Monday, June 30, 2008

Walley World, Dad?

Our vacation will start early tomorrow morning when we strap the kid's into the "family truckster" and hit the road. We have our empty water bottles for emergency pee receptacles since our kid's seem to have the tiniest bladders in the whole world. We have our "puke-kin" to provide sturdiness to the bag that may or may not be filled with vomit at some point. Let's all hope the Dramamine does wonders!! Our maps have been studied, the car is stocked with beverages, snacks and DVD's. The 12 hour drive should be a piece of cake! Speaking of cakes, I need to mapquest the directions to Chef Duff!

Please pray for our family and our extended family, that we all have safe travels and that no one has to leave a child on the side of the highway due to naughty behavior! Happy 4th of July!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pillow fights and Cannonballs

We had a big day yesterday! We spent most of the day at my cousin's pool. They were having a big family bash. My boys had been looking forward to the day for over a week. Every day they would ask "How many more days 'til we go to Bryce's pool?" Whatever the number you said they would then ask "What day is today?" And then make you list the day and the number it was until they could go to Bryce's pool. Yesterday morning Spence came into our room and woke me up and asked "Mom, why do I feel so excited in my brain?" When I told him today was THE day - he was ready to get his suit on and head over there by eight in the morning.

They had so much fun. They are such water babies. Evan is following in his big brother's footsteps - he was jumping off the diving board and everything. Even Hailey was jumping off the side of the pool into my arms (while wearing her life jacket of course). She also loved floating around in the little pool "boats". The boys both start their swimming lessons next week and I think they will love them. Spence is totally geeked to go back - he has now graduated to the "deep end". Since it is Ev's first time, he is a little nervous, but since being so comfortable in the pool, I think he will love it.

Then last night, Spencer had his first sleepover at a friends house. He was almost as excited about sleeping over as the pool party. He was most excited to have a pillow fight. I was apprehensive about the fact that he seems young for a sleepover and worried that he would get homesick. I told him before he went if he wanted us to come get him we would be there in five minutes. I was sure we would get a call in the night. It was so odd to be sitting watching TV with the kids in bed and to realize that one of my kids was not up there and was not with a relative. I began to sense what parents feel when their children start to go "out" with friends and you have no idea what they are doing or where they are. I started to kind of panic wondering if we should have let him stay? Are we sure we trust these parents? What if they have loaded guns in the house? You know stuff normal people worry about. I know, Trent tells me I am a total freak! He never called. He had a great time. When we picked him up this morning on the way to church his buddy's Mom said that of the seven boys invited to the sleepover, only two made it the whole night and my brave, well adjusted, fun loving little guy was one of them. He seemed so old walking up to the car looking tired but elated, carrying his pillow with his overnight bag slung over his shoulder. What a guy!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

This might make your mouth water...

I have been watching way too much Food Network lately. Since all of my "shows" are on summer hiatus, I instead watch shows that make me start drooling and craving fish with decadent sauces and glazes at 10:30 at night. My latest favorite is "The Next Food Network Star". It is sort of like "Survivor", but there is food - good food!

I made my own pesto. I love pesto! It is high on the list of my favorite foods. I made my own pesto! Can you tell how proud I am? It was so easy! And SO good! The dish I made was Chicken with farfalle and walnut pesto. Kalamata olives. Cherry tomatoes. What could be better? This dinner was one I would easily order in a restaurant.

I also whipped up some white chocolate and raspberry brownies from scratch. The were very good but were more cake-like than brownie-like in my opinion. I think I would like a "regular" chocolate brownie with raspberry better. How good does that sound?

So yeah -- who's the next Food Network star now?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Life's a beach...

I took a walk with Evan and Hailey today. Evan asked if we could walk to the beach. I didn't want to because it was windy and 62 degrees out (the date is June 18th mind you) but he convinced me by agreeing to stay for only a few minutes.

I brought my camera because I had a feeling there might be good light - and my feeling was completely on the money! The kids were totally loving the camera today! Evan even asked to take a picture by himself - and I let him! On the beach! With sand! Am I crazy or what?

