Saturday, August 2, 2014

Just Keep Swimming


What a Busy Busy Day.  Oy!  We were partying all day long, and didn't get home until 5. But what a great way to go!   To start, last week was our last swim class.  But with all the crazy - I must confess I wasn't too disappointed when it got cancelled due to weather.  It meant I got an earlier start on my road trip, and Eric made it to the Family Reunion on time.   AND as an added bonus, we had the last swim class on a day we could make it, and still be able to stay late.  We usually try to end the swim season by paying to stay late, and swim as much as we can.  The water was cold, but our moods are good.

During the last class, I dropped the boys off to swim, and I ran to the grocery store, to pick up some picnic makin's.  Well, to make a long story short, I locked my keys in the car, and didn't realize it until checkout.  I sat there with Jake and my cheese, and started to freak out... when I looked up and saw a Pike Department Fire Truck.  Now, my father-in-law works with them, and they've always struck me as a classy team, so I took a chance, and went over and asked if they could help me get into my car.  Since it wasn't an official run, they could, and did!  I was exhausted from the stress before I even got back to the pool.  But then I got to see my boys finish their swim season.

For me, this was my proudest moment.  See that tiny speck at the top of the giant waterslide?
That's Christopher!  

He is still 1 1/2 inches too short to technically ride that waterslide, but his teachers know he's a strong enough swimmer to let him go down.  So, as a reward, for the end of the year, they let him, just the one time, before the pool technically opened.  And the lifeguard stayed close.  

And he did Great!  
I'm so proud of him!  

Sam generally has been kind of scared of getting wet, or going down slides, or getting wet.  
He told me that earlier in the class season, he slipped off the kickboard and was terrified he'd drown.  He clearly didn't, but he must've sputtered and been traumatized, because anytime we or they try to get him out in water and get his head wet, he freaks out.  

Sam will get out there eventually, but in the mean time, he's ok at the edge.  And he stays pretty close to us. I don't have to worry about him doing any daring tricks.   So he stayed close to Daddy and Jake. After our picnic we went right back into the pool and played some more.  I could see why the kids were blue so often this season, it was rather cold.  But it's been a chilly summer.  And actually, even though it was cold, it felt good to soak.  Gravity sucks.  I much prefer to take the edge off my joints in a nice pool.  And cold, well, I couldn't feel the pain in my joints anyway.  I could barely feel my legs.  ;)  But the kids don't care.  They play until they are blue. 

Then there's this one, who was going down the kiddie slide like he was surfing.  

Jacob made some progress today too.  
He and Daddy were doing the baby slides.  
He didn't love it, but he kept going around on his own and climbing up the stairs.  
This year, he needs a little help.  


But I bet by next year, he'll be doing it all on his own.  

Christopher is more my daring one.  

Sam did venture around the splash zone, and got a little wet by the sprinklers.  
Not his hair of course, but he let the rest of him get wet.  

Jacob was getting a lot braver walking around in the shallow water.  

OK, when we all started getting really cold, we had to tell Chris, one more waterslide ride for the road. 
So he did his surfer trick down the slide. 

Totally surfer dude! 

Like I said, it was a little chilly, so all the kids lay like lizards in the sun to warm up a bit.  

We were going to John's birthday party, but it wasn't until 2, and the kids were done at 1.  So, how do you kill a bit of time after a good swim.  The answer - ice cream!  Well, frozen custard anyway. We took over the joint!  Nothing cures a swim exhaustion like a mass trip to Culver's.  That cured what ailed me.  Daddy and Jake shared some fried cheese curds.  Jake may be our child after all.  He liked my chocolate ice cream, and daddy's fried cheese.  The kids had fun at the big kid table while the grownups chatted a bit.  Good times, and a perfect end to the swim season.  

Afterward we went to John John's 1st birthday party.  His cake was orange.  And it was great.  

Nothing says a successful first birthday party like a sweetboy covered in icing, and smiling madly because he's hyped up on sugar.  Ah...

Then the sugar crash came, and he needed out, and a bath, and a nap. 
And we left shortly thereafter.  It's fun to see Jacob's baby friends get older too.  They are growing way too fast.  But what a great day to spend a summer day. 

"Fair"ly Crazy Day


Remember when Christopher was in ICC day camp, and they had that great concert to end the week.  Well, they told us, that the Day Camp ICC kids could come to the Indiana State Fair  to sing on their opening weekend.  Now at first, I thought this was not going to happen, because school started before the Fair did.  But Mommy is a sucker, and frankly, the experience of singing before an audience at the State Fair at age 8 seemed worth a late night to me.  Eric's company had been trying to plan a trip to the Fair for the whole crew, but it wasn't working for them, so they just gave out free tickets to anyone that wanted to go.  Um, Yes Please!  Though once I started calculating how long it would take to get Chris down there after school, it became clear, we were going to need to grab him out of school a little bit early.  So I picked up Chris and Sam about 3:15, and grabbed Daddy on our way into town, so we could get Christopher to his rehearsal by 4:30.

