Thursday, July 31, 2008

CD: Wildflowers, Track: 4

Oh, yeah, you wreck me, baby
You break me in two
But you move me, honey
Yes you do

Tom Petty's Wildflowers CD has been playing in our van for about a week now and the boys love it. Lou and Ben have played all the instruments and sang vocals on most songs. For right now, Charlie claps, hits his knees, and sings backup. Baseball bats are guitars or drumsticks, bowls are drums, toy keys shake, they play the piano in the air, and bobbing of the head is mandatory.

Probably the funniest part about it is that as they sing the chorus above they love to say "baby." Sometimes it's "bay-bee" other times it's "bay-bah," but they get really into it, squinting their eyes to show how intense they are. Some would say intensity in ten cities worth.

And then Lou says, "We're rockin' out, aren't we Mom."

Griffey to the Sox?

We have ESPN's Mike & Mike show in the background while we eat breakfast. Breaking news: Ken Griffey, Jr. has been traded from the Reds to the White Sox, pending Griffey's approval.

The Boys: "Junior is going to play for the Red Sox?"
Me: "No, the White Sox"

How do you explain to two little boys who take turns being the Reds right fielder how the business of baseball works? It's not definite yet, so we won't delve too far into it, but Ben did just got a Junior T-shirt and poster for his birthday. It'll be a difficult day for these kids if the deal goes through.

*Edit: It has been confirmed that Ken Griffey, Jr. is indeed leaving Cincinnati and moving to Chicago. No word yet on what Junior's role will be for the White Sox and it's hard to believe that he went there for the sole purpose of going to the postseason. It is in my opinion that they had to have promised him some position or he would not have gone. But I will stop pondering on this because this is supposed to be about mis tres hijos. I'll let you know their reactions to the trade after a short nap.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Lake Lorelei

There's nothing like going away for the weekend and it being truly relaxing. It helps when where you're going isn't more than an hour away! My Grandpa's friend lets us use her family's cottage on the lake each summer, and it comes complete with a nice deck and patio with fire pit, a great dock for fishing, speed boats and all those things you can attach to the back.

Lou and Ben are in heaven when we're there.

They love playing baseball in the yard; fishing for hours on the bank of the lake; swimming in the water by the dock, with no fear of the fish at their feet; and of course throwing on a life-vest and zipping around the lake. Afterward they get a drink, a snack, and the two of them climb on this odd-shaped but extremely comfortable chair and watch all the cartoon shows we don't have at our house.

Lou & Ben were so excited to play hide 'n seek with Shannon & Jill. You can see how well Ben was at playing it.

Charlie all decked out in his life preserver.

There were all these creepy gigantic birds around. In fact, there were 7 of them hanging out on the jungle gym. Luckily, there are no missing children.

This is Bullet. He's Uncle Billy's wonderfully laid back dog.

He mostly did this the whole weekend.

And as much as I think he's a cool dog, I've got three rascals of my own to deal with.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Role Playing

Louie and Benny crack me up on a continual basis and although the reasons change the one that always gets me is when they act things out, especially "real life situations." Meaning: they act like adults they know, taking on a persona and having big people conversations.

Today they are reliving the last of Daddy and the Gang's baseball game. Lou is Tommy and Ben is Josh. They talk about the game (Tommy was the catcher and Josh was the pitcher), they talk about buying new bats (Daddy did that very thing), they talk about going back to Uncle Hog's afterward ("Do you want to ride in my car Josh?" "Sure, Tommy, Thanks." "You're welcome. Have you ever been in my car, Josh?" "I don't think so, Tommy.")

They're so serious and having a good time with it. I try to suppress my laughs. Did we do this as kids? I have vivid memories of role playing, but I don't remember acting like the adults in my lives. Maybe I should be happy with their choices--the people they pick to be are good folks.

Woo-Hoo! Downtown!

