Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Road Trippin'

Ok, so driving out to the suburbs isn't really much of a "road trip," but any time we drive onto the on-ramp to any freeway, the boys both yell out, "road trip!"  I'm not sure if it is the excitement of going somewhere we don't go very often (I take a freeway maybe once every couple weeks) or if it is just super fun for them to be on a freeway.  If I actually pay attention to them, it is quite amusing, the things they notice that I completely overlook.  They even love traffic, if you can believe that!  One time, while stuck in traffic, Ben asked why it was called a traffic jam.  I explained it to him and he thought about it for a bit.  Then he said, "Hey Mitchell, let's call it a traffic jelly instead!"  That one gets brought up every once in a while and sets them both giggling for some time.  I love it when they crack each other up.

Another amusing thing for them on the freeway are semi trucks.  They just can't get enough of them.  They make names for them and want me to either pass one or catch up to one or stick with one, depending on if they decide the truck is a friend or foe.  

They also love talking to our car.  Her name is Lexi, in case you didn't know.  Today, Mitchell told her she was beautiful and she has a nice roof.   They are constantly encouraging Lexi to go faster or to get around another car or to stop hitting pot-holes (a difficult task here in Chicago, I'm afraid.)  They even congratulate her when she does an exceptionally fine job parallel parking! 

They also love toll booths.  Today when I stopped, Ben rolled his window down and asked the grouchy toll-taker why we had to pay her to use the freeway.  She didn't have a great answer, but she did smile!

I suppose the lure of the freeway for them is that it is a loud, fast, action-packed place with construction, tunnels, loud horns, semi-trucks, and honking horns.  We pass giant sky-scrapers and funny billboards and listen to music and sometimes (if mommy is in a really good mood) roll the windows down and get blown to smithereens!  They love it and it makes being stuck in traffic or just plain driving around so much easier for us all!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sumo Baby

I think this picture speaks for itself, don't you? :)  I love you, my little sumo baby.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Squishy Mommy

Ben and Mitchell are all about the muscles these days.  Ben loves to show off to daddy how he can lift weights over his head, do squats and push-ups, punch hard, and run really fast.  Mitchell also loves to show off his moves, but his are a bit more...creative in nature.  He comes up with original excercises like hopping on one foot till he crashes into something, spinning around really fast until he gets dizzy, jumping off the bed, lifting Jack a couple inches off the floor, sitting and standing over and over again...that sort of thing.  They love to flex their little arms and say "feel my muscles, mommy!"  Every time they eat meat, they tell me how big their muscles are getting from all the protein.  

It is so fun to see them mirroring their daddy and "working out" with him.  I love that they want to be like him, and what is important to him is important to them (to a much lesser extent, of course.)  

The downside to all this is that I get compared to daddy in the whole muscle department!  That hardly seems fair given I am a woman and have had three very large babies.  I can't possibly be expected to keep up with Matt in this area!  Mitchell wanted to feel my muscles today and when I flexed for him, he squeezed my arm and gave me a look that said "No, come on - flex!"  He looked a little doubtful that I was even flexing at all.  Once when he snuggled up to me, he laid down on my tummy and said, "You have a squishy tummy, mommy."  Ah, well, honesty is to be encouraged, I suppose :)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What Could Be More Fun Than A Hose?

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with weekends.  I love the idea of Matt being home for two days and spending time together as a family and sharing family responsibilities.  While   we do have fun together and Matt certainly pulls his weight 
with the kids when he is home, it never quite turns out how I 
envision it in my head.  Weekends often involve bacon smelling up my house, 4 boys leaving a wake of toys, clothes, food, and general destruction, over-tired boys yet no naps, weird schedules, and, worst of all, track and field on tv (yawn).  

This weekend was great, don't get me wrong.  I had a great time relaxing with my dudes, but this weekend was no escape from my usual annoyances.  By late afternoon, I was ready for bedtime, but no one else seemed to agree with me!  That was when, yet again, I remembered that wonderful hose on my upstairs patio!  I suggested a water-fight, turned the hose on for them, and it was magic-in-the-making for a tired mommy!  With one patio, one hose, one water gun, two buckets, and endless energy, they amused themselves for most of the rest of the evening.  It was a perfect activity for a hot afternoon.  I only wish I had thought of it sooner.  

When they began running out of new ideas for blasting each other with the hose and soaking everything in sight, Matt and I got out some cleaning tools to spruce up both patios and the fun began all over again!  I'm not sure what we spent on water today, but it is worth it.  

