Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Found on my Phone

   Thought I'd post some pictures that I had forgotten about on my phone, and I want to apologize early on for the awkwardness of this post. I'm still trying to get used to the new format apparently! Also, I want to give a shout-out to Pinterest because if it wasn't for my favorite site I wouldn't have been able to make the last two pictures.

The first found picture is of Thomas and Meredith. Thomas's seat is turned around so the two can easily talk...and hold hands if they like!
 The fall was fairly warm and after the boys get out of school is when Meredith usually naps. I laid her down and sent the boys outside. That, along with the window in her room being open and her not wanting to nap caused this to happen.

I heard her calling out to them through her window, but she was so tired on the ride home from school I thought for sure she'd conk out sooner or later.  The boys thought they'd be her rescuers instead! It took Benny a minute to realize I was there, taking a picture of them in the act, and the other two quickly backed off like they had nothing to do with it.

I like how they thought to arm themselves with protection (bike helmets) but didn't think it was an awful idea to put a stack of plastic chairs on top of a plastic Adirondack chair. Last week I saw a great quotation in the "Seeing the Everyday" magazine: Before I had children I didn’t realize how many times I myself would walk into a room, let out a short gasp, close my eyes, and utter, “Don’t get mad. Get the camera!”This seems to be one of those times and I'm glad I thought to grab my phone.

Thanksgiving came and along with it, the 16th Annual Family Turkey Bowl. I can't believe we've been doing it for this long. The girls were more interested in the snacks and the car driving video games at the bowling alley than any of the excitement on the lanes.
Charlie gives his goofy grin and you think that he is all blue skies and puppy dogs, but he can be quite the instigator. Here is evidence of that; although, there are many in Charlie's corner who would say that it's just a hug that may have gone a bit too far. We all know that there's a fine line between a hug and a strangle.
Poor Benny, he's always getting picked on by his little brother. He's also not happy because Charlie ended up the winner of the little kids' division. All the boys are competitive, but Benny takes it all to heart and he isn't excited about being beat by the youngest brother.

And then Charlie is presented with the plaque. Can you see his buttons popping?
Uncle Hog conducts the post-game interview (this is one of those times I should have been video taping--classic!)

In November, Grandpa had his hip replaced and we sent him a couple of "Get Well" pictures to his phone.

These are Olive Penguins that I made for Billy and Lisa's Couples shower.
And these are Donut Snowmen that I made for Louie's Christmas party at school.

Monday, December 19, 2011


We have had a great start to the holiday break. Friday evening we took the kids to see The Muppets Movie and really enjoyed it. It was Meredith's first time at a theater and even though she and Charlie got a little restless at the end (may have been the time of day?), I think it was a great experience.

Saturday we headed up to Columbus for Kevin's side of the family's Christmas. We had a big meal at 1pm and spent the rest of the day hanging out, exchanging gifts and playing games. It was very relaxing. Part of the celebration was congratulating Uncle Jay and soon-to-be-aunt Christina on their recent engagement. They're looking at a July wedding, so with a family wedding in May and one in October, we have a lot of wonderful things to look forward to in the new year! We spent Sunday in Columbus, going to Mass then relaxing at Grandma and Grandpa's house for the day.

Today we've had a lazy day (except for Kevin who had to work), playing with our new toys and games; cleaning up after a whirlwind came through our house last week; and listening to Michael Buble's Christmas cd (thank you Aunt Jill and Uncle Nick; we love it!). Although we have some things planned over the next week, we're looking forward to more of the laid back nature we've had to start off Christmas week.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Partial Family Picture

I apologize for blurriness in this picture, and the lacking of half our family! The other half didn't have everyone looking and I thought I could zoom in to see how cute the kids were...and how sick Louie was! Meredith loved walking down the aisle with Charlie and Gracie, and Charlie was a trooper, for normally not enjoying being the center of attention. I didn't get to see Benny and Louie walk Grandma down the aisle, but heard they did a great job. I hoping that soon someone shares some more pictures of this special day!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Handful of Shots

 One day soon this will end. Probably next year, when Charlie goes to kindergarten and I throw him in the shower every night with the big boys. For now, we'll capture these two water monkeys and all the mischief they get into while taking a bath.

 Benny and Charlie were proud of the Lightning McQueen puzzle they finished. I tell you, those puzzles that change the picture depending on what angle you're looking at it (the term is escaping me at the moment...) are not easy! They have a Star Wars one featuring Darth Vader that had me stumped before I realized I was attempting to put a "light saber" piece in a picture of the "Death Star."

 Meredith is the best little helper you could ask for. She's always wanting to join in on whatever household activity I'm doing at the moment.

 Here, she is helping to make some really delicious pumpkin bars!

 This is a picture of me with my niece and goddaugther, Maggie. We celebrated her 1st birthday with a "Winter 1-derland" theme. Too cute.

Happy Birthday, Magnolia Jean!

St. Nicholas Visits

 It is a tradition in our house to put our letters to Santa in our stockings before we go to bed on December 5th and the next morning the letters are gone and in its place are treats left by St. Nick. It is assumed that St. Nick and Santa are buddies and he does us the favor of dropping the letters off at the North Pole.

