Friday, May 28, 2010

Tears for a Future Date

Louie was just a couple of months old when it happened for the first time. It was a cool spring morning and the windows were open, which allowed me to hear the noise loud and clear. Apparently it is a tradition for the local high school's seniors to drive on every street in the neighborhood honking their excitement for the last day of classes.

Today is that day and when I was explaining that to Benny I started to tear up. Louie is almost finished with kindergarten, Ben will be starting kindergarten next year. That day for them is way off in the future. But, still, I was sad thinking that the time between now and then will fly by.

(What is wrong with me?!)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Another Double Header

The boys had a game the same night we had tickets to the Reds' 75th Anniversary celebration of the First Night Game. They had all sorts of events planned for the night, including selling sacks of peanuts for 10-cents and having a "live" mascot race (normally the mascot race is on the jumbotron, a digital recreation of it). They also turned off all the other boards in the stadium that are normally lit with everything from what batter is currently up, to how fast the pitcher threw that last pitch, to the current temperature.

The one thing that I noticed was that I spend entirely too much time looking at that information. Is it really necessary for me to know how fast a pitcher is? I did enjoy the comeback of the pipe organ being played between innings!

This is a shot I took of the game that features both boys. Can you pick them out?

Meredith went home with Grandma and Grandpa R so that she could sleep and we could enjoy the game. Here Charlie is cheering on his favorite player--Jonny Gomes--wearing his hairstyle.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I heard that they were making the scoreboard more like we would have seen in 1935. It is weird not seeing pictures of the players or reading some unusual fact about them. Or even having the name highlighted of the person who will be up to bat first in the next inning. I guess we are being coddled and I need to pay more attention to the game!

On top of the riverboat deck they had the first light that was turned on for that game. Apparently, President Roosevelt sent a telegraph message to the stadium to give the ok to turn the lights on. Amazing, the changes that happen in 75 years.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Revelations

When we were in Cleveland the Robert Redford movie The Natural came on tv. Because of our love of baseball, this is a favorite of mine and Kevin. In fact, when the dj announced our arrival at our wedding reception, the theme song from the movie played. (Yeah, we're dorks.)

Apparently we haven't allowed the boys to watch the movie yet because when a scene came on showing Roy Hobbs' bat Louie went into shock. We couldn't tell if he was laughing or what he was doing, but he kept making a laughing-like sound while the scene took place. When it was over we discovered what got the little guy all worked up: Roy Hobbs has the exactly replica of a bat Lou was given by his grandpa when he was two-years-old.

Both Lou and Ben now have a Wonderboy bat and use it quite often when they're practicing.

Louie is currently obsessed with Roy Hobbs. He has made a lightning bolt patch that he has scotch-taped to the sleeve of his baseball jersey. He wants to be number 9 now, so he made a piece of paper that will go on his back.

Cleveland Rocks

But the Reds win the series!

We went to the Friday night game of the Ohio Cup with Uncle Paul, Aunt Joanie, Uncle Josh, Matt and Emily. Kevin was already in Cleveland for work when I picked up Louie from school early on Friday and headed north for our weekend with Aunt Cassie and Uncle Paul.

Some QT between Meredith and Uncle Joshie

Uncle Paul says he was rooting for the Indians, but he fits right in with these guys!

Charlie and Aunt Joanie enjoying the game

Charlie is not afraid of much, but this mascot makes the list. He was completely freaked out! (I kind of am, too.)

All the guys went fishing on Saturday and afterward we went to the West Side Market.

A battle broke out between Superman and Ironman.

I'm not sure how old the market is, but there are so many details to the building, you know it's over 100 years old. I'm not talking about this painted wall, though.

I tried to get some pictures inside of the small details, but they didn't turn out. On the top of columns (?) there were friezes of what the market sold--crabs and fish; bread products; fruits and veggies.

On Sunday, Kevin helped Uncle Paul put the motor on his boat and we hung out by the lake.

Meredith's eyes were sensitive to the sun, but she smiled because she loves her Uncle Paul.

Not everyone's eyes are open, but we're all looking at the camera!

Louie wanted me to share with you his creation by the lake. I think it was a fort.

