Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Countdown 'til the Wedding!

Part of the reason I've be slacking on posting is that we're getting ready for my sister's wedding! I won't post a ton of pictures from our activities, but a few to show that I'm not fibbing, and also tell some stories.

Grandma just got back from Florida so that accounts for some of it, but I doubt that Miss Mere will ever have anything other than "fair" complexion! (Taken at one of Joanie's showers)

This was also at one of Joanie's showers. I saw this dessert a while back on one of the blogs I follow. It's a (new) terra cotta pot with a vanilla wafer covering the hole, ice cream, then finely ground oreo cookies for the soil. A straw is inserted into the ice cream before putting on the "soil" so that when the dessert is ready to be passed out you can insert real flowers. When I first saw it I put it on the back burner in case I wanted to use it for one of Meredith's future birthday parties. It turned out so cute!

The boys were in Columbus, but Meredith joined us for the bachelorette party. Joanie met her future husband Josh at Ohio University, so the theme of the party was "OU Tailgate." All I had for Mere to wear was one of the boys' old T-shirts. She looked so much like Lou when I put her outfit on that I put her pink ballcap on to ensure everyone knew she was a girl...and it didn't help much.

Nothing too special about this picture other than my sister's shirt matches my kitchen walls, oh, and cousin Katie who is also in the wedding is in the picture. I wish you could see how cute her veil turned out. One of her bridesmaids made it: a green headband with sequins, the veil was attached to it. The veil had little green flowers as well as bedazzled OU paw prints. Adorable!

So, the countdown is on. Benny is the ring bearer, so I'll be sure to update you on how that goes. We need to go in and have him measured for his tux. I have my dress, my hair appointment has been made, I just need to start working on my speech. Goodness. I need lots of help with that!

Charlie Understands

Charlie knows that in order to be a parent you have to be a superhero--ha, ha.

I need to start writing stuff down

There are so many times during the day that I think, "Hey! That would be really great to put on the blog because it's (funny/cute/insightful into our kids)." But it doesn't happen because I forget too much.

I apologize for those of you who have been looking for updates on casa llena lately. Things have been ludicrous in our household! I have boatloads of pictures waiting to be uploaded onto the blog and, if I can remember, good stories as well.

One thing I did remember was that Lou was talking about something and he said that he was going to be "warm as a cucumber." For whatever reason that kind of grossed me out, but also reminded me how when kids are expanding their vocabulary they are like ESL students. So funny.

I'll be updating as much as I can over the next few days--stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Benny spells his name now with no pushing, urging or threatening (just kidding on that last part). Usually he gets so uncomfortable when writing his name. He doesn't like people watching him, as we all know, and usually refuses to spell out his name.

He is now writing "B-E-n" on all his papers now. Can you tell I'm pretty excited? I'm just so happy for him, that's he's made it over this hurdle. He's still pretty rough on himself because he doesn't feel like his "N" is good enough. I think it's great. And so is he :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Little Cutie

Naming Rights

When I was in first grade our class was sponsoring a turtle in our festival's turtle races. As a class we had to come up with a name for it. Our teacher, Sister Agnes Frances told us to write down on a scrap of paper what our suggestion was, then we'd all vote on it. The catch: she wouldn't tell us how to spell it, we had to spell it ourselves. I was all excited to name it "Speedy Gonzales" and was sure it was going to win but I had no idea what letter combo made the name. Instead, I chose "Abby" which was my best friend's name. Needless to say, "Abby" didn't win.

Luckily for Lou, his teacher wasn't so harsh, or maybe he's a better speller than I was (am). I don't understand the whole story, but his class was given a dragon by a Mr. Kist. Not sure if he's an art teacher or what, but Lou's class had to vote on a name. He was so excited when he went to school on Friday because he knew exactly what he was going to suggest: Dymo. The name race was heated. The choices were: Thunder, Bubbles, Sparks and Dymo. Guess which one was the winner. Dymo!

