Monday, August 31, 2009

Tales from Kindergarten

Picking up the guys after the first day

In Germany there is a tradition where parents give their kids a schultuete on the first day of school. It translate to "school cone" and is filled with sweet treats and school supplies. I thought this would be a fun tradition to start for our family, hoping to get kids excited for a new year. I had big plans for Louie's first schultuete...and time ran out so he got somewhat of a generically decorated cone.

Louie picked out a Batman bookbag (my favorite superhero, too!), so I went with that in decorating the cone. I also found some little Batman goodies at the store to put in the cone. For the school supply side of things, he got a package of pencils (pirate symbols and reflective), glue sticks, mini composition books, oh, and a pair of Lightning McQueen socks. For some reason the boys have been obsessed with socks as of late.

Louie was great in sharing with his brothers all of the schultuete treats. Here is a picture of them after then enjoyed a package of the Batman candies. Nothing cooler than the treat that turns your tongue blue!

Talking to Louie and Alex on the way home from school was neat, finding out what their favorite thing in the classroom is (playing games on the computer), what neat class did they have (music), and what was the best thing about the day (TWO recesses!). On top of it all, they got to celebrate Alex's birthday at school today and there were so many cookies that they had one at school and brought three home (thank goodness for threes!).

Louie can't wait to go back tomorrow. Ah, what a joy it is for young people to go to school. So curious about everything, and fortunately for Louie, he has a very sweet teacher who will do a great job in fostering that!

One Day Before I'm Three Months Old!

School Days

Everyone was excited for Louie's first day of kindergarten. Benny with his Heisman pose; Charlie with his very enthusastic "cheese"; Daddy's clean shaven smile; Meredith bouncing up and down; and Louie's open-wide smile. Not sure what this kindergarten means, but we can't wait!

We started taking First Day of School pictures on our side porch, so here is another entry for Louie.

Of course, you can't leave Benny and Charlie out of the mix.

It was pretty chilly this morning. We made the mistake of leaving windows open last night and pretty much everyone except Meredith had an awful night of sleep! That's the only thing I can think of as to why they all were awake through the night, that it was too cool for them to sleep well. Oh well, at least the kids won't be sweating through their first day of school!

Traffic is kind of a mess at drop-off time so we got there with plenty of time to go and sat in the parking lot a bit before going into school.

Daddy was able to join in the fun of the first day.

This is Louie's seat at his table. There are four tables of six kids in his room. They have a pouch on the back of their seats that holds their binders and workbook. Outside the room in the hall is where they hang up their book bags, jackets and a shelf to put stuff like their lunch box on--thanks Uncle Nate for the cool Bengals box!

I had to snag one last picture. Not sure he was too enthused about it. I think I may have embarrassed him a bit, but I wanted a shot of him in front of his door...and I wasn't ready to leave just yet. I didn't tear up until after I got home--I wanted to put on a brave face for my boy--but I wanted to stay until I knew he was going to be all right. I'm sure he will be, but I would love to be peeking in the window of his classroom right now.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Weekend at the Lake

This weekend was our annual trip to Lake Lorelei. And I didn't take a single picture. Awful, I know, considering the boys had an awesome time, especially fishing! Louie caught something like 7 (mainly blue gill) and Ben caught 3 (mainly bass). Grandpa was the only one who came close to Lou, with 4. Uncle Billy and Daddy each finally caught 1. And Lisa, I have designated you as fish master to teach Meredith. We have got to beat those boys...and I am not the one to do it :)

The weather was cool, but not so cool that some faces got a bit burnt and we were able to take boat rides on the lake, which is always the best part of the weekend.

Plenty of baseball was played; we had a bonfire down by the lake at night; and the boys got to sleep in a room of bunkbeds--perfect for little boys.

Fierce competition

It took three games, but Louie has come out of his shell on the soccer field. A little too much for my tastes. I'm not sure if this is one of the times specifically (all pictures in this post are courtesy of Kevin), but if you look at Lou, his comments are being directed at the little girl on the other team.

He was yelling, "Nice shot! Ha-ha! Real nice shot!" and I honestly thought he was cheering on the other team. Then I realized that Uncle Nate and Tia Katie were laughing in that they thought something differently. He was taunting the other team. That little girl kicked the ball out of bounds and Lou thought it was perfectly ok to make fun of her for that. Where on earth did he pick that up?!

Not more than a couple of minutes later I heard him tell his teammate that their kick out of bounds was "terrible." I gasped and the parents who were in their lawn chairs next to me snapped their heads in my direction. What happened to my sweet little boy? I do not remember him ever saying anything like that in baseball. If he did I wish I would have known right then and there. The whistle blew for the end of the quarter and I went marching over to the side of the field to have a chat with Mr. Lou. Thanks to Kevin you have evidence of my nipping it in the bud.

