Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Little Shoppers

I just got back from my second shopping trip in 2 days. My kids all got gift cards for Wal-Mart from their Noni and Papa for Christmas. I took Olivia shopping yesterday by herself and Kelsey today, so that we could have some one-on-one time and so Kelsey wouldn't be influenced by Olivia's purchases. I noticed just how different my 2 girls shop:

Olivia will come across the first thing she really likes and will decide that she wants to buy that thing, and nothing will deter her from it, no matter how many other things I show her or encourage her to look at before she makes up her mind. We were done at Wal-Mart in about 20 minutes, and at the shoe store she took 5.

Kelsey, on the other hand, wants to look at everything and changed her mind about 5 times. At first she wanted the same toy Olivia had, but she kept looking for something else, and kept looking. And finally about an hour into our visit she finds this digital art studio for the computer and everything else had to go back. I said yes and got out quick before she could change her mind again!

So what kind of shopper are you? An Olivia-shopper or a Kelsey-shopper? I hate to admit it, but I think I'm more like Kelsey...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Connor's First Word!

This has been an exciting week! Connor said his first word - Mama! And I just happened to be taping him at the time, so I have proof. What were the chances of that? So of course I had to post it here!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. That happened on Thursday - the night of Olivia's school program. Which, by the way was fabulous. They have a really good music teacher, and the 3rd graders did a bang-up job. We've ordered the DVD for the program, and will hopefully get it in January and can send it around to the family for viewing.

In other big news, this past Monday I was able to register Kelsey for Pre-kindergarten. I had signed her up in SC "just in case" I thought she was ready to go, but when we moved here, I knew she was. And it's become more apparent over the past month. She has been asking often to go to school, and she was able to get in to a small class at Olivia's school with only 10 kids. It's in the afternoons for about 2 1/2 hours, and she just loves it. She started Tuesday - the day of our first winter storm. The roads were badly iced, and then it snowed very lightly, so the snow only really stuck to the roads and not the grass. How many people have a picture like this for their first day of school?

Here's a couple other cute pictures I wanted to put in of the girls. Kelsey went to a birthday party last weekend and got this pink feather boa, or "snake" as she calls it. She came downstairs posing for me, and Olivia decided to get in on the action. They are definitely all girl! They must get it from their Noni...

Also, Olivia brought a Cherokee basket home from school this week that she had made. It's about 6 inches tall, and she did a fabulous job, don't you think?

Now we are on the countdown to Christmas. This is when it is harder than ever to be away from our families. Olivia told me today that she really misses being with our family in SC. My mother is coming out for a visit the day after Christmas, and we're looking forward to that, but she is just one of many that we miss. You know who you are, and if we haven't told you lately - we love you!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hair, Babies, Winter, and More!

Last Saturday I did the unthinkable. I have been trying to grow my hair out again lately. This is a cycle I seem to go through every couple of years. I think that surely my hair would be beautiful and glamorous if it was long, so I decide to grow it out. The "in-between" stage is especially delicate, and it is very, very easy to feel frumpy and plain. Fortunately, I found a really good hair stylist after I moved here that can do cute and trendy, even while I've been growing out my hair. I was scheduled to get a haircut last Saturday afternoon. I received a phone call from Amy (who does her scheduling) around 8:30 that morning to tell me that Brandi was sick and unable to cut hair that day. So I was going to schedule a time for Monday. Well, I started thinking it would be really nice to get a hair cut on Saturday and not have to worry about what to do with my kids on Monday, and I didn't really want to wait that long anyway... and I was driving down the road and saw a Procuts with a sign that said "Open-No Wait". I had a bout of momentary insanity. I walked in. Now, the first clue should have been the name: Procuts. The second clue should have been the fact that there was an entire salon on a Saturday afternoon with only 1 client in it. And it just got worse from there. I came home with a terrible haircut. I had wings on the side of my head, and a blunt cut in back short enough that she had shaved my neck.

So on Monday morning I called Amy and got my appointment with Brandi for her to fix it. Now my hair is shorter than it has been in a LONG time. But it's cute, and I have come to the conclusion (yet again!) that I am just a short-haired kind of gal. I decided to take a picture of myself to post here. I've taken about 30 pictures in the last 5 minutes, and this is the best one - it's crooked, but at least you can see the back and I'm pretty well centered and don't look stoned. Or at least, not THAT stoned.

