August 31, 2011

something close to privacy

both of our boys are sensitive to the concept of "privacy" when using the restroom.
i believe that this will serve them well in life.
in ben's case, it typically entails a shut door, an adult standing on the other side of said shut door, and him screaming for appointed adult if he needs them.

on one of the days we were in california, i walked into the restroom.
ben came running in with me, spun around to shut the door, and locked it.
he looked back at me with a huge grin.
"i locked it mommy! so no one will sneak in an take your privacy."

(but, also, no thanks.)

August 30, 2011

how to make my kid cry

two gross things happened yesterday.

1. i got the same stomach bug that my little benjamin had last friday.

as a result of this, i was trying to edit last night's post in bed.
and, if you have ever tried to use Blogger on an iPhone, you would know that you can't actually edit the full post.
so i cut and pasted the post into the Notes section of my iPhone where i save quotes and quips and other fun whatnots for the blog.
this lead to the other gross thing.

2. i deleted my ENTIRE list of blog notes.

actually, i pasted the post i was editing over them, and closed out of it before i realized exactly what i had done.
fun fact from me to you: the Notes app on the iPhone does not include "edit undo."
i assume this is because most of the general population does not make such bold attempts at failing at life.

so, friends, i lost about 30 ideas for posts.
fortunately, i have a decent visual memory, and i was able to quickly write down about 19 of them.
but, still.

that's right.
you wanted to know how to make anth weep.
because you're just that kind of person.

so, i am sick.
i stayed home from work on monday, and most of the day today.
tonight is "Curriculum Night" at anth's school.
tonight is also a big event for Bern that requires his presence.
anth put all of this together in the car today on the way to school.
and it was a near traumatic moment as he asked Bern, "but daddy, who will go to my curriculum night?"
this was seriously stressing out our first grader. 
no worries.
we had a sitter.
actually, two.
kelsey of former mysavvyboys ascot fun, and her sister, came over to play with the little men tonight.
and all was well in the world.

during bathtime, anth informed me that he had told his teacher, "my parents might not be here tonight. my dad has some work to do with the presidents and my mom is just sick."
(bern is working an event where the presidents of both OSU and Columbus State will be present.)
as i gave him the world's fastest bath in the 15 minutes i had between getting the boys home and the sitters arriving, i told him that i would definitely be going, and i asked anth what part of curriculum night was most important to him. 
he politely looked at me and said, "because the teacher will tell you what our schedule is, and then you can stop asking what i did every day."

sorry, kiddo. 
you aren't getting out of that one.  

August 29, 2011

an unfortunate word association

there are a few things that are consistent about our visits to California.
many of these center around food.
we always go to In-N-Out for burgers.
we always go to Del Taco. generally at least twice.
and we always go to the local restaurant La Villa Kitchen.

we also always pay a group visit to my neighbor, Yvette.
i have known Yvette, and her family, since we moved into my parents' current house in 1987.
she has always been the kind, thoughtful, and hilarious neighbor one would hope to have.

the boys enjoy visiting Yvette.
they also enjoy visiting her dog.
he is a pint-sized Yorkie named Teddy.
mainly, the boys and Teddy entertain themselves by playing fetch with one of Teddy's toys du jour while the adults catch up on life. 

we were there for a while last time, and the game of fetch, along with poor Teddy, was winding down.
Yvette suggested that the boys give Teddy a treat.
they were pretty jazzed about this idea, and anth, benny and teddy followed her to the pantry.
where Yvette pulled out two dog treats, one for each boy.

in unison, anth handed teddy his dog treat, and ben. . . ate his.
unfortunately, we did not clarify the language here.
in Yvette's homes, "treats" are for dogs.
in the Savvy abode, "treats" are sugary snacks.
for people.

the look on poor ben's face was a combination of disgust and shame as he realized what he had done.
sorry, benny.
i promise we love you.

