Weekend Rundown

We had a full, busy weekend. It was beutiful outside and I’m pleased to say that we spent most of our weekend enjoying the weather. I am not pleased to say that my house looks like it threw up. Anyway, it started Friday night when Lee took the older kids to a high school football game. He told them earlier in the week that he was going to do this and they were beside themselves with excitement. They had a good time, but the fun really started before they left. I was indulging my addiction by reading all of your blogs and Lee had fallen asleep in the bedroom, unbeknownst to me. The kids were awfully quiet, so I went to check on them and found them elbow deep in my makeup. I paused long enough to take a picture, then firmly told them they were not to be in my makeup, especially Sloan, who, you can see, had a particularly good time.Saturday morning was phenomenal, so we packed up the kids and the dog and headed to Castlewood Park, one of my favorite in St. Louis where we ran, played and hiked up to the overlook. It was so fun to be out in nature. Lee, Sloan and I had a blast. Tia whined most of the time and Landon seemed a little perturbed that we were once again denying him of his coveted morning nap. But it was still a good time.I looked just long enough to snap these pictures, but watching my husband and my babies on this rock, hanging perilously over a large and deadly drop-off pretty much terrifies me. I think I lost a couple of years waiting on them to return.Tossing rocks over the edge.
Landon got his first shoulder ride.Later we went to Sloan’s soccer game and had a good laugh at his complete lack of motivation in sports. He’s a great little athlete but is not even remotely competitive so he just runs around and grins and waves. But he has a blast so that’s all that matters.

Saturday night we pulled out our projector and shined a movie up on the garage door for the kids. We ate snacks and had our own little drive in. So fun.
Sunday was filled with church, birthday parties and dinner at the park. Again, so much fun. We’re trying to enjoy this awesome weather before it gets too cold. What did you guys do this weekend?

Sic ‘em Bears!

I still don’t have a lot to say. I’m tired these days. I’m trying to be a better steward of my time and get up earlier so that I can get all the things done during the day. I’ve been up since 5:00 this morning, but I’ve gotten a ton done. I did several loads of laundry (I even folded and put them away – shocker!), cleaned both bathrooms (including tubs), windexed the mirrors in our bedroom because someone’s sticky, syrupy hands left a lovely little imprint (I’m not gonna tell you that it’s been there for a couple of weeks now). I tell you what, I deserve a friggin’ trophy for all I’ve done today. Yeah! (I have to motivate myself to keep up this kind of daily pace)

A friend came over to paint the new kitchen island that we built because when it comes to painting Lee and I pretty much stink. Seriously, a band of monkeys on a sugar high could probably paint a wall better than Lee and I. So, while our four kids wreaked havoc on house, I walked behind them and reorganized closets and cabinets. Pulled out more toys for next week’s garage sale and fielded calls from people wanting to buy the items I posted on Craig’s List at 5:45 this morning. (I just sold an old desk that’s been sitting in our basement for five years – I love Craig’s List!) All in all, it was a good day.

So here is a recent picture of my Landon givin’ a big shout out to my Alma Mater. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Sic ‘em Bears! (To all you Baylor Alum out there, I fully expect you to pull your bear paw out while reading this.)

It’s official…

Lee is now older than Jesus. When I told him that the other day he got a little down in the mouth. I told him not to worry, I’m right behind him…in another four years! heh, heh, heh Really, happy 34th birthday to my husband who I am madly in love with. I am so grateful to be Lee’s wife. He brings out the best in me, he makes me laugh every day, he’s a phenomenal father and a superb husband.

When Lee and I first met, he was only 23 – I was only 19. That seems like ages ago and not very long ago all at once. I remember celebrating Lee’s 25th birthday with him. This was at the beginning of our courtship and we were making tentative steps toward being an official “couple.” I went with him that afternoon to HEB to pick up a few items for the K-Life house and I boldly and proudly declared that he was now half a decade old. Mmmmhmmmm. I was ridin’ high on that 4.0 wasn’t I? Horrible, horrible blonde moment. In my defense I am a complete and total literary nerd, which means that my skill level in math ceased somewhere around the 3rd grade. Still, as soon as I said that I knew it didn’t sound right. Lee still brings that up to this day.

