July 4, 2006
We headed over to the River for the Fourth and had a wonderful day of fun in the sun. Mark, his mom and I took the boys tubing in the gulf and they had a BLAST. KC and Stacy were there with some friends and their kids and we had a nice relaxing day visiting and eating hamburgers and hot dogs (what else do you eat on the Fourth?).
We got home just as the neighbors were gathering out front for fireworks. Alex was disappointed that we weren’t planning to stay up until midnight – I guess he got his holidays confused. We thoroughly enjoyed our little light show and collapsed into bed, perfectly content!
July 6, 2006
The Fouracre reunion is in North Carolina this year, so we loaded up the van and drove about halfway this afternoon. The kids love staying in hotels and as usual, went berserk in the room jumping from bed to bed. Mark took them down to the pool to swim off some energy, which didn’t really work. Neither of the kids could fall asleep and rotated beds about a thousand times before we all got settled in. Fortunately, we’re not on a tight schedule and can wake up when we want tomorrow.
July 7, 2006
The rest of Mark’s family also drove up to the reunion today, and most of us arrived at Uncle Micky and Aunt Linda’s house around the same time. The weather was actually a bit cool and we gathered in the front yard while the kids played various ball games and the adults tried desperately to stay out of the line of fire.
Patch caught a daddy long-leg spider and thoroughly enjoyed showing everyone what he had. He let Julia play with it, and you should have seen Marybeth's face when she saw her daughter holding a spider!
Wild blueberries and raspberries grow along the road so we took several walks picking berries. Ryan couldn’t get enough and kept following Mike down the road saying “more, more, more.” Julia took it upon herself to keep track of Bojay, Mick and Linda’s Labrador. Of course, this is Bojay’s territory and he certainly didn’t need kept track of, but fortunately, he loved the attention and has the patience of a saint.
Later on, Julia was sitting off by herself, so Mike told Ryan to go over and give her a hug to cheer her up. He happily obliged and Julia pulled him down to sit in her lap. Mike asked her if he was getting heavy. She wrapped her arms around him and said, “He’s not heavy, he’s perfect.” It was the sweetest thing!
Mary Ellen got out some old family photos and Marybeth and I had fun trying to pick out who was whom, while Ryan supervised.
I had a blanket on the grass to sit on, and Patrick wrapped himself up in it and complained that he was cold. I was teasing him that he was too used to the Florida heat and couldn’t stand a little nice weather. Well, a little while later he wasn’t looking himself so I suggested we go lay down in the guest room. When I laid down next to him, he was burning up! Turns out he had a fever of 103. Poor little guy! Mark took him to the hotel for a little bit so he could rest, and fortunately the Advil really perked him back up.
Dinner was at Fran and Mary’s house. Jay and Stacey, the only remaining crew, arrived just in time for dinner, and alas, the reunion was officially on. Fran made an absolutely wonderful pork dinner and we picnicked while the kids went crazy. Between the hammock and the tire swing, you’d have thought they were at Disney. The girls called the hammock the "boat." LOL Oh, and we can’t forget the three dogs. Alex and Patrick couldn’t get enough of them! Their yard has wonderful wide open spaces so the kids could run to their hearts’ desire. They have a fire circle where we roasted marshmallows and ate s’mores until we finally had to call it a night.
July 8, 2006
It’s Coon Dog Day! Every year Saluda, North Carolina celebrates Coon Dog Day with a festival and parade. We started with a pancake breakfast at the fire station, then headed down to the main street for the parade. What a hoot! The parade had every fire truck, vintage tractor and hot rod in the area, as well as a bunch of hilarious lunatics in trucks decorated to depict coon hunting. But the actual dogs were the real deal. There was every type of hound dog you could imagine, all ready to compete to see who’s the best coon dog. Once again, the kids were in heaven. Fortunately, I had already told them well in advance, and several times, that we were not going home with an extra dog in the car, which saved us a whole bunch of heartache at the festival, although I did get several, “but Mom, they’re so cute!”
Once the parade was wrapped up, we headed back to Mary and Fran’s for another feast. Jay and Stacey brought their bouncy house and kiddie jeep which kept the little kids busy, while the bigger kids played a game of baseball. Alex disappeared with Jimmy for some videogames in between baseball games. Once the kids were done with the baseball field, the big kids (my age) played bocce. The game was interrupted when one of Mary’s friends got her car stuck trying to leave, so the guys had to strut their stuff and push her car out.
