Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A part of me is gone (but not for good)

Sorry for the weird title! You know how some people are absolutely, completely lost without their cell phone/hand-held-computer-thingy? Well, that's the way I am with my camera. I think part of this reason is that my memory is so bad that I think I'll forget something if I don't record it in some fashion.

Yesterday the boys and I had a great time driving out with our friend Abbe to Jamie's house, her sister and my friend. Unfortunately, amidst all the fun and then the craziness of packing up our stuff and the boys I left my camera :(

Not sure when I'll get it back, so the pictures I have of the Festival of Lights may be a bit delayed, and you won't get play-by-play action of the boys daily activities for a bit. (Though, some may be relieved!)

~Have a safe and happy new year!~

Monday, December 29, 2008

Celebrating Christmas (Part V)

After opening gifts and playing at our house, we head over to Grandma and Grandpa R's for brunch of orange whip, cinnamon cake, and goetta strata.

Benny & Louie take a picture with Great Grandpa and the Christmas puppies: Rudi and Bullet. Maybe next year Moses can join us!

The cousins (a few are not pictured) from my Mom's family with Grandpa.

Once again, Charlie gets laughs out of the crowd.

The boys are loving their new slippers! (Charlie: Thomas; Lou: Lightning McQueen; Ben: SpongeBob)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Celebrating Christmas (Part IV)

Santa must have been getting full. The boys wondered why he couldn't finish his snack.

Tools are a big deal at our house, and Benny received something like a 50 pc. set. There's nothing they like better than copying Daddy.

I had the boys hold their favorite gift from Santa and Benny held up his set of Mickey Mouse figurines.

There was no better reaction than Charlie opening up his ultra-soft panda bear stuffed animal. He immediately gave it the biggest hug you've ever seen.

Louie's favorite gift from Santa was actually a Bengal tiger that was given to Charlie. Luckily Charlie is a good share-er.

This is a gift Louie got (and all three are enjoying). It has discs like a Viewfinder and shines down an image that you can trace, then color.

A couple of quotes from the morning:
  • "I guess Santa must not have gotten my letter," says Louie in the saddest tone he could muster. (Apparently, the one thing he really wanted he didn't get.)
  • Louie taps me on the shoulder after all the gifts have been opened, "Santa must have thought we were pretty good, afterall, huh Mom." Yep, Lou, you guys can behave however you wish and in Santa's eyes you'll still be good. What are we going to do with these guys??

Celebrating Christmas (Part III)

On Christmas Eve we go to Mass then go back to someone in my Dad's family's house. This year it was at my parents. Great Aunt Mary have a grab bag of gifts, we do a cousins gift exchange and an adult gift exchange, then a special surprise at the end of the night!

Baby Cousin's first Christmas photo.

Kevin's artsy shot of all the girl cousins.

The boy cousins just don't have it together.


No fear from this guy. He was very excited to Santa Claus!

"Is this for real? Is Santa really here?!"

Benny could not wait for Lou to get off Santa's lap so it could be his turn. Before this, he was on the sidelines jumping up and down.

Maybe because it was getting late, maybe because it was loud and everyone was watching, but poor Charlie wasn't as excited to see Santa as his brothers. Notice the death-grip on Kevin's tie.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Celebrating Christmas (Part II)

Uncle Jeff lives in D.C. now, so he wanted to make the most of his time in Ohio and come visit with us! We went down to the Museum to see the Holiday Junction display.

They also have a "Toys Through the Years" exhibit and for some reason or another, the boys were enthralled with this (what some would call boring) video explaining how the toys worked.

Daddy and the boys on the last remaining Cincinnati street car.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Celebrating Christmas (Part I)

We began Christmas week on Friday the 19th when Daddy got off of work and his vacation started. We drove up to Grandma and Grandpa's house and the boys were all sorts of wound up with the decorations, treats, and piles of presents they saw!

All the family was together on Saturday and we did our annual picture in front of the tree.

