Friday, June 27, 2008

Little Grease Monkeys

Uncle Jeff came down yesterday to help Daddy put new brakes on the vehicle. Louie and Benny were going to help and learn how to do this manly task. I was getting dinner ready while all this was going on and it was hilarious to see the two little guys sitting on their haunches watching the two big guys figure out how to take off the brake pads. Lou and Ben had their own plastic tools, but eventually decided that this was too important and picked up Daddy's tools.

They were so quiet and attentive, taking in all the action of what was going on under the jacked-up truck. But Daddy and Uncle Jeff's deliberation on what to do got to be too much for them, so they decided to do something else while they figured things out. I heard a little knock at the kitchen door and Lou stood there with a fistful of tiger lilies from our yard. A nice surprise! A moment later there was another knock and Ben stood there with a couple of the lilies. This happened one more time for each of them before I had to let them know that as much as I loved the (crudely ripped off the stem) flowers, I thought we better leave some to make our yard look pretty. It became a nice centerpiece for our supper.

Unfortunately, a storm blew in and the job wasn't able to be finished, so the boys had their first lesson cut short. I did get a couple of pictures of them before they came in the house:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Back to the scene of the crime

We went back down to Sawyer Point yesterday. No lunch was had, although that probably wouldn't have made much of a difference because I believe the bug has left the building. It's so funny to think about the way we refer to things without even thinking about it, and a kid who has never even heard that term gets really confused. Like with this "bug." Louie thought that his poison ivy was bug bites because they were bumps and they itched. I didn't think it was a good idea to keep promoting that because I'm trying to get them to stay out of unknown green areas for the sole reason of staying away from the "poisons." And then I tell him a "little bug" made everybody sick. Well, I don't know how else to explain viruses, so a lil' bug is what it will have to be.

Back to the story: Again, it was a beautiful day and this time we headed straight to the giant castle playground. There was a day camp there, so the boys were a bit intimidated by all the big kids running around, but then they warmed up and lot of fun was had. They played in the sand of the volleyball courts, even though they didn't have any toys to play in it with. I convinced them that it is possible to play using just their hands and whatever they found laying around. We took a walk to the other end of the park that we didn't get to see because of Charlie getting sick, then headed to the smaller kids' playground.

It funny to think back a couple years ago and how much I'd worry about Baby Lou playing on jungle gyms. Now, Charlie is going up and down and running around and I don't really think twice about it. Same goes for the wading pool at Mom & Dad's. Charlie climbs in and out, in and out, and with Louie I would have been paranoid that he'd slip out of the pool and hit hard, or fall into the pool and put his face into the two inches of water. Charlie is doing fine with it, and rarely gets hurt. He's gotta toughen up--he's got two older brothers to deal with ;)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

First Campout of the Year

Saturday we headed east to a camping fundraiser where all the proceeds went to help with medical bills for a 2-year-old battling leukemia. We had a great time, including when a terrible storm rolled in at 5:30pm, just as dinner was being served. We had about 10 people under our canopy with the boys and we still got wet. It was a torrential downpour with hail! It got to the point where it was just funny and since we were soaked and everything was muddy, we were going to enjoy it.

The boys had a great time. Running around, playing baseball, watching fireworks, and sleeping outside--it all adds up to a fun experience. Lou and Ben's bed was dry, but the same could not be said for Mommy, Daddy, and Charlie. The three of us slept on one sleeping bag, one sheet, and one pillow. And they were all a little damp! Oh well, it was only for one night. But you can believe that come August we'll be better prepared for our next camping trip!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Playing Catch-up

*This is only for those with an iron stomach.
If you do not, skip to the next post*

We've had an interesting time since the last entry. Last Thursday, I left for the grocery and on the drive back I get a call from Kevin saying that Ben had thrown up. We didn't think much of it because sometimes he gets himself worked up and does weird things like that. We kept an eye on him, watched what he ate, and he seemed fine, even an hour after it happened. Then he threw up on Saturday, just as we were about to let them spend the night at Grandma and Grandpa's. It was red and all over their rug. We came home and put him to bed, and it was pretty much over, until the bug left by way of his bottom with a huge, liquid-y Hershey explosion on Monday.

