December 28, 2013

4015 days with me. . .

. . . give or take a few for leap years. 

someone give this guy an award. 
he has been listening to me process, humoring my lists, making me laugh, sharing the joys and madness of parenting, giving me strength, and filling my heart with joy for 11 years. 

happy anniversary, sweet boy. 
i can't imagine wading my way through life with a better person at my side. 

and, because it seems to have become an anniversary tradition, today i am posting our annual family photos

November 17, 2013

fail photo: stairs are hard

most folks believe it is safer in the basement during a tornado warning. 
i tend to be one of those folks.

additional fact:
it helps to walk down the stairs on the way there, rather than fall down them. 
all of them. 

here's my benny. 
he is absolutely fine now, after a few good tears on his part and a minor heart attack on mine. 

though benny remains unimpressed with my handiwork. 

November 1, 2013

wholesome moment turned fail photo

sometime last week, i was running behind during the early-morning get-out-the-door dash. 
when this happens, i occasionally ask anth to pitch in and help benny pick up the pace. 
this time, i asked anth if he could help me by putting on ben's shoes. 

he agreed, and they plodded off to make this happen. 
a few minutes later, i darted through the kitchen, and saw something that made me stop. 
instead of just shoving ben's shoes on and tying them, anth was taking the time to actually try to teach benny how to tie his shoes. 
(he has had velcro until just recently. oops.)

i caught this moment just in time to snap this shot: 

wholesome, right? 

i could just put up a sweet little post and leave it at that. 
but then this wouldn't be the blog that it is. . .

moments later, as i was just about to get a different angle, i was also there to catch the following shot. 
this would be, apparently, the exact moment at which the lesson deteriorated:

i am choosing to take this as (not-so-) scientific evidence that they are usually engaged in wholesome moments while i am out of the room. 
i just must happen to walk in right after the wholesome part on most days. . . 

October 31, 2013

halloween 2013 - so. much. rain.

so, it's halloween. 
(in case you somehow missed that fact today. my blog is super helpful like that.)
unfortunately, someone forgot to send the memo to Mother Nature. 
if i was supposed to have done that, my apologies. 
i totally dropped the ball.

for a brief moment today, anth had decided that he didn't want to trick-or-treat this year. 
it would be far too wet and rainy, and, according to him, "i mean, you bought a bunch of candy anyway, mom. i can just have some of that, right?"
this child is far too logical for his own good. 
benny, of course, would have non of that reasonable nonsense. 
he was determined to wander around the new neighborhood and ask random strangers for candy, and no weather would stop him. 

so, our two little ninjas suited up. 
yes, that's right. 
two little ninjas. 
when we walked into the Halloween store, benny wanted to be Hawkeye. 
unfortunately, benny likes the not-mass-produced Avenger. 
so, when anth picked out a costume that looked appealing, benny declared that he wanted to be the same thing. 
bernie and i paused. 
and waited for the, "but i picked it first."
it was a Halloween miracle. 
not wanting the good will to pass, we quickly cashed out and left the store. 

we had a really fun Halloween, rain and all. 
benny enjoyed being a ninja at kindergarten. 
(sorry. a "stealth ninja.")
anth had fun being in the halloween parade at his new school. 
and mom and dad both enjoyed trick-or-treating tonight. 
bernie got to take the boys out and meet people like the extrovert he is. 
and my little introverted self enjoyed being able to meet people while sitting on my own front porch. 

but first. . . it was time to come home and humor mom with a outdoor-yet-under-cover photo shoot. 
normally i do this about two weeks ahead and mail cards. 
here's your card. 

backyard ninja. 
anthony actually had quite an impressive amount of poses for this costume. 
and, because i can't make up my mind/edit, here are 9 million (or 16) shots of our pre-candy-filled boys. 

unfortunately, i didn't notice that benny's mask was a little "Kilroy was here" at the time. 

we started out on the back porch. 
because nothing says, "we are tough" like sitting on an orange couch with floral pillows. 

so mommy took the show out front. 

 this is benny being "tough."

this is mommy's request for "show me your really tough eyes"

this is mommy's request for, "show me your smiling eyes."
not exactly, ben. 
this looks a little more, "show me your surgeon-asking-a-question-mid-procedure eyes."
i mean, i totally know what that looks like. 
i've watched both E.R. and Grey's Anatomy in their entirety. 

bernie, who is eternally helpful in these situations, requested that benny show us his "hungry eyes."
benny, not having an appreciation for Dirty Dancing/80's music references quite yes, gave us this. 
which was more of an "exasperation that i was granted these humans as parents" eyes. 

it seemed like a good time to give anth a turn. 

he required no prompting. 

mommy loves a close-up. 

i once again made the mistake of asking for "smiling eyes." 
which was just "frightening eyes."
mixed with "not looking in the right direction" eyes. 

there we go. 

