Monday, August 31, 2009

Splishing and a splashing

Saturday we took the boys to one of our free splash parks. It was their first time. Oliver warmed up very quickly, he is our little daredevil without thought. Ethan was a little slower. He walked around and checked it out, getting up his nerve to get wet and venture into some of the more adventurous areas. Collin was the slowest to warm up, but eventually he did.

Regardless of how long it took to warm up, they all had a blast running around in general, if not in the water. It was the perfect day weather wise too! Loving the weather this summer!

Here are some cute photos from our adventure...


The water was shooting up over his head here, but he just walked on through as if it was nothing - he loved it!

Ethan got up his nerve to walk under the narrow waterfall.

Collin loved to try to catch the water in his hands.

Ethan and Oliver:

First day of sophmore year...

Lauren's first day of sophomore year was Thursday. Steve was assigned the photo taking since I leave well before both of them. I guess she was running late and the photos are not so great. But, at least we have them.

Claire and Bianca, our neighbors and her friends, are now freshman so they were all excited about walking to the bus stop together. Claire is also in Lauren's lunch, so more excitement since neither knew of anyone in their lunch until last Wednesday night (when they discovered they had lunch together). Otherwise, she seems to like it so far aside from some normal teenage girl drama.

A sophomore... wow...

Experiencing serious blog back-up!

I/we have been really busy and we have had "stuff" going on and well, I am in serious blog back-up right now. However, I have a few events and funny stories to share... hopefully tonight.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Day of pre celebrations and firsts

Today Steve took some vacation time and spent it with Lauren and Ethan for a little pre-school starting fun/celebration time. Lauren starts her sophomore year in high school tomorrow. Ethan starts preschool in a couple weeks.

They went to lunch at the House of Japan (Steve and Ethan's first time - I've taken Lauren before). Apparently Ethan really liked the "fish on the floor" (under the floor), but was not really crazy when they lit things on fire. When I asked him, he said "well, I really liked eating the lunch, but I didn't like the fire." Lauren said it was delicious.

Steve told me they got the "Imperial Feast" which had chicken, steak, shrimp, rice, salad, and sorbet. Shocked, I said, "who ate the shrimp?" (since none of them like shell fish). He said that he and Ethan ate it. Then getting excited (since I am the ONLY one that likes shell fish in the house), I said, "Did you like it??!!" He said, "It tasted like chicken." Deflated, I asked if Ethan liked it. Steve said, "he didn't even know, again, it tasted like chicken." Sigh... maybe someday. (and seriously... when has shrimp tasted like chicken... wait... I know, I'm make shrimp and call it chicken... they'll never know... since it "tastes like chicken"... I'll get them eating it one way or another!)

Here are some cell phone pics:

Ethan cringing at the sight of the fire:

Lauren and Ethan outside HOJ:

Afterwards they went to see Ice Age 3 and from what I hear ate a huge bag of popcorn - just Lauren and Ethan.

Then, after dinner, Ethan had his first soccer practice. He was actually on a wait list to get onto a team, which they let me know this afternoon that he got one. I was told that we would be contacted by Friday regarding practices. They actually ended up calling tonight and saying there was a practice - so off Steve and Ethan went to practice.

I guess it went well... as well as it can go with a bunch of four year olds running around in their first year of soccer... if you know what I mean. I have memories of Hannah, Kendell and Nathan over the years in their first years of soccer, so I knew exactly what would happen... and Steve confirmed saying there was some flower picking, random sitting in the middle of the field and running off done by all. He did say that the coaches really tried to keep the kid's heads in the practice by asking them questions about what was happening. At one point Ethan was supposed to be scoring:

Coach: "Ethan, what are you supposed to be doing?"

Ethan: "Well, I don't really know what I am supposed to be doing."

(laughter by all)

I'm guessing they don't expect much at this age.

