Thursday, July 29, 2010

The One With Tennis on Fountain Square

After visiting the Carew Tower, we headed over to Fountain Square. I love Fountain Square.

When I worked downtown, I loved going down at lunch and just people watching. The Tyler Davidson Fountain is so cool, I was really excited for the boys to experience it.

Lucky for us, the US Tennis Association was on the Square holding some kind of event promoting tennis for kids. They asked if the boys would like to play. Tennis on Fountain Square? How cool is that? Sign us up!
I signed some waivers and they hooked the boys up with wristbands and racquets and let them hit a few balls. Then the tennis pros got there and played doubles with the twins. The twins really enjoyed it and seemed to catch on really quickly.

Jackson got to play singles but was more interested in modeling for the photographer there to take pictures for the USTA website. (They aren't up yet. I'll add a link to them when they are posted.)

Afterwards, Bryce and Jarron both asked if they could play tennis again sometime. I'll have to look and see if there are any programs in our area. That's the really neat thing about our boys, they always want to try new things. I love that about them!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The One Where We Witnessed A Crime

This past Saturday, we had one of those days that I love-nothing to do and nowhere to be. Chuck, as he does most Saturdays-because he is a good husband and daddy, got up before me and got the boys breakfast. When I finally dragged myself downstairs (did I mention that I'm not much of a morning person? At all?), he said, "We should take the boys to the Carew Tower today." Hmmmnnnn...

For those of you who aren't Cincinnatians the Carew Tower is currently the tallest building in downtown Cincinnati. You can take an elevator up 49 flights and walk out onto the open air top deck. There is also a mall on the main level. The building is old, and the architecture is pretty cool.

And for those of you who don't know me well, I have a deep, deep fear of heights. Just thinking about being that high up makes me break out into a cold sweat and I start shaking. But he was excited and the boys were excited, so I went.

I am proud to say that I went all the way to the top of the tower without freaking out. We met a really nice couple from Georgia that gave the boys quarters to use in the viewfinders. The twins were tall enough but Jackson still needed a couple of inches to see.

It was blazing hot so we didn't stay long but it was neat to see the newest building being finished (it will be taller than the Carew Tower) and to see the Bengals stadium from above.

I haven't been downtown in awhile, we just live so far out in the suburbs and we don't really have a reason to come down very often. And I admit, I don't think downtown Cincy is the safest place in the world. But since we were there on a sunny Saturday morning, I felt pretty safe.
Apparently criminals are criminals no matter if the sun is shining or not. While looking for the skywalk, we saw two men running full speed down the mall. Chuck and I both thought at first that it was older teenagers acting rude. We quickly realized that one man was running and the other was chasing him. We were watching a thief try to allude an undercover security guard! Chuck quickly pulled the boys and me to the side so that we wouldn't get run down. The security guard's walkie talkie went flying off as he ran past us. Chuck picked it up and handed it to the uniformed guard at the desk. She calmly took it and went about her business. No reaction at all. Almost as if it happened all the time. Which maybe it does-but it left us a little shaken. If nothing else it was certainly memorable!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The One Where Jackson Turned Six!

Wow. Has it really been six years since this happened?
I love those last two pictures-even the super blurry one. Because that expression on their faces? Pure bliss. They were thrilled to be big brothers. And I was so thrilled to have Jackson Scott join our family.




Looking at these reminds me of how quickly a year flies by. Of how fast they go from being a baby to a toddler to a boy.
When I looked back at the pictures of him from the last six years, a flood memories washed over me. His first tooth, first haircut, and first steps. How he'd follow the twins around even before he could walk, just trying to keep up. The way he used to say "memonade" instead of lemonade. The way he would spend hours in the baby swing in our backyard. The way he hated the beach and sat on a towel the whole time complaining about the sand. How he used to wear a Power Rangers glove only on one hand and would insist on wearing it to bed. The way he cried the entire time he played soccer his first year and how happy he was when he scored his first touchdown in football. The way he climbed onto the school bus for the first time without tears and without a look back. How little he looked getting baptized but how strong his voice was when he declared his faith. And how amazing it is to see him teaching his little brother all the things his big brothers taught him.

SIX random things about Jackson at SIX:
-He can hear a song on the radio twice and know the lyrics by heart.
-He can clear any video game you put in front of him within days of getting it.
-He is scared of the dark but doesn't flinch when you give him a shot.
-His favorite toys are anything related to video games, his Zhu Zhu pets, and his Legos.
-He can swim like a fish and LOVES the water.
-He will only eat the main dish of any meal you serve him (he won't touch side dishes like noodles or rice).

