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Thursday, January 05, 2017

And the Mystery Reader is...


Gus was SO excited when the mystery reader was revealed at school today and it was his big brother! He shrieked, "LEO!" and ran over and gave him a hug. (It worked out to have Leo do this because Gus started back to school two days earlier than Leo after winter break.)

I won't get into the long journey it has been to get Leo to a place where he could read a whole book, especially in front of a group of five year olds! But let's just say it was a journey and it was long. Which I guess I already said. And now Leo is an amazing reader!

Was he completely appropriate during his mystery reading time? No.
Did he stick to the script? No.
Did he read awesomely? Yes.
Is awesomely a word? Probably not.
Is Gus wearing a pajama top at school? Yes. Have to pick your battles.
Am I doing that annoying thing where I ask myself questions and then answer them? Yes, but I plan to stop after this one.

Leo was so impressed with himself: "Let's talk about what a good job I did being the mystery reader." That discussion turned into a business idea: Leo plans to have a store where he reads to kids all the time. And he will give them treats too. I said he will have to charge enough to cover the cost of the store. He changed his plan and said he will read to the kids in the woods.

So when he is a grown man luring kids into the woods with books and candy, we can say this is where it all began!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Drama Dudes

A couple of weeks ago I posted some videos of Leo's acting debut. (Be sure to check it out again because I added some background info!) We were all raving over Leo's performance, and encouraging him to leave school and become a child actor. But then we figured maybe he should do at least one more play first, and have more than one line so, you know, he can build up his portfolio.

So inspired by his big brother's accomplishment, Gus too took to the stage in a compelling performance as a shepherd in The Christmas Nativity at his preschool Here, I will post the show in its entirety. Be sure to watch for Gus's cute group line! Oh, and please disregard the cell phone that rings constantly. (Seriously???) Below the video of the play, please also enjoy two songs that Gus' adorable "Young 5's" class performed that day.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Dinosaurs Before Dark

Leo caught the acting bug and participated in his first play/musical! He was not one, not two but THREE different characters! (Okay, most of the younger kids were three parts.) Leo was a tree, a baby dinosaur and an Iguanodon. He had one line (see below). 

The play was through Off Broadway Children's Theatre. But the great thing is, the director came to his school for practices. So two days a week for three months he stayed at school an EXTRA HOUR! It was a win win and obviously, all that hard work paid off. Such a cute show, based on the first Magic Tree House book (one of Leo's favorite series).  He is already signed up for the spring semester play--The Jungle Book! 

Saying his line!! He got a laugh! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Back in the Saddle

When I posted this blog about Gus learning to ride his bike back in March, I thought that was it. I thought that was the bike riding blog. He learned. He rode. He was a bike rider. I even confidently said "once you learn, you never forget."

But apparently you can forget. Whether it was the long, hot summer or a bad fall down a hill, Gus DID NOT know how to ride his bike anymore. We tried a few times but were unsuccessful. And I'm not exactly up for bending over and holding on while he rides.

Luckily, Frank is. He took him up to the Sweet Apple Elementary parking lot and practiced for a long time two weeks ago. And he got it. Then Frank came home and took off Gus' beloved Balance Buddy and he rode in the cul de sac.

Last weekend we tackled the Greenway (side note: Frank and I always accidentally call it "The Greenbelt" from our Austin days).

video video

He's still a little shaky on down hills but this time I really really think he will never forget! (As long as we keep rolling through the winter!)

Oh, and as I went to post this blog, I saw a draft of a blog that I never posted from October. So, this will be a little dated but bear with me:

Gus had planned to be Luke Skywalker for Halloween. Then one day he mentioned something about a pirate zombie and I stupidly said, "That would be a good Halloween costume." And Gus surprised me by responding with, "What? No! I already have a Halloween costume! And it costed a lot of dollars. Someone would have to be an idiot to buy another costume."

Hmmm...sounds a lot like his dad!

Okay, back to Gus riding his bike :)

He looks like a ten year old riding a toddler bike in this pic!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

And Smitty Makes Five!

We did it! We got ourselves a dog. We have all had dog fever for awhile now and have been perusing the internets for just the right rescue dog. We'd find one, email about him/her, and often the response would be, "Rex is great but..." isn't good with kids, has a major squirrel thing or is missing one leg. 

We weren't ready for a project. 

Then we saw "Peanut." 

How could we resist? I went to the shelter where he was bunking and he was as sweet as the description said. I called Frank who said, "We don't have a lot of time to search for a dog. If he seems good, just get him." 

The shelter peeps had said that they would keep him there a couple of days to get neutered and microchipped. However, they were backed up with neuterings so they said, "You'll have to take him today." 

I was mildly panicked, but only because I was thinking, "I better get some dog food." 

Ha, dog food. Like that's all I would need! 

I had NO IDEA how huge a responsibility it is to get a dog. Besides the training and extra time it takes to take care of one, here is a list of all the things you "need." 

  • Food
  • Treats 
  • Different types of treats
  • Bowl for food, bowl for water 
  • Bones
  • Raw hide
  • Leash
  • Different type of leash 
  • Collar
  • Different type of collar
  • Tag 
  • Another tag for the second collar 
  • Poop bags 
  • Poop bag holder 
  • Crate 
  • Bed for the crate (that he doesn't even sleep on) 
  • Three bone toys 
  • Two "kongs" in which to put peanut butter 
  • A deer antler that the pet store guy swears he will like but he doesn't 
  • Balls--tennis, pretend tennis, squishy, rough, soccer, bouncy 
  • Squeaky toys 
  • A bone that looks like a log 
  • A gate for the stairs (borrowed from neighbor) 
  • A genie (from the makers of Diaper Genie) to dispose of poop bags 
  • A tie-out cord 
  • A ball that holds treats that he doesn't care for 
  • "Pet Corrector" spray 
  • "Bitter Apple" spray 
  • Little Green Machine steam vacuum to clean up poop and pee accidents 
  • Special spray so dog won't smell where he had said poop and pee accidents 
  • A trainer 
  • An invisible fence 
  • Dog boarding services 
  • A vet 

$3,000 later...

We are all set! 

While he has been cute and sweet from the get-go, it wasn't an instant love connection. In fact, I even made some efforts to "re-home" him. See, I wasn't particularly fond of having poop and pee in my house (and having to take up all of my rugs!). I also wasn't in favor of taking a dog out on a leash to go potty--I'm not exaggerating--21 times per day! I think most of my re-homing efforts took place on the sixth day, when Gus let the dog out and Smitty got a hold of one of the full poop bags with his mouth, flung it from side to side causing poop to fly all over our front porch. I may have sent a text to Frank saying something like, "I am done. Done. Done. Done. I can't live like this!" There were so many tears that first week. 

But then... 

He must have heard me making plans to find him another home and realized, "Hey, I've got a pretty good thing going with these fools" cause he stopped pooping and peeing in the house. 

So instead of re-homing him, we will be his "fur-ever home." 

Here are some pics of our first two+ weeks with Smitty. (Oh, and we got his name from another rescue dog that we had inquired about. He had only been Peanut at the shelter for a week so we figured it was okay to change it.) 

Our first meeting at the shelter! 

First night at home

Learning to love his crate 

His coat all shiny after his first bath (well first with us) 

Hanging out on the mat where I like to stand to make meals 

Getting a rare gentle pat from Gus 

His favorite place to hang out--the first step! 

Another favorite spot

Learning new tricks!