Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Spring day in the middle of Winter

God gave us a gift today!  We had a 68 degree day on January 30th.  Not that this is all that uncommon, we usually get a few warmer days during the winter, but it was soooooo welcome!  I don't know what has happened to us this winter, but we seem to have caved into the blah weather and curled up into ourselves.  Today, we came out and stretched our wings.

Leaving for church this morning I bundled Brant up into his coat, zipped and hooded.  Heading for his mittens, Brant looked at me and said, "Hey Mommy, it looks warm outside!"  Explaining how sunny in the winter doesn't mean warm, we walked out.  And then back in to put away coats!  Glorious glorious warmth!

Returning from church we shed our winter clothes, searched out our Keens, threw on jeans and headed straight out.  We played hard, cleaned up the yard, and drew with sidewalk chalk.  When big Brantley got home from work, he joined in the fun and our neighbors emerged for an impromptu Cornhole tournament and cookout.

No photos to accompany this post, we were too busy enjoying ourselves and to be honest, I didn't even want to come in to get the camera.

All I can say is OUR family is ready for Spring!  Bring it!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Brant got a letter from Santa!

Wow!  Brant had a surprise in the mail today!  Besides finally getting his new mittens from L.L.Bean (now that it's in the 50s for the week), he had a personally addressed letter from Santa!

We took Brant's letter to Santa to the special Santa mailbox at the post office.  We didn't get it mailed until around the second week of December, and Brant was getting a bit concerned.  He went into the post office with me, and there, sitting on the counter, was a specially decorated shiny red mailbox.  Grinning, Brant opened it up and it played music!  Slipping his letter inside, he looked quite satisfied.  Mission completed.  Candy cane in hand and reindeer stamped, he left a happy little boy.

So today, what should arrive, but a very special letter!  Trying to open it, Brant said, "Boy, I didn't know Santa could stick things so good!"  Finally surrendering it to me, we got it open...and here is what is said.

All I can say is that the spirit of Christmas and St. Nicholas is still alive in the world and Santa, thank you for writing to my little boy! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Brant reads ME a book!

Little Brant has been greatly enjoying his K4 class with Ms.Stacy and Ms. Jodi. We have been so amazed at the amount of learning that goes on in his room!  With 15 little kiddos, it's one busy room, and one that is full of the love of children AND learning!

While surprised that Brant has some sort of homework every night, we've really seen the importance of the follow-up work.  Usually consisting of a coloring letter paper or handwriting practice, for the past few months it's also included sight word books.  We've been reviewing 10 sight words at home, for about a week, and wow, that boy flies through them now! He's picking out sight words in books that we read and around the house.

Tonight, Ms. Stacy sent home the first phonics reader.  Yesterday, actually, the book got sent home, but we didn't get a chance to read it. Stacy spoke to me at school, saying she didn't get to go over the book with Brantley another time, so don't push the reading too hard.  Tonight, I read the book to him one time.  A while later, we sat down for him to read to me (it's so hard to get him to be still at home, after being still at school!...come on spring, we need to play outside!)

Sitting down, Brant read the entire thing to me!  I was so shocked, my little boy was reading!  I tried to contain my excitement until the end (as he embarrassed easily and gets shy), he got a huge high five and hug from Mommy!   Yeah for Brant!

The first phonics book Brant read to US!
(although we can't quite figure out if Sam is a boy or a girl!)

Monday, January 24, 2011

My OWN recipe!

It seems we have some independence blossoming at our house.  When we get things out to cook, so does Brant.  Although it came a little early tonight, before dinner.  Wanting to cook his OWN recipe, he proceeds to get measuring cups, spoons, a bowl and eggs out.  Instructing me the rest of his "gredients" I decided we weren't going to just mix this time.  We found our recipe for homemade play-dough and got cooking!

A Very Hungry Weekend

Wow, what a busy weekend we had. Not intending to, but it developed that way.   I don't get haircut duty all that often, but B needed one, and Daddy was at work, so off I went into "Man Land", otherwise known as the barber shop.  Brant refuses to go to the "girl barber," who cuts my hair, so he and Daddy usually have a Saturday morning out together. 

