Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Class of 2020

This post has taken me a week to put together. The videos take FOREVER to upload, and I kept falling asleep at night as I tried to get them up. Finally, here is my my gorgeous little graduate!

I thought there was nothing cuter than kindergartners playing basketball. I was sooooooo wrong! Have you seen a graduating class of kindergartners lately? Oh my... be still my heart. There were lots of graduates of all ages this year, but this particular grad is the funniest and most adorable of them all. And I have that on good authority. Bias doesn't play into my opinion at all. Just take a look and see if you don't agree... :0) Here he is in his cap and gown. In unison now..... "aaaawwwwwww" (look how well that cap hides his horns!!)


So before I start the festivities, let me tell you that I asked him to wear his church clothes to this, and when he came down in them the pants were suddenly three inches too short to wear. So when I sent him back up to change his clothes he put on the floodwater jeans and Spiderman shoes instead. He also decided he had to wear his cowboy shirt instead of the white one. Not only has he sprouted, but his waist has thinned out again (how was that even possible???) and therefore you will see him pulling his pants up several times in this first video and others. I also want it on the record that I made him tuck his shirt in THREE times before I finally left him with his teacher and went to find a place to run the cameras. And look... in that few minutes before the commencement exercises began he had it untucked again. I have decided to duct tape his clothes in place before his high school graduation.

This is not a shy child, not by any means. He is fiercely independant and doesn't cling to us, although I would love it if he would still want to climb in my lap and be cuddled. He weaned himself at 11 months old. He got up one day when he was 18 months old and decided to use the toilet and never wore a diaper again. He says exactly what he thinks, and has the funniest sense of humor out of all the kids. But every once in a while, usually in front of big crowds where he is beginning to feel a case of nerves coming on, I see him looking around to see where we are and it warms my heart so much to see that glimpse of vulnerability. He is always going to be my baby boy.

Ready? click play to see the opening.


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Once the kids were seated, the musical presentation began and each class sent a boy and girl up for the dance. Todd didn't tell us he would be dancing in this number. Probably because it isn't hiphop and he is of the opinion that boys should ONLY dance in hiphop numbers.



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Egad.... look at how short those jeans are! They don't even cover the tops of his Spiderman high-tops! Does he really have to grow three inches at a time???

I love the singing and dancing!! And even though he wants to act like he doesn't, Todd does too. He has such a serious look on his face in these videos, but when he got home he was singing the songs as he painted a picture. We will all pretend it is hiphop for ya, Buddy.

(I love the way he winks his eye and keeps pulling his pants up in this one.)


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I have a video to share of Faith singing "This Little Light of Mine" in church a couple of weeks ago. According to Todd, his version is better.

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The video is real jumpy on this one, but the song was so cute I had to include it. It isn't hiphop, but who NEEDS hiphop when you can Kangaroo Hop!


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And now the grand finale... this was such a cute song!
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Before the diplomas were issued, the Kid with Character of the Year awards were announced from each class. Todd was chosen as this year's recipient in his class. I was so worried when Kindergarten started. I was going to send him to his first day with a note pinned that simply said "I am sorry" ahead of time. He isn't a bad kid, but we never know what his little mind is going to think of to say or do next. We are so proud of him for earning this. And so glad the apology was never necessary. Thank you, Todd! We love your character too!


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Next up were the diplomas. Each one was called up and presented with a certificate from their teacher and a dogtag necklace from Ms. Becky (which is what the kids know her by outside of school).
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There was an x on the floor where the kids would stand for their parents to take their pictures. Todd was the only one who needed to look up in the bleachers for the camera attached to his mom's face, but I loved the angle because I was able to get just him in the shot.

Then the principal said this.


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I wasn't ready for that. The class of 2020???? I try not to think about stuff like that! My baby boy graduates in 12 years??? Noooo!! Not so soon! And if you talk about how much sooner the others will be graduating I will just cry.

The ceremony was over and it was time to get some better shots. Here is Todd with his wonderful teacher. He loved her classroom so much, and I know he had a great time this year. Thank you, Ms. K! Todd the Tiger.... he is on his way to great accomplishments ....


with his sense of humor completely intact. The dogtag (why do the pictures always look so muddied after I upload them???) says "I Graduated from Kindergarten!" Yes, you did, my funny boy! We are so proud of you! Always remember that when you are feeling nervous we are right here watching you and rooting you on. And when you are feeling mischievous, we are right here watching you and trying not to laugh when we scold you for it. Now excuse me while I go cry in my pillow and wish you were a little baby to hold to and cuddle again! Love, Mom


Just for fun, here is the video of Faith and Celeste singing "This Little Light of Mine." You will have to decide for yourself if you like one better than the other. I am Switzerland... :0)


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Monday, May 26, 2008

Ready for more?

