Friday, August 29, 2008

Our Missing Players

I realize that I haven't written a post about the boys' other beloved who left our our team and our city: Adam Dunn. Kevin and I were in Miami at that time and Kevin's dad didn't want to be the one to break it to them without us being there, so when we got home that was our duty.

They were really pretty sad for a while, but then when they played baseball the conversation would go something like this:

Lou: Mom, what's the name of the team Adam Dunn plays for?
Me: The Diamondbacks
Lou: O.K, so Benny is the Reds and I am the Diving Backs.

Yes, they're pretty upset that Adam Dunn isn't on the Reds, but we also haven't been to too many games at GABP lately and they can see Dunn highlights on the internet, so it hasn't been too bad for them. Just a different uniform.

Speaking of which, when I was in Chicago Kevin entertained the boys with one of his favorite ways of settling them down: showing baseball highlights off of Ken Griffey, Jr. hit a homerun, tying Sammy Sosa, and here is video footage of Ben doing the White Sox's play-by-play guy's call:

Yes, that is a big patch of mustard on his cheek. I don't have time to be keeping the kids clean, we've got to record these little gems!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Few Stories about the Boys

We went to the museum today with Owen, Eli, and Miss Amanda. Had a great time as usual! Louie, Benny, and Owen have such similar interests that it really makes it nice that they get along so well. Owen is an extremely knowledgeable kid about all the areas of the museum, I feel like both the boys and I are getting an education! For instance, did you know that there is a dinosaur skull in the Natural History Museum that is one of three in the world?! Not only that, but it is in the best condition of the three because it has some of its neck vertebrae. I'm not sure what its name is (I'll ask Owen for you), but if you go it is to the left of the big steps in the dinosaur area.

After the dinosaurs we went to the Children's Museum. Louie and Benny have been saying for the last couple of days that they're going to work on cars when they grow up, so we headed to the mechanic's garage. It was there that Amanda asked me if Ben got a black eye. What??

Thanks to Amanda for being prepared and taking this great shot!

If there's one thing the boys like it's getting their hand stamped when we show our pass. Today it was an apple and what are the chances that before the ink had time to dry his eye would itch and he'd rub his eye with it? Voila, you got yourself a black eye!

Lou flipped out again. He didn't want to take a nap and I didn't force him. We came home from the museum and the other two went down to sleep and Lou and I had lunch together. It was nice. We had a great conversation about how he liked going up in the tree house at the museum even though he was scared at first. He was happy Owen went up with him and he wants to write him a letter to see if he'll go with him again.

I asked him if he wanted to help me make some cookies and he gave me an overly eager "YES!" It went so well. He was (somewhat) patient and listened to me and got to crack eggs, measure flour, and scoop up the dough to put on the tray. I got to thinking that maybe Kevin and I need to set aside time to spend with each kid individually so that we can appreciate them, be patient with them, and realize what great little people they are--when they aren't lumped together into one monster.

The cookies were cooling on the kitchen table and I was busy doing other stuff when my baby came to me, covered from head to toe in chocolate. He reached up, grabbed a cookie and went to town. He's all jacked up on chocolate chips, Chip!

So, instead of getting mad that he stole one of the cookies I was making for a friend, got chocolate all over the kitchen and himself, I took a picture because in the back of my mind I knew I was going to laugh at this. He is such a stinker!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


We are experiencing the '50s lifestyle this week as we have only one car at the moment. Every day Kevin asks if I want to drop him off at work, but the thought of waking the boys before they're ready just doesn't seem worth it. These past few days have been nice, actually. I think it helps that Charlie has been sleeping through the night (don't jinx myself again!).

The house is cleaner, there are more elaborate meals ("elaborate" is a relative term), and the boys have been playing really great together. It seems that when we had a car the boys were constantly asking where we were going next. Maybe I need to rethink our days. They had fun making tiger masks, talking about how they were going to wrestle Daddy the Gorilla when he got home. They built a tent and pretended to be bears hibernating (one of my favorite games). They played baseball--of course! And the day hasn't been fight-free, but it's been nice overall.

