Sunday, May 31, 2009

George is Two!

Saturday was cousin George's 2nd birthday. We were glad when George's family invited us to spend some of the day with them to celebrate. After lunch, we met them at a little farm to see some animals. I ended up taking more photos of the animals than I did of the kids (oops).

It was a lot of fun, with the older kids very concerned about the welfare of the younger kids fingers and arms. We parents appreciated their enthusiastic protectiveness and are glad no appendages were lost.

We met up again later for pizza, cake and ice cream and, of course, presents. Pen and Ginger were happy to hold their new cousin (George's brand new baby sister) while George opened gifts.

Then it was time for the adorable Elmo cupcakes that were made by George's mom, Aunt Jazz Hands. The frosting was the perfect, dark red Elmo color-- it definitely left a lasting impression!

The funniest part of the day was near when it was time for us to go. The adults were sitting in the living room chatting when Bud came into the room and said something about someone doing something with water. Since the boys had just had baths, we figured he was referring to that. When Bud came in a few minutes later and said, "He sure is making a mess with water and ice!", we asked him to clarify. It didn't take us too long to figure out that George and Big were playing with the water and ice dispensers on the fridge. Eeek!

When Big and George came into the room a moment later, the proud looks on their faces made us burst into laughter. When we realized the sound we could hear as they walked was the squish of their feet inside their footed jammies, we laughed even harder! As they had reached up to push the arm of the dispenser, the water ran down their arms, continued down their bodies and legs into the feet of their jammies! They were soaked! Something tells me we need to watch out when these two busy boys are together.

Happy Birthday, George! We had a blast! Thanks for inviting us to celebrate with you!

First Recital

A few weeks ago, Pen participated in her first ballet recital. It was absolutely fantastic! One of the founders of her ballet school writes a ballet every year for the kids to perform. Graduating seniors are given lead parts and they usually borrow a male dancer from the nearby university to dance the male lead.

The ballet they performed this year was titled "The Legend of the Rubies of Rosevaal". It was a full-fledged production, I tell you-- 2 hours long and probably close to 300 dancers (over the 2 performances-- the really young kids were split between the two so they only performed once).

I would tell you the entire ballet story, but it was quite involved. In short, a prince was getting married and the necklace he was to give his bride came up missing. The mischievous Pixies are suspected (but not guilty) and they indignantly vow to search far and wide until they find the necklace. At one point they searched among the birds for the necklace and Pen was one of the cardinals (the blue jays were the guilty parties, if you're wondering).

Here are some photos I took of Pen in her cardinal costume (I neglected to picture it, but her tutu had feathers all along the hem, too):

The ballet story was great and Pen did a fantastic job. Way to go, Pen!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I am so frustrated with the fact that my kids don't listen to me (well, except when my sentence includes the word "candy" or "dessert" or "sugar"-- in those instances, Pen is all ears. I swear they're bionic when it comes to that.) I know all you parents out there are thinking that I'm not the only one, and I know I'm not-- but boy, is it annoying! I mean, their complete disregard for whatever comes out of my mouth is astounding. The kids just do whatever they want as though I haven't even spoken!

Some of the kids are worse than others, of course, but all of them ignore me on some level. Take today, for instance-- Rophone and I were helping Bud and Big hit balls, Bud on our new batting trainer, Big hitting balls we pitched.

Here's Bud using the batting trainer yesterday:

Anyway, at one point, Big decided he wanted to use the batting trainer and walked over to it. Rophone and I asked Bud not to swing because Big was in the way, but he just looked at us and swung his long, thin whiffle bat anyway, trying to get one last hit in before Big took his turn. Bud swung that bat, trying to hit the ball out of the park-- right into Big's arm. SMACK! Ouch! Just listen to me, Bud!

An injured and upset Big decided to abandon the baseball trainer and just do things the manual way. Here he is trying to play through the pain (poor kid):

A few minutes later the smile was back, but there was a nasty welt on his arm as a reminder that his brother didn't listen (the picture really doesn't do it justice).

Most instances of not listening to me don't have such painful results, luckily, but the frustration I experience is there every time. I get ignored so frequently (constantly, really) that it really gets to me. I feel like a "Blah". "The Blah" by Jack Kent was one of my favorite stories growing up, and I relate to it even more now (you should check it out if you've never read it).

I know that I'm not the only one out there. I'm pretty sure that all parents experience being ignored by their children. I know I did it to my mom (sorry mom). So, feel free to leave your comments telling me to stop whining if you want. Or, you can commiserate with me and tell me that you would listen to me if you were my kid. But, what I'd really like is a solution. Any ideas?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Happy Girl Day!

Happy Girl Day! After over a year of living grill-less, Rophone purchased himself a new grill yesterday and ended our suffering. Bud accidentally referred to the new grill as a girl (much to his embarrassment) so we have deemed today, the first day we use the new grill, as "Girl Day". Rophone has been beaming the whole day long, checking out his grill often--completely infatuated with the thing.

