Thursday, July 30, 2009

XO.

I wish all my kids' names did something clever like this...

Aside from meaning something pretty awesome in several different languages...

Scandinavian - rejoice,
Japanese - leader,
Mandarin Chinese - victory/triumphant,
Burmese - unbreakable,
South African - beautiful,
to name a few.

... it is also the name of a Greek Letter: X.

SO, when you write Kai's name as the Greek "X" and add his last name initial you get:

XO!!

HUGS AND KISSES!!


How cool is THAT??

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Super Hero Day"

With school starting up again in about 3 weeks, I've been feeling acute pangs of guilt for not being a "funner" mom this summer. Granted, I did have a baby 3 days before the last school year ended. STILL, I want to give my son a reason to be excited to be home next summer by giving him some fun memories THIS summer!

A long time ago my mom gave me a big book for preschoolers that has outlines and ideas for 80 different themed days; everything from Chicken Day to Pants Day to Wrapping Paper Day. I've never actually read through any of the ideas, but it inspired TOday:

Olsen Super Hero Day.

We started the day with super hero pancakes. I simply added a few drops of food coloring and used a knife to move it around to make shapes.

Gregory sincerely asked if the CTR pancake would actually give him super powers. I told him if he always chooses the right, the Lord will always bless him and that's even better than super powers (if only all his questions inspired such meaningful answers!).

As incentive for Gregory and Charla to complete their chores last week, I sewed them each a cape. Luckily they did earn their capes, so after breakfast they donned their capes and we took a walk to a playground not too far from home.

Charla REALLY liked her cape- so did Gregory, but she was a bit more expressive

I brought sandwiches and a special treat from my childhood- Kool-aid squeeze-it's. My kids all ended up with blue tongues (except Kai).

They had a blast running around on the play equipment and leaping off stuff for me to snap super hero shots of them. Of course I couldn't resist grabbing a few shots of Kai demonstrating his super-cuteness.It looks like she's gently floating down

This picture just looks funky to me- like he's laying a Leora

Queen of the Castle

Unfortunately, even super heroes can't deflect everything. When Gregory got the see-saw going too hard, it irritated some wasps we hadn't noticed underneath. Charla ended up with a sting on her knee, which abruptly ended our outing. Luckily, sharing the last Squeeze-It with Gregory on the (all up-hill) walk home distracted her from her welt.

Moments before the wasps attacked

Once home I treated my toasty kids to Otter-pops. I asked the kids if they could think of a super-hero movie they could watch. Gregory remembered the DVD his aunt Trish sent him for Christmas- a sort of Marvel comics Hero's cartoons: The Justice League. Perfect.

There's a method to Leora's madness- she was biting the middle to get the ice to move to the top. Smart girl!!

The day still had the typical squabbles and whining common any other day, but it was SO fun drawing them into the theme and playing along! Maybe I'll have to start consorting the book for some more ideas.

Have a super day!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dayton Air Show

Last weekend we took our crew to the annual Dayton Air Show. We had a great time!

Last year it had been SO hot and humid, we sought refuge in the shade of the huge planes every chance we got. This year was the opposite. As we were walking to the entrance we stopped and considered going home because it was in the 60's and drizzling.

Luckily Fred made the call to stay (lucky for him that the weather improved) and it ended up being a lot of fun :)

Fred heard that this year the Brazilian air force had one of their elite fighter squadrons participating in our Air Show (they do every 2 years). They did incredible stunts in the air and we had fun talking to them at their booth. When we approached their display I had Charla say "Bom Dia!" (good day, in Portuguese) and all the pilots were just tickled.

We bribed the kids into behaving by promising them that they could pick one of the kiddy attractions- they had a blast in the bouncy castle with slide- the guy overseeing it was cool and let them play a good 15 minutes, since it wasn't too crowded!

(my boys on the C-17- Gregory had his hands on his ears pretty much the entire time we were there)

(they cut out Leora!)

(this picture cracks me up- it's set up by the Marine recruiters- I thought it looked like a big, buff guy kneeling and saying a prayer!)

The Olsen Complimentary Limo Service I wasn't aware we offered until walking back to the car.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pioneer Olsen Girls

As Primary chorister, I decided to seize an opportunity to go a little over the top. Lately, I've been looking for sewing projects to help use up my hoard of fabric... so I can justify buying more. You definitely need lots of fabric when sewing pioneer clothes!

