Thursday, July 31, 2014

First Day of School

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HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! 


There they are. My babies. 
Going back to school.  In July. Gasp!

It's uncool, practically against my religion that my boys have to start school on July 31st.  
It's like they are slowly cutting our summer break day by day.  I didn't like it at all. Until about a week ago, when it was clear that they were ready for the beautiful routine of going back to school.  

Chris starts Third Grade, and Sam starts Kindergarten. 


It's a color theme for this school year.  
Since Sam's favorite color is green, we got him a Green Lantern backpack and lunchbox, and found him some green Star Wars jedi shoes, that have lasers that light up green. And Christopher has the same Star Wars light up jedi shoes, that light up blue.  Chris's blue backpack is actually blue and black and has Batman on it, their favorite superheroes. 


These are my favorite superheroes. 
Super Sweetboys! 


OK, OK, the bus just went by on the other side of the neighborhood, now it was time to take that Long Walk to the end of the driveway.  Mommy makes them stop for one last photo, and they were so excited, they just barely tolerated it.  


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We were actually ready and at the end of the driveway by the time the bus came. For once. 
Always the first day of school we operate on time, but the rest of the year... not so much.

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Then the bus came. 
And I was ok with that.  I was happy for them.  
Until I saw Chris reach down for Sam's shoulder as the bus came to a complete stop at the end of our driveway.  That got to me.  


This was my favorite moment, when Chris reached over to guide his little brother to his first day of Kindergarten. 


The bus steps were the size of Sam's legs!  
Oh my baby! 

Now, because I am a big sap, we chased the bus.  As soon as the boys were on, we got in the car and dashed over to the school, so we could meet Sam as he got off the bus and escort him into his class. 
We did that for Chris on his first day of Kindergarten.  And what's right for one is right for two..or three. Honestly, the first day of school is the One Time in history the teachers don't look at you like you're crazy if you chase down the bus.  There may be other days in life that I want to chase down the bus, but this one, the first day of Kindergarten, this time it's ok.  


My big boy was so happy to see us when he got off the bus.  He was pretty surprised to see us too. 


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We followed him into his classroom. 

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Daddy videotaped the long walk down the hall to the classroom too. 


Daddy was videotaping, but as he walked in, he got a picture on his phone too. 


He looks pretty tiny going into that giant classroom. 


But he immediately knew what to do, we'd found his desk earlier in the week, he knew what was up.  
And Daddy and I just lurked in the doorway.  


Oh yeah, he's a cool kindergartner.  


As I walked out with Jake in the stroller, I asked Eric to pop up and check on Chris.  He did. 
And he Psst'd him, and Chris turned.  That class didn't mess around, they were immediately taking some kind of pre-test to gauge math skills.  Big desks, big chairs, big kids. He's so big. 

My Boys are Big now.  

Our Last Day of Summer

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Yesterday was our last day of summer.  Well, it was the boys' last day of summer vacation.  So I asked them, what was 1 thing that they wanted to do, that they felt they hadn't had a chance to do yet.  Chris replied "Go to the Indiana State Museum".  I had bought a membership back in June while they weren't with me, and I kept meaning to take them downtown, but just hadn't gotten a chance.  Okie dokie.  This was going to be our Museum Day!

First, I wanted to 'pop' into the Eiteljorg.  It was the last week for the Ansel Adams exhibit.  And I wanted to see it one more time.  Kathleen and I had gotten some good ideas, we could buy some print postcards, and put them in a multiple frame for decoration.  And she'd read an article about taking kids to art museums, and if you take them to the gift shop first, and pick out a postcard of their favorite picture, then we go into the museum to find it.  I thought that was Brilliant.  So we stopped at the Ansel Adams gift shop to pick out our favorite cards.  I picked Moon and Half Dome.  Sam picked Rose and Driftwood.  Chris picked Yosemite Valley, Winter from Inspiration Point.  Jake wanted to pick Aspens, but they didn't have a postcard for it.  Actually, it was more like I wanted Aspens.  But when we were walking through the exhibit, I pointed it out to the boys, and I said, that's the one Jake wanted...and Jake just looked at it, like he liked it too.  Yeah, bud, me too!  Ansel Adams had Mad Skills.  So photography is not allowed in that exhibit.  But the boys did really well in there, they each had their post card and they walked up to every picture and held up their cards to see if they matched.  They got so excited when they found them.  Poor Chris couldn't find his match, there was one that was close, but not quite.  But frankly, I think I like Chris's picture better than the one that was close.  His was a winter picture, the other wasn't.  So I think I need to acquire the last postcard, and put them all in a frame, you know, for artsy purposes, because Ansel had such mad skills.  You know, like Ansel and I are on a first name basis.  ;)

Anyway, after going quickly through that exhibit, we went downstairs to the kids area.  I told the kids I'd let them play if they let me get through the Ansel exhibit.  So we all went downstairs to play, since they were so good for me.