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Soccer: Part 2

Well, our second attempt to get Mitchell to play soccer was a bit more successful - just a bit.  We began by not requiring him to wear his uniform, and then got there a bit early and let Ben run around with Mitchell on his field before classes started so that he could get him a bit more excited about it.  So far, so good.  Mitchell was running, kicking, jumping around, making a goal or two, and actually smiling!  With high hopes for the actual class, we took Ben over to his own field, where he quickly joined in with the other kids.  

Left on his own without his own little coach to keep him moving, he sort of...lost his energy.  He forgot all the "cool moves" he was talking about showing the other kids, and how he was going to be "fast like Ben" and just kind of did his own thing out there.  On the positive side, he didn't cry at all, and he didn't require one of us to actually drag him around.  By the end of the hour, he was actually beginning to listen and follow directions and actually run and kick a bit.  Who would have thought a little boy would need encouragement to run and jump and kick!  But I am encouraged by his progress and think in another week or two, he will be having just as much fun as Ben out there.  

After practice, Ben quickly downed his entire water bottle and wanted me to feel how sweaty he was from all his exercise.  As we were walking out to the car, he grabbed Mitchell's hand and asked him how he did this time and if he had fun and remembered to be the fastest and be a good listener.  They walked to the car together this way, deep in conversation about how proud Ben was of Mitchell and how excited they were for the promised ice-cream cones.  

Does That Look Like A Garbage Can?

I love that my older boys are now old enough to be able to do some things without me, such as eating breakfast and snacks, going to the bathroom, getting dressed, etc.  But the problem with being unsupervised is just that - they are unsupervised!  Things don't always get done quite as efficiently as I might wish.

Today, after snack, I discovered a little pile of strawberry stems and an empty yogurt container in a neat little pile on the floor in the kitchen.  Mitchell clearly cleaned up his place at the table, but, for some reason, thought a pile on the floor would be, what, easier? more convenient? more fun?  Not sure what the little guy was thinking, but later in the day (after yet another snack of strawberries) I walked in on him piling them up one by one under one of the kitchen chairs.  Later tonight as I was sweeping, I found carefully placed garbage in yet another corner of the kitchen!  I have to give him credit for cleaning up the table, but we need to work on actually finding the garbage can...

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Brotherly Pep Talk

Tomorrow is Saturday, which means another try at soccer.  Once again, Mitchell is all talk about all the "cool tricks" he is going to show the other kids on the field tomorrow.  He has been demonstrating all the silly spin moves and flying kicks and generally crazy moves he wants to show the other kids and coaches tomorrow (not sure what they have to do with soccer, but any show of energy is better than the cry-fest of last week!)

At dinner tonight, we were having a family discussion about soccer tomorrow and what is expected of each boy and how fun it will be, when Ben raised his hand and asked to be heard (one of the lovely habits he picked up in school this year.)  He asked if he and Mitchell could have some "alone time" so that he could find out why Mitchell cried so much last week and if he could "fix it for tomorrow."  I'm not sure what exactly they talked about, as they had to be alone to have this little pep talk, but it sure was cute to see Ben pull Mitch aside, put his arm around him and encourage him in quiet voices about the upcoming soccer practice.  They returned to us full of positivity that Mitchell would indeed play the game tomorrow and listen to his coaches, not make mommy play with him and run faster than all the other kids, "just like Ben does!"  Ben, you and your brother have a connection only best friends can have.  

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Dragon Of Our Own

It seems our love of dragons in this house knows no limits.  It is funny actually, but once one or more of the boys get a certain theme (such as dragons, or Cars, or dinosaurs, etc.) I almost get as excited about it as they do.  For example: when they were obsessed with the movie and toys from "Cars," I got a little carried away with collecting as many of the toy Cars I could find.  It got to the point where once when I was shopping for a specific Car, Ben said, "Mom, don't you think we have enough Cars now?"

I suppose that makes sense for me to get excited about their current phase.  I want to encourage what they are excited about and the more I can help them by supplying materials or helping create scenarios or help make up relevant games, the better for us all!   I've gotten to pretend to be all manner of characters and creatures from Sally the Porshe to Dragabelle the Dragon to Doris Tyrannosaurus.  (They usually don't see much need for a female character in their games, but when it is absolutely necessary that they add one, I am quickly nominated.)

Well, since "How To Train Your Dragon" came out a couple months ago, our Cars and dinosaurs (which were, up until then, never out of sight) got shelved and our world has transformed into a world where my boys are dragons and we growl and breath fire and fly from couch to couch.  My couch cushions may never be the same again, but we have fun.  Once again, I find myself looking for toys of a certain theme.  Well, I found something that, once I got it made, has got to be one of the coolest dragon toys I've seen so far!  

