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October, 2003
(Click on an image to enlarge)


October 1, 2003

HAPPY BIRTHDAY
TO ALEX!!!!!

I can't believe my little boy is SEVEN today!!!  We went out to his favorite restaurant, Froggers, for dinner after soccer practice tonight.

He and Patrick have been playing with Alex's new toys from his birthday party non-stop.  He got the new Bionicle movie (you have to have boys to know about Bionicles - it's a line of Lego's).  After they'd watched it the first time, we were asking the boys at dinner to tell us about the movie. 

Alex: "He was on a quest." 
Mark:  "For what?"
Alex:  "He was looking for himself."
Then Alex stopped and thought for a minute and said:
"It was very well-made."

He can be such a little adult sometimes!  (And yes, the movie is a sort of quest in which he learns about himself.)

I'm amazed at how well my recovery is going.  I'm doing better every day, and have pretty much gotten back to my normal activities, except for the closing business.  Driving is still quite painful (although I am back to the mommy-taxi), and there is no way I could do the driving required to do the closings right now.  But I'm improving so fast that I'm planning to resume next week.

Cassie (Alex's snake) is getting more comfortable in her new home and we're seeing more of her moving about her cage.  Every child in the neighborhood has been over to see her - it's been a circus!

OK, so I snapped the pic a little late.  I was busy singing! So much for my little adult - CHEEEEEEEESE!


October 3, 2003

We had a great night at the kids' soccer games.  Both boys played great!  Patrick was a key defender.  Alex played goalie for the first half and allowed zero goals.  He also made the only goal of the game!  His girlfriend was on the opposing team, but Alex didn't know it before the game.  They both noticed each other as she was trying to score against him at goalie.  It was hilarious for her parents and us to see the expressions on their faces when they realized they were one-on-one!

Alex and his girlfriend After each game the parents make a tunnel for the players to run though

Easy goin' fella A quick break in the action

My cuties on the way home


October 4, 2003

Mark took the boys out shooting off rockets this morning.  They had a great time!  The weather is starting to turn a little cooler, and they managed to come home with as many rockets as they left with (albeit one was in pieces!).

Alex in the driver's seat Patch's turn - check out that fire from the engine!


October 5, 2003

The weather is finally starting to cool down a bit, and the kids spent the afternoon hunting for bugs and lizards while I put out Halloween decorations.  I LOVE fall!!!!!

Alex and the neighbors catching lizards My monkey boy


October 6, 2003

I had my post-op appointment today, and as expected, everything is just fine.  I should be 100% in a couple of weeks, although the only thing right now that bothers is driving, so I'm not complaining.

I've been having so much fun playing with Alex's snake that I just had to go get one of my own.  Besides, if we're going to have baby snakes one day, it takes two to tango!  He's a baby albino red rat snake and absolutely beautiful.  I'll post a picture in a few days - right now he's about to shed and isn't looking his best.

This week in piano Patrick added his left hand.  You should hear him play Yankee Doodle!

Every time he plays the piano, I get all warm and fuzzy!


October 7, 2003

Happy Birthday
Grandpa!!!

We've had a very busy day!  I left the house at 8:45 to take Patrick to school, spent the morning running tons and tons of errands (3 weeks' worth because of my surgery), met Becca and Andrew for lunch, picked up Patch from school, came home to meet the bus, rushed off to buy mice for the snakes, met Mom and Dad for a birthday dinner for Dad, Patrick went to Mom and Dad's while Alex and I went to our first Herpetological Society meeting, then we picked Patch up from Mom and Dad's and all arrived back home at 9:45 tonight.  Needless to say, the kids were beyond exhausted, and Patrick threw an award-winning tantrum when we got home because he'd left his stuffed monkey at Mom and Dad's.  I guess he wasn't as exhausted as I thought, because he screamed and cried for thirty minutes!  Of course, then he crashed like a house of cards!  I really thought Alex's enthusiasm would wane after the meeting tonight, since it was late and he had to sit still for quite a while, but he is full speed ahead and can't wait for the next meeting.  I am continually amazed at how insatiable his appetite is for knowledge about creatures!  By the way, Becca pointed out something horrifying to me today at lunch:  Alex is more than half way to being a teenager!  Yikes!

We had a wonderful dinner with Mom and Dad, and all the servers at the restaurant sang Happy Birthday to him.  He and Alex blew out his candle together and we all pigged out on cake.  I'm very sad my pictures didn't come out that great to show how nice it all was, but here's what I got anyway.

