Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

We had a great Memorial Day this year. We were pretty focused on hanging out with the fam - Bret only had the weekend home with us before he was headed back to Oklahoma this evening. So we...

played at the Splashpads,
...ate hotdogs and had a watergun fight with our neighbors Mr. Ron and Mrs. Debbie,...and made ourselves at home swimming in their pool, where Joey terrorized us all - "I gonna shoot you all day!"
We're so thankful for all those who sacrifice so much so that we can do things like this. Happy Memorial Day!

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial/Graduation/Casserole Get-Together

It had been a few months since my family had last tried to get everyone together, and we were due up for a casserole exchange, my brother-in-law Chris just graduated with his Master's degree, and it was Memorial Day weekend. Just how many reasons do you need in order to call for a family get together?!

So we met up at my brother's house. Chris grilled up some corn on the cob for us,and Dad fried some fish (which according to Joey was actually goldfish)to go along with the brisket that Dad had slow-coooked, the other sides we all contributed, Chris' graduation cake, and Kelley's homemade crepes served with fresh berries from Dad's garden and Blue Bell. We like to eat. :)

And one of the best parts about it was that it was the guys who were running around getting everything together. We girls got to sit around a visit! When we divied up the casseroles to go home, there was quite a bounty: Ravioli Bake, Southwest Mac and Beans, Chicken Enchiladas, Squash and Chicken Casserole, Beef Stroganoff, and ummm...sorry Mom, can't remember what you made and don't feel like going out to the freezer to look...
There was actually one more stack of casseroles there just outside the picture, but apparently I get too excited about it all to still be able to aim the camera very well.We had a great time. Thanks for hosting us Uncle Ira, and I'm looking forward to all those nights of no cooking!post signature

Friday, May 28, 2010

Kindergarten Fun Day

Today was Kindergarten Fun Day. (I guess this is what they do in place of Field Day?) Conner's really been looking forward to it, and Micah and Joey went home with Mom and Dad last night after Micah's program so that I could help out today.

Compared to the "Splash Day" the kids originally thought they would be having, it really wasn't much - wading pools full of sand and shovels, buckets full of bubble-blowing paraphanalia,

a few balls, picnic lunch...and a bounce house!

The kids had heard that there would be an obstacle course, too. And even though we had talked about that it was not very likely, Conner had gone to school hoping for an obstacle course containing lava mountains, chocolate monsters, and a blimp that could suck you into Mario World. :) When he discovered that the "obstacle course" was actually a few little inflated "poles" in the bounce house, he was very sweet to be satisfied with it!

...oh yeah, and the sun and the hottest day so far all year - nearly 100 degrees already! It was HOT! So as the Fun Day was winding down, I checked the kid out a little early and we went and got sno cones. :) Thanks for letting me share your day, Connerbug! And thanks to all the kindergarten teachers for all their hard work in putting this day together for the kids!

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Moms Are So Sweet and Dads are BIG and STRONG!

Micah's end of the year preschool program was last night. It kind of snuck up on me...I thought it was just a pre-K graduation and didn't realize that Micah's class had a part in it until Tuesday. Oops.

Until recently, Micah didn't like singing - he didn't like to sing himself, and he still doesn't like for anyone else to sing to him. But over the past few months he's started to branch out and we'll catch him singing every now and then. So I was really excited at the opportunity to see him sing on stage with his friends.

I didn't get a great picture of it, but he was so cute walking into the big auditorium with his class, searching the audience for us. The moment he found us was unmistakable - the expression on his face was priceless.
He spent the first several songs singing, but too busy alternating between proudly looking at us and acting shy to do the hand motions.But then we got to one of his favorite songs, about "Moms are so sweet and Dads are BIG and STRONG." He got into that one and had a lot of fun with it!Then he got his prize from Mrs. Belinda (a stuffed lamb that he immediately gave to me because it had a pink bow on it) and a certificate from Mrs. Summer.Then we were off to Braum's with BooBoo and Yogi to celebrate with ice cream. Micah Moo, we're so proud of you! I just can't believe that next year is your last year of preschool...

