Thursday, July 26, 2012

Top 5 Reasons to Buy a Massive Bear

You've seen those gigantic teddy bears filling up shopping carts at Costco, haven't you?

The HUGE ones.  The ones that fill up the entire colossal Costco shopping cart so there isn't even room for a 120-oz. jug of apple juice or 500-count bag of chicken nuggets.  They're super soft and bigger than the children who beg for them.

Last fall I went into Costco to buy my usual:  two huge loaves of bread, an enormous bag of meatballs, and a giant jar of strawberry jam, when I stopped in my tracks.  That bear was staring at me with his big brown eyes and begged me to bring him home.  My kids - who I never give in to (seriously, I don't) - said, "Can we have him?" And I said yes without hesitation.

I can easily say it's the best $29.99 I've ever spent, and I have no regrets.  The kids love to read and snuggle with the bear and he's well loved here.  They've named him "Gary Beary Osborne."  And BONUS!  It will never, ever get flushed down the toilet.

A few months ago, I went to Costco with my sister and she couldn't fight the lure of the 53" bear.  He's pretty irresistible.  Before she could say no, the bear found its way into her cart (which ousted her children into mine due to lack of space).

Oh, I wish I had pictures of that bear safely buckled into her car's front seat, with his arm and paw out the window.  I nearly wet my pants watching her drive out of the parking lot.

But the fun was just beginning.  A few hours later, I began getting texts from her, showcasing just how well her new family member was fitting in.

  Perhaps he was checking his Facebook page?

Oops!  Bare bear.

 He likes it "over" not "under."

Snuggling with Justin... whose smile is bigger?

 It just looks so natural.

Not to be outdone, our bear had something to prove.  I hauled "Gary Beary Osborne" upstairs to snuggle with his namesake.  Gary was peacefully sleeping and had no idea I was taking this picture.  In fact, until he reads this, I'm not even sure he's ever seen it...


So in conclusion, I URGE you to run to Costco and buy this bear.  Not only will your kids love him, but sleeping husbands will too.  

Oh!  My title!  (Which I totally forgot about as I was actually writing the post, so now I'm just making these up...)  My top 5 reasons why you should buy this bear:

5.  Your kids will think you're awesome.
4.  You will think you're awesome.
3.  I will think you're awesome.
2.  The bear is super awesome.
1.  You can send late night picture texts to your sister about it.
(Notice I never said your husband will think you're awesome.)

Convinced?  I thought so.  

Friday, July 20, 2012

Now Showing!

It's opening night of "Narnia!"

For the third summer in a row, the girls are part of the Peanut Butter Players - a children's theater in our community.  They've been practicing for a month, and finally tonight is opening night!  They are sooo excited!

Emma is a Narnian Eagle and Addie is a Christmas Squirrel.

Let's revisit summers past...

Last year, the Peanut Butter Players performed "Hans Christian Anderson" where my girls were school children and also jellyfish in the "Little Mermaid" ballet scene.

I'm always so impressed by the do-it-yourself costumes the parents have to put together, and the scenery everyone pitches in to create.  

The kids all audition and are then given a few lines to memorize, along with songs and sometimes a dance.  It's SO fun to watch!

The first year they did it, they were mermaids in "Peter Pandemonium" - a play about a children's theater company putting on the play "Peter Pan" but experiencing a few bumps along the way.  Such a clever show!

With about 50 kids in each of the two casts that perform, it's amazing how it all comes together by the end.  The director, Jo Anne Lamun, has quite a knack for wrangling children.

One of the girls' favorite things to do is to sign autographs after the show - how cute is that?!

So hours before the curtains part, I just have one thing to say...
Break a leg - or a wing - girls! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Extreme Makeover: Basement Edition

We were supposed to go to the zoo yesterday with some friends.  But when it started pouring in Denver, we postponed our trip.

And instead, we cleaned the basement!

Because it's almost as fun as going to the zoo, right?

But actually, it was a GREAT day.  When we started, it looked like an episode of Hoarders.  Boxes everywhere.  Toys strewn about.  Outgrown clothes piled up all over the place.  But now?  Now... it looks amazing!  It's clean!  It's bright!  It's a place you might really want to hang out!

Aside from getting everything organized and thinning out a lot of STUFF (14 boxes of Christmas decorations?  Really?) (and does anyone else LOATHE sorting kids clothes?), we finished a fun project for the kids in the basement.  And when I say "we," I actually mean my amaaaazing hubby!

"We" built the kids a stage!

Our basement is unfinished, so we had a completely blank canvas to work with.  The alcove in our basement from the breakfast nook upstairs is the perfect spot to house a stage, complete with curtains, lights and a backstage. 

So the night before, we started cleaning up the area.  Gary painted the floor, walls and ceiling of the alcove black.

And then he started building and painting the stage.  He also hung up two metal rods:  one for the backstage curtain, and one for the stage curtain.

While I worked on the curtains, the kids pitched in to help!

The boring, gray, cement walls on either side of the stage needed some cheering up, so the kids helped to paint them a bright, happy yellow!

My small part of the project was the curtains, which were a breeze.  I just used the flat sheet from a cheap set of Walmart sheets.  I slit the sides of the large hem at one end to hang on the rod.  That was it!  No sewing, no trimming, just easy peasy curtains.  For the  top valance in front of the red curtain, I used the fitted sheet.  I took out the elastic and used that small hem to thread a string through which we stapled to the ceiling beams.  I "eyed" how long to trim it and didn't measure first, so... don't look too closely!  But hey - it's done, no one will notice, the girls don't care and I'm happy with it!

