Monday, December 3, 2007

Our Two Years at the Aquarium

This month wraps up our second year of annual passes to the aquarium. Man, have these boys enjoyed it. We have been able to go enough for Asa and Addison to really get to know the fish. We have gone with Hal, with Ellen and Anna, with Charles, Grandpa, anyone who is willing to come! From the first trip, I was amazed at the amount of information my two boys require. The other three and four year old would walk past and talk about the pretty yellow fish. Mine would ask me for the details, I had to know their names... their real names, what they ate, why they follow that shark around, how the workers clean the tank, and on and on. Each exhibit took me three times as long as the other parents, and a lot of times I would have to track down an expert to find the right answer. The employees were always thrilled to answer their questions. I loved watching them learn as much as they did doing it.

It is very funny to me the animals that captured their hearts. For me, it was the beluga whales. If I had been able to go without two active preschoolers, I would have watched them for hours! (This last time we went we were able to see them at feeding time. They were lined up at the aquarium wall with their heads above the waterline. We could watch their bottom half from the aquarium and the feeding live on the t.v. screens!) For the boys, they were much more enthralled with animals that were smaller in scale.

Their favorites are the giant crabs, the garden eels (little worm-like fish that stay with their tails in holes in the ground. One of the first times we went, they were poking out of their holes and fighting each other, which resulted in belly-rolls and about 20 minutes at the garden eel tank.), the jellyfish, the grouper, and a tiny fish called a jawfish. The jawfish is a little tiny white fish that spends all its time in a hole, digging up rocks with its mouth and spitting them outside. Asa and Addison love him. There used to be two, but I think there may only be one now.

The visit before last, the jawfish were nowhere to be found. The boys were devastated. Where were they? Did they die? Did they move them? I had to go to the information desk and ask about the well being of a tiny fish in a little tank in the tropical section. The very nice, very old woman had no idea. She saw that this was not going to fly and gave them both a book with pictures of the jawfish inside. It wasn't an answer, but it sufficed. We never found out what happened that trip, but there was one little jawfish back in his spot this time.

This trip, we took Grandpa on his first voyage. All the animals were out and on the move. Even the octopus was visable. The boys had a wonderful last trip. I'm sure we'll be back one day, but our two year ocean adventure has come to a close.

"Look Mom! I can catch the FLU!"

Monday, November 19, 2007

1st Violin Recital!

Today was the day! Asa and Addison have been looking forward to getting on stage and showing everyone what they know for weeks now. Mim, Papa, Grandmomma, Granddaddy, Hal, and Cool Mo Dee all came. It was a gorgeous fall day in Athens! We caravaned downtown and ate brunch at The Last Resort Grill. Afterward, we had time to kill, so instead of driving across campus to the recital hall, we all caught the UGA bus (one of the boys' favorite things to do!).

The recital went very well! The both did such a good job!
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After the recital, we caught the bus back to our cars and went back home for dessert. It was a great day!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What did he say?

Yesterday, the boys had group violin practice. They are getting ready for the big recital. Miss Kristin showed them where they will be standing and they went through the entire program. The parents sat and watched as our 14 children practiced. At the end, she asked if anyone had any questions about the recital. Of course, Addison's hand went up.

"Cool Mo Dee is coming to watch our recital!" He exclaimed. Everyone looked completely confused. What on earth did he just say? I started laughing so hard that I actually slammed my head into the chair in front of me. When I sat up, I realized that all the parents and teachers were looking at me waiting for some sort of explanation. I actually had to tell the class that the boys' uncle taught them to call him Cool Mo Dee. If violin class didn't already think we were a bunch of weirdos, they do now!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

These aren't the boys you're looking for...

I have two major Star Wars fans in my family. They share the same giddy obsession with all that is Star Wars. They are Addison and Jeff. Addison came home on Tuesday talking about how a boy in his class has a Darth Vader bookbag AND a lunch box, too! We held off on letting the boys watch any of the movies as long as possible, and now they have seen the first two. (The REAL first two... OUR first two)

Asa loves the movies, too. But, when I'm driving to the grocery store only one of my children pull out questions like,

"Mom, is Darth Vader a bad guy?"
"I thought he was... but... how is he a bad guy and he's Luke's father and Luke it a good guy?"

Addison ponders Star Wars all the time. Once it is brought up, Asa will contemplate questions of his own...

"How does Darth Vader reach his hand out [like this] and make things move?"
I try to explain the force... the word "magic" seemed to help.
"Well, Luke isn't as good at it as Vader is."
"Well, Luke is just a boy." I answer.
"When are we going to learn how to use the force?"

