Saturday, August 30, 2008

"Jesus loves princesses"

On our drive home from Cincinnati (details to follow), we passed this church that is about a stone's throw from the freeway. It's called the "Solid Rock Church" and to illustrate it, they have a 62-foot tall statue of Christ, rising out of the water, arms stretched to heaven, with a cross across His front. I think it's a little frightening.Charla recognized Him immediately and informed us Jesus was just "over there" and she also said the "temple" was pretty. We quickly pointed out that it was indeed a statue of Jesus, but that the building was not a temple. I felt to add that Jesus loves ALL His children, even if they don't go to our church.

She brightly added, "And Jesus LOVES princesses!"

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Gregory's First Day of Kindergarten

Yesterday was a big day in our home. Gregory's first day of school!

It came on pretty quickly, but it turned out to be a wonderful experience.
Gregory's birthday is September 15th, 2 weeks before the age cut-off for this district. I had resolved from his infancy to have him start later. I simply didn't want him playing catch-up for 13 years and being the youngest in his class, which I imagine would be a little harder down the road for a boy than a girl.
The district has a highly recommended preschool for a great price, so when I called to enroll him, I was surprised and disappointed when they told me no child who is Kindergarten age is permitted to be in their preschool. We can't afford any of the other ones, yet we felt he was ready to spend more tim
e with other kids and taking on different challenges than he can get at home.

I won't bore you with the internal struggle I fought, but by the end of the day I had called the Kindergarten and everything was set in motion for him to start- exactly 2 weeks later! You might say I was a bit of a basket case. I had been so secure in "knowing" I would have a whole year to prep him for school. He's smart to boot, so it wasn't the academics I was so concerned about. We simply hadn't really discussed it with him.

I was also feeling extremely inadequate. I knew it would be a hard experience, but I hadn't braced myself for it to happen so soon! Suddenly we were buying his Thomas backpack with matching lunch box, a whole new wardrobe, school supplies, getting his physical and shots updated, and really talking it up with him.

The night before was restless for me (I think Gregory slept like a rock, as usual). That morning was bright and exciting. Before we knew it, he was dressed, backpack shouldered, holding his Schultuete, grinning for me as I took his pictures.

On a quick side note, let me explain what a Schultuete is. In Germany, for over 2 centuries, it has been traditional for Kindergarteners to bring a large, decorated cone filled with treats, to share with their new classmates, on the first day of school. My siblings and I all did it, so of course I had to carry on the tradition. I decorated Gregory's with trains and we filled it with wrapped cookies we had baked.

Anyways, Fred came home from work to drive with us to the school. We took pictures and escorted him into his classroom. We were early, so he was the 2nd child there, meaning he got lots of enthusiastic attention from his teacher. She's wonderful! She's been teaching over 25 years and is Nationally certified. She had even called us at home to talk to Gregory to thank him for the flowers he picked for her at the open house last week. He's in good hands.

I was proud of myself, smiling broadly. The only time I shed a tear was just before we left, as I knelt to his level and took him my arms, hugging him tightly, whispering how much I love him and how proud I am of him and that I just knew he was going to have a wonderful time.

Then I took up my girls
and followed Fred to the van.

I did pretty good the rest of the day, only every once in a while getting a little glazed over. My pride and excitement for him starting this new phase of life and shifting into it so gracefully was stronger than the feelings of sadness of letting my little boy grow up a little more.

Let me just insert a part of my journal entry from that day:

People have told me since I first held my precious Gregory that “they grow up so fast.” I don’t question that and never have. I guess I’ve just always looked at it more generally. I figured that “before I know it” I’ll be rocking my grandbabies. But after this experience, what I think is even more fleeting is each small stage- not childhood altogether. I hope I can learn from this to make the most of every single stage. Some days may be grueling. I may wish that others would never end. But when all is said and done, I hope I can look back and know I made the most of each chapter of my sweet children’s lives, as long as I’m around to do so.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Learning English

Charla helped me bake cookies for Gregory to take to his first day of Kindergarten. She was VERY enthusiastic about helping. I was a little distracted so it took her asking the same question several times before I realized what she was asking,

"Can I smell the flours?"