I forget how easy it is to take them to the beach. Evan will play for hours with sticks and driftwood. He loves to walk up and down the shore looking for treasures in the washed up flotsam. Today we found many little shells, dead fish, a fishing lure, a pair of flip flops and a binky. I was shocked he didn't want to bring the binky home with us. After many attempts to eat sand, Hailey has decided that it doesn't taste good so she just sits in the sand and plays with it. She has turned into Evan's shadow and follows him everywhere and always wants to do what he is doing. It drives Evan crazy!

This is the life! Notice how the kids are dressed! Where is our summer? They should be in bathing suits!

Someone left this message on the beach. It was so cute, I used it for my banner!

Rock climbing kiddos!

Big brother and little sister playing in the sand and rocks.

How cute are these two? Just wait ten years when they are ready to kill each other I can pull this picture out.

My sweet baby girl!

Evan in his glory!

The picture that Evan took. Not bad for a four year old! I didn't crop it or anything!

Hailey following Evan across the log.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Secret sippy stash

Hailey's latest trick is getting into the cupboards to stash her sippys. I caught her doing it this morning and got the camera out. After she finished her breakfast she walked right over to one cupboard, opened it up and there was a sippy of water from last night. No wonder I couldn't find it! I took that one away from her and gave her some milk in a different sippy and when she had her fill she went on to stash that one in the other cupboard. Maybe she thinks the cupboards are like a refrigerator since she has seen us put her drinks in there when she is finished?

As long as they stay in the kitchen vicinity she can stash them all she wants. (Not the milk sippys!) I just don't like to find them days later in the toy box or heaven knows where else with a hunk of solid milk in them. Ug!

Here she is putting her own sippys away for me. What a silly
little girl!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Burley Girl

Hailey is a Burley baby. I got the Burley out last week and put her in it for a spin around the yard and ever since then, she is totally nuts about it. I started wheeling it out of the garage today and she immediately ran over to hop in. I think she likes it better than the stroller because to her, it is basically a play pen on wheels. She sits in there with toys and as long as I have the net secured she can crawl around (and the toys stay in - a BIG plus)! She seems to be content in the Burley much longer than in the stroller.

My weight loss is not going so well. Hence, the need for longer stroller walks. When I was looking for those old photos of me in the puddle, I came across other photos of me that just made me want to get liposuction. They were from around the same time so of course I was almost two decades younger, but I looked good. Modest huh? I know that I am at least fifteen, maybe twenty pounds heavier than I was when I got pregnant with Spence. I have not been able to get back in that pre-pregnancy range. The most I have lost is seven to ten pounds - and I think that was between having Evan and Hailey. I know I am back up high now. I am feeling the pounds lately both physically and mentally. I feel out of shape when I walk a far distance with the kids - huffing and puffing. It weighs on me mentally because I want to get back down to a lower weight -for health and for the fact I will just look better and feel better about myself. I don't like feeling insecure about myself because of flab. And I hate the fact that when I look at those old pictures I don't even see that girl in myself.

It is not easy for me. I love to cook yummy foods and I love to eat them. Summer is especially hard because even though there are more opportunities for exercise, there are so many excuses for ice cream or s'mores - things that are my downfall.

So hopefully the Burley will help make me less burly, eventually.

Blog note: I know the true definition of "burly" means muscular and strong, and there is nothing wrong with being strong and having muscles. In fact - that would be great. When I think of burly, I just think of a big ol' guy. The "big" is what I am trying to eschew. I had to post this picture of Hailey along with the other because she is such a cutie pie I can hardly stand it.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Played like a champion today!

Trent played in the Rocket Open this afternoon and came home a champion! This is the first time I have ever seen him come home with a trophy, so I was pretty impressed. Then he went on to explain that they didn't really win the whole shebang - they won the flight B. So to put it in his terms- they were the BEST of the WORST. Still, they got a trophy!

He also came home with an over-the-shoulder bag that he got as a raffle prize. He called Spencer over and gave him the bag. I was ready to scold him on the spot for giving one kid a present right in front of the other kid that you have nothing for. It turns out he had planned to give Evan his trophy, which he did.

