Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Message to You All...


I'm making my dish for tomorrow's Thanksgiving celebration and thought I'd send you the boys' wishes for a safe and blessed holiday. Lou and Ben made these hats in school after learning about the first Thanksgiving. They worked super hard on them and they turned out pretty cute. Although, I have to say that Charlie's pilgrim hat Lou made looks suspiciously like a leprechaun hat...

Great suggestion, Benny!

Somewhat out of the blue, we had a really fun day. It started off by going with Aunt Joanie to get her wedding dress (yay!) and used our Frisch's Halloween coupons for lunch (Big Boys & cherry cokes!). All throughout lunch Benny kept saying that we should go to the zoo. Non-stop.

For the end of November it was actually a beautiful day and after lunch with Joanie and Grandma we headed to our beloved zoo. Louie thought the above picture was hilarious and had me take a picture of it. (I guess he gets his sense of humor from me because I thought it was pretty funny, too.)

I felt like Miley Cyrus on her 16th birthday, when Disneyland shut down just for her. We didn't see anyone there when we first arrived, and only a few as we walked through the park. It was awesome! Christmas music playing and decorations everywhere. Even the animals seemed to be enjoying it.

I was completely freaked out by these bats. I try not to come into this particular exhibit but Ben insisted. Maybe they sensed my fear, but the boys were pretty intimidated by these large bats and wanted to leave immediately. As soon as we rushed to the automatic door a bird started squawking like nothing I've ever heard, in an almost baritone, and I pretty much trampled my offspring to get away.

As nice as the weather was, it still was a bit chilly and when we sought refuge at inside exhibits I was reminded that I am pregnant. Every building had the stench of a port-o-let on a sweltering July day. It was awful. I try to breath through my mouth, but then my mind tells me that I have that smell in my mouth and that may be worse. Wouldn't I be a fun zoo date?!

They have these blow-up lawn decorations all through the park and the boys particularly liked this one and wanted their picture taken with it. Not sure when we'll get back to the zoo, as it looks like a lot of snow is in the not-so-distant forecast. We'll head back with Daddy at night to see the lights and the 4-D movie of Polar Express. Can't wait!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What brother?

Occasionally Lou and Ben will meet up at school, as their classes walk down the hall, or they are going to an assembly or the like. Today all the classes met in the "muscle room" where they had their Thanksgiving Feast and watched the Peanuts' Thanksgiving special.

Lou gets really excited to see his brother and Ben is completely indifferent. No reaction. No smile. No wave. It doesn't seem to bother Louie.

Benny still isn't saying a whole lot in class. (I don't know who this child is, but I will not question it because it could be so much worse.) He takes it all in and seems to really enjoy it. He says that he plays with "the other Benny" a lot. I take his word for it.

I'm hoping to get in to volunteer in each of their classes before the end of the year. Hopefully Benny will acknowledge me as his Mommy...

Monday, November 24, 2008

A great way to start off the holiday season!

Once again we headed over to the Germania Society's Christkindlmarkt for their weekend festival getting ready for the Christmas season. Saturday night we met up with Joe, Missy & J.T. and participated in their lantern parade. It was freezing! but the kids seemed pretty excited to be holding the colorful Chinese lanterns with a lighted candle inside. Saturday we went back with Katie, Grandma & Grandpa R., and Aunt Erin & Uncle Joe.

They have lots of booths with decorations, clothing, toys, coo-coo clocks, pyramids and linens, among other things, for sale. The boys weren't too interested in that stuff. They much prefer seeing the performances put on my little kids doing German dances or the tall guy dressed like an elf doing a juggling act. And they like to try all the different food! Although not all that ethnic, their favorite had to be the decorate-it-yourself sugar cookies. Ugh. I have a sweet tooth and couldn't stomach the inch of icing topped with m&ms, sprinkles, red hots, and whatever else they crammed on there.

Charlie hanging out with Reba the goat.

Katie and Louie checking out one of the sheep.

Benny petting the bunny. I heard a girl call it Thumper, but the boys insisted on calling it Spot. Or Brown Spots. Or Spotty.

Charlie shrieked with joy around the baby turkeys. Didn't touch them. It was enough just to be surrounded.

The boys love life music and this guy was no exception. Later, he gave them rings with bells and had them particpate while he played Jingle Bells.

