Thursday, June 28, 2007

Random Pictures

Here are just a few pictures of the boys taken over the last two weeks or so. Enjoy!

For Father's Day, we went to a friend's house for a BBQ. The boys were playing in the basement... Move over Red Hot Chili Peppers, you've got competition!!!!

After dinner enjoying snow cones....
This was taken as soon as we got home from the Braves game. Note the blue mustache -- left over from the Icee that Josh had!

Sam before the Braves game. He just looked too cute! I had to take a picture!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My Moment Wednesday

It's My Moment Wednesday over at Maya's Mom. Usually, I just update my journal with something but this week I decided to put it in my blog....

It's been a tough few days here at Casa J. Ever since school got out and we got back from England, it's been a challenge to keep the kids busy enough to not "be bored" but not too busy to be tuckered out. Josh has had swimming lessons, we've done the free movies, we've done Story Time... it's all about the kids! It's so hard to find a moment to myself, for myself! But every Wednesday, I look for ways to enjoy a moment. I know I don't have to wait until Wednesday, but it's a good reminder to "take a moment."

So anyway, it's been difficult this week. Sam, for some reason, has gone backwards in the potty training this week -- three night time accidents in one week, on Monday he wet himself three times and Tuesday he wet himself twice! It was enough for me to take him to the doctor to make sure all was okay -- and it is. They tested for UTI (negative), hormone imbalance (negative) and sugar/diabetes (negative). So, we've determined it's a "behavioral" issue! Great.

And, Josh's swim lessons are at Sam's nap time, so no naps this week or last for Sam! No naps means no down time for Mom! And tired boy in the evening!

So today, I was lucky to have several moments!

The first was this morning. All summer we have been telling Josh not to come in at 5:30-6:00 when he wakes up but to not bother us until 7:00. Well, today, when Sam woke up, Josh went and got him and they actually played nicely in Josh's room! I was awake because who can sleep through the noise, but still, they let me stay in bed! And when I heard Josh say, "Hey Sam, look it's 7:00, let's go get Mom!" I knew it was time to haul my arse out of bed!

Next, we went to the free movie at the AMC Theater. Today it was Happy Feet. Sam does okay, but not great at the movie and since it's a free movie, that's okay. There are lots of kids like him at the theater when it's "free." The boys and I had a great time just being together and watching the movie. We laughed at the funny parts, cuddled at the scarier parts and had lots of fun! It was so nice to have some time with the kids and not be yelling at them! LOL!

By the time the movie was over, we got home & had lunch it was time to fly out the door to swimming. Of course, once we got to the pool it started to thunder so we turned around to come back home. I wasn't that upset. I put Sam down to bed and had a run. It was so nice to get it done in the day when I have more energy and then I didn't have to worry about fitting it in later. Plus, Sam really needed his nap. When he woke up, we played trains for a bit and had some nice play time before I had to get supper ready!

So it was a nice day -- extraordinary compared to the other days this week. I had some time to myself and some time with my kids. And as I type this, Rich is reading HP and The Order of the Phoenix and we have baseball on in the background (Nationals 0 vs. Braves 12 in the 6th). Every once in a while one of us will look up and say something. It's nice to have a quiet moment together, enjoying each others company without needing to be interacting all the time. I love that man!

So, I know it's rambling and it's disjointed, but that's my moment today.

Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum!

This was taken at Sandy Balls.

I think it's hysterical!

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Home of the Braves

We went to a Braves baseball game on Saturday. The Braves were playing the Detroit Tigers so we were really excited.

The Braves are my "New" Home Team, but since I grew up in Detroit, I love the Tigers too... through thick and thin! So it didn't really matter to me who won the game! I was excited to go to Turner Stadium as well. I hadn't been yet -- my previous Atlanta Games were in 1993 when they played at the old Fulton County Stadium. Turner Field is very nice!

It was lots of fun. We did not bring the camera since we weren't sure if they were allowed (they are), so next time, we'll be sure to bring our camera!

It was an afternoon game, and the weather in Atlanta was hot with a chance of more hot! Thankfully, the humidity was low, but when the temp reaches 98F (36C), with no cloud cover, it's still hot!

