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(Click on a picture to enlarge.)

January 1, 2003

Mark and I actually enjoyed a little date this afternoon and went to see the Lord of the Rings.  Other than that, we're still recovering from last night!

Checking out the new Leap Pad from Uncle David and Aunt Kat.  It's really cool!

January 2, 2003

Becca came over today for an impromptu play date, and true to form, we ended up playing all day long!  We had all kinds of fun, including playing in the sand box, a picnic outside with Jacob and Clara, we set up the camper to explore, and then off to the bowling alley.  I think everyone will be sleeping well tonight!

Men at work.  (Doesn't Nathan look devilish!) Running for the sake of running - Oh! To be a kid again!

I always thought Alex was a little pig!  LOL Nap time?  NOT!

These next pictures need a little explaining.  We took a ton of pictures at the bowling alley (OK, Becca took them all - I forgot my camera).  She has beautiful pictures of her kids, but it immediately became apparent just how non-stop my kids are!  In virtually every picture with a Finster child in it, the Finster child is whizzing by!
Look out!  Here comes Patch! It's the ghost of Patrick-Present

Then we ran into a trial of trying to keep our feet from going over the line.  It's too bad we didn't have the camera ready when Patch tried to follow the ball down the lane on his belly!
Whew!  Stopped just in time. Oops - overshot that one!

Forget the ball - I'm watching my feet Can you tell he dressed himself this morning?  LOL whoa, Whoa, WHOA!

January 3, 2003

I took the boys to Toys R Us so they could spend their gift cards this morning.  I must say, they shopped very carefully within their budget.  Alex got some robot gadgets that I do not claim to understand (and so it begins!) and Patch got a Lego basketball court he's had his eye on.  My three boys had a blast playing Lego basketball!  I also got some much-needed time to myself today while Mom took the kids out to play putt putt.  Even though I spent almost the entire time they were gone assembling the basketball game, it was still time alone nonetheless!

Looks like Patch just scored!

January 4, 2003

The boys helped us shred some old checks today.  Patch jumped around in surprise and delight every time the machine would grab the piece of paper!

Our little helpers No matter how many times he did it, he'd still go nuts!

January 7, 2003

It's been a slow couple of days for pictures.  Alex went back to school today, and Patrick goes back tomorrow, so we're finally back in our old routine.  Yippee!  We did have a little excitement today.  Alex finally lost his second tooth!  He and Jacob were wrestling outside and it somehow got knocked out.

Trouble wanted to hear the story, too

January 8, 2003

Alex did the most adorable thing today (although I'm not allowed to call him "adorable" anymore LOL).  He was working away with the art supplies.  He had a piece of paper folded in half and was stapling the edges, to make a sort of pocket.  Then he crumpled up small pieces of paper and put them inside and stapled the remaining edge shut ("to make it soft").  He told me he had made a blanket for Carter and was making one for Nathan (Becca's twins), because sometimes they cry when they're here and a blanket would make them feel better.  How sweet is that?!  Then Patch got in on the act and started stapling, too.

Practicing random acts of kindness

January 9, 2003

We had a wonderful surprise today!  Troy, who is Mark's friend since childhood and Alex's Godfather, was in town and came over for dinner.  They had a knock-down-drag-out game of foosball and Troy read them their bedtime story.  Alex wants him to come back again tomorrow!

Boys will be boys He had them giggling their heads off with his rendition of Green Eggs and Ham

January 10, 2003

Mom came and spent the day playing with the boys.  Poor Patch has the never-ending sinus infection, and today was just a miserable day for him, so Grandma was a nice distraction.  We then met Daddy and Grandpa for a wonderful dinner out.

Pals for life! Patch was showing Grandma his new Hot Wheels Octoblast!

January 11, 2003

We had a nice quiet day today enjoying our beautiful weather.

Go Speed Racer!

January 12, 2003

Mark has spent most of the weekend keeping the boys out of my hair so I could get caught up on my mountain of typing.  They've been riding their Razor Scream Machines or playing football out front most of the time.  The three of them came up with a variation today - Razor Soccer!  I tried to get a picture, but it just didn't capture what they were doing, so out came the camcorder.

Click on the ball to watch them play


Here's a taste of life with a 4-year-old!

