Monday, September 29, 2008

The Air Force Butt

Last night, Gregory was enthusiastically relating the details of his wildly imaginative battle of tanks and planes and trains. He's starting to learn that there are different services in our armed forces. I asked him to tell me which service had tanks and which had planes.

He was unsure so I went on to say, "Well planes are in the Air Force, but the Army has tanks..." Gregory's eyes got huge, he grinned that devilish grin only 5-year old boys get and he said, "The Air Force BUTT!?" He had never heard the rest of my sentence.

Every time I tried to say it again, he started giggling about the "Air Force Butt" so I abandoned my attempts at correcting the misunderstanding.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Learning English

I know, 3 posts in one day... I have no life.

This was just too funny not to share.

Yesterday morning, while getting ready for school, Gregory grabbed a pair of underwear from his drawer. It was covered with pictures of little parachuters. He giggled, commenting on the guys with their balloons. I corrected him by explaining they were parachuters.

He repeated back, "Parrot shooters?"

I enunciated the correct way of saying it several times, but he always said, "Parrot shooter." I don't think he thought about what he was saying, or he would've acted more disturbed... I hope.

Eating Brazilian in Germantown

After excessive Google searching, I found this amazing restaurant in a little town called Germantown, about a 1/2 hour from home, called Rudy's Churrascaria, South American Steakhouse. Click on the restaurant's name and it'll take you to a website that tells a little about the restaurant, like that the building is actually a retired 135-year old opera house. It's been modified, but still had that "old building" appeal.

Churrascaria (Shoo-HAS-ka-riah) is the Portuguese word for a restaurant that serves Brazilian BBQ cuisine a special way. They skewer meat on swords and cook it over open fire. Visitors are given tokens that are green on one side and red on the other. As long as your token is facing green up, the server brings one sword at a time to the table, slicing off pieces so you can take the meat with the provided tongs, bringing a new sword with different meat every 5-10 minutes.

If you're a meat fan, it's an awesome dining experience. The meal also comes with rice and black beans and Pao do Queixo (little balls of yummy cheese bread) and various other native foods. We ordered Guarana, a delicious Brazilian soda virtually impossible to find in the US, although one website said there are so many Brazilian immigrants in Florida, you can find the soda at Walmarts, there... yes, we're jealous.

A real treat was our servers. The first guy was one of the co-owners of this fairly new restaurant, who migrated to the US a few years ago. His name is German, pronounced "Herman"... and no, he's not skewering Fred, in the picture. The other server also immigrated from Brazil and seemed very happy to find a patron who could relate with him. Fred had a blast rambling on and on in Portuguese with them, swapping stories about living in Brazil.

Luckily, one website highly recommended something from the dessert menu called the Tres Leches (directly translated, 3 Milks). I would have gone there JUST for that! It was a big piece of white-ish cake that we're guessing was drenched in Dulce de Leche. The creamy frosting-like spread had coarse sugar in it, giving it this great texture. It was the PERFECT wrap-up for an incredible meal.

SO, on the way home we came up with an incentive to get people out here to visit us. The first ones to come out here, we'll treat to this amazing restaurant! You won't be sorry... of course, just seeing us should be enough *wink*

Awesome Princess Book

Story Cards: Pucker Up Princess (Story Cards) Story Cards: Pucker Up Princess by Jon Anderson

My review

My daughter got this for her birthday.. it has got to be one of the most clever books I've ever seen! There are 3 double sided cards, each side covered with various words. When you slide one into a page, there are spaces cut into the page that the words fill, making a story. I don't know if you followed that, but it's awesome. Maybe a little advanced for my 3-year old, but still fun.

View all my reviews.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

And she said, "Let them eat cake"

Today's a big day in the Ohio Olsen household:
Fred turns 29
Charla turns 3
It's the first day of fall!

As I sat Charla down for breakfast I asked her what she'd like for her birthday breakfast. Without missing a beat she brightly replied, "CAKE!"

She's no dummy.

Instead, she got Lucky Charms, happily picking out the marshmallows and then reluctantly eating the rest.

At 11:30 we're bringing lunch to Fred's office to share with everyone (Hawaiian Haystacks and cake).

