Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy Sixth Birthday Ethan!

We interrupt the backlog to bring you photos of Ethan's birthday (a day late).

Yesterday was Ethan's sixth birthday. I have no idea how six years have passed, but clearly they have and I am so proud of my son.

I took the day off to spend with Ethan, which started with being the mom class volunteer for his room (which he has been asking me to be for a while). Though I was kept very busy by his teacher, it was fun to spend the day with him. He got to wear a crown during school and we brought in smiley face cookies (which went over big).
Hard to see the crown... especially with my camera phone.


After school, I took Ethan and two of his neighborhood buddies out for lunch and whatever Ethan wanted to do. So, you ask, what did Ethan want to do? I'll tell you...

First we went to Noodles for lunch (one of his favorite places of course).


Two words: Stinking cute. Two more: Stinking happy.


Then we went to the park.


We tried several times for me to time it right to get them mid jump off this wall, but my phone camera was too slow... they gave up on me.


After that we went for ice cream... actually sundaes!



Then we went to the library (this one threw me, but so fitting for him actually).

They really made me laugh here. They were all so excited to get books, instructing me on what to look up and when I couldn't find it, off they went to ask a library employee. They then plopped down on the floor, each of them with their own book pile and looked through them (I am really upset I didn't get a photo of this!). I think it was a largest (by far) check out from the library EVER.

Next, we went to the playground behind the library, where they played Star Wars with the two sets being ships. I was Princess Leia. (no comments)

After that, we came home only because we were taking Ethan out to dinner (otherwise he would have kept picking new things to do).

At the restaurant, they brought his dessert (an apple crostata - his choice) with a candle in it and sang Happy Birthday to him (even though they apparently stopped doing that kind of thing a year ago, they made an exception for us). He was very happy.

Then came presents.


The mother of all presents (for a Star Wars fan): the Millennium Falcon. (this is where it REALLY helps to have a dad that A) really enjoyed action figures as a kid... and still does and B) knows his way around ebay quite well (to get great deals)).


All and all, Ethan said he had a great day.

Happy birthday my sweet little one. I love you whole, whole bunches!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Butterflies

You might remember the boys got a Butterfly Habitat from the Easter Bunny this year and I just got around to ordering the caterpillars for it in September. (I told you, it's just warp speed crazy here.)

I love the whole concept of this - teaching them the life cycle live and in person. It was fun to watch them crawl around, make their chrysalis and come out butterflies.

I somehow forgot to take photos of the caterpillars going into their new habitat, but here is their chrysalis transfer to the habitat. Yes, we had some masked men show up for the occasion.


And just as exciting to let them free.

Ethan: "Fly little guys... I know you can do it!"

Oliver: "They're so cute. Fly little cutie...fly!"

Collin: "Fy witle uys... fy! Bye, bye!"



And then for weeks, whenever we saw a butterfly they would talk to it as if it was one of their friends, still hanging out in our yard.

I can't wait to do it again in the spring.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Shutterfly – making us amateurs look professional

I love Shutterfly. Why? Because it helps bring to vision the cards I think (keyword: think) I can design based images in my head. Before Shutterfly, those projects really didn’t look like the “images”… not even remotely. After discovering Shutterfly a few years ago, I am happy to say my cards now fit the vision.

Shutterfly isn’t just holiday cards though; I’ve also created calendars, thank you cards and photo books on Shutterfly (and there’s much, much more). Probably my favorite things are their photo books. I love to look through ours over and over and just reflect.

I was amazed at just how easy it is to create these beautiful professional looking products. You simply load your photos and then drag and drop into the template you pick. Every year Shutterfly adds more designs to their vast inventory of holiday card templates, and this year is no different. Their holiday card templates range from photo cards, to one sided stationary photo cards, to folded photo cards. And there are so many different designs, it doesn't matter what your preferred style (look) is, they have it.

I am also amazed at the quality of these products. When I ordered my first photo book, I was very impressed by how nice it was – with a hard cover and perfect bound. It looks just like a book and holds up nicely.

If you haven’t yet looked at Shutterfly for your holiday cards, stationary (for any occasion), gifts, calendars, photo books (and much more), then you really should. You won’t be disappointed.

All that said, you can imagine my excitement when I found out that Shutterfly is offering 50 free holiday cards to bloggers: http://bit.ly/sfly2010 Thank you Shutterfly.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nature friends

The boys and I went hunting for "nature" items in our backyard (in September). Our goal was to find items so we could make some nature friends, as I had seen in a Family Fun magazine issue.

Here is what we made:

My person:



Ethan's boat and person:


Oliver's person:



Collin's person, who he named "Nit Nots" and carried around for weeks (even to school):

Some kids have imaginary friends... Collin has an acorn... named "Nit Nots". Hmmmm...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Just a couple weeks in Kindergarten...

Ethan had a homework assignment at the beginning of the school year (mid September) that was to make a book box. Over the course of the year, they create many little paper books in an effort to learn to read. This box is the place where they can keep all their books, which they can read at home throughout the year.

