Saturday, August 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Nana

Happy Birthday Nana!

Big Boy Gets a New Room

I remember it like it was yesterday - only it wasn't, it was eight years ago.

I took a weekend trip to visit my friend Jennifer in Alabama - her new home. I was HUGE pregnant. It is affectionately remembered as the "eating trip." My friend April drove us there and we stopped at every gas station from here to there in search of the right salty snack, or a sweet candy treat, or an icee. Then, in Alabama there was frozen yogurt and Chick Fil A cool wraps. A trip of cravings.

While I was away, Tommy and my family painted the room that was to be the nursery. The walls went from white to light blue. And, the John Lennon Carters nursery print that I had picked out went from darling comforters to characters on the wall.

Uncle Brian painted a squirrel.

Daddy made this tree, that later became our own growth chart - with handprints each year to measure their heights.
There was the giraffe - and the bugs that Aunt Ashleigh, Aunt Nikki and both the Nana's helped to stamp in glow in the dark paint all over the room.
The elephant that was by my rocker where I nursed each of the kids at ungodly hours of the night.
And, my favorite - the story time tree that says "Love Daddy" etched in black ink in a heart.

I watched the nursery transform via internet pictures. No paint fumes anywhere near this pregnant mama - nope, the daddy sent me across state lines to be sure. Such a worry wart he is!

When Xander turned four he started to ask us to re-do his room - into a big boy room. The crib and toddler bed had been long gone by then. I said "sure, we'll do a superman room!"

But, I just couldn't. Couldn't bear to paint over these walls. Couldn't bear to accept that my baby was growing up. Just couldn't.

Now, two years since then, I just couldn't tell him no. Again.

So, big boy superman room here we come.

I will confess I could barely stand to watch the transformation without sobbing. I threw myself into buying new sheets, hunting down frames for comic books, anything but standing in the midst of the room..........watching.

But, now that the project is complete and the room really shouts "Xander" - I can't imagine it looking any other way.

His deks - complete with his own art work hanging above it.
His bed - vintage superman sheets, a superman pillow with his name on it, and his daddy's old comic books framed and hung on the walls.
The happiest little boy ever.
And, to watch over him when he sleeps (slight chuckle for those who know Xman's sleeping habits) - Superman himself - or at least the pinata version!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Xman's Random Acts of Kindness

We had such a good time completing random acts of kindness for my birthday and again for Mikaela's birthday that we continued our tradition for Xman's birthday this year.

For Xman's birthday we completed one act of kindness a day for six days - yeah, sort of a twist on our theme! I felt like he would benefit more from really focusing on one act at a time.

Xman's Six Random Acts of Kindness:

1 - We donated a book bag (of his choice that he was willling to part with) filled with new school supplies for the foster kids of our county for back to school.

2 - We gathered some of his Transformers items, as well as some outgrown pajamas for a little boy we love who doesn't have as many things as he does. We also went shopping together and bought new shorts and t-shirts for him to have.

3 - We froze a water bottle and put it out in the late morning (about half an hour before the mail man came) for our mail man on a particularly hot day the week of his birthday. Tommy happened to pass the mailman on his way back in from an errand and commented that he was drinking a water bottle!

4 - On Xman's actual birthday while tubing he and I said a full kind sentence to every one we passed. We also stopped and helped all the stuck people! As in many of our outings, we were all focused on helping Xman bless those around us and he was blessed. While wandering through a toy store, Xman struck up a conversation with the owner. He listened intently while the older gentleman described how he made the toys in the shop. He took time to teach Xman how to use several of the toys, and even gave him a wooden toy as a birthday gift. I am grateful that we are teaching the children that often time is a valuable gift - taking the time to linger and really listen to someone can bless their day.

5 - We made a donation to the food pantry at our church. I think this one is one of my favorites as I want the children to see how we can give out of our blessings.

6 - We picked up trash in our church parking lot the week of his birthday. We model that we never step on or over trash - we always pick it up. But this week we went a little further in seeking out trash.

I am so proud of Xman for choosing to give so freely - of his joyful spirit, of his things, and of his time!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Happy 6th Birthday Xman

To my Bubbe,

Wow - Where does time go? You are growing up so fast!

This year you went to Bright Beginnings Preschool for kindergarten. Your teachers were Mrs. Richey and Mrs. Ginn. You struggled at the beginning of this school year with all the responsibilities of a big kindergartener, but you and I worked hard together and you ended up loving kindergarten. You enjoyed all your friends - football throwing at recess, silly bandz trading with friends, and telling each other funny jokes and stories. You looked so grown up each week practicing for your spelling tests.

This fall you played football for the first time. I have to say - you nor I loved it. You liked your coach (Coach Mook) and your new football friends. You played lineman for the Falcons. You worked hard practicing and at games.

This winter you wrestled with daddy at his school for the first time. You were officially a Walnut Grove Warrior - complete with an end of the season certificate. You LOVED going with daddy - and only talked wrestling for months.

