Monday, March 31, 2014

Sweet and Sleepy

90/365


I'm really enjoying being home over spring break with my boys.  
Jacob sported his I Miss Sirius shirt that Aunt Lisa got Chris when he was born.  

It is still adorable, but it looks like its been through 3 kids.  Not surprising.   


I asked the kids today what they wanted to do today, anything.  I thought they might want to go to the zoo, it was 60 and gorgeous outside.  Nope, they wanted to play video games.  Now there came a point when Chris lost his mind, so we turned it off, and they went outside to play for a good half hour or so.  But that was enough to exhaust them.  They were content to just chill out and watch tv after that.  Except Sam fell asleep.  At noon.  He was exhausted.  


But he's so precious when he sleeps.  

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunny Sunday

89/365

We had the girls (Aunt Lisa, Annie, and Charlie) over for a slumber party last night.  And we tried to get us all to church this morning...but it was a miserable failure, so the kids all wanted to drown their sorrows in playing MarioKart.  So Uncle Eric showed them how it was done.   I came upstairs, and found Charlie and Jake playing, and Eric, Chris, Sam and Annie all lined up in a row on the couch.  Playing MarioKart.  Annie needs a bit more practice, but I'm sure she's got some cousins who would be perfectly willing to help her.


Jake and I were the only ones that were exhausted after the slumber party and weeks' festivities, so after naps, someone woke up in a great mood.  He's really making progress scooterbugging across the house.  And this weekend, he discovered the Music Room.  


Yep - Jacob found the drumsticks, and took it upon himself to learn to play drum set.  
He's actually pretty good.  He clearly adored making a Joyful Noise!


While Jacob was joining the band, the elder boys saw the sun come out, and the world warm up to the 50s which we haven't seen in days, so they wanted to go out and play.  Sure they've been outside, Sam doesn't want to stay in, when he's got a shiny new bike to ride, but it was the first time he'd done so on a pretty sunny day.  


We've got the big boys little bikes all set up for them to ride in the driveway, so they have some fun with it.  
Sam still gets a little stuck, he's got to get those toes a bit stronger.  Chris is almost outgrowing his!


But it was a pretty day to get outside and work that pretty green bike.  


I'm so glad Sam really enjoys his present, but even happier that the boys are having fun getting outside again after the nearly endless winter. Hooray for Spring!  Time for bicycles outside, and it feels like soon enough then I'll be making sun tea and drinking it while parked in the shade watching them all three play. I can't wait!  

Watch out!

88/365

Watch out - it's time to Party some more! 

Just when you thought all the birthday festivities were ending...there was more.  


It's Spring Break! 
When Spring Break started for Chris last week, I asked each boy, what was 1 thing that they wanted to do over Spring Break. Just 1 thing.  Sam chose Chuck E. Cheese's, which we hit for his birthday, and Chris wanted to go see the Lego Movie.  Since he'd spent most of March off screens, this was our first chance. So we took the boys to the early show of The Lego Movie.  
It was Great!  I know I'm late on the Lego Movie bandwagon, but I got a big kick out of it.  I expected it to have more product placement and be more commercial selling than some of the prime time tv stuff.  But it wasn't.  It was actually hysterical, lots of great fun for kids and grownups.  The boys had a wonderful time. 
And the song, that is supposed to be obnoxious, Everything is Awesome, was catchy as hell, and stuck in my head even still.


Now there are a lot of fun occasions to celebrate in the month of March, so we had a party at Opa's to celebrate last night to celebrate birthdays for my step-grandma Meb, for cousin Suzy, for Sam and a cheers to my Dad's retirement which officially begins this coming Friday. 


When we arrived at Daddy's, my step-mom put out a typically awesome spread. 
But the boys seats were decorated with these really groovy glasses.  


The girls got these adorable bunny ears.  


Sam kept wearing his for the whole night.  He's stylin'! 


My step-mom found the same green dinosaur cupcake making kit that I did for Sam's party, only her cupcakes were much better, her icing is from scratch and thus, phenomenal.  They were still a big hit with the kids, Again.  Everybody got to blow out tea light candles for all the special occasions. 


 And then we had present  opening too.  Daddy found Sam a Kindergarten workbook, that I'm sure will get a lot of use this spring break and summer.  Sam can't wait to start Kindergarten!