August 28, 2011

this place is covered in dirt!!!

we got home from our vacation to California two weeks ago. 
like i've said, i have a few festive quotes and stories from our time there. 
but, i wanted to save them, and the photos, until my mom had her hands on the photo book i was making for her. 
this is because my mom loves to print photos. 
and if i put them here, she would have downloaded them and been at Target in about 5 minutes. 
or, she would be trying to figure out how to download them. 
either way, i wanted to save her some time. 

the trip started out at my parent's place, and then we made our way down to San Clemente. 
we have been going here as a family for over 20 years so i have many positive memories of  the place. 
with bern taking summer classes, we haven't been there since anth was little. 

as in, here is anth on one of our last visits. 
taking in the scenery. 


this is the part of the walk down to the beach where i get excited. 
the bend where i can actually see the water. 
(not so much the pay to park part.)

we wandered down to the beach just as the sun set on our first night there. 

the rare shot o' bern and i sans kids. 

ben felt that this was unnatural and quickly remedied the situation. 

because it was a new environment for ben, he miraculously sat still for a bit to take it in. 

but not for long. :)
our brave little man was more than ready to run straight into the surf. 

grandma showed the boys how to find sand crabs. 
benny, of course, was fascinated. 
anth was politely grossed out. 

my boys. 

the rest of my boys. 

we flew our kids to the other side of the country. 
showed them the beauty of the beach at sunset. 
let them play in the sand and get their feet in the water. 

ben's favorite part of his first day at the beach? 
the big boy bed that pulled out of the wall in the timeshare. 
impressive stuff. 

August 26, 2011

fail photo 35: GO BUCKetS!

today, my colleagues had the opportunity to get into the Ohio Stadium and take pictures as a department. 
i also had this opportunity. 
until ben proclaimed himself Captain Vomit in the early hours of the morning. 

he and i were both excited about the photo shoot. 
"The Shoe" is a beloved spot on campus, and it is rare to get a chance to do this. 
because of this, a few of my colleagues and i were going to bring our kids along to get photos of them as well. 
clearly, anth had to go to school, but ben was excited to "be like the buckeyes." 
bern was heading out of town for work, so i ended up staying home with ben. 
much to his, and my, dismay. 
he went so far as to "promise not to make more frow-up."
while i appreciated his sincerity, i chose not to throw him in the car and hope he could keep his word. 
this is why my colleagues ended up with this picture of their little cuties executing the classic O-H-I-O:

and i ended up with this one: 

note: for the weak of stomach, this is not an action shot. 
this is ben discovering that the empty trash can i gave him makes for a lovely echo chamber. 

August 25, 2011

there's a 1st for everything

thought i feel no older, or wiser, than the day he was born, it's official. 
we have a first-grader in the savarese home. 

of course, anth already knew what this meant. 
he got dressed. 
combed his hair. 
and got ready for mom to take his picture. 

anth was all confidence and excitement. 

this leads to the giggles. 

which leads to full blown laughter. 

ben was largely excited for his big brother to go to "big boy school."
his only issue with the whole thing? 
he wants new shoes like anthony's. 
in this case, the apple does not fall too far from the paternal tree. 
seeing as the shoes are my personal favorite colors, i will be happy to oblige when he transitions into preschool in early september. 

this is anth patiently waiting for the bell to ring so he could go to his classroom. 
(and that is benny not-so-patiently "waiting" behind him.)

the bell finally rang and anth beelined to his classroom, put his backpack in his cubby, and took his seat. 
he was ready. 

it seemed that daddy, however, was not. 
here is bern taking a step back to steal one last look into the classroom. 
wholesome. :) 

anth dutifully came home and showed us his take-home folder. 
he told us some of what they did in class. 
he gave us a rather physical demonstration of what the playground equipment included. 
he shared concern over the fact that his teacher gave out candy and that he thought, perhaps, this was not the best idea to give out sugar during school. 
finally, he gave an overall two thumbs up to his day and to going back tomorrow. 

one of my colleagues asked me today if i cried while dropping him off. 
this is normally something i would do. 
to be honest, it was a bit of a whirlwind, and he was just so darn excited that it didn't seem to warrant tears. 
but,  just to be sure this person knows that i'm still utterly me, i just teared up loading these photos. 

he's growing up so fast. 
and he's doing a beautiful job of it. 