Last night, our awesome friends kept the kids for us so Lee and I could have a night out. Because we are (ahem) broke these days, I decided to surprise Lee with a special dinner at home. We love The Melting Pot, so I downloaded a couple of their recipes, cut up a bunch of meat and veggies and brought out our seldom used fondue pot. It was awesome! It was so relaxing to sit at home, in the quiet, and have a leisurely dinner. We had the Coq Au Vin with steak, pork, chicken, broccoli and mushrooms. We had three different dipping sauces, Sesame Soy, Thai Peanut and Melting Pot’s Green Goddess dip. We had a lovely bottle of red wine and for dessert had chocolate fondure with all the goodies. It was so fun.

So Happy Birthday, babe. To me, you’ll always be the Cat’s Pajamas – the bee’s knees! I love you. 60, 4, 22 +

Random

*update: Go to Julie’s site to see pictures of our fun karaoke night. You can also watch a little video. Have a mentioned my neighbors are awesome? Cause they are…

I don’t have much to say today. So here are a couple of random thoughts/experiences over the past few days.
-Inter:PLAY was awesome. It was really fun to be around a whole new group of people. It’s energizing to be with people who get it. They understand how you feel and where you’re coming from. I only had the chance to attend two panels this weekend, but both were so informative. The first was on building a brand. How do you brand yourself so that you stand out in the cyber world of blogs? I have to think a little bit on that one. I have some ideas – I’m just not sure how to pull them off.

-The other topic covered ways to generate income through online social media. It was nice to sit with a group of people who were successfully generating income and know that it’s okay to have this desire. I don’t have to feel guilty about looking for opportunities to make a little money. I did not begin blogging with that in mind, and I will continue blogging whether or not I get paid. Truthfully, I don’t want to get paid for my blog, but I would like to make some writing contacts and get paid to write.

-Moving on…Saturday night we had a neighborhood Karaoke party. Mmmmhmmm. A lot of fun was had by all. Some were dressed in toga’s – more power to them. Lee and I tore it up on our rendition of Linda Rondstadt and Aaron Neville’s “All I Need to Know.” If you’ve never heard Lee’s Aaron Neville impersonation, I’m sorry for you. Stellar.

-As I was putting the kids to bed Saturday night, Sloan asked me if I had another baby in my tummy, then told me he wanted me to get another baby in my tummy because babies are fun. I put them to bed and immediately took a week’s worth of birth control pills just to be sure.

-Tia got kicked out of the church nursery for the fourth or fifth time due to complete hysterics. We don’t know what started this. Part of the problem is she is very modest and doesn’t like anyone to take her to the bathroom. She told us she doesn’t want anyone to see her penis…Not sure how to combat that one. I also think that she has become so dependant on Sloan that she has a hard time playing when he’s not around. We’re working on that.

-Some kid woke me up every hour on the hour last night. Landon’s teething, Sloan got cold, I don’t know what Tia wanted and on and on it went.

-I’m off to take a cat nap while I have the chance!

Sunday, Monday, Happy Days…

Poor Sloan just can’t seem to get a grasp on the days of the week. And poor mommy is getting tired of telling him 10,000 times a day what day it is, what we have that day and what tomorrow is. So, off we went to Bradburn’s today to pick up some handy dandy supplies. Here is our new calendar, displayed proudly on the kitchen door. It has a picture of each days activity, and it will help him remember what comes tomorrow and what we did yesterday. We’re going to work on learning the days in English and in Russian – two birds, one stone. Hopefully it won’t take him long to catch on. We’re also going to work on months of the year.Bradburns is a fun place. It makes me wish I were homeschooling so I could get all the fun little gadgets and gizmos for learning. Then I hear Tia start screaming and Sloan smack her for doing God-knows-what that made him and angry and I thank the good Lord above we live in a good school district! I did buy a couple of books to help him work on reading though. While I am thrilled, nay ecstatic, that he can read in russian, I’m a little concerned that he doesn’t know English phonics – like, at all. So, we will begin working on that. I really want him to have basic reading skills by the time he goes to kindegarten. He knows all his letters and can write most of them, but he doesn’t really know how they sound. And guess what? Russian is a lot easier than English when it comes to phonics because, in general, every letter has only one sound. Geesh. I think I’m going to let daddy teach him to read in English! For those of you with kids already in kindegarten, or higher grades, what do kids need to know when they enter school? What is expected of them and what will give them a leg up? Sloan is a smart kid and I want him to be challenged, but I don’t want to have too high of expectations. I’m not expecting him to be reading Dostoevsky by the end of this year, maybe just a little Pushkin. No, seriously, three or four letter words would be great. Is that too much to expect? I dunno.