Nope, not over yet! Charlie and Louie were hit next, and boy! was it messy. They still haven't figured out how to use the toilet or the little waste basket I set out for them. Poor Kevin came home from work on Tuesday and pretty much slept until Wednesday evening. Today, we all seem to be doing fine and I hope that it stays that way for a long while. There's still a faint "Kings Island LaRosa's Pizza Stand" sort of scent running around the house, if you know what I'm talking about. I can't figure out where it's coming from...

  • Louie finished Level 1 of swim lessons today. Although Miss Emily was very proud of him, she thinks it's a good idea for him to repeat the level until he can be under water for three seconds, because they do a lot of underwater stuff at Level 2. He went down the slide again and even though he had Emily go with him, he grinned the whole way down!
  • Charlie is sleeping through the night! Yikes--did I just jinx myself? Yes, he's 11 months old (can you believe it?) and I really think it is all the running around he does that wipes him out at the end of the day.
  • Ben is a somersaulting-fool! I don't know where he learned it. We were downstairs doing laundry and he did three in a row. He's having an awful time remembering that you're not supposed to do it off of couches, but the 99th time's a charm. As a side note, Lou is not good at doing somersaults.

The bad situation that turned good, then bad again

After swim lessons we had plans to go back to the zoo with a big group of mommies and kids. It didn't work out that way. We had this particular day set up a week ago, with no idea what the weather was going to be, and it turned out to be THE PERFECT DAY to go to the zoo. Reasons: blue skies, sunshine, and temps no higher than 75. It really wasn't warm enough to go swimming, and the animals wouldn't stink as bad, so why not go to the zoo?

There was a line as soon as we got off the highway, which meant that we'd have to wait in line for over a mile--not fun. After 20 minutes of sitting still, I called one of the mommies and we left for Sawyer Point down on the river. It had been a long time since I'd been there, and I'm not sure if the boys had ever visited it.

We walked down to the river and watched the boats, then started walking to the other end of the park to have our lunch. Seeing as everyone was at the zoo, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. We found a shady area with a curved bench for us to sit on for lunch. No sooner had everyone a sandwich in their hand, Charlie vomits down the front of himself. He just stood there and a waterfall came flowing down, soaking his clothes. I stripped him down and tried to get the other two to quickly eat so we could get going.

This is a picture of the poor baby two seconds later--laughing. I guess he's not feeling that bad. So, Lou and Ben eat a bit and I let them go to the playground because they hadn't even set foot on it yet. Charlie relaxed in the stroller while the other two went on slides and climbed on the many levels of the jungle gym.

We'll have head back down to Sawyer Point again soon. Our visit was too short and there's so much to do!

Juneteenth Festival

While Daddy was at a golf outing on Saturday, we headed down to Eden Park for the Juneteenth Festival. It was a gorgeous day and the boys had a blast getting free stuff, getting their picture taken, and hanging out with some really cool animals.

"What is this 'Juneteenth'?"

A warm day, but the boys sucked it up for a shot by Mirror Lake.

I was telling them the story about how Grandma and Grandpa would go ice skating here when they were dating. The boys thought that was neat and stuck their hands in the duck-doody-filled water.

A llama!

They were pretty much begging this lamb to come over and once it did they jumped ten feet back.

Louie trying to get control over a five-day-old turkey

Woo-Hoo! He did it!

Fourth day of swim lessons and Louie went down the slide! Granted, this was only the second time they offered it, but he did it without any persuasion and was jumping up and down when he got out of the pool. It was great to see!

Somewhat unsure of himself (and Emily), he gets ready for the ride.

Splash-down! Now that he didn't go under, he trusts his instructor.

Aunt Mary turns 74!

Last Thursday was Aunt Mary's birthday and we brought her a special treat from a candy shoppe, and then the boys all got a gift from Aunt Mary! When we got to her house she had a bag filled with baseball beach towels and stickers--two sure-fire ways to get them excited. They always have a great time at her house, mainly because of her amazing collection of baseball paraphernalia. Going through the "museum" is a great way to keep them quiet for a little while, although you have to watch their quick little fingers because not much is kid-proof, or at least mis-tres-hijos-proof.

The GIRAFFES are back!

