Monday, March 30, 2009

Ben, Bed, and Bunnies

When Benjamin wants to surprise us with something, he usually plays it really cool and yells, "Don't come in here, okay?"

So this morning, when he yelled to us, we had a pretty good idea that he was making his own bed - completely by himself for the first time ever. When we were told to "Come in and see!!!" we were quite thrilled, and Ben was SO proud of himself. He gave us each a huge high five and was all smiles. We did have to stifle our chuckles, though, at the number of animals stacked on the bed and the positions in which they were posed, especially Ponder, the frog. :-)

This afternoon, we started working on Easter pins to give to the kids' teachers and grandmothers. As I opened the package, I realized that it was marked 'Ages 6+.' Oops. They really did pretty well. The only part of the project that screams "under-developed fine motor skills" is the "straight" black pen line that is to be drawn down from the bunny's nose. On one of them, Ben accidentally put a black mark on the nose. This inspired him to make another nostril! Anyone wanna place their order for an Easter Bunny-Pig pin??? We have the materials to make up to ten!!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Family Day

This past Saturday was one of those days that the kids have been looking forward to for a long time. The stars aligned, and not only was Daddy home (no percussion competitions!) but we had our church Easter Party and Egg Hunt AND our neighborhood bowling night - all on the same day!

At the Easter party, the kids were split into groups according to age for crafts, the egg hunt, and snacks. Jim was with Ellie, and I went with Ben. As Daddy tells it (and this picture seems to prove), Ellie was one of the more "knowledgeable" kids in the 2 and 3 yr old group. While the others were still standing on the line, being urged on by their parents, Ellie bolted as soon as the whistle was blown!

While Ellie's group was doing their egg hunt, Ben's group was doing a rather intricate craft. He was "done" after the first two steps, especially since the end product was to be a PINK BUNNY!!! Now perhaps if the bunny had been driving an excavator... He was even less thrilled because both of the girls on either side of him finished quickly and then set their sites on "helping" him. By the time he was done, he looked as if he'd been hen-pecked to death. And he was also sporting a big glob of Elmer's glue in the front of his hair from one of the many times that he just had to lean his head on his hand to "sigh!"...while holding a Q-tip full of glue. Now that was some good ole Easter fun, alright!!!

Finally it was Ben's turn for the egg hunt! His strategy was a bit different than Ellie's. He ran out there as fast as he could and then methodically searched for (and would only pick up) "eggs" that looked like sports balls! He was quite proud of his collection. :-)

After a few "quiet" hours at home, we headed to the Army Depot for our neighborhood's bowling night. Rosegarden, our neighborhood, has an active civic association. We plan all sorts of activities, and this one is always a hit. The bowling and pizza/subs were FREE! All we had to pay for was drinks! So, dinner and bowling for 4 cost us $3.00! Not a bad family night, eh?

This was only Ellie's second time bowling, so Daddy was on her "team." His job was to carry her ball and keep her from hurting herself or anyone else. Here's a nice shot of him restraining her from crawling down the alley after her ball.

She (they) actually managed to get two strikes by rolling a ball 1 mile an hour!!! After her first strike, people around us were cheering for her, and she was jumping around and yelling, "I can skip! I can skip!" (She had somehow mastered this moments before as she and Daddy walked/skipped up for her turn...)

We let Ben bowl completely by himself this time. This isn't a great picture, but I posted it anyway just so everyone could enjoy imagining the "mental (and sometimes physical) cringe" that accompanied each and every one of his attempts. :-) Can't you just hear that ball hitting the alley?!? And, bless his heart, he somehow pulled off two spares!!!! Thanks goodness, Mommy is a terrible bowler...Ben beat me!

After a full game of 10 frames, we willingly gave our lane to some others, ate a quick dinner, and headed for bed! 'Twas a good Family Day!! We needed that.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dinner Out

So what do you do when Daddy teaches all day, has musical rehearsal after school until 6, then goes straight to Indoor Percussion rehearsal until 8:45, and doesn't return home until after 9:30? You pack a picnic dinner and go to him!

