Friday, July 31, 2009

Our Sunflowers

This is the second year in a row that we've planted sunflowers. This year we planted the mammoth variety as well as some shorter varieties for more color. The mammoth sunflower is so fun! A little seed growing into a 10 + foot plant in such a short amount of time is incredible! The kids love watching their progress. They were so excited that the tallest one had bloomed today!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Our favorite spot in the garden

Caroline and I picked out a package of wildflower seeds at the store a couple of months ago. We opened the package up and marveled at the diversity of seeds there were in there. We agreed that they were "super easy" to plant because all we had to do was loosen the soil with a hoe, scatter the seeds, and water. A couple of months later, we're so excited to see all of the different flowers blooming, to see the wonderful variety of shapes, colors and sizes.

Tonight, we both agreed that it was our favorite spot in the garden. (You can click on the picture to see it bigger!)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

All in a day's play

We've been hard at work with chores lately around home, so today we played a little hooky. We just played and played and played. And it felt good.

There was a lot of slipping...

and sliding...

and splashing...
as well as cookie baking (and dough-eating)...

and dress-up.
This photo makes for good leverage when Evan's a teenager. Since our daughter does not have a little sister, she has to make do with her little brother. Obviously, her big brothers are not as compliant.

At least she let him wear a police helmet. :)

And to end the day, sparklers and a sleepover...

Evan and Ryan

One afternoon, about 3 and a half years ago, my next door neighbor came over for a visit. Just that morning, I had gone in to my OB where my pregnancy with Evan had been confirmed. I had left my prenatal vitamins on the counter, and she spotted them. She excitedly asked me, "Are you pregnant?!"

"Yes, I am," I answered.


We compared due dates and found out that they were within a day of each other. We were dumbfounded...and so excited. They were expecting their first, and we were expecting our fourth.

Its been so fun sharing our pregnancies and all of our experiences with these two good buddies!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sarah's Salon

Because my daughter is about ready to start Kindergarten, we've been practicing several hairstyles recently. We'll practice whenever she's game and whenever I have time. This particular french braid we did when she was laying in my lap watching cartoons. That position is probably not the best one for straight parts, but she was still thrilled with her new "do". :)
french braid 005

french braid 004

french braid 001

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Potty Training Evan is not for the faint of heart...

We're at about two weeks that we've been letting Evan run around the house sans diapers. He's been doing pretty well, as long as we don't put pants of any kind on him. As long as we do that, he doesn't have any accidents.

But...he does not fare as well once he's wearing something on the lower half of his body. He's trying, but he seems to not be as aware once he has something on. Today we tried new Sesame Street underwear. We figured he would be so excited about Super Grover on his bottom that he would have less accidents.

So far, so good. Super Grover seems to be working some magic. The only consequence to the new pants would be that they seem to have encouraged him to be a super hero himself. A super hero armed with a super-powered oven mitt. Beware, Henry, Seth and Caroline!
bigboypants 004

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Our backyard pets

There is no doubt about it. Our children love exploring our back yard in search of little critters that they can call their own, if only on a temporary basis. Just yesterday they found a little toad. Young Caroline was bursting to tell everyone, including my Aunt Shirley, who I had just been talking to on the phone. She repeatedly told her Great Aunt how cute the toad was, how sweet and little.

Evan knows just what to do to keep a toad contained, but was also thrilled to keep peeking in at and showing off his little temporary pet.
They are always a little sad to let their pets go, but I think that it is easier for them to accept when they know they'll probably catch something else, possibly even the next day.

And it turned out that Caroline did catch something the very next day. Something she thought was even cuter and sweeter. Something that she wanted to keep forever. Here's a picture of what she caught. Any guesses?Caroline had been in the backyard today while Dave was playing with Seth. Dave noticed that she was digging with a little sand shovel in the corner of the yard. A few minutes later she came running over to Dave, saying, "DADDY, LOOK AT THESE CUTE, LITTLE CATERPILLARS I FOUND!!!" Dave took a look, and marveled at the little creatures with her. He insisted that she show what she found to me when I was done putting Evan down for his nap. While she waited, she drew that picture. Any guesses yet? Hint: They were NOT caterpillars.

When I came downstairs, Caroline quickly ran up to me and showed me what she found. I looked into her bucket and saw...


Now, I have to admit, I did not find them cute or sweet. In fact, I did have to stifle a natural "Ewwww" reflex in order to protect my daughter's feelings.

