Friday, August 31, 2007

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Let the magic begin

Kindergarten is "the magic year" when ...
Little kids turn into students.
There is still a nap or rest time.
The first day is spent chasing the gingerbread men your class colored all over the school only to find the papers have transformed into cookies and are waiting for you in your own new classroom.
Everybody is the new kid.
It's a thrill to eat the first few trays of cafeteria food.
There is story time after lunch and snack time after recess.
Everyday you start with your clip on white, no matter how many color changes you received the day before.
There are no spelling tests, math tests, or graded readings test.
The grades are either S's for satisfactory or N's for needs improvement, no F's for failure.
The magic year.
For Rhett it began today.
It was everything he hoped for...
Except that he didn't get to ride a school bus home because we live too close to the school.
But he loved it.
Said he made 19 new friends today and thinks he wants to go back tomorrow!
It has begun.

Rhett getting his Kindergarten Bible at church Sunday.

Look at that Kindergartner!

The first day of school!

With Mrs H. Mrs H. may look familiar as she was Kolby's K teacher and is Mom to our "first third child" McKenna (who I kept for a year when Rhett was 2 and she was Ella Kate's current age.) Mrs H and her family are some of our favorite people!

Miss Kolby also started a magical year...4TH GRADE!

In our school, 4th grade is the senior class. They are the top dogs! Fourth graders have lots of fun as this is their last Elementary year. Next year it is on to the Intermediate School! (Doesn't that just sound so intimidating! INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL!)

Kolby's teacher is also named Mrs. H! Kolby really likes her and so do I. This year will be a test for Kolby in some ways because for the first time she ended up in a different class from every one of her good girl friends. I hate that for her ! But I know my social butterfly will find some new friends very soon. She also is not going to let a few walls keep her from her old friends. I can't believe Kolby is already in the 4th grade! Seems like just a year or so ago that we were dropping her off in Kindergarten! It goes so fast! How do I slow this ride down???? :)

This will be the only year Kolby and Rhett ever share a school if we stay in this school district. I wish they could share a campus a few more years. They are both excited to be in school together, but neither would readily admit to that!

I am excited that both my kids love school, have great teachers and the have same drop off and pick up schedule! It looks to be a great year! I also am glad to have some one on one time with Miss Ella Kate ( who I have not blogged about in a while) Guess that gives me something to blog about later!
Happy New School Year!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Waterslide/Transfomer/ Blast-off Birthday Party

Last Night was Rhett's "Water slide Transformer K Blast-off Birthday party." With a theme like that I did not have any choice but to do the cake myself! I actually bought an undecorated cake from Sam's and then built the slide from frozen pound cake I bought at the grocery. A few straws, wooden skewer, one recipe each of royal and stiff buttercream icing, a few action figures and a couple of mid-night hours and WA-Lah We had a WATER SLIDE,TRANSFORMER, BLAST-OFF, BIRTHDAY CAKE! Rob thinks I am crazy to spend so much time on a cake...But when my 5 (almost 6) year old son tells me I am "the best Mom in the world for making that awesome cake"...Well, I think it is time well spent!

Revised on 8-26
This was a really fun party that we have been looking forward to all summer! Rhett was barely able to contain his excitement in the days and hours leading up to his "Blast-off Birthday" as he usually calls it. It was hard work getting it all set up, but once the party started, it was a breeze!

Te water slide was the main attraction.

Water balloon baseball was also a hit.

We graduated to a "hit" pinata this year. No more pull string pinatas for this guy! The "light saber" noodle fights on the trampoline and the water cannons were also a hit. We had a great group of kids. Three or four of these kids have been at every one of Rhett's parties starting when he was 1! The fact that they are all off to school in a few days... I am not ready to think about it! There were no injuries, no fights, no fits and no tears. I was amazed how well all the kids shared and got along!

Afterwards Rhett got to do something he has wanted to do all summer... He had his cousins spend the night! These three are a hoot! They were so funny, all wanting to sleep in the same trundle bed.

Rhett has told me over and over it was the best party of his life.... though I'm not convinced he remembers the first three! It was a really good night. and a great way to end our long summer.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Last days of Summer

We have been pretty busy these last two weeks. You know about the air conditioner, but before that we took a few days off to do some fun things and meet with friends.

We started off with a trip to Six Flags. Well actually I dropped Rob and the kids off at Six Flags and Ella Kate and I went shopping and checked into the hotel. We met up with everyone for dinner. I thought going to Six Flags after the sun went down would be OK with a 13 month old.

I was wrong. It was still too hot. But w had a good time and were very excited to get back to the hotel!
The next day we met up with the Jenkins and went to The Star Wars Exhibit at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.
Knowing our families love of all things Star Wars, you can imagine how fun that was! Then after lunch at Joe T's we all headed over to Frisco to stay with some other friends.

