Sunday, May 30, 2010

Kelsey's Kindergarten Graduation

Well, my friends, the day has finally come.  Kelsey is a first grader.  And apparently, in Oklahoma they have Kindergarten graduations.  For us, it involved getting to the school 15 minutes early, finding a crowded gym, and sitting somewhere near the back.  They had a little power-point showing of all the kids in a cap and gown pictures and played "Wind Beneath My Wings" over and over again.  (You know, I can honestly say that I haven't really liked that song since the early 1990's.)

While we waited, I amused myself by snapping a few pictures.

 Someone looks bored.

But at least Olivia was having a good time.

And something tells me I should have put a little make-up on this morning.  Oh well...

And what do we have here?  A little nose-picker, perhaps?

Finally the kids came in and got on the risers at the front of the gym.  They sang a few songs, we clapped for a few people, and 15 minutes later we were done.  They even kept the kids on the risers for an extra 10 minutes so parents could get good pictures.  This is my kind of graduation.

Afterward we walked Kelsey back to her classroom for more pictures, and Kelsey insisted on one with her Daddy.  It's a good thing, too, because he won't let me post the other pictures I got of him while we were waiting.

Happy graduation, Kelsey!

Family Fun Day

Our family has an "Ervin Exchange" (i.e. family council meeting) on the first Sunday of every month.  We've been having them for a little over a year now, and they are so awesome.  We talk about our schedule for the month, the things we have planned, and any issues Ben and I feel like we need to discuss as a family, from behavior to bedtimes to vacations.  We also give the girls and opportunity to bring up anything they'd like to discuss.

At the beginning of May, Olivia asked for us to do more fun things together as a family, and so our monthly "Family Fun Day" was born.  We scheduled it for the 22nd, and decided to spend the morning at the zoo. 

Now, first let me say that it's been a while since we've been to the zoo as a family.  And we just got a family pass for the year, so we're not as familiar with how things work at this one - like the trolley rides vs. train rides, etc.  However, there's a back stretch of the zoo where the animals are spaced far apart because they need more space.  There's also a baby giraffe back there that was born in February that we really, really wanted to see.  We thought maybe we'd ride the trolley back there to save us the walking.  Whatever.  I'm not paying $20 for that, and it would have been something close to it.  So we decided to "hoof" it (pun intended).

On the way back there, we had to pass the Indian rhino.  I'm always surprised at how big these things are!

And before to much farther, Connor decided he had had enough of the stroller.  On went the monkey leash!  (And yes, I used to think they were cruel before I had kids... now I know better.)

As we were walking up to the giraffes, the mama giraffe decided she wanted to eat the grass.  Apparently, she needs to do a split to be able to reach it.  And if you'll look the right side of the picture, there's the baby!  Only 3 months old...

Of course, the giraffes had company in their area.  And I thought my kids sat weird.

Kelsey was so enthralled we couldn't get her to look at the camera!

All she wanted was a better look.

Until Connor and Olivia found the "mister", that is...

And this, my friends, is my favorite picture of the day.  He is SUCH a cutie-pie!

And then it started snowing!  Actually, I guess "cottoning" would be a better term.  This is all from the cottonwood trees, people.  But hey, at least it isn't yellow pollen all over my car!

And of course, when we passed the picture place, the girls needed another shot taken.  Olivia was a big to short for this one.

So she came up with a better idea - she held Connor up.

And finally, no trip to the zoo would be complete without the Zoo Statue Pictures.

I can't wait to see where we go next month!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Homeschool Field Day

It seems like we have had such an eventful week!  And really, we have in some ways.  At least, we've had 2 very busy weekends in a row.  So rather than trying to cram it all into one monster blog-post, I'll take it a topic at a time...

A week ago Friday the 21st was our first Field Day with our home educators group. We all met at a local park and set up chairs in the shade.  (And for you South Carolinians who have never been to Oklahoma... the shade here makes a big difference!  It's actually comfortable in the shade, even when it's hot outside.) 

Because I was helping out with one of the activities, we had to be there early.  There were a couple perks to that - #1 we got a great parking spot and #2 we got first pick of where to put our seats.  They started off the day with some foot races and a hula-hooping contest, neither of which Olivia wanted to participate in.  Just as she was starting to complain that she was bored, our buddies (the Z family) arrived!  Their youngest daughter, Leeann (not pictured here), is one of Olivia's best friends.  And the baby, Logan, loves me and Connor equally.  He is such a sweetheart!

The next activity of the day was a three-legged race.  Since LeeAnn is still 8, she and Olivia weren't originally in the same age group for the races so Olivia found another partner and they tied their legs together for the race. 

On your mark... get set...

... go! 

Poor Olivia and Anna lost their bandana about 20 feet into the race - tough luck, girls!  But they re-tied it and kept going, which I thought was great.