Not a great picture, but the boys had a great time being pulled in a carriage by two big ol' horses. Being the polite little gentleman they are, after the ride was over they yelled to the driver, "THANKS DRIVER!" Well, it was funny at the time.

One of the many delicacies: limburger cheese sandwiches. When I was little I was subjected to many occasions of my dad, grandpa and uncles eating these things. Maybe this is a higher quality cheese because even with my super-sonic sense of smell it wasn't as bad as I remembered. Joe is in the background showing what he thinks of it.

Charlie decided to start off a little lighter--with a hot pretzel. Me, I like the roasted almonds...mmm...the scent of cinnamon was calling me.

The boys were indeed mesmerized by the Frisch Marionettes. I thought some were pretty creepy, but the guy is really talented. Kevin and I were very proud of Lou and Ben. You can see their heads there in the front. Three boys were up at the stage blocking their view most of the time. The guy running the show had to tell them to back off a couple of times. Very surprised they didn't get a swift punch in the gut.

A great ending to a great day! The boys were loving the playground. Charlie gets such a kick out of doing things his brothers do. No reason to have "baby" toys around. They don't get used by this guy.

So this is how we begin the holiday season. Oh, I forgot to mention that they have a tent filled with just tvs for watching college football. Michigan-Ohio State; UC-Pittsburgh; Notre Dame-Syracuse, etc. We didn't do a whole lot of that, but if German fare and entertainment aren't up your alley, the Germania Society has thought of other things to do. Needless to say, it's a lot of fun.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A (Literary) World of Opportunities

I want to send a shout out of THANKS to Amanda. She informed me that there's a new baby name book out on the market and I wasted no time in grabbing it off the "New Non-Fiction" shelf at the library.

Over the past five years I have become very familiar with the available baby name books out there and very few have gotten me excited like this one has. It is called A if for Atticus and if you haven't already figured it out, it is a book of all names literary. From books. Atticus Finch is the father character in one of my favorite books, To Kill A Mockingbird.

Even if your mantra isn't "So many books, so little time," as she says in the introduction of her book, it is a neat place to look up names that have some background and significance in our culture (at least, in my opinion).

Again, thank you, Amanda! It is getting much, much easier to narrow down the choices :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Good to know

After talking about the incident a week ago, my friend Amanda was telling me a story that reassured me. A while back she dropped her husband and two sons off at the museum, went to run an errand, then came back to meet them.

She went down to the Children's Museum, showed her pass to get in, and was given the third degree. Are you here with anyone? I'm meeting my family. Do you have children? Yes, I dropped them and my husband off earlier. Well, we can give tours to those interested in becoming members, but we don't allow adults without children into the museum.

It went something like that, and then Amanda told them how happy she was to hear that. It was good to hear that they take such precautions to make sure that there aren't unnecessary/unwanted people in who may have ulterior motives.

The Museum is probably in the top three of my favorite places to go in Cincinnati and the fact that Charlie "escaped" from the Clifford exhibit was just a freak incident and won't happen again.

No worries, Mom!

Hairy Chickens

The other night we had a salad with our dinner and as a big fan of raw vegetables, I put in quite an assortment. I love mushrooms and didn't put any on the boys' plates so I could hoard them all for myself. By the end of the meal curiosity had gotten the best of Benny and he wanted to try one of these things that I was munching on.

Reluctantly, I gave him one and the first thing he said was, "What is this stuff?!" pointing to the side of the slice I handed him.

"It's just what the inside of a mushroom looks like."

"It looks hairy to me."

"Well, if you're not going to eat it you can give it back to me."

He sniffs it, nibbles, then takes a bite. " tastes like chicken!"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Christmas Lists

I have been trying to keep Louie and Benny quiet so Charlie can get some rest, to recover from this cold. Not much has worked. They are all geared up for one reason or another, and Benny's "indoor voice" seems more appropriate in a construction zone. No surprises there.

I cut out pictures of toys out of ads and we sat down to make our lists to Santa. They only had a paper so big, so this was more successful than the letting them go through a catalog and make arrows pointing to what they'd like. However, it went way to quickly and I ran out of things to do quietly.