It's going to be a good day :)

Monday, September 22, 2008


(I didn't take the picture, but it illustrates the story well)

On the way home from the bus stop, Gregory ran ahead, picking a bunch of dandelions. When I caught up with him, he proudly showed my the fuzzy flowers. I asked him what he planned on doing with them.

He grinned and said, "Let's blow them!"

I knelt in front of him, we took a deep breath and blew...

I think I blew a fraction of a second earlier than he did, because he ended up with a mouthful of fuzzies! Poor little guy... don't worry, he recovered quickly.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Creating English

First, there is a popular children's book called, "Chika, Chika, Boom, Boom." It's one of Gregory's favorites at school.

We took the family to see "Igor" tonight (not bad, but I don't think we'll buy it). Gregory got a little anxious, so I suggested we go refill the popcorn when the movie was getting a little scary.

To distract him, I mentioned the enormous poster for that new movie about the Chihuahuas. He gave me an incredulous look, scrunched up his face and "repeated" back to me, "Chicka-chika-wow-wow?"

Maybe you had to hear him say it, but it sounded so darn funny.

Day Out with Thomas

A couple hours after the birthday party ended, Fred took Gregory and a neighbor friend to Lebanon (yes, Ohio) to experience "A Day Out with Thomas."

Apparently, they travel the US, spending a few weeks at a time in each place. We suspect they go to Canada, too, because everything was also printed in French.

They got to go on a 1/2 hour train ride and then peruse the tents, playing with trains and tracks provided by Duplo and other vendors. There was also a hay maze the boys conquered.

They had a BLAST and we so sad to go home.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Gregory's Birthday Party

This past Saturday we celebrated Gregory's 5th birthday was a Thomas the Tank Engine party. We invited a few boys from the ward who brought along a few siblings, so we had a fun crowd!

I won't even tell you how late Fred and I stayed up the night before, getting things ready. Thank you Liz, for the link to the blog with the party ideas. I had decided it was going to be low-key, but of course, the day before the party I realized I couldn't let my son's 5th birthday go by without challenging myself!

I found this amazing blog that gave step-by-step directions and pictures on just how to do a Thomas cake. I learned SO much (who knew you could freeze cake and then sculpt it like soap!?).

I bought several rolls of black electrical tape for maybe a combined whopping $2.50 and we STILL have the "train tracks" all over the ground floor tile. By the time we surveyed our finished product (our completed decorated house), I was satisfied... even though I knew the kids wouldn't probably notice more than the balloons and cake.

The boys had fun playing with trains. The only activity was painting little wooden trains. I took each child's picture and printed them out to glue to the corresponding train after the paint dried.

There were lots of little helpers more than happy to assist in unwrapping presents.

Gregory was uncomfortable about blowing out the candles, so on the count of "3" everyone at the table helped blow them out.

It was 2 hours of fun. Most importantly, Gregory had a blast. We're so blessed to have so many great friends out here. Thank you to everyone (near and far) for your thoughtful gifts :)

That Darn Cat

Yesterday I introduced my kids to the movie, "That Darn Cat". I figured they would enjoy it, but the fun surprise was Cinders' (our kitten... well, cat by now) reaction.

She sat right in front of the television, ears alert, watching the movie earnestly. I moved to get the camera, but Gregory noticed her, too, and swept her up into his arms before I could snap the picture.

But here's a picture illustrating our cat's personality... she climbed up there on her own:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Month Ago Today

I've been slacking. This would NEVER have happened with my oldest child!

Leora turned 1 year old on August 17th. She was feeling a little out of sorts that day, so it wasn't as exciting for her as I had hoped. Gregory and Charla sure had fun, though. They helped make and eat the cupcakes, wrap and unwrap presents and show her how to use them.

Gregory's birthday was this past Monday. Pictures and stories on the way :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Taste of Fall

In August I took the kids to the annual Fairborn Sweet Corn Festival (a little town 5 minutes from our home), on the weekend Fred was in Tucson for his cousin's wedding.
It was SO fun! The kids had a great time and I enjoyed it, too. Seeing as how fall is at the door, here are some pictures from the outing.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Inspiration Struck, so the Van Wasn't (Struck)

I'm sure everyone knows about the destructive force of hurricane Ike. Well, let me tell you about it... we felt the effects in OHIO, and we're half a country away from the coast!

