Monday, June 30, 2008

Field Day Memories

Do you remember field day when you were a kid?

I do.

I loved the potato sack race.

And the three-legged race where you would tie one of your legs together with your friend's leg (usually using your dad's tie) and race down to the end.

We also had the egg toss which was always messy - they don't do that one now. Probably because of liabilities with salmonella or something.

Anyway, this year was the first year that I've been able to go to the school's Field Day. Because I always had Owen and couldn't go. Here's a few pics from it.

PULL, Shane!

Note Shane's shoeleses foot. He said that it flew off but he didn't stop to get it because they needed to win. ;)

I'm not sure who thought it was a good idea to have field day in the middle of June in Virginia. It was HOT!

The little kids ran around the hurdles rather than jumping them. Half of them missed the hurdles completely though and just ran straight down the field. LOL.

This was a cool one. The kids had to work as a team to move the "skiis" to the end.

Not a bit of water spilled out of the cups. NOT.

Hoola-Hooping gone mad.

Steady now!

The PE teachers did a great job of setting up the field day. Thanks for all of your work, Mr. E and Mrs. S! :)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Flasher

With a title like that, you know it has to be about Owen, right?

We took the boys to Nationals baseball game last night. We ate dinner at Pentagon City Mall before the game. As all kids do, Owen had to go to the bathroom while we were eating.

We said but you just went.

So, in his loudest 5 year old voice, he proclaims that yes, he did just go, but now he has to poop and can NOT wait. Ken took him since I was still eating. I guess eating slowly does pay off sometimes, eh?

So, we were on the metro and I asked him if he made it okay to the bathroom.

He said yes he did.

Then he added that he realized that he forgot to put his underwear on.

Me: "I put undies out for you but you didn't put them on? So, you're going commando?"

OWEN: "I didn't put them on...duh... and I'm NOT commando and don't call me that again."

So, I spent the rest of the night making him close his legs and put them down so he wouldn't show everyone his five year old business.

I usually check to see if his clothes are on right side and matching. I guess I need to start checking to see if he has his undies on too.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Bros Til The End...

They drive each other nuts.

They fight like crazy.

But, sometimes (just sometimes), you can tell that they really depend on each other.

Like when they're nervous about something.

Like the big, big ocean and the waves that will crash down on them.

But, the inevitable will happen when you challenge the ocean.


Don't worry. I was two feet away and they were only 4 feet into the ocean. So, put the phones down. :)

And, yes...I know that they don't have on their bathing suits. I took them down to the playground near the ocean and got busy shooting photos. They took full advantage of it and got their shorts wet enough that it didn't matter.

So, they did what kids do and I did what I do.

And, you get to enjoy the moment too.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More Photography Lessons: Shutter Priority

As you know, I'm quite technically challenged but I've been working really hard to learn to use my camera. Properly use it that is. Because it's an expensive point-and-shoot if you don't take it out of automatic mode.

I *get* most of it but book knowledge definitely does not equal being able to actually shoot the pictures that you want.

I've been working on learning how to use the shutter priority setting on my camera. It's the function that allows you to stop motion completely or to freeze part of a picture while the motion still shows. Sporting events are probably the best example of where this setting is used.

I was on the beach one morning and these beach trucks kept coming by. Perfect opportunity to practice. Here are two good ones. The background is blurred, showing the motion of the trucks, but the trucks are (for the most part) frozen.

If you click on the picture, a larger version will show up. I stopped down the aperature on the second one to a small opening (the first one was a "who cares" aperature setting of 9), decreased the shutter speed and panned on the vehicle and snapped the picture.

Very often, you will need a tripod for these shots or your picture will be completely blurry. I was able to do this hand held though.

The motion is really apparent in the second picture, although there is definitely motion in the first one too. The truck was probably going faster in the second photo. The white spot on the second photo is the trash cans.

Yeah me!

Summer Time = Beach Fun!

Summer time = beach fun for many families. Ours is no exception. We just returned from Virginia Beach. I've begun sorting through the 500 pictures that I took, and have deleted about 400 so far but need to whittle it down from there.

Here are a few of the boys of my favorites. I will post more later.

As you can imagine, the laundry is piled up. It looks like a family of 10 went to the beach.

And, I'm not sure that there is any sand left at Virginia Beach. I'm convinced that we brought it all home in our suitcases. :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Fun = Amusement Parks!

We love amusement parks. Most families measure their kids growth by an actual chart.

