Monday, June 28, 2010

Who knew a rubber band could be so exciting?

Silly Bandz have invaded our home. For those of you who don't know, though I am guessing I was really one of the last to know, these are shaped rubber band bracelets. And for whatever reason they are the rage with kids from two to who knows... teenagers even wear them. What's more surprising to me (not sure why) is that they are unisex bracelets. Meaning, doesn't matter if you are a girl or a boy, you love them the same. Now we had Jelly Bracelets when I was a kid, which were just round colored plastic bracelets, and they were the rage (thank you Madonna)... but only girls wore them. Those were big, these are even bigger. It's crazy.

When Silly Bandz entered our house, the boys converged on them excitedly. They went through them one by one, put them on, took them off, ooo'ed and ahhh'ed over them, traded them, bartered for them, fought over them, obsessed over them, slept next to them... I'm convinced they are some form of kiddie crack disguised as colored, shaped rubber bands. Really, there is no other explanation.

Yesterday, one of the boys' neighbor friends, Christopher, had a birthday party. For the first part of it, there wasn't much mention of these, instead they played with water related things. But after the presents, Silly Bandz became the buzz. Okay, yes, we got him some... Ethan insisted... I apologized to Christoper's mom already... but really... shouldn't they get to share in this crazy?

I brought the twins home after gifts, but Ethan and Steve stayed. Actually, all the kids went home, changed out of their water clothes, gathered up their bracelets and went back to Christopher's. Steve said that Silly Bandz were the main topic and focus of the remaining hour... among this group of boys. They traded them, compared them, showed them off, and just generally obsessed over them. Steve made the observation that what really was cool was when you had one no one else had... and decided to look for some of those on-line (yes, they suck in the 40 year olds too!). When he did this we found that there were all kinds of brands. Silly Bandz, Rubba Bandz (my favorite... just fun to say... Rubba), Zanybands, Memory Bands, Shaped Rubber Bands (I laughed that the unoriginality of this one, but found out they are from the original maker of the brand Silly Bandz), and the brand list goes on. They are themed, which we knew, but they can also be glow in the dark (Ethan kept telling us they existed and we needed to find them), tie dye, scented, glow and tie dye together, glitter, as well as licensed, as in movie characters, cartoon characters, sports teams, you name it. It's endless. I felt like I had just crawled out from under a rock. No comment please.

All this craze for something that cost pennies I am sure. Which begs the question, why can't we think of this stuff? Shaped, colored rubber band bracelets. Seriously?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Water fun!

Some photos from the water fun filled afternoon of last Sunday...

Laying on the kid picnic table, watching us... "It's HOT out here, come get me once the canopy is up. Seriously, mom and dad, whose idea was it to get the west facing backyard without big shade trees?!"

Water trampoline (sprinkler under tramp).
Collin hung back most of the time, but when the hose was free and the sprayer was added, he wanted in on the action. There are boys behind the lids, specifically three five year olds (Christopher and Andy were here too). Poor Oliver was unprotected during this photo. They loved getting sprayed/hiding, as much as Collin loved spraying them.
Smiles and joy...

Monday, June 21, 2010


Onions growing big...

Pepper turning yellow...

Baby red pepper starting to grow...
Yellow tomatoes getting ripe...
Red tomato almost ready...
Freshly pulled garlic drying in the sun...

You know what this means... Collin, Oliver and I get to eat tons of fresh salsa SOON! (we are the only ones that like it)

And thank you for not responding "you might be a redneck" to my "you know what this means..." lead in. If you noticed, those are all in pots, a lot of pots (there is also a lettuce, a broccoli and two strawberry pots)... in our backyard. I just couldn't commit to digging the ground, my thumb is not that green. Pots seemed less intimidating. The homeowners association has yet to find out... shhhh... don't tell them!

Friday, June 18, 2010


As you know, Ethan started t-ball in May. The games have been in full swing for almost a month now. He seems to like it, though it helps that his two buddies (Andy and Christopher) are on the team.

He's also learning a lot.


When you hit the ball, you run... to first base... "that one... over there!" The "fast" part is still coming.

When you are in the outfield, there is a lot of downtime. Why not fill it up with...

  • hugging your friends
  • wearing your glove as a hat
  • seeing how high or how far you can throw your glove
  • playing the dirt
  • picking grass
  • tackling your friends (also bored and in the outfield with you)
  • staring into space, contemplating the meaning of life (what? it could be that... or what super power Green Lantern has... same thing).

When you have to sit out an inning, it's the perfect time for hide and seek. Or jumping off the bench and onto the fence behind the batter... then seeing how far you can climb up it.