Bud walked up to me yesterday after we bought the grill and said, "The old girl died." At first I was concerned, not knowing which of our elderly neighbors might have passed away-- but I soon realized he was giving me the explanation his father had given him (basically) as to why we had purchased a new grill. We are so happy to have a new grill (and, of course, we're happy that none of our "old girl" neighbors kicked the bucket).

Girl Day was a very productive one. Rophone spent the morning mowing the lawn and trying to repair our broken sprinkler line. While the kids enjoyed digging in the dirt with him, I went to the nursery and picked up a few plants for a small garden. Pen is interested in gardening, so I got a banana pepper and two tomato plants for her to learn on.

After lunch, we went to the grocery store and then Pen and I planted her plants. Then, it was time for the fun to begin! I now present to you the story of the rest of our day, in photos (the girls-- yes, I meant girls, not grills-- were there, but rode their bikes the entire afternoon):

We measured...

we jumped...

and levitated (?)....

...checked out our new "girl" and smiled (Happy Girl Day!)...

.. tried our hand at graffiti...

... and sat and watched the (human) girls ride their bikes.

We had worked up such an appetite by this point that we decided an early dinner was in order. The new grill worked great! Our meal of steak, steamed veggies (carrots, broccoli and white and purple cauliflower), garlic orange mashed potatoes, blueberries and fresh squeezed lime-aid was fantastic and really hit the spot.

After dinner, while the girls were showering and Rophone napped on the couch, the boys and I went back outside. They both cried-- Bud due to a scare from a dog, and Big because "Girl Day" was a napless one.

Not only did tears flow...

... but boogers did, too.

The result of such a long and productive day was a couple of tired boys who preferred to stand and watch the neighbors play rather than doing it themselves.

The mommy, still sporting a doozy of a cold, was pretty tired too. Definitely time for baths followed by ice cream and then bed. Today was the kind of day that feels really good-- you know, the kind where you get some things done and spend some time playing as a family... exhaustingly fantastic! Happy Girl Day, everyone!

**Note: There are a lot of other things we did that I didn't mention in the post-- lots of dishes, food preparation and, of course, bubble mowing. Don't want you to think we didn't use the bubble mower...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Restauranteur

Lately, Big has been enjoying playing "restaurant". I'm not sure how long his restaurant will stay in business, however, because he doesn't offer much of a varied menu.

This is an example of what it is like trying to order from Big:

Big: "What choo want?"

Me: "Umm. May I have lasagna?"

Big: "No, you can't."

Me: "I can't? Okay, how about enchiladas?"

Big: "No. You can't."

Me: "Okay. What can I have?"

Big: "Do you want lemonade?"

Me: "Sure." (slurps my pretend lemonade)

5 seconds later...

Big: "What choo want?"

Me: "How about scrambled eggs."

Big: "No. You can't have that. How about lemonade?"

Me: "Okay." (slurps pretend lemonade)

5 seconds later....

Big: "What choo want? Lemonade?"

Me: "Actually, I was thinking that some grapes sound good. Can I have that?"

Bud: "No. You can't. You can have lemonade."

Me: "I don't want more lemonade. Can I have orange juice?"

Big: (looks down as though checking inventory) "No. You can't. We don't have that. Want lemonade?"

Me: "I guess." (slurps pretend lemonade)

Like I said-- limited menu. But, the fact that his restaurant drives to you, rather than you having to drive to the restaurant might make people continue to patronize his business.

Here he is, taking Rophone's order for lemonade (and, yes, that's a numbered shirt he has on over his pjs-- he refuses to be without one):

Luckily, Bud often has his restaurant open at the same time as Big and he'll provide the food when Big refuses to do so. Big, as usual, provides the lemonade to go with it.

I know you're wondering why I don't just refer to Big's restaurant as a lemonade stand-- but, the fact is that Big's restaurant will occasionally serve food. Last night, as I was telling Rophone how hungry I was, and was informing the kids they'd better not mess with me in my current state, Big rolled up and filled my order for a quesadilla. And sometimes he doesn't serve lemonade at all and I'm repeatedly stuck with orange juice. I think it's more of an unwillingness to serve things, rather than an inability to do so.

But, Big is so cute, and his lemonade really is fabulous. So, just maybe he'll be a successful restauranteur after all.

Monday, May 18, 2009

First Swim

Today's temperature got into the 90s, so it was a perfect day for the first swim of the year. Bud and Big helped me inflate the pool earlier in the day so the water could warm up a bit in the sun, so by the time the girls got home from school the boys were bouncing off the walls with excitement. All of the kids, the girls too, were super excited to get in the water.

They all started out dry...

...but, since water was involved...

... they eventually got wet.

Okay, so maybe Bud isn't very wet-- but eventually he got the tips of his hair damp.


Even in the 90 degree weather, the kids got chilled enough to need to take a few breaks to lie on the driveway in the sun.

Except for this kid, that is. Perhaps, just perhaps, his girth just may have something to do with that (imagine my shock today to discover that his size 3T shorts were a little snug around the waist. Size 3T!).

Big stayed in far longer than the rest and had a complete blast the entire time.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a warm one, too. Gee, I wonder what we'll be doing?