Meet Toothless, the Night Fury.  He is a very welcome addition to our family and rarely out of Ben's sight.  He is a hit at the park, but not to be touched by anyone!  I overheard Mitchell telling a little girl that if his mom wanted to take him to the yarn store and get her some pink yarn, his mom would be happy to make a dragon of her own!

So far, we just have the one, but one toy is tough to share, so a green one is on the way (Mitchell pronounces his name "Night Fairy" so that will be his name.  I know - scary, right?)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

He Likes It, Mom!

Jack is at the stage now where, if I leave him in one place and walk away for a moment, he will not be anywhere near that place when I return, so I often ask one or both of the older boys to stay with him and "keep him safe" if I need a few minutes to do something.  They really are quite helpful in that way - they never shy away from moving him in whatever way they can - rolling him, scooching him, dragging him, steam-rolling him - despite sometimes loud protestation from Jack.

Well, today I wanted to use the bathroom without having three boys watching me (I know, a crazy and unrealistic dream), so I left the boys in my room to...well, to figure it out on their own.  And figure it out, they did.  They discovered a new way to entertain Jack, burn some energy, and just be boys all at the same time!  

It certainly kept him busy and kept him from falling off the bed, which, I guess, is what I asked them to do.  In the absence of specifics, they came up with the solution that not only worked, but got all three of them laughing!  Jack is such a tough little guy.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Can't You Keep Your Pants On?

Mitchell has been using the toilet properly for some time now.  However, once he has "done his duty," so to speak, he seems to think the process is through and nothing else is required of him.  Not only to I have to constantly remind him to close the lid, flush the toilet, wash his hands, don't use an entire bottle of soap, and only use the soap to wash his hands and not paint the mirrors, toilet, sink, floors, doors, etc. with it, it seems he has chosen every bathroom break as a great excuse to take all his clothes off!  If I don't immediately catch him, he will take all his clothes off after using the bathroom every single time.  I see more of Mitchell's buns in a given day than I see Jack's, whose diaper I change all day long!  Most of the time, he goes, strips, and then casually returns to whatever he was doing before as if nothing has changed, but sometimes, he gets a bit goofy.  Today, he came down from "quiet time" telling me he needed a hair cut.  He had his shorts and underwear on his head and wanted me to pretend to cut them off, as if they were some wacky hairstyle, rather than clothing that belonged on the opposite end of him. 

He Asked For It...

For the first time since Mitchell became a part of Ben's world, Ben has decided there are some of his toys that Mitchell MUST not be allowed to touch anymore.  For the 3+ years that Mitchell has been alive, Ben has graciously shared all of his toys as if they belonged to both of them.  It has been wonderful.  

Yesterday, however, Mitchell crossed the line.  He completely destroyed one of Ben's precious dragons - it was just a stump of a toy - legs all missing, wings gone, half the head pulled off.  It really did look unrecognizable.  As I struggled to hold in the laughter at how completely and effectively Mitchell totaled this thing, I tried to get Ben to figure out a way to keep it from happening again.  The answer he came up with (and became increasingly excited and animated and detailed about as he thought about it) was to have a special place where he could put any toy he didn't want Mitchell to play with.  But the best part of his master plan was to make signs with NO MITCHELL written on them, which he would post at this secret place (so much for being secret, huh?)  It really is a forbidding-looking corner of the house.  He was not subtle with his artwork.

So the dragons are safely put away in my coat closet with half a dozen signs up, warning his little brother that he is no longer trusted with his most valuable possessions.

Mitchell's response to all this?  I think he actually showed some true remorse once he saw that, for the first time, he was not welcome, or even included, in some scheme Ben was up to.  He was definitely feeling left out.  As sad as it was to see him feeling this way, I think maybe this might have worked!  I doubt he will be destroying any more of Ben's dragons or other precious treasures.  Maybe I should leave the discipline up to Ben more often...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I Love You, Dad!

Seems like once you have your own kids, Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day becomes more about one's spouse than their actual mother or father.  I know little ones need help planning special things for their mommies and daddies, so that is understandable, but I wanted to take a moment to let my own dad know how much I love and appreciate him.  After all, that is what Fathers' Day is about!

