Thursday, June 28, 2007

Happy Birthday, Son #1 & Son #2!

On Sunday, we celebrated Son #1's 12th birthday and Son #2's 10th birthday with a little party at our house (their birthdays are six days apart). The usual guest list: PawPaw, the aunts and uncles, and Girl Cousin (age 9 1/2) and Boy Cousin (age 8). We also invited Son #2's best friend and his brother, and Son #1's new friend from camp. For the most part, the kids hung out in Son #1's room playing video games. In addition to the GameCube, everyone brought their own Nintendo DS.

We ordered a bunch of pizzas from Papa John's, had chips, dip, fruit, soft drinks, juice bags, etc. We called the kids out to the kitchen table to sing Happy Birthday and cut the cake. While the aunts were busy serving the cake and ice cream, I snuck into Son #1's room and set up their birthday gift: a Nintendo Wii.

After cake and ice cream, the boys unwrapped their gifts. They received a lot of cool stuff: video games, DVD's (Night at the Museum, Eragon, XMen 2), clothes, gift cards - I can't remember what else. When they finished unwrapping the gifts, I could tell Son #1 was hoping there was something more. I suggested that they go back in his room and play video games - and perhaps notice their other gift in the process. We adults all followed to see their reaction (you would think that would tip them off, but nooooooo)....which was nothing.

Wouldn't you know it -- all the kids went in the room, picked up their handheld systems and started playing. Finally an aunt opened the TV armoire for Boy Cousin because he had placed his Nintendo inside. Boy Cousin was the first to notice their was something "different."

After a moment or two, he turns to Son #2 and says, "Dude, you got at Wii?" Son #2 says, "no." The friends started shouting "You got a Wii! I got a Wii!" Son #2, apparently thinking they're talking about a different kind of "wee," starts to bolt from the room. (He later admitted that he was trying to beat the rush to the bathroom).

Son #1 meanwhile finally looks up from his Nintendo DS, realizes what's going on and lets out this bloodcurdling scream. Now THAT was the reaction I expected. It was a very good birthday indeed.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Welcome Back & Happy Birthday!

The above photo is of Dear Hubby and Son #1 at Camp Skymont in Tennessee. They just returned from spending a week there with their Boy Scout Troop. Dear Hubby took a bunch of photos of the scenery - breathtaking. For my blog, though, I'm just going to show a few.

Below is the tent where Son #1 and his buddy bunked. The adult quarters were the same. I couldn't imagine spending seven nights in one of these. If you look carefully, you can see Son #1 perched on his bunk under the mosquito netting.

Son #1 worked on several merit badges at camp. Below he's working on the fishing merit badge. He had to catch, clean, cut and cook a fish. Here he is cooking a perch. He has to catch one different type of fish to complete the requirements for the badge, but that one can be catch and release.

Dear Hubby told me that Son #1 really impressed the person teaching the reptile and amphibian class with his near-encyclodaedic knowledge of the subject. He has an amazing memory when it comes to things that interest him.

They had a terrific time, but it's great to have them both back at home.

Happy Belated Birthday to Son #1 (he turned 12 on June 23rd). If you're interested, click here for his birthstory.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Woo Hoo, We're Going to the Finals!

By "we," I mean Son #2's baseball team, the Pirates. Tonight they beat the #1 ranked team, 7 to 3. The final tournament game is Saturday afternoon. Our team will play either the #2 or the #3 ranked team, depending on which of those two win their game Friday night.

Our team was ranked #5 (out of 10). We lost our first 5 or 6 games and then somehow found their groove and have only lost one game in the past 8 or 9 games.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend the entire game. The family was invited to the birthday party of a close friend's child. Dear Hubby and Son #1 can't go because they'll be driving home from Tennessee that day. I initially said that Sons #2 & 3 and I would make an appearance, but there's no way I'd make Son #2 miss his final playoff game of the season. Son #3 and I will attend the party, although my heart will be elsewhere of course.

PawPaw will be there to cheer Son #2 on. Truth be told, he usually makes his best plays when I've got my back turned or when I'm chatting and not paying attention. Following that logic, he should have an amazing game. Ha ha!


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Boys of Summer

Son #3's T-Ball season came to close last week. No scorekeeping at his age level (5 years old). Instead the focus is on skill development and fun, fun, fun. Above is a photo of Son #3 rounding 3rd base and heading for home plate!

