Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Humble Pie

A week ago last Saturday my boys had a baseball game.  OK, they have a baseball game just about every Saturday, but this one was different; they played the Cubs.  Unbeknownst to me (until after the game), the Cubs are the best team in the league.  They have the biggest kids, the best pitchers (at least 5 deep, I might add), the best hitters, the best fielders and the most overzealous, obnoxious coach on the planet.  You know, the kind that makes you sit on the sidelines quietly thanking the heavens above that your kid didn't end up on his team.

The game didn't go so well.  By the end of the 2nd inning we were down 9 to 1.  Apparently, however, this wasn't a large enough lead for the Cubbies' coach as he would still yell at his players, "C'mon we need more runs!"  Turns out, his goal of every game is to "mercy rule" the opposing team.  He got his wish.  After 4 innings, the score was 14-4 and it was over.  Our Braves were down, but our coaches kept telling them to keep their chins up as they played a great game.  And they did.

I guess 42 games isn't enough for 9 & 10 year-olds to play in a season because we get to play each team twice.  Last night was our second match up with the Grizzly Bear and his Cubs.  The Braves were fired up, just like we wanted them to be.  You should have seen Jonathan during the game, so focused, so intense.  Trevor made the following statement to our team parents after we scored 4 runs in the top of the 1st inning:  "There are two kinds of people in this world:  those who are humble and those who are about to be."  That's right, our boys fed Mr. Grizzly Bear some humble pie by pulling off an 8-4 win.  It was awesome.

I didn't get a lot of great video last night, but I was able to catch Jonathan getting a great hit (and an RBI).  Hopefully I'll get enough video by the end of the season to do another iMovie for your viewing pleasure.  Until then, you'll have to live with this:


video

video


And just to make things fair, here's one of Timothy from Saturday's game:


video


He may not have the best stance (I keep trying to help him but he doesn't want much help from his mom) or run the fastest, but I'll tell you what, he can sure hit the ball!


Way to go Braves!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Timbertec Deck

Our deck is finished (well, almost-just a couple of minor things to fix and some staining of the storage doors)!  Dummy me forgot to take before photos, so these are what I could find of the old deck...






See how tiny the darn thing was?  Don't ask me what we were doing with a sandbox on it--nothing else would fit (taken Easter 2004)!





Not a great shot of the deck, but you get the idea of how old and ugly it was (taken Easter 2006).





The boys had an absolute blast ripping out the old deck.  No need to pay the contractor for demolition--just hand the boys a crowbar and a hammer and they'll take care of things!
(Sorry about the black lines in these photos.  I had to take them from inside the house through the screen!)





Notice how conscientious we were about safety:  Gloves? Check.  Safety glasses?  Check.





It kept them entertained for several days.  You certainly can't beat that!






And now, for the finished product.  It's approximately 3 times the size of the old deck, is maintenance free and we won't get splinters if we walk out there barefoot!  Woo hoo!  See the lattice door that's open?  Those are the doors that have to be stained.  Behind them is firewood storage...enough to hold a cord + of wood!





Look at the size of that bench.  Think we can host a few people?  We're looking forward to many a b-b-q.  All we need now is a table and some chairs and we're in business!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

n. i. n. e.

Just before his birthday (about a month ago--I'm so on the ball), Jonathan announced his plans for an elaborate "Star Wars, Clone Wars" birthday party.  As my kids get older, the less I look forward to birthday parties--the planning, actually sending invitations, cleaning my house, games, a bunch of wild banshees running around my freshly cleaned house.  You get the idea.  When Jonathan presented his fantabulous birthday party idea, I enthusiastically replied, "How about you invite 1 friend and we hit Kings Island instead!"  I couldn't believe when he consented and was even excited about it.

Sooooo, we had our traditional "family party" complete with green pasta (rotini with pesto--better than you can get at any expensive italian restaurant), ice cream cake (yes, he requested the Carvel cake from Kroger) and a few presents on his "real" birthday.




I know the cake looks disgusting, it's actually pretty good.






I'm not sure what he was wishing for, but I'm pretty certain it didn't come true.