First, we built a totem pole.  


Then my boys dressed as cowboys.  

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Jacob has discovered a new trick - climbing up into the stroller.  He thinks it's a great time.  He makes me really nervous he's going to come crashing down on his head.  But he thinks it's a great time.  I'm not bugging him about it.  When can I put him in gymnastics?  But climbing the stroller wasn't enough for this little climber.


And they took over the stagecoach. 
Even Jake wanted to climb up into it.  

We didn't stay long, because Kathleen offered to meet us at the ISM.   
We'd packed a picnic lunch, so we went to the open space between the museums to have a little picnic.  


It was a Beautiful day for a picnic.  


I can't make up this sky.  And though the boys were scared to picnic next to these huge flowers, and the bees that came to visit them, I loved seeing all the critters comes and go from a respectful distance on the grass.  I'd forgotten a blanket, so we just plopped down for a picnic on the grass, which I loved, but the boys were annoyed with.  While we were picnicking, our friends arrived.  


We met the Julius girls, and baby John out behind the State Museum.  
Party of 7, 7, can you believe that?!


Welcome to Indiana State Museum. 
This INDIANA sculpture is by Robert Indiana, and the kids think it's very cool.  


Inside the museum is a giant pendelum that swings around and knocks down dominos to tell time.  
First we went through a history of Indiana, and the rest of the earth underneath, from a point of view heavy on geology and biology, then we came upstairs to a more modern, Indiana history, from the revolutionary, to present...I say present, but there were a few things in my house.  I saw toys I played with as a kid, posters from shows I used to watch (Peggy and the Vantastics, Cowboy Bob!), a TV in a case, that looks like the one we have downstairs.  Does that mean my stuff is so old, I am a part of history?  Probably.  
Well, it was still really cool.  


And a bit exhausting for Jacob.  He slept on the way in to town, so I thought he'd crash on the way home...nope he crashed by the pendelum, I guess they really are that hypnotizing.  


We went to the Mastadons vs. Mammoths exhibit.  
And the kids got to dig for bones among rubber sand.  That was pretty cool.  
I learned how to fairly easily tell the difference between a Mastadon and a Mammoth. 
Mammoths have curling tusks. 



Then it was time to go, the kids were starting to get ootzy. 
But we stopped for snacks in the cafe (which I need to go back!), we didn't eat their food, we still had picnic leftovers, but they had some yummy looking stuff, I may need to do lunch there, including the Ayres Tea Room chicken velvet soup.  Oh yeah.  Apparently Ayres Tea Room, moved from the L.S. Ayres building downtown, where we used to go for epic shopping trips once a year with my Grandma, floor by floor, culminating in a lunch date to end all lunches.  But during the year, they only open it for group reservations... until the holidays, then we will be able to just pop in for tea, soup, etc.  And pop in, I shall. My favorite sport is doing lunch, you know.  

Anyway, as we were in the Cafe, Kat and I were talking about the China exhibit at the Children's Museum.  They had a 'Great Wall Slide' in the lobby, and they were going to be shutting it down this weekend. I mentioned how I wish I'd been able to take the boys over there.  But we hadn't been able to do so.  Suddenly, the boys are begging me to go the Museum. What?!  3 museums in one day!  What is this - Chicago?!  We can't do that.   Only...we did.  


I took the boys to the Chinese slide at the museum.  
Only, as I was waiting at the bottom, Chris came flying down, and Sam had a freakout, so some kindly grandmother put him on her lap, and slid down with him.  Something to be said about having an extra adult for one upstairs and downstairs.  I probably won't be that kind of crazy for a while, but we did get to pop in to the China exhibit, and it was pretty awesome.  We'll be going back after school starts.  


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mr. Big Stuff

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Tuesday night was Christopher's Back to School Night.  


