Sunday, December 11, 2011


I have a big November wrap-up post planned--I've even gotten around to writing half of it but blogger did not cooperate with the picture uploads. I'll save that for another day, but for now I wanted to share some recent artwork Garrett has done.

We bought an awesome 130 piece art set for him at Michaels for $5. I remember receiving a similar art set from my Grandma and Grandpa when I was in second or 3rd grade and loving it. So when I saw this on special I wanted him to have it. We already have plenty of things under the Christmas tree and he has done so well at school, we decided to give it as a just-because gift. We hardly ever buy random things just because, and its actually nice because when we do, they are very much appreciated.

Here are some of the little works of art Garrett has created. He gave some as Christmas gifts and gave one to his teacher for her birthday. Always a thoughtful boy :-) He mostly did little abstract bits here. But he has also been drawing and making stories like crazy, which was the motivation for his Christmas gift (to be shared later) .. . .

More to come (hopefully).

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Happy Halloween!

We had a fun Halloween here. Things were a little crazy--Brad and Garrett went to Oklahoma for a mini-family reunion of sorts, and to go to Oklahoma State's homecoming game. They didn't get home till late Sunday night. Garrett's school had a dance and "Character day"--each student was supposed to be dressed as a character from a book. Garrett took his "Meet the Autobots" book from Grandma Sherry's summer reading program a few years ago.

Of course he was Optimus Prime. Grandma sent us an awesome mask, and I made the shirt with some duct tape and permanent markers. Since I hate sewing, this was a nice compromise and it turned out cute. Summer dressed as a lady bug. Its been rainy here, but the clouds broke long enough for us to go to the local Trunk or Treat event. There weren't many trunks to treat from because of the weather,

Garrett's action shots. This kid is so full of character. :-)

Summer was just all cute sweetness. But she did keep "Expecto Patronus"-ing her brother with the wand. Too much HP!!

The Great Pumpkin Fairy made her annual visit to the house and left the kids goodies. Garrett got a seek and find picture book and Summer got playdough. And Brad got LOTS AND LOTS of candy to take to work :-)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Busy Weekend-Halloween Prep and the Spooky Symphony

I had a TON of work to do this weekend, but we still managed to squeeze in a bunch of fun things, as well as prep for Halloween.

We took the kids to Lowes on Saturday morning to build Monster Trucks. Our schedules haven't really allowed us to do their workshops in a while. It was CRAZY, we had to stand in line for 20 minutes to get them. We brought them home to build them, but the kids had such a good time. They were so proud of them that they were able to be nice to each other long enough for me to get this shot:

Since they cooperated, I indulged them with a silly face session. It looks like Summer is going to take a bite of Garrett's arm . . .

but these are always the funniest photos!

While at Lowes, we bought a pumpkin. After much debate we decided to just get one and make it family pumpkin. I suspect this is the last year that is going to work. Garrett drew the face ALL by himself. He drew it on paper then I cute it out and transferred it to the pumpkin.

We took turns cutting it out (Summer obviously needed a lot of help there)

and the kids had a BLAST scooping out the guts.

Finished product.
Why is it so much to ask for EVERYONE to have a nice face?? :-)

Brad took the kids to see a "giant" model airplane show, the three of them had a blast. The weather is absolutely glorious here, its nearly impossible to focus on anything because it was so beautiful outside. But alas, I stayed home and worked.

On Sunday, Garrett and I trekked downtown for the "Spooky Symphony" put on by the Greater Miami Youth Symphony. I love orchestral music and thought this might be something Garrett would enjoy. We met up with some old friends, Jon and Bryland, and had an excellent time. Here they are pretending to be a train on the way to the theater.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hispanic Heritage Day

This past Friday was Hispanic Heritage Day at Garrett's school. His classroom did Cuba, and it turned out to be quite a fun day. Leanne was awesome enough to take Summer for the day so that I could help out in his class. This was the first time I have been able to volunteer in his class, so it was nice to get to know some of his classmates.

(PS-family, please go support Leanne as she does Team In Training in support of the LSS. Great charity, great cause, and as a mom of two I know exactly how hard it is to do what she's doing. Please pop in and support her as she has helped me SO MUCH with the kiddos through the course of our friendship)

The parents and his teachers did a great job making decorations for the class.

And thanks to my friend Shelah, we even had some real sugar cane to display on our table!

The kids danced to Cuban music. It was HILARIOUS. They did a conga line too, but somehow I missed getting a shot of Garrett in it. Not at all sure how that happened.
They did portraits in "traditional' Cuban caricatures.

I learned quite a bit about Cuba in the process of gathering things for Garrett's class. PBS has a really amazing special available online about it that I would recommend watching, it was fascinating!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Why I love the Marble Jar

A long while back, I read an article in family fun about using a marble jar to encourage your child to become involved in household chores. We've been using it for well over a year, and its STILL paying off. Not only because Garrett (and now Summer) get involved in the housekeeping, but also because they have SUCH fun with their rewards.