Also, this past Tuesday we our first taste of winter weather. We had light sleet/snow all afternoon long, and I only got a couple of blurry pictures of to show for it. This one is my favorite. Olivia had run out in her slippers and without a coat. The girls were definitely excited.

And can you believe it? They didn't even cancel choir practice that night or delay school the next morning! We're definitely not in the south any more. In fact, I am sitting at my computer right now with a blanket around me because it's about 25 degrees outside with 30 mph winds. The wind chill is like 12 degrees or something absurd, and our windows don't seal well so we have a little draft. OK, a big draft. Our curtains flutter.

Then I had put Connor in his high chair one night with a biter biscuit. He doesn't actually have any teeth, so all he can really do is gum it to death. He made such a big mess, and by the time I got around to cleaning him off, it had dried and was crusty, so he got his first bath in the kitchen sink.

Also, this past Friday night about 9:00 the bishop called. Someone had just called to say they couldn't speak on Sunday (today), so he had the bright idea to ask me to speak. He asked me to introduce our family a little, as well as talk on John 14:27 and how the gospel can bring peace into our lives. The topic was actually a really good one for me, and I learned so much preparing my talk. I think that's why we are asked to speak in church rather than having the bishop do it all the time. It drives the doctrine much deeper into our hearts when we are the ones having to present it.

I decided to introduce our family by doing a comparison of me and Ben, and I think it was rather amusing. I thought I'd reproduce it a little here. Some of the comments were planned ahead, some were impromptu:

Ben - Born & raised in SC by parents who were born & raised in SC
Anita - Born in Bahrain (the Middle East), lived in Italy, Maryland, and upstate NY before finally landing in SC at age 10. Mom's a Yankee, dad's from SC.

Ben - Talented in visual art
Anita - Talented in music

Ben - 1 sister
Anita - 3 sisters & 2 brothers

Ben - Immediate family in SC
Anita - Immediate family scattered across 5 states

Ben - Introvert
Anita - Extrovert

Anita - Comes from a large family, so when they get together they get a little crazy
Ben - His family is just crazy

And now, for some things we have in common:

* Both are 2nd generation LDS (parents joined the church)
* Most of our best friends are from our families (parents and siblings)
* Both have fantastic in-laws
* Both served missions from 1997 to 1999 (Ben in Utah Provo from Jan 97 - Jan 99 & Anita in NJ Morristown from July 97 - Jan 99)
* Both think Ben has a fabulous wife

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Three Pictures and a Video

I realized it'd been a while since I did an update on the kids, so here's a few pics and stats:

Connor is now 5 1/2 months old. He had a check-up yesterday and he's almost 15 pounds! He's built a lot like Olivia was. For weight, he's in the 10th-25th percentile and his height is 50th percentile. However, his head is 90th percentile! That's funny because he doesn't LOOK like a pumpkin head. I started him on solids (rice cereal) a couple weeks ago, and he's doing pretty good. I can't wait till he's feeding himself, but at least he's getting the whole "close your mouth and swallow" thing down. Kind of.

There's a story behind this picture. As you will see in the next picture, Olivia got a new Christmas dress and wanted a good poser picture by the Christmas tree. Kelsey had to have one as well, and so she got in front of the tree before church yesterday. The funny part is that she started posing, and Olivia started giving her advice about how to stand. What you see above is the result of Olivia's instruction. It was so funny to watch! In other news, Kelsey is so anxious to go to school. We got a starter book from the library, and she's starting to recognize some of the words, like "see" and "am". She knows almost all of her letters - lower case and upper case - as well as most of her numbers. She's just so smart and ready to learn! I'm hoping a spot will open up in Pre-K over Christmas, but if it doesn't I've got a few other ideas to get her involved in some preschool. I think she's ready.

Olivia was dying for a good Christmas dress. We did a lot of looking online, and then found this dress at Ross' for $15. You can't really see from the picture, but the dress is covered in glitter, and she's wearing a necklace and earrings of mine with some "bling". She's so cute. She's growing up so fast, I hardly know what to do! One of the things she has to do for school is track her reading time at home, and she has to read at least 100 minutes ah home every week. We haven't tracked all of it, but Olivia counted up this morning how many minutes she's read since the start of the school year. It was something like 44 1/2 hours! She's definitely taking after her parents in that respect. She's also really into her soccer ball. She likes to think she's a tom-boy, but she still watches her Barbie movies, so she's quite the contradiction sometimes. Adorable, though!

