Always Crazy, Always Fun, Always Love

Ray Romano once compared life with twins to living in a frat house. As he put it, "no one sleeps, there is a lot of noise and a lot of throwing up." I find this very true with 4 young children, including twins. However, though things are always crazy, we always try to have fun and, most certainly, always love each other.

Friday, August 26, 2011

First Day of School/ Rain Gutter Regatta

As mentioned in the previous post, my boys started school Wednesday!!! I seriously can NOT believe how fast this summer flew by. I remember thinking when we went to their school for the meet the teacher, it didn't seem like some big grand reunion when seeing people again. It was like, "Hey, didn't I just see you?" It seemed to me like no time really had passed between the last day and now this new first day. Not that we didn't have a lot of fun because we really did (see previous post for a small example!) it just went by really fast.

I also find I really don't look forward to the kids going back to school like many parents do. Sure the house is a little quieter with half the kids in our house gone, but I really don't like the morning rush of getting up early and everyone ready and out of the house by 8:45. I also reeeaaallly hate homework. Homework seems to be a frustration to me and the kids, then there is always a rush to get dinner cooking and onto our evening activities and then bedtime. Everything just feels so rushed during the school year. Seriously, today was the 3rd day of school and both boys already have received information regarding their first projects due. Sigh.... The quieter days don't really make up for the rushed mornings and evenings to me. Besides, I find I have so much running around to do during the day, it isn't like I get much done. I like the slower pace of summer where we can get up a little later, do fun things together, hang out at home and just not have the stresses.

Anyway, enough of my whining. Jacob admitted to being excited about the first day of school. Kenny said he was not, but I know he was a little:
Kenny- 5th grade, Jacob- 3rd grade Handsome aren't they?
They wear uniforms at their school so it takes the fun out of what to wear the first day, but at least they got to wear their brand new uniforms (definitely had to get new ones after last year- they had either outgrown or stained most of them!)

Here is Jacob ready to work:
He got the same teacher as last year, which I am thrilled about! Last year for 2nd grade, he was in a split 2/3 classroom for advanced kids. Mrs. J was his teacher and Jacob did so well, he was actually working at a 3rd grade level or above most of the year. The idea is she would have him again as an advanced 3rd grader in a split class again. But, they decided to do away with the split classes so my fear was he would repeat a lot of what he already did last year since he would now be in a regular 3rd grade class. Since he has Mrs. J again (she kept all her 2nd graders from last year) she knows where they have been and where to take them. This picture shows Meghan and Ellen waiting patiently while I get Jacob settled! I seriously lost count of how many people asked if they were starting Kindergarten this year. They were all surprised to learn they are only 4. They are both as tall as any 6 year old!

After getting him settled, I went up to see Kenny. Kenny's class was already quiet and listening to their teacher with no parents around so I didn't want to interrupt. I snapped this picture from the door way. I think it is funny that most of the kids in the picture already have the bored pose going with their head rested on their fist. Kenny has Mr K this year for 5th grade. It is his first time having a male homeroom teacher so it should be interesting. He seems like a cool teacher with lots of experiences planned. I don't look forward though to helping Kenny organize his first report due at the end of September- typed and put in a clear cover with a bibliography with 3 references.... really- in 5th grade?! Especially the beginning?!

I guess it just surprises me how fast my boys are growing. It feels so strange having a 5th and 3rd grader. I still think of them as my babies- when did this happen?!

Anyway, here is to a good school year that is sure to be full of lots of physical, emotional, spiritual and academic growth! (and no doubt a little whining....from the boys too!)

Rain Gutter Regatta!!!

Another fall tradition- that always occurs right around the start of school- is the cub scout rain gutter regatta! They always do this for the August pack meeting. Each boy receives a kit containing a boat to put together. They assemble it and paint it then race them in rain gutters filled with water by blowing them across. Here are their masterpieces:

Kenny:
Jacob:

And the race is on!!!

Neither boy performed that well (our boats never seem to do that well- probably more operator error, I am sure! Ha!) but they had a blast which is all that matters. They tied for 4th place (out of 6 boys....) but they didn't seem to mind. They each won at least one race and really enjoyed painting their boats. I thought they did a great job!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This Summer's Last Hurrah!

Today, my boys started the new school year. Kenny is now in 5th grade and Jacob in 3rd. I feel so old having a son who will soon be in middle school! They just keep growing so fast and are truly wonderful boys!

