Thursday, January 29, 2009

Winter Images

Here is a collection of pictures of what's going on at our house and winter art that the boys did at school. (I apologize for some of them not being all that clear. They were taken through a window, because I am not going out there!)

Up the street from us, after the salt truck had been through the neighborhood three times.

I think this is funny: our icicle lights have turned into real icicles. Every icicle light's dream!

Our bird feeder has its own pile of snow and mini-icicles.

This doesn't look as dramatic as it really is. The branch from our tree is touching the ground from the weight of the ice!

I wish this were clearer. The patio structure next door is covered in icicles. Do you see that poor tree? It's touching the ground from all the ice. I hope it's not ruined! It's a beautiful tree.

This gives you kind of an indication of how much snow there is. And many of you are laughing right now because its nothing! You're right, but the mailman hasn't come to my door because there is a good two feet on the porch.

Louie's penguin. It has a piece of yarn on it so it acts kind of like a puppet.

Louie's snowman. It has a real scarf!

I can't remember if I already showed this or not, but after Christmas Uncle Nate took Lou and Ben to the aquarium and this is the picture Louie drew of the penguins.

On Inauguration Day Louie's class made patriotic wind socks.
They also talked a lot about our new president, as I've told you about. The kids also said what they would do if they became president. A couple of cute ones were:
  • Ride Air Force One
  • (then) Ride Air Force Five & Six
  • Go shopping in Washington D.C.
  • Louie said: Save Money (whaa? I don't think he's our kid)
Benny's snowman

Benny's hats (small, medium, big)

Benny's blue mittens.

House full of balls

I have been letting the boys run around the house like monkeys because we're not going outside in this icy mess (because I'm a wimp) and I do realize that little boys need to expend their energy. We do not have anything in our house that is worth a whole lot so I'm not too worried if they break something.

Today the activity is tossing balls. I've convinced them that they should roll the ball, which they're OK with. Charlie wants to play with his older brothers and they won't let him because, like a puppy, he takes the ball and runs away.

Naturally, this upsets Charlie quite a bit and he (fake) cries and spits his Charlie language at them. THIS HOUSE IS FILLED WITH BALLS! and he wants nothing to do with any of them except the one that his older brothers are playing with. Naturally.

We've got our work cut out for us. Four months and counting, then Char-Bear isn't going to be the baby anymore. He has no idea what he's in for...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rocking Out on a Snow Day

And-a one and-a two and-a three. HIT IT!

This is what they said before I was able to press record. They really like to rock out. They all went downstairs to pick which instrument they wanted (with the construction going on in the basement they aren't allowed to hang out down there). Lou came up with the keyboard; Ben, the tambourine and some sort of xylophone; and Charlie had his guitar and shades. He's all about presentation.

Don't you wish you were here, in person, to get an all-day live performance??

When we were driving home from Columbus last weekend Lou says to Kevin, "Hey Dad. Why don't you put on some of that rock 'n roll music?" Where do they come up with this stuff? I feel like I'm a parent in the '50s. Especially since I think we were listening to talk radio. Yikes!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ten Minutes in the Snow

Finally! We're ready to go. I was right, though, no gloves. Louie wore mine, Benny wore Louie's (which are too big for Lou), and Charlie started out with no gloves, but I ended up finding some in the van for him.

It was not good snow for packing, but great for making snow angels! I don't know how he did this--it looked too cold! They wore their pajama pants with two pairs of sweatpants over that and a few pairs of socks under their boots. (In addition to the winter coat, scarf and sweatshirts and T-shirts over pajama shirt.) I really need to look into stocking up on winter gear.

Once again, another great hand-me-down from Aunt Robin. This is one of those flexible gliders, the old wooden sled with metal bars that probably works great going down hills, but was very slow in our backyard.

For whatever reason the boys' hats kept falling in their eyes. That probably bothered them more than the cold snow!

Ben wanted hot chocolate, Lou had to go to the bathroom, and Charlie looked like Audrey in Christmas Vacation when the went to cut down a tree. I swear his eyes were frozen. So it may have been a bit longer than ten minutes, but not by much! It was totally worth the 45 minutes we took to get ready ;)

Postponing the Inevitable

After two days of not being able to upload the video, I quit and demand that you use your imagination. My apologies.

