Friday, May 29, 2009

Missed one...

How could I have forgotten this one? Here's Little Lily during one of her split seconds of calmness. Boy, I don't miss that stage of constant squirming and one-year-old opinions! ...well, I guess I a way... But I'm just as happy to be able to reason with my kiddos a bit more now and just follow them around (or yell from a distance) and not have to hunch over and hold their hands every step of the way!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Richmond Wedding

So here are LOTS of pics from our Richmond trip last weekend. I'll try not to be too wordy...just wanted to share some of my favorite shots.

We spent some of Saturday morning at a local park...LOVE this one of Ben!

Here's Daddy pushing the kids on the tire swing. Ben loved this one so much that he spent a bit too much time on it. He and Corey (cousin) rode and cackled for a looooooong time. When we returned to the hotel, Ben had to sit on the curb with his head in a trash bag for a few minutes! He never actually lost his breakfast, but I think he learned his lesson...

We spent the rest of the morning splashing in the hotel pool and eating lunch poolside. The kids then took naps to regroup for the evening's festivities.

The ceremony and reception were held at the historic Tuckahoe Plantation, Thomas Jefferson's boyhood home. The setting was absolutely gorgeous, as was the wedding!

Here comes the bride, Sarah, escorted by her parents. I love the moment captured here - the bride glowing, her father looking a bit stoic, and her mother taking in her daughter's beauty.

The groom, Jim's cousin, Duncan. This is the best one I had of him. He didn't actually wear flowers in his hair for the ceremony...sorry Duncan! ...not that it's a bad look! :-)

Jim's big sis and her hubby - Amy and Dave...

Nana and Pop-Pop, Jim's parents - Bert and Jeff...

Ben knows just how to play it for Mommy's camera. I love it when he wants to have his picture taken!

There were so many cool "droopy" trees on the property. The kids loved this branch!

A rare family shot. Gotta love Ben's "serious" face!

Stick a fork in 'em! The tired kiddos found a place to sit while waiting for Daddy to pick us up. Check out my Mondo-Mega Mommy Bag! ...and we don't even have diapers and bibs anymore!!!! :-)

We returned home Sunday morning in less than half the time it took us to get there Friday afternoon! 'Twas a terrific weekend - the wedding was beautiful in every way, the kids were well-behaved, and I got a rockin' dress out of it!

Best Wishes, Sarah and Duncan!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Favorite "Eight" Eyes

We got "the call" today. Ellie's glasses were finished and ready to be picked up. She was SO excited! The technician made over her and how cute she was in her new glasses, which then prompted Big Brother to suddenly need some adjustments made to his glasses too. :-) After his "adjustments" were performed to his satisfaction, we left with Ellie's new pink fuzzy glasses case in hand. I don't even want to think how soon we'll be back...

We went directly to Nana and Pop-Pop's to show off Ellie's new look and returned home shortly thereafter. When we walked in the door, Ellie sat down to take her shoes off and removed her glasses as well! :-) New habits take time, I suppose...

Here's a shot of my babies in their specs. Doesn't Ben look rather protective in the first one? Too funny!

I don't know what they were staring at here, but I love their expressions...

Everyone's tucked in for the night with their glasses cleaned and placed safely in their cases on their respective night stands. We'll see how tomorrow goes. We should take bets on how long it will be before they think it's funny to wear each other's glasses...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Chat with Ellie

I was thrilled yesterday afternoon when Ellie went into the powder room to wash her hands and then announced that it would take her a little longer because she also had to pee! We joke that she must have a bladder of steel, because the child can hold it for upwards of 6 hours!!! Although she has been potty-trained for well over a year now, she RARELY says she has to go. We (usually me) always has to tell her when it's time to try.

So, as I praised her from the kitchen while beginning dinner preparations, I then hear her start to wail, "Oh no, Mommy! Heeeeelp!" I rushed toward the powder room...and "the answer" met me just as it was rushing out into the hall. Yep. She had a "flooder" right in front of the toilet!

Since having children some five years ago, I can't even begin to count the number of various liquids that I've encountered running along the nice wide grout lines in our kitchen, hall, and powder room. And those lines are like the express train, let me tell ya! Milk, juice, raw egg, bodily's as if they know they can make a bigger mess if they just find a grout line and hop on! Uh! I digress...again!