Jackson. Baby Jack. Apple Jacks. Action Jackson. Monkey. Our boy. We are so proud of you. We love you so much and couldn't imagine life without you.
Happy 6th Birthday Jack-Jack, we love you more than you'll know.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The One with Hot Air Balloons

We had a really fun weekend-we finally made it the MidFirst Challenge-a hot air balloon show that happens every year in Middletown. I've been wanting to go for a few years but it just didn't fit into our schedule. But this year, I was determined to make it. We decided to go Friday night and it was well worth the trip. It was only about 15 minutes from our house, and the cost to get in was only $8 per carload. We parked at a small airport and took a shuttle over to Smith Park. the boys thought it was pretty cool that the shuttle bus was driving down the air strip.

There were tons of hot air balloons launching throughout the evening-at least 25-30. At one point I looked up and saw the sky just filled with them-it was such a cool sight.

We had a little time to kill before the balloon glow, so we grabbed some dinner and headed over the balloon activity area. There was a hot air balloon laying on it's side and there was a big fan blowing air into so that you could go inside and explore. The kids loved it-Moose kept saying "Whoa. Whoa." Over and over again.

Then we headed over to the carnival rides, where Bryce and Jarron rode the Dizzy Whirl and Jackson rode the slide. Let me just say that there is no way on earth I would ever in a million years ride the Dizzy Whirl but it is apparently a very cool thing to a nine year old boy.

By that time, it was starting to get dark out and the balloons were coming back for the final event of the night-the balloon glow. If you haven't been to a balloon glow-I highly recommend it. The balloons are all anchored to the ground in row and the pilots fire them up so they glow at the same time.

So cool.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The One Where We Got Schooled

A "school" of fish, that is. Ha. Ha. Get it? Schooled? School of fish? I guess I'm feeling a little "punny". :) Okay, I'll stop.
As mentioned in a previous post, we became somewhat reluctant fish owners via Jack-Jack's VBS teacher. When Roxas made it through that first weekend, we invested in a small fishbowl and some rocks. A week or so later the fish bowl got a HUGE crack in it and started leaking. (I'm sure it had nothing to do with four little boys constantly "checking" on the fish.)
My first reaction was to go buy another fishbowl-but Chuck had another idea. He thought that we should get a 5 or 10 gallon tank and a couple more fish. It's as if Roxas knew he was going to be replaced because that same afternoon he went belly-up to the big aquarium in the sky. The boys had a fish funeral-complete with Jackson humming "Pomp & Circumstance". It was pretty awesome.
But now the boys (and Chuck) had their heart set on fish. So off to Jack's Aquarium with the above mentioned boys.
Ever been to a pet store with 4 boys? I do not recommend it. Between Moose's very loud squeals of "Woof-woof" and him knocking over a mega sized (and very expensive) bottle of fish pellets, it was quite the adventure. The staff at Jack's were really nice and super patient with us (and the kids-apparently knocking over and breaking fish pellets "happens all the time"-somehow I doubt that).
We walked out with a 20 gallon fish tank complete with lights, a filter and heater. But no fish. Because you have to set up a fish tank and let it "cycle" before you can add fish. Who knew? We went back the next day and got some black mollies and some tetras. (Two of which promptly died the next day, we did not have a fish funeral for them.) Chuck went back yet again and got 3 platies this time.

As of today, we have 4 adult fish living in the tank-John Wall, Fireballs, Ryan, and 1 fish yet to be named. And at least 2 baby fish that made their appearance this week-which was a big shock since we thought we had only purchased male fish.
This fish keeping business is pretty complicated-water temperatures, and Ph balance and all sort of nonsense. But Chuck and the boys seem to be enjoying themselves. And it is very relaxing watching the fish swim about-but I still prefer to cuddle up with our dog Conan.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The One Where Jackson Lost His First Tooth

My baby lost his first tooth on Thursday. Okay, so technically he's not a baby, he'll be six years old next week, but he's still my baby.
It's so weird to see his little gap toothed smile.

He was super excited for the tooth fairy to visit him. I had to explain that she wouldn't come if he:
a-stayed up all night to catch her
b-set booby traps around the room to catch her
c-hid the tooth so that she had to stay in his room to catch her
Do you see a theme? The kid was determined to catch her. In the end, she slipped in without him knowing and left him a dollar.

Which led to this email from Chuck about Jackson:
I just called Jack to see if the Tooth Fairy visited him last night.  He said yes, I got $1 dollar, now I have $50 dollars.  I said $50 dollars, how did you get that?  He said, I had $5 dollars then the Tooth Fairy gave me $1 dollar, and that makes $50 dollars.

We'll be working on the math skills before school starts back up.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The One With Fireworks!

