Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy Birthday to Elise

Elise celebrated her 9th birthday on August 31, 2010. She made a wish and her dream came true: Elise got to groom and ride a horse!
Meet Puff Daddy from Fox Run Stables.
Elise fell in love!
Being allowed to ride by yourself takes the cake!
Is there any birthday treat more wonderful than this?

Elise is a natural!

Now it's on to the "Minute to Win It" Party.
Here are the blue prints and pictures for an awesome, sure to win a smile party!
The games begin in 3, 2, 1....

noodling around...

knock it off...

sticky balls...

dizzy mummy...
and a crowd pleaser, the chocolate unicorn....
and the winner for this one....
All the games were a hit and everyone was a winner with our candy lady: Grammy. Elise felt like a million dollars and had the time of her life, all in a win it. :)

Back to School, August 2010!

The blessed, inevitable moment that marks the end of summer: back to school night.

The kids were excited to meet their teachers! Elise has Mrs. Suhre for fourth grade.
Nathan has Mrs. Bittle for second grade.
Lindsey has Mrs. Bartlett for kindergarten. Even more exciting, Nathan's desk mate is Evie! He has liked her since they first met, in first grade. :) And he has become quite the cutie! :)

First day...
Having great teachers brings smiles the first day of school and apples for the first day of class!
Nathan and Nicolas are in the same class again.
Picture day...
More smiles...



Now the only thing missing here is Aimee. Only, she says she's not missing anything at all. She had the chance to go to school but would not have it! "I will go to school when I am grown up, like maybe next year..." :) How could I refuse such a sweet thing that loves to do everything I do (read, shop, clean, walk and eat). So Aimee is the one who reads and plays with me so I don't get all bored not having anyone else in the house. :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A perfect start to the day

A last minute decision to create the "great states adventure" camp means we cruised through the last two weeks. Literally. We had a little dog "cruiser" that traveled to each state as we did activities and learned about each of the states. Katie joined us for the two weeks adventure and it was what camp always is: fun, adventurous, memorable and exhausting (for me). The kids memorized Wacco's states and capital song and each day was truly an adventure. I plan to post pics when I find a minute. But not tonight.
Tonight, I am remembering this morning. I woke Nathan up so he would be ready for the early arrival of Nicolas. He went outside to wait at 7am. At 7:10, he came back in with a big grin. "Is Nicolas here?" "No!" he replied, "But I did see Miss Kelly (our little senile across the street) and she gave me this for breakfast." He proudly presented a mystery white package with a huge smile. "Do you know what it is?" I asked. "Nope, but Miss Kelly said I should eat it with a glass of milk and it's a perfect breakfast." "Oh did she?" I started to laugh as I explained, "Nathan, that's a ding dong!" (He has no idea what a ding dong is) "Can I have it?" I was so tempted to make him wait, but then I thought of everyone else suddenly wanting one and decided, "Why not?" After all, it's a perfect start to the day! :) So I poured him some milk, had a good laugh and watched the wonder of Nathan's first ding dong.

