Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Paints, bicycles and Dora on the computer!

The biggest change so far this school year is Evan's attitude toward Hailey. Up until now, she has basically just been a sometimes humorous little annoyance to him, but in these last few weeks I have seen a definite shift in their relationship. Dare I say Friendship?

He rarely gets angry at her as he used to. He tries to include her in games that he wants to play. He is enthusiastic to teach her things that he knows. He watches out for her and tries to steer her away from trouble. He genuinely seems to care about her.

These photos are just quick snapshots, nothing fancy, but they show a bit of how they interact during the day.

Evan wanted to get the paints out one day and I figured why not? Let's give Hailey her first shot at painting. She did a pretty good job for a first timer. Evan tried to give her pointers. She just did her own thing.
Evan working on one of his masterpieces. He is so focused when he is doing something artistic. He will sit for as long as it takes to perfect one of his works.

Hailey deciding to see how the paint tastes.

The bicycle drag race.

Hailey off to a good start!

I don't know what it is about my boys and bikes, but they are just not motivated to move on to the next "level". We bought Evan a Diego bike with training wheels for his birthday, but he is nervous to ride it. In the spring Trent ran over one of the training wheels on Spencer's bike and busted it. We figured it was not a big deal and didn't replace it because we thought that he would learn to ride a two wheeler over the summer anyway. Wrong! He is not the least bit interested! So at this point in time Spencer rides Evan's bike which makes him look like a clown riding a circus bike and Evan rides the tricycle. Hailey rides the foot bike a la' Fred Flintstone because she can't reach the pedals on the tricycle. Not for lack of trying though.

She is a daredevil. I think I have said it before but I will say it again. I finally get a little girl and she is going to be a total tomboy - a little athlete in the making!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Swimming in September...late September!

The kids and I walked down to the beach tonight. It was warm and beautiful out and I figured that these days are pretty much going to be few and far between as we are nearing the beginning of October. I thought that they would just get a kick out of playing around in the sand and running up and down the beach....they wanted to swim. I didn't actually feel the water, but I imagine it can't be that warm. I explained to them that they didn't wear bathing suits so they were out of luck. Spencer, the wise little guy that he is, told me that he could swim in his boxers. I told him the way home was going to be cold. He told me he didn't care. I told him to go for it. He did, and Evan was soon to follow.

They didn't stay in for long but they dipped in up to their necks. Brave little fish these little guys of mine.

I changed this picture to black and white because I wanted to spare anyone looking the pasty white bodies. I feel like I keep asking them all the time if they are feeling OK. They always look pale to me ( and I was yucky sick yesterday and fear that they are soon to follow) but I guess I just have to get used to the fact that our golden brown tans are fading fast.

Spencer throwing water into the air and letting it rain down on him.

Hailey playing in the sand.

Evan running out of the water.

Spencer running into the water in his skivvies.

Two brothers engaged in teamwork - a rare sight around here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A few things about Evan...

The day Evan's soccer team was getting their team picture and individual pictures taken, we were on the boat on our way to Wisconsin. I felt bad. My brain instantly started to brainstorm ways to get him photographed. I could bring him to another team's practice so at least he would have a soccer picture. I could order the team photo and scan it and photoshop him in.
All good ideas, but very unneccessary. At the end of the year they always group together for a team photo with their trophies in hand -that will be good enough. As far as the individual shot, the picture below is just as good, if not better (if I do say so myself) than the photo of Spencer that the "professional" took last spring. I don't know who they got to take the pictures - they are fine. I am sure that after taking hundreds of photos of hundreds of kids with a soccer ball in their hands or with a soccer ball under their foot - you tend to get a little hmm...bored out of your skull with the monotony and just don't really care that much anymore. In contrast, when you have one kid to photograph and the lure of a slurpee hanging over their head...you get this photo on the second shot.

If anyone reading this picked up from the last post that I said "impromptu interview with the boys"- boys being plural...here are Evan's answers to my probing questions.

Favorite dinosaur: T-rex

Favorite drink: water

Favorite color: red

Favorite food: corn on the cob

Favorite TV show: Go Diego Go!

Favorite movie: Alvin and the Chipmunks

Favorite friend at school: Caroline (he also calls her his girlfriend - the photo where he is covering part of his face is because I was asking about her)

Favorite friend at home: Mom (awwww...)

Favorite book: Any dinosaur book or Diego

Favorite thing to do at school: art

What do you want to be when you grow up? Veterinarian (where do my kids get their love of animals? Not from me!)

Favorite place to visit? Wisconsin Dells

Favorite number: 10,000

Favorite Wii game: Diego

Favorite animal: monkey

At this point he interupted me and told me "One more thing, I like plants!"

Favorite sport: baseball

Who is your hero? Mommy (awww...again!)