We trekked through the rain in the busy (and scary) high school parking lot, noticed (but didn't step in!!!) every mud puddle, squeaked our shoes ALL the way down the loooong hall, and then snuck very quietly into musical rehearsal. The kids enjoyed the 20 minutes or so that we were there. Ellie was thrilled by the company dance number that they rehearsed a few times. And I'm sure it's not too hard to imagine that Benjamin spent the entire time asking questions that involved the word "Whhhhhyyyyyyy?" It's his favorite word in the English language. "Why did she say that?" "Why are they doing it again?" "Why did they leave?" "Why are the lights changing?"
And to think that on the car ride over, he actually wanted to know WHY I thought he wasn't old enough to sit through the entire production. ...maybe cuz Mommy (and every other adult within ear shot) would run screaming before we got to intermission!!! :-)

"There's Daddy. Can you see him? Where? No, not on the stage. Down in the pit with the violins. Do you see him? Where? In the green shirt. He's waving. Do you see him now? Oh! There he is!!" ...and THAT'S the abbreviated version!

So Daddy left rehearsal at 5:30, and we had a nice quiet family dinner in the music office...with Brian, Dustin, Brad, and countless percussion students who needed Daddy for one thing or another.

When the pit started warming up at 6, Ben and Ellie spent some time doing their favorite band room activity...hiding in storage cabinets. Finally I had my camera to catch it! It always reminds me of the pet store, personally.

Time to leave! Oh wait, Mommy! We haven't tried this one out today...

Not a traditional "dinner out," but if nothing else, we did get some good "face time" with Daddy, and the kiddos were nice and tired when we returned home for bed!

Monday, March 23, 2009


Answer #1: Jim figured out what
was causing me so much trouble uploading to my blog! It was our security system. So now, I just have to go in and disable some various aspects of it before blogging (and remember to re-able them when I'm done) and I'm set!!! Just to prove it, here are two pics from our neighborhood park that each only took ONE try to upload! Yippee!!!!

Okay, so now all I have to do is work on my technique...I can't seem to get my typing to go up there next to Ellie's picture. :-) Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I typed first and added pictures later? I'll work on that...

Answer #2: That foamy stuff in yesterday's picture is old muffling foam that was once glued around the perimeter of a marching band drum head. Yep, Ben found those pieces in the band truck last year while helping to load equipment before a football game (a.k.a. - riding the lift up and down while the pit dads load the truck). In my mind, they (the pieces of foam) rate in the "Disgusting" category somewhere between stale bread and large, creepy insects. They are the type of thing that has sort of a double standard - no big deal in their "natural environment" of the band truck but somehow suddenly icky when in my son's bedroom! Nonetheless, Ben has foiled my plans to throw away his muffling foam many times. To him, they are somehow worthy of the "Prized Possessions" category.

And finally the Quote of the Day, well actually of Saturday:

In response to my dad (Poppy) being silly, Benjamin said, "Poppy, you're ridiculous! That's Spanish for fun."

Here's wishing you a ridiculous Tuesday!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Any Guesses?

Thanks, Erin.  I tried your suggestion of uploading from a different computer, and viola!  I'm now typing on Jim's brand new percussion ensemble laptop while he is frantically trying to figure out what's wrong with mine!  :-)

So here's the picture that I wanted to post with the tale of trying on clothes on Friday.  This is Ben's castle that he built on the foot board of his bed while I was was wrestling Ellie.

Does anyone want to venture a guess as to what the two pieces of dark foamy stuff is on top of the castle?

Hint:  Music folks have the best shot...well, to be fair, drummers have the only real shot! 

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Technology Update

It's been a little over a week now, and I'm enjoying being a blogger...EXCEPT for the pesky uploading of pictures and videos!!!!! I am still having trouble doing this! The pictures and the video that are posted are a result of countless efforts to get each to post. Each item takes me literally a few days worth of tries to successfully upload.

I've tried using internet explorer and firefox. I've tried uploading from my flickr account. (This works, but I can only put one picture on each post. Plus the pic is very small, and the resolution is terrible if I try to enlarge it.) I've also tried resizing my images. Nothing is helping.

If anyone out there has any suggestions, I'd be THRILLED to hear them!

On a positive note, I was able to figure out how to change the parameters on my comments. My mom and my friend, Chris, will be excited to know that! I think I've set it so that now "anyone" can leave comments. You don't have to have a yahoo account or a profile to add your two cents. Anyone wanna give it a try? :-)

And PLEASE, someone let me know what I should do to get these pictures to upload on the first try! I'm dying to know!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

I LOVE Fridays!

Without getting too sappy, I SWEAR it seems like just yesterday that I felt "trapped" at home with a newborn and without any reason to go anywhere! Now, a mere five years later, a LIVE for Fridays which frequently seem to be the ONLY day of the week that we don't have to hurry out of the house in the morning!