This is a video of Connor's first swing at the park the other day. Just to make sure he didn't slide out I put in a blanket to keep him in place. He was a lot of fun to watch. Just ignore the crazy mama talking while she takes the video. It's so embarrassing to hear yourself in a video - the things we do for our kids!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Top Ten Again (I'm a poet!)

OK, to follow up my SC Top Ten list, I need to do a "Top Ten Things I Love About Oklahoma". Since it's the end of Thanksgiving Day, this seems like a good time to do it!

Top 10 Things I Love About Oklahoma (in no particular order, of course)

1. My Neighbors.
I have come to the conclusion that it is absolutely necessary for you to have surrogate family if you can't live near your own. The Waddell Family has become that for us. We had Thanksgiving Dinner together today, and they aren't near any of their family either. We share cars, food, recipes, backyard toys, and clothing. How grateful I am to have them, and I'd be a lot lonelier here without Amber. I may be homesick, but at least I'm not lonely AND homesick.

2. Parks. Everywhere I go in Edmond I see a park. I love being outside and playing with the kids, and I love that I live within walking distance of 2 parks. Edmond also keeps their parks in pretty good shape, which is an added bonus.

3. Wind. It's a good thing that I love the wind, because otherwise I would be miserable. There are many days where the wind is a brisk 10-15 mph, not counting the gusts. And I've seen a number of days where the wind is closer to 20-30 mph. One day the wind was blowing so hard on the way to school in the morning that it tipped Kelsey over on her bike!

4. Cable. This may seem kind of funny, but we never had the option for cable in our house in SC because they didn't run any lines down our street until about a month before we moved. And even if we had, we wouldn't have gotten it because it's just expensive. The local cable company here does bundles of internet, phone, and cable that are less than what I was paying for my phone and internet in SC through AT&T. Nice.

5. Ben's Career. I am not criticizing Ben's other jobs, which we have always been good and a blessing when we needed them. But I am so grateful to have him in his career. It means that our life has moved out of the "someday" phase and into our "this is our life" phase. And it's a good life.

6. The Church. It may seem trite, but I will never forget the first Sunday I walked into church in Edmond. It was just after one of the most difficult weeks I can remember having, and I was living in a hotel with my husband and children, which included my 6-week old son. I walked into the church, found the Bishop in his office and sat down and cried. Bishops just do that to me, I guess. Actually, I really just felt like I was home. And I was, in a way. I was with the people that were going to be my surrogate family in Oklahoma. We have a good, strong ward and I'm grateful to be a part of it.

7. The Library. The Metropolitan Library here is fabulous. When Ben first went with the girls, he came back and I asked him how he liked it. He wasn't very impressed because he said there weren't many science fiction books on the shelves (which is what he mostly reads). The next time he went he asked the librarian if there were any more. Her response was, "Have you looked in the science fiction section?" There's a whole SECTION of just sci-fi! Not only is our library large and has a great selection, but we can borrow from the other large libraries in the Oklahoma City area. Nice. And there's some great programs for children, too, like Music With Susan. Kelsey LOVES it!

8. Braum's. Braum's is like nothing I've ever seen before. It's part fast-food restaurant, part ice cream parlor, and part market. The burgers are great, but the ice cream... you can get a single-scoop waffle cone for $1.25! That's cheap! And it's not McDonald's ice cream, either - it's like Baskin Robbins. There's also a small market that's priced higher than I'd pay for stuff, but they have everything from meat to produce to dairy to cereals.

9. The City of Edmond. The Lord really blessed us by helping us land in Edmond of all places in the OKC metro area. It feels like a small town in some ways, and really is very quaint. We live about a mile from downtown and by the university, so there's artwork all over, great sidewalks to get to the library, post office, whatever I need.

10. Mullets. We had been in Edmond about a week, and were driving down the street and saw a teenage guy on a bike with frizzy brown hair cut into a huge mullet. It made me feel like I was back in the south. It just seems like I can't be THAT far from home if I see a mullet... But really it just tells me that the people in Oklahoma are made of the same stuff that the people in the south are - and you'd better not get sassy with either one you're liable to bite off more than you can chew!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Top Ten Week

This morning I was thinking about the "bloggers-block" I have had recently and it hit me: I'm a little homesick. Don't get me wrong - I love Edmond, the friends I have made here, the things we are doing, and I am content with my life overall. But boy, do I miss my friends and family in South Carolina. Especially my family. As Thanksgiving and Christmas draw ever-closer, I have realized that there's just no substitute for being near our extended family and that makes me homesick. So I'm going to go a little backwards on the usual "I am thankful for" theme. I am going to write about what I miss the most about being in South Carolina, and never fully expressed my gratitude for while I had it. But before I begin, please don't get the idea that I'm sitting at my computer being depressed, because I'm not. This is my way of reminiscing about "good times" and smiling over them again.