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Field Trip!

I got to go with Conner on his Spring Field Trip today. (Thanks Uncle Robert for tending to Micah and Joey for me!) We were off to the Omni to watch Sharks.

I was really disappointed last fall when my old camera didn't cooperate with me at Conner's first field trip. They went to Casa Manana, and I didn't get any pictures of either his first field trip or (the main thing he was excited about!) his first time on a school bus.

So I got some today! :) Conner was at the front of the line to load the bus - still very excited about it.And he was so sweet to make sure and stand up so that I could see where he was sitting on the bus. He's been to the Omni a couple of times before with Bubba and Uncle Chris, but it's still really cool. Whoa!And this is Trey, Conner's field trip buddy. (Who had never been to the Omni before and was practically crawling up the steps, hanging on for dear life. It was funny.) Happy Field Trip Day, Conner! Thanks for letting me come along!

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

One Smart Turtle

On our way back to Gammie and Poppy's house from Jamie's wedding, we passed a big ol' turtle on the county road. And being into nature as we are lately, Bret of course stopped and picked it up.

We put it down in the yard and tried to keep all the kids away from it, figuring it would venture out eventually.

And even though we didn't completely keep the kids away from it,we did a pretty good job and were out there long enough that we just knew that it would come out in time. They nearly always do, don't they? Nope, not this turtle. I'm telling you, I think we were out there for an hour or more, and that turtle only barely peeked his head out once. I guess he could tell from all the little crazies in the background that he'd be better off waiting it out rather than making a run for it. That's one smart turtle - he was probably right.

Maybe it was because the one time he did stick his head out, Joey saw it and came running, waving his golf-clubs-turned-swords in the air and yelling, "Now we fight togethah!"

Bret watched it after we all went in. A few minutes after the door shut the last time, he said it went trucking off into the garden.

Like I said, one smart turtle. :)
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Interesting Combinations

Bret performed a wedding ceremony last weekend. It was for his long-time best friend, Jamie. They were friends in high school, they were roommates at ACU, they've stayed in touch even though we've moved all around Texas and Louisiana and he's moved around between Chicago and Michigan.

Actually, this was Jamie and Sofiya's third wedding ceremony. You see, Sofiya is from Bulgaria. So she and Jamie got married with a justice of the peace in Michigan (to make legal matters easier), just before they went to Bulgaria over Christmas for the "real" wedding. Then they had this wedding celebration with a mini ceremony here in Texas for all of Jamie's friends and family.
Bret was really excited to see Jamie. They hadn't seen one another in several years, and Bret had never even met Sofiya. It was a happy reunion. Though the picture is dark and not very clear (hopefully there's a super-zoom-type-camera lens somewhere in my (probably not-so-very-near) future!), you can see what fun they're having.And let me just tell you - this wedding was the most interesting combination of European Bulgaria and Backwoods Iola, Texas you've ever seen! For starters, tt was in a small-town community meeting hall, decorated with handmade Bulgarian flowers.

While we feasted on some Bulgarian hors d'oeuvres (yes, I totally had to look up the way to spell that!), Joey was quick to notice the cakes -- and the fire. Now, you faithful wellsbrothers readers will remember our experiences with fire about a year ago at our house, and then again a few weeks later at Uncle Adam's wedding. Even though we weren't in a mansion this time, the thought of Joey burning down this building was terrifying -- and far too high on the list of possibilites! So I did my best to keep a pretty tight reign on that little fire-loving Jo-nado.Then after the wedding (during which Sofiya's sister, Aglika, was fluttering about taking pictures, dressed in a red formal dress and a cowboy hat :) we feasted on some bar-be-que. Micah was quite proud of the sausage-potato-salad-and-beans-on-a-roll-sandwich that he made. And he liked it so much that he wanted to go back through the line to get another one. So Bret took him, and when they got back, I was flattered that it turned out that the reason he had wanted to go through the line again was to make a sandwich for me -- a potato-salad-and-beans-on-a-roll sandwich. Mmmmm.