I took hundreds of photos this week, and had to really narrow them down to post them here. The kids get out of school this week, and there are several more final activities for them before the week is over. I thought I should get caught up before the week really kicks into gear.

Kyle went to baseball practice on Wednesday, and after I dropped him off there I took Faith and Chet to a youth group that Chet's friend had invited them to. By the time I had the arrangements made for them to get home and left them in the very capable hands of Chet's 4th grade teacher, I was the last parent back to the ballfield to get my kid. The coach used this time to give Kyle some one-on-one practice, and spent another twenty minutes after I got there working with him some more. Kyle loved it, and getting the extra practice seemed to help a lot. I wasn't there for it, but at his Thursday game he was hitting hard and focused again, and the whole team pulled together to win the game.

It is foaling time, and the mares across the street have been very busy. There are lots of precious little colts over there to gawk and wonder at. The painteds are still my favorite, and this particular little one has a lot of sprite. He jumps and prances a lot.
I changed my mind about wanting a tractor for our next vehicle. I would like one of these guys instead. They help keep the grass down too, and they don't require gas to operate.
It is really cute when it is it pony-naptime. They all lay down in the field and you see sleeping babies all over the place. This one went ahead and looked at me when I made my goofy wanna-be-horse noises to get his attention.
This was one of my favorite shots, although I need to fix the greens in it before I use it for anything else.
After school on Thursday I packed Chet and Beth up in the car, and we headed down to Memphis. (See his blog for those updates and photos.) On the way home, Chet amused himself for a while by filling the card with lots of photos of the countryside whizzing by. This was my favorite, though. See how he caught himself in the rearview mirror?

It was imperitive that we get the rest of our garden planted this weekend. Not only is it getting late in the year, but I don't know what the next few weeks hold as far as hospital stays go. Josh and Mystery came over, and Jack was able to borrow a tiller, so we spent Saturday and Sunday getting it done. Jack and Josh really did most of the rototilling (which is sooooooo much easier than turning the whole plot over with a shovel), but Mystery did take a go at it and tilled a row. That thing is heavy, though, and takes a great deal of brute strength to push, so I didn't take a turn at it. My feeling is that is what husbands are for.

We got all of seeds planted, plus we have cages over all the tomatoes, we ran the drip hoses I bought ultra-cheap at an auction last year, and Jack and Josh got anchors strung for the peas and beans this year so they don't attack and kill each other. By the end of the day we planted seeds for tomatoes, green beans, peas, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, carrots, onions, watermelon, cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, cantelope, and corn. If even half of it grows and fruits we will be eating well all summer! I took every pumpkin seed out that I found (hundreds), but I am sure there will be some of those showing up as well. After we spent the day pretending to be Mennonite farmers, we spent the night playing poker and rummy. I am pretty sure that isn't what the Mennonites do after gardening, though.


Beth was supposed to be helping water the garden, but spent the time watering herself instead. Faith was busy planting flower and gourd seeds around the edges of thegarden, and I know I took pictures of it, but I must not have one sized to add here yet. Arianna, Bug, and Jasmine were busy running around too, and ended up muddy due to Beth's hosing abilities.

This pretty little dog looks suspiciously like the dog we had named Bruce. She isn't ours, but she likes to come over on the weekends and hang out, and usually stops by on the weekdays to say hi. (Apparently the word has gotten out in the canine community that ours is the place for dogs to crash a party... remember Rupert from last year?) Jack says nobody is allowed to name her. We call her Daisy.
The critters are all thriving this time of year too. This is a young alligator turtle. They are called that because of the spikes along their tail, and for their mean temperament. I would have gotten in for a closer shot, but I could tell by the look oh his face that he was daring me to come close enough to let him eat a toe, and since I like my toes where they are I kept my distance. It is because of toe-eaters like this that I don't swim in our rivers and lakes. I just don't want to come toe-to-beak with one on their turf.
Beth and Bug were playing on the back porch yesterday when they moved a box and found this big ole bullfrog. (He is what some people in these parts call "good eatin'." I am not one of those people.) The girls refused to pick him up for a photo, so Jack had to do it. Jack has big hands, and Jeremiah here filled them.Don't you love how he is chewing on some straw? It is just so... country.