The snow came down in buckets (5 inches) overnight and school was called off. Being the bad parent that I am, I have yet to open the blinds covering our windows. What this means is that the boys have no idea that it is a winter wonderland outside. Yes, I am bad.

We have probably around seven pairs of gloves...somewhere. I do not know where they are. I imagine that a couple of pairs may be locked in our frozen van. I'm not going to go outside until I have a better idea of where all their "snow gear" is, what little we have. We may be making good use of the few plastic grocery sacks we have left!

So, to bring some warmth into the house we're watching Madagascar. The best part of the movie is when the lemurs do their "I like to move it!" dance. Charlie likes to partake. This is video of him dancing to it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

It was supposed to be cute

I grabbed my camera to record this sweet but rare footage of two brothers who share a birthday and little else. Could they possibly share a banana??

I'm sorry, but this kind of stuff happens all day long to all three of them. And it's funny. They always get themselves into some ridiculous prediciment, and they're never really hurt. It gives my day comic relief.

Then Benny said, "I guess I get to eat all the banana."


So, I think its kind of funny that Charlie just makes this "kakkk" sound instead of speaking, but deep down I guess I'm worried that he'll be going to kindergarten and he'll be known as "that kid who makes weird sounds."

Over the weekend we were up in Columbus celebrating Grandpa H's birthday and supposedly he said both "Wow" and "Hole," neither of which I heard with my own two ears, but who am I to disagree? (Especially when we've got a minimum of 100 to reach!).

Today at breakfast he was making his special noise again and I said, "Charlie, do you want a bowl? Can you say bowl?" And believe it or not, he did say "bowl." We gave high fives and had breakfast.

P.S. Do you remember the line in Hamlet where Hamlet is asked by--I can't remember if its Claudius or Polonius--what he's reading and Hamlet replies while scanning his book, "Words...words. Words." That was awesome.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Beautiful days in our neighborhood

The past two days we've experienced a heatwave here. Forty degrees when the past week averaged at 11 is so warm, you're tempted to run outside with just a T-shirt, jeans and flip-flops. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Yesterday after school we played out in the backyard. The boys got to use their new scooters they got from Aunt Robin. It's pretty funny to watch them because neither of them could balance very well, but they had a great time.

Meanwhile* I took down Christmas lights and stared in horror at what's become of our garage. Rubbermaid is having a contest to see who has the most disorganized room of their house, and I'm seriously considering sending a picture of ours in for it. We are very focused on getting a good start on the basement that I really can't see us doing anything with the garage for quite a while. It'll help when it gets warmer and the patio furniture gets put out.

Today I dragged the boys out to run some errands and in the middle of that we stopped at Sharon Woods. This was a lot of fun. In the upper part of the park there is a new playground set (as of last year) that is split into two parts: 5-10 yr. olds and 2-5 yr. olds. Of course, numbers mean nothing to these kids, not even Charlie, so they played on the "big kids" part.

I wasn't so worried about Lou and Ben, but immediately Charlie went climbing up to the top and I realized that there wasn't a way for me to get up there fast enough to prevent a major fall. I called for Lou to run up there with him and I ran over to the most dangerous part that he could fall off of. Turns out the third nino has learned a lot from his older brothers: he turned around onto his belly and slide down the slide, albeit at a very fast speed. He was delighted, the other mother on the playground impressed, and I was catching my breath.

Later, after we were home and fed, Charlie went down for a nap and Louie and Benny went out in the backyard. I think Kevin's concerned that our yard is too small for them, it's a fairly small area of grass and driveway but it's something. They raced their scooters, played soccer (no, that does not mean I'm a soccermom), and put together sand buckets, a cooler and a light-up reindeer (that we also got from Aunt Robin) that put all together created Santa's sleigh. Maybe one day the backyard will be too small for three, possibly four growing boys, like when a hardball makes its way through a window and onto my dining room table, but for now it's just fine.

