Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Zoe's First Day!

Well, I got to keep her home with me for one extra week, but the time came and off she has gone has well. Thankfully it's only 2 1/2 hours a day! She was excited to go to "her school", disappointed that she didn't get to ride the bus like the boys, and cried when Mommy left--I think she thought that school was a fun place where we all got to stay and play together! It all turned out just fine and she was very excited to go back again today. Here's the big girl on her first day:

Somewhere between home and school we ended up switching eye patches from a pink one to a blue one. :) That tends to happen fairly frequently, even in a short 4-hour time span! Here she is checking in, putting her name under the word that says "excited," answering the question Miss K asked: "How do you feel about being at school today?"

And here she is at her journal, getting ready to color a picture of herself on her first day of 4-year-old preschool. She was about ready for Mom to put the camera away at this point. :) Sorry, kiddo, get used to it!

All in all, it has been a successful start to the school year at our house, although it will take a bit of adjusting for me and Tate to get used to our new schedule without all the big kids around! It sure is quiet around here in the mornings. Tate and I spent our morning playing baseball in the garage (it decided to downpour here this morning) and then played with some play-doh--oh, what fun! Another little funny from Zoe: she came into our bed about midnight last night, and said she couldn't sleep because it was too noisy (which is sometimes the case if it is really windy out or something--not the case last night, however!). I said, "what is noisy?" and she said, "the boys--their breaths are too noisy!" I don't know if they were snoring or what but her delicate ears thought they were breathing too loudly for her taste. :) Just another little sign that we should probably think about moving them to their own rooms one of these days. I'm working on it. Hope you are having a great start to your week!

Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 27, 2010


Holy cow this week has flown by! I can't imagine what the rest of the year is going to be like if this first week of school has gone so quickly. We haven't even begun to factor in some of the kids' other activities like Charlie's much-anticipated tae-kwon-do classes, Zoe's dance class, or Max's flag football practices. Yikes! Thankfully we have a pretty clear schedule this weekend, and are looking forward to a little more pool time before fall is officially here--until the pool closes, you can count on the Olsens being there!:) Here is a funny little picture of my little ones and how attached we have been this week:

Can anyone say privacy please?? This is what happens when Mommy needs to go potty...I have friends that think they need to observe...with snacks no less! :) Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

5 things...

After reading a similarly titled magazine article I came up with my own 5 things that "men don't understand about women." All in good fun, I promise!!

1. That a salad, a diet Coke, and a hot fudge sundae are considered a balanced meal.

2. The vast amount of multi-tasking that can happen in our heads. My current running mental list includes: getting our family portrait framed, helping Max write and send his birthday thank-you's, taking the kids' physical forms up to school, remembering that Charlie has PE on Tuesdays and Fridays and Max has PE on Wednesdays and Fridays (meaning they have to wear tennis shoes instead of their flip-flops), calling the guy AGAIN about Charlie's tae kwon do class, calling about the kids' piano lessons...and this doesn't even include anything that is actually written on the master calendar! Yep, our minds have amazing mommy-multi-tasking capabilities!

3. The absolute miracle that is called Target---where else can a mom get a box of diapers, a new lamp, school supplies, a cute new shirt, and groceries all the while having 3/4 of your children trapped buckled safely in the fun extra-large cart?

4. That putting our kids on the school bus is like putting the most tender, vulnerable piece of our own heart on the school bus. And that it almost takes every ounce of our being to not follow that bus every single day.

5. That helping clean the kitchen, fold the laundry or bathe the kids are absolutely among the most romantic things that can be done (although Buck now knows this because I told him! :) )

School is off to a great start around here...hope and pray all is well in your worlds!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

And they're off...

My big boys off to school--a 2nd grader and a kindergartner, with baby brother wanting to join in the fun! Mommy says "no way!"

This was Charlie's choice for a pose. :) Love this kid. He also chose the outfit. He has his tennis racket sticking out of his backpack as his "object to describe himself." I am interested to hear how he describes himself using his tennis racket, but more power to him.

No, that's not a peace sign or bunny ears...it's a 2 for 2nd grade per Max's instruction to the photographer.

And Sassy Sissy needed a picture too even though preschool doesn't start for another week. She even had to put on her backpack.

The traditional photo line-up of kids getting on the bus, while we make them look directly into the sun! :) The line has grown a bit this year, adding a couple of kindergartners, while a couple of other kiddos graduated to middle school. Thankfully we have a few years until that happens!

