Friday, April 29, 2016

Calvin and Hobbes

Several years ago, Cheri gave Jeremy a collected version of Calvin and Hobbes comics in a big book.  It sat on his bookshelf for a long time, waiting for him to one day find the interest to peruse its pages.

About a year ago, he took that book off the shelf, and he laughed out loud literally all night long.  He simply could not put it down.  Not all kids "get" Calvin and Hobbes. Especially not all kids today. It is all about imagination, and I worry that we are not letting kids cultivate theirs enough these days.  I was SO happy that Jeremy not only "got" it, but he loved it.

The binding is starting to break, and we lost the book cover ages ago, but it is a very common travel book and Violet has even taken to sneaking it into her room to read at night when Jeremy is not looking.

Recently, though, they have started taking it to a new level. Jeremy often says words that he has only read and therefore does not know how to pronounce.  It is really cute and I love that his vocabulary is so extensive from his reading.  Nine times out of ten, when he tries out a new big word and we help him correctly say it, we find that he learned it from Calvin and/or Hobbes.

And then, one day I came home from work to see the kids in an absolute frenzy of excitement.  Apparently, they made a transmogrifier and wanted to show it to me.

Yes, a transmogrifier.

It transmogrifies things.  Duh.

Jeremy explained he saw it on Calvin and Hobbes and wanted to try it out.

Here is one of the strips on the transmogrification series:

Basically, they turned a cardboard box into a transmogrifier by writing directions on it, then you get inside, turn the dial, and turn into whatever you want.  Like, say, a little boy could become a tiger.  Crazy.

Here is Jeremy's version:

He put a lot of work into this.

Violet wrote an instruction booklet.
 Jeremy turned into a shark, and Violet turned into a kitten.  I was told to take a turn, and I was transmogrified into a cucumber.  Seriously.  It is written on there as an option.  So is "stick", "bug", "lungfish", "weirdo", "toad", etc.  My kids are so strange.

Anyway, this is the type of random kid nonsense that I just love.  They fell in love with a book, immersed themselves in that make-believe world, and found a way to make it come alive through the use of a cardboard box, a marker, and pure imagination.

Side note: Melissa - I  think Anderson would love Calvin and Hobbes if he is not already reading them - try it out!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Fun with Mommy (mine, not me)

I just have so many mom moments in my life now that we live closer that I feel like my cup literally runneth over.

Over spring break, and my birthday week, I took Friday off to go with the kids (saving Brian from another day at home with them both) and hang out in Memphis with mom for the whole day!

It was so much fun to know that I can drive up, spend hours upon hours with her, and drive back home that night like it is nothing.  Just totally normal to spend the day with my mom.  Ugh.  You have no idea if you have never lived 400 miles from your loved ones for 16 years what this type of freedom means.  I still feel like I have to hoard my family time like it will be taken away again.

Mom took me to get my annual haircut (I suck at self-care, let's be honest), and we let Violet get some pink streaks (temporary).  I am a bit concerned at how much she loved it, but I can also admit they looked great on her.

Then we went shopping and tried on a million dresses together.  Dani took photos of mine (because Cher Horowitz is totally right), but Mom had some amazing ones as well.  Shout-out to Jeremy who is so incredibly good-natured that he helped us pick out dresses and did not even complain.  I hit the jackpot with that kid.  Violet, on the other hand...

 I just love having girls days with my mom.

Later that weekend, my brother got two free box tickets to The Book of Mormon playing at The Orpheum and gave them to us.  Once again, holla for the ability to drive up on a Sunday night, attend a show, and get home with no problem sleeping to get to work on Monday.  I still can't even process how lucky I am.

And how hilarious is that show?!  So inappropriate, so funny, such a talented cast.  Mom and I were in stitches the whole time.  Other than that teensy little moment when I totally tumbled down the grand staircase in front of hundreds of people in the lobby (face palm), we had a blast!

This past weekend, our family headed to Memphis for my cousin's wedding (he married one of my old RAs from UT - crazy!), and we hooked up with Mom, Joey, Megan, and Dani.  It was a beautiful wedding, but not many people were hitting the dance floor.  Mom decided that just could not stand, so she grabbed me and Dani and the three of us did what we do best.  Made total fools of ourselves without a care in the world.  We danced, and danced, and danced.  My mom is so fun.  That dance floor was full of happy people thanks to us.  We do what we can.

Even when I was younger and in high school, people were surprised at the way I talk about my mom.  She really is one of my best friends in the whole world.  She is kind, sweet, creative, nuts, and FUN.  I could not ask for a better one, and I am SO grateful I am able to be so close to spend all this bonus time with her.  LOVE!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Happy Easter!

We had a lovely Easter holiday this year full of fun with family!

We headed to Memphis and ended up staying the night because our monthly game night happened to fall the night before.  This way, though,we got Easter morning with my mom!  Naturally, this meant my mom bought a ton of stuff to help enhance the kids' baskets. I like to keep things simple at Easter (I simply do not understand the Facebook posts showing piles of toys and bikes on Easter Sunday.  What the heck?!) and generally stick to a book, a toy, and some candy.

The kiddos got excited to set out their baskets, empty eggs for the bunny to hide (he only used a fraction of those) and a carrot.

And the Bunny came!  Violet has been wanting a Ken doll to use as the multi-function boy/prince/dad for her doll adventures, and Jeremy is happy with all things Star Wars or Iron Man.  And books.  Always books.