A detail of the trip that I didn't get a good picture of, but wanted to share was that Ben killed some mussels. Lots of them. Aunt Cassie's store was having a "Whale of a Sale" on seafood, so on Saturday night we had a seafood feast. The boys all love shrimp, but Ben ventured out of that comfort zone to eat mussels and he loved them! I'm sure that's due to Aunt Cassie's fantastic culinary skills!

Thank you, Uncle Paul and Aunt Cassie for hosting us for such a great weekend!

Friday, May 21, 2010

It's So Hard to Say Goodbye

Yesterday was Benny's preschool end of the year picnic. This was a very difficult thing for Ben because it is the place where he blossomed from a shy guy who barely made his presence known to someone who volunteered stories from his life and will deeply miss his teachers and friends, as he moves on to kindergarten.

As you know, Ben is a kid who goes full speed until all his energy is spent. However, he usually doesn't get going until he feels a bit comfortable. This year he was very comfortable and it makes me so glad that we chose the school we did. I know it has everything to do with the teachers and staff and the families that make up his preschool.

Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the fun picnic for all the classes. Benny was excited to take Charlie running around the playground with him, introducing him to all his friends, and I had too much fun talking to all the nice moms I've met. It's been a good fit for us.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Down on the Farm

I was lucky enough to join Louie's kindergarten class on their spring field trip to Gorman Heritage Farm--one of my favorite places!

The kids were taught about all the happenings that go on at the farm. Here, Louie is grinding corn to feed to the chickens.

I'm not going to lie, this was an extremely informative field trip for myself! It really made me want to look into getting a job there once the kids are all in school.

The group's leader informed the kids that the goats might want to nibble on their clothing and Louie wasn't going to have that. He was wearing my jacket, so it was long, and he held it up so the goat wouldn't want to nibble.

The kids each had a turn on the tractor. Louie was pretty excited about that!

They went into the garden area and the kids picked out a radish to eat. It's an interesting vegetable to pick because of the "spicy-ness" of the vegetable.

Louie apparently forgot that he's already tried a radish and in this picture he is re-experiencing his distaste for radishes.

The kids were taught about composting and most enjoyed getting algae out of the pond to contribute to the compost pile.

We had a great time.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What I Learned From Sports Talk Radio

Our beloved Reds are doing something this season that we are not all that familiar with: Winning.

This has caused some fans to be overjoyed with the prospect of having a team to be proud of and looking forward to seeing play the fall. Whereas there are others who are naysayers and think people are overreacting, that our local teams do this all the time and once we get our hopes up they'll come crashing down upon us.

Listening to a local sports talk radio host, he imparted some wisdom that can be applied to all areas of life, not just a winning baseball team: Don't judge someone about how they react to a situation. If someone wants to over-react to a win (or some other event in life) let 'em!

Who says that a team has to have an established tradition of winning in order to get excited about them? Why is it that people are afraid to look silly for showing emotion? I guess that's what I love about my kids, kids in general. In everything they do they wear their emotions on their sleeve and they show the passion they have for something, whether it's going down the slide at the park, getting their favorite meal for dinner or seeing a special person in their life.

What happens to adults, that they have to maintain some kind of composure, be reserved when it comes to things that get them excited? Life's too short not to get worked up about stuff. Especially the good stuff. A sunny day, a good meal, hanging out with friends, a winning baseball team are all things worth getting pumped up for, in my opinion.

My favorite quote below has a little something to do with this thought:

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!

--Jack Kerouac

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wish You Were There, Part 2

I feel very spoiled. I went to two out of the three games during the Civil Right Weekend at Great American Ballpark. One loss, one win, but both were great games. I don't remember the last time I went to a game without my kids, though!

Joanie and Josh invited us to go with them in a game that ended up putting the Reds on top of the Central Division. It rained a good bit, as you can see in these pictures, but that didn't make it any less enjoyable!

And before you start feeling too bad for the boys, Grandpa R. mowed a baseball field into their grass in the backyard that made the boys' week! Chances are though, they would have cried about the rain at the stadium, and as everyone knows, there's no crying in baseball.