Son #2's team got off to a slow start. This is his second season of kid-pitched ball and it's still an adjustment for most of the boys. His team lost their first 5 games, then somehow found their groove. They one their next 5, tied one, lost one. The team was ranked #5 out of 11 for the season. They played a tournament game (single-elimination) on Saturday and won, so they were scheduled for a game this evening, but thunderstorms moved in so the game will be postponed. If they lose, the season is over, if they win, they play in Thursday's tournament. The winner of that game moves on to Saturday's tournament (the final day). It would be nice to win the championship, but to be honest, I would not be disappointed if they lose. With temps in the 90s and humidity in the 90+ percentile, you can stick a fork in me - I'm finished.

Below is a photo of Son #2 pitching. Interesting stance. It was good pitch, clean over the plate.

Below is Son #2 after the hitting the ball.
Finally, Son #3 and I watching from the stands.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day & Happy Bday, Son #2

Happy Father's Day to my blogging friends who are dads (you are still out there, aren't you?). I hope you had a wonderful, relaxing, fun day. We weren't able to spend the day with Dear Hubby because he is attending Boy Scout camp with Son #1 all week in Tennessee. I'm suffering from either allergies or a sinus infection so I declined the invitation to go out to lunch with Father-in-law and Dear Hubby's siblings.

Besides, today is also Son #2's tenth birthday and it took all the energy I could muster to shower and make myself presentable for our "date." Since Boy Scout camp usually falls on the same week each year, it has become a bit of a tradition for Son #2 and I to dine at his favorite Japanese restaurant. Rare one-on-one time together. This is actually our 3rd year. Next year Son #2 will also attend Boy Scout camp so we'll have to find some other way to keep the tradition alive.

Anyway, if you're interested in Son #2's Birth Story, click here for last year's post.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Nice Saturday....

It got off to an early start. Awake by 5:30 a.m., loading everyone into the minivan to head to the grocery store parking lot where the Boy Scouts converge before any outing requiring travel (the grocery store is right by the interstate on-ramp). Dear Hubby and Son #1 are riding with UberMom's husband (too soon to tell if he's an UberDad) and oldest son. Two other Boy Scouts - whose parents are not attending camp - are also riding in the same vehicle.

I mentioned UberMom in my June 6th post "The Adventures of UberMom and SlackerMom". To give you an idea of how "uber" this woman is - her husband is driving their van to camp in Tennessee. She could've kissed them goodbye at their house and gone back to sleep. That's what I would've done. Heck, it's what I did last year when Dear Hubby drove to Boy Scout camp in Alabama. But nooooooo, she gets up, loads her other two kids in their second vehicle and shows up at the grocery store parking lot just to see them off. That's love. That's devotion. That's insane. Okay, I'm kidding, but clearly, I don't have that type of dedication. I'll bet she even fed them breakfast first, but I digress....

Our pastor was there at the parking lot by 6:00 a.m. to offer the scouts/dads a blessing before hitting the road, which I thought was very nice. As we were leaving the parking lot, he was driving in his vehicle behind me. Because he is also the chaplain for our local fire department, plus the New Orleans Police and Fire Departments, his vehicle is equipped with the emergency police lights mounted on the dash board. Just to be cute, he waited until I pulled out on the highway and then flashed those red and blue lights - just for a second. Didn't anyone ever tell him that it's not nice to give a sleep-deprived, grown woman a heart attack? It's a miracle that despite the number of times I've seen the flashing lights in my rearview mirror, I - to this day - have a clean driving record. I will say, however, that I have only been pulled over once since becoming a mom and that was an error on the officer's part. (He let me off with a warning, but I couldn't resist going back to check. He didn't set up his speed trap in his usual spot and didn't realize that the posted speed limit was higher. It's a goofy stretch of highway where the speed limit changes 4 times, not including school zones. But, again, I digress....)

After watching Dear Hubby and Son #1 ride off into the sunrise (I exaggerate), we went back home. I fed Sons #2 &3 breakfast then went back to sleep for a couple of hours. For some reason - anxiety probably - I woke at 2 a.m. and never fully returned to sleep before the alarm started ringing at 5:00.

Son #2 had his first tournament game in baseball at 11:30. Part of me was hoping they'd lose so the season would officially be over for him. Shame on me, but hello? Southeastern Louisiana in mid-June? Temps and humidity in the 90's. Ugh!