I don't know how somehow I have a third grader.  
But now, his classroom is upstairs.  The whole family didn't need to pile in to meet the teacher.  Just Chris and I.  We didn't even stay long, we just dropped off his stuff, unpacked it a little bit, and moved on.  It was good to see some of his friends from years past in his class again.  The tables are bigger, the chairs are bigger, there was a whole lot less fru fru on the walls, minimal decorating in 3rd grade compared to kindergarten, I guess.  He's a Big Kid now.  And he is excited, and can't wait for school to start! 




Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pain Away

You know how I have a really crappy back.  Really crappy.  I haven't had a pain free day since 1996.  Anyway, among my Young Living crew there was a recipe floating around for a Pain Cream.  So I decided to whip it up, since I had all the ingredients within my starter kit.  Pan-away was originally supposed to be called Pain Away, but that was trademarked by someone else. I thought it was a little crazy that a blend of oils could take my pain away...but....

Monday was a busy day, we took the car in, we went to the eye doctor for Chris and I, and although Jake napped, I didn't get to, as James brought over some goodies from Lisa.  Later, as Jake woke up and I brought him downstairs, I tweaked my back, somehow.  I have no idea how.  Probably because I haven't been moving my body in a healthy manner since Chicago.  As I sat at dinner, I got less and less able to breathe.  Crap.  This usually results in me needing to take a bunch of very good drugs and go to bed for at least 4 hours.  Jake would not be down with that.  And the fact that it was 6 oclock, meant the chiropractor was closed, so no emergency adjustment either.  So I dragged a chair over to my 'oil table' in the front hall, and whipped this up.  In doing so, I got it all over my spatula and hands, and proceeded to slime it all over my lower back.  I made Eric carry everything to the school. I was NOT about to miss Kindergarten Open House at Sam's school.  All I held were sweetboy hands, which wasn't entirely a bad thing.  :)   

But by the time we left the school, I could carry a bit of the box, I could hold Jake, and most importantly I could breathe!  I love this cream!  The pan-away has a strong wintergreen scent and the peppermint also usually bites, but with the valor in it, it is calm and sweet, and not so overpoweringly minty.  I think I love it!  I ended up reapplying before bed.   the next day, I was a little tender, but not bad.  Turns out I didn't need to go to the chiropractor at all!  Good stuff.   And it works! So here's another oil recipe - Cathy Approved! 


Kindergarten Open House

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Yesterday was Sam's Kindergarten Open House.  We got to go in and meet his teacher, and take all Sam's stuff in. He had a honking boxful.  This year, Eric bucked the system and ordered all of Sam's school supplies online.  It was weird, yet So Much Easier....all the stuff just came, poof! Right to my doorstep. And we were able to maximize Sam's favorite color materials.  Green notebooks, pencils, folders...

So, after Daddy got home from work, we got to go to school to meet his teacher.  As you can imagine Sam was stoked.


He was so happy.  He walked around the classroom trying to find his desk.  It was the third one he saw.  He recognized that letter S from across the room.  I was very proud of him to figure out where to look for his name.  Even though he hadn't done this before, I guess tagging along with big brother has his advantages.  Of course, every time we asked Sam a question, Chris wanted to answer. ;)   There was a scavenger hunt and we took a look around for some things, and then they took all the kindergartners to be to the cafeteria for cookies and milk.  Sam couldn't wait to go!  


After meeting the teacher, getting a little intro and paperwork out of the way, we went outside to get Sam. 
He was playing on the kindergartener playground.  And he came rushing towards his brother.  I'm not sure who is more happy for Sam to start school, Sam or Christopher.  They are both pretty stoked. 


I just like going places with my sweetboys.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Once, Twice, 5 times the Crazy

So Jacob is not napping... it's a fine time, I gotta get caught up on blogging.  Sunday was a continuation of Annie's birthday party at my Dad's.  It was also kind of a last hurrah for all of us to be together one more time before the West family moves back to Texas.  But boy howdy, when we get all five grandkids together, it's hard to tell which one wins, the Cuteness, or the Crazy.

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The girls had to show us right off their favorite game, Climb Daddy-Chair's feet.  
Wow - that brought back the memories, I used to sit on my Uncle's feet all the time, riding around the room on his feet, those were good times.  


Oma made a Texas sheet cake...in a 13X9 pan.  
And completely covered it in candy pearls.  


And these candles didn't blow out from the wind, 
so she did got to blow the candles out again! 


Annie loved eating her cake.  


And Charlie didn't do her bisecting head trick for me, but she was pretty cute.


Jacob figured out to use the cup of water, and he was thrilled too.  


