Friday, August 29, 2008

Never a Dull Bedtime

We asked the boys to go get their jammies on last night...This is how Ian came back down. It's not Halloween yet, right?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Great Bug Hunt

Eradicating the yard of creepie crawlies...Nate and Collin, Bug Hunters Extraordinaire.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

From the mouth of Ian

We just got home from a pre-kindergarten playdate with some of Nate's classmates. This is the first time the kids (and parents) have ever met each other - one of the parents invited the whole class to a park for a 'get to know ya' event before school officially begins next week.

So we have all the kids sit in a circle after a while to do introductions. First, the kid, then the parents:

N: "I'm Nate."
I: "I'm Ian and I'm 3."
K: "I'm Kelli Shuster. My husband is Dave..."
I interrupts loudly: "We don't have a dad!"
K: "Yes, they have a dad, his name is Dave"
I: "Oh, ya, Dave's at work."
K: "Yes, Dave, their father, is at work - sometimes they call him Dave, he's their dad, I swear!"

Kind of embarrassing, definitely funny. They boys have been calling us both by our first names this week for some reason.

Credit Union Kid

I'm not sure how old I was when I got my very first savings account, but I remember the little blue vinyl passbook that I had and updated penny by penny. My dad (RIP) worked at US Bank for bulk of his years and used to make the deposits for me in the branch on the way to work. He had perfect, banker handwriting.

Boy oh boy! Times have changed!

Nate opened his first personal savings account today. At a credit union. I don't know why that seems so different, but we are new to credit union life. They'll know Nate's name for sure.

We walked into the branch, Nate, Ian and I and Nate was grinning ear to ear. He got to sit at the desk of Shay, our bank teller, and help me fill out his paperwork. He handed over his big basket of savings - and let me tell you, convincing this child that he still owns the money was something else. Getting him to save, not spend every time he has a quarter, has been something else.

Initial Deposit: $65.74

First withdrawal: $25 (next stop was the Lego store)

Getting a $20 bill and a $5 bill was about the best thing that he'd seen all week!

Gone are the days of the little blue passbook. Nate will be paperless and manage his account online - very eco friendly if I do say so myself! A five year old with a username and password - what's next?!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

Friday night at PGE park, the boys were ready for the action.
Nate, the apple of my eye!
These look like good seats behind home plate.
Ian and mommy
The scoreboard - see the man in the #10? He operates the entire board manually. It's cool to watch him keep up with the game.
Desperate to catch that fly ball!
For Ian, it was mostly about the snacks.
Batting helmets for all for a game well done.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Before and After

All this free time (because with only one child, the fires to put out are so much less!) has afforded me to opportunity to do what I do best - clean, organize, rearrange. I have been putting off the re-do of my gallery wall at the top of the stairs for months. This one is for you, Sharone.

One on One Time

Nate has been in VBS camp this week, half a day every day. My eyes have been opened to a whole other world facing me in two short weeks - one child.

The last time I had one child he was more than 3 years ago. Nate was 18 months old when I got pregnant with Ian. And I thought having one child was so hard. Pppfff! Having a 2 year old and a new baby ROCKED OUR WORLD! And for the most part, it's still rockin!
But this past week, being alone with Ian, has been so nice. For one, I have never really had any one on one time with Ian, not for an extended period of time anyway. It has been very refreshing to see what he is like with out being over shadowed by his older brother. (don't get me wrong, I adore the relationship they have, both the good and the bad). But as a 'younger' Ian's every move is because of Nate, what Nate is into, what Nate likes to play, what Nate wants to watch. Alone, I have seen a curious, silly, gentle child. He spent nearly an hour at the kitchen table yesterday morning while I was cleaning, gluing noodles and animal cookies to a paper plate - quietly! We went on a bug hunt and discovered a huge sunflower growing on the side of our house.
It's becoming more and more obvious to me that the transition to kindergarten may be as hard on Ian and it will Nate. Ian is going to have to try really hard to create his own identity over the next few months, and I look forward to watching it happen.

Last Born Children:

Last born children tend to be the easiest to define when it comes to the correlation between birth order and personality, this is mostly due to the fact that there is only one main type of last born.

Last Born Traits
Risk takers
Good sense of humor
Hard working
Attention seeking
Last born children are often considered the baby of the family, and live up to this role. At times it is difficult for the last born child to find his/her place in the family, as the first and middle child have already left huge footprints to follow in, and carved their own niche into the family.