We measure it by what color bands the kids get at Kings Dominion at the beginning of the summer.

We're now up to green for Owen and purple for Shane. Owen may make it to yellow by the end of the summer.

Woo-hoo. Even more fun rides for me! I mean, for Owen. Yeah...for Owen.

Unfortunately, Shane and Owen are at two different band levels. If you have kids, you know what this means. Especially if there's one parent and two kids.

It was 80 yesterday so I decided to take advantage of the rare cool day in Virginia and, despite everything that I need to do, take the kids to KD. We also took our other daughter -- err, neighbor -- with us. She's with the boys so much that she's like their sister now. It's good because she can ride with Shane.

Usually, I put Shane on the coasters by himself and exit through with Owen. Now, he has someone to ride with on those rides as well as the other rides that need just two (because I always have to go with Owen.)

Here are a few fun shots from the day.

Owen having fun on the Triple Spin.

Kings Dominion was owned by Paramount, thus the Spongebob character. Shane didn't want to take his picture with him because "he's just a person dressed in a costume." He's been like that with all characters since I killed Santa Claus last year. :*(

We went to get onto the Richochet and you needed an adult for every kid under 52 inches, which I didn't know. I was just excited that Owen could finally ride it. Fortunately, there was a group of college kids behind us and they were more than happy to ride with the kids. Rachel rode with one of the girls in front of us. Shane was behind us with her boyfriend and Owen was with me.

There are nice people in the world. They earned brownie points. :)

Rachel finally decided that it was cool to put her hands in the air. And, I caught it on film! Isn't it a cute pic? I love her hair. :)

And, a self portrait. Whatelse was I suppose to do while the kids were playing in the water zone? Boredom = self portrait time!

Maybe we'll make it to the next band level by the end of summer!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Toilet Paper Fairy

Sometimes I see a comic strip that makes me chuckle. Out loud. Because it just hits so close to home. This is one of them. I *know* that you can probably relate. LOL.

Click to Enlarge.

Sad enough, here's the proof that I can relate. There was just one empty roll built up when I saw this but by the time I got around to taking the picture, there were two, going on three.

There is a toilet paper fairy in every family. Is it you?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Summers Stink

For kids who get to sleep until they want to get up.

For kids who get taken to McDonalds to lunch.

And especially for kids who get taken to the park to eat said McDonalds lunch.

And for kids who then get taken to a different park to play on the merry go round. For two hours.

And, especially for kids who get to go to the store for ice cream.

And then make the biggest sundae. Evar.

Yeah. Summers stink. I can't understand why kids look forward to the end of school.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Go Owen! Go Owen!

Ever have a moment where you get a glimpse into the future?

Well, we had one of those this weekend and I think that I'm a little scared.

We went to Ken's cousin's barmizvah. The reception was at a mansion in DC and they had a separate area for the teenagers with a DJ, dancing area and bar (non alcoholic, of course).

While Shane was very nervous to go downstairs with the big kids, Owen went right down and we watched him working the crowd - shaking hands, introducing himself. The works.

Ken and I took turns checking on them. The few times I checked on them, Shane was hovering near the bar, getting his courage up to mix with the kids and Owen was milling about.

Ken went to check on time and came back laughing.

He said that he saw Shane at the bar and saw Shane slam down his drink and told the bartender "hit me again." Or something like that. He asked Shane where Owen was and Shane said he didn't know.

Then Ken heard "Go Owen, go Owen" and looked to the middle of the room where there was a crowd of teenagers in a circle.

One would think that Owen was showing his business again, right?

Well, Ken parted the kids and found Owen in the middle dancing - doing his best DC Dav*** moves. Ken said that he sat there and watched him work the crowd for a few minutes and when Owen was done with his show, a few of the kids came up (high fiving Owen) and asking him to teach them his dance moves.

Owen was working it.

So, now you can see the future. Shane will be the one at the bar, sucking down the drinks until he has the courage to talk to people.

And, Owen will be the fraternity guy in the middle sucking down the suds ala "Animal House" style with his brothers chanting his name.

Either way...I think that I'll enjoy these last few easy years. Because there is going to be payback to Ken and I. I've seen the writing on the wall.

Friday, June 13, 2008

School's Out For Summer!

Bet you thought that this post would be about the kids or what our plans were for the summer, right? It's about one teacher who made a difference.

And you think that teacher would have been one of my teachers. But, no. It was one of Shane and Owen's teachers.