Two days ago the weather prediction called for "hurricane conditions", which puzzled us. This morning, before church, there was no hurricane mention, so we didn't think anymore about it.

We got home from church at 1:00, parking under the tree, as always. The wind had picked up a bit, so I suggested we move the van. Moments later we heard a *CRACK* and looked out the dining room window to see an ENORMOUS branch filling most of the front yard and part of the driveway. PHEW!

I was ready to blog it right then, but the story goes on. Fred went up and down the street, warning neighbors with trees in their front yards that they might want to move their vehicles. When they would glance at our yard, they would fetch the keys and move those wheels.

Sadly, one house's siding was ripped clean off the side. A neighbor told Fred that the owners are out of the country right now (India). Property Management should hopefully have it fixed by the time they get home!

We have some lawn furniture in our garage now. Some neighbors helped Fred move it there from people's yards who weren't home. The people right next to us moved here from Phoenix about a year ago. They have the Southwestern theme going, with "broken" pottery. Well, the wind blew over a regular urn, smashing it.

Friends who've lived here several years said even during tornado season, they've never seen such fierce winds here. The ENORMOUS cottonwood tree right up behind their house was thrashing so violently, it reminded us of the Ents from the 3rd Lord of the Rings story (yes, we're dorks). The woods behind our house looked like they were having a battle. We saw several large trees fall.

The power ended up going out for several hours. Luckily it's back on (as I'm sure you figured out, seeing as how I've posted this), but we've heard most of the base still doesn't have power. All those poor colonels and generals!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pink Bread

We went for "easy" tonight, and asked the kids what kind of sandwich they wanted for dinner. We try to give them 2 options, so they feel like they're making the decision, but there's no risk of Cheeto's or Star Bursts for dinner.

I offered Charla PB&J or cream cheese. She said, "No thank you. I want pink bread!"

Pink bread?

A few minutes later I made the same suggestions and she flatly said, "I want pink bread!"

I was worried she was imagining something that I would not be able to give her. Then I remembered that she ate a cream cheese and jam bread for the first time this week. Without asking if that's what she meant, I went ahead and fixed a "pink bread."

She happily ate the whole thing.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A New Love

Gone are the days of paying for a video rental membership- we've discovered the base library has a pretty comprehensive selection of movies.. for free *grin*

Our kids love picking out a movie every week or so. With starting school, Gregory doesn't get to go to the library with us now, so last week I grabbed a movie for him, "Herbie Rides Again."

He was skeptical at first, but within a few minutes, he was literally rolling on the couch, clutching his tummy, laughing hysterically. Success. A new bribery tool.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Phonics Confusion

Gregory is loving school. He is excited to get on that bus every morning and is bright and cheery when he gets off it in the afternoon (he's in all-day Kindergarten.. I don't know if they even do 1/2 day anymore).

Yesterday I set him up on the computer so he could practice typing his first and last names. He finished "G-R-E-G-O-R-Y" and then started sounding out "Olsen." After he thought about it, he looked over the keyboard and punched in a "1". Then he went on with "O-L-S-E-N".

Tonight I figured out why he put a "1" in front of our last name (although, it IS true that we Olsen's are #1 *wink*). At dinner he was sounding out words and then he asked, "Does 'Olsen' start with '1'?" I realized he figured the first vowel sound in our last name sounds similar to the digit "1", so it made sense for our name to have "1" in it.

Follow that?

I thought it was cute. And, yes, we corrected him.

Cinders Goes to a Sleepover

It's safe to say Gregory's favorite thing in the world, is his cat (closely followed by trains and then construction vehicles). We have been very blessed to have a very patient kitty, who tolerates being smothered with hugs and kisses, carried all over the house, and anxious little hands filling her food/water dish. (the cat jumped up in Leora's lap on her own)

Unfortunately, this past Saturday, she nipped at Gregory when he was holding her too tightly. In return he hit her. We were shocked, because we never handle situations like that. We had to somehow drive it home that this behavior is flat-out unacceptable.

In the past we've threatened taking her back to the store or giving her to another family when he's been rough with her. This was the first time he had deliberately hurt her, so I decided it was time to make good on our word.

Our neighbors have a cat and no kids, so we asked how they would feel about us "giving" them our kitty for a night. They were happy to help out.