And then came the jump rope competition.  Look at her go!

Then came my favorite - the bean-bag toss.  It has to be my favorite because I was in charge of it.  Which is why I didn't get any pictures.  However, Connor competed in the 3 and under group and got 3rd place!  I promise I didn't even cheat for him.  He's just got a really good arm and a lot of practice throwing things at his sisters.

Yet as fun as these activities were, none of these were the highlight of Olivia's day.  That came just before lunch with the water-balloon fight.  The adults sitting in the chairs were off-limits so I stayed dry, but Olivia got just a teensy bit wet.

It was such a fun day, and we can't wait till next year when Kelsey will be there with us!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Hilarity Continues...

It's one of those funny-but-not-funny things, to be honest.

Last night (Saturday) Ben made a box of macaroni and cheese for the kids for dinner since he and I weren't all that hungry.  I was working on girl's camp stuff in the den and he was reading while the kids ate dinner at the table.

That's when it happened.  Connor, the ever-inquisitive male creature that he is decided he wanted to try sticking a cooked noodle up his nose.  All the way up his nose.  And it was so uncomfortable he kept sniffing to get rid of the sensation.  I didn't know it was possible to snort a macaroni noodle up your nose into your sinus cavity, but he did.  I tried to get it out with tweezers, but it was so soft that any time I snagged it the tweezers just broke through the noodle. 

So I called the Urgent Care doctor that the girls have seen.  He was closed at 7:00 on Saturday evening, but recommended I take him into the emergency room to get it out ASAP.  Since I was not willing to sit in the ER with a tired 23-month old without a second opinion, I called a guy from church who is a pediatric ENT specialist.  I reached his wife, but he was in a meeting and couldn't hear his cell phone.  So off I trekked to the OU Children's Hospital downtown.

About an hour later, I received a call from the pediatric ENT.  As long as Connor was in no pain, it could probably wait till Monday and he could take it out in his office.  By then, the noodle had worked it's way far enough into the sinus that he didn't seem to even feel it, and I couldn't see it.  So, we left the ER without even having gone through triage and came on home.

About 30 minutes or so after we got home, Connor starting making funny sniffing noises again.  I pulled out the flashlight and saw that the macaroni noodle had worked it's way back to the top of Connor's left nostril.  So I went fishing again with tweezers and a snot sucker (i.e. bulb syringe).  No luck.  I just couldn't get it out!

And then inspiration struck.  I closed Connor's other nostril and told him to blow.

The result?

That macaroni noodle shot out like a bullet.

Friday, May 14, 2010


So... we had our ultrasound today.

Here's the baby's foot:

And the baby's face:

And the baby's... well, I guess you can see for yourself!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tornado Season

It's tornado season again out here in the great Midwest! 

Actually, it's been tornado season for a while now, we just haven't had the normal storm activity.  Until yesterday evening.  We had it all, tornado sirens going off, the TV news weatherman having the spotlight for 2-3 hours without break on every local channel, and crazy winds outside blowing the trees so hard you just knew a branch or two would come down before it was all over.

At one point they spotted a funnel cloud close enough to our house that we sent the kids into the hallway for safety while Ben and I kept an eye on the weatherman.  The girls grabbed blankets and pillows (for comfort) and Leapsters (for entertainment) while I gave Connor a basket of books to keep him occupied.  You just have to take this kind of thing seriously in tornado alley, right?

When the excitement was over, the girls wanted to leave their stuff in the hallway for a while "just in case" another storm came through.  After dinner Ben and Olivia took Trixie to her obedience class at PetSmart and Kelsey and I were cooking in the kitchen making a treat for family home evening when I realized that I was hearing a funny noise coming from the darkened hallway.  What was Connor doing?

He was sitting there on the pillows, in the dark, Big Kitty looking over his shoulder, playing Kelsey's Leapster.

Fortunately my camera has a flash:

And, as a bonus picture because Kelsey asked me to take it and post it here... Kelsey got to lick the spoon for the brownies.  Her face licked it, too.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Dream Come True

Do you remember growing up in the 80's and thinking that these things...

...were the coolest thing in the world?

Okay, so maybe you weren't impressed by them.  But I was.  I remember going to my friends' houses and watching them make popcorn and wishing we had one of those nifty things.  All of our popcorn at home was made over the stove in a pot with oil and loose popcorn kernels in the bottom.  You had to shake-shake-shake that pan the whole stinking time, and if you weren't quite careful enough you ended up with the unthinkable: burnt popcorn.

Well, recently I have been wishing we had an air popper since my dear, sweet mother likes to give us bagged popcorn kernels.  Since I still get tired of the shake-shake-shake stove top method of making popcorn I thought this would be the perfect solution!

Apparently they aren't easy to find in the stores any more.  I can't imagine why.

