Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Happy Birthday to Steve!

Steve had his birthday yesterday and the family celebrated with him. Evan started the day by getting up early to have breakfast and a little reading time with Dad. Unfortunately, Steve then had to go to work. The boys and I wrapped presents and cooked until Steve got home. Okay, we didn't spend all of our time doing that, but it did kind of feel like it. I made a new marinara sauce recipe for dinner, thanks to Kerri for sharing the recipe and Melody for letting me try some on pizza at her house. I also made my first traditional apple pie. Steve loves apple pie apparently, but I had never made him one. So, for his birthday I took the plunge. I told him he might get another one on another birthday. It wasn't really that bad, but I did feel like I had been in the kitchen all afternoon. I like the kitchen, but not quite that much.

Steve had to work later than he had originally planned, so the boys had to keep looking at the apple pie and asking if they cold have some. When I told them they could after Daddy got home, they whined, "but I don't want to wait for Daddy!" Happy Birthday, Daddy! But they did wait - mostly. Joel did make one little poke into the top pie crust, for which he was sent to time-out. When he finally got some pie, he decided that he didn't really like it anyway. But Steve did, so that made the afternoon worthwhile.

He also had a small surprise party at a friend's house on Sunday evening. I had been planning it for a while, and it had been causing a little stress. He wanted to know why I was having to take the boys shopping so much, why I had to do stuff all day Saturday (some was girl-time and some was party-time), why we weren't going to our friends' house earlier in the day, and why we were taking so many tortillas. I kept thinking "AAARRRGGGHHHH!" However, I was able to come up with somewhat reasonable excuses, some thought out in advance and some on my feet. He had begun to expect some celebration with the friends we were going to visit, but he was not expecting the magnitude of the party. In fact, he even helped make some tortillas for the fajitas we ate at the party. All-in-all it was a lot of fun! We had fun hanging out with our friends, some we hadn't seen in a long time, and the kids had fun playing together. We even got to hang out in the pool while the food was cooking.

So, I think that Steve enjoyed his birthday, and the boys and I had fun getting ready for it, too. It is fun to see the boys beginning to think about others and how to do nice things for them. (Keep in mind the waiting for apple pie story when I say "beginning".)
Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Will the destruction ever end?

Well, there may be a few less pictures for a week or so. Yesterday while I was making dinner Evan came in saying, "Joel is trying to start a fire." I wasn't too concerned because Joel doesn't know how to start a fire, but then ... I asked, "What is he using to try to start a fire?" Evan calmly replied, "He poured water on the computer." I was not so calm by this time. Yes, I had left the laptop open and I left the water I had been drinking sitting beside it. I didn't anticipate Joel's move. There was no reason for him to be there in my mind. Apparently his mind operates a little differently.

I mentioned something in a previous blog about blinds being cut, so I will explain that further now. Evan climbed up on the computer desk and got down a pair of scissors, took them to his room, and began to cut. The object of his cutting was the little strings that hold the individual blinds. He cut all three sets on each blind, about 2 feet from the bottom of the window down. (He had to use money from his bank to replace the blinds.) I would have thought that at some point during the time it took to do all of this, he might have thought it wasn't a good idea and stopped. I am not sure if that is what made him stop, or if he just couldn't reach any higher.

Then this morning, Joel decided to feed the fish without permission, or help, and dumped a good bit in the tank that Steve had just cleaned. The rest landed on the floor. He has also taken to getting cereal and crackers and hiding in his room to eat them. He has dumped at least 2 bags of cereal out in the last week or so. We are working on this, too.

So, that's just a little picture into the destruction that we have been witnessing over the last couple of weeks. Yes, there was more. I think that part of the problem is that I haven't been as scheduled with them. I am not a schedule-follower, but when I was going to the gym we had at least a bit of a schedule. I have not been as good at going to the gym this month, but am hoping that will change now that I have found a gym buddy! The boys and I went this morning, and I am planning to go back tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday. I haven't been gaining weight this past month, and have probably even lost some more, but not as much as when I was regularly working out. Hopefully we can all learn to be more constructive and less destructive - me with my body and the boys with everything else!
Thursday, August 21, 2008

I need more sleep!

These late-night Olympics are getting to me! I wasn't going to watch last night, but it was a gold medal game in beach volleyball! So Steve and I stayed up to cheer on the American team of May-Treanor/Walsh, albeit remotely. Apparently our cheering is powerful, because they won gold! It was a good match, and thankfully only took about 45 minutes.

