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(Click on a picture to enlarge.)

February 1, 2003

The monster trucks were back in town tonight!  And all of the kids' favorites were there.  It was so exciting.  There were parachuters and trucks on fire and trucks rolling over - it just doesn't get any better than that!

Three Navy Seals dropped in by parachute, and then did a tribute to the victims of the Space Shuttle.

He was bursting with excitement! It's a guy thing

It got COLD! Out of focus, but I had to show you the grin!

He tipped over! Wow!

February 3, 2003

Patch and I met Ms. Becca and Andrew at a playground today.

I think I can!  I think I can! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

February 4, 2003

I had to go downtown to the office today, so Patch and I made a day of it and did Lake Eola and the library, too.

Just hangin' around Isn't he gorgeous?!

Patch made friends with the black swans This duck ate straight out of his hand!

February 6, 2003

Happy Birthday Andrew!!!

We went over to Becca and John's house this evening to celebrate Andrew's 2nd birthday.  The kids ran rampant and ate pizza and Pooh cake and got candy from a pinata.  And Andrew was king for the day!  It suited him well!

Pinata's for 2-year-olds have strings to pull instead of beating the heck out of it.

We could have our own basketball team!!! Mark and his mini-me

Looks like Trouble stole Alex's bear while we were gone!

February 7, 2003

Carter and Nathan spent the afternoon with us today while Becca is out of town.  All of the kids played out front for most of the afternoon.  Kori joined us and got out her Barbie Jeep and they all took turns riding in the Jeep and playing football.  When John took them home after dinner, Nathan fell asleep before they left the subdivision, and Carter wasn't too far behind him!

A friendly brotherly hug from Alex to Patch? Nope - but a darned good tackle!

Patch almost got run over by Kori and Carter!

February 8, 2003

I forgot to share a couple of funnies about yesterday. 

Patch and I went to pick up Carter and Nathan at their preschool, which is about a 40-minute drive from our house.  Carter and Nathan are tied for the World Championship of 4-Year-Old Questions, and on the drive home they were rapid-firing questions and comments.  Now, Patch isn't exactly known for his quiet disposition, and it was frustrating him to no end that he couldn't get a word in edgewise.  At one point, he put his hands over his ears and yelled, "I can't take it anymore!!!!"  I almost drove up a telephone pole, I was laughing so hard!!

Alex got off the bus yesterday in tears.  He had a piece of paper folded up in his hands, so I feared a bad report from his teacher (although all she ever does about him is rave).  When I asked him what was wrong, he said he'd forgotten his backpack.  When I took a look at the note, I understood why he was too distracted to remember his backpack.  Click here to see what it said!

Patch got a splinter in his foot today, and we let him try to take it out with the tweezers himself.
"I wanna do it MYSELF!" "See, I did it!"  (We didn't have the heart to tell him it had actually come out while it was soaking!)

February 9, 2003

It was a rainy day today so Mark and the boys had a Lego marathon.  The significant thing about the creations in these pictures is that they're all made out of Lego body parts!  Do any of you remember Sid from Toy Story?

There is a marked difference in the way that Alex and Patch think.  As soon as Alex was finished with his creation, he took it into his bedroom so it wouldn't get hurt.  As soon as Patch was finished with his, he immediately crashed it with a car!

Mark made this one - the pole in the middle is made entirely out of HEADS. Patch couldn't wait to destroy Mark's creation with his Lego car.

Patch made this one entirely out of legs! Yep - those yellow things in the middle are all heads, too.

Patch is learning how to make his own bed and he insisted we take a picture when he was done.

Well, he gets an A for effort anyway!

February 11, 2003

Patch finally has his own sports team!  He had his first soccer practice today.  You've never seen such an excited kid!!!  His coach was fabulous and really good with the kids.  He also used to play on the Mexican National soccer team.  From what I could gather, it looks like Patch is the youngest kid on the team - by a long shot. A lot of the kids are already 5.  But he kept up with them beautifully - I guess all of those rough-and-tumble soccer games in the front yard have paid off.

He certainly wasn't afraid to go for the ball! They almost look like they're all going in the same direction.

Getting pointers from Coach Lorenzo

Jacob brought over his boxing equipment (yes, his father is actually trying to get him to learn to defend himself - what a foreign concept in the Finster household!).  They were hilarious trying to "pretend" hit each other!

I need to get these getups for my kids to wear permanently Nice jab!

February 12, 2003

Alex had his first soccer practice tonight.  Unfortunately, none of my pictures came out - I guess his team runs a little faster than Patch's does!  He had a great time and is already telling me his teammates' names.

