Monday, November 29, 2010

Giving Thanks

For our house, it is obvious what we are grateful for on Thanksgiving: our family. We start the day off by meeting up with aunts, uncles and cousins at the local bowling alley for a tournament. Louie won the grade school division and luckily Mommy didn't bring home the two trophies she did last year (a. worst score; b. most gutter balls)!

(The pics at the bowling alley were taken with my phone because I forgot the camera.)

The kids had their own lane with the bumpers up, but it still takes some effort to get many pins down. McKenzie and Ava joined in the fun with the boys, but Meredith, Gracie and Thomas sat out this year.

Grade school division winner, Louie, with Uncle Hog and Benny

Uncle Joe, adult men's winner with Gracie the kids

Sweet, adorable, Thomas, perfect as usual, just hanging out.

Woo-hoo! A changing of the guard! Usually the men's division is won by my dad or an uncle, and the women's division is usually won by a girl cousin who played in high school. Congrats to Joe and Kasi!

Back at Mom and Dad's, Mere and Gracie chillin' with their babies.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November Art (aka lots and lots of turkeys)

Louie's FALL sign

Benny's jack-o-lantern

Benny's pumpkins on a gate

Charlie's leaf

Charlie's "H"s (sorry for sideways shot)

Louie's turkey

Benny's Indian corn

Benny's turkey

Louie's Thankful Turkey

Louie's Teepees


Benny's bloody toothed monster?

Louie's turkey plea to eat pizza instead of turkey

Another Louie turkey

Another Charlie turkey

Another Charlie turkey

Charlie Indian corn (kind of looks like it was painted with a corn cob)

Wow, another Louie turkey. I guess this was a math activity, so a little different.

Louie's owl. I love it! Big fan of owls.

(I think) another Louie turkey. A bit more abstract, though.

Benny's name card turkey

Benny's turkey plea to eat pie instead of turkey.

Another Charlie Indian corn

Louie's Sponge Bob and Patrick play-doh creations

(Some of these art pieces were from school, others from Louie and Benny's church school.)

Monday, November 22, 2010


And, as I remember it, those warm summer nights of not being focused on were liberating. In the long sticky hours of boredom, in the lonely, unsupervised, unstructured time, something blooms; it was in those margins that we became ourselves.

--Katie Roiphe
As many moms I know, I teeter the line between what it means to "mother" and being too involved. I recently read an article and this is a quotation from it that I really like. I have more I'd like to say about it, but I think the quote speaks for itself. Remembering what it was like to be a child, I don't want my kids to have a mom that dictates every moment of the day for them. They need to be free to be a kid, not perform the role I want them to have in life.

So Happy :)

The newly engaged couple

Yesterday we gathered at Grandma and Grandpa's for Lisa's birthday and we were all treated to a special gift--Billy and Lisa are engaged!

We're so happy to welcome Lisa into the family "officially." No details have been revealed yet, but everyone is excited for what's to come within the next year (hopefully!).

Congratulations, Uncle Billy & (Aunt) Lisa!

Friday, November 19, 2010


"By aligning ourselves with the imperative of the technium, we can be more prepared to steer it where we can and more aware of where we are going. By following what technology wants, we can be more ready to capture its full gifts."

--Kevin Kelly, Wired magazine founding editor
I have great concerns about technology and my children (e.g. cell phones, video games, internet). Sometimes I wonder if I'm really an old lady, rejecting the new way of life. This quote gave me a better outlook on technology. Kevin and I are huge fans of Wired magazine. They do such a great job of presenting technology in an interesting and understandable manner. Well, maybe I'm the only one who needs it in an "understandable" manner!

The above quote is from Kelly's newest book What Technology Wants and he likens technology to water, in that water "wants" to flow downward and technology has its own force as well. It cannot be stopped. I need to get this through my head and know that at home and in the classroom there will always be technology, more with each passing day. It is better for my kids to be familiar with it than to reject it with my "old lady" ways. And really, I shouldn't be dissing old people. Many are welcoming technology with open arms. Like what I learned from Walter Bruening. There's nothing wrong with accepting change. It's a part of life.

At the last PTO meeting they were talking about how there are Smart Boards in the classrooms and soon the kids will all be doing their lessons on iPads. Or whatever they're called. I'm not sure I'll be able to recognize a classroom soon! Or even be able to help my kids with their homework. Yikes!

