5th grade graduation

Eve had her elementary school graduation today and now it’s official — we have two middle schoolers in the house!

Shaking hands with the principal.

Shaking hands with her classroom teacher.

Looking at Facebook just now and seeing all the pictures parents took of their kids, and their kids friends, and all the flowers and smiles, I’m feeling a little lame about our graduation efforts.  However, Eve isn’t making it easy. She has been surly and grumpy and pulling away from people for awhile now, and it just occurred to me while I watched her at graduation, that I think she has a lot more feelings about leaving DBS then she’s letting on.  I think maybe it’s a little bit of denial at work.  Also, she hasn’t been feeling well all week.  She has been super tired, she’s dealing with poison ivy on her feet and a sunburn on her face, and she has the sniffles.  I think she’s ready for a break.  Maybe I’ll get a smiling picture when she starts middle school. For now, I got this.

Go away, mom!

I hope Eve finds herself again this summer so she can start middle school with a more positive attitude.

I got a little teary-eyed during the ceremony today.  I’m going to miss this class.  They aren’t perfect, but they sure are awesome!  I’ve known so many of them since kindergarten (even some from preschool!).  We have been around for birthday parties and playdates and sleepovers.  They are a small, tight-knit group, and I think it’s going to be hard for them to be so separated next year.  It’s going to be hard for me too… but this post isn’t about me.  It was wonderful that for so many of them I was able to say “see ya later” instead of “good-bye” because I know I’ll see them around.

A little celebratory dancing.

For now, while others are having parties, we are celebrating with books and blogs and Minecraft.  Lame, maybe, but it works for us.  :)

Happy 13th Lex!

I can hardly believe it, but my baby boy is a teenager today! At what age does it become believable? At what age do you forget their actual birth day, forget what they are like as tiny babies, forget the sweet baby head and tiny fingers? I hope never! I love the growing boy I have now just as much. He’s kind and funny and smart and silly and still loves his momma! Always happy for a hug and still says “I love you” when we part.

He didn’t want much for his birthday this year. Just the usual books and Legos. I offered him a party or a weekend trip, but he said no thanks. He did take me up on my offer of a piano! :) That’s really a present for all of us though. We ordered it several weeks ago and it’s on back order. I hope it comes soon. I’m excited for that one.

I can’t have a birthday without presents on the table (and he sweetly reminded me of the tradition and asked if he would still get little presents even though the piano was expensive), so I got 13 presents, wrapped them all in the same paper, and numbered them. Just for fun.

We also got 13 balloons, wrote sweet notes on them, and left them in the family room for him to see when he woke up this morning. My original plan was to put them in his room, but reconsidered when I realized the fan would blow them around and it would probably be scary.

He said it was wonderful walking into a room full of compliments. :)

We had breakfast and presents, then it was off to school and work — for them! I got to skip work on this beautiful day and take Arlo for a visit to a dog trainer. It was a very nice experience and a lovely place. More on that later. Now, presents!

Back home I decorated the cake and then we headed out to friend’s house for a visit. Eve and her son are both auditioning for Matilda next month and wanted to rehearse together. Really it was an hour of bouncing on their trampoline and five minutes of rehearsing (while still on the trampoline). Lex and her daughter are chess pals and were happy to fit in a few games. He won one and lost one. He said they’ll have a play-off match at school on Tuesday. :)

By this point it was dinner time and if you know this family at all you know that Lex’s preferred place for birthday dinner (and any dinner) is Panera Bread! Alan met us over there and proceeded to be so silly he had both kids in tears. Dads are good at that. :) Then home for cake and more presents!

Now it’s 9pm and the boys are happily Minecrafting. Eve is in bed waiting for me to turn off her light. I am full of cake and love and peace. Tomorrow we will go see the new Star Wars movie (the boys are excited and the girls are along for the ride) and get dinner at the Olive Garden. Sunday we have an invite to a BBQ, but I’m secretly hoping it rains so I have an excuse to stay home and read the paper and drink tea all day. :)

PS. I measured him on the wall this evening.  62 1/4″.  He still has Eve beat by an inch and I still have them both beat!  For now.