They really are not a good looking insect, and they really are not that little. They were the size of a cicada.

We observed them for a little bit, and I did bring myself to call them interesting...fascinating even. And then we put them away for Dad to "release" later. ;)

Guess what Dave was doing tonight? Despite my daughter's wishes, I really don't want to keep those lawn grubs forever. God bless the people that make Grub-X.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Popsicle Party honoring Evan's first Poop on the Potty

That's right! This young man did it! He pooped on the potty for the first time today. Peeing...that's old hat. He's been able to do that for ages. Standing up even. (Are you impressed?!) But pooping on the potty has been a little tougher.

As you may know, bigger challenges lead to bigger rewards. And in Evan's book, bigger reward=chocolate popsicle. So, after the big event today, it was chocolate popsicles for everyone.

Evan couldn't have been more pleased!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We've discovered new territory.

We have been to the zoo two other times this year, and we really covered a lot of ground in those visits. However, everything that we visited, we've visited before. Yesterday, we went to the zoo with one of my high school friends and her two children, and they showed us a part of the zoo that we've never seen before (aside from Henry who had visited this particular spot on a field trip with school). It amazes me, and also slightly embarasses me, that we were not even aware of a whole section of the zoo. Those of you who know me well might understand that reading maps is not one of my strong suits, but I am working on that.

So, we went to The Living Coast, and it was the general consensus that it is our new favorite place at the zoo. The kids got to climb on a life size replica of a leatherback turtle

see giant waves crashing over them,
get eaten by large fish (borrowing a line from Henry's blog!),

and see large alligators just a few feet away.
After that exciting exhibit, we headed to the butterfly house, where the highlight of the visit was a butterfly landing right on Evan's tushy. As you might have guessed, hilarity ensued.

Right outside of that exhibit, I snapped this picture of my favorite 7 year old.
And, as the grand finale of this post, here's the whole motley crew from our day at the zoo together.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Like Mother, Like Son

Not only has my son caught my "shutterbug" in that he is taking about as many pictures as I do, but he is now also blogging. When he asked me if he could start a blog, I told him yes, he could as long as I am his editor-in-chief and he checks all of his entries with me before he posts them. He agreed to my terms, so now we have another blogger in the family.

If you'd like to check out his blog, and perhaps leave a comment to encourage him, just click on this link: Henry's Happenings

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Food, family, fun...

...that about sums it up for our Saturday night. We went to my cousins' house (Tom and Diana) for their son's high school graduation (Eric).
Eric and Diana
Cousins Tom and Jim as well as a friend
We were sooo excited that so many of our relatives, even some of our Florida relatives, could be there. My Uncle Bob and Aunt Pat (my mom's sister) drove up...

...and my cousin, Jim was also able to make it (although we missed his wife, Marci). Having everyone together was so much fun, and it brought back such fond memories all of the family gatherings at my Aunt Pat and Uncle Bob's house when I was growing up.

There was live music, compliments of The Spectacles. Their name is derived from the fact that they all wear glasses. :) My cousin, Pat, plays drums in the band, and my cousin, Jim, made a guest appearance. They seriously sound amazing. Their renditions of the classics are HUGE crowd-pleasers...

Caroline was so happy that she wore a "spinny" dress, and was convinced that some of the music was "Hannah Montana"!

Evan and my cousin, Mary, did a little dancing too. (I love her makes me happy!)

There was a little swing in the backyard that the kids loved. Henry informed me that it was the perfect spot to listen to the music and still be able to talk. It was there that he decided that he wants to start playing the guitar. Henry and I were talking about it on the swing when my cousin, Jim, joined us. He is a very gifted guitar player, and has always played the guitar at our family gatherings. (His version of Cat's in the Cradle is my absolute favorite!) He was so dear talking with us about Henry learning how to play the guitar. Jim even asked Henry if he could check out his hand, looking at the size of it and checking his strength. Jim said that with a lot of practice, Henry could do well. Henry was beaming!

We not only have future guitar talent in this family, but we also have future basketball talent. He needs a little boost now, but give him a few years.

****What a great party, Tom and Diana! Thanks for the pictures, Mary!

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Scout Camp Cookout

On the last night of camp, they put on a big cookout and show for all of the families. Tonight was that night, so we packed up the family and headed over to the camp ground together. It was fun to be with all of Seth's friends' families. I think Seth will miss this camp next week!

Here's a clip of a very long, mostly enthusiastic camp song performed by Seth's pack. It does have its funny moments, so watch if you'd like!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

FINALLY... came.