We came home and there was still a smidgeon of daylight left, and the kids had an obscene amount of energy due to a. the aforementioned cupcakes, and b. the fact that Aunt Lisa and the girls followed us home for a slumber party too.   So we set the kids loose in the driveway.  Sam couldn't wait to ride his new birthday bike outside, and it wasn't snowing or raining anymore, at last.  So he rode in the driveway for the first time.  
He loves the new green bike, hopefully he'll be riding without those training wheels in no time! 


We had all the big kids riding, or playing on Something in my driveway, and they were having a great time.  


It wasn't long before they all got cold, and the sun went down, so they all came trickling in, and we piled up on the couch, and snuggled up underneath every blanket in the house.  So we decided to pop in the movie Frozen for a Family Movie Night. 


We had 7 of us parked on the couch, snuggled up watching Frozen.  
Charlie, Lisa, Annie, then Chris, Jake, me and Sam.  I didn't know we could fit 7 of us on the couch! 
Barely. 

More Spring Break!

87/365

It's been funny this week, having Christopher on Spring Break, but not the other boys, means that we have all the regular stuff going on that I normally do, but With Chris.  He adds an interesting dynamic to the mix.  For the most part, I've tried to do a few things that we don't normally do, there have been a ton more video games --mariokart specifically, being played than normal around here.  But Friday morning was one of my more typically busy mornings. We had to get Sam to school, he was doing snack, then go to Jacob's Kindermusik class.  This was the first time that Chris had attended with Jacob.  Chris got to visit Sam's class on Thursday with Grandma as his teacher, but Friday was with Miss Laraine, who Chris used to also have, and she teaches his piano.  He was surprised because he didn't know we'd get to see her again.  But both my boys had a Wonderful time!  There were a lot of big siblings in this class.  It was actually quite handy having him around, because he was so excited to play with Jacob.  The scarves were their favorite! 



Not sure who was laughing harder, Chris, me, or Jacob! 


After Kindermusik, we picked up Sam from preschool.  Since his actual birthday was on Circus Day, popcorn snack was provided, so he didn't get to bring in a snack.  So he brought cheese, grapes, apple juice, and lollipops (no red 40 lollipops of course) to celebrate his 5th hbirthday at school.  He was wearing this highly fashionable green construction paper crown when we got him.  And he doesn't want to take it off. He reminds me of that kid from the Archie comics, what's his name....Jughead! 


The kids in the class were thrilled to be living with lollipops.  Those kids don't stop moving for a moment. 

And after school, we drove up to Kathleen's, because it was Emily's start of Spring Break too.  
We drove thru Jimmie John's for lunch, and when she came home from school, all the boys were camped out in their living room with the big girls playing MarioKart.  Good Times.  She was surprised.  One of Christopher's favorite memories have been when his vacations began (fall breaks past) and he comes home, gets off the bus to find Julius girls in the driveway ready to play and start the party.  He wanted to do that for Emily.  So we did.  And we played until Jacob was blithering, he'd only napped on the drive up, so he was Done by 3.  Still, the kids had a lot of fun playing video games, and fun time with friends and family is what a Staycation is all about.  For me, anyway. 


Happy Spring Break!

Silly head

86/365

For some reason, I didn't take many pictures on Thursday, we probably just needed chill, photographically speaking after Birthday-palooza. I took all 3 boys to Kindermusik, and for haircuts, and really that was plenty.  But we FINALLY got internet back, we'd had it absolutely with AT&T Uverse, after 4 days of being internet less, and nearly a month of intermittent coverage, Eric called Brighthouse, and they were here in two hours. (Sold!) 
So here's the only picture I took that day, one of Sam being a silly goose, wearing an Agent P hat that he was given in one of his birthday cards.  

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Big 5!

85/365

Sam is now 5 years old!  

I'd like to be all cutesy and say in honor of his 5th birthday, I'll only post 5 pictures, but I just can't.  
I think I can keep it down to 10 though.  ;) 

This year, Sam's birthday fell on a Wednesday, one of his busiest days.  
Though Chris was on Spring Break, Sam had school.   So we woke up in the morning, he found his big present from the Birthday Pig.  It's a new green bike, just for him.  He was thrilled.  In case you didn't know, Green is his color.  

Christopher picked out a great present for Sam, it's the Gup X from Octonauts.  
Check out how proud he is.  And best of all, Sam was thrilled again.  


His other big present from us.  A big boy booster seat...in Green! 


