Friday, December 31, 2010

Our Whirlwind Adventure in western WA

Our trip to Washington for Christmas was very quick but quite enjoyable. My pictures of people opening gifts never turn out so I'm posting pictures of memorable events instead. This picture of Luke is significant because Dad made many wonderful gifts this year, including bats turned from a fallen Maple tree in the neighbor's yard. Dad's year started off kinda rough and he battled some significant health problems. If you told me in May he would be turning bats in November, I don't think I would have believed it. We are proud of you, Papa! Thank you for making such thoughtful and creative gifts.
Grammie was able to get out and spend Christmas day with us.

Auntie Heather introduced Eli to the joy of texting. Then she couldn't get the phone back. How funny is that?

Our friends drove out to see us and we met at McDonald's. Jack and Luke greeted one another with noogies. Just like old times. Oh, how we miss our western WA playmates.
Our semi-annual attempt at a 'cousins' picture. We tried, Grandma. At least no one is crying. Everyone is getting so tall. How did that happen?
It was very surreal visiting a place we once lived. Every time we got in the car to go somewhere it seemed like we should just keep driving back to our old neighborhood. Andy kept asking about the yellow house. We deliberately chose not to visit our former stomping grounds. Too sad and too confusing for the boys. We did go into Seattle for one afternoon because Luke often comments that he misses the space needle. We went to the Children's Museum and rode the monorail to Westlake center. It was great fun spending the day with the cousins.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Waitin' on Christmas

Someone in Andy's life takes a lot of pictures. I'm so thankful. She captures a lot of great moments in the life of this little fella. It also gives me a little hint about what went down at preschool that day. They made these clever toy soldier masks last week.
Andy loves decorating the tree. He has a bit of a candy cane fettish, too.

Italic What a cutie!
He is so eager for Christmas and has a lousy concept of time. We are trying the Advent calendar thing but I can tell he doesn't understand that it is a countdown to the big day. All of these fun activities at school makes the wait even longer, I'm sure.
Funny how when you are a kid it seems like Christmas is never going to get here but when you are a mama it seems to sneak right up on 'ya.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Little Mister: day 365

Baybuh Cuckoo, as he is affectionately called by his brothers (and I'm sorry to tell you also by his parents), turned the big ONE. It was just another day as far as he was concerned. It is absolutely freezing here right now, but we braved the big chill and went to a local indoor play place for the 5 and under crowd. Andy had a blast but Eli wilted rather quickly. He enjoyed this car carrier for all of 5 seconds before he decided he was tired. He tried repeatedly to lie down on the floor and take a nap. So Andy and I enjoyed some Chik-fil-a for lunch and Eli slept away the afternoon.
Once Steve and Luke came home, the brothers were beside themselves with excitement. I don't think the video footage from this little shindig will ever see the light of day. Steve and I spent a ridiculous amount of time telling the boys to back off and let Eli open his own presents. Andy ended up in tears because he couldn't open anything. Eli had zero interest in his gifts and shoved them aside rather quickly. He did pause for a minute to chew on his new car.
Nothing says happy birthday like your brothers making you cry. They commandeered his new tool set and proceeded to poke, prod and irritate the little guy. Oh, the joys of being the caboose. Not at all interested in his red velvet mini cupcake. That's okay, your parents find them quite tasty. Your brothers swiped your toys, we'll take care of the cupcakes. Happy birthday, sweet fella! We are so grateful for you.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

We Gobbled Til We Wobbled

We returned to the Rea family Thanksgiving this year, after at least a 2 year absence. It was delightful. An abundance of tasty food, 150 members of our extended family and some fantastic heavy equipment for Andy to operate. We couldn't have asked for a nicer day.
Eli snuggling on the couch with Grandpa. I don't know what Eli is up to, he has taken to giggling and closing his eyes whenever the camera comes out.

Luke got his first taste of Thanksgiving football. All the menfolk gather in the field to whoop up on each other and burn off some calories. Luke has no clue what's going on but they were nice enough to include him and let him run with the ball.

The cousins introduced Andy to the fine art of fort-building with blankets and sleeping bags. Andy has also informed me that he wants speakers in the ceiling for watching his movies. Sure, kid, I'll get right on installing that surround sound for you.
We came home on Saturday so we could recover from the non-stop fun and games of Thanksgiving. However, approximately 2 tons of leaves were in our backyard and peer pressure forced us to remove them. The little rascals mustered enough energy to jump in the pile before Steve scooped it all up.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Saga of the Eye Surgery

Aunt Judy and Grandma Betsy came to help us out on Sunday afternoon. The boys were excited to have company and we were grateful that our little guys were well cared for while we were with Luke.
We had to check in at Duke on Monday morning, only to sit around for over 2 hours and wait our turn. They operate in birth order so we had to wait for the younger ones to get finished. They wrote on Luke's face twice, just making doubly sure the correct eye was marked. He was a good sport and absolutely thrilled to have sole control of the remote.

