Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Nice Trip

It has been a while since I last posted because Mommy & Daddy left town to celebrate my arrival into the third decade. We had a good time. And even though this blog is for the boys I'll tell you a bit about the trip because St. Louis is a great city to visit, whether or not you bring kids.

We stayed at an awesome hotel--right downtown on 4th and Market the Drury is in walking distance to so many great things including the arch and Busch stadium, and it has free hot breakfast, which is always a plus. I am a fan of buildings with a lot of history, so it's pretty neat that the Drury Plaza is the old fur traders building. The rooms have tall ceilings and a lot of windows.

I love cities that have a great public transit system. We made the mistake of taking a cab out to the Loop (I won't reveal how much that costs), but took the Metro Links back, which was only $2. You can take this to all the sights around town, including Forest Park, which not only similar to Central Park in New York, but bigger. All the places in the park are free and we took full advantage of it! The history museum had some great exhibits, especially the ones on Charles Lindbergh and the 1904 World's Fair. Afterward, we headed to the zoo which always reminds me of the zoo from Lady & The Tramp. Isn't it cool how a zoo can be like a regular park? Maybe I'm too easily impressed.

It's a beautiful place. The hills and trees and flowers are enough of a reason to visit, but the animal exhibits are pretty impressive as well. Maybe it was just the time of day we were there (1pm central), but all the animals were up and active. I loved the exhibit of the giant turtles!

It was the last series of baseball's regular season and our beloved Reds were in town playing the Cardinals. We walked to Busch Stadium twice while we were there to see our team lose. Mike Shannon, one of St. Louis' radio announcers, guaranteed that it would be a "fun weekend" to see some baseball, but I'm guessing he meant just for Cardinal fans. I thought it was a nice stadium. The workers were all friendly and helpful, and there really isn't a bad seat (or standing area) in the house.

If you get a chance to see the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica please do. Even if you're not Catholic, it's a pretty impressive sight. As long as there's not a service going on they don't mind if you come in to take pictures. Almost every inch of the place has amazing mosaics that glitter and sparkle in the light.

So, all in all we had a fantastic trip, even though we missed the boys quite a bit. The first thing I noticed when I got back was how their voices sounded different. We talked to them on the phone while we were gone, but they sounded older, more mature than I remembered. Maybe I'm crazy. It'd definitely nice to get away every once in a while, but it's certainly nice to come home to their silly monkey faces.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lunken's Fun

We had big plans to go hiking with Owen and Eli, but the terrible storm still has not be erased from all areas of our city. California Woods apparently still has too much debris to let the public in, so luckily with Lunken right around the corner we were able to have lunch and run around like crazy people in the park.

Above is a picture of Charlie's ninth time down the slide. Saying he loves slides is quite an understatement, and it is hilarious to watch. He has a million different ways to go down and the best part is the static that it creates in his hair.

As innocent as this looks, it's pretty gross (and so I take a picture). The boys are trying to get a drink after a long day's play and before Amanda and I realize it, the boys are lapping the water. Yes, some how the water wasn't draining and so instead of putting in the effort to figure out how to align the mouth with the spout of water, they decided to lick it out of the basin of the drinking fountain. How many birds took their bath in their today??

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Boys will be boys" for how long?

I am familiar with the old adage "boys will be boys" but I can't use that as an excuse for everything. With the boys being so close in age at 4, 3 and 1 they have a great time playing together, but there is a large range in size between the three of them. Their rough-housing is a part of being a boy (friends who have only girls in their lives are at a loss for words when they witness the daily interaction of mis tres hijos), I get that. I just don't know how I will survive these years of making sure they all survive, until they get to the age where they can fend for themselves!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Family Day

Who cares if the lawn needs to be mowed, closets need to be organized, and rooms needed to be cleaned--it was Fan Appreciation Day! All the work I had typed up on a To-Do list flew out the window because we needed to take advantage of a nice day and the ending of a pathetic season.

The bleachers were too hot so we headed down under the stacks to get misted. They weren't on, but the boys enjoyed having lots of room to play baseball, since the game wasn't much to watch.

Here's some brotherly love! Yes, I saw how dirty the ground was here, but they're kids and dirt is a magnet for them. A good thing for the Reds: If we can manage to hold on to some of our young players, next season will have some bright spots to it. There is definitely an energy there now that wasn't there most of the season.

The Stinker

Charlie is a stinker. My definition of a "stinker" is one who does mischievous actions, but is so cute you can't get mad. That may not be in the dictionary, but it works for me.