Now, don't get me wrong, I KNOW that MUCH more craziness is yet to come in the years ahead. It's just that getting two pre-schoolers out the door in a timely fashion four days a week gets, well...tiring! Since we've been tweaking and perfecting our routine since September, it really is pretty seamless at this point. But that fact still remains, that by Friday morning, I am SO glad that frequently we have nowhere to be by 9:00 a.m. on the dot!

This morning was one of those welcomed leisurely mornings. We played, we colored, we danced, we watched Sesame Street (which is actually a real treat now in our house, since we're never home anymore when it's on!), and we tried on spring and summer clothes.

This last activity can be a struggle or enjoyable depending on the mood of the trier-on-ers. I usually have to give Ben some time to putter around and play and then coral him for a fast burst of 10 articles of clothing all at once. He's pretty easy at this stage, since he can completely and efficiently dress himself. Ellie's another story. I make deals with her, like say..."We need to try on four more shirts, and then you can wear a gown for a while." (In Ellie's World a "gown" is any type of dress.) This is then followed by much wrestling, numerous displays of the motherly Furry Eyeball, and threats of The Deal being revoked. Once Ellie is finally dressed in a gown (of course one that I needed to try on her anyway), she flits off to admire herself in the mirror, and I reorganize piles and track down Ben for Round 2.

Today's session of Wardrobe Purging went pretty well. There were no tears...I don't think. And we got a lot tried on. What a fun sport. ...not necessarily my first choice of how to spend a Friday, but still better than having to race out the door!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Nursery Rhymes and Chalk Drawings

Quote of the Day:
Baa, baa, black sheep have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.
One for my monster and one for my lame...
(Excerpt from Ellie's breakfast hour nursey rhyme recitation)

Here's what we did this afternoon when the sun finally graced us! Sometimes the kids get a little upset when Daddy comes home and parks on their art work. Luckily today's masterpiece was just low enough to fit behind the car!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My Three Drummers

I'm sure it doesn't come as a surprise to anyone that our kids like to play the drums. They've been fooling around on Jim's set since they were tiny. Then, our neighbors gave us their little "kiddie" set, which was rather worn and missing some parts.

This past Fall, while Sarah (my sister) and her kids were visiting, we were all downstairs in the music room. The kids were fooling around with the different instruments, and Sarah and I were talking/supervising. All of a sudden, it dawned on me that someone was playing the drums - and it wasn't "just banging!" I "tuned in" to realize that Benjamin was actually concentrating VERY hard, with his head down, and keeping a nice basic rock pattern going on the snare and ride cymbal! Every so often, he would slowly look up, break into a little solo or fill, then go back to his basic beat. I raced upstairs to get the video camera, so we could show Daddy. He, of course, was impressed and very proud! :-)

Since Benjamin's Percussive Epiphany, Jim took the little drum set down and replaced it with another full-size set (Jim's first drum set). Yes, that means, if you're keeping score that I now actually have a room in my house with TWO full-size drum sets in it. Lucky me!

Ben has since found a new favorite song, "So You Had a Bad Day." He heard it on that fantasy football commercial over the winter and fell in love. :-) Jim downloaded it to his computer, and now Ben can play along with it.

I made this video one evening while Jim was playing around with the kids. No one other than Jim and I has really seen Ben play as well as he can, because he seems to get nervous - even for his grandparents! On the video, you actually hear Ben playing, Jim playing with Ellie in his lap behind Ben, AND the song in the background. 'Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dinner at Nana and Pop-Pop's

The whole Weaver Clan got together this afternoon for Aunt Amy's belated birthday dinner. For the first time, we all arrived early and ate dinner mid-afternoon...well those of us who remembered this plan and didn't eat lunch at 12:30...sorry, Nana! :-)

It was a wonderful change to the norm; the kids had more time to play together, the adults had more relaxed time to visit and help clean up, and Nana and Pop-Pop weren't left with a ton of clean-up to carry over to the next morning.

And of course, the biggest bonus was that the four older cousins had more time to beat up...uh...I mean play with Uncle Dave in the backyard! Hopefully these pictures will serve as an explanation to Aunt Nikki when she goes to get the mud and grass stains out of Uncle Dave's clothes... Every child should be so lucky as to have an Uncle Dave! :-)

Friday, March 13, 2009

One More Thing!

Not sure why this posted as Friday the should be Saturday the 14th!

So the honeymoon is over. I want so desperately to be able to post pictures, and we (Jim and I) are still having a terrible time figuring out why this step won't work! Now, obviously I (Jim) got this one to post this morning, but we haven't had any success since! So, this has officially become just one more thing to drive me nuts on a daily basis!!! I hope we figure this out soon!