 The kids found fruit, candy, and a Christmas activity book in their stockings. The boys also got baseball cards and Meredith had hair bows.

 I'm not sure why the boys wanted to stick their goodies right in front of their faces; maybe they weren't all that awake yet. One thing about St. Nick's Day is that there is no problem whatsoever getting the kids out of bed!

 I wish these pictures didn't have to be so washed out with the flash. It's such a nice morning, with the only light coming from the Christmas lights in the living room. One day we'll get a camera who has the ability to take non-shaky pictures sans flash.

 Later that night we had a special dinner--pancakes and strawberries! (Not going to the grocery entitles me to call whatever we have on hand "special" and then the kids get excited.)
 Charlie informing Daddy where to put the whipped cream.

Happy St. Nicholas Day! Christmas-fever has hit our house and we can only hope that Mom and Dad survive. Luckily, St. Nick left a letter informing the kids how "good" boys and girls act, especially during the Christmas season. Let's see if this works...

Fun December Posts to Come!

The last month has been filled with fun activities and busyness preparing for those fun events. Below is one that we've been waiting for over a year for! More posts and pictures are on their way.  :)

Introducing: Uncle Billy & Aunt Lisa!

Congratulations, Billy + Lisa! They were married on a brisk, but sunny December Saturday and a good time was had by all :)

 I'm embarrassed with the lack of pictures I took over my brother's wedding weekend. I'm posting what I have, even though only one includes any of the kids! The first is of us on Friday after we got mani/pedis, taking a break before the rehearsal and dinner.

Doesn't Lisa look gorgeous? I've never been to a winter wedding before and I love all the beautiful details they were able to include in connection with the season. Their colors were apple green and gold.

We got ready in her hotel room downtown at the Hilton, which is connected to the salon where we got our hair and makeup done. Here we are getting ready to have pictures taken. (Back of the dress shot; not entirely random.)

The reception was at the Glendale Lyceum, a beautiful and historic venue. I love that there was a library with a fire place, couches, and a 15-foot Christmas tree complete with ornaments as big as your head. You'd think I would have taken pictures of that as opposed to my husband trying to duck out of the shot.

Uncle Josh, Aunt Joanie, Aunt Erin, and Uncle Joe were all part of the wedding party, too. The wedding wasn't until 6:30pm, so all the pictures were taken beforehand and a bus was there to shuttle us around.

We get to the church and...the entrance for the bride and her maids was locked. It was about 30-degrees at that time, so these ladies are a bit chilled!

The church ladies let us in and we wait patiently for the ceremony to begin.
 It is difficult to take good pictures in a church, but Maria graciously took this one of us with my dad's family. Most of us look like a bunch of raccoons with those eyes...ha ha.

And poor Louie. Not long after this shot he was walking down off the alter and threw up in his hands. It was so sweet that he had the thought to catch it all! It was then that I noticed how white his face was and unfortunately the wedding was not the night he had hoped for. Louie loves to dance and all he did was sleep on the couch in the library by the Christmas tree until he went home with Aunt Cassie. I feel awful for him, but we do have two family weddings coming up in the new year so he'll have other chances to show off his moves.

To end, I'll post these two pictures taken from the newlyweds' room at the Hilton. It was neat to see the city from this angle, one I've never seen before. It was a beautiful, clear day, a perfect one to have for a wedding. Welcome to the family, Aunt Lisa!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Married: To Be or Not To Be

I'm not sure where they got this from, but I heard the last part of this conversation:

"You're half-married already, Ben." (says Lou)

"What? No I'm not!" (Ben replies)

"If you walk down the aisle you're half-married." (Lou shoots back)

"Well...I didn't like it!" (Ben shouts)

The story I got later was that this interaction was a result of something I had Ben do with his homework. He rushes through the stories he reads and I'm not sure that he's digesting what happened in them, just reading the words.

After he read a book about a little boy going to his big sister's wedding I had him draw a picture of something that happened in his life that was similar. He drew a picture of him walking down the aisle as a ringbearer with the adorable flowergirl Alice at Aunt Joanie and Uncle Josh's wedding. The wise and all-knowing older brother had to clue Benny in that he has entered partially into matrimony because he walked down the aisle with Alice.

Girls are gross, I suppose. Let's hope that feeling stays around for a while...

Friday, November 11, 2011


As a former teacher, conference nights were always something I dreaded. But I imagine it's different when you're dealing with parents of teenagers, as opposed to parents of 6- and 7-year-olds. Last night I went to meet with Louie and Benny's teachers for the 1st quarter conferences and it went well.

It's always neat to see a side of your child then isn't familiar to you. The reports their teachers gave me made me smile in that they are kind, courteous, respectful, helpful to their classmates and work really hard from 8am-2:30pm. The story may be a bit different when they get home, but it's good to hear that at school they are on their best behavior.

Louie is entering into more math and they're teaching it differently these days. I understand why schools do it--giving more options to get to the end result will allow students to find the answer. Kevin thinks otherwise, that the old way was good enough for him and it's good for our kids, but I also think that math came naturally for him. As for me, I can't math.