We started the day at the barber shop, and progressed to the library, Mommy and B's Saturday tradition.  While there (which we hadn't been in a while) we say an advertisement for an event, later that day.  Bring your Legos and build at the library!  Needless to say, there was some excitement!   So we headed to Daddy's for lunch and then back home, briefly, for me to run to a friend's open house, and Brant to gather Legos!  A quick hour later, we were headed back to the library, and what a great event it was! The kids LOVED walking around seeing what others were building, and we each had a table for ourselves.  The Friends of the Library also provided each child with a book to take home.  What fun!  We ended the day with Daddy, furniture shopping, out to dinner and then rearranging our living room to wall-mount our tv.  And so was our crazy Saturday. 

Sunday was exciting.  After visiting a church, we (Brant, Grandma and I) had tickets to the Winston-Salem Children's Theatre.  A travelling group was putting on Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other stories.  Eric Carle being a favorite in our house, we were all excited.  It was fantastic!  It was all done kabuki style, with the puppeteers all in black (they called themselves puppet ninjas) and the puppets painted in special paint for the black lights.  IT WAS A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!   

We ended the weekend relaxing at home, just Mommy and B.  Daddy was working, so we played Legos and trains, then snuggled in for a movie, wrapping it all up with the books from the library.  Not bad for a busy weekend!

Mom and a silly B at the theater.  Hard to get a serious picture any more!

My snuck picture, which is horrible because I jiggled it, but how cool was the background for Little Cloud!?

And the super hero is......

When we found out the final day of Spirit weeks was superheros day, Brant went nuts!  He knew just who he was going to be...Batman!  Now, if you remember correctly, we do have a Batman costume, as that was who Brant was for Halloween this year. 

 But I was NOT going to send him to school in a one piece costume ALL day long.  You see, I'm a teacher.  And you think differently when you are a teacher and a parent.  First of all, all I could see was the struggle to go to the bathroom all day.  And needing a teacher to undo all day, and getting hot, or itch, or, what if you don't make it out of it in time to GO to the bathroom?  And once in the bathroom, the arms would be dragging on the bathroom floor.  YUCKO!  So, we went in search of a Batman shirt, to attach his cape to, and his handy dandy black cargo pants (which were also his fireman pants from Halloween!) 

And so, here is OUR little super hero, Brantman....err, Batman!  
The cape didn't make it all day either.....

By the way, if you are wondering what I was....I was the mild-mannered alter ego of Super other words, ha ha ha, myself.  I had several great ideas, such as wearing all my Marine gear, as you know, our military are ALL super heroes, or even doing the Super Mom thing.  But my spirit was pooped.  As in nada.  I just wanted to be myself!  And as a parent, commenting that I didn't dress up said, "Don't worry, teachers ARE super heroes!"  

Thursday, January 20, 2011

whooo weeee, who ARE those tacky people?

Us, I'm afraid!  Do you know how long it took for me to pick out tacky clothes?  seriously, I'm not patting myself of the back, but I pretty much buy everything to mix and match.  So I had to raid Big B's closet for some contrasting items.   After I asked him if I could borrow a shirt for tacky day, I realized that didn't sound much like a compliment!

Brant was fairly simple, although the same grab and go principle applies to his wardrobe too!  If it doesn't go with jeans or khakis, it's not there!  He does have one pair of camo pants, and that, paired with a plaid shirt and striped shirt under it made for one lovely combination.  But let me say this, compared to some of the kiddos at BDS, we were very tame!

So the photo doesn't show the bottoms, but Brant had his camos, and I had on jeans, rolled up, sandals and one red soccer sock, one green.  Lovely.

Tomorrow is Super Hero day, and other than Super Mom or a Marine, I have no ideas.  So most likely, it will be Brant making the appearance.  Who WILL he be??  Check in tomorrow to find out!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

We've got spirit, yes we do! We've got spirit, how 'bout you?

Yep, you read the title right...It's SPIRIT WEEK YA'LL!  At BDS, this encompasses the week surrounding the big basketball game, and a week of utter, total, nutsoness that leaves every teacher quivering in the knees and thankful it only comes around once a year!  But dang, it's fun!