It was to be circus today, so he picked out what he wanted to wear today: monkey pajama pants, a striped shirt, and I made him put on his Happy Birthday To Me shirt...since it will probably be the last time he can wear it.  After he got 'dressed' he hopped back on his bike in the living room, only This Time he had a helper.  Someone else can't wait to ride a bike either. ;) 


Now, as I said, it was Sam's Circus day at school.  
Each year they have their own pretend circus, and it's Fabulous. 
They did an obstacle course, pretended to be tigers, prancing horses, sea lions with balls, even elephants!

video

Here they were all pretending to be Tigers, and doing tricks on the stepstool, turning around, jumping off it, going around it, lots of great physical activity, and for the last hurrah, they jump off and Growl as loud as they can.  Sam is on the far left.  


My little happy birthday clown. :) 


Daddy picked up Sam after school, and after a while, we went to do what Sam wanted for his Birthday Dinner.  Chuck E. Cheese.  The kids played games, ate pizza, and played some more.  



Sam got a little cheesy with Chuck E. Cheese. 
Chucky brought a nice chocolate cake for Sam, with candles to blow out.  


I think I get a picture of them at the blue car every year.  
It's become an annual tradition.  Hate to see the day they don't fit in there together anymore, 
we're not that far off. 



Now, if you've ever been around here long enough for bedtime, you know we have a rule for the bunkbed loft in Chris's room.  You must be 5 years old to climb up there.  And thus, his 5th birthday was the first day that Sam was legitimately allowed up there. So Chris begged for Sam to be allowed to sleep in the bed with him.  I caved.  Chris is on Spring Break, and Sam didn't have school, just kindermusik class the next day.  So I said Yes. 


Such happy happy brothers. 
All this adventure makes for a happy boy. 
And a very Happy Birthday!


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Therapeutic Time

84/365

Happy 11 month birthday to Jacob! 




Tuesday, we didn't have much cooking, but we still managed to have another fun day. Christopher had been bugging me for a while to see Miss Lisa, his Play Therapist in Z'ville.  But he always asks at the most inoportune times, like when we're in the car, or at bedtime.  Finally, I remembered to call during normal business hours. So I surprised him with an appointment to see her.   We were a little early, and the people before us ran over, so we had some time in the waiting room, which actually thrilled all 3 of the boys.



There's one thing I love about her waiting room, and I took a picture of the whole thing.  It's a poem I saw a few years back, and I couldn't remember all of it, but I remembered the little crab picture, and the saying, "If they're crabby, put them in water".  I remember it being like an epiphany.  YES!  How many times, had Christopher made me so crazy, and exhausted me, and yet been rejuvinated by a bath?  Countless!  Now if they are acting up in the evening, I throw them in the tub (or suggest Eric do so).  Because - True Story - if they're crabby, stick them in water.  It really works.  


Our appointment went well, even though we spent half of it summing up the drama of the last two years.  As you can imagine, it has some effects on me, on Chris.  So we'll be headed back another time.  After Therapy, we were starving.  So we needed to get some lunch.  We asked the Julius's if they were up to playing, but they weren't quite up for leaving the house, so we brought the crazy to them.  And we drove thru Panera.  Actually, it was wonderfully, the big kids played, even the little kids played some too!  There was bread and soup, and bread.  Jake and John actually touched each other, and kind of played with each other, that's a first.  They were pretty stinking adorable.  They really are going to be best buds!  Good times. 

Maniac Monday

83/365

Monday was Spring Break for Christopher...but not for Sam.  So I arranged a special surprise for Chris.

A playdate with his "BFF" Claudia. 


Neither her Mom or I told either one of them of our plans, for if they hadn't worked out, there would have been Mass Hysteria.   Both kids are loving, kind, and Super Sensitive.  Sometimes their sensitivity can be trouble, especially when things don't go according to their plans.  And these two are schemy schemers, and coming from me, that's saying something!   So, on Monday, we kidnapped Claudia for the time while Sam was in school.  They were wild, like giggling mad tornadoes running all over the house laughing and playing.  The kids played Superheroes, video games, and then I made Chris practice the piano before we chose to go out for lunch.  Claudia helped him practice.  She knew how to whistle, so she hopped on the bandwagon, and they whistled Mary Had A Little Lamb together.  

video

After piano practice, I took the yahoos to McDonald's.  Not just any McDonald's, the one in Avon with a Playplace.  That thrilled the kids.  They shared nuggets and played until they were exhausted.  They were adorable together, but about a half an hour before it was time to take her home, they started snipping at each other, like they were tired.  I would've started a movie, but it was time to go.  One more final round of video games, and we were good to go.  They were adorable playing around the house together.  