All my Boyz at the Indiana State Fair. 
Turns out this year's theme was Year of the Coliseum.  
But I didn't know that when I took this picture of the boys with the Coliseum fair sign in the background. 
Just lucky I guess. 

Christopher had to rehearse for a while, so we took Sam around for some Fair time.  By the time we got there, we were thirsty.  Sam asked for Root Beer. So we got the giant jug of root beer, the one with the 2$ refills.  And we made the most of those refills, splitting that cup of root beer 4 ways!  

Root beer makes Sam very happy. 

They revamped the inside of the Coliseum. 
The Beatles and Elvis performed here back in the day. 
They put in new seats, repainted, it looks very bright and shiny. 
And yet it still retains it's classic looks. 

Sam could have cared less that they revamped the Coliseum. 
He was just happy we let him ride a pony, and since it Did Not cost 1 penny, he should be. 

Well, no trip to the Fair is complete without Fair Food. 
So we grabbed some snacks while Chris was in his hour rehearsal.  
Sam didn't want his picture taken, but I'm like my Grandpa, I enjoy taking pictures of food. 

One of the new treats of the fair this year, that I hadn't seen before was the meat parfait.  The first I saw was lamb, but I didn't want lamb.  So when I saw this Chicken Parfait at the chicken tent, I snapped it up.  It's barbecue sauce, chicken, and mashed potatoes, layered to look like an ice cream parfait.  Tastes more like a meal than the dessert.  What a treat!

Eric also got some mozzerella sticks, and a grilled cheese sandwich from the cheese barn.  And we shared some deep fried green beans.  I got Chris turkey on a stick, for a snack, and Sam ate about a third, but it was huge, so there was still plenty for us to take to Chris.  

We stopped into the Purdue Pavilion to check out the giant block of cheese. 
Imagine my surprise, when we found that it was still being carved!  The gal takes the first whole weekend of the fair to complete it.  This was my first time coming on opening day.  

I really enjoyed it.  


I really enjoyed hearing Christopher sing with his group again. 
They gave us two shows, one at 5:30 and another at 6:30.  They didn't have much of a break in between, just enough time for some root beer, water, and a bit of turkey leg and granola bar. 

That seemed to pep him up to focus! 
He makes me so proud to see him happy and singing.  


After their last number, Sam had to go to the bathroom, and I was desperate to fine the Maple Cream we found years ago at the maple hut by the little old schoolhouse.  It was Still There!  We bought 2 tubs of Maple Cream, froze one, and and dug into the other for breakfast today.  Maple Cream is whipped maple syrup, thick and stiff like butter.  It's perfect for putting on waffles, to give to kids so they don't make a huge mess everywhere.  Plus, since it's made of homemade local maple syrup, it's So Good!  I scoped out where they are, and am hoping to plan a road trip to Greencastle when I run out instead of having to suffer until we make it to the State Fair! 

Meanwhile Chris wanted to go into the little school.  He did that last time we came to the fair, a couple years ago, but the school was closed by the time we got there.  

We took a break to powder noses, and for me to nurse Jake in the Nursing Tent.  I love the Nursing Tents, they used to be sponsered by MCHD WIC, then the Milk Bank, now it's the State WIC program sponsering, and I don't care who started it, I just love to go nurse in there, even if Jake is nearing too big for such stops.  I love rocking by a fan, they have changing tables, and they are just so nice in there.  I like stopping by every time.  I think once the boys are older, I'll be one of their volunteers.  

When I returned, I found the boys in the Boy Scout exhibit, learning how to shoot.  No really, they were trying on guns and firing at targets.  Oy.  

Chris got his safety goggles on, and ready aim fired! 
He did great. 

Sam's ears were too low for the safety glasses so Eric had to help him wearing goggles too.  
The two of them were pretty cute taking their turns at shooting together too.

Jake could have cared less. 
I let him have the mostly empty root beer bottle.  
But now Sam can't wait to be a Scout too. 

My boyz at the scouting bridge. 

Then the boys Begged to go to the kiddie mid-way.  
OK.  If we must.  This year, Chris was old enough to stand in as an accompaniment for Sam on the Bumblebee ride.  Jake just checked it all out.  They 

Mommy's favorite ride.  The Ferris Wheel. 
I love to ride this with my boys! 
I don't remember them having a kiddie wheel in the past, at the other end from the mid-way.  Because this stretch was mostly aimed at little kids, we were avoiding the crowds, so we got right on to ride the wheel with minimal trouble. 

