Thursday, July 30, 2009

Good times, inside

Thank you to Amanda and her boys for saving the day and finding us all a place play and run around indoors on a rainy, dismal day! A special thanks to Brian who got us into the CCU gym--the perfect place for little guys to run their hearts out. Baseball, kickball, and sword fights can be had on rainy days if you know the right people :)

When we were leaving, although humid as all get out, the rain had stopped and I was able to snap a shot of the boys (sans Ben) in front of the beautiful view.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

Rain drops, that is.

It has been a cool, wet July for us and today I said, Forget it! we're going outside. And we did, to use Benny's birthday gift, a Spider-Man slip 'n slide.

Let me just say, slip 'n slides were not this cool when I was a kid. It has a row of holes down the side that squirt a waterfall on top of you while you slide down the strip, ending in a pool of water. Well, that's not how they did it, but I suppose that was what it was intended for.

I tried to explain to Ben how it is used, but I must not have done the explaining very well. he did somewhat of slide at first, but more of a plop, and then he did an army crawl the rest of the way down. He was having fun, though! Charlie's favorite part was the splash pool at the end, and that is what he did. Splash-splash-splash.

The fun soon ended as Meredith didn't enjoy being all covered up outside while her brothers were having fun, and Charlie was wanting to get out of his wet swimsuit. I turned off the water and expected Lou and Ben to follow me inside. After I got the two little ones settled I checked on the two big brothers. Benny was in hysterics. Why? He wanted to take the slip 'n slide into the garage because he didn't want it to get wet in the rain!

Don't ever doubt that these kids keep me laughing! This may be a result of our late night...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Our Luck Has Run Out

Aunt Joanie once again got us some great seats to watch the Reds play the Padres, but it seems our presence at games doesn't have the same effect on our beloved team as it used to. They went down 7-1, with San Diego scoring five times before we even made it to our seats!

We have gotten into the habit of taking the TANK (Northern Kentucky's public bus system) to games because it's pretty inexpensive, it drops you right off at the stadium, and the boys love taking the bus. We were running late to the game and didn't get into GABP until the start of the third inning. (I blame the loss on that. If we had been there from the beginning they would have won! Yes, the world of baseball revolves around our family ;)

On the bus we struck up a conversation with a woman nearby as she was impressed that we were taking our whole crew to a game. Turns out she is one of ten kids, and told us some stories of when she was growing up. Not long before it was time to get off the bus she offered us coupons for the concession stand at the game--four $5 coupons! How nice of her! Apparently she works for the Reds and gets them for each game. The boys were lucky dogs because we pretty much never buy anything at the stadium and they each got their own helmet ice cream sundaes!

Yes, I'm sure you'd like to see pictures of them in all their giddiness, but alas, I forgot the camera. Too much changing of baggage for different events. But the one thing I realized from this experience was that sometimes it's good to forget the camera. I got to see their expressions with my own eyes rather than through the lens and that made the experience more enjoyable. But I can't be doing this on a regular basis! My memory isn't as good as it used to be and I'd like to remember all the little details for years to come. Pictures definitely help with that.