But with accepting I do think that it is good for kids to learn the etiquette that comes along with things like cell phones and texting. In fact, there's probably a lot of adults who could learn some etiquette as well! Ah, you can't take the old fashioned out of the lady, I suppose.

"Wait a minute! This isn't Weird magazine!"

-Homer Simpson

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Something Missing?

Since the beginning of school the boys have been bringing home drawings and other work that have Grandma and Grandpa's dog in it. They sang a song in music where they had to say what they're thankful for. On a piece of paper with the lyrics there were three boxes and Louie put Rudi in one of them. Another thankful project in art class showed not Benny's dad, mom or siblings, but his grandparents' dog.

I kind of feel bad that they're not growing up with a dog. But I'm glad that they have dogs in their life and I'm especially glad that they're not afraid of them. Maybe for them Rudi is a cousin, albeit a very hairy cousin.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Second Place

Louie's been having a hard time as of late with some of Benny's accomplishments. I think he has it in his head that because he is the oldest he should be the one doing stuff and the rest of them learn from him.

The past two weeks Ben has won a blue ribbon in gym class. Once he tied for first place for jump rope, then he won the tug-of-war contest. Louie is jealous. He's been saying things like, "I wish I was Benny's twin" and "I want to do what Ben does."

Although I think it's a good lesson to learn (you're not always going to be the best; things aren't always going to come easily), it's hard to watch him go through this. I'm having a difficult time coming up with a way to help him. I tell him that he has his own things that he does well in, but it backfires and he says mean things to Benny about how he can read better or do math better or whatever. That shouldn't be the response!

But am I reading too much into it? Does it just come down to the fact that Louie wishes he got a tangible item--such as a blue ribbon with #1 on it--to say that he is excelling in something?

Monday, November 15, 2010

An Update

Charlie has been "sick" less since I last posted about it, but this mysterious illness is not all gone. While I was out of town he was completely fine--no hives or anything--and I am thankful for that. Yesterday after a nap he woke up covered in hives, head to toe. The Benadryl and cream worked and he was fine after he settled down.

After talking to his doctor today it sounds like they're running more tests on the blood they took and we should know in the next couple of days if there's anything going on other than a viral infection that just needs to run its course.

Charlie's lymph nodes are still swollen, that seems to be cause of concern in the doctor's eyes. Benny was complaining of a sore throat last night and his glands seemed to be swollen, too. Here's to hoping that it's just a little illness that is going to run through the family and leave us healthy for the rest of the winter!

A Special Birthday

Ten years ago a life-changing event took place. My uncle was surprised with a 40th birthday party. Neither the fact that he turned 40 nor that there was a surprise party was life-changing, so much as two guests met that night and nothing's been the same ever since.

It was November of 2000. I was home for Thanksgiving after finishing my first quarter teaching in southeastern Ohio. My roommate, originally from Dayton, was home visiting her mom and I invited her down to my uncle's party. She has known my family for years, and knew my uncle specifically because he was one of the ones who called themselves my "dad" and came to visit for Dad's Weekend every January I was at OU. She was delighted to come and brought with her a friend from high school. This friend, my beloved. Well, we certainly didn't know that was going to be the case that night!

A lot has happened between November of 2000 and today, and if it wasn't for that fateful night, who knows where we might be? Certainly not talking about Casa Llena, that's for sure!

This past weekend was another suprise. Yep! a 50th birthday celebration. I was extremely bummed to not be able to attend, as the night that worked for most conflicted with something I had planned long ago. Kevin and the kids attended and had a great time. The theme of the party was to dress up like the birthday boy and the boys did a fantastic portrayal. My uncle played three sports in high school so that worked out for my three sons. He also coached a women's softball team and I almost finished Meredith's costume before leaving town.

Lou, the football player; Benny, the wrestler; Charlie the baseball player
Meredith, her mom slacks on finishing her costume

Happy Birthday, Uncle Hog!
We're looking forward to celebrating many more decades with you!

Extra Days of Summer

We have been thoroughly enjoying the gift of warm weather the past week! We did yard work, played soccer and basketball, and rode bikes in the yard. How nice! The kids had their friends over and ran themselves until they crashed. Louie asked me to take the picture above after Benny and Charlie went inside. I wish that I wasn't so busy doing long overdue chores that I didn't think to bring it out sooner and take more shots of the day!