What are you most scared of? bats

Favorite game: The very hungry caterpillar card game

Favorite flavor of ice cream: chocolate

This last photo was my artsy attempt at some Photoshopping. I am taking a Photoshop class with my friend Lesley at the college. It is 20 years ago all over again!

Monday, September 22, 2008

A few things about Spencer...

Here are some shots from my latest photo shoot with the big guy. I needed a new picture for the wall and I think I got a winner on my third shot (the first picture in this post). I liked what I saw but of course continued to take more just in case...

Here are some of the things that make Spencer tick these days. We were sitting around the fire pit on our deck Saturday night and I started giving the boys an impromptu "interview".

Favorite color: black - red is his second favorite

Favorite food: steak

Favorite TV show: Ben 10 Alien Force

Favorite drink: Fat free organic milk (seriously this is what he said word for word)

Favorite friend to play with at school: Derek

Favorite friend to play with at home: Gage

What do you want to be when you grow up? A person who helps cats find homes.

How many classes do you want to take after college? 25 - I want to be really wise! (Don't ask me where he came up with this - he is obessed with how many classes Trent and I have taken since we have finished school. He is determined to be smarter than us I guess - shouldn't be too hard!)

Favorite place to visit: Wisconsin Dells

Favorite number: 1000

Favorite game on the Wii - LEGO Indiana Jones

Favorite animal: CAT!!!!!!!!

Favorite sport: Football (I think he just likes the snack hut)

Favorite game: Battleship

Favorite flavor of ice cream: Chocolate

Who is your Hero? Dad

What are you most scared of? Ghosts and girls (that one totally cracked me up!)

Favorite movie: Alvin and the Chipmunks

Favorite book: Batman with my name in it

Favorite subject to learn about in school: science

Friday, September 19, 2008

If only he knew how to spell...

Evan came home with his first art project of the school year. He was so proud to show me his family tree. He tends to get a little glue happy but other then that, it is a masterpiece!

As I was telling him what a great job he did, something jumped out at me...

He had listed everyone in our family by their first name except for Dad.

Mommy: Did your teacher ask you what your Dad's name is?

Evan: Yes.

Mommy: Do you know Daddy's name?

Evan: Yes.

Mommy: What did you tell her Daddy's name was?

Evan: I told her my Dad's name is Shrent.

He was saying Trent, but he was saying it in his own little Evan way that is so hard for others to understand sometimes. Especially a new teacher that he has only known for five days. She must have been like "Ok, I have no idea what this kid is saying - let's just put Dad." I don't know how she figured out what Spencer's name was. Evan told me that he told his teacher that his "bruder's name was Scency". God bless her.

I still love the way he talks. I am confident that someday he will grow out of it, so for now I just try to laugh and soak up the cuteness!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We don't like Ike!

Last Thursday we boarded the ferry headed to Wisconsin to go visit Aunt DayDay, Uncle Mark and Mirabel. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, it was warm, we were very optimistic for a smooth ride. I guess I should have known better. I hate that boat. I hate the way I feel sick on it pretty much every time I ride it. I hate how I still feel the effects of it days later while I start to sway in the shower or in my bed. I hate how it smells in the passenger cabin- a mixture of diesel fuel and wet carpet. I especially hate walking on to the boat and seeing the puke bags set out on the tables. That is never a good sign. There were three to five foot waves out of the north so the ride was rocky. As usual I spent the majority of the trip on the back deck watching the shoreline disappear and watching the wake of the boat just waiting for the trip to be over. At least it was nice out there. One time as we crossed back at night I was standing out there in the pouring rain huddled under the awning with some burnout guys that were smoking and drinking beer and thinking it was hilarious to throw their empty beer bottles into the wake of the boat. I just laughed along with them because I could not go in the boat without throwing up and I didn't want them to throw me overboard for telling them how stupid they were.
We arrived in Wisconsin and drove to Dana and Mark's and had a great time visiting with them and playing with cousin Mira. We spent Friday night in the Wisconsin Dells and the boys had a great time on the water slides. The weekend went by too fast and on Saturday night I was already stressed about the ride home. The remnants of hurricane Ike were headed our way and I just knew the ride was going to be awful. We went back and forth with wondering if we should cancel and just drive around the lake but with the storms and flooding in the Chicago area we figured we would just stick with the boat. We could handle the roughness for two hours. The whole drive to the boat it was not windy at all - the trees were still. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot to get the car ready to board - the wind picked up like crazy. Inside the terminal they were telling people the seas were rough so take something if you were prone to seasickness. On all of my crossings I have never heard them issue warnings like that so I knew this trip would be a doozy. Even sitting on the boat while in dock you could feel how rough it was. I knew I was destined to sit in the rain on the back all the way home. Two hours - it was going to feel like an eternity. Not to mention my poor husband who would be stuck inside with all three kids because I did not manage to inherit one sea faring gene from my sea faring family tree. The ride began and it was AWFUL! The kids were terrified that the boat was going to flip over because it was swaying so much from side to side. Spencer was asking where the life jackets were because he wanted to put one on. I was starting to sweat feeling extremely nauseous but was frankly scared to go on the back for fear I was going to slide off the boat. We were about fifteen minutes in and a wave crashed against the window -mind you, this boat is about 25 feet in the air - that was a big wave. A rogue wave - Trent tells me there are no such things as rogue waves, only on TV - I tell him that I have seen the Deadliest Catch, he is not fooling anyone. The captain comes over the speaker and tells us that while he is pretty sure (pretty sure?) he can get us across the lake, he will not be able to get the boat back because of the pace that Ike is approaching - he is going to abort the crossing. I can't say I was too disappointed. I was irritated that they didn't just cancel it earlier since we could have started our driving then, but the trip across would have been barf-o-rama. Everyone was looking green. We started our drive around the lake thinking it would take until very late at night to get home, but we were pleasantly surprised. We got home in a mere five hours or so. No traffic snafus or flooding issues on the roads we were on. It was smooth sailing. Finally!
I have a ton of pictures from the trip but I just put on a few of my favorites. I will have them all on the shutterfly site at some point so they can be viewed there.
The kids on the ferry getting ready to leave the dock.
Hailey watching the little boats wave to us.