I wasn't sure what Evan would think about it, but he was ecstatic! I think maybe he has felt a little jealous that Spencer has received some awards lately and he has been kind of left out. He carried that trophy around like he earned it himself and couldn't wait to find a spot for it in his room. He wanted to put it in the spot of the "binky trophy" which he told me he didn't want anymore - he wanted to have his binky back. Sorry buddy, still lost! wink wink

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The end of the beginning...

Saturday was Spencer's last day of soccer. It was tournament day - they play two games - after the second game is the award ceremony where they get their trophies.

I think Spencer actually got his foot on the ball twice in the second game. I think I even got a photo of it! Needless to say, soccer has not really been his thing. So many people that we have talked to have said that their kid was the same way. How it took season after season until their kid finally got up the gumption to get into the game. Maybe I am being a bad parent, but I don't want to waste my time season after season waiting for soccer to click with him. But, I decided that we would let him make the call.

After his practice last Thursday we were sitting down eating dinner and I told him that he had just finished his last soccer practice of the season and that Saturday would be his last games.

Mom: Do you think you want to play soccer again in the Fall?

Spencer: (Shaking his head) No, I don't really think so.

Mom: That is fine. We can find something else for you to do that you might be more fun for you.

A few minutes go by...

Spencer: You know what though, Mom? I never got to play goalie! I really wish I could play goalie!

Mom: Spence, the reason you never have played goalie is because the goalie always has to be watching the game and paying attention. You never pay attention to what is going on in the game. Tonight you were picking up string in the field. So unless soccer is something that you really want to do, we will not sign you up again in the Fall. I think we will sign up Evan because he wanted to play.

Spencer: I don't want to play soccer.

Evan: I don't want to play soccer either.

Spencer: Why not Evan? It is so much fun! Don't you see me kicking the ball and running around? It is so fun Evan. You will have so much fun!

Mom: (Total confused look on her face) Huh?

I love the intense look on his face in these pictures. It looks like he is totally into the game!

He was so proud of his trophy and his medal. The coach had the medals made for his team- they are even engraved with the kids names on them. He has been coaching these same kids for years now and Spence had the luck of getting on the team for these past two seasons. He is a great coach - so patient and never sharp tongued. He never made Spencer feel like he was any worse or better than any other kid. I have seen some of the other soccer coaches in action and I know if we had gotten one of them, Spence would not have made it through two games let alone two seasons. We were very lucky. Even the parents of the other kids were great. So supportive. I don't know what they were thinking in their heads, but they never had anything but good things to say about Spencer.

These are the treasures that Spencer collected on the field during his last practice, instead of paying attention to the game.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Well she was just seventeen (months) if you know what I mean... How could I dance with another...ohhh...when I saw her standing there!

Summer vacation has officially started and that means big things for our family. We have Dad around all the time and a Mom that is way more relaxed and easy going. Our family just seems to run so much better and easier when we are all here. Ahh..summer!

At seventeen months I worry about your verbal skills or more appropriate would probably be your lack of verbal skills. I know you understand everything I say to you - you just won't really talk. I know I will look back and cringe at these words someday when I would do anything to get you to be quiet. You may be on the verge of a language breakthrough. You say "ball" whenever you see a ball or anything round. Only you say it with extra "b's" like "B-B-Ball". It is pretty cute. I swear when we were on our walk today you learned the word "car" because you would say "car" or something that sounded a lot like it whenever a vehicle would go by. You love to carry around shoes and socks. You call them "goks" - pretty close.

When you see a dog, or any other animal for that matter, you start to make a barking noise. The boys can get you to make a growl sound when they ask you what a monster says.

We play this game called "Wake up Mommy" where I
lay on the floor on a pillow with my eyes closed and snore
and pretend to be sleeping. The other day you walked
over and layed next to me and shut your eyes and
started to make a snoring sound. It was so funny!

You love to play peek-a-boo when I put you down to
sleep. I pull the cover over you and ask "Where's Hailey?"
You will pull the cover down and smile your huge grin and
laugh and say "da -da -doo" in your sing songy voice- your interpretation of peek-a-boo. This will go on for minutes. When I blow you a kiss and tell you goodnight, you will usually lookat me with a grouchy face and start to cry -totally bummed that the game is over.