*I've been meaning to tell you about "meanwhile." Lou has been using it pretty regularly lately. He'll say things like "Well, in the meantime my leg itches." I'm not sure where he heard it, and he never uses it correctly, but it cracks me up.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Our Monday & Tuesday

On Monday, the Freedom Center was free to the public for MLK, jr. Day, so we took advantage of this. Josh was off of work and joined us. I wasn't sure what to expect, especially what there would be for kids to do. It proved to be a bit intense. Louie and Benny had a lot of questions, especially about the pictures and representations of the people they saw. I tried to explain it the best I could to a four and three-year-old, but I wasn't sure they understood.

The one that seemed to bother them the most was of a boy whose clothes were torn and he wasn't wearing shoes. I explained how a long time ago there were bad people who treated other people so terribly, hurting them and making them work really hard for no money. They accepted my explanation, however lacking it was. We moved on to the children's area, a place for kids to use computer screens and draw pictures to hang on the wall for all to see.

Later at home, Louie was drawing again and when we were talking about what was going on in the picture he showed me the ripped shirts he drew. Although I'm glad we went, I think the museum is more for school-aged kids. It's difficult for little kids to grasp that there's injustice in the world.

Today after school we met Amanda, Owen and Eli down at Union Terminal for lunch. We've been there on packed days before, but never like this! In the rotunda they had a huge screen tv showing the inauguration. Regardless of who you voted for, it was a neat thing to be a part of. Usually I watch things like these by myself or with Kevin and the boys at home. Being in a large group you feel a part of something bigger. You can physically see how important our democracy is, and what a unique process we have in our choosing of leadership.

The picture above is right when Obama takes his oath. All the boys were really getting in to it. They joined in the clapping and Benny attempted to whistle by sticking his finger in his mouth. A few cute things: Louie's class talked about the inauguration today. He was telling me what he found out while driving down to the museum. Our new president is "The Rock Obama." I stifled a laugh. We were listening to the inauguration coverage on the radio as we drove. They introduced "Joseph R. Biden, Jr., the vice-president-elect." Benny's response was, "Junior? Junior?! They have Junior there?!" In his world there will forever be only one Junior.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Update from the Doctor's Office

Charlie went in for his 18-month appointment and seems to be doing really well. He's in the 44th percentile for his weight and 45th percentile for his height. Not breaking any records, but average for now. He got two rough shots and shed some tears, but it must not have been too bad because as soon as he saw that stickers were being handed out he dried right up.

The doctor asked how many words Charlie was saying. I hesitated and she said, "Five?" Oh yeah, I quickly said and then she asked what they were. I had a hard time coming up with them. It's just so hard because its not like we don't understand him, or he, us. He's not screaming and pointing all the time, either. He's very expressive in his...communicating. I told the doctor the sound that he makes and she kept referring to it as his "growl." I wouldn't have thought it was a growl, but I have no idea what else to call it.

She said that it is very common for 18-month-old boys to not be saying much, but by his 2-year appointment he'll need to be up to 100 words. Uh-oh. I have a feeling we're going to be pulling a lot of all-nighters trying to accomplish that.

A preview of a special day

Yesterday we went to mass with Joanie, Josh and my parents to see Joanie's church, where she'll be married this coming October. Benny will be their ring bearer and gets to walk down the loooong aisle with Josh's adorable niece, Alice. It's a gorgeous church and after seeing it I'm getting more and more excited for their special day. (Who am I kidding? I've been excited since they got engaged!)

Here are a few pictures of the location of their upcoming nuptials:

Afterward, we had a good ol' fashioned breakfast at Frisch's. Although the baby demanded a burger for breakfast and I complied.

Fun Friday Night

Last year we tried to start a new tradition. There's a family that we grew up with that has kids who are pretty much the same age as me and my siblings. And as things tend to go when you grow up, we didn't see them nearly as often as we'd like. We tried to meet up once a month, rotating to different people's houses. It only happened once.

We're hoping things will change this year, and to start it off we hosted it this past Friday. We had a great time, and I can see many more of these fun nights happening in the future. It'll be especially neat to see the group grow: besides me, there were two others pregnant! Erin, of course, is due at the beginning of May and Lexi's Mom, Damara is due at the end of May.