Backstage, there's just enough space for the girls' dress-up trunk, and a storage shelf for musical instruments, props, shoes and more.
Since their plays usually involve costume changes, this was a very necessary feature. (Notice Brody's drumset back there?  You can imagine how sad I am that it will no longer be in my living room.  Those drums are L-O-U-D.)

The girls love, love, love it!  Last night, just minutes after its completion, they performed their first show for Gary and I.  They regularly perform plays and shows for us, so we know this stage will get a lot of use.

The last thing we need to do is mount some hooks or something so they can open and close the curtains without tying them each time.  

Seriously, how awesome is my husband for making this?  He could've had the perfect man-cave there, but instead launched the girls' Hollywood career by making them a stage.

I may start selling season tickets to our theater.  Interested?    :)

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Christmas in July

There's an additional beloved member of my extended family who has never been spoken of before on this blog.

He has nicknames (ohhh does he have nicknames), but mostly he goes by "Santa."

Santa first joined our family about 15 years ago when he was given as part of a gift exchange at my parents' Bible Study Christmas party.  We immediately were drawn to his... um... shapely appearance and bushy wreaths.  There's something different about this Santa... something I just can't put my finger on...

SERIOUSLY, who makes Santa look like this!?!?!

Who gives this at a Bible Study Christmas party?!??!!
Were they serious or was it a joke?  
Did they think it would add a nice touch to someone's Christmas decor?
And what on earth does Mrs. Claus look like?
To this day, we don't know who the giver was, we just know that we love them.

Santa has caused quite a raucous over the years and we've gotten many a laugh at his expense. He makes surprise appearances throughout the year when my mom and I stash him in unexpected places to be discovered by the other.  

After unknowingly taking him home from the Christmas celebration last December, and discovering him as I unpacked my bags, Santa spent the last six months at my house.  My mom never exactly knew if he was here or there, she just knew that sooner or later Santa would reappear.

And so thanks to a 4th of July celebration at her house last night, Santa has been joyfully reunited with my Mom.  It's Christmas in July, Mom!


Upon discovering Old Saint "Richard" nestled in the toilet paper, she sent me this poem:

‘Twas The Day After July 4th
by Kim Olson

‘Twas the day after the Fourth and what would I do?
But clean up from our party, starting out in the loo.
I emptied waste baskets and laundered the towels,
Replenishing toilet paper while moving my bowels.

As I reached for a new roll, there where I sat,
I thought to myself, What!? She’s gotten me back!
‘Cuz St. Nick reappeared looking right at my hiney,
I sat there and laughed, as I was just stymied.

He was perched in a new roll, in a bin on the wall,
Hoping someone would find him when nature would call.
Angie had to know… it would be me that would glean,
After all, it’s been months since he has been seen.

As I continued to clean, going about my day,
I left St. Nick there so I could show him to Ray.
I don’t think I’ll warn him when nature may call,
Knowing full well, he might pee on the wall.

Oh say, can you see, what fun St. Nick’s bringing?
Was he already hidden as we were all singing?
I wonder who placed him, and who was in charge?
Was it Gary, running back in after loading the car?

I guess it doesn’t matter as long as he’s safe,
Where he ends up is just a matter of taste.
But in the loo… seriously? Surely you jest,
One thing’s for sure, I was at my best.

Who knows where YOU will find him next,
You’ll know soon enough, and that’s a threat.
He’s ‘bound’ to turn ‘up’ without any strife,
But be forewarned, you may need a knife.

In your hunt he could be high,
In your search he could be low,
Just keep your eye out and don’t contemplate it,
You’ll have plenty of time if you’re constipated.

Another 4th has come and gone,
When again will we see everyone?
‘Guess we’ll just have to try to behave,
In the land of the free and the home of the brave.

God Bless America!

But wait!  There's more!  This is the SECOND Santa-homecoming-poem my Mom has written.  The first was written in January 2011 after I stashed Santa in the garland on Christmas day:

by Kim Olson

'Twas two weeks after Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were still hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that the Olson’s would remove them from there.

Their kids in their own homes were doing the same,
Putting away decorations…it all looks so plain!
With mom in the house and dad in the yard,
Both were busy packing so it wouldn’t be so hard.

When up on the balcony mom burst into laughter,
Dad came running in to see what was the matter.
As Mom unfurled her garland to show Dad her find,
They thought to themselves, Angie’s out of her mind!

So that’s where Santa went, they thought to themselves,
‘Can’t wait to hide him next year on one of her shelves.
Away to the phone mom flew like a flash,
As she tore down more garland to add to her stash.

She thought to call Angie, to tell her the news,
But found herself laughing, about the ruse.
What fun we have with Santa, all at his expense,
We never know who got him last, or how, to what extent.

It’s fun to play this silly game, with those who are just as sneaky
The scheming and tom-foolery could cause one to take-a-leaky.
Mom’s surprised she didn’t catch you when she saw your hiding place,
She spoke and looked right at you girls, atop her grand staircase.

Santa may not look the same, when you see him next,
He lacks a little detail that leaves him a bit perplexed.*
Mom thought it best to add to him to make him feel complete,
So she’s going to add a wreath or two just above his ‘feet’.

I know you’ll miss poor Santa for another year,
‘Just know he’s taken care of until we meet my dear!

*After many years of man-handling, Santa had lost his "wreaths"... 

and so my Mom touched him up and adjusted him a bit... so to speak.

 How funny is my Mom?!
Stay tuned for when Santa pops up again!


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