Cousins hangin' in their jammies. Spencer is such a teenager in this picture!

He was so proud of himself for finally being able to go down the slides by himself. Every time he would get to the bottom he would get out of the slide and put his arms up like this - even if no one was watching. It totally cracked me up! Even Evan braved the slides on his own this year. I was shocked at how fearless he was. Just the littlest guy going down those big ol' slides like a fish in a chute!

Spencer going down the slide. Notice the nose plugged. All summer at swimming lessons he was not allowed to plug his nose but he does whenever Steve is not around.

Evan at the wishing well in the downtown Dells. The boys were watching the "Pied Piper of Hamlin" that was being played out on the glockenspiel.

After they mined for gems in the Dells, they got to find out what they actual found. The big gem on Spencer's plate is a garnet - Hailey's birthstone - maybe he will make her a giant pendent.

The Grecian goddess in our room's hot tub. Dana and Mark found the resort for us and it was amazing. It was the nicest suite I have ever stayed in. The boy's wondered if it was the penthouse.

Our second day at the water park, Evan decided to forgo the big slides to hang out with Hailey and Mirabel in the kiddie pool. There are still slides in there for the under five set - so he was big man on campus over there.

Mirabel playing by a water spicket. She is such an adaptable baby. She just goes with the flow. She smiles all the time and loves to watch her big cousins. Hailey had her laughing her head off later on Saturday with her antics. It was so cute to watch them playing (sort of) together.

Big Evers coming down the slide. He was so proud of himself for keeping up with his big brother!

Miss Wee and Miss Bel in their matching outfits that Grama bought them. I may be biased but aren't they just the cutest things? I also have to laugh at how tan Hailey is compared to Mira - it's OK Mira - Hailey will be the one with skin damage and wrinkles. Kidding - I always put sunscreen on her, she is just outside more since she is older.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The chex mix fairy

Over the summer, Trent and I started to catch a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel that we have been journeying through the past seven years with our kids waking us everyday at the crack of dawn.

This summer, the boys were wonderful at sleeping in. Most days, Spencer would wake up first and come into our room and hang out in our bed or play at the foot of our bed until Evan woke up. We were still able to sleep. As the summer wore on, Spence would wake up, walk through our room and use our bathroom to go pee and tell one of us that he was going downstairs to watch TV. We were still able to sleep. Eventually he would just stay in his room and play or head downstairs to watch TV and we would hear Evan down there joining him within a half hour or so...and we were still able to sleep.

Most days one of them would walk upstairs to ask if they could have a snack or candy. We told them that they could have granola bars or cereal bars but no candy at seven in the morning. I don't know why they didn't get out the skillet and start whipping up the pancake batter...kidding...I know this post already makes it sound like we are in the running for the bad parents of the year award. As if we were not contenders enough, toward the end of the summer the kids would get into the pantry and start their breakfast appetizers by eating Pringles, Cheetos or whatever other forbidden booty they could get their hands on. On this particular day it was Chex mix.