The Top 10 Things I Miss About South Carolina
(in no particular order)

1. Family Babysitters. I don't miss these babysitters because they were free - I miss them because my kids got to spend time with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins one-on-one without having a lot of others around.

2. Sunday Nights at the Noni & Papa's house. Almost every Sunday evening we would go to Ben's parents' house for dinner. This was often the funnest night of my week. Dinner wasn't just for family, but often included some special friends as well. We'd hang out, socialize, and sometimes even play games. I miss the conversation, laughter, and sometimes I even miss being the butt of a good joke.

3. My Dogs. When we moved we had to find new homes for our 2 dogs, Precious and Gus. I miss my dogs. Gus is an adorable dog that looks like a lab but has really short legs. We used to go on runs together, and he always had the sweetest temperament - except with other dogs. Poor guy was the only male dog on our street, and kept picking fights with the other girl-dogs. I think he was just flirting. Precious is a toy poodle, and when she'd get groomed, she would come home with cute bows in her ears. If I ever sat down for a minute, she'd come get on my lap. And she slept in our bed, under the covers by our feet. When we first got her Ben worried that she'd suffocate under there, but that's where she was most cozy!

4. Scrabble Dates with Trish. I am not obsessed with Scrabble. I just love it and I love to play it. And it was wonderful having someone to play with who enjoys it as much as I do. My kids would stay home with Ben and I could go to Trish's house and have adult conversation and pretend that my life didn't revolve around laundry, housework, homeschooling, and kids.

5. Crews Family Dinners. I have to make a distinction between the meals I'd have with my in-laws and the meals I'd have with my own family. My husband is fond of telling people that I can hold multiple conversations at the same time with my sisters. These dinners were often a little crazy, and sometimes crowded, but they were home.

6. Making music with Sophia. Whether in Sacrament meeting or her living room, Sophia is one of those special people who embrace music with a passion that is all-encompassing. When I sing with Sophia, it is so easy to just let myself go and pour my heart out when I sing.

7. My two Moms. I am one of the fortunate ones who not only has a great mother, but a great mother-in-law, too! Both of these choice women are not only my "mom", but also among my best friends.

8. Visits with Becky. Although I miss several of my friends very much, Becky and I have been friends since 8th grade. We'd get together several times a year either in Summerville, Lugoff, or half-way between. I loved driving the back roads across the state and then spending the day with her shopping or dining or just walking around. And she's my "Thai buddy". Ben just won't try it, no matter how much I ask.

9. My house. Yes, I miss my house. I miss the fact that I owned the place that I lived, and everything was in pretty good shape. I miss the fact that it is relatively new and there were no major problems, like wood rot on the roof or, junky shelving in the kitchen cabinets or an AC unit that spews dust into the air like Mount Vesuvius. I miss the walls that were (partly) painted and the mural that Dorothy did for Connor. And I miss all my kitchen drawer space.

10. Ward Dinners. You know, there's just something about southern cooking. And if there was a ward dinner at church you'd know that there was going to be some mac 'n cheese, lasagna, fried chicken, rolls, and a bunch of desserts made with Cool Whip or chocolate - manna of the gods. And it would be an effort not to overeat. I just don't think you can find those kind of church dinners anywhere else.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hello (hello!)

I think Kristi's given me her writer's block, so while I'm perusing my memories to come up with another great blog post, here's a cute video from the night of our Halloween party. Valerie and her daughter came and showed their great talent. I'm just amazed that this 15-month-old knows all the right places to sing the echo! Isn't she just so cute?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Morning Chuckles

Today I walked the girls to school as usual. It's just under 50 degrees, so it's a bit chilly. On the way home, Kelsey is sniffling her nose and says, "Mom, it's melting!"
"The stuff in my nose, it's melting in the cold!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lights, Camera, Action!

This past week was one of a lot of videos and pictures. Here are a few we wanted to share!

Last Friday was a school holiday, so the kids and I went with my neighbor and her kids back to Hafer Park for a picnic and fun day. The above picture was taken in this beautiful old tree near one of the playgrounds. While we were eating lunch by the duck pond, Olivia asked if she could help feed Kenneth, who is about 11 months old. Soon Kelsey got in on the action, and the result was one of the funniest things I have ever seen. He was in hog heaven... so we took a video!