Some things that stick out from the game, other than the game since there's not much to write home about there...
  • We thought we had missed the rain, that was until we saw a humungous cloud sweeping in from behind homeplate. We decided to pack up then and there before the drops started falling, insteading of waiting to move with the herd. We found a nice area with patio tables and cushioned seats in front of a wall of tvs that had the Reds game showing, as well as other sporting events and shows. The rain didn't last too long, and there wasn't a delay, but it was nice to not get wet.
  • It was Ladies' Night at the ball park and I got a chocolate-colored Reds hat with a pink wishbone-C. Not a big fan of the pink phenomenon going on in sports, but it was a nice gift!
  • I carried Meredith in the ring-sling so we didn't have to worry about the car seat or stroller. People would come up to me, shocked that I had a baby in there. Then, more than one person said she looked like an Anne Geddes baby, all snuggled up in there.
  • Miss Meredith once again slept through the game, and although it's nice not to have to deal with a fussy baby, we'd like her to enjoy the game with us! And, yes, she and I were up late.
  • After the game was over, we went out Crosley Terrace to say good bye and thank you to Aunt Joanie and we each got a chocolate bar from Dove, because they were sponsors of the game!
  • We then made a bathroom trip and made the trek to the other side of the stadium to catch our bus. We were under the impression that TANK runs for an hour after the game. Not so. It runs a half hour after the end of the game, and we saw the last bus leaving as we were crossing the street. We saw a TANK supervisor sitting in his suv ready to leave when I went up to ask him when the next bus will be there. That was when he informed me that the last one just left, but he'd be happy to take us back to our van. How nice! We really lucked out. I'm not sure how else we would have gotten back, other than by Gym. Gym shoe. (I guess that joke doesn't really work in the written word, does it?) The boys were pretty disappointed about not being able to ride the bus home, so our friendly driver turned the flashing lights on his vehicle for them. They were not impressed.
  • All children were out before we pulled out of the parking lot. Not much more to say about the evening, other than all three boys fell asleep and were leaning toward the same side, so that they reminded me of the SNL skit where the two guys go out clubbing in the purple suits.
So, it turned out to be a late but enjoyable evening, even if the Redlegs couldn't pull out a win for us!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Eight Weeks

Meredith is eight weeks old already! She's growing like a weed, already out of 0-3 month clothes and into 3-6, although so many baby clothes these days just say things like "3" or "6" and I feel as though they don't fit as long. Probably my imagination. She smiles, but not as much as we'd like to see! She has the cutest smiles and I'd love to capture them in a picture for you! Here are a few pictures of her in a new dress :)

Salt Fork Lake

We had an extended weekend vacation to Salt Fork State Park with Kevin's family and even through the soggy Saturday, the trip was a great time! Uncle Nate set up camp with us while the rest of the family stayed at the nice lodge with front row view of the beautiful pool!

Here, at the start of our trip, is Uncle Nate driving behind us with the boys in tow. What a great uncle/brother! Kev, Meredith and I got to hang out together in the mini-van for the ride to the park.

Nice red tint of the tent, eh? The boys were so excited to camp and this was a rare moment where they weren't using the tent for cage-match wrestling.

Like I said, the pool was gorgeous and the boys had a ton of fun in both the baby pool and big pool. Benny got to try out his new Spider-Man goggles, with matching foot and hand fins. Thanks, Aunt Joanie and Josh!

Meredith got to use her new butterfly swimsuit and hat that says "I love hugs!"

Not sure where I heard it, or if it really worked, but someone told me that if you rub dryer sheets on you it'll ward off those dreaded mosquitoes. I rubbed the boys down with sheets and laid a few around Meredith, creating a barrier of sorts. No one got bit the entire trip, so if it did work--how awesome is that?! But there might be a chance that mosquitoes just don't live in this park. There are, however, some pretty wicked moths. They come in more colors and sizes than I could have ever dreamed. Here, I had Louie hold up a quarter so that you could see why I was so impressed. The boys thought they were butterflies. They were actually really nice bugs who didn't bother us at all. I'd take them any day over mosquitoes!

Here is Char-Bear, refusing to take a walk. Partly tired, but mainly wanting to remain the baby of the family with all the privileges that come with the title, we're trying to break him of the habit.

On the way back he won out because he really was tired, and it was raining. We needed to get back to the campground faster than his two-year-old legs would take us there.

Saturday it rained nearly all day. We had to come up with some things to occupy us. The boys raced to the big tree in the middle of the cul de sac. Lou won and Ben is on the ground pouting. Or he could be meditating. Those of you who know Ben best can decide.