Louie was on the field with Daysia and Jackson. Louie and Daysia made a great team. Lou is a pretty good kicker and could get it pretty much from one end of the field to the other. Daysia's specialty is being able to kick the ball through a crowd of kids and was able to score almost each time. Although he didn't score himself, Louie had many assists. (Please correct my terminology if it is wrong!)

Ah, watching four and five-year-olds is always a hoot! An early visit by the Headless Horseman.

These two were so cute. Each time they scored they jumped up and down, galloping down the field, and when one would stop to give the other a high five the other would still be jumping. Then the second would stop jumping to give a high five while the first would start jumping again. I'm sure they'll get the hang of celebrating goals by the end of the season!

Edited: I should probably say that I didn't yell at Louie, by any means. I just wanted to talk to him right away, while it was fresh in his mind. I'm a big believer that good sportsmanship starts young and that if he is going to play sports he's going to know how to be a team player! Sorry, if you that caused you to feel bad for the little guy!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

One Last Outing

Okay, it's not that awful. It's just that things are going to change quite a bit come Monday when Louie heads off to kindergarten. We met our buddies Owen and Eli at Sharon Woods today for playing pirates in the park. Some of us came better prepared than others....sorry, Owen! We'll get our act together for next time.

Here are a few pictures from our day:

I bet Amanda got a really great picture of Eli and the bridge here.

The boys were surveying the land for anything and everything to throw in the creek. I wonder if Meredith will follow suit, or if her wiring will win out and she'll...what do girls do at the creek?

We've got some happy campers on our hands. It was very hot today!

I wanted to take a picture of something different than what I had been taking, and this is what I came up with.

I guess by looking at their little selves it reminds me of how quickly this all will change.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Trying to Fill His Father's Shoes

I have the boys take off their shoes immediately when they walk in the door for a number of reasons: a) easy to find when you need them; b) cuts down on stuff tracked through the house, especially with Mere hanging out on the floor; c) less tripping occurs when shoes aren't strewn through the house.

Last night I had to ask Charlie many, many times to put his shoes in the bench, which can be frustrating. Finally, on the ninety-ninth time he finally got the idea that I was serious and put his shoes away.

Later, Kevin pointed out to me what he actually did and we both had a good chuckle. That kid is pretty funny.

Anxiety Attack

Last night we went to Louie's new school's open house. When I think of open houses, I think that it's a pretty casual event, come and go as you please. Apparently this is not the case with schools. From 6-6:30pm you could tour the school and meet with your teacher. At 6:30pm there was a presentation in the gym for all the students, then from 6:45pm-7:30pm you could again tour the school and meet with your teacher.

We got there at 6:30pm.

It was my fault. I told Kevin to take his time coming home from work, then he changed and by the time we found a parking spot and walked the few blocks to the school it was time for the meeting in the gym to begin. It was packed in there on a hot August night, so we just headed down to Louie's classroom. It was kind of a nice accident, so to speak, because we had the classroom to ourselves and he was able to find his seat and check out all the cool stuff.

The Cool Stuff (by Louie):
  • 3 Mac computers that had Clifford the Big Red Dog games on them
  • his name tag on his assigned seat, with a pack on the back of the chair that has a binder with his name on it as well
  • the big colorful rug that is surrounded by great books, some he is familiar with others new, but look good
  • a giant job board that reminds him of the job board from preschool
  • he found the seats for three kids he already knows: Alex, of course, from preschool and his soccer team; Jack, a friend of Alex's who went to the museum with them; and Sarah, a girl on his soccer team
I'm so glad he got to explore the room when it was just him and his family because once the meeting was over and the other families and teacher came in, he shut up like a clam. The sweet teacher (I'm a good few years older than her--wow!) came walking up to him and he turned and walked in the opposite direction! Lou was so nervous and had to be prodded to say something to her. He eventually did open up, especially when she told him that she heard that he knew a few kids in the class. I shouldn't be surprised--Louie has always been a bit shy when encountering a new situation.

After we left, Louie and I dropped off Kevin and the other kids and went out to get school supplies and new gym shoes. Louie was telling me that he was very uncomfortable in his class, but that it'll just take some time to get used to it. Glad to hear that he knows it's going to get better!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Babies galore!

Grace, Reagan, Eva & Meredith

Abbe is due in a month and Sunday was one of her baby showers. She had a lot of little guest there to help her get ready for this life-changing experience! All these babies were born within two months of each other.

These two cuties were born one month from each other, exactly: Grace on May 13th and Reagan on April 13th.

These beauties were born a few days apart: May 28th and June 1.

Everyone was saying that this should be an annual photo op. I wish I would have taken a picture of all those who were standing in front of the couch snapping pictures and gawking at the little ladies on the couch. I can't imagine what the babies were thinking!

I'm just so excited for Meredith to have such a great group of friends to grow up with! We have another little Grace that was born last week to join the crew, and then Abbe and Jimmy's Jay will be here in September. If only we knew a few more boys for Jay...but in a year he'll be running around with my boys so I guess it doesn't matter much.