Last night we went to the Florence Freedom game with Martha, TJ, and Ian. Kevin took Lou and Ben to a game last year, but this was Charlie and my first time at the stadium. There's a big play area and open seating for the most part, so I imagine it's pretty family-friendly, although I'm one of those "crotchety old people" who believe the more bells and whistles you put at a stadium the further you are from the game. We didn't see a lot of baseball on the field, but it was great hanging out with our friends!

As fun as the experience was, the highlight of the night was driving through downtown on the way to, and then again on the way back from the game. As soon as the boys see the skyline they start hootin' and hollerin' about being downtown. You'd think that they never get to go down there with the way they were getting all riled up about it.

I decided that anytime the boys are being crankapotapuses we're going to take a drive downtown so that all their whiney-ness and grumpy-ness disappears and smiles overtake their little faces.

Thanks goodness for downtown.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Last Game

Kevin plays on a baseball team made up of my brothers, dad, cousin, uncle, and friends. It's been a great experience to see so many family and friends play together. The boys absolutely love it, and were pretty sad to learn that last night was the final game of the season.

Kevin up to bat

Grandpa staring down the pitcher

My roly-poly baby doing what his momma did when she was little and at daddy's game--play in dirt.
Josh looking back the man on first

Cousin Tommy after a great diving attempt to catch a foul ball, that I missed taking a picture of

The boys taking it all in, learning from the big guys

Daddy and his boys

The Clubhouse A.C. with Benny, Caden, Charlie, and Lou

Questions of Sanity

I saw this written by a woman with three boys. What are we getting ourselves in to??

Things I've learned from my Boy's (honest and not kidding):

1.) A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq.ft. house 4 inches deep.

2.) If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with Roller blades, they can ignite.

3.) A 3-year old Boy's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.

4.) If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42 pound
Boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can,
to spread paint on all Four walls of a 20x20 ft. room.

5.) You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat,
you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.

6.) The glass in windows (even double-pane) doesn't stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.

7.) When you hear the toilet flush and the words "uh oh", it's already too late.

8.) Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it.

9.) A six-year old Boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year old Man says they can only do it in the movies.

10.) Certain Lego's will pass through the digestive tract of a 4-year old Boy.

11.) Play dough and microwave should not be used in the same sentence.

12.) Super glue is forever.

13.) No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool you still can't walk on water.

14.) Pool filters do not like Jell-O.

15.) VCR's do not eject "PB & J" sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.

16.) Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.

17.) Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.

18.) You probably DO NOT want to know what that odor is.

19.) Always look in the oven before you turn it on; plastic toys do not like ovens.

20.) The fire department in La Mesa, CA has a 5-minute response time.

21.) The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.

22.) It will, however, make cats dizzy.

23.) Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.

24.) 80% of Men who read this will try mixing the Clorox and brake fluid.

25.) Women will pass this on to almost all of their friends, with or without kids.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Norwood Day Parade

This is the time of year where we celebrate anything and everything Norwood. Well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but we did go to the parade last night. In Norwood Days past, Louie and I were winners in the baby contest (we have not entered Benny and Charlie as of yet). So we do have some history with it.

We met Grandma Alice, Grandpa Pete, Jeff, and Lexi down at the firehouse to watch the parade and get some candy! Grandma Alice came prepared with lunch bags, and the kids were treated to really cool fireman helmets that they put on immediately.

Was it the heat, the exhaustion of the past week, or something else, we'll never know, but I wish I brought my camera because Mr. Lou had some great faces that would be funny to post here. Every time a float would pass and throw out candy Lou, Ben & Lexi would run out in the street to gather what they could, with Charlie clapping on the sidewalk. Eight times out of ten they would come back empty handed.