As we walked around the duck pond, Amber decided to go rolling down the hill with the kids. Here's another video...

And to be fair, here's the video of me. Amber talked me into it, and it is a STEEP hill!

Then on Saturday on the way home from grocery shopping in the morning I passed the local Festival Marketplace. I heard music playing and noticed a big sign for the Wild West Fest going on. It was supposed to be from 11am-5pm, so around 3:30 the kids and I went to see what was going on. It was almost deserted, and many of the vendors were packing up and going home. However, the band was still playing so we went to listen for a while. Kelsey got bit by the dancing bug and decided to "let loose". This video is just a small part of her performance. If you watch nothing else on this post, this is the one to see!

Then on Monday my neighbor was over for a little while with her kids, and Kenneth was holding on to the back of Connor's swing and it was just the perfect pose for another picture!

And finally, this morning before school Olivia propped Connor up on my pillows and took a couple pictures. This was the cutest one.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fall Fun

Fall means 2 things: Halloween and changing leaves. We finally got both! Last Friday night we had a small Halloween party at our house with some friends. And wonder of wonders: Ben agreed to dress up in a costume! Here's a few pics from the night. I'd have more, but Ben was assigned to camera duty.

Ben as "The Road"

Anita as "Blackmail"
(In the background you can see my neighbor, Amber, as a polygamist.)

Connor as a bumblebee!

Olivia as a traffic light with her two friends: Hannah Montana (Tabitha) and the cheerleader (Sydney).

Okay, Kelsey was actually a Christmas tree again this year, but we didn't get any good pictures of her in costume. However, Ben did get this fabulous one of her with some fake vampire teeth. Frightening, isn't it?

So that was our Halloween. The next day (Saturday) we spent some time at Hafer Park. This is probably the biggest city park in Edmond, and we got some more great pictures I just HAVE to share!

There was this huge cement rock-climbing wall at the park, and Ben helped Kelsey to climb it to about our eye-level. Then we told her to hang on so we could get a picture. Her look of distress was just adorable! She's telling us she can't hold on any more.

And of course, Ben had to have a go at the rock-climbing wall...

...and Olivia... I had a go, too, but I didn't get very far and there weren't any pictures of it.

And there was this great picture of Connor sucking on Ben's shoulder!

And last, but not least: me and the kids at the duck pond. Aren't the colors amazing!?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Laughter and Solitude

I asked the girls to tell me their favorite jokes. Olivia's friend, Sydney, was over. Here is what they told me (verbatim):

Kelsey: Knock-knock. Who's there? Why did the squirrel cross the road? Why? Because he gots no eyes.

Sydney: What did the Pink Panther say when he stepped on an ant? What? Dead-ant, dead-ant, dead-ant, dead-ant, dead-ant, dead-ant, dead-aaaaaant.

Olivia: Why didn't the skeleton cross the road? Why? Because he had no guts.

Kelsey: Why did the turtle cross the road? Why? Because he gots no shell to protect it.

Sydney: Why didn't the skeleton climb the mountain? Why? Because he had no guts.

Olivia: How do you fix a broken Jack-O-lantern? How? With a pumpkin patch.

You know, this morning was one of those melt-down days. I slept badly and not enough, Connor wouldn't settle down, and Kelsey was having issues. We had an appointment that Kelsey needed to go to at 10:00 about a mile away, and I hadn't even been able to shower. I hadn't kept the car so we had to walk, and at one point all three of us were in my front yard crying (or trying not to). My wonderful neighbor came out and tried to help, and we eventually got on the road and to our appointment only five minutes late. Around 1:30 this afternoon I finally got Connor to sleep so I could take a shower, and I found I didn't want to get out. I kept turning the water hotter and hotter and just enjoying the heat and solitude. And then it hit me.

Laughter and Solitude. These are the salt and pepper of life. Without them life is just kind of flat. Laughter enhances and adds flavor to the good things in life, and solitude brings a contrasting flavor that makes the others more enjoyable. I miss my solitude. I know the time will come again in my life when it comes more easily. But I am in the season where my solitude comes mostly on the days I can pull myself out of bed at 5:00 a.m. to read my scriptures. Maybe that's part of why I enjoy it so much.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

ABC's of Moi!

Well, I meant to do this the day I got "tagged" by Kristi, but the baby started fussing and I never got back to the computer! So, here we go for those of you that might be interested... and even those of you who aren't.