All about Katya

This post is all about my daughter. My beautiful, precious two year old who seems to have slammed full force into the terrible two’s in the last month. I was not prepared for this. So I’m taking a moment to focus on the positives. Sometimes it’s hard to see the good, you know? So here’s my Tia, the funny, the sweet, the good.

Tia is obsessed with The Best of Elmo video. It’s the only movie she will sit though so she watches it almost daily. I’ve grown slightly bitter at Elmo after seeing this video so many times. Sloan loved this when he was younger too, so I’ve seen it roughly 500 times, and that’s probably not an exaggeration. But, as you can see, she finds great joy in her ya-ya-ya (her name for Elmo). A few more translations so you can decipher Tia talk:

Ah sees: I want to see

Hol Yushi dooth: Sloan’s Russian school

Ah ee ah d yushi dooth: When I’m three I’ll go to Russian school

Ah do hol yushi dooth mama?: Will I go to Sloan’s russian school Mama?

It is truly like knowing another language trying to speak with her. We go back and forth as to whether or not we need to have some hearing tests done on her. I’m not 100% sure that she hears well. We’ve known for awhile that she’s got a lot of wax in her ears, but she freaks out if anyone tries to look into them. Seriously, kicking and screaming – it’s awful. So I’m waiting until she’s a little older, then I’ll make Lee take her to the doctor! The pictures are of Tia bathing her baby dolls. I got this idea from my friend, Erin, and Tia had a ball doing it. Plus, she spilled so much water on the floor that I ended up mopping, which gave me a nice clean floor. I swear, I have never once bathed any of my children like this – I just wanted to clarify.

Calling all area bloggers!

This Friday and Saturday, the St. Louis Blogger’s Guild is hosting Inter:PLAY, the first-ever St. Louis-area interactive social media festival. There are going to be a number of great breakout sessions with some of our area’s top bloggers/vloggers ranging from photography, to podcasting to protecting your rights as a blogger and increasing traffic to your site. Click on the Inter:PLAY icon to the right for more information, a breakdown of each session and to see all of the great things that will be happening over the weekend. Inter:PLAY is hosted in conjunction with PLAY:stl, a popular music festival showcasing all kinds of talent. Fifteen bucks is all it takes to glean a whole lot of great information and hear some really cool indie bands. You can purchase your wristbands (admission to all venues) online quickly and easily. It’s going to be a very fun weekend so I highly recommend you come on down to the University City loop and join us. And, if you do, come say hi to me at the guild tent on Saturday from 10:00-2:00. See you there!

Chore Chart

For a while now, I’ve been trying to instill in the kids the importance of taking care of our house and of their own things. You know, because last I checked I was not the maid – or at least I wasn’t getting paid to be! We started having them make their beds about 6 months ago. It’s just something that I wanted them to start taking responsibility of. I do not require that the beds look perfect, just that they put in the effort. And I do not remake the beds behind them. However they make their beds is how they stay. Sloan has actually gotten quite good at making his bed look nice. When we first started, he just kind of threw his covers up and piled his pillows on top. Now, he smoothes the blankets out and stacks the pillows neatly. Tia is getting there. She tries really hard and is always so proud of herself when she’s done.