11

Oh, this girl.  I can’t believe she’s eleven years old.  It seems so old, yet, after a day with her and her friend I was reminded over and over that she’s still pretty young. That made my heart happy.

She started her day bright and early with the one thing she wanted more than anything else in the world.

A special owl delivery. This owl is looking a little worse for the wear after a few run-ins with Arlo!

 

It’s her letter from Hogwarts!!!

She was squealing with delight!

Alan is in Florida this weekend so we did a video chat with him for morning presents.  Fortunately Mandy had made plans for the day so they were up early too.  Eve didn’t have to wait THAT long to open her presents!

Eleven years old! Eleven years of loving this perfect child.

Google hanging out with Daddy and Aunt Mandy.

Showing daddy her letter to Hogwarts.

Jasmine meets Leo. Jazzy had no interest whatsoever. LOL!

Eve got Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and bravely tried the vomit flavor.

It wasn’t very good. In fact, it was hysterically bad!

She had to get up and walk it off! LOL!

A Ravenclaw banner for her room. I hope the Sorting Hat gets the message! (Thanks Rosy!)

Strorks the Rhinoceros from the Just So Stories. (Thanks Grampy Don and Pat!)

I made scones and we had a nice morning.  I measured Eve on the wall on our new measuring stick.  She’s 5’1″ and growing taller every second!  I eventually was able to round them up (they were pretty wound up!) and got them in the car for a day of adventure.  We picked up Eve’s bestie, put on an awesome audio book, and headed to the trampoline park!

These kids keep me laughing!

Jumping, jumping, jumping…

Crashing!

The SkyZone check-in lady offered us the option to “upgrade” to two hours instead of just one, but I think one was plenty.  They all wanted to leave five minutes before our time was even up!  They were exhausted!  I jumped too, but there are no photos of that. :)  Lex spent a lot of time on the dodge ball “court” and loved it!

Everyone was hungry after all that jumping, so we headed to the OG.

A celebratory Shirley Temple for this little curly-q.

Crazy girls

We are a bread and cheese kinda crowd! Sarah threw in a little shrimp, and I had some salad, but really we just went for the bread sticks and alfredo sauce.

They even sang to her! Nothing compares to the birthday song at the Syracuse OG, but this was fun too. :)

Once we had eaten way more than we should have, we headed to the mall!  Or more precisely, Build-A-Bear!

Build-A-Bear is a funny place, but Eve loves it.

Sarah got the Eevee Pokemon and Eve got a cat and named it Sarah. They both got matching Pokemon outfits for their stuffies.

We did a lap around the mall and the kids all griped about the stores.  We passed Victoria’s Secret and PINK and the kids were uncomfortable and made comments about how awkward the stores were.  One even said, “There are children around for goodness sake!”  We passed a few other stores with underwear models and the kids kept commenting on how unnecessary and inappropriate they were.  Good kids!  Then we stopped at a toy store.  On the way out the girls noticed a Motherhood Maternity store nearby and started making the same comments about awkwardness.  I tried to defend that store, saying pregnant women need clothes too.  They didn’t get it.  I asked which was more awkward for them, VS or MM?  They couldn’t decide.  I said, “Maybe they should be closer together because if you start wearing clothes from Victoria’s Secret you’ll probably need the maternity clothes soon after.”  Totally just making a joke. Their reactions were PRICELESS!  Huh? Heads cocked, noses crunched, eyes confused. “Why?” they asked.  I burst out laughing and walked away.  I wish I had a camera for those looks.  I texted Sarah’s mom about it to give her a heads up about possible topics that may come up later, but when we dropped Sarah off it came up within minutes!  Lisa asked how was the mall and the girls immediately started talking about all the inappropriate stores and displays.  LOL!  Still little girls.  Even at Claire’s they commented on the ridiculousness of the little makeup compacts and double mirrors.  “Who needs two mirrors?!” said Eve.  “Who even needs one in their bag?” added Sarah!  :)

We got back in the car for a quiet ride home.  And sweaty.  Turns out I have to get the AC fixed in my car!  It was sunny and in the 50’s today, so the car felt like an oven.  Not complaining though!!

