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.

Halloween Decorations

The "Welcome" sign is kind of deceiving with the spooky images below it.

Louie was cracking me up with the humor in his Halloween decorations. Instead of a human crying out, "On no, ghost!" he had his ghost say, "Oh no, guest!" which he hung on the door where our guests entered.

Louie's candy corn fanged bat he made at school.

Another funny Louie drawing: The Rattlin' Bones (or, The Rattlen Boens). He hung this above the radio in the kitchen. He told us that the singer only had a skull because that's all he needed to do his job.

I took this today and was really impressed with how well the scotch tape held to the brick overnight. This was Benny's banner to warn visitors to stay away from this spooky house.

We had lot of bats (and cute bears dressed up like pumpkins) in our bat cave of a house.

Aunt Erin brought lots of spooky treats for our party. These ridiculously cute cookies taste even better than they look, too!