Here are some of my favorite memories of you as a dad when I was a little one myself:

- stories long into the night about your own childhood.  You told the best stories and they were worth being tickled to death and squished down the crack between my bed and the wall for!
- teaching me to waterski.  you must have been drug around in the water for miles until I finally got it
- sitting on your lap while driving the motor-home on vacations
- waking up to your crazy choices of Sunday morning wake-up music (ZZ Top and Bohemian Rhapsody were among your favorites)
- being "quizzed" after both church and after-dinner devotions to make sure we were paying attention
-helping me with me school clothes shopping.  Who else's dad loved to shop like mine?
- making enormous fruit salads

There are so many wonderful memories that I will not mention, but I will end by saying that I think you were and are a great dad who loves his children and has always tried his hardest to do what is best for them.  You are loving, funny, creative, strong, and intelligent.  I love you, Dad!

Secret Plans for Fathers' Day

I love my dad because...
he is silly
he rough-houses with me
he is strong
he is fast
he takes care of me
he has a Porshe        - Ben's card

Ben was very excited at the idea of Fathers' Day today.  I think maybe it was all the hushity-hush, whispering in each other's ears, don't spoil the surprises for daddy that got him so into it.  The first thing he wanted to do when we woke up turn on Matt's favorite songs, but to "blast them because that is the way daddy likes it!"  He couldn't believe we had to actually wait until after church to get started on all the secret plans he had in his head!

After going to church, making a big breakfast together (it took two attempts at the scrambled eggs as the first bowl of raw eggs somehow made it all over Ben's shirt, the counter, the floor, the cupboards...), making cards, giving presents, and some father/son bonding/wrestling time, I must say, we were all pretty pooped!

I joke that every day is Fathers' Day, but in all seriousness, I am sincerely thankful for my husband, who is such a great father to our little boys.  There really should be more days to specifically celebrate how hard he works and how much he loves his family. Our boys love their dad so much and were so excited to be doing special things for him all day today.  Ben kept pulling me off to another room to whisper more of his secret plans for his dad in my ear today.  He just couldn't get enough of coming up with more and more things dad might like.  

We love you, Matt.  Thank you for being such a strong and loving father to Ben, Mitchell, and Jack.  I love to watch them become more and more like you as they grow.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Pressure is On, Baby Jack!

As I was watching my baby boy roll and scootch (is that even a word?) and claw his way from one end of my living room to another and have a total blast (and making quite a bit of happy noise) while doing it, I started thinking about my other boys at 6ish months and decided to go down memory lane a bit by pulling up albums of them at that age.  Sure enough, both boys were crawling by Jack's specific age.  I gotta say, his movements are amusing and entertaining and make me smile even on the most hectic of days, so I really don't feel like he is "behind" or anything absurd like that, but we are all watching closely for that first shaky crawl!  He is so close!  

No Time For Pictures Anyways

Today was the first day of soccer for Ben and Mitchell!  Matt, the boys, and I have been so excited about this.  I have really been looking forward to my boys starting sports and going to games and cheering them on and taking tons of pictures as usual.  I have a house full of boys - this is what they love, right?  So when we showed up, got their cute little uniforms on them and got them to the correct fields, you can imagine my frustration with myself for forgetting my camera on such a momentous occasion!  

Well, it turns out I would not have been able to snap a picture even if I had brought it.  Between getting Jack fed, cheering on Ben and keeping him from mowing over the smaller kids his age, and dragging Mitchell around the field, forcing him to participate, I think a camera may have gotten in the way a bit.  

Ben was a superstar.  I'm not sure he followed the rules exactly, but he was all energy and excitement and general athleticism.  With a huge grin on his face, he participated, listened, followed direction, had a great time, and took about 13 water breaks so that he could use his cool new water bottle with his name on it that they gave him.

Mitchell...well, let's just say he wasn't quite so into it.  One look at that uniform and it was all down hill from there.  If I had known it would set him off like it did, I certainly would have let him play in - well anything other than that!  I figured I'd keep my temper in check better than Matt would, so I sent him over to watch Ben and hold Jack while I busily ran around, hopped up and down, and raced with 3-year-olds, all dragging my sobbing child by the hand and trying to show him how much fun it was.  (I think possibly the program was designed for small children, not adults.)  I must have looked pretty ridiculous out there, hopping around and kicking balls at tiny people and pretending to swim away from sharks, and the like.  Mitchell's tearful excuse for not playing that particular game was, "But mommy, I don't know how to swim and there are not sharks in here anyways!"  Some other parents let their scared or shy kids sit and watch, but that's not our style and we are determined to make him like this game, darn it!  

I am hoping for a better outcome next weekend, but will at least remember to bring my camera - even if all I manage to capture is a miserable, tear-stained little boy dragging his feet at every turn.  