My sweet Charlie is the last one on the bus. This is when my tears started...but he did GREAT. That's all that really matters!

And there goes the bus off to school...

And here are my sweet buddies staying home to play with me. Although Tate did protest quite loudly when Daddy went to work. Nice day to do that, Buddy!

All in all it was a successful start to our school year. Even though I am missing my big boys like crazy, I am thankful for:

*A wonderful school district that feels like home for us
*Good friends who are teachers at the boys' school, both of whom took time out of their very busy first days to e-mail me to say my boys were doing great. WOW!! Thank you, friends. I love you!
*God's protection over us this summer
*AWESOME teachers. We are so excited about the boys' classes this year (and Zoe's preschool teacher and class as well)--thank you, Lord!
*Time that I will have to spend alone with both Tate and Zoe--it is a blessing!
*That I am the one that gets to put them on the bus in the morning, and pick them up in the afternoon...what a joy and privilege, and absolute blessing.

When I think about how fast the summer went and what a fun, perfect summer it was, I know this school year is going to go just as fast. I am thankful for a smooth and easy start to the year. Wishing you all many blessings as you start your school years--whatever that looks like for each of you!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Itty Bitty Brush With Fame...

So do you know who Elizabeth Gilbert is? Does that name ring a bell? Perhaps it is because of this:

Which then became(and is now) this:

A little background on where the note came from: When we were in Ethiopia, picking up Miss Z, the extent of jet lag coupled with adrenaline does not even begin to describe the crazy feelings you have. G-Funk traveled with us as well, and one of the insomnia-ridden nights, G, our friend John (fellow adoptive dad--who traveled BY HIMSELF to pick up their new daughter C--bless his soul!) and I were in the living room of the guest house in Ethiopia. G and I had both brought the same book along, "Eat, Pray, Love" and every once in awhile, one of us would bust out laughing or say "hey, you have to hear this", and pretty much generally loving every word of this book. The delirium of new-baby-in-a-foreign-country-on-approximately-2-hours-sleep may have helped a bit too. :) Anyway, reading along and our friend/travel mate John cracks up and says, "I cannot believe you both are reading that book." We thought we were going to be made fun of for reading "chick lit" but no! It turns out that John grew up with Elizabeth Gilbert, and their families were close friends...even more, John and "Liz" (can you believe he gets to call her that!) are still good friends to this day. We had a good "Oh my goodness, that is amazing!" moment and that was the end of it, so we thought.

Fast forward 2 weeks: We had been home from Ethiopia for less than 2 weeks, still in that haze that follows any new little one joining your family. I get a package in the mail from a return address I don't recognize, thinking it may be another "Zoe gift". I open excitedly and it was better than almost any new baby gift we got. There were 3 autographed copies of Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love" along with the note above. 1 for me, 1 for Jill, and 1 for Zoe when she is old enough. How sweet is that?? If you can't read the note, here is what it says:
"Hello Laura & Jill!
My dear friend John said he'd caught you reading this book while on your own great adventure--and I was so tickled and moved by your story, I had to send these signed ones along! Blessings--
Liz Gilbert (and up in the corner it says PS--And welcome home, brave Zoe!"

So if that isn't enough to make you LOVE this woman like I love this woman, I don't know what is. And there is my itty bitty brush with fame...thanks to our friend John. I cannot wait to see the movie this weekend!

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Too cute...

See...I told you!! The crazy patch takes up half her face. But at least the optical center had some cute patterns for us to make it slightly more "fun". As if... Here she is sporting her ladybug patch with her butterfly shirt...the girl is already in the know with her fashion themes.

Zoe is such a trooper. For our friends that read this...it would be a HUGE help if when you see us and our girl, please don't make a big deal about the patch, and don't do one of those horrified "WHAT HAPPENED??" things. :) Aunt G, you know who you are. :) Also, if you could give your kiddos a heads-up as well, that would be most helpful! Although, not surprisingly, the kids are less taken aback with it than the adults--isn't that always the case?? Zoe has gotten significantly more comfortable over the past week, and with school starting in a week we want to keep the progress moving in the right direction. It's surprising how fast you get used it once you look at it for awhile, just like anything else. Let's keep getting that eye strong so we can get rid of that pesky patch!! Way to go, Zo-Girl!

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's always something...