Click on the question mark

January 13, 2003

Today was my day to help out in Alex's class.  After we did centers, the class had recess, so I took the opportunity to snap some pictures.

"I'm bigger than you now, Mommy!" Alex and his best buddy, Shawn

January 14, 2003

My neighbor, Mary, and I have this great arrangement on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Her kids don't have preschool on those days and neither does Patch, and they're forever asking to play with each other.  So we swap the kids all day long.  We get to do our errands or I get to work without kids and the kids get to play with each other all day.  Even when I have all 3 kids, it's easier than just having Patch because I don't have to entertain him.  It works out great!

Making our afternoon snack.  I think Clara ate more sprinkles than what she put on the cookies!

January 15, 2003

We're very much enjoying getting back into our routine.  Being routine, however, I don't have much to share!  Trust me, that's a good thing at this point. 

My little hams

January 17, 2003

I was very proud of Alex this morning.  He wakes up a lot like I do.  Anybody who's ever seen me in the morning knows what that means - slow and crabby!  This morning he was at our bedside right after his alarm went off (it usually takes 20 minutes to get him out of bed) and said he had a project due at school today.  Their 100th day of school is coming up and everyone was supposed to do some sort of project involving 100 of something.  He went right away to the art supplies and came up with an idea and had it done in time for the bus (although he did have to run to catch it!).  He even let Patch help him a little!

Still not quite awake but working away

Patch and I ran some errands this morning, and he is in full blown question phase.  This had better be a quick phase or I'll go insane!  He talked and commented and inquired the entire time!  Question of the morning:  Do they have trash cans in Heaven?

We went to Bubbalou's tonight for dinner.  They have a huge pig out front that kids can climb on.  The kids loved it!

Alex's lips are so red because they just had red snow cones.

January 18, 2003

Carter and Nathan had their 4th birthday party at Gym Time today.  What a great place for a party!  The kids can run and jump and be as wild as they want!  And it's actually all in a controlled manner. 


My climber My rock wall climber

My babies were pretty tuckered out tonight.

Sleep is so much better when you have something to snuggle She's just such a fragile thing in this cold.  ;-)

January 19, 2002

We had a few neighbor kids over to play today and we had quite the foosball tournament going.  Then Mark "let" them rake the yard for him.

Nothing like putting 4 boys together in a room to stir up some good old healthy competition

Remember when a pile of leaves was the best fun! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

January 20, 2003

We took advantage of the long weekend and Mom and I took the kids to Downtown Disney to go to Lego Land.  They've been saving their allowance and finally got to make their first purchase with it.  They were very excited and made their selections very carefully.  I was impressed!

This man is made completely out of Legos and is even snoring! Gotta do the train ride!

January 22, 2003

I have a couple of stories to share from today.  Patrick's school had their Winter Wonderland event today.  They have all kinds of fake snow activities, like a "toboggan" ride on a flat wheeled cart, "ice skating" in their socks on a big sheet of plastic covered in corn starch, or the "snow machine" where they go into a sort of closet (with windows) and a fan blows around packing popcorn.  It's really cute!  And you should hear Patch say "We had Winner Wunnerwand today!"

Unfortunately, I didn't get my usual overabundance of pictures because Alex and I were both home sick today.  We have very nasty throats so we were off to the doctor for a strep test since it's going around the school right now.  It was negative (whew!) and he's feeling a little better and ready to go back to school (I had to make him stay home - he loves school!).  Wish I could say the same for me.  :-(

Our neighbor gave us the drawer from his old dishwasher, so Alex spent his day at home transforming it into a Battle Bot.  He got out every art supply we own and tried every way to attach things to it.  I loved watching him analyze and problem solve.  You can tell he wasn't feeling well by how closely he chose to work to my computer (I had to do some work today).  I was getting claustrophobic!

And our biggest story of the day.  This afternoon there was a vulture in the street in front of our house eating something, so the boys and I were watching it from the window.  (Think like a young boy and it makes sense to watch vultures eat.)  Suddenly the vulture flew away and we were waiting for it to come back when a bald eagle flew down and scooped up the tasty little snack.  We all three saw it so clearly - it was utterly amazing!!!

This was their "skating rink" His teacher took some pics with my camera for me so I didn't completely miss out.

Alex making his battle bot.

