Thursday, August 28, 2008

An important meeting

Colin and Cameron have a terrible habit of leaving their toy cars in our kitchen. Inevitably, the cars end up lying with their most pointy parts UP; I end up not seeing them lying there because I am buzzing around doing whatever task I happen to be doing at the moment; then I end up stepping on them, nearly gouging my foot wide open which really hurts.

It is, without fail, one of my biggest pet peeves....therefore, I am fairly strict about the boys bringing cars into the kitchen/dining room area.

"No cars in the kitchen, please." You can hear me saying this several times each day.

However--I have three boys, all of whom love to play with cars, and our living room (where they play most of the time) is right next to our kitchen and dining room. Cars, as I hard as I try to keep them out, sometimes slip in to "my" area.

It happened today.

I was in the kitchen making spaghetti sauce from the *billions* of tomatoes in my garden.

I just so happened to look down right before walking an 11-quart pot FULL of sauce from my sink to my stove, and right there, directly in my path, were not one, but three cars. (Two of which, I might add, were wheels-up. That's a killer.....)


"Yes, Mom?"

"There are three cars here in the kitchen--can you come and get them for me and take them out to the living room?"

"Sure, Mom!"

He enters the kitchen and comes over to gather the cars. Gleefully, he says:

"Oh, this is great! We're all having an important meeting in the living room, and these guys need to be there too. Thanks Mom!"

I snickered, then peeked into the living room and saw this:

Ah....yes, yes. A very important meeting indeed.

Who needs Obama? Vote Merritt in '08

Hey all....

I'd love it if you would take a minute and vote for me if you are not one of the thousands who have already done so!

Thanks a million. I promise not to forget all my friends once I'm in charge of the nation--after all, it's all of you who have brought my campaign this far, and I will forever be grateful!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Looking out for his brother?

Overheard this morning during playtime:

Cameron, very high pitched: "Aiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!! Aiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!"

Colin: "Cameron, stop screaming!"

Ah, that's my boy. Colin, in the usual big brother, caretaker role, is "parenting" Cameron by telling him not to scream because he knows that we aren't supposed to scream in the house. What a good kid. So protective of Cameron, not wanting him to get in trouble.

Cameron, a couple minutes later, again: "Aiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!! Aiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!"

Colin, a bit firmer this time: "Cameron, I said stop screaming like that!"

Good Colin, good. You are setting that good example for him again....keep it up, buddy.

Cameron is quiet for a few minutes, taking his older brother's valuable advice....until playtime gets a little more exciting again.

Cameron: "Aiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!! Aiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!! Aiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!"

"Let's see how he handles this one," I think to myself. "I'm going to see what Colin has to say before I step in to take care of the outrageous, unnecessary noise that this child knows he is not supposed to be making indoors. I can't understand why he didn't heed Colin's first two warnings. I know that Colin only had Cameron's best interests of not getting into trouble in mind when he was telling him to stop screaming like that.....

Colin's rebuke to Cameron?

"Cameron, I have told you to stop screaming like that two times. Now, we don't scream like girls in this house, like, "Aieeeee, Aieeee!" If you are going to scream, you need to scream like a boy, like, "Arggggghhhhh, Argggghhhhhh!!"

Ah, yes. Only Cameron's best interests--of not getting into trouble for breaking the rule of screaming indoors--at heart.

Opening Night

We live in a small, rural village of about 2,100 people.

That basically means that most everyone in our town knows most everyone else. Except our family, of course, being as we just moved here 2 years ago. But I digress. We've met many, many people so far, and we're getting there....

I love the feeling of small towns where everyone knows everyone else. Growing up, my Dad lived in a community like that, and I always loved it. There always seemed to be something special about the area where they lived--all the kids knew each other, and all the kids knew all their friends' parents, as well. The parents in turn knew all the children, and everyone pretty much played with everyone and got along really well. I am sure there are exceptions to everything, but this was just my casual observation during the many times I visited New Jersey.

I remember going and watching some of my brother's events--football games and such--and there was always a great sense of community. Most of the town came out to the games--whatever sporting season it happened to be--and people called each other by their first names. They rooted for everyone else's kids as hard as their own, because, well....that's just what you do in small towns.

I always thought that was so cool.

Now, I am blessed to actually live in that same kind of small community. We attended our very first community 'event' last Friday night at the high school football field, and it was a lot of fun. (Another cool 'small town' thing--we live right across a large field from our high school and it's football field--close enough to hear all the plays over the loudspeaker and the cheering fans each Friday night home game!)

Our high school puts on a Fall Sports Kickoff Event each year, and every child that competes in any sport during the fall sports season gets to participate. There is food, people selling all things "STORM" (our mascot), a football scrimage, and lots of general fun and excitement towards the teams that are going to be representing the community.

It's a really big day for the kids, and it reminded me so much of what I used to experience out in New Jersey. Everyone was friendly, and welcoming, and I am already looking forward to our family being a part of many more activities like this.

My little soccer player got to be a part of the Kickoff this year, and I must say, it was neat to watch him parade across that huge football field; to hear his name called over the loudspeaker (to which Grandma MJ and Mommy cheered as loud as we could, of course); and stand with all of the other athletes like such a big boy.

All the athletes lining up at the end of the ball field--they each got to take their turn walking across the field!

Ethan, not so thrilled to be behind the 'bars' just watching again.....(that's the stinkeye look he likes to give)

Cameron, just as thrilled as Ethan was

Colin's turn! He's the second to the last one. This is the Under 6 Storm Soccer team!

I zoomed as far as I could from the bleachers to catch him waving up to me!

