Thursday, November 29, 2012

Picture of the Week - 11/29/2012

Oh wow - it's Thursday already!  Man how time flies - both when having fun and also when super busy!
I had all intentions of putting together a thorough trip report from our jam-packed trip to Orlando.  I got so many great pictures and so many stories that I figured it would be no problem to put together a nice little summary to share accompanied by a collage with all our favorite pictures.  Alas, as so often happens, there was a disconnect between my plans and my available time.  Pesky life...  getting in the way all the time!
We had such a great time.  And yet, it was so exhausting that the end of the week was a welcome relief.  Was our trip all that we hoped it would be?  YES!  We got to spend time together.  We got to witness the joy of Disney through the eyes of four little boys who tend to see things in dramatically different ways.  We were reminded once again how special family is and were so very thankful to get to spend such a special time with Berber and Pappy.
We also all got sick.  And we fought some (expected) ridiculous crowds.  We didn't get to see and do everything we wanted.  And we remembered how hard it is to take care of small kids on a busy vacation.  At the end of the week, we were all (I suspect) ready to return to our normal, comparatively boring, lives. 
Does all that mean we regret the trip or will never go again.  Oh HECK no!!  We suck up the bad stuff and swallow the thoughts of what alternate plans would be like because of the kids.  We deal with the aching feet and the arms sore from carrying around babies because in a very small number of years we won't be able to do that any more.  We will plan another trip.  We will pack up our changes of clothes and our rain gear and save for months again.  We will plan and research and make reservations.  We will daydream once more.  Orlando, and Disney in particular although I will personally put SeaWorld a close second, has that kind of allure.  For all the challenges a trip like that assuredly brings, there aren't many things that can stand up to experiencing Disney magic with kids. 
It just so happens that one of the other special experiences of childhood was upon as during our trip, and has now kicked into high gear.  Christmas!
Christmastime brings with it a special batch of extra chores.  There's more shopping - oy vey...  my poor credit cards!  There's more cooking and baking - HELLO cookies!  There are more activities - parties and traditions and chores.  It's pretty easy to get caught up in all the extras and fail to remember the Christmas magic.
I consider myself doubly-blessed because we get to go through all the magic of Christmas all over again.  Not only do the big guys (at least as far as I can tell) still believe, but "Bovy boys round 2" is starting to figure this all out too.  Beck is still too little this year, but Zane...  oh my!  To Zane, Santa is DA MAN!  He's so excited about the season.  He rushes to turn on our outside lights every day.  He talks constantly about Santa and snow and building snowmen (yeah, about that...  Ga doesn't really have snow...).  Zane is a little blonde reminder of why we do all those extras.  And he just happens to be so high maintenance that he's not about to let anyone else forget either!
We got to see Santa while we were at Disney.  That sentence right there is full of so much magic that I can hardly stand it.  Couple that with the fact that the line to see him was shorter than you'll find in any mall around the country - Win Win - with a double-shot of WIN!  The big boys surrounded Santa to share their wishes*.  Zane grinned like a fool the whole time before sharing his biggest desire**.  And Beckett, while not entirely sure about the whole thing, did not freak out at all.  I suppose he figured that if his brothers were OK with the jolly old guy with the white beard, things must be A-OK.  I really can't think of a better combination of magic than Disney and Santa!
* Spencer and Quinn had some lengthy discussions about what they were going to ask for this year.  Spencer managed to figure out a way to "game" the system.  He talked Quinn into asking for an Xbox game that he's dying to play, all the while telling Q that he was going to ask for more Xbox controllers that they would both get to use.  When the time came, Spencer made Quinn go first and after Quinn followed through on the plan Spencer totally swapped his wish and asked for another Xbox game that he wants.  Quinn just looked at him.  Upon asking why the sudden change, Spencer's answer was very logical.  He figured that the controllers would be much easier to obtain than the game, which is very popular.  So he figured he'd give the heavy lifting to the jolly old elf.  Sometimes he cracks me up!
** This goes into the book of things I never saw coming.  Zane has requested a flashlight from Santa.  I really have no idea why.  He has never really played with a flashlight or asked for a flashlight.  Honestly, I didn't even know he knew what a flashlight was.  While an odd request, he's remained firm in his desire to see a flashlight under the Christmas tree.  I put this Santa request right up there with the time Quinn asked for a messenger bag!!!  Kids!  They keep ya guessing!  (PS - to any grandparents or other family reading this, please do not purchase a flashlight for Zane.  Santa is going to bring him a special one and I don't want to ruin the surprise for him.)  (PSS - to anyone out there who hasn't already had kids and doesn't already have a Santa tradition, limiting the Santa request to ONE item is totally the way to go!  We will, obviously, get other things for our boys from us, but only one gift from Santa keeps down the stress in ways that I appreciate every SINGLE year!)
Have a fantastic week everyone!  We'll be busy building up the excitement (and the magic) putting up our Christmas tree and kicking off our Advent Calendars.  I love this time of year!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Picture of the Week - 11/2/3/2012