Happy Halloween, friends!

October 29, 2013

so much for getting a craft room. . .

for the second time in our careers as parents, bernie and i had to stop and console a genuinely distraught child. 

that sentence needs some specificity. 
this was not the second time we consoled one of our children. 
that would mean i was lying. 
or eternally ignoring my children.
either way, no good. 

for some reason i can't trace back in the conversation, while i was helping Benny get into his jammies after bath-time, he asked something like, "when do people have to move out?"
i asked what he meant, and he specified that he wanted to know how old people were when they usually moved out of the house. 

i told benny that his mommy and daddy both moved out of their parents' houses when they were 18 and went to live at college. 
benny literally burst into tears. 
i tried to explain that it is all very (mostly) fun and you get to live with a bunch of friends (or at least good roommates) and visit your family when you want to (admit you're out of socks.)
(the parentheticals were occurring in my brain, not out loud.)
this, for some reason, made him cry harder. 
so, i told him that we would let him make this decision when he was 17 or 18. 
didn't help. 
still weeping. 

at this point, i just scooped him up and carried him downstairs. 
i needed reinforcements. 
so, bernie also joined the conversation, and we all eventually agreed that we could revisit this if he changed his mind. 
but that he could totally live with us. 
(i may have used the phrase, "let's always live close to each other," so i felt less like a liar.)
benny specified that he would like to live with us until he is 99. 

i'm fairly certain our little man will change his mind at some point in his teenage years. 
for now, i kind of have to wonder why two children of parents who have both been Residence Life professionals at some point in their careers are so averse to living on campus. 
perhaps they were listening a little more closely to all those late-night calls than we realized. 


October 28, 2013

fail photo: buckeye salutations

in order for this particular post to make sense, please allow me to first provide a bit of context. 
if you are not familiar with the culture around Ohio State football, you may not recognize the gestures i am trying to capture below. 
but, one of the many Buckeye traditions is that sections of the stadium will chant the letters O-H-I-O, while that entire section of the stadium throws up their arms in the shape of that letter. 
simple, yet quite effective in person. 

as a spin-off, it is common for folks to take pictures with four people/3 people and a conveniently shaped object to make a human O-H-I-O. 
see one of our family photos from 2011:

there is an entire page on the OSU website dedicated to this phenomenon. 
here is a random one including complete strangers that i enjoy:

you get the point. 
so. . . when we were at the recent Buckeye Kickoff event in August, and we were practicing our cheers along with 7,000 first-year-students, i was excited to capture benny in the act, as i thought it would be a cute little 4-part-series to use somewhere in the house. 

and, cute it very well could have been. 
if i had not, apparently, gotten distracted somewhere along the way. . .




and. . . end scene. 
apparently, i forgot that there are 4 letters in "Ohio."
i find this particularly amusing, because i JUST came across this image and shared it with a friend today: 

before someone points out the SUPER obvious. . . 
i know that if i really wanted to cheat and repeat the "O," i totally could. 
but that would be kind of obvious. 
and would further emphasize my awesomeness.

so, instead, i have left myself with a lovely 3-shot series of benny. 
saying, "O, Hi."

so, friends. . .
from benny. 

October 23, 2013

FYI: i'm no fun

as it turns out, i, apparently, am no fun
the source of this data? 
mr. benjamin savarese. 

the topic of conversation that spurred this fun fact? 
how to decorate the house for halloween. 

this, per usual, happened in the drive on the way in to work. 
we passed a house that had been "TP'd."
(although, i must say, back in the day we were not so bold as to write "UAGS"...which i imagine stands for Upper Arlington Girls Soccer, or something to that effect...ON THE LAWN when we did such things. we thought we were, somehow, anonymous.)
anyway, we passed a corner house with lovely tall trees dripping in toilet paper. 
benny assessed their work. 
and promptly asked if we, too, could dress our house as a mummy for halloween. 

i, of course, declined. 
thus making me "no fun."

so, thank you, local teenagers, for helping my children find new ways to find me boring and utterly unreasonable. 
greatly appreciated. 