Son #2 is the Number 2 pitcher. He can field the ball in any position they put him in. His pitching skills are improving, but he tends to initially walk quite a few kids before going on a "strike 'em roll". Today was no different. First inning: their team (home team) scored no runs, ours scores two. Second inning: no runs by either team. Third inning (Son #2's first at pitching): he walks 4! Yikes! Fortunately, our team is playing a good defensive game and we get two of them out. The score is now tied. Our team doesn't score at all. Fourth inning: Their pitcher is also walking a lot of our players. Ours also steals a lot of bases and we get 6 home. There's a 6 run per inning rule, so that ends our scoring, plus the opponents get to bat last. A kid hits a ball pitched by Son #2, but it doesn't travel far. Son #2 scoops it and throws it to first base. Kid is out! Woo Hoo! In this league, they get 3 strikes, or walk on the 5th ball. Son #2 kept us on the edge of our seats. He'd through 2 strikes and 4 balls. Which way would it go? Fortunately, Strike and Strike. The Pirates win! Yay! This means that we have another game on Tuesday evening.

It's been an interesting season. The team got off to a slow start. We lost our first 4 or 5 games, but then we hit our stride and won 5 or 6 in a row, tied one and lost one. The other teams are starting to sit up and take notice. If they don't win Tuesday, that'll be okay with me. They proved what they needed to.

After the game, after lunch and showers, we attended Vigil Mass. I prefer to attend Mass on Sunday, but after waking as early as I did this morning, I really want to sleep in tomorrow. Our church has a Sunday evening Mass too, but Son #2 and I have a date. Tomorrow is his 10th birthday and we have a standing tradition of going to his favorite Japanese restaurant. I'll order sushi, he'll order the chicken teriyaki. Father-in-law will look after Son #3, who eats neither.

We received an invitation this evening to go see "Fantastic 4" - it's the first movie I've seen in the theatre since "King Kong." It's Son #3's first movie in a theatre since "Shark Tale," just to give you an idea of how often we go to the movies. Two of Dear Hubby's brother and two of his sisters, plus one nephew were going. We met them at the theatre after Mass. The critics don't seem to be fond of the movie, but I found it entertaining for what it is. Of course, I'm a fan of Ioan Gruffudd - I own all of his "Horation Hornblower" DVDs and would watch him recite the phonebook - so I'm not very objective. Son #2 and nephew loved it. Son #3 (he's 5) thought it was slow in places, but really enjoyed the action at the end.

As we left the theatre I noticed that I had 5 missed calls on my cell from Dear Hubby. This could be good news or bad. Fortunately his voicemail message indicated that all was well. They arrived at camp safely, but drove into town for dinner. Since he doesn't have cell phone reception in the mountains of Tennessee, he was calling from town (hence the 5 calls). I did manage to speak to him for a little while, but it sounds like I won't hear from him again until their return trip next Saturday. (There is a landline phone at camp for emergency use only. In this case, however, no news will be good news.)

It's 11 p.m. Sons #2 & 3 went to sleep over an hour ago and things are quiet at the house. I miss Son #1 - my nightowl. He and I like to watch late night TV together. Tonight, though, it's me, a glass of brand, the dog and "Forensic Files" on Court TV. Later!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Where Did The Week Go????

Well, I did indeed survive Cub Scout Camp (in case you were wondering). It was fun. No mishaps, although there was a nasty gastro-intestinal bug going around the camp. Two boys in our den contracted it so they missed a few days. The camp itself was well-structured, which helped the time pass quickly.

The kids were pretty good. There were a couple that I had to correct over and over for the same thing, and one little guy who drove me (and everyone else in our den) nuts. Sweet boy, but he would burst into tears over the slightest little thing. During free time, they were playing with a Nerf football. He and another boy were both going for the ball and collided. No injuries, but this little boy insisted the other one ran over him on purpose. Well, if by "purpose" you mean he was going for the ball - the point of the game, after all - then yes, I suppose so. But did he purposely run into the kid? No. Ever hear of an accident? sheesh.

He was convinced that everyone else was ganging up on him. Now, perhaps by the end of the week, the other boys wanted to, but they did not on my watch. Son #2 was well behaved, which sort of surprised me, because he was a real handful when I taught his religion class this past year.

Friday was the only loosely structured day. Those that wanted to could sign up for "sharktooth" (swimming across the entire lake - lots of lifeguards stationed along the way, of course, plus a canoeist in case anyone had to be fished out of the water. Only two boys from our den opted not to participate (Son #2 was one of them) so we went to "free swim" at the beach. It was like a vacation! Me and only two boys. Heck, anywhere I go in my personal life, I usually have three. After Sharktooth, we got to go to the waterslide for a little when, then it was lunch time.

After lunch, it was time for the watergun fight. The only rules: no aiming for faces, no aiming toward the den tents or activity tents, and no shooting at the staff in the golf carts (the staff walking around were fair game). That went on for two hours. Oy! Just before the watergun wars, the littlest campers (Son #3 and his group) were ushered to the beach to play, then they got to participate in BB guns and archery. For most of the week, the little ones in the sibling program just stayed near their designated area.

