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June, 2004
(Hold your mouse over a picture for its caption.)

June 1, 2004

Happy Birthday Uncle David!!!

There's a fabulous new pool in town that's designed strictly for kids.  Check it out!

Patch at the top of the red slide

Alex at the top of the big water slide . . . . . . and shooting out the bottom!

To calm things down a bit, I pulled out some "fuzzy" posters for the kids to color.

Artists at work

June 3, 2004

Nothing like a lizard outside the window to get the "children's" attention.

Let me at it!

June 4, 2004

We've discovered the best putt putt during a heat wave - air conditioned!  It's under black light, and the kids had a blast checking out all of the white on their clothes - not to mention the neon props all over the place.

Patch was lining up with the hole Patch sinking a putt

Alex trying to putt around an obstacle

June 6, 2004

Let me introduce you to Ryan Thomas Finster, our newest nephew!  He was born to Mike and Mary Beth on Thursday, June 3 and all are doing well.  With three older sisters, whatever are they going to do with a baby boy in the house?!  LOL

Absolutely precious! What a happy Daddy!

Meeting Papa and Nana

The girls meeting their baby brother A whole lot 'a smiles!

One big happy family!

We also had an exciting day today.  Alex had his big end of the year guitar recital.  He had been very blasť about the whole thing, and plays his song from memory without any trouble.  So I was a little surprised when he brought his music on stage with him, and played very tentatively.  Mark asked him afterwards why he had his music, and he said because he was "really scared."  He did great, despite his nerves, and we're really proud of him!  (So proud that I'm going to torture you with video, yet again!)

"America" ("My Country Tis of Thee")

Receiving his awards for memorizing pieces All of the awesome performers

June 9, 2004

Mom and I braved the heat wave and took the kids to the zoo today.  We only had time to feed the giraffes (their absolute favorite thing), go to the petting zoo and play on the playground for a few minutes before a storm moved in.  I had a closing at 4:30 in the same city, so we had to find something to do until then.  We spent the rest of the afternoon at the mall in blissful air conditioning.  It's a good thing I got a year pass to the zoo so we can go back and see the rest!

Patch was too cute tonight.  He had already had two Gogurts (yogurt snacks) and wanted another.  When I said he could have one, he skipped over to the fridge yelling "Tic tac toe, three in a row!"

Grandma's in the white hat in the background taking pictures, too!  LOL It's all Patrick can do to bring himself to put the food on the giraffe's tongue

The boys spent quite a while on the "spider web" at the playground.  Patrick was hanging from one of the ropes and I called him a monkey.  He said, "I'm a spider monkey!"
My two climbers Hanging out in the beehive honeycomb

Patch showing off to Grandma that he can read now!  (he really can!)

I've got my furniture moved away from the wall so I can do some painting.  Grendel is thoroughly enjoying the close-up view of the mice in their cage!
Yum, yum - let me at 'em!

June 12, 2004

We've had a wonderful, insanely busy day visiting all kinds of loved ones!  Poor Mark, though.  He's been on a business trip in Salt Lake City for the past week, and got home at about midnight last night.  We dragged him out of bed this morning and hit the road!

We started off in Brooksville for our long-time friends' son's birthday party.  It was a skating party, which is always a hoot!  The kids actually made great strides (pun intended LOL) in their skating skills and even tried in-line skates. 

Rollin' along A rare moment where both kids were upright!

Yes, I WAS as unsteady as I look! Not an uncommon sight.  LOL

Hug that wall!

From there we drove down to Tampa for our niece, Danielle's, second birthday.  All of the cousins were there (except for 9-day-old Ryan) and we had a wonderful afternoon.

We headed home this evening to some doggies who had been very lonely all day.  As hard as Grendel tried, she didn't finally settle down until after midnight - boy I wish I had puppy energy!

The birthday girl! Patiently waiting for a piece of cake

Cuddle time A heated arm wrestling match!

Papa and all of his girls Patch welcomes any opportunity to be upside down!

June 13, 2004

The kids wanted to make a "beware" sign for their clubhouse, and they also wanted to "play with Daddy's tools."  So Mark combined the two and they worked on a sign with letters made out of screws that the boys screwed in.

Patch has found a new way to aggravate Alex without getting himself into trouble.  Here's an example.  Tonight, Alex and I were having a disagreement over how much allowance he was due.  Patch had to add his two cents:  "Alex, you should just be happy for what you got and thank Mommy." 

Tim Allen raising little Tim Allens!

June 14, 2004

The boys and I went back to the indoor putt putt course this afternoon.  There's nothing like having to endure the remaining 16 holes with the ego of a 7-year-old who made a hole-in-one on the second hole!

Lining up his shot Just hangin' around

And a BIG ice cream treat afterwards!

June 15, 2004

My boys are turning into multitalented musicians!  They've been expressing interest in each other's instruments, so we talked to their teachers and today they swapped lessons.  Both teachers raved at how well they picked up the second instrument.  I just sat back and beamed!

Patrick's first guitar lesson'

Ahhhhhhhh - Heaven on earth for me!