It finally got to be too much for Lou and the tears came pouring down. He was an emotional wreck and it was very difficult for Mommy and Daddy not to laugh. It wasn't so much the candy, but the game of gathering up whatever the people threw at them. This kid is used to doing well at most games he attempts and he wasn't doing well at all at this game. Louie summed it up as we were walking back to our van later:

The problem is: All those other kids were bigger and faster than us. They were like bunnies!*

* We have a lot of rabbits in our yard and the boys marvel daily at how fast they are.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Two Birthdays, Two Parties

I like to have a party. I enjoy the planning,the coming up with a theme (rarely does a party of mine not have a theme), the inviting, the anticipation, the day of,and the aftermath isn't too bad, either. What I really like is the gathering of all the people we know and love to celebrate the important, and sometimes not-so-important, moments in our lives.

We have been blessed with two birthdays on one day. This first year that this has occurred (other than the actual birth) we had two parties, but from here on out Benny and Charlie will have the unique opportunity to share their birthdays and parties.

Their birthday was on Friday, Charlie's party on Saturday, and Benny's on Sunday. "Fun-filled weekend" does not begin to describe these past few days...and we're still recovering!

I'll keep the narrating to a minimum since I tend to be a bit wordy, and just fill in the details of what's going on in the pictures.

Charlie had a Jungle Party and is wearing a Tarzan costume, something Aunt Cassie taught me how to sew a few weeks back.

I made this cut-out board for part of the decorations and Charlie got a kick out seeing his brothers as an elephant and giraffe.

I couldn't convince him to put his head through the back because, as he saw it, there was nothing on the back side. All the good stuff was on the front!

Charlie and his monkey cake, an adorable creation by Aunt Cassie.

The big people are joining in the fun (starting from the top row, left): Grandpa R., Uncle Hog, Aunt Jane, Uncle John)

Uncle Paul, Grandma R., Katie, Grandpa M.

Godparents, Uncle Nate and Aunt Erin

Benny had a Christmas birthday--he loves Santa and couldn't wait to dress like him!

Introducing "The Christmas Bush": my awful attempt at a cute cake that everyone ate anyway. I thought that I could get the green colored rice crispie treats to look like a tree, but they only amounted to a bush that I glue candy to with icing.

They know what the boys like--baseball hats!

At the end of a good birthday party (he fell asleep watching the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Christmas Special).

Friday, July 18, 2008

Charles Thomas is One Today

The Story of How Charlie-Bear Came Into This World:

On July 17th, 2007, I was having lunch at a friend's house and her cousin would be coming over to join us. Her cousin was my bestest friend when we were in grades preschool-4 (when she moved away) and she now lives in Albany, New York, so I never get to see her. I was very excited. My due date was the 22nd and even though I was overly pregnant, the day before my doctor had scheduled an induction for a few days later because he thought I wasn't even close to going into labor.

I've come to find out that in my Fabulous OB's Wisdom, he knew that if he said those words that I'd relax and the baby would come flying out into this world. I just wish he would have warned me in some way.

I discovered my water broke just before we were about to have a delicious lasagna lunch; I called the office and they said to head straight to the hospital; the boys stayed with my friend until my mom picked them up; Kevin met me at home; we grabbed the suitcase and headed down there; we checked in at the triage; and...we waited.

There were 22 babies born at that hospital that day and because I was not having serious labor they had me hang out. For the rest of the day. Kevin and I both had books with us (he had Crosley and I had The Memory Keeper's Daughter) so that took care of some time, and then we saw that the TV in the room (still in triage) had a VCR and a dubbed tape of '80s movies.

It wasn't until 7:00pm that they moved us to a room where I could begin pitocin. We watched the end of the Reds game in there, then finally there was a labor and delivery room that opened up and I was moved there. I kept telling the nurses that I needed to have this baby before midnight, and they said it would probably be about 5am the next day.

Well, I knew it wasn't going to be that long but I couldn't convince the nurses of that so they slacked on calling my doctor and the baby was coming! They said that I could go ahead and have the baby without my doctor but I thought that was crazy so I did nothing of the sort.

My Doctor walked through the door a bit after midnight and Charlie was born at 12:42am.