We dropped Sarah off to have dinner with her mom. It’s her mom’s birthday today too. Wasn’t it nice of her to share her daughter with us for the day?!  Then we headed home. The plan was to dye Easter eggs and watch Coco with dinner.  Instead we all checked out into our own things.  (Minecraft, Harry Potter audio book, and Facebook — I’ll let you guess who did what!)

Daddy gave her the moon. More specifically, a 3D printed very detailed replica of the moon. It’s pretty cool.

I love this picture. The shiny above her head is a reflection off the new cats ears she got at Claires.

This one is her favorite. Also a little evil-villany.

Tomorrow is Easter and we have a low-key day planned.  I’m hoping to sleep late and read the Sunday paper.  The kids are hoping to dye Easter eggs, then hide them.  :)  I have little baskets planned for them, but nothing too exciting.  We’ve invited a friend over for dinner, which will probably be pizza.  I should do some homework and lesson planning in there too.  But now, wine and laundry!

Happy Birthday to Miss Eeveecat!  May she forever be wild and free. <3 <3

Parsee Cake (this one’s for you, Grampy Don!)

Eve has been in a treat making mood lately. She baked and decorated sugar cookies a few times, and yesterday she made some Jell-O. Seeing the Jell-O reminded Alan of a cake his dad created and his mom used to make for him every year for his birthday. She taught me and I took over the tradition for many years until he decided he wanted Birthday Cookies instead. Well, today, on our last day of February vacation, this happened.

She got pretty loopy at the end! I can’t imagine why?! :) She made the cake almost all on her own, with just my guidance and minor help. It came out great! I love how proud she looks. <3

The Johnson Family Bank

Based on the book The First National Bank of Dad (which we have heard about, but have not actually read), Alan and I decided to offer the kids the option to put their money in the “bank” and earn some interest.  It’s something Alan and I have discussed in the past, but just brought it up with the kids today.  Their “save” envelopes were getting pretty full, so I suggested we deposit the money into their 529 College Savings accounts, which then lead to further discussions of banking, which led to this:

I may be breaking some space/time continuum by posting a Snap of a screenshot onto a blog!

The kids both agreed that their “save” money should go towards college, and they both liked the idea of earning interest.  Alan said “When you are ready to start a family bank account, you can create a spreadsheet in Google Docs and share it with me and mom.”  Both kids immediately grabbed their computers!  :)  I guess they were ready!  We’ll see how it goes.  Hopefully it doesn’t break the ACTUAL Johnson family bank account!

Growing up, and the holiday concert that was

Lex had his winter concert tonight. Their concert dress code is black bottoms, white tops, dressy. Last year he wore black sweats and one of Alan’s white Hanes t-shirts, and I thought things were fine. Last night when I was putting him to bed he said to me, “Mom, I think I should get some nicer clothes for the concert tomorrow.” Turns out he felt awkward in his sweats last year and although no one commented, he said he got a few funny looks. Imagine my surprise when he suggested a Polo shirt! After school today he came to DBS to help me set up some robotics kits, then we tried to work out shopping, karate, Girl Scouts, and the concert. I kept waiting for him to bail on the shopping, but nope, he suggested skipping karate so we could go shopping!! We ended up dropping Eve at home (to walk Arlo) and then Lex and I headed to JC Penney. I wish we had better clothing stores around. Penney’s and Khols both have very small kids sections. Plenty of adult clothes and baby/toddler clothes, but my kids are now at that age where they can’t quite wear grownup clothes, but have outgrown the kids section. It’s tricky. He tried on almost a dozen different pants and four shirts before settling on a pair of black jeans and a white collar shirt. He was happy for the entire time! He was a little worried that the jeans were a bit big around the waist, so I suggested a belt. Guess what?! He said OK! Ack! Who is this child?!

We inhaled some pizza, got Eve out the door to Girl Scouts (cookie time is right around the corner!), then rushed off to the concert. Lex was a few minutes later, but we agreed that at least he’d look slick walking in. :) He was happy and the concert was awesome!