(unfortunately, the dress made me look about 20 pounds heavier- ech)

(definitely one of my all-time favorite pictures!)

I came to church this past Sunday in regular church clothes, but changed into my pioneer dress right before the kids got to Primary. It was so fun seeing their faces when they saw me, in my billowing dress, apron and bonnet!

It turned out to be SO fun! I brought several quilts that we had the children sit on for singing time. I'd drawn our "trek" west. We started our little handcart picture at Camp Zion, moved to Prophet Peak, down to Child of God Canyon, way up Scripture Power Mountain, and unto the Salt Lake Valley to the temple, with songs and stories along the way. I had sewn the child sized bonnet for the girls and brought a straw hat for the boys, to put on the children I chose as helpers along the way.

It was such a fun experience- definitely worth dressing up for! And now there's a little more room in my linen cabinet...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Father's Day Post (a bit overdue)

OK, so this is a month and 2 days overdue. But in the interest of this being our family journal, I really wanted to include it :)

Before my mom and sisters got here for their 6-week stay, Fred had expressed how much he'd like a place to retreat from the estrogen. After several failed attempts to conquer the garage, he abandoned the idea... leaving things open for me to come up with a stellar Father's Day gift!

Thus was born, Fred's Man Cave.

(about to enter the garage from inside the house)

I picked up a small fridge off Craigslist, a couple folding chairs, and a work light. He'd been wanting saw horses and a work table, so I fashioned a work table with 2 new saw horses and a sturdy 3x5 sheet of wood. I rigged up our 2 fans to blow in on his corner of the garage where it was all set up, by the TV he already hooked up.

The real treat was in the fridge and served for dinner. We found this amazing, ENORMOUS super-store called Jungle Jim's, north of Cincinnati. It's like a glorified Trader Joe's- AMAZING :) It has a huge international section (several long aisles German food *grin*). I found a good lute of Brazilian food and goodies and, most of all, the Brazillion soda Guarana Antartica.

(he didn't realize he was squishing the cold soda can against Kai's face- poor baby!)

I set it all up (in the garage I organized and cleaned up) while Fred was banished to our bedroom with his laptop, the Star War's Legos game, and a captive audience (Gregory) while he played it. When he came down, we led him into the garage- he was blown away! Desired reaction achieved!

We enjoyed a yummy dinner of arroz (rice), feijoada (well, just beans), farinha (a sort of grainy meal you sprinkle on the rice and beans), pao de queijo (yummy cheese bread balls, I made fresh), milho (corn), queijo (cheese), and bananas (bananas), with cold Guarana. For dessert we had an assortment of Brazillion cookies.

It was SOOO yummy and, most importantly, he loved it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hot Chocolate in July

OK, so maybe it was more like "warm chocolate", but today was definitely conducive to a heated, yummy drink!

The property management kindly sent out the exterminator today, in response to last week's spider adventure. Since we have a newborn, they recommended leaving the house for about 3 hours after they sprayed the poison.

Fred had the van, so when the bug man showed up, I threw some rain gear on the kids and the stroller and headed to my friend, Crystal's house. We visited for about 3 hours and then ventured home. The high for today should be 67, but the kids insisted they were cold by the time we got home. So I humored them with hot chocolate.

Now my house is clean (from getting ready for the bug man), the bugs should be dying as I type, 2 kids are peacefully sleeping, and it's raining outside- near perfection :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Little Big Helper = Cat Crisis

That ominous silence.

I went to investigate WHY Leora was being so quiet. My quest led me to the upstairs hallway bathroom.

There was the kitty, nibbling at soggy cat food floating on the bathroom. Apparently, Leora had taken it upon herself to feed and water the cat.

We keep the cat food in an old Goldfish crackers box.

While I went to grab paper towels, Leora committed an acrobatic act. Actually, she was just trying to brush her teeth. Determined little hygienic-conscious girl!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ritzy Night Out

(yes, I cut and pasted us together)

You might say this has been an epic weekend for Fred. He had the privilege of escorting one of the guests invited to participate in the 48th annual National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF), David Hartman (original host of Good Morning America) . Click on the first link to read all about the NAHF, but basically the event chooses several people each year to be enshrined, also inviting many other past enshrinees (like Niel Armstrong and many other astronauts from all the Apollo missions and more), along with other important guests.