There was still the problem of finding a room for us because of the mass amounts of babies born that day. It wasn't until 3:30am that we were taken from Labor and Delivery and put in a room with another couple...who probably wasn't too excited to smell Kevin walking in a little later with some White Castle--the only thing open at that time of day.

Charlie was such a good baby from the moment he entered this world, and he continues to be. Happy 1st Birthday, Bear!


Here is a picture of the lil' guy when he was about three months old. Don't need to say it, but time sure flies...

3 Lil' Monkeys

I forgot to include these from last Sunday--pictures of mis tres hijos doing what they love best, and that is act like monkeys! Charles didn't appreciate the mask as much as his brothers, but he certainly thought it was funny that everyone around him looked like a chimp. Personally, they're really creepy because they are not exactly cartoon faces...they look real and then you have real blue eyes behind them blinking and looking around. I kept saying , "That's so scary--I MEAN CUTE! Yes, you guys sure are funny!" I didn't want them to think I didn't like them in their masks, but boy, I couldn't control my mouth when my brain was thinking that this is perfect fodder for some wacked-out nightmare.

Here are some pics of my creepy--I mean super-cute chimp boys:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

One Child

Kevin's parents offered to take Lou and Ben on Wednesday and keep them until Charlie's party on Saturday. This is a big help, as having all three of them deters me from preparing for the boys' birthday parties. We meet about 1/2 way between our homes, which is usually about 45 minutes. This time was no different on the way up there, but coming home we hit stand-still traffic.

Charlie slept the whole way up there, so I knew he wasn't going to rest on the way back. He finished his bag of snacks in no time and then launched his sippy cup somewhere. I rolled down the windows because I didn't want to waste any more gas than was necessary and he soon was getting antsy in his car seat. When the crying came I poppped in the SpongeBob soundtrack and he rocked out. It's pretty amazing to watch. My plan is to get it on video so I can share how this CD can change his mood instantaneously.

So, the normal 45 minute drive took 1 1/2 hours, but in the end we were able to meet Daddy for lunch at a little Mexican place by his office, so it all worked out! It's so weird being out and about with one kid. I'm used to being on edge, making sure I have everyone, making sure no one is breaking anything or hurting anyone. It'll be nice for a couple of days, but then I'll be happy to have the two other monsters at home.

You could say I'm a bit bored.

So happy to hear "Goofy Goober."

I saw someone take a picture like this in their car. Theirs turned out better.

So much traffic...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Future Musicians?

This past Saturday our maid-of-honor (Joanie) and the best man (Jeff) put together a gathering of our wedding party to celebrate our 5th Anniversary. It was held at the restaurant where we had our rehearsal dinner--Mecklenburg Gardens in Clifton--and I think everyone had a great time. Especially the boys.

We had tables reserved out in the biergarten, under twinkling white lights and grape vines. There was a two-man band playing on the stage near our group and they certainly were entertaining! I had never heard of them before, but I guess they play at the Blue Wisp and other bars and restaurants around town. Their keyboarder describes them as, "an improvisational ensemble that is as esoteric as it is eclectic. We are a pop-jazz-fusion experiment that bubbles over into sensuous vocal arrangements and explodes into blues and free jazz frenzy." I found that on a website for local awards.

At one point Benny was using his utensils to join in the fun of their song and kept playing after the song was over. The vocalist/percussion guy heard a little of Ben's ditty and created a song at that very moment based on Benny's jibberish. It was pretty amazing. They played to and off of the crowd and the boys loved that. They even gave Ben and Lou hand-held instruments to play with the group. It was so much fun.

The boys rocking out on the instruments.

They had their own solo in the song.

Taking it all in...they were mesmerized by Eugene and Billy.

Here is a shot of Eugene, and Billy is behind the other mic.

Isn't it amazing what can happen in five years?

