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February 2, 2006

We went to another school skate night tonight.  The boys are getting pretty good at skating, but not that good!  They came home with an interesting assortment of bumps and bruises and aches and pains, as is becoming the skating custom.  They participated in their grades' races, and Patrick came in third!  Poor Alex got caught up in a group fall at the beginning of his race so he didn't stand a chance.

Striking a pose - as his skates slowly rolled away from under him!

February 4, 2006

I just don't know how Mark gets himself into some situations.  All last week he was on a cruise for work.  Why doesn't stuff like that ever happen to me?  His company conducted a "Pool School" on a week-long Carnival cruise.  He did have to attend classes, which according to him were long and boring (yeah, gee, poor guy), but he also got to take excursions to the Bahamas and Cancun.  It was an excruciatingly long week for all of us, since this is the first time ever that we've been out of even phone contact for any length of time.  He came home today and I thought the kids were going to knock him over with their full body slam hugs!  Boudreaux even managed to get to him before I did!  He brought home gifts and t-shirts, but they didn't compare to having Daddy back home.

Patch loved the pirates hat Daddy brought home On guard!

Mark took this gorgeous shot of a rainbow over the ship

February 5, 2006

Long ago, pre-children, Mark and I went to see a production called STOMP.  We absolutely loved it.  So when I saw that it was in Orlando again, I ran right out and got tickets.  Mom and Dad joined us this afternoon for the show and once again, it was amazing.  The performers use nothing but common household items - brooms, matchboxes, chairs, trashcans - to create rhythm and dance routines that have you tapping your feet and just feeling good.  The performers never spoke, but through body language, they would have us laughing our heads off.  It was a little long for Patrick, and after about an hour he started whining to leave, but I did notice that his eyes never left the stage throughout the entire show.   Alex was fascinated by the whole thing.

I asked the boys to help me write something for the web update.  Alex politely declined (you buy that?), but Patrick wrote the following:

Yesterday I went to stomp. It was a little to long but here is a list of things I liked: sink peeing, rubber tube bonking, and dunking head. Their instruments were broomsticks, trashcans, rubber tubes, sinks and match boxes.

I guess I need to explain a little more.  In one of the routines, the performers had sinks in front of them suspended from ropes around their necks (sort of like a drummer would carry his drums in a parade).  They tapped on various parts of the sinks to make different sounds and splashed each other with the water from the sinks.  There were buckets on the floor, and at the end of the routine, they stood over the buckets and opened the drains on their sinks and let the water drain into the buckets.   Hence, the reference to "sink peeing."  They also used different lengths of rubber tubing to make different tones as they bonked them on the floor.  One guy bonked another guy on the head, and Patrick thought that was hysterical!

After Stomp, we went straight home and got ready for the Super Bowl.  We had neighbors over and had a wonderful time until Alex realized his team was going to lose.  The poor guy was completely devastated and even went to bed before the game was over (we were going to let him stay up for the whole game) because he couldn't bear to watch.  :-(

Justin and Alex made a human out of Geo Mags during halftime It's an alien!

February 8, 2006

The school recently conducted the usual health screening of all of the students, and the boys brought home their results today.  Patrick is 49 1/2 inches tall and weighs 51.5 pounds.  His BMI is 29%, right in the normal range.  No surprises there.  Alex, on the other hand, was a little more interesting.  He is 53 1/4 inches tall, weighs 55.5 pounds, and his BMI is 3%!  His is marked as at "considerable risk for being underweight" and he should seek medical attention.  ROFL!  I always knew he was a string bean, but I also happen to know he's healthy as a horse!  We decided to go update the door where we mark their height, and since August 30, 2005, Alex has grown an inch and a half and Patrick has grown two inches.  No wonder we had to buy winter clothes twice this year!

February 10, 2006

Patrick was my little helper today and filled the dogs' water bowl.  Of course, it's almost as big as he is, and I was able to run all the way back to my office and grab the camera in the amount of time it took him to shuffle from the kitchen sink to the corner where the bowl goes.  I was able to snap a picture just as he was saying, "Grab it NOW!"

Making waves

February 11, 2006

The boys had a rough trampoline day today.  They were playing around when Alex's knee knocked him in the mouth (yes, his own knee and his own mouth - that would have had me in traction for weeks!).  While I was holding him waiting for his lip to stop bleeding, Patrick took an errant jump and happened to land in the one gap in the pad covering the springs.  He fell through the springs, straddling a spring.  At first he was laughing - what a ride, right?  Then you could see his face change into complete panic.  Mark was close by and pulled him out quickly, as I sat by watching my future grandchildren vanish before my eyes.  As he hobbled toward the house, I asked him if he needed some ice.  He looked at me in horror, and said, "You can't put ice there!"  Fortunately, there doesn't seem to be any permanent damage, and my visions of the future once again contain my grandchildren.

February 13, 2006

WOO HOO ! ! !  We're doing the H a P p Y   D a N c E ! ! !  THE CONSTRUCTION IS FINALLY DONE!  The glass people came today and put in the door to the shower and that's the end of it!  And it is GORGEOUS!

The whole ordeal started last April with the porch, but this last leg - our bathroom and closet - started back on September 20:
The old closet (and some very destructive, happy boys!) Our nasty old "before" bathroom It was so small I couldn't even get a picture of the shower!