So back to Ellie in front of the toilet. I grabbed her and plopped her on the toilet while simultaneously shoving area rugs out of the "express train's" way with my feet and beginning in on yet another explanation of "this is why you have to try to go to the bathroom more often and not wait...blah, blah, blah."

I sat down on a dry swath of rug and continued my explanation, thinking that I needed to seize the moment while the feeling was still fresh in her mind. Very uncharacteristically, she just sat and listened and looked straight at me. I was feeling successful! I even noted that she had slightly watery eyes. I thought, "This is good. She's taking this to heart but doesn't seem to be on the verge of crying." Then she interrupted me.

" you know why I'm staring at you?"


"Because I don't know what you're talking about." least she's cute...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Deed is Done!

We went this afternoon to find glasses for Ellie. She was very nervous, so I actually broke my rule and allowed her to take Blankie into the store with us. I figured anything that would help the process to go smoothly was worth it! I'm not entirely sure what she was nervous about, but she definitely was! I had, of course, gone through the whole explanation - we're just trying on glasses to see which ones we like...nothing is going to hurt...we're not going to take them home today... Who knows what it was, but I certainly was worried about how I was going to turn the whole situation around if it started to head south! Thankfully, she warmed up quickly!

Here is the first pair that Ellie picked out to try on. She LOVED them, because they didn't have any lenses in them. She called them the "unglasses." Gorgeous, aren't they? ...and just her size!

Another hysterical outtake... Makes me think of that blockbuster hit, "The Librarian Who Ate Manhattan."

Once we narrowed it down to about four pair, we went over to a desk to have a "fashion show," as Ellie called it. She greatly enjoyed hamming it up for herself in the mirror!

And here's the winning pair...not a great front view...gotta love the "I'm so proud of myself" smile. See the little flowers on the side? When people ask her what color her new glasses are, she says, "They have flowers!" :-)

Despite the fact that Ellie asked numerous times to get "the ones that were already made," we will have to wait about a week for her new glasses to be ready. :-) She seems...excited? Nah...more like...accepting. We'll see how accepting she is in a few weeks.

Why is it that I already foresee some behavior modification in my future for the summer? Sticker rewards for every 1/2 day that we leave our glasses on? Heavy praising? And of course we ALL know that I'll have to do the same with my son, who already does well with his glasses!!! Nothing like a sister's behavior modification to bring about a brother's regression, eh?!? Ahh, the games we play...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Another pair of glasses!

It isn't what you're probably thinking. The Super Lady at Total Vision Care was easily able to fix Benjamin's squashed glasses this morning.

Then, this afternoon we went back to see the Pediatric Opthamologist. Ben had a quick follow-up appointment, and Ellie had her first appointment. The doctor has requested that I bring her in, since Ben's eye problem (astigmatisms) are hereditary.

And, well as if it isn't obvious by now, I will be taking Little Miss Ellen to pick out frames tomorrow! I'm just praying that they don't have any purple ones with rhinestone studs in stock...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It Happened...

After three and a half successful months, my fear finally came true - and it DID have to do with the sandbox!!!! From the time Benjamin got his glasses, I just knew I would go outside one afternoon and find them lying face down in the sand. his defense, they weren't in the sandbox...just next to it in the grass.

The kids had been playing by themselves for about 20 minutes or so while worked on laundry. I went out to help them plant some watermelon seeds that Ben had been pestering (I mean, reminding!) me about. As I called to them to come help me, Ben stepped out of the sandbox and said,"But first, where are my glasses?" It wasn't the actual question that made time freeze, it was the helpless way that he was looking down scanning a large section of grass.

Within a few seconds, he found them saying, "Oh, here they are!" I was at his side when he picked them up...only to discover that they had been quite obviously stepped on! I remained rather calm. This type of thing was bound to happen. Heck, he's only five! I pointed out that this is the very reason that leaving his glasses on a chair or the ground/floor is not a good idea. He then very calmly explained to me how it couldn't possibly have been him who stepped on them, since they were lying "there" and he knew for sure that he had walked "here."

So, as luck would have it, he has a follow-up appointment with the eye doctor tomorrow. We'll be swinging by Total Visioncare first to get the glasses...adjusted. Yep, that's a nice way to put it... I honestly dunno if they'll be able to fix them while we wait. Guess we'll find out!

Something tells me that the next time this type of thing happens, I may not be quite so calm. ...and watch out for the time after that...and the time after that...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pool Time!