The following Friday, I loaded up the car, loaded up on Dramamine and Advil and headed to KI with 5 kids in tow.  The boys were stuck with me and the girls in the Nickelodeon area until Trevor arrived from work.  After loading up on pizza, we parted ways with Trevor and the girls and headed for the "big rides".  That was a brilliant thing to do after loading up on pizza.  There were hardly lines for anything, so we just kept riding.  One. after. another. after. another.  I told the boys that my limit was twice in a row for Vortex.  My 37 year-old, post-partum (4 times) body just can't take that kind of beating any more.  We were able to ride just about everything (longest wait:  30 minutes for Firehawk) except for Diamondback (they chickened out on me--except for Jonathan) and then finally got kicked off the Vortex (at closing) after riding it 8 times in a row (they never even had to get off).  Lucky for me, the boys (and apparently the girls) proclaimed, "This was the best night of our life!"






"Mom, why are you torturing us?  Let's get to the rides!"





Plankton's Plunge is deceiving and they are all feigning boredom...





I love how they can't hold back the laughter...





This one actually makes me laugh--especially Hannah's missing teeth!


Mom does it again!  :)


Monday, May 4, 2009

Easter

While Trevor and Timothy were out on the "AT", we were in need of some fun activities at home.  I'm usually not a fan of "messy" fun (I can't stand Play-doh, glitter or other childhood obsessions that find themselves stuck between the grooves of my hardwood floor).  However, my kids begged me to dye easter eggs and I gave in.  I even allowed a neighbor friend to join in.

Applause, please.

I tried really hard not to be too controlling and dye all of the eggs myself so my table and their clothing wouldn't get stained.  I succeeded in letting them do it themselves, and they succeeded in getting the dye all over the table (even though I covered it in garbage bags) and on their clothes.  OK, in reality, there was a tiny bit of dye on the plastic and Hannah got a tiny bit of dye on her shirt.  They decorated 2 dozen eggs in record time and I was one happy momma to get it all cleaned up!





Believe it or not, this was Rachel's first time dying eggs!





This takes some serious concentration!





The happy clan.  I was just as happy as it was time to clean up!  :)





The result.



I know, you think my kids are deprived.  So do they.





Hardly.

Left Alone

Picture this:

It's Sunday morning and it's time to get the girls in the shower so I can help them get ready for Church.  I help Rachel take off her jammies and pull-up and this is what I find...







Upon questioning how this ginormous band-aid got stuck to her cheeks she replied,  "Yesterday, I kept yelling for someone to help me wipe my bottom and nobody came."  (Hannah and I were at the boys' baseball game and Trevor was out mowing the lawn).    I'm not quite sure if it was meant to protect the bottom or the undies.  This is a girl with some serious problem solving skills.  She showed me just this morning that she knows where the Desitin is kept and that she knows how to use it.  Trevor and I were in tears and we couldn't resist documenting the moment for the future.

Poor kid.

She's going to be in need of serious therapy when she grows up.


P.S.  Why does she feel such a strong need to get into band-aids?  Remember this

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hiking the AT

Every year Trevor takes a father/son trip with one of the boys.  It was Timothy's turn to go this year.  I'm not sure how it came about, but they decided they were going to hike part of the Appalachian Trail.  For weeks they talked about their backpacking trip and planned their hike.  The day before they were supposed to leave it was freezing and even snowing (that's Spring Break for you in Ohio).  I kept asking them if they had a back up plan as I could just see them being completely miserable for 3 days and Timothy deciding he was never going to go backpacking again.  I even put in a bid on Priceline for really cheap tickets to Phoenix so they could hike the Grand Canyon instead.  Since the airlines weren't desperate enough to accept my low-ball bid (you would think they would want every 20 bucks they could get), my boys were stuck with their plans.  I kept reminding myself that it would be OK, because I was going to be at home in my nice warm bed!

I'm pretty sure God wants these boys to have a good experience on these trips as last year Trevor and Jonathan were expecting poor weather and it turned out to beautiful for them.  This year was no different.  I called Trevor for a weather update when they were about 15 miles from the trailhead.  He said the weather was gorgeous:  mid 50's and blue skies as far as the eye could see.  All I could think was, "Whew!"  They ended up having a fabulous time hiking 15+ miles in 3 days, meeting all kinds of "through hikers" (those hiking the entire trail from Georgia to Maine; a 6-month adventure) and managed to steer clear of any bears.  Here are a few photos (out of a couple hundred) for your viewing pleasure...