In the spring you played baseball for the second time. Man, do you love baseball. You played on the 5 - 6 Blue Jays. You love going to real baseball games. You went to the Gwinnett Braves and the Atlanta Braves this year. You also went to a Wilmington Sharks game when we visited Nana Barbara. You always sit through all 9 innings - you don't want to miss a minute!

You start each day watching Sportscenter. You want to know what happens on all the baseball games that come on after you go to bed!

This year you and I went each week for a while to work with Ms. Marni at UGA. She taught us how to help you with your worries. You are such an old soul in that little 5 year old body! It was tough for both of us - but man, I was proud of you for all your hard work. You are so much stronger and less anxious.

You love to play the Wii (video games). Your favorite is Major League baseball. You also love Wii Sports and Super Mario. You enjoy puzzles and board games.

This year you became a READER! I was so excited for you. You love to read old Dick and Jane books - those are definitely your favorite. You also like Dr. Seuss and Mercer Mayer. Once you've read a book, you don't ever want to read it again. You are reading signs and information everywhere we go. At Walmart you can't figure out why they say "Everything's Less" when not everything is really on sale - you are so adamant that they are lying!

You have the sweetest, kindest heart. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing you say "I love you Mommy" which you still do many times a day. You have the best sense of humor! You are always making us all laugh.

Each night we talk about what we are going to do together in our dreams. You love to go to baseball games, fly in the Star Wars ships, and go new places on new adventures.

Bubbe, I love you with all my heart - to the moon in the millenium falcon!


5 years old - with your crazy Batman birthday hat

at 4, during your black blazer phase - which lasted all this year too!

at 3, Rock Star

at 2, at Gymboree playing your maracas

at 1, in your favorite gift - you LOVED that car!

my sweet baby boy - with his Ele

Monday, July 5, 2010

8 Random Acts of Kindness

We had such a great time this year celebrating my birthday that we decided to continue the tradition for Mikaela's birthday.

Mikaela and I brainstormed the week before her birthday and she chose her own 8 random acts of kindness.

1 - We started the day by dropping off a variety of home made muffins at the Loganville Fire Station. We had the privilege of giving them to ambulance drivers who were outside.

2 - Next, we headed to church. Mikaela had chosen some games to pass on to other families. We dropped off one to a special friend at church.

3 - Also, at church she chose to give a copy of her favorite book (I'd Be Your Princess) to one of the volunteers in children church who is having his first baby girl.

4 - After church we headed to Borders. Mikaela started by hiding strips of stickers as bookmarks in a variety of her favorite books.

5 - On our way out, she hid coupons for book purchases amongst the books in the entrance to Borders.

6 - Next, we were off to Chuck E Cheese. Mikaela had a certificate for 20 free tokens for her birthday. She randomly hid them all over Chuck E Cheese. This was her favorite. We sat in a booth and watched as kids would find them and get all excited. She loved watching the toddlers in toddler town find tokens and then get to use the token to ride in the cute little rides.

7 - One of the kids favorites from my birthday was giving out silly bandz. Kids LOVE to receive silly bandz. She left the house with her arm full of silly bandz, and returned home with just one left.

8 - The last one was my favorite. She chose to make a list of 10 great things about her brother and give it to him.

We had a great time - celebrating and sharing with others!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Pumpkin

My dearest Mikaela,

It's hard to believe that another year has passed and that today you are 8 years old. Every single day with you promises to be extraordinary.

This year you and I made the brave choice that I would return to being not just your mother, but your teacher. It was my honor and privilege to lead you in the journey through second grade. I'm not sure who learned more this year - me or you, and I hope each year provides us with that same challenge.

You continue to be a voracious reader. This year you stayed up an extra hour (or more if daddy and I forgot to come turn off your light and tuck you in on time) to read every night. Your favorites were The Doll People (which you and I read together at the same time - all 3 in the series), The Name of this book is Secret, and any series that involves princesses, fairies or baby sitting girls. This summer you are reading the Peter and the Star Catchers series.

This year you tried cheerleading for the first time. You cheered your team all the way to the local championships. You loved the outfit and all the parties with the girls - but didn't really enjoy the actual football games.

You are still my artist. Your sketch book is full - each sketch signed and dated. You love to draw using drawing books now. Your favorite is a disney themed one! You took a fine arts class this year and loved sculpting, painting, drawing and creating.

You have become quite the singer. You love to sing on the Wii video game - Band Hero. Love Story by Taylor Swift is your first favorite, though I think Jessie's Girl is a close second. You got a DSi for your 7th birthday and are definitely your father's child - you love to play games.

You are an amazing sister. While sometimes you and the Xman don't get along, you always love him and protect him. I adore watching the two of you together -and am grateful that you are helping Daddy and I teach Xman how to navigate the world around him.

You are so funny! Your favorite joke to tell currently is: What did one eye say to another? ...............Between you and me, something smells!

You still enjoy playing with dolls of all sizes - from American Girl baby dolls to Barbies. Your favorite playtime activity is beauty shop. You are constantly assigning me an appointment time to arrive and be made over. You assure me that even though I am not sparkly, there is help for me. You can help me.