I worry about your disdain for books and being read to. I feel like maybe we missed our window of opportunity. As a third baby, we never really took the time to sit you down and read to you. I know it sounds bad but it was really just such a relief to get you down to sleep at night. Going from two kids to three, even for a few hours, is like a whole new world. Evan was and still is such a bookworm. He can't get enough. When Spencer was younger he never liked being read to during the day, but his nightly routine always included many books. The last two he always wanted to hear before he went to sleep were Goodnight Moon and A Child's Goodnight Prayer. He would always say "moon and prayer" in his cute little baby voice. You are not a book loving little girl at all and I worry that is part of the reason for you not being extremely verbose. We are trying to do better with the reading. You like books with animal pictures that you can point to and bark at, but particularly wordy way, no how. You squirm like a worm to get away.

I believe we have said goodbye to bottles. You have been drinking from your sippy like a champ! It took a while for you to get the hang of it and stop choking yourself, but I think you have it mastered! What a big girl! I should have put the bottles away at a year but with you being my last baby, I guess I wanted to keep you little as long as possible and it also didn't even occur to me to think of switching over. Three kids make you tired!

I can't believe the next monthly update you will be a year and a half! We will also be home from our family truckster roadtrip to Maryland. That should be good.

Photo note: She owed me big time and she delivered. She wouldn't sit or stand still of course, so I had to do the best with what I had. Which is the most adorable seventeen month old girl in the world playing in the sand table. Do I sound like a biased Mommy or what? The dress she is wearing is another little vintage number - worn by me, saved by Gramma, made by my Aunt - long ago. I know this last photo is a little blurry, that is just how she is...always on the move.

The future's so bright...I gotta wear shades!

My oldest baby is officially finished with Kindergarten. Well, not "officially", I haven't received confirmation in his report card yet - but if he isn't moving on, none of the class is moving on. I should know - I have quizzed those kids all year!

I was surprised how emotional I felt this morning as I dropped him off at the Kindergarten door for the last time. I was surprised that my voice started to crack a little as I told him to have a good last day as a Kindergartner. I was surprised that I had to blink hard to stop my eyes from welling over a little. Come on! This is the last day! I was supposed to be sad on the first day!

I guess to me the end of Kindergarten just sort of confirms the end of his babyness. He is a first grader now! That seems so old! I don't know where this school year has gone. There were so many playdates I wanted to arrange, car pools to organize and they always seemed to get pushed to the next day or the next week until suddenly there is no

Spencer got off the bus today with his backpack slung over his shoulder wearing these sunglasses. They were a "crew" reward for the school. He thought he was so cool. I guess he is...he's not a "kindergarten baby stuck in the gravy" any more.

I better grow a thicker skin. What am I going to do when Hailey steps off that Kindergarten bus for the last time? I better have the tissue box ready.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Running in the rain...

I took the boys on a "date" this afternoon to see Kung Fu Panda. We left for the theatre on the tail end of one of the many thunderstorms that have been blowing through our area lately. We had to run into the theatre dodging pouring rain and watching the lightning strikes in the distance.

A couple of hours later when the movie was over the view outside was much different. The rain was over, the sun was trying to peek out and the parking lot was full of lake sized puddles. Puddles so deep that they had waves - I am not even kidding - the boys were in awe when I pointed them out. These puddles and I have a history and that history was all I could think about when Evan asked me if he could splash in the puddle. My first impulse was to tell him no, but then I figured he has his crocs on and shorts --what's the big deal. So he walked and splashed in the puddle and loved every minute of it. I didn't have my camera with me (though I should keep one in the car - I can't tell you how many cool sky pictures I have missed for lack of camera at hand) so I couldn't photograph him in the puddle - but the amount of water is basically the same as in the pictures I do have from 1990? 91? a mere 17 (GULP) years ago!