It probably has helped that the weather hasn't been all that great, so it's not like if we did have a car we'd be at the pool or zoo. But with school starting in two weeks (Lou on September 9th and Ben on the 11th), I think I may review the need to get out of the house every day. There's plenty to do around here and we enjoy doing it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tidbits from today

This morning the boys rode their bikes to the park. Lou is getting better at peddling, but does it on his big wheel and not on the big boy bike. Ben, on the other hand, is still in scoot-mode. They were up and down the slide, swinging to their heart's content. Then Ben went up the slide while Lou was pushing Charlie on the swing. Ben stops mid-way up the ladder, screams my name, and when I look I see a waterfall coming down the steps. It wasn't water. We get the bikes and stroller and the back wheel of Lou's bike pops off. Luckily we found the hardware in the grass and we were on our way.

There's some pretty major construction going on underground, a couple houses up from us. The look of joy on all of their faces was pretty amazing when they saw a backhoe, dump trucks, and a hydraulic excavator (I just looked it up online because I had no clue what it was). They all seemed larger than life, but that may be because we were seeing them next to (and larger) than the house instead of in a construction site.

I think back to when Lou was just a week away from turning three and I thought, "What 'terrible twos?' They weren't so bad!" Now I wish that two was the year that it was supposed to be. Some days Lou can be very frustrating. As his vocabulary gets bigger so does his sassy-ness. This isn't a good thing.

I just put the boys to bed for a nap and Lou screamed at me for five minutes (an obvious sign of his tiredness) then ran into Charlie's room and slammed the door (Bear was already taking a nap). Other times he can be just as sweet as can be, but I'm not sure what happens when a boy turns four. Maybe that's when the snips and snails and puppy-dog tails starts to come out.

The Value of Bubbles, Beanbags, and Baseball Cards

First off I want to say THANKS to my best friend the love of my life, Kevin. I know that this is a blog about our kids, but they would not be here if it weren't for him ;) The reason I'm bringing this up is because another awesome friend Stephanie put together a surprise for my birthday and Kev helped her pull it off extremely successfully (if I woke up tomorrow morning with my head sewn to the carpet I wouldn't be more surprised) and took the boys camping while I was a having a girls trip in Chicago. What a great guy!

Kevin's not usually good at keeping secrets so the fact that I didn't know about the trip until 10:30pm the night before we were leaving at 6:30am is absolutely amazing. Steph put together an amazing trip and I am so blessed to have her for a friend! We did really adult things like have this for dinner:

and spent hours on the Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier, and even saw our beloved Reds at Wrigley Field. Kev held down the fort (with the help of my incredible Mom!), packed up for a camping weekend, and everyone was alive by the time I met up with them on Saturday night. I'm not saying for one minute that I doubted that he could do it, but I know that it is so much easier when you have two people corralling three crazy toddlers than one. I hope he knows how much I appreciate ALL he does!

On with the weekend: we've had plans for a while now to go camping with a group of our friends we play softball with and it happened to fall right after our family camp out--we even had the same spot!

The boys were throwing marshmallows at the raccoons. Not sure if that was doing the job of keeping the critters away, but at least no one was getting hurt ;)

As we're packing up to go home on Sunday. Louie is going through an awful phase of sticking out his tongue.

It was such a fun time with our friends that we don't see nearly as much as we'd like, and as a result of all this fun time we stayed up later than we probably should have. Sunday morning came way to soon. All three boys were up at 6:30am. Ben fell asleep with Kevin in our bed and my idea for bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Lou and Charlie was to take them into the van and pop in a video while I caught some shut-eye for a few minutes.

The morning went on and after a great breakfast we started to clean up and pack up. We were moving at a very slow pace and all of our friends had left by the time we were completely loaded. The van wouldn't start. The battery was drained from the morning movie and this wouldn't be the end of the world except that the vehicle that I drove out to the campground wouldn't start either! Turns out that it had bigger problems than the van and we needed to tow it all the way back home. The park ranger came out to jump our van, but we had to wait quite a while for the tow truck. We were ready to go at noon and we ended up leaving the park at 4pm.