I love that you still want to spend all your time with me. I'm grateful. You like for me to paint your toenails - always some bright sparkling color like lime green or hot pink. You like to play games - scrabble slam is your current favorite, though any one with "American Girl" on the box will do. You love to bake - easy bake or my oven, either will do. You love all things crafty - you so wish that we would learn to sew together (and we will!).

Mikaela Grace, I know that being 8 is going to be amazing. You and I are going to be so surprised at all the wonderful plans God has for our next year together.

Happy birthday baby girl!

With love,

you, at 7 - Masters Final Performance
you - at 6, at "big school"

you, at 6 - Thanksgiving

you, at two, practicing being a big sister
you, at 4, sweet as ever
you, at 3, "admiring" yourself
you, at 3, being Mary
you, at the hospital, my angel in pink

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Thinking Day 2010

Today Mikaela and I had the pleasure of celebrating Thinking Day 2010 at the Gainesville Mountain Center.

For those not familiar with girl scout history:

Lord Baden-Powell was born in England about 150 years ago! When he was an adult he wrote a book about camping, first aid, animals and lots of other things. He called this book “Scouting for Boys”. Lots of boys in England bought the book. They loved it so much, they started little groups called Boy Scouts. In the groups they did all the activities Lord Baden-Powell talked about in his book and they talked to their friends about how much fun it was. In just a little while, Boy Scout groups began popping up all over the world.

Lord Baden-Powell had no idea how many boys there were in these groups so he decided to call them all together for a big party in London. He invited ‘anyone doing Scouting’ to come to the party. Was he ever surprised when eleven thousand boys showed up. But he was even more surprised by the small group of girls that came as well!

Lord Baden-Powell stood in front of the girls and asked, “Who are you?”

Together they replied proudly, “We are the Girl Scouts.”

Lord Baden-Powell’s sister Lady Agnes Baden-Powell was at the party too. She smiled at the girls, then turned to Lord Baden-Powell and said, “It looks like you’re going to have to have to write a book for the girls too.”

“Hmmm. How about you doing it, Agnes?” replied Lord Baden-Powell.

And so Lady Agnes Baden-Powell wrote a handbook for the girls. Over time younger girls wanted to join in the fun too, so the Brownies were formed.
Just like the Boy Scouts, the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts spread all over the world!

Thinking Day is a very special birthday. It is the birthday of Lord Baden-Powell and Lady Baden-Powell.

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts chooses a theme for each World Thinking Day and proposes related activities. This year's theme was:

"Together we can end extreme poverty and hunger"

Juliette Low founded scouts here in American in 1912. She was a good friend of Lord and Lady Baden-Powell, and having lived in England her interest began there.

When we entered, we saw an assortment of girl scout history. A favorite was an American Girl doll wearing her own girl scout uniform!

We were given passport books and were ready to venture on our "trip around the world."

Our first stop was Haiti. We learned that Haiti means "mountainous region." It was interesting to learn that Haiti has the highest unemployment and illiteracy rate.

China was cool! We learned that I was born in the year of the rabbit, Mikaela was born in the year of the horse, and this is the year of the tiger! Mikaela learned to write the Chinese symbol for tiger.

Off to Ireland. Here we learned the story of the blarney stone. You must lean overbackwords, and kiss the wall for the legend to hold true for you.

The girls and I found the promise in England to be interesting - girls promise "to serve the Queen and my country." We read the promise in most country and the differences were fascinating. In Japan we learned that girls promise to "love Buddha."

Mikaela reading about girl scouting in Japan.

In Australia - that treat behind her is fairy bread - a special dessert served. Did I mention that there was food in every country? YUMMY.

Ireland - two times! In each country, we read the facts that the troop had presented, got our passport books stamped, sampled a treat, and participating in swaps.

Swaps, the tradition of Girl Scouts exchanging keepsakes, started long ago when Girl Scouts and Girl Guides first gathered for fun, song, and making new friends. Some scouts have named



Each one is a memory of a special event or Girl Scout Sister.

Playing the harp.

Learning about the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). She encouraged us to learn about the WAGGGS pin that we wear on our uniform. So - I looked it up:

The gold band surrounding our pin symbolizes the sun that shines on children all over the world.
The blue background symbolizes the sky above us, all over the world.
The gold trefoil is the sign of Girl Scouting and Girl Guiding around the world. The 3 parts of the trefoil stand for the 3 parts of the Promise.
The star on the left, the same side as our heart, stands for the pledge that all Girl Scouts and Girl Guides try, on their honor, to keep: the Promise.
The right star, on the side of a helping hand, stands for the Girl Guide and Girl Scout code of conduct--the GG/GS Law.
We place a compass needle in the center, to serve as a guide pointing towards the right way in life.
At the base of the trefoil we place the flame. Its burning represents love for humanity and international friendship.

In Greece we met one of the older girls from the fashion show.

In Hungary we practiced saying hello and goodbye!

At the end, there were various games to try out.

And crafts.
And good friends.
Interesting music.
And silly moments!