Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Diane's Divco

Tomorrow is my Mom's birthday.  It's a special one--but aren't birthdays all special?

A few weeks ago, I asked Dad if he had given any thought to Mom's birthday, after all, it is a special one.

Any guesses on his answer?

We brainstormed for a few minutes--Mom is tricky.  Humble, unassuming, selfless, and not particularly fond of being center stage.

Tricky I tell you.

The challenge was coming up with something that fell between a simple hug and "Happy birthday!" and staging a version of "This is your life" with a convention-worthy balloon drop.

Luckily, Dad knows her well. Very well.  As we talked, as I was completely puzzled, the light bulbs started popping in Dad's mind. 


It's so sweet really, how he thought through the plan and how perfect it was.

So the plan was this--Dad enlisted the help of the Environmental Services crew.  At the appointed time, during Mom and Dad's late afternoon happy hour in the yard, every Gator, Kubota, and golf cart on the Seminary campus would descend on the yard, and the party would start.

A few days ago, Dad told me what his gift to her was--Wow, I had thought his plan was good before...this put it over the top. In family lore, the Christmas Mom got a weed-wacker that Mom still keeps in the basement to protect it got top billing as far as gift-giving stories go.

No more.

Dad got Mom her own red golf cart.

This afternoon, the boys and I headed to the campus a bit early so we stopped for a sneak peek.
This is great!

Over to the house.  I threatened all kinds of consequences for the boys if they tipped Mom off to the surprise.  It must have sunk in, because when we got to the house, other than asking for a popsicle, they wouldn't speak to her!

We headed out to the yard, but for whatever reason, Mom was a bit resistant to coming out to the yard.  Maybe it was the energy of the boys who had moved from popsicles onto climbing trees and playing soccer.

But she came.  As we sat there, Dad said, "hey, what's that?" As a decorated golf cart zipped down the street.

Maybe a wedding?

Then a whole parade of gators.

Mom started to wonder...then laugh...

Even though the front of the golf cart says this:

Mom still had to ask a few times "What is this for?"

It's for you!

The crew came prepared with snacks, drinks, and cake.  Ferdie was interested in the cake.
 So were the boys.
 Michelle made a call, and soon the carillon began to play "Happy Birthday."
 Gators, Gators everywhere.

Lots of laughs and amazement that this surprise was pulled off.

 Aren't they sweet?

A great idea from Dad, with a great assist from the Environmental Services crew...One and all, it was perfect!

A big, big thank you to all the Sem folks who helped make this happen--from hiding the red golf cart (no easy feat) to rounding up the cake, drinks, snacks, and taking time to come pull off what I heard Mom describe as her "most memorable birthday, thank you!

We love you Mom!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Come One, Come All

It's Carnival time at CCLS!

The Carnival is the main fundraiser of the year...but that's secondary to the fun.  Earlier in the week when we told the boys this was carnival weekend, that's all they were focused on.  Finally, when they asked "is it tonight that we're going to the carnival?" I could say yes.

We got there early as it was just getting started to grab a bite to eat before letting the boys loose on the rides and games.  Mom let me play with her fisheye lens for the iPhone.


We were doing as directed by the boys...watching them on the "Tornado"--the swings.  They loved these (I did still do too).

Next up, the big slide.  Another favorite.  They were on this forever.

At least the boys were, Darren only went down once.
Off to keep Opa from getting scared on the Ferris Wheel.
Connor found a ride all to himself.
Gone fishing.
Uh oh.

A real fish--(aka our new life lesson).
So, we ran into Pets Mart five minutes before it closed to grab fish food and a little bowl.

All settled in.
Back to the carnival today!

Friday, August 24, 2012

St. Louis Gets a Potbelly!

How did I miss this yesterday?

Potbelly opened in Creve Coeur yesterday!

In DC, we ate at Potbelly often. There was a Potbelly a block and a half from my office.  We regularly ran there for lunch, or just as often, for a mid-afternoon milkshake.  (It was over one of those milkshakes that I told my sister I was expecting Connor).  They have great, inexpensive sandwiches and shakes.


I wish we had a Potbelly closer to downtown St. Louis...but at least St. Louis now has one in the area.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Feeling Old....

Scanning the news this morning, I saw the annual Beloit College Mindset list for the class of 2016 is out.

A few items from the list:

3. The Biblical sources of terms such as ‘‘forbidden fruit,’’ ‘'the writing on the wall,’’ ‘'good Samaritan,’’ and ‘‘the promised land’’ are unknown to most of them.