We made sure to really pack in the fun before school and WOW- what a week we had! It was so very busy but oh, so much fun too! This last week, we had something going on every...single...day! We crammed in as much summer fun as we could before getting back to the grind! Here are the highlights:

This first set of pictures was actually a couple of weeks ago when we went to the Franklin Park Conservatory and saw the butterfly exhibit with some friends. A butterfly decided it liked Kenny!

Here are a lot of cute faces looking down on me from the loft above:And here are all of the beautiful little faces that made the trip with us!
It is a really neat place- it somehow manages to get kids into nature- while being inside!



Now onto this last week:

1)Last Wednesday: Zoombezi Bay! Our kids got free passes for participating in the summer reading club so we took advantage of that! It is too expensive otherwise! We had an absolute BLAST! In fact, I was too busy and too wet to really take any pictures, but I did snap this one before we left of our wet and tired family.

2) Thursday: Fair day! The town where I grew up hosts a small fair every year so we usually go- one of the few times I justify pigging out on fried fair food! The kids loved the rides!
(Did I mention it was H...O...T?!)
I got more pictures of the girls then the boys because Aaron and I split up during the day- he took the boys to the bigger kid rides and I took the girls on the smaller rides. Later, we went by the firefighters booth where all of the kids got a free tattoo!


3) Saturday: My brother-in-law, Shawn, took my boys and our nephew Joey on a fun day trip! He bought nets and took them to a creek to play and catch crawdads!
Here they are, excited and ready!!

Shawn warned us to send extra clothes because "they may get a little wet." Well, I don't think it took long for THIS to happen:
They came home happy and excited as can be- each with their own pet crawdads! Yay...... (note the lack of enthusiasm....). The boys put them in little containers when they got home. Kenny had two and Jacob had 1. The current count: 2 dead and 1 missing. Yes, missing! I was not too happy. We noticed it gone Monday night and still have no idea where it is. I am reeeaaaalllly hoping my cats or dog enjoyed a nice treat. Otherwise, I don't look forward to smelling/finding it (I am assuming it is dead- I don't think they can live long outside of the water...). But, regardless, it was a great day for them and I am so thankful to Shawn for spending time with them!

MEANWHILE- while the boys were away playing in the water, I took the girls to a birthday party for their friend, Zachary! They had so much fun. They did several games, had treats, and played in a fun backyard! Here is one of the games- they had to wrap each other up with toilet paper like a caterpillar in a cocoon and then burst out and fly like a butterfly!
Here is Andrew wrapping Ellie-



And Meghan wrapping Rachel!


4) Sunday: Jacob had his second piano recital- this one was outdoors at an ice cream parlor!

Of course, Jacob did an excellent job! Here is a 30 second snippet of one of his songs (I can NOT seem to remember my camera anywhere lately, so this is what I caught on my phone....sorry you have to rotate your head...or your computer...to see it straight!)

video

Rain was threatening all around us the whole time! It often sprinkled as the students performed, but the keyboard was under an over-hang so we were hopeful to get through them all. During the last student's first song, the skies unloaded and it started pouring! We all made a mad dash into the ice cream shop as the piano teacher and others worked to get the keyboard in quickly to save it from the rain! I felt so bad for that student- she did an excellent job and was very talented!

So, of course, after a great performance, we had to have some ice cream!

5) Monday: This was a not-so-fun day where we did nothing all day but shop for school shoes and clothes! But, that night, they did get to see their classrooms and meet their teachers and...again... enjoy ice cream at the school!

6) Tuesday: After an afternoon of playing with friends at the park, the kids spent a low-key evening preparing for school the next day. I am sure they were exhausted after the week we had! Apparently, there was an earthquake on this Tuesday (8/23) in Washington DC at 1:50pm. Many in Ohio felt it- we were at the park then and we felt nothing! So, I still have no idea what an earthquake really feels like! Not that that is totally a BAD thing....but I am a little curious!

I will stop writing here, but will be back soon with pictures from the first day of school!!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Then and Now

THEN: July 2008

Kenny was 7 years old and longed to mow the grass but since he was still too young, he would follow Aaron around like this- "helping" him.


NOW: August 2011
Kenny's dream has come true! He is now old enough to cut the grass!! He LOVES this chore and asks us if he can mow. He does a great job too! Of course, Aaron is in heaven now, having the pressure off him. I like to remind Aaron that when we first moved into our house, he LOVED mowing the grass. It was so exciting to him probably because it was OUR house. Of course, that quickly wore off. I am sure Kenny's love of mowing will wear off too- and for that reason, I had to document proof that he once looked forward to mowing!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Don't Stop Believing!!!!

