Friday, July 30, 2010

Jeremy & Emma

I had a friend take pictures of Jeremy and Emma for their birthdays. We'd gone to JC Penny for Emma's pictures, but they didn't turn out too great. I decided to ask Mary to do the pictures and I'm so glad I did!
We went up to Case University for the pictures. They have some amazing architecture, and despite the heat, the kids had fun and did pretty well. There were some pictures that I was afraid Mary wasn't quick enough for my rambunctious kids, like the first one of Emma, but yay! She clicked just in time!  

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Date Night, Birthday, and Mary and Anne Boleyn

So, Nathan and I don't get to go out on many dates. I think one of our most recent ones included scraping wallpaper off the kitchen walls. Romantic, no? Anyway, tonight Nathan took care of getting a sitter (Thank You, Kjirsti!) and then surprised me with dinner and a movie! Usually if we do go out we pick one, dinner or a movie, so this was pretty deluxe and awesome!

We went to a place in Shaker called Touch of Italy. But apparently, to locals, it's more commonly referred to as "The Touch." We'd never been there before, but had passed by it and Nathan knew I wanted to try it. We found it humorous because when we walked in the lights were off and there was no one to greet us. Nathan had to walk to the kitchen to find the host and get us seated. The atmosphere was less than Italian or welcoming, so we were wondering where the "touch of Italy" was supposed to come in. We found it in the food, thank goodness. I ordered eggplant parmigiana and Nathan had grilled chicken over pasta. It was delicious. I only wish there'd been enough room in my stomach for all of it because my taste buds wanted more of it!

Then I realized that it was still before the kids' bedtime, so Nathan must have had something else planned, too. He told me we were going to go to Lowe's to look at a new stove. I didn't think that was true until we actually started getting close to a Lowe's. However. . .

He then took the freeway and I had no idea where we were going until we got close to a movie theater.

We saw Inception. Holy moly. I'm still working on wrapping my brain around it and I'm really curious about what kind of dreams I'm going to have tonight. For the last two weeks I have dreamed consistently about Mary and Anne Boleyn and the English court.
Although in my dreams they don't look anything like Scarlett and Natalie.

I'm ready for something different and tonight I think it might come. 

My Birthday--Whoop-i-dee Doo

So my birthday was the other day. I'm officially in my "thirties." Becoming 31 wasn't as horrible as 30. I didn't really care. And that's mostly because I had a really hard time getting up at all.  I spent the entire day feeling sick. It was almost like I was hit with the first trimester morning sickness again. I couldn't eat with the nausea and then to add to it, my blood pressure plummeted. I couldn't stand for long and sitting without laying my head down was almost too much at times.

I actually didn't cook or prepare a single meal for my kids on Thursday. Nathan did breakfast for Megan and Emma before he left for school, Jeremy grabbed an apple when he woke up. Megan made sandwiches for lunch and doled out huge bowls of Cheetos for herself and her sibs. Then dinner was leftovers which Nathan reheated.

I took a nap, which was great until I woke up to Jeremy informing me of apple jelly being smeared all over the dinning table, my sewing stuff scattered all over the floor, and sticky hands everywhere.

The only real bright side to my day (besides a great package from my parents, thank you!) was book club. I love book club.We discussed The Hunger Games and not only did we have a great time talking about the book, but a great time going off topic, too. I know, you're probably thinking I'm nuts for going to book club after feeling awful all day, but it was at my house and all I had to do was sit in a comfortable chair and chat about a great book. Easy peasy. Besides, by that time the Dr. Pepper had finally made its way through my veins and was getting my blood pressure back up. For me, Dr. Pepper=normal blood pressure during pregnancy. Or at least almost normal blood pressure. So that part of my birthday was great. I felt fine and had fun.

I did have a wonderful girls' night out the night before my birthday. It was fabulous. Yummy treats, popcorn, hilarious movie, and great friends+very cute present, so bonus there.

Anyway, it was my birthday. It kind of sucked until the last four hours of it. But Nathan's taking me out to dinner on Saturday, so hopefully that will make up for the lack of fun on the actual day of.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Party!

Jeremy's 4th Birthday Party!!

We started off with a rousing game of Bed Bugs.
(Which Jeremy needed earmuffs for because the game is "too loud.")

Then we had the kids be exterminators and do a bug hunt! I made this little teepee, filled it with balloons and then "hid," plastic bugs beneath the balloons. One at a time we had the kids go in the tent with a butterfly net and search for bugs. We gave them each 15 seconds and then counted up how many bugs they caught.

The kids all wanted a turn blowing up balloons. It didn't matter that we had plenty for the teepee. 
The balloons ended up being a major source of entertainment,
from hitting them up in the air to taking their Capri Sun straws to them.

We also went outside to play for a bit, but forgot to bring the camera out. We tried to have the kids play bocce (pronounced bow-chay, not like the Star Wars language), but they were too interested in running around free and playing with other lawn toys.

Jeremy wanted a firefly cake. This was my best attempt.
I put neon green sprinkles on the butt of the bug to give the appearance of glowing :)

Waiting for the cake!

Happy Birthday Jeremy!

Don'tcha love how kids swarm together when one of them is opening a present?

This was Jeremy's first birthday party with friends and I think it was a success. The kids seemed to have fun and Jeremy is still flying high playing with his presents.

Thanks to everyone who came!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jeremy!

Jeremy turned 4 yesterday. However, his behavior was such that we had to tell him he had to wait to turn four because the Birthday Committee thought he hadn't behaved well enough. Since I preside over the Committee for our chapter, it was true.

Today, thank goodness, he was much better behaved and so was allowed to officially turn 4 years old.