Here is Jay's ultrasound:

I think he'll fit in with mis tres hijos real nice...

Still Kicking Away

Here Louie is doing a corner kick. I think that's what it's called. I played years and years and years ago, but have lost any knowledge of the game that I may have possessed.

He definitely seemed more at ease during this game. Whereas most of the kids on both teams would do a little dribbler kick, Louie would crush it down field. In the right direction, this time.

You can see in this picture how serious Lou is with the game. He's still learning about what his job is, but he takes on the task with such intensity. I love it.

The Blue Racers had another victorious game, this one being a complete match. At the end, many of the parents ran onto the field, made an arch and all the kids ran through giving high fives. At first I thought they were doing the spanking machine! The shock of what was going on glued me to my lawn chair. This should be an interesting season!

Family Campout '09

We left our house on Thursday with the knowledge that there were tornadoes in northern Indiana and the exact time we were supposed to be setting up our tent, the entire campsite was covered in "green" on the national radar. This would not be good.

Turns out that it was a beautiful day, in fact, a beautiful weekend save for the forty-five minutes that it rained on Saturday. Without offending any family members, weather people are quacks. It drives me absolutely nuts that we schedule our days based on what the weather is supposed to be, and then I get upset when the weather is nothing like it was supposed to be. But that is for another post.

Again, sidewalk chalk made an appearance on this trip. These are shadow drawings of the boys. They got a kick out of seeing themselves on the ground. Charlie didn't fully understand what I was doing and changed position and also opened and closed his hands while I was drawing which made for an interesting outline.

Another Louie drawing of me with my fantastic hair.

This was Meredith's second campout and she proved once again that she is indeed the happy camper.

The group that went this time had tons of kids, which was great for the boys! Bikes, baseball, s'mores, what more could you ask for?

And although Abby doesn't have anyone around her age to play with, she certainly is developing into quite the babysitter!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Always waiting

The boys came down from their room this morning clutching their pillows and blankies.

Today is the day we leave for camping, but that will not be until later this afternoon. This means absolutely nothing to these boys.

They get their clothes changed, pack their backpacks with toys, get their shoes on and proceed to ask every fifteen minutes if it is time to go yet.

It is so hard to be a kid, when everything you want seems so very far away.

juego de futbol

This picture gives the impression that Lou knows what he is doing. He does not.

He gets the idea that you're supposed to kick a ball, and kick that ball into a net, but what net? Are these other people supposed to help me score a goal, or is it every kid for himself?

This is team Blue Racers, and at the beginning of every game the players introduce themselves to the fans.

I'm Louie!

It's really cute--they only play 3 on 3 on these miniature fields. I think it's a great way to learn the game, that there are role for people to play, not just bunching up all the players on the field. It must be difficult, though, to remember which direction you're supposed to be going when you get turned around attempting to take the ball away from the other team. Louie did that once this game.

They don't keep score in this league, but it was pretty obvious that the Blue Racers dominated, scoring something like seven goals to the other team's one. It didn't last very long because soon after the rain started, then thunder and then a lightning bolt.

But we had fun anyway.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Some school work over the summer

I've shared with you before how Benny gets frustrated with things pretty quickly, things that don't come easily for him. I read somewhere how for physical learners like himself that making letters out of play dough would be good. The kid has to make each piece to the letter, and hopefully that will be helpful in remembering how to make the letter with a pencil.

Benny did great! He was so proud of himself, but his favorite part was "destroying" it afterward.

Even for a seasoned writer like Lou, rounded edges can be tough.

"Hey! You missed it. I already made my name and smashed it up!"

The Baptism of the Cousin

Sunday was Gracie's baptism and it was at the same church where her Mommy and Daddy were married. The kids and I were at a terrible angle for the actual ceremony, so I apologize for the lack of action shots.

Aren't they the cutest family? Aunt Mary was telling us the story of how back when my dad was a baby parents weren't even involved in the baptismal process. It happened the Saturday after the baby was born, and the godparents came to pick up the baby to take to mass. The mother was still recovering so the parents stayed at home. Godparents had much more of a role in the ceremony back then! Today, the parents hold the baby throughout the entire mass and the godparents stand off to the side. I wonder why that changed. I guess they have a pretty big role guiding the kid through life they want to take it easy on them the first day!

Gracie is wearing a christening dress that all her aunts, mom, and cousins wore for their baptisms!

Gretchen is Gracie's godmother.

And Kevin is her godfather. I don't know about you, but I think she's pretty lucky to have such a great godfather :) I want to take this opportunity to apologize to Kev. I made him wear a coat on one of the hottest days of the summer! As soon as he sees Joe he just gives me the look. Oh well. If he wasn't wearing a coat he and Joe would look like twins--both with light blue shirts and gold ties. I knew what I was doing.