Case in point: on Saturday we were attempting to do some major cleaning and organizing of the house (we're such procrastinators that our spring cleaning takes place in the fall). All of a sudden we can't find Charlie, but soon have a good idea where he is because the baby gate has been partially knocked down. Hmmm.

Not sure how this little guy did it, but I have a feeling that his two older brothers are good instructors. (Side note: if you have 20 min. this is an interesting presentation about how kids learn. It gives me more confidence in having more than one child!).

It's just so hard to get mad at him when he has that dopey grin spread out on his face! Although with the foul T-shirt and ripped up '80s jorts I should know better than to think this guy is all innocent!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Answer: Poop

Question: When deciding what to paint the garage so that it adds to the "outdoor living room" look we were going for, what color do you choose?

Goodness. I didn't think it looked too bad when Kevin first painted it. I thought that it'd grow on me. Then Lou tells Daddy that it looks like someone wiped poop all over the wall. You can't fault a kid for honesty. Good thing both Mommy & Daddy agreed.

I wanted something that was earth-tone in color. Something warm, natural, and works well with the backyard. This can of paint was discounted because it was a mis-tint. Big mis-take! Now it'll have to be redone--and hopefully soon because it's painful to look out in the backyard.

I'm looking forward to next spring, though. We're going to build arbor-like structure over the patio and grow wisteria on it. I want it to have a built-in bench and subtle lighting. I have a dream backyard in mind and I'm thinking the boys are going to hate having their baseball field taken over.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Trying to explain the significance of Uncle Joe and Aunt Erin's baby to the boys was an interesting task. I am bouncing off the walls in anticipation (only 36 more weeks to go!) and they stare at me with blank looks.

I tell them it's like having a brother or sister who lives in another house.

Just stares.

When it grows up to be a little bigger than Charlie the baby will be able to play baseball with you.

"Oh yeah!"
"And then it can spend the night"

OK, so they're getting excited.


I think sharpies are great. I love all the colors available, I love that they write on most everything and I love that they're permanent. That is, I used to.

Lou took a RED sharpie to the carpet (beige) and wall (white) in our living room in big patches. Oh, and there's a big "X-marks-the-spot" in between the living room and dining room.

So mad. He's four! He has to know better.

I found out that rubbing alcohol works to get it out. I'll let you know the success rate after I'm finished.

He claims it was an accident. No! It is not when I can see your chicken nugget people on the wall. An accident is when you have a marker in your hand, you fall and you get a small mark on the carpet. Not one the size of Rudi.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Share in our GREAT news!

See these wonderful people? They are Aunt Erin and Uncle Joe. Do you know what special gift they gave me and Kevin? WE ARE GOING TO BE AN AUNT AND UNCLE IN MAY FOR THE FIRST TIME!! Well, I guess the most important thing is that MIS TRES HIJOS are going to FINALLY have a COUSIN! Oh, what a great day!

1st 2008-09 Art Showing by The Hess Boys

Like last year, I am taking pictures of all the boys' artwork because it is so much easier than trying to decide which ones to keep, especially since all the ones shown here today are from only ONE day ALL by Louie! They stay on the fridge for about a week and then discretely disappear. I've got a great file filled with artwork and would like to put together a book of it for each of the boys when they get older.

I love this one! They had to draw themselves on the first day of school and his has it raining and then shows the path that food takes when you eat it. This is definitely a keeper!

No love for Benny? Lou has started making pictures with the initial of the person who he drew underneath it.

Boogie Down!

Saturday night we had Jason & Megan's wedding down at St. Peter in Chains and then the reception a bit later at the Shriners Hall. The first thing you noticed when you walked in is that there was no air conditioning. Yep! The A/C broke and the only form of cooling off was the plentiful cold drinks and one industrial-sized fan. One. Jason sweats. A lot.

It's such a beautiful church. This is where I graduated from high school.

Megan's mom is a florist and did an incredible job with the flowers!

But really, who doesn't get hot at weddings? I just felt bad for those guys in blue dress shirts. Once everyone starting dancing it didn't really matter, just the pictures weren't all that pretty the next day with everyone's film o' sweat :) The DJ did a good job of letting us know how hot it was by playing temperature appropriate songs. It was pretty funny.

But what stole the show was Louie's dance moves. I can hear you questioning me, It's easy to interchange names when you have three boys. No, it was my usually bashful firstborn who was cutting a rug like never before seen.

Charlie-Bear, much more comfortable.