Fun Facts

Famous last born children: Howard Stern, Jay Leno, Ralph Nadar, Bill Gates, and Danny DeVito
Tend to go against the norm
Make the biggest stirs in life
Know no boundaries

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Family Fun Night

It's been at least a week since Dave and I have both been home at night, at the same time. Guilt! Tonight we declared Family Fun Night. We played baseball, we went to dinner at GoGo Mongolian where the kids eat like it's going out of style. We rode bikes through the neighborhood to try to ward off some of that sodium bloat. We finished up with some Wii Fit. I am not sure what the shirtlessness is all about. They are really in to taking them off these days. Boys!

Whew, we should be in good standing again!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

T is for Triclosan
I don't think of myself as a 'green freak' but I do what I can. This is an interesting article on the antibacterial battle. Do we really need antibacterial products as often as we think? Decide for yourself.

Monday, August 18, 2008

On your mark, Get Set, Color!

Today we went school supply shopping. Gone are the days of the cute little cardboard pencil box stuffed with glue, pencils, crayons, a ruler, and a pink pearl eraser. Markers were a special treat. Oh no, we go armed with a list. A long and very specific list. I gotta give Nate's teacher props, she obviously knows what works and that I love and respect. But MY God, are these 5 year olds going to build a life sized Eiffel Tower out of crayons, or what?

Here is the list:
1 Tray (16) Crayola water color paint
3 boxes (24 ct.) Crayola crayons
2 boxes (8 ct.) Large Crayola crayons
1 pack (10) Crayola fat markers
1 pack (10) Crayola skinny markers
1 dozen pencils
2 tubes O'Glue (to be purchased in a specialty learning store)
2 paper pocket holders (pocket on bottom, not sides, no brads, pictures or designs)
1 vinyl pocket holder (pocket on bottom, not sides, no brads)
1 box gallon zip lock bags
1 box tissues
1 large container household wipes

Now, there are 30 kids in this Kindergarten class and each will be coming with the 3/24 packs and 2/8 packs of crayons. They way I figure it that's 2640 crayons. I hope they REALLY like to color. Or build that Eiffel Tower.
Either way, I'm suggesting we buy some stock in Crayola this week.

(and would you belive it took me 3 stores to get all this crap and I am still missing the glue and fat markers!)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Belly Laugh

This just goes to show the best toys are those you make yourself. They played with these empty Capri Sun pouches for ages. I love Ian's sweet belly laugh.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Marketing Genius

Congratulations McDonald's, you've done it again! Yesterday the new Star Wars animated movie 'The Clone Wars' began. And so did McDonald's new marketing campaign featuring the Happy Meal toys for the next 4 weeks. Or should I say TOYS?!
By 7:30am today Nate had seen not 1 but 2 commercials on TV during Saturday morning cartoons for the new McDonald's Happy Meal and Clone Wars Bobble Head toys. He was practically breathless, "MOM MOM MOM,you HAVE TO come see this!" I was sure Ian had written on the wall with sharpie or cut his own hair by the way he was spinning with anticipation.

I rewind and watch the commercial. OH boy, not only are they offering toys for the next 4 weeks, you can COLLECT all 18! 18? Who on earth goes to McDonald's often enough to collect all 18? My kids are SPOILED ROTTEN and at best
we go once a week. Maybe twice, rarely, but it's happened.

We all know that Happy Meals aren't about the food - they are about the toys. I'm not even sure they had toys in them when I was a kid. Other than a Purple Grimmace sponge, I don't recall ever getting a Happy Meal Toy.

So like it or not, we will feed the machine and make "treat lunch" our reward for a job well done, a chart completed, a great week at camp so as to "collect all 18". See, Happy Meals aren't all bad, they do have 'carrots'!

But I can assure you, as much as I love to make my children happy, and Star Wars is their all time favorite imaginary game/activity/movie, we will NOT be eating McDonald's 4.5 times a week for the next month.

I'm secretly hoping to get Yoda! ;-)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Beat the heat with this fun quiz!

Your Ice Cream Personality:

You are an incredibly modest person. You don't feel comfortable bragging about yourself... or even receiving complements.

You are incredibly cautious. You rather miss out on something than make a mistake. No one would ever call you wild... but they would call you responsible.

You are a somewhat open minded person, but deep down you're fairly conservative. You don't like trying new things very much. And if you do find something new you like, you stick with it.

You tend to have a one track mind. You prefer not to multitask.

You can be a big dramatic and over the top sometimes. You are bold in every way

Wii are Hot!

Ugh, it's hot. Stifling hot. This is Beaverton, Oregon, not Phoenix, Arizona. Anything over 100 degrees is just simply miserable. And we are getting a threepeat...three days of the stuff. The all time record high for P'Town is 107. I think we hit 104 today. But not to worry folks, our liquid sunshine will be back by next Wednesday.