August 24, 2011

the birds and the. . . bunnies

recently, i shared a few lessons that anth picked up while tagging along with mom to work. 
and by recent, i mean three posts ago. 
in case you are too lazy to scroll down that far, let me help you out

anth had three days this week post-camp and pre-the-first-day-of-school. 
we had a sitter two of these days, but anth spent another day in training with mom on monday. 
the morning was largely dedicated to interacting with staff members from other Student Life offices. 
anth picked up a dollar-sign-shaped stress squeeze toy from our Wellness folks. 
one of my colleagues jokingly asked him if he was stressed about money. 
he seriously responded, that, no he was not stressed about money. just benny. 

the afternoon was dedicated entirely to a session led by a former Ohio State student, Drew Tarvin. 
he served as a Resident Advisor and Resident Manager for our department, and also was one of the founders of the improv group, 8th Floor Improv
he works full time for P&G, but has a company called Humor That Works on the side. 
he brought along a few familiar faces to lead an informative, and highly interactive, session on both the importance of humor in the workplace and relationship building. 
it was an entertaining afternoon, and a few of my colleagues who read the blog wanted to know what anth learned from the sessions that day while playing DS, doing reading workbooks, and singing in the corner of the room. 

i didn't actually ask him that day in the car ride home. 
but i did ask him tonight. 
at first he didn't remember much. 
as in, he responded, "there was a lot of talk about bunnies." 
this was true. we played an improv game called "bunny," or perhaps "bunny bunny." 
it looked a lot like this. but with 60 people. and a lot more movement. and TONS more confusion. 

i asked if he could remember three more things. 
anth works well with specific goals and guidelines. :) 
and the winners were: 

1. the people i work with are really good at dancing. (another festive icebreaker.)
2. laughter is a vitamin. (pretty close to what Drew said.)
3. martin and that girl are really nice. 
(to clarify, martin is one of our new hall directors. "that girl" is an assistant hall director named amanda.  they both sat across from anthony at various times during lunch, and after anth had finished and started playing games on my iPad.)
the more accurate quote was something along the lines of, "they know a lot about games and they actually listened to me. and i'm just a kid."  

i thanked anth for sharing his thoughts on his day with our staff. 
he knew the thoughts were for the blog. 
so he asked me to leave you with this, more global thing he learned while hanging out with mom at work. 
"sometimes, you might have to go to boring things, even if you don't want to."

August 22, 2011


so, i usually use this blog to highlight life's funnier moments.
but, every once and a while, i still like to insert the proud mommy moments. 
bern told me a story recently that i just had to share.
because, though i like to jest, my boys are pretty darn sweet overall.

friday was the last day of anth's summer sports camp.
the Camp Recky staff hosted a giant potluck for the campers and their parents.
i had a training event with my department, so bern attended with anth.
they were seated at a table with a camp counselor, a family we already know from daycare and two girls that bern guessed to be 8 or 9 who were on their own.
over the course of the meal, these girls were talking about other campers.
at one point in their conversation, anth thought they were making fun of campers with different abilities.

now, these girls were older than him, and there were clearly other "authority figures" at the table.
still, anth stopped their chat, and explained that the word they were using was making fun of people who had "something going on in their brain that they can't help," and that it really wasn't very nice to do that.

having gone through a training session last wednesday with a group of 20 to 40-somethings on how to engage students in dialogue, especially the kind that is most awkward, and usually the most necessary, this small exchange is encouraging to me.
not only because anth was willing to offer up this thought, but because the two girls agreed with his point and moved in to a different topic.
kids these days. 

