 15, 2009

McIver's new interest ... girls!

McIver told me last night that he wants a haircut. I told him we'd get one once school gets out next week, but he said he wants to get it before then 'so Madison can see it.' Madison is a little girl in his class (who was in my class last year so I know that she's terribly sweet!). McIver told me, in a very sad voice, that "Madison likes Sam better because he has short, short hair and he brushes his teeth all the time, even in the middle of the night!"

Then, this morning, he brushed his teeth for a really, really long time. I picked out some play clothes for McIver to wear to school. He told me that he needed 'handsome clothes' instead. So he showed me a plaid, short-sleeved button down in his closet. He put on a red t-shirt underneath and some khaki shorts. Apaprently, this is a similar outfit to one he saw on the Hannah Montana show when Miley's brother Jackson spent a good deal of time trying to decide what to wear on a first date.

Here's my handsome guy...

When we got to school, he walked in and actually waited for Madison to notice him! I hope this is just a very brief phase.

*Updated: I was subbing in the music class (don't laugh!) and had a break during McIver's lunchtime so I joined his class. Madison chose to sit by him during lunch today and he grinned from ear to ear!
Updated again: This is Maddie...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mothers Day 2009

Mothers Day was relaxing and wonderful this year. It kicked off on Friday when Olivia and McIver got home from school. They just couldn't wait to give me their gifts. Olivia made flowers out of tissue paper and decorated a small clay pot. It is proudly displayed on our breakfast table. McIver answered some questions about "Mom" for his teachers. Some of the answers were pretty funny - I am 14 years old, and my favorite food is honeycomb and salmon (from a Bearnstein Bears book). He also spelled out: I (picture of an eye) love (picture of a heart) you more than anything in the world.

On Sunday, Will was on call so he wasn't able to join us for church, but both Olivia and McIver came to the big church with me. (And they behaved!) They humored me as we walked to the car for church and let me take a picture...

After a quick lunch at home, we went to the pool. I love that I can set up a chair and flip through a magazine or visit with friends now that Olivia and McIver are such good swimmers. When we came home from the pool, we got ready for the Netherys to come over. Blakely's husband is out of town so we invited Blakely and the kids for over for dinner. She and I fed the kids while Will slaved over shrimp and grits. Then we sat down to a delicious dinner.
Another great Mothers' Day gift - McIver helped me fold 2 baskets of laundry!
I asked McIver this morning if I would need to remind him to buy flowers for his wife on Mothers Day. He said: No, I think I'll buy her a cake, or maybe even make her one.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Moving News

Good News! We closed on the house in Columbia on Monday. Everything went off without a hitch so we are the proud owners of a new house and we can't wait to get moved and get settled. I'm in the middle of getting quotes from movers so the whole thing is starting to seem more and more real.

Things are moving along well with the sale of the Houston house. We have finally seen the Inspection Report (after extending the Option Period) and agreed to the list of repairs that our buyers want. I've already scheduled the drain inspector and bath/tile people to take care of the master bath issues (a leak in the shower pan). The plan is to close on June 30.

Some dear friends in Houston have begun planning a going-away party for us. This move will be tougher than the move from Greenville, I think. We're really going to miss our friends, our church and all that Houston has to offer.

Computer troubles

A new computer may be in my future (or at least, it may need to be). I can't seem to access the internet from my computer which means I can't post pictures. We've already had a busy week - we went to the pool on Sunday and Olivia's Field Day was Wednesday. Pictures will come as soon as I can get the computer problem fixed.

Murphy Update

Murphy went in for surgery this morning. They were trying to remove (by laser) some of the tumor that was blocking his urethra. Only problem is that when they got in there with the ultrasound, they could see that the tumor wasn't actually blocking anything. So, his urgency to urinate is probably just because of the presence of the tumor. They removed what they could of the tumor, but we'll just have to wait and see if the symptoms are relieved or not. The good news is that the medication he started on a few weeks ago (before we even went to the oncologist) seems to be helping a little bit.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Olivia's Going Away Party

Olivia's friends hosted a Going Away Party for her on Saturday. They started the afternoon with 6 challenges. Challenges included hula-hooping around the backyard, walking with a balloon between their knees (the sitting on it to pop it!), filling a bowl with popcorn using a spoon, pillowcase hopping through the house, doing cartwheels around the yard and a water balloon toss. Each child earned a feathered 'trophy' at the end of the challenges - and a bag full of candy.

Olivia with her trophy.

She's TOTALLY ready for the next hula hoop contest in Myrtle Beach!

McIver & Will came in time for hamburgers and hotdogs. He found the last balloon and tossed it around with Will.
After the picnic supper, the kids each made a scrapbook filled with pictures with Olivia.

Olivia was thrilled with the dessert - a cookie cake!

Friday, May 1, 2009

R-E-D Red

McIver is loving performing for the video camera...