The ABCs of M-E.

A. Attached or single? Attached
B. Best friend? I have 2: Ben is my best friend, but Becky deserves a very honorable mention. We've been friends since 8th grade!
C. Cake or Pie? Pie. Especially if it's rhubarb, pecan, or something chocolate
D. Day of Choice? Holiday
E. Essential item? Sleep!
F. Favorite color? I'm not sure any more
G. Gummy bears or worms? Worms
H. Hometown? Edmond, OK!
I. Indulgence? Dark chocolate
J. January or July? Neither - give me April or October!
K. Kids? Three
L. Life isn’t complete without? Laughter
M. Marriage date? September 24
N. Number of brothers and sisters? 2 brothers & 3 sisters originally, but it's grown to also include 3 sisters-in-law and 3 brothers-in-law
O. Oranges or apples? Apples
P. Phobias? Roaches. Especially big ones.
Q. Quotes? "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams." Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
R. Reasons to smile? A good Scrabble partner!
S. Season of Choice? Autumn
T. Tag some people: Ginger, Amy S., and Amber W.
U. Unknown fact about me? I'm a nerd. It's probably not unknown, but I do try to hide it.
V. Vegetable? Artichokes are my favorite, but I love almost all of them
W. Worst habit? I'm a stress-eater
X. X-ray or Ultrasound? Ultrasound

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Funnies and Pumpkins

First, let me say "Thank You" to Suzannah and Dad who both enlightened me about the tree with the crazy "brain-fruit". It is an Osage Orange (aka Hedge Apple) tree.

There was a story I meant to post here a week or so ago, and I forgot. So, you get it now. About a week ago Kelsey, Connor, and I were walking to the post office. It's a little over a mile away, but Kelsey was riding her bike. (She actually rides it just about everywhere we go!) To help the time pass more quickly, we were playing "I Spy". We had gone through the usual "I spy something blue" items, and had moved on to the "I spy something triangular" part. At this point it means we're really starting to get tired of this game
and we're about to move on to something else. All of a sudden, on Kelsey's turn, she says, "I spy a really, really ugly house. It's right there, Mommy." It was so funny! And it really was an ugly house. It was rather decrepit and some of the windows were boarded up. I think it was even abandoned. I should have taken a picture of it - you'll just have to use your imagination, I guess.

So on to the pumpkins! Today we went to a Parkhurst Pumpkin Patch in Arcadia, OK about 15-20 minutes away. This place had a petting zoo, corn maze, hay bale fort, and hay rides. We also each got to pick out a pumpkin to bring home. The petting zoo had a number of cute and cuddly animals, and a few not-so cuddly ones, too. Like a possum. And there were a couple of pigs, too. I suggested to Olivia that she pet one, and it rubbed it's nose all up her arm. Did you know that pigs' noses are covered in mud? We had a much better time with the roosters. Olivia and Kelsey both got to hold a small one. Great for Olivia, but Kelsey's hands are a little small still. She kind of squashed it, so we had her put it down. And of course there was the bunnies, goats, ponies, and even a tiny donkey. Here's some of our pictures for the day!

Me and Ben in the corn maze.

Kelsey and Olivia playing with the ponies.

Kelsey & Olivia climbing out on the dead tree branch.

Then on the way home, Connor started fussing. Olivia and I switched seats so that I could try to keep him quiet and entertained while we drove. This is a cute video of him and me "playing" during the drive home. He's turning into quite the chatter box. As Ben put it, "Imagine: a talkative male Ervin."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Go Huskies!

Olivia participated in a Husky Spirit and Pom clinic last Saturday. Last night, they got to perform at the football game at the stadium up the street from us. And let me just say that the Huskies got slaughtered. When we left at the end of the 3rd Quarter the score was 35-0. Yikes. Anyhow, here's the video of the 3rd graders' parent's performance. Olivia is in the middle in black shorts with her hair pulled back in a braid.

Note: I promise that is NOT my goofy laugh you hear in the video. It was some mom sitting next to us.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What the...?!

I can't believe it!! I have ANOTHER thumb-sucker! Connor started sucking his thumb on conference weekend. We got a picture of him in his stroller sleeping with his thumb in his mouth. I'm fighting it hard, though. I keep sticking the pacifier in his mouth when he does it and hope for the best.

After conference was over on Sunday, we had dinner and then went for a nice walk to this crazy-looking tree.

There is, of course, the obligatory statue that graces many if the corners in Edmond. I have no idea what KIND of tree it is, I just know that I don't want to eat the fruit.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I Am Superwoman!