October 15, 2013

Ho! Ho! Ho! (...No?)

Dear Colleagues,

Dear Friends and Family, 

Dear Everyone,

i must aplogize.
it seems i made an error in judgment on my way in to work on monday.
it started when benny asked, "can i pick the CD today, mommy?"
and ended when i replied, "sure!"

how was i to know that he had the wrong CD case?
and that when he said, "i want the green CD," and i okayed this, that he would pass the Glee Christmas CD up front?
(volume 2, in case you were wondering.)
(which, likely, you weren't.)

because i had already approved this choice, i put the CD in and let it go.
benny was instantly thrilled becuase he knew the songs.
the kid loves a sing-a-long.
who am i to get in the way of a 5-year-old and a hearty sing-a-long?
even if it is to Santa Claus is Comin' to Town. . .

if i was a less distracted person these days, i might have removed the CD by now.
evidently, i am not a less distracted person.
i know this, because it is now tuesday evening. 
and because the staff member getting out of car next to me this morning gave me a bit of a funny look when they realized that it was Do You Hear What I Hear flooding out of my car. 
but, come on. 
that's kind of hilarious. 
becuase that is exactly what they were doing in that moment. 
i smiled and shrugged and headed toward my office in Lincoln Tower. 
explaining just seemed kind of impossible at that moment.  
because, really, now that i have heard my favorite holiday song, River, i sort of want to keep listening to Christmas music. 
and decorate my house in white lights. 
and drink cocoa by the fire under snuggly blankets. 
Macy's would be proud of me. 

so, colleagues/friends/family/neighbors. . .i apologize. 
for singing christmas music. 
in mid-october. 

bernie - feel free to intervene at any time and swap out the CD in my car. 
you are much more likely to remember this than i am. 

Happy Holidays  
Happy Halloween!
Happy Tuesday!


September 20, 2013

damaged silly bones and other crises

i wish you could hang out with benny for significant periods of time. 
because if you did, you might have a blog. 
or at least this encounter, from 30 minutes ago. 

benny was helping me get a dry erase marker out of the desk drawer. 
we needed one to draw an airplane on our family calendar. 
while doing this, he hit is funny bone and collapsed into Anth's arms in a pile of tears. 
as he explained, it "really hurts to hit your silly bone."
i clarified that it was actually called a "funny bone." 
at this point benny stopped crying. 
the look on his face was of serious concern. 
he walked into the dining room to tell bernie, "daddy. i just hit my funny bone. . . so i lost one of my jokes. i think it was my number one joke."

bless bernie's heart. 
he didn't skip a beat. 
he walked benny through all of his regular hits from ridiculous bathroom jokes to tissues with boogies in them (a la daddy's colleague Nicole Craven).
and all was right in the world again. 
it seems that benny's silly bone was lightly bruised, but not seriously injured on impact. 

September 13, 2013

fail photo: not this year's holiday card

benny has declared that tonight is family movie night. 
we will be spending some quality time on the couch.
with popcorn. 
sweet for anth and daddy. 
salty for mom and benny. 
so much can be drawn from our popcorn preferences. . .

we will be watching epic
this was supposed to be a christmas gift.
but then benny went and got his hand shut in a door at school and needed stitches. 
(i will try to get bernie to ghost write the account of that urgent care visit...)
so he got the movie a little bit early when we needed him to calm down and sit still for a bit at home. 

all this to say...i'm going to go snuggle the boys on the couch, so i'm phoning it in tonight. 
and posting what is, of course, my favorite photo from the Buckeye Kickoff event. 
a fail photo. 
because i love me some hot mess caught on film.  

happy weekend, friends!

September 12, 2013

LOL. Literally.

i have shared that i recently started a new job.
people keep asking me how it's going.

just so you know. . .
i'm loving it.
to put it in StrengthsQuest terms (because that's just the kind of gal i am), my Learner/Input/Intellection/Strategic strengths are totally nerding out and loving all the new information, ideas and experiences i've been taking in.
plus i'm surrounded by great people.

all in all, a great first few weeks.

along the way, i have been asked by my new colleagues to pitch in on the day to day tasks that make the machine that is the Center for the Study of Student Life work.
we deal with a lot of detail, so we serve as a second set of eyes for each other.

today, however, was different.
i was asked to help do the voice recording on a web module.
this basically involved a colleague and me in a "whisper room" recording studio reading off of a script about analyzing focus group data to complement a PowerPoint.
this may not sound very exciting.

let me tell you.
it was hilarious.

now, most folks who spend enough time with me know that i have a rather loud laugh at times.
today, however, i was given this gift:

the first line of recording is my colleague speaking her lines.
then there is me.
you can see that i am louder than her in general.
you can also  see the exact point at which i found something funny.
while recording a web training.
on focus group analysis.