I love the 4th of July. I love the idea of taking time out to celebrate our freedom and to honor those who have fought for it. And I love fireworks. A lot.
This year we missed the Fairfield fireworks show because we were in Kentucky. But, lucky for us, the Princeton Pike Church of God in Liberty was hosting Light Up Liberty!
Before the fireworks show there was a car show. I was surprised by how many cars/trucks/motorcycles were there. Chuck was excited to see that his friend Rick was there with his Kentucky Wildcats car. Chuck and Don go down to Lexington to camp out for tickets to theWildcats Midnight Madness event and Rick is always the first or second person in line. He has a Ford Mustang that is custom painted with Kentucky Wildcats graphics, on the inside there is custom stitching and autographs from tons players. Basically, it's Chuck's dream car.

Bobbi, James and their boys met us after the car show and we settled down to wait for the show to start. James brought his iPad and the boys (especially Jackson and Blaze) had a great time playing with that. (And yes, I am super jealous of his iPad-I really, really want one but there is no way I am shelling out $500 for a super sized iPhone).
Moose got super fussy after about 20 minutes of waiting and went into full-on melt-down territory until Uncle Jay saved the day by pulling out some Combos. The kid loves food; the easiest way to buy his silence is to give him something edible.

The fireworks were really good! I even got some decent pictures of them this year. (Yay me!)

I really want to get one of those mini-tripod things like this gorillapod. This thing would make taking pictures at night a breeze! I'll have to add it my wishlist! :)

The One With the Lakes Family Reunion

It's an annual tradition-around the 4th of July we head down to Jackson County, Kentucky for the Lakes family reunion. The boys really look forward to it; they get to ride horses and ATVs, play basketball with their cousins, and hang out on a big inflatable water slide. Chuck and I love it, because we get to see extended family we don't normally get to and we get to visit with Great Grandma. (And eat some delicious country green beans-I admit it, I am completely addicted to them!)

Moosey did really well on the car ride down. Until we got about 2 minutes from our destination, when he hurled. Apparently, he did get at least one of my genes-the carsick gene. Poor guy.

The boys really had a great time. Moose spent most of the time walking around, convincing people to give him sugar-I'm pretty sure the only things he ate all day were cake and cookies. Jackson spent much of the time playing with Andrew and the younger cousins on the water slide.

Bryce and Jarron decided they were too old for the water slide and stuck with basketball and ATVs. (Although, Jarron finally did get hot enough to spend a few minutes in the water.)

It's crazy to watch the boys playing basketball with Chuck and the older cousins-it seems like just yesterday that I was bringing them in their car seats and 4th of July onesies. Not liking this getting older thing all that much!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The One Where Jarron's Dream Came True

As I may have mentioned in a previous post, we've been to Kings Island quite a few times this year. And each and every time we go, our first stop is the customer service booth. We go there to get the all important 54" wristband. The glowing neon orange accessory allows Bryce to ride the serious roller coasters. Jarron is just a smidgen shorter than Bryce and every time we go, he stands as straight and tall as he can in hopes of getting the elusive bracelet. Up until last week, he hadn't been able to get it.
Last week, we met Don, Retta, and their boys after work to ride a few rides before close.

As we always do, we hit the customer service booth, where Bryce walked out with the orange bracelet but Jarron did not. No big deal-there are plenty of other rides to ride. Retta and I took the smaller boys to Snoopy Land, while the big boys hit the coasters.

Andrew, Jack-Jack, and Moose had a lot of fun together. Moose got really attached to Retta and wanted her to carry him and put him on rides. Andrew was so excited to ride the Beetlebug ride with Moosey-it was so cute to see how much he loved his little cousin. And Jackson finally got to ride the Linus Launcher and Kite Eating Tree Rides!

But on the other side of the park, someone else's dream was coming true. When we met back up with Chuck and Don, Jarron came running towards me, stopped and thrust his wrist in the air.
There it was--the orange bracelet! Apparently, they decided to try one more place to get the wristband and a teenager at the Firehawk coaster measured Jarron. Despite Jarron tippy toeing, the guy declared him good and gave him the bracelet. Chuck said they immediately took off for Diamondback and rode it back to back to back. Jarron was so happy-he kept saying, "Mom am I dreaming? Nope, I'm awake. This is the best night ever!"
 He wore the wristband for the next three days until we finally convinced him that it was time to cut it off.

I'm sure your wondering what's with the Egyptian poses in these photos-that's actually the "John Wall Dance". For those of you who aren't obsessed with Kentucky basketball-John Wall played for UK last year and was the #1 NBA draft pick. He also has a dance-which all of our boys (including Moose) know and love. Don's boys also know and love the dance. In fact, a couple of Sundays ago, we were sitting in the pew in front of Loretta and Andrew during evening service. Andrew tapped Chuck on the arm mid-way through the service, and when Chuck turned around, Andrew just started doing the John Wall Dance. It was so random-it was all Chuck and I could do to keep from laughing.
Love nights like these!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The One With Vacation Bible School

So, in case you haven't noticed, I'm a bit behind on blogging. But I will be caught up by the end of this week-which means a whole slew of posts. :) Aren't you lucky!
The boys had Vacation Bible School at our church a few weeks ago. I stayed home with Mr Moose for the week-which was an adventure. I have no idea how single parents do it! Moose was completely bored without his brothers there to keep him entertained and add to that the awful thunderstorms we had each night and it made for a looong week.