I thought it was going to be a short night. Especially with the heat, I figured they'd get cranky and be ready to crash. We were half way through dinner when Kevin took Charlie's shirt off and he spent the rest of the evening in just overalls. We bring the hillbilly factor to events. People got a kick out of him, especially when he showed how much rhythm he has. He clapped and bobbed his head to all the songs.

He had so much fun dancing with Lexi.

Lou and Ben were sitting in chairs on the edge of the dance floor and Charlie was pretty worn out from dancing really hard so I started packing up our stuff to leave. When I get back to where my guys were I find Louie busting a move out among the other dancers! Well, this doesn't happen very often, so even though Ben was being Mr. Grumpypants and Charlie was asleep on my shoulder, we danced the night away!

They are ready to go home!

It wasn't just that. When "Stayin' Alive" came on, I was trying to teach Lou all the dance moves from the Airplane flashback bar scene. He got really good at shooting his index fingers in the air...a couple of songs later. Every time he did the dance crowd cheered, which was all the motivation he needed to keep doing it over and over again! He also has this move where he keeps his left toes firmly planted on the floor and uses his right foot to push off for a spin move.

Needless to say we had a great time and I'm so glad we stayed!

The dancing machine needed some water for the ride home!

Go out right now and buy D Batteries

Kevin and I were at the Bengals game on Sunday and were being beat by all sorts of trash that flew around the stadium because of a windstorm that we thought was just occurring within the confines of Paul Brown Stadium.

We soon learned the real story when heading back on 71 and seeing the damage that this weird storm laid out. Grandma was watching the boys while we were gone and said that they hadn't had electric since noon! We found all the candles, flashlights, and figured we better start making dinner with things from the freezer. Kevin and Grandpa were out in the back cleaning up all the debris. A huge branch landed in our garden, almost wiping out what's left of our tomato plants.

After a (non-romantic) candlelit dinner Grandma and Grandpa headed up North and we prepared for what I expected to be an overnight outage. When talking to my mom she said the news report on the radio was calling for power not to be restored until Friday. That seemed crazy to me. There wasn't even any rain!

We ate some ice cream, which was a delicious soup of cherry cordial by this point, Kev and the boys dragged sticks and branches to the curb, and we settled in for a long, dark night.

This lasted until Tuesday evening. I don't have a whole lot to report in between then and now other than the fact that we really, really need to stock up on D batteries because you never know when you'll need them. These AAA and 9-volt don't help a whole lot when all your flashlights run on D.

We used a lot of candles and did a lot of staring at each other. Not so much of the last part. I think it helped that the boys were used to camping, so being without the "necessities" wasn't too big of a deal. Tuesday Lou & Ben's school was closed so we headed to my parents, who got their power back on Monday afternoon, to do some laundry (if Ben was going into school he was wearing pullups because no clean underwear was to be had...and I wasn't to the point where I was willing to hand-wash unmentionables). The boys loved watching TV all day while I ironed, washed, and checked my email.

As I type there are still a lot of people without power. A lot of people who have electric water heaters! We were so lucky to have a gas water heater and flushing toilets...can you imagine? Aunt Jill & Uncle Nick up in Dayton are still without. I'd send them a little shout-out of prayers that this ends soon, but they wouldn't be able to read it anyway.

O.K. Just pray that something like this doesn't happen again or else you'll be subjected to another long rambling of what happens in our household when the power goes out.

Not too big of mess...after Kev and Grandpa cleaned up! See the pile of debris they raked up back there in a pile. Good work, guys!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I need motivation, people!

I'm not sure of the exact date, but I do know that a year ago last Derby Weekend we were working on the boys' Crosley room. It is still not finished. But part of the reason is because some of the major things that need to be accomplished are painting, and I just don't feel right painting and then having them sleep in there. I need to suck it up and have them sleep on the couch for a night or two!

Here are a couple of the pictures of things that need to get done.

This poor scoreboard has no clock and need ads up top. The painter's tape has been there for 16 months. I think the recommended time limit is 14 days.

These are stadium seats that desperately need a roof. Not too hard, is it?

I would sincerely appreciate you asking me how it's going whenever you remember. I think that may be the motivation I need--constant reminders! Thanks for your help in advance :)

See how good my husband is at painting clouds? It wasn't always this way, but he has truly mastered the art. He can be hired out by the hour.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Reading, Writing, & Really Good Times

Off to school--Daddy was able to go in with us to see Benny off on his first day. We first headed down to Louie's classroom and after giving hugs and a kiss he was off to start the day.