If you know me, you know who I'm talking about. Mrs. King. She's just awesome. I can't say enough good things about her. So, instead of rewriting it, I'll just post something that I sent into a contest for teachers about her. She didn't win so obviously that means that they did not receive my nomination.

"Dear Sir or Madam:

What a great idea! Teachers by far are one of the most under appreciated professions. I have been fortunate enough to be involved in my kid’s school during the day so I have seen the work that goes into being a teacher. The extra time that they give unselfishly. The extra money that they spend to buy things for their classrooms and their students. The extra work that they do outside of their class to make sure that their kids are getting the best education that they can. On a shoestring budget.

There is one teacher that I cannot say enough good things about. Janet King. She is a kindergarten teacher at Ferry Farm Elementary School in Stafford County. My third grader had her and now my youngest son has her. I have been so lucky. She has allowed me to come in and help her so I have had the privilege of seeing the work that she puts into making each one of her students feel that they are the most special student ever.

She treats every single child with respect regardless of their race, gender, economic status or education level. She takes the time to explain things to a child on their level and works and works and works with them until they understand it. She never loses her patience either. I’ve never seen her raise her voice at a student. Ever. She makes me feel special when I’m in there and I’m not even one of the students!

She also makes learning fun, which is so important with teaching kids. My 3rd grader still sings the songs that she taught him to his brother to help him learn. She understands how children learn and gets down on their to their level to do it.

Just as she makes every student feel good about themselves, she also includes the parents. Some teachers do not like parents in their classroom. Not Mrs. King. She invites every parent into the classroom. If they want to visit, she allows them to read or help in other ways. If they want to view what is going on, she invites them in for the day. I have helped her coordinate holiday parties and she wants to make sure that all parents are included and feel welcome.

She is so responsive to every question I send in - no matter how big or small. If you send in a note to her with a concern, she will either call you during her break or send a note home that day responding to your concern. And when I say a note, I mean a full-page response. As a parent, you can’t ask for anything more than that.

She has been teaching at Ferry Farm for over 25 years and has taught people who are now in college. When I speak to those parents, they can’t say enough good things about her. I have never, ever heard one parent (current or past) say anything negative about Mrs. King. If you have children, you know what that means. She’s been teaching here for 25 years and no negative comments from parents? That should tell you something. :)

I told her when my oldest went to first grade that she set the bar way too high for all of the teachers after her. I am really very, very sad that I won’t have any more children to go through her class. She has made such an impact in not only my children’s lives but also mine. She is what a teacher should be. She loves her job and is darn good at it.

I can’t say enough good things about her. I wish that every parent had a Janet King to teach his or her child at least once in his or her school career. She’s truly a gem. She should get this spa day because she unselfishly gives so much to so many others that she deserves to receive that same special treatment that she gives every single day."

Mrs. King and Owen at Westmoreland Berry Farm, 10/07.

Shane and Mrs. King. 2005

So, Mrs. King thank you for all of your hard work. It's appreciated. Most importantly, enjoy your summer. You sure deserve it!

One Brown Bear, A Couple of Ducks

We had pretty severe weather last week. There were about three or four days where we had tornadoes or tornado warnings and it rained so hard that the trees were bent sideways.

The last one that we had, there was an actual tornado warning so we went to the basement.

Then, Shane's eyes welled up and the tears started. He kept saying "what would happen to Ducky Sr. and Ducky Jr. if the roof blows away? They'll be lost forever."

He got really upset.

Owen says "it's just a storm, God Shane."

Complete opposites, right?

I tried to reason with Shane but Ken felt bad so he went upstairs to get them.

And, Owen yells after him "and, grab my baby Pluto because he's so cute."

Meanwhile, I'm thinking to myself "great...the roof is going to blow off and Ken's going to die..."

So, Ken comes back down with the two ducks, Owen's bear and some snacks. (He grabbed the first animal he saw in Owen's room.)

Sweet. Snacks.

So, the wind is howling outside and I'm looking at the stuffed animals on the table.

All the sudden, I remembered a drinking game in college (when I was 21, of course) that started out with "one brown bear and a couple of ducks" and I crack up laughing.

I told Ken and he says "too bad you don't have your camera with you."

But, of course I do.

Because when you're in a life or death situation, you need your camera. Don't worry. I haven't lost my mind. I grabbed my cell phone and the flash light too.

