Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lessons Learned

Earlier today I was lucky enough to be able to go on Benny's end of the school year field trip to Glenwood Garden's Highfield Discovery Center. Long name, but it definitely lives up to the billing. Last year I went with Louie's class to the same park, but they had a different program for the kids. If you remember, last year a large frog talked to the kids about the changes an amphibian goes through. This time, they talked about flowers and the kids got to actually dissect a flower!

All the time I feel like I'm telling the kids to use your eyes to look at the pretty flower (or some other plant). After the program today it came to my attention that they probably haven't been able to examine the plants, know what they're really all about because they aren't allowed to touch them. They talked about all the different parts of a flower and what their purpose is. They also talked about how many things that we like (i.e. tomatoes, strawberries) start out as flowers.

As with last year, the team that put on the program did a wonderful job and I really think the kids learned a lot. Afterward they were let loose into the play area that was filled with a giant tree, over-sized mushrooms, and a tiny train track. I might have mentioned this when Louie went, but it reminds me a lot of Smurf-world ride from Kings Island in the '80s. This was much cooler, though, because the kids were able to run through the tree, peeping in holes that contained dancing spiders and bat with flashing eyes.

The weather was sunny and mild, making for a perfect day, except for one thing in Benny's eyes: after riding in a van with all girls he proclaimed, "Girls talk too much." Eerily similar to what his brother said one year ago...

Pure Bliss

I haven't checked the weather report for quite a while. It's been so dreary I haven't wanted to know how long it was going to last. This morning was pretty chilly when I woke up and skies were somewhat gray, but cleared up as the day went on.

What a surprise that it has become a 71.6-degree day (we have a thermometer) with a cloudless blue sky! The breeze is delightful, the sun is warm and although I started weeding the vegetable beds, I quit in order to enjoy the day lying on a blanket with my kids.

It doesn't get any better than this.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Meredith has gotten to be quite the character.

When she gets something like a blanket in her hands she lifts it up with both hands so it covers her face, then forces it down quickly.

We say "peek-a-boo!" and she gets so excited. And that is repeated for at least the next five minutes. She thinks she's so funny.

The rest of us agree :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Spring Birthdays, Part II

Yesterday we celebrated Louie and Kevin's birthdays with my family. It was a nice end to a very long weekend. We had a yard sale on Saturday and it wiped out the whole family! My mom generously offered to host and make all the food so all we had to do was show up and enjoy the party!

Miss Grace was there showing off her new talent--walking! She isn't completely sure of it yet, but she definitely gets her feet moving and has taken eight steps, according to her daddy.

I had to include this picture. Benny did pretty well, but Charlie did not like being left out of the opening of presents. It wasn't a big surprise for an almost three-year-old, but I wasn't going to make the birthday boy give up his opportunity to open his own gifts. You know there's no way that Charlie is going to let Lou open up gifts later this summer!

Charlie recovered and all the boys helped both Louie and Kevin blow out candles on their respective pies. Louie had banana cream; Kevin, rhubarb-strawberry; and the third pie was pineapple coconut. Yum!

And by the end of the night we were all ready to hit the hay!

New Friends

My kids normally don't warm up very quickly to people. Even when they know them, a lot of times they'll hide behind me until they're ready to come out and play.

I was taken by surprise when Ben and Charlie immediately became best friends with my friend Beth's son, Lucas. We met them down at Lunken's "Land of Make Believe" park on a sunny afternoon last Wednesday. I'm not sure why it was given that name because it's not too different from a lot of other parks, but the kids had a good time running around.

This is Lucas' younger sister, Peyton. Isn't she adorable? She was wearing a Reds outfit that wasn't pink, so she got a star in my book :)

Charlie was eagerly waiting for Peyton to get off so he could try out the rockin' pig.

And I was taking a moment to love Meredith little legs and adorable shoes before she grows out of them and is running around so I can't take a picture!

It really is a nice park with a fence around it so the kids don't wander out into the parking lot, out over to the air field. That wouldn't be good. And the boys just loved the dinosaur and the rocking toys.

So, I discovered that Meredith has never been on a swing before. Ok, maybe she has, but maybe she wasn't that into it? Regardless, on this day she was riding on this swing and was on Cloud 9. Giggling away, so happy to be going up and down. Thinking back, many of the parks we've been going to only have the big person swings, not these special baby ones. Or maybe the boys took up all the swings and needed to be pushed? I don't know. But I do know that I need to take more time for her--and make sure she gets all the swinging time she wants!

She was loving big brother Benny pushing her! I wish I could have recorded her laughing away. Meredith is lucky to have three big brothers that love her so very much.

Thanks Beth, Lucas and Peyton! It was great hanging out with you all :)

First Game of the Season!

(For most of us!)

We saw this truck while we were walking from our parking garage down to the stadium to watch the Reds take on the Dodgers. They were putting up the skeleton for a new building and the boys are now convinced that Batman is moving downtown.