These boys are such good friends...maybe Charlie needs a buddy, too.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Top 10 CDs the Boys Like

There are a lot of CDs we listen to in our house and in the van, but some win out more than others. We have some great CDs that have been burned for us (thank you, Uncle Joe), but I wanted to put a list together of ones that you might be interested in for your family or maybe to give as a gift, because one of the best gifts you can give is music!

Garden State Soundtrack : it's a very soothing mix of songs that do a very good job of relaxing the boys--especially during long car rides! A favorite track: (4) "Blue Eyes"
9. ESPN Presents Jock Jams, Vol. 1 : Unfortunately, this CD is no longer with us, but when Kevin and I think back to all the fun we had playing it when Lou and Ben were younger, we laugh. I had to include it on the list. As soon as they heard "Let's Get Ready to Rumble!" they stopped what they were doing and started running around the house giving high fives and whatnot.
8. Disney's Children's Favorite Songs : A great collection of "old fashioned" songs sung by a guy and some kids. A favorite track: (9) "It Ain't Gonna Rain No More"
7. Sharon, Lois, & Bram, Mother Goose & More : Another compilation of old tunes, but this is sung by the famous trio. A favorite track: (31) "If All the Rain Drops"
6. Baby Einstein Traveling Melodies : I put this particular CD, but we do have a couple of the ones BE makes and honestly I can't tell the difference between them, but they do their job: settle a crying baby! I am not sure why it does, but pop this into the CD player when you're driving and can't calm the screaming tot in the back and all of a sudden there's peace and quiet...and it calms you so you don't wreck.
5. Laurie Berkner, Under A Shady Tree : Anyone (having kids or knows kids) who hasn't heard of Laurie Berkner needs to find out who she is and listen to her music. Mainly made up of original songs, she has a funny view of life and sets her thoughts to catchy tunes. A favorite track: (4) "Drive My Car"
4. Johnny Cash, The Essential Johnny Cash : Little kids like Johnny Cash? They sure do. His voice, his guitar, his stories--you can't go wrong. A favorite track: (1 on disc 2) "It Ain't Me Babe."
3. Laurie Berkner, Victor Vito : Another great compilation of her songs. It gets the boys up and dancing around and I think they really like singing they funny lyrics. A favorite track: (8) "BOOTS"
2. Paul Simon, Greatest Hits : An awesome CD, overall. There are so many great songs, and it flows so well, between upbeat and mellow tunes. A favorite of ours: (17) "Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard"
1. Jack Johnson, Curious George Soundtrack : This one will be our top CD because about 8 times out of 10 it will be played to everyone's (including Mommy & Daddy) liking. The songs are fun, and like Paul Simon's, they flow well and so it is easy to listen to the whole CD over and over again.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Our Trip Up North

We just got back from a three-day trip to Cleveland to visit Uncle Paul and Aunt Cassie. Bright and early Monday morning we left with Grandma & Great-Grandpa for a fun-filled drive. (A bit of preparation for October, when we drive sixteen hours to Florida.) Mommy had some "business" to take care of, while the boys had a great mini-vacation. I was not a part of these trips in the following pictures, but I got a hold of them from Grandma to share with you.

The boys went to the Lake the first night we were there.

Uncle Paul taught the boys how to skip rocks.

Grandma, Grandpa & Char-Bear

The boys, reflecting on the good day they had (check out how wet Lou's shorts are).

The next day they went to Kiddie Land, a place that Aunt Cassie used to visit when she was a little girl.

They had a blast. The park isn't too big, just their size, and they finished the day off with a nice Frosty!

The ride back was...well, I'm glad it's over. Charlie's at a tough age because moving around under his own free will is so new to him, so the last thing he wanted was to be strapped in a car seat. This was a good experience, though. I know that I have A LOT of work a head of me in preparation for our Florida car ride. Kevin and I talked last night and I think we may leave at 9pm, drive for about 12 hours, then get a hotel, do some swimming, get some sleep. Then get back in to finish the drive. If anyone has any good ideas for how to keep kids occupies in cars, please let me know. VCRs aren't enough, as we found out on this trip!