I think our playdate was the perfect start to Spring Break for Christopher! 
But I don't see him thinking anything else topping it.  Little does he know what I have planned....
he comes by the scheming honestly. 


The Piano Player

82/365

 The internet went down again, and I didn't have time or bandwidth to post about the rest of our week.  Sunday, Christopher had a Spring Piano Recital.  He got up there, and was looking so handsome, I was so proud.  He's worked so very hard.  In less than a year of piano lessons, he's already beginning to play with both hands!  He's very good.  




He had practiced both his pieces, "Jesus Loves the Little Children" and "Long, Long Ago" while singing, but when it came right down to it, he got up there and didn't sing.  I think he's learned a lesson, whether to sing or not sing, that's not the point, but to perform it just as he's practiced.  

video





Still, he was quite the dreamboat, and he played well, and I think I'm most proud that even with a few hiccups in his performance, he didn't freak out, or anything, he just kept right on playing, correcting the problems and moving on.  I can't say he would've done so well even 6 months ago with that.  But he's learning, he's growing, maturing, and he did a Wonderful job.  I am so very Proud of him! 







Sunday, March 23, 2014

Aunties

81/365

My nieces call me Auntie Cathy.  Lisa calls herself Auntie Lisa.  I never really liked the term Auntie.   But I'm coming to Love it.  Shh...don't that let get around.  As an additional birthday party surprise for Sam, (and Chris because it's Spring Break) and because Lisa broke her toe and we weren't sure she should drive yet, Lisa and the girls spent the night Friday night.  It wasn't that crazy of a slumber party because by the time the party was over, the kids were all blithering.  So they went to bed, and we didn't last much longer thereafter, because we were Exhausted!  Parties are wonderful, but they sure are tiring.


God Bless Leftovers and Freezer Cooking club.  We broke out fresh fruit and Amy's quiche, and it was a fancy breakfast without being a lot of work.  It looked like leprechauns had a kegger all over our house, and Lisa and I felt like it.  We were so sore.  And the kids were so excited to have the girls here, the boys were up at 6:30.  Hello?!  Don't you realize it's a vacation!?!



After breaky, Lisa and I had some tea, watched The Taste, and Top Chef, and I took pictures of flowers, while the kids played.  Honestly, that's all I need in the world. 


Is it possible the tulips got more beautiful in the sunlight? 


The light hit the petals like fingerprints in the light, simply gorgeous.  
I have such trouble deciding whether or not tulips are my favorite flowers.  They are today. 


The kids got dressed and went outside to play.  Never mind that it was 35, and they went without jackets.  They wanted to play.  They didn't last long, and Chris came in a popsicle, so he snuggled up on the couch with Aunt Lisa and I.  

So, my sister got a wild hair...well, not so much a wild hair, but she was feeling better, and wanted to make Tom Yum soup.  It's a Thai soup, that they serve at what used to be my favorite Thai place in Avon.   Lisa has been on the quest to make the perfect one for ages, she just didn't know how to sub out a few of the ingredients.  I don't know what manner of wickedness she put into it.  I was kidding her, and told her it looked like she was making Sweet and Sour Peasant Soup, like from the movie The Birdcage.


She made this face, and told me I was "afraid of her Guatamalaness."




I don't think that was it.  But I do love the smells and colors that come from my kitchen when she gets crazy in there.  Except for all the griping she does about my knives not being sharp enough.  No, they probably aren't.  But they still manage to hack through what I need hacked. 


The pile of cuttings.  Chicken, fresh cherry tomatoes, green onions, straw mushrooms, and rehydrated oyster mushrooms, I think that's what she told me.  Mmm...  the house smelled so good.  I think what I like the most is the lemongrass.  And fresh cilantro.  It takes like spicy freshness.  And when it was all over, it made me warm and happy.  



The final product, Tom Yum Soup.  So Yum! 


While we got the Awesomeness of Tom Yum soup, the kids got the Awesomeness of leftover chicken nuggets, cheese, and vegetables.  


Crazy cousins on the stairs, laughing at Lisa over my shoulder, only we forgot the throw Jacob on there.  Next time.