Congrats, Louie! Of course, this is coming from the kid who wanted me to have kids so he could name them Lumpy, Dumpy, Umpy, and Ubby. He's a creative kid, I tell ya.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Funnies

Don't knock the weather; nine-tenths of people couldn't start a conversation if it didn't change once in a while. --Kin Hubbard

Maybe I talk about weather too much and that's why Louie didn't want to, but when he called to ask Aunt Jill he didn't bother with the pleasantries of conversation, he just jumped right into the why of his call: "Hi, Aunt Jill. It's me. Will you buy a raffle ticket from me? It's only one dollar."

School has wiped at least one of our kids out. After three days of two and a half hours of school, Ben fell asleep on the couch at 5:30pm, couldn't be budged for dinner, and then proceeded to sleep until 6:30am. Then, he was raring to go.

Charlie has become the entertainment for the back seat of the van. He sits back there with Louie's two buddies from school and is his usual ham for them. They think he's the funniest thing since SpongeBob SquarePants. Maybe he should be a mime.

Although, with Benny going to school this week, I've found that the main reason Charlie hasn't started talking is, in fact, because of his brothers. He's said more during Ben's three school days than I've ever heard him say. And they are all in the form of commands. Nice.

I took Meredith with me to visit my friend Missy who recently had a baby. I was bringing some things in from the car and Missy relayed the conversation she had with my baby girl. You are so cute! (Big ol' smile from Mere) And look at those cheeks! (Scowl from Mere) No! That's a good thing. (Another smile from Mere) Missy said she really believes she was having a conversation with Meredith. I believe it, too!

Charlie just tried to show me his three point stance and he fell flat on his face. HA! And then he came up smiling :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Back to the Grindstone

Benny started another year of preschool, and let it be known that he was excited. I wasn't sure how he'd be since Lou wouldn't be going with him and he was such a shy guy last year.

I felt bad because all the enthusiasm that went into Louie's first day wasn't necessarily present for Ben's. I was probably more nervous than he was!

Now if there was one person who was as excited if not more than Ben, it was Charlie. He had his outfit on. He got out Louie's old book bag. He had his shoes on and was ready to walk out the door.

What a great smile!

Ah, poor Char. All his dreams about going to school are going to come crashing down.

What do you mean I'm not going to school?!

Daddy was able to drive Benny into school that day.

Kevin said that on the way there, Benny was bouncing around in the car but when they walked through the doors it was a different story. They saw the director and his teacher from last year and Benny grasped tightly to Kev's hand. But once they put his stuff in his cubby and walked up to the classroom door he was fine.

Don't want to leave out baby girl.

Charlie didn't take it well. There may not be anything sadder than the humongous tears that Charlie lets out of his eyes. They slowly rolled down his cheeks while he wailed, "BENNN-EEE!"
over and over again. After a few minutes he was fine, but I wasn't expecting that! It reminded me of when Louie went to preschool for the first time and two-year-old Benny was the one who was howling for his big brother. I thought for sure Lou would be crying, but he was pumped up for school. I guess it's just hard to be the one left behind.

I wasn't able to pick him up from school because I was with a friend who just had a baby, but Grandma said that he did great! He talked non-stop about his day and already had artwork to show (a big improvement over last year!). I picked them up and when we got home Benny put backpack in locker, like the summer didn't even happen. He knew exactly what to do. Louie didn't even remember to do that!

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Relaxing Sunday

Louie went to preschool with Katie and now that they are in kindergarten we run the risk of not seeing them very often. We're trying to keep that from happening by planning days to hang out with our families.

Sunday they came over after the disappointing Bengals season opener, the boys still sporting their support. They played football in the backyard, running plays and punting the ball like they saw the big guys do on television.

Benny and Louie pretty much worship Bryce. He's a great, easy going kid, and my boys fought over who was going to be on his team and both copied whatever it was that he was doing. So cute.

The girls sometimes played with the boys, but mainly rode bikes and did some gardening. Charlie, somewhat uncharacteristic, was playing in his own world for the most part. And the babies (they have a brother a month and a half younger than Meredith) hung out with the big people.