I also wanted to watch the indoor volleyball semifinals, but I just couldn't stay up that late. I checked the results and the USA won! Not only did they win, but they did it decisively, 3-0. I am so proud of them! I will do my best to watch the gold medal match against Brazil, if it is on "regular" tv (i.e. not a cable channel).

In other news, Evan can identify the womens' Chinese divers on his own now. We were watching the platform diving last night, and when one of the Chinese divers was on the platform waiting to dive Evan said, "This is one of the best ones who doesn't make a splash!" Then she dove according to his expectations, and he exclaimed, "See! Just a little splash!" He also wanted to know how the judges decided on the score, but I don't really know. It is exciting to see him enjoying all of these sports so much! It also makes me wonder about his future - is he thinking of one day being in a competition like this, will he still be interested in the same things as a teenager or young adult, etc. I don't know. For now we are just working on not whining, throwing things, and cutting blinds (that's a whole other post).
Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Olympic volleyball

Evan came out dressed like this and said, "I'm Todd Rogers!" In case you don't know who that is, he is a member of a USA men's beach volleyball team. The orange ball is Evan's beach volleyball. I think that it is a good likeness, except the beard and goatee.

Also in Olympic news, the USA women's indoor team has advanced to the semifinals! Go, girls!!

Bass Pro Boys

The boys with their complimentary stickers. (Evan's on shirt; Joel's on leg)

We took our first trip to our local Bass Pro Shops yesterday, and the boys had a blast! There was an indoor water fountain and attached viewing tank with fish. There were also lots of stuffed animals. They boys kept asking, "Did they kill that bear?", or "Did they kill that deer?" or whatever other animal we saw. Also heard frequently was, "Is that animal real?"

Perhaps the most fun was in the fishing department where the boys got to practice casting with a bigger fishing rod. Evan is really quite good. He has trouble controlling the rod when not casting, but he didn't really injure anyone. We did get a new fishing rod, and when it cools off a little I will start taking Evan fishing. Since he is starting kindergarten this year I want to have "special" time with him each week, and I thought this would be one fun way to do that. It looks like Joel really wants to go fishing, too, so maybe he and I can do that while Evan is at school some days.
Sunday, August 17, 2008

Making it better

On our way home from church we asked Joel what he did in his class today. His response - "I cried." A little bit later he said that Teddy was crying because he (Joel) was gone. He had wanted to take Teddy to church, but I told him that he could take Blankie instead. So, Teddy was apparently upset because he had gotten left at home. I said that maybe Teddy was okay and was taking a nap. Joel said, "No, he is crying in my bed." He assured us that when he got home he would rock Teddy to make him feel better. Lunch distracted Joel, but I reminded him and then he gave Teddy the proper attention. After a little bit Joel declared, "Teddy's all better now!" It's fun to see this sweet side of my little boys.

BTW - If Teddy looks well worn, it's because he is. He was Steve's bear when he was little. In the past week or so Joel has taken quite a fancy to him. Like father, like son!

There are some things Mom shouldn't see ...

like the boys "shaving" after I have just gotten them dressed for church. I am not in favor of deception, and we are working on that with Evan, but, seriously ... did I need to see that? Maybe I did - to help me work on not needing to always be in control. If the boys had gotten shaving cream on their clothes would it have been such a bad thing? Before church I would have said yes, but now I am thinking not. The boys had fun, and I would prefer that they imitate their dad instead of me when it comes to shaving. So, everything turned out well and I was reminded that I might need to let go a little bit more. The boys need time to be little boys. Messes are okay. They will grow up all too soon, and I need to enjoy every minute of this ride.
Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dad came through!

Last night Evan asked Steve when he was going back to California. Apparently Evan is okay with Dad leaving as long as he gets suckers again.

Dad took a trip to California for work recently, and Evan requested that he bring home suckers.He asked before Steve left, every time we talked to Steve on the phone, and he even asked me to make a call a few times to remind Steve. The trip was only 2 days, so this was a bit of overkill, but these are very special suckers. They are from See's candies and they come in the following flavors: vanilla, chocolate, butterscotch, and cafe latte. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical the first time I tried them, but they are good! Evan likes all of the flavors. Joel seemed to prefer vanilla this time. I like the cafe latte the best. Steve's favorite is chocolate. What a nice mix for us! I only had one this time, because I got a box of assorted dark chocolates. They are so good!!! We don't like having Dad away on the business trips, but at least we get a nice present when he comes home! Unfortunately, today we have consumed the last of the suckers. In memory of the suckers I wanted to thank Dad for thinking of us and starting this tradition. Thanks, Steve!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Olympic fever!