Conner was excited to wear his new tie again, and spent some time with Bret working on a new "cool pose." If you missed the one Conner came up with on his own, it's worth seeing - click here. :)
At one point, Conner went missing...and we just couldn't be upset with him when we found him helping stack the chairs - without even being asked! (What a good little preacher's kid! At another point, my attempt at a tight reign failed and Joey went missing. Thinking about the fire, I panicked...and was relieved when he was nowhere near the cakes and candles...and then panicked again when I realized that I still didn't know where he was. A few minutes later, I discovered Aglika in the ladies room, gingerly holding a familiar pair of Go Diego Go undies and size 3T khakis as far away from her as she could. She looked at me, and with a horrified look said, "I don't know. I find deez (undies) and den I find deez." She pointed into the open stall in front of her, where Joey was sitting on the toilet backwards, grunting and doing his business. Apparently he had decided to go, started stripping as he made his way the bathroom, leaving a trail of clothing, and Aglika was the only one who noticed. How absolutely hilarious and horrifying at the same time!

Speaking of interesting combinations, this is the same kid, who was so excited about the fire and the cakes that he won the sweet little bride's heart over enough that she actually let him stick his finger in the icing on the back of each cake before she got to do her thing with them! (And then when he finally got his own piece, he was too excited about the chocolate-covered strawberry that came with it to even eat the cake.) Good grief.

And what wedding story revolving around interesting combinations would be complete without a bang at the end? As they were wrapping up, Jamie announced that they're expecting a baby in December, right around their first anniversary (of their first wedding)!

Jamie and Sofiya, we are so excited and proud for you! Congratulations!!

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Ice Cream Day

When Yogi found out that Fridays are ice cream days at Conner's school (they can buy a popsicle for dessert), he immediately took it upon himself to make sure that Conner always had enough money in his lunch account to have ice cream on Fridays.

And since then, Micah and Joey have figured out that if we go eat lunch with Conner at school, they want to make sure it's on a Friday!

Today was the last Friday-ice-cream-day of the school year. Next Friday is actually the last Friday, but it's Splash Day and the kids will be having a picnic outside instead of going into the lunch room. So naturally, we had to eat lunch at school today.
Thanks, Yogi!!

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

No-Drip Popsicles

I found a recipe in Kraft Food & Family magazine the other day for "Triple Strawberry No-Drip Pops."

It sounded wonderful - dripless fresh fruit popsicles! - but I was skeptical. Seriously, how can a popsicle be dripless?

But I got the stuff anyway, and Micah and I whipped some up one night. Then we tried them this afternoon. They were yummmmm-o! And I kid you not - even after the two year old Jo-nado had spent about 10 minutes on his, there were no drips. And even though Micah was laying his in a bowl between bites so that he could color, there was no puddle.

No-Drip Pops, I think I may be in love. I see many, many of you in my future!

And yes, of course I'm sharing the recipe:

Triple Strawberry No-Drip Pops

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 pkg (3 oz) Jello-O Strawberry flavor gelatin
  • 18 fresh strawberries, stemmed
  • 2/3 cup (2-qt line) Kool-Aid Strawberry Flavor Sugar-Sweetened Soft Srink Mix, or any red flavor (I don't really know exactly what all of that means - just the powder or already mixed? But I used 2/3 c of already-made-up Kool-Aid and it worked fine.)

1. Add boiling water to gelatin mix in medium bowl; stir 2 minutes until completely dissolved.

2. Cut strawberries in half. Mash berries and drink mix in large bowl. Stir in gelatin.

3. Pour into 8 (5 oz) paper or plastic cups.

4. Cover cups with foil; insert wooden pop stick into center of each for handle. Freeze 2 hours or until firm.

I hope you have as much luck with them as us!!

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Soloist

Tuesday was Conner's big kindergarten musical. He's been singing their little songs for months now - I think I could have gone up there and sung with them!