Our first swim of the season was Saturday evening at the Zetters' house. We went there for the annual Percussion Picnic. Their pool is heated, so despite the heavily shaded backyard, the water temp was 84 degrees!!! Now that's do-able!

Ellie was so excited about getting to wear her new "tutu-y" bathing suit!!! She also couldn't wait to see what kind of bathing suit Brianna (her 16-yr-old babysitter) would have. She thought for sure that hers would have a tutu as well. Mmmmmm...I don't think so. :-)

Ben jumped in without hesitation and was very independent. He's gonna take off this year in the water! Ellie took a few minutes to remember that she loves to swim, and then she was fine too. The kids were going off the diving board, paddling back and forth, jumping in from the sides... Poor Daddy got quite a work-out!

I'm lovin' the genuine Daddy smile here...

Serious Benjamin braves the open waters. He was so comfortable in the pool! He's now tall enough to stand in the shallow end, and he even decided to ditch the swimmies after a while!

Here's a RARE great one of least I think so...

The kids (and Jim) slept VERY well. In fact, Ellie didn't get up until 8:20 this morning!!! (She usually rises around 6.) Someone warn the Zetters that we'll be back tomorrow. :-)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sweet Caroline

Here are a couple pictures of my sister's 2 1/2 yr-old daughter, Caroline. I took these last weekend at my parents' house. Usually, I end up with a ton of pictures that I love of her 8 month-old baby brother, Colin. He's easy to take good pictures of...Caroline, not so much. She makes you "work" for a good one! :-)

LOVE this one!!!

And this is what Ellie was doing while she was supposed to be hiding from Ben. She would simply sneak through the cedars and lie in the next door neighbor's back yard...soaking up some rays, I guess???? Caroline tried it once or twice, since Ellie made it look like so much fun. That's my 3-going-on-13 year-old!

Friday, May 8, 2009


In my life, two weeks qualifies as ancient history, but I'm going to do my best to recollect the Wildwood trip and share some of my favorite goes!

This is the Mechanicsburg Indoor Percussion Ensemble warming up for prelim competition at championships in the parking lot of the Wildwood Convention Center. They have their uniforms under their jackets and sweatshirts, because it was quite chilly and there was a fine (and very constant) mist...and breeze. How could I forget the bone-chilling breeze?!? I took this pic from the tailgate of one of the two trucks it takes to move all of the equipment.

This is a shot looking down the front row of marimbas as they warm up. Sam (the guy at the end of the line) isn't crying over his instrument. He's restringing all the bars...with the "marimba string" that Jim always purchases at Lowe's. Something tells me that is not what the shelf label says in the store... :-)

Jim cleaning something in the snares during rehearsal...

'Love the blues in this one! The last few minutes of a run-through - now on the boardwalk - before prelim.s...

The post-performance re-folding of the floor. "The floor" is a huge basketball court-sized tarp that is designed and painted to go with/portray the theme of the show. It takes countless hands to drag and fold the huge thing. Here are the kids, "backstage," reloading it onto it's very own wheeled cart after a performance.

Jim addresses the troops...he speaks, and they actually listen! I'm sure some of their parents are scratching their heads! :-)

Beach time! As I made this insanely loooooong hike to the surf, I just kept thanking my lucky stars that I didn't have a pre-schooler with me who might, at any minute, turn to me and say, "Mommy, I have to pee!"

And my favorite part - the food! Here's a balcony shot of the finely-oiled machine that was MASH (Mech. Area Sr. High) Percussion Catering. :-) We traveled with 4 easy-ups, 4 gas grills, numerous tables, chairs, coffee makers, insulated food name it, the Food Crew had it! It just boggles the mind!

What a wonderful idea the whole thing is, though. Each person - students, parents, even just family members tagging along, paid $25 each to eat for the entire weekend - Thursday dinner through Sunday lunch, snacks included! One of the pit member's moms is a caterer and helped out immensely. And from what I've witnessed, I would highly recommend her! She's based out of her home in Mechanicsburg - Esther's Country Kitchen. She's well worth looking up if you're in need of a caterer. I even heard her talking about doing cookie trays at Christmas time...something to remember! I digress...

Here's a birds eye view of breakfast on the barbies! :-) We had grilled french toast, scrambled egg and sausage sandwiches. Uhhh! I'm making myself hungry!

The battery (marching percussion) warming up before finals. This is my favorite edit! Don't look too close, Elaine, Jen, and Dennis! :-)

Game Time! Look at those intense faces...