The boys had a great time at VBS, though. Their cousin, Blaze went with them each night. I love that our church has T shirts you can buy-it will be neat to look back and see how they have grown with each year.

Jackson got a special treat at VBS this year, his teacher gave each of the kids a goldfish! Jackson named his Roxas, after a character on his Disney Kingdom of Hearts game. When I asked him why, he said, "Roxas changes characters into anything he wants-he can be Goofy or Mickey or whoever."
"Okay, but what does that have to do with your goldfish?"
"Moooom, I've never had a fish, maybe it will changes colors or something!"
 (For the record, Roxas has not changed colors and is still living!)

The last night of VBS, there's a big carnival with games and giant inflatables. This year, there was a mishap with one of the inflatables, where too many kids were on one side and it tipped over. Thankfully, a few of the men spotted it as it began to shift and no one was hurt but it was a scary few minutes.
Chuck was in charge of the ping-pong water cup challenge, so Moose and I made the rounds-he particularly enjoyed the duck pond booth.

And what carnival could be complete without Sno-cones and face painting? I'm pretty sure Blaze had at least 3 Sno-Cones, and I know that Bryce had 2-they both seemed to have a Sno-cone in their hand every time I saw them!
VBS week can be kind of hectic, but we always are sad to see it end!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The One Where We Took a Toddler To A Baseball Game

Alternate titles for this post could be:
The One Where We Do Something We'll Never EVER Do Again or...
The One Where Moose Nearly Killed Someone

While we were in Indy, we decided to take in a minor league baseball game at Victory Field. Chuck and I have been there in the past and loved it, so we thought the boys would enjoy it too.
We got there early and it was hot and very sunny. It was also knothole league day, so the only seats left where those in the upper deck.
I think that should have been our first indicator that this wasn't our brightest plan.
We made our way to our seats and realized it was blazing hot, so we decided to get some ice cream before the 1st pitch. This was the best part of the night. Sitting in the shade, on soft green grass, eating ice cream.

When it was time for the game to start, we headed back to our seats. Within minutes, we discovered that Moose was incapable of sitting still and that he could scream really loud. (He also has some pretty impressive head-butting skills.)

Chuck and I decided to take turns walking him around the ballpark. During my turns, he screamed for Bryce and Jack. Not mad screams,  just like "Where are you" screams. By the 4th inning, he was DONE. Red-faced, tired, cranky, and DONE.
I went to tell Chuck that it was time to go. And Moose, in a fit of frustration and rage, threw his sippy cup. (And let me just say, the kid has an arm-he gets some serious distance when he throws!) Remember how we were on the upper deck? Yeah, for a moment, everything froze, as I watched the cup sail through the air.
Fortunately, it hit the hand rail and landed on our level. Moose missed sending it over into the lower deck by maybe an inch or two. Yikes! Those poor people in the lower deck have no idea how close they came to injury at the hands of a Moose!

Victory Field was as beautiful as we remembered it and downtown Indy is awesome. But taking a toddler to a baseball game? Not so much. We won't be doing that again anytime soon!

Friday, July 2, 2010

The One Where We Went to the Indy Children's Museum

I have to say that my favorite place we went to while on our stay-cation was The Indy Children's Museum. This is probably because I don't really enjoy hiking or sitting around in public with my swimsuit on all day. (Just sayin'.)
I love seeing all of the cool kid friendly exhibits at the museum. I remember going as a kid with Girl Scouts and spending hours in the miniature dollhouse display. (This was also the trip where I developed my intense dislike of Cool Ranch Doritos after another junior scout got carsick.)
Needless to say, there wasn't a lot of dollhouse viewing taking place on this trip-we spent a lot of time with dinosaurs and Etcha-Sketches. Jackson loved getting to dress up and protect his dino-eggs.

The big boys really enjoyed the special exhibit on Egypt-there was a ton of interactive play and interesting things to do. There was also an exhibit on Star Wars-which was a big hit with a certain medium sized kid!

Bryce and I really liked the blown glass area. So cool and colorful.

Moose even got to escape from the stroller and play in the toddler area. (Although I have no idea why they have the water play and sand play areas right next to each other.)

We had a really great time. If you live in the Cincinnati area, I highly recommend making the 2 hour drive to check it out. I hear that they have free admission on the first Thursday night of every month!