Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Prince Cal and the Time-Out Tale

Once upon a time, there was a little prince who held the title of Best-Time-Out-Taker in all of the land. He never wept over his fate, never kicked, never squealed, never attempted to charm his way out of a good, old fashioned time-out. Each time the Queen sent him to his teensy-tinsy wooden bench for a much needed break, he plopped himself right down and sat in silence until she declared him free to once again run amuck throughout the kingdom.
One Sunday afternoon, shortly after returning to the castle from church, Prince Calvin shouted something quite ornery at his sweet mother. She, and the King, sent the red faced prince directly to the bench where all disagreeable children spend their time. The Queen and King got to chatting, and before they realized it, forty minutes had sped by, and not a peep had been heard from the prince.
Their obliviousness was only broken after Princess Azure sauntered up the stairs and inquired as to why on earth Prince Calvin was sleeping on the hard entry way floor.
Sure enough, while investigating her query, they discovered Prince Calvin, fast asleep within arm's length of the bench. They swept him away at once, and tucked him under his homemade covers, to enjoy a cozier slumber.
Not a soul east, and not a soul west has ever come close to pilfering Prince Calvin's well deserved title. Bless you, my dear, sweet, Best-Time-Out-Taker ever. Bless you.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Smile. Gosh Darn-it.

Today, during our family photo shoot. I actually yelled at my little boy to smile. As soon as I did, I realized how ridiculous that was. Who can smile when someone is demanding & yelling at them to do it? Deep breath. And I became the mommy singing and tap dancing behind the photographer. That worked, for a minute. The bag of bribe marshmallows didn't hurt either.
{don't be tricked. this pic is from July. the new ones will make their debut on the x-mas card.}
But really, why is it that the few minutes you want everyone to reflect how happy, and loving, and completely perfect they are...are always the few minutes when everybody just loses it? Happy holiday picture taking everyone!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dear Colorado

We have lived in beautiful Colorado for ten years together... and we thought it was high time to show our kids just how lovely this state truly is. So, this summer, we did a little hiking, a little camping, and a little fishing all right here in Colorado. Here's the McOmber Fam Summer 2010 Colorado Adventure recap:

Yes, we're wearing our coats in June. It was a chilly day, but striking still the same. We hiked through this state park, stopping at the Visitor Center where we learned all about animal poop. We took a rest to eat our picnic lunch {that Dan put together all by himself!}.
On the way out, we ran into a herd of deer. Azure was positive that they would come closer if she used her duck call on them. They did respond. And some did come closer, but I don't think they were smiling. We took to the safety of the van, and continued annoying them from there. What a fun morning!

We pass this park every time we drive to Grammy's house, but had never stopped with the kids there. We decided to make a morning of it, and take them to hike the trails. Calvin started whining within 20 ft. of the van, and kept begging me for a shoulder ride. He got a few short ones, but toughened up enough to finish on his own. We found a couple of ducks at the pond who were very willing to eat Emmett's baby snacks. We were sitting right next to a sign that specifically instructed to NOT feed the animals, but we just couldn't help it. Our kids {and the ducks for that matter} were just so darned excited!

Our kids have been a little crazy about hunting for frogs this summer. Dan, being the good sport that he is, led the search almost nightly during the season. We would only allow them to keep the frogs over night, and then release them the next morning. {we certainly didn't want to lead insect hunts to keep our froggies fed}. These pics are from one release morning, at a little pond close by. They were being so careful to bring him back to the exact spot they had found him so he wouldn't be confused. Azure had the honors of releasing him, and was cradling him goodbye - until she was startled by a horsefly on her arm. I sure hope that frog had some good landing skills, because she threw him higher than I care to say. We couldn't find him again after that, but as I told the girls, I'm sure he was just swimming away, and glad to be home!