We moved in August 14th. Since then, every time we have had to open the garage door, it was like moving heaven and earth because one of the springs was disconnected. So, a couple of weeks ago I drug Ben out to the garage to try to fix the dang thing. This is a heavy-duty spring that's about a yard long and 2 inches thick. And the tension on that thing was so strong that Ben and I together couldn't get the thing stretched out more than half the distance it had to go. So I got this idea that a rope was what we needed. Tonight I bought a blue nylon rope for $1.88 at Wal-Mart, and drafted Ben out again. He told me he would do it, but it wouldn't work, etc. etc. etc. What a fantastic "I TOLD YOU SO!". It took several tries, but with me pulling and him hooking, we got that baby fixed! I just opened my garage almost one-handed!! YES!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Edmond is a city of parks. There are 26 city parks in all, and they are very well-maintained as far as I can tell, but I have only been to about 4 of them. There's one less than half a mile from my house that I often go to with the kids, but the other day I was out running/walking and found another one about a mile from my house. It is so cool, because it's got all these tunnels and pipes running through artificial hills. So as soon as we had a free night I loaded up the kids, Ben, and even got the neighbors to come along! Those "pipes" the girls are standing in in the picture only have sand on the bottom and don't connect to anything else. When the girls stand in them it reminds me of the Whack-A-Mole game, and I think if I but had a giant cushioned bat, I could play "Whack-A-Kids". Also, the girls REALLY wanted to put a video up on the blog since Connor got one, so we got a video of them playing in the tunnels. The blond boy running around with them is none other than Buddy, our neighbors' son.

Speaking of our neighbors, I should mention that a new couple in our ward moved in next door. Their names are Danny & Amber and they have 2 kids - Buddy and Kenneth. They are such a great family (and I promise that I'm not just saying that since I know Amber will probably read this post). I love having LDS neighbors, especially since the shared wall of our duplex is REALLY thick and blocks a lot of sound so she can't hear me when I lose my temper with the kids... Which of course I never do because I'm a perfect Mormon Mom...

This past Monday Kelsey, Connor and I went to the Oklahoma City Zoo. I was thoroughly impressed. The set-up is so different from what I'm used to with Riverbanks in Columbia, and there were different types of animals as well: buffalo, rhinos, seals, meerkats, and even an anteater, just to name a few! And the way it was set up often gave us a great look at some of the animals, like this tiger that was cleaning it's paws just a fe
w yards from us. Isn't it amazing?

Last night I took a bunch of pictures of the family to use in some collages, and I thought I'd share a couple with you.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday Connor turned 3 months old! He's getting so big. To celebrate we made this video to show how much he has grown and how cute he really is. You just can't tell all of that from a picture. He is really adorable. I just fall in love with him over and over again every day. He's even been sleeping better. Several nights this week he slept in long stretches, like from 7pm-3am, or 9pm-5am. If only he would keep it up... but we'll just have to wait and see!

Lately Kelsey has decided that she is grown. The other day she wanted to do something and I had told her no. Her response, "Yes I can and I can do it myself because I'm smarter than you!" I probably should have disciplined her for "sassing her mama", but I was too busy laughing. She also insists on grooming herself. When it comes to washing herself up in the tub she does a great job, but she's also been doing her own hair. She's decided she would like to grow out her bangs like Olivia, so this is no mean feat. We have a spray bottle of water, and she will place it on the bathroom counter and push down the top to get her bangs nice and wet. Then she will brush her bangs to the side and put in numerous clips to keep it out of her face. Of course, these clips have yet to make it in all day, but it's really cute to see it. So, I snapped a picture for my blog to share with you all. The face she's making in this picture is priceless, too. I have spent so much time laughing at her antics lately... she's a handful, but at least she's entertaining.