No one listened to Lisa and not get Annie presents.  
Cousin Suzy got Annie a butterfly net for her birthday. 
And Meb got her some stretchy sparkly jewelry, 6 must be the age for that.  


After all the sugaring, we let the kids out to run it off.  
Only they didn't.  Chris was reading his Lego movie book to the kids just sitting on the sidewalk. 


We lined up all the crazy for some pictures, but it was hard to get them all to smile.  
But we got a little lucky.  


Then we laid them all down in hopes of getting a better shot. 
We just got a little more crazy.  


But some Cuteness too. 

My First Oil Class

Saturday was supposed to be the boy's last swim class and a party for me.  But swim class got cancelled for the rain.  Frankly, I'm glad.  I was able to drive up, pick up my sister and head to my friend Amy's house in Camp Tecumseh.  We got our own little road trip going!  We were going to have an Essential Oils class. My first.  Amy and Lisa both signed up with me this month, and our Team was going to get together, make some oily stuff.  My sister and I both brought all the oils we had.  And though I planned on talking more about the history of the oils, and their many uses, I just prayed I was able to convey what a Blessing they've been in my life.  I was really nervous.  I had planned on having handouts and all kinds of information, and making food, and letting Amy's friends smell the goodness, and learning all about oils.  But life got away from, and I needed to delegate.  Luckily, everyone was able to contribute wonderfully.  Amy made some wonderful recipes using oils - lemon hummus, lavender lemonade, and citrus fresh berry drink.  I loved the theory of the Citrus Fresh Berry drink, but it was hard to get past the solid bits.  In reality, my favorite was the lavender lemonade!  But I wonder if maybe I overdid it, showcasing the oils in food instead of focusing on the body healing...and maybe left the oily food as a surprise for the end.   It wasn't quite the educational wonderland I had planned in my head.  But things rarely go as I wish they would.  I wanted them to have as wonderful an experience with Essential Oils as I had.  But still, we ended up talking about our experiences with oils.  
I told about how I have been able to give up my reflux meds because I drink lemon oil in water every night.  I've only taken my drugs twice.  The boys, the big boys, were on their reflux meds, to the tune of 200$ a month, and since I've started them on Di-Gize diluted with olive oil, they haven't needed them either.  Sam only had 1 night where he threw up, and that was because he didn't eat any dinner.  And I'm saving my family 200$ a month in medications.  Sam got bit up at camp and I used LLP on him, and he immediately said the pain was gone, and the inflammation reduced greatly simply overnight.  These oils really do work! Everybody is different, so it can take a bit of trial and error to find the right mix of oils to work for individuals.  I lucked out that for the boys and I, I found stuff right off.  Now I've got to work on Eric... 
But during this class, we had 3 guests, and Cindi, Amy, Lisa and I were able to share our experiences with the oils. I was able to get some ideas that will help me give a better class in the future.  It was still nice to talk oils with my friends and family, and make some new friends.  But overall, it was a really great experience, and I felt like our guests left knowing more about oils. If you reading this have any questions about oils, I'm sure any of us would love to talk about it. :) 

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And my sister and I got a mini-road trip out of the deal. I am really loving this Oily Life! 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Can I keep it to 25 for the 25th?

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What a Fabulous Day!  Friday was Christopher's last day at ICC Camp, and they had  a recital.   AND it was also my niece Annie's birthday, she was 6, and she had a birthday party at West Park.  Get it? Annie West's party at West Park.  Ha!  Anyway, it was a beautiful day, summer in the 70s, perfect for some outdoor time.  We took Christopher to Butler for his last rehearsal, they were doing a performance for parents.  So we decided to use the time wisely.


Sam found a Butler water fountain.  
Ah yes, now  that's more like it.  

We were extra lucky, one of my childhood friends, Amy, was in the area, and we met up at Butler for coffee and conversation.  I love when we get together.  We've been friends since we were Sam's age, like 4 or 5.  I remember going to her kindergarten class with her as a guest.  And even though it may be a year or two since we've seen each other, we always pick up like no time has passed.  We always laugh about Mommy's Medical School graduation party down at the little house in the gardens, where the grownups were so interested in talking, they didn't care what we were up to, so we went outside, and played in mud puddles. I remember being  in a pretty dress, and looking down at my feet, and not being able to see my toes the water was so dark and dirty and up above my ankles into my calves.  We played in the rain, ran free in the dark.  Oh man, that was Fun!  Although, you'd think I would have learned by now that I should allow for more than just a couple hours for us to get all caught up.  I feel like we could have yapped even longer! 