And here they are breaking for nourishment.

Saturday Afternoon, Daddy and His Girl

The boys are napping and a little girl and her Daddy are having some quality time watching college football.

Two Goals

This league doesn't keep score but when the whistle blew and the game was over Louie came running over to us yelling, "We won, 6-2!"

Not only that, but he scored two goals! He came close to scoring a third, kicking it from almost halfway down the field, but missed it by about a foot. He is definitely improving with each game and is really loving it.

Afterward, we headed down to the high school's football field to watch them take on my alma mater. The boys had a great time watching the game up close, but it was getting late so we didn't stay for the whole game. As we were walking back to our van Ben says, "That's Ok, we can just listen to the rest of the game on the radio." Children of whatever letter generation this is...they believe everything in their world is at their fingertips.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wokka-Wokka That Way!

When I was at Disney World there was a Muppets area where a sign on a pole showed a picture of Fozzie Bear saying "Wokka Wokka That Way!" toward the 4D movie theater. I thought that was really funny.

That has really nothing to do with this post, other than we've got Meredith in her walker, trying to strengthen those busy legs of hers. She hasn't gotten the hang of it yet, but she has pushed herself backward, so that's a start! She loves being upright, though, and she loves to play with the little toy bar that is attached to the tray. The boys love that she's a little more active, grabbing things and moving her feet.

Did I tell you she got new shoes? I think they're pretty cute.

Happy Birthday, Jay!

Baby Jay has finally arrived!

Jamie sent me this picture of her with her nephew and sister, taken not long after the little guy made his entrance into the world. Doesn't Abbe look incredible? Sounds like both Mommy and Baby are doing great!

Jay Patrick's Stats:
  • 7 pounds, 10 ounces
  • 20 inches long
  • born at 7:14am
Congratulations to Abbe & Jimmy!

Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On

I was in Meredith's room changing her diaper when I felt the floor beneath me start to shake. After she had a new diaper on we went out into the living room and saw this:

Ben informed us that there were some people out our front door. Pretty impressive stuff they've started today. Our neighborhood has been getting new streets for a while now, but I believe we're the last ones to get the pavement. I'm guessing this is because our street may need the most work. Not only are they repaving it, but they have to fix the sewer system, if not completely replace what is in our street.

It's been a while now that they've been making weird markings on the street and sidewalks, putting up stakes with flags on them. I was beginning to think they were never going to start. The day they begin, it is right in front of our house. Does that mean it is the worst right here?

I'm guessing that our trip to the grocery and library are canceled today. But at least the boys will be entertained by it. Nothing like having heavy machinery basically sitting in your living room!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Appointment at Three Months

In this day and age of pandemic illnesses I do not understand why my baby needs to go to the doctor's office, but to have her head, length and weight measured.

We were in the waiting room for about 40 minutes before being called back to the examination room, and it was filled with kids who the nurses had put masks on (many kids decided they were too cool for that). Ugh. I honestly don't think that I get worked up over illnesses in general, but if you don't have to be exposed to that nonsense, why should you?

Here are her stats:

Weight: 13 lbs.
Height: 23 in.

Meredith is in the 75% for her head size and weight and in the 40% for height. No shots today.

No School

Louie missed the first day back after the weekend due to a pretty bad cold. His fever never reached 100 degrees, but I thought it was best to keep him home so build up his immune system. When we were at Grandpa's on Monday he was very clingy and whiny, which isn't like him so I knew he wasn't feeling well.

The trip home from the family picnic was pretty bad for him. He fell asleep for part of it, which almost never happens (not even when he was a baby!) and when he woke up he was crying for me to come sit next to him so we pulled over and I got in the back seat.

Of course, me being the worrywart that I am, I looked up the symptoms for h1n1 virus on the internet when we got home. I usually just let the boys' illnesses take its course, thinking that some pain reliever and rest will do them good, but it seems like all I'm hearing about is the numbers of confirmed cases at the neighboring colleges are skyrocketing and...I need to relax. He probably just has a cold!