Brushing teeth would be quiet, don't you think? Except when you have a 3 and 4-year-old doing it. Loud, wet, and the potential for broken objects. Charlie isn't going to get much rest today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Scattered thoughts from a Scatterbrain

  • I heard the funniest joke yesterday:
Q: Why did the bird walk across the kitchen?
A: To eat, to eat! (say it out loud)
Perhaps I am hanging out with the five and under crowd a bit too much...
  • When I drop the boys off at school in the morning there is an awesome smell in the air. As much as I wish I could tell you it was coming from the Busken bakery down the street, it is not. I'm not sure of a Thai restaurant in the area, but I am smelling the oh-so-delicious aroma of Pad Thai. Mmm...if you weren't convinced that I was pregnant before know that only people with babies in their bellies are craving Thai at 8:45am.
  • My nose is sensitive. Not a big surprise, but the past few days have made me want to search out a toilet--fast. The boys are starting on colds and they have the dreaded "cold breath." So sad, because all they want to do is curl up on my lap and be comforted and all I want to do is hurl. And diaper-changing duty has become horrendous. Not sure what Charlie is eating these days.
  • Not much more than a few months into this and I am desperately seeking names for this fourth child. I found a name I thought I'd really like (though, I'd have to convince Kevin), but then when asking Benny about this morning I realized that it was a "place" name. Specifically, it's an area of town that doesn't have a great reputation. There are so many beautiful names out there, I know, but we have started a trend in our family and it would be weird to include a "Brittany" or "Gage" in it. If you hadn't noticed, we like names that are more old-fashioned, and it seems as though they've taken an "American Historical Figure" route. If you have any ideas, please send them my way!

An Omen?

The past couple of months I've received three America Girl Doll catalogs in the mail.

Is this a sign of things to come???

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I think I lost this war

Louie won. This war of taking a nap or not taking a nap has been going on for quite some time and today he came up to me in a very reasonable manner and explained that he does not need a nap anymore and will get all his sleep tonight.

The thing about Lou, though, is that he can entertain himself pretty easily without my help. I can get some work done around the house and start the soup for dinner and he'll mold things out of clay or read his library books. If it should happen that I'd want to shut my eyes for a few minutes, he won't burn the house down. Now, if it were either of the other two...I'm not sure I'd be reacting so calmly.

I think it's OK, though. He'll be five in almost four months. It's been a good run.

Benny and Money

Ben loves money. Shiny coins or paper bills, he loves it all and was the first little kid (mine or otherwise) I've known who immediately recognizes it and sees value in it, for whatever that's worth.

What's funny is that he isn't interested in spending it. He gets so excited about putting it in the bank. Not so much where our savings and checking accounts are, but in the various "piggy" banks around the house. Each of the boys received banks for baptism gifts, with Lou's being the only pig. They also got two Reds helmet banks from Great Aunt Mary that already came with money.

I should be glad that he's only three and he's a saver, something that regrettably, I am not so good at. But little Benny is going around and taking my money and storing it in his and his brother's banks. He seems to think that any currency in view is his for the taking. He just plopped a big quarter into Charlie's bank and shook it with a big smile. I wonder what the future holds for Mister Ben...

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Stork

The boys and I were watching Dumbo and as I'm sure you know, the movie starts out by showing all the circus animals "giving birth" by having a stork drop off a bundle of joy into their cages. If only it were so easy!

I was interested in finding out the story behind the stork, so I looked to wikipedia for help and low and behold, they had the answer. I understand the difficulty of explaining to a child the how and why of a baby, but since the only storks I've seen have been in the zoo it makes me wonder if their are more regional stories...

Apparently, storks are "harbingers of happiness and prosperity." And that they often built nests on top of chimneys, so it could easily be visualized how babies entered the home. Kind of like Santa. Thank you wikipedia!

Strange Phenomenon

Was there a full moon last night? Is there a blizzard set to come through town today? Something has to be going on because both Charlie and Benny were up ALL NIGHT. There were a lot of tears, and I never got to the bottom of it, but there's a chance Char-Bear may be getting more teeth. But that doesn't explain Ben. And the icing on the cake is that Lou had a great night of sleep so he woke up me up bright and early.

Goodness. What am I getting myself into? There's a baby coming! One, that with my boys' track record, won't sleep through the night until s/he is 15 months old! Oh, but really, this doesn't happen all that often. So when it does, I tend to be a bit dramatic.