I've decided that humor really is the best way to deal with the kids. Now, you must understand that once or twice a week I drive Ben to work. This involves loading up all the kids and driving about 15-20 minutes to work, and 15-20 minutes back. When Ben is in the car, Olivia is in the back seat between Kelsey and Connor, and Olivia and Kelsey have lately been bickering CONSTANTLY in the back seat. It's really, really annoying. Add this to the occasional crying bouts of Connor's and this can be a stressful drive. So went to watch Kung Fu Panda tonight at the $1.75 theater and on the way home there was some ruckus in the back seat. So Ben and I started acting like the kids do when their fighting: "She's touching me!" "I have a headache!" "Stop it!" "Mo-om!" "Tell her to stop making noise!" It made the stress dissipate, and we had a good time laughing about it. Well, Ben, Olivia and I had a good time laughing. It was an hour past Kelsey's bedtime, so she just started crying because she thought we were laughing at her. Ah, well... we can't win them all, and we're starting to get more and more outnumbered.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Saturday Smiles

Last Saturday we went to the Edmond library. Because it was such a nice day (it was a fluke, but it felt like early October in SC) and it's only a mile away, Ben and I decided to walk and let the girls ride their bikes. It's sidewalk the whole way, so it's perfectly safe. The City of Edmond has decided to be known as a city of art, and has these bronze statues all over town. This statue of the man reading the paper is the one outside the library.

After we left the library we went for a picnic in the park, and on the way we saw this crazy squirrel missing most of his tail climbing up and down the side of a brick building! And I don't know if you can tell from the pictures, but the squirrels here are red - not just plain gray like in SC!

Then we stopped at the 7Eleven for a couple 79-cent Big Gulps to have with our sandwiches (we forgot our water at home). There are 7Elevens all over the place here! And they all have these 79-cent Big Gulps. It cracks me up! Anyhow, while at the park Ben took this snazzy picture of the me, the girls, and the top of Connor's head. Is it obvious I need a haircut!?
Later on that night I was playing with Connor and he started smiling, so we had to share! (It looks a little yellow because of the lamp.) He's so funny because if he's in a good mood and you start smiling at him, he will just smile right back at you over and over again! He and I were going at it probably a good 5 minutes or so. Long enough that my cheeks hurt anyway! He's also at the age where he's starting to suck on his fist and get entranced with the little swing-set looking toy we have that dangles a few things within his reach. He can actually hit the toys with his hands and make noise, so it keeps him entertained for quite a long time. He's growing so fast! Last Wednesday he had a check up and he was 11 lbs 13 oz, and 23 3/8 inches. That's over 2 inches and 4 1/2 lbs in 2 months!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I'm a tourist in my own life...

This is what having a blog has done for me. Funny story: I've been telling people that I have a small back yard and needed to buy a push-mower so I could cut it. Generally, the comment I get back is a joke about cutting the yard with a weed-eater. At least, I THINK it was a joke... Well, last Saturday it the lawn maintenance people came for the complex, and they cut my backyard. The good news is I don't have to buy a mower. The funny part? Guess what he cut it with! You guessed it - a weed eater!! And I'm so amused, that I want to take a picture of this guy, but I don't want to raise the blinds and make it obvious, so I twist them open in the kitchen and snap away. I did seriously consider for a moment whether I could ask him to pose for a picture, and that's when I realized it - I am a tourist. And this is my life! But I've decided this isn't a bad thing at all. What is a tourist? Someone who walks around with a camera and tries to see new things and get enjoyment out of them. A true tourist is someone who WANTS to be pleased with everything they see. Why can't I be a tourist?

So in true tourist fashion we decided to check out the local lake for a little while on Labor Day. A little over 5 miles from our house is Lake Arcadia, just east of downtown Edmond. There's several parks on the lake with camping, boating, hiking trails, "beaches", picnic tables and playgrounds. We checked them out on the web and the girls picked the one with the coolest looking playground. We loaded up the kids, some snacks, and hit the road. Less than 10 minutes later we were there. The playground had a rock climbing wall, and Ben took a picture of the girls sitting on top of it. After a little while we wanted to go exploring, and since none of the hiking trails were close to the water we walked over to the "beach" and let the girls play in the water. They had a roped off swimming area there for people to play in, and the girls just held up their shorts/capris and waded in. Because we thought we might go hiking, we had brought the "backpack" carrier for Connor. He's just a tad bit too small for it right now, so we had to roll up blankets it put them on either side of him to keep him from slumping over. Then I had Ben put an extra blanket next to his head so he wouldn't hit his face on the edge. He was so cute!

After we got home, Ben and I spent the rest of the afternoon watching a top 100 80's songs countdown on VH1. We are so lame... but we loved it!

I also wanted to throw in this picture of a cross by the interstate near our house. Ben likes it that I have a blog now, and is often heard saying something like, "Why don't you put such-and-such on your blog?" This picture of the cross was his idea. It's huge. I don't think the picture does it justice. It's about as tall as a water tower. Among other things, Edmond is the home of Oklahoma Christian University, so in some ways we feel like we are back home in the Bible belt!