August 19, 2011

a teenage dream come true

i was completely in love with Bret Michaels in jr high.
(well, actually, there was a very real boy who i sometimes held hands with under the table in pre-algebra who i thought was pretty dreamy, too. when we slow danced together at whatever semi-formal dance it is happens in 8th grade, my "friends" came out to the dance floor and took pictures of us from about 3 feet away. with flash. things were so subtle and nuanced back then.)
but, suffice it say, my bedroom walls were plastered with pictures of bret michaels and sebastian bach in 7th and 8th grade.

my best friend, Lynn, and i, throughout most of our early friendship, had polarized stances on our favorite bands.
i loved Poison, and she loved Motley Crue.
then we moved on.
she loved Metallica and i leaned more toward Guns N' Roses.
this later evolved into Danzig v Type O Negative.
(yes, i know that calling this "evolution" is using loose terminology.)
eventually, we wandered into goth and found more mutually agreeable things like The Sisters of Mercy.

but, back in the beginning, our dedication to Poison and Motley Crue was strong.
unfortuately, our bands did not mix.
quite frankly, "the crue" looked down on my beloved poison.
here is an article on the bands' feud.
but, our love of going to concerts was also very strong. i have some good stories. just not for this blog.
we would have loved to see them tour together, but we knew it was simply not going to happen.

until i was recently stopped by Ziya and Myka's dad in the daycare parking lot while picking up ben on a thursday afternoon.
he works at our large event center on campus.
and had extra tickets to THE POISON AND MOTLEY CRUE SHOW that friday night.
the next night.
did bern and i want to join he and his wife?
my brain literally went through about 83 thoughts in the 2 seconds i had before it is socially acceptable to respond to the person in front of you.
they included, but were not limited to, the following:
Oh my goodness, i didn't even know they were touring.
wait, what?
they're touring?
i have to call Lynn!
i haven't called Lynn in a long time.
god i stink at long distance friendship.
do bern and i want to go to this show?
of course!
bern probably doesn't care about this show at all. he skipped this genre.
but he loves me and will humor me.
but, OH MY GOD, we are leaving for california on saturday.
as in, two days. 
and i work tomorrow.
and i have to pack the boys and i for an 11 day trip.
including the beach.
shoot, i still need to get anth the goggles he wants.
and floaties for ben.
maybe hit the travel section at Target.
and do the laundry.
oh poop. (that one is edited for the light of heart.)
i CAN'T go to this show.
why, god? why?

. . . and so on.
i mean, it is hard to capture it all because it happened so fast, but literally, my mind was racing.
and because i actually did have to work with bern to get our lives in order to leave for a big trip, i told Mike i couldn't do it.
it may have broken my 8th grade heart a little bit.

but, yesterday, i got a call from bernie on my way in to work.
"hey, krys. i think Mike might have left something here for you."
"because there is an adult sized Poison/Motley Crue shirt in ben's mailbox."
"SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!"
(anth, who was riding with me, reminded me that this was a not nice word. i apologized.)

and then i got off the phone.
and proceeded to explain the fued between the two bands, and that Auntie Lynn and i used to love both of them and thought they were never going to perform together, but that they had, and i missed it, but that Ziya's dad gave me a shirt with BOTH bands on it.
the moral of the story i was trying to convey to anth while wondering if the tee had logos or pictures of the band members on it?
you never know who will surprise you.
even glam/metal bands can provide you with totally Disneyish, When You Wish Upon A Star moments.
and even your dorkiest dreams can come true.
you just might have to wait 22 years.
anth was essentially nonplussed, and responded with, "i bet it will be a really cute top, mom."
clearly, he didn't get the message.
but, in this context, it is a pretty cute "top."

thanks, mike!!!