We thought that if we brought a bag filled with rain jackets and boots it would be enough to keep the rain away. Not so. But the boys were prepared to go puddle jumping, and that's what we did. That, and then when that got to be not as interesting, we pulled out sparklers. It was the first time the boys had ever seen them, so you can imagine how enthralled they were. Good news: there were no accidents related to the fire or the sharp, poky sticks.

All my boys

Daddy and Meredith enjoying some breakfast together.
We headed down to the lake after breakfast to do some fishing and poor Charlie couldn't last that long. He fell asleep in the car and slept until the fishing expedition was over. Louie and Benny had a good time, though, practicing their casting and using licorice as bait!

Turns out little boys enjoy licorice much better than fish do. But fishing brings them so much joy that the fact they didn't even get a bite doesn't matter to these guys.

Thursday night we went out to dinner at the Bear's Den and then went back to the campsite for a fire. Both Friday and Saturday nights we made dinner at the site and enjoyed the fire and, of course, roasting marshmallows! Here's a shot of some of the gang around the fire.

Sunday morning we took it slow, having breakfast and then we started to pack. The boys are all worn out from watching and decided to take a break around noon to have some left over chips and string cheese.

Sidewalk chalk is such a great thing to bring along camping and here is a picture of a grizzly bear Louie drew.

Here is another picture he drew. I was loading things in the van and looked over to see this nice drawing and commented on it. Unfortunately I said that it was something it was not. We celebrated Uncle Nick and Uncle Jay's birthdays over the weekend and from over by the van this looked like a cake to me. It is, in fact, an island with palm trees and water. I see that now, looking over the picture. Guessing what kids draw should be in the same category as asking a woman if she's pregnant--never, ever, ever, ever, ever ever do it. Instead, ask a kid to tell you about the drawing. You can never go wrong that way.

Here Louie is showing off his Spider-Man skills. I'm not sure how he knows what Spider-Man does, but he's shooting webs out of his hands. Charlie's not sure what's going on.

After we packed up we headed to the golf course where Kevin played on Friday. He wanted to show us the view from the deck, and it was worth the trip.

My blue-eyed-boys don't care for bright sun shine without their hats or glasses, so that explains the unsmiling faces, but it really was a beautiful view!

And here we go, back on the road again. A nice ending to a fun vacation.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Multi-sport Athlete

Poor kid plays so much baseball, he can't get it out of his head even when he's playing another sport!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Out of Gas

There's a joke my dad told when we were younger, and we did not realize at the time that it was a joke.

We had a cocker spaniel named Barney and Dad came in from mowing the lawn to say, "I was filling up the lawn mower with gas and I spilled some on the driveway. Barney came over and licked at it."

We all gasped.

"He seemed like he liked it. He started running around the yard, then stopped and fell over."

Oh my gosh! Is he all right?!

"Yeah, he's going to be fine. He just ran out of gas."

Don't worry, Charlie just ran out of gas right in the middle of playing pirates.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Curses! Foiled again!

This morning Louie asked me why Daddy and I sometimes spell things out when talking, and when we're going to tell him what we're talking about. See, that's the difference between Lou and his two younger brothers. Even if Ben and Charlie noticed that we were spelling words out, they wouldn't care. Lou, on the other hand, is always curious about what's going on around him and wants to be included in all of it. So the fact that we're purposely leaving him out of conversation is, in his mind, just not fair.

But the thing is, Kevin and I have spelled out conversations before and Lou makes a comment that leads me to believe he knows how to spell--it's directly related to what we're talking about! Bizarre. I guess it's possible that we are giving unknown clues that he picks up on to know what we're talking about.

In a similar story, growing up I had a friend who had to spell everything out--from "t-r-e-a-t" to "w-a-l-k" because her dog went nuts. Smart dog.

Aarr! Benny & Charlie Had a Birthday!

Happy 4th Birthday, Benny! Happy 2nd Birthday, Charlie!

We celebrated the boys' birthday on Saturday, a cold, rainy day in July. The high for the day was a record low. All the games I had planned were for in the pool. In spite all of this, I think they had a good time. Above are the cakes--"treasure chests." To the left of them are the whopper "cannon balls."