Doesn't he look so clean and anxious to hike?




Looking cool crossing the "bridge".




Playing Uno with the "Taliban" (as Trevor referred to them) in their shelter the first night.  Apparently, most of these "through" hikers were jobless, waiting out the recession on the trail!




Grateful for a loo, no matter how primitive.





These shelters sure came in handy.  Too bad this one slept 26 people the first night, when it was meant to hold about 16!




Lucky for them, all of the snow was on the ground!  It could have been much, much worse!




Slush and muck.




YIKES!



Taking appropriate precaution with the bear bag!




He was so thrilled to be able to build a fire the second night.  He even whittled a marshmallow stick for everyone in their shelter, earning him the trail name, "Blade".  Are you imagining the laundry I got to deal with upon their return?




Day three brought rain.  Good thing they were hiking out!




He found a vine to swing on along the trail!  Looks like fun, doesn't it?




A little reward at the end of the trail.  That night they stayed in a hotel and were grateful for a hot shower, plenty of toilet paper and a huge steak dinner!

Jonathan's already started planning his backpacking trip for next year...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Serious ADD

I can't seem to keep focused on anything these days...including this blog.  I keep jumping from project to project, not really accomplishing anything.  I have a million photos to post and I'm sure even more stories to tell--I just can't seem to get focused long enough to land any of them here.

Soon.

I promise.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Weather Forecasters Don't Know Jack

1-3 inches.  1-3 inches is what they said.  What we got?  A foot.  Another. foot. of. snow.

Translation:  Another snow day for the kids.  I think Sharese's kids performed the "snow day recipe" one too many times!

Maybe I'll catch up on some posts tomorrow...

(If I'm not in bed in the fetal position with the covers pulled over my head).

On the bright side, Timothy may actually get to celebrate his late July birthday at school this year.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Becky needs...

Thanks, Lydia...this was fun!

Go to your favorite search engine, type in your first name and then "needs" and see what you get!

Here's mine:

1.  Becky needs a little taste.  (of what?)
2.  Becky needs to listen to "Kareem Abdul Jabbar" by Kevin Devine and to laugh about it.
3.  "Miss" Becky needs a change with pictures, videos, personal blog, interests, information about me and more.
4.  Becky needs free download, freeware and shareware.
5.  Becky needs a friend.  (How sad.)
6.  Becky needs jd's special c-tex in port boliver tx (huh?  Sounds kinky.)
7.  Becky needs a psychiatrist!  (Probably true!)
8.  Becky needs a friend.  (Wow, it's also #11 & 13.  Becky must be REALLY lonely!)
9.  Becky needs to blackmail a friend to get information about her blind date.
10.  Becky needs the AEROBO machine.  (Again, probably true, although I don't know what the heck this is!)

What Becky really needs?  For the kids to go back to school.  AAARRGGGHHH!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

For Hire

So my kids haven't been to school for a full week since before Christmas.  Between MLK day, teacher in-service days, a nasty stomach flu bug and now, our first decent snowfall of the year, my kiddos have been spending quite a bit of time at home (AND we're only in the 4th week of the new year!)

I have to admit, I do love a good dump (I'm actually referring to snow) and it helps to be able to send the kids out to play.  Before I let them play, however, I asked the boys to help me shovel the driveway.  You would have thought I asked each of them for a kidney.




Why, oh, why can't my boys do an ounce of work without wither complaining or fighting?  They are ALWAYS keeping score on who has done more work.  Apparently they had a scale outside measuring the weight of the snow each had shoveled as they were quick to tell me that this one had shoveled "20 lbs." and the other "a million pounds".  Better than a snow plow, I tell you.

By the way, he's for hire.  At a million pounds a half hour, I should be able to bring in some serious money.  

In the meantime, the girls were thoroughly enjoying themselves on the "hill" in the backyard. Rachel did offer to shovel the driveway, but since she could only handle a sand shovel, I let her off the hook.




Life is good...





when your brothers are shoveling the driveway.


It's currently pouring "freezing rain" and we're expecting another 3-5 inches of snow on top of that.  Sounds like my boys will be kidney-less after tomorrow.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Priceless

I have tried to get these videos uploaded straight to blogspot, to no avail.