Lou returned to school today armed with cough drops and strict orders to cough into his elbow.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nice, Long Weekend

We had such a nice, long weekend, it was sad to see it go. It started off with a mild Friday night where all the boys conked out early, after a week of new, exciting things and no naps. Kevin, Meredith and I took advantage of the situation and had a relaxing fire in the backyard. It was great to be able to use our backyard. It seems like we haven't done much of that. Kevin remarked that it was like we were on vacation :)

Saturday we headed out to Uncle John and Aunt Mary's house. They put in a pond on their property since the last time we were there, and I wish I would have brought my camera because it is just beautiful. Not only does it add to the aesthetics of the property, it gives us something else to do when we come up on Labor Day weekend--go fishing! Ben and Lou had a blast fishing again. Lou caught quite a few and Ben caught one so big it broke his fishing pole!

We did not set up a tent this year, but did stay late into the night. We didn't get home until almost midnight! There was too much fun to be had. The boys loved playing ping-pong, badminton and volleyball. Luckily, Uncle John sets up the yard with flood lights so the fun doesn't have to stop just because the sun goes down.

Sunday we headed to a church festival that is across the street from the house where I grew up. Kevin's cousin's family are members there, so it's a great place for us to meet up with them.

They had a wristband you could buy where kids get unlimited rides for two hours. The boys and Lauren took full advantage of this, sometimes cutting in front of a line of kids because they thought that the rides were set up specifically for them. Such well-mannered kids we're raising here. Lauren was great in that she just jumped right in with the guys, no fear whatsoever.

Look at these two cuties. Zachary and Joey were born last November and they couldn't be any more adorable with their chubby legs and toothy grins.

Lauren and Benny will be in the same class in preschool this year. I'm hoping this bonding experience on the train will help him be more open this school year.

The boys played tons of games at the festival in order to collect these rare treasures. The hit of the night was the googly-eyes. You have to spin the wheel to get them and Ben and Charlie just happened to both land on the right number. Louie ended up with a punch balloon and wasn't thrilled about it. Kevin gave him money to try again, and again didn't get the lucky number. The full physical response he gave to it was so sad (slumping shoulders, extreme frown) to the lady running the booth that she decided that it was best to give him the googly-eyes than to see a little boy go through the rest of the day depressed. It was pretty funny.

We left the festival, goodies in hand, before it was dark and went home to put the boys in bed. Kevin and I (along with Mere!) had another date night out in the backyard with the firepit. It was a great night to have a fire and I'm glad we were able to take advantage of it.

Monday was the annual family picnic up at Grandpa's house. He has been living in an assisted living facility and just recently sold his house, so this would be the last gathering there. We were able to spend the majority of the time outside, even getting in baseball and a few games of beanbag, but then the rains came and didn't stop until we were on the road going home. It was a nice day, though, and because of the rain that gave the boys a reason to go in and play with the toys Great-Grandpa has. They are the same toys that their Grandpa (Kevin's dad) played with! Who says you need high tech toys that require a zillion batteries?

This was the first time Grandpa met Miss Meredith. He was born in May of 1918, so there is a good 91 years between the two of them.

Getting this picture taken was pretty funny. I'd get two to three of them to look my way, but not the other ones. Finally, all the kids were looking, but not Grandpa! He was too busy making sure Meredith was looking at the camera.

It was hard for us to let Daddy go back to work. The weather was beautifully mild for all the fun stuff we had going on, and it was great to see so many friends and family. I guess that what makes it a holiday weekend!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Week One Assessment

Fall is here, hear the yell
Back to school, ring the bell
Brand new shoes, walking blues
Climb the fence, books and pens
I can tell that we are going to be friends
Yes I can tell that we are going to be friends

This week brought many new things into our world. We began the week excited to wake up, and by Friday we were being dragged out of bed. Not one nap for Louie, and poor Charlie and Benny slept when they could, but never made it to their beds for an official nap.

Louie had his first homework assignment. His teacher has a "mystery box" where there are three clues and the students have to figure out what it is in it based on the clues. Louie figured it out on the first day (scissors) and was to bring it home to come up with a new object and clues.