The boys were so excited to see Lexi who they haven't seen in quite a while. The greeted her with lions growls. Nice. What's great about Lexi is that she just goes with it. She doesn't freak out when the boys want to wrestle around or act like rabid animals.

But the one who loved Lexi's visit was Charlie. Lexi was giving out hugs and Char-Bear really appreciated the attention instead of the getting knocked over or excluded from a "big kid" game.

Charlie also provided a laugh later as he climbed in our throw blanket ottoman and Damara said, "Look! It's a Charlie-in-the-box!" (Anyone familiar with the Island of Misfit Toys on Rudolph?)

A glimpse of the baby

This is the baby's profile, with its head on the left and you can somewhat see the arm next to the trunk of its body.

I didn't realize that the machine in my doctor's office does 4D as well. This may be a bit harder to see at first, but what you're looking at it the baby looking over its shoulder at you. In the middle of the picture is the head with the eyes looking at your right ear. There's a little bony shoulder below the head. Yes, I know its creepy.

The appointment was at 2:15pm, which wasn't exactly ideal for little boys who get tired in the late afternoon, but it worked for Daddy. I had a hard time waking Ben up and got his coat, hat, gloves, and shoes on while he was still sleeping. My parents met us at the doctor's office and my mom asked Ben who put his shoes on. I looked down. They were on the wrong feet. I have a feeling that by adding a fourth baby into the mix things like that are going to happen much, much more often.

It has been such a hard transition going from my last doctor to my new one. My current doctor couldn't be any nicer, but I was spoiled with the last three pregnancies. All the nurses new my name without first having to check a file. They joked with me and asked how our family was doing. My doctor knew me back when I was a young, naive childless woman and saw me worry less and less with each pregnancy. Now, it seems like more of a business. The receptionist and nurses smile (sometimes), but they have no idea who I am and really, couldn't care less if I had a family.

Even the ultrasound technicians are different. The last one got so giddy and excited for our babies, you'd think she was having it. This one flew through the process and I feel like we didn't get to see much of the baby. I had to remind her to put in the DVD so we could have it recorded. That is definitely pretty neat and I wish that I could figure out a way to upload a minute of it to the blog. She didn't seem to excited to have the boys in the room. I don't know. Maybe I expect too much. I just thought she'd cater to them a little bit, show them the body parts a little more. I know, I know. I was spoiled before. But I wish we had a couple more pictures. In the past I've gotten five, showing the arms, legs, feet, different angles of the head.

OK, I'm a cranky pregnant lady in the dead of winter. I'm finished with my rant :) Have a great week!

P.S. I'll end on a happy note so you don't think I'm as cranky: Benny, who normally doesn't think of anyone but himself, has been so incredibly caring about the baby. He's always grabbing throw blankets to put on my belly to "keep the new baby warm." He'll come up to me and say, "Mom, I want to tell the new baby something." OK, go ahead Ben. "I want to tell the new baby that I will take care of him." Or, "I want to tell the new baby that he can be like me when he's three." (Oh, help us.)

P.P.S. No we didn't find out what we're having, if you didn't figure that out yet. I'm keeping an open mind that a little lady might be entering our household, but honestly, I am having a hard time visualizing that. I know boys and if we do get blessed with a girl that'll be great, but I'm leaning toward the male gender in my prediction. Even Lou, who all this time has been saying that Aunt Erin is having a boy and we're having a girl, said that it was a boy after seeing the ultrasound.

Friday, January 16, 2009

My apologies

I'm sorry I've been so sporadic with my posts lately. Not a whole lot of excuses, other than the week flew by. You'd think with this -2 degree weather we'd be stuck in the house and I'd have nothing else to do than update the blog. I don't even know what we've been up to.

Good news: today is the big day for the baby's ultrasound! The boys are coming with us, so I'm going to bet that not only are we going to have pictures of Baby #4, but we'll also have some pretty good comments out of the boys' mouths. I'll have to remember to bring a tape recorder.