OK, this one
needs some explaining. Notice how Jay's shirt is soaked, and Ashley is
running away. This all started with Jay with a hose, and escalated to the
kids dumping water on Jay at every opportunity. It became quite a
I spent most of the day trying to keep one of the babies in my arms at all times. LOL They weren’t feeling well so they needed extra cuddles, which is right up my alley. Alex and Patrick have started saying, “Step away from the baby” whenever I get near one of the twins!
July 9, 2006
We packed up for the trip home this morning, and stopped back at Mary and Fran’s for breakfast before hitting the road. I gotta say, Fran is some chef! We’ve eaten like royalty the whole weekend. Saying goodbye was sad, but we look forward to the next reunion in two years.
We decided to drive all the way home today and got home just in time for bed. What an awesome trip!
July 15, 2006
The snakes are hatching! When I went to spritz them in the incubator tonight (they need to be kept moist), there was a little head poking out of an egg. And it’s an albino, just like Zeke. Even if you’re not a snake fan, this is so cool!
July 16, 2006
We’ve had a busy two days of baby snake births. It takes them up to a day to fully hatch. Once they cut a hole in the egg (they have an egg tooth on their nose at birth) and poke their head out, they rest for several hours and absorb the yolk before they come completely out of the egg. Every couple of hours, we’d check the incubator, and there would be a baby snake hiding and one or two more noses poking out. We had 12 eggs, and 10 hatched perfectly – 6 albinos and 4 normal color. It looks like the last two couldn’t get a hole in their eggs and died before they could hatch.
Cute story: We were in the car when Patrick said something rather eloquently. Mark said to him that he had a good vocabulary. Patrick said, “What’s a vocabulary?” ROFL
July 17, 2006
I was in our bedroom this morning when we heard the spectacular sound of the sonic booms as the space shuttle came in to land. It’s a good thing Mark was there and remembered it was landing today, because I was about to give the kids holy hell about whatever they had just broken!
Boring summer day? Get out a bunch of pipe cleaners and watch the imaginations grow!
July 22, 2006
Mark and I took the boys to the mall for some arcade time, but quickly changed our minds when we discovered a new glow-in-the-dark putt putt in the mall! Forget that it glows in the dark - it's air conditioned! The boys' personalities really showed as Alex insisted that we keep score (which was truly ridiculous given the setting) and Patrick completely ignored the score and got as goofy as he could!
July 23, 2006
The boys have been asking all summer to go to a water park, but something always seems to come up to prevent it. With summer quickly coming to a close, we hooked up with Becca and her boys at Typhoon Lagoon. The biggest hit was the wave pool, but we all thoroughly enjoyed the water slides, a water coaster (water roller coaster), and snorkeling in the shark reef! The most ingenious part is a creek that flows around the entire park, so you can float from ride to ride. Ahhhhhhh. Becca brought her underwater camera so we can share the fun with you!
July 25, 2006
The boys got their haircuts today, and I just want to mention that Alex is letting his hair grow out, so if it looks shaggy, it's supposed to for now. He has shown me kids whose hair he likes, and I've agreed it could look good, but right now he's in the awful transition while it grows.
July 26, 2006
Grandma's home! Mom's been in Michigan for the past two weeks, and we have sure missed her! The boys and I stocked her fridge, then headed to the airport to get her. It's so nice to see the kids run up to give her hugs! She jumped right back into the thick of things, when I left the kids at her house so I could head off to a closing. Welcome home!
July 28, 2006
We went and met the kids' teachers this morning. I can't believe school starts on Monday! Of course, all of the teachers are wonderful. Patrick is really looking forward to this year because his teacher pushes reading. Alex is a little less excited. His teacher is supposed to be pretty tough, which I like and he doesn't! He has a new gifted teacher this year, who seems very nice, but not nearly as eccentric and fun as their old teacher. I'm sure they'll all fall in love with her, but I think the old teacher's shoes will be hard to fill.
July 31, 2006
The boys grudgingly went off to the first day of school this morning. Patrick was very nervous about not knowing anyone and all of the usual first day jitters. Alex just plain didn't want summer vacation to end. I'm a little ticked at Alex because he wouldn't let Patch sit with him on the bus, which upset Patch quite a bit. I understand Alex's position - fourth and fifth graders get to sit at the back of the bus and he wants to hang out with kids his age - but Patrick sat by himself both to and from school and was feeling very alone when he got home. :-(
Mark provided us with some comic relief tonight. We were eating nachos while watching America's Funniest Videos tonight. He had a beer and a bottle of Alaska Lava hot sauce. He was watching the show and not paying attention, when he took a swig of the hot sauce instead of his beer! It was MUCH funnier than anything they had on the show!!! He spent the rest of the evening with ice on his lips!