We made plans with Martha and Ian to go to the zoo. It had been a while since we'd been and the day that we visited was the sixth day that the new Giraffe Ridge was open to the public. Because of this, the giraffes weren't ready to eat out of our palms, but it was pretty neat to see a herd of them. I don't know if I've ever seen more than one or two together in my entire life. There are five of them, one of which the boys say is a baby, but I think it was just sitting down.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Life Aquatic

It's a rare day in the summertime that we aren't at the pool. The boys love the water and have been pretty comfortable in the "big pool" overall, except for their desire to keep their faces dry. I know that doesn't seem like much fun, but they do enjoy it and would be in there until every inch of their little bodies turned prune-y if I left them.

Ben has graduated from swim vest to water wings and he's pretty excited about that. It was no surprise that he took almost a three hour nap yesterday after jumping off the steps of the pool for an hour straight. I wouldn't classify him as completely "fearless," but he definitely is willing to try anything.

Louie start swim lessons on Monday. It's a half hour long and there are only two other boys besides himself in the class with Emily the Lifeguard. The first day Lou cried, but it's pretty similar to what he did on the first day of preschool, so I knew he'd be fine in a few minutes. They didn't do too much on the first day, but I was glad to see he was in the right class because the other two seemed about as timid as Lou about getting their heads wet. At the end of the class Emily asked the boys if they wanted to go down the water slide, a winding snake that unloads into a 3" pool of water. The other two took Emily up on her offer and sat on her lap, but Lou passed. He says he'll do it on Wednesday.

Today was better. No tears were shed and it seems like he was a little bit more relaxed and willing to be adventurous with the kick boards and jumping off the wall. It was really cute--they all held hands and while going around in a circle singing "Ring a Round the Rosie" and would substitute things like "We all put our right ear in the water!" It worked because soon the boys were dipping their heads.

Here are a couple of pictures from today:

They are playing "Red Light, Green Light"

After class is over and he's asking why I didn't bring his underwear

The other day Lou asked Grandma, "Why did you put so much water down there?" pointing to the deep end of the pool.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Breakfast at Devou

We woke up early and with our breakfast packed we headed over to Devou for a nice Sunday brunch overlooking the river. The boys were more interested in seeing downtown and watching the golfers than eating the sausage sandwiches we brought for our picnic.

A bird had just did #2 on the bench so Louie had to sit at the end.

Benny was super excited to be eating breakfast outside and watching golfers at the same time!

Charlie hanging out with Mommy while the big guys learn golf lessons from Daddy.

Benny picked Mommy some beautiful flowers and was very proud of himself.

As excited as he was about the flowers, that was surpassed by his jubilation at finding two quarters and a penny sitting on the picnic table. Money!

We were lucky we started out early--it got hot that day. We have can't wait to go back again!

Things that make me happy

This is a picture of Louie's "chicken nugget people." It's the name that I gave them because that was the first thing I saw when he began creating them earlier this year. Although they looks like they could be monsters (in fact, the one looks like the electro-monster from Scooby Doo), they are usually people in our family. He takes a lot of time in creating each person and if you look closely you can see that there are three spots on the face, but one is different than the other two, differentiating eyes and nose. I have another one that I kept that has Daddy, Mommy, Louie, Benny and Charlie on it. I can't help but smile when I look at it. I wonder what goes through kids' minds when they're drawing. I love that Louie is still in a place where he can create in whatever manner he wants, drawing what he sees. And what he sees is a world inhabited by chicken nuggets.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Thursday's Tidbits

  • The boys' real boyishness came out today. While swimming Louie and Benny spent the better part of the day trying to drown a cicada. The poor thing was through 8 1/2 lives and the boys were still going strong.
  • Do you remember the episode of "Bugs Bunny" where it looks like Elmer Fudd is finally going to get the better of Bugs? He had the gun locked and loaded and...nothing happens. Bugs asks Elmer what was wrong and Elmer replies, "No bullets." But it sounded like "No buwets." Lou and Ben got a hold of some water guns and when they ran out of water they'd look at the end of the gun and say those exact same words. How awesome is it that they replace their Ls with Ws and sound just like Elmer Fudd without even trying!
  • Lou's poison ivy is getting better in some places...and worse in others. Not sure why he wasn't given some sort of medicine to deal with it, but I guess that's why I'm not the doctor. Slowly disappearing from his face, but his hands and legs--yikes!
  • We seem to have Ben's P.I. under control, and Charlie still doesn't have any sign of it, but Kevin's developing more and mine is spreading on my neck. :( If anyone has any remedies, please send them our way!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Attack of the Killer Poison Ivy

It should be no surprise to those who knew me growing up, but I am deathly afraid of plants whose name includes "poison." For me, the two most notorious have been poison ivy and poison sumac. At one point, when I was eleven-years-old, I turned into Rocky Dennis. Scary, right?