Please forgive me if I am a zombie this week.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Beautiful Mid-November Day

Today we went to the Museum with our friends Owen, Eli, and Miss Amanda and had a wonderful time, all except for the part where I lost Charlie!

The boys have been begging to go back down to see the Clifford exhibit and it was supposed to rain all day, so what better time to go to the museum? Well, it turns out it was actually 60-degrees and sunny, but we went anyway.

As I've posted before, the Big Red Dog exhibit is great, with so much for the kids to do. But one thing Amanda and I noticed is that there are just too many nooks and crannies for the kids to hide in. Not sure if it is the way that the room is set up or what, but it seems like you spend the whole time finding one kid or the other because there is just no way that they're all going to want to do the same thing.

At this particular moment, they did. Lou and Owen were behind the counter at the restaurant cooking up soup and seafood while Ben and Charlie were sitting at the counter and Eli was going back and forth. Charlie wanted to see what the kitchen was all about so behind the wall he went...and that was the last I saw of him...for the next five minutes. (It may not have even been that long!)

I know that I have an over-active imagination, but it's amazing the kind of scenarios I can cook up in my head when my baby is missing. I ran all over the room, looking for him with Amanda's help, when I asked one of the many workers to help look for Charlie.

There are three workers that staff the door, then another that works the desk to check passes. Charlie the Wonderboy got pass me and these staffers and made it all the way across the lobby area, and tried to go into the Children's Museum! While I was frantically searching in the Clifford room he was probably slowly making his way to the door. I didn't think to look at the door because of all the workers.

Luckily, they all have walkie-talkies and someone from the Children's Musuem called over to say that she had my little boy. Goodness! Apparently he walked over to the other entrance, looked up at a big person, then pointed back to the Clifford exhibit. I guess he had it under control all along.

I had had about enough of that room for one day, so we headed over to the (very tightly and securely contained) 4 and under room before having lunch. The lunch tables were packed so we enjoyed a nice lunch out on the steps in front of the museum.

A very nice day, overall.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Updated Art Gallery

Louie's work:

Benny's work:

Monday, November 10, 2008

He's all growns up!

Last night Charlie (finally) got his first hair cut. He was mistaken for a girl twice in one week. If that's not enough motivation to get one's child's hair cut, I'm not sure what is.

Whoa! Who's that long-haired hippie fellow?

The cutting crew. Lou and Ben were ready to be Daddy's helpers.

Charlie did really well. We had a video camera set up and flipped the viewing screen around so he could see himself. He got a kick out of that and we decided we may need to do that each time we cut the boys' hair because we tend to get some tears and such by the end.

All smiles so far!

He was a tough guy, in part, because he got a tattoo before the event. The boys all got their SpongeBob tats on their arms and Charlie was pretty proud of his.

Now, that's better!

All in all, it was a successful night and now Charlie won't be mistaken for a little girl. See how happy he is? In my defense, it is a very difficult thing to see your child's baby curls cut off. See this picture? He's not a baby any more. He's grown up and ready to be a big brother. I've gotten better since Louie. When his curls were cut off I had tears streaming! (I was also pregnant with Benny.)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Nap Time

I feel like crashing right now since all three bambinos are curled up in their beds, holding tight to their blankies, but I thought I'd share this news with you before heading off to sleep:


Here is the inch-long...whatever you can think of that's an inch. A peanut?

Here's the closeup. The arrow is pointing to the baby's head and you can see (you can, can't you??) two little nubs under that for its arms and two nubs at the bottom that soon will be legs.

Here is a "picture" of the heartbeat. The baby's heart rate is 176 here, and before you get all excited that the old wives tale says that means it's a girl, all my babies have had heart rates in the 170s.

So much has changed in five years. The pictures are so much clearer, especially this early on, but I am still waiting for the day when they have ultrasound pictures that are moving. Maybe not like an actual filming, but like those hologram photos. It would make it so much easier to determine what's going on in the shot, because this kid was moving. I'm sure it helped that I had just had lunch. Thanks to my mom's quiche, this kids was all jacked up to be on the sonogram for the first time!

And what I'm so excited about is that each time I go I get new pictures! Yes, I sadly had to end my relationship with the best ob/gyn in the world (he retired), but my new doc is great. I even get a DVD of the five-month ultrasound! Woo-hoo!

Now, I may try to get some sleep. Wish me luck.