So, then Shane says to Ken, "I know what you would have said, Daddy, if anything happened to you. Just remember that I love you."

So, he obviously understood the ramifications of Ken going to get his ducks. Maybe he hasn't figured out yet that they're stuffed animals. :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Not The Report You Want

When my sister's kids come over to visit, she gets a good report back.

And usually clean clothes.

And lots of pictures.

Okay, an occasional anatomy lesson sometimes works itself into the equation. But, that's not the point.

When mine go over there, I get them back. With a lovely report.

Because Susan and Wilson are done with them.

This last time, Wilson's comments were (taking a deep breath) "they were awful."

And, Susan backed him up and added "Good God. How do you keep them fed? I couldn't keep them out of the fridge."

I think that they had a date with a wooden spoon. If not, they should have.

As soon as they got home, I made them sit down and write y'all an apology. (Click on them to enlarge the picture.)

That's Owen being sorry, by the way.

Apparently, Shane was only sorry about his bad language. He conveniently forget about the rest.

If it makes you feel better, they've been AWFUL for me this week too. I took them to go shopping for suits two days ago. Owen's arguing started before he even got into the car.

And, it went down hill from there.

So, I spun the car around on Rt. 3 and went home. (Don't worry. I waited until the 2 semis had passed before I whipped it around.)

And, then they went to their room. And, that's where they stayed for the next 2 hours. Maybe 2 1/2 hours.

Yes, they were that awful.

I think that they got a spanking with the salad spoon. And, by "think," I mean they did.

Because I couldn't find my wooden spoon and my slipper was no where to be found.

Then, I tried it again yesterday.

Only to find out that Owen had pooped in his pants and we had to go home again.

And, instead of apologizing for lying to me about it, he just sat there and argued with me. With the smelly poop in his pants.

And, then he asked me to clean him up. LOL.

Yep. He went to his room again.

So, anyway, they were awful and I'm sorry.

The "Mohog"

Owen insisted on going to school with a mohawk. He's stopped calling it a "mohog" and now corrects me when I call it that. Adamently corrects me. He's so funny.

And, in contrast to's Shane. The picture of the conservative kid. His new big thing is walking around with his hands in his pockets because that's "what men do." LOL.

One more day of school and then they're mine all mine. :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Enjoy The Little Things

Sometimes I think that I should have been a children's art teacher. I love children's art. It makes me smile. Kids are just so uninhibited and creative. They haven't been jaded yet and are an open book.

I recently attended the retirement party for the principal. Here are some of the things that the children wrote as a goodbye to her.

Some of these cracked me up. Some made me smile. And, some of them were so creatively done by the teacher that I had to put them up here too.

Enjoy. :)

I love the punish us if we're bad part.

I'm pretty sure that Mrs. Lewis will never forget this child. He has leukemia and the school did several fundraisers for him including bringing a barber to the school where the kids shaved off their hair to show support for him.

Shane and his friend worked together to come up with this gem.

Owen's self portrait and message. I love his bowling ball people.

At least now we know how she will spend her retirement. LOL

So creatively done. Especially because this teacher is really into red, white and blue and the American flag. Nicely done.

I love the message in pink...

The next time you see some kids artwork, take a moment to appreciate it and to praise the child for his or her work. Stop and smell the roses sometimes and enjoy the little things in life.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Little Old Man's House

"Go to the little old man's house and go straight. You know the one. Where the old man sits in the rocking chair with his dog and waves at everyone."

If you're from Anderson, you probably know where I'm talking about without me saying anything else.

He was a landmark in the area. Everyone knew of him. And, everyone waved at him when they drove by his house. Even though they didn't know know him. His house was basically a shack but he seemed so happy to sit on his porch with his dog and wave at people.

I doubt that he realized that his house was a landmark that was used for directions.

I didn't think it was weird until I took Ken home with me in college and my dad was giving me directions to go somewhere. The conversation went something like this:

ME: "Dad, how do I get to xxx."

DAD: "Go by the little old man's house and go straight..."

ME: "Okay, dad. Thanks for the directions. I know exactly where I'm going."

KEN: "Say what?"

Ken thought that it was so weird how we gave directions. I think that the African American church was also part of those directions as well as local egg farm.

It got me to thinking that one the big differences between city and country is the way we give directions.

In the country, it's all by landmark.

In the city, it's by road number and signs. (Because if you don't pay attention to the roads, you're going to end up somewhere you don't need to be.)