Being a short week, Tuesday was Blue/White day, where you dress in...yep! Blue and White!  I pushed my blue to include jeans, after all, if you can't wear jeans to school during Spirit week, when can you?!  Brant was a cutie in a blue flannel shirt.   We got to sit together at the Pep Rally, during which he held his hands over his ears the entire time because, yelling at me, "IT"S TOOOO LOUD!"

We stayed after for the game, and Brant sat with his buddies, the 5th and Upper Schoolers who are his friends.  Yes, my son, at age 4, was sitting with the big kids.  He came to me when he needed money.  Actually, his friends were helping me, as I had signed up to work the game, and it was packed!  But I felt like Brant was a teenager already!

Today was a comfy day, Pajama Day!  Donning a clean pair of jammies this morning (why did we change? seriously, this could have been the easiest morning of the year!) we headed out to snuggle our way through school.  It was also Polar Express Day for Brant, postponed due to a snow day before Christmas.  Needless to say, the excitement level of his class was sky high!  Slinging his bell on the way out of school, he deemed it " A fun day!"
A quick pic on the way out to school...bunny jammies on Mommy (Christmas present from Little B) and Spiderman for Brant!

Waiting for the movie to begin!  yes, he's sticking his tongue out...

Brantley's classroom "Fe-ater", the mobile SmartBoard. Can't wait till his class
gets a permanent one!

Now tomorrow...tacky day!  Wait til you see what WE are wearing!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Brant cooks lunch and Percy gets a bath

Today, after visiting a new church, we got cooking lunch.  Brantley has a London Broil marinating and I decided to try to make a tortilla verdura de Murcia, in Spain.  When I get a hankering to travel, it comes out in cooking, and I have a whole list of international recipes to try.

We always encourage Brantley to cook with us, whether peeling, mixing or using our chopper, he's in the action. Today though, he asked for his "OWN" recipe.  Stating "I'm a better cooker than you OR Daddy," he got busy. A few weeks ago, Daddy printed off Chef ZeFronk's cookbook from Playhouse Disney and looking for a recipe we had ingredients for, Brant got busy.  The recipe of choice...Ze Italian Caprese Kabobs.  They were as yummy as they looked, liked bruschetta on a stick!

Reading the recipe, making sure everything was ready to go


Have I introduced you to Percy the "Pola" bear?  I know he's been mentioned, but a Polar Bear that is so involved in our lives deserves more than a mention.   Percy joined our family about a year ago.  We went to IKEA looking for some organizing items for Brant's room, and left with a new loft bed too! Brantley and I thought it was so cool, we just couldn't resist.

Anyway, we had gotten as far is up the escalator and not even into the first showroom, when there were two bins of white polar bears.  Brant runs over and picks one out.  That polar bear had immediately bonded with Brant.  My one condition (thinking it wouldn't work!) was to tell Brant his has to carry him through the store.  No dice.  That polar bear wasn't going anywhere.  By the time we got into the car, he had his own personality (he's a very mischievious bear) and a name.  No bedtime is complete, no snuggles done until Percy joins the fun.  (I was, of course, thrilled, that the animal my son picked out was WHITE!)
Best buddies

Yesterday, Percy was not so pristine, so he got a bath.  Brant spent almost the entire wash cycle in front of the washer, talking to Percy, asking him, "Are you having fun?"  and "Are you getting dizzy Percy?"  Of course, Percy's voice sounds like Mommy's, with a little polar bear variation, but he assured Brant he was having fun.
Checking out the spinning Percy!

It took Brant 3 years to latch onto a snuggles, but it looks like Percy is here to stay.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

An Indian Brave and ramblings...

Today was an interesting day.  Brant went to school, and I didn't.  I'd taken a day off, as a teacher is known to do every now and again, for various reasons.  Big Brantley and I were home alone and boy did we miss Little B.  Seriously, what did we do with our time before he was born?  Must have watched A LOT of tv. We kept ourselves busy by putting up crown moulding in the kitchen.  Let me tell you, quite the difference!