What do you do with three little ones at a muggy campground and all your things--including most of the toys--are packed up solid? You start scavenging the van for random things to do. This included:
  • A bottle of grape bubbles Louie got from his preschool! I'm so glad I tucked it away into a pocket and forgot about them. Note: they do not taste like grape, just overwhelmingly smell like it. The game of chasing bubbles and seeing how many you can break took up a good 20 minutes or so.
  • One of the first things I made when I learned to sew were beanbags and I kept them in the car in case we'd need them (a premonition of a disaster??). I could only find one at this point, but there was a baseball helmet that wasn't packed away. Lou, Ben and I sat down and took turns tossing the bag into the helmet. Once we all got it in we moved the helmet back.
  • I've been annoyed that baseball cards have been in the van lately. They've been multiplying and it seems like every time I pick some up there are fifteen more scattered elsewhere. This day I was overjoyed at finding them because we used them for another game. We each had a stack of cards and tossed them out in front of us. When one of our cards landed on top of another we could pick up those cards.
Charlie was running around during this time, just taking it all in, while Kev was on the phone talking to AAA and tow companies. With van recharged I took cranky Ben and Charlie to go through a drive-thru to get lunch. Not long after we finished the meal the tow truck showed up and our crazy weekend at the campground was over.

Monday, August 18, 2008


While Kevin and I were enjoying a Bengals pre-season game with lovely sights, my poor middle child was dealing with pain. He was stung by a bee right by his eye! Oh, I feel so bad. Kev and I had a great time at the game and my baby was crying from his first bee sting--on his face, no less!

What's crazy is when he woke up and I asked him about it, he acted like he didn't know what I was talking about. I guess the attack didn't have a lasting effect on him. If nothing else, at least we know he's not allergic to bee stings. I'll never get the image out of my head when Macaulay Culkin was stung by hundreds of bees in the movie My Girl.

P.S. Lou must have picked something up from watching a big of the game last night: all day he's been using a rally-rag Bengals towel to "soak up sweat" from his forehead. Let's just hope that he doesn't start dumping big coolers of gatorade on top of me...but then again with the way the team looked last night he's may not see much of that this season.

The Great Outdoors

Who could ask for a nicer weekend than this past? We really lucked out: blue skies, a cool breeze, and sunshine through shade trees. It was very relaxing--once you come to terms with the fact that boys cannot and will not stay the least bit clean during a camping trip.

Four seconds after Charlie sat down to play with his brothers he dumped the chalk on top of himself. Can you see the chalk smudges on his face?

It's a very laid back environment. I pretty much go in thinking that everything is getting thrown into the washing machine when we get back, so I don't stress too much about how the boys roll around in the dirt.

See how dirty Benny is? Quite literally, he was Pigpen from Peanuts. When he walked he had a cloud of dust trailing him. This was in part due to the fact that when playing baseball 17 out of the 24 hours of the day he is the catcher and dives to make sure he catches the ball. And see his feet? This kid likes to put his own shoes on, and his way of doing it always means they're on the wrong feet.

Versailles has a great swimming pool and last summer both Ben and Lou went down the slide. This year neither of them wanted to. OK, they had to warm up to the idea. Uncle John took Charlie down (he screamed the whole time) and I took Ben down. For others who want to do this, if you don't have super strong arms you have put them between your legs going down because when you get to the bottom it's extremely difficult to lift the kid off your lap and also stand up. The water was only 2 1/2 feet deep at the bottom and I managed to lose my footing and my grip and both Ben and I went under. Needless to say, he decided that I wasn't his slide partner any more.

Uncle John, Benny, and Grandpa

Eventually, Louie decided he'd go down with Daddy. Not thrilled the first time, but he did it. Then, at the persistence of Uncle Johnny he went down with him over and over and over again until finally Uncle John needed a timeout.

Daddy and Louie at the top of the slide.

You can't go wrong with riding bikes, sleeping in a tent, and s'mores at the campground. Lucky for us, we get to go again this coming Friday--same place, different group. The only thing that we're hoping will be different is a sleepier Charlie. Little guy woke up the campground both nights. Maybe a few more times down the slide will wear him out.

Friday, August 15, 2008

! ! THANK YOU ! !

