Tuesday, November 30, 2010

my new ring

When Cale got home from school yesterday, he said, "Mom, I have something for you." Turns out, it was a lovely new ring with an square, orange jewel surrounded by shiney white ones. "Oh, Cale, thank you.", I said, "Now, it only fits halfway on my finger." "That's okay.", he said. Then he took the ring back and asked where he could put the ring. "You should put it somewhere it will be safe.", I said.

That evening, when I was getting ready for bed, I saw that Cale had found a very good place for the ring....

...in my jewelry box with my other rings. :-)

How fun to get a surprise gift!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cale lost his first tooth!

Our newly turned 6 year old lost his first tooth last night! Cale lost the bottom right front tooth. It had been loose for a little while and we were encouraging Cale to wiggle it as much as he could since his permanent tooth was already coming in behind it. I was at work last night, but I guess the tooth was so loose that, with a little help from Andy, the tooth came out. Cale put the tooth under his pillow and got some money and a note from the tooth fairy (in strangely masculine hand writing). He was excited to show everyone, including his teacher at school. :-)

Thanksgiving recap

Last week was a busy week for us. We started the week with several of the boys recovering from a stomach bug. I did a ton of laundry and washed every piece of linen on every bed and disinfected everything I could with bleach or lysol wipes. Then we cleaned up for Thanksgiving. Grammy Linda and Grandpa Jerry came over on Wednesday. The boys were excited to see them. Andy made our Thanksgiving meal (I slept off a night of work). We had pretty much the same meal as last year-turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and apples, marinated salad, green bean casserole, carrots, a jello fruit salad and 2 pumpkin pies. Lots of leftovers! The weather wasn't great-the kids ended up staying inside, playing games and playing the Wii.

On Friday, Grammy Pammy came and took the place of Grammy Linda and Grandpa Jerry. The boys were excited to have another visitor. Cale was excited to have someone else to play games with. Cale loves games. We try to play as much as we can, but it was nice to have an extra person at our house that could give Cale some more one-on-one attention.

We (I) got out the Christmas deocrations and put them all over the house. The boys were excited to see the Christmas lava lamp, the singing stuffed animals and the Santa in the chimney wind-up. Andy also put the Christmas lights outside-thank you! (I haven't broke it to him that we need to get some more to put on our two little trees.)

Now, it's back to the daily grind-school, work, basketball, homework....*sigh*

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

celebrating 6 years of Cale Joseph!

Cale Joseph Shaffer
11/22/04 11:46pm
8 pounds, 3 ounces 21 1/2 inches long

From 2007

From OctNov2008

From Nov2009

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Cale!

Sweet Cale is 6 years old today! We started his birthday celebrations with a trip to ChuckECheese on Saturday to play games followed by dinner for the boys at Subway. They were so excited they were jumping up and down as they were walking in. Today, I had planned to bring a snack to Cale's class and then eat lunch with him. Unfortunately, Cale (and Marcus) caught the stomach bug that we apparently were passing around to each other. He was sick and stayed home from school today. He slept most of the morning and woke up around 11am feeling much better. I was able to make his birthday cake, which we called the"frosted marvel", and he enjoyed opening and playing with his presents. I think he had a fun birthday.

Ewan made this hat at preschool. He called it Cale's birthday hat and told Cale he had to wear it. Cale was a good sport and kept it on until Ewan said he could take it off. Cale really liked his presents and the boys (including Andy) had fun playing with the new Nerf gun (we have a whole arsenal of Nerf guns in case we ever come under attack).

Hmm. Not my finest work, but it was an interesting cake to look at. I used two cans of frosting-2 different flavors-and various decorations that I found in the cabinet. Andy got the little Mario and Luigi figures to put on the cake. The boys like it when we use little toys for cake decorations.

We love Cale because...