She had not differentiated between the FLOUR you bake with the and the FLOWER you pick from a garden. I laughed and told her to go ahead. She made a funny face and said,

Cautious Popping

Today was a first for me. I subbed for the Primary pianist, playing piano at church for the first time! It went smoother than I had expected. I think I'll add it to my list of callings I wouldn't mind getting :)

Aside from pounding out "Once there was a Snowman" 3 times, "Do as I'm Doing" 6 times, and destroying "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" when we shifted into hyper drive, I got another treat: watching my Gregory in Primary.

He used to struggle. Primary was dreaded, by Gregory and his leaders. I had been so disappointed, realizing my son had been labeled. Then we moved here, and everything changed! He sits attentively, sings, raises his hand, and simply looks happy. It's such a relief! He beamed when he pointed me out to his teacher.

The Primary chorister decided to have a "fun" day, so to help the kids pick the songs, she had put strips of paper with the songs' names in balloons and selected children to come up and pop them. It was very entertaining watching those little kids struggle to sit on the balloons. Out of the entire primary, only 2 managed to pop theirs that way. Most needed the aid of a pin.

Gregory got to be one of the lucky ones chosen. I had noticed how when the other children popped their balloons, he had his fingers stuck in his ears, with a concerned expression on his face. I was surprised he was even willing to pop one! He approached the balloon cautiously. He sat on it, fingers in his ears, face scrunched up, anticipating the pop. That didn't work, so he tried stomping on it, fingers still tight in his ears.

Finally, the chorister produced the pin again. Somehow he managed to hold that pin, fingers still in his ears, and pop the balloon. All the leaders and I had a good laugh. He looked proud (and relieved). And it turned out to be a "pick your favorite", so I got to play "I Love to See the Temple."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Learning English

Gregory was watching this tape we borrowed from the library about trucks. In the part about tow trucks, the host stated that a tow truck's work must always be preformed by "trained professionals." Gregory spun around, wide eyed, and asked, "TRAINED VEGETABLES!?" I had such a good laugh!

We also have fun understanding Charla at times. She'll ask a question that we don't understand. Usually it's when she's looking for something. We'll repeat the question back to her, trying to figure out what she's asking. For example:

Charla: (something sounding similar to) "Where's my dress?"
Me or Fred repeat back: "Where's my dress?"
Charla, exasperated: "I DON'T KNOW!"

Rated "G"

How fun. A friend of mine had this on her blog and I had to try it out. You can click on the graphic and get yours rated, too. I guess considering everything I mention on here is somehow related to my kids, it's a good thing I earned this rating!

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Created by OnePlusYou - Online Dating

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Princess's New Duds

Craigslist strikes again! We got the whole Disney Store Belle ensemble for $20: gown, crown, gloves, and a scepter. She was elated! Picture-taking was sure fun that day!

My sis-in-law Heather was sweet enough to arrange the pictures in a scrapblog. Thanx!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Gregory, the Lego Master

My boy is so creative! He never ceases to amaze me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kitty in the Baby's Den

There's no question that our kids LOVE their kitty. And I think it's safe to say Cinders loves them, too, although maybe not always quite as enthusiastically.
One day when we got the girls up from their naps, the kitten zipped into their room, like usual.. This time, I scooped her up and plopped her into the crib as we gently coaxed Leora to wake up. When she opened her sleepy eyes and saw the kitten nervously poking around the crib, she was delighted. Don't worry, we didn't let Leora maul her, but we did let her suffer a few pictures.
Charla got her turn with the kitty, too. Check out that expression!

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Father's Blessing

We had the most beautiful experience at bedtime this evening. It makes me swell with pride to be married to such a wonderful man, who honors his priesthood and loves his children.