Luke was slow to wake up after the surgery. Once he was alert and realized he had an IV and his eye was swollen shut, he became anxious and irritable. The nurse gave him something that I know I'm allergic to and he didn't respond well, either. The poor fella couldn't keep anything down for almost 3 days.
Here we are today. I think he tried to look as pitiful as possible for this shot, because two minutes before and immediately after, I was asking him to settle down and stop bouncing off the walls. He had a check-up yesterday and apart from the swelling, he looks pretty good. He doesn't quite have the stamina for a full day at school so we are holding him out until Monday. We are glad this is behind us and optimistic that the surgery was successful.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Somebody Had a Birthday

Since the binkies were abandoned, Andy has attached himself to this hippo. Please note that hippo has spent the last 4 years of his life under a pile of blankets or sitting on a shelf. My how things have changed. He goes everywhere. But hippo doesn't like to get dirty so he often sits in Andy's car seat while Andy enjoys numerous adventures. When Andy heard there was going to be a birthday, he declared it was hippo's birthday as well. Hippo turned 9. He wanted a hippo cake and various gifts. He was forced to settle for cupcakes. Sorry, no gifts. Parties for stuffed animals are not in my contract.
Eli is the almost birthday boy, celebrating month 11. This is my new favorite shirt. He can finally wear long sleeves without sweating like crazy. Heather challenged me to take a picture of Eli every week for the first year. I think I almost made it. Maybe skipped a week or two in the midst of moving.

Luke took this picture and it turned out super cute.

At last, the real birthday boy. Steve celebrated his special day by going to the Wake Forest v. Boston College football game with a good friend. The boys were enamored with the musical cards at Walgreens and wouldn't you know it, we purchased the Star Wars card with a glowing light saber and it plays the SW theme song. How about that.
I'm sure Steve feels complete now that he has this card in his possession.

Monday, November 1, 2010

From Camping to Costumes...

Our neighborhood celebrated Halloween with their 17th annual costume parade. We gathered in a cul de sac, paraded through the neighborhood and then quickly ate hot dogs and chips together. This was our first neighborhood event and our boys were delighted to have so many other kids to chase.
Steve, Luke and Andy all dressed up and ready to go

Steve took the boys camping on Friday night. It was 36 degrees during the night, hence the winter coats, hats and gloves. Brrrr! I'm glad Eli and I stayed home.

There was a large group of 5 and 6 year old boys on a Father-Son camping trip and they had their tents set up close by. Luke jumped right in and joined the fun. He has really done well making new friends. He was very happy to see lots of little boys doing exactly what he wanted to do.

Posing by the lake

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Andy's Fall Fun Party

Apparently we picked an exciting preschool. In 3 days of classes he's met the fire department and had a Fall Fun party. This picture came in my email and was titled spider catch. Andy refuses to give me any additional details. He says we can't talk about it because I wasn't there. Alrighty, then. We'll just speculate that it captured his attention and he was probably glad they weren't real spiders.
His second favorite hobby = eating

All the classes lined up and paraded down the sidewalk. Luke and I had a great time watching.
The cute little clone trooper in the middle refused to look at me.

I love the teacher's costume. I wish I could be a crayon for Halloween.
The kids sang "I'm a Little Pumpkin" to the tune of I'm a Little Tea Pot.
The kiddos didn't seem too impressed by the whole event but all the parents and siblings oohed and ahhed appropriately.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Bees, the Fair and a Little Beaver

Life keeps movin' right along for the five bees. This particular bee is a little disgruntled. Our new Pediatrician said the binky needed to go. Pronto. So we cut them up and threw them away. This picture sums up Andy's feelings about the whole situation. He has actually done really well, but struggles in the late afternoon and asks me to go buy some more. Nope.
We promised the boys a trip to the state fair. Eli didn't seem too excited about an outing, so Steve took Luke and Andy. They had a great time and Luke did a nice job of choosing rides that Andy was tall enough to ride.

Of course they chose all the motorcycle and monster truck rides. The weather was beautiful and apparently it was quite crowded, so they came home after lunch.