I gathered a lot of our art supplies for this project, as well as plain red wrapping paper (left over from the valentines box). Ethan decided to wrap only the sides of the box we found, because he liked the "swoosh." (his project...) He decorated the box with stickers, googly eyes, puff paint dots, foam letters and marker stampers. Then, he discovered some of the Halloween items in the art supplies. The foam bats on a stick that he had to have. And then...

E: "Oooo mom! I have to use that spider!"

M: "Why?"

E: "Because it will FREAK the girls out!"

M: "'Freak the girls out'?? Ethan, where did you hear that?"

E: "Come on mom, it will scare them, you know - freak them out. I have to use it."

M: "Why do you want to scare them?"

E: "Because they will scream and be freaked out."

M: "And that's a good thing?"

E: "Yes mom..." (in the tone of "don't you know anything?!")

M: "Okay (knowing it was really harmless). How about some of these cool glitter shapes?"

E: "Dude, ARE you serious? I can't use that... only GIRLS use that stuff."

M: "First, 'dude are you serious?' Where did you hear that and do you think it's appropriate to say to me. "

E: "Sorry mom. That's what they say at school."

M: "We've been using those glitter shapes for art project for years and you've never had a problem with it."

E: "Come on mom, glitter is for girls. Just like pink. I can't use anything pink, it's for girls."

M: "Really?"

E: (sensing a "lesson" coming on...) "I know, colors are just colors and we like them all. But really mom, pink is a girl's color. I think Oliver is a girl, he likes pink." (giggle, giggle)

M: "Oliver's not a girl, he just likes all colors."

E: "I don't know mom, he really likes pink..." (giggle, giggle)

M: *** big sigh ***

So, to sum it up... a few weeks into Kindergarten and my once naive little boy now wants to "freak out the girls," is calling me "dude", is already talking like a teenager and I am clueless as to the "in" things, and he is stereotyping. Wow. It's like a "life comes at you fast" commercial. What the heck?! By the end of the year will be asking for tattoos, body piecing, wanting to grow his hair into a shag (are those even still in?) and asking to drive the car...



(In case you are wondering, I wrote this conversation down... there is no way I could remember it all two months later! Glad I did, it still makes me laugh.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Apple picking!

Okay, yes, this is old. How old? Um... Labor Day weekend. I know... seriously, life is crazy right now, but I am determined to catch up with photos and stories soon! So, you'll be seeing some old and new news coming soon.

Over Labor Day weekend we took the boys apple picking. Honestly, I love fall. I love, love, love, love fall. September through December is my favorite time of the year actually, between the cooler temps, the fall activities and then of course the spill over into all the holidays. It's just a fun time of the year and so many fun things to do. Apple picking is definitely a favorite of ours - we go at least four or five times in the fall.

For this venture we tried out a new (to us) orchard that was all organic. It was beautiful! We felt like we were picking apples in someone's backyard, and in fact we were, the owner's. It was a decent sized orchard but so peaceful and non commercial in every aspect. There were only a few other families there with us, but it seemed like we were all alone. There was also a little pond to add to the overall ambiance. The apples, since they were organic, were definitely were not pretty, but instead had many blemishes. However they tasted great and we loved it! I ran home and made some organic pink applesauce (from the bright red apples).








Not far from this orchard was a local ice cream factory that we decided to visit. The factory, naturally, was not running, but we could see the work area. They had some great play sets, we ate lunch, had ice cream (of course) and fed the ducks.













It was a fun fall day!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ethan is reading...

Ethan has just started "bag books" at school. These are little early reading books that come home in a ziploc bag (I am sure you figured that out, huh?) that the kids are to read it until they've mastered, then bring it back to read the teacher and get a new book. Ethan has always loved books and still does. He has been on the verge of reading for a while. So when he brought home his first book, he couldn't have been more excited to read it.

He actually did great right out of the gate with his first book, which I forgot to video before he turned in (no mommy guilt there... okay massive amounts...) for his new book. The video below if him reading his second book. We are not sure why the video camera made him read it "choppy" but he still did great!

video

He is super proud of himself. We are talking not the least bit of humility, he out right boasts about the fact that he is a "super reader". Because it's all about confidence in this stage of the game, and he's going to clearly move up to the next level (C - a harder level) very soon, we are just letting him boast. We love his excitement about reading and that he is so proud. Okay... that and the fact we hope that he can read his own Star Wars and Super Hero reference books (yes - reference books, not just stories) soon... they are so boring... but he has to know every little detail about everyone.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Seven years ago...

I've been MIA for so long due mostly to work priorities keeping me at work late and business trips, both of which are not letting up. I am so far behind on this blog, not to mention every other aspect of my life. Hopefully, soon, I will have time to update you on some fun happenings in the last two months... I have a camera full of events small and large.

However, today is a very special day that deserves a few moments of my time to share.

Seven years ago today, we said we did...
Happy anniversary Steve. I love you!

And thank you for this beautiful surprise today...

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