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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Help me win an iPod touch for my dad!

Hello all of you at home. Today will be a different kind of post, because it's written by Strider, not by my mom as usual. Well, we're doing this contest, a silly face picture contest. If you win, you get an iPod touch. My dad's iPod broke, so I want to give him this one for Father's Day. So, I'm going to give you the link and I want you to vote up to 5 times a day everyday until June 4th.

Here are the pictures we took today of our funny faces:

And the one I picked to enter the contest is... ...this one.

So please vote for it here:

http://contests.myschoolrocks.com/engine/Details.aspx?contestid=6432&pagetype=VOTING&SubmissionID=913595

Well, see ya later folks!

Paci Maneuvers

We have been having some battles over Colsen's beloved paci (pacifier) lately. I am of the opinion that he is now too old to walk around with the silly thing in his mouth; Colsen believes it still the very best object on earth and he will love it until the day he dies. So we compromised, I naively believed, that he could have it only when he was in his bed. Colsen nodded externally to the proposed compromise, but apparently on the inside he was shouting with glee, "Let the games begin!"

So now he's been using all kinds of tactics to keep that thing in his mouth whenever and wherever he wants. He started out with a strong winner: everytime I saw him walking around with it and told him to put it in his bed, he would come running over to me and say in an oh-so-sweet voice, "But I just want a hug with my paci!" And because I'm his mother, I chose to ignore the manipulation therein, and settled down for a snuggle every time.

But once he ran the bases with that one, he started some new strategies. He's appealed to our compassion for animals (even stuffed ones):

Me: Colsen, what is that paci doing down here?? Go take it upstairs!
C: No -- it's for Cos-Cos! (his stuffed animal dog)

And like a true negotiator, he's tried to prove the absolute practical necessity of the object, such as:

Me: Colsen, why is that thing in your mouth down here??
C: It's my mask for when I'm mowing the lawn! See? (pushes a chair around the living room) [Pete does wear a mask when he mows the area in the way back of our yard]

He's also used some stealth maneuvers... we'll often catch a glimpse of someone slinking around in the shadows, or see just 2 eyes peering around the corner. And then all we have to say is, "Colsen...." and he knows he's been caught red-handed -- or red-mouthed.

Then, when I saw this scene unfold in front of me the other day, I definitely recognized this technique...

I had heard him gingerly walking down the stairs and then into our living room. When I looked over at him, this is what I saw:


It's funny to see you're never too young to resort to our age-old method for dealing with contrary situations: DENIAL.

And so the battle continues...

I know, real suspenseful, right? :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Boy, it was fun with the Boyers

Pete's sister, Karen, and 2 of their kids, Nate and Grace, made the long trek down from Pittsburgh to spend the weekend with us. Our kids were soooo excited to play with their cousins! Even though we felt like we had been transported to a rainforest with all the crazy weather the last few days, we still managed to fit in some fun things. On Saturday, the group went to the Mint Hill Highland Games where the boys tried their hand at some games of strength and coordination, and the girls ran a race with a potato (and came in 2nd and 3rd!) and did a craft. Sunday was consumed with baseball, baseball and more baseball -- inside and out-- for the boys, and some coloring and playing for the girls. And on Monday we went to the Billy Graham Library, which we always enjoy.

Nate was a joy to have around -- Strider and Colsen get such a kick out of him. And 4-year-old Grace made us laugh and smile so many times with her cute and perceptive little observations. At one point I called Colsen "Sweetie," and Grace said, "Sweetie is not for boys! Only for girls." I told her I thought I could use it for boys, too, and she seemed to acquiesce, but then wanted to add that "Sweetie is NOT for teenagers because they're too big." I conceded that point to her.

We're glad they came to see us! (even though in the picture above Pete looks a little overwhelmed.... really -- we had fun!)




Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thank you, Dick and Jane


In teaching both Strider and now Rayna to read, I have to say I'm starting to really love Dick and Jane. With both kids, they reached a point where they could almost read, but we did a lot of this:

Me: What's this word? Sound it out.
Rayna: lllll--ooooooo----kkkkkk..... Luke!
Me: Well, actually, it's "Look."
Rayna: Oh! Look. Ok.