If you have read this blog before you may remember we talking about the "Fort Worth Friends" which is a group of four families that all used to live in Fort Worth together when our first babies were born. These four families were not original to the area and had no family there, so we became a little family. Anyway with in a few years we had all moved away, but have gotten together four times in the last five years for a reunion. Sadly our Houston family had a sick child and could not make it. But we had a great, relaxing two days visiting and letting the kids play.

As you read in the previous post, we came home from this weekend at 10:30pm on Sunday night to find our air conditioner had gone out , probably the day after we left. Our house was so hot! And then through some weird turns and twists, we ended up featured on the local 10 o'clock news!

These are pictures from the live remote broadcast from my aunt's lawn. (where we were staying)

We got home late Wednesday. Our house finally reached the 70's by late Wednesday night. Thursday night we had a t-ball swim party at a friends house. By this point I had lost track of the camera. Elizabeth was there so I hope she will send me some pics (hint, hint) Friday Kolby had a few school friends over to water slide and watch High School Musical 2.
WOW was it a loud night! (Does anyone else have "Hey batter batter, hey batter batter swing" stuck in their head?) It was fun to see some girls we hadn't seen all summer and HSM2 did not disappoint... Well, except for the fact that they cut Kolby's favorite song from the soundtrack out of the movie. Something tells me the song will come out in the movie eventually though...maybe as a bonus feature on the DVD? :) One more HSM2 thing to look forward to! :)

Early Saturday Rob went back to the metro-plex for the Church State Softball Tournament. He and the team were home by dinner...but they had fun! Sunday I worked nursery, we went to lunch with the fam and I spent some quality time in Target celebrating Tax Free Weekend while Rhett and Kolby entertained cousins Justin and Whitney with their Daddy at home.

Today is Rhett's "Special day" with Aunt Sari. They left around 9am and are not due back until tonight. Tomorrow is Kolby's turn. Wednesday I have some major dental work scheduled. Thursday is Rhett and Kolby's BLAST-OFF at school where we meet their teachers and put all their school supplies in their desk. Friday we are having Rhett's birthday party with the water slide in the back yard. Saturday is Rhett's first Soccer game. Then we will try to rest and gear up for the start of school next Tuesday!

So that is our plan for the last days of summer! It's a busy time... especially when you throw in the fact that Rob is starting back to grad school this week. I think I am ready for school to start so that maybe life will slow down! Yeah right! I know! The crazy Fall rush has begun! Now if we could only get some Fall like weather....

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Home Sweat Home

Yeah. That wasn't a typo! We are home.
The air conditioner has been repaired thanks to the resourcefulness and stick-to-it-ness of my husband! Well, sorta repaired. It's still in the 80's in here, but it is slowly cooling off. The AC guy (who was great!) is coming in the morning to finish the job. We could have stayed away another night but we were all really ready to come home. Just last week I was telling someone how we never go anywhere and how I wanted break from my house....Be careful what you wish for! The last week has been quite an adventure.

I hope to tell more of the story when I have had some sleep, a shower, and the temperature of my house is in the 70's! But as crazy and exhausting as the past week has been, it has also been lots of fun! I'm thankful for so much right now! Here's a short list for starters

I'm thankful for...
Old friends who make you feel so comfortable and cherished when you are with them that you are able to pick up right where you left off. And the fact that our kids got along so well and played together with very little input from us... It was just a great week end!

My kids who have kept the perspective positive by viewing every night away from home as a vacation, even if we were just across the street. Kolby and Rhett were little troopers and I am so proud of them. EllaKate has had her issues, but for a 13 month old on antibiotics with nasty sinus infection who hasn't slept in her own bed in a week AND managed to fall on her head at least once a day... she did pretty good!

My parents and sister who at first welcomed us and then helped us with every thing when they became fellow broken air-conditioner refugees! They are probably really tired of us, but they still keep offering to keep us until the AC is back to 100%. They must really love us!

My aunt and cousins who took us in and let us hang out, eat their food and visit like we used to in the old times before we all lived here. All the kids made it challenging at times, but I would not take for any of them! Some of my fondest chidhood memories are of summer days and nights spent with my cousins. It's fun to do that again all these years later with our kids! I am so glad my kids are making great memories with their cousins. It was a fun two nights!

My husband who refused to give up when we were told it might be another week before the special order parts were in. Rob truly saved the day by calling parts dealers all over the state directly and searching until the parts were found...and right here in Waco! Rob even endured the 105+attic to get all the numbers off our AC unit! It's sort of a long story but, if he hadn't done what he did, we might still have been across the street wearing out our welcome! (Mom and Dad's air conditioner was repaired this morning.)