We also grilled out, which is such a treat. I wish our camera could take night shots more easily. I love the feeling in our backyard with the soft lights hanging overhead. If I shared a picture of Mere pushing her stroller around you'd see a blurred image running past. Hopefully this one will do for you to see that we're still enjoying the out of doors well into November!

Snow Bunny!

Meredith's all ready for the cold weather ahead! She's not too thrilled with being all bundled up, but I think she looks really cute. And, she often falls over, a la Randy in The Christmas Story. Funny stuff.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Unknown


It's so hard to be a parent and want to take care of your kids, make them feel better, but it's almost impossible when you don't know what's wrong.

Charlie has been complaining this week that his "neck" hurt and with all the colds going around I assumed he had a sore throat. When he opened his mouth there was nothing odd, not even redness. I gave him lots to drink and lollipops to suck on when it got really bad, but didn't think much of it.

Then yesterday he broke out into hives all over his body and was really complaining about his neck. In the middle of a fit he was throwing he threw his head back and the side of his neck was bulging. Uh-oh.

I called his doctor and she was able to get me in that afternoon. She agreed that there wasn't nothing to see in his throat, but that the glands were swollen in his neck. She ran a strep test that came back negative and then gave me a form to take to Children's lab if it got worse.

Worse it got, that night. His hives got worse and he was writhing in pain last evening and nothing would soothe him, not even ice cream. Now, for this sweet-tooth kid that's a sure sign that something's wrong! I called the doctor on call and she said that I did everything I could (give him Benadryl and Tylenol), and by the time she called he was asleep on my lap so she had me set up a humidifier in the room and let him sleep.

This morning we went to Children's to get blood work done to see if he has mono. And we're waiting and waiting and waiting for results. Ugh. At least he's taking a nap. He did have ice cream today, a "reward" for having to go through the trauma of getting blood drawn. He seems to be ok, but I don't want him to have another night like last night!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Loving the Time Change

I kind of feel like we were cheated out of a fall. The weather went from blazing hot to chilling temperatures as the days passed by--no crisp mild days that I love about this time of year. Along with that, the quickly dissolving hours of daylight have made it difficult to get motivated to do anything.

All that changed today--the first Monday after the time change. Waiting for the boys' ride to school and it is a bright morning. The kids are confused because they remember just a few days ago it was pitch black out. "Is it Monday?" they ask. "Do we have school today??"

This is good for all of us. We're better rested (at least for the time being) and more motivated to get things done. Well, I know I am! And I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this isn't just a passing phase.

A Special Treat

On Sunday we were taken out for a special treat. Uncle Jeff recently completed his master's degree, all while working a full time job for the government, so I'm sure you can imagine how big of a step this was.

He was in Cincinnati and wanted to go out to someplace unique to the city. What is more unique than The Rookwood? It was my favorite restaurant years and years ago and since then it has changed ownership quite a few times, many of them not recognizing the rich history of the building and therefore did not succeed.

This is not the case with the newest owners, as they have embraced the building and its past for what its worth and provide not only incredible ambiance, but a really good meal, too! The kids had a good time exploring the building and patio with Grandma while we waiting for our food.

They don't have an extensive kids menu, but it offered up what the boys and Meredith like--chicken strips and burgers. Everyone else at our table (ten adults) had nothing but rave reviews for what was delivered to them. This will definitely be a place that we visit in the future, hopefully when it's warmer so we can take advantage of the patio and the incredible view of the city!
Congrats, Uncle Jeff! We're so proud of you!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Another Installment of Art

Charlie's Bear

Lou's Halloween picture
(If you get a chance enlarge it and look at the details. He spent a lot of time on it!)

Charlie's Halloween Picture

Benny's Frankenstein

Charlie's Five Pumpkins on a Gate

Benny's Bat

Lou's Glove--The Monster, where hits get gobbled up

Charlie's Amoebas (?) (him, me, and Mere)

Benny's Halloween Picture--look at the Dracula!

Lou's Fall drawing

Benny's Jack-o-lantern

Benny's Five Pumpkins sitting on a Gate
(if you come up with a new song/story for Halloween you will make millions! I swear, this is the only one out there that teachers use.)
Charlie's Leaf

Charlie's H painting

(I apologize for the odd angles of some of the pics! I don't know why they posted like that.)