Ethan was also very excited because one of his old preschool friends, Jacob, is on his team. Steve said that at one point they were holding hands walking around the field. (say it with me: "ahhhhhhhh")

More to come on both school starting and soccer... as I am sure you are sitting on the edge of your chair with excitement!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Our big bouncing new addition

We are now proud owners of a trampoline! Our neighbor's daughter, Claire (also Lauren's friend), decided she was done with it after six years of much use and love - she just turned fourteen. We were lucky enough to have it given to us.

We haven't quite decided where to put this beast of a 15 foot trampoline yet and Steve is commenting on the growing "clutter" in the backyard and how it might resemble... well, you get the picture... but we know it's a great addition for the kids (especially with Collin and Oliver's sensory issues still) and one they will love for a long time. And honestly, "growing clutter" like ours says you have young kids who love to run, play and jump outside... and that's not such a bad thing!

Here are some photos of its journey to our yard. Fortunately their yard backs up to the open space as well, they are only about five houses down AND they helped us. The fact that it has wheels also helped.
While we took a break to plan some tricky areas, Ethan decided he had a long enough break and started pulling again by himself and quickly said: "Uh, some help here guys, please."
Here are the boys enjoying the trampoline in its temporary spot.

So, come on over and jump with us! if you want to help us move the swing set and this trampoline around... all the better!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The two year appt.

Today was the twins two year doctor appointment. Oh, wait. Let me start again. Today was the twins two year doctor appointment and they had NO nap. Feel it coming???

The first thing we learned after getting into the room was that they have progressed to the big scale in the hallway. The "hallway" is a very narrow one, lined both with patient rooms and the doctor's offices, as well as desktops mounted on the walls for nurses... and again, it's NARROW... oh and busy... and around the corner and two halls down. Again, feel it coming?
Let me detail the journey to the scale for you:

Nurse: They get to go to the scale in the hall now.

Me: Are you kidding?

Nurse: What do you need help with?

Me: (just starring at her)

Me: (coming out of it) Okay boys, let's go.

(Collin starts crying. I pick him up, take Oliver's hand and we walk to the scale.)

Nurse to Collin: Okay let's get you on there.

Collin: (whining and refusing to get on... purposely falling off as soon as he is put on it)

Me: (on my knees next to Collin) Come on Collin, it's only for a second.

Me: (in mid-beg to Collin to get on the scale, I glance to where Oliver WAS in this very busy narrow hall... seeing Oliver heading into a doctor's office)

Nurse: (Just standing there)

Me: Oliver, get back here please! (run to get Oliver, tripping over a perturbed doctor in the process, Collin following and whining.

Let's try that one, who is he again?

Me: (staring at nurse again) "That's Oliver. Okay Oliver, how about you try it."

(Oliver gets on scale and then goes to wall to be measured. Thank you Oliver!)

Nurse: Okay Collin, your turn.

Collin: (Whining loudly... sounding something like "no freaking way lady!")

Me: Okay Collin, how about I get your binky. If you have your binky will you stand on the scale?

Collin: (face lights up and hands shake in excitement)

Me: (to Nurse) Can you watch Oliver for a second while I go get the binky from the room?

Nurse: Sure.

(Collin and I go back two halls over to get binky. When I turn around, while still in our room, to go back - both Oliver and Nurse are standing there. WTH?!)

Me: Okay boys, let's go back.

(Collin starts crying again wanting held, I pick him up. Oliver starts running, out the door and down another hall the opposite direction of the scale. I run after him dodging the nurses at the nurse desks lining the walls and the doctors in this narrow hallway - did I mention it was a VERY narrow and VERY busy hallway? Finally catch up to Oliver - thinking to myself 'why is no one helping me? Clearly he is an escapee. Where is the fricking nurse that said she would help?' - and finally get back to the scale.)

Nurse: Collin can you get up on the scale?

Collin: (Whine and cry)

Me: (down on my knees again, at his level) Collin we had an agreement. I gave you the binky and in exchange you agreed to get on the scale.