And start thinking about new names for the blog. And if you get around to it, come up with some names for the baby, too. I've exhausted all of mine.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Halloween & Saying Goodbye

With GREAT help from Aunt Cassie I made the boys costumes for Halloween this year. It was a lot of fun and inspired me to get my own sewing machine and go nuts. We'll see how long this lasts.

Lou and Ben wanted to be pirates and who better to accompany them than Peter Pan? Charlie probably won't appreciate that I put him in little girl tights when he gets older. I need to take advantage of this while I can!

The costumes weren't finished when we left for Florida, and with (what I assumed was) thirty minutes to go and the boys down for super-quick nap I began my work. Using sewing glue I attached the pirates' braided trim and tried to glue a hat together for Peter Pan. That didn't work, so I began hand-stitching it. Just in time!

Now, while I was working on this we were watching the news to see what the time was for trick-or-treating. Our local newscast tells us each year, why would this be any different? Well, after an hour of watching, there was no Halloween details. I called the number they had for the police department--wrong number. The fire department's number was a recording where they got you in touch with the chief. Finally I decided to call the number for the lady who cleaned the condo...and she said that there isn't trick-or-treating on the island! I guess it's mainly filled with retirees and vacationers, so if we wanted to do this we'd have to go to the mainland!

Luckily we had two condos in the same complex that the boys were able to visit! Here is a picture of Aunt Cassie, Uncle Paul, cousin Katie, and her roommate from college, Lauren. Then we went down to visit Jerry, Brooks, Erin & Bobby and they had lotsof treats for the boys!

Afterward, we heard that Uncle Billy caught wind of some buried treasure on the beach. We went down to meet him and he helped the boys find the booty!

Poor Charlie didn't get enough sleep and wasn't as into Halloween as much as his brothers were.

We were leaving the next day, so we headed down the road to where the Russians were staying to say goodbye. They know why Halloween is, but don't celebrate it there, but were totally into the spirit--as soon as we got there they had candy for the boys.

This picture doesn't do it justice--it was about as big as Ben's head! Anyway, we were telling them what the boys were dressed up as and a moment later it clicked in one of their heads, "Jack the Sparrow!!" Yes, they know American culture and they know a lot of our politics, too. They thought Charlie was an elf, but when they found out he was Peter Pan, the rest of the night they'd make comments in regard to the movie/play/book: "Look out! He's going to take off!" What was funny is that Charlie was somewhat unsure of what was going on and he was in this runner's pose so it really did look like he was about to fly.

Their kids were excited to be able to dress up, too! They were absolutely adorable and loving the tons and tons of candy.

And Charlie perked up once he discovered the joys of a lollypop.

Day at the Beach & Bubble Room

On Wednesday of the week of the World Series it's always an off-day. We made the most of it! The day began with pancakes then we headed down to the beach. Lou and Ben helped Uncle Paul catch fish, and we made an awesome sandcastle with Aunt Cassie.

Later that day we headed out to Captiva for the sunset. We started at The Mucky Duck for pictures on the beach. It was a cool evening, but absolutely gorgeous. The boys had a good time doing baseball slides in the sand and looking for shells.

Can you tell this was an attempt at getting a Christmas card photo? Disastrous.

Grandpa, Benny & Louie

Charlie & Mommy

Uncle Paul & Aunt Cassie

Afterward we went to The Bubble Room for dinner. If you are ever on Captiva Island it is definitely worth the price of admission to go to this place. It's filled with toys and artifacts from the 1940s and '50s. It's mainly lit by old fashioned bubble lights. Have you ever seen them? Here's a closeup:

Everywhere you looked there was something else going on. For those of you from this area, it's someone like Jungle Jim's in that it's an odd assortment of items, and you could probably come back a hundred times and see something new with each visit.

This is from a room solely dedicated to Christmas. It's cute with moving elves and Santa sitting by a fireplace, but I wanted to get a good shot of the bubble light chandelier.

What's crazy is that I remember this little bar tender from when I was a kid. (No, I was not born in the '40s.) He shook up the concoction, took a drink and then his face lit up red.

This was our fabulous server. All the servers here wore these Boy Scout-type uniforms with patches of primarily (from what I saw) Disney characters.

Outside the restaurant is this cage that we had to put our crazies in.

P.S. The Bubble Bread really is good.