After I had finally given up hope of ever in a million years owning this luxury item, I found it.  At a yard sale a street over, no less!  New, in the box, never opened, and only six smackaroos.  Oh yeah...

Popcorn, anyone?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ah Ha!

So I figured out why I was having problems commenting on some of your blogs...

... it was all Firefox's fault!

I'm still not a fan of Explorer, but it when I guess I'll be "google reader-ing" from that from now on...

The Grand-Daddy of Them All...

Today Olivia and I were off adventuring at Martin Park Nature Reserve in Oklahoma City. 

It was a pretty cool place, though we only stayed about 45 minutes due to time constraints.  Olivia brought binoculars, water bottle, and sunglasses.  I won't mention who carried them most of the time, but it was the same person who carried the camera and was wise enough to leave her water-bottle in the car for such a short stay.

So anyway.  Our first introduction to the park was a bridge spanning a large creek that was packed with turtles and catfish!

Having been forewarned by our neighbor Terri, we had brought a bag of dog food to feed the creatures.  Much to their delight.  Then, true to our genetics, Olivia and I somehow dropped the almost-full bag of dog food into the creek, also much to their delight.

This picture was actually taken several minutes AFTER the bag fell in and AFTER my hair-raising failed attempts to rescue it from the river by standing on a very steep riverbank with a very long stick.  (Let's just say it was a little nerve-wracking and more than once I pictured myself plummeting down the bank into the river and having to explain to what happened to Ben.)

After giving up on the turtles and catfish, we walked on to the visitor's center, where they had a bin of walking sticks that you could borrow for your hike.  Olivia decided she didn't have enough to carry and desperately needed one of those as well.  I had a little more foresight and passed on the stick.

Because our time was short, we only walked as far as the observation tower a few minutes away, where we had a nice rest and just enjoyed the scenery and shade.

Well, I guess some of us enjoyed it more than others.  But it was nice, all the same.  We then headed back to the visitor's center to drop off the hiking stick, then started to cross the bridge again on the way back to the parking lot.  White crossing we stopped and chatted with a photographer who taking pictures of the turtles.  She started telling us about the different kinds of turtles (something I'm totally ignorant about) and then it happened.

I happened to glance over on the opposite side of the bridge, and there he was.  The grand-daddy of them all...

To give you an idea of his size, keep in mind that the smaller turtle on the left has a shell that is about 12-inches long.  The other fella never really surfaced all the way, but what a massive head!  I've never seen a turtle this big!  Tortoises at the zoo, maybe, but a river turtle?

Guess I should have brought more dog food.


This little boy...

... is driving me crazy.  

And WHY would that be?

Is it because of this face that he makes when I won't give him juice?

No, actually it's not.  I can deal with the whining, even though I don't like it.

What I can't deal with is this:

That pillow and that blanket are not in his bed.  They are in mine.  And my bed is no place for a wiggly, squirmy, tired 22-month old at 3:00 a.m.

You mess with my sleep, you mess with my sanity.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Saying "Thanks" Anyway

Maybe it's just because I'm pregnant.  Maybe it's because I'm tired.  And maybe it's because life cycles and sometimes seems much more fun and exciting than at other times.

And maybe I just need to find joy in my every day again.

But tonight I was catching up on my blog reading and came across this story on this blog.  And it made me cry.


[Teren] says she teaches a home-school preschooler co-op. She says she began counting 1000 Gifts. She says she gave all her preschoolers their own gratitude journals...

Last week she called four-year-old J. to come with his journal and she'd record more of his gifts for him. They sit down. She looks across the table at this little man.

"So, what are you thankful for today?" Teren asks J.

"I'm thankful that it's not my birthday," says J.

My eyebrows shoot high. Really?

"That's exactly what I did when he said that," Teren laughs, gorgeous sky. "So I clarified, 'You don't like birthdays, J?'" And J says, "I love birthdays. And I haven’t had one in a long time."

Then why would he.... ?

Teren leans across the table to me and directly lays the little boy's words into my hands.

"I’m saying thanks anyway.”


How often do we say "Thanks" anyway?  Every trial - every drudgery - we have can be turned for our good if we have the right attitude.  So tonight I'm saying "Thanks" anyway.

Thank you, God, for...

...feeling sick and tired because it means we're growing our family.

...never having a clean house because it means I have a home.

...children bickering over the "good seat" on the couch because it means they aren't starving.

...a dog that doesn't listen well because it reminds me to be consistent.

...feeling overwhelmed with church and home responsibilities because it means my life is full. that never gets written because it means it is in my heart.

What are you thankful for anyway?

Two Wolves

Normally I don't post things like this on our blog, but I was very impressed with this short story I just received via email from another homeschool mom.  It left me with a lot to think about beyond the original point to the story.

Two Wolves
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

"One is Evil - It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

"The other is Good - It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Picture for this post obtained from here.