Monday, May 24, 2010

a Wicked start to the summer

How do you catch up to that? How did I ever let it get away? Sigh, I really haven't the memory to get back the days but perhaps I can recap the months. In a matter of minutes.... winter was cold, dark and dreary. COLD, COLD, COLD! Did I mention I'm solar powered? I just couldn't get my act together this winter. And, we just did not catch a break from colds, flus, bronchitis, pneumonia, pinworms, pink eye, etc. and so it goes....
On Christmas Eve, I had my first episode of gerd (reflux) which I thought was a gall bladder attack. It took me three months to learn it was gerd and not gall bladder so for three months I was in pretty intense pain thinking my insides would implode at any moment but I didn't have time to take care of it. What was I doing? Well, first I was called to be primary (children's group) president for our church group. (did I mention gerd is stress related?) :)
We spent the holidays and rang in the very chilly new year in St. Louis. January I pulled together a teacher training and our first primary activity. February I made a picture wall for Heather's birthday, started up activity days, organized Elise's class valentines party and planned Nathan's Alien bday party.
At that point, I squished in a trip to the docs to find out I wasn't going to explode (whew), I had a cyst on my wrist and have high cholestrol (no surprise). Nathan's party was a success and our favorite gift? A new friend for Nathan: Nicolas, who used to live right next door up until the month before we moved in. Crazy!
I started working out with a friend in March and actually felt pretty good. For my birthday, I got new running shoes and started running. We prepped for our vacation to Oviedo Florida which was AMAZING, of course. I love Krista, Dale and Allison, the beach, the warm weather, the flip flops, the light house, catching up with friends, feeling like I never left, running in the mornings, the italian ice, Disney and all those relaxing nights reading with Krista, eating treats in the living room. :) Can I have seconds of all that please? It was just Elise, Lindsey and I which means easy which equals heaven. I read Kristin Cashore's "Graceling" book twice!!! I loved that too.
As soon as I returned from that I started organizing the year end event for Marathon Kids Club, complete with finding sponsors, ordering shirts, pulling together the food, set up and thank yous. The last mile run (in front of the entire school) made me teary I was SOOOOOO proud of them! And that's why we do it and why I will be supporting MKC again next year. :)
Somewhere, during all that, Jim put in a garden and I relandscaped our front yard flower garden. That lead right into teacher appreciation week, Alma Schrader's play day and the end of school with Elise's third grade talent show.
The Friday before school let out, my dad went to the ER and Heather called to say I'd better get up there FAST! They thought he was having a stroke, but a spinal tap revealed that what was supposed to be crystal clear fluid was more like milk indicating a bad case of meningits. The doctor gave a realistic statement that dad could "go either way, but it looks like the meningitis has been stewing for awhile." Be prepared. My mom's hope shattered and indeed, it did not look good. Andy and the bishop gave my dad a blessing and they admitted dad to the ICU, starting an "aggressive" round of antibiotics. We all dressed in yellow gowns, gloves and masks to be with him and after getting mom settled into his room -Heather and I went home (midnight) to shower off the germs and fall asleep. The next morning my dad was coherent and recognized both Heather and I when we entered (big improvement). He continued to improve and by the time I went home Sunday, he was set to leave the ICU. Now THAT is a blessing!!! I really do believe in miracles and the power of the priesthood.
School ended May 18th. WOW, it really felt like it went that fast. Let the vacation begin...
Nicolas is spending the summer days with us. I love it. He's a super polite, very sporty child who is a great friend to Nathan. Having another child in the bunch keeps me on my game -I'm much more creative, organized and patient. The thought of his mom asking, "So, what did you do today?!" really spurs me on. :) Last week, we had a wood working theme and made stilts. It was more pricey than I expected (isn't it always?), but well worth it. The kids all sawed, sanded and painted the wood. Jim helped screw it together and voila, some pretty rickety stilts that will be a miracle if they work. But, it's all in the journey, right? :)

We are headed to St. Louis this week to play. I thought it would be a brilliant idea to have the kids perform a song from Wicked for Grammy and G.G. Immediately Elise sulked out of the room. Really?!! So instead, we cleaned. which we would have done anyway. :) Elise's Monday job is to sweep and mop the kitchen. I turned on the Wicked soundtrack to make it more entertaining. After the mopping, she needed to tackle her bedroom so I suggested she take the CD to her room. I noticed she grabbed the sheet music off the piano on her way. As I was folding laundry in my room, I was serenaded for a good half hour by Elise singing, "Defying Gravity." I guess my idea wasn't such a bad one after all.... or so I thought. Once the other kids realized Elise was practicing, they all wanted in on the action and so we had meltdowns within the hour. "Moooooooommmmm, Elise won't let me sing that part...." Oh my goodness. I finally took the CD away and suggested they find something else to play. More sulking. Ahhh, I just love the summer. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Get on with it.

You may know I'm not always patient. :) And you may know that Jim is a joker. We are who we are. Jim has a million and one phone voices and "phunny" phrases he uses. I couldn't possibly capture the squeaky, high "hello. hello. are you my mother?" or do justice to his k.c. kasum, or his secretary or his ham radio impressions. You just have to have experienced it. Sometimes my patient, stellar personality and his PHunny one turn into this:

"Hello?" says a pleasant voice.
"Hi." The professional voice continues," this is Dr. (did he put that in, I can't remember?) Jim Caldwell from the management department of South East Missouri Univer -"
"Oh, get on with it!"says the interupting voice.
"Uh, ooookay." says the confused voice, but still polite! "May I please speak with David -"
"JIM!" says the impatient voice, "you called home!"
"What?" says the unbelieving voice.
"Jim, this is Shelby and you called home!" says the explaining voice.
"Oh" laughs the understanding voice.

And then the short, impatient voice starts to laugh to because really, until he realized it was me, Jim must have been thinking, "Well, that was rude!" Here he was calling a perfect stranger to offer some helpful information and that "rude" person interupted with a "Oh, get on with it!" It made me giggle because it was very surprising for Jim. Not that he doesn't deserve that every now and then. See what playing on the phone gets you? I am chuckling still, even though I was admittedly the short, impatient, rude one. Ah Jim, you bring out the best in me. :) Thanks for the laugh.