There were 3 days packed with events for the guests and those involved (like Fred). I won't post about all of those things now, but highlights included Fred getting a free flight at a BBQ, Gregory eating breakfast with an astronaut at the Air Force Museum, Fred getting the privilege of listening to many of the astronauts recount their experiences and answer questions, and many other little things along the way.

Since it's difficult for me to leave Kai for too long (avid little nurser), I only went on the last day to the formal, Saturday evening. We had wonderful friends who watched the kids and Kai managed with his first-ever bottle of expressed milk, much to my relief!

To say it was fantastically amazing would be an understatement. It was a black-tie event, with the military people in their mess dress (the fancy uniform). Since Fred was escorting a guest, there was no charge for us. Good thing, because it was $150 a plate!

(the arrow is meant to point out just how big the stage was in comparison to the speaker)

They had this amazing set-up on stage, made to look like the view the pilots/astronauts would have in the cock pit. There was also audio mimicking what it would sound like. The simulation played on the "windshield" for the entire evening, first for lift-off, arriving at the moon, and then orbiting the moon for the remainder of the evening, with headlines and photographs occasionally appearing as the program called for. The video captures it pretty well.

(lift-off)
video

(Arriving at the moon)
video

The food and service was excellent and we had lots of laughs with Fred's Captain, Scott Smith, who had also escorted one of the guests. One of the other officers at our table happened to be one of the nurses I had when I delivered Kai. Small world.

(at our table with Captain Smith)

During dinner, people could freely walk around and meet the guests.. if you could elbow your way to them! Niel Armstrong had the Dayton Chief of Police near him at all times! Fred tried to find his escortee in the sea of other esteemed guests, but we had to find our seats before he was able to spot Dave.

As we meandered around the tables, I had this surreal feeling of awe, taking in the scene. I felt a little guilty for not being able to recognize anyone, so I tried to put on my best appreciative smile whenever I met someone's gaze. One elderly gentleman grabbed Fred and gave him a firm handshake, also shaking my hand. He was excited to see Fred's rank (we call them butter bars, because it's a single gold bar- lowest officer rank) and he enthusiastically wished us luck. I wish I could've known who he was.

Unfortunately, we had to leave before it was over, since our kids were at our friends' house and the program ended after 10pm. They do this every year, so Fred definitely has plans on participating again next year! We felt so privileged to be a part of such an awesome experience!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

This Morning...

I just thought I'd post some highlights from this morning.

Breakfast on the table. Kai got a close-up look at breakfast. It was so cute! When my sister Inga (now 16) was a baby, we would lay her in the middle of the table while we ate or hung out there. Maybe we'll carry on that tradition with our #4...

I got a good laugh when Charla sauntered into the kitchen, her blanket tied like a cape around her neck, glittery fairy wings on, chatting away on her "cell phone"- actually a little digital alarm clock that closes in on itself.

The most terrifying thing this morning (we have a quota to fill... just kidding) was my battle with the monstrous spider in the living room. I considered taking a picture of it before making my attempt to kill it, but was afraid of scaring it away.

The thing was huge! It would have spanned the diameter of my open palm IF I ever had the nerve to hold one. I wanted to make sure I could take it out in one swat, so I moved the furniture away from the wall so I could pull over a chair to stand on to reach it (near the ceiling, on the wall). I firmly grabbed my sneaker and gauged the blow. With all my might I hit at it...

...it didn't have much effect. So I hit again A piece of it stuck to the wall and the rest plummeted to the carpet... where it promptly popped up and scurried under the couch. AAAAGH!!

I ordered the kids onto the other couch and scooped Kai up off the floor and put him in the swing. I probably looked pretty comical, perched on the easy chair, a toy sword in hand vacuum hose in the other, poking around at the clutter by the couch.

Long story short, I called maintenance who sent over the exterminator. We never found the elusive arachnid, but we're now scheduled to get the house sprayed on Wednesday. I'm clinging to the theory that spiders only bite when provoked, so hopefully it's not a vengeful spider, and will just go on his merry way- outside.

(these 2 fell asleep while we hunted the spider)

Right after the exterminator left, Charla suddenly shrieked, "A SPIDER!" and she pointed a shaking finger across the room. I tensed, and then laughed when I saw she was pointing at the computer screen. I had found a picture of a spider that looked just like the one on my wall (a wolf spider). Brave Gregory cautiously approached the computer screen to verify that it wasn't the real thing.


Now it's afternoon. I hope lunch will be uneventful.