[And about 1 line later...]

Me: What's this word? You just saw it. You don't remember? Sound it out.
Rayna: lllll--ooooooo----kkkkkk..... Luke!
Me: No.... remember -- it's "Look." We just did this word.
Rayna: Oh! Look. Ok.
[This scene repeats about 16 times until I am so insane I start babbling senselessly.]

And both Rayna and I end up hating our reading sessions.

I kept trying to find books that would keep her interest, and inspire her to read a little faster, but to no avail. We've tried reading some of the more modern "early reader" books -- books about Dora, Biscuit, etc., But she didn't like any of them.

Then I remembered "Fun With Us." This was a Dick and Jane book that was the first book I ever learned to read -- and my mom kept it for all my siblings to learn on also. Then, when Strider was struggling to learn to read, we got it -- and he sat right down and read it! It was his first official book.


So I thought of that recently and found a more sturdy version at the library. (Our paperback copy has lost it's cover, gotten pretty dogeared and is pretty close to falling apart after all the triumphant readers using it!)

And she sat down and read it! After a couple pages, she turned to me and said, "Look how fast I'm reading!" And she was.
There's just something about Dick and Jane, and their towheaded sister Sally, that provides this wonderful breakthrough. Even though the plot lines and dialogue leave much to be desired, this series is rapidly becoming my favorite one of all time. :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hair today and gone tomorrow.... and then back again

My hair is falling out.

Again.

One of the oh-so-pleasant discoveries that new moms make is that after the baby is born, about the same time the baby's hair starts falling out, her own hair starts falling out. Apparently, being pregnant makes us grow more hair than usual -- some women say they notice their hair becomes all nice and thick and shiny (I didn't really notice a big difference). And then in the wonderful post-partum period, all those extra hairs fall out.

But then here's the part I don't get: a few months after the big Fall-Out, little new hairs start growing back in. The first time this happened with me after Strider was born I felt like I looked so ridiculous-- all these little fringy hairs coming in around my forehead. Since then I've realized I should always just squint when I look in the mirror, so then I don't see any of my flaws -- these baby hairs included -- so it hasn't bothered me as much in subsequent post-partums.

So, as I was pulling my hair out by the seemed-like fistful today, I started pondering this. WHY do we grow extra hair, then lose it, then grow new hair?? What exactly is the point? I was thinking about how God has numbered the hairs on each of our heads, and thought about how his tabulator had to be working over-time for my head these days. Add a bunch, subtract a bunch, add a bunch more....
Why would He want to do that?

I can't presume to know any of His why's, of course, but I did discover one of the nice results of it all: the fact that I'm realizing how much God is paying attention to me! He is making his head-hair-calculator run in overdrive -- on purpose. He apparently doesn't mind the extra math -- he is still keeping tabs on me.

Maybe this is just what I need to hear right now, in a stage of life where I often feel consumed by the mundane details of small people around me -- that God is intimately involved with my mundane details, to a much, much greater degree than I can even imagine. It's been a nice realization. :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So close.... but no prize.

Last night we went up for an annual Young Life golf fundraising event, and both Strider and Pete entered the Ultimate Putt Contest. There were 4 rounds, and then championship head-to-head putt-offs for both the adults and kids, with big prizes at stake!
Sadly, Pete lost in the 3rd round (so no big Great Wolf Lodge vacation package for us!), but Strider made it all the way through to the finals! It came down to just him and one other kid... it became very suspenseful..... but in the end, the other boy made one more perfect putt than Strider did. Oh well, no big Wii prize this year. :( This is a picture of the final 2 kids in their championship head-to-head round:

But the event was very fun anyway.... and Strider got a kick out of seeing Joe Gibbs (of NFL coaching fame) there, and getting to compete against Gibbs' grandsons. In the picture below, Strider is standing directly in front of "Coach," as everyone calls him, in a picture of all the finalists. (Pete was daydreaming that he would be in the head-to-head finals against Joe, but alas, it was not to be.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Probably not the best place to fall asleep

This is where we found Colsen sleeping at around 10 pm the other night. (We thought he was in his bed.) Thankfully we found him before he rolled over or something!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

One flesh

An alternate title for this post could be "Plenty of portulaca" because...