Ken also didn't like driving in the country because of the roads (where the road runs into the grass with no real shoulder.) Okay...maybe I didn't like him to drive in the country.

And, I certainly didn't like driving in the city at first. I'm sure that I ran more red lights than I care to remember (since there are ones on every corner) and I know that I got lost more than one time near the Capitol. And, I know he didn't like me to drive in the city.

But, back to the little old man. I miss seeing him wave. He was always on the porch. You could count on it. I'm sure that he's long deceased by now. God bless his heart. :)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Help, Mom! AHHHHHHH!

The other day, Shane and Owen came screaming downstairs yelling that they couldn't go to the bathroom because there was the biggest bug that they've EVER seen in the bathroom. "MMMMMOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM, HELP!"

So, I'm thinking ewwww but tell Ken I'll be right back (tee-hee) and go upstairs to slay the giant bug.

This is what I see when I get up there.

It was ugly but it certainly wasn't the biggest bug I'd ever seen. The children obviously haven't spent enough time in South Carolina where they could saddle up the Palmetto bugs and ride them to school.

Those are BIG bugs.

Secretly, I was relieved that it wasn't really the "hughest bug they'd ever seen!"

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Kids Being Kids

Isn't it great to just see kids being kids and having fun? Just childlike, no-worries fun? These are the memories that I want my kids to have.

I went to my friend Emily's daughters' birthday party a few weeks ago. I didn't have my Rebel camera with me but was able to capture a few good shots with my point and shoot.


Happy Birthday, Rachel!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Down A Size

It's time to get that baby weight off.

Okay, it's past time. Owen's 5 1/2 but whatever.

I've been really watching what I eat lately. I'm not watching the scales but I can tell that I've lost weight because I'm down a size. Almost two but I like my clothes comfy.

That is all.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

One Of Those Days, Part 2

Fortunately, this was not one of my days. Nope.

It was one of moms.

I could tell as soon as I called.

First she grumbled about cleaning out her closets (or something to that effect).

Then, she picked up her office phone (I was talking to her on my cell) and I heard her tell somebody, "I'm not telling him crap. Bye."


Hey...better you than me, buddy.

So, I tell her I gotta go.

As quickly as I could.

And, because I'm a glutton for punishment, I call her later to see if she's being still a grumbalina.

And, I then hear Richard (her boss) tell her that she's just mad because her birthday's coming up.

Really? Did he really just say that?

Wow. I gave him so much more credit than to say something stupid like that. Why I gave him credit, I don't know. I've heard him say more stupid things before just to make her mad.

So, I cover the phone so I don't have to hear her tell him what she thinks of that.

Then, I start laughing and told her to tell him that no, she wasn't mad about that before, but thanks because now she f'ing is.


It was a Monday yesterday, wasn't it? I *thought* I had taken them off the calendar. Apparently, I didn't.

Mom Of The Year

Well...if I haven't earned that title before, I definitely did this time.

But, I got lucky this time and it all worked out.

And, I even got pictures of it. Because I'm sick like that and always have my camera with me.

I go walking into the school a few days ago to help in Mrs. King's room for a few minutes. I see a bunch of cars at the school and ask one of my friends if I missed something because there's obviously an assembly or something because there are way too many cars for that time of day.

She says that it's the Focus Festival Awards Ceremony and presentations.

Huh? Mentally, I scanned my calendar and notes at home and have absolutely no recollection of this ceremony. I asked her if it was for 3rd grade too (her child is in a different grade) and she doesn't know.

So, I go into the school and swing by the cafeteria before I go to Mrs. Kings class and Shane comes up and says that he's glad that I'm finally here.

I'm only two minutes late, by the way.

Smiling sweetly, I tell him no problem that I wouldn't miss it for the world.

I'm glad that I had it on my calendar (LOL) (and equally glad that I had my camera with me) because he won third place for his research project on gems.

We took him to Ryans for dinner that night (God...the things we do for our kids!) and he took his trophy into the restaurant with him. :)

Mrs. King said that she was certain that Shane never gave me the notice because I'm always organized. So, we'll go with that.

But, I kinda seem to recollect something coming home about it.

I am soooo on top of things. I totally rock, don't you think?! ;)

PS - Shane does, in fact, have more shirts than just that Clemson shirt. But, it does match the orange on his project board. I wonder if he meant to do that?! Probably so.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

She's Not A Good Girl

One day she will get Shane back...tee-hee.