The boys (we had lots of them this weekend... ours, Josh and Mystery's, and Chet's pal Tyler were all here) were on grass duty, and raked up a lot of the yard where Matt mowed it. They got bored and found ways to entertain themselves by hunting down smaller frogs than Jeremiah and unsuspecting lizards. One of those lizards escaped their clutches and tried to run to safety in the wooden railroad ties around the garden. This isn't a very smart plan when six stubborn boys are in hot pursuit. "there he is!" "Look, he's hding!" "I got him!" " No, I got him!" "Hey! His tail came off!!" "cool!!!""cool!!!""cool!!!""cool!!!""cool!!!""cool!!!" "I got him for real this time!"

And here is the captured felon who attempted a prison break in the first place, and ended up wth a tail break instead. There must be something about the y chromosome that makes these appealing, because when I went to check on Chet after he and Tyler fell asleep, I found this thing in a plastic tub of mud and rocks with some beetles he had been provided for dinner. Children, I repeat... reptiles and amphimbians are NOT to be offered safe sanctuary within the confines of the house!!!
About an hour after we finally finished planting, and I was getting ready to go to church for a meeting a huge thunderstorm with tornado warnings came our way. Hello rain clouds... you are just in time to water the garden to save a little on my waterbill! The storms lasted all night, and thoroughly soaked the ground.
The boys put on their scout uniforms and we headed to the American Legion Hall this morning to be a part of the Memorial Day service. (You can see Matt, their leader David, Chet, Tyler, Beth, and Kyle in this shot. Todd still needs to get a uniform shirt.) Originally, most of the scouts were supposed to carry flags in the flag ceremony, but due to Mother Nature showing up to water my garden the ceremony was moved indoors where there was only room for three of the boys to be a part of it. It was very touching, and as soon as I can I am going to put the story of the single setting up here that was shared during the ceremony today. I videotaped it, so I have to transfer it to blog format first. Jack and I were supposed to go river floating in canoes with Josh and Mystery today, but that was cancelled due to weather. So we had a quiet afternoon at home which was really, really nice.

All of the kids loved the cookies and brownies provided at the end. Matt was particularly pleased with the pumpkin bread. He wants me to make him some, but I told him I am having issues with pumpkins right now and it will have to wait.
The great news is that sprouts have begun to shoot up in the garden. Here is a cauliflower plant. (I planted everything in neat rows this year so I actually know what is supposed to be where, and so I don't pull plants thinking they are weeds and leave the weeds and that grow in straight rows.)
These lovelies are cucumbers. I forgot to take the bell pepper and jalapeno peppers pictures. I will have to make that up to them.
And here are the roma tomatoes. (their cousins "big boy hybrids" have begun to sprout too) Oh culinary heaven to come, pico de gallo is your name!

We need to finish fertilizing and covering the flower beds with the rest of this mulch and potting soil, but here is an overview of the planted, strung, and caged garden. (see the thunderstorm making the sky an eerie shade of grey-blue?)
And this is me casting a long shadow over it. Grow my yummy lovelies, grow.

You know, it is a stressful and frightening time for us. So thank you, God, for the moments that make us laugh, and for so many good friends who help us get through it, and for the simple joys that slimy critters, muddy kids, and stranger dogs can bring. And please, God... keep Chet safe and cure him soon. Amen and amen.



Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another week has zoomed by

I really need to find time to post on a mostly-daily basis again. It will make it easier to keep up with all my photos! I didn't have time to edit these tonight... you are getting them pretty much straight out of the camera here. Sparkly eyes and colorboosting will have to come later.

When I last posted, Jack, Matt, and Josh were on a creekbank luring nocturnal catfish to their hooks. They didn't catch anything, but apparently some really big ones got away.

There was so much to do on Saturday that we didn't get to go to Crawdad Days again this year. We started our morning at Angel Food distribution. After a long night of letting the big ones get away, Matt was at the church at 5am to go help pick up the food, so when the rest of us got to the church at normal-people time he was beat. He went downstairs to sleep in a classroom, and we left him there until after we started heading home and realized we had forgotten somebody.

During the distribution, Todd and Kyle amused themselves by seeding Beth's hair with dandelion blossoms. She came to show me the newest look in floral wreaths and asked me why they "wanted to make a wish on her head." I just told her it was better than putting a price on it instead.