The boys had practice on Kevin's birthday, so we decided to go the day before and Aunt Joanie was able to get us some tickets for that night. I haven't made Meredith's Rosie Red costume yet, so we settled for a red and white polka dot outfit. The original capris were striped, but it was too cool for them. So she ended up looking like Minnie Mouse instead!

We packed the usual of hot dogs and peanuts, but the more interesting aspect of this picture is the shot of the two people in between Ben and Charlie. So bizarre.

It was a school night, yes, but it was Daddy's special birthday game. We stayed until after the Reds batted in the 7th. The score was 9-4. We could chalk this up as a winner.

We were walking back to the van when a guy drove by us while we were stopped at a corner. "They tied it up!" he yelled to the family in clad in Reds gear. WHAT? I thought for sure that he was just joking with us. Sure enough, when we made it back to the garage and turned on the radio it was tied.

We listened on the drive back and luckily our Reds pulled it out, 11-9. We should have stayed!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Birthday Boys

Yesterday we celebrated Louie and Kevin's birthdays with Kevin's side of the family. We did the ol' standby of "baseball themed" which is a favorite and we always have plenty of stuff to decorate with and plenty of clothes to wear.

Louie got these cool shades from Aunt Jill and Uncle Nick. He'd look pretty tough if it weren't for the Hawaiian Punch-stained mustache.

I don't know what was going on in the picture, but I like the look they're giving to each other over melting sundaes.

Happy Birthday, Louie and Kevin!

We'll See

There weren't any of Charlie's diapers in the diaper bag and Meredith was taking a nap and I didn't want to wake her, so he's wearing Big Boy Underpants right now. Elmo, in fact. He was so excited, he called Kevin to tell him that he was wearing underwear "on my BUTT." He's too funny.

I don't think that we'll be doing this all the time now, but I'm not going to make a big production out of it like I did with Louie. We can halt our lives for a week, setting the timer for 15 minutes, singing the potty song and trying to get the kid to go.

He'll figure it out, I know. We'll just take it one day at a time. And if we really do "run out" of diapers like he thinks, I'm sure he'll realize how uncomfortable wet pants are. Especially the corduroys he's wearing now!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Long Overdue

It's been way too long since we've visited the zoo. Today was a great day to visit--and most of the city had the same idea. The weather was mild and Daddy was home and there's almost nothing the boys like more than when Daddy can come somewhere with us.

We were lucky we chose that day to go because I'm not sure if the tulips would be there the next weekend. They were definitely over their peak time. Maybe because of the warm start to the month they bloomed earlier?

I don't remember these from last year. I thought they were so pretty, looking like someone took a paint brush to add the red stripes. Benny liked them, too.

The manatees have returned! Well, these aren't the two we had before, but the boys were excited all the same. They are two females named Turner and CC Baby. I'm not sure if CC will keep the "Baby" part attached to her name when she gets older.

Ah, we're getting to the age where pictures do not want to be taken and attitudes prevail. Look at Louie's sweet face. So mad because Mommy wanted a picture with the tulips instead of the reptiles.

But Meredith was excited!

And this Gibbon caught Meredith's eye. If I get a chance I'll post the video of her reaction to him. So loud, and she though he was hilarious.

Unfortunately, the digging area wasn't open, but at least we got this picture of Charlie hanging out under the gorgeous wisteria.

And no trip to the zoo is complete without the classic rhino pic!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Things I Love

I absolutely love that my boys fell asleep watching Pride of the Yankees.

Hidden Treasures of Our City

We had another wonderful outing today with Amanda, Owen and Eli. I have been wanting to explore Spring Grove Cemetery for a while now and it just worked out that today would be the day that we'd do it.

Forecasters predicted thunderstorms, but Amanda and I have been planning for outings for long enough that we now know to go ahead and do what we want and figure out what to do if the weather wants to change plans. Good thing we've gotten to this point because it was a gorgeous day!

I wasn't sure what the boys would think of running around a cemetery, but they along with Owen and Eli quickly fell in love with the immense amount of open space, trees and gravestones. They spent a lot of time trying to find names they recognized and dates that matched their birthdays.

We plan to bring paper and crayons next time to do grave rubbings because many were so old that it was difficult to make out what they said. The boys are excited about that.

I'm not so sure how "hidden" this treasure was to anyone but me, but I am so glad that we went. It definitely will be a place that this family will visit many times in the future!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Start of the First Birthdays

Just look at this face!! Miss Reagan turned one and we were lucky enough to be invited to the little senorita's birthday party. She is the start of a group of babies that were born back to back to back to back and so on. This past year I have known more babies born than in my previous three pregnancies combined! What makes it fun is seeing them all grow up together and celebrating their milestones!

Here is the happy family! Birthday girl will be a big sister this September!

The boys had a great time! This house had all that little boys needed--wide open spaces for baseball and football; cornhole; bubbles; and birthday punch with sherbet mixed in!

Thanks to Abbe, we have proof that the kids partied to their heart's content. On the drive home we had five very tired pups!

Jay & Meredith got some good quality hanging out time.

And I learned that it is possible to put three boys next to each other and they will survive.