August 17, 2011

what anth learned in res life training

this week marked the start of our annual round of 5 weeks of training in Res Life.
2 with the Senior Staff (the full-time Hall Directors and graduate level Assistant Hall 
Directors, etc).
1 with the Resident Managers - the undergraduates who run the front desk operations and 
2 with the Resident Advisors - the 300ish undergrads charged with leading floors of their peers.

this week is also basketball week at Camp Recky, anth's summer sports camp.
he pulled a muscle on Monday, making him unable to attend for a couple of days. 
yesterday he took a small road trip with his dad to visit his great grandpa.
today he came to work with me.
on the Senior Staff training schedule today were the topics of Dialogue (i.e., getting students to dig into the juicy/meaningful discussions that help them grow as people), supporting academic success in the residence halls, lunch, and an entire afternoon on the philosophy behind, and logistics of, student conduct/judicial work (i.e., how to intentionally and educationally respond to students who have violated policy).

i think anth did a pretty darn good job of sitting quietly in the back and entertaining himself.
mainly on his DS, but sprinkled with bouts of working on his 1st Grade Math Skills workbook that bern and i bought him to keep the neurons firing this summer.
because we are in the business of overseeing 18-22 year-olds living away from home, there were some interesting conversations and comments made in today's sessions. 
as such, i was curious how much of this anth had overheard. 
on the drive home, i asked anth what he had learned today during training. 
he replied that he didn't really understand what he was supposed to be learning, probably because we were adults talking about things that weren't for kids. 
this seemed reasonable to me, but i dug a little deeper and asked him to share anything specific he remembered. 
after 7 hours of training, what were the two gems that stood out in his 6-year-old brain?
1. the fact that someone used to play bingo in class based on things other students did in the room, and
2. the story of how someone responded to two women who panicked and threw their gerbil out of a fourth floor window, lest they get in trouble for being in violation of the no pet policy. 

apparently, residence life training is truly the thing of nightmares. 
thankfully, we already have a sitter lined up for most of the time that anth is free between summer camp ending this friday and 1st grade starting next Thursday. 
(which, by the way, makes me the parent of a first grader. um. gulp. what?)

back to anth on the car ride home. 
he shared his thoughts on gerbils and the fact that you get to play games in class in college. 
and then he munched on his snack mix for a minute, and offered up his final thought on the matter.
"so, mom, i guess i only understood about 30 percent of what i was supposed to learn in training. which is 3 out of 10. so at least i learned some math." 

August 16, 2011

my name is krystyne, and i'm a bookaholic

recently, i owned up to having CSD.
Craft Starting Disorder
in really looking around my home, i have to admit i have another problem.
I Can't Read It All, But I Sure Do Want To Syndrome. 

i mean, seriously.
i love a good book.
mainly fiction, but these days i've been piling up a hefty load of non-fiction as well.
normally the queue is long, but manageable.
right now the literal amount of books in my house that i am excited to read totals.....42.
i find this more than slightly funny.
if you have read The Hitchhicker's Guide To The Galaxy, you will know why.
if not, here.

now, about 9 of these books came home from a conference that my husband went to in the spring where authors pedal their wares in the hopes that your university will pick their book for your annual book program.
so don't judge those.
unless you want to judge the fact that i apparently will read anything that enters my home. 
then i guess i don't have much of a defense. 

but the other 33? how did they come to stack up in little piles throughout my home?
some were gifts.
some i asked for for my birthday or christmas.
and some i acquired when the local Borders went out of business.
that and an Atlas Shrugged t-shirt. 
either way, it's ridiculous.
not that i don't want to have all of these books.
i'm more than happy to surround my kids with these and let them see us actually sit down and read them.
i love that my boys love to read.

what's ridiculous is my approach to them.
i, plain and simply, can't freaking decide where to start or how to focus.
my friends know that i have perfected the art of delayed gratification when it comes to some things.
if i get a purse i've been coveting (usually Fossil) for, say, V-day, i am able to tuck it in view in the closet and debut it in June.
i am perfectly content to know that i have something to look forward to using in the summer.
but books? no. 
i just can't do it.
i walk by them and they taunt me. 
ok, not literally. but almost. 

i've had 3 books that played the trump card recently.
i chose to read the two books associated with the ACUHO-I conference i attended in New Orleans.
Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers, was the Book Club Book and was a fascinating breeze of a documentary.
Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses was not so much of a breeze, but a good text.
the 3rd book is Outcasts United by Warren St. John. this one is the annual Buckeye Book Community book that all the incoming first year students at Ohio State will be reading.
the office where Bern works, First Year Experience, hosts this book program and i always enjoy the perk of participating the copy provided by my department. 'tis a good read. 
so, these 3 books put me into delayed gratification mode.
but, these are the books that i was either reading before these three were issued, or have snuck my way into in the meantime...