Charlie opened his gift and he doesn't know that he has the right to tell his older brothers to back off! Being bigger, they thought it was their job to inspect everything he got to see if was neat enough for them to play with.

This is one of many times throughout the next week that Charlie put some odd thing on his head. He'll probably grow up to be the guy that thinks it's funny to put a lampshade on his noggin.

Louie & Benny each got a kid digital camera and patient Uncle Nick volunteered to get it started for them. They hovered in anticipation.

This quickly became Charlie's favorite toy.

Mommy & Charlie playing with the Little People house (with a "working" toilet!).

Charlie and Aunt Jill.

Friday, December 19, 2008

All's Well

I called the neighborhood heat & air guy, he came about an hour later and fixed our furnace!! I actually think it works better than before, which is great because our bedroom was usually like a fridge.

Kevin has a full day of work today and then we head up to Grandma and Grandpa's in Columbus to start Christmas Week. As you can imagine, the boys were ready to go when they woke up! Good news, though: my great friend Katie is in town from LA and we get to spend the day with her! The boys love her, so that'll keep them occupied until after rush hour :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Art

Louie's Number Wreath

Louie's hand tree (I just love art made out of handprints)

Louie's Hand Reindeer ornament.

Benny was so proud of his manger scene. He went around all day telling people he made Baby Jesus.

(I'm having trouble getting pictures in the right direction today.) They talked about "'J' is for Jesus" and turned a candy cane into a "J" then pasted a Baby Jesus and star on it.

~Happy Holidays~

The day before the kids get out for Christmas break, the three classes put on a performance of the Nativity and then sing a few Christmas carols.

The thing is, they don't tell the kids about it until about ten minutes before they perform.

It's probably a good strategy, because I imagine there are some shy kids who may not show up, or some outgoing kids who would fight over being Mary & Joseph. Louie ended up being a shepherd, which he was very excited about, and Benny wore nothing. Well, no costume. He could have been an angel or a sheep (the 3-year-old options), but he refused to put on anything. No big surprise.

Grandma R. came with us to see the show, the only one where two Hess kids are a part of it. Of course as Murphy's law would have it, the battery for the camcorder was dead so there is no video to document the occasion.

Benny coming in, following Harper the sheep and Nora the angel is after him.

Pastor Pat with Joseph, Mary getting denied by the Inn Keeper.

This little girl worked hard for her job. She held the star up high during the whole show.

The Three Wise Men make an appearance. Is it just me, or does the one on the right look like a Dr.Evil in training?

Louie the shepherd is checking out the star that the Wise Men are following. His friend Jonah watches, too.

Charlie was annoyed that the show wasn't on a stage. Parents kept popping up, making it hard to see what was going on. Maybe his mommy should have come earlier to get a front-row seat.

Miss Sue, kindly helping Benny be a part of the show.

Merry Christmas to you all!

The Heat's Out

We woke up to a house that was 57 degrees and now it is 56, with the temperature outside being 30. Charlie and I just got back from the boys' Christmas program at school and we're not taking our coats off! I'm not sure what's going on, but boy, it's a bit arctic in our home.

My guess is that heating and air places are super busy this time of year and I wonder if we'll get someone to come out. My dream home has a fireplace in it and what better time to have one than now. Good thing is that our electric does work, so I may bring the space heaters out of the boys' rooms and into the living room.

Or, we could just go outside and start a bonfire in the firepit because I think the 56 that reads on the thermostat is very generous!

P.S. I'll post some pictures from the Christmas program later today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The boys are driving me NUTS!

After long consideration, the only thought I have is that they are so wound up over a certain holiday's impending arrival.

I want to blame it on lack of sleep, too many activities going on, the weather, but it is what it is.

Too much excitement = a bunch of crazies in the house. They scream, they wrestle, they refuse to understand what "Santa's watching!" means.

I'm not down on the Christmas season, I just want a manual on how to handle the five and under crowd for this time of year. Or a vacation.

Monday, December 15, 2008

No lack of imagination

For those of you who don't know, Amanda and I met when we were teaching, many, many moons ago. We both taught high school English, but became fast friends when we found out that we both love photography* and baseball.