My sweet little boy....*sniff, tear*

The first section of the athletes--this is JUST the soccer players (boys and girls) for the fall season! (Colin's soccer team is the very first line of children, all the way on the right hand side of the screen)

2 generations of soccer players! Daddy and Colin

Proud, proud moments for sure.....with hopefully lots, lots more to come!

Monday, August 25, 2008

A new sport begins...


Daddy has played soccer since age 4, and now he is passing his skills along to Colin! We had our first soccer practice last week (and first game this past Saturday--more on that later!) and it went pretty well! A few pics for you....

Passing the ball down the field

"Scoring" between the cones

"Boy, that looks like fun, Ethan...I wish we could do it too!"

Readying for the next drill

More to come on Saturday's game!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

End-of-Summer madness

No, I have not forgotten about this blog.

Between being gone for 4 days to Chicago for a family visit, the return-home-and-recover-from-being-gone thing, my tomatoes and green beans coming on in droves at the same time in my garden and needing to be canned, construction beginning on my 'back' room area of my house, and a recently diagnosed 4-year-old with a 102.8 fever, the poor ol' computer just isn't getting the attention she is used to any attention right now!

And, to top off my madness....I left my stinkin' camera battery in Chicago.


Thankfully, my MIL is mailing it to me....but I am seriously lost without my camera. I would love to show you pics of our weekend, and of our newest construction project, but *sigh* it will have to wait.

See you.....sooner rather than later, I hope, but I'm not promising!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Yes, boys, go can touch it!!

Last Tuesday, the boys and I made the trek up to Kankakee to a place called Exploration Station. If you are local and you haven't heard of this place before, it is a children's museum, but it's a bit different than the kind you might be used to!

This museum is an absolutely great place to take curious little ones, because the whole point is to TOUCH everything! It is not a huge place, but there were still tons of things to see and do, and lots of different things to learn about. We met Aunt Aimee, Luke, Olivia, and Grandma 'Nette, and it was well worth the drive!

Just an example of some of the things the boys saw and got to explore (all of these things were large--built so that they could get the idea of the real thing): a jet airplane; an ambulance; a tractor; a medieval castle complete with a prison, king's throne, and a real drawbridge; a block area complete with soft blocks that were as big as the boys; a pirate ship; a dentist's office; a post office; a water room; a planet room; and a 50's diner!

Col, my big boy, standing in front of the shapes exhibit.
He looks so grown up in the pic to me...

The boys 'flying' the jet airplane

Cameron driving the ambulance

Ethan driving the tractor

Ethan checking himself out in the mirror area

Me and sweet Olivia...23 takes later, this is the best one I got of us!
"Auntie, I know this is fun for you and all, trying to get this picture of us together...but can you please put the camera down and PLAY with me instead of trying to get me to smile? This isn't very fun."

The four boy cousins on the 'throne' in the Medieval Castle room
Ethan on the pirate ship

We had a nice lunch....Colin and Cameron were entertainment for Olivia!

Mommy and Ethan, who actually ATE that day

Aunt Aimee and Luke
Colin with Grandma, being silly for the camera as usual.
This is his, "I'm not not a boy, I'm a growling dinosaur!" face.

Ethan having some down time after lunch with his precious blankie

Cameron and Colin loved this next area. They had a giant shallow pool shaped like a crab (with eyes, claws, and everything) that was filled with water. This room was even complete with little water covers for the kids so as not to get clothing too wet!
Cameron still somehow managed to soak himself, however....
but they were so enjoying themselves, who cared?

Once Colin figured out how to get 'inside' the crab, Cameron had to climb in too!

"Just hangin' out, playing with my peeps....I mean, fishies"

Can you see the claws and the eyes of the crab?
Oh, yeah, and can you see how stinkin' cute Cameron is? Don't miss that. *giggle*
Luke and Ethan checking out the whales

Grandma 'Nette, helping to show how long the water gown was on Ethan. It was like a dress! He didn't care too much for the fact that Mommy was insistent on getting a picture of this...

The following are my absolute four favorite pictures that I took all day. In the 'water' room there was an exhibit with seashells. I showed Ethan (you can see my hand on the shell in the first picture) that you could put the shell up to your ear and "hear" the ocean. He seemed to think that was really neat, and decided to take the shell and try it out for himself. You can see what he thought of what he was "hearing" .....

"Here, Ethan, look!
You can hear the ocean in here if you listen really carefully!"

"Hey cool! Mom's gonna let me check this one out for myself...."

"What's that I hear in there? The ocean, you say? I think I do hear it..."

"Yes, yes, I definitely do! Holy COW!"

The next stop was another wonderful little area, and I think was my children's favorite area in the whole place! They had recreated a 50's diner, with all kinds of fake (yet, strangely REAL looking and feeling) food for the kids to play with. The boys loved making all kinds of different things and serving it up to me, Aunt Aimee and Grandma 'Nette.

Cameron working hard at his first creation....

"Check out the sundae I made just for you Mommy!"
Cameron and Mommy enjoying his sundae....
I sure could have gone for a real one by this point in the day!

Ethan found this cute little caterpillar tube to play in, and loved it! He stayed in here longer than he stayed in any other spot in the whole place...I think the look on his fact says it all!

Colin serving up a special treat he "made" at the Diner
Olivia and Luke seeing how many germs they can fit in their mouths *giggle*
Grandma and Cameron sharing a special moment in the Diner

All in all, it was an absolutely packed full but very fun day. All the kids a great time, and so did the mommies and Grandma. I would definitely give this place a great recommendation!