Friday, June 18, 2010

Our Local Barista

After I brewed my afternoon pot of coffee today, I had to sit down to feed Jack before I could pour myself a cup.  I was telling Ben how I wish he was big enough to get one for me and he thought it sounded like a pretty simple chore and wanted to try it.  Would most moms allow their 5-year-old to pour and carry burning liquid from one room to another?  I doubt it, but I wanted that coffee and wanted to let him prove himself.  He more than exceeded my expectations and from now on, he is my new barista!  He was so excited to bring me that first 1/4 of a cup (his idea to only put a few sips in so he wouldn't spill) that he sat there and watched every sip I took, urging me to finish it more quickly so he could re-fill it.  Once he had coffee down, he was feeling a bit parched so he moved on to making himself some chocolate milk.  He did every step from getting the milk from the fridge to getting out the Nesquik, to pouring and stirring and, of course, drinking!  Typical male though, he needed encouragement with the putting-away and cleaning up part.  All in all though, quite an accomplishment, Ben!

Wish I Had Made It Sooner

My new project is so cute, soft, and cuddly, I only wish I had made it a few months sooner so my own little baby could have used one!  Can't you just picture a sweet little newborn cuddled up in this little sleep-sack?  

Thursday, June 17, 2010

When All Else Fails...There's Always Vacuuming!

We had a long day today.  We went to three different stores looking for soccer shorts, of all things.  What kind of sporting goods store doesn't carry kids' clothes???  Well, three stores later, a lot of fort-making out of clothing racks, and plenty of "evil eye" from store employees, we finally found something that will work.  Next stop, grocery store.  Those of you with more than one child know about the "race car" shopping cart.  Oh, race car cart, how I loathe you...  Have you ever tried to pass another one down a narrow aisle?  It takes some serious maneuvering and balancing skills, and often catching skills as shelf items inevitably come crashing down to some degree.  Seems like the moms who use them know what they are doing though and we all have the same look on our faces - a calculating look that seems to be judging just how much room we have to squeeze two giant carts with a car seat inside and two kids hanging out the side doors, all without pausing, slowing, or looking like we might not have things quite under control.  We manage to get past each other and change the look on our faces to one of smugness - like we mastered some amazing challenge never attempted before.  Good job, moms of many kids driving monstrous carts!  You deserve a glass of wine tonight! :)

After a long morning of running errands, I thought for sure the boys would want to snuggle up in bed for a bit (yes, my boys actually do WANT to nap some days, believe it or not) but they insisted they were not tired.  They really are too old for naps now so I let them stay up.  The problem with cutting out the nap is that I have to fill that once quiet oasis of time in my day with something else - something that involves two crazy, slightly tired boys rather than reading or emailing or napping myself.  I will be honest, I needed a nap, so I was quickly running out of ideas and patience.  This was when the idea hit me - get out the vacuum!  No, not a toy vacuum, the real thing!  (Ours is mysteriously named Fo-Fannah, by the way.)  After I did what actually needed to be done, the boys just took over!  The noise mesmerized fussy Jack, and had the older boys so busy, they forgot to harass me!  They had couch cushions off and were busy vacuuming both sides of them and under them.  They were down on their bellies with the hose getting the dust under the couches.  I showed them how they could suck up dust just about anywhere
with it and they took turns pushing the vacuum around while the other one did the actual vacuuming.
They even went so far as to vacuum the windows (not sure if that did any good, but I cheered them on anyways.) 

I love you, Fo-Fannah.  You saved my sanity today.  

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It's All in the Eyes

Mitchell and I were playing a game tonight and his dinosaur was pretending to be mean to me so I pretended to be sad about it - I thought I was doing a pretty decent forlorn expression, but apparently Mitchell was not fooled.  He looked at me and said, "Mom, you don't look sad because you don't have sad enough eyes!"  

I get that kind of thing a lot from both my big boys - that my eyes are saying something they either like or dislike.  To be honest, I think eyes always look the same and it is the whole facial expression that shows the emotion, but my boys sometimes ask me not to have "mean eyes" or tell me they know I'm joking because I have "laughing eyes," or they know when I'm in a bad mood because of my "sad eyes."  Ben even told me once he thought I should take a nap because I had "tired eyes."  I am so glad we spend enough time together that they know me by my eyes.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Last First

Well, my baby Jack, you have given us a last first - last first baby teeth have arrived and we are all thrilled about it! Congratulations!  We will never see this milestone of a child's life again and we are so excited (your big brothers especially) to 
watch you grow up!  His two bottom teeth have made an appearance, and what a smile he has!  Ben is very interested in the whole process and asks many questions about teeth in general, but Mitchell just loves those sharp little buggers!  He is willing to brave the dreaded slobber (we call his drool the "Jack attack") in order to stick his fingers in there to feel them all the time.  "Bite me, Jack Jack!"  Who'd of thought getting bitten would be a fun game?  
Jack, you are an adorable, happy little chub, and Mitchell, you are very very brave!