My friend Lesley and I came out of the movie theatre years ago and were in the midst of a complete downpour. People were huddled under the awning outside waiting for the rain to lighten up so they could make a bee line for their cars. We waited along with them for a few minutes but the rain didn't show any signs of ending soon. We decided - What the heck? Who cares if we get wet? We weren't going anywhere anyway - God knows, we could never find any of the parties that we heard about. So into the rain we went and got totally and completely soaked. I don't think I have ever been so wet from rain in my life. We knew that it was raining hard and we would get wet, but we didn't expect to be running through a LAKE! We had no idea that the puddles would be so deep! I think I remember yelling that it was almost up to my knees! At that point we were just laughing hysterically and had to get out the camera. I assume it was Lesley with the camera since all the photos are of me. Though I am shocked we didn't do the old honeymoon "I'll take one of you in the rain, then you take one of me in the rain!" Believe me, we have lots of pictures of that sort. I swear, the people watching us from under that awning must have thought we were drunk or high or something because people don't normally have that much fun or laugh so hard over such stupid things as being goofy in the rain. I miss laughs like that. Ones that just make you laugh so hard that your belly hurts and you have tears rolling down your face. I have lots of laughs on a daily basis but not ones like that. Back in "the day", Lesley and I laughed like that constantly. Those were fun times.

I know this is such a random memory and kind of a bizarre thing to write about, but it occurred to me as I was digging these pictures out of my old album that there are so many memories like this in there that are just a photo. No one but Lesley and I know the story or what it means.
At one time I had planned to go back and scrapbook those photos but by the time I get to them I will be about eighty years old and not remember the stories behind the photos. At least this one makes sense now.
I love how you can see the rain drops on the lens!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I can smell my old backyard...

Lilacs are my favorite flower. I can't get enough of how good they smell. In the house I grew up in, we had huge lilac bushes along our side fence. When they would bloom, the scent was just phenomenal! I swear I would wake up in the morning and be able to smell them from the bathroom upstairs!

In our yard we have two lilac bushes. It seems like it has taken them forever to bloom. I don't know if that is due to a cold Spring or what. I always thought that early May was pretty much the season for lilacs. The Japanese lilac (I think that is what it is called) STILL has not bloomed. Both bushes have sort of a chalky white spotted residue on their trunks? stems? whatever you call the "wood" part of bushes. BRANCHES? I hope they don't have some kind of disease. They are finally getting to be a good size.

I love lily-of-the-valley too! Before my Mom moved from our old house, I dug up some from the backyard and planted them on the side of our garage. I think I only took ten or so. Since then, they have multiplied like crazy and a good portion of the side is covered with them. That makes me so happy!

I remember in a shady area over where we kept the garbage cans we used to have a ground cover that would bloom with purple leaves. With all the shade we have in our yard, I wish I would have taken some of those as well. I think it was called myrtle. Something like that.

I love these pictures of Spencer and Hailey. They were outside with me while I was shooting the flower pictures. Hailey just looks so ready to take on anything. I love her little toes peeking out. And Spencer, my brown eyed heart breaker, picked that little piece of lilac just for me. I imagine that girls are going to start calling for him any day now!

I almost forgot about the forsythia. That was the other huge flowering plant in our yard. In early spring my Mom would go out and cut branches and make gorgeous bouquets. I wish I had more sun in my yard so I could plant a forsythia bush as well.

I loved our old backyard. You always knew when spring had arrived.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Things that make you Evan.

You have been four years old for almost a month. How does time get away from me like it does? First of all, I can't believe that you ARE four. Second, how did a month go by already? I haven't even written the thank yous for your gifts.

You are such a love. I am so thrilled that you still want to hug and cuddle with me. Your hugs are legendary - they are so tight and you just hold on for dear life. Often, you will ask me to carry you down or up the stairs. (Usually after I have been carrying your sister around) You invented your own "pull my finger" game. Daddy taught you the traditional version, but yours is much nicer. After pulling your finger you lean in and give me a kiss. You call it your kissing machine. It is the sweetest thing.