We got to the game early so the boys could look around and pick out a little souvenir, have a hot dog, and look around a bit. When we got there, we were pleasantly surprised to find out it was Hat Day! So we all got Braves Hats -- the boys (well, Josh) was particularly excited because, as he said, he "always wanted an Atlanta Braves hat!"

After trying on our hats, we went straight to the gift shop (along with every other person at the stadium). Josh picked out a t-shirt with #25 Andruw Jones on the back. They didn't have any toddler-ware, so Sam picked out a stuffed animal, a Braves puppy dog. In the end they were very happy with their hats and Braves paraphernalia! And Josh has barely taken the t-shirt off long enough for me to wash it!

We went to our seats, up in the "nose bleeds" -- all the way up to the top row! But that ended up being the best place to sit. Not only were we in the shade from the overhang (woo hoo!) we were on an aisle with a little platform so Sam could "wander." And when I say "wander," I mean Rich could get up and play with Sam while Mom and Josh watched the game!

We only stayed through the end of the 4th inning, but that was enough to see all the runs scored in the game -- 2-1 to the Tigers (who ended up sweeping the series).

Aside from the TicketMaster price gouging fees, the ticket prices for Braves games are actually quite affordable. The cheapest "entry" is $1 and that's really just to get you to the ground and watch from one of the bars they have on site. To get a seat, they have tickets for as low as $6. We opted for the not-quite-so-low-priced $12 tickets! And even though we were just about as far from the field as you could get, we could still see really well! Apparently, there's not a bad seat at Turner Stadium!

Josh had a great time and was very upset that we had to leave early (there is NO WAY Sam would have lasted any longer). He and Daddy have great plans to go later in the season and stay for the whole game -- or the better part of one anyway!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

10 Minute Writers -- A Summer Day

This is my entry into Crazedparent's 10-minute writers challenge.

My dad was in the Army when I was growing up. It was really cool travelling and moving and living all sorts of places. However, since we were on the move every 2-4 years, we did not really grow up with a "Hometown."

My Dad grew up in Holland, Michigan on the shore of Lake Michigan. A beautiful little town with a Dutch heritage full of tulips in the spring, a nice college (my alma mater), and a beach. A really nice beach. Since my Gramma lived there, we would often go spend our summer vacations, in between moves, in Holland. Both my dad's brother's have (or had) cottages on the lake, so it made a nice vacation spot for us.

I remember getting up and putting our swim suits on before breakfast, staying in them all day while we played in the sand and swam in the lake and not taking them off until bedtime. I remember my aunt always had cold cuts for lunch and we would go up at lunch time, make a sandwich (usually I'm sure we were forced to come up, knowing kids and summer play), then go back until dinner. Sometimes, we would take our baths in the lake -- bring our shampoo and soap down to the water. Nothing like washing your hair in lake water!

And on some nights, we'd get in our PJ's and go out for ice cream before bed. But always, we would watch the sunsetting over Lake Michigan. It just seemed the proper thing to do. When I went to Hope, we would often go out to the lake and watch the sunsets over Lake Michigan. It always brought me back to my childhood and the summers we spent out there.

When Josh was 2, I brought him to Holland for a mini-family reunion with my Dad's brothers and their families. It was great to see my cousins and their spouses and children. We don't often get together and see each other so it was great to share some of my childhood with my son. Rich couldn't go (he was working) and Sam wasn't born yet. I hope one day to bring my whole family back to Holland and the beaches out there because it's so beautiful.

Perhaps my summers on Lake Michigan have fed my love for the beach.....

My time is up! The basic idea is to write for 10 minutes on a given subject, keep your fingers moving for the 10 minutes and not edit. So, that explains some of the choppiness! I am, however, now going to spellcheck! Hope it's not against the rules!!! This was fun - thanks Crazedparent!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

2007 England Tour, Part 7: Walliswood and The End

We left Sandy Balls on the last Friday of our trip. A bit sad as it will be at least a year until we see Nanny & Grandad again (they plan to come next year for one last trip to visit) and two years until we return to England. So, it was sad, but we were all happy to have had the time to spend together.