A few weeks ago the gardener at our local greenhouse gave me the idea to plant some portulaca (flowers) in a strawberry pot I already owned. I followed her directions, and now that the flowers are starting to bloom, I'm very happy!

I had had a conversation with Mom about this when I first planted them (she remembers planting portulaca when she was a child), so yesterday morning as I was looking out in the yard, I thought, "I'll take a couple photos of the flowers and email them to her." So I took the pictures, but didn't download them from the camera right away.

Then, later after Pete had come home, he came upstairs with the camera, saying, "Look how great this picture is." "I know," I said, "I took it."

"No, you didn't -- I just did," he replied. "Look, I took 2 of them!"

"Well, I took 2 pictures of the same exact thing 6 hours ago," I told him.

And, sure enough, there were 4 pictures on the camera -- all remarkably similar.

Pete and I often feel like our minds are tuned the same channel... Sometimes when we're quietly reading our separate books in bed at night, we'll both start talking at the same time -- about the same random topic. Or we'll be driving in the car listening to the kids sing or argue about something, and we'll suddenly both turn to each other and say something about a course he's planning for school. Totally random and weird. And Pete always says, "One flesh, Baby!" when we do that.

But this portulaca incident even had him, in his own words, "reeling." We're so strange -- but believe me, we don't usually take photographs of the flowers growing in our yard! Totally random.

Are other couples as dorky as us??

Anyway, Mom, there is now plenty of portulaca for you to see!




Here are the pictures I took:
And here are the ones Pete took:


Thursday, May 14, 2009

What is it with boys?

Yesterday on our long car trip to the zoo, in our van without - gasp- a DVD player, we played a few games. One of the games that Strider really wanted to do is the one where one person starts a story and then they "pass" it to someone else who makes up the next part of it, etc.

Pete said he would play along- - but only if Strider would not make it all violent. So Strider agreed and he started the story:

"Once upon a time there was a man named Joe. And Joe was addicted to drugs."

"NO, no, no!" I interrupted.

"Alright," Strider said. "Joe was addicted to Webkinz, ok? Anyway, he loved Webkinz so much that he played the games all day everyday for 5 years. One day a man came and told Joe that Webkinz was shutting down." And at that point he passed the story on to me.

While it was my turn, and Pete's turn, we tried to turn the story in a more positive direction, trying to use it as a "learning opportunity" (we were headed to a Field Trip, after all). So my chapter included a part of Joe's life in which he realized that true joy came from helping other people, so he served at a soup kitchen for years. And Pete's portion had Joe starting after-school tutoring program for underprivileged kids, etc.

Later, though, when Strider regained control of the story, he announced that "Joe found out that Webkinz was now available again, so he started playing for a year non-stop...."

This verbal tug-of-war went on for awhile...

Then at one point Pete had the story and he talked about how Joe realized that his pet dog Bob (who had been previously introduced into the story by Rayna) was very smart, so Joe had him trained to be a seeing-eye dog and gave him to a blind woman named Betty.

Now it was Strider's turn again. So he began,

"One day, Bob took Betty for a walk and he saw a squirrel. So he chased the squirrel, and Betty ran into a tree, and then fell into a hole...."

What is the deal with boys? (Not all boys, I know... but apparently the ones I'm raising anyway) Despite our best efforts to teach love, kindness and all other virtues, and to shield our kids from violence, evil (and drug addictions for crying out loud!) and all other bad things.... Still, this is what pours forth from the mind of my boy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Field Trip Day at the Zoo

Yesterday we enjoyed a day at the zoo.
Everyone had been looking forward to this trp for awhile, but for Colsen, especially, it was a big thrill since the last time we went to a zoo he was less than a year old. I'm not sure what he expected to see here, but I do know he had some apprehension. For the last few months, he's had some sort of crazy fear about monkeys. He thinks monkeys are going to eat him, come get him at night, etc... I think this idea is courtesy of Strider. Anyway, we've reassured him over and over that monkeys are just fun creatures, there are no monkeys near our house, and certainly none are going to eat him. But he has persisted in his beliefs. So we've had a LOT of conversations about what the monkeys at the zoo were going to be like.