On the Eve front, she was going to bed last night, climbing up her bunk bed ladder. She stopped, looked seriously at me, and said, “Mom, puberty is doing weird things to my body.” She then raised her foot up behind her and I looked, expecting to see bumps and blisters, but instead I saw a big googly eye! Stuck to the bottom of her toe! I cracked up! She started giggling and crawled into her bed. Not too grown up yet! <3

New House!!

We closed on the new house today!!  Whooo hoo!!

The kids came to the closing and right afterwards we went to the new house and did a happy dance! :)

We were a little bit excited. :)

Then we started moving in our boxes and boxes of stuff.  The fancy new house will be “lived in” in no time!  Tomorrow is the official moving day.  We’ve had several friends offer to help us move (crazy friends!) so hopefully we can get it all done this weekend.  Wheee… What a crazy summer it has been!

First day of school

5th and 7th! Can you believe it!!

They both woke up happy and ready for school. We managed photos without anyone getting cranky, without any animals escaping, and without anyone being late for school! We’re finally getting good at this! LOL!

I had a good day at school. The superintendent even stopped by when I was teaching a 1st grade class and those kiddos were perfect! I was handing out stuffies for them to cuddle as reading buddies, were were naming the stuffies and discussing how much they like stories, and then he walked in. It was perfect! :) Earlier in the day I ran a fun scavenger hunt with the 5th graders. They loved it!

Macy scanning the QR code on my back. The word was “fire” and the kids laughed that there was fire on the librarian! :)

After school and popcorn for snack (it’s our thing) Eve went to play at Macy’s house for awhile, then they came back here and we all took a walk over to the new house. Guess what?! We have solar panels!!! And siding on the whole exterior. So exciting!! The developer told us (via email) that the landscaping crew was coming at the end of this week and the area will look very different soon. We are hoping they get that path carved out soon.

Then we got home and Eve crashed on the floor! She was literally asleep on the living room floor at 6:15pm! I tried to get dinner in her, but no luck, I tried to get her to shower and brush her teeth, but no luck (yuck!), and by 7:30 she was sound asleep in bed… with me by her side! I woke up an hour later, remembering I still had another kid to put to bed too. :) He didn’t mind the extra Minecraft time!

Here’s hoping we can pull it all off again tomorrow!

Happy (late) Birthday!!

This handsome fellow turned 12 last week (well, four day ago)!  I’m a little busy with life, but we snuck in some birthday celebrations here and there.

Hugs for Doctor Nurse Professor Aunt Rosy!

We celebrated a little early in Franklin with the family.

We love Snap Circuits!!

Fun with the drone.

Look at it go! Lex is a very good drone driver. I am not.

We celebrated a little on the actual day.  In past years I’ve found myself making three cakes/cupcakes: one for a family party, one for a friends party, and one for school.  This year, I made none.  :(

Do pancakes count as cake?!

The pile was a little small and half pajamas, but the big present came later in the day.

An early dinner at Panera Bread before Eve’s concert in the evening. This reminds me of another picture I have of them on Lex’s 4th birthday. They’ve grown a little since then. :)

Finally, FINALLY, the surprise arrived, everyone got home, and we let this extremely patient 12 year old open his fancy new laptop! The better for playing Minecraft on.

The weekend after his birthday Aunt Mandy came to visit and went out for ice cream and mini-golf.  Sadly I left my phone home on accident, so there are no photos.  We all had a great time though!  Then Ziggy’s for dinner and a round of pool.

Sunday evening (yesterday), Alan and I talked the kids into going to a new-ish restaurant.  We promised them dessert and had them bring games.  Lex set up a variety of chess challenges for me, then we had an intense game.  It was great!

<3 <3 <3

I felt a little guilty about this birthday because we didn’t do a party and didn’t do anything big and special.  I offered to take him on a day trip or invite some friends for ice cream and mini-golf, but nothing appealed to him.  The week was full of concerts and plays and meetings and parties he wasn’t invited to, so I feel like he got very little attention, but he said he’s happy and it was a good birthday.  I try to remind myself that in general “very little attention” is what Lex prefers.  :)   I’m glad we were able to go out to dinner Sunday night, just the four of us, and have a good family bonding time.  We get one more year with this preteen before he hits those scary-sounding teenage years.  Let’s make this year last and last!  <3