All of us have watched "A New Hope" a few times. The boys were ready to move on, so we saw "The Empire Strikes Back" a little while ago. The boys watched, absolutely fascinated. Addison was a zombie... making sure not to miss a single detail. Towards the end of the movie, Asa was obviously confused about something. He tried to explain the source of his confusion. He fumbled with his words, asking how Darth Vader was alive if he was dead. Jeff and I struggled to figure out why he was confused so that we could answer him... when Addison piped in. "He's talking about how Luke goes into the cave where Yoda is and sees Darth Vader and kills him. How is Darth Vader not dead?" Wow. Addison was right, that's exactly what he meant. So, we attempted to explain how Vader at the beginning was just Luke's vision. Comparing it to a dream helped, and all was well.

At lunch one day last month, Jeff went to the mall near his office and spotted a replica Darth Vader mask. He acted like a little kid. He talked about it. He went back anxiously awaiting the price to drop to a level in which he could justify buying it. He always wanted one, and now he is a grown up! But, where was this intense need for the helmet coming from? We had no plans for dressing up for Halloween, not us anyways. One day he said that figured it out... as a kid, he always wanted a Darth Vader helmet. He wanted to be Darth Vader for Halloween, but was talked out of it. He said he was told it was, "just a piece of plastic". He had always wanted that helmet! After Halloween, we went to the mall and he showed it to me. It was a true replica. It was HUGE! The guy who played him in the movie was a giant- like 6' 7". I had no idea. They had it marked down 30% or so. Still not enough. We asked if they were going to reduce it any more, they said "no" and we left. Well, Jeff went back a couple days later and it was down some enormous amount, like 70%. So, he came home with his very own Darth Vader helmet.

And for this very small price, all three boys were happy.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Grandpa's Birthday Party!

It was wonderful to see everyone (or almost everyone) for Grandpa's birthday party! The kids are all growing up entirely too fast, and my two think Lucas, Caleb, and Marissa are just super cool. I love it!!

Jeff went by his dad's house to borrow what he had just given his dad for his birthday... a canon. Yes, a canon. What's a birthday party without good ol' redneck fun?! It was a hit, the kids loved it, and by kids I included my uncles. It took no time at all before people were scavenging for projectiles- marbles, nuts, anything that would fit. Man, I love the south!

We took the boys down to the lake and went fishing. Although we tried, the fish were just off on vacation or something. We had a few nibbles, and Addison actually hooked one right at the dock. He just learned to yarn to set the hook... well, when you are fishing right off the dock, you don't need to yank very hard or else... you guessed it... a shiny little brem will come flying through the air aiming right for you! When you are sitting in your Mim's lap during this process, witht he aforementioned shiny fish sailing at her head everything gets a little blurry (and a lot loud). From what I gather, Mim actually grabbed Addison and used him as a human shield against the fish, leading to squeels of "the fish is getting me! The fish is getting me!" and people are rolling around, thr tip of Addison's rod broke, it was all kinds of fun. I was just impressed (sorely disappointed) that no one tumbled off the dock into the water. Ah, if I had only had my video camera...

Friday, October 26, 2007


We came down to visit the family for the weekend- and fished, fished, fished! The drought has done a number on the lake in Brooks, but I think it helped our fishin' odds. We probably could have knelt down and scooped some up in a net, swimming around in that little bit of water!

The boys had a great time. Thankfully, Dad's friend, Craig, was there so we actually outnumbered the four year olds wielding hooked lines! They aren't baiting their hooks yet, but I'll work on getting them to that point soon. Asa especially loves going to pick out the one particular worm for him... the "lucky worm". Each of them caught a fair number... Asa caught three "keepers", a bass and two brem. Addison caught also caught a bass and brem worth keeping for Grandpa to clean.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Costume? Space Cadet.

Today was the boys' Fall Parties at preschool. I had signed up to help out in Asa's room and the room mom called a few days ago to discuss what I would be doing. I was in charge of bringing the healthy snacks, to counteract the mass amounts of sugar that will no doubt be shoveled into our children. I took shaved deli ham and mixed it with shredded cheese. I laid out Pillsbury croissants, put a little bit of the mixture on top, rolled them up and baked them. I had one for breakfast- not bad at all! I also had apples, carrots, and pretzels. At 10:45 I scooted up to the church, where my kids were donning their prized costumes. I helped set up, putting the snacks on each plate. Right after the kids came in and began chowing down, the room mother from Addison's class came into Asa's classroom... "Did you bring the healthy snack?" Wow. Did I really do that?? Come on. Do people really get their mixed up on which kid's classroom they are supposed to be helping out? We did have some extra carrots and pretzels, so all was not lost. Geez. The good news- They are boys, they are four, and they didn't notice a thing. The parents and teachers on the other hand...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Nap, Interrupted

Sunday naps are mandatory at our house. After church, our bodies are hit by a state of exhaustion as if we had been drugged with Benadryl. We have no choice. The boys are fed and shuffled off to bed and we quickly collapse. In the good 'ol days, the boys would fall asleep easily. We might have to sit on their toy box and wait for their eyes to close, but it would eventually happen. Now, that's a rarity. However, they usually are able to play quietly in their room while we get some rest. Usually.