Our last weekend there we spent in Surrey with some Uni-mates of Rich's. They have a beautiful farm house that they were kind enough to open up to us. The kids thought they'd died and gone to heaven! I will apologize now because it was the end of the holiday and I did not get nearly enough pictures. I was tired!

Andy and Elaine's house is magnificent.

They have their own tennis courts, pool, trampoline (where the kids spent most of their time), cricket pitch,

Horse paddock (although the horses aren't theirs)

Sam loved feeding them.

We arrived on Friday and had a bit of time to relax. However, Andy and Elaine had a full day of events scheduled for us on Saturday.

Their kids were in the local Medieval Fair held by their local village, so we all went along to that. The kids were so tired, both fell asleep in the car on the 15 minute car ride to the car park. Sam was so tired, Rich carried him from the car park to the fair (about a 5 minute walk) and he continued to sleep for another 30 minutes!

We had lunch at a pub (surprise) across from the fair.

Then we all wandered across the street to watch the kids in the parade.

There was May Pole Dancing,

Ice cream


and all sorts of booths and wares being sold.

There was even a Punch and Judy show that the kids really loved!

It was a very full day... but it wasn't over yet! Andy and Elaine had bought us tickets to an outdoor concert where The Drifters and The Jones Gang performed. The concert was at The Hurtwood Park Polo Club, owned by Kenney Jones (from The Who). It was fantastic.
Elaine packed an amazing picnic, the kids played (well, Rich stayed back home with our kids -- our kids slept), we all danced and sang and ate and ate. It was a really fun time.

As you can imagine from the previous 6 posts, we were very tired from our two week holiday in England! On Sunday, we all chilled out at the pool and packed for our flight out the next day.

We had a great time visiting friends and family this trip! Each time we go back, it just gets better and better!

So, to all our friends and family out there that were kind enough to host us and let us intrude on their space for a time, thank you very much! We really appreciate it! And you are all welcome to our house any time you want!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

2007 England Tour, Part 6 -- Sandy Balls, Days 3, 4 & 5

After all the excitement of the first two days at Sandy Balls, our next two seemed relatively calm.

We went swimming in the mornings both days and had a great time splashing in the pool. The weather was not quite warm enough in the mornings for the outdoor pool so we only spent time at the indoor pool.

Josh lost a tooth on the Wednesday we were at Sandy Balls.

He was quite excited as the New Forest Faeries brought him a GBP 2 coin! "Mom, that's $4!!" I think the Faeries knew he was on vacation! He used the money to buy a fishing net that we put to good use later that afternoon.

We walked down one of the many walking paths at Sandy Balls to the river. The boys had a great time putting their rods in the water and catching dirt fishing! It was a really nice walk and very pretty.

That night we all met at the local Sandy Balls Pub for a nice meal. England was playing Estonia in the Euro2008 Qualifier and the guys all wanted to stay up to watch it. Sam and I went home early, Josh came home at half time, and Rich came home after the game was through. England won 3-0 to put them in a good position in their Group Standings.

The next day (Thursday) we took the rest of the family back down to the river for more "fishing." This time, there were swans.

Sam and Luke kept fighting over the fishing nets.

Josh just wanted to catch a fish. All Josh talked about was how he went fishing with Grampa last year and can't wait to go again this year!

Luke is anxious to get his net in the water!

Even though the only thing biting were the flies and we had no luck catching fish, we still had fun!

After fishing we all went up to another pub (hmmm.... seems to be a theme...) for a meal. The boys played on the play structure for a bit before dinner.

We had a great time at Sandy Balls, but the end was also a bit sad. Our time in England was coming to a close and we were leaving family for a friends house for our final weekend. We did not go back to Nanny & Grandad's house, so saying goodbye was difficult.

It's hard living so far away from family. When you see how much the boys love their Nanny & Grandad (and vice versa) it makes leaving oh so much harder. Every time we leave England, we leave a bit of ourselves behind and anxiously await our next gathering.

Next up: The Final installment -- Walliswood

Monday, June 18, 2007

2007 England Tour, Part 5 -- Sandy Balls, Day 2

Tuesday, June 5th was a beautiful day! It was also Nanny's birthday!