After the food was passed out, the garbage thrown away, the building was closed up, and the subsequent return to this locked building to retrieve a slumbering teenager, Beth and I went to my friend's Tupperware party. Tupperware has come a long way. Did you know you can buy sets that match your clothes? well... you can if you wear a lot of pink and orange. I loved those bowls. There was a doorprize drawing, in which Beth and I won this set of locking bowls.
Saturday night was the Athletic Awards Banquet. Matt wasn't a recipient of any major awards, but he wanted me to come anyway. He did receive a pin to wear on his letterman jacket, though. I just didn't take any pictures of it.

Throughout the last several days, all of us have taken turns coping with a stomach virus. Sunday was a rough morning for some of the kids, so I left them and their germs at home and took the others off to the safety of church. Faith was invited to her friend's recital, and spent the rest of the day with her, while the rest of us returned home. Upon arriving home, it was clear the rest of the kids were feeling a lot better too. It was time to tackle the garden.

We weeded, turned, raked, and planted all afternoon until it was dark. It sounds like a tedious day, but it was actually very fun. The boys were all teasing each other about girls, kisses, cars, etc, and Beth was giggling along with them. The time went so fast. Fortunately, none of us were sunburnt again, but we were muddy... very,very muddy.

See the mud on Todd's nose and feet? His bubblebath to get him clean quickly became a mudbath to get him less dirty.While we were looking at the blooming fruit trees, the boys each found frogs. For some reason they felt the frogs should give each other a kiss. Neither of the frogs seemed to find it as funny as the boys did. Our bird condo has become a bird commune. After watching it for a while it is apparent that more than one avian family has taken up residence in our furnished summer birdhouse. Here is the momma bird from the other day feeding the babies again. I love how the close-up shows her colors. I think she has some peacock in her ancestral line somewhere.
In the meantime, in apt 2B, a flying lesson is about to begin. The still-slightly-fuzzy junior bird begins to leave the nest... fly the coop... take to wing... fly like the wind....er...step out on the ledge. Carefully. Right claw first, then left.
Now that he has mastered sneaking out of his bedroom, it is time to hop to a branch and see how far down it is to fall to a feline death below. hmmm...maybe you shouldn't look. Do you see Daddy bird on top of the house? He is giving his son a little pep squawk before he heads out in the world.
After Junior Bird successfully flies on his branch-to-branch fare, he re-alights on his familiar perch and begins to wave his wings around and squawk as he shakes his tail feathers to show the world his juvenile brand of bravado.
After we were done planting about a third of the garden, and the birds had gone to bed, the older boys played some soft football under the moonlight highlighted in the setting sun.

Patchy sat in the garden tree and watched every move those noisy boys made. After all, it is a spectator sport.

Know what this is? Yep... it is an asparagus tree. Apparently if it rains for weeks on end before you can till and plant, your asparagus might grow to gargantuan heigths
Now Saturday night was a baseball game as well. I don't have any pictures of that either, but on Monday night Kyle's team played again, and were soundly thumped. It wasn't pretty, but it was a good lesson for theboys about staying focuced. Kyle struck out every time he was up to bat, and a lot of that had to do with the fact that he kept using other people's bats. Tomorrow they a have a chance to redeem themselves. Good luck, my little Babe Ruth!

Todd lost his first tooth Sunday afternoon, which the tooth fairy remembered to trade him siz shiny quarters for.

I didn't get a chance to post this the other day, but Matt was accepted for another USAA award. He was chosen for the Who's Who Among Honor Students.
Then on Tuesday night we got done with Tuesday Night Dinner early and went to the High School Awards assembly to watch him get another award. He earned the pin and certificate in his Art Design class. (over $2 million in scholarships were given to seniors at this ceremony... very impressive for a class of 81 students!)
Todd could barely contain his excitement at the awards assembly. He dozed right off to sleep in his comfy chair.
After the assembly we went to scouts and got the boys their physicals to get them ready for Boy Scout camp this summer. At long last it was time to come home, where this beautiful warm sunset winked goodnight to us.

Today was another busy day I will have to post about tomorrow night, but for now I need to go to bed. Chet and I are heading to St. Jude after school tomorrow to see what is happening with his blood cells. Hopefully we will be home Friday night. Then I can work on getting the videos added. In the meantime, have a great weekend!

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