Monday, December 27, 2010

Stage Mom

When our church said they were looking for young ones to participate in the elementary school musical, Mr. Owen's ears perked up. So, after much deliberation, we took the plunge and dove into the world of children's productions.

Aah, his father's son...

Thankfully, Miss Patty has this gig near-perfected and the organized practices were only once a week for one hour after church. The rest of the practice fell on our shoulders. How so? Miss Patty gave all the kids a recorded CD of the music and a DVD of the dances to practice at home...and in the car...and at the park...and anywhere else the songs popped into Owen's head.

Ready to go...He even wrote invitations to all his teachers at school and invited his best friend from preschool, Trinity.
That's Owen and Trinity runnin' wild after the performance and sugar cookie reception. I did say Miss Patty has it near perfected. Sugar cookies at 7:30 pm on a school night? Well, it was the holidays.

By the time the performance rolled around, you could tell which kids in the audience were younger siblings because they were the ones singing along and doing the hand motions in the pews. Even June sways in the car to the 3 songs Owen performed in the musical.

His part? A cowboy.
The kids retold the story of Jesus' birth from the perspective of toys at a store. The cowboys acted like the shepherds, and in the end, the kids and toys realized that the greatest gift anyone could receive at Christmas was the gift of love that God gave us through his son Jesus.

Here's the cast of toys. Lots of cowboys, cowgirls, Bo Peeps, and aliens to be had at this store! The aliens as the wise men ("Take us to your leader!") were a hoot!

Owen got to be on the first row which was great for his safety and difficult for his focus!

Owen and his posse.

Owen was fascinated by Miss Glamour on the left. Those 5th grade girls!

He found me during dress rehearsal. June found Owen during the performance and yelled "OWEEE! OWEEE!" more times than the family in front of us appreciated, I'm sure.

The opening number! Yep, that's more than 200 elementary school kids. God bless Miss Patty and her crew!

Happy as a clam!

It was a blast to see Owen enjoy himself in a new environment, and it was great to share the night with friends and family!

That's How He Rolls

I think the last time I posted about bowling was the summer we moved to Fresno (check out how much Owen has grown), but we love to bowl as a family.

Thanks to a great Groupon, Michael and I treated the extended Arnold family to an afternoon of bowling over Thankgiving break.

Cool breeze Owen wanted to wear his shades.

The comeback walk...

We had 10 adults and 7 children rockin' the Brunswick Lanes, and it was great! It was so much fun that we convinced my side of the family to do the same for our Christmas get together (where we had 8 adults and 7 kids). We added prizes to that shin-dig, and I'm proud to say that Owen won for High Score: Kids/Bumpers. He bowled a 99!!!!!

So, who says Wii bowling is a waste of time?!

Also, here's a shout out to my uncle Art for his clutch performance, beating me in the last frame with a strike for High Score: Adults. Kudos to you, sir!

Auntie Again!

On November 10, 2010 I became an aunt again. Michael's siblings all have children, and this year, my brother announced to the family that he and his wife Stephanie were also expecting a child. Stephanie asked me to attend the birth, and I was elated to do it. So elated in fact that I received my first speeding ticket EVER on my way to the hospital to meet up with them. Actually, I was so distracted by the corn dog I was chowing down on the way that I didn't notice the speed limit. I think the mustard still on my lip might have offended the officer, and thus, I am on probation in the city of North Richland Hills. :( Back to the important part of this story:


Stephanie keeps us updated on all things Gordon, including his birth story on her blog, so I'll let her tell about that wonderful evening. Plus, she has way more pictures than me of that sweet baby. When I'm around him, my hands are full of him, not a camera!

As for me, here are 3 Great Things About Being an Aunt Again

*It makes you appreciate how big your own "babies" are. Seriously, when did June become 38 inches tall?

*At a birth, you get to scream out of joy, not effort! I was so honored and overjoyed to be a witness at Gordon's birth. You'd have to ask Stephanie about my future as a birthing coach, but I love being able to help Lee and Stephanie in whatever way they needed me then, now, and in the future.

*You appreciate your sibling in new ways. Lee is an amazing husband to Steph, and if you know them, you've seen it yourself. Still, to see him love and support her in the ways that she needs, both as a wife and as a mother, is so affirming of the man he is. He'll never be my "little brother" now that I've seen him as a father!

Overall, this experience has reminded me that, although my parents never had another girl, in Stephanie, I have a sister. I love her, the wife she is to Lee, and the mother she is to Gordon.

Join me in praying for them to bask in the richest blessings God is pouring out on their family!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

While the Cat's Away...

...the June-bug plays.

Game of peek-a-boo in Owen's boots.

Monday, November 29, 2010

One Day, My Wife Will...

Before I tell silly stories about Owen, let me brag for a moment. Here are some pictures of Mr. Kindergarten in his school's library.
Owen was picked to "teach the teachers" at their recent faculty meeting. The topic was goal setting, and he was asked to share his reading and writing goals and what he was going to do to meet his goals. It was precious to see him read from his writing journal and talk about his plans to use more lowercase letters in his stories. Big goals for a big guy, I tell you!

Owen reading to June; June inspecting the soles of her shoes.

He did a great job! And then there are mornings like yesterday:

(For those still waiting around for the end of the title post, here we are.)