During the watergun wars, the local fire department game out with their truck and sprayed the group gathered in the main field. That was fun for the boys. Getting soaked to the bone loses a bit of its appeal when you hit your 30's (and beyond), I think.

Son #1 and Son #3 each made a friend at Cub Scout Camp. We exchanged phone numbers in hopes of getting the kids together. We actually had Son #1's new friend over on Tuesday. Son #1 is rather eccentric, bookish, somewhat quiet. Not shy at all, but he doesn't have a lot of patience for foolishness (i.e. other kids), so making another friend is a huge deal (at least it is for me).

This past week has been busy, too. We've been preparing for Son #1's and Dear Hubby's trip to Boy Scout camp. They loaded their footlockers in the troop trailer on Tuesday and will caravan from Louisiana to Tennessee this Saturday, which happens to be the day before Son #2's 10th birthday. They return on Saturday, June 23rd, which happens to be Son #1's 12th birthday.

We'll celebrate both birthdays on Sunday, June 24th, although I'll ship one little gift to Son #1 at camp, and I'll allow Son #2 to open a couple of smaller gifts on his actual birthday. I'll also take him to his favorite Japanese restaurant for dinner on Sunday evening.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Adventures of "UberMom & Slacker Mom"

...also known as Day 1 of Cub Scout Day Camp.

I mentioned in a previous post that, in my attempt to pass for a reasonably mediocre mother, I allowed myself to be coaxed into volunteering as co-den leader at the Cub Scout Day Camp. Son #2 is a Cub Scout, as is his best friend. His best friend's mother (I affectionately refer to her as UberMom) was a den leader last year and volunteered again this year. Feeling like a slacker (hence the SlackerMom self-moniker), I too stepped up. WHAT was I thinking???

Let's lay out a few facts here:
1) I am not an outdoorsy kind of gal.
2) I hate bugs.
3) I hate to sweat.

Sweat & bugs are a staple here in southeast Louisiana in June.

Nevertheless, as I mentioned in a previous post, I will not suffer alone. I've got all the kids involved in one way or another. Of course Son #2 is Scouting. There's a camp program for younger sibling so Son #3 is enrolled in that (and enjoying far more that I thought he might - he can be rather shy at times). UberMom's daughter is also enrolled in the sibling program.

Son #1 is a Boy Scout, as is UberMom's oldest son, so we signed them up as Junior Volunteers. Her son is our den chief. My son has been working at Camp Headquarters - he's more or less a "gofer," a position for which he's well-suited. He's very energetic and doesn't have to stay in one place very long.

As for our den - the scouts for which we're responsible - there 13 ten-year old boys (including Son #2 and best friend). Keeping them focused, making sure they have all their belongings, keeping them moving from place to place on schedule, well, it's a lot like trying to wrangle a herd of .... cats.

So far their nefarious deeds haven't bested UberMom and SlackerMom. We sound like a crime-fighting duo. Which, come to think of it, it an apt description. :-)

UberMom is fun to work with, though. She's one of those women who seems to keep everything running smoothly: shuttling three kids to various music lessons, sporting activities, taking care of her live-in father. I'm in awe. Nauseous, but in awe.

We leave the house at 7 am, arrive back home from camp around 5. And after camp on Monday, she still managed to drop her son off at baseball practice, dash to the store, pick up some art supplies, and craft a den spirit flag for the very next day.

Me, I drag myself through the front door, shuttle the three kids into the shower (one at a time, of course), start the laundry (we have to wear a camp t-shirt everyday - they only gave us one shirt each), pre-pack as much as I can of the next day's lunch, consider serving cereal for dinner (I decide against it and actually cook something), shower, and forget the three or four other things I'm supposed to be doing.

If her life is a well-oiled machine, mine is held together with duct tape. Of course, I'm writing this with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek. She's a very nice person, one I consider a friend. I admire all that she does. I don't think I lack the energy per se to accomplish similar feats of greatness, but rather I lack the focus. My brain is simply just too scattered.

But I'm having fun at camp. There. I've said it. Monday was a great first day. Things ran smoothly and the weather wasn't too ridiculous. We still have the same number of kids at the end of the day that we had at the beginning (no small feat) - AND they're even the same kids! Woo Hoo!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Tagged by Nise': "Countdown to Reading"

I've been tagged by Nise' (click here to visit her blog - after you finish reading my post, of course!) The rules for "Countdown To Reading" are:

Post your responses. Tag anywhere from 1-5 friends. Leave comments to let them know they've been tagged. Come back and leave a comment when your post is up. Here we go:

Next 5 books on your To-Be-Read shelf:

1. The One Year Bible: Catholic Edition. As the name implies, if you follow all the daily readings, you'll finish the entire Bible in one year. I got about halfway through last year, but lost track so I plan to pick back up at the beginning.