Kevin and I were able to celebrate our anniversary in style by going down to Miami, Florida, sans the boys. It couldn't have been done without the help of Grandma and Grandpa! The boys love visiting them in Columbus and we love that they love having them! Here Lou and Ben are wearing their special gift from Mommy & Daddy, and Lou is going through a moment of middle-school-ness (Here's a smile for you, Mom...).

Trying to relive our honeymoon, we took a lot of corny shots. Here's one of them:

Well, we're home for a day and now headed to go camping for our annual family campout at Versailles. Hope to have some good pictures to share!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Vintage Base Ball

About the time that we bought our house, the City of Blue Ash bought the Hunt House in hopes to restore it to make it a museum, circa 1880s. The significance of it is that it was part of the infamous Morgan's Raid during the Civil War. I did not know all this at the time, but it is such a beautiful house and they've made some great improvements on the historical building.

I've seen signs advertising open houses since 2006 when they finished work and opened the house to public tours. Unfortunately, before this past Saturday we have never been able to make it one of them. It worked out this time, and to everyone's delight there was a vintage base ball game! The Cincinnati Redstockings played the Cincinnati Buckeyes. The boys didn't want to join the other kids and play in the game, but were mesmerized by the old uniforms and decided to sit on the sidelines under a tree. There were people giving out free Cracker Jack and peanuts in little paper sacks. The boys were in heaven.

We eventually made our way into the Hunt House and I was a bit worried that the boys wouldn't be interested but, no worries! the house had a lot of old Reds paraphernalia. There was plenty of antiques to satisfy me.

A neat little detail in the kitchen: on top it holds matches, then lift the flap and put used matches in there for safe disposal.

Looking toward the back of the kitchen to the back porch.

A shot of the Redstockings' pitcher.

The man in the black suit and top hat was the umpire, with the Redstocking player and the Buckeye.

It's awesome that there's stuff like this going on all throughout the city for free. I read an article in Sunday's paper about how kids are shaping our culture these days, with an overabundance of kids' style, music, and merchandise. But I think that if Kevin and I make a point to have the boys go to events like this they'll gain an appreciation for what may not be deemed cool to the majority of their age group. And that will be great.

Can you tell I'm getting old? Thirty, I hear ya comin'!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Gender Issues

We were driving home from the pool today and Lou says to me,"You see, Mom, you've got girls and you've got boys. And the girls make the boys not like them."
Where this came from I have no idea, but man-oh-man, he's deep. He's got all the answers, doesn't he? My question is, why is gender such a big concern in a four-year-old's life? Aren't they all still "just kids?" Although, when Lou, Ben, Charlie and I were all in a handicap bathroom stall together he bent over while I was tinkling. Quite confounded he asked,
"Where does it come from?!"

Our Gardeners

They're much more excited about taking a picture together than allowing me to get a shot of the fruits of their labor.

Sorry about this shot. I thought I had it turned so you could see it better. Daddy had the boys wash the tomatoes when they came in the house.

We are right in the middle of the peak of our plants' growing. We have tomatoes galore, green peppers, some hot peppers, onions, yellow squash, (pickling!) cucumbers, and zucchini that love to flower yet no veggies have sprouted. I've always heard that if you let kids help in the growing of vegetables they'll be more apt to eat them.

This is not always the case, I've found out. But I'm not giving up. Lou has definitely expanded past his carrot-and-celery-stick-only phase. He's tried peppers (red, green, yellow and orange) and cucumbers, but it's because I let him dip them in ranch! I just don't know why he won't eat tomatoes--maybe he's not related to me...

Pointless Things That Are Really Cool

Oh! I wish I could have stopped laughing to take a picture for you.

Have you ever noticed how designers put thing on children's clothing that really have no importance in a child's life? For instance, Charlie has these swim trunks (size 24 mos.) that have a mesh pocket on the inside, like you would find in a grown man's swim trunks. Kevin, for example, may put his keys in there if he's worried about someone stealing them out of his bag, but also doesn't to hold on to them while he's doing cannonballs. What is a 1-year-old going to do with a mesh pocket?