We celebrated Mark's birthday a day early, since I won't be home much tomorrow.  I had planned to make him his favorite dinner, but at the last minute he got a call from an old colleague inviting us out to dinner since he's in town on business.  We had a wonderful dinner and visit, then came home to cake that the boys helped me make.

Look out, Emeril! The boys made his candles into a "crown"

June 16, 2004

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Mark is the best husband in the world.  Today I had a hair appointment, then a closing, then a night out with the girls to play Bunko (a monthly "obligation").  Not only did he not complain once, even though it's his birthday, he even watched two of our neighbors' kids tonight whose moms went out with me!  I knew there was something special about him!

June 17, 2004

Happy Birthday, Uncle Mike!

No doubt, Mike's having a great birthday with that new baby boy in his arms!

June 19, 2004

We drove over to the River last night for a weekend with Mark's parents.  Everybody went out in the boat and swam their hearts out while I stayed behind and enjoyed the A/C at the mall.    The boys hadn't had enough and went out in the paddle boat and swam off the sea wall.  They were doing crazy jumps into the water.  Patch's favorite was the "banana," and Alex just liked spinning in mid-air.

Alex's favorite activity at the River The illusion of tranquility.  LOL

Patch's favorite activity Grendel and her favorite toy (finally some pink in our house)  ;-)

Daddy trying to be a kid again (at least he didn't break any bones this time!) Patch doing the banana (sort of)

Alex posing in mid-air

June 20, 2004

Mark's parents went to stay with Mary Beth today to help her with the kids and the baby while Mike's on a business trip for the next couple of days.  We joined them on our way home and finally got to meet the baby!

Can you hear me purring? Mark's as bad as I am - you can't keep a baby from his arms!

Julia giving Aydee a kiss Patch was taking pictures, and of course, Daddy had to "pose"

Well, at least Patch got the baby in the shot! What a good-lookin' guy!

Julia was painting my nails with her new markers Julia cuddling up with Mitzy

The girls made a Father's Day banner for Mike and let Alex join in their presentation Julia giving Mike a great big Daddy-hug!

June 21, 2004

Our sister-in-law, Stacie, is in town from San Francisco for a wedding, so we met up with her at Universal Studios.  It was such a treat to see her, since we live so far apart.  Fortunately, none of us melted in the heat, and we had a terrific visit!  There was a very long line for one of the rides, and they had a DJ playing music and keeping spirits up while the crowd lobbed beach balls around.  We actually had fun while in the long line!

Patch and Alex with Aunt Stacie Checking out the test seats before the ride

He's looking way too old! Blowing his fan down his shirt to try to stay cool

June 22, 2004

The daily "gathering of neighborhood children" ended up at our house today.  Alex was showing off the snakes.

I hope they didn't really think they could contain the snake with their legs!

June 23, 2004

My cousin's kids are visiting my aunt (their Grandmother) this week, so Mom, the boys and I headed over for a visit and some time in the pool.  Since my cousin moved up to Michigan, we don't have much of a chance to see them, so it was a special visit.

Mommy floating around on a beach ball My aunt helping Patch with his snorkel

Stephen, Alex and Patch turning the snokels into water cannons

June 24, 2004

My neighbor and I momentarily lost our minds and took the kids to Chuck E Cheese's today.  Actually, the heat has been so unbearable this summer that I've scrapped most of my summer plans and am now looking for any air conditioned activity I can find!

Patch pedaling himself to the roof on a game/ride at Chuck E Cheese's Patch loves to check his blood pressure at the store

June 25, 2004

We packed up and headed off for a weekend in the woods in the camper.  It stormed all the way to the campground, but the skies cleared just as we arrived.  That was fortunate, because we found out at the campsite that the power cord for the camper had jostled out of its slot and dragged along the road and was ruined.  So our camper turned into a glorified tent as we slept with the windows all unzipped.

Grendel sought any comfort she could from Boudreaux (LOL) as they waited to go into the kennel The perfect end to a spectacular storm

June 26, 2004

Mark took the kids to the beach while I packed up the camper and took it to have the power cord repaired.  (Believe me, after a long night in the heat, I got the better end of that deal - my patience was looooong gone!)  The repair went quickly and by lunch I had the camper back up and the A/C cranked!  Things were lookin' up!  We basically hung out and enjoyed the peace and quiet the rest of the day.  Another storm moved in (not unusual around here) right after dinner, so we headed into our wonderful cool camper and played games until bedtime.  A vast improvement over last night!

June 27, 2004

We checked out a local fort this morning, then packed up camp and headed home.  Boy, it's good to be home!

The boys were pretending to be shot out of the cannons My three favorite guys

Me and my boys Grendel was sound asleep with her tongue sticking out - it was hilarious!

June 28, 2004

The boys got themselves grounded today after having a knock-down fight that landed both of them with ice packs on swollen spots.  Tell me again when school starts?

I guess Grendel missed the mice while she was at the kennel.  She's been eyeing them all day!

Can't I have just one?