To see Hannah's fabulous performance (pun intended) and the kids reaction to their Christmas present, click here...




Sunblock:  $8
Underwater cameras:  $30
A week on the Disney Magic with 20 members of your family:  Priceless

Thanks, again, Grandma Connie for making it all possible!  :)


P.S.  I promise I'm not a scary stage-mom like I sound in Hannah's video!

Santa Came to Town

My kids were very lucky that Santa was in a good mood on Christmas Eve.  You see, when he checked his list, he couldn't find several of our kids names on the nice list.  Instead of taking the time to check his naughty list (he was on a tight schedule), he decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and assumed their names were simply hiding from him.  Knowing that this clan of kids was receiving a great present from their parents (the best ever, as a matter of fact), he decided to leave them just one gift each, so as not to spoil them too much (too late). Grandpa Russ and Grandma Leonore did spoil them with a karaoke machine (I will post video of Hannah in her debut performance later).  This has been much fun as well as the Dance, Dance, Revolution Santa left for Hannah.  Even Timothy, who refuses to ever sing or dance, has been known to cut loose on both the dance mat and the microphone.  Maybe, just maybe, our kids will learn to keep a beat and carry a tune!



Oh, I can hardly wait.  Tylenol, anyone?




She doesn't even own an Easy Bake Oven.  She has to borrow Hannah's.  Poor kid.




Probably the best gift of the day.  Well, maybe the second...




The best gift of the day was a bunch of letters taped to clues.  The kids had to solve the puzzle.  Getting closer...




Solved!  I'll post video of their reaction to this one too. 

Christmas Traditions

Aren't you so glad I'm stretching Christmas into the middle of January for you?

I have to admit, I'm the kind of gal that LOVES December 26th.  I get to take down all of the Christmas decorations and get my house back in or
der.  I have decided that next year I am going to limit the decorations to our tree, stockings and maybe an advent calendar for the kids.  I am NOT the type that loves decorating for Christmas.  All it does is cause me stress.

On that lovely note...

We don't have a lot of Christmas traditions in our household, but our favorite (of which I am lacking a picture) is turning out all of the lights in the house and reading a Christmas story each night under the lights of the Christmas tree.  The kids get to take turns picking a book out of the basket and I have to say I do like this one as it calms everyone down before bed!

At some point between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my kids insist we make a gingerbread house.  I think they don't like making the house as much as they love stuffing their faces with fists full of  candy!  I do love that I can pick up a "gingerbread house kit" at Costco and that I don't have to worry about doing any of it myself.  Presenting this year's version...





A full pound of Wonka candy.  Now that's something my kids get excited about!  Can I just ask what you're supposed to use Pixi-sticks for on a gingerbread house?!?





I guess Rachel came up with the answer...






This year the paste, I mean frosting, didn't work so well.  We had to keep readjusting the roof, which didn't work so well either.  We even tried to make some supports for it (as the box instructed--maybe Wonka knew about the faulty roof), but to no avail...

Apparently the kids didn't care too much.  I guess Rachel thought the rest of the candy belonged in the same place as the Pixi-sticks.  It certainly didn't make it onto the house!





The sad, pathetic, looks-like-it's-been-in-a-California-earthquake result...






Adding insult to injury, our hometeacher stopped by the next night with this beauty...





I'm sad to say it was completely homemade.  A project he completed with his 23 year-old son. Note the 4 Gene Simmons' ready to devour it at one fell swoop...






Since I know you haven't had enough, I am also crazy enough (simply because I feel the pressure from my darling husband) to make Christmas cookies with the kids.  This always makes for an interesting experience as it always makes a huge mess and induces fighting amongst my sweet children.  "I wanted that angel."  "How come she got the snowman?!" "Mom, he stole my sprinkles!"  Don't let this picture fool you...



Happy (Belated) New Year!

Boy, do I have some catching up to do!  It has been a crazy month+, but I have to admit it has been good too.  We have spent a lot of time together as a family and have been doing a lot of fun things.  Let's just put it this way, we still haven't sent out our Christmas cards.  Now that the New Year has passed too, it looks like everyone will be getting a Happy Valentines from us!