It was a little tricky to fit Jake in there in his carrier, so I just help him on my lap as we rode around and around.  He was ok there.  It made me nervous that he was just on my lap.  But turns out he was Fine.  

Daddy and Sam were haivng a very good time, getting all the way to the top, and all of us being the tallest sweetboys around.  I love riding these rides as a family.  

This selfie, was the boys and I riding in a spinning dragon, in theory it was supposed to spin like the teacups as the whole wheel was going.  Eric tried, but had to look away, he couldn't watch this ride.  But we had fun.  Afterwards, Sam rode one last boat ride, and Chris did as slide thing to use the last of our tickets.  When the tickets were gone, Chris lost his mind, making our departure eminent and very necessary.  Still, even with that last few minutes being completely awful, overall, we had a Wonderful Night.  The choir gave us the gift of a family evening out.  It was Exhausting, but Wonderful.  

Thursday, July 31, 2014

First Day of School



There they are. My babies. 
Going back to school.  In July. Gasp!

It's uncool, practically against my religion that my boys have to start school on July 31st.  
It's like they are slowly cutting our summer break day by day.  I didn't like it at all. Until about a week ago, when it was clear that they were ready for the beautiful routine of going back to school.  

Chris starts Third Grade, and Sam starts Kindergarten. 

It's a color theme for this school year.  
Since Sam's favorite color is green, we got him a Green Lantern backpack and lunchbox, and found him some green Star Wars jedi shoes, that have lasers that light up green. And Christopher has the same Star Wars light up jedi shoes, that light up blue.  Chris's blue backpack is actually blue and black and has Batman on it, their favorite superheroes. 

These are my favorite superheroes. 
Super Sweetboys! 

OK, OK, the bus just went by on the other side of the neighborhood, now it was time to take that Long Walk to the end of the driveway.  Mommy makes them stop for one last photo, and they were so excited, they just barely tolerated it.  


We were actually ready and at the end of the driveway by the time the bus came. For once. 
Always the first day of school we operate on time, but the rest of the year... not so much.


Then the bus came. 
And I was ok with that.  I was happy for them.  
Until I saw Chris reach down for Sam's shoulder as the bus came to a complete stop at the end of our driveway.  That got to me.  

This was my favorite moment, when Chris reached over to guide his little brother to his first day of Kindergarten. 

The bus steps were the size of Sam's legs!  
Oh my baby! 

Now, because I am a big sap, we chased the bus.  As soon as the boys were on, we got in the car and dashed over to the school, so we could meet Sam as he got off the bus and escort him into his class. 
We did that for Chris on his first day of Kindergarten.  And what's right for one is right for two..or three. Honestly, the first day of school is the One Time in history the teachers don't look at you like you're crazy if you chase down the bus.  There may be other days in life that I want to chase down the bus, but this one, the first day of Kindergarten, this time it's ok.  

My big boy was so happy to see us when he got off the bus.  He was pretty surprised to see us too. 


We followed him into his classroom. 


Daddy videotaped the long walk down the hall to the classroom too. 

Daddy was videotaping, but as he walked in, he got a picture on his phone too. 

He looks pretty tiny going into that giant classroom. 

But he immediately knew what to do, we'd found his desk earlier in the week, he knew what was up.  
And Daddy and I just lurked in the doorway.  

Oh yeah, he's a cool kindergartner.  

As I walked out with Jake in the stroller, I asked Eric to pop up and check on Chris.  He did. 
And he Psst'd him, and Chris turned.  That class didn't mess around, they were immediately taking some kind of pre-test to gauge math skills.  Big desks, big chairs, big kids. He's so big. 

My Boys are Big now.  

Our Last Day of Summer


Yesterday was our last day of summer.  Well, it was the boys' last day of summer vacation.  So I asked them, what was 1 thing that they wanted to do, that they felt they hadn't had a chance to do yet.  Chris replied "Go to the Indiana State Museum".  I had bought a membership back in June while they weren't with me, and I kept meaning to take them downtown, but just hadn't gotten a chance.  Okie dokie.  This was going to be our Museum Day!