Camp Firewalker is a high adventure camp that the scouts in our area attend. We heard that if you call and make a reservation for when they don't have scouters - you can utilize all of their facilities for the weekend. We ended up being the ONLY people in the entire camp the weekend we went, and we had a blast! We at all the delicacies that camping allows, ie. hot dogs, s'mores, hot cocoa, blueberry pancakes, sausage, s'mores, hashbrowns, hoagies and s'mores. Mmm. Mama does love her s'mores. Our kids' favorite activity at our site was catching sticks on fire. {luckily, no burning down of the forest ensued.}
We attempted to sleep in two separate tents {Dan, Emmett, and I in one, and the older kids in the other} just five feet apart...but it wasn't super successful. We had been warned about the local bear, so were extremely careful about keeping our site clear of food...but we still had lots of little critters visit our site all night long. We were kept up by several foxes, racoons, and then around 2am, when Azure couldn't sleep, I got up to help her and saw something huge moving through the bushes right next to us. I hopped in the kids' tent, and Dan came out with his little pistol to investigate. He spooked it, and the animal took off running. Luckily, it was just an enormous bull elk and not a big, hungry bear. It was enough to scare me for the rest of the night though!
The kids got up around 5:30am, and we started our day of adventure. We helped ourselves to the trails, the zipline, the archery area, and Jacob's ladder - which looks so much easier to complete than it really is. Dan was a champ there, of course. He showed all of us up. The girls LOVED the archery - and actually got some really good shots in. Maybe someday they'll go hunting with Dad, and show him how it's done! All in all, such a fun time. But, we decided next time we go camping, that we'd rent a cabin so we could all get a little more sleep. Which is, exactly what we did...

I have to say, this trip was one of the most relaxed, best camping/fishing trips I've ever been on, and that's with taking four kids, seven and under. Kind of amazing. We stopped in Buena Vista on the way to our cabin for burgers & shakes {so yummy!} and ate & played at a nearby park. The kids wanted to go fishing as soon as we got in to Taylor Park Reservoir, so we suited up {the girls were all about wearing their fishing hats} and headed out to do a little stream fishing. Bella landed a foot in a fresh cow-pie on the way. Fortunately, she was wearing big boots - so no harm done - just part of the adventure.
When we got back to camp, the girls unpacked all of their belongings into the chest of drawers & closet in their room, decorated with their stuffed animals, and made the bed just right using their own blankets. It was adorable. When they were done making the cabin a home-sweet-home, Bella decided she wanted to start our campfire the old fashioned way. She got two sticks, and challenged Dan to a race to see who could get a fire started first. He used kindling, and paper towels, and logs and a lighter. He won, but it sure was a good fight.
The next day, we rented a pontoon boat, and fished the day away. It was blazing hot in that high mountain sun. Poor little Emmett hated his life jacket, and cried and cried until he finally fell asleep for a nap on the boat's floor. Calvin caught the only fish of the day, all by himself. So proud of that kid. He was such a good sport all day long. So patient. We all had a great time - especially when the clouds came out!
I'm pretty sure I could spend at least half a day, every day, just out on a boat. I love it. So even with the occasional gripe of fishing being boring, or about it being soooo hot, or "can't we just go back to the cabin?", I was in boat lounging heaven. So, I choose to only remember the comments like, "this is the best day ever!", and "cool! a fish at half my worm!", and "when can we do that again!?", and "we love you mom and dad, you are the greatest parents ever and we are so super lucky to have you, and we'll do whatever you ask of us from here on out, we promise!" Oh, I might have made that last one up...but that's pretty much how it felt.
Here's to Colorado. Here's to awesome memories. Here's to Family. Love it all.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Proverbs from Preschoolers Past

Here's a little blast from the past. I shot this 1 minute video of the girls a few years ago, for a little contest. They finish famous proverbs with three and four year old wisdom. My favorite is If you can't stand the heat, get out of ... "The hot lava!"

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sidewalk Sight Words

My clever little first grader discovered a way to make practicing her sight words oh so much more exciting. Muy bien Azure!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Great Bus Caper

If this story ended like a Lifetime Made for TV Movie Special, these pictures of us saying goodbye to our girls the first day of school, would be of the last time we ever saw them.