Now, I was a little concerned about how this would ultimately be carried out. We had every intention of having her back, so I felt it would diminish the lesson if we said she was gone and she ended up reappearing. So, we explained that she was going to live with the neighbors and Fred and I were going to talk about whether she could come home. Then we let him figure out on his own what he might say that would convince us he deserved to have her back.

When the neighbors came and got her, it was a heartbreaking experience. When they left he had a complete meltdown, sobbing and screaming that he wanted her back. As he calmed down, I saw realization coming over him and he started tenderly begging to have her back and promising that he would be gentle and never hurt her again.

By the following evening, she was back in the arms of a very happy Gregory. The neighbors said she was very well-behaved, but I think she's happy to be home. I confess, we missed her, too. She's a real member of our little family now. And hopefully Gregory won't question our sincerity in the future!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Learning English and Making Friends

Charla recently discovered Disney's "The Little Mermaid" movie. Now she's constantly talking about mermaids. Tonight at dinner she gasped, held up her fork and exclaimed, "A dinglehopper!"
I'm not sure whether she believed us that a dinglehopper is only pretend.

Then AFTER dinner, I heard her softly talking and looked in to see who she was talking to. There she was, gazing at her bean bag chair, chatting with the Princesses printed on it. Even after she realized we had caught on, she just smiled and carried on her conversation.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Labor Day Itself

My ward hasn't done an activity in almost 1/2 a year, so there was a lot of anticipation for the annual Labor Day picnic. It was my first activity since getting called as Ward Activities Chair, so I was nervous about it. If it did well, then hopefully people would look forward to future activities and support me cheerfully... if it flopped, the rest of my time in this calling would be plagued with skeptical, reluctant members.

I'm happy to report it went almost perfectly! In fact, some of the people who've been in the ward their whole lives said it was the best turn-out they've seen for this event. That may have to do with the whole "no-activities-forever" fact, but I'll still label this one a success.

It couldn't have happened without my man. He set up the volleyball net while I picked up the softball equipment from the church. He also saw to it the Igloo coolers got filled, requiring him to recruit some elders and drive them to the other end of the park to the only water spigots they could find.

There was plenty of food, and laughs, and most people got out and played something. Now I can breath a sigh of relief... until the next one!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Medieval Olsen's

I'm finally catching up with events the transpired over the holiday weekend! It was a BUSY one, but great!
On Saturday, all 5 of us got dressed up and headed into the countryside for the Ohio Renaissance Festival. We've been to the Arizona one several times, usually getting all decked out then, too. This was Leora's first and she wore the same dress Charla wore to her first... cheesy, I know. Charla wore her Disney Belle gown and Gregory was just happy to have a (plastic) sword.

I was pleasantly surprised by how kid-friendly it was! It was enormous and the variety and choices of things to do were overwhelming! We've decided to forgo the plays and acts for the next few years until our kids can have any idea of what's going on. We didn't even miss it, though. It was so entertaining watching the kids having a blast.

One of the highlights was the archery area. Everyone got a "shot" at it... even Leora got to hold the bow for a picture. Charla had the most success getting her arrows anywhere near the target (aside from Fred, of course).

They also enjoyed this "frog" launching pond, with miniature catapults that children operated to fling green pieces of wood into the water.

Both Gregory and Charla loved the man-powered swing carousel (everything there was man-powered).

We got a good laugh at the fishing pond. I'll admit, the little wooden fish were nigh impossible to hook, so it wasn't too surprising to see Gregory "cheat" to get his fish.

There were lots of other booths and rides that the kids (and sometimes we) got to enjoy. One highlight was definitely the camel ride! I was happy to stay on the ground with Leora and the camera. I was so proud of my boy sitting by himself in the front!

We enjoyed good food and sight-seeing, as well. One thing we agreed was a real treat was seeing how many people just visiting were all dressed up, too. I'd say about 1/2 of the patrons were very medieval-looking! Lots of people paused to admire our little princesses. Charla walked the entire 5 hours in her hard plastic Cinderella shoes, even though we had the double stroller. When she sets her mind to something...

Anyways, by the time we headed home, we were a lot of tuckered out Olsen's. Gregory was so sad to leave, so we've promised him we'll go again next year. It was near 90 degrees, so when we got home, we threw the kids in the kiddie pool and turned on the sprinklers! Great end to a great day :)