Today, we came home from church, got into play clothes, wolfed down some sandwiches, and managed to make it upstairs before our bodies completely gave out of energy. The boys' nap looked promising. They have had their bunk beds for only a couple weeks now, so they are excited about getting into bed. Jeff and I were asleep in seconds flat. I could hear them playing, but they were playing quietly in their rooms... all was well.

I woke up to hear breathing in my face. Asa's little face was right in mine, "Mommy, I need to go potty." He went potty and went back to bed. A while later, he showed up again. "Mommy, can you fix my truck's wheel?" I fumbled around without truly opening my eyes, fixed the wheel, and told him this was rest time. He went back to his room. A while later I heard him again at my bed. "Asa, get back in your room." I said with all the energy I could muster. He didn't move. "Asa, you need to go get some rest, and Mommy and Daddy need our nap." He was quiet for a little while and then said, "But Addison isn't wearing any underwear and he's stinking up the room."

With that, Jeff and I went instantly propelled upright and were in their room in seconds flat. Sure enough, Addison was in a shirt and no underwear. He had an accident. A poo-poo accident. He looked like a deer in headlights... a deer with no underwear and poo smeared up his back and down his legs. Jeff and I went from a peaceful Sunday nap to a full out HAZMAT situation in .2 seconds. He took Addison to the bath, and I stripped his bed, and began disinfecting everything the child could have possibly touched. He had been up in his bed, on the top, so he had it on the rails and ladder. The doorknobs... what else... I was a whirlwind... I was Mr. Clean on speed. But, where are the underwear? I went downstairs and Jeff was almost finished with Addison.

I asked him where he stashed the evidence. "In the utility room in the laundry basket". Now, I applaud both his attempt to handle the situation himself and the fact that the underwear actually made it to the appropriate location (see the August 5th entry on the cornfield). However, I was mortified at the realization that he had been all over the entire house doing who knows what with poo on his hands and naked body.

Okay, utility room... I rushed off the disinfect the doorknobs and sides of the laundry basket before asking him what else he had done. "I tried to wash it off my hands". The sink, got it. The bathroom door, check. The next 10 minutes were spent in a mad rush to get any invisible trace of fecal matter off of every surface I could imagine. Finally, we were content with the clean up job, redressed Addison, and let him play for another 5 minutes while we collapsed yet again on the bed to regroup. We looked at each other and laughed. Ahh, the peace of Sunday naps. "I love you" Jeff said. "I love Clorox wipes" I replied.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Star Festival

Here are some pictures from today at Bethlehem's Star Festival. It is held in front of City Hall, across the street.

You can't really tell in the picture, but Asa's balloon hat looked an awful lot like, well, male genetalia. So Jeff, of course, had to confiscate it for himself.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

First Field Trip Ever

Asa and Addison had a field trip today! They went with their classes to Washington Farms Pumpkin Patch. It was the first cold day so far, so it really set the Fall mood. We went on a hay ride, got to pet some animals at the little petting zoo, and each kid even was able to pick out their perfect little pumpkin. After we got home, Jeff made a pumpkin pie out of mine, but the boys are keeping theirs to carve.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Wild Boys

Elizabeth kept the boys for a few hours today while I went to a photo shoot. (Thank you, Elizabeth!) I just thought this was a great picture of all the boys!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Freda the Frog at Octoberfest

Freda the Frog came home with Asa this weekend. Each class has a stuffed animal that goes home with a kid each weekend. The parent writes in the animal's journal so the class can read about the exciting things they did together. Well, tonight, Freda the frog went to Octoberfest at City Cafe with Mim and Karen! First, let me say that City Cafe has great food, better desserts, and good atmosphere. With that said, it is a little quirky and the owner can be easily compared to The Soup Nazi from Seinfeld. Let's just say some of our party members were reprimanded for eating their to-go desserts out of the box. On other occasions, members of our party have been told that since they don't have a reservation, if the restraunt gets busy they will have to leave. LEAVE! There is some kind of socio-cultural lapse going on, no doubt.

The music for the night was American music played by an accordian player... which I found very odd for a German festival. Thanks to Wikapedia I found that German-Bovarian music sometimes involves accordians... I'm sure that's what they must have been thinking, right? I digress. We had a great night and the boys were serinaded by a fabulous rendition of the Sponge Bob Square Pants theme song. It was a hit.