Elise was baptized September 5, 2009

forever family

forever friends

forever mine

We love you Elise!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


It was quiet when I woke up. And cold. The chill must have woken me. The red numbers of the alarm clock glowed in the darkness assuring me I still had a few hours of sleep, it was only 4:45. I curled my cold body inward, pulling the light duvet cover closer and debated whether I should check on the kids. They always throw their covers off despite the cold. Motherly instincts won out and I tiptoed through the upstairs rooms, pulling the warm fleece blankets back in place. I hurried under my covers again and debated about going downstairs. It would be colder there, but Lindsey was wearing her purple fleece pajamas. What was Aimee wearing? I couldn’t remember. We’ve started adding pants to her night gowns, but she usually pulls them off sometime through the night. She does not like anything on her legs, including covers. She will be the cold one. Would it matter if I put something on her? She would most likely kick it off again.

Warming up under my own thin cover, I was nearly asleep when the door slammed. My eyes opened with a start and my body tensed momentarily, listening. It must be Jim. Oh yes, Jim was going to exercise with a friend this morning and he must have accidentally shut the door too loud. And then in the quiet a sound made my body chill and I held my breath, still. It couldn’t be, but yes, Jim was snoring right next to me. Even a whisper seemed too loud then. “Jim…. Jim!........ JIM!!” I silenced him when he awoke, I was still listening with the sound of the door echoing clearly in my mind as I tried to decipher from where it came. “Jim, I heard a door shut loudly in the house.” He came alive, tense as I was and I could tell that he too was listening. He reached under the bed and I wondered what he stashed there for our protection. Hopefully it was one of the solid metal bats. With a click, I realized it was the big, red mag light.

It was unfair, really, that I heard the noise and yet he was the one to search for it. I knew it wasn’t so close, but I didn’t stop him from checking on Elise and Nathan. It would prolong the inevitable walk downstairs. I could hear each step he made through the house, down the stairs. Surely I wasn’t the only one to hear it. For such a new house, it makes a surprising amount of noise. Nathan couldn’t sleep last night for the fear of it. The thumps reverberated scary thoughts in his mind that now crept into mine. Especially as I remembered that we’d played in the yard and I’d unlocked the downstairs door which was not usual for us. I’d never thought to lock it again. I held my breath to hear better.

The door creaked as he entered the girls room. I had not heard that creak with the shutting of the door and felt better to think it was not their door. But, I’d counted on that door, thinking Lindsey must have gone potty and shut the door too loud. We have two dark storage rooms I wouldn’t dare open at night if you paid me. Would Jim? He came back up. There was nothing. The girls door had been open. Really? I could still hear the door close in my mind. We both lay quietly, still tense and awake with the adrenaline of the search. There was nothing. But a thump. After another quiet, but obvious thump Jim asked if I was awake. Yes. Did I hear that? Yes. We both listened, still cold. There was silence before we heard the sound of movement through the house. And I thought, how silly are we to just lay there under the covers as the sound grew closer! I laughed nervously to think how spooked we’d be to see our own child and hoped it was just so. As the thumps increased to a quick pace I knew it was the familiar footsteps of a child, but still we both started as Lindsey darted to the doorway.

“Lindsey!” we exclaimed. It was 5:15 in the morning. Still dark. Still cold. Still quiet. Too quiet. We got up then. There’s nothing quite so loud as the quiet of the night. It can fairly crowd out all other thoughts. There’s nothing quite so comforting as the bustle of a busy house and I was glad Jim had a friend coming to exercise. And now, it’s 6:30. I suppose I ought to exercise too, as if my heart had not been quickened enough this morning! It would warm me up though. I guess that’s my Halloween fright for this year. I should hope not to have it, or hear it again. Brrrrrrr, I’m going to turn up the heat because, even moving round the house, I still feel a little chilled.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Granny and I

Isn't she beautiful?
She is also patient

I'm glad she came to visit even though she does not like to fly. She and Aunt Bette came for my mother's birthday back in July and spent a day in Cape Girardeau. I loved having them in my home. It made me feel pretty grown up, I must say. :) I put a snickers on Granny's pillow and a nectarine on Aunt Bette's. We walked along the river, ate our infamous German meal and played farkle. Finally, it was my turn to host and treat her as she has done so many years for me.

She is the start of this beautiful family that I love.