Enduring the music and attention! Thanking the chorus

Teamwork on the candle

Okay, okay - I've gotten several requests for pictures of the new addition.  At Alex's suggestion, I've named him Zeke.  Cassy is the gray/brown one and Zeke is the orange (albino) one.

Cassy's making a getaway! I had to move fast to catch her before she escaped!


October 8, 2003

Jacob came over to play this afternoon, and the three of them built a whole city on Alex's floor.

Who said Rome wasn't built in a day!


October 9, 2003

I had another whirlwind day driving all over the world doing closings and hardly saw the kids at all.  :-(  They had a nice afternoon with Mom, though.  The excitement of the day is that Zeke had his first shed, and the entire shed skin is still in one piece.  I've got to figure out a way tomorrow to preserve it so Alex can take it to show-n-tell at school.  Very cool!

The Lego version of the NBA finals


It's been a busy, hectic, insane, fun-filled week since school was out for fall break.  Grab your coffee and put your feet up and check out all of our fun!


October 11, 2003

This morning was our community-wide garage sale.  Becca came over bright and early (well, early anyway) and we set up shop and got rid of bunches of stuff.  Alex and Patch got in on the action and sold a few things as well.  Becca and I kept a list of whose items sold for how much so we knew how to divvy up the money at the end. Alex would have none of that.  He kept careful watch and as soon as one of his things sold, he'd snatch the cash right from my hand!

As soon as the garage sale was wrapped up, Mark took the boys to a birthday party, and then we hit the road for a few days of fun in the sun in Ft. Lauderdale.  It was such a long day, and we arrived at our hotel well past the boys' bedtime, so they sacked out in the car.  They were quite a sight!

That's Alex on the left under his blanket


October 12, 2003

What a beautiful day we've had!  The weather couldn't have been nicer, and we spent the day at the beach and the hotel pool.  Patrick made great progress towards actually swimming and perfected the phrase, "Watch me!"

We went to Dave & Buster's for dinner.  It's a restaurant that has an enormous arcade.  I think the kids' eyes popped out of their heads when they saw it!

My three boys Patch and me working on the moat for our castle

Speed Racer at Dave & Busters My three boys again


October 13, 2003

Mark was off seeing clients today while the boys and I enjoyed the surf and sun some more.  We are on the third floor of the hotel, the pool is on the first floor, and the entrance to the hotel is on the lobby floor.  This makes for a whole bunch of elevator button pushing.  If I hear one more time, "It was MY turn to push the button" . . . .

Creative entertaining - Monkey in the middle with a stuffed elephant!


October 14, 2003

We had an incredibly l-o-n-g trip home from the beach today.  Mark still had clients to see, so he dropped us off at a mall while he worked.  We had a great time shopping, and then we all hit the road for home.  Unfortunately, Mark had a constant stream of business calls on his cell phone for most of the trip home, so the boys and I were forced to ride in silence while he talked shop.  Thankfully, we have a portable VCR so the kids could watch movies with the head phones on or we'd all be bonkers!


October 15-16, 2003

There's no place like home!  Mom has been over both days to watch the kids while I drove all over the world cramming a week's worth of closings into two days.  (Thanks Mom!)  I did a marathon of laundry and repacking for our trip to Tampa tomorrow morning.  Mom also helped me and the boys make a Halloween gingerbread house.

Patrick cuddles with ALL of his stuffed animals when he goes to sleep Even in his sleep he's entertaining!  LOL

Our work of art


October 17, 2003

We headed to Tampa this morning for the weekend.  Mark dropped us off at the Aquarium at about 10:15 while he saw clients and the plan was for him to pick us up around 3:30.  Weeellllll, at about 11:30, we had seen about all there was to see and the boys were asking when Daddy was picking us up.  Ugh.  Time for some creative thinking.  So we saw a 3D Imax movie about bugs and had a leisurely lunch.  Over lunch I was looking at the Aquarium map, for lack of anything better to do, and discovered an entire section we'd missed!  Woo hoo!  There is also a retired war ship at the wharf that we checked out.  Turned out to be a great day after all!