And so it goes the rowdies and I have been inside. My feeble efforts (which were pretty darn pathetic knowing I would have to go out with them) to get them to slip n slide or run through the sprinklers were flatly denied.

So for the second day in the row I have been trying keep those 2 entertained, all the while doing errands, housework, and general post vacation mayhem (like sorting the stack of mail delivered by the postman yesterday held together by not one but three fat rubber bands, containing no less than 17 catalogs - one of which was - gasp - for Halloween costumes. Seriously?!)

I grew up with a sister, so this whole 2 boys thing is shocking to me. The dirt, the noise, the chaos, the retaliations. They poke, the prod, they twist, the push, they body slam, they belly bump, they are constantly rolling on the floor crashing into things. Is it naptime yet? "You're a loser. You suck. He hit me! I'm NOT Sharing. I'm gonna get you! Shut up. I'm telling on you!" Calgon take me away!

So tonight, we fired up the old Wii after dinner for some quirky fun -making mii's - the little characters that act out the games and sports for ya. Only this time, rather than using our own imaginations, we borrowed from the imaginations for the far more talented - the folks at Of course, I had to make Oprah and Barak right away. They boys wanted Spongebob, Darth Vader and Darth Maul, and for Daddy Dave we made Frylock from Aquateen. It's pretty fun and funky - you can make almost anyone, not that I'd want to see Sadam on my baseball team, but Brad Pitt might be nice!

In other news, we did get out of the house for dentist appointments yesterday. Nate was thrilled to learn that he will soon be getting 4 BIG HUGE teeth (1 of the 6 year molars is already broken through) and had 3 possibly, barely loose teeth. Big boy stuff. I hope he inherited Dave's perfectly straight chompers because mine looked like hell when they came in a crooked.

Think I'll go sit on an air conditioning vent now.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Great(ful) Harvest

"Let's make fruit salad today mom!" he says as we are meandering the produce section at Costco. "Sure, sweetie," I answer. "And mom, we HAVE TO get strawberries from my garden!" Ugh. After being gone for nearly 2 weeks and God knows what kind of heat and birds have gotten to the garden (there is no direct water source since it is a raised bed, I hand water it when we are home). I reluctantly drive home, barely stopping the car before Nate heads up the hill to check his bounty.

Great bounty of berries. I'm grateful.

In other news, we stopped by the pet store today to get a couple new African Dwarf Frogs for the fish tank. Their names are Rock and Roll. Did you hear the story of how we lost Leap? (don't feel bad Dave, it was NOT your fault). I'm out Grocery Gaming one night. I come home and the boys are just headed to bed. "Tell mom about what we found in our kitchen tonight, boys," Dave says. A frog! Really, a frog? Darn kids are always leaving the screen door open blah blah blah. So they shoo'd the frog out the door and off the patio into the ivy.

A couple days later I am cleaning the tank and I can't find Leap, only Ribbit Ribbit.

Guess who escaped out the tiny cord hole in the back? ADFs only live in water, but they will try to escape if given the chance. May he rest in peace!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Blog from the Log: Part 3

A Momma and her Ducklings
Definitely not afraid of heights
Anniversary self portrait
Grandma and the 'big boys'
A view from the top
Andrew, Ian, Nate and Sam at the summit
The village below, that's Dave and Nate in the front left chair

Andrew, nice teeth!
Grandma and Sam coming back down

Greetings from home. We drove back today from TLC.
The theme for today's post: The Last Best Day

Yesterday was our 8th Anniversary. Happy Anniversary Dave! For the second year in a row, we decided to celebrate by taking our marriage to new heights - literally!

DKNI, plus Grandma, Sam and Andrew, drove to the Schweitzer Mountain Resort 12 miles NW of Sandpoint. The resort is breathtaking and the view from the top on the 6400 ft. summit is astonishing. From the top on a clear day you can see Bitterroot, Selkirt and Cabinet Mountain ranges and Hello, Canada!

For anyone who knows Dave, you know that he HATES heights. Why, then, for two years in a row has he agreed to my whim to take the Great Escape Quad lift to the top? Guess that's true love, folks. (white knuckles, but true love).

So we rode to the top on the chair lift, hiked a few minutes (literally, a few. Remember Ian, Mr. I Quit on the bridge? Mr. Carry Me on the mountain) and came back down to wander the quaint resort village - very Swiss Alps-y.

And so the vacation comes to an end. Today we are back home after a very tolerable 7 1/2 hour drive. I think that may be a record.

Now, I'm off to sort coupons. Grocery Game, here I come.