Hope you all are surviving the cold. I know a lot of you are in a lot worse situation than down here. Be safe!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Kids games--completely addicting

Am I the last person to find this game? It is difficult to not try to beat it. Crayon physics--fun stuff!

Christmas is officially over

Last night we finally got around to taking down the tree and decorations. The boys wanted to help and, as things go with toddlers, made the process more difficult than it had to be. We put on a Bob the Builder Christmas video one more time before it went into storage and that was a good idea. Part way through the video they looked up and realized how empty our house looked. I agreed. It is always so hard to take down the stuff that makes your home feel warm and cozy. But they weren't just sad because Christmas was over, they were devastated. Tears were flowing. If sports don't work out for them, there's always the theater.

They went to bed before the tree was taken down and the furniture rearranged, so they didn't get the full effect last night. Though, I didn't expect more tears this morning when there wasn't a trace of holiday decor and they saw the tree carcass laying next to the curb.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Let it snow?

It snowed last night. Not much (even though people were driving 25 on the highway...ugh), but enough to make the boys go to bed dreaming of snowballs, snowmen, and snow boots. The drive home from Aunt Erin's birthday dinner was the only snow we got, so you can actually see the grass through the snow, and there's just a dusting on the sidewalks and driveway.

Does this stop the boys from asking if they can go outside and play in the snow? No. Every ten minutes they ask again. They don't understand that it's just cold outside. And if they start wrestling it'll be wet. No snowballs, no snowmen, and we only know where one of each pair of boots are. It's got bad idea written all over it.

I guess I wouldn't mind a good snowfall so they can go out and play. Not sure if I want something exactly like last year, but it wouldn't be childhood if kids didn't have some snowtime. I know from experience that it is much more enjoyable as a kid than as an adult!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Belated Christmas Post

Thanks to this fabulous couple, I have my camera once again. They will be welcoming their lovely daughter sometime this April. (And she is lovely, I saw her in 4D.)

Jim & Jamie

Here are some shots from our annual trip to Festival of Lights. Uncle Joe and Aunt Erin went with us on the mild night that was packed with other zoo-goers.

This snowflake or snowball or snowperson had great moves! The zoo had piped music playing and he/she/it was getting down to the delight/confusion of the boys.

It was tight in the barn, but we did our best to get a picture taken infront of the manger scene.

(This is out of order, but...) this is Katie's last day with us before heading back to LA. The boys (and Mommy!) have such a good time when she's here.

Charlie is sincerely sad Tia Katie is leaving.

When the boys returned to school this Tuesday their books bags were filled with stuff from 2008. Here are a few of their art pieces.

Louie's angel. The wings are made out of his hands, and he worked really hard to draw arms with hands.

Benny's Christmas tree. Kevin thinks that this was a representation of his protest to ornaments being hung high on the tree, out of reach of little hands.

New Year's Clean up

Have you ever seen The Simpsons episode where Marge is secretly giving a load of things to the Goodwill truck while Homer, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie watch television? She tries to be discreet and quietly carries the stuff out the front door. For whatever reason, the rest of the family notices Marge is acting strangely and runs outside to find out what's going on. Seeing the truck they begin running after it as Marge yells to the two men picking the things up to hurry up and get out of there. The family's sheer desire to keep these possessions that they haven't used or even thought of for years is enough for them to catch up to the truck and grab a portion of the donated items.

This is what is going on at my house. We have a basement of accumulated toys, clothing, household items, etc. that we do not use nor need, but I know that there has to be someone out there who could use them. So I have filled our dining room with boxes and bags that will be dropped off tomorrow morning and hopefully put to good use.

I tried to do this whole process of purging without the boys (and that includes Kevin) figuring out what I was doing. However, when they came upstairs to find piles of...things...they became curious. What is this, Mom? Oh we're going to donate it. What does that mean? After a quick explanation by me, they then began to explain to me how they love this particular item. Yeah right. So I said that they could have that toy, but then I was going to go downstairs and pick out something else in exchange.

You can only imagine how this process went. I'm going to let them play with this stuff until Kevin comes home and then when they're not looking I'll run outside and fill the back of his vehicle with everything to take out tomorrow.