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!
Sorry for the late email.  We were too busy having fun yesterday.  Trip report from our vacation next week...  we're off again today to enjoy our last day in Orlando!
I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Picture of the Week - 11/15/2012

The countdown is finally *almost* over!  And I am not ashamed to say that I think I'm more excited than any of the boys!!
We are leaving for a trip to Orlando tomorrow.  We've been planning it for a long time!  (When I say "we", I use that term loosely because I am blessed with a group of travel partners who have allowed me to shape almost this entire trip!)  We are going to Disney (of course), but we are also visiting the 2 Universal Studios parks for the first time and made a late change to the itinerary to allow us to get to Seaworld - just in time for their Holiday celebration kick-offs.  I really don't know if I'm more excited to watch Spencer vibrate with excitement over the coasters or Quinn doing his "mother hen" impression to show his little brothers all the wonder of Disney.  I can't wait to see Beckett's face light up with all the sites his little eyes will see.  And Zane...  well...  as we have some experience at Disney with spunky 3-year-olds...  this trip is really all about Zane.  He's old enough that I know he's going to have a blast.  I want to ride the Winnie the Pooh ride with him and show him the Dr. Seuss world and let him see live Polar Bears.  I can't wait until he sees Figment and talks to Crush.  I want him to be wowed by Lightening McQueen's stunts and tickled to feed a dolphin.  I just want to watch him enjoy all the things that I've watched his big brothers enjoy.  I want to make him some happy memories!
I'm so dang excited to get down there!!
We are thrilled that Berber and Pappy are going to be there with us too!  It's so nice to get to experience all that fun with them too!  (And a couple of extra pairs of hands is always appreciated when herding 4 independent pairs of feet!)  We are also going to get to meet my sister and her family for a day down there too!  What fun it will be to watch the kids play together and celebrate Ella's birthday in such a special place. 
We leave tomorrow around lunchtime.  Anyone have any ideas on how to make the next 27ish hours go more quickly???
I had to share a picture of Beckett this week engaged in his new current favorite activity - climbing in boxes.  This obsession started a week or so ago when my parents were visiting and my dad stuck Beck in a box and covered him up with toys  B thought this was the funniest thing EVER and belly laughed so hard that we were ALL laughing at him.  It appears to a 12 month old (almost 13...  ACK!) that getting into the box solo is nearly as much fun as the initial experience.  And we can't keep him out of ANY boxes now.  He's in, he's out, he's flipping himself onto his face...  It's dangerous business being so cute!
I saw a quote on Facebook the other day that I have to share.  As we are all going into a holiday week which I hope will include family and fun and yummy food for all of you, I think this is particularly fitting. 
"Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy."  ~ Guillaume Apollinaire
Have a fantastic - and happy - week! 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Picture of the Week - 11/8/2012

