Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Day in Cincinnati!

This has always been a special day for me growing up, and I wanted it to be the same for the boys. Usually we are at home to watch the parade on TV, listen to the game on the radio, and eat hot dogs for lunch. We are lucky enough to have good friends who love baseball and the Reds as much as we do. Amanda, Owen, and Eli said that they would join us downtown to watch the Findlay Market Parade.

Apparently, hanging out in the grassy area outside of the P&G building isn't allowed, but no one came out to tell us. I think the idea of telling three die-hard Reds fans, all under the age of 4 that they aren't supposed to play baseball would be too difficult for anyone to do. (Who makes a green area in the middle of concrete and want no one to play on it?)

One day, boys. One day you'll be out there running around, screaming your heads off, getting dirty and having the time of your lives.

The theme of the day was honoring Joe Nuxhall and this was just one of the many tributes to him.

Mr. Redlegs had a pretty neat ride. All the decor on the truck is made out of bats. The boys were pretty pumped to see Mr. Redlegs. (I was, too. I'm not much of a fan of Mr. Red.)

Soaked to the bone! Are we terrible moms? The boys were wet all the way to their underwear, but they were perfectly content sitting on the curb eating peanuts in the shell and waving to the passing cars.

All Aboard!

Lou's shirt for the day.

Louie turned all of four-years-old on Saturday and we celebrated by having a train birthday party. Guests were sent an email with a boarding ticket attachment that they had to print out and bring to the party. We turned the big ol' box (so big that Lou and Ben could both be in there and have room to dance around) that the patio furniture came in into the ticket taker booth. Lou held a hole punch in his hand and pretended to be the Tom Hanks character in The Polar Express movie.

We had a train birthday cake that was decorated in honor of the Reds, as the party was held on the eve of Opening Day eve. Trains and baseball were major parts of the birthday boy's day. He's ready for the season now with a hat, jacket, and T-shirts with the Reds logo on it. He got some really neat Thomas the Tank Engine books and toys, and he even got his first "big boy" bike, although he's a bit apprehensive about it.

This is pretty funny. Lou got one of those musical cards and this one played baseball music on an organ.

It was almost like he was seeing the baseball field and hearing what was going on. I know, it's not as easy to see when you can't hear the card, but believe me, it was pretty funny.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

jack handy

One of my favorite things to do is to have an opportunity to watch the boys unnoticed. Especially Charlie (or when the other two were babies). Seeing him unaware of anyone around him allows me to see a part of his personality that I am not normally privy to.

This morning I heard Charlie cry quietly, then not make a sound. About five minutes later I went to his door to see if he was awake or had fallen back asleep. He was sitting in his bed playing with a string that had come loose from the bedding's seam. He had it in his hands...and then didn't know where it went...and found it again. It's amazing to watch because you can see the wheels turning in his head, trying to figure out what to do next.

I know that this probably isn't very interesting and I probably won't remember it in a week, but sometimes I wish that I had my video camera ready to go for moments like that because I would like to remember what they were like, without it being posed. What the boys were like in the most mundane activities. I'm sure I won't remember this with Charlie because I don't really have any memories of the boys in that way.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Eggstatic about Easter

On Saturday we went to an egg hunt at Montgomery Park and the boys got to wear their rain boots! The hunt was divided into age categories, and we headed down to the 1-3 year olds. All the kids there seemed to be itty-bitty, so we decided the boys could handle the 4-6 year olds. It was put on by the Kiwanis Club and the man on the mike (who was thoroughly enjoying himself) let the kids know they could begin.

The boys jumped over the rope line and ran down the hill (it's kind of hard to tell, but there are a lot of eggs down there). There weren't different times for the ages, just different sections and it wasn't 15 seconds later and Lou and Ben were bombarded by the older kids wanting eggs.

Before you knew it, the hunt was over and I think the boys were a little shell-shocked. The tons of eggs that were around them were picked up by kids twice their size and this is what they were left with:

Ben had four (yellow!) eggs and Lou didn't do too badly, proving that with a week shy of his fourth birthday he belonged in this division. Kevin and I thought it was a good experience for them. None of this overly-nice egg "seeing"--because there is no hunt involved--with the 1-3 year olds. A good thing about not being in the younger group, almost all the eggs were to be traded in for stuffed bunnies and we really don't need more stuffed animals!

Poor Charlie! It was so cold out there and all he could do was sit there and watch.

Easter morning the Easter bunny left some very un-rabbit looking tracks. Lou and Ben couldn't have been any more excited.

Up and at 'em before 8 o'clock and Daddy and Mommy were up too late the night before.

Lou counting his winnings ("...eweven, twewve, firteen, furteen, eighteen, fifteen!")

After 11 o'clock mass we had brunch at Grandma and Grandpa R's followed by yet another Easter Egg Hunt! The uncles did a good job of camouflaging the eggs with the landscape.

With the fourth egg hunt of the weekend, the boys had definitely improved their skills. This one at Aunt Robin's even had money in the eggs! Ben was ready to throw away the dollar he found, but boy! don't you touch his pennies and nickels!

Uncle Hog helping the boys crack open the eggs and put the loot in special bags.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Way to go, Andy!

The boys first cousin, once removed, Andy Gruber is helping to bring a national title to the area. Andy is the head mascot for XU, starring as D'Artagnan during the NCAA tournament. He is even interviewed in the USA Today article yesterday! (click on it for the link) Keep up the good work!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pretty proud of myself

It's not saying a whole lot, but I'm pretty proud of myself that I got Lou's 4th birthday picture taken and it's not five months after his birthday! Here are some shots of the grown up boy. It was not as easy as it was two weeks ago with Charlie, but I have to admit that he was very good during the shoot.
Can you believe that it's been four years since this guy entered the world?!