Here is the ship's crew: Louie, Meredith, Benny and Charlie. Poor Meredith wasn't as decked out as her brothers, but we managed to find a black and white striped dress in her closet.

I don't know if I mentioned this back in October, but when we went to Florida I bought the boys these Potato Head pirate kits that were out for Halloween. Mommy didn't read the box too well and it turns out there wasn't a potato head included, just the pirate parts. They came in handy for the party, though!

A whole fleet of pirate franks!

Dinosaurs are always a winner for these guys.

Benny's very own "Wonderboy" bat.

Watch out, Tiger! Here comes Charlie-Bear :)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Getting ready for the party!

We have begun the day getting ready for Benny and Charlie's birthday party. The boys are ecstatic, to say the least. A birthday party for one, is a birthday party for all, and this happens to have two real birthday boys attached to it, but that doesn't stop the other from joining in--or taking charge.

I imagine I was the same way. No, I know. I was the oldest in my family, and so I came up with the ideas and instructed my siblings in what we were going to play and how it was going to be played. I never felt like I was being bossy, but things aren't going to get done if no one takes charge! Maybe my brothers and sister see things differently...

Louie is the same way. He was the captain of the pirate ship they were playing on. He got to wear the special hat and eye patch. He instructed the other two in what battles they were engaged in and what beasts they had to fight. Benny and Charlie didn't seem to mind (well, they did want to wear more of the costume pieces), and they all had a good time. I have yet to figure out if it is part of being the first born or if it's in the genes.

I got a pirate coloring book and the boys colored pictures for decoration while I got other things ready for the party. I haven't decided if it is better to let kids know ahead of time when their birthday is coming up, or just spring it on them the day of. This has been a long week. Pray for good weather! Most of the games are supposed to happen in the pool. Good chance the boys will get in, not sure if anyone else will!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

(Almost) Back to Normal

As much as it is nice to think of a place where little boys are quiet and not beating the snot out of each other, when it happens I realize that it's just not right.

So when it happened yesterday, when Louie and Benny barely got off of the couch I realized how sad it is. They are meant to be rambunctious, wrestling around the house. That's what boys do. Or, at least, my boys.

That's when I knew that even though Ben had a bit of a fever this morning he was going to be just fine. Just fine, indeed.

The fighting began bright and early and things are pretty much back to normal in our house.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Being sick in the summer

Catching a cold or running a fever is never a good time, but especially so when that illness falls during the summer months. Who wants to be stuck inside when it's nice outside?

Ben woke up with a terrible fever--the 102.5 kind. Lou's temperature has steadily risen as the day has went on, but fortunately Charlie has only had to deal with a never-ending runny nose. That, and poison ivy-covered feet!

Needless to say, we're taking it easy today and the sole bright spot in the day is that Meredith is continuing to be the angel we know her as. She has just hung out all day, sleeping through most of it. So it will probably we a crazy night of her being awake through most of it, but it sure is helpful for her to let me give most of my attention to her brothers today.

Monday, July 13, 2009

All about Me

With Charlie closing in on two-years (although the appointment isn't until August) he's definitely starting to pick up the pace with his words.

I've come to realize that "B" may be his favorite letter because of all the words he knows that begin with the letter. Ball, bat, baseball, bubbles, baby, etc., but he is expanding on what he will say even though I doubt there is meaning tied to all the words that come out of his mouth. Case in point: purple. He says it, and it's funny when he does, but I'm not sure if he knows that it is a color.

His "kkkkk" sound (or however you spell it) is almost nonexistent now (and I'm worried that I never got it on tape! Why am I so bad at video-ing my kids?) and he's attempting to make more words, regardless of whether we know what he's saying.

Something he does that I find funny is saying names. He has his own way of saying each of our names, reserving "Baby" for Meredith. When I ask him to say his name he says--very enthusiastically--"ME!"