Friday, November 4, 2011

More Questions

This time we had questions on the way to school to drop off Louie and Benny.

After we say our prayers at night we each take a turn saying what or whom we'd like to pray for. The kids like to pray for things like, "I pray for a sunny day tomorrow," "I pray for a good night's sleep," "I pray for all my friends to be healthy," "I pray for the Reds to win."

For a while now, one of my prayers has been for a friend to get better. She has been battling a rare form of lung disease and I haven't gone into details with the kids, just said that she's sick and I'm praying for her to get better.

Ali passed away last night and on the way to school this morning the boys were asking what cancer is. How do you explain that without freaking them out? I don't want them to be sheltered from death, because it is such an important part of life, but kids tend to be worriers and I don't want to add to that.

They asked if Grandpa M. (who passed away last December) died of cancer. No. They asked if Uncle Boog (who passed away five years ago) died of cancer. No, he didn't either, but these days it isn't all too rare to hear of someone's cancer story. And the people are getting younger.

Ali was only 31-years-old and her diagnosis came only this past March. She leaves behind an adorable daughter and loving husband. I mentioned that I participated in an event that for the three days the walk raised $6.5 million. There are events like that happening all over the world and you would think that one of these days a cure will be found for all cancers.

This is a blog post from Ali's sister's blog telling all about Ali's daughter, Olivia's first birthday party. You can see from the pictures how much she loved this little girl. I know that her family will tell her for years to come what a wonderful person she was and she will know that she is a lucky girl to have such a spirited and loving woman for a mother.

It's hard to comprehend why cancer is taking so many of those we love and care about. I know that there are answers out there for the questions we have. And if you don't know Ali, know that she has inspired so many to live life fully and keep a fighting spirit.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

On the Hot Seat

The ten minute drive to take Charlie to school is always filled with big questions:
  • Why is it not warm even though the sun's out?
  • How do vampires grow their teeth?

And my personal favorite:

  • How does food get bad?

For most of the questions I try to explain in simplest terms, if I even know the answer, but for that last question I was stumped. How in the world do you explain the science of food spoiling to a four-year-old?

I'll update with more questions, if I can remember them. He's got an very inquisitive mind and I love it!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Spooky School Days

Charlie's school celebrated Halloween on this past Thursday and it was such a crumby day outside that the did their "parade" into the hall in the school and performed their songs there. Although he did it quietly, Charlie sang each song and did all the hand gestures that went along with it--all with a big smile on his face!

Louie and Benny's school really lucked out with a brisk but sunny day for their parade around the neighborhood. I love that each class--Pre-K through 5th grade--dresses up and so do their teachers! Grandma went up to watch the parade with Charlie, Meredith and Thomas.

The classes went by so quickly, I barely got a shot of Louie as a Bengals player. The kids were supposed to bring make up to put on (I can only imagine a teacher trying to paint up an entire class's faces!), and Louie's zombie costume couldn't have been pulled off without face paint. But with a big Bengals win this past Sunday against the Seahawks, it was a great costume to have.

I caught a bit of Benny behind his classmates as the vampire with big purple teeth.

I wish I would have taken a picture of Thomas in his big scary werewolf hat, but this will have to do:

Benny called to me, "Hey, Mom! Thomas and Meredith have been holding hands the whole way home!" I turned to catch it right before they let go. Too cute :) Louie asked if they were going to get married. I told him that second cousins weren't far enough apart.

Time for Treats!

We have left the cutesy stage of Halloween costumes and entered into the scary stage. Louie wanted to be a zombie and Benny wanted to be a vampire. Charlie was Spiderman sans mask and Meredith brought back the Curious George costume--a great investment at $15 at Old Navy when you get four kids to wear it! I need to get a collage together of each of them wearing it...

Louie called himself "Road Kill" and had a whole story made up how he was killed and became a zombie (those are tire tracks on shirt). Benny's eyes are freaking me out in this picture. Surprisingly, Charlie was not as pumped as his siblings and halfway through the trick-or-treating. Not surprisingly, Mere was hamming it up for the camera and was really excited for the night.

Not really needed, but we got out the wagon for the collecting of loot. Meredith wanted to ride from house to house with Maggie and Gracie. She acted like it was her homecoming float, waving to everyone who passed by.

Gracie and Maggie showed up in their adorable costumes. Grace was Minnie Mouse, but had no interest in wearing the ears. She carried her bowling bag/treat bag with Minnie's image so there would be no confusion as to who she was. This picture was an attempt for her dad to give her "mouse ears."

Maggie enjoyed the wagon, although she also enjoyed the freedom of trying to throw herself out of the wagon as well. She didn't last long in there! She wore Grace's costume from last year, the cutest little garden gnome you've ever seen.

The cousins!

At the end of the night the kids went up to the neighbor's to get their picture taken with some great blowup decorations. And now Charlie's loaded with sugar and enjoying the night!

The kids were doing their best cat impressions.

And it's just not a good Halloween night if M&M vampire guy doesn't make an appearance.