And the finished product:
My favorite part! Our beautiful shower Everything else

On to more mundane subjects.  Both of the boys had sore throats last night when they went to bed, so I decided to let them sleep in this morning.  Alex woke up just a little later than normal moaning and groaning.  Patrick slept until 8:45, so I was completely convinced he was sick as a dog.  When he got up, I asked how he was feeling and he said fine and asked for his breakfast.  He then went about his normal routine and got ready for school, much to my surprise.  When we walked out the door and I had my car keys, he was surprised and asked why I was driving him.  He had no idea he was over an hour late for school!  The poor thing was completely confused!

February 14, 2006

Last night was our first significant freeze in a few years, so it was the talk of the neighborhood.  Patrick was hilarious.  He decided since it was so cold, he needed to dress in layers.  Not a bad idea, but when I went into his room to see what was taking him so long to get dressed, and he was putting on his third long-sleeved shirt, I had to intervene.  As we were walking to the bus stop, I said, "Look, we can see our breath."  His response:  "Actually, Mom, it's not our breath, but the water vapor in our breath."  Smarty pants!

Now that the construction is officially over, we bit the bullet and hired a landscaping company to completely redo our yard.  It was no small decision, but we've resodded ourselves twice and were really enticed by #1, having someone else do all the work, and #2, the guarantee that it won't die.  Besides, with all of the exposed dirt in the back yard, the dogs (okay, mostly Grendel) keep tracking dirt all over the house.  We need to replace the carpet since it was destroyed during the construction, but I'll be darned if I'll have Grendel destroy the new carpet with all of the mud and dirt!  They showed up this morning in force - all kinds of big machinery and lots of workers all going at the yard with a vengeance.  I feel like I'm in the middle of a beehive!  I can't believe how much they accomplished in just one day.  The back yard is completely cleared, leveled, and already half-covered in new sod.  That also includes a revamping of the sprinkler system along the way.  :-)

Our nasty "before" picture That's a lotta sod!

Wow!  Out with the old and in with the new in ONE day! Ain't it purty?

February 15, 2006

The landscaping crew invaded again this morning and in no time had the front yard cleared and leveled.  By the end of the day they had most of the yard sodded and even had the plants in the gardens.  If they hadn't run out of sod and plants, they probably would be done.

Yucky "before" front yard A clean slate for fresh new plants

February 16, 2006

I'm so thrilled with the landscaping!  They did a wonderful job and it looks awesome!  We opted to add mulch to the back ourselves to save a few bucks, so I guess we know what we'll be doing this weekend.

The boys are inspecting their new football field Ooooooh  Ahhhhhhh

We thought we'd let Zeke enjoy the great outdoors, and he climbed a tree!

February 18-19, 2006

Mulch, mulch and more mulch.  We had 20 yards (yes, that's a 2 and a 0) of mulch dumped on our driveway.  Boy is that a big pile of mulch!  All of the kids in the neighborhood found it irresistible and begged to help Mark load the wheelbarrow.  The kids made seats in the pile of mulch and took breaks reclining.  After a while, it became obvious we had too much mulch, so the kids decided to try to sell it.  They filled a few trash bags with mulch and made signs.  When that didn't bring in any customers, they put the bags in a wagon and went door to door until someone bought it (thanks Emily!).  When we had spread mulch everywhere it could go, we started in on the neighbors yards until we once again reclaimed our driveway.  It was such an awesome thing to have so many kids come together and pull weeds and haul wheelbarrows until the job was done.

Patch and Kori getting started Patch taking a break on the "couch"

Mulch for sale!

Boo and Grendel were romping like puppies this afternoon.
Love hurts!

February 21, 2006

School was closed today, so Becca and I braved the crowds and went to the Science Center.  It seems the novelty has worn off and there wasn't much that kept the kids' attention, but it was fun to get the whole group together again.  Becca dug up a picture of all of our kids at the Science Center four years ago.  My how they've grown - both in size and number!

January 2002 - so sweet So much for sweet and innocent!

Teamwork - what a concept!

February 23, 2006

Today was report card day, and we couldn't be prouder of the boys.  Patrick got all "outstandings" which is the highest mark for first grade and is reading well above grade level.  Alex got straight A's, and "exhibits good citizenship."  Huh?  LOL

February 28, 2006

I had a hectic afternoon and evening of out-of-town closings, and Mark was out and about today as well.  I picked up the boys from their friend's house, and just as we walked in the door, the phone rang.  It was Mom telling me to meet her at the hospital because Dad was being taken there by ambulance.  He appeared to be asleep in his chair in the living room, but she couldn't rouse him.  Alex was right there when Mom called, and he was awesome.  He gave me a few big hugs and told me it would be okay.  Becca talked me through the drive on the cell phone all the way to the hospital, and when I got there, they immediately showed me into a private waiting room where Mom was waiting.  Our fears were realized when the doctor came in and said Dad had died.  He had apparently had a heart attack.  I feel great comfort in the fact that Mom thought he was asleep, so it appears that he died peacefully.  It's such a surreal feeling to think he's not here anymore.

I love you, Dad.
George Allen Bradley
October 7, 1929 - February 28, 2006