I'm thankful that I live in Texas in 2007 instead of 1907. Truly. How do those with out AC survive? I get so cranky and flustered in the heat. Why do we live in Texas? I ask myself this every August.

I'm grateful that God has provided for us as always. It looked like this week was going to be the worst, but it wasn't. We are home. And we were taken care of when we couldn't be home. I'm overwhelmed at the ways God chooses to teach us and bless our lives. Even on hot, crazy, unbelievable days!

Thanks for all the prayers and fond wishes. It's nice to have the blog family when I need to vent my frustrations, ask for prayers or just share the up and downs of this life. I always feel I have a blog family rooting for me! Thanks!

It's SSSSSOOOOOO good to be home!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

No place like home

We just returned from a four day trip very happy to be home. When I opened the door from the garage I realized the house was just as hot as the garage. Not a good sign. It appears that our air conditioner has gone ca-put! It was 90 degrees in our living room at 10:30PM. Not what you want to come home to. So I'm going to be calling air conditioner repair guys in the AM! Pray for us! Really! It's supposed to be over 100 again tomorrow. I think I want to go back on vacation! 

Updated 4:30pm on Monday
In a very cruel twist of fate, minutes after the repairman called to tell me they probably can't get the part in for our air conditioner until Wednesday, my parents air conditioner went out. No really. I'm not kidding. I couldn't make this up. But some one please tell me... what are the odds?  AND the bad news is BUSH is in town and all the hotels are booked.  UUUGGGHHH!!!!!

Updated Monday 10:00pm
And believe it or not... somehow I ended up on the ten o'clock news tonight. The lead story was on all the air conditioners going out around town and I was the interview. They did a live remote from my Aunt's lawn.  No, I'm not kidding! I could not make this stuff up! After sweating it out all day I looked so bad! But I'm so happy to be in a cool place that I don't even care! 

The kids and I are staying in our forth place in 5 nights that is not our home. I'm just happy to have lots of family here! We have not spent the night at my Aunts since we moved here. Before we moved here I used to visit everyother month or so. It's kinda fun to all be out here. The kids think this is the best week ever! The privledge of youth I guess! Hoping to be home by Thursday at the latest and trying to stay cool in the mean time!

Monday, August 06, 2007

For the first time in 15 years

I am not a dog owner.

In mid-August 1992 I returned from my second summer in Kenya to finish out one more year at ACU. My fifth year. All my room mates and most of my friends had graduated the year before. I was coming back to ACU to live in a one bedroom apartment by myself. A week before school started I was in Waco visiting my cousins and saw an ad for Shit-zu puppies. My cousin and I went "just to look." I wanted a "roommate."

The puppies I went to see were too small to leave their Mom. I would have to come back in 3 weeks. But there was one little puppy from a different litter in this not so nice home kennel. The owner explained that he was a stud fee puppy and she was going to keep him. But he pawed and pawed at his cage so she let me hold him. He was a flirt! He was 6 weeks old but was so little that his hind legs barely draped over my wrist when I held him in the palm of my hand. He weighed less than two pounds. I had already agreed to come back and get one of the other puppies in a few weeks when the owner said that she would let me take that puppy today, for the right price. My cousins and I thanked her and left, but we didn't get far. The thought of leaving that cute puppy there in that yucky cage was just too much for me. I turned the car around and went right back and bought him (writing three post dated checks and getting some $$ help from my cousin.)

I named him Berkley after Berkley Hackett, the missionary I had worked with in Kenya. (Thus fulfilling my obligation to name my first "child" after BH!:) I have had Berkley ever since. He was great company through out the remainder of my days at ACU. He lived with me and my family during my car show years based in San Angelo. Berkley met Rob before my parents did. He was there through out our short dating period and our long engagement.  When Rob married me, he got Berkley too. We were a package deal. Berkley was our first "child" with us in our apartments in Midland, Euless and Hurst. He was there when we moved into our first home and then this our second home. Through bringing three babies home...Berkley has just always been here.

There were two times I tried to give him away. The first was after he snapped at and bit a sweet 9 month old Kolby. He didn't seem to like babies much, though he was protective in the way that he would sleep by their crib or bedroom door. The second was when he snapped at Rhett. But both times when it came time to say goodbye, I couldn't bear the thought of him wondering where we were or the thought that someone might hurt him if he snapped at them. We just kept him away from the kids and vice-versa. He hadn't really snapped at anyone in a long time, but we didn't give him much chance. I don't think he has been with in a foot of Ella Kate in the last 13 months. He was happy to just find a corner and sleep.