2. Harry Potter & Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. My mother pre-orders each of the Harry Potter books for Son #1 and he and I usually tear though them.

3. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkein. Son #1 and I are slowly working our way through the Lord of the Rings series. He reads a chapter, tells me what's going on, then I read it to him outloud. It's fascinating to see how well he comprehends complex writing, even when he doesn't understand all the words. We've completed The Silmarrillion (the prequel) and The Hobbit.

4. Children of the Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkein. Another newly published prequel. Son #1 will receive this as a birthday gift for his birthday later in the month. Shhhhh....don't tell!

Sadly, I don't have a 5th book on my list. If I fly to Virginia to visit my mother in July, I'll buy a novel to read on the plain. I liketo read suspense thrillers, or fluff chick books when traveling.

Last 4 books you've read:

1. The Gift of ADHD by Lara Honos-Webb, ph.D - Dr. Honos-Webb attempts to re-frame Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in a more positive light ("How to Transform Your Child's Problems into Strengths"). It seems that her outlook is a little too rosy at times, but I love how she challenges the two Ds: "deficit" is rarely accurate, and she doesn't believe it should be considered a "disorder." Favorite quote: "If one were to apply the logic of seeing differences as disorders to gender, the medical profession might well label women wiht a "penis-deficit/hypermammary disorder."

2. A book loaned to me (and since returned) whose title I cannot recall. It's about the diaconate ministry in the Catholic Church. I think it was called Diaconate Spirituality, but I'm not sure.

3. The Hobbitt by J.R.R. Tolkein. See #3 on my "To Read" list above.

4. The Berenstain Bears Wishing Star. Okay, I'm grasping here. I read this to Son #3 last night.

I'm a multitasker when it comes to books (and most other things). I'm part way through 5 books, but I haven't technically completed them yet and since I'm in the process of reading them, it didn't seem right to list them on the "To Read" list.

Last 3 books you've borrowed (library or friend):

1 and 2 were books loaned to me by a friend about the Diaconate (ministry of ordained deacons in the Catholic Church). Number 3 was a book about Aspbergers Syndrome. Unfortunately, I don't recall the titles.

Last 2 non-fiction books you've read:

1. The Gift of ADHD (see above)

2. See the list of Last 3 Books Borrowed (above)

The 1 book you wish everyone would read:

1. The Bible, in conjunction with a really good Bible guide book. It's not a simple book to read, that's for sure. A good guide book will help you understand the historical and cultural context of the time. It's one think to read it. It's another thing entirely to understand it. That's where prayer helps. :-)

I'm not going to formally tag anyone, but I'd love to see John McElveen's, Shionge's, and Sue's lists. (hint hint).

Friday, June 01, 2007

Busy, Busy (So What Else is New?)

It's been a busy first week of summer vacation. No reason to expect otherwise. I've - make that we've - been keeping busy running errands. A sampling: WeightWatchers by 10 a.m. (just to weigh in, no way I'm attending the meeting with three boys!), trip to Office Depot to buy lanyards for cub scout camp (sold out), trip to WalMart to buy lanyards, plus a couple of other things for camp. Hair cuts for all three boys at 11:30. Lunch with father-in-law at 12:30. Trip to Target to buy Dear Hubby's and sister-in-law's birthday gifts. Home for 40 minutes before heading back out the door for Son #2's baseball practice. And that was just yesterday. The rest of the week was similar.

Next week will also be busy, but not with errands. We'll spend all day Monday - Friday, at the cub scout camp. I'll be too tired, hot, sweaty, etc. to run errands in the evening. I hope the following week will be relaxing, but I suspect I'll have more shopping to do before Son #1 and Dear Hubby head to Boy Scout Camp in Tennessee on June 16th. You'd think that with the two of them gone for a week, things would be quieter at home. It won't be. Son #2 and Son #3 really "push each other's buttons" so being with just the two of them feels more like 5 kids! I'm hoping to send them each to spend one night at their PawPaw's house - on different nights.

I'm not complaining, though. Busy doesn't always = bad. However, I do need to carve out a little time for prayer and contemplation. Things will slow considerably by the last week in June, but I don't want to keep Him waiting.

By the way, I didn't post Weight Watchers Wednesday this week, because I skipped Wednesday's meeting (we had a wicked thunderstorm). I did go Thursday to weigh in and I weigh exactly the same as the previous week so apparently I'm recovering from the Memorial Day barbecue!