1. he has a sweet personality

2. he loves to be a helper

3. he always knows the answer

4. he is really working hard on reading

5. he plays so well with his brothers

6. he tries his best at everything he does

2nd grade fall music program

Marcus's fall music program was last Thursday. The program was a performance by the entire second grade in two acts. Each group of kids performed 4 songs and then the entire group got together at the end to sing 2 songs. I got there in time to send Marcus to his class and find out that the only seats left were being saved for family members that were not there yet. So, Cale, Ewan and I sat on a window ledge in the back of the cafeteria. Cale was not happy about those seats, but really, they weren't bad. We had plenty of room to move around and could hear all the scripted lines that the kids said. The theme was fall with songs about back to school, teachers, Halloween and Thanksgiving. The performance wasn't too bad. As the kids get older, their ability to sing on key continues to improve. The best part-it lasted less than 1 hour-we were home by 8! (The picture gives you and idea of how far away we sat. Marcus is in the back row, almost all the way to the left.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cale's 6 year checkup

Cale's 6 year old check-up was the finale of a week of various doctor visits for our family. He is fine-perfect health. Our favorite doctor is pleased with his progress. He weighs 52.8 pounds and is 47 inches tall. Cale was pleased that he did not need any shots. To top it off, we got lunch at McDonald's-the second time that week for Cale. What a treat!

adventures with e-z meals

A few weeks ago, I signed up with a website called e-z meals.com. It's a site that gives you a weekly menu and shopping list at the grocery store of your choice. The idea is that you will save money on your grocery bill if you go shopping armed with a very precise grocery list. That way, you won't be grabbing a lot of "impulse buys". It was $15 to get a 3 month membership. But, it is endorsed by one of my favorite people-Dave Ramsey.

So, I joined. I printed out my 2 weeks worth of menus and lists. I went to the store. I bought all the items. I still spent about the same amount as I usually do. This menu planner does not count breakfast or lunch. Anyway, almost 2 weeks have past, and I have not made any meals from the plan!

Until last night. In a desparate attempt to use the food in the house and not make a fast-food run, I picked an easy looking recipe that I thought might go over okay with most of the kids. It was a breakfast pizza made with a wheat crust (store-bought), cheese, bacon, tomato, and egg. It only took maybe 30 mins total to make and cook.

It was not met with excitement at the table. Cale immediately started crying because there were tomatoes on it. He must have thought I was trying to poison him. I tried to explain that regular pizza uses tomatoes, too. He wasn't into listening. Marcus picked at his pizza. I appreciate that he made an effort with out complaining. Ewan, my vegitable eater, ate his whole piece and Liam barely touched his. Although, in Liam's defense, I did feed him about 10 cherry tomatoes right before dinner. He kept coming back for more. Andy ate the rest when he got home and also liked it. I rate this as a success. Even though this new recipe scared the kids, I think it's one I will use again.

I may cancel this subscription. I can't tell if it's really going to save us any money. But, at least I will get three months of new recipes to try.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

a poem from the church bulletin

This was in our church bulletin a few weeks ago. I thought it was a nice poem and wanted to share it. There was no author listed, so I don't know who to give credit to. Hope you enjoy it :-)

God's Boxes
I have in my hands two boxes,
Which God gave me to hold.
He said, "Put all your sorrows in the black box,
And all your joys in the gold."
I heeded His words, and in the two boxes,
Both my joys and sorrows I stored,
But though the gold became heavier each day,
The black was as light as before.
With curiosity, I opened the black,
I wanted to find out why,
And I saw, in the base of the box, a hole,
Which my sorrows had fallen out by.
I showed the hole to God, and mused,
"I wonder where my sorrows could be!"
He smiled a gentle smile and said,
"My child, they're all here with me."
I asked God, why He gave me the boxes,
Why the gold and the black with the hole?
"My child, the gold is for you to count your blessings,
The black is for you to let go."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Liam is 18 months old (a few weeks ago)

Pardon my catch-up post, but Liam has been 18 months since October 24th. As it is I think I will be having his 19 month pictures taken since I missed that 18 month window. But, I can't pass up the chance to record how he's doing at this active age.
*he climbs on anything! so much for the baby gate blocking the stairs, the ladder on the swing set, any chair he can get a leg up on
*he wants to go down the stairs like a big boy-and he will not wait for you. I grabbed his arm the other day as he started to slip from the top of the stairs.
*has he said "mama" yet?-no. what he had said is "bubbles, fish, yes, please, cheese, uh-oh". We mostly just interpret his grunts. He can follow commands and understands what we are telling him.
*he's an excellent veggie eater. not so much meat and he eats some bread. he likes to use his utensils
*he still sucks his thumb-his left one-it has the makings of a little callous on it
*Andy and I think he might be a lefty-he definitely picks things up primarily with his left hand and throws the balls with his left hand to.
*He's got his 4 molars in and his 8 front teeth. He loves to brush them with his toothbrush and the vanilla flavored toothpaste we got from the dentist-first dentist visit was this month-he didn't like being held down by Andy in the dentist chair
*favorite toys: matchbox cars, blocks, balls, his fisher-price people, remote controls, cell phones, anything his brothers have :-)
*he is a sweet boy with a sweet personality :-)

check out this block tower he built by himself-8 blocks tall!