The reason I bring this up is because today they came over for lunch and afterward the boys played while Amanda and I chatted. All of a sudden we realized that the boys were reenacting a scene from Don Quixote. I'm pretty sure neither of them have read the Cervantes story, but there they were, acting out the famous "windmill" scene. Granted, the windmill was actually the washer and dryer. Regardless, it was neat to see them dressed up in their knight garb, armed with swords.

It makes a book-lovin' momma proud.

*I just appreciate, whereas Amanda can exhibit extremely well her love of photography.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Redsfest Extravaganza!

Two days of too much fun all thanks to wonderful Aunt Joanie! One of the perks of working for the Reds is that she is able to get us 2-day passes into Redsfest, which we wholeheartedly enjoyed! Friday night we headed down with Grandma & Grandpa R. and met up with Aunt Erin, Uncle Joe, Uncle Hog, and Aunt Mary. Walking in the door we each received a "backpack" bag filled with fun stuff like coupons for free chips and guac from Chipotle (woo-hoo!) and a Reds winter hat.

We watched a really cute "Kids Press Conference" where a line of youngsters stood patiently to ask a question to the panel of players. Most were things like, "What do you eat before a game?" and "What position did you play in T-ball?" The players were really cute with the kids, and as always, The Cowboy was a show all by himself. One thing Kevin remarked on was how many of the kid reporters were "Banana Phone Callers In Training." (If you don't know what I'm talking about, I'm not sure I can explain it to you.)

The Louisville Slugger Museum had a really nice booth, complete with coloring, tattoo, and batting stations, along with these over-sized bat and glove. Charlie just hates when he can't do what his brothers are doing.

Because of extra tickets from Aunt Joanie and tickets given to us by Aunt Jill (her company is a big sponsor), we were able to invite some of our friends! This is Louie with Katie and Bryce waiting in line for hitting. Katie is Louie's classmate.

Benny's putting a hurting on the ball.

Lou goes up to show them how it's done.

Rosie Red, Mr. Redlegs, and Gapper (shown above) were walking around the convention center and were more than happy to pose for pictures and sign autographs. Here Katie gets him to sign her bat. (Thank goodness they decided to bench Mr. Red, whose freaky alien head scared kids and adults alike.)

On Saturday we headed back downtown and Mommy and Daddy thought that the sheer joy of being surrounded by baseball in December would make up for a bad night of sleep and no naps. No surprise--we were sadly mistaken.

On Saturday we were able to invite even more of our friends! Amanda, Owen and Eli came with their Grandma and Grandpa (for some cute pics, check out her blog). Another friend from Louie's class, Max came with his mom, dad, and sister, Carly. The boys were out of their element and barely spoke to each other! Lou was excited to see Owen and Max was excited to see a friend of his that happened to be down there. Oh well!

They had an awesome area set up for kids that had a jumpy house with slide, pitching into a "catcher" with a hole cut into it, and basepaths for running. Eli and Charlie had a blast just pitching and hitting back to each other.

This is a picture of the boys during one of their hundreds of waits in line for the jumpy house. Isn't it great how much fun they have together?

We decided it was high time we had a picture of ourselves on the blog! (That's Amanda, if you didn't figure it out.)

You can't tell, but this about the time that things began to unravel. I was pretty worn out and ready to go. We were actually heading toward the exit when we came across this John Deere exhibit. The boys wanted to check them out and each climbed on their own.

For whatever reason, they weren't happy with their own and wanted to get on their brother's. In particular, Ben. He started flipping out and I tried to subdue him but to no avail. Major meltdown. The likes of which I'm not sure we've ever had out in public. Kevin grabbed Ben and took him out into the hall while Jay and I put coats on the other two. (Did I mention Uncle Jay drove down on Saturday to go with us? Well, he did!)

Overall, we had a really great time. This experience just reiterates the IMPORTANCE of sleep in a young child's life! We can't wait until April 6th: Opening Day for a really great season!!