The tenors mid-show...

A shot during their finals performance... If you enlarge this, you can easily see the intensity and concentration written all over everyone's faces. :-) I snapped this a little early - that bass on the far right is going to pull into the form tighter in the next two steps.

A group shot at the "Wildwoods" sign. I had to crop the two oblivious strangers out on the far left and thus lost the "W." Still cool though...

After this picture was taken, we feasted on pizza that was delivered to the parking lot. We returned for a full retreat awards ceremony. The kids placed 2nd, as I said earlier (two weeks ago!). We went back to the hotel for a few hours of hanging out (which included Jim ambushing the ring-leader of the recent house-decorating with a shaving cream pie to the face!) and left for home the following morning.

And we all lived happily ever after.

Whew! I did it! Hope you liked all the shots. Probably feels like you were all there with us, huh? I'll have to work on my choosiness before we get to the family beach vacation pictures this summer...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thoughts of the Day

So, I know I promised to post more about Wildwood, but I just HAVE to share this tale first!

The kids and I spent a while outside in the wonderful spring weather this afternoon upon returning from Benjamin's class trip to the Hershey Zoo. I was marveling in the fact that FINALLY they are old enough to entertain themselves outside for 30 minutes or more while I work in the gardens. We went back outside again later in the afternoon while Jim was mowing, and the kids continued to entertain themselves! In fact, it was going so well, that Jim and I just blew through our normal dinner time and kept working. We came in for a "late" dinner (at 5:45) and then went directly upstairs for showers and bedtime (normally at 7).

It is so rare that both Jim and I are around at bedtime, that it is almost a treat when we are! This evening, we decided to divide and conquer; Jim took Ellie and I took Ben. Everyone was showered, dried, and dressed quickly.

Then Trouble struck. I was brushing wet hair while Jim brushed teeth. On Ben's head, I encountered two large, sticky "chunks" of hair that I couldn't even begin to get a brush through! (Jim was of course gloating, since he hadn't been the one to wash Ben's hair...) Thinking out loud, I said,"What could that possibly be?!?" Without hesitation, Ben said, "Sap."

Apparently, while entertaining himself outside, Ben had spent some time attempting to scale the pine tree on the side of the house. ...the very same pine tree that we just cut a bunch of low limbs off of, thus leaving large weeping spots. :-)

After googling "How do you get sap out of hair," I found myself standing in the kitchen massaging glops of mayonnaise into my son's freshly shampooed quaff. (This seemed like a better option than rubbing in peanut butter and heating it with a hair dryer, though.)

Ben found the whole thing WAY too funny. He was laughing hysterically while muttering something over and over about not being a sandwich. I think his Sense of Humor is ready for elementary school...

Trying desperately to avoid a second shower for the evening, I had Ben stand on a chair and hang his head in the kitchen sink while I washed the mayo out with hand soap. The mayo seems to have worked surprisingly well...I'm just not sure if I got all of the oil from the mayo out. We'll see what it looks like in the morning...

So, my two profound Thoughts of the Day:

1. God bless Google.
2. Mayonnaise gets sap out of hair...rather well!

Monday, May 4, 2009

I'm Back!

Last Thursday, Jim and I boarded a charter bus and headed to Wildwood, NJ...with three other chaperons and 33 of our closest teenage friends. :-) Jim's Indoor Percussion Ensemble competed in the multi-day championships held at the convention center there. The entire four-day excursion revolved around practicing and competing...oh, and a bit of free time on the boardwalk, on the beach, and in the pool. Actually, I must admit that I believe eating was the activity that we spent the most time engaged in - second only to drumming!

The kids did a spectacular job all weekend in their performances and overall behavior. They performed their best show ever Saturday evening at Finals (good time to peak, eh?), and placed 2nd in the "World" Class (highest classification, with the lowest of 4 or 5 classes being "Novice," I think...).

Jim's parents stayed at our house with the kids from Thursday at 10:00 a.m. until Sunday at 4:00 p.m. All four of them had a terrific time and were very TIRED when Jim and I got back! :-) Needless to say, I have A LOT to catch up on here at home. This is also a CRAZY week for me, and I'm a bit under the weather with allergies. Soooooo, I'll do my best to get my act together soon and post a more detailed account of the trip a.s.a.p.

Here's a single pic of Jim and "his kids" on the CHILLY beach Friday afternoon...more later! Jim's on the far bottom right of the group.