A bit after 11, we headed over to Lilly hall so that we could see Christopher and the rest of the ICC choir perform.  You would think that because Chris is small, being in the front row would be great.  Unfortunately, he was front and center, blocked from view by the teacher/conductor, and his stand.  So most of my pictures are of his floating head.

Still, he was very cute while singing. 

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Here's a video of the group singing 'Agnus Dei', also known as Lamb of God. 
You can see Christopher under the director's left elbow. :) 

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I bet you recognize this one.  I kept asking Chris all week about any songs he was singing, and the only one he told me that he could remember was "Go Down Moses". I thought, I recognized the name of it, but wasn't for sure.  Then they started playing, and I was like, Oh yes, I do know this one. And I almost goose pimply when they were singing.  There was another song that got to me, about Annabelle Lee, based on the Edgar Allen Poe poem.  It was neat, arranged by one of the teachers.  They did about half a dozen songs, and each one was impressive.  My arm was numb from holding the camera for all of them.  But I won't bother you with all of the video snips.  Let's just say, they sounded phenomenal.  Especially for being a bunch of kids that 5 days prior had never met, let alone, sung together.  Quite Impressive! 


When his program was done, he had quite a showing of loving supporters.  
He was pretty happy to see such a crew.  And we were very Proud of him. 


Afterwards, on the way to the car, we took the boys by the bulldog.  
The inflatable bulldog was blown up for a freshman welcome wingding.  After being able to pretty much park wherever we wanted all week, it was strange to have to park by the library and hoof across campus.  It seems like things were a lot closer together when I was young.  Anyway, as soon as he saw the Bulldog, Sam asked if we could take our picture by it.  Sam is usually my least cooperative when it comes to photos,so if he's asking, then I'm obliging!  


I don't think I'd been down and taken a picture in the dead of summer of the carillon.  The trees are all in full leaf, and it's harder to see it, that's probably why.  Still, all that greenery is beautiful.  This is my favorite spot on campus, always has been. 

We went home for naps, and after Daddy got home, we drove up north to West Park, for the West Party.


We found the Birthday girl! 
She's 6 now! 


Jacob was pretty content padding around the gazebo area where we were based.  He's kind of like a boomerang, he'll venture out, but he always comes back.  I had packed my Oily Bug Spray and coated us all, so we were good to go explore a bit and not Get Bit.   Jacob is not too sure about new places.  


This is a great facility.  The Julius girls brought their scooters we got for them for their birthdays a couple weeks ago, and they were able to zip around the playground.  And there is also a waterpark, so some of the kids were able to suit up and go into the splash area and play.  


Here's our area.  My boys are in red and blue Cars swimsuits.  And playing in the giant puddle with friends.  
The girls were running wild and having a completely wonderful time.  
It was casual and free, and there was a ton of space to just play.  


This is one of my favorite pictures of Charlie in the water.  
I love how the water is reflecting the sunlight.  


Turns out Annie is a bit of a climbing monkey. 
I think we suspected that. 


Prettiest birthday climbing monkey of all! 


And Charlie wanted to climb just like the big kids. 
She did a pretty good job too. 


She made me so nervous.  


Sam runs wild through the water. 


Sam and Charlie were playing pretend together.  
They are made of the same things, the same personalities, so they get on quite well.  


We went into the hut to sing to Annie. 
It was a cupcake party.  There were summery themed watermelon cupcakes. 
But it got a little breezy and blew the candle out, so we had to restart it.  


And she made a wish and blew it out. 
Oma had also brought a bunch of her famous chocolate chip cookies. 
They got snarfed down too with the cupcakes.  

After all that sugar, the kids needed to go run it off again. 


Now, because they are moving, and they didn't want to lug a bunch of stuff, Lisa had asked for no presents.  I just couldn't do it.  So the boys made cards with paper we had on hand.  Chris cut out a flower for his card.  So when we stopped for a balloon and a flower (the kinds of presents a small girl can enjoy madly, but to throw them away is not the end of the world) we were able to weave the flower into the card.  


Annie liked her gerbera daisy.  
It is bright and happy, just like her.  
Though, I think, by present time, the strength of the day was wearing out.  
She was still having a good time, but I couldn't get a smile out of her.  


That's ok, I get smiles from the gerbera daisy.