You can be the most stubborn little guy I know. I can tell why your astrological sign is Taurus. You like things to go your way and if they don't - watch out! You have a bad temper. You love to play board games and other competition type games but if you don't win, you have been known to throw a game board across the room. I am hoping this is something that will eventually start to simmer down. You are starting T-ball in a few weeks and I am curious to see how you do in your first competitive (though very loose) sports situation. Hopefully there will be no bats around if you get struck out!

You have such a zest for life. You are always up for trying something new. You love inventing new games a few of which are: store, burglar, sandstorm and poofy. You only have one level of voice - LOUD. You like to speak in a yell and you like to scream a lot. You love to play one on one and have my undivided attention. I don't know if that is due to the fact that you are a middle child or if that is just part of your personality.

You are very inquisitive. Even more so in the last couple of weeks. You question everything and constantly ask Why? Your current favorite show is called Super Why? I don't know if that has anything to do with it - it appears to be a show about reading. You seem to retain so much of what you learn. Just the other day when Spence was asking (not very nicely or patiently) for his glass of milk, you said to him "Spence, remember what we learned in church - I will wait without complaint!" I had to laugh out loud. You are smart. When we read Chicka Chicka 1-2-3 the other day, I was shocked when you counted to thirty (leaving out 14-16). You know all of your letters and most of the sounds they make. Tonight while going through McD's drive-thru when Spence asked for a mint shake you told him before I could even get the words out "They only have those by St. Patricks Day." I was in awe that you would even remember the holiday.

You love to learn. You finished your first year of preschool and loved it. While most kids live for summer vacation, you have been asking me everyday when you get to go back to school. Your report card was fantastic - you were at "exceeds expectations" for every category except for "speaks clearly". That was not a surprise. You still have some issues with speech but not anything major. There have been times you have had to repeat something three or four times before I understand what you are saying. I love the way you talk - I will be sad to see some of the words go.

You are a Mama's boy- not in a bad way. We have always shared a special closeness. I am the one you always want to tuck you into bed at night. Even nights when I make Dad do it, you won't go to sleep until I have been up to give you a kiss. When you are sad, angry or in total meltdown mode, I am the only one you can pick you up and get you to start to diffuse. You have always been completely open with me. I hope we will always have that in the years to come.

You love your own space. Your bedroom is one of your favorite places to play. You love to invite me or Dad or your brother or sister in to your room to play dinosaurs or castle with you. One of the first thing you ask new friends that come to our house is "Wanna see my room?" After we tuck you into bed at night and you are supposed to be sleeping - we hear you up there playing with your toys in your bed, sometimes for hours. I know you need your rest but we justify it by saying that at least you are staying in your room and we are happy that you have the imagination to entertain yourself.

You wear your heart on your sleeve. You are completely upfront - you don't hide your feelings at all. If you are happy we know it. If you are angry or sad - believe me, we know it! Your moods can change on a dime. You are very unpredictable sometimes. Some days you wake up from your nap wide eyed and ready to move on to the next game and some days it will take minutes of coaxing and cuddling and you still are reluctant to come out of your room.

You have a laugh that is totally contagious. Even though your recent brand of hilarity includes adding the word "poop" to every sentence. Or calling someone "baby" as an insult. Sometimes when you are mad at me you call me a "big-fat-poop-baby-mommy" and even though you are angry, can't stop yourself from smiling and then laughing at the hilarious new term you have coined.

You are sensitive. A surprising harsh word from me can send you straight into the fetal position and start your tears flowing. You are a caring soul and your heart overflows with kindness for the ones you love. You don't like to see others upset. You always bring to our attention the fact that your brother or sister is upset or needs something from Mom or Dad.

Evan, these are a few of the things that make you - you at four years old. Everyday I look forward to seeing your adorable little face and hearing your sweet little voice. I hope you enjoy your fourth year my sweet baby boy, because I know I will try to cherish every minute of it.

Photo notes: I shot these photos of Evan while we were at the cabin. I was so excited about all the good locations and good light options. Unfortunately due to the cleanliness factor, I made him pose for me pretty much as soon as we got there. The poor boy was tortured because all he wanted to do was play. I didn't get as many good shots as I would have liked but some turned out OK. The top was the last shot and my absolute favorite. It is so Evan.