*Miss Zoe is sporting a new look for the next 3 months--a very cool pirate's eye patch! Thank you, wonderful Dr. S! We love you to death, but I do wonder, have YOU ever had to make a 4-year-old wear a patch over her eye? Thankfully it is only for 4 hours a day, but it needs to be for 4 busy hours, such as when she is at school, using her eye. We are trying to strengthen her weaker left eye, and Dr. S assures me that this will happen quickly if we are consistent in our patching. So far so good, but little Miss does NOT like it and I don't blame her. I wish things could have just stayed "status quo" for awhile but it wasn't to be...oh well...it's always something! She is still as beautiful as beautiful can be even with a patch covering almost half her cute little face. :) Pictures to come, if she will let me get a pic with the patch on. Have a great rainy day!

Friday, August 13, 2010


Well, 8 years ago today, I was sitting very uncomfortably in my air-conditioned home (thankfully!!), slightly disappointed that my "feeling" that our first baby might be arriving today was wrong. I had been at work earlier that day, a busy labor-and-delivery day, and had ended up pushing a patient on her bed from her room to the OR for an emergency c-section---by myself. For a 38-weeks pregnant lady that is no small feat! Add to that the stress of the situation, and some contractions started. I was shocked! Being a first-time mama, working in labor and delivery, I was 100% convinced I would go past my due date. I was ready for the long haul. But that day, August 13, 11 days before my due date, I thought something might be happening! I called Buck, told him to sit tight, but I was going home. What do you know? Put my feet up on the couch and drank a bunch of water...no more contractions. Surprise, surprise. So we had a normal night, hung out, and for fun, watched Adam Sandler's "Big Daddy" for some laughs. Well, something did the trick because at 2:45 AM on August 14, my water broke and it was time to meet Max!

And 8 years later...my big guy...
Here he is singing along to TobyMac while wakeboarding...such a little stud!

Told him to smile for the camera...thank you, Captain Confident! :)

Mastering the "switch" on the wakeboard so he can go back and forth over the wake...wowsa!! Look at that concentration!

We are so blessed our kids have GREAT friends!! It was actually FUN to take all these kids to the ballgame...just a tad bit on the warm side but they didn't mind!

A brother is a built-in best friend. Charlie caught a foul ball at the game, and without hesitation, said to Buck, "I caught this for Max on his birthday!" and handed the ball over. Pure love.

Making a wish...as a mom you want nothing more than for your kids' dreams to come true!

A little hard to see, but there's Max's picture up on the scoreboard during the 7th inning stretch! Happy Birthday, Buddy!

Buck led the kids in "all hands in" and a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAX!

WOO HOO!! What a fun day, what a great celebration, what an amazing child we have been blessed with. He is a joy, he is a treasure, he is kind and thoughtful. He is persistent (to the point of nagging! ha!), he is determined, he is a leader. But most important, he loves Jesus. He wants to follow God. He teaches me things. He is forgiving of my mis-steps as a mom. There is a big part of my heart that has MAX written all over it...and we celebrate the day he joined our family. Happy birthday, Max!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This week I have not...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More Vacation...Pictures with Captions :)

We were so blessed to have our friends join us for a few days in God's country--here is Miss Julie with one of her 4 boys (AKA "Big Tate", who "Little Tate" was named after)

Buck after one of his wakeboarding displays--joking around for his sister, but it was caught on camera. Sorry, buddy! It's going on the blog! :)

To which Max said--"Show off! Look at these muscles!"

To which Tate said, "NO, Look at THESE muscles!"

I love this picture of G-Funk--she was attempting to slalom ski after dropping one by the dock (yes, they let you do that up in Minnesoh-tah) but couldn't quite find the back of the ski for her dangling foot. So she just sort of barefoot-skied on that one side for awhile before letting go. It was pretty impressive!

The answer to the question of how many children can fit in the back of a Denali? 8! There are the 4 Larson boys (Sam is hiding behind Joey in the blue shirt there) and our 4. And yes, we drove a short distance that way...

ZoZo and G-Funk having some girl time

Charlie is displaying his finely built sand castle. No one knocked it down for fear of his wrath. Seriously I think it stayed up for 3 or 4 days until the rain knocked it down and then he forgot about it. Phew!

One of the 3 or 4 pictures where I am on this side of the camera. This marshmallow-roasting stuff is serious business. I have it down to a science.

This is what I am going to be doing when I am 65. Here is Buck's Aunt M skiing at the beautiful gorgeous age of 65--and she would have gone on one ski if we would have had the right kind of rope! She rocks!

Perfect, perfect night.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Yep, he's taken!

Yep he is definitely taken

Yep he is all mine :)

Wowsa! Lucky lucky me! :)