The past few days I feel like I've been stalking our mailman, watching for him and running out to the mailbox as soon as he delivers our mail.

You see, Kindergarten class placement letters were supposed to be delivered sometime this week.

I told myself as I waited that:
  • it didn't matter which teacher Caroline had for Kindergarten, that both teachers were very good.
  • Caroline will do well where ever she is, as she seems to adapt well and is an eager learner.
  • it didn't matter if she had morning or afternoon Kindergarten.
  • even if none of her friends are in her class, she would make new friends quickly and have playdates with her old friends.
But despite all of this positive thinking, I was still anxious about it.

Thank God the placement letters came today. I was driving myself a little crazy.

I'm happy with her teacher, the time she goes and how it fits into our schedule, and that she has a couple of friends in her class.

She was happy too, especially about her friends, and the fact that she has the same teacher that Henry had for Kindergarten. She told Henry about it, and they were so excited that they went running upstairs to get Henry's Kindergarten Memory Book. He proceeded to show Caroline a picture of "their" teacher, as well as pictures of things he did (and what she might do) in Kindergarten. Here's some of what she saw:

Kindergarten Henry

A sample of Henry's written work (Click to enlarge...I love the cross eyebrows and broken glasses in the picture.)

A memento from Hennnry's first day of school...really, he did know how to spell his name, but he was apparently really into those n's. :)

Our family tree, pre-Evan

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

She's OK

Yesterday, Caroline took a tumble off her bike. She was wearing her helmet, of course, but she did hit her cheek pretty hard. We watched her last night, but she seemed to be fine.

Today she complained of a headache, and after we got back from a playdate in the morning, she complained of a stomach ache too. She became nauseous and dizzy, and then told me that she couldn't hear me well.

I started worrying that she might have a concussion. I called her pediatrician and he advised us to head over to the ER. I did, but by the time we were in the ER, she started to feel better. The doctor said that more than likely it was the fall that was causing her symptoms, but it was a good sign that she was improving. She advised me to watch her carefully over the next 24 hours, and if she worsened again, I should bring her back in for a CAT scan. They also X-rayed her jaw because she was having some pain there, but that checked out OK too.

Tonight, she has been well.

I am so thankful that she is ok, but am still feeling a little jittery about the whole experience. I'll be checking on her a few times tonight... :)

(This picture has nothing to do with her accident, but I thought it was cute and needed to be posted. :) It was taken a couple of days ago.)

Seth the Scout

This boy has waited years and years (ok, maybe its only been 2 years) to have his turn at cub scout camp. He is FINALLY having his turn this week.

One of my friends has said that boys should join scouts just to take part in this camp. Seth has been so excited to go, especially because of all of the games and projects they do, not to mention archery, catapaults and bb guns. Dave was able to go with him on day 2 and took lots of pictures for us. Thanks, Dave!

Monday, July 13, 2009


Shortly before we left for our trip to Texas, Caroline found a caterpillar. As you may know, Caroline has a special place in her heart for caterpillars. She immediately fell in love with this one, requested a tupperware to make a home for it (which was stylishly and amply furnished), and named it "Fluffy".

The next day Fluffy made its cocoon. I am not joking.

Fast forward to today...we looked in on Fluffy. Much to Caroline's delight, Fluffy had become a beautiful, white, spotted moth. Here she is telling her own version of the story.

Bubbles in the Bath

Poor was not the most exciting day for our two youngest. (The older two were at a playdate and scout camp.) Mom was on a mission to catch up after the big trip to Texas. You calls, mail, unpacking, laundry, you name it. After they had their fill of helping me, playing with their toys, and even a little Caillou, they needed something else to do. It's funny and very sweet how excited these two were when I suggested a simple bubble bath.

And now tonight, I'd like to say that both my kids and my house is clean. But I can't. :) The kids are. The house isn't. However, looking on the bright side, I am a lot closer to a clean house than I was this morning, right?!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Henry's Third Grade Reunion

Henry's third grade teacher, Mrs. Messina, is very gifted and fun educator, as well as a very brave woman. She invited her entire third grade class (and their parents) to her house for lunch and a pool party. Amazing. The kids were thrilled to be all together again, reminiscing about the good old days when they were third graders.

Here are the new fourth graders, preparing to jump into the pool as a class:

They were thrilled when Mrs. Messina's dog, Daisy, decided to take a swim!