These photos almost seem eerie to me now, after the events that unfolded that first day.

After we came inside from seeing them off (they insisted they wanted to ride the bus the first day of school) we noticed that Azure left her lunch at home. This was a little odd since she was super excited to bring it for her first day ever eating lunch at school. Dan said he could just drop it off on his way to work, so no big deal.

He ended up getting there about 40 minutes after the girls had been picked up by the bus. Instead of leaving the lunch in the office, as is usual protocol, the Principal let him bring it directly to Azure's class since she knows us well, and it was the first day of school and all.

He got to Azure's classroom, and asked the teacher if Az was in the bathroom since he didn't see her. "No, she hasn't come in yet today."


He ran to Bella's classroom. She wasn't there either.

Our girls were missing.

Dan ran to the office to inform them of the situation. No one had seen them. No busses had called in about late arrivals or mechanical problems. They called the bus depot, which was just as stumped. They hadn't heard anything out of the norm from any of their drivers. They finally radioed out to all of the buses asking if anyone had seen two missing girls, age 7 and 6. The older one with light brown hair and brown eyes, wearing purple. The younger one with long blonde hair and blue eyes, wearing a pink scarf and a skirt. Both thin. Both caucasian. Sisters. They waited for a response. And waited for a response. Then finally called back to the school's office that yes, one of their drivers reported back that he still had them on his bus.

This is the driver that I asked, when he came to our busstop to pick them up, what was going on, since his was a different bus number than we were expecting. He quickly assured me that he was merely a substitute and that our regular driver just had jury duty today and would be back tomorrow. He also told me, after I asked if our girls' names were on his route list, that they hadn't been given lists yet, and that those should come out next week. He waved them on board, and we sent them on their way - on a ride that should have only taken two minutes, to drive 4 blocks down the road to their school.

Instead, he was on a route that took them out of our neighborhood, 8 miles away to Pioneer Elementary school. Unbeknownst to us at the time, they had sent his bus, to our stop at our exact time, to pickup ESL kids and deliver them to this other school.

When they got there, Bella and Azure told him that Pioneer wasn't their school. He didn't stop the bus. He didn't take them inside and ask the office staff if these girls, who may have been confused since it was the first day of school, really did belong there. He didn't ask my girls what school they do attend {which they know}. He didn't ask my girls for their parents' contact info {which they know}. He didn't even radio in to the depot to report that he had two little girls on his bus that seemed to be lost, and that he didn't know where to take them. He just kept driving. And driving. Until he heard the call from the bus depot, making it clear that they were aware of the missing girls.

I don't know his intent. I don't know what would have happened if Azure hadn't left her lunch at home, and we didn't realize they were gone. I don't know what would have happened if Mrs. P asked Dan to drop the lunch in the office so as to not disturb the class - adding another 3 1/2 hours to the time before anyone knew something was wrong.

I do know, the Lord was watching over my little girls. They made it back safely, and were no worse for the wear. They got off the bus smiling and laughing, an hour and a half after their school had started.

I do know that I love those little girls with all of my heart. I smothered them when next I saw them. I cried. I knelt down and thanked a loving Heavenly Father for protecting my family. And I spent two hours talking with the transportation department's supervisors about what on earth went wrong that day.

Maybe not the best start to a new school year, but definitely an adventure. One that I would be okay with NEVER, ever having again. Posted by Picasa

*One thing I should mention, is that fortunately for my little heart, I happened to be in the shower, then drying my hair when these events were unfolding. I didn't get Dan's initial "our children are missing call". I didn't hear his 10 subsequent calls. I finally answered the phone to hear all that had just happened after the girls had already arrived safely at the school. I know it was frustrating for Dan, but such a blessing for me, as I can't imagine how I would react to that huge of an unknown. I was so shaken up even after the grateful that Dan was the calm, level-headed one there, handling everything. As his cousin Julie posted already - we are truly grateful for the Lord's tender mercies!