February 14, 2003

As strange as this may sound, I did go out for the evening on Valentine's Day - it just wasn't with my husband!  Becca and I have been trying for months to have a girl's night out, and we finally had a night where both of us were healthy and both of our husbands were available to watch the kids.  We went to Glamour Shots and had our hair and makeup done.  They also have a wardrobe we chose from, and then we had our pictures done.  Sorry, but you won't be seeing the ones of me - either I haven't really looked in the mirror lately, or the makeup lady has a strange sense of humor, but I swear I look better than that in real life!  But we did get a really cute picture of the two of us, and when it comes in, I'll share it.

After Glamour Shots, we went out for a Mexican dinner, which we always have to do when we're together because we both love Mexican and neither of our husbands do!  We closed down the restaurant, and then sat in the car in the mall parking lot talking for hours, until the lights in the parking lot shut off.  Guess we shut down the parking lot, too! 

February 15, 2003

Mark made these great playing card holders for the boys!

Uno champs

February 18, 2003

I know many of you think I'm crazy for spending so much time volunteering at the schools.  I can honestly say it's the most rewarding thing I've ever done.  When I walk into a classroom and kids come running up to me with hugs, nothing compares.  This week is "Dividend Appreciation Week" at the elementary school (they call their volunteers "dividends").  Alex brought home a book that his class made for me this week.  It had me in tears.  Here are a few pages:

Patch had his second soccer practice today, and Mark went this time and helped coach.  He shared this cute story with me:  The coach was trying to get the kids to dribble the ball down the field and look ahead instead of down at the ball. So he was asking each of them how many fingers he held up. Patch started dribbling, staring at his feet, and the coach asked, "How many fingers do I have?" Without looking up he screamed back, "TEN!"

February 19, 2003

Spending the afternoon playing with blocks.

Learning about gravity.

February 20, 2003

Now that soccer season has started, the neighborhood kids are constantly wanting to play.  We had a little scrimmage after dinner tonight across the street.  It's a barrel of laughs watching the kids steal from their own teammates or fall down while completely missing the ball!  I guess I'm going to have to accept that my soccer pictures are going to be big blurs!

Patch was really on top of the ball - too bad his goal was to the right! Alex is really quite good!

February 22, 2003

We had a whirlwind weekend visiting all kinds of family.  On Saturday we drove over to the River to visit with Nana and Papa.  It rained cats and dogs all day, so we spent a cozy day inside doing puzzles and getting caught up.  Alex couldn't wait to read his bedtime story to Nana and Papa, and they were duly impressed with his incredible reading skills.


Is Patch a clone? Their dogs just love to snuggle!

February 23, 2003

On Sunday morning, we drove down to Tampa to watch Mike and John play in an amateur invitational golf tournament (I'm not sure if I said that right).  We could only stay for a few holes, but they were playing fabulously!  I think the boys had a combination of excitement, boredom, and ants-in-the-pants - it was exciting to see their uncles play, but bored and antsy because they were in these huge wide-open grassy fields and couldn't run around or even make a sound at times!  But we enjoyed it immensely, and the boys are still talking about it.

From Tampa, we loaded back up in the car and drove to Lakeland to see my cousin, Danny, and his wife, Becca, and their new baby, Ty.  He's been stationed in Germany for quite some time and it's been years since we've seen him.  We had a terrific visit - it was so good to see them!  And I had to pry that baby out of Mark's arms!  Unfortunately, my camera battery died before we got there so I don't have any pictures to share of that leg of our trip.

John in the fairway Mike at the tee Nana and the boys crossing their fingers for Uncle John Watching John sink it I actually got in front of the camera!!!!  (Thanks Nana!)

February 25, 2003

Alex got his report card today.  He's doing so well in school I just had to brag.  He received an "O" for Outstanding in both language arts and mathematics.  The comments section is really where you see what's going on.  Here are some excerpts: 

"He has mastered all of the required objectives assessed during this period." 
"He is reading above grade level."
"In math, Alex scored 100% on all four chapter tests."
"Alex continues to be an enthusiastic learner and frequent participant in class discussions.  He is able to focus his thinking and formulate an accurate or thoughtful response before answering a question.  Alex works well independently and cooperatively."

Can you see me beaming?

February 27, 2003

Cute story:  Alex and Patch were in the playroom together this afternoon.  They were playing nicely together and chatting away when I heard Patch say, "You don't want to have a little brother?  But I love me!"

February 28, 2003

We went to Alex's school this evening for their Founders Day event.  Each class had put together a themed basket.  You then bought tickets and put a ticket in the box next to a basket you liked and they draw tickets to give away the baskets.  We won a sports basket that had a variety of balls and jerseys and tickets to a Magic game!  It was so exciting!

Patch decided that he was going to create his own drink this afternoon.  It started out as lemonade - just water, lemon juice and sugar.  Sounds innocent enough, doesn't it?  He then added chocolate syrup and brown sugar.  Wanna try?

Shaking up his creation