Here are a few pictures to document the occasion:)

This is what he called "The Biggest Smile Ever"

Months and months ago I found some hand puppets really cheap at Michael's Craft Store and bought some for the kids' birthdays. Emma got a little girl and a tiger for her birthday, 
Jeremy got a boy and a zebra. Here he is making it give me kisses.

Holdin' up his new shorts:)
Poor kid got mostly clothes and pajamas, good thing he's young enough to think that's cool.

This is his "Oooooh!" face. He was pretty excited about this one. Nathan bought him a bocce set. Jeremy learned to play bocce when we were in SLC in April. He played with his Grandpa Kent and just loved it.

Jeremy LOVES Hot Wheels cars and track sets. We found this one that has an elevator so he can get the race car to the top of the door all by himself.

We didn't do cake today since we're having a bigger party on Saturday with his friends which will include cake, but we had a special dinner (Dave Omer's Famous Dessert Crepes with my favorite Hershey's Dark Chocolate Syrup), and grasshopper flavored ice cream. I figured we'd keep with the bug theme that Jeremy asked for for his birthday. If you don't know--grasshopper flavor is mint and chocolate.  So after Saturday, I should have more birthday pictures to post; so be on the lookout, Grandmas!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sweet, Sweet Summertime

Independence Day 2010

Megan and a friend from Church. He's Jeremy's age, but he's got a sister older than Megan that participates in book club with her.
I think either Megan or Emma took this picture.

Emma wondering when the fireworks will start. Sorry sweetie, more than an hour before sunset still!

Also, I've discovered my love of the local pool. It is wonderful. Of course it helps having the kids in swim lessons where the life guards are the ones actually watching Megan and Jeremy while I watch Emma in the baby pool. At the beginning of the summer it was rarely above 70 degrees outside and very overcast when lessons would start and so the kids' lips would be blue by the time they got out of the pool, but they still loved it. Now it's well into the 80s and sunny. Finally! Some sun in Cleveland. I thought I'd never see it again.

Emma is my water baby.

She has no fear and would swim all through the deep end if she could. Before Megan and Jeremy ever came close to putting the whole of their faces in water, Emma was dunking her entire head.

She loves to play a game she invented called Blast Off where she pretends to be a rocket ship. She counts to three and then jumps up, making a big splash in the water when she comes back down.

Here she is doing her Do-Do-Do Dance. She pumps her arms and sings, "do-do-do" when she gets excited about doing something.

Jeremy was the most apprehensive about swimming. While he really wanted to do it (just like preschool and soccer) he has reservations about being with other kids he didn't know well (just like preschool and soccer). But these last few weeks he has done great!

I haven't seen him hang on a lifeguard or make them carry him in a long time, and he went all the way under the water when they played ring around the rosy--he's the only one to do it, too! Also, he finally consented (at least twice) to be Mr. Fox when they play What Time Is It, Mr. Fox? He hates to be in the center of attention if it's a bunch of kids looking at him, so that was a huge leap for him.
Jeremy loves the water mushroom!
He and Emma play in it constantly when we're at the pool for fun and not just lessons.

After Thursday's lesson one of his instructors told me he's doing well enough to move up to the level 2 class, which is the class Megan is in. He's very excited about that!

In this picture he is smiling at the piece of "pirate treasure" he went under the water to find.

Megan was the whole reason we decided to do the lessons this year. Megan, for as long as I can remember, has said she wants to be a diver when she grows up. She wants to explore the ocean and all that's in it. So, naturally she needs to know how to swim.

Megan can get nervous when it comes to letting someone hold her while teaching her to swim, but she's getting better. I remember taking swim lessons and being terrified.

A couple weeks ago they had Megan's class go off the diving board. There was a lifeguard in the pool waiting to catch them, but Megan missed him (because she was holding on to another lifeguard and therefore couldn't jump far enough). She went straight down, but immediately started kicking her legs straight and came right back up on her own. She was scared and crying, but as soon as one of the lifeguards told her she'd done exactly what a real diver does she smiled and got excited. They were impressed that she hadn't freaked out and flailed around.

And finally (I know, this is a long post. I haven't posted in forever so I've got a lot of catch up) we've been bowling!!!

And I neglected to mention when I first posted this, Nathan got 4 STRIKES IN A ROW!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Peru -- by Nathan (part 2)

Monday the 21st was Machu Picchu day. The train that normally travels from Cusco to Aguas Calientes (the town at the base of Machu Picchu) is out of service due to heavy flooding and landslides in February and March. Instead, the company that owns the rails (Perurail) has employed some bus drivers to depart from the Cusco train station and drive to the station that lies about 12 miles west of Ollantaytambo (a small town northwest of Cusco). From there, we boarded the train to Machu Picchu. The best part about the train ride was we were in the front row of the first train car. We looked directly out of the windshield, as it were, and had no obstacles (ie other train cars) to obstruct our view of the scenery ahead of us.

Ruins visible from the train on the way to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

We spent all day here. The park is enormous with endless nooks and crannies to be explored. We explored them all. It seemed most of the tourists kept to the routes the guides took to explain about the most pertinent ruins. Of course, that meant that more than half the site was uncrowded. Ben and I found many peaceful, undisturbed spots and opted to lay down on the terraces and rest at a couple of them.

Soaking in the serenity of Machu Picchu
(Look for a cave located six terraces down from
the uncut boulders in the main Machu Picchu
picture -- that's where this nap occurred.)

The Sun Stone -- a ritualistic stone precisely carved
to keep track of astronomical events,
especially the winter solstice.

Typical building in the ruins. This one has been fitted with a thatched
roof, supposedly in the manner the Incas would have done it.

Main courtyard and residential portion of the ruins.

Several llamas live at Machu Picchu. Here's a baby one :c)

A stone near the Sun Stone carved in the shape of Utah.
There is probably some sort of deep significance, or at the very least coincidence, to this.