Tuesday, March 28, 2006

It's All Relative

So, my Momma came to visit us for a week and arrived on St. Patrick's Day. One morning she was playing "Kids on Stage" with the boys, and as usual, Chas was distracted getting up and down. It's a charades kind of game, and the largest number you can spin is an 8. Well, Grandma wrangled Chas back to the board to spin for his turn, and he spun an 8! She said, "Wow, Chas, eight is a big number!" To this, he replied, "No it's not. A billion is a big number... or infinity."

We had a great time with her here, and though she was feeling awful with a cold that started a couple of days into her vacation, just her presence was enough for the boys. In fact, after she left, they said they wished she could live with us. I asked Chas "why," and he said because he loved her. Anthony added he wished all of our relatives could live with us. Seeing as Daddy is on medicine for blood pressure, I don't see this happening any time soon. Back to the vacation- Momma dove head first into our world here with three young boys. It was Friday when she arrived which is the coveted Pizza Night for the boys. They ask every day leading to Friday what day it is wishing it was already Friday. We eat pizza on the living room floor on blankets for a picnic, they get Caffeine Free Diet Coke with their pizza, we clean up, and then we play Duck, Duck, Goose. Grandma had fun running around the house and getting chased.
The next morning, she got to see them play their last basketball game of the season at the YMCA. There are 3 games- 6 teams- playing at once in the gym, and she was surrounded by activity, noise, and people under 4 feet tall. (ReRe would've been in heaven actually being taller than others.) She mentioned how she'd forgotten this world! After basketball, we did some grocery shopping and prepared for dinner with friends. Amy, Ryan, Jacob, Luke and Adam came over that night for dinner, and again, she was surrounded by the constant activity and noise. Now, noise is not said here in a negative way but more as a reality. The noise is fun, full of life and created by children entertaining- but it's still noise. She seemed to enjoy herself, dinner and the company. Then, it was up early on Sunday for church and to the park after for a picnic and play. John D. Morgan park is one of many great parks here in San Jose, and it's fun for adults, too. Momma and I played on the slides and see-saw and watched the boys with their friends that came with us.
It was after the weekend that Momma got her cold. She hung in there, though, and it didn't stop her from helping me. I got to run my errands that involved just popping in places for one thing, preparing my Preparedness kit for an earthquake, getting pictures of the boys taken, and still playing in between. The boys missed her when she napped, I missed her when she left the room, and it was just so nice having her with us in our life and world here. Now she'll have an idea of what it's like here in Cali. The weather was rainy when she wasn't feeling well and shining when she felt better. Perfect. It wasn't nice leaving her for her flight home, but we know she had enough fun to come back! ;)

As for us here, we're about to start soccer this Saturday, the boys love Bible School on Thursdays, we keep discovering new parks, and we're not looking forward to Daddy leaving again for China and Dublin, Ireland. But, we hope his travel will at some point die down.

Anthony is getting huge! He's 46" tall, and he looks like he grows more every week. Since it's Lent, he keeps telling us what he'll give up every day, and they are REALLY good choices! His packet for Kindergarten has been turned in, and he's excited to start all day school in the fall.

Chas is a nut. He's 40.5" tall, and he's always trying to do what his brother can do. He's almost to the point where he can do the monkey bars by himself, and after 6 months of practicing, he can jump on one foot. He and Starks have a special relationship, and no one can make Starks laugh quite like Chas. He loves this role more than almost anything else.

Starks is 9.5 months old, and he's finally over 16 pounds! In fact, he looks like a chunk with all of these fat rolls and pudge, yet we're reminded he really isn't when we dress him! He's doing what all of the other guys did- gain weight at this age and do it well. His gums are at maximum stretch with those teeth bulging underneath. I can't believe they are not poking through yet, but they aren't. He's doing well with teething, and I hope they come out this week before Daddy leaves. Starks' hair is getting lighter, his smile broader, and his hiney more dimpled. He's SO cute and SUCH a love bug. (we have no idea how that happened)

Anyway, life is good here, and we invite all relatives and friends to come out at ANY TIME! (Call first as Russ may be international)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Feeling like a winner

After Anthony and Chas' last basketball game, the coach lined them up and gave them each a medal. This, of course, is the greatest thing in the world for these two. Neither took off his medal for hours.

Later, Anthony, Chas, and I were walking, and Anthony said, "I love my medal. It makes me feel like a winner sometimes."

A lengthy discussion ensued about what makes a winner and what doesn't.

Classic Anthony

Anthony and Chas had their last basketball game the other day. One of the other players, Ian, was trying to get a shot off, and this monster from the opposing team blocked it pretty hard, which frustrated Ian, who began to cry.