We are definitely catching it in our house! I first fell in love with the Olympics and gymnastics at the age of 3-1/2. I remember watching Olga and Nadia in the 1976 Olympics and wanting to be them. I even had newspaper clippings of Olga. So, imagine my joy at seeing Evan enjoying the Olympics so much! His favorite events so far are gymnastics and volleyball. He has seen some of the swimming and likes it, too. He hasn't seen any diving yet because of the tv schedule, but I want for him to see it, too. Steve tried to teach him how to dive earlier this summer, but he didn't quite "get it".

The right form, but going in feet first.

I love watching the volleyball, both indoor and beach. (As a side note, one of my first students at A&M is on the indoor team - Go, Stacy!) I was surprised that Evan got so "into" it. He knows which team is ours by the flags on their jerseys and beside their names on the scores. He keeps track of the score for me if I am in another room. He knows what they have to score to win, and toward the end of the game he will tell me how many more we need to win. So, the Olympics are helping us with math, too!

How about the men's gymnastics team! Way to go! I have been thinking about starting the boys in a gymnastics class, and after watching Evan watch the gymnastics I really want to do that! He may not be in the Olympics, but I think he would enjoy it. It might help him to stop jumping on the furniture, too. Maybe, please?

As much as Evan enjoys swimming I thought that he would enjoy watching those competitions as well. He did learn about the different strokes, and he did enjoy it. He doesn't ask about it as much as the other competitions, though. I guess he hasn't seen as much of it, plus it is harder to see the swimmers through all of the water. I thought that he might become a Phelps Phan, but that doesn't seem to be happening so far.

And we get another 1-1/2 weeks to enjoy this, too!

On a related note, I have been praying for the Chinese people, and especially the persecuted church in China, during these Olympics. I would like to encourage you to also pray for these people who don't enjoy the freedoms that we often take for granted. For more information on the persecution of Christians in China (and around the world) and ways that you can encourage these brothers and sisters, you can go to Voice of the Martyrs.
Sunday, August 10, 2008

Hubby love

I was tagged by my friend Kerri for this game. I tag Melody.

What is his name? Steven Mack Saunders

How long have you been married? 7 years, 8 months, 18 days, 7-2/3 hours

How long did you date? about 2-1/2 years

How old is he? 30, but 31 in a few days

Who eats more sweets? I do, because I know where they are hidden

Who said I love you first? He did

Who is taller? He is

Who can sing better? He thinks he can. ;) It depends on whether or not I am in tune. ;) Steve - being a master hacker - edited this entry and notes that "thinks" is a relative term, and that one of us knows when they are in tune...

Who is smarter? Tough call. We have different strengths, so let's call it a draw.

Who does the laundry? I do. He's been banned after some shrunken laundry.

Who pays the bills? he does

Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? in the current set-up he does, but it changes depending on the orientation of the room and the bed

Who mows the lawn? He does. I volunteer and he laughs at me. ;)

Who cooks dinner? Usually me, but he would debate that point. He is very good at cooking and helps out a lot when I am not feeling well.

Who drives? he usually does when we're together

Who is more stubborn? another draw

Who kissed who first? He did. Ask him about it. ;)

Who asked who out first? We hung out for a while before we started really dating. There was some mutual asking to hang out. Then we were dating.

Who proposed? He did, on the 4th of July. Then we watched the fireworks. Awww ... I still remember it whenever I see fireworks.

Who has more siblings? I do

Who wears the pants? Literally we both do; figuratively he does, of course. ;)

Ever so helpful

We had a small hole in our entry wall that Steve just fixed. It started out as a dent (like from the doorknob hitting the wall). It has been there a long time, but recently the boys decided to "pick" at it while they were in time out and made it into a full-fledged hole. So I got the putty and Steve fixed it - with some "help" from the boys.

1. Joel helped spread out the wet putty (after Steve had left it) and announced to his dad that it was "too much". Some of the putty was on Joel's hands instead of the wall.

2. The putty dried and Steve painted over it. Evan came to look at the work and couldn't find it. Steve said that was okay because you weren't supposed to see it anymore since it was fixed. Evan asked, "Then how we will know where to poke?" Steve said loudly, "What did you just say?!" Evan replied quickly, "I was just kidding."