Several weeks ago he brought home some little cue cards. The note said that he had auditioned for a speaking part, gotten it, and that we needed to make sure that he knew his lines. Wow! It was just a couple of lines between songs, but still that's really cool. What I loved though, was that he had no idea it was a big deal. It was very matter of fact, that's just what his teacher had asked him to do.

So we worked on his lines some, but it was apparent that they worked on them enough in class that he really didn't need any at-home practice. Then he brought home a CD and a paper with the words to one of the songs on it. There was no note or any explanation with it. When I asked, Conner said that it was the hard song. All of the kids were having a really hard time remembering all of the words - except for him. Okay, I said, we'll put it in the car and work on the words while we run errands.

Then he told me that he got to stand in the front to sing verses 2 and 3. What?!? "Yeah," he said, "I go to the front and hold the microphone while we sing this song."

"Oh," I said. "You're singing a solo?!"

"No," he said, as though that were the silliest thing he'd ever heard. "A solo is when you sing all by yourself. All the other kids are still singing with me, I'm just holding the microphone."

So we worked really hard to make sure that he knew all of the words by heart. And I must admit, it was rather pleasant work. That kid has a pretty sweet little singing voice.

As the big day approached, excitement grew in our house. Conner kept warning me, "I have to tell you though Mom. I can't wave to you while we're on the stage. It's bad stage manners. So don't be sad when you wave to me and I can't wave back." Cute. :)

Finally it was Monday night. The big day was almost here. As he was going to bed that night before he said, "Mom, I think I'm going to wear a tie tomorrow. We're supposed to dress nice, and Tanner is going to wear a tie." Inward groan. I was pretty sure we didn't have a tie that would fit him...and after a few minutes of looking my fears were confirmed. No tie for Conner. Then with the best little attitude, he said, "That's okay, Mom." A breathed a sigh of relief. "I'll just wear a suit instead." What?!?

"Baby, I know we don't have a suit that fits you. And we can't just go to the store and buy one. Let's find something that looks nice out of the clothes you already have." And hallelujah, he was fine with that.

But the next morning after I dropped him off at school in a polo and khakis, I found myself shopping for a little tie anyway. I just couldn't get over that sweet attitude, the kindergarten soloist really wanting to dress nicely, but completely satisfied with whatever we had. I had decided that if I could find one for $10 or less I'd do it. And low and behold - I found $12 ties on sale 50% off!

So I made my purchase, picked Micah up from preschool, came home, met Gammie and Kaleb, we fed everyone some lunch, and ran to school for Conner's afternoon performance.

And I've gotta tell ya - even though we knew Conner had a solo, even though I'd heard him sing it a hundred times before - when I saw my sweet baby standing center stage, alone with the mic, singing his sweet little heart out, I was a blubberly mess. It was one of the most beautiful sounds I'd ever heard - right up there with his very first cry. (Yes, I've got a video -- but sorry, I'm not smart enough to upload it...)

After hugs for Gammie, Conner told me that Mrs. Scarpello had even given him a "high-10!" We got snow cones to celebrate, went home for a little while, and then we were off to Rosa's for Taco Tuesday and to meet up with my family.

Conner got to wear his new tie for the evening performace. He was quite proud of it. When I asked him for his "cool pose" so that I could take a picture though, this is what I got:

So that's what cool is, huh? :) I think Bret was a little horrified! But cool pose or not, I thought he looked pretty rockin' awesome.And true to his word, when he got on stage, the kid did not wave. He was beaming from ear to ear with the most proud and excited grin you've ever seen though...and when Yogi gave him a big thumbs-up, you could see it click in his little head. "I'm not supposed to wave...but Mrs. Terry didn't say anything about a thumbs-up!!!!" And then he was all thumbs. It was pretty funny.

When it was time, my little songbird took the microphone at centerstage again. And again, I was a teary mess. He sang his song, he took his bow,
and then when it was over practically flew off the stage to give hugs to everyone.

Oh my ConnerBug. I simply couldn't be more proud of you. This is one of those memories that I will treasure in my heart forever. I love you!

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