Six Weeks of Meredith

Soon, she'll be smiling! We get little glimpses of it every once in a while, I just don't have the camera ready!

Trying out her highchair. Not sure if she likes it.

Meredith and her cousin/aunt, Katie

Such a lovely dress.

Trying out the swing while her brothers are out of town.
She likes it.

There's not a hole in his pocket

The boys came home, meeting us at Uncle Nate's for a cookout and it was GREAT to see them! They had a good time with Grandma and Grandpa, spending the week going to the Clippers game, a farm, visiting their great-grandparents, and even going to Chuck E. Cheese's!

We had great weather for the cookout we were having to celebrate Nate and Jeff's birthday. Nate's house has a nice backyard, where we spent most of the day. There were coolers set up with drinks and the uncles got Ben to get them drinks by "tipping" him. He'd put his earnings of coins in his pockets and I soon came to realize that they weren't the only things in there!

I may be the only one that familiar with the movie (besides Aunt Joanie), but in Bedknobs and Broomsticks the younger brother has an odd assortment of things in his pockets, like a bed knob for instance. Benny doesn't carry bed knobs around in his pocket, but you might be surprised with what you would find! He's very protective of his valuables and wants them to be close by him :)

Sleep, reminiscent of five years ago

While the boys were gone this week I've been experiencing something I haven't since Lou was a newborn. Although I didn't bring Louie in bed with us I would wake up throughout the night with the thought in my head that he was caught in the sheets or that Kevin had rolled on top of him. It was a terrifying experience, and I since then found out that it is common for new moms to have this happen.

It's strange, because it never happened with Benny or Charlie, and up until this week, hadn't happened with Meredith. Let's just say, this is not something that I missed!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Reagan Visits Meredith!

My good friend Jamie came for a visit today, bringing with her Miss Reagan who is almost 3 months old. The girls had a great time, and learned that they had a lot in common like clothes and toys. Ah, it's so nice to have friends who have kids my kids' age. With Charlie I had a few friends who had kids, but with Ben and especially Lou I kind of felt like I was having these experiences by myself. This time around it was so nice to be able to talk to people during my pregnancy who knew exactly what I was going through, and ask for advice or commiserate with the gals who if they did experience it that day, they had it happen the day before.

It'll be so neat to have our kids all grow up together!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

One Month Appointment

Miss Meredith had a pretty good appointment, overall. She is dealing with a tear duct that doesn't want to work properly, but it sounds like with some massaging it should get better in the next 7-9 months. This is coming from an overly protective doctor, so if she's not too concerned, I'm not going to be.

So worried about her weight a few weeks back and today she had gained three pounds! She's up over ten pounds now, but still at 21 inches. The nurse said that hospitals are least concerned about babies' lengths, especially when they are slimy and squirming, so chances are she wasn't exactly 21 inches at birth. I was wondering why all my kids were pretty much the same length when they were born...

She got a shot in her thigh, but only cried for a moment. The more painful part of the visit was being there for an hour when it shouldn't have taken longer than twenty minutes because a hot-shot resident doctor was expanding Meredith's and my mind with all his big medical mumbo jumbo. Sorry. We had just come from the zoo and my little girl wanted to have lunch and relax at home, not hang out all day at the doctor's office. Thank goodness the boys weren't there! I can't imagine how long the "see what animals you can find in the border" game would have lasted.

Girls gone the zoo

Meredith and Grace went on their first trip to the zoo. Apparently, the excitement was just too much for them and they both slept through the entire visit. Oh well. We got a few cute pictures and the mommies had fun watching the polar bears swim, and desperately searched for the new baby tigers in the shrubbery.

There's a chimp in there somewhere. Can you find it?

Waterfall shot of the girls

Grace wore the cutest giraffe shirt, so of course we had to get her picture taken with them!

We had such a nice time, and maybe on our next visit the girls will enjoy it, too!