You Ate a What?

Grandma and Grandpa Norris are here in Chicago visiting us!  What a treat for us, especially for the boys who don't get to see them nearly enough.  For a special treat after dinner tonight, Grandpa took the big boys to Dairy Queen for a blizzard.  When they got back, Ben came bounding in the door looking for me, and when he found me, he said, "Mom!  It was so delicious as usual!"  When I asked him what he had, he replied, "I had a blister!"  Sounds yummy...and a bit painful!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mitchell's Bucket List

Well, Mitchell has a few items on his bucket list already - places he has decided he must see and soon!  

1. The sea monsters in the fountain in Memorial Park here in Chicago (not sure if there are sea monsters in it, but Ben told him there are, so he must see them now.  Not sure what will happen if there are no monsters in it when we get there...)

2. Ride the ferris wheel at Navy Pier (he has ridden it before, but just saw it from the car a few days ago and now asks every day if we are going to ride the ferris wheel again)

3. Mount Rushmore (he saw "the big man faces on the mountain" on a show tonight and added that to his list of places to see)

Right before bed tonight, he reminded me that he would like to see the sea monsters, the ferris wheel, and the big man faces on the mountain again.  Is this going to be an every day thing until we start crossing some things off his list?  I'm not sure when we will get to South Dakota next...

Friday, June 11, 2010

A New Food Discovery and A New Way to Sleep

Today was the last day of our vacation and "going home" day.  The boys had to say goodbye to their "dude room," the hot tubby, their radio and TV, and the mini corn-dogs they had for dinner at two separate restaurants two nights in a row.  What is it with that town and corn-dogs?  I've never seen them on the kids menu anywhere else.  My kids have a new favorite food that I hope I've convinced them only exists in this one town.  They thought they were awesome though - they were shaped like little eggs (not on a stick like I remember them from childhood) and when dipped in ketchup, they pretended they were bloody dinosaur eggs they were eating.  Gross.  What is vacation for if not for air guitar in the dude room, sandy hot tubs, long naps, and bloody dinosaur eggs for dinner?  Doesn't get any better than that... 

Speaking of long naps, there is nothing like long hours of jumping and climbing and rolling in the sand to make a 3 and 5 - year old ready for a nap, but Mitchell still insisted he was not tired each day and was not going to close his eyes at all.  We finally made a compromise and he decided he'd just sleep with his eyes open.  Works for me!  

C'mon, Mom!

Day two of our "beach vacation" brought beautiful sunshine and perfectly warm beach weather.  While daddy stayed home with baby Jack during his morning nap, the boys and I rode our bikes down to the beach to get a jump start on the day.

I hardly had time to set my things down before the boys were pulling me off to check out the giant rocks they wanted to climb.  The beach had a jetty separating the beach from the bay and it looked tall and long even to me, so I can't imagine how it must have looked to two little boys - must have seemed pretty awesome.  I figured I'd help them climb up the the top near the sand and they'd look over the other side and that would be it, but they totally suprised me with their bravery and rock-climbing/jumping abilities!  We didn't just "check it out" a little, we climbed/jumped/ran all the way to the end. Ben was a crazy little dare-devil who never once needed a hand and never even stopped to find his footing - he just went for it.  As I occasionally had to slow down to help Mitchell make a bigger jump over a large crack between two boulders, Ben would shout back, "C'mon mom!  We've gotta make it to the end!"  And make it, we did!  By the time we got back to the beach, Matt had shown up with Jack and the guys were on to other adventures (more contests and feats of strength mostly), but I haven't had such a good time with my big boys in a long time.  Thank you for the adventure, my big boys, and well done!


Saved by the Hot Tub and a Party in the Dude Room

For the last few days, we have been on our "Beach vacation," as the boys call it. We have had a blast playing on the beach and just goofing around in general together with no work or other distractions. We had a great time.

We got off to a bit of a rough start though when the rain threatened to ruin our first day. It was raining when we arrived, but since it was still warm out, the boys would not be swayed in their desire to immediately play on the beach. This vacation was supposed to be about having fun and doing crazy things together, and a little rain never hurt anyone, so we decided to get a little wet and play in the sand. Playing in the sand turned into jumping off the dunes and rolling down them and all sorts of contests involving jumping, rolling, wrestling, pushing, and the like. I'm pretty sure the boys had a great time, but we got thoroughly soaked and more than a little covered in sand. Needless to say, mom was not having a great time at this point.