I am a self-proclaimed pack rat, but Kevin may be worse. Luckily, the desire to start and someday finish the basement is so great that he is getting better at parting with things. His collection of flannels from the '90s falls in to the category. Not all of them were sent packing. I let him keep a couple to reminisce his lost youth ;)

So the main goal is to clear out enough of the basement to start framing it out, put up walls, and one day have a family room in our basement. That "one day" will be before the baby gets here. In June. (Don't laugh.)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Letting go

When Fort beat cancer for the third time (Stage 4) she invited me to go out with her rugby friends to celebrate! Amazingly enough, going home we all fit in that cab behind us.

Last night was the visitation and today was the funeral for my friend, Fort. We were halfway through the line at the visitation and a staff member said there were already 800 there! The church was packed, and it was one of those huge downtown-type churches. It was an amazing tribute to the person she was, and the effect she had on others! I know that the people who visit this site come to find out what the boys are up to, so I apologize if this isn't what you're looking for. There is a connection, though!

When I was growing up my parents surrounded me and my siblings with good friends of theirs. I believe these people played a big role in the development of who I am today. I want the same for my kids. I know that Kevin and I can't provide them with everything they need to become well-rounded, well-adjusted people, but with the help of our friends and family, I believe this is possible.

Already, so many of you are involved in the boys' lives and we are so very grateful for that. They learn so much from you and sincerely love having you around. One of the people I was hoping the boys would get to know as they grew up was my friend, Fort. As I've said before, and as some of you know, she was hilarious and caring and loved life. She had an impossibly optimistic attitude toward everything, and this is something that I believe is extremely important.

So, I want to thank you for being a part of mis tres hijos' lives, and people like Fort will continue to be because I will tell the boys about her and she will live on through my memories.

P.S. If you have a few minutes, this is a great essay that talks about growing older, and one of the things you go through with friends--cancer.

Edited: It turned out that there were 1,500 people that came to the visitation, and I know some had to leave because they couldn't wait as long as they'd like. There wasn't an official count for church, but I hope Fort's looking down and knows that she was loved by many.

If you'd like to read Fort's story (or pass along to someone this might be of interest to) her second blog is on this side of this post labeled under "Links to Friends' Blogs." The link to her first blog is here, and this begins when she found out she relapsed for the first time.

Monday, January 5, 2009


When I was a freshman at OU I went with my friend Fort to see our beloved Bobcats play basketball. We were down 5 pts. with .4 seconds to go in the game. Not 4 seconds, mind you, but point-four, less than a second. As OU's coach calls a timeout fans started milling out of the arena, but I made Fort and a couple of friends stay until the end.

"Why? There's absolutely no way that they can pull this thing out," she cried. And she played varsity basketball, so she would know that it's near impossible for our team to win.

I plead with her, "But we just have to believe in them!" and our two other friends just laugh.

As this is going on someone walks by and says, "Hey Fort! Aren't you getting out of here?"

She replies, "No, we have to stay because Annie believes."

That turned into a bit of a joke afterward, in that they made fun of me because I wouldn't give up. If you want something to happen badly enough it is possible, right?

Well, I guess she proved to me that this isn't always the case. My friend Melissa, known lovingly as Fort passed away over the weekend after at six-year battle with cancer. I am completely heartbroken. It is so difficult for me to imagine that a person with so much love and energy and kindness can be gone from this world. I honestly thought she was going to beat this. I know that she went into hospice after Thanksgiving, but she went home the Friday before Christmas. In the pictures she posted on her blog she looked beautiful! So healthy and happy. I thought for sure she was on her way out of this mess.

Today would have been her 31st birthday.

I can't seem to think of anything else. But I do have some wonderful little angels that happen to live in my house. Yesterday Louie asked why I was crying and I told him that the friend of mine that we've been praying for at night has gone to heaven to be with God. He told me that he, Benny, Charlie, Daddy, all my aunts and uncles and cousins will take care of me.

"And Mom, you'll see her again when you go to heaven," he says.

I know Louie, but it's just hard right now.

Nick (her brother) & Fort

My mom, Fort, Cory, Cory's Mom, Fort's Mom, Me

Fort & Me