Collin: (reluctantly gets on the scale)

Me: (amazed that even worked! Basking in the glory for one second... then... wait... where the heck is Oliver?!)

Nurse: (Just standing there.)

Me: Oliver?! (find Oliver rounding another hallway and bring him back, along with Collin who of course followed on my heels still whining.)

Nurse: Collin can you come be measured please?

Collin: (looking at me like 'do I have to?')

Me: (giving him the 'do it or the binky dies!' look.... all while restraining the Olympic sprinter - Oliver - who is trying hard to break free.)

Collin: (reluctantly goes to be measured while whining.)

Nurse: All done. Now that wasn't so bad was it?

Me: (thinking 'if I didn't know that you come back and give my babies shots after their appointment, I may have just slapped you! Oh, and thanks for all the help honey.')

When we got back to the room I was sweating.

However, it did get easier. The doctor was in shortly, so we didn't have to wait too long with napless whiny boys who didn't want to be in the cramped room with a sweaty mommy... especially since they knew of the fun halls that were outside the door.

The appointment went well. We decided to get hearing tests for both of them just to rule out any hearing issues in relation to the other issues they are both having. For Oliver the non responding and for Collin the not saying all sounds and tones.

Their stats were:

Collin: 29 lbs (70%) 35 1/2 inches (80%)

Oliver: 26 lbs (30%) 34 inches (35%)

Oh, right, and I think they clocked Oliver's running at a 7 second 100 meter sprint. Not bad...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Moms can't be stopped by Mother Nature

Yesterday we had a neighborhood birthday party for five of the kids with birthdays in August - the twins being two of them. Since the majority of the birthday kids, and kids in general, are much older we themed it and planned it more for their age group. It was a Super Secret Spy School party.

The kids all received their spy badges and spy glasses and then decorated notebooks for their spy missions. They then went onto training at the laser maze and the obstacle course to refine their skills for the top secret mission - which was really a scavenger hunt of sorts. We ended the training/mission with the detention of a bomb - a.k.a. pinata. After all this fun, we opened gifts. Then we had a big pot luck dinner and continued the party until the nighttime hours.

The twins, along with a couple other younguns' in the neighborhood, hung out in the neighbor's backyard (watched by the dads and Aunt Krissy while the moms chaperoned the scavenger hunt teams) which we equipped with our sand and water table, a small blow-up bouncer, a pool with balls (too cold in shade for swimming), a climber and a bunch of other things for their amusement. They had a great time.

All this planning, all this thought and time, all these kids and... it drizzle rained the entire time. The. Entire. Time. We were soaked. SOAKED. But there was no stopping us after all that preparation and planning... no way. And it's not like the kids cared about getting wet at all. However, for gifts and dinner, we invaded Kris and Kurt's house (sorry guys, but thank you!) and didn't miss a beat.

Here are a few (thousand) highlights:
Ethan's spy badge, notebook, spy glasses and some of the clues from the top secret (scavenger hunt) mission.

Birthday cupcakes (ice cream and cake together) - the five birthday children are on the right end - Collin, Oliver, Ryan, Andy and Anna. Yes, we loaded them up with sugar first thing!

Collin enjoying his cupcake. (Oliver just wanted to play)

Some of the kids enjoying their cupcakes.

Oliver and Aunt Krissy playing.

Daddy and Collin playing.

The laser maze.

Decorating spy notebooks, with spy glasses on.

Collin loving the airplane swing (which apparently Oliver did too).

The little bounce house.

This is hard to see, but it is all the kids running to the next training mission, which was the obstacle course. (it was quite funny)

Here is Jeff explaining the obstacle course. First, you started in the tunnel and as you came out the octopus arms would get you (foam pool things being shook by someone), then you ran to the cones where you tried to get a big rubber frog into a bucket of water, then you had to ride a razor scooter along a narrow piece of wood, then roll over a giant ball (literally roll over it), then kick a soccer ball into a net, then run a course of like 10 cones and kick them all over and then it ended with taking a ride on a wagon down a hill. Whew! Sugar energy be gone!