Grace's Birthday Party

After a rainy week, what a nice surprise it was to have a gorgeous day on Saturday to celebrate Gracie's birthday! Erin made the cupcakes above that were as cute as they were delicious--vanilla cupcakes with strawberries and blackberries and a tiny bumble-bee that sat on top!

The boys played baseball, of course, but I'm sure you are tired of seeing pictures of that so I'll post one of one our favorite families--Jimmy, Jay and Abbe. I wish you could better see Jay's adorable plaid bucket hat with matching alligator polo and khaki shorts!

Poor Gracie started off her party with a big goose egg on her forehead, but that didn't stop the fun. She's a trooper and within minutes was smiling that classic Gracie smile, thanks in part to Aunt Mandy's gift of a tiger that blows bubbles!

Meredith sat their patiently and took notes on what you're supposed to do at your first birthday party.

Here's the lovely little lady with her godparents, Kevin and Gretchen.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Wish You Were There

I went to the Reds game last night with some friends. We try about once a year to go downtown to Skyline and then to the game. It's such a fun night and something I really needed--a night out with the girls--but a part of me really wanted Kevin and the kids there. I didn't want them to miss such a fun game and great post-game show!

The Golden Eagles, the Army's parachute team, came floating down from the sky minutes after the game ended and then came the fireworks. I don't know what it is, but I could sit there all night watching fireworks. It probably helps that there was a great soundtrack to go along with it, but there's something about them that makes me feel like a kid. The wonder, amazement of it all.

And that's something that I don't want the kids to miss out on. I really wish that they were there.

video

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Battle Over Shoes

A friend from high school stopped by and dropped off all these wonderful clothes for Meredith that her girls wore. She has a daughter in second grade and one who will be two this summer. Nothing prepared me for all the little outfits that I received, but more than that were all the shoes!

There was a box with at least 30 pairs of shoes in there! Some are very outfit specific, others more general, but all are very cute. There wouldn't be a problem except for the fact that Meredith likes nothing on her feet.

I'm trying to tell her that this is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence--she will probably never get that many shoes at one time ever again!

She needs some convincing.

Gracie is One!!

One year ago I went with my parents to wait for the arrival of my niece or nephew. It is such an odd thing being on the other side, but one I loved and can't wait to happen again!

It's an amazing thing to have a child in your life that you love with all your heart and yet you didn't have her in your belly. Although I still have not embraced "Aunt Annie" (sounds like a silly cartoony name doesn't it? Or a pretzel place?), I love being an aunt and am excited to Gracie as a big sister!

I love seeing my brother take on the role of Daddy and do it so well, and see the special bond that he and his baby girl have.

And Erin is such a great mommy! Grace is so blessed to have her for a mother, and I know that they will have a wonderful relationship in the coming years.

Happy 1st Birthday, Miss Grace!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Another Superhero

Louie had a wonderful 6th birthday party with his friends but here is an even better story about a boy's wish to become a superhero coming true. Big time.

(I'm not going to lie--it'll have you in tears.)

35 Years

On Saturday we went up to Columbus for the special occasion of celebrating Kevin's parents' 35th wedding anniversary! To start off the day we took the first family portrait that their family's had since...maybe Kevin was a sophomore in college. Whenever it was, it was definitely something that needed to be done because off all the new additions.

After the picture-taking session ended we were surprised with a ride to the restaurant in a limo! I wasn't in a limo until well into my 20s, so I will be first to admit that these kids are spoiled (I may just be jealous!). They climbed in first and claimed the bench that backed up to the driver. They had a great time.

They were very wound up, as you can see in this shot. When we got to the Worthington Inn we had a room to ourselves, which worked out great for three boys to play and a little girl to have a nap. And for us grownups to hang out and talk.

It is a beautiful restaurant with delicious food--just the perfect place to celebrate the anniversary of such a special occasion!

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!
We love you :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The First Win

A great crowd came out to see the game! Uncle Denny, Aunt Sherry, Stephanie, Grandma and Grandpa R, Uncle Nate, Aunt Joanie, Uncle Josh and Zissou, Uncle Billy and Katie were all there to cheer the Angels on to their first victory of the season! Unfortunately, my camera's battery was dead so no visuals of this special occasion.