First, I wanted to 'pop' into the Eiteljorg.  It was the last week for the Ansel Adams exhibit.  And I wanted to see it one more time.  Kathleen and I had gotten some good ideas, we could buy some print postcards, and put them in a multiple frame for decoration.  And she'd read an article about taking kids to art museums, and if you take them to the gift shop first, and pick out a postcard of their favorite picture, then we go into the museum to find it.  I thought that was Brilliant.  So we stopped at the Ansel Adams gift shop to pick out our favorite cards.  I picked Moon and Half Dome.  Sam picked Rose and Driftwood.  Chris picked Yosemite Valley, Winter from Inspiration Point.  Jake wanted to pick Aspens, but they didn't have a postcard for it.  Actually, it was more like I wanted Aspens.  But when we were walking through the exhibit, I pointed it out to the boys, and I said, that's the one Jake wanted...and Jake just looked at it, like he liked it too.  Yeah, bud, me too!  Ansel Adams had Mad Skills.  So photography is not allowed in that exhibit.  But the boys did really well in there, they each had their post card and they walked up to every picture and held up their cards to see if they matched.  They got so excited when they found them.  Poor Chris couldn't find his match, there was one that was close, but not quite.  But frankly, I think I like Chris's picture better than the one that was close.  His was a winter picture, the other wasn't.  So I think I need to acquire the last postcard, and put them all in a frame, you know, for artsy purposes, because Ansel had such mad skills.  You know, like Ansel and I are on a first name basis.  ;)

Anyway, after going quickly through that exhibit, we went downstairs to the kids area.  I told the kids I'd let them play if they let me get through the Ansel exhibit.  So we all went downstairs to play, since they were so good for me.

First, we built a totem pole.  

Then my boys dressed as cowboys.  


Jacob has discovered a new trick - climbing up into the stroller.  He thinks it's a great time.  He makes me really nervous he's going to come crashing down on his head.  But he thinks it's a great time.  I'm not bugging him about it.  When can I put him in gymnastics?  But climbing the stroller wasn't enough for this little climber.

And they took over the stagecoach. 
Even Jake wanted to climb up into it.  

We didn't stay long, because Kathleen offered to meet us at the ISM.   
We'd packed a picnic lunch, so we went to the open space between the museums to have a little picnic.  

It was a Beautiful day for a picnic.  

I can't make up this sky.  And though the boys were scared to picnic next to these huge flowers, and the bees that came to visit them, I loved seeing all the critters comes and go from a respectful distance on the grass.  I'd forgotten a blanket, so we just plopped down for a picnic on the grass, which I loved, but the boys were annoyed with.  While we were picnicking, our friends arrived.  

We met the Julius girls, and baby John out behind the State Museum.  
Party of 7, 7, can you believe that?!

Welcome to Indiana State Museum. 
This INDIANA sculpture is by Robert Indiana, and the kids think it's very cool.  

Inside the museum is a giant pendelum that swings around and knocks down dominos to tell time.  
First we went through a history of Indiana, and the rest of the earth underneath, from a point of view heavy on geology and biology, then we came upstairs to a more modern, Indiana history, from the revolutionary, to present...I say present, but there were a few things in my house.  I saw toys I played with as a kid, posters from shows I used to watch (Peggy and the Vantastics, Cowboy Bob!), a TV in a case, that looks like the one we have downstairs.  Does that mean my stuff is so old, I am a part of history?  Probably.  
Well, it was still really cool.  

And a bit exhausting for Jacob.  He slept on the way in to town, so I thought he'd crash on the way home...nope he crashed by the pendelum, I guess they really are that hypnotizing.  

We went to the Mastadons vs. Mammoths exhibit.  
And the kids got to dig for bones among rubber sand.  That was pretty cool.  
I learned how to fairly easily tell the difference between a Mastadon and a Mammoth. 
Mammoths have curling tusks. 

Then it was time to go, the kids were starting to get ootzy. 
But we stopped for snacks in the cafe (which I need to go back!), we didn't eat their food, we still had picnic leftovers, but they had some yummy looking stuff, I may need to do lunch there, including the Ayres Tea Room chicken velvet soup.  Oh yeah.  Apparently Ayres Tea Room, moved from the L.S. Ayres building downtown, where we used to go for epic shopping trips once a year with my Grandma, floor by floor, culminating in a lunch date to end all lunches.  But during the year, they only open it for group reservations... until the holidays, then we will be able to just pop in for tea, soup, etc.  And pop in, I shall. My favorite sport is doing lunch, you know.  

Anyway, as we were in the Cafe, Kat and I were talking about the China exhibit at the Children's Museum.  They had a 'Great Wall Slide' in the lobby, and they were going to be shutting it down this weekend. I mentioned how I wish I'd been able to take the boys over there.  But we hadn't been able to do so.  Suddenly, the boys are begging me to go the Museum. What?!  3 museums in one day!  What is this - Chicago?!  We can't do that.   Only...we did.  

I took the boys to the Chinese slide at the museum.  
Only, as I was waiting at the bottom, Chris came flying down, and Sam had a freakout, so some kindly grandmother put him on her lap, and slid down with him.  Something to be said about having an extra adult for one upstairs and downstairs.  I probably won't be that kind of crazy for a while, but we did get to pop in to the China exhibit, and it was pretty awesome.  We'll be going back after school starts.