I was pretty content to stay at home and enjoy some time with Eli. I think he might be part beaver. If we don't keep an eye on him, he heads straight for the kitchen table and starts chewing on the chairs. It's a little pathetic. He has more toys than he could possibly chew on in one day, but he prefers the furniture. Great.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

First Day of Preschool

When we first moved here, every mom I met felt compelled to tell me about her favorite preschool. I nodded and smiled politely, thinking there was no way Andy could have his whole world turned upside down and start a new preschool. After several mornings of nearly tearing my hair out as he followed me around the house, observing my every move and begging me to take him somewhere, I began to question the wisdom of my decision. I don't think I could have been more wrong. I marched us right over to the YMCA and signed him up. Here he is, in his official first-day-of-school Spiderman shirt.
When I checked my email this morning, I was so happy to have all of these wonderful pictures in my inbox. I was glad Andy felt brave enough to go to school by himself, but I drove away feeling a little sad that I didn't stick around and take a few pictures. So glad his teachers took plenty. He is very concerned that we don't have this pumpkin painting in our possession. I'm sure they kept it so it could dry, but he is convinced that someone is going to swipe it.
Is there anything more awesome than climbing in the fire engine on your very first day of school? I'm a little concerned about what will happen on day 2 when there isn't a fire engine...

Helping the fireman with his helmet. This is supposed to teach the children that if a firefighter ever comes to your house they should remember that it is someone very friendly and helpful inside the equipment and not to be afraid. Well, I guess they will already be afraid if a firefighter is coming to their house for an emergency, but no additional fear get the picture.
Hooray for a great first day of preschool. He is already very eager to go back. In fact, a little disappointed that he couldn't go this morning.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

One Quick Trip

We piled everybody and almost everything we owned in the car yesterday and zipped off to Charlotte for a whirlwind visit with Steve's family. Andy and Luke actually sat still for 3 minutes without hitting each other this afternoon and now I have the picture to prove it. They were very cooperative for our impromptu photo op, such sweet boys. Sometimes.
Eli was able to meet his grandparents for the first time, what a treat. Given our adventures this last year, we didn't come to any family gatherings. Someone mentioned this was the first time in more than 2 years that we were all together. Wow.

The cousins chased each other almost non-stop. Mariah was in a musical so the chasing ceased for a few hours so we could see her performance. My boys were up at 6am today, begging to wake their cousins up. The festivities began again once the sun was up. We intervened with aunt Holly's famous chocolate chip pancakes and a full spread for brunch, then they were back to their usual tricks right away. What a joy to have a wide variety of ages that play so well together. Can't wait to see what happens when Eli is in the mix.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


On this tenth day of this tenth month in the year two thousand and ten, what better subject to blog about then my favorite ten month old? He likes to sit up and take it all in. And let me just say there is a lot to take in around here. He laughs and squeals, enjoying the sound of his own voice, I think. I've started signing with him at meal times but I'm making about as much progress as I did with his brothers: zilch. He just tilts his head sideways and giggles. He is still crawl-resistant but manages to log roll across the room if he so desires. His brothers went camping yesterday and so we enjoyed some one on one time. He charmed all the ladies at Target. They were impressed with his mellow personality, I suppose. Really I think he is just in awe of riding upright in the cart after spending 10 months reclining in a car seat or stroller. It's a whole new world! He is one delightful little fella.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Bloggers and Bookworms Unite!

One of my favorite blogs Callapidder Days is hosting a reading challenge. I've never tried it before but I love to read and I'm always up for a challenge. Particularly if it involves something I'm pretty good at, anyway. Ha! So here's what's on my nightstand for reading material and also lurking, unfinished, on my Kindle. The ultimate goal is to finish everything on the list by Christmas. If nothing else, I'm certainly an optimist.
1. When Life is Hard
2. Charlie St. Could: A Novel
3. Boys Should Be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Boys
4. Sun Stand Still
5. Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope
6. Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
7. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

If you want to see what approximately 200 other bloggers/bookworms are reading or to take part in the Fall Into Reading Challenge click here.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Green Acres Is The Place To Be

Farm livin' is the life for me!
Not really, but sitting in this gigantic tractor sure makes you want to be a farmer.
We took the boys to the pumpkin patch this afternoon. We such a great time that we never even got to the pumpkins...
We gave in to the numerous requests for face painting. The artist was very fast and friendly. Luke was quite pleased with his Spiderman.

Andy kept saying he wanted a pumpkin face. I'd say his wish was granted.
So cute! He bounced around and giggled the rest of the day, singing: "I'm a happy pumpkin, I'm a happy pumpkin!"

I guess all those cheerios and tall glasses of milk are paying off.

Andy and Luke went with Steve on a long hay ride. Eli and I stayed behind to do some people-watching. Poor Eli spent the afternoon in the stroller because there wasn't anyplace for him to go. He never complained, just reclined and took it all in.
We also played in the sandbox, bounced in the bouncy house, rode ponies and investigated the corn maze.
What a great day.
Can I just point out that it wasn't raining, we didn't have to go home because we were cold and we didn't have to slog through the mud all afternoon. Just sayin'.