Bossypants by Tina Fey - this was a b-day gift from kelly. fellow book and tina fey lover.
i simply couldn't help reading this one. 
if you are someone who likes to read, and you have a sense of humor, then: 
1. we should really hang out, and
2. read the back cover of the book. it includes reviews such as
    - "Totally worth it." -The Trees. 
so clearly i had to start reading this one. 
Nurture Shock - on the current culture of parenting. i was sucked in at Barnes and Noble. 
this and Bossypants are the books on my nightstand. it's like a Freakonomics about kids. 
Harry Potter 3 - anth and i are sorely behind on our project. the project was me reading the books out loud to him, 10 pages at a time, at bedtime.  though the delay was for a good detour. anth has instead been reading the appropriate level book to us at night before bed. (i did not include a link for this book. if you need a reference to what Harry Potter is, you are beyond my help.)
Tarnished: True Tales of Innocence Lost - my dear friend and college roommie has her essay Baptism in this one. clearly, couldn't wait to start that one. eternally proud. you should buy it and read it. (you're welcome, joy.)
Gifts of Imperfection as you may have noted, i am not perfect. this book is about embracing that fact and setting more realistic expectations. 
Leadership and Self Deception this is one bern enjoyed during his MBA program. i tend to trust his judgment so i'm giving it a whirl.
Resonant Leadership this one was recommended to me by my colleague Lance Ginn, and i've finally resurfaced it and plunked into it. i'm clearly on a bit of a leadership kick. i've been doing the same job for a while. it's fun to consider a new spin. 
Taking Flight... by Kelly Rae Roberts - loved her art. then her blog. now her book. this is a good one for those thinking about making a business of their craftiness.
Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson - i am trying to, but i don't. (photography. not that kind of exposure. sheesh.)

these ones i have my eye on next:
House Rules by Jodi Picoult - her usual brilliance. this time on Asperger's syndrome.
Driving With Dead People: A Memior by Monica Holloway - another casualty of Barnes and Noble meandering. it sounds super cheery.
An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken - i read an excerpt from this in Oprah Magazine. the cover describes it as "this is the happiest story in the world with the saddest ending." an expecting mom loses her baby in the 9th month. it sounds heartwrenching but was well written so i grabbed it when i saw it at Borders. 
The Art of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein - everyone tells me it's amazing. 
i also really want to read The Help, One Day, and The Hunger Games. but i don't own those and i am living in a library at this point, so those will have to wait.

also, because this blog is usually about small children, i try not to be too crass. 
but, recently, my friend kelly who is a bit more bold about these things posted about a genius, book related, bumper sticker she saw on her blog.
i have decided that linking to swear words is acceptable. 
when hilarious. 
(clearly i should heed the "a" portion of this bumper sticker's advice.)

oh yeah. . .
the boys. 
how a blog about my two boys' antics just became a host to my reading list, i'm not quite sure. 
um. oops. 
currently, benny loves Diary of a Worm and Diary of a Spider, a la kelly. 
anth has been reading through The Adventures of Frog and Toad from Phil and a collection of Berenstain Bears stories we grabbed him, as well as a few of my favorite childhood books that my mom sent home with me last week.
now this post is clearly all about the boys. 
i feel much better. 

oh, and did i mention that i took three books to California for vacation and instead read my mom's copy of Second Glance by Jodi Picoult while i was there?
and that i recently downloaded three free iBooks?
and that i just started trying to make a book of the first year of mysavvyboys posts on blurb
i'm a mess.
and the cycle continues. 

there are worse vices.