Here are some photos of the scavenger hunt. The clues were mostly riddles, which the kids had to figure out. There were a total of eleven clues (places). They led them to places in all our yards on the court. Once they figured it out and went to the place, there was an activity they had to do. And then they got a sticker in their passport. Alyssa and I had team #2, which were the four and five year olds. Here are a few of the activities they had to do once they solved the clue and went to the place:
Here they had to get water balloons into the pool from behind the cones. If you look close you will notice this is mid toss and there are some balloons in the air.

Here is a hidden area under some pine trees that they like to go and make mounds and things. The activity, once here, was to build a mound for a volcano. The moms then put the baking soda and vinegar in which caused an "eruption."

They had two minutes to build a castle here.

Judy and Mike were nice enough to put out their Halloween spider (in their front yard) for the event. This clue was "I am big and black and sometimes hairy, when you see me it can be scary. What am I?"

They had to all, obviously, pile up on the slide at the same time.

Oliver going through the laser maze after the party. (Collin went through with Aunt Krissy, who is ahead of Oliver)

The final mission, the detention of the bomb... pinata that is.

Getting ready for gifts pile up in Kris' house. Look at all those kids (and that's not all of them).

Collin and Oliver with Click the Camera.

I somehow didn't get any photos of dinner in the house and garage. Probably because there was a mad dash by all, as the weather went from the constant drizzle to a downpour, to get tables and chairs and food grilled in the pouring down rain. Kurt and Kris were out in the rain cooking the burgers and Kris said water was literally pooling on the burgers when she would open the grill to flip them (and yes, that was with an umbrella over her). Regardless, the food was fabulous and the company was great. The party over all was a HUGE hit.

So Mother Nature, you should know how head strong moms are... you couldn't "rain on" our party.


We had some family visitors this weekend - Great Uncle Keith (my uncle) and cousin Lauren came in from Maryland. They were in to see the Egypt exhibit at COSI which my mom's cousin Kate worked on and coordinated (and even went to Egypt to the tombs for research - how cool is that?!)... and to see us too. Unfortunately we couldn't join everyone for the exhibit since we had already planned the big neighborhood party by the time they planned their visit, but we got to see them on Friday night and today.

The boys decided to perform and bring out all their boyness for them... jumping off the arm of the sofa onto the sofa seemed to be the favorite activity.

Oliver mid-flight onto the sofa. Collin is going head first off, after his tumble onto the sofa before Oliver.

One of Collin's tumbles.

Oliver cracking up after his landing.

Tickle time with Lauren and Ethan.

Oliver and Collin making Great Uncle Keith draw things for them.

I am thinking, every time they visit, that Lauren is putting off parenthood for XX number additional years... not that my kids would have that effect or anything. I am also guessing that's why Will, Lauren's boyfriend, hasn't been here in a while too. And that Keith is saying silent thank yous that they only had one child, Lauren. Okay... they aren't so silent... he says them out loud.

What can I say... we have BOYS!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Maybe if I...

Last night I made steak.

Okay a little background: it's suffice to say that after I birthed children my cooking abilities went away. Alright, my cooking abilities, some of my brain and memory and many other things disappeared. I would like to think that I passed them to my children while pregnant... but we'll have to wait and see on that one.

Steak is always a tricky thing for me to cook. Steve likes his well done and I like it medium. But since I am outnumbered by Steve and the kids (who should have it well too), I cook it well... therein lays the tricky part... the fine line between well and over cooked (and in all fairness to me, I am usually juggling the cooking of side dishes and sometimes children - if Steve isn't home yet - as well).

So, again, last night I made steak. Certified organic grass-fed beef from the farmer's market. I marinated it for three hours. Grilled it. Imagined it being just perfect. Served it to my family...