When Garrett filled up his jar last week, he got a bug collecting kit from the dollar store. Quite possibly the best dollar I've ever spent. We have spent COUNTLESS hours outside ever since hunting for (and occasionally catching) lizards, bugs and other creepy crawlies. Lizards are by far the favored critter to catch.

You can't beat a "special surprise" that gets you outside in the beautiful weather. Garrett loves to create a habitat, observe his catches and look at them through the magnifying glass on top of the container before we let them go.

The other reason I love this jar is because Garrett truly takes initiative to help at time. It gives him a tangible reward for helping me. Last night Brad had a meeting and Summer is to a point where she is very hard to put to bed (we just switched her to a Full Size bed). While I was putting her to bed, Garrett asked if he could do something to earn some marbles. I told him to clean whatever he wanted and then tell me how many marbles he thought he deserved. He decided he would earn 20 marbles. He wrote the numbers 1-20 and then would go find something to clean. As he did an item, he would cross off a number. By the time Summer was in bed, the horrendous amount of toys were put away, the dogs were fed, and the floors were vacuumed. He worked very hard for those 20 marbles, and I didn't have to stress about getting the house clean. It was great.

Other than that, we've been busy, but not doing anything terribly special. Football, school, family time. We switched the beds around this weekend are in the midst of a massive declutter. That will (eventually? hopefully?) get its own post. Summer did sign up for a tumbling class, but that only lasted a week before she got a nasty cold. We haven't been back since. Or rather, we have tried to go back, but she refused to participate. Maybe because she is still sick, but who knows. It was a fun (but apparently expensive) week.
She's very much into letters right now, so we're going slow and introducing a letter whenever the opportunity arises. She can identify O, L, and S so far and likes to find them WHEREVER we go. Potty training has been successful (knock on wood) and we've been slowly getting more adventurous in our outings. It even cooled down enough for a family trip to the zoo this past weekend.

Other than that, we've played with our food.

We've gotten the occasional sweet treat for working/playing hard.

Garrett has FINALLY started doing what I consider REAL school work--first spelling test is this week. Now that they have finally started doing sight and spelling words, Garrett is reading and writing even in his free time. He's also having tons of fun drawing too. Here are a few of his fun little "just because" projects.

Every day is crazy and chaotic and absurdly wonderful.

Monday, September 19, 2011

First Flag Football Practice

Brad is a football person, through and through. He loves a lot of sports--basketball, soccer, baseball, tennis. But football is the end-all-be-all. He comes by it naturally, his parents are that way too. Garrett has been the same, he has always thought football sounded like a blast. I am nervous about the full contact nature of the sport, so when X and L signed up for flag football, we decided to give it a try to. And it was extra awesome because Grandma and Grandpa Compton were here to enjoy it too :-)

Garrett LOVED the first practice. Brad is coaching, and the kids range from 5-7 years of age on his team. They have a lot to learn, but it was so fun to watch!

Garrett takes Brad's approach to sports--serious, ready to roll at a moments notice. He actually told his Grandma the night before practice about how he was nervous about if he would be able to throw and catch, and that he hoped he would do a good job. He showed both his excitement and his game face regularly during practice.
And sometimes, it actually looked like he knew what he was doing.

Other times, it was just too fun to get to rip off Xander's flag, whether he was supposed to or not.

Summer had fun too--I should have signed her up for cheer leading (and I'm SO not a cheer person), because she was running up and down the sidelines continuously, just for the sake of running. Nutcase. She did slow down long enough to get super cute with Logan, though.
Conclusion: I almost wish it was more frequent than every Saturday. We may be adding soccer on too, at school, but will have to see how it pans out. I hope Garrett continues to enjoy it, because the rest of us certainly did! And Brad didn't even seem to mind that it was 95+ out, he did great with the kids.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Summer, Version 3.0

It's seems impossible that Summer is three today!! It seems like just yesterday that she sped into our lives after 41 weeks of waiting.

Summer version 3.0 is a fun mix between girlie girl and wild child. She loves dresses, bows, and sparkly stuff, but will swing from the monkey bars and be involved in "gun fights" with the boys. She can be a total clown too. No matter what though, I high level of drama can be expected.

Summer version 3.0 has taken forever to potty train--shes 90% there, but also pretty much night trained. Definitely her own person, since Garrett was day trained at 2 but not night trained until 4. Its highly possible (please, please, please let it be so) that we won't be buying any more pullups once the ones we have are gone.

Summer version 3.0 is a total daddy's girl. I'm a second rate citizen when Daddy's around.

Summer version 3.0 worships her brother. Not that that's anything new. But the times when they play nicely together (versus fighting 100% of the time) are starting to come along more often.

Summer version 3.0 loves hanging with her friends. Especially the "boys", which includes Garrett, Xander, and Logan, our neighbor Jewel (who is 5 years older than her!) and her buddy Ava.
She loves Hello Kitty. Our house has been taken over by Hello Kitty. I don't really mind, ANYTHING is better than princesses!!

She's a trip, she always has something to say and is bossy as all get out. She's been a handful this past year, but I know the good days are just around the corner--all the "baby" things are almost over, once and for all, and there is so much fun around the corner.

Happy birthday baby girl!