Here are the clues:
  1. It is long.
  2. You write with it.
  3. It has an eraser on one end.

He's had music, gym, art, and library, and out of all these his favorite is still recess.

From the sound of it, the boys on the playground play "superheroes" every day. This must be a popular thing for school-aged kids. Everything from backpacks to underwear are covered in the graphics. They're leaving behind Elmo, Thomas and even SpongeBob (to an extent). SpongeBob is cool, but you don't act out the stories like you would SpiderMan and Batman, apparently.

Each day, a piece of paper with a calendar on each side comes home in Louie's folder. On one side, his teacher puts a number 1-5 in the day's box. Each student starts the day with five stars and if he or she breaks a classroom rule a star is lost. Louie had five stars each day and for that got to pick a prize out of a basket. On the other side of the paper we're supposed to write in the time we spent that evening reading books. This is really the only nightly homework they have.

Louie's friend's mom has been walking the boys to their classroom each morning. She is hoping to get to the point where she drops them off and they walk in by themselves. This school has Pre-K through grade 6 and apparently on a couple of the day the bigger kids were knocking into the boys. In turn, the boys are a bit nervous to go on their own. I'll keep you posted on how this develops.

Overall, it was a great week. The hardest thing was the lack of sleep by all involved. Today, Louie got up almost at the same time as he has to during the week, though a little bit later. I thought for sure he'd take a nap by Friday, which is what his friend told us he was going to do when we dropped him off after school. As a result, he is whining and doing his baby talk, which is a sure-fire sign of a desperate need for sleep. He is in denial. I am not sure what to do with Ben and Charlie. Charlie starts to fall asleep right before it's time to pick Louie up from school. Benny ends up crashing on the carpet for about an hour after we get back. They both have been pretty cranky lately because of it. What will help is that Louie has another friend who we will pick up in the afternoons. I will trade off weeks to pick the boys up with his mom, so every other week Ben and Char will have naps! Louie is enjoying school, though, and that is the most important thing. Be assured that I will be posting on all the new and exciting things kids are doing in school these days!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

School Friends

Something changes when kids go to school. I found that out today. After school Louie had a buddy over from class and I witnessed some great things and some not so great things.

First off, I saw both Lou and Ben behave in ways that were so mature I wondered if some space ship had come and replaced them with their doppelganger. They were letting this friend do everything first. Lou even said, "Ben, when we have a guest over, they go first." And Ben didn't fight him on it at all. Every time the boys went to play something new, they asked the friend if he wanted to try it. When the friend was riding a bike, Ben asked if he could ride it after he was done, rather than the usual push the kid off the bike and take it for himself. Charlie, on the other hand, gave the friend the same treatment he gives everyone: he wacked him over the head with a plastic golf club.

As wonderful as this was, I began to see that things changing with Louie. He seemed be trying to act...cooler, showing off in a way. Then, what bothered me the most was when the ball was hit into the neighbor's yard while I was inside taking care of Meredith. I was by the window so I saw and heard it all taking place. Louie said that he and his friend were going to go over to get it out of the yard. I told them to wait, that I'd be out in just a minute. I didn't want them walking out in front of the house without me watching. They'd probably be fine, but especially with me in charge of another person's child I didn't want them just gallivanting off wherever. I am not sure if he realized I heard but, the friend whispers to Louie, "Let's go anyway" and off they went. That bothered me in that I'm sure Louie didn't want to look dumb in front of his friend, but they went ahead and did what I asked them not to do with me right there. How do you teach a kid that it's ok to listen to your parents without looking like a baby. Or, more importantly, how do you teach your kids to make the right decision, even when a parent isn't standing there? Ah, the mysteries of being a parent.

Overall, it was really neat having Louie's friend over. We're finding that our street has a lot more kids on it than originally thought. This is the perfect environment for childhood--a street filled with families, where the kids can all play together. It may not be the same as when I was young, but I'm glad that there are friends our kids will go all through school with, who live all around us.