There were only two nights during those 15 years when I did not know where Berkley was. The first was when a repairman accidentally let Berkley out of our Hurst apartment. Rob and I searched the streets in a panic like two parents searching for their missing child. We did not rest until Animal Control opened the next morning at 9AM and confirmed that he was there. We had quite a homecoming celebration after I bailed Berk out of puppy prison! The second night was this year during Kolby's slumber party. He somehow got out and was taken in by a neighbor. It had been in the 20s that night and I feared the worst. We had started making signs and combing the neighborhood when we found him safe and sound. I know where his body is tonight, but I'm not at all sure where Berkley is. I just know he is not here. Berkley is gone.

Rob took him to the vet this morning. I couldn't. I am so grateful Rob did it. I know it was hard for him. Berkley needed to go. He had lost his hearing. He was blind in one eye and almost blind in the other. All his teeth were going bad. He had pain in his back legs and hips. He had lost control so I had to keep him outside before he ruined every carpet in the house. He was too old to become an outside dog, and it is too hot in Texas to do that to an old dog who has lived indoors his whole life. It was time.

I cried for the better part of last night and this morning but didn't let the kids know. They just thought he was going to the vet. We told them this afternoon when Rob came home. Kolby had been expecting it. Rhett cried. I joined him. We left Ella Kate with my Mom and drove out to my uncle's land. We buried Berkley under an oak tree by a pond where many family dogs have been buried. We placed a rock on his grave on which we had written these words with a sharpie:

Berkley Elliot Grosz
He was a good dog.

We each shared a favorite memory of Berkley. Rob said a prayer. Kolby planted a single white rose in the ground. Then we left.  As we drove home Rhett matter-of-factly said "I don't have a dog anymore." For the first time in 15 years, I don't either.

Thanks for being our dog Berkley! We're going to miss you. We are certain that if if there is a Doggie Heaven, you are there. And you aren't shaking, scared or hurting anymore. For that I am so glad. Rest in peace sweet puppy dog!

I have tons of Berkley pictures, but these are all that I can find on my computer tonight...
Kolby & Berkley in 1999.

Berkley and Rhett last Fall posing for Rhett's first show-n-tell pictures.

This morning. Snuggling in the brown chair before Dad took Berk to the vet.

Aside added 8-7-07
The last year or two with Berkley have not been so good. It wasn't until we buried him last night that all the great memories I have of him started coming back. I think we waited too long. I think we let him suffer. He has not been the Berkley we knew for a long time. I mourn the Berkley who sat on his hind legs and begged for food, the Berkley who buzzed circles in the house, the Berkley who made any ole brown paper sack into a hilarious attack tent. The sad old puppy who slept all the time, peed on the carpet every other hour, and scared me every time a baby was near...well it is not so hard to let that Berkley go. If anyone reading this is facing a similar situation please do not wait too long like we did! Yesterday was hard, but honestly it has been harder to watch Berkley go down hill and loose his happy curled tail love of life. Yesterday Berkley didn't feel a thing. And I hope where ever he is, he is buzzing and running circles today!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Don't Tickle Elmo!

Until you check this website.

The above link should lead you to a list and pictures of Fisher Price Toys that were recalled this week do to unsafe levels of lead in their paint.

If that link does not work, you can access the recall list from the Mattel Consumer Answer site.

Many Sesame Street, Dora and Deigo toys were recalled.
I had actually just bought one of them as a Birthday present a week or two ago.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Hum dinger

Well a Hummer anyways...
While in College Station I saw this sweet little grandma-esque lady climb into this big ole Hummer...

I don't know why it amazed me so but I grabbed my camera and took some pictures.

I guess it's not every day you see a little ole granny driving a Hummer...but I was close to Aggie land! :)

Speaking of AGGIES... Suzanne and Joe had the quads yesterday! Can I get four big WHOOPS! Scoot on over to her blog and tell her congrats! Can you imagine 4 babies! At the same time! It boggles my mind.

And for those of you wondering if I have become an insomniac... sort of. Sometimes during Robs paper route I can't sleep so I go to blog world. If you see me commenting in the middle of the night...well now you know why.

And lastly I want you to meet Charlie.

I don't know if Charlie is long for this world because I have no idea how long spiders live. We met him about two months ago. Almost every night since, come rain or moon beams, we have seen him spin the most incredible web between a little fir tree and the side of our house.

He is quite amazing to watch. No he hasn't written "Some Pig" or anything miraculous, but he is quite the acrobat and he is also lightening fast and very macho!

He has to be a guy because he is so territorial. He drove another spider away by cutting it's web! Really! Kolby and I watched him do it one night! And if you blow toward his web he gets right int he middle and shakes and does this dance that makes his web look like a trampoline!

It's like he is saying "Come on! You want a piece of me!" I saw him take out and wrap a June Bug three times his size one night. It almost tore his web to shreds, but that was one big bug so he probably had his fill for the night. Never thought I would be a spider watcher, but Charlie is hard to miss.

Yeah not much to blog about around here... So what's up with you?