Aside from that, when he is in a position where the ball actually comes to him, like the pitcher's mound or maybe first base, he does pay attention better and is more engaged (because there is action). Obviously, it's hard at this age with the skill level they are at. But he is picking it up in bits and pieces and doing pretty well.

My favorite is when he has a good play, he looks our direction and gives us the thumb's up. I love that!

I stayed home with the twins (Oliver was sick) a couple weeks ago and Steve took Ethan to his game. When Ethan got home he was telling me about the game. He said he got "three runs and caught the ball twice!" (btw, that means it rolled to him and he picked it up) He then said, "and guess what? One of my friend's caught the ball and got someone out ON BASE! You know who he is... his name starts with a C..." I, of course, knew. I loved the way he was proud of Christopher's success. That's all part of playing a sport and I love that he is getting that. After all, that is really what this is all about... teamwork, pride in your team and yourself and having fun.

BTW, Christopher is amazing; I'm in awe of him. Heck, he can throw and hit farther than me. Not that it's saying that much since I am completely inept at baseball/softball, but he's only five years old! (oh wait, I'm not sure that makes him look as good as it actually makes me look really pathetic... sigh)

Here's some photos of our little man:

On second base... playing in the dirt.

Covering third base

He looks like a big kid there!

Hitting the ball

Running for third

Freaking cute photo of him looking over at us during the game.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Play Doh fun... and drama

Yesterday Ethan was sick. Sick, sick, sick. And then sick some more. Almost 18 hours of "sick." He was miserable. In an effort to perk him up and put a smile on his face, I brought out the Play Doh yesterday afternoon (I stayed home). And you know, as horrible as he felt, Play Doh did put a smile on his face. I will never understand though, why something that brings such happiness and hours of enjoyment (for the child), also brings such loathing and days of cleaning (for the parent)... it gets everywhere! Why?!

Ethan, Collin and Oliver had a blast playing with it. The twins were molding Thomas the train characters, superheroes, and countless shape cut outs, as well as just free form molding, squeezing and picking. Ethan wanted his ice cream maker and set to work making all kinds of neat "treats." Therein lays the drama part... he called it ice cream and gave it to the twins... who only heard ice cream (they are still literal little beings)... and are still at an age where they put a lot into their mouths regardless... see where I am going here?

Happy Ethan, making ice cream concoctions....

Happy Oliver, at first pretending to eat said concoctions... then actually eating them...

"No Oliver. No eating the Play Doh" said mommy. "It's not Play Doh, it's ice cream!" Oliver says, with tears starting to roll out his eyes like I just rained on his parade...

"It's Play Doh honey. Let's make something fun, here look at this..." says mommy. "No, it's ice cream!" Oliver interrupts, throwing his head back in full on drama crying... "oh the injustice!"

Collin, upon hearing the conversation with Oliver, becomes saddened that he too cannot eat his "ice cream" and out comes the lip.
Sadly, I was happy. Not that they were upset, but that I got this drama on film. Usually when I run for the camera or video, just to record the face for memory sake (as all above are signature faces), they change to smiles magically as the camera is in front of them. This is the first time I captured either boy in full on drama. Other than that, the "show" was enough to make me want to let them eat it... but I did not.

Thus, Play Doh fun... and drama. It was quickly forgotten though, as we moved onto something else.

BTW, Ethan is feeling MUCH better tonight. However, suspicions tell us that Oliver has it now, but in a different form than Ethan... Children and gastrointestinal sicknesses are just no fun... poor little guy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Riding the rails...

We went to the Day out with Thomas the Tank Engine in mid May (yes, I am that far behind in posting), meeting Grandma Dee there. We had taken Ethan when I was pregnant with the twins and Ethan was, at the time, obsessed with everything Thomas (let's just say at that point in time I knew every single train in the Thomas line... and we owned close to all of them as well). The twins are at the age where they really like Thomas, so I thought it would be fun to take them.

Though it was a mud pit (seriously, some of the "puddles" of water were large enough to classify as a pond), from bad storms of the previous days (it's basically all outside in a dirt parking lot), the boys still had fun. Fortunately, kids, especially boys, are immune to mud, water and mess most of the time.

There was a model train tent with running trains, an activities tent (building, playing, coloring), music tent, Sir Topham Hatt (we didn't see him though), inflatables and bouncers, tattoos, etc. The first tent you walk into is the merchandise tent, of course. Collin spotted the shirts, ran up to them, grabbed a red one and started taking his own shirt off so as to put this new one on (before we bought it or I checked the size or even agreed to it). He was all about that red Thomas shirt. It was pretty funny.