 Little B could have stayed home with us but because it was Winter Day in the K4 class, that was NOT an option!  Brant got dressed, or rather switched jammies, donned his slippers and went off for a day of winter themed activities.  He hasn't told us exactly what he did, "I fordot," being the answer of choice, but he has said it was very fun.  And the addition of Meredith Wilkerson's fantastic cookies,, you know the day was great!  But alas, no photos.  Mommy wasn't there!

This afternoon Brant got into his dress-up clothes.  I love the fact he's into pretending as much as he is, which is why we don't have a Wii, or any other video games system yet. I don't want to discourage the imagination and physical play. Call me old fashioned, but I don't know when we'd have time to play it anyway.  There are plenty of years for video games, only a few of dressing up!  Among the choices of Batman, Superman, Buzz, chef, knight and many more, Indian Brave made it.
Brant checking out his mop handle's that for  imagination!?

 I was the bear and was dramatically shot and skinned, and then he shot a deer for dinner!  Here's a short clip of Brant explaining who he is, and why he's dressed like that...prompted by me, of course.  Nothing spontaneous tonight!

Didn't realize I had the camera turned for the video...sorry!

You know, blogging is an interesting thing.  It's rather addictive. I've found I take photos of everything, and a lot of photos of nothing.  Why??  I might can use it on the blog.

In addition to blogging, reading the blogs I follow is addictive.  Is it my inner nosiness? or just a need to feel connected to other family, friends and moms?  Who knows! But the best's fun!  I hope that some of you readers feel the same way.

 The ultimate goal of our blog is a family journal.  One that perhaps I will have bound into a book, or just take joy in reading past posts.   So I am glad that you are here and I hope you will keep up with the crazy life of the Carolina O'Days.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Snow Day!

Mother Nature played a trick on us Monday.  Hoping for a snow day Monday, we instead found ourselves in school..ALL DAY LONG.  But she came through around 3:30 yesterday afternoon as it began to snow.  We were above the major snow line, so ours turned from snow to sleet, back to snow and added in some freezing rain, just for giggles.  School was closed today, and the fun began. The best part?! Daddy didn't have to go to work either! While not ideal for snow activities, the sledding was awesome!  The layer of ice over the snow allowed us to slide incredible distances!  

When we walked into the front yard, we discovered we'd had some visitors. Quite a few
from the number of tracks in the yard!

The deer were rooting for the layer of acorns in the yard

Daddy was instructing Brant in the fine art of snow shoveling. 

And an added plus, the snow plow came by!

We headed to the park to do some more sledding. Or wiping out!

Daddy and Brant got a few good slides in!

Mommy too!'

Daddy's solo slide, all the way to the tennis court!

Our neighbor's pool (site of most of our summer days!) The water was frozen on the top!

The glass fisherman float we got on our honeymoon at Martha's Vineyard.
It never made it in the garage when we cleaned up the yard.
A quick visit to Grandma's and a family photo!
We are snuggled in now, and trying to thaw out.   Lots of Lincoln logs on the floor, sleepy yawns and hot chocolate!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Missing photos found...A Day out with Thomas at Tweetsie

This past summer I was blessed with the opportunity to travel with 26 students and parents from B D S to France and Spain.  I'd worked on this trip for a year and a half, before traveling, and by the time it rolled around I was filled with a mixture of regret and excitement.  Regret that I would miss two weeks out of Brant's summer and excitement to show my students some of my favorite places in Europe.

Brantley, being the wonderful husband and father that he is, was full of encouragement and assurance that all would be fine.  He had planned on keeping Brant busy and Grandma, Mom Mom and Pop Pop were all on hand to join in the fun.   The big event, a Day out with Thomas at Tweetsie.   Armed with the second camera, Brantley was instructed to take photos of every smile, expression, cool thing, that Brant did, so I could see them when I got back.

I returned.  And Brantley didn't have photos.  Or rather, we couldn't find the photos that he swore he took, but he couldn't remember if it was on our camera or his Mom's.

Well, last weekend, I vowed to finish Brant's baby book.  (Trying to keep up with the baby book, scrapbook AND blog is exhausting, and something has to fall through the cracks.)  But finish it I did.  AND I found the missing Day out with Thomas photos, that my sweet husband did in fact take!  They were on another SD card, and may I present for your viewing pleasure....the photos!  (I'm not able to caption these, as I wasn't there...)