Yesterday Owen had all Wii privileges taken away, not to be restored until he allowed a personal hygiene ritual to take place. He screamed, yelled, fussed, pouted, and finally de-escalated until he said he was willing to be bored for the rest of his life. Then, he started to smile. Thinking he might be ready to talk, I asked, "What are you thinking about?"

His reply: "Well, one day I will get married. And my wife will buy me a Wii. So, I don't need to cut my toenails."

Me: "Um, it might be difficult to find a wife when you have dragon nails, O. Most girls don't like that."

Mr. Dragon Nails: "Well, I will just wear socks or be lonely."

So, for all my friends who would like to arrange their daughter to be married to Owen, ask yourself this before you consider the match: does she like year-round socks and Super Mario Brothers?

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Knight and His Lady

Happy Halloween from Knight Owen and Princess June!

Getting ready to go trick or treating:

On guard!

Princess Junie-pants was too cool to walk. She rode in her stroller most of the way...and yes, that is an Easter basket being used as a Halloween bucket.

Our friends' neighborhood went all out for Halloween. This was the scariest house that Owen and his friend Trinity were willing to approach. Braver than I am, for sure.
Playing with the loot. Aah, to be so innocent that you don't know the sinful treats awaiting underneath each wrapper!

At our apartment Halloween party, we entertained over 100 residents and volunteers. Here was June's favorite helper, her PeePaw.
This kid was out of control; where were his parents? Oh yeah, in charge of musical chairs. Nothing builds community like musical chairs. Try it some time.

All I Needed to Know I Learned While My Son was in Kindergarten

Self control: when a kindergartener is assigned a project to do at home, I will let said kindergartener do the project himself. Really. If I have to sit on my hands, I will let him do the project himself.

And this is the result:

Great job, eh? Lesson learned. He had to take a science word and make a hat, and this is his:

A dead wasp nest from my dad's house, packing tape, an old hat, and a working definition of "Habitat". Owen loved it and received a lot of compliments at school.

Class photo. Look, Mrs. Butley's got her listening ears on.

Where's a hall monitor when you need one?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pleasure Reading

Nothing beats curling up with a good book...

...while sitting in a bucket full of wooden blocks.

What's your favorite place to read?

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Hillbilly and a Home Office

Owen told me to close my eyes while he picked out his own outfit for church yesterday. This is what I saw:

Um...that's my boy? I like to think that I'm flexible enough to let my kids express themselves, and if we were hanging out in the house (read: no one would see me out with this kid), I'd have let him keep it on. For public consumption, we kept the WORLD SERIES bound Rangers shirt and new shoes and ditched the golf hat, bubba teeth, and jean shorts. We did put on long pants, for those who read things too literally.

Yes, these bubba teeth were a PRIZE from the treasure chest at school. Maybe it was for knowing facts about dental hygiene?

We are BLESSED with a 3rd bedroom, which we use as a playroom/home office. Sometimes I play when I should be working, and sometimes June works when she should be playing.

I know, for someone as particular as I am, you'd think my workspace would be neater. And yet, I share it with children. I'm dealing with it. Deep breaths.

I tell you, though, she does a better job connecting with residents than me on most days of the week, so keep up the good work, June!

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's fall, our kids are mostly out of cribs, and they don't put everything in their mouths anymore. So what are two families with young kids to do? Go camping, of course.

So, the Cruiser headed west this weekend to join up with dear friends. Michael and Scott took the big boys on an overnight Father/Son campout. S'mores were plentiful, but sleep was not. I think the dads secretly recruited extra families to fill up the campsite because by the time the moms came out with the babies Saturday after lunch, the state park was full! Hmmm. Next time, advanced reservations will be in order. For this Type-A person, I was actually proud that we took a last minute trip, so we made the most of the day anyway.

We had a full cooler, so we parked at the picnic areas and made a day of it. Big boys fell asleep on the way home, babies fell asleep within minutes of the mattress, and adults fell asleep in the living room trying to watch this week's Office. You know you're tired when Andy Bernard can't keep you awake.

So, here's the mega post of pics for grandparents and us:

June, looking forward to the Father/Daughter campout

Gathering firewood, high steppin', and chasing an armadillo

Pile on Michael, girl time with June and Wendy

Sibling love and belly buttons

Bocce ball boys

Keeton joining in, an accident waiting to happen, and their own personal court jester

More play, more play, and June's typical eyebrow face (and that's after Wendy shared)

Boys with food and additional entertainment needed

Sibling love!

What I didn't get enough pictures of was the cross-family sibling love. Keaton following Owen everywhere and Casen being so gentle and sweet to "Juney-boy". Yes, he just realized this weekend that she is a girl. The short hair and angry eyebrows negate her pink high tops and outfits everytime.

We had a great time, and it was nice to travel with like minded parents who know that a little dirt never hurt anybody.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Exhibit C:
Would be a picture of the nastiness floating at the bottom of the bathtub after the 4 bathed together Sunday morning...but that would be nasty and might have the health department visiting Wendy's guest bathroom

One thing we learned: let the boys clean each other's faces. Casen definitely had the more difficult job and Owen's t-shirt might have to be used as a garage rag. Wait, we don't have a garage. Well, you get the point.

Our favorite family (and ACU's too):

(I would have included more pics of Chef Scott, but this is the only one where he did not dare me with his facial expressions to publicly humiliate him by posting his pic...don't worry, Scott, that time will come!)

Tired, but happy! That about sums up the weekend. Here's to next time.