I was bracing myself because I wasn't sure what was going to happen with Ben. We missed last week's open house because of our illness and he wasn't formally aware of how the classroom worked. He put his book bag and jacket in his cubby, gave us a hug and kiss, and walked right into the classroom. No tears, no looks back, nothing but smiles and a curious look at what these four walls hold for him.

What cracks me up is when I went to pick them up both Miss Sue, Miss Becky, and the director, Miss Leigh Anne said how much Ben is like Lou. "He's so quiet!" they all said. WHAT? Obviously Benny is taking his time getting comfortable because "quiet" is one thing he is not. Unless he is sick. I laughed and said we'll see what happens next time.

They both had "homework" and we finished it after lunch. Ben had to answer some questions and attach a picture that will be included in a class book that will go home to all the families in the class. Lou had to do the same thing, but he also had a couple of worksheets to do. One sheet had all capital letter, the second had all lower-case letters. All he had to do was copy the letter beneath the one on the sheet. Not tough stuff, but you can tell that their mission is to get them geared up for kindergarten. They need to see where each student is to see where they can go...or at least that what I'm thinking.

I don't know about them, but I'm excited for the school year!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pizza Boats

Did anyone else grow up having these? When we were in grade school my siblings and I were allowed to pick one day to have hot lunch. More often than not, pizza boats were chosen. I've never made them at my house before, and I wanted to see what the boys thought of them. They had to have been created by a mom. Who else would have the genius to take leftovers and turn them into a delicacy?

For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, Pizza Boats are hot dog buns filled with pizza sauce and topped with mozzarella cheese. They are easy to make, easy to eat, and if Lou and Ben had any sense they'd think they were delicious.

I've got one boy, though, who is open to trying new things! Charlie enjoyed his and I'm hoping that the boys will come to terms with the pizza boat and like them as much as me and Bear...because I have a feeling there will be many lonely hot dog buns in the fridge in the future.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

First Day For Lou!

Today was Louie's first day of school and it went extremely well--no tears! He was a bit bashful at first, but was all smiles when we picked him up at the end of the day. With all the illness last week we missed the open house for both Lou and Ben's classes so they aren't able to ease into the year with the rest of the kids.

I think what helped was that so many of the kids from last year are in the class again--Alex, Jonah, Katie, Max, Jose, Katherine, Teddy, and more, if I can remember them. The teachers are Miss Cathy and Miss Jean, and they seem really nice. What appears to be a trend, though, is the "all business" attitude of the assistant teacher. I imagine you need a bit of both with a room full of 18 4-year-olds!

I'll have to scan them in so you can see them, but he already came home with a backpack full of drawings! A cute idea that they did was to have the kids draw a picture of themselves on the first day of school. Lou drew a picture of himself standing in the rain--but with a smile on his face :)

Thursday is Benny's first day and Louie's second day. I'll definitely have pictures of that. I think it'll help Ben, knowing that Lou is right down the hall from him.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The 2nd Annual Charlie-J.T. Ballgame

When we first got pregnant with Louie we didn't have any friends that were even thinking about having kids yet, as far as we were aware. Four years later we know quite a few more expanding families. One of Charlie's buddies is J.T., who was born two months before him and last year we started the tradition of going to a Reds game with just the two boys with their mommies and daddies.

We lucked out with a gorgeous day and the only thing that could spoil it was the overwhelmingly large amount of blue in the stands. I love Chicago and have always had a great time visiting, but if there's something that I don't like it's Cubs fans. (Here is my rant for the day:) As with most teams I don't like*, it has more to do with their fans than with the actual team (!cough!buckeyes!cough!**).

I wholeheartedly believe in loyalty and supporting a team through thick and thin, but it reaches a new level of obnoxiousness with these fans. (Who boos the home team when they're visiting?) There was nothing better than sending them packing for their five hour trip with a bottom of the ninth loss, as well as a series loss!

The boys were great! All kids 15 and under got posters of the Reds rookie phenom Jay Bruce. They particularly liked that--had fun using them as swords! They handled quite a few innings before the urge to run and play took over and the dads took them up to the kids area. Back for a few and then the moms strolled through the concourse to get them to take a nap.

Can you tell that Charlie's ready for a nap? He soon got one, but was awake by the time the Reds won.

The rest of the team is pounding on Jolbert Cabrera in celebration after he hit in the winning run.

Woo-hoo! Send those Cubbie fans home!

What a great family!

I got my first glimpse of the newest Reds mascot, Rosie Red. She is completely adorable and I don't care what people say, she's a great addition. Missy told me each game she sports a different hair-do!