BUT...for those of you who are currently thinking, "isn't this blog supposed to be about your kids?"
here is another tidbit.
from the car ride in this morning with benjamin.

benny had been a chatterbox half the way in to work.
then he was quiet for a few minutes.
"yeah, ben?"
"do you think we could get some cookies?"
i assumed he was talking about an event or for some purpose.
"for what?"
i glanced back in the rearview mirror.
(we were at a red light. hold your horses.)
benny tipped his head back and looked up at the car's ceiling.
the expression on his face said, why did i get a mother who clearly can't understand the simplest of concepts?

then, very clearly.
very slowly.
and very loudly.
as though to make up for my incompetence at large. . .

i laughed.
out loud.
(some might say, very loud.)

September 2, 2013

'tis the season...for football

ok, friends. 
brace yourselves. 
for lots of photos. 
lots and lots of buckeye photos. 
last weekend was the 2nd annual Buckeye Kickoff event. 
it is a really fun event for the first year class, held in the Ohio Stadium. 
the boys loved it last year and asked to go again. 

anth was really excited for the event. 

benny was. . . benny. 
he didn't want to pose for a picture. 

check him out. 
this is benny intently staring into the distance and refusing to look at my camera. 
i had to respect the concentration, if nothing else. 

thankfully, one of his favorite buckeye ladies, beth, came around and brought him out of his shell. 

and, of course, The Best Damn Band In The Land can always get him out of his seat. 
he genuinely loves them.
(he is not alone in this sentiment.)

look at them. 
both smiling beautifully. 
fun fact: benny is only smiling this way because there is a bunny-ears-in-progress behind anth's back.
i'll take what i can get. 

this was almost a really cool picture. 
and then the band walked away. 

this is bern teaching benny the proper rhythm for the song. 
i went through a similar lesson before my first game in 2001. . . 
in the car from bowling green to columbus. 
almost the whole way. 
festive. . .

if i were a much taller, you might be able to tell that there is a fully formed Script Ohio behind them. . .

after the band left the field, benny was super interested in the rest of the show. . .

although he was happy to join daddy on the field for the first year class picture. 
again, i'm not tall enough, nor high enough in the stands to show what this means. 
here you go

timmy siverd was very proud of this photo, so i am giving him proper photo credit. 

he took this one, too. 
come back soon for the tragic Fail Photo version of this one. . .

all 3 of my savvy boys. 
(which, PS, the savvy is short for Savarese. someone admitted they didn't realize the connection between our name and the name of the blog. which brings me back to this post, in which i explain that i am trying to be punny, not cocky. . .)

anth and one of his favorite camp counselors, Danny. 

per usual, not sure what benny is doing. 
but otherwise (minus the random array of first year students behind us) this is actually a decent family photo.
life's little victories. 

Dr. J (Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston, our Vice President of Student Life) tried to photo-bomb our family photo. 
and just ended up in it. 

another gem of a human, Moe Samad, teaching benny some of the finer points of football. 

most of my pictures of these two ended up looking like this. 

with a little bit of this. 

but by the end of his lesson, they were ready. 

perhaps benny was a little too ready. . .

i have about 43 Fail Photos of this one, too. 
all of them are worth a 1,000 words. 
most of the words being along the lines of, "mom, why on earth are you trying to make us hold still on the Buckeye football field?"

and, of course, i ended the night with a few photos with some of my favorite buckeyes.
including jen. 
whose hair is still long enough to make a perfect mustache. 
i was worried. 
(yes, this only makes sense if you know her.)

moe stopped running around long enough for a photo. 

and, of course, a pic with the now most-senior Assistant Director of Residence Life, curtis. 
whose hat i should have borrowed as to not be eating my hair in this photo. 

one of these days i will remember to get a picture of bernie and i at this event. 

all of this to say. . .
Happy Buckeye Football Season!