Thanks to Aunt Bette for the beautiful pictures she took and shared of the family.
It is a timeless treasure! Especially the photos that capture the moments like Aimee's above. :)

Did I mention the time I lost Lindsey? It's one of those memorable moments that makes you feel like a winner of a mom. :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Our REAL home....

The kids started school today. Elise woke up and had herself dressed at 6:20 am. “You still have an hour before breakfast!” She read a book until then. What a book worm she has become. Nathan was also dressed with his bed made before he even came out of his room to say good morning. If only they would continue this way after the novelty wears off. We had “Thootenanny” pancakes for breakfast. Their backpacks were lined up on the bench: blue, butterflies and pink. The washed, plump apples they’d picked for their teachers sat next to them just waiting for school to begin. Jim took Elise and Nathan this morning. He did not walk them in, just watched from the car. “I was so proud of them. They looked a little wide eyed and unsure, but they stood tall together and didn’t look back.” My how they’ve grown!

Lindsey had a hard time waiting to go to her class. Afternoon pre-k starts at 12pm. That’s four whole hours after the other kids leave and every few minutes found her asking, “is it time for my school yet?” Aimee and Lindsey played for awhile. Aimee found Lindsey’s white kitty and couldn’t find her own. Lindsey explained, “I think it’s still at our REAL home, the one in Florida!” “Oh….” I smiled at that one. How I miss our REAL home, the one in Florida!

We cleaned the girls’ room, watched a leap frog video, did four puzzles, had snack and got dressed before it was finally time to leave. With a thirty minute cushion, we walked the long way to school, zig-zagging up and down the hilly streets. As we walked along Masters Drive, we saw Nathan playing on the playground. It was easy to spot him in the blue shirt with a green stripe he chose for his first day. He waved and ran over when he saw us. Then he ran back and just stood by himself waiting for a turn on the swings. I could have stayed and watched him forever, but Lindsey was ready to move on.

Finally, we took our last picture and went into Alma Schrader Elementary where Lindsey got a name tag and stood in line with her new class. The lady handing out name tags looked over the students and said, “Did I miss anybody?” At which point, Aimee, who was clearly feeling left out, yelled, “MEEEE!” J Aimee was not about to be left out of the pictures, the class lines and all the excitement. “Wait for me!” has been a constant phrase for her as of late. Lindsey’s teacher collected them a little late and off they went to the big kid cafeteria with the biggest grin on Lindsey’s face and one final wave to me. On our way home, Aimee asked from her stroller, “Are we going to see my teacher?” “Oh sweetie” I said as I kissed her forehead, “I AM your teacher!” She sighed and looked away, falling asleep within minutes. I don’t think she was very excited about THAT! J

I am excited to hear about the kids first day. We are going to go out for ice-cream as our first day treat so I can hear all the details. I wonder who Elise befriended. Kate Smith, from church, is in Lindsey’s class and Sam Smith is in Nathan’s. Hyrum Dickson, from church, is in Elise’s class. It’s pretty amazing to think they each have a church member in their class. Nathan had his first homework assignment before class began. He had to pick a favorite shirt and explain it during a show and tell. The blue Key West shirt with a turtle and surfer design was my fav, it reminds me so much of Florida. But, Nathan is his own person. Last night he pulled me aside to explain what he’d chosen: “I picked this one because it has a number two on it and I’m going to tell the class you got it for me because I’m your number two main man.” J I melted in his cuteness.

Speaking of cuteness… for snack the girls shared a Clementine. Aimee peeled it and Lindsey ate it. J Although, Lindsey did her best to coax Aimee into taking a bite: “ Take a bite it’s yummy!” “No” “Yoooou’ll like it” “NO” “Aaaaaaand, it’s a talking orange. (she then continues in a real high pitch voice) eat me. Eeeeeaaaaat me. I’m yummy. Eat me. I laughed and laughed because we are always making the food talk to Lindsey in a similar way. Of course, Lindsey usually giggles and gives in. Aimee held her ground with a final, “No thank you.”

Welcome to Alma Schrader Elementary

It's back to school night.
The kids can't wait to meet their teachers and see their room.
Lindsey was first, she has Mrs. Mehner (may-ner) for pre-k
Nathan has Mrs. Frazier for first grade
Elise has Mrs. Coots for third grade
our bags are packed and we're ready to go...

Lindsey and Kate

Some things never change...
Elise created a home for Katie's petshop hamster that accidentally came home with us. I'm sure the hamster is grateful for the royal treatment. I was grateful for the royal entertainment.

Aimee has her own way to entertain herself...