Yesterday marked 13 years that Aaron and I have been married. It is crazy to think it has been that long- it doesn't really seem like it! We have had a lot happen in those 13 years- both good and bad- but I think more good then bad for sure. I honestly feel we get closer with each passing year and that our love is stronger then when we were younger. We work well together- we know how each other functions and we both have strengths where the other has a weakness, so together we can do a lot!

Several months ago it came to my attention that both Josh Groban and Journey would be in town doing concerts on August 5th. I really enjoy both and felt that since it was our anniversary we should splurge and see one of them. We almost never go to concerts- seriously, I can count the number I've been to in my entire life on one hand! It is just a cost I generally can not justify. But, what better reason then an anniversary?! I couldn't decide which to see (though I was leaning towards journey) so I polled my Facebook friends and got an overwhelming opinion of Journey! We definitely made the right choice! What a blast!

Before the concert we went out to a really great dinner. About half way through our time there, another couple was seated next to us (maybe 5 feet away). They were older than us- probably around 60 I would guess. They were so grumpy- obviously they had been fighting for a while about something and the squabbling continued as they sat there. It was awful- we could hear every word and they would not stop! I wanted to say- "Hey, it is our 13th anniversary and we are happy and having a great time- please stop squabbling so you don't ruin it for us!" But I didn't and we made a real attempt to focus on our conversation so we couldn't hear them! I kept thinking how miserable it would be to go to dinner when you are so angry! They both were just miserable. So sad. But, thankfully, we were thoroughly able to enjoy our dinner despite them.

The concert was actually Night Ranger, Foreigner and Journey so I was really excited! We got great seats!! Though, due to horrific traffic, we were late getting there and we missed Night Ranger completely. I was sad but not too disappointed because I don't know their music as well as the other two groups anyway. We got to our seats (on the floor and only about 30 rows back!) about 5 minutes before Foreigner took the stage. Both Foreigner and Journey put on a great show!!! I loved every second of it!

Aaron took this shot of us with his cell phone camera- I thought it turned out pretty good!

It wasn't really possible to take a great picture- especially since I only had my cell camera because I forgot my regular camera. But, I took a picture of each band anyway. The picture of Journey did not turn out at all (it was completely dark by then and the stage lights were bright so it didn't work) but I got this shot of Foreigner:
You can't see much, but it you can see about where we sat. I actually think the best part about this picture is the expression of the woman on the right! Ha!!

In addition to the music, it was also fun to "people watch." For example, there was this young couple (early 20's?) two rows in front of us that seriously needed to GET. A. ROOM!!! Oh my, they were all over each other! Quite a contrast from the older couple at the restaurant! Ha! I also couldn't believe the amount of drunk people as we left- all stumbling all over each other as they made their way to their cars! I wonder how many of them were driving!? Then we got the unwelcome experience of watching some guy (probably drunk?) pee all over the tire of a limo. Definitely an interesting group of people for sure!

I just loved the energy of the whole thing. As I mentioned before, I have been to very few concerts in my life- and only one other "rock" concert other than this one (Billy Joel, and yes-I count that!) It was soooo very loud of course- our ears were still ringing today- but so fun and so worth it to get out and enjoy the music and do something we don't normally get to do. It was so fun to sing along to the songs we new well and dance a little and just be a part of it all. It was so crazy to see these "old looking men" sing the songs that I have sung along with for most of my life. I remember the videos in the 80's of these groups with the young men with big hair. So funny to see them now-old but still big hair! But yet they are as great as ever! I really enjoyed watching the drummer of Foreigner. He was truly entertaining to watch. I love watching a good drum set player (this is for you, Scott A. if you are reading this! ;)). The Foreigner drummer would move his arms certain ways and his hair would flip as we played. The Journey drummer was great too, just not as much fun to watch just because he was more "hidden" behind his drum set and I couldn't see him as well.

My sister, Emily actually kept our kids overnight (she is either a saint or crazy.... I am thinking both!) so we were able to be child free all night and not get woken up by our crazy crew. It was down right weird how quiet our house was this morning (at least until the dog got sick....) We got up and went to IHOP together for breakfast before picking up the kids. Breakfast alone with my husband is something we never get to do! The kids had a blast too at "Auntie Em's"- I am so lucky to have such amazing sisters!!!

So, here is to another 13 years and 13 more after that and 13 more and 13 more and so on forever! I know that as long as we.....

DON'T STOP BELIEVING....

in each other, we will continue to keep growing closer. Happy Anniversary, Aaron!! I love you!!