   **Really?  This screams a disinterest or lack of commitment on the parents of this generation of kids for teaching about faith, the Bible, or taking them to church or Sunday school.  This is a big problem in my view.  I've just started reading "You Lost Me" by David Kinnaman about why young Christians are leaving the church.  There's so much to think about in this book that it's taking a long time to read.

5. If they miss The Daily Show, they can always get their news on YouTube.

20. Exposed bra straps have always been a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction to be corrected quietly by well-meaning friends.

30. There have always been blue M&Ms, but no tan ones.

     **If I wasn't already feeling old, I remember being in grade school college when the big debate was brewing about what color the "new" M&M would be.

47. Before they buy an assigned textbook, they will check to see whether it’s available for rent or purchase as an e-book.

     **We were just happy to find a good condition used textbook.

48. They grew up, somehow, without the benefits of Romper Room.

     **How this is possible I don't know.  My boys just don't get it when I say "I see Christian and Connor" as I pretend to look through my pretend magic mirror.

71. Despite being preferred urban gathering places, two-thirds of the independent bookstores in the United States have closed for good during their lifetimes.

     **This is just sad.

Reading through the list, I'm alternately depressed about some of the "norms" for these kids and shocked at how old I feel.  The feeling of "old" only got worse when I tried to find the Mindset list for the year I entered college.

It didn't exist when I started college.

The first Beloit Mindset list was released for the Class of 2002 in 1998.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back to School!

Today marks the start of another school year.  This is a good thing!

The summer went fast--up until about 3 weeks ago.  That was the point when it became clear that there had been too much brotherly togetherness.  Whew.  It wears me out just thinking about all the wrestling, laughing, bickering, fighting, trying to stop kickball games in the house, not listening, not wanting to go to bed, juggling camps and schedules, and in and out of the house with the neighbor kids that happened over the summer.

But we made it!  School is back!

Connor is back for four-year old preschool.  He's such an old four-not by his birthday, but because he and his brother are inseparable.  I often think Connor believes he's six.

But back to preschool it is. 

Last night I asked him what he wanted to be when he grows up.  Without much hesitation, he said "a teacher."

Christian is such the big kid now.  He's starting first grade.
He's excited.
Very excited.

The boys got a little silly before school.

But soon it was time to go.

Connor was patient for one picture outside his school.
But then he was off. He had to get to his teacher, FAST!
This is Christian's first year with his own desk. 

After opening chapel we said goodbye and the kids were on their way.  I feel sorry for the teachers today though--the energy level in the classroom was off the charts this morning. 

After school, to celebrate, we'll be headed to Oh Lollie Lollie for a treat--if the boys have any energy left after a day with their friends.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Six Going on...

Last night I took the boys to the Cardinals Game.  I was originally supposed to have a meeting a church, but when that was moved, and I saw that Stubhub had Cards tickets for $3, I thought, why not?

So we headed out to the stadium.

As the game was getting started, the announcer came on the loudspeaker and said "here come Team Fredbird."

Christian, without missing a beat, says "hurry, I need the binoculars."

Why?  To get a closer look at the girls of Team Fredbird.

My baby is six going on sixteen.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Where Did Saturday Go?

School starts in a week and it's tax-free weekend in Missouri this weekend.  That means everyone (including us) is out shopping.  Yikes.  Stores were slammed.  After running into a shoe store this afternoon I quickly remembered why I would rather do all my shopping first thing in the morning.

The upside to this is that most stores are running pretty good back-to-school sales.  So we ventured ut because I'd much rather pay $7.99 for the boys favorite pants rather than $30 went they aren't on sale in a month or two.

Christian and I actually did most of his supply/shoe shopping last night at Target. Today was to return something to Lands End and grab shoes and pants for Connor.

The boys were so thrilled to be out at the mall...

 After stops at Old Navy, Famous Footwear, Hobby Lobby, Schnucks, and Kohls, we are done.

Shoe shopping for the boys drives me nutty.  Tennis shoes are easy.  Finding decent casual/church shoes that look good, hold up to the beating that little boys give them, actually find their size, and don't cost a fortune is not so easy.  It took a few stops before we finally found a pair for Connor.  This poor kid--I realized a few days ago that the sandals he's been insisting on wearing to church were a good two sizes too small.  Talk about being an observant parent. Ha!

So, with most of the day behind us, we're nearly done.  There are only a few random things that I forgot to pick up last night because I didn't bring Connor's list with me.

Now, it's time to relax.