We headed down to Sandbanks to spend the day at the beach.

The water was really cold..... we just put our feet in the water.

Of course, the bravest actually went in! All of Rich's niece's and nephews --- Sean, Sascha, Dan (Sasch's boyfriend), Ryan, Amy (Ryan's girlfriend), Leah and Jimmie (Leah's boyfriend) -- did go for a very cold swim. Brave souls!!!!!

The rest of us played on the very windy beach....

... more proof I was on vacation!

Sam, digging in the sand.

Luke (with his mom, Leah in the background), proudly displaying his sand castle!

Josh, doing I don't know what....

After lunch we went back home to prepare Nanny's BBQ dinner. We had the whole gang over to celebrate. The nieces and nephews stayed out in the sun too long and each one came sporting a nice bright red sunburn.... Sam did not make most of the barbecue. He flaked out quite early he was so tired!!!!

The beginning of "The Best Water Fight Ever"!!!

After dinner, Josh and Luke decided to "challenge" Uncle Brian in a water fight. The boys had squirt guns, Brian grabbed the fire hose from the back of one of the cabins near us! Both kids were soaked to the core (sorry, no pics of that unfortunately), but very happy for standing up to "Scary Uncle Brian"!!! We'll get him next time!!!!

Since it was Nanny's birthday, Josh and Luke brought her birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday to her. We all decided you could not ask for a better birthday to have your whole family with you, all happy and healthy (aside from the sunburns)!

We had another, fun filled, exciting, VERY BUSY day!

More Sandy Balls coming up in Part 6!

Friday, June 15, 2007

2007 England Tour, Part 4 -- Sandy Balls, Day 1

The second week we were in England, we went down to the New Forest . The New Forest is a very pretty region in the south of England. There are wild ponies roaming free. As we drove through, we had to stop/slow down for several horses and their foals. It was really cool.

We stayed in a really nice holiday resort / camp site called Sandy Balls (insert snickers here). Rich's sister has a massive RV that they can camp there. Plus there are cabins and campers to rent if you don't have your own. There are two swimming pools, play grounds, bike hire, paths for walking, and heaps of other things to do. It was perfect! Rich's whole family met up down there. I think all total, we were 16 people!

It was a great place. We had a 2 bedroom cabin all to ourselves.

With a nice view!

The first night we were there, Rich's sister Liz and her partner Brian had us over for a cook out.

Rich and Liz

The boys played football....

Liz's grandson Luke is Josh's age. He brought his scooter -- which was very popular....

....especially with Sam!

Sascha (niece), Josh, Sam & Luke (great-nephew)

Sam driving the RV

Who is that cute couple?

Actually, this is proof that I actually DID go on vacation!

Coming tomorrow -- Part 5: The Beach & Nanny's Birthday

Thursday, June 14, 2007

2007 England Tour, Part 3

Friday, June 2nd was the first ever England game at the "New" Wembley stadium. It was a friendly match -- England v. Brazil but the whole country was very excited.

And, since there was football, we headed out to Rich's oldest (as in known the longest not age wise....) friend, Dean, in Aylesbury.

Dean, proudly sporting England's flag and jersey before the game.

Dean and Jo (his wife) put on a really nice BBQ, good company and lots of talking (mostly by their daughter Emma! LOL).

The boys fell in love with their dog Molly -- a really nice, very large Golden Labrador. Which is good since my parents have 2 large dogs too!

In the end, England drew 1-1 -- Brazil got a last minute goal in added time to tie it up. But, apparently, it was a good game! David Beckham had been recalled to the England squad and played well enough to play later a bit later in the Eur0 2008 Qualifier the next week.


We spent the night at Dean & Jo's, and spent a leisurely morning chatting and drinking tea. Then, we headed back to Nanny & Grandad's.

The boys played a bit in Nanny and Grandad's back garden.

Then we headed out to play at Ruislip Lido.

There was a playground on the beach with lots of play structures...

Josh found his favorite....

Then we had some ice cream (of course...)

Played in the sand a bit more,

One last climb on the climbing frame,
and headed back home to Nanny & Grandad's house.

If you've ever wondered what Sandy Balls is, stay tuned for part 4!

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