Anthony's team transitioned to defense, but not Ian. He stayed on the offensive side of the court, crying loudly, looking - ostensibly - for his mom.

The balls goes out of bounds at the other end, and Anthony gets to dribble it up the court. He dribbles past mid-court and focuses on Ian like a laser. He picks the ball up, travels like crazy (which is tolerated at this level), and protects the ball like it's gold. He had one thing on his mind:

Get the ball to the crying boy on my team to make him feel better. He muscled his way through to Ian and tossed a very short pass to him. Ian turned around and shot the ball, but most importantly, he was done crying.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

What if?

That's Anthony's big thing now... asking "What if?"
While in the family restroom at Target, "What if we opened the door and there was a mean guy who was going to kill us?"
"Well, we'd shut the door quickly and lock it."
"What if he broke the door down?"
"Well, we would have called 911 on my cell phone when he shut the door."
After some thinking he replied, "Oooohhhh... the police would've come and got him and took him to jail."

Then, while at the island waiting for me to make dinner and playing/creating with pipe cleaners, Anthony asks, "What if I was upstairs and laughed so hard at Daddy that I fell out the window?" Now, this one is possible as Russ is the funny one in the house (or at least we make him think so). I wish I could just spend one hour in his head. How great it is to be five!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Return of the Boogie Man

Yes... San Jose is awesome, though, currently we are in the "rainy season" as most everyone else. Rain means playing inside, and last Monday it meant playing inside the mall at their disgusting playground. I vowed never to take the kids there, but my moms-group planned to meet there instead of the park. I DID try to encourage playing at their outside playground (there wasn't even rain that day), but since an email went out saying we'd meet at the mall, I was vetoed. So, I relented. I understand the boys could've picked up this cold and cough from anywhere, but I'm going to my grave believing it was courtesy of the mall! That place is a petri dish - filthy - germs and dirt on all surfaces. That leads us to today... everyone in the house with a cold at some stage. The boys are alright, Russ and I are alright, but it's just not fair for Starks! That's my vent. I'm done. The Boogie Man has the upper hand.

Now. RUSS CAME HOME THURSDAY! I had my orientation to Bible Study that morning while the boys were in their age appropriate classes for Bible School. I am excited to start and totally feel like it's where I should be. It will be on Thrusdays for a little over two hours in the morning. The good news is that Anthony will be in full day Kindergarten (9-2:30) next school year and that will allow me to continue in the fall. Anyway, Russ and we pulled up at the house at the same time that afternoon, and everyone was SO excited to see him after 2 weeks in Asia. The best reaction was Starks'. He totally just hugged his Daddy and wouldn't let go. Russ relaxed his hug to pull Starks away so he could see his face, but Starks wouldn't let go and just kept hugging him! How cute is that? We had lunch at Juicy Burger and just relaxed together. Russ felt ok his first day home, but it pretty much went downhill from there. He left for work this morning saying, "I just want to go to sleep." Poor Guy. So, for those of you who think international travel sounds glamorous, just call Russ and he'll set you straight! He misses his family, and he doesn't get back in the groove for several days... he's kind of useless. Although, I have to say that when he'd have a little energy, he'd vacuum, straighten up or help in some way. What a good guy!

Anyway, we may be bound inside again this week. They always forecast all of this rain, but the weather really goes something like this... cold and rainy in the morning, blue and clear until afternoon, cloudy and warm, sudden shower, blue and clear, overcast, hail and rain, and then cloudy. So, it's a little of everything, and when it's sunny, you've just got to go enjoy before it changes! My MOMMA comes to visit Friday!!!! We are all counting the days and are very eager to have her stay! Until then, we have appts on Tues & Wed and Bible Study on Thursday. Starks will be 9 months this Tuesday, and so he has that appt. At the same time, Anthony will get his Kindergarten physical. Wow. My men are growing up! Starks loves to crawl UP and DOWN the stairs. He loves to climb over and on anything actually. He's standing up and reaching out with one hand for something else... the thought of walking briefly entertained. In fact, he stood for 15 seconds the other day on his own. Then, he got too excited that he got wiggly and fell down!

So, wish us sunshine and fun here with the eviction of the Boogie Man this week!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

When did Scooby Doo turn into Miami Vice?

So, the boys watch at times "A Pup Named Scooby Doo" in our room in the morning after they wake so I can take a shower. This morning, there was a headless skateboarder. He was scaring all of the people away from the skate park. At the same time, the dolphins were stolen from the local Sea World type park. Now, come to find out, the headless skateboarder wasn't a real monster at all. It was the owner of the skate park dressed as one as to divert people away from his park on purpose! Why? Doesn't he have a lot of money to lose if people aren't coming to his business? Apparently not. In fact, early in the show, we got some background on him regarding his being the best skateboarder in the world until he started doing drugs and went to jail. So, he created the monster as a scam as to smuggle drugs on the backs of dolphins- that is until the pesky kids meddled in his business and found out the truth. At the end, when all as revealed, one of the surfers we also came to know came forth as an FBI agent, too.