They had a great time eating way too much candy. We had our litte egg hunt in the house (the Bunny hides the eggs that were in the kids' baskets the night before), and they had a lot of fun.  The golden eggs were super hard this year and they had to really work to find them.

We went to mass and Violet fell asleep on me for the first time since she was an infant.  She is massively heavier nowadays and my back was about to give out, but it was the best she has ever behaved in church, so I would have happily thrown my back out before waking the beast.

After church, my mom hosted a billion family members at her house for an egg hunt for the kiddos and a rousing game of Dirty Bunny (aka dirty santa) for the adults.  We had so many people, so much food, and so much fun.  Naturally, I got no photos, but my cousin Rachel got some good ones of the kids.

Happy Easter to all!!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Uncle Butt and Aunt Megan!

A few months ago, Joey played a game on Violet's iPad and signed his name as "Uncle Butt".

A legend was born in that moment.

The Oxford Film Festival recently took place, and since my brother is all famous and stuff and helps run Indie Memphis, he and Megan came down to be VIP guests of the fest.  Now, they could have driven the one hour back to Memphis each night and morning, but then they would have missed out on all the fun that comes with an insane niece and nephew.

When they arrived, we went to a quick dinner at Newk's:

Then we headed home without them (they had a film), so the kids and I set up our plan: PRANKS!  Mostly, I was just trying to come up with something to hold off the tantrum that was bubbling up at the restaurant when they realized Joey and Megan were going to be going off on their own.  Plus, it was too delicious an opportunity to teach them some fun tricks.

So, we set up the inflatable beds and got to work.  First, we short-sheeted both beds.  This was a staple of my childhood, but I guess Cheri and I never did it to Joey, since neither he or Megan knew what it was and totally fell for it even after I told them we did it.  Suckers!  Joey's bed was filled with various bugs and weapons (plastic sword in the pillow, giant spider under the covers, etc) by Jeremy.  Violet wanted to do nice pranks, so she filled Megan's bed with every single My Little Pony we have in the house (and we have a lot of My Little Ponies).  They were SO proud.

The final touch:

In the morning, the ponies had all flown to various locations throughout the house and Vi had to find them all.  One was even on the ceiling fan - silly pony!

We hit up the square and spent some time in Square Books (I will be forever grateful that my kids love books and I can spend 45 minutes in a book store while they quietly sit and read to themselves). Uncle Joey, in true Carr patriarch fashion, insisted on buying them the books they had been reading, which was incredibly sweet.  The kids are accustomed to my tired line of not having money (in my defense we take them to the library multiple times a week to get books), so they were fine not buying anything, so the surprise of the books from Joey and Megan was really nice.

Megan also helped me give Violet a makeover.  Her poor hair is so thin and stringy that I have to cut it short at least once a year to help it thicken up.  She loves long hair, so I shamelessly used Aunt Megan and her implied awesomeness to help encourage the super fun makeover.  The fact that really swayed her, though, was that her hero, Taylor Swift, had just debuted a shorter look at the Grammy's.  Megan did so great and Vi loves her short hair!!

The kids really had a blast goofing off with their aunt and uncle.  They can be a bit overwhelming (and Jeremy punctuated their final night with us with a spectacular vomit display all over his bed), so I really really really appreciate their patience and love for our monsters.

We look forward to our next adventure with the beautiful Aunt Megan and the silly Uncle Butt!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

My Shining Star

Jeremy does not pose for as many photos or constantly beg for as much attention as his sister, but he is just the most amazing kid.  Let me just remind all three of my dear readers that we moved him in the middle of the school year away from his friends and plopped him in a new school and new state.  He lost his Pop, who he was very close with, shortly after, and he has really not missed a step.  I am so impressed with him.

And so is his teacher!

Jeremy was named Shining Star for the month of January, so he was the Student of the Month in the 2nd grade!  He was chosen by Mrs. Orrell due to his kindness to everyone in class.  He is generous, helpful, and nice to everyone.  So proud!

This week we had a sit-down with Mrs. Orrell (Brian and I have noticed his grades slipping a bit), and we basically listened to an hour of Jeremy praise.  She has no concerns with his grades, though  she did offer some great tips for things we can do at home to help him in some areas.  He is still adjusting to a new environment, and considering the things he has had on his plate, his teacher is very happy with where he is right now both academically and socially.

I think the biggest thing Brian and I learned from our meeting was that we need to adjust our own expectations.  I admit I was a total teacher's pet my whole life and gave myself health issues over the possibility of a B (not an actual B, just the possibility of one).  I don't want him to be like that.  Brian worries about Jeremy's focus and desire to play rather than work, but Mrs. Orrell laughed and just reminded us that he is 8.  Good parenting lesson.  Sometimes we work so hard to push our kids that we forget they just need to be kids.

So, here's to my kid.  My rambunctious, hilarious, smart, and conscientious kid.  He protects his little sister and would move heaven and earth for her.  He is paired up with kids in his class who struggle with English as a second language because his teacher knows he will be patient and kind with them.  She has him read out loud to the class often because he is so animated and a natural storyteller.  He reads with full inflection, suspense, humor, and character voices.  I thank my Dad for that one.

Jeremy is a total goofball who loves video games and Legos and Star Wars, but he is also just a good kid who wants to be a part of the team, wants to learn something new every day, is inspired by science and experiments, loves to dance, and cannot carry a tune to save his life.

I love his imagination, his huge blue eyes, his willingness to still let me hold him tight, and his insane mop of dirty blonde hair that has refused to lie flat since the day he was born.

Also, how cute is his school?  They went all out for Dr. Seuss Week!