So when I found some suspicious bumps on Louie Sunday I had no doubt what devious oils had made their way onto my firstborn's skin. We applied calamine lotion and gave him some medicine with an antihistamine. There is this substance called Calagel that we found at CVS and does a really good job of drying it out, and as a bonus it's not pink. As good as that stuff works, I decided to take him in to see Dr. J so she could give some advice because me telling Lou to "Stop scratching" wasn't enough of a preventive measure to keep it from taking over his body.

Apparently she has seen a ton of poison ivy cases recently and many of them were infected (Lou's wasn't), and she thought what we've been doing is fine, but also gave us a prescription for hydrocortisone 2.5%. Now, in my mind I thought that running into Walgreen's would be really quick and easy because it's in a tube and they could just hand it to me. We must have run into the clerk on a really bad day because not only was she grumpy but she made a mom of three small children wait for 15 minutes in a store that is filled to the ceiling with trinkets that small children love. We headed down to Bruegger's.

Ben has a bit of poison ivy on his arm and I have some on my neck (although I could be imagining things), Kevin has some on his hand, and luckily Charlie has been passed over thus far by the devilish poison ivy. We will survive.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Charlie's 1st Day at the Pool!

Monday was beautiful and we took full advantage of G-ma & G-pa's facilities. Although a bit timid at first, Charlie jumped right in after seeing his big brothers having so much fun. Although, the "baby pool" didn't last long as Louie and Benny wanted to go in the big pool and there was no stopping Charlie from following suit. So, we sat on the steps, splashing around watching enviously as the big guys acted like sea lions.

Happy 89th, Grandpa!

Sunday we celebrated Grandpa M's 89th birthday! It was a beautiful day and we had a nice time hanging out by the pool, although the boys were taking a nap for the majority of the pool-time. Here are a few pics of the boys with their Great-Grandpa.

They have arrived

Like this picture? It was dusk and I was having a hard time getting a picture that didn't completely wash out the cicadas. Four years ago when Lou was just a baby they came back to Cincinnati after their 17-year hiatus. Surprisingly, we didn't get hit that hard. Apparently our brood comes out four years later. And luckily for us, we have a great community of birds that hang out in our backyard and so far (cross those fingers!) they haven't been a problem, as the birds think of them as lil' chicken nuggets.

The boys haven't had the pleasure of walking through a swarm of these guys and their high-pitched scream for a mile with a boy who won't talk to you to go to his house to pick up the Slip 'N Slide because the two of your moms are too freaked out to go get it themselves. But that's another story.

Kids say the darndest things

  • On most days I make Louie and Benny sit at opposite ends of the table because the reaction that occurs when they get too close is more than I can handle on most days. On Sunday they got together for breakfast and I decided to let them go, then immediately regretted it when they started beating each other with their forks. I yelled for them to stop and get away from each other when Lou says to me,
    "Mommy, why don't you want us to be who we are?"
  • When we were in the pool Ben and Lou were pretending to be sea lions, going through the water searching for fish to have for lunch. Sea lions make a barking sound (from what Lou tells me), and Louie is swimming around saying, "Arf! Arf!" Benny, being his shadow, is right behind yelling, "ARK! ARK!" (Okay, it didn't come off as funny in the written form, but let me assure you that it made me laugh.)
  • We were driving around last week and I hear Lou call out from the back of the van, "I wish I knew what was going on with my butt!" Looking back in the rear-view mirror I saw him hopping around in his car seat. Come to find out his bottom itched.
  • He'll kill me in the years to come if he knew I posted this, but it's so funny. Lou seems to always have story for his bowel movements. The other day he had just finished eating a banana and it must have gone straight through him because he's telling me how there is the bottom and the top of the banana in the potty. And sure enough, it really did look like someone had just separated the two parts of the banana (if the banana was about 9 months old, of course). Another time he told me that the daddy and the babies poops were swimming in the water. I'll let you come up with an image for that yourself.
  • Yesterday while I was driving Lou asked me if I had ever heard of "Tom & Jerry." "Like the cat and mouse show?" I asked. "Yeah, we saw it on TV at Grandma and Grandpa H's. It's new. I'm Tom and Ben is Jerry."