Gregory has complained of headaches and a soar throat for the past couple of days, so today I took him in to see the pediatrician, and they're pretty much certain he has strep throat. Gregory was really scared to go see the doctor, but warmed up to the idea when we pointed out that his Grandpa Olsen is a doctor. Still, it was a pretty intense experience for him.

Every evening, after showers and when the kids are set for bed, we kneel for family prayer in the girls' room. Tonight, after the prayer had been said, Fred offered Gregory to give him a blessing. Without hesitation, Gregory said he wanted one. He climbed into my lap and was perfectly reverent for the whole thing.

When it was done, he rolled onto the floor, ready for their bedtime story. But, Charla walked over to me, and gave Fred this sweet look. I asked if she wanted a blessing, too. She gave the brightest smile and settled herself in my lap. Fred gave her a sweet Father's blessing.

As soon as it was done, she joined Gregory on the floor. Leora, who had been nearby, pulled herself to up standing against me, and then plopped her little self into my lap, gazing up at Fred, grinning. Again, Fred laid his hands on her head and gave her a Father's Blessing.

There was such a sweet spirit in the room as I closed the door behind me while Fred read to them. I hope they'll always feel that they can ask their dad for a blessing, any time, for as long as they are ours.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Queen Debbie

Make that Snow Queen Debbie
It occured to me that having princesses for daughters (and kitten) must make me the queen! I got to dress the part today after picking up the "material" for my next sewing project.

I'm planning on making several simple princess dresses. They're mainly intended for Charla's birthday party, where all the girls get to dress up, but then she'll get to add them to her "wardrobe" of princess attire.

Well, instead of buying all the fabric by the yard at fabric stores, it occurred to me to look on craigslist for gowns and formals people may be trying to get rid of. For those of you who haven't discovered yet, you are missing out. It's on online yard sale where you can find just about anything, usually super cheap. There was certainly a selection! I contacted one girl selling a wedding gown for $25. She was also including a fur trimmed cloak it came with. Turns out her husband had gone to a storage unit auction and the dress/cloak were one of the things in the unit he won. They had no need for it, so I benefited!

It's got a pretty train and lots of lacy bead-work, which has endless possibilities when embellishing little royal dresses. Cinders liked them both, too, swatting and nibbling on the lace and fur. Leora enjoyed hiding in the cloak at my feet when I pulled it on to take the pictures. I figured I looked something like a snow queen and I felt pretty, too. And, no, I'm not cutting up the cloak!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Krispy Kremes


The magical GPS found a Krispy Kreme shop not too far from us. We got there just as they were throwing in the dough for a new batch, so the kids got to watch in awe as the machine spit out the formed dough, it rose, got an oil bath and then drenched in sugary goodness.

Everyone, including Leora, enjoyed a dough nut (or 2) before going home.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Our Newest Little Princess

Little Cinders is living up to her full name - Cinderella. I often find her curled up in Charla's Princess bean bag chair. She's such a sweetheart.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Ultimate Playground/Fort

In one area of the base (this base is ENORMOUS), there is this incredible playground. The sign near it says is was constructed through the efforts of over 3,000 volunteers... and I believe it! It is a labyrinth of tunnels and passageways, slides, towers, bridges, ropes and MUCH more. My personal favorite was the tire swing. Fred pushed me on it, sometimes with a kid on my lap, and we'd spin around giggling. Parts of it look like parts of various aircraft, "training" equipment, and even a ship. Plenty of swings and slides, including metal slides- something you could NEVER have in southern Arizona! It's a truly remarkable structure, and the kids had a blast... as did Fred and I.

Play ball... & eat icecream

Every Thursday Fred's co-workers play softball against other units based out here. We went to watch this week. The kids didn't watch much of the game, but had a blast playing in the fine dirt around the bleachers, resulting in FILTHY hands, faces, clothes, etc...

Afterwards we headed to Dairy Queen and had a fun time watching the kids enjoy their ice cream!