Thankfully, all the kids were just plain thrilled with all the animals, Colsen included. In fact, as we were walking to the monkey exhibit, I asked him if he was scared. He answered, "No, I'm not scared. Monkeys aren't going to eat me. I'm happy now." So that was good.

On the way home I asked everyone what they're favorite parts were. Colsen said he loved the gorillas. We all enjoyed watching them catch and eat their food -- all kinds of fruits and vegetables were thrown and the 3 gorillas were very active going to get it all. Rayna said she loved the penguins best, and Strider enjoyed the Bird Show. In fact, this was a big highlight because Strider was chosen out of the crowd to be a "volunteer" and he held some hula hoops for a dive-bombing hawk to fly through. He said it felt like the big bird flew right under his armpit!
We also took the tram up to the botanical gardens, which were beautiful as usual. I wish we could have spent more time there!

My favorite quotes of the day were:

  • when Rayna later said that she wished she could go back and hug the gorillas (they do look very huggable!)
  • when we walked by a very tall woman and Strider said "She's like Yao Ming's mom!" She was probably about 6'5" (as he estimated), but she also caucasian and blond.
  • and when Strider said, "You know when we're in Heaven, gem mining is going to be easy. All we'll have to do is chip up a piece of the street!" (This had nothing to do with the zoo, but he said it today in the car on the way down) :)






































Tuesday, May 12, 2009

First laugh

video

Here is a video of Miles laughing last week.

If only I were always this funny. This is why I like hanging around the baby crowd.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Brothers

Yesterday was Miles' 3 month birthday, so I whipped out the camera to take what has become my goofy traditional 3-month shots of the boys. They all have worn the same outfit (given to Strider by Aunt Katie and Uncle Dan, back when they were students and shopped at the Nike Outlet in Grove City! Thanks, Kate and Dan -- it's been a long-lasting gift, as you will see below) They also all have the same silly toy bat in the picture --and is anyone else, besides ME, impressed with myself that I have been able to find that same toy for each photo shoot? Usually this house is a black hole for toys and other items -- things disappear, never to be seen again when I actually want them!

Anyway, see if you can match up the right boy with each picture (answers below):






Looks like they're brothers!



And, thankfully, they have a sweet sister that they can take care of -- and who can take care of them! It's a big task for her, but she says she can handle it.
Answers to above pictures: 1. Strider, 2. Miles, 3. Colsen, 4. Miles, 5. Colsen, 6. Strider

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Camping

Last weekend my dad took Strider camping, along with 80% of the Dreschers. Then, on Saturday, my mom brought Rayna up for the day, too. Needless to say, both kids LOVED it. I've been hearing stories about it all week.

And just like I used to, Strider gets most excited about the food when camping. (When dads are in charge, we all know what kind of "meals" are made) My favorite quote from Strider, though, was "Then for breakfast, Uncle J. made pancakes, and then he drownded mine with 2% maple syrup"

"2% maple syrup? What's that?" I asked.

He said, "That's what it said on the bottle! The other 98% is all chemicals."

So there you go.

Here are a few pictures of them loving the outdoors this past weekend...

So proud of my husband!


Once again I will shamelessly brag about him, "for Pete's sake." :)

Today was Wingate's graduation, and Pete was surprised during the ceremony when they called his name for a big award -- for Teaching Excellence!! The description of the award says is it is presented to a faculty member "who has served with distinction in the classroom" and is selected by nomination from students, faculty, administration and alumni. So he got this fancy plaque -- and a nice check!!

The kids and I were at Strider's baseball game this morning, so we missed the whole thing :( but when Pete came home and showed me, I started crying. This is because: A.) Ever since I became a mom, I cry about everything and B.) Since I am not in a position to win awards these days, I live vicariously through him!

But, apparently, he himself did NOT cry during the ceremony. I'm sure winning it, though, helped make the sitting-in-heavy-black-robes-on-a-sunny-85+degree-day-for-hours thing a bit more bearable.
Yay Peter!