So, I ask you. Am I crazy? Does this at all sound inappropriate to anyone else? We have only talked once about drugs in regards to why some people are homeless. Scooby made me think, do I need to talk to my 3 and 5 year old NOW about not doing drugs? I feel like I should still keep them innocent and not in the know. Why the hell was Scooby doing a show like that? Comment and let me know if you are as perplexed as I am about Scooby doing a drug smuggling show or if you think he should!

Random Thoughts, by Chas Laraway

Remember "Deep Thoughts" by Jack Handey? Well, we were all pitching in to straighten the play room for vacuuming, and Chas said he loved me. They tell me that often- and I never take it for granted... I love it. So, he goes on to say just how much he loves me. I sweep him up and hug him tight. So, he asks me to do it again a minute later, and I am on the floor picking stuff up and tell him to run over. He runs over, tackles me and I squeeze him tightly. I stop and he asks for more. So, we're lying there, him on my chest and belly, hugging, and he says, "I wish I was a fish and you cut my skin off. And, I love you all the way up to the pool."
What the? I guess that's good.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Picture this...

Starks had ANOTHER GI appt. today (he weighed in at 14# 15 ounces), and the boys wanted to watch a DVD in the waiting room and not go back with us. So, they watched "The Letter Factory" while Starks went in for his checkup. It was not long at all before we returned to the waiting room. Immediately, I noticed it smelled like a poopy diaper- and a bad one at that. The next thing I see is Chas on the floor paging through books. Finally, I notice Anthony is not there. Then, I look over towards the bathroom, and notice it smells worse in that direction, yet the door is open. I walk over, and as I figured, Anthony is on the toilet with a book in his lap, lights off, pooping with the door open! :) I love it! I didn't know if I should take the book away, label it like George Costanza's was, or ignore it. I chose the latter. I just laughed, shut the door and walked over to read books to Chas. As I was reading to Chas, I started to choke on orange scent. I thought to myself how I'd punish Anthony for playing with the air freshener in the bathroom. As I walked to the bathroom, the smell decreased, and when I opened the door, he was still doing his thing- freshener on the toilet. It was then I realized the women in the office could no longer take the smell and fumigated with Orange Scent! How funny! Kids are hilarious and in their own worlds.

Lincoln's Descendants?

As I was typing an email this morning, Chas was playing all around me and getting into things. He finds two $5 bills that have been next to the computer since Christmas and miraculously have never made it upstairs into Starks' piggybank. So, he's playing with them and finally asks, "Is this Pop?"

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Mommy has been bumped

Last night, Anthony told me, "Mommy, when I grow up, I'm going to marry Lisa... because I love her." I replied, "Really? What do you love about her? Is it because she's nice? Fun? Beautiful?" He said, "Because I love her and have fun with her." Lisa is the daughter of my close friend, Pamela, and she is a lot like Anthony. They are very creative, imaginative, and easy children. Recently Lisa stayed over for a day and finger/footpainted.

So, today is Ash Wednesday. The boys were SO good in church this morning (Lucky Charms helped a little), and so many people told me afterwards how well behaved they are. You had better believe that I told the boys over and over how great they were and how I like to see other people recognize it, too. Now, most Sundays at church, Joe brings doughnuts for after mass. Today, being a work day, he was not at our usual mass time and thus there were no doughnuts. The boys asked if we could go get some, and being that my stomach was achy from my hunger, I almost agreed. BUT, I took this as an opportunity to teach about Lent, Easter and sacrafice. Anthony caught on quickly about the meaning of Easter and Lent and how we can give up and give more. So, after I reminded him that we will be at Pamela's tomorrow, he said, "well, I'm giving up TV tomorrow!" I thought that was awesome! Wow! I love it when they just get it- even if it's in their own way. Now, I have to say that he said he'd give up dessert after dinner tonight and quickly took it back! :) Baby steps! He then asked, "I wonder what Daddy's going to give up? Maybe he'll give up TV, too." We'll have to ask him tonight. Being in China, I think there are probably some things already that he gives up.

Anyway, life if good. I so enjoy Lent and the self-reflection that it involves. It's not always easy or pleasant to really see your shortcomings, sins and flaws. But, if they are never discovered, then you can never work on them and hope to better yourself. It's always easier to ignore them or leave it up to others to accept them. Let's pray Lent brings us to a fuller understanding of sacrifice, God's love and all we have through him.

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