When we got back though, the boys and daddy all jumped in the "hot tubby" and that filled the rest of their afternoon. They had never been in a hot tub before and thought it was just the greatest thing! The little control panel to adjust jets and temperature was turned into a master computer that performed all sorts of important functions and the jets at their strongest were the coolest thing for them! When they came back in, Ben exclaimed, "Mom, those jets are so strong they blow me around and around in circles in there!"

After a wet day in the rain at the beach, and then getting blown around in circles in the hot tub, it was definately time to explore the house a bit more thoroughly. They were overjoyed to discover that not only did they get to share a big bed in their own room, but they had their own TV and a radio to "blast the tunes,"
as Ben put it. So blast the tunes, they did. They kept running back out to the living room to invite daddy to the "Dude party in our room! No mommies, the music is too loud!" It really was too loud for me, to be honest. How well they know me...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

And the Search is on...

The search is on for eyeball candy!  The ogres is my family don't feel...well...quite ogreish without having some eyeballs to eat.  If you can believe it, the specialty candy store in our neighborhood has nothing in the line of eyeballs!  Are we the only people who want some edible eyeballs?  C'mon!  Anyone know where we can find candy, chocolate, gumballs, anything yummy (besides real eyeballs - I know humans, not just ogres, do actually eat them.  No thanks) that looks like an eyeball?  

We turned the disappointment at our failure to locate an edible eyeball into excitement over finding new candy stores to find and visit.  Let the hunt begin! :)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Our Shadow

The boys were feeling well enough today that I decided to finally get something done and run some errands with them.  One place we went was the craft store.  I needed some things and the boys love it there!  There are aisles and aisles of treasure to be gotten into!  They love just about every aisle - soft things to feel, treasure boxes to fill, strange hooks and large needles to sword fight with, beads to scatter... And at the end, a whole shelf full of candy to beg for!

I have taken them with me before, so I knew what to expect, but I had a little "talk" with them before we went in this time, promising they could pick one kind of candy to share if they followed the rules I gave them.  Well, asking a little boy to behave and not make a mess in an environment like that might not be cruel, but it is, at least, rediculous.  After about 10 minutes there, I started to notice our "shadow" following discreetly behind us.  This poor store employee followed us to every place we went, replacing feather boas, re-sorting colorful beads, re-shelving wooden treasure boxes (after emptying the "treasures" out of them), re-wrapping yarn, and hanging things back up properly (after my attempts to clean up after ourselves.)   Needless to say, they did not receive their candy, but we did enjoy exploring the store.  Sorry, Mr. Shadow for the extra work today!  

Am I the Only One Who Needs a Nap?
You would think after all the running around this morning, we would all settle nicely into a nap.  Come on, they are still recovering - they should still be tired, right?  Well, getting a second to myself was more difficult than keeping the craft store tidy today.  Jack would not stay asleep for more than half an hour and the big boys?  Forget about it...No more sleepy, sick boys for me!  There was so much commotion going on in there room, it sounded like a birthday party in there!  I finally heard Ben yell, "Mitchell, put your clothes back on and stop wiping your bum on me!" and decided it was time to give up on 
the whole nap idea.  I snuck upstairs with my camera to catch them in some sort of mischief (or covered in poop) and found them out of their room.  Ben had the decency to look guilty, but Mitchell immediately launched into a full description of everything he was and had been doing, as if that was what he was supposed to be doing and I should want to hear it all!  I snapped a few pics of them anyways.  Cute even when naughty!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Maybe We Could Take a Corvette?

After "quiet time" today, the boys and I sat in the living room talking about the rest of our day and what we should do with it.  Ben suggested we go to the park and Mitchell quickly agreed that that was a good idea.  Just walking to the park wasn't quite enough for him though.  He said to me, "Maybe we could take a Corvette there?"  I asked him where we were going to find a Corvette and he said, "We could look in someone's garage and find one!"  I'm not sure where the idea of a Corvette came from, but when we did finally get outside and Ben was getting on his bike, Mitchell was just standing there.  I asked him why he wasn't getting on his bike, and he said, "I thought we were going to take a Corvette!"  He really thought we were going to go snooping into garages until we found this car, then we were going to somehow get in and drive it to the park.  Where does he get these ideas?

Just a few pics of yet another day spent at home without any friends because we are sick.  Feel like we have the plague or something. 