Thank you to Missy & Joe for inviting us on this outing. We look forward to the days when the boys play ball together!

*F.Y.I. I do not (try to!) impose my thoughts on the boys. In fact, Lou has been pretending to be the Cubs lately when he plays baseball.

**Hopefully I don't upset my in-laws too much with this--ha, ha

Friday, September 5, 2008

It's on its way out (finally!)

Last Saturday and Sunday nights Charlie and I were up the majority of the sleeping hours because the poor little guy had these terrible coughing fits every time he was in the horizontal position. I soon joined him in this state of illness and the thought occurred to me that if I was feeling this bad, how terrible it must be for a 13-month-old to be going through this!

This week has gone by in a blur. I felt like that commercial a few years back where they had cartoon characters with colds whose heads were like balloons and were walking in clouds. The days dragged on because the boys didn't want to cooperate and didn't understand what Mommy was going through. They flew by because by the time Kevin got home I realized I hadn't done much more than feed and clothe the boys.

Luckily for Charlie, he's been sleeping through the night and is down to having only a runny nose. My voice is a bit raspy with a cough, but I too am so much better than I was at the beginning of the week. Keep your fingers crossed that the other two rascals and their papa don't get it now!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

You heard it here first...

In the paper today there is a special section on the Bengals and it has two big pictures of Carson Palmer and Marvin Lewis. When I was explaining what Marvin's job is (i.e. telling players what to do, help them get better), Louie informs me that it God's job. God will help the Bengals.

If the Bengals are God's team this year, things are looking up for us!

And by the way, Louie also says that Babe Ruth is up in heaven helping the Reds. Maybe he's been hanging out at the hot dog stand all season, because the help he's giving us isn't getting us anywhere.

Sticker Day!

Well, it's not officially called "sticker day," but I wish the excitement of picking out a sticker outweighed the actual cost of the stickers.

The cost: we went to the doctor for Ben's 3-year-old checkup and not only did he have to get a shot, but both he and Lou got the flu mist up the nose. Oh the horror!

I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to do this by myself. Those boys are getting strong and with all the flailing around I don't think I'll have the ability to restrain them in future appointments.

Charlie thought it was all pretty funny.

Update: Ben is up to 37 lbs. and 38 inches.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


My Grandpa gave my mom a "brag book" my grandma had when I was little. Being the first born, I dominated the book and it was neat to see a small window into that part of my life that I was not completely aware of. What's also neat is to see that there's a pretty good chance that Charlie is my baby.

Yes, I realize that I was present during the gestation and birthin' of my three sons, but when you see a picture of yourself and then a picture of your baby and see all the similarities, you begin to fully realize how babies are amazing miracles.

OK, maybe he doesn't look like me at all, but when your firstborn is the exact replica of your husband and your middle-born is made from the same mold as your brother, you start looking for similarities where there might not be any.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day Weekend

We had a busy weekend: three different cities to meet with family over the holiday weekend. Our first stop was in Aurora at Uncle John and Aunt Mary's property where corn-on-the-cob was abundant and the games never stopped. The boys played ping-pong, pop-a-shot, golf, badminton, and tether-ball, among other things. The only thing that wasn't played (amazingly!) was baseball there wasn't a good area to hit because of the hills.

All week long Charlie has had a runny nose and we attributed it to the fact that he has two huge teeth breaking through his gums. We were wrong this time. All Saturday night he was coughing this terrible dry hack and couldn't sleep. It was awful. I couldn't figure out what to do for him.

Uncle Billy rallies our side of the family in a fierce game of badminton.

Cousin Tommy is the tickle-monster for Charlie.

Nothing gets you ready for the day than a rousing game of tether-ball.
Uncle John's log cabin. Most of the people blew up air-mattresses and stayed in the house or out in the building.

We stayed in the tent at the bottom of the hill.

After we had a delicious breakfast, which included "Mickey Mouse" pancakes, we headed up to Columbus to visit some more family. It was such a hot day so they went swimming then came back to the house to play in the backyard. It was a very nice evening, spent playing with Uncles Nick, Jeff, Jay, and Aunt Jill. Soon we were off to bed to rest for the next day, the family picnic up at Great-Grandpa's house in Mercer County.

Uncle Jeff had to head back to "Washington ABC" as the boys call it, so he could only stay for lunch. We played baseball, bean bags, and attempted to take a nap under the trees. It was nice to see everyone, and we had a lot of fun, but boy, are we glad to sleep in our own beds this week!

Uncle Jeff with the boys by the corn field next to Great-Grandpa's house