milk cups

My kids love milk. Love milk. We can easily go through a gallon in 24 hours. I probably buy 12 gallons every 2 weeks (4 gallons at a time-it's all the fridge can hold). They also like to drink it warm. I know, many people think that it's wierd. But, my boys expect warm milk in their milk cups at every meal. Since Marcus was a toddler-7 years ago-I have put their milk in gerber sippy cups. We had 4 cups, 2 green, 1 blue and 1 orange. For Marcus and Cale, the milk went in the green cups and their juice/water went in the colored cups. Then Ewan came along and eventually graduated to having his milk in a sippy cup too. By then, one of the green cups had vanished (it probably broke-I can't remember). With 3 cups and 3 boys, each of the boys got a color-Marcus, green-Cale, blue-Ewan, orange-and have had these colors for the past 3 years. We took out the insert that makes the cups not spill-so no one has to suck the milk out of the cup, they just had to tip the cup back-kind of like a water bottle, a little. Take a look at that first picture. These cups are super-old. You can see multiple teeth marks in the blue one, and all of them have faded from the color they once were.

Tuesday morning, I came home from work to find that one of the sippy cup lids had met up with the heating coil in the dishwasher....

Ewan's cup. He was devastated. Andy could not even convince him to drink his milk out of another cup. That's a big deal when someone doesn't drink their milk.

I was able to swing by Walmart later that morning and get new cups...

I was a little anxious about the color change. 2 orange, a blue and a pink? How would the boys react. An executive decision was made to give Liam the pink cup-he wouldn't care. And, Ewan picked the blue cup as his new one. When it was time for after-dinner milk, I gave Marcus and Cale the choice of keeping their old cup or using one of the new orange ones. They each picked the new ones. And so, we said good-bye to the old cups.

I keep waiting for the day when the older boys start to care that they are drinking milk out of sippy cups. I'm pretty sure there are not that many other kids at their age doing this. But, it's a comfort for them right now so I don't mind. They are my babies, after all. :-)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ewan's 4 year old photos

Yes, Ewan has been 4 for a little while. Here are his pictures for everyone to finally see. He did a great job for the photographer. The session did not take very long at all. It helps that we always use the same person and she knows the kids pretty well. I love these photos. I love Ewan's smile. He looks so-o-o much older (and taller) in these pictures. Hope you enjoy looking at these photos of my little man!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

parent/teacher conferences-all good news

Recently, we've had parent-teacher conferences for Marcus, Cale, and even Ewan. I'm happy to report that we've heard all good things from al their teachers. We are blessed to have kids that are eager learners and always try to do their best (at least for their teachers).

Ewan's teacher loves having him in class. I'm sure it doesn't hurt that she has taught him in some form since he was a baby since our preschool is at our church. He gets along well with the other kids and is the one to try and make a sad classmates happy.

Cale is having no problems in kindergarten. He got M's (for mastery) on every skill in his report card. He is ahead of his classmates in reading. The skills assessment they did showed him higher that even the "above average" area. His teacher also assessed him on the ability to sound out words-"just for fun"-to see where he would score. Cale scored on the low end of normal for that test, which is good for a kid entering 1st grade! His teacher mentioned the idea of a possible early promotion to 1st grade if Cale continues to do well. For now, he will get extra work in class and at home-kind of some 1st grade work to keep him challenged.

Marcus's teacher also loves having him in class. He does well with his work and does not get discouraged when the work is challenging, but rather, he keeps at it until he finishes it. (Andy is thankful that the boys got my overachiever trait) He is beginning to talk more in class, kind of coming out of his shell. He is working on inference in his reading, trying to put figure out what is going to happen next. Marcus is a very literal person. His teacher told me a funny story about that: She had found out that Marcus had a brother in kindergarten and asked Marcus if Cale liked kindergarten. Marcus said, "Well, I don't know, I've never asked him." His teacher asked, "Is Cale excited to come to school?" Marcus said, "Yeah." His teacher said, "Do you think that means he likes school?" Marcus said, "I can't answer that question." He sounded like a little lawyer. :-)

So, it's nice to hear good things from the teachers. It definitely makes me feel good as a parent. Maybe we are doing this right.