Somewhere around 7:00 last Sunday night you may have heard me exhale.  Sunday evening was the end-of-season football party (organized by the team mom - aka me and Bob) and marked the last of the 2012 fall sporting events for our family.  Lacrosse wrapped up with their party around lunchtime on Saturday and the football team lost our playoff game Saturday afternoon, ending their season. 
You are all probably tired of hearing me talk about the big boys sports, but they make up a HUGE part of our lives.  We had practice 4 nights a week, sometimes 5 - plus games.  That's around 10-14 hours a week at a field (not including travel time).  When you pile this on top of full time jobs and add in a couple of wee boys, it's impactful. 
We had a couple of really great seasons this year!  Watching Quinn play lacrosse for the first time was really fun.  I can honestly say that I really think he's going to be a significant player if he sticks with it.  He's already decided that he wants to play lacrosse in the spring instead of baseball, which is a pretty big decision for our resident baseball boy.  Quinn is fast.  Really fast.  (No idea how he picked that gene up, so don't ask!)  He also has a wicked shot on net and is a mostly accurate passer.  He can't catch the ball to save his life, but that will come with practice.  One of the best traits Q has is that he's really humble, which makes him super-coachable!  I can't wait to see him play again!
This is the 5th year Spencer has played tackle football.  And aside from the magical first year (undefeated and league champions) this one was easily the most fun - for everyone involved.  The parents all got along, the coaches mostly got along, the kids learned a ton and we won 4 games!  (Some people may not think a record of 4-5 is impressive, but to those people I will only say that over the preceeding 3 seasons we won a TOTAL of 2 games.  You do the math!)  Football is easily my most favorite sport to watch (although I do have to admit that lacrosse is really fun, and I'm really not just saying that...)  The fact that Spencer enjoys playing football is pretty awesome.  The fact that Bob and I remembered how much fun little league football *can* be is bonus!
So it's all over for a while.  Most of the kids roll out of fall sports and into a winter activity - basketball or wrestling.  We've done wrestling before and I would love for the boys to do it again, but they really didn't like it so we didn't push.  And aside from a single basketball skills camp the big guys did the year Zane was born, we just aren't a basketball family.  So we've got the winter off.  Exhale!
In just 4 short days I've realized that despite how much fun the big guys have playing sports and how much Bob and I enjoy watching and how well the little guys play along the sidelines every night, it's pretty nice to just be home.  To just be together with a little downtime to enjoy each other.  It's pretty awesome to get an opportunity to not only catch our collective breathe, but to re-cement family bonds at the same time. 
And it's pretty fascinating to sit back and watch what happens when we aren't racing out the door every night.  When S & Q have a chance to play together (which they didn't get much of for the last few months) they come up with some very entertaining stuff.
In the past week we have had wrestling matches, box head battles, cuddle fests, quiet TV nights, tickle fights, video game accomplishments, reading in bed time and relaxed family dinners.  I know by the time February rolls around we will be ready for something to do again, but for now we are blissfully happy.  I had to capture a couple of the more interesting activities with my camera.  These boys crack me up! 
Foyer jousting - one night the boys decided to joust using the toddler cars (which have gotten WAY more use by the big boys than I would have imagined) as horses and foam sticks as lances.  They even pulled out their shields to make things a bit more authentic!  Spencer and Quinn took aim at each other several times before Beckett decided he needed to get into the mix.  So like the good big brothers that they are, they prepped him for battle and stuck him on his horse.  He giggled the whole time!  (So did I!)
Pumpkin baseball - I think one of Spencer's favorite parts of Halloween is the destruction of the post-trick-or-treat night jack-o-lanterns.  He finds great joy in smashing these things to bits.  This year was even cooler because he had a BB gun which allowed him to shoot them first.  Oh my goodness was he excited.  He was so excited that Quinn joined in and then I joined in.  We each took our turns at shooting those poor pumpkins before we decided to play a little baseball.  We made the BIGGEST mess in the backyard.  But we had the BEST time!  We were loud and crazy and running around throwing pumpkin pieces at each other.  Zane even joined in so he could hit some pumpkins.  It was so much fun!  We had to stop because it got too dark to see and as we were walking back inside, wiping pumpkin goo off the baseball bats, Spencer summed things up perfectly when he said, "That's the most fun I've ever had with produce!"
Here's to more goofy games and more awesome memories.  Here's to a much needed and much deserved 3 month break!  Here's to FAMILY time!
PS - Beckett is officially walking now.  He's still in that most adorable wobbly, sea-leg phase.  He still falls down.  But he's on his feet and he's cuter than ever!  Pictures soon!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Picture of the Week - 11/1/2012

Happy (belated) Halloween!
We had a really nice Halloween last night.  The boys had a great time trick-or-treating and it wasn't nearly as cold as I expected.  Even the little boys stayed out with us until the big guys called it quits.  Fun time!
I am so thankful that my new boss suggested that we return home a day early from a business trip to Florida so we could be home for the evening activities.  I'm pretty sure that wouldn't have happened at the old job.  Life is good!
Here are a few pictures of the boys all dressed up and of our cool jack-o-lanterns.
We've got our last lacrosse game this weekend and the first football playoff game.  (It's a lose and you are out playoff, which means there's a chance we will be SPORT FREE by Monday.  Not sure we will know what to do with ourselves!!!)  We will end our weekend with the year-end football party, which should wrap up the team mom duties for Bob and me for another year too!  Three cheers for the light at the end of the tunnel!
Have a great week!  Get out and vote!  And please keep all the folks impacted by super storm Sandy in your thoughts.  What a mess...