The Great Engine Line-up and a week for the birds

"Oh my," says Toby, "However did I get so many friends?"

In case you missed the blog posts about Thomas the Train and Brant's love for any train, but especially Thomas, I thought I'd document the Great Engine Line-up.  How did this all begin, you may ask?  Well, it all began on Christmas morning...

The fantastic train set Grandma got Brant came with a Thomas engine, but somewhere along the way, he lost his face (before being given). I called Fisher-Price for a replacement face, and they were out of stock! (oh no! You'll never realize how creepy a faceless engine is, when you KNOW it needs a face!).  So they one-upped themselves and sent a voucher for a new engine.   It came in the mail yesterday, so we were  "Off to Target!" as Brant says, to get a new engine!

We seem to have a multitude of Thomases, so we chose Rusty.  But of course, he needed batteries.  So I told Brant to line up his engines, we were going to change out batteries!  Thirty minutes later, three different sizes of batteries and two sizes of Phillip's head screwdrivers, we were ready to roll...err...chug!

I love how each one has a different expression!

Brant's grin says it all

and no matter how many Brant has, he knows ALL their names!
So it's kind of nice to have a blog post about not much at all.  We've had a quiet week of getting back into the swing of things at school, early bedtimes and lots of snuggles.  The weather is looking promising for another snow/ice day tomorrow and Tuesday, so stay posted...more winter fun coming soon??  

And so I leave you with Brant's exciting discovery one afternoon this week.  Where he had spilled some birdseed on our front walk, we saw this...

As Brant correctly identified "Daddy cardinals" we looked around the front walk and there were 5 Daddy cardinals all around the walk and feeder!   

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ringing in the New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone!  Little B and I spent New Year's Eve chilling out, watching a movie, waiting for Daddy, and for midnight to come.  We talked to Japan, cleaned his room, folded clothes, played games...and answered the question, "Is it midnight yet?" about a hundred times! You see, we bought sparklers and poppers at Target, and Brant couldn't wait to use them!
Brant watching tv intently, waiting for the countdown.
 He's already in his coat to go outside and make some noise!

Squinty Brant, notice his pockets are all loaded with poppers and sparklers!! 
So, as the New Year has begun, and we are back to school tomorrow, what a better way to spend the last day,  then to remember what we have done this week! We've packed in as much as we can, had as much quality family time as we can and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.   From Winston-Salem to Raleigh, we've seen it all!

Our week started in Winston-Salem...

The fountain at Salem College

Old Salem, decorated for Christmas. Mom took this photo, as Brant was at work.

King of the mountain in the square at Old Salem
Wednesday, we headed to Chapel Hill, for Brant's first trip to the planetarium.  I'd not been to Moorehead Planetarium since I was in grade school and we all thoroughly enjoyed the show. Mom got to go with us as well!

Playing at the sundial in front of the planetarium

Before the show...B was tired, so he was snuggling Daddy's hair
After the show, we headed to the Streets at Southpoint for a little Bear Building, a great lunch at the Cheesecake factory and some shopping.

Buddy, the newest addition to our family (he is also a fisherbear, on his time off)
On Thursday Mom was flying out to visit Cheryl and Mark, so we planned to spend the afternoon in Raleigh, before taking her to the airport. What better way than lunch at Tir na Nog Pub and a trip to Marbles, children's museum.

Piloting the boat.  Remember our first trip here?

Fighting fires!

Peeking through the porthole on the pirate ship.

Bouncing underwater!

The best part for the boys, were the construction areas. Here Marbles provided
wood, pegs, pipes, buckets, whatever needed to build a contraption to send a golf ball through.

Surfer dude!

Building a race car...look at their father, like son!

My camera died at this point, but they built a tower so high even Daddy couldn't reach the top!
Brant completely demolished it!

So, our final week of vacation is wrapped up.  Tonight is a school night, with lunches to pack and lessons to plan.  Stay posted, for the O'Day family is ALWAYS up to something!