A couple of weeks ago at Once Upon a Child in Ballwin, I found these super duper chore charts. I am so excited about these because it gives the kids some focus and it rewards their work. At the end of the week, if they have their chart mostly filled we give them a small allowance. The stickers from the chart are reusable so at the end of the each week, I just pull them off and we start all over again with a clean slate. Sloan gets stickers for making his bed, picking up toys, cleaning the bathroom, doing his homework (with a good attitude), taking his dishes to the sink (after all three meals) and having a nice attitude. I reserve the right to take any stickers away if needed. Tia gets stickers for the same things minus homework and cleaning the bathroom. It’s been a fun way to encourage them to do these simple, basic chores on a daily basis. They love to put their stickers on their charts and love getting money even more!
If any of you have other good ideas for encouraging your kids to take responsibility around the house, I’d love to hear them. I’m always up for new ideas.
P.S. As an added bonus, this is great motivation for me to make my own bed and pick up my room on a daily basis. There is the slightest possibility that my room remained a train wreck almost daily but if I’m going to require the kids to keep their rooms clean, I guess I need to model that myself. Now, if someone would only pay me an allowance…

Sloan-isms and other stuff

Lee was out of town this weekend, which gave me ample talking time with my adorable, precocious 5 year old. Here is a run down of two of the more memorable conversations we had.

Friday morning before breakfast, the kids and I prayed. When we finished, Sloan started in:
Sloan: Mom, does God live in my heart?
Me: Well, one day, when you’re ready to ask God into your heart and you understand what that means, you can come to mommy and daddy and we’ll help you call upon God as your Savior. But you have to be ready.
Sloan (looking up to the sky, his voice filled with drama): God, please come into my heart.
Me: Well, there will come a day when you understand what it means to ask God into your heart and mommy and daddy will help you do that. But you have to be ready…
Sloan (lifts his left leg and passes gas…loudly): HAHAHAHA! I tooooooooooooteeeeedddd!
Me (pausing for a moment to let the abrupt change in our conversation sink in): Obviously, you’re not ready right now so let’s just eat our Cheerios, ‘kay?
And thus another potentially teachable moment was gone and I ended up stifling laughter for several moments.

Later that day, we were at my mom’s house and Sloan and my mom started having a conversation.
Sloan: Byshka, you know what?
Mom: What?
Sloan: When I grow up to be a big man, I’m gonna be a daddy.
Mom: Really?
Sloan: Yeah. I’m gonna get married and have a wife and be a daddy. (and I’m thinking to myself, “Yeah and it better be in that order buddy!)
Mom: And what are yougoing to do when you’re a daddy?
Sloan: Well, first I have to go get my kids.
Mom: Where?
Sloan: At the kid store. There’s bones there.
Mom: What kind of kids are you going to pick out?
Sloan: No! I don’t pick them out. God makes them at the kid store with the bones.
Mom: Oh. Are you going to have boy kids or girl kids?
Sloan: Well, I’m gonna have boy kids. But do you want me to have a girl?
Mom: Well, girls are pretty fun.
Sloan: Okay, I’ll have a girl kid and a boy kid, or maybe two boy kids.

What a joy that little boy is – most of the time…Anyhoo, despite Lee’s absence, I actually had a very pleasant weekend. I got to go out and mingle with some of St. Louis’s elite on Friday night when I went to a soiree honoring Bob Gibson, former Cardinals pitcher. Never mind that I had never heard of the guy in my life, it was still a free meal and a nice evening out. And Saturday night I went out with my awesome neighbors where I wowed them with my in-depth knowledge of all things Cardinals. Well, okay, I think my neighbor Mike almost had a hemmorage when I said the line, “some guy named Bob Gibson who was like a pitcher or something.” You can check out Julie’s site for pictures of our kickin’ kidless evening!

And finally, a special shout out to my awesome mother-in-law who celebrated her birthday today. I am blessed to be married to her son and am blessed by her on a regular basis. We love you Barbara and hope you had a fantastic day.

To balance out the depression of the last post…

To read my thoughts on September 11, scroll down to the post before this. Generally I try not to post more than once a day, but these videos are so sweet and I needed a little happy on my blog! Here’s video of the day Landon figured out how to crawl when we were at my in-law’s house in Arkansas. And another video of Sloan making Landon laugh.