Yep, the boys are real helpful - and funny.
Thursday, August 7, 2008

Why do I try?

To take the boys shopping, that is. Today I decided to take them to the mall so we could get some important, secret shopping done. I decided to look around for myself, too, while I was there, so I am sure that was part of the problem. In my defense, with gas prices as they are once you get out there, you might as well get it all done. On the other hand, I didn't really need a new purse or shoes (and I didn't get any either).

In case you are wondering, those pictures are posed. Joel was sitting like that before I got the camera out. Evan had to ham it up so I would take a picture of him. Both boys are willing to pose, as long as they get to see the picture when I'm done. However, Joel did fall asleep on my way to "one more" store, so we came home. He is in bed now, sleeping - I think. Evan is also in his room after crying when he learned that he couldn't watch his favorite tv show. He's not tired though, because as he explained coming home, he's "a big boy who doesn't get tired as often as toddlers, like Joel."
Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Taking a break from the heat.

Since the boys and I have been well this week, we were finally able to have a playdate with some of our friends from church. We have been talking about doing this for a few weeks, and it finally worked out today. The girls are close to the ages of the boys and they play together really well. Everybody loves the baby, and he seemed to have a lot of fun playing with the "big" kids. The other mom and I didn't have as much to talk as we would have liked, but I think that is life with kids in this age bracket. We did have fun taking these (and many more) pictures of the kids. After playing outside for a while we came in for snacks and a little indoor playing. It seemed to go by so quickly, but we had a great time, and everyone in our family took a nice long nap this afternoon!
Monday, August 4, 2008

Back in the swing, almost ...

I made it back to the gym today after a 2 week absence! Unfortunately it didn't last as long as it should have due to a severe itching attack. I know how wimpy that sounds, but it was real! I did a 5-minute warmup and then went to the leg machines. I didn't have to go down on any of the weights, so that made me feel better. Then I went back to the treadmill for what was supposed to be another 35-40 minutes. After 10 minutes I was itching so badly that I couldn't ignore it and had to leave. I came home, took an oatmeal bath, and felt much better. Of course, after I got out, I started itching a little more, but it is still not as bad as earlier today. (In case you are wondering, the main cause of the itching is a reaction to an antibiotic, which I stopped taking last night. Exercising just severely aggravated it today.)

After dinner tonight Evan asked Steve if he wanted to "work out" with him. Steve asked Evan what he had in mind, and I thought he would talk about some exercises. (Evan and Joel both try to imitate our exercises and have their own style of push-ups.) That is not what Evan had in mind, though. He said, "Playing one of those games, like, you know, tennis or something." He was referring to the Wii. Doesn't it sound much better when it is working out, and not playing? I know that Steve and I have referred to it as that, but it is a little weird to hear your 5-year-old say it.
Saturday, August 2, 2008

Experimenting, the natural way

We have done pretty with our natural diet this week. I have lost my desire for most restaurants as well. If you know my eating habits, you know this is a huge change for me! But, I do still strongly desire soft drinks, iced coffees, and frappuccinos. They are my big downfall! So, I decided to experiment some today to see if I could make a healthier version of iced coffee at home. I used honey in the iced coffee instead of sugar, and I got some mixed results. One time the honey settled in the bottom of the cup and that was not so good. Most of the time I couldn't taste it, but it did add a little sweetness. (BTW, I tried honey in hot coffee earlier and decided I didn't like that. If you are using raw honey, the hot coffee kind of cooks it, anyway.)

I have not been feeling well today, maybe because the toxins are working out of my body, so I haven't cooked, but I did look for some recipes to make some convenience foods at home. I really rely on those in the mornings and on days that I have to do errands. My goal this week is to get the boys to help me cook and to try out the recipes. I need to get them more involved in helping with stuff like that (and the clean-up!).

My other goal is to get back to the gym. It has been 2 weeks since I have been and I am feeling it! The first week I missed was because of VBS and how exhausted I felt after I got home from it. Last week we had some health issues and I just lost motivation. So, I am admitting my failings, and writing my goal in my blog so that I have some accountability.

On a side not, it has been so hot!!! A lot of the stores and catalogs are turning their focus to fall fashions, and it makes me anxious for the cooler weather. Then I remember where I live and that I probably won't get to enjoy a cool fall or those fun fall fashions anyway. At least that's less for me to spend money on, right? ;)
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