January 25, 2003

Today was Lexie's 4th birthday party in Tampa.  She is the daughter of our friends, Troy and Christy, and also Mark's goddaughter.  I've been horribly sick this week (hence the lack of web updates), so Mark convinced me to stay home and rest while he took the boys over.  They had quite a day!

The party was at a mall, so the boys spent some time before the party in the play area.
Notice Patch sliding off behind Alex! I like how they stick together these days.

They made teddy bears at the party.  Here they are each given a heart to put inside their bear.  (That's Lexie in between Alex and Patch).
Lexie's little body guards

Now they're putting in the stuffing.
So that's how they do that!

And they got to pick out shirts for their bears.
Showing off their new buddies!

After the party they visited at KC & Stacy's house, and then they all met back up with Troy and Christy for the Gasparilla Children's Parade.  Tampa has a big Mardi Gras-type celebration every year called Gasparilla Day which celebrates the founding of Tampa.  A week before, they have a children's version of the parade, which is about the same as the real parade, except you avoid all of the drunken adults doing drunken adult antics!  The floats throw out bead necklaces and I think my kids collected about a ton of them!
Patch showing off just a small amount of his loot!

January 26, 2003

The Bucs won the Super Bowl!!!!!!!!!

January 27, 2003

What a horrible day today was!  Patch woke up this morning with a stuffy nose and a fever, and things went downhill from there.  As the day progressed, he got more and more lethargic, and by early afternoon I had called to take him to the pediatrician.  Wouldn't you know, they were completely booked, so I talked to the nurse.  She asked if he'd peed yet today, and I realized he hadn't.  He also wouldn't drink and had already thrown up what little he had so far.  She said if things hadn't changed in an hour to call and she'd get him in to a doctor.  Well, he did start drinking a little bit so I called and left a message that I thought we were out of the woods.  She called me back at 6:00 to check on him, and was very concerned that he still hadn't peed, despite having started taking sips of water.  She said if he hadn't gone to the bathroom in an hour, to go straight to the emergency room.  Mark was home by then and convinced him to have some Jello, and he started perking up, and consequently, drinking more.  And at 6:55 (with a mere 5 minutes to spare) he peed!  Woo hoo!  He was also starting to get back to his old self, and until he started chattering away again, I didn't realize just how quiet the house had been!

Have you ever seen him looking like this?  :-(

January 28, 2003

It's hard to believe that Patch was so sick yesterday, because he's certainly back to his old self today! 

There's a story behind today's picture.  The boys got some bathtub paints for Christmas, and we've been doing handprints with the paint on the tile.  Patch was in the tub tonight and hollering that he wanted me to paint his hand so he could do handprints.  I was in the middle of something so Alex sighed and looked at me and said, "I'll do it." (the heavy burden of being a big brother).  Then the hysterical laughter started.  So I grabbed my camera and went in there.  Apparently painting handprints wasn't good enough.  They were also doing backprints, and arm prints, and God only knows what else!

What are big brothers for?

January 29, 2003

We finally had a normal day today!  Patch was back to school, I was back to doing some work during daylight hours, and Alex had a school friend over this afternoon.

The Beatles - The Next Generation

January 31, 2003

Patch had his first trip to the emergency room last night.  What a nightmare!  He'd had a bad asthma day, and when he went to bed, he just got worse.  We've wondered many, many nights before whether we should take him, but it was very clear last night he needed help.  They gave him a more powerful nebulizer treatment which made him bounce off the walls (all the while still coughing his head off).  He was actually hanging upside down off the rail on the side of the bed!!! And then they tried to give him some oral steroids.  He had to take 1 1/2 dosers full of it.  He got the first one down and cried for water to wash away the taste.  He drank the whole cup.  Then we had to wrestle the second one down him, and a minute later everything came back up.  He was frantic.  It was horrible.  So then he had to have a shot instead.  It took five of us to do it.  He actually slept peacefully for a lot of the night after we got home, but still had a lot of symptoms today.  I sure hope we never have to do that again! 

My mom dropped everything last night to come stay with Alex, and then achieved sainthood when she still came over today for her usual play day with the kids.

It was a perfect day for a nice quiet picnic He had just climbed his drawers to get up there as if everyone does this all the time.  Who'd have thought he was just in the ER 12 hours earlier!

His last neb before bed - guess he was a little tired!  He's sound asleep!