This turtle was over two feet long! Looking snazzy in 3D glasses

Petting star fish Waving in front of the USS Victory


October 18, 2003

We're staying with Mike and Mary Beth this weekend.  Their girls were at their grandparents' last night so we got to recharge on our own for a little bit this morning.  By the time the girls got home, Alex and Patch were ready for playmates again!  This afternoon, KC, Stacy and their kids and Mark's parents came over and all of the cousins ran rampant!  It was absolutely wonderful!

Guarding the fort Heather and Alex playing catch with Mark (who's in the pool out of sight)

KC's clan Mike and Julia - he's wrapped around her little finger!  ;-)

Ashley & Preston greeting Nana & Papa Danielle flying

Alex got the Harry Potter books from Nana & Papa for his birthday Romper Room!

Heather and Alex checking out Harry Potter Julia wouldn't let Danielle out of her sight

Patrick introduced Preston to Bionicles Kickin' back

Julia kept chasing Danielle around saying, "No, Baby!" Dinner with 7 kids

The Newlyweds

Seven very happy cousins!
Preston, Ashley holding Danielle, Alex, Heather behind Julia and Patch


October 19, 2003

For our last hurrah of the week, we headed to Busch Gardens.  Troy and Lexie joined us for a while, and then we went off to do the more insane rides.  The last time we went, we discovered both boys are big enough to ride the Scorpion, a full-blown roller coaster, complete with a loop in the middle.  Neither one of them could wait to ride it again!  Of course, two kids means two adults.  I think I earned my wings today riding that thing only a month after my surgery!

Alex had a homework project that of course hadn't gotten done during the week.  He had to make a family banner with handprints from his family members.  Of course, it was late when we got home, but we managed to do a pretty good job of it!

Help!  My kids were attacked by a ferocious lion!

Lexie and Troy (Mark's goddaughter and Alex's godfather) Admiring the white peacock

Exhausted artists


October 21, 2003

Ahhhhhhh - back to our normal routine.  Alex got these blow-up boxing gloves for his birthday when we got back home.  They're hilarious!

Go ahead - hit me!


October 23, 2003

Mom came over today for her usual day with the kids (my favorite day of the week ).  This makes it possible for me to volunteer in art class on Thursdays.  I had such ego boosts at the school this afternoon!  I ran into Alex's old kindergarten teacher and she said she hoped to have Patrick in her class next year because she missed all of my help in her classroom.  After school I stopped to visit with Alex's current teacher.  She raved about how wonderful he is.  Mark is out of town this week, so Mom stayed and put the kids to bed while I did a couple of closings.  What would I do without her?!

Our cuddly snakes  ;-)


October 25, 2003

The boys had an overabundance of allowance money in their banks, according to them, so we went to Target to relieve the situation.  They both bought things that require assembly, and both swore they could do it themselves which of course, they couldn't, and started their creations at the same time.  I spent the afternoon making my brain jump from one set of instructions to the other without creating Frankenstein!

Master architects


October 26, 2003

We're getting into the Halloween spirit!  We spent the morning making costumes, took a trip to the mall for portraits, then spent the afternoon next door at a spectacular Halloween party.  You have to wait until Halloween to find out what the costumes are!

Hmmmmm - I wonder what that's supposed to be!

Making trick-or-treat bags The Mystery Box - you stick your hand in and guess what you're feeling.  But Travis was manning the booth and grabbing the kids' hands from the inside!

Spooky Golf Patch got a ghost painted on his face

It's hard to have a bad portrait with subjects like these!


October 28, 2003

We carved our pumpkins today!

Such concentration! Master carvers

Patch got all decked out to play with his Bey Blades (a top-type spinning toy).

How long will it spin!


October 30, 2003

The preschool had a Bible Parade today during school.  Each child dressed up like someone from the Bible.  Patch went as a shepherd.  There were shepherds, angels, Marys and Josephs, Moses, Noahs, Roman soldiers, and even an adorable couple of two-year-olds, walking in the parade hand in hand, with leaves painted all over their clothes and carrying an apple - Adam and Eve!  They were all precious!

The boys' soccer games are usually on Fridays, but they played tonight because of Halloween tomorrow.  Both of them made goals, and Patrick's was the only goal for his team.  They were thrilled!  (As were Mommy and Daddy, of course!)

Doesn't he look sweet and innocent!

Walking in the parade The whole class - trying to figure out which camera they're supposed to look into!


October 31, 2003

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

The boys came up with their costume ideas completely on their own this year, and they turned out great!  Patch said he wanted to be a haunted TV, so Alex went as his remote control, complete with a great big "mute" button!