  Speaking of the plague, I was just talking to a friend about the name of the sickness the boys have - Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease.  We agreed that it sounds like either some crazy plague from Biblical times, or some disease livestock get, rather than a rash in the throat.  Seriously, can't we rename this "disease?"  At least not call it a "disease?"  

Friday, June 4, 2010

One Way to Get Jesus Inside You...

Both Ben and Mitchell have lately been quite curious about God and Jesus and asking me questions all the time.  Nothing like having to explain what you believe to a child to make you actually think about what you believe and why.  It is a lot more difficult to explain the concept of God than I thought it would be.  Ben gets it a bit more than Mitchell does.  For him, the "invisibility" of God is no problem.  The idea of invisibility is magical and, therefore, easy for Ben (maybe children in general?) to understand.  

Mitchell doesn't quite get the concept yet.  He was asking where Jesus lives and I said that he lives inside us if we want him to.  He thought about the idea of someone inside of him as he drank his smoothie and then said, "If I want Jesus inside me, I could put him in my cup and drink him!  Then he'd be inside me!"  Well, not quite what I was getting at, but it was funny and Ben had a good laugh at that one!

Another thing on Mitchell's mind lately is the idea of baby teeth vs. adult teeth.  He is fascinated with Jack's two new teeth coming in and that sparked the conversation with Matt that he will one day get to grow in some more of his own.  I could tell the talk was worrying him, but didn't say anything.  Later in the day, Mitchell came up to me with a worried look on his face, and, holding back tears, told me he didn't want all his teeth to fall out!   He has reminded me a few times since then that he wants to keep his teeth and that he needs them.  I've given up trying to explain "someday" to him and have just started telling him he can just keep the old ones as long as he wants them.  

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mitchell's Magic Potion

Well, my poor Ben is terribly sick, so we were stuck home all day today.  After breakfast with daddy, we decided to just stay in our jammies and watch a movie.  Ben focused on the movie (and not crying over the pain in his mouth) while Jack, Mitchell, and I played silly baby games on the living room floor.  

It turns out Mitchell has quite a tender side.  While I was beginning to loose patience with Ben today, M was nothing but patient with his cranky older brother - inventing games to play (usually Ben's job), telling silly stories (I'll have to share a few of them
 some time.  I wrote them all down), making special "potions" for Ben to drink to feel better, and bringing him his blankie when he'd start crying.  M almost filled his whole sticker chart in one day today!  Way to go, my middle boy!  I'm so proud of you today. 

Here is a pic of Ben warming up to his "potion" that Mitchell and I made him.  

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


If you are not a Shrek fan, you might not be familiar with his drink-of-choice, the eyeball-tini, but here in our house, it has become a new favorite!  Ben and Mitchell decided they wanted to make daddy a drink to give him when he got home from work this evening, so we quickly hunted down some eyeballs and concocted up some delicious ogre beverages!  Drink up, boys!

Speaking of Shrek, our favorite of the 4 movies is, by far, Shrek 2.  It's got everything my boys find exciting and funny - dragons, ogres, potions, eyeball-tinis, mud baths, a donkey who says all sorts of funny things they don't really get but constantly repeat, a cat wearing boots... But this movie for them is not just about the action.  Mitchell can't get enough of the soundtrack, especially the song "Changes," originally sung by David Bowie.  He daily asks me to play/sing "ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!"  To a 3-year-old, some things never get old.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Baby Toys and One Sick Boy

Thank goodness for Jack's toys!  Somedays, I think I could put all the "big boy" toys away and all three boys would be satisfied with just the baby toys.  I put Jack in his excersaucer and the big boys immediately gather around him.  Maybe it is all the whistles and buzzers and lights and noises, but whatever it is, I support their interest!  Jack loves the attention and I get a moment to myself to just sit and watch!

Another toy of Jack's that is a hit is his little play mat.  You would not believe how many things that has become for the boys - a dinosaur, a monster, a race car, a trailer, swords, blanket, diaper (yes, a diaper), a cage, a doghouse... I'm sure I am forgetting something, but the point is, the toys meant for babies become something entirely new in the hands of imaginative boys with too much energy!  

Ben had a tough day today.  He is sick, but since it is his last week of preschool and doesn't want to miss a thing, I let him go today.  He was tired when I dropped him off and even more tired when I picked him up again, but he said he had a great time anyways.  I asked him how school went and he said, "well, since I was a little sick, I decided to play dinosaurs instead of dragons - that takes alot less energy!"  Well, his low-energy plan still tuckered him out.  He crashed on the couch as soon as he stumbled into it!  Poor little guy.  
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