I didn't go nuts and buy a bunch of pictures like I did with Charlie. It was a rough ending to a fairly good trip to the picture place. Lou and Ben were shrieking while running around being destructive, Charlie was crying, and I was having a big guilt trip because this very nice photographer seemed upset that I've never bought more than the basic pkg. from her, but I bought the whole kit and caboodle from the other. My apologies for the haphazard look of this post. I am not going to get creative with the layouts any more! (To get a better look at the pics you can click on the image.)

So dapper!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Does this look like play-doh to you?

I wanted to make the boys green pancakes for breakfast or something really cool (putting green food coloring in their cereal milk seemed pretty gross), but Charlie was up at least five times for some unknown reason last night so the morning hours were not all too productive.

So it got to be dinner time and you know what they ended up with? Green eggs. And no, we didn't have any ham, so I made biscuits and sausage. It didn't really seem all that edible, I have to admit.

Ben's plate.

Before they tried it, both were very excited.

It was all show for Louie. For anyone who knows Benny they can attest to the fact that he'll eat pretty much anything--and it'll stay down. Ben ate both Ben and Lou's eggs. I probably won't make them again.

I found a picture of one the eggs Lou decorated.

St. Patrick's Eve


Last night we celebrated St. Patrick's Eve and colored our eggs for Easter. Here is a sampling of the eggs we decorated.

We introduced two new techniques, other than the good ol' crayons and dye. One is simple enough, using rubber bands to create white space on the egg while dipping it. The other is taking tissue paper used for gifts, craft punches, and decoupage (or, glue & water as we did). These first two pictures are examples of the two. Josh did the nicely symmetrical egg on the left and Erin did the tissue paper egg on the right. (Sorry for the lack of symmetry on my part with these pictures! Trying to do a different set up and can't figure it out.)

On the left is the traditional way of doing it. Joe did a 1/2 dip with this egg. He also made the leprechaun egg at top. On the right is a modern take on egg decorating. Joanie took the whole tissue paper egg to the next level and make it 3D.

The boys had a ton o' fun doing this and unfortunately I don't know why the uploaded pictures aren't on here. When I find them I'll post them again. If you enlarge the photo of all the eggs I'm sure you can find them in
the meanwhile.

As I'm sure you can imagine, their
supply of eggs ran out quickly because they are so chock-full of creative juices that they can put out color eggs in 1/2 the time of us adults. They then began to make Easter drawings and "secretly" stuffing themselves full of St. Patty and Easter cookies, candies, and other treats. This made for a fun bedtime!

Charlie enjoyed watching all the action while eating his Cheerios and cereal. Here he is all tuckered out on Uncle Joe's shoulder.

And here is the picture of the Easter Bunny created especially for you by Louie "Leonardo" Hess!

Friday, March 14, 2008

So Happy It's Thursday

The boys had one fantastic Thursday! First, Lou goes to school and has a leprechaun visit him, bringing candy and beaded necklaces...not sure how they pulled that one off, but Lou could describe him with a beard and said how sneaky he is. They even went looking for him in a closet. Hmm.

Ben & Charlie didn't have quite the eventful morning that Lou had, as they just accompanied me on some errands (side note: the first time they questioned what an "errand" was we were going to Aunt Erin's and now they always think we're headed up to Mt. Washington, which gets them pumped up and then terribly disappointed).

Aunt Jill met us at Frisch's after school where we were able to use our Valentine's coupons from Aunt Jane & Uncle Tom. They both got hamburgers and french fries with lemonades. Charlie had fruit and sweet potatoes.

Easter came early for the boys as Aunt Jill gave them "Easter buckets" filled some fun goodies, including a kite! They cannot wait until they are given the opportunity to put Thomas and Lightning McQueen kites to the test!

Later, Aunt Joanie surprised them with tickets to the premiere showing of "Horton Hears a Who," the Dr. Seuss movie staring Jim Carrey and Steve Carrell. This was the first big screen event for the boys and they had a fantastic time! I'll get a picture of the boys wearing their Horton ears--pretty cute.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Results are In

So, for all those of you who have trouble seeing if the boys look more like Annie or Kevin, it's been tested and the results are that all the boys look like us, although Benny looks a bit more like me. Now, if I put a picture in of my brother Joe as "mother," it may have been more than 5%.

Try this website out on your own--you can even do the morphs, not like they do on Conan O'Brien's show, but where they see which celebrity you look most like. Thank you to Katie Starkey for sharing this fun site!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Of snow balls and snow castles

The boys couldn't wait to get out into the snow. First, they helped Daddy clear the driveway, using their garden shovel and a shovel for sand. Then we made snow angels, snow castles, and we tried to make snow balls, but the powdery-ness of the white stuff made it kind of difficult so we didn't make a snowman either.

Climbing over the pile of snow Daddy made

Daddy, through the garage windows

Lou making a snow castle

Ben, refusing to believe that there's any weather that you can't play baseball in

Ben was ready to come inside, take off the wet clothes and eat lunch. Lou stayed out quite a while longer with Daddy to help clear the driveway and sidewalk. He's such a big help!

On the road

The boys stayed overnight at Grandma & Grandpa R's so that Mommy and Daddy could go to St. Anthony's fish fry up in Dayton. We had a heck of a time getting home today, ignoring the Level 3 emergency. Here are some pictures driving back to our house.

"Yield to snow plows"

Going down Hunt Rd.

There were some places where there were 11 and 12 inches of snow, other places had 5

This, by far, has been the most snow we've had in a few years. The boys weren't impressed by this.