Statement made by Ethan last night at dinner, after putting a piece of steak in his mouth and chewing... for a while...

"Maybe if I drink some milk it will soften it up."
(drinks entire cup of milk, with steak still in his mouth... chew, chew, chew...)
"No, that didn't work. Maybe if I drink some water, that will soften it up."
(drinks half a cup of his water... chew, chew, chew...)
"No, that didn't work either. Hmmmm..."
(chew, chew, chew, chew.......)

It was clear he meant no harm by it (meaning he didn't know to blame my cooking) and was just thinking out loud... and being honest.

I was stunned by his commentary of this thoughts, but he had a point. Steve could barely sit in his seat, holding back the laughter and tears, as he was nearing the five minute mark on chewing his first piece of steak himself.

Sorry family, maybe one day mommy will get her cooking groove back... until then, we'll be working on those jaw muscles.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Just sing, sing a song...

I was home with the kids today (Erin had a vacation day) and our plans to go for a walk or have a water day were crushed by the rain. There are few places I can go with all three kids by myself, especially needing to be back early for naps (as if!) since today was OT.

The kids had a lot of energy today and seemed especially ornery. It all made me think of a story my mom told me long ago. It is one in which she got in trouble from my grandma over something she was singing to me. I was around two or three years old at the time. Apparently, as the story goes, my grandma was babysitting and during my bath time I broke out into song. The melody was very sweet and almost lullaby like - "you drive me up a wall... ohhhhhh ohhhhh... you drive me up a wall...." At the time she told me, I thought it was hilarious. One that she got busted and two that I repeated as I did.

As I laughed about it today, given the kind of day I was having, I was seeing it in a whole new light. Though, like most parents, I had my parenting ideals outlined before (keyword: before) I had kids and I do feel that I have done fairly well at holding to them... admittedly I have my moments of well... loosing my mind let's just call them bad moments.

Mom, today I pulled a page from your parenting book and I decided that in the right tone I could say some things... and save a wee bit of sanity...

eh hem, la, la, la... (sweet lullaby melody) "Oh sweet little one, please stop jumping off the arm of the sofa like I have told you a trillion times before... it's making me wacky... darling little boy if you throw your sippy cup at me one more time, spraying milk all about... ohhhh ohhhh... you'll be washing the hard wood floors until you are twenty two... with your tongue... oh you angelic creature don't test me again like that... la, la, la... you are driving me up a wall..." (Ethan of course said: "mommy, that's silly, you can't drive up a wall!" Sigh...)

Go ahead (as Arnold would say)... I dare anyone, whose spent a day with my darling little angels wild boys and has had small children of their own in the last decade, to bust me on this one.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hillbilly curtains no more

We've been slowly un-baby proofing some things around the house over the last few months. Among those are the family room curtains. Curtains... baby proofed you say? Yes, I'm not proud of this, but they are long so they kind of took on their own form of hillbilly baby proofing - we wrapped them around the rod. Classy, I know. But when we first did it, the twins were well under one year and pulling on them ALL the time... and well... I still hadn't sleep in a very long time (by the way, anyone who says that twins are a six month blur is lying... LYING I tell you... it's a good year at least). Once I finally woke up, came out of my haze and started feeling human again after the first year had passed... well, I was too lazy to come up with something different. All I have to say is children change your priorities. I'm just sayin'...

As it turns out though, we not only un-hillybillied up our family room but the twins think we got them a new toy! Bonus... for them that is.

"No one can see me... I'm invisible [giggle, giggle]... this is so cool, I wonder where this came from... they'll never find me in here [giggle, giggle]..."

"Ahhh, you found me!"

"Hmmm... I bet if I pull it tighter and wrap myself around in it several times... then they'll never find me...[giggle, giggle]... I could do this ALL day long... [giggle, giggle]... mommy come find me... "

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