So here's the pic of Ellie at the park from the other week. If you think she looks too big to be in a baby swing, you should see the shots of Ben! He got a bit stuck and lost both shoes during the extraction. I think perhaps this chapter of our lives is over.

On a completely different note, the kids and I got to see "Daddy's drummers" perform today. The Mechanicsburg High School Indoor Percussion Ensemble competed at Northern this afternoon - the closest locale and best Weaver-Family-friendly time all season!

We went with both sets of grandparents, and all adults were in stitches listening to the kids' running commentary! First of all, I put cotton in the kids' ears, as I do myself. (Imagine marching band drum line in a gymnasium...WITH mics on all the keyboard kidding!) So getting back to the cotton, as most everyone knows, 3 and 5 yr olds don't have a greatly refined sense of appropriate public conversation subject or volume, as it is. Now imagine those same little brains and voices struggling to hear themselves through the cotton that their mommy so thoughtlessly stuffed in their ears... Yep. Laugh all you want! At least my children will have hearing when they are in their 20's!

We had no horribly inappropriate moments. My favorite was Benjamin's comments about how he knew the next group was Lower Dauphin because they were wearing blue pants and dolphins like water and water is blue... Obviously not worth even attempting to explain to him...

The kids were very happy to get to see Daddy's drummers, and I was too! For months now, I've been listening to the music being written and/or arranged downstairs, design meetings in the family room, and sections of rehearsal/performance recordings being analyzed on the laptop. It was certainly exciting to see it all LIVE! What can I say, I'm a proud wife! :-) The kids probably won't get to see any more performances this year, but I'll be going on the championship trip with Jim to Wildwood, NJ in May. I'll be sure to post some pics then...if I have this all figured out by May!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spring Tease

It was wonderful to get outside for most of the afternoon today. I did some serious pruning - I remembered to prune the butterfly bushes without being reminded! My Aunt Pat will be SO proud. :-) The kids played in the sandbox and spent time trying to send me into heart failure while climbing "Daddy's tree," the largest of four pines in our backyard.

Benjamin is quite an accomplished climber and can make it in excess of 20 feet straight UP even with flip-flops on, as he demonstrated last summer while "helping Daddy to grill dinner." Today, I was watching rather closely, since Ellie suddenly desired to follow him UP. She did quite well and wasn't too irritated that I wouldn't let her go more than a few feet above my head.

Of course, as many of you have probably already imagined, the Control Freak in me was interspersing my praise with the litany of climbing Rules and Regulations that were swirling through my head! :-) Now I have something new to add to my list of Things to Worry About. Go figure.

For some odd reason, I didn't think to take my camera outside until late this afternoon. I didn't capture anything blog-worthy. Ben was sitting on the patio wall and coaching/cheering for Ellie as she practiced hitting a baseball off the tee. 'Twas a pretty cute scenario, but I didn't do a good job catching it on camera.

Instead, here are some pics that I took at our neighborhood park during our last warm spell.

Okay. Forget the pics!!!!!!!!! I CAN'T get the darn things to upload!!! Even Jim can't figure out what's going wrong, and he's our resident IT. So hopefully he'll have some more time this weekend to dissect the computer and get this little kink ironed out...if I don't throw the whole thing across the living room and into the dress-up bin before then!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Now look what you've done, Elaine!

Finally, after over a YEAR of harping, Elaine has worn me down! :-) I have officially started a blog! I think she is looking forward to reading (and laughing at) my crazy stories of day-to-day life (and doctor visits) that all tend to drip with sarcasm without much effort on my part.

I've come to think that a blog is exactly what I need to share my crazy stories (and, of course, pictures) with loved ones and friends without having to re-tell stories and re-send photos 1500 times...only to find out that I left someone out!

So hopefully, I'll be somewhat good at this and make posts regularly. We'll see... If nothing else, perhaps now that I finally have this much more efficient way to communicate with everyone, all of our crazy "medical misadventures" will cease!!!

Of course, in typical fashion, I am initiating this blog much later in the evening than I planned. It seems that Ellie's Blankie was LOST. She and I searched high and low for that stinkin' thing for at least 30 minutes. Then I found it (upon looking a 2nd time) in the BOTTOM of Ben's hamper underneath his dirty clothes from the day!!!!

Alright, I'm off to clean up from dinner, only a mere 4 hours after it was eaten! I'll be back soon...I hope.