I remember Spencer coming upstairs and into our room and telling me that he had a treat for me. I remember mumbling thank you and then going back to sleep. When I woke up I saw the "treat" on my bedside table and didn't think much of it until I went to make the bed and noticed a similar "treat" next to Trent's pillow. Notice how he made sure that we both had the same pieces. I just had to photograph his gesture because it is so loving albeit a bit wrong on our part. I love how he is so thoughtful of other people's hankerings for salty snack mix in the morning.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


OK - if you read this blog I am asking you to do me a favor. Under the pictures of my kids on the right side - go down to under the "blogs I visit" and sign up as one of my followers. This is a new feature from the Blogger site. You can sign up as anonymous if you wish, but I wish you wouldn't. I know that I read many blogs and don't leave comments, but I would love to know who (if anyone) is reading this little blog of mine fairly regularly. If you don't want to do that, leave a comment. C'mon don't be afraid! I LOVE to read what people have to say. The fact that people look at my pictures and what I write and enjoy it, adds to the fun of keeping the blog up for me. So c'mon you lurkers...make yourself known!

This is the way we fill the day

We are half way through the second week of school and I can already tell that our bodies and minds are beginning to adjust to the change. I am still tired in the morning but no longer feel like I am getting up in the middle of the night. The kids are stirring in the morning and getting out of bed on their own. We are all definitely getting back in the school mode.
Evan and Spencer are at school right now and Hailey is napping. It is strange how quiet the house is. After a summer bursting with activity, this small bit of solitude three mornings a week will be pretty nice. Of course by writing that I have no doubt jinxed myself and next week will signal the end of Hailey's morning naps. I can't remember when the boys dropped theirs, but I am thinking it is not far from her age.
The days go by quickly - more so than I thought they would. We have been walking Spence to the bus stop (which they just moved closer to our house, which is awesome) first thing after breakfast. We get back home a little after eight. If Evan has school he gets his backpack ready, brushes his teeth and hair, goes potty one more time and then we are in the van ready to drop him off by 8:45. If he doesn't have school we just come home and relax a bit by watching Curious George or Super Why on TV or play one of his many made up games. Evan and Hailey have been playing really well together. I think not having Spencer around has brought them closer. He is very patient with her and very willing to include her in whatever we are playing. One of their latest favorites is tea party. They set up the tea set then Evan always asks me to "call" him on the phone and invite him over for tea. We originally set it up with Hailey's babies also invited to the party, but Hailey quickly threw the babies out of the chairs and replaced them with Evan's dogs. Poor little babies!

Paddy waiting for his tea.

I still tend to forget sometimes that Spencer is gone all day. Like yesterday I was making an appointment for a haircut and they had an opening that morning at 11:30. My gut instinct was that I couldn't make it because I had to be home for the bus. Duh! Stuff like that is bizarre to me, that I have the whole day without having to worry about pick up or getting to the bus stop.
When I would tell other Mom's that I was a little worried about first grade because he had never been gone all day before, they would laugh and tell me that I was going to love it. I have to admit that only having the two kids all day is immensely easier. So far the fighting is less, the TV is on less, I feel like I actually play more with the kids - plus since they both (fingers crossed) nap on some days, I actually get stuff done around the house. But...I miss Spencer. I do. I feel like I never see him anymore. He is gone from eight in the morning until four in the afternoon. He gets home and he wants to relax in front of the TV - which I let him do. His brain has been working all day - let it turn to mush for an hour. We eat dinner and get to talk a bit, but dinners are not very relaxing in our house. Most of dinner is spent trying to coax somebody to eat or dealing with a screaming baby girl. After dinner we might be able to play a bit, but then we have his nightly homework and then it is time for jammies, books and bed.

I can see where it could be easy for families to drift apart - and we only have one in FIRST GRADE! I can't imagine what it will be like when all the kids are in school full time. They will have their other activities on top of school - will we ever get any time together? It just makes me realize that we are going to have to make a big effort and take every spare second of time that we have to connect and make sure that our kids still feel connected to us. Once again, it makes me so grateful that I am able to be home with the kids during the day. Seeing and feeling for the first time what it is like to have one gone all day has made me appreciate the time I have with the ones still at home a little more. Those six years Spence was home with me went by in a blink, I am just so thankful that I got to experience so much of it first hand.

Another exciting new occurrence around our house is that Hailey has finally developed a taste for books. A LOVE for books. I hope this is lasting and not some phase that she is going through. She is bringing me books constantly and then climbing up on my lap to have me read them to her. She is actually listening to the whole book and not just hopping down to find something else after the first page. She empties her bookshelf in her room on a daily basis. Often she throws her dolls (seeing a pattern?) out of her rocking chair so she can sit down with a book. I notice her babbling a lot more recently. She still has hardly any words but will point to almost anything you ask her to on a page and is correct. She has known what a dog says for a long time but now she knows what a cat says - Maow!

She is fearless of bees, but scared of butterflies! She is so funny! Check out her cute little camo pants. I got them yesterday at a second hand store they are so stinkin' cute - they look like hippie pants with patches all over and the words "love" and "peace" on the back.

Hailey in the book pile.

Maneuvered her way into the big rocker.