The train ride was probably the biggest hit. And we were so lucky because though there was a 70% chance of rain the day that we were there, while we were outside it didn't rain once. Instead, it poured (very hard) once we were on the train and stopped by the time we were off. Now that is luck!

Here are some photos:

Working model trains.


Bouncing - Oliver loved this.

Ethan didn't love it quite as much, but tried it.

Collin wanted nothing at all to do with it. But here's a good photo of him in the shirt he ripped off the table when we first got there.

Looking out the window on the train ride.

Collin sat on my lap the entire time. He enjoyed it and didn't seem afraid in the least, but wanted to sit on my lap. So, this is the best photo we have of him... proving he went on a train ride.

Ethan and Oliver talking to Grandma Dee.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Last soccer game...

Ethan had his last soccer game a few weeks ago. He wasn't at his prime for it which was a combination of me keeping him up too late looking for a birthday present, being surprised by some visitors to the game and just the general 'Saturday-morning-not-quite-awake-yet'ness.'

Overall it was a great season for him. He did so much better than in the fall. He ran, he kicked, he blocked, he scored, he assisted, he really got it this time. Granted there was still many days where he was just in the pack running or looking off into the distance or looking for that great piece of grass to pick, but he still really grew this season. I realized just how much when I saw him so excited to participate and then actively playing with the professional soccer team at the Relay for Life last week.

Here are some photos:

The pregame pep talk

In action.

Ethan and Coach Tom

A big thanks to Papa Steve and Grandma Dee for coming to his last game of this season and for cheering him on. Grandma Dee actually blew in and out of town due to work commitments... a long six hour round trip drive for a half hour game. Wow. Thanks Grandma! What a nice surprise.

By the way, look at the professional photo taken of Ethan for soccer. He looks so grown up in it!! Who is that little man? Time needs to slow down... way down!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Walking with friends...

Ethan and I, along with our friend Amy and her son Cameron, went to the Relay for Life walk on Friday night. We were there to support and celebrate our four year old friend Matthew who has been battling brain cancer for three years. We were there to see the survivor lap, and joined him on the second lap of that. (I forgot my camera... so these are all sucky phone shots)

Darren, Jeremie, Matthew and Jen walking the survivor lap.

Amy, Cameron, Matthew, Jen and Ethan.

After the survivor laps, all heck broke loose with the weather. Crazy storm blew through for I think a half hour. We took shelter under the cover by the food stand where Ethan talked me into his second dinner. After the rain stopped, a huge rainbow appeared, which seemed fitting for the event.

At the event were a few professional soccer players. They had an area where kids could kick the ball to them. Ethan really wanted to do this. At first he was shy, but broke out of that fast. Afterwards, we started walking again and as we made it around the track, they switched to just kicking the balls with a bunch of kids in the middle of the field. Ethan was all over that. My Ethan. The Ethan we could sometimes not even get to pay attention. The shy Ethan. He was in the middle of the field "playing soccer" with all of the big kids and pros. He had a blast. So much so that he didn't care that I continued to walk around the track (not like him at all). Of course all this fun gave him a stomach ache.

Amy took the last two photos above with her camera after my phone died (thank you Amy!!). Ethan really wanted a photo with one of the pros, but was a little shy about it.

After I took Ethan home, I came back up to walk the rest of my good friend and Matthew's mom's time slot with her, which was until midnight. Part way through we were also joined by another of her friends, Meghan. We had fun walking around the track and laughing... it didn't really seem like we had walked for hours.

Here are some photos of the track during the luminary reading (where each team reads all the names of the luminaries that were dedicated through their team). There were so many luminaries around the track. It was beautiful, yet very sad. Many of those bags said "in memory of"... too many of those bags as a matter of fact. Listening to the names and the many readers voices cracking as they read was painful. You wonder how, at this day and age, there are record numbers of people dying from cancer. Record numbers. And for that matter, how is there such a rise in pediatric cancer? Why? And why is the funding for pediatric cancer research so small? Just two percent of the money from the Relay for Life goes to pediatric cancer research. Two percent.
One of Matthew's bags.

Luminaries lined the track and up in the stands they had luminaries that spelled out the word "hope."

As we walked around the track in the dark, for the silent lap, after the luminary readers were done, Jen cried quietly. As you can imagine, this was very emotional for her. There is no cure for Matthew's cancer. None. All that can be done, has been done. And yet, only two percent of of the money raised will go to pediatric cancer research.

BTW, Matthew was dropped from their insurance a year ago, before he had even turned four, because he had met his lifetime maximum. Think about that next time you hear mention of the much debated public health care...
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