Again, here's Kevin's review of the game (the parentheses are mine):

Angels vs. Cardinals
Win, 20-5
Ben: 4-4
Lou: 3-4

The Angels batted all 11 batters 3 of the 5 innings. Gavin (a boy who has struggled mightily, and Kevin has been working with, since the beginning) had a big game with 4 hits. Lou's out was a pop-up to the pitcher (in my opinion, one of the best opponents we've seen thus far). Luckily, the Cardinals had no offense to speak of. Lou and Ben both played catcher for an inning. Lots of playing in the dirt by the Angels' infield--it was tough to watch even though it was a win!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sawyer Point

Snack time--These boys are always hungry.

We met Amanda, Owen and Eli down at Sawyer Point and Amanda said something that never occurred to me before, "This is the epitome of city living," referencing the fact that the kids were playing in a park located under an overpass.

Sawyer Point took a place that could have been only for tall buildings, parking lots, and the bank of a river where it isn't uncommon to see a cooler or a lamp floating with the current, and made a beautiful park where kids from all over the city can come together and enjoy the day.

And that's exactly what we did!

Not a whole lot of sun, but the boys had a great time racing through the wooden castle.

Game 2

The weather for the second game of the season couldn't have been nicer. The turnout wasn't what we would have wished for, but some good things happened. I forgot the camera, so below I'll type out Kevin's version of what happened at the game:

Angels vs. Reds
5/5/10
Lost, 13-10
Ben: 3-4
Lou: 4-4
Attendees: Grandma & Grandpa R.

The Angels were up four runs going into the bottom of the 5th. They got two outs with no runs scoring, then couldn't get the final out.

The Highlights: With Ben playing 2nd and Lou at 1st, a ground ball was hit to Ben. He fields and throws to Louie for the out. Lou had 5 putouts. Too bad the rest of the team couldn't pay attention in the field.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mere Bear


Over the weekend Meredith turned 11-months-old. I'm not embarking on any new territory by saying how hard it is for me to believe that we're closing in on a year already. No, she's not walking yet. She's not even crawling, but she is developing and becoming her own little person.

I love that when I hold her she now holds on to me. What a great feeling! She knows the important people in her life and she gets so excited to see them. Especially in the morning when her brothers come into her room singing their "Good Morning" song.

Her nickname is destined to be "Scooter." She has developed the ability to fly across the room on her bottom. I've never seen another kid do what she does! Who says you have to do what all the other kids are doing (i.e. crawling before walking)? This girl has an independent streak that runs deep and she's showing us what she's got :)

She chatters so much more than the boys ever did, I feel like we'll have one of those talky-talk girls that annoy the boys before long. She has been such a pleasant baby, I can't wait to see what her toddler years bring!

Play Ball!

It's that time of year again, and this time Louie is joined by Benny on the Angels baseball team. We've been anticipating this moment ever since last season ended, so there was no need to get the boys pumped up for this--they were there weeks ago!

We had tickets for the Reds game after the Angels' game, so in packing up hot dogs and juice boxes it didn't leave us time to get to the game until it had started. Walking in I captured Louie's first hit of the season--a double!

Here's Benny's wallop of a hit! He looks so minature out there compared to the rest of the guys. It probably doesn't help that he's almost five and this is a six and seven-year-old league. But he holds his own!

Each inning the kids are put in a different position. Obviously, they like the infield the best, where the action is, but each time the Angels take the field Lou and Ben race to their position and put their hands on their knees.

Benny was pretty pumped to be the catcher. He definitely looked like he knew what he was doing, squatting there with one hand behind his back. He may be pint-sized, but that wasn't going to stop him from doing his best.

We were worried that the game wasn't going to be played because when I went to check on the fields at 2pm they still had standing water. The guys who work on the field must have used some magic because even though the dirt was a bit moist, they definitely got it playable between then and gametime.

Kevin is an assistant coach this year for the Angels. His main job is to get the kids ready to bat and help them at the plate.

Although she went to many games in my belly last year, this was Meredith's first time watching her brothers play. The first of more than she'll be able to keep track of.

Louie and Benny did well, but the Angels fell to the Indians 6-5 that day. Uncle Paul, Uncle Jeff, Grandma and Grandpa R. were in attendance, rooting on the boys.