This morning Charlie came walking toward me with his hands in his pockets. I couldn't stop laughing. I like when my boys look like little men, but some of those details really are pointless, at least at Charlie's age. I'm actually surprised that his chubby hands could fit in there!

That kid is so funny. I don't know how a baby who is almost 13 mos. old can know how to be a comedian already. Thank goodness for that.

How hillbilly could we be?

When I first met Kevin he was driving this car and I thought it was his parents'. What 24-year-old guy was driving an old man's car?? Turns out it was an awesome car--a leather couch on wheels--comfortable, roomy, and one of the nicest cars I've ever ridden in. It probably helps that it was the vehicle he drove while he courted me. We took so many road trips in this car until it died in front of our house...and sat there for over a year!

There's something to be said about the first car you buy with your own workin' money. A sign that you're an adult. You can make big purchases. It was hard to say good-bye, but it is also difficult to look outside and see a dead vehicle. Oh, and the ticket for expired plates, but mainly the end of a trusty sidekick like the LHS.

The boys were front and center watching the departure of our dearly beloved car. Complete in Santa gear and underoos. Goodness gracious.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How could I have forgotten?

I used to have a site at a place that keeps track of a baby's developments. For the life of me I can't remember what it was called, but it wouldn't let me upload many pictures so I switched to a blog. The nice thing about that other site, though, was that you could see how the baby grew and all the new things he was doing.

Charlie had his one year doctor's appointment a while back and I forgot to update you on how he's doing! So, better late than never, here are his stats:
  • He weighs 22 lbs., 10 oz.
  • He's 29 " long--in the 25%
  • He still has a big noggin
He seems to be about the same size as Ben and Lou were at this point, but after hearing that he's in the 25 percentile for height I did notice that he doesn't own any "short pants." They all just make it look like he's going for the surfer dude look.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I'm 3!

Ben equates being 3 with being a big kid...unless being a big kid means he has to do a pose for the photographer he doesn't want to. He tried to give our photographer a hard time, but she was eating him up and even when he growled at her she got him to give her a big ol' grin. Once again, she got me to buy more pictures than I planned to, but they were pretty cute pictures...and when I think about the pictures we got for when Lou and Charlie were babies we definitely spent more money on them than Benny. Just trying to make sure he doesn't have the middle child syndrome.

We have no proof of our great day

Yesterday was a gorgeous Sunday without humidity and we were lucky enough to be downtown enjoying it. Grandpa and Elizabeth came over our house and we loaded up the van and headed down to Findlay Market for the Blue BBQ Festival. We grabbed sandwiches, had some Barbarossa, and we enjoyed the atmosphere before heading down to park at Fountain Square and then head over to the Carew Tower.

The Carew Tower was built in 1929 and because it was during the Depression the original plans changed and some of the material was replaced with lower grade material. After reading that you'd think the place was not much to look at, but that's not the case at all. I showed the boys the tiled walls made by a local company called Rookwood Pottery. We looked at the gold man on a horse by the entrance. But while their mom was oohing and ahhing over the architectural details, the boys got a kick out of the revolving door. Ben liked it so much, in fact, that he didn't get out of it until Daddy got in to help him.

When you walk into the atrium you take an elevator to the 45th floor. Here, you get onto another elevator to the 48th floor. The difference between the first elevator and the second elevator is quite dramatic. The second elevator is like getting into a coat closet. We all fit in and when it let us off at the 48th we climbed a set of stairs, paid $2 per person (it's free for kids under 6!) and got a bird's eye view of this beautiful city.

I'm sure it's common in whatever city you live in, but I've found that usually the only time we do touristy stuff is when people come to visit you from out of town. The last time I was on the observation deck of the Carew was in 1990 when I had an exchange student living with me. This was Kevin and the boys' first time up there, and it was great to have Grandpa and Elizabeth with us because they were able to point out landmarks, explain what certain things were, and tell stories about growing up downtown.

Unfortunately, we brought a camera with us whose battery was